Friday, October 4, 2013

Siri's voice actor

It's unbelievable how mainstream Apple products have become. The voice actress for Siri (the original, not even the present one, apparently), interviewed by CNN!!?

All you can read for ten bucks per month (updated)

So finally the "Netflix" model is appearing for real in the ebooks arena.
One which seems really promising is Oyster Books.

So far it's only per invitation, so if you're interested, write your address in now, and wait. My invite came a few weeks after I signed on.

Unfortunately it's only US so far. So if really interested and not in the US, you have to use a trusting US friend's credit card and address. (Or one of those service which provide such. I haven't tried them.)

Their app is on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. And supposedly Android too at some point in the future. They say they don't have any specific plans for it, but I think it would be pretty silly to ignore half of the market.

I think this is a pretty amazing development. I'm very curious how they make it make any profit, given that most publishers don't tend to let their books go for a pittance.
But they have a good selection: over 100,000 books, and not only old out-of-copyright books. I have started re-reading Zen And The Art of Mortorcycle Maintenance, which I had intended for a while to do.
(OK, I admit I don't know how many modern and significant books they have, I've only looked enough that it may just be a dozen.)

The iPhone app seems nice so far. A selection of fonts and background colors.

What does this mean for ebook publishing? Will it boost readership and business, or will it take the bread from the starving mouths of poor authors? I have no idea. Except it feels like a good thing, definitely for readers, and what's good for readers tend to be good for authors too.

As a member, I have one invitation left. First come, first served. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Pad/phones as camera remote controls

Here's a relatively new game: Pad/phones as camera remote controls.

I made this self portrait holding the camera in my left hand, and controlling it with my right hand on the iPad (out of frame, mounted on a floor stand). (I had to use a 2-second self-timer, to get time to get my right arm down.)
I am in my favorite reading spot, propped up on my space foam bed, with the iPad hands-free. Damn relaxing.

This is of course just the merest beginning, there are many vistas of use, for example shooting birds without spooking them, and so on.

Sony RX100M2. Edited in Photoshop to make it sepia and give the background more blur (and darkening it). Click for big pic.

Sony's iOS app "Playmemories" is quite limited yet. You have no control over, well basically anything on the camera, except the zoom. It would be great if you could, for example, touch the screen to focus there, and of course control aperture/shutter speed, ISO... It may come.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

iPad five rumors, case (updated)

It seems the iPad 5 will be slimmer, smaller, and lighter (over 50 grams lighter, and that's only the back cover!).  I like that. I'd hoped it, but it barely seemed possible.
I also like the darker color (probably "Space Grey" like the iPhone 5S).

If you have no interest, just listen to her voice. Such a nice voice.

The 5 will also surely be faster than the 4. Which is faster than the iPad 3 I have. So, just one more good feature, and I'm surely going to get one.

One problem: the thinness leaves hardly any space for the camera, which makes the sensor smaller, which hurts the quality a lot. The iPad 5 will be roughly as thin as the iPad Mini. That is amazing, but look at how it has hurt the image quality of the camera in the iPad Mini.
I think Apple's usual hardcore minimalism is to blame for them not making a bump on the back to fit a bigger camera. Considering what a great camera they have in the iPhone 5S, imagine what a fantastic one they could make with, say, 50% more space! Then the ipad could truly be a multi-media production machine, for journalism for example. You could write an interview on it, and photograph and video your subjects with the same machine, for easy insertion into your story!