• Category Archives Computers
  • Location based price

    I’m not ok with this.

    It’s not something I do very often, but see others do it ‘all the time’….
    When shopping in a brick and mortar store, you scan the barcode of the thing you are interested in buying and see if you can find it cheaper some other place – probably on-line and probably from Amazon.
    Sometimes (not very often) the store will price match, it’s becoming far more common that they will do this, often the price match is only given very reluctantly and you get a fair bit of bad blood flowing getting it done.

    Amazon has got some tech to mess with this process.
    https://www.engadget.com/2017/06/15/amazon-online-shopping-control-in-stores/

    It’s super simple, first, they look at the wi-fi you are joined to, if nothing obvious there, they check your GPS from the photo you took (most people do not turn that off). Depending on your location, they will mess with the price you see.

    The patent, ominously titled “Physical Store Online Shopping Control,” is for technology that examines what a person is searching for when connected to a retail WiFi network — that is, a WiFi network provided by and located within a store, such as an Amazon bricks-and-mortar location. The technology can actually determine whether you’re searching for a competitor’s item online and take subsequent action.

    I’m not Ok with this…. And I am a huge Amazon fan / customer.



  • Hand held astrophotos

    Camera tech is constantly improving. At some stage, you just have to buy in and lock yourself to that year/months tech level and go with it.
    This is what I did some 7 years ago with the Canon 5D Mk2. In good light it’s still more camera than I can manage, but is really starting to show its age in others.

    One of my (many – shut up all of you!) interests is astrophotography. Specifically landscape star shots.
    (I have been down the rabbit hole of telescope based astrophotography and found my pockets are just not deep enough for that thread – besides, when it came to sharing, I found my circle to be more receptive to seeing land and stars rather than just deep stars and fuzzy blobs).

    All this came to front again with the Grand Canyon raft trip. Its been years (and years and years) since I have been under such dark skies.
    It was a real joy to walk around camp at 2am by nothing more than starlight.

    I digress.

    The latest cameras have such good image stabilization tech that it seems possible to take photos of the Milky Way with no tripod.

    https://petapixel.com/2017/05/19/can-shoot-milky-way-hand-held-olympus-e-m1-mark-ii/

    When it comes to optical image stabilization, it seems like nothing comes close to touching Olympus’ OM-D E-M1 Mark II. As one photographer recently discovered, the 5-axis optical stabilization is so good, you can actually shoot the Milky Way hand-held with this monster

    The Mitakon lens is manual focus, so I set up to focus using the viewfinder zoom on the brightest object in the sky. I calculated the settings to be best at ISO 12800, f/0.95, with 4 seconds.

    Nice. But I really need to spend some money on a better drone camera than a GoPro.



  • Tilt drone

    Interesting to see the way people are pushing drone tech in different ways.

    Since they are not (yet) pushing this onto consumers, I really don’t mind seeing a solution to a very tiny problem (fitting a drone through a doorway like slit in a building).

    This sucker can fly parallel to the wall. Why? Because it can, and we need software and engineers to push stuff like this so that when the time is right, when there is a problem to be solved, we have some data on the solution.

    Also, major points if you spotted the Raspberry Pi in the video.
    (My names thebaldgeek and I’m a geek).



  • IBM Watson Gateway Device

    Just incase you were wondering what we were up to in the Opto 22 studio….
    (I don’t recommend that any of you watch it, it’s just an FYI)

    Paul is editing the second one now and I am writing the script for the third video – they are more workshop videos than this one, so might be of more interest to you lot….



  • Make the Internet work how I want it to

    Aaron Swartz once said, “It’s no longer OK not to understand how the Internet works.”

    He was talking to law-makers, policy-makers and power-brokers, people who were, at best, half-smart about technology — just smart enough to understand that in a connected world, every problem society has involves computers, and just stupid enough to demand that computers be altered to solve those problems.

    Paging Theresa May.

    Theresa May says that last night’s London terror attacks mean that the internet cannot be allowed to provide a “safe space” for terrorists and therefore working cryptography must be banned in the UK.

    Longish sensible destruction of Theresa Mays request to break all crypto on the Internet.
    https://boingboing.net/2017/06/04/theresa-may-king-canute.html

    Blogging about it not because I am political in anyway (you know me, I don’t understand people, how in the world then can I ever hope to understand politics?), but because these people are in some position of power, they can ‘force’ software engineers to do or not do things.

    (I have likewise stayed away from the Net Neutrality ‘war’ that has been going on over here).

    No, I am blogging about it to just raise awareness. I feel totally powerless to do anything about any of this, but figure that more people should know about some of the dangerous stuff that gets spouted about as knee jerk reactions to horrible events.

    Had a ‘run in’ with a software developer once that thought like this. Without reading the manual, he just instinctively knew how every Opto command worked. When his code did not do what he expected, he complained to me that the core firmware should be changed so that the command worked how he wanted it.
    No questions asked. He was right, Opto was wrong. This was a solid fact.

    “Its no longer Ok not know how the core functions of our life work.” Thebaldgeek – June 2017.