Category Archives: Misc

Near-field Communication fun!

Been a while again!

I upgraded my phone to an HTC One X, which has NFC (Near Field Communications). This technology allows seamless transfer of data. This means no pairing, no friendlisting. You just touch two phones together, or a phone against a tag or other device and they are instantly connected. This allows for many things to take use of this, such as easy transferring of phone contacts or web pages, to contactless payment, and much more.

Here’s a couple of examples showing how I’ve been using it:

First up, a kitchen timer!
KitchenNFC Timer

I programmed these tags with NFC Task Launcher (Google Play Store). When I tap one of the stickers, my phone sets an alarm for the appropriate time. This isn’t cumulative, but a static timer for each sticker. Comes in handy for those recipes that always tend to stick around 5s and 10s!

The stickers in these are from BuyNFCTags.com, SmarTrac Bullseye NTAGs. They are basically passive stickers with 144 bytes of data. Not much, but enough to store commands from NFC Task Manager. I’ve programmed these each with different alarms. The app has a task specifically for “# minutes from now”, so it wasn’t too difficult and can be easily replicated.

My second use I’ve found is demonstrated in this video:

I basically use this in tandem with my Bluetooth headphones. I modded the headphones with NFC (Re: taped an NFC sticker onto it). It also has a “companion” tag to use with it on my desks at home at work. When I tap the tag in the headphones, my phone’s Bluetooth turns on and opens the music app, while also disabling Wi-Fi (to save power on my trip to work). When I get to work, I tap the tag there to turn Wi-Fi back on and disable Bluetooth. Same with my ride home from work in the evening. Very handy and takes just a tap to do it! There isn’t any digging into settings.

I have a final idea, but I will keep mum about it until I find out if the next iPhone includes NFC.

Anyway, that is my fun with NFC! I really don’t think I could go back to a phone without it after this. Android has a few quirks, but this more than makes up for them.

New Job, New Place

Been a while since I updated! I unfortunately haven’t taken many personal photos, but I did have been busy.  I got a full-time job working for Bryn Mawr College in December. I basically do all the photography and video for the communications department. I’ve already done a few video and photo assignments. I’ve taken some pictures of a renovation at the Guild (Pronounced Guyle for some reason?) and made a video showcasing students of a Certificate in Management class, both of which can be seen below. Overall, I think the job makes very good use of my talents in both video and photography.


I also moved into my own place! It’s a studio with a separate kitchen and two closets, one of which is walk-in. Here’s an embeded 360 panorama, doesn’t showcase the whole thing but you get a good idea.


 

Made a trip to IKEA and got this awesome desk:

Desk
Click to see on the IKEA site

It’s really nice. I have it to where the cable hole is on the wrong side of the wall, but it has a nice cable run inside to tuck away the ugly cables. It even fit a power strip inside the run! And it has two really big drawers that are nice for stowing extra USB cables.

The futon I got for free, so I can’t complain.  But I love the new place, great to finally have a place all to my own.

30 Day Photo Wrap-up, and more

Today marks the final day of my 30-Day Photo project. The last day was self-portrait, which I needed a new one of:

I liked this project. It helped me discover again how it was to think out a picture before hand, and go out and make that picture happen, instead of letting that picture come to me.

More Nook News

I guess it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I’ve mainly just been keeping up in Android Tablet news.  And it’s not pretty.  I’m really glad I went ahead and went with the Nook Color for $250.  The first official Android Honeycomb, the Motorola Xoom is $800.  Not only that, but it requires a month of service from Verizon just to take home.  So that’s $20 at minimum PLUS a $35 activation fee.

The Notion Ink Adam I was entertaining the idea of seems to be a flop.  Sure it’s okay, but from what I see it has a sub-par LCD screen and the software just isn’t that great.

In news about my Nook Color, CyanogenMod 7 nightlies are out. Which means Android Gingerbread.  I’ve installed it onto my internal memory, and it’s fast.  I can now watch Flash videos on my tablet!

More after the break.

CM7 on the Nook Color

Here’s my video I made for a quick preview of what’s in store.  Basically, Gingerbread and a few extra performance options.  The only thing that’s missing pretty much is video acceleration. This prevents apps like YouTube from working.  But that is being worked on constantly.

Another thing that’s being worked on is porting of the 2.6.32 kernel.  This will allow the dormant Bluetooth chip to be activated. Which will finally mean being able to pair a headset and using various VOIP clients like Skype.  Hopefully I’ll also be able to pair my Bluetooth headphones to listen to music!

And that’s pretty much what I’ve been focused on this past couple of months. I’ve also made a couple of boot animations for both the Honeycomb SDK port and CM7.

Honeycomb
CM7 Boot Animation

2011 is here already?

So 2010 is already gone. Seemed to go by fast. But 2011 is here now, nothing to change that. Hopefully it will be a productive year for me. I’ve had my nook color for a bit now, and it has been very handy. I’ve got SwiftKey installed and it works really well.

I’ve made a new boot animation again, and I think it looks great. You can see it on my youtube channel. I’m also hoping to make my move to Philadelphia pretty soon.

In other news, I’ve been following CES news pretty closely, and I am very excited for Honeycomb. It looks very slick, and I can’t wait for it to be ported to the Nook color. It looks much more suited for tablets, unlike Apple just putting regular iOS onto the iPad.

That’s pretty much it as far as news goes. I would include relavant links to my boot animation and the Honeycomb video, but I’m actually posting this from the road from my nook tethered to my iPhone using MyWi. I’m almost out of 3G though so I guess this wraps things up.

New tablet, new camera impressions

Hmm, it’s 4 days until Christmas, when did that happen?  Anyway! I picked up a new tablet to show off my photography to family and clients (with SmugFolio, on the market.  A MUST buy if you have an Android phone and a SmugMug account!).  It’s the Barnes & Noble Nook Color.  While not a fully fledged tablet computer, out of the box, a dev community has sprung up to root it and turn it into one.  It runs on the Android 2.1 operating system, so it’s not the newest one with Flash.  That doesn’t bother me though, as it proves useful enough on its own.

nook-color-03-500x335

 

It works a lot better than me than an iPad would.  Since I have an iPhone already, it would quickly turn into “Like my phone, but a bigger screen!”  Many Android apps scale quite nicely to the larger screen without pixilation (*coughAHEMcough*), with some being made just for tablets!  All in all, a very great tablet for the price ($250).  However, I would probably not have picked it up without a working root.  The stock B&N options (including a nice HD Pandora!), while nice, aren’t quite enough to fit my needs.

 

I also made a new boot animation for my nook, and shared it with the root dev team so they can use it on the automatic tools:

It’s much smoother on the nook itself, I had to cut down a lot of frames to get it to be a reasonable side. It was very interesting to figure out the process of making a new boot animation, and it is nice to know I have a skill for it now.

Here’s a bigger version of that little android logo in the corner, it was fun making:

Most of it is compiled from other sources, the book shape came from The Noun Project, and the Android came from Google’s own files.  It’s pretty obvious the Nook Color is B&N’s.  But I still feel a bit proud bringing it all together in the logo and making the little Android hold the book.

 

As for the new camera, I finally got to take it on a proper shoot and it exceeds all expectations.  Here’s an example photo from when my flash failed to fire:

And thanks to the very excellent dynamic range of the sensor in RAW mode, I was able to pull this image out of it:

 

I am very happy with this camera.  I’ll probably clean up that gallery a bit (it’s client-only right now so it has a few that I could cut) and make it public in a few days.

 

And lastly, I plan on moving to Philly in the coming months.  I’ll be staying with my sister, and on the lookout for some photo gigs.  They are too few and far between here in East Texas, and this place stifles any type of creativity and I must escape.  I don’t mind being in an hourly job, but I don’t want that to be all I do.

New camera + new book

After weeks of waiting, I finally got my new camera!  It is everything I ever hoped for.  I also settled on the SB-600 flash since it was going to be a while until the SB-700 came out.

I also made a photo book on blurb.com.  It showcases my best work across various subjects.  You can see a preview of the book below.

It was pretty fun to make, so I hope I can sell a few copies of that.

Back to my new camera.  It is amazing.  The autofocus is quick and quiet, and the CLS is just as good as I had hoped for.  The scene always turns out beautifully if I intend it to.  The SB-600 is the perfect size for a flash unit, it is small and it has a great weight.  The controls aren’t as hard as I had feared, especially since I plan on keeping it in wireless mode.  It had a built in intervalometer, which I used to make the timelapse below.

The camera is great, and has a ton of features.  It’s compact and lightweight, but feels solid.  The controls were very simple to figure out, and I never found myself hunting for a setting or any buttons.  The D7000 is a very great camera and was worth every penny.  I also ordered an older 70-210 f/4 AF lens, which is a good compromise between the heavy expensive 70-200 f/2.8 and the lighter and more cheaply made 70-200 f/4~5.6.  I chose it because it had a constant aperture through the range, which is something I lacked in a telephoto on the Pentax system.

All in all, I am very happy with this camera.  Happier than I ever was in the Pentax system.

SB600 10-2

Star Wars in 3D

 

Okay, I’m a sucker, I’ll go see them.  All of them. Even the boring prequels. But I made a trailer that I think assesses how they’ll turn out.  Here it is, get your 3D Glasses!  It’s in YouTube 3D and I actually took the time to make it work in 3D.  However, if you have no glasses You can see it here in boring 2D

I just wish the first two had anything to do with the overall plot at all.  However, it seems that all three prequels were made without even thinking about what was in the original.  It was like someone who had never seen Star Wars wrote it using only things he picked up from general knowledge.  Like Vader = Luke’s Father, and Obi Wan was Anakin’s teacher.  Also throw Yoda in there, and nothing else really ties together coherently.  Unfortunately I’m still a huge nerd and I won’t miss a chance to go nerd out to see the movies in 3D, and hopefully there won’t be too many necessary changes made again.  Hopefully.

After Effects

So I got a new hobby! Been practicing video editing and effects in After Effects.  Really got started in it for my last project in school.  I’ve been developing a demo reel and here it is so far:

Kit F Demo Reel from Kit F on Vimeo.

New page for my After Effects info can be found here. So other than that, I haven’t been up to much. I’ve taken a few self portraits.  Those are up over on Kit F Photo, so go check them out!  Links open in new tab, so go ahead and click!