Monthly Archives: February 2016

A fun animation for a good cause

(Not-so-) Poor Leo! Check out the caption for the charitable aspect.

I don’t want you to call me “passionate”

I want instead to make people take action.

In 1983, advertising pioneer David Ogilvy summarized his mission as follows: “When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product. When Aeschines spoke, they said, ‘How well he speaks.’ But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, ‘Let us march against Philip’.”

Product management is often an art in creating impact without much formal authority. Back to it I go.


Demo: Dual cameras = great zoom

Better stabilization & zooming would be hugely useful to almost any mobile photographer, though I’m more intrigued by possibilities of better depth sensing & segmentation:

PetaPixel writes,

Instead of the mechanical optical zoom found in traditional zoom systems, Corephotonics’ technology zooms using just the two cameras and no moving parts. One of the cameras has a telephoto lens and the other has a wide angle one. By combining the images from the two cameras together, Corephotonics is able to achieve both optical zoom and better image quality.


Samsung intros a 360º eyeball for photo & VR capture

This little beast looks pretty interesting, though pricing is TBD:

I find the 360º video captures (example) moderately interesting, but I experience FOMO (fear of missing out, i.e. worrying that I’m looking in the wrong direction) and slight motion sickness. I’m much more interested capturing sequential spherical photos a la Street View, letting me navigate my travels via hyperlapse & pause to re-explore any spot.

I wonder—could someone craft a wearable rig (hat?) for this kind of camera that would let me set it & forget it during hikes, etc.? Or would that kind of contraption be so dorktastic as to make Google Glass & selfie sticks look like portraits in elegance?

Maybe with all the 360º cams now coming onto the market, we’ll find out soon enough.


Ballerina Misty Copeland recreates Degas paintings

Photographers Ken Browar and Deborah Ory have teamed up with Misty Copeland to recreate some of the painter’s most famous works:

Gallery 1455116868 hbz 1 misty

The print edition is well worth a look if you get a chance.

PetaPixel notes,

“It was interesting to be on a shoot and to not have the freedom to just create like I normally do with my body,” Copeland tells Harper’s Bazaar. “Trying to re-create what Degas did was really difficult. It was amazing just to notice all of the small details but also how he still allows you to feel like there’s movement.”


Help me help Nepal!

I have some exciting, crazy news: Next month I’m heading to Nepal

I’m aiming to learn from earthquake relief staff on the ground, assist in their work, and then work with a team of Googlers in a 54-hour hackathon to build technology that’ll help alleviate this and future crises.

This is a team effort, and I’d love to have you as part of the team. You can help in a couple of ways:

  • I’ve just set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations to, the organization arranging the trip. All funds go directly to their efforts (not to my travel expenses, etc.), and Google will match your contribution.
  • This Thursday in SF, the team is hosting a happy hour fundraiser (6-9pm). It’s $10 for entry, $20 for 2 free drinks, and $50 for open bar.

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that I’ve long been searching for ways to make a more meaningful contribution to the world. Well, it’s time I put more skin in the game. I’m excited that this trip combines learning, hands-on helping, and building lasting solutions. I hope you can join me in whatever way feels right—even if that’s just in trying to open ourselves to the needs and perspectives of others.



Snapchat makes people happy; Facebook makes them sad

For years we’ve known that browsing friends’ highlight reels on Facebook makes people sad. The interesting corollary, however, is that Snapchat—by emulating in-person interactions—makes people happier, at least relatively speaking. My takeaways from a new University of Michigan study:

  • Ephemeral = intimate, chill, satisfying.
  • This produces more happiness than curated worlds (highlight reels) like Facebook & Instagram.
  • It’s second only to face-to-face interactions (which feel similar—spontaneous, mundane).
  • You pay more attention to what’s fleeting because you can’t see it again.
  • Snapchat’s “less supportive” (and thus more genuine?) than other media (“OMG ur so hot!!”).

No wonder this thing fulfills our primate needs, getting them sending dozens or even hundreds of images per day. “That app is my life.”