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iPhone Panoramas

As many have already said, the iPhone is a surprisingly good camera, on par with most high-end point-and-shoots. But on a recent trip to New York, I developed a new found appreciation for it and liken it closer to a quality 35mm. In particular, the iOS7 Panorama mode is actually quite incredible. And this is on a previous-gen iPhone5!

Panorama mode works by joining frames as you pan the camera left-to-right, with up to 180deg field of view. There are some artifacts that you wouldn’t get with a true panoramic lens (see the motion blur of rushing travelers in Grand Central Station). Yet the responsiveness was quick enough to not muddle the messages of the flashing screens in Times Square, and the ability to stitch the frames of Liberty Island despite the rolling of the boat is really quite amazing.

(Click on images for full size.)

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

 

9-11 Memorial, North Reflection Pool

9-11 Memorial, North Reflection Pool

 

9-11 Memorial, South Reflection Pool

9-11 Memorial, South Reflection Pool

 

Coney Island Beach

Coney Island Beach

 

Liberty Island, from Miss Liberty

Liberty Island, from Miss Liberty

 

NYC Skyline, from Miss Liberty

NYC Skyline, from Miss Liberty

 

Times Square, W46th

Times Square, W46th

 

Times Square, W45th

Times Square, W45th

 

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This Article Is Not Innovative Enough

Yesterday I read a review where the latest Apple Airport Extreme was cited for a lack of innovation. Seriously? For a wireless router?! Innovative?? Aren’t we beating this Apple-is-not-innovative drum a bit too loudly? Let’s get real. (continue reading…)


Kali on ChromeBook

http://www.kali.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/k-blog.pngI recently purchased a Samsung ChromeBook. Not for ChromeOS, but for the fact that Kali Linux – the network pen-test successor to BackTrack – announced a ChromeBook build. I figured I couldn’t go wrong with $250 for a Linux wireless ultra-portable dedicated to network testing. Turns out perhaps I could go wrong. (continue reading…)


Google Glass: Coming Soon To An Interaction Near You

Google Glass is in limited release to a select group of beta “Explorers”. Robert Scoble is one of them, and he just posted the most stunning testimonial that Google could have hoped for. If techies weren’t drooling over this new gadget before, they are now. Comments to Scoble’s piece were overwhelmingly positive and frothy, but there are skeptics out there. I’m not one of them, but…

(continue reading…)


Lost Network When Upgrading To ESXi 5.1

After upgrading from ESXi 5.0 to 5.1, I was presented with a curious “change has been detected” message during VM startup. It asked whether the VM had been recently “Moved” or “Copied”. I was leaning towards “Moved”, except for the fact that it also said “when in doubt, select ‘Copied'”. Big mistake picking ‘Copied’.

(continue reading…)


I Want My MPGe

In honor of Earth Day, I will once again declare my love for my Chevy Volt electric vehicle. It has cool features, saves on gas, and yet still has that insurance policy of the “charge sustaining” engine for a total range that is unlike any other (except for maybe the Tesla). But yes, despite the engine as safety net, I will admit that “gas anxiety” is a real thing. I find myself avoiding the use of gasoline whenever I can, maximizing for electric even if it means altering routes or destinations.

(continue reading…)


Top Songs of 2012

Last year was my first musical BestOf list (outside of that 1980s “Desert Island Discs” for Tower Records mag). Nice to have the darn thing to look back upon, for better or worse, even if its only me that references it. One time is an ‘incident’, and two might be a ‘trend’. Here is my ranked iPod playlist for 2012 releases:

  1. Bad Books – Forest Whitaker
  2. Alabama Shakes – Hold On
  3. The Gaslight Anthem – “45”
  4. Regina Spektor – How
  5. Jack White – Freedom At 21
  6. Pennywise – Let Us Hear Your Voice
  7. Phillip Phillips – Home
  8. passEnger – Let Her Go
  9. Morning Parade – Headlights
  10. Imagine Dragons – It’s Time
  11. Allen Stone – Sleep
  12. Royal Teeth – Wild
  13. Beach House – Myth
  14. Fun. – We Are Young
  15. Youngblood Hawke – We Come Running
  16. Passion Pit – Take A Walk
  17. Garbage – Blood For Poppies
  18. Ho Hey – The Lumineers
  19. The Tallest Man On Earth – Revelation Blues
  20. Atlas Genius – Trojans
  21. The Heavy – What Makes A Good Man?
  22. The Chevin – Champion
  23. Bloody Mary – Silversun Pickups
  24. Slightly Stoopid – Top Of The World
  25. Tennis – Origins

The big thing that stands out compared to last year is the lack of “Top 40″. Carly Rae Jepson, Neon Trees, Kelly Clarkson, Drake, Pink – even Green Day not having sufficient numbers. I attribute this to the discovery of AltNation on Sirius/XM in my new car. My trial subscription is almost over, and since I can’t see spending $15/mo essentially just for one radio station, it looks like I’ll be back to Spotify, Pandora, 91X, and KPRI in 2013.

And speaking of Spotify, a playlist for the above…


$ufficiently Indi$tingui$hable From Magic

I bought my Dad an AppleTV for Christmas. An avid travel photographer, the intent was to use it to replace the Windows-based HP Media Smart “appliance” that he used for viewing streamed photos on the TV. (The HP worked great for a long while, but eventually stopped being able to index and display new photos – probably because there were so many.) Something else was needed, and perhaps the AppleTV would fit the bill?

(continue reading…)


Keeping Track of iSCSI LUNs as Multipath Devices

The Dell MD3200i is a very flexible mid-level iSCSI SAN. With 12 bays (up to 3TB NearLine SAS in each) and dual quad-port controllers, it offers excellent redundancy, capacity, and expandability. The Windows or Linux MD Storage Manager provides a decent GUI from which to define disk groups of various RAID styles and virtual volumes within each disk group for future filesystems.

But for all the labeling controls that MDSM offers for groups and volumes, the LUN mappings (to allocate volumes to iSCSI IP connections) are the real exposed labels. No matter how anal-retentive you get with group/volume hierarchy, all the ‘naming’ that the iSCSI initiators will ever see are the LUN numbers 0-31.

In an iSCSI system, there could be multiple ways to reach LUNs (via multiple network interfaces). For this reason, multipath support is used to provide route management and redundancy. On CentOS, filesystems are accessed via the multipath /dev/mapper device naming, mapped to the ‘physical’ iSCSI LUN. How are these mappings managed? ‘mpatha‘, ‘mpathb‘, ‘mpathc‘, etc are assigned first-come first-served to LUNs in the order they are discovered. This can make it difficult when adding multiple LUNs at the same time, because it is not entirely obvious which /dev/mapper/mpath device corresponds to which partition (despite all that effort you employed in creatively naming your MD3200i groups and volumes).

Because of my momentary confusion in regard to this LUN mapping, I thought that I would document the iSCSI implementation steps as performed on CentOS 6:

(continue reading…)


Blink of Time: Inequities of Commercial EV Charging Networks

There are other Level-2 chargers available for the Chevy Volt besides the recommended SPX Voltec; EVs have reached the point where charging units are even sold at local home improvement stores. And in addition to chargers that you own, there is an emerging infrastructure of commercial “charging networks” such as Blink and ChargePoint*. These companies have made an investment in providing chargers in public places, adding the convenience of charging while out-and-about at work, at the mall, or going to your local library, school, or recreation center.

Keep in mind that the 15A Voltec charger was specifically endorsed by Chevy for the Volt because it is not over-engineered for what the car requires as dictated by the car’s built-in 3.3kW charge-regulating circuitry. The same can be said of the Nissan Leaf, even though its AeroVironment charger is rated at a slightly higher 16A.

GE, Schneider, and ECOtotality offer 30A Level-2 chargers, which can deliver a maximum of 7.2kWh of energy. Blink is a division of ECOtotality, and as would be expected, they use their own 30A chargers in their network. But the Leaf & Volt cannot take full advantage of the energy that these high-amperage chargers deliver. And therein lies my issue with the Blink Network. (continue reading…)


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