May
08

New Camera = Fun

I have been wanting to get a DSLR for a long time but they were just too expensive, in the last couple years Canon and Nikon have introduced relatively in expensive dslr’s so I tried to save some more money and buy it off eBay 🙂 I decided on getting a Nikon D60 but instead of buying the kit which included the camera body and lens I bought just the body and then separately bought a lens. I did this because I like taking close up photos (macro) but I also love being able capture a scene so having a wide angle is important. I bought a 18-200mm lens which gives me a really wide angle for regular shots and really great zoom for shots that I need to get close on, it is generally consider a very good all-in-one lens. The kit lens is a good wide angle lens so having one lens that does both was what I was going for.

So I have only really used it twice and here are the two separate sets from Flickr, you get to see wide angle and close up 🙂

May
21

Web 2.0 – Data Aggregation Part II geoTagging

First the definition: Geotagging, sometimes referred to as Geocoding, is the process of adding geographical identification metadata to various media such as websites, RSS feeds, or images and is a form of geospatial metadata.

Basically it is adding Latitude and Longitude to an object, so if you search for information based on a location you can find relevant objects.

I have to say I love this type of stuff, for my senior project at The U myself and two classmates wrote a script that pulled your current position from a GPS receiver and sent it through a cell phone to a database. Then through a flash app we displayed your current position on a map with your heading and speed. I actually still have it online, projectgps.com click GIS, now be easy on me this is back in 2003.

Fast forward to today and Google is slowly but surely making my vision come true. One of the cooler things we did back then is we had a database of locations and their geotag, as we tested it we could see the distance from a location our friend was. Today I notice that google is pulling Geotagged photos based on areas that I’m looking at on a map.

My wife and I were thinking of taking a road trip for our day off on Monday. While I was looking up locations I opened up Google Maps and went to a lake with in driving distance. There was a new button I had not noticed before called “More”, under that is a check box for photos, when I clicked that BOOM a ton of photos from the exact location they were taken. I could now see exactly what real people see at different locations, not a brochure but the actual photos.

So as I was looking at this I was wondering how Flickr’s own geo tagging was going. Flickr was one of the first large website to incorporate geo tagging but since I don’t use Flickr for mapping it is not something i had checked out in a while. I have to say the quality of photos on Flickr are a lot better than the ones google is pulling in.

It is really cool to see the highquality professional photos for different locations from different photographers.However, major Fail on Yahoo for not having Flickr photos showing up on Yahoo Maps. They own Flickr, they should have it done already.

Now I really think the tipping point is going to come soon and I think that will be iPhone 2.0, the jesus phone. I’m really looking forward to the new version of the jesus phone because it should have a pretty good camera and there is rumored gps functionality. That combined with the SDK, I think there are going to be some really great geo tag applications. I would love to see an app that takes your position relative to a location and shows you information, whether it is coupons or events but I see a ton of possibilities to having your live position and an internet connection.

Apr
15

Is it football season yet?

I can’t wait for football season, college or pro. Today I came home to a package at the front door and to my surprise it was my 2007 Fantasy Football Championship tshirt. ummm, Yes Correct! We have a big time fantasy football league at 352 Media, last year I think we had 20 teams. We split the teams into two leagues and I got lucky and won my league.

Now I need to defend my title so I have a couple suggestions for Yahoo, who provides some top notch service for our league.

First, provide a way for guests to view the league. Since we have two leagues it would be nice to see how my friends are doing in the other league. I think that should be an easy thing to setup, just an admin setting to make the league public or private.

Second, along the same lines as the first request make a widget or some embed code that we can include on our blogs or sites so show people how we are doing in our league. Not that the growth of Fantasy Football is slowing but the more exposure the better.

Third, take your live stats tracker to the next level. Put it in Adobe AIR or Microsoft Silverlight I would love a basic desktop app for my stats. Add some better play by play for all the games, god knows if I could watch every game at the same time I would try to. Since I can’t, my live stats let me know how my team is doing. Add some sound or something when I score. Form a deal with NFL.com to put highlights of my players. Add live chat to the league members through the app, many of us are in different parts of the country so we can give each other updates for the games they are able to see. It is simple, I just want it to be cool.

Hopefully we will get to see some of these features here next season, truth be told Yahoo does a great job doing updates and every year they are making improvements.

Defend the Championship!

Feb
01

I’m not Goofy

Learning to SnowboardWell I’m probably a little goofy as a person but when it comes to snowboarding I’m not. For the non-snowboarders out there “goofy” is when your front foot on the board is your right foot. “Regular” is when your left foot leads, your lead foot is the one you put most your weight on and use for turning.

I went a couple weeks ago to Sugar Mountain, NC to learn how to snowboard. A couple of my good friends do it and love it so I wanted to give it a try. It is every bit as hard as you would think and it hurts even worse.

Here is how my two days learning went…
Day 1 – Horrible. Wrong board size mixed with lots of pain.

Day 2 – Fun. Right board size mixed with less pain.

After my two days I learned that the board can make all the difference in the world, I’m a big guy and the board I had on day one was not right for me. As soon as I would get up and move a yard I would fall. The instructor could tell right off the bat that it was the wrong size board so on Day 2 I was able to switch it and I was able to get the hang of it.

I liked snowboarding so much that I’m thinking of buying a board, a couple days of rentals will add up to the cost of a board so it makes sense. Everyone I have talked to says Burton makes the best equipment, add the fact that the board I had on Day 2 was Burton and I’m sold.

BurtonNow my friends and instructors I had gave me a ball park on the board size I should get, unfortunately XL is not a size. The way it works is length of board, I’m 164-168cm, and width of the board, which I’m around a 260mm.

Here is where my web designer side kicks in…. Burton’s site on a coolness factor is a 12 on a scale of ten, it has all this great flash work mixed in with killer videos. The part I don’t like is that I can’t sort all their boards by what is available in the size I need. Since all their boards range in length and width you have to go board by board to find ones that works. It is far from the end of the world but it is the little things that make websites truly usable and great. So Burton if you listening put a cool little filter on your boards page that lets you pick a length and height range.

By the way, I’m going to get a Burton Bullet. It has a sick design… and it comes in the right size.

352 BoardNow if only Burton offered the design we did for Microsoft…

P.S. I will write back after my next trip would should be in mid March… We are heading up to Seattle then driving to Whistler, BC!

Nov
25

Digital Billboards = Awesomeness

Digital BillboardsSo our Atlanta office is relatively close to the expressway and at our exit is one of these new Digital Billboards. This thing looks amazing to me, it is super bright and crystal clear. From what I can tell the ads displayed are on a loop, display for a few seconds, and move on to the next. Now I might be wrong but I also assume that this tower has an internet connection so ClearChannel (whoever) can change the ad lineup from their home base.

To me this is amazing, I can think of a ton of cool applications for this (I’m probably not alone), from what I understand right now it takes about 24 hours to get your ad changed on the billboard but, what if the ad was able to take in some information over the internet like weather for example around the billboard location and display a different message or product based on that info. I can see the StarBucks ad right now saying “It’s cold out there! Take the next exit for a Venti NonFat Caramel Macchiato.”

With all the new media like these billboards, digital signage, iPhone, etc. it is an exciting time to work in New Media.