Parents build mini-Blockbuster store

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His father, also called Hector, told the Huffington Post that he and his wife have been taking their son to their local Blockbuster since he was 13. When they heard the store would be shutting down, they bought up some of the stock and the signage to build their own version at home… More at The Independent.

Great story. My children still talk about the quick trips to our local Blockbuster and for some reason they treasure it as a retail store more than any other. I think I do as well.

17 Record Stores To Visit Before You Die

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We here at THUMP thought we’d take the opportunity to remind you of the many wicked places you can find your wax during the remaining 364 days of the year—that way you can actually support the independent industry, you know?

So while lining up in the cold for that red vinyl repress of the record you already own has its merits for some, don’t forget to check our by no means comprehensive list of the must-visit record stores around the world, from Canada to Singapore… More at thump.

Just like the Blockbuster story above, there are many special memories associated with the second-hand record stores I visited years ago. There was something special about flicking through those records trying to find something interesting. It’s not quite the same on a mobile screen.

Google built an app that takes perfect nighttime photos

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To learn what was possible with a cellphone camera in extremely low-light conditions, I looked to the experimental SeeInTheDark app, written by Marc Levoy and presented at the ICCV 2015 Extreme Imaging Workshop, which can produce pictures with even less light than HDR+. It does this by accumulating more exposures, and merging them under the assumption that the scene is static and any differences between successive exposures must be due to camera motion or sensor noise. The app reduces noise further by dropping image resolution to about 1 MPixel. With SeeInTheDark it is just possible to take pictures, albeit fairly grainy ones, by the light of the full moon.

However, in order to keep motion blur due to camera shake and moving objects in the scene at acceptable levels, both HDR+ and SeeInTheDark must keep the exposure times for individual frames below roughly one tenth of a second. Since the user can’t hold the camera perfectly still for extended periods, it doesn’t make sense to attempt to merge a large number of frames into a single picture. Therefore, HDR+ merges at most ten frames, while SeeInTheDark progressively discounts older frames as new ones are captured. This limits how much light the camera can gather and thus affects the quality of the final pictures at very low light levels… More at Google Research Blog.

Makes me believe that there is a time not too far away when software will be the professional lens of today. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.

Finally! Good e-Reader 6.8

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The Good e-Reader 13.3 inch e-reader was the first product we ever released and many users wanted something smaller and more affordable. This was the reasoning behind our new 6.8 inch Android e-reader! It has a WACOM screen, so you can interact with the device with gestures or use the accompanied stylus. This will allow you to take notes, make highlights and annotations. You can view and edit your favorite PDF files or read an e-book.

One of the big advantages of our e-reader is that the battery lasts over a month and the e-paper display allows you to take it outside, without the sun obfuscating the screen. The front-lit display has 8 LED lights, which allows you to read in the dark and optimize the brightness levels… More at kickstarter.

There is a lot to like here. The Android side means it can effectively work as a Kindle, the pen means that it can be used for handwritten notes and the price is not overly out of range for what it is.

I have some concerns over how the screen refreshes etc, but this is ‘almost’ the device I have wanted for a very long time.

Fake News

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The problem, as I see it, is not the news itself, but how we get our news. There are still lots of dependable journalists and media out there, while keeping in mind that almost all news is slanted, even slightly, although that doesn’t make it fake news. Rather than those sources, more and more people are getting their news via social media, where it’s easy to post fake news. As well, there are more fake news sites, sites purporting to be valid news sources.

While the idea of WikiTribune is admirable, in practice why should it be any more reliable? I don’t happen to believe that the community has any business vetting the news. If anyone intentionally reports fake news, then they are basically guilty of fraud. Reporting is supposed to report the facts of a story. Sometimes those facts are hard to come by and stories may change based on new facts. And I understand, although don’t like, the push to be first with a story. And then there’s how a story is pitched. Choice of words can cause a wild swing in how a story is perceived. But that isn’t necessarily fake news.

Let’s take climate change. Climate change happens all the time. Climate measurements, such as temperature, are facts. If the temperature rises over time, there’s potentially a problem. Is global warming an issue? I got this from NASA’s earth observatory web site:

Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the greenhouse gases released as people burn fossil fuels. … By the beginning of the 21st century, Earth’s temperature was roughly 0.5 degrees Celsius above the long-term (1951–1980) average.

The first part of the statement “Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature” is a definition. If you disagree with the wording of the definition, call the rapid increase of the average surface temperature something else, but it’s only a definition. The part about the temperature change is a fact based on measurement. If you want to question the measurement or techniques used, go ahead, but I think you’ll find that generally speaking, there is a rise in temperature.

The problem I have with the statement is the editorializing that says “primarily due to the greenhouse gases released as people burn fossil fuels”. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that’s the case, but that’s what throws people off. The way the news is reported. If you left out the possible cause bit, I don’t think anyone could deny the definition or the facts. The cause is really the issue. Unfortunately, people want things to be simple and it’s easier to deny global warming, period, than to accept it as a problem to be resolved and then work towards resolving the problem. But that’s another story and this soapbox is way too long. Bob

Keyboards are so 2017

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Designed with designers in mind, this MacBook Pro 2018 concept explores the integration of a full-size touchpad in place of the traditional keyboard. It relies on Apple’s own Taptic Engine system to give the user the feel of physical buttons or even emulate a scroll wheel or sliders. It retains the touch bar for shortcuts and function keys but the entire surface is touch enabled! More at YD.

I guess this makes sense given that the current MacBook keyboard is already verging on being completely flat.

Day One / Book

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Day One has helped millions of people worldwide easily capture life as they live it. To help you preserve and share these memories, we’re pleased to introduce Day One Book.

Beautiful design
Maps and stats for added insights
Full-color photo printing
High-quality paper and coating material
Customizable covers and content
Simple ordering process
Affordable pricing
Flexible amount of pages (400 page max)

Great idea, but more importantly the end product looks splendid.