I just purchased and downloaded a new app for my iPhone, Pano. The app allows you to take several images, using the edge of the previous image as a guide for the next, and then stitches them together. It was $1.99, and I couldn't have come across it at a better time. I'm in New Mexico for post-Christmas celebrations with the family I couldn't see during actual Christmas (my parents are both from Albuquerque). It's a pretty good place for panoramas.
I tested the app several times today and came up with some pretty great stuff. I consider myself an above-average iPhone photographer, but this cracks the realm of possibilities wide open.
Tim, Erin, and Corrie at Hannah & Nate's in Corrales, NM. This one was three portrait-shots stitched together. I love the light from both windows! This shot would have been impossible without the app, because of how close we were to the west wall of the building.
Albuquerque lies at the foot of the Sandia Mountains, but the view is even more dramatic from some parts of the farther-west Corrales, where my aunt and uncle have a newish house. Trust me when I say that even these images don't do it justice.
Here's one more, from a little higher up and father back:
Trending Topics. Fun but fishy. But first, some background:
When people ask me what I majored in in college, I always say "Cinema and Media Studies," or "Film Studies," depending on how loud the room is. What I almost never say is "I also came really close to double-majoring in film and psychology, but I decided in my last semester that I didn't care about completing the second major." I don't say that, but it is a fact. I took a LOT of psychology courses in college.
Even though my psych studies aren't a part of my one-paragraph bio anymore, I'm glad I took those courses. One of the most valuable things I learned in my studies was about statistics. Namely, that they are dubious. Professional articles detail the studies that create statistics, and these articles are, at best, verbose about sample sizes, statistical significance, etc. But the statistics that trickle down into political talking points and newspaper headlines are often uncited, biased, or just plain confounding (sorry, statistics pun).
So, now to Twitter. On the sidebar of everyone's twitter homepage, there is a lovely list of things that are being most frequently uttered on the service. It's automatically generated, and is fun to take a glance at. Should you ever click on one of these words or phrases, you'll see the most recent tweets that contain them. And you'll likely see a problem with the whole Trending Topics enterprise.
Some users are simply obsessed with Trending Topics. So while millions of people are tweeting about their excitement over the New Moon soundtrack's early release, a million more (give or take) are tweeting about how psyched they are that "New Moon" is trending. There are users at this very moment having a ball by combining as many Trending Topics into one post as they can. Why? I can't begin to fathom.
At the time of this writing, "Remotely start your" is trending because of a highly re-tweeted Mashable article called "Want to remotely start your car...there's an app for that". Tons of Trending-Topic junkies saw the phrase, and are riffing on it by tweeting "remotely start your life," or "remotely start your Christmas Shopping." That latter example was tweeted by WithLoveGifts, an online store selling gifts (like "an acre of land on the moon") to people in the UK. Trending Topics as marketing strategy? Clever indeed.
Clever and fishy.
If you know me well, you probably know that my musical tastes are many and varied, and that I love Beck. For a long time, I prided myself on having every Beck album it was possible to have, but then Guero and the internet came along and complicated that process by generating a frenzied proliferation of remixes and new versions…let's just say I can no longer claim ownership of the "complete" Beck collection.
That said, I am thrilled that Wired magazine provided me with the hot tip on Beck's latest project, in which he and various musical friends get together and record covers of every song from a classic or ubiquitous album. It's called Record Club, and you can listen to/watch videos of all of the tracks from the first edition online for free on Beck.com or vimeo. The album they chose for the first round? The Velvet Underground and Nico, the Velvet Underground's iconic, Warhol-bananaed first record. How perfect is that? Like everyone else on the planet, I was officially introduced to this classic album during my freshman year of college (thanks, Alec!), and the playfully bizarre tracklist seems perfectly suited to Beck's always-evolving musical ethos and natural weirdness.
Check out my favorite track from the original album, Beck-ified: