IT takes a teenager to solve one of the most vexing tech problems - of course, they have a very vested interest in this ;-)
Star Trek: Into Darkness IMAX 3D vs. RealD 3D
So I went and saw Star Trek: Into Darkness again today (verdict confirmed: best Star Trek movie ever), this time in digital RealD 3D with Dolby ATMOS sound. During the IMAX presentation I did notice “ghosting” during several sequence in the movie, and in scenes like the opening with Kirk running through the forest I had trouble with fast movement with small details like leaves and branches.
The RealD 3D presentation however was crystal clear, I didn’t notice any ghosting at all and it was much easier to follow even the most frantic action scenes. I saw Iron Man 3 in digital Real3D as well and it was the same - as easy on the eyes as a 2D screening, which is pretty impressive.
ATMOS sound in incredible and if I’m going to a non-IMAX theater in the future I’m only going to ones that have ATMOS available (assuming the film takes advantage of it).
That said, if someone were to ask me right now should they see the film in IMAX or at the “regular” theater, I’d still tell them to go see it in IMAX, even with the ghosting issues. First, the 3D quality of IMAX is still very good and the ghosting is only a minor distraction a couple of times. But the scale of the IMAX picture makes it worth putting up with, its so huge you really feel immersed in what’s happening on screen. Plus there’s that 30 minutes of footage shot in IMAX - it looks incredible.
IMAX is a great format, but they need to step up their 3D technology, it’s starting to look a little dated against what digital projectors can do with RealD 3D.
Do not read this until you see Star Trek: Into Darkness
Wishful thinking, but if its real it might be worth looking into. I played with a friend’s S4 yesterday and really liked the hardware more than I thought I would).
Windows 8: is ANYONE making apps for the Modern UI?
So I’ve had my Lenovo ThinkPad Helix for almost a week now and it is truly fantastic hardware. The first day I really struggled with it though, because in my mind what I thought I’d bought was a really fancy version of my old ASUS Transformer Prime. Once I wrapped my head around the idea that the Helix is an ultrabook laptop PC, not a “tablet” in the sense of Android and iOS, then I really started to love the Helix.
My initial frustration was based around trying to find “apps” as if I was using my old Transformer or my 3rd generation iPad. I searched the Windows 8 Store for all my usual apps and found almost none of them. The few I found, such as Dropbox, were so useless I just ended up deleting them (what’s the point of a file manager that doesn’t let you do anything with the files but view them?).
Everything about Windows 8 drives you to the Start screen, as if everything you’ll need to get anything done will live there. Nothing does, unless its a shortcut to a Windows 8 Desktop program. But because of my familiarity with iOS and Android on tablets it took me almost a day to realize my salvation was the Windows+D key combination, which drops you to the “normal” Windows PC desktop. And then you just do everything like you normally do, be it a program or, as is more the case in our cloud world these days, via a browser.
Once I got desktop Chrome as a shortcut on my Start screen my experience flipped 180 degrees from frustration to “wow, I can do everything I need to do the normal way, I don’t need a special app to do it”. I know that sounds crazy, but it shows how Microsoft Marketing at least had done there job in having me believe the Start screen was really Windows 8.
Its just amazing how few apps there are in the Windows 8 Store that are useful and take advantage of the new Modern UI. The beauty of the Helix is I can use it as a powerful ultrabook PC and then rip the screen off, kick back on my couch and use it as a (large) tablet.
Except I can’t - I have to use it as a touch PC, because there aren’t any worthwhile apps that work in the “metro” mode (at least compared to the 100+ iOS tablet apps I have loaded on my iPad). The few Win 8 apps that are there are severely crippled. Take the Comixology app as an example. Comics actually look great on the Helix’s 1080p panel, but the app itself is frustrating to browse my catalog with thanks to the Modern UI’s endless horizontal scrolling and the lack of anyway to organize my comics by series (that I can find, anyway). I have over 300 books “in the cloud” and the only way I can browse them is in the order I purchased them in.
There are a few apps that are OK; I like the metro email client, and Yahoo has a nice email client for the Start menu as well. The Twitter app is similar to the iOS one and works well enough, Zinio is OK but has terrible library management, the Amazon app is OK, but all of them leave you feeling like you should have just gone to Desktop mode and run “the real thing”.
Given that, what incentive is there for developers to either improve their Windows 8 Start screen apps or make them at all? Why should Comixology spend any time on improving their Metro app when I can just go to their website (which, by the way, defaults to showing my comics organized by series)? I’d love to have a Directv app on the Helix with all the functionality of the iPad app, but why should they divert resources from their website development since that will work for all PC users? (Although it’s horrible, Directv, you really need to work on that). The same goes for Slingbox. Or even something as simple as Open Table. If Microsoft can’t drive any adoption in the developer community for the Start screen they might as well junk it.
Lucky for me my Helix is an ultrabook powerhouse. I can run anything on it in desktop mode and will be loading my Adobe tools (Lightroom and Premiere), have already installed the full Office 2013 Pro suite, and will be putting fun stuff like my Traqmate GPS data acquisition analysis software that I use for racing on it. Now that my brain is back in full PC mode I’m really enjoying the Helix as my daily driver at home and in the office, and it’s cool to be able to pop the screen off the keyboard and use it as a PC tablet.
How do people get anything done on a Windows RT tablet?
VSCDA Spring Brake Formula Vee Sprint Race at Gingerman Raceway, South Haven, Michigan. Started 9th out of 35, fell back to 12 at the first corner and fought my way back to an 8th place finish :)
Mystery of the Sony Xperia ZL Camera Sensor Solved
So Andrew Martonik’s excellent review of the Sony Xperia ZL had the answer: turns out when you use the “superior auto” camera mode, the ZL shifts the sensor into a 12MP mode. Why? Good question, but the fact is if you put the camera in “normal” mode (where you get access to all the settings) the ZL’s sensor shifts into 13MP mode and you’ll see that on the settings panel.
When you select Superior Auto mode there’s even a little pop up message that tells you “still image size changed to 12MP upon mode change”, I just never noticed it because I’ve just been using Superior Auto mode, it works that well.
So, mystery solved, I was only half-crazy. Good to know it really does have a 13MP sensor.
Sony Xperia ZL Camera: 13 MP or 11.5 MP?
So all the spec sheets say the ZL has a 13 megapixel camera sensor. However, when you go into the settings screen the max resolution you can select is “12 MP” in the 4:3 setting, as seen here in this screen shot:
If you do the math, even 12 MP turns out to be a generous marketing number:
3920 x 2940 = 11,524,800.
That’s 11.5 MP people. I’m not really complaining per say, I’m getting really nice pictures from the ZL. I’m just curious about how Sony’s marketing can go around stating 13 MP when their own settings screens say 12 MP.
So I made my first highlight video on the HTC One. It’s interesting that is says “made with HTC Zoe” since the highlight reels aren’t Zoes, those are the “moving” pictures/3/5 second videos you take in the camera’s Zoe mode. You’ll see a few of these in the highlight video.
Anyway, it took a little trial and error to figure out even where the highlight video was. The One creates these automatically by grouping pictures & Zoes into “Events”. If you go into the Gallery application it starts you at a screen with My photos, Friends, camera shots, and then pictures from your online services like Facebook.
The default view is “Albums”, where you see Camera Shots, Highlights, and maybe event folders. I had taken some pictures at the Antique Market so I went into my camera shots but didn’t see any way to create the highlight movie. However a couple of pictures were marked “highlight” with a yellow star. So I added the pictures I wanted in the video as “highlights” but still no video.
Turns out highlight videos are created for “Events”. So when I changed the gallery view to Events I saw that all the pictures I’d taken were in an event called “Chicago”, based on the geotag. When I went into the Event, there already was already a highlight video created, automatically. I long-pressed on the event folder and it let me change the name, thus changing the name of the highlight movie “credit” screen. When you click on the video, it’s there you can change the “style” (music and effects, I used Islandia here) and also select what pictures and Zoes are included in the highlight video. Once you understand what “Events” are it’s really easy to control what’s going on in your gallery.
Once you have a highlight video, you can share it via the usual Android share commands. When sharing a highlight video you select the service and then the One will save the video in an MP4 format and upload it. If you “share” to Dropbox you can post the video anywhere you like (i.e. Tumblr :) ).