Monthly Archives: November 2018

* One Song

“Please, please don’t come to Google and waste your time.”

I tell this to promising interview candidates. That is, I hope they come here, but it’s waaaaay too easy to fall into a velvet fog: you get free food, good money, something for your parents to brag about… but you wake up one day and realize that you’re polishing some goddamn stupid widget 9 levels deep in who-knows-what system, and you think, “Is this why I was put on earth?” This doesn’t have to happen, and indeed people often do amazing things instead—but it’s anything but guaranteed.

I always think of the amazing monologue in Walk The Line (starts around 1:30 in the clip below). If you had one song to sing before you’re dirt, are you telling me this would be it?

Now go find your song & sing the hell out of it.

Filed under “Shit That Actually Matters.”

“Squoosh” is a new Google app to slim down Web images

Cool—and open source. 9to5 Google writes,

By using WebAssembly, Squoosh is able to use image codecs that are not typically available in the browser.

Supporting a variety of web formats like MozJPEG and WebP and traditional ones like PNG, Squoosh allows you to quickly make your images web-ready. The app is able to do 1:1 visual comparisons of the original image and its compressed counterpart, to help you understand the pros and cons of each format.

[YouTube]

Using computer vision to unlock a wealth of photographic history

Visiting the NY Times was always among the real treats of my time working on Photoshop. I was always struck by the thoughtfulness & professionalism of the staff, but also by the gritty, brass-tacks considerations of cranking through thousands of images daily, often using some pretty dated infrastructure.

Now Google’s Cloud Vision tools are helping to tap into that infrastructure—specifically, bringing treasures of “The Morgue” back into the light by making their patchwork annotations searchable.

The morgue contains photos from as far back as the late 19th century, and many of its contents have tremendous historical value—some that are not stored anywhere else in the world. In 2015, a broken pipe flooded the archival library, putting the entire collection at risk. Luckily, only minor damage was done, but the event raised the question: How can some of the company’s most precious physical assets be safely stored?

Check it out:

NewImage

[YouTube] [Via]

Blind veterans kayak the Grand Canyon, taking Street View along for the ride

This completely blows my mind. Have a happy, reflective, and grateful Veteran’s Day, everyone.

Check out their 360º captures on Google Street View. Blind Navy vet & expedition leader Lonnie Bedwell writes,

I believe we can’t abandon our sense of adventure because we lose our ability to see it, and it has become my goal to help people who live with similar challenges, and show them that anything is possible.

In 2013, I became the first blind person to kayak the entire 226 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon But, I always felt it didn’t mean anything unless I found a way to pay it forward. So I joined up with the good folks at Team River Runner, a nonprofit dedicated to providing all veterans and their families an opportunity to find health, healing, community, and purpose. Together we had the audacious goal to support four other blind veterans take a trip down the Grand Canyon.

NewImage

[YouTube]

What might be next for Facebook 3D photos?

Facebook’s 3D photos (generated from portrait-mode images) have quickly proven to be my favorite feature added to that platform in years. Hover or drag over this example:

My crazy three! 😝😍 #007 #HappyHalloween

Posted by John Nack on Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The academic research they’ve shared, however, promises to go farther, enabling VR-friendly panoramas with parallax. The promise is basically “Take 30 seconds to shoot a series of images, then allow another 30 seconds for processing.” The first portion might well be automated, enabling the user to simply pan slowly across a scene.

NewImage

This teaser vid shows how scenes are preserved in 3D, enabling post-capture effects like submerging them in water:

Will we see this ship in FB, and if so when? Your guess is as good as mine, but I find the progress exciting.

[YouTube]