Roxy Music – Love Is The Drug

I have a long commute, normally spending between 2 and 2.5 hours in the car daily. While I do listen to my share of radio programming, it is often the case that I revert to per-recorded music when I grow bored with on-air offerings.

One of the MP3 discs that I recorded for October’s Pacific-Northwest trip of last year contained a greatest hits collection from Roxy Music. I honestly can’t get into much of the music but one of the tracks is spectacular. The 1975 track Love is the Drug has some great elements including the intro walking/driving sequence taken from the movie Duel, a fantastic bass line, simplistic yet effective guitar, and Bryan Ferry’s vocals. The elements are interesting individually but are even stronger when combined.

As a bonus, the official video for the song is a spotlight on excesses of the past, not one of them looks completely sober or drug free.

Listen Music

Lytro Technology on iPhone?

I was intrigued by a post by Chris Foresman on ARS Technica earlier today. Apparently, Steve Jobs was interested in incorporating imaging technology from Lytro into future iPhone cameras. While the article contains multiple links on how the technology works, Chris details the gist of the technology in the following blurb:

Lytro’s technology relies on capturing far more information about a scene than a fixed grid of colored pixels. Using high resolution sensors combined with a specially designed micro lens array, the sensor captures the intensity, color, and direction of light rays entering a camera through a lens. That data can then be processed into the kind of flat, two-dimensional image that many of us are accustomed to.

However, that data can be mathematically manipulated to change various aspects of the image, including focus point, focal length, depth of field, and even perspective shift. All these details can be recalculated after the image is captured, removing the need to think about them while shooting.

What I find interesting about such technology is that it would potentially both simplify both the iPhone physical lens mechanism and make taking pictures easier at the same time. Such a combination would be a tough act to follow.

Smartphone

iPhone 4S

I’ve been a Verizon customer ever since my wife and I combined our cell phone plans a while ago.  As a service provider, Verizon met our needs with stable voice service in our apartment (a long time AT&T dead zone).

When I wanted a smartphone, AT&T still had exclusive rights to iPhone in the U.S. so I went with an HTC Incredible.  While the device worked well enough for many things, it did have some problems with my complex data desires.  I wanted to be able to grab mail from both my work account and my gmail account, but only wanted to grab contacts from my gmail.  While it was probably possible for some, I couldn’t figure out how to do it with native apps, and even after buying a dedicated client for my work account.  Then I ended up with multiple copies of my contacts in my device address book which I had to manually link per contact.

I ran my HTC through the washing machine and dryer after getting back from vacation (no not intentionally), and my wife authorized a purchase of an iPhone 4S.  After having the phone for a few weeks, I’m amazed at how easy things seem to be with it compared to hoops that needed to be jumped through with the Incredible.  Multiple ActiveSync accounts natively?  Check.  Easy selection of where to draw contacts from?  Check.  Stable Gui and OS?  Check.

People may argue over which phone OS is better based on the software model and companies behind the technologies.   I’ve bantered on in the past about how unnecessarily restrictive Apple’s software approval model is, and how maintaining flexibility in terms of phone features and GUI implementations will ultimately give people what they want.  But I’ve come to see that, at least in my case, that flexibility means little if none can master it to the point of making it usable or stable.

I can’t say I am a complete Apple convert, but I am a satisfied Apple 4S customer.  The technology just works.

Smartphone

Halo: Reach

I played the original Halo and a bit of Halo 2 on the original Xbox. I found both the games to be engaging and fun, and I thought a useable multi-player mode would add quite a bit to the gaming experience.

I then moved on to play more PC-based games, and I eventually was encouraged to donate my Xbox. A good friend of mine picked up an Xbox360 a while ago, and we played a bit of co-op Halo: Reach on his Xbox and his 50″ HD TV. As one might imagine, the overall experience changed significantly and I not so secretly envied an Xbox360 of my own so I could keel Covenant on my own. I never expected that such a desire would be fulfilled as I have always found other things (like a new iPhone) that attracted my discretionary income.

I was stunned when that very same friend bought me an Xbox360/250gb for Christmas (including the digital download version of Halo: Reach). After connecting the Xbox to my HDMI-switched tuner and 50″ Plasma, configuring the wireless adapter, and downloading the game, I fired off my first campaign mission. Wow. 1080p did this game a world of good, and the game play in the solo campaign was just as and sometimes more engaging as the original Halo and Halo 2. Even better, the multi-player via Live was useable and fun (even know I got my clock seriously cleaned by the online crowd).

Halo: Reach has a lot going for it, and I am very much looking forward to playing it online in co-op mode when my friend returns from his trip.

(btw, if anybody else out there is an Xbox Live gamer still playing Halo: Reach, let me know. Can’t say I’m any good, but I’m working on it.)

Science Fiction Video Games