Monthly Archives: December 2019

A family’s brilliant holiday Beastie Boys homage

This makes me unreasonably happy. ☺️

Laughing Squid explains,

Toronto mom Angela Young and her two children Lilah and Levi celebrated both the 2019 holiday season and the 20th Anniversary of the Beastie Boys music video for “Intergalactic” by recreating part of the celebrated video for their annual holiday card. Young and her kids, who were dressed in the same hazard suits, black vests with fluorescent stripes, yellow boots, and gloves as the original, struck poses and danced their way around Toronto’s underground PATH, Union Station and the TTC subway.


Merry Christmas!

Hey everyone—happy holidays & Merry Christmas from me, Margot, Seamus, and the Micronaxx to you & yours. Thanks so much for being a reader (“the few, the ostensibly proud” 😛), and here’s to making more funky, inspiring discoveries in the new year. Meanwhile, here’s a quick glimpse of our tour of the holiday lights in Los Gatos (complete with throbbing fonky beatz in the tunnel of lights 🙃).

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Merry Christmas, everyone! ☺️🎧🤘

A post shared by John Nack (@jnack) on


Making 3D models via your drone

I’ll admit that I haven’t yet taken the plunge into photogrammetry, but this tutorial makes me think I just might be able to do it. (And as we close out 2019, let’s take a moment to note how bonkers it is that for the price of a few hundred dollars in flying gear, just about anyone can generate 3D geometry and share it to just about any device sporting a Web browser!)


Low-light shooting tips for the Insta360

I know this post might be of super niche interest, but I’m going to try out its recommendations tonight when we drive through holiday lights. I think the flowcharts basically boil down to “Go manual, keep ISO at 400 or lower, and bump it up/down to get the exposure right. Oh, and set shutter speed to 2x frame rate for no motion & 4x for moderate motion.” Any shooting tips you may have to share are most welcome as well!


AI: Diving into Portrait mode improvements

“FM technology: that stands for F’ing Magic…” So said the old Navy radio repair trainer, and it comes to mind reading about how the Google camera team used machine learning plus a dual-lens setup to deliver beautiful portraiture on the Pixel 4:

With the Pixel 4, we have made two more big improvements to this feature, leveraging both the Pixel 4’s dual cameras and dual-pixel auto-focus system to improve depth estimation, allowing users to take great-looking Portrait Mode shots at near and far distances. We have also improved our bokeh, making it more closely match that of a professional SLR camera.



Google & Adobe team up on XD -> Flutter

I love seeing mom & dad getting along 😌, especially in a notoriously hard-to-solve area where I spent years trying to improve Photoshop & other tools:

Flutter is Google’s UI toolkit for developers to create native applications for mobile, web, and desktop, all from a single codebase. […]

XD to Flutter simplifies the designer-to-developer workflow for teams that build with Flutter; it removes guesswork and discrepancies between a user experience design and the final software product.

The plugin generates Dart code for design elements in XD that can be placed directly into your application’s codebase.

You can sign up for early access to the plug-in here.


A personal story of making Maps more accessible

Amidst all the frustrations that come along with working in any big company, I’ve always found that meeting amazing people at Google is far & away the best part of working here. In the last year I’ve gotten to collaborate a bit with Sasha Blair-Goldensohn, a Google Maps engineer who’s using his own life experience of needing a wheelchair to help others navigate the world more easily. Check out his story:

[T]he more I shared with colleagues, the more I found people who wanted to help solve real-world access needs. Using “20 percent time”—time spent outside day-to-day job descriptions—my colleagues like Rio Akasaka and Dianna Hu pitched in and we launched wheelchair-friendly transit directions. That initial work has now led to a full-time team dedicated to accessibility on Maps.

[YouTube 1 & 2]

Select Subject comes to Photoshop for iPad

Boy, what I wouldn’t have given to have had this tech in Photoshop Touch, where Scribble Selection was the hotness du jour. Pam Clark writes,

This feature on the iPad works exactly the same as on Photoshop on the desktop and produces the same results, vastly enhancing selection capabilities and speed available on the iPad. With cloud documents, you can make a selection on the desktop or the iPad and continue your work seamlessly using Photoshop on another device with no loss of fidelity; no imports or exports required.

We originally released Select Subject in Photoshop on the desktop in 2018. The 2019 version now runs on both the desktop and the iPad and produces cleaner selection edges on the mask and delivers massively faster performance (almost instantaneous), even on the iPad.