July 6, 2015

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Starting Thursday afternoon, I arrived somewhere north of Danville, Vermont upon invitation from my former neighbors to play out in the woods. Their family owns 210 acres of land with a lot of trails, waterways and privacy. I packed enough to not have to leave the camp all weekend but on Friday, I ventured up to Hill Farmstead Brewery for some beers and Parker Pie for pizza and finally to East Montpelier to grab fireworks for the group. It’s good to note this was a very ‘redneck’ weekend very akin to my days living in Florida. We road ATVs, drank good and cheap beer and listened to country music while eating a copious amount of meat. The group brought a gas grill, deep fryer and smoker. It was quite a bit of fun! I also got to test some camping gear that I’ll be utilizing all Summer on various trips around the Northeast.

This weekend was photographed exclusively with Heather’s Canon S110 since my Olympus EM-1 is currently sitting in a rice-bath due to water damage. This is the first exclusive use of the S110 since I recommended Heather buy one ahead of our Euro-Trip. I loved the S90 and S95 and this is an excellent camera at a great price. The automatic white balance was flawless. I’m not that impressed with the low-light performance but that’s not what this camera is for. It performed very well on non-action shots in good lighting producing a very acceptable image.

4th of July Camp-Out (Danville, VT / NEK)

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Pizza @ Parker Pie was great. I never miss a chance to drop by and have my mouth destroyed by spicy food

4th of July Camp-Out (Danville, VT / NEK)

4th of July Camp-Out (Danville, VT / NEK)\

4th of July Camp-Out (Danville, VT / NEK)

July 6, 2015

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via CharlieRose.com:

Megan Smith CTO of the United States of America, “There are these incredible photographs from the launch of the Macintosh in the 80’s, and the Rolling Stone pictures that were published. The historic record shows this group of 10 people in a pyramid–actually 11, seven men and four women. Every photograph you see with the Mac team has Joanna Hoffman, who was the product manager, a great teammate of Steve Jobs, and Susan Kare who did all the graphics and user interface on the artist side. None of them made it into the Jobs movie. They’re not even cast. And every man in the photographs is in the movie with a speaking role. It’s debilitating to our young women to have their history almost erased.”

Shameful representation of Women in the upcoming Steve Jobs movie.

Not sure why more people aren’t talking about this. There are women in this world who made it possible to live our lives in a technological world who are being written out of history by films. Nothing new here but really shameful.

July 3, 2015

Comments Off on Linked: “Reviving the Statistical Atlas of the United States with New Data”

via Flowing Data:

Ever since I found out about the Statistical Atlas of the United States, historically produced by the Census Bureau, it annoyed me that there wasn’t one in the works for the 2010 Census due to cuts in funding. The last one was for 2000. Actually, the 2000 edition was called the Census Atlas, but whatever. With more data than ever, it seems like there should be one.

Maybe that’s why there’s isn’t one.

Too much data, too much of an undertaking, and too many bureaucratic decisions to make.

These are very beautifully made maps using public data. This image in particular.

July 2, 2015

Comments Off on Technology: Camping with Apple Watch, Apple Music, Zero Cell Service and no Camera

Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival

Tomorrow evening (Thursday), I’ll be heading up into the mountains of Northern Vermont with some friends to camp for 4 days. This is my first trip with my sort of new living situation of life with Apple Watch and Apple Music. 

Apple Watch requires daily charging and luckily, we’re car camping so I can run the car’s battery for an hour every night and charge the watch and my iPhone / iPad via a multi USB charger. I’ll still have my articles via iPad (Reeder & Instapaper) and I’ll have the fitness tracking of Apple Watch. I’ll be carrying my iPod Classic just in case but I have stored 30 playlists on iPhone for offline listening via Apple Music which just came out on Tuesday.

The cell service up there is nonexistent so let’s see how these 4 days go and if my devices will just constantly go bonkers given the lack of service. The iPod Classic and my Mophie juice pack will serve as backups so at least music and Instapaper / Kindle reading will still be possible no matter what (except they won’t save me from a bear attack).

A final note, last week while in Florida, my weathertight camera got wet and now I’m camera-less unless you count the iPhone 6 or GoPro Hero 4 as being capable still cameras. Either way, I’m stuck with Heather’s Canon S110 which is a highly capable camera but, after using it last night, I sorely miss the heft and capability of my Olympus OMD EM1. If the Rice-Bath my EM1 is undergoing for the next week does not save it, I’ll have to replace it. I was not looking forward to that. It does have me looking at today’s camera landscape and the huge amount of options available. Cameras have come a long way in the last 18 months.

It’ll be an interesting weekend. Sure, I’ll be embracing the outdoors but also pushing the limits on the ability to unplug from the Internet. Not my personal limits. I’m fine not being online but I assume my devices will not appreciate it and will be starving to reach out the outside world while they live happily in airplane mode until Monday Morning.

Happy 4th of July and enjoy the warm weather and I hope all of my readers here stay safe.

July 2, 2015

Comments Off on Linked: “Pay for Starbucks Via Apple Pay (Sort Of)”

via PC Mag:

So, here’s the deal: You reload your card with Apple Pay in the app, and you then use the app itself to pay for your coffee. Apple Pay, in a way, pays for your coffee, but only by the transitive property. And, yes, the entire process requires Touch ID to work, so at least you’ll be secure in knowing that nobody else is taking your smartphone and benevolently reloading your card for you.

As I’ve mentioned on this blog many times, Starbucks essentially invented the gift card. The sole reason for this amazing invention and perks to the customer for using a registered gift card over credit card @ the POS is that you put $50 on your card once per month and use it throughout the month. Starbucks only has to pay the credit card processing fee one time saving them a few percent on their bottom line. The more you utilize a pre-paid gift card, the more money they make per transaction.

Apple Pay uses the existing Credit Card infrastructure. Meaning, if Starbucks accepts Apple Pay, the experience is so similar to their current Gift Card POS scanner that people would stop using Smartphone gift card barcodes and just start using Apple Pay. This cuts into their bottom line. You’d be surprised how many of Starbucks customers have Apple Pay. Their clientele is in a higher salary demographic and is more likely to have an iPhone than most other coffee chain customers. For this, they need their customers to keep using gift cards. It’s saving Starbucks millions of dollars a year.

I honestly don’t foresee them ever accepting Apple Pay at the POS. I will continue using my registered gift card on the iOS Home screen (via Passbook) because it’s convenient. I’d use Apple Pay if they accepted it.