Category Archives: technology

Lessons from the land of Codec (updated)

IMG_20160426_185516-cropped
Codec: short for “compressor/decompressor.”

This post accounts for my efforts with sound compression as of late. …It gets a little technical… just a little.  But a Long Read, nonetheless.  (Also, keep in mind that my advice is not professional; follow it at your own risk.)

It’s always great when I get a new CD— songs I’ve never heard or heard at full quality with good equalization… or never got the chance to analyze… to just… have.  From The Beatles (of course) to Simon & Garfunkel, and even music samplers… to be honest, I don’t have very many albums.  But when it comes to what I have, I would rather have the best quality.
Continue reading Lessons from the land of Codec (updated)

Barking up the wrong tree

“Jesus Christ, am I your friend or your enemy?!”

[tree bark]
Uhhh… I’m a tree.
Relationships are messy.  They’re a part of life, and you will be tested… naturally.  The internet, however, being as it is a global network of computers, isn’t natural.

Long ago, I thought communicating online could be the solution to my difficulty of communicating in real life, being brought up in isolation.  A window of opportunity, a way to soul-search, witnessing personal accounts of friendships that began online, an outlet of productive activity, etc., where I would otherwise have the, well, void.

…Boy was I wrong.  Dead wrong.  Keep your day job. Continue reading Barking up the wrong tree

Almost Cause for Celebration

Sorry about the delay, everyone.  “Stay tuned,” followed by: no internet until a few days ago.  Well, now I’m here, ready to bore you to death. 🙂

…Like tonight’s debate.  Oh, I was so close to doing a whole draft response to the gun control “debate,” where the message has been all the same: comply with the President’s agenda.  Forget Putin, we’re lacking in leadership over here…

Now, today, I’ll be less serious.  Because I’m so weak even social media stresses me out.  Don’t tell me otherwise; I’m sick of pandering in general.

Okay!… 🙂

Here’s a true story for you.  It was 5 p.m. September 1st, so over a month ago, I decided to plug in the Nintendo Entertainment System… Continue reading Almost Cause for Celebration

Color Sense & Sensibility

I’ve been “color correcting”  the images taken with my camera phone for some time.  I put ‘correcting’ in quotes because it’s been done with my naked eyes—manually, attempting to fit the image with my vision, or close enough.

Much of the time the images come out bluish.  Color-balance with camera software on the phone is automatic without option, so there’s no way to get an even tone.

[image]
original (scaled)—taken 4/18, no more snow…
[image]
“corrected” (scaled, cropped)
But beyond the unsharpening to reduce JPEG ‘blockiness’ (prior to scaling), and RGB balance, I came across a bigger problem.  There were superfluous greens in the mix, and I’m not talking grass or moss.  The wood coated metal you see at the bottom of the original image, above (click to enlarge), is supposed to be bluish/purplish to the eye (how the bare wood returns light under a cloudy sky), not something turquoise with the camera.  Similar greenish blues show up with the tree barks.

Part of “correcting” this has been color rotation, moving some of the blue channel into the red to compensate.  For this particular scene, it took venturing outside a few times to see the desired colors.  And I know I’ve gone too far when the whites on trees turn orange…

Side note: all processing has been done with GraphicConverter and sometimes ColorIt (for effects and color grain reduction), using the Mac emulator.

Well, it turns out, I was on to something with the color rotation.

A while back, I had noticed that the rods of the Quartz heater, when lit, were showing up pinkish.  To the human eye, however, electrified Quartz emits an orange color.  At first, I thought the camera was picking up ultraviolet light.  So on Saturday, I did some testing…

[invheater.jpg]
(horiz.-sharpened to reduce motion blur)
The above image shows not only the pinkish, but the fact that the camera shows the rods visibly lit while my eyes did not; the heater was just starting up.  The camera is sensitive to light in ways the human eye is not.

In further testing, I used my glasses as a filter (they have a UV filter).  (I haven’t worn them though, in part because of a vein above my right ear—it gets pinched.  Not wearing my glasses may have contributed to my vision loss…)

[image]

It would seem UV pickup was a problem because the light through the lens comes out darker.  But upon wearing the glasses to view the new TV, the colors came out better.  Now, how could that be?  Turns out the glasses block some of the violet spectrum!  It’s no wonder I couldn’t fix the colors on the screen no matter the settings—the blue filter on the screen is letting through violet light!  Maybe that part of the spectrum wasn’t anticipated with the LED backlighting…

Back to the camera, curious about what I was dealing with I looked up what I could find for the camera’s spectral sensitivities, and how close it is (or would be) to human vision.  Guess what I found?

First, I couldn’t find the exact camera model for the phone, but it’s a Sony, apparently.  The smartphone is a Motorola Luge (2014 model), which is pretty much an enhanced version of the Droid Razr M/XT907, a 2012 model.

Second, the spectral sensitivity specs differ from camera to camera.  Some are better than others, of course.  You can download the 2012 PDF I found, detailing characteristics of several kinds of cameras here.  (NOTE: 9.6 MB !)

Third, not only do digital cameras not pick up UV light (to any significant degree, anyway), but they fall out of the violet spectrum as well.  So despite color correction software (also present in modern digital cameras), any given lens may not know blue from violet, or even pick up violet.  (Try shooting scenes in black light.)  I know my camera doesn’t translate violet into violet when viewing the TV, blue-only.

Lastly, the human eye does not see color in RGB.  And this is important—no camera that picks up RGB the way digital lenses do will see what we see, no matter the auto-correction software.  Here’s why, and what I’ve come to understand about the human eye.

Cone cells (which got the name because their tops have a physical shape of a cone) do not see RGB wavelength ranges, but short, medium and long wavelength ranges closer to magenta, cyan and yellow at their peaks.  Rod cells, which make up the majority of low-light vision, have a more narrow range.  (Because rods interfere with color processing, they’re usually deactivated during periods of normal light.)

[image]
(R denotes rod sensitivity range)
SVG source: Wikipedia
The cone ranges overlap a lot, so it’s in the subtraction of these natural overlaps that we get there’s an antagonistic nature when it comes to combining the cone signals for a relative color point.  In the outset, we get violet due to a second resonance of long range (L) wavelengths.  The second resonance in the graph above is clipped, but you can start to see L rise again (toward the left).

To produce one of the tens of millions of possible colors we see every some 50th of a second in exposure time, it takes hundreds to high thousands of photon hits.  This signal processing is so dense that it’s performed entirely in the retina.  The visual cortex in the brain works to process the eye’s signals into perceived colors.

In all, despite our advancements in technology, human vision is still far better than the conventional cameras we’ve made.  At the very least, rod cells each require only one photon to activate, and populate the eye to the count of roughly 125 million.  Only modern night-vision gear has improved upon our night-vision, albeit at lower resolutions.

…Well, that’s my 900-word two cents.  I know now that no digital camera that I know of will do photography justice, not just my own.

Thanks for reading, and if I’ve gotten anything wrong, feel free to tell me.

The $25 Million Fine Isn’t The Real AT&T-FCC Story

Great. Now with net neutrality, above and beyond, the FCC may act on the behalf of ‘privacy’ regulations too. NSA, FBI, the list goes on in just how the U.S. government cares about privacy…

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Editor’s Note: J. Trevor Hughes is the president and chief executive officer of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).

It’s easy to focus on big financial penalties. All of us intuitively feel the pain of writing the FCC a check for $25 million. But if you’re focusing on the monetary pay out in the FCC’s consent agreement with AT&T for a data privacy lapse, you’re missing the real story.

First, you need to be paying more attention to the agency that’s doing the fining here: the Federal Communications Commission. Notably, when President Obama launched his Privacy Bill of Rights effort in January of this year, he did it from within the bowels of the Federal Trade Commission, as the FTC has traditionally been the privacy cop on the beat serving and protecting U.S. consumers.

However, the FCC has now placed a badge firmly on its chest by delivering the…

View original post 367 more words

Windows 10, already…

Image source: yahoo.com/tech

Yeah, what happened to version 9?  (And of course we all know what happened to 7.)

Doobster, over at Mindful Digressions, came across what we all face, one time or another, going to the electronics store: “we no longer sell that.”  Or at least, they no longer sell it in-store.  He decided to go for the online-only laptop with 7 Pro, end of story.

Well.  Of course, I knew Windows 7 was no longer sold at places like…Best Buy?  I thought Best Buy was gone too.  They closed so many stores, I figured they’ve closed them all by now. …Oh, no, that was Circuit CitySigh.  Just a memory now…
Continue reading Windows 10, already…

Nothing Lasts Forever

So I’ll be taking a break from blogging, not that I want to.  You see, the Internet Service Provider is more expensive than need be, and the last payment wasn’t enough for all the new demands.  No, this is not a lame excuse as part of that list I crapfted yesterday, this deals with a real issue.

It’s been only four months that I’ve had any-time internet access in my life.  Only four months, since November 11th, via the phone.  I also saw in those first days just how slow it was using it.  It took hours to get “TV Fanfare!” up.  And it was truncated; the virtual keypad was used to retype something already written.  I could’ve transferred the blah via USB but didn’t know that then.  (Can you imagine typing 5,000 characters on a virtual keypad?  And without two days of experience?)

IdidNOTpressTHATAnd just how agonizingly expensive mobile data is—I was in a panic, setting my own limits.  This method of access is discouraging, to say the least, on top of an already discouraging living experience.

So many things…so many things that, to the average person, “simple,” “easy,” are hard here.  But it was a good thing, in a way, that I didn’t retype some vulgar jokes in the process of getting TV Fanfare! up.  (Detectives Bullock & Dix in Gotham, too easy.)

Sure, there was home access before…that time in the late ’90s—a land-line ISP…via modem.  You know, dial-up, voicing that annoying noise to make it clear it was connecting?  And not even 56Kbps; 28.8—under 4 KB a second.  Mobile access may be unreliable at times, but it’s never been that bad.

AOLAnd AOL.  Even as a child, I ended up choosing AOL’s basic web browser.  Ooh, I got some rad HyperCard stuff and a cool, non-animated X-Files GIF there…

Difficult as things are these days, I’ve still taken things for granted.  We all have our ways, being used to the blessings of the day in life.  We all forget about the labor it takes to get even the food on our plates, and few of us even know the origins and workings of our electronics, the resources, the water—yes, water, used to make chips in your PC, water that becomes polluted.  And what it takes for electricity alone.  And my phone’s touchscreen is covered with smudges.

NOOOOOO!!!!……
NOOOOOOOooooo!!!!……

Sigh.

How timely this is, that my 31st birthday is only a few weeks away, and I’ll be largely in the dark again.  Apart from gahd-awful cable news.

It’s not literally Dark Ages stuff here.  But in a way, it is, that the pests have a higher chance of carrying on than me.  The likely reality’s that this end of the family tree ends with me, how vulnerable, weak and dependent I am.  I too often scream muffled cries for help

Oh, there is hope for better days.  Unfortunately, my dreams—even my dreams now are warning me about my incompetence.

Anyway, I’ll check in when I can.  The Contact page is there in case anything serious happens too. …Maybe if WordPress didn’t subject us with so much code overhead, this wouldn’t be happening.  (Okay, it’s not quite right to complain about a service you haven’t paid into.)

Now, before I go, I just want to thank the people that have been reading this far.  My writing voice is heavily-edited that my fears don’t get the best of things.  I know very little of what I put up here actually resonates, and I know people are busier than ever, but thanks for making it clear that I’m not alone.  It goes a long way to know that this hasn’t been for nothing.  No milestones, just gratitude.

Thank you.

No Joke: Epicenter puts RFID chips into its staff *alarm bells*

Today, I wake up (in the afternoon, admittedly) to see this:

tmp_1898-20150203-155651-small294778896

Did I break something when I put up a post with “666” in its title?  ’Cause this is the kind of thing that’s been prophesied.

(And notice the “OF COURSE IT FUCKING HURTS” T-shirt?  It’s is if the whole thing is being rubbed in too.  And the place is called Epicenter, for crying out loud.)

Now, this implanting isn’t mandatory (yet), but the alarm bells are certainly ringing with me.  I knew the technology was already here, as a means of digital barcoding (in clothing), and similar uses of chips for pets, to locate them if lost or stolen.  But this is homo sapiens we’re talking about.

Now before I have an aneurysm, let’s enjoy a little history brief…

In 2004, the FDA had approved VeriChip’s implantable RFID chips for use in humans.  (Source: Ars Technica.)

In the category of unbelievably bad ideas that we all knew were making their way toward reality whether we like it or not comes the news the FDA has just approved VeriChip’s implantable RFID chips for use in humans. These are the same chips that we’re currently using to identify our pets. VeriChip is touting the chips’ medical applications, as a way of potentially saving lives by storing medical data.

In 2012, eight people payed $30 each to have an RFID chip (EM4012) implanted into their respective right hands.

At this years Toorcamp, a meetup for Hackers, there was an “implantation station” where, for $30, attendees could get RFID chips implanted into their hands.

The two-millimeter diameter EM4012 RFID chip was implanted between the thumb and the index …

Image source: socioecohistory.wordpress.com

And now?

I missed the ball.  The story mentioned first here, first appeared late January, by the BBC and CNET.  Hannes Sjoblad, who organized the process of being ‘chipped’ at Epicenter spoke to the BBC.  He said:

“We want to be able to understand this technology before big corporates and big governments come to us and say everyone should get chipped—the tax authority chip, the Google or Facebook chip.”

It may sound absurd, but never say never.  There are countless people, namely bureaucrats, that want control over people.  The majority of those out to control you may be lazy in many respects, but they don’t care.  (The cause of wanting to control over others is giving up on one’s own ability to take care of a problem.)

There are so many things going on that I’m extremely hesitant to discuss because, well, it would all make me sound like a nutjob, despite how much of the factual information I’ve been hearing for years has been proven true and worse.

Would you go the serious length of having a chip implanted in you just to access doors or copiers, or find your keys?  It’s beyond invasion of privacy and RF radiation exposure.  It’s stupid.  It’s unethical.  It’s more of a curse than a convenience.  And it’s alarming.

Please spread the word on this. …And hopefully I won’t die of mysterious causes. 😉  Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t wink at that…

What Am I Doing On Google Plus?

Now that my PC has started up, after fear that the machine would be in an infinite restart loop with the “Undoing Changes” prompt (an update failed; and an update made automatically while …tethering).  (And beside the fact that there’s been some jerkiness, even with the cursor, which as a programmer I can tell you is troubling.  Just something to expect if you have Windows 8…)

I’m on Google+.

You know, the a service that became free to compete with the Likes of Facebook?  (Google+ has +1s instead of Likes.)  The service that automatically tags your posts, which eliminates your need to use your brain in that area?

Google+, the provider of the Android Authority, that has so far treated me like a Rush Limbaugh fan until it’s established that I’m not?

From Google, the “all-seeing, evil” company that, besides Facebook and itself with its own “don’t be evil” maxim, seems to know everything about you, and wants to cozy up with the government for taxpayer money (allegedly)?

Google Inc., the conglomerate company that bought YouTube ($1.65 bn.), Waze (map and nav. app; $1 bn.), Motorola’s patent portfolio ($12.5 bn., sold for $2.9 bn.), Zync Render (the rendering tech company behind Star Trek Into Darkness, hundreds of commercials), and tried with Twitch (nabbed by Amazon)?  The company that put Quickoffice on smartphones everywhere within months of its news offering (legal, but against the wishes of Microsoft), and might as well be Yahoo’s buyer in 2015?  (And Yahoo tried to buy Google for $3 bn.!)

Yeah, I’m there.

And I’m guessing my activity there can only add to my utterances of “I’m going to hell.”  It hasn’t though, so far, given the strangeness/weirdness of the implementation.  I mean, Circles?  To some that sounds cute, but to me it sounds even more closed off than how Facebook handles its own member grouping.  Closed Circles—literal media closed circles.

And with the inevitable jerks that exist online (already seeing them already! 🙂 ), I can expect a new meaning to the term “circle jerk.”  No, nothing sexual, just…annoying people on Google+.  Move over, ‘Friending,’ I just circle-jerked you!  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And to spoil my potentially brief presence on G+ (with this post)…

After making Amy my first ‘Friend’ (and sadly, likely the last), this was my first post there (enjoy!):

These Google circle things here are strange.
(Yeah, I’m new here.  And Facebook kicked me out for not proving my own ID in time.)

Anyway, I found another use for a Christmas gift, given my body can’t tolerate sugar as much as it used to…

Chocolate pyramid.

chocolate-pyramid.jpg

G+ automatically tagged #Facebook, #ChocolateLovers and #Chocolate… So, hey, choco-lovers, does this image circle-jerk you make your mouth water?  No, I didn’t think so.

Thank God, WordPress doesn’t automatically tag posts; ’cause then there would be people attracted via— what else, but Google for the circle-jerking that, here, means something else entirely.  What am I kidding, it’s going to be indexed that way anyway.  Thanks, social media!

Remotely Related Stories

Cold Turkey

Yeah, as predicted, it’s gettin’ cold.  Painfully cold.  Taking out the trash is literally painful.  So I can’t say the weather is worse.  But I can say my fingers were swelling, all over again.

But there is an advantage to the snow, I have found.  In the dark, the snow’s lightness makes shovelled paths visible during the night.  Full moon on the 6th, by the way.  It began to snow as I took this photo…and the previous, failed attempt.

Dark path

Not to the [Motorola] camera, though; the image came out completely black without photo flash—and I checked with a graphics program; all black pixels after scaling.  The device must be subtracting from the image to reduce noise.

Anyway, change of vantage point, this is the before picture for the turkey that was hardly eaten on the 27th.

tmp_28152-20141127-turkey-before1683648485

And here is the after, only so lightly, slightly eaten.

tmp_28152-20141127-turkey-after172615084

And this was another—perhaps useless—post by adamjasonp.  At least, out of the smartphone, I got a camera, a flashlight, a memo pad, a memo recorder, a web browser, DooM (the game)…and a phone.

——————————
If you were expecting this to be about getting off a drug, I will publically admit that I’d stopped eating chocolate chips out of the bag.  My stomach can no longer tolerate certain things…