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City Life Tech Uncategorized

Ospreys

It was hard to hear Ride of the Valkyries because those Ospreys are very loud birds.

(Downtown Manhattan Heliport)

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Tech Uncategorized

The Zojirushi Has Arrived

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Instagram Tech

Microsoft Project 98

Having problems loading software onto my iPad. Can anyone help?

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Instagram Self-Portraits Tech

The Watch Arrives

My entry for lamest Apple Watch unboxing video ever. Really surprised how large and heavy the packaging is.

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Instagram Moviemaking Tech

Wednesday Appreciations: FCPX

Wednesday Appreciations: I love FCPX because it makes editing a lot faster, which makes editing a lot more fun. At $300, it’s an insane bargain.

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Helena Instagram Tech

Nerd Saturday

iPod OG

Once a year I charge up my original iPod to make sure the battery and hard drive still work, because I wanna keep this thing playing forever. Helena is impressed that Thunderbolt can still connect to Firewire 400.


CLIC

Soon after you get over the shock of being old enough to need reading glasses, you realize they’re kind of a pain in the ass to actually use. These CliC glasses are easy to wear, less than $30, and make me look like the shop teacher I always wanted to be. I love ’em so far.

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Tech

Computers for Everybody

When it comes to computing gear, I’ve been an Apple fan since college. I love my Macs, iPhone, and iPad and wouldn’t trade them for anything. They’re reliable, beautiful, work great, and hold their resale value very well.

But I admit that when it comes to price (as opposed to value), Apple has never been the cheapest option. That’s why growing up in a working-class family, I never owned an Apple computer. We just couldn’t afford them.

But we could afford (barely) a succession of Commodore 64s and, eventually, an Amiga — all of which I got great use out of. So while I may have grown up envying my friends’ Apple IIs and Macs, I didn’t miss out on the benefits of computing. Commodore truly made computers for the masses, which I’ll always be grateful for.

Given this, I was especially happy to see these old hallmarks of my computing youth during a recent visit to the Computer History Museum. I also liked that the Commodores sat on the top shelf of their affordable early microcomputers display. For those of us who loved computers but didn’t have much to spend on them, they truly were top shelf items.

(Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/13368763235/

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Tech

XFR STN

Recently, I visited XFR STN at the New Museum with a group of archivists. The folks behind the exhibit gave us a brief but very thorough overview into their data recovery workflow.

I totally geeked out seeing their workstation of old drives for reading obsolete digital media like floppies (3.5/5.25/SD/HD/SS/DS), Zip disks, Jaz drives, and (soon) optical. I got nostalgic for the Commodore 64s and Amigas I owned during childhood. I also got a little sad thinking about all the data lost forever on the floppy disks I threw away.

I’m glad exhibits like XFR STN exist, because I don’t think there’s nearly enough awareness of the digital dark age we’re potentially living in. I made Digital Antiquities a few years back in an attempt to bring attention to this issue and I have a feeling I’ll revisit these ideas in future work. I hope this is a topic that becomes part of the cultural conversation in a bigger way, soon.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/9624323879/

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Moviemaking Tech

Today’s FCPX Updates and News

Apple just updated Final Cut Pro X to 10.0.8, which includes, among other tweaks, support for the Sony XAVC codecs up to 4K in the new F5/F55 cameras. Compressor and Motion got updates also. Sweet.

I don’t have an XAVC camera so I couldn’t test the new codec, but the rest of 10.0.8 has been stable on my Macs so far. If you’re not the middle of a project, I’d advise upgrading. (Never upgrade anything during a project, unless you’re absolutely sure the new stuff will solve whatever problems you’re having with your current stuff.)

Probably not coincidentally, there’s also an interesting L.A. Times piece today about Apple’s new push to win back pro editors, including case studies with FCPX users like Tsui Hark.

I love FCPX and I’m very glad I made the jump from FCP7 a year-and-a-half ago. But I’m definitely in the minority among the filmmakers I know in embracing the software.

I don’t believe, as some do, that Apple has abandoned pros. I just think they’ve been a bit distracted by iOS. The updates to FCPX are a great sign that they still care about their professional users. But of course, an awesome new Mac Pro would be an even better sign.

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Tech

Change Your Passwords. Really.

From “How I became a password cracker” at Ars Technica:

Watching your own password fall in less than a second is the sort of online security lesson everyone should learn at least onceā€”and it provides a free education in how to build a better password.

It seems like every week there’s a new totally terrifying story about how widespread hacking has become and how even tech-savvy folks have found themselves victims.

I admit it: I used to practice the lazy habit of re-using weak passwords on multiple sites. Then I read too many stories like these and got religion. Read them for yourself and then consider whether turning on two-factor authentication and using an app like 1Password is worth the hassle.

For the longest time, precautions like these weren’t worth my time and effort. But now they seem like very cheap insurance.

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Tech

We Still Need (Mac) Trucks

John Siracusa writes:

On paper, the Mac Pro may no longer be a viable product, but it would be a mistake for Apple to abandon the concept that it embodies. Like the Power Mac before it, the Mac Pro was designed to be the most powerful personal computer Apple knows how to make. That goal should be maintained, even as the individual products that aim to achieve it evolve.

I completely agree with Steve Jobs: tablets are like cars, PCs are like trucks. And most of us don’t need to own trucks.

But some of us rely on trucks for a living and we’re willing to pay for the things that only a truck can do. At both my day and night jobs, I rely on five year-old 8-core Mac Pro workstations to do my work. Originally released in early 2008, these Macs are still fast and rock-solid reliable. The initial sticker price was high, but these machines have paid for themselves many, many times over in every metric you can measure.

If you need a truck and you love Macs, there’s no other machine that’ll do. That’s why I hope that the “really great” Mac Pro revamp that Tim Cook promised us last year doesn’t disappoint. Here’s to hoping that the new truck is, er, a monster.

(Hat Tip to Daring Fireball for the link to Siracusa’s post.)

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Tech

Hidden Camera

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/6926963319/

I’ve very cleverly hidden a Sony FS100 camera somewhere in this photo — I bet you can’t find it!

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Tech

Take Charge!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/6768631349/

There’s battery chargers, and then there’s the ANSMANN ENERGY 16.

Yes, I am bragging.

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Tech

Fatal Errors

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/5902945747/

The biggest surprise is that it’s a Mac. Usually when I see these public errors it’s a Windows machine. Dude, you’re letting us Apple fanboys down…

(Chelsea Market, Manhattan)

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City Life Tech

iParish

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/5566053012/

A very subtle bit of street art. Nice work, dude.

(Apple Store Upper West Side, 67 St & Broadway, Manhattan)

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Peeps Tech

Jo vs. Pismo

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/4900270890/

(Bklyn Blggng HQ)

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Tech

122365 Bytes Free

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/4635950922/

I’ve been collecting pre-2000 electronics of all kinds for an upcoming movie shoot and snagged this gem in my sister’s garage, complete with floppy drive. Woohoo!

(Houston, TX)

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Tech

Transitions

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/4532768147/

My 2004 12″ PowerBook 1.33 is one of my favorite Macs ever, but it was finally time to replace it. The 2010 MacBook Pro 13″ 2.4 is a worthy successor, even if it’s not quite as compact as the PowerBook. I guess if I ever want a Mac as small as the 12″, I’ll have to buy an iPad.

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Self-Portraits Tech

Super-Toys Last All Summer Long

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/4121592665/

If you have the choice of a flashlight set with or without headlamps, choose headlamps every time.

(Bklyn Blggng HQ)

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Architecture Tech

Undone: The Apple Store Song

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/4096494979/

If you’ve heard how excited we Apple fanboys can get over unboxings, you can only imagine our excitement at the unwrapping of a whole frickin’ store.

(Apple Store Upper West Side, Broadway & 67 St, Manhattan)

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City Life Tech

Warranty Blues

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/4054157513/

The good news: when I called Apple support to report a dead ATI Radeon 2600 XT, they arranged to have a replacement one ready for me to swap at the famous 24-hour Fifth Avenue Apple Store. No hassles whatsoever.

The bad news: when I left the store with the new graphics card in my hands, I had a $115 parking ticket waiting for me, on top of the $25 I’d just spent on a Zipcar to get down there.The moral: Apple good, taking the subway to Apple Store even better.

(Apple Store Fifth Avenue, Manhattan)

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Tech

Hacking My ATV

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/3565010304/

In a few hours, I’ll either have a 320GB Apple TV or a paperweight with an HDMI port.

(Bkyn Blggng HQ)

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Tech

Migration Day

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/3392133785/

With the Mac’s built-in Migration Assistant, it’s easy to move all all your files and apps from your old machine to your new one. But be prepared to wait a while if you’ve got a lot of stuff; it took at least ten hours to move my files.

Update 4/26/2009: my resident Mac consultant DV tells me I should have used Firewire instead of Ethernet. Dude, where were you four weeks ago!?!

(Bklyn Blggg HQ)

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Tech

Air: Hot Or Not?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/2274790598/

I love the Apple Retail Stores, but they can be a total zoo sometimes because of the crowds. I was checking out this Macbook Air for about 30 seconds before this very aggressive woman started to hover over me as if I were taking too long and a passing middle-aged guy made a joke about how I was handling the machine too eagerly. After about another minute with the Macbook, I fled the store for the relative peace of Prince Street and let the woman and the middle-aged guy fight it out. (The woman won.)

I tried not to take the experience too personally, but I did wonder if there’s some truth to the theory that Mac users are self-centered and arrogant. Or maybe, it’s just that Apple consistently makes products that make people a little crazy, myself included.

Oh…and about the computer: it’s awesome engineering and surprisingly sturdy, but it’s not for everyone. Having said that, I can already see that there’s a 50% chance I’ll replace my beloved but aging 2004 PowerBook 12″ 1.33 with an an Air rev. B in 2009.

(Apple Store Soho, Manhattan)

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Tech

Geniuses Wanted

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/2169387060/

I don’t know how they do it at them fancy Apple Stores with the pretty girls, but here at the Bklyn Blggng Genius Bar, we have our own custom tools for removing Macbook RAM.

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Architecture Stores Tech

Boxing Day

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/2139936950/

Who put the X in Boxing Day? Is it the same person that put the X in OS X (even though that’s really a ten, and these Xs at the new Apple Store?

(Apple Store, 14 St & 9 Av, Manhattan)

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Self-Portraits Tech

Photoboothed

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/1893142296/

I know I can do this at any Apple Store, but somehow it’s just more fun at Fry’s.

(Fry’s Electronics, Burbank, CA)

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Movies Tech

Kiss Me On The Moonbus

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/1893142626/

If someone were gonna go through the trouble of building a detail-perfect scale model of a scene from 2001, you’d think the infamous “ham sandwich” sequence aboard the Moonbus wouldn’t make the cut.

You’d be wrong, though. Who can forget these classic lines?

Lunar Bureaucrat #1: Well, anybody hungry?
Dr. Floyd: What we got?
Lunar Bureaucrat #1: You name it.
Floyd: What’s that, chicken?
Lunar Bureaucrat #1: Something like that. Tastes the same, anyway. [laughter]
Lunar Bureaucrat #2: Any ham? [searches through cooler]
Lunar Bureaucrat #1: Ham…ham…ham…ham…there. [hands him the sandwich]
Lunar Bureaucrat #2: Good.
Floyd: Ah, they look pretty good.
Lunar Bureaucrat #1: They’re getting better at it all the time.

Post script: It took all the willpower I had (not to mention the fear of severe embarrassment at airport security) to keep me from taking home an M2019 blaster while visiting this store. Another customer bought two while I was there.

(Monsters in Motion, Placentia, CA)

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Tech

Believe the Hype?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/148703492/

I thought the new MacBook looked rather cheap in the photos I’ve seen, but in person it’s quite cool, especially the black one. (Though not $150 extra kind-of-cool.) Even the funny keyboard seemed usable and felt decent under the fingers. This is probably the laptop I’ll buy when I replace my beloved PowerBook G4 12″ sometime next year…unless an even smaller model comes out before then.

(Apple Store Soho, Prince St, Manhattan)

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Tech

SF/SJ: You Heard?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/111661077/

The great thing about being on vacation is that it gives you the psychic license to do things you’d never even consider doing at home — like walking by an Apple Store and not going in.

(Apple Store Valley Fair, Santa Clara, CA)

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City Life Tech Transit

iCommentary

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/89524186/

(Spring St Station, Manhattan)

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Movies Tech

The Things You Own End Up Owning You

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/71161547/

The cool and detached side of me wants to ask whether watching something that’s 2.35 letterboxed on a 2.5 inch screen is compelling, but it’s being drowned out by the Oh Shit, It’s Fight Club! side of me at this particular moment.

(Apple Store Soho, Manhattan)

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Tech

Androids Dreaming of Electric Sheep

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpchan/3826699/

Help me, I cannot escape the Cult of Mac. I own a PowerBook. I own an iPod. I want to buy more Apple stuff, even though I don’t need it. A power adapter, some extra RAM, even one of those damn iPod socks — I need to buy something…

Or help you buy it. If you need assistance purchasing a Mac or an iPod, I can offer advice and probably even help you set it up if I have enough frequent flyer miles to get to where you are. Just drop me a line. You know the URL. Please do it quickly.

(Apple Store SoHo, 103 Prince St at Greene St, +1-212-226-3126, open 7 days)