Spherical cameras

All these look cool —

  • Bublcam. “The most innovative spherical capture camera the world has ever seen”
  • Giroptic. “The World’s First True 360 HD Camera”. I backed this on kickstarter or indiegogo or whatever.
  • V.360. “The World’s first 360 seamless HD action camera”
  • 360fly. “the camera that takes video to a whole new level”. From their site, obviously going into the gopro market.

All pricy. I like the 360fly and bounce the best, they have focused scenarios they are going after. Two of the others seem to be staking claim to the “world’s first” positioning, but not sure that is actually compelling.

I wish I could just yoke together cheap RPI cameras, or all the cameras I already have on devices I already own.

UPDATE: Oh and don’t forget the goPro spherical solution, this is going to be spendy.

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Recent Books

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Dead Wake
  • The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. From last year’s Nebula list, a great tale of court entrigue.
  • The Ocean at The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman. A pretty quick read, very entrancing. Worth the accolades.
  • Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie. Also from last year’s Nebula list, a galaxy-spanning human empire starts to crumble from the inside.
  • Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Good but a big of a slog.
  • Dead Wake by Erik Larson. A great telling of the last days of the Lusitania. Immediately bought another Larson, this was great.
  • City of Bohane by Kevin Barry. A strange tale of near future Ireland. Men are fools.
  • The Child Who by Simon Lelic. A lawyer nobly tries to defend a young murder suspect and finds his own life torn apart. Don’t try experiments on your family.

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Remote sensing without video is a tough row to hoe

SNUPI/Wallyhome cuts staff — sad to see a Seattle startup struggle, and these guys have some really interesting technology that has come out of Patel’s work.

But I’ve always thought that remote sensing without video (and to a lesser degree audio) is uninteresting. The first thing you want to do when a remote event is triggered is see exactly what is going on. Without that, remote sensing is just kind of frustrating. I’ve tried Wally and Smartthings and every other kind of remote sensor, the only thing that has stuck is Dropcam because it lets me see what is going on.

It is why cameras and video is at the heart of what we are doing at Surround.io — vision is fundamental, and solving the hard scale issues of video processing, storage and transmission puts you in a great position to deal with other types of sensor data.

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“I’ll be that guy for a couple of weeks”

Sadly, I am as much a tool as this guy — Money quotes from USA Today:

Perkins says he’s “all in” on Apple products from the iPhone to Apple TV. And, in his line of work, he has to lemmingstay abreast of important tech trends.

But the main reason he’s an early adopter of the Apple Watch? “It’s the perfect sports watch,” said Perkins who plans to wear it while jogging. He’ll also wear it the office for the notifications that remind him to get to meetings on time and as a conversation piece.

“I will have that showpiece that everyone wants to see,” Perkins said. “I’ll be that guy for a couple of weeks.”

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Books — Noir, Pradeep Mathew, Secret Speech

  • Noir by Robert Coover. Noir mystery meets mushrooms. Very strange story. Engaged me but I’m not sure I’d want a steady diet of this.lastman
  • The Legend of Pradeep Mathew by Shehan Karunatilaka. Very nicely written, but ultimately defeated me. My lack of any cricket knowledge and lack of any Sri Lanka knowledge put me in too deep a hole.
  • The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith. Excellent pageturner, not surprising, Smith writes engaging tales.
  • The Trinity Six by Charles Cumming. Also a great pageturner, for some reason the hunt for moles inside the British intelligence community never gets old.
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. I enjoyed, kind of an extended Greek tragedy set in rural Wisconsin. With dogs.
  • Y: The Last Man by Brian K Vaughan, Pia Guerra, Jose Marzan Jr. I don’t read many graphic novels but this got such great reviews, and it is a great tale. Every male human and male animal dies off suddenly, except for one, and the race is on to save and recreate the world. This would be a fantastic TV show, tho I’d tame down some of the comic parts a little.

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RPI alternatives — Tessel 2, Spark Electron

I see I can pre-order a Tessel 2 now. Interesting part, it is nice that wifi is built in, and they have the same entry price as the pi, and they seem to be more focused on embedded solutions, with a lot of messaging around pricing and use for embedded. But no GPU on this chip which seems unfortunate, unless I am missing something. And no camera port, usb only. This might or might not be ok, tho part of the RPI’s appeal is the camera port dumping right to GPU ram with no use of the limited usb/io bus.

The Spark Electron is another interesting device, built in low cost cellular plan, which is very nice. I am compelled to trial one just for that. Now this is a much more compute limited device than the others, but a great idea.

If you are into this kind of stuff, we are hiring…

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Recent Books — Beatles, Sisters Brothers, Wool, Stone’s Fall, Zoo City, Terror of Living

  • The Beatle Lyrics, edited by Hunter Davies. Not a terrible addition to the Beatles literature, but not great either. The discussion of the lyrics is not very deep, which might be ok, but the discussion of what was going on with the writers at the time is also thin. Just OK.stonesfall
  • The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. Fantastic Old West characters, I loved the two brothers. The tale started out strong and kind of petered out, but memorable characters.
  • Wool Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey. OK we don’t really need any more near future post apocalyptic dystopia novels, but this was fun.
  • Stone’s Fall by Iain Pears. Well this was twisty and fun. Deception and intrigue across several generations in the 1900s.
  • Zoo City by Lauren Beukes. Near future science fiction set in South Africa, not the usual setting for most books available here in US.
  • Tanglewreck by Jeanette Winterson. Someone recommended this as a great YA title, but I thought it was a bit of a mess.
  • Unseen by Karin Slaughter. How does this thing get good reviews on Amazon, it is a poorly written mess. Gave up on quickly.
  • The Terror of Living by Urban Waite. Smuggling on the Canadian border goes very very wrong.

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Recent Books — Peregrine, Dog and Wolf, Baxter, Orfeo

  • Miss Pregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom HourBetweenDogandWolf_300dpiRiggs — basically, the X-Men in novel form. X-Men are more exciting tho this isn’t terrible.
  • Proxima by Stephen Baxter. Settling new planets isn’t for sissies. Unless you find a magic wormhole.
  • The Hour Between Dog and Wolf by John Coates. Our “rational” behaviour is driven by our physical bodies and emotions in ways we are just understanding. Interesting but drags on.
  • Orfeo by Richard Powers. A biohacker, a terrorist, or just eccentric? Nicely written.

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Not getting much utility out of thetileapp.com

I bought these because, well, i buy every gadget. But they are useless without widespread adoption. Because I am the only person I know using them, the only time I can locate my tile-tagged items is when I am right next to them running the tile app.

It is great if your product can benefit from a network effect, that is a powerful accelerant. But if your product is useless without a network effect, well, you don’t really have a product.

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Finally trying Atom

atomFinally downloaded Atom. I am getting a little frustrated with the plugin community around Sublime Text as it seems that people may be moving away from Sublime, and who can blame them given the uncertain path for Sublime. Atom seems nice, maybe a little slower than Sublime Text, but still good. Most of the plugins I want seem to be there.

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College football doldrums weekend — let’s look at 2015 schedules

While we wait for the bowl season to kick off, what to do, what to do.

Interesting to look at 2015 schedules. Given how the playoff selection worked out — with conference championship game winners having a clear advantage, and non-FBS games dragging teams down, look at who is in trouble for making the 2015 playoffs already:

  • Big 12 teams. No championship game, and games like Baylor-Lamar, K State-UTSA, K State-South Dakota, TCU-SFA, WVU-Liberty, WVU-Georgia Southern. These teams start out with two strikes against them, they have no margin for error. Only an undefeated Big 12 team has a hope of making the playoff.
  • ACC — Clemson-Wofford, FSU-Texas State, FSU-Chattanooga, Louisville-Samford, VT-Furman. One strike against, these teams better hope they look good the rest of the season.
  • Pac12 — Oregon-Georgia State, UW-Sacramento State, AZ-UTSA, AZ-Northern AZ, ASU-Cal Poly, USC-Idaho.
  • SEC — because of these perceived strength of the SEC, most of these schools will probably get a pass on playing one FCS opponent, tho they should be embarrassed. But Georgia and Auburn both load up with two, not going to help them.

WIll be interesting to see if any schedule changes happen for 2015 or 2016. If I was an AD of a serious team, I’d be looking to eliminate this cruft.

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Books — Angelmaker, Coldbrook, Speedboat, Grasshopper Jungle

  • Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway. A fun adventurous romp, reminds of the early Tim Powers books, but with a lighter touch.
  • Coldbrook by Tim Lebbon. Many worlds and zombies, almost a perfect book :). coldbrookA great tale, I am a little surprised he hasn’t penned a followup, tho some of the material might be off-putting to some readers.
  • Speedboat by Renata Adler. A stream of consciousness ramble. Not usually my style but I was engaged. The book has held up well.
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith. Zombies and giant bugs, another near perfect pairing. Not quite as engaging as the Lebbon but still quite fun.

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