Filmmaker Peter Jackson’s new installment from Middle Earth has so much sexy technology you’d think reviewers would swoon: 3D; high def; 48 frames per second. Instead, we’re hearing a big yawn. Where did The Hobbit go wrong?
Welcome to the Q Curve. Consumer technology has gotten so good that the professionals we once paid to produce something startling now have difficulty staying ahead. I call this phenomenon the Quality Curve, where the rising quality of what you can produce with the iPhone (AAPL) or Samsung (005930) in your hand, if drawn as an upward line, now often surpasses the quality of professional producers. If the excellence of what you or I create rivals that of pros, our demand for their wizardry starts to slip.
Bilbo Baggins is a case in point. Jackson, whose brilliant The Lord of the Rings series won 17 Academy Awards, decided to solve one of film’s biggest flaws with this new preinstallment about the One Ring to Rule Them All—the flickering effect we get from a film speed set 90 years ago. When movies were first produced, film stock was expensive, so the standard rate of celluloid rolling through a camera was set at 24 frames per second. This means, for every second of a movie, 24 images flash rapidly on the screen to create the illusion of motion. The pace was set not for visual smoothness, but rather to conserve film—24 frames per second was the minimally viable option that gave users an acceptable moving image while holding down film costs.
AllThingsD‘s John Paczkowski: Welcome to the Jony Ive Era at Apple. “While details of the ousters of Scott Forstall and John Browett — the guy who oversaw Apple’s iOS operating system and the new hire who ran its retail stores, are certainly intriguing — they’re a sideshow to the bigger story here: The clear ascendancy of design chief Jony Ive. That’s because on Monday, Ive was given a role that no executive other than co-founder Steve Jobs has ever held before — oversight of all Apple product design. The buck has finally stopped, with Cook trying to put an end to what had become internecine executive battles within Apple. While perhaps a good thing, it also puts a lot of pressure on the elegant Ive, who will now be the integrator of Apple’s two sides and the center of its future direction.”
GigaOm‘s Om Malik: From Inside Apple: The Scott Forstall Fallout. “Forstall’s firing was met with a sense of quiet jubilation, especially among people who worked in the engineering groups. Or as one of my sources quipped: there are a lot of people going for celebratory drinks, even if there is a little bit of doubt about their roles in the future. While the now-rescinded resignation of Bob Mansfield was masterfully planned, my sources say that Forstall’s exit was fairly last minute and not something he initiated. Many within the iOS and OS X teams only heard about it minutes after the news went out. Engineers were caught off guard, a source told me. Many feel that Craig Federighi, who is taking over Forstall’s job in addition to overseeing the Mac OS X software business, is someone who needs to prove himself. He is not as decisive and divisive as Forstall.”
New York Times Scott Wingfield and Nick Bilton: In Shake-Up, Apple’s Mobile Software and Retail Chiefs to Depart. “Mr. Forstall was a staunch believer in a type of user interface, skeuomorphic design, which tries to imitate artifacts and textures in real life. Most of Apple’s built-in applications for iOS use skeuomorphic design, including imitating thread of a leather binder in the Game Center application and a wooden bookshelf feel in the newsstand application. Mr. Jobs was also a proponent of skeuomorphic design; he had a leather texture added to apps that mimicked the seats on his private jet. Yet most other executives, specifically Mr. Ive, have always believed that these artifacts looked outdated and that user interface design on the computer had reached a point where skeuomorph was no longer necessary… According to two people who have worked with Apple to develop new third-party products for the iPhone, the relationship between Mr. Forstall and Mr. Ive had soured to a point that the two executives would not sit in the same meeting room together.”
EVERYONE, they say, has a book in them. That is not to say the world is overflowing with unrequited rivals of J.K. Rowling – for which you might be grateful. But you never know until you try and never has it been easier to create and publish a book, with software packages such as Apple’s iBooks Author. With it you can produce a real book, in digital form, well printed, illustrated and even with videos and audio embedded in the text, save it as a PDF or bung it on the internet for all to admire.
iBooks Author can be downloaded from the Mac App Store and is free, which, given its power, is a bargain. Released in January, it was originally intended by Apple for teachers and students to produce in-house textbooks in schools and universities, and, indeed, thousands have been produced in the past few months.
The application, which runs on a Macintosh but produces books to be read on iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches, includes some elegant templates but it’s easy to create your own designs. From then on, it’s almost ridiculously simple to drop in text, images and videos, then publish your masterpiece.
But now one of the world’s great publishing houses is getting with the trend. The Australian arm of publisher HarperCollins has produced what may be the first multi-touch digital book, Cranium Universe, created by their designer Matt Stanton and author Reg Mombassa using iBooks Author.
Mombassa, a poet, writer, musician and, perhaps mostly, an artist, wasn’t always a Mombassa or even a Reg. His mum, Mrs O’Doherty, called him Christopher when he was born in New Zealand but he moved to Australia and became Mombassa when he founded the band Mental As Anything. He kept the name and also won global fame for his now collectable designs for surfwear company Mambo. Author Patrick White was a fan, buying many of Mombassa’s landscapes and portraits.
The plan could be put into action before the end of this year, according to Silicon Valley rumours, and attendees at Apple’s annual developer conference next week are hoping that they will get a sneak peak at the new map app. Replacing Google Maps as the default, preloaded app wouldn’t stop users from downloading and using it on Apple devices, but it could dramatically cut the number of people using Google to look up addresses, search for restaurants and bars or get directions for car journeys.
That could have financial consequences for Google, which sells adverts based on what it knows about user behaviour. It could also shift the balance of power between Google and Apple, which were once close partners but are now engaged in battles across the technological landscape. Google makes phones under the Motorola brand and runs the most popular mobile operating system, Android; Apple has an advertising network serving little ads in the apps on its mobile devices.
To the winner of the maps battle could go the spoils of local advertising and marketing to potential consumers on the go.
Strange Random Map Quote:
“It seemed that the printers of the African maps had a slightly malicious habit of including, in large letters, the names of towns, junctions, and villages which, while most of them did exist in fact, as a group of thatched huts may exist or a water hole, they were usually so inconsequential as completely to escape discovery from the cockpit.” ― Beryl Markham, West with the Night
- Apple and Google set to battle over mobile mapping (slashgear.com)
- WSJ: Apple’s ouster of Google Maps from iOS is coming (tuaw.com)
- Apple to dump Google Maps off iPhone and iPad (macdailynews.com)
- Apple Replacing Google Maps On iOS With Its Own Solution Later This Year (macrumors.com)
- WSJ: Apple to abandon Google Maps on iOS later this year (techie-buzz.com)
- Google Maps to enter ‘next dimension’ at June 6 event (electronista.com)
- Apple Is Going Full Throttle To kill Google Maps : Leaks Screenshot For Apple Maps [Photo] (thetechnologycafe.com)
- Google to hold Google Maps event this coming June 6 (ubergizmo.com)
- Google Hypes ‘Next Dimension’ of Maps Ahead of Apple Event (pcworld.com)
IT’S the app that promises to tell you whether the next bar’s full of kittens or cougars – or too many blokes – just by scanning faces at the door.
And while real-time updates on crowd size, age and gender could be useful for some, critics in at least one US city are threatening to boycott any venue that uses it.
“Dear San Francisco,” Mr Harper, 28, posted after critics branded the app an invasion of privacy and a “creepy” tool for “men to hunt down women”.
“We’ve taken a lot of heat in the past few days and I can completely understand the concern.“I realise there are aspects of our technology that could appear to be controversial and raise serious red flags for people, and I assure you I’m not taking it lightly.”
Mr Harper said the company had ruled out “facial recognition” technology, which could identify a patron, in favour of “facial detection”, which could generate data but did not store identifying images.
The app works by relaying pictures of patrons taken at the door that are mapped onto a grid. An algorithm then matches the facial dimensions to a database of averages for age and gender to make a match.
It also lets venues decide on business rules to “cap out” what statistics would show, with the percentage of males never exceeding 72 per cent and females 58 per cent – in case of a swarm of males showed up as a “correction”.
Despite the outcry over privacy, Mr Harper said the tool was supposed to be a “lighthearted app for consumers and one that would help venue owners with their marketing efforts”.
Strange Random Scanning Quote:
- App attacked: Bar outrage over face scans (news.com.au)
- SceneTap App Scans Faces Of Bar-Goers To Guess Age, Gender (brandtstandard.com)
- SceneTap App Scans Faces Of Bar-Goers To Guess Age, Gender – Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com)
- App scans faces of San Francisco bar-goer (mercurynews.com)
- App scans faces of bar-goers to guess age, gender (technology.inquirer.net)
- App scans faces of pub patrons to guess age, gender (cbc.ca)
- App scans faces of bar-goers to guess age, gender (staradvertiser.com)
- App scans faces of bar-goers to guess age, gender (seattlepi.com)
- App scans faces of bar-goers to guess age, gender (onlineathens.com)
- App scans faces of San Francisco bar-goer (mercurynews.com)