Yesterday I mentioned that I did some touristy things in San Francisco recently when friends were visiting like checking out Sutro Ruins. This historic spot is located next the to also-historic Cliff House restaurant, behind which you can find Camera Obscura. I had seen the outside of this thing many times over the years but never gone in until this visit. It’s this amazing strange creation that is totally worth the $3 it costs to check it out.
What is Camera Obscura?
The truth is that I have a lot of trouble really defining what this thing is even though I’ve not only been to it but read about it online. Basically the best I can explain it is that it is a large camera that you can actually walk inside of and then look into the mirrors and lenses. The effect is that you can see close-up detailed images of a 360 degree of everything that is happening outside of the building by looking onto this plated table. The invention has a long history but is most often considered a Leonardo DaVinci design. This particular Camera Obscura was installed here in the 1940s. Learn more.
In both photos below you’re looking at an image of the ocean outside in real time as I’m looking at it from inside of The Giant Camera:
I don’t plan on doing any CyberMonday shopping today myself but a lot of people will be and I know that getting a tablet is on top of many people’s lists. Here’s a helpful visual of which one may be the right one for you:
I think that the flowchart show here is decent but what I really like is the six boxes at the bottom that summarize the pros and cons of the different options with an emphasis on the positive things about each one.
Personally I’m a Mac girl and would go with an iPad if I were going to get a tablet but I do think that there are some interesting competitors in the market. Do you have a tablet? Which one?
I’ve been looking back at some of the writing that I did in years past and I came across a series of liveblogging posts that I did when attending Macworld 2008. I had long been a PC person and was just about to become a Mac girl. I quickly gave up my old PCs and got both a Mac laptop and desktop. I’m still using those tools that I bought four years ago and I really haven’t had any problems with my Macs.
Excerpt About Macs
Here’s an excerpt from my pre-event post for that liveblogging series:
“My final reason for holding out on the PC was that the guy who helps me with all of my computer problems knows how to fix almost any PC issue but isn’t familiar with Macs. My brother’s response to this argument was, “you don’t need tech help with Macs because they don’t break”. A week later, I found myself in a bind when my relatively-new PC decided to start burning up on me for no obvious reason. Long story short, I had to quickly buy a new computer. My stubborn self went with a cheap PC that was pre-loaded with Vista. I’ve had nothing but problems ever since and they finally pushed me over the edge. I can’t think of a good reason NOT to switch to Mac.”
I Haven’t Really Had Tech Problems
I have to say that this has proven to be true. I ALWAYS had problems on my PCs … issues with viruses and random weird problems that I didn’t understand and needed other people to help me with. I’d take my PCs into places like the Best Buy tech center all of the time. I haven’t had to take either of my Macs in for help once. I’ve had no problems with viruses. I haven’t had any major issues with updates.
I will say that I’m running into a weird problem these days with Word … my toolbars constantly keep disappearing and I don’t know why. But it’s an old version of Word for Mac and it’s the only real strange issue I’ve had so I’m rolling with it and not complaining too much.
I Admit I Used Cheap PCs
I always used HP computers and other inexpensive brands of computers. I think that might be a contributing reason as to why I had so very many problems with my PCs that I haven’t had with my more expensive Mac. I do wonder if getting a pricier branded PC might have made a difference. I wouldn’t have known what to buy, though.
I Like the Lack of Mac Options
The fact that I wouldn’t have known which expensive PC to buy leads right into this point. There aren’t dozens of different Macs to choose from. They’re all basically the same. And I liked that. Choice is great but sometimes too much choice is overwhelming, especially when you’re buying an item that you don’t know a lot about. I like that Mac offers a good product with limited decisions required to make the purchase.
So Maybe I Should Finally Get an iPhone
I’m going through a different transition these days, trying to decide if I should switch from my HP Smartphone to an iPhone. I held out against getting a smartphone for a super long time. I don’t use my phone much. I’m usually not far from a laptop. And I like tiny little phones. But recently I decided to get my first smartphone. I chose the HP Veery because it super small. It offers basic functionality but nothing special. I wouldn’t ever spend a lot of time on it but it allows me to check email and look up directions as needed, which is nice.
I know from using my iPod and using other people’s iPhones that I like the iPhone. I like how it works. I like it for some of the same reasons I like my Macs. What I don’t like is that it’s so much bigger than my little HP Veer so it doesn’t fit in my small pockets. I don’t really like talking on iPhones either but I’m sure I could get used to it. If I’m going to bother paying for data every month then maybe it would make more sense to upgrade to an iPhone with the greater functionality. So tough to decide … But it helps to know taht four years ago I was hesitating about going with Mac and I’ve only been glad that I did.
I’ve been playing around with Google’s “search by image” option and have to say that I’m just totally amazed by it. I’m not talking about the basic search within images where you enter text and find related images. I’m talking specifically about how you can upload an image into the search box and then genius Google finds where else that picture is on the web as well as many other visually similar images.
While I’m impressed with how quickly it finds the image everywhere it is located online (a nice tool for seeing if anyone’s using your copyrighted images, by the way), I’m especially awed and in love with the tool that shows you visually similar images. It’s just so strikingly beautiful!
For example, I was doing some research into crochet sculpture artist Anna Krystyna Casey so I uploaded this photo of her one of her crochet art pieces:
A laptop stand is one of the best laptop accessories for people who use their laptops on a frequent basis. The following ten tips will help you out with this purchase:
Choose whether you want a lap-based stand or a stand-up stand. Will you be sitting or standing when using this stand? A lap-based stand can also sit on a desk. A stand-up stand may be adjustable so that you can sit at it as well. Think about what will work best for you.
Find a stand with adjustable height. If you’re getting a stand that you can use while standing up then it should be adjustable to your height. This will also allow you to shrink the stand for easier storage when not in use.
Find a lightweight stand. If you’ll be using a stand that sits on your lap then make sure that it isn’t too heavy for regular use.
Look for other ergonomic features. You’ll be more comfortable and healthier if you do. A wrist rest is one of the most important ergonomic features.
Get a stand with wheels. This makes it so much simpler to move it around the house. You’ll be glad you added them.
Make sure that the stand has enough surface area. If you’ll be adding an extra keyboard, mouse or other laptop accessories then make sure there’s enough room for them on the stand.
Look for a style that suits you.There are so many different stands out there that you don’t have to sacrifice style when you buy one. Get one that’s cute!
Set a budget. Laptop stands range in price from below $25 to several hundred dollars. Set a budget to narrow down your options.
Get a bulk package with other laptop accessories. Sometimes this allows you to get a reduced price on everything that you need. For example, you might get a laptop sleeve, an extra laptop battery and your laptop stand at the same time.
Add an ipod dock. The newest laptop stands are coming with built-in ipod docks. Nice perk!
I’m adoring this new high-tech vending machine technology that’s been launched by a company called Unilever. It uses advanced facial recognition technology to offer free ice cream to happy people (or at least people who are willing to fake a big smile in order to get their ice cream). It’s quirky and unusual and different and I love the idea.
The vending machine is designed to recognize smiles on the faces of people in front of them. It also recognizes age and gender but all that the consumer really cares about is that the machine can see how happy they are at the prospect of getting free ice cream. If your smile is big enough, the machine gives you the ice cream that you’re seeking.
What’s so smart about this? It caters to several different things that are appealing to consumers including advanced new technology, free stuff and happiness. Studies have shown that smiling even when you aren’t happy can increase happiness. One would assume that getting free ice cream also increases happiness. A company that can so easily increase consumer happiness is clearly doing a great job of selling itself.
Unilever’s marketing slogan for this product is “Share Happy”. It taps into the power of social media advertising by allowing you to share your winning smile via the company’s Facebook page. Although social media marketing is relatively new, it’s already becoming a must for businesses so companies like this one that do something creative to start setting their Facebook advertising apart from others immediately are definitely on the cusp of innovation.
The video here in the post shows the Share Happy ice cream machine in action. However, the commercial for the machine is actually way cooler and can be seen here.
I read an interesting article earlier this month about so-called Smart Clothing. This is clothing that would be able to determine what your mood is and then improve your mood by responding to you. It’s still in prototype form and is debuting in museums while it’s being worked on but the basic idea is this:
Moods are programmed into your clothing based on responses to what’s happening in your body. For example, an increased heart rate may be one sign that you are getting anxious.
The clothing is pre-programmed to respond to these moods. Responses may include a text message, image or video that displays on a sleeve or an audio recording of the voice of a loved one.
Your clothing is set to read your mood throughout the day and to respond with the pre-programmed responses. For example, if your clothing believes that you are feeling anxious, it may provide an audio tone that you’ve recorded of a calming affirmation.
One application that I can see for this clothing would be in dealing with depression. Depression is worsened through loneliness, a sense of isolation and the problem of being stuck inside of your own head too much. Audio and visual cues to get out of your head, stay present in the moment and even receive love from others whose voices you’ve recorded may all aid in reducing depression as well as anxiety.
Of course, I don’t think the clothing would cure depression since it’s such a complicated thing. And there are many kinks to be worked out ranging from how well the clothing can actually read your biological cues and determine your mood to which types of programmed responses may actually be effective for helping you with your mood problems. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting concept that combines fashion, health and technology into one and could be improved on for future use.
I am one of those people who tend to use my laptop all day long. I do have a desktop computer and I use it frequently. However, I still use my laptop more than my desktop. I use it to work from different rooms in the house, different locations throughout the city and different cities when I get the opportunity. Although I love that I can just pick up my laptop and go, I’ve found that it helps to have certain laptop accessories to make it easier to use my laptop as a primary computer.
1.Extra battery or long-life battery. It is crucial to have enough battery life for your laptop to work all day long whether you’re at home or on the go.
2.Longer power cord. One of my favorite bonus perks about my Mac notebook as compared to previous laptops (among many other more substantial reasons) is that it came with both a normal power cord and an extension power cord. So convenient when working in places where outlets aren’t necessarily right next to you.
3.Laptop sleeve. I don’t always put my laptop in its own bag when I take it with me. However, I do want to keep it safe from harm if it’s thrown into other backpacks. A laptop sleeve does that.
4.Laptop stands. There are two types of laptop stands that are important. First, there is the small stand that sits on your lap that serves the purpose of propping up the laptop and allowing it to cool from underneath while you work. Second is the stand that allows you to place the laptop up high for working on it while you stand up. Standing desks have a lot of health benefits so this is really great if you use your laptop every day.
5.Wireless mouse. There are some activities for which is makes a lot more sense to use a handheld mouse. A wireless mouse is the best option, in my opinion.
What laptop accessories do you think are must-haves for people who use their computers all day long?
Nanotechnology is starting to really become an interesting part of medicine today. A recent report indicates that nanobot robots can actually be used to locate cancerous tumors in the body. They are inserted into the body and then essentially ride the bloodstream to the location of the cancer. Not only that, but they actually have the potential to disrupt the tumor’s growth.
The study, completed at the California Institute of Technology, found that small polymer robots could be covered with a protein called transferrin and then inserted into the body to find melanoma tumor cells. The robots could get inside of the tumor cells and use a process called RNA interference to disrupt the growth of the tumors. The next step would be to create nanobots that could actually get in there and shrink the tumors to get rid of the cancer entirely (rather than just stopping it from growing).
This technology is still a ways off in terms of being a reality for the average cancer patient. Additional testing needs to be completed and technology may need to be improved in the future. However, this is a great step for nanotechnology in medicine.
The use of nanotechnology in medicine fascinates me. I think it’s because this is one of those things that I can comprehend at an intellectual level but it just blows my mind to try to understand exactly how it really works. Sure, I can read the scientific explanations of how the technology works but then when I try to think about how someone can build a super-tiny machine and actually make it do things like this … Wow!
Check out that tiled OLED light wall. When it’s not in use, it’s a mirror. It’s cutting-edge green technology but I’m just in love with it because it’s a super-cool, fun, smart thing that would be neat to have in your home. Of course, it costs close to $7000 so I don’t think I’ll be getting it. Ah well.