Monthly Archives: December 2014

This is Good and Too Long Coming… Cuba & the US

Today President Obama announced that the US and Cuba are working on normalizing relations. This is good that the US and Cuba are moving forward into 21st century. It is even better to say goodbye to the vestiges of the 1950 and 1960s policy that no longer fits either nation or the current state of the world.

Many kudos to Pope Francis, President Obama, Raul Castro, and all the diplomats and staff of the Vatican, the US, and Cuba who worked on the talks to make today’s announcement possible.

We trade with and can visit Vietnam, so why not Cuba. We trade with and can visit Russia. And China. And Laos, as well as other formerly and currently communist countries. It is time for us to kiss Cold War posturing* goodbye.

United States, let’s take the normalizing of relations with Cuba one more step and lift the trade and travel embargo while we are at it.

* We can leave the Cold War posturing and nostalgia to Mr. Putin, which seems to be his favorite activity the last year plus. Maybe Mr. P. should think about actually governing his country and improving Russia’s economy…

The Attack of the Tiny Planets: Seal Beach Low Tide Edition

The Original Photo of Low Tide as seen from the Seal Beach Pier The Low Tide photo run through the Tiny Planets App for the First Time The Second Pass of the Tiny Planets Low Tide Photo through the Tiny Planets App

On Monday, while waiting for my Mom to be finished at the dentist, I walked along the Seal Beach Pier and took the above left photo of the low tide line. Yesterday I ran the photo through the Tiny Planets app on my phone to good effect, middle photo. And then this morning, in a fit of experimentation, I ran the first tiny planet through the Tiny Planets app again to get a second almost trigometric/cosine effect, photo on the right. Thus, twice through the Tiny Planets makes for good fun.

How the Foursquare Pivot to Swarm Has Decreased my Mobile Usage, or Goodbye Foursquare – I loved You…

One Star Review for Swarm

Over the summer, Foursquare pivoted from a fun, game based location mobile app to a location based restaurant review app with the aim to compete with Yelp. To throw a bone to loyal users who loved checking in, they created a second location based mobile check in app called Swarm*.

Swarm has a lovely new UI, they pick the location for you, most of my Foursquare friends are there, what I am supposed to do with it other than see where my friends are is unclear, and… Swarm is dull. As in boring.

I can still check in, sort of. I can still see what friends are up to around the world. But all the fun is gone. No points with quirky reasons for gaining points. No more competition with Juha Ristlainen, aka @Riussi, jockeying for position on the top of the leader board. No more bizarre user created location names. No more joy in using Foursquare/Swarm. No fun.

Yes, Swarm, I know that Jason, Annette, and Charlene are 30 miles away in LA. That’s nice. It was also nice to know that Lane was in LA 9 weeks ago. Thanks.

The fun of the old Foursquare was the reward of seeing how many quirky or mundane points that I would receive if I pulled out my phone constantly to check in. It was the reward of seeing what odd or outrageously named check spots people had created (25,000 cow farts for Harris Ranch or the local man cave in Seal Beach that I took great joy in stealing the mayorship of, etc. etc.).

With no more quirky points or named places, no more competition with friends in different time zones, and no mayorships to win or rest away/back my phone is staying in my purse or pocket unless I want to take a photo or specifically contact someone.

Gone is the Foursquare check in, gone is the laugh or groan at the points, gone is then the temptation to check Twitter or Instagram and then stay on those apps to view or chat, and then keeping my mobile in my hand wherever I am to then play with more apps.

Now with no reward or joy in pulling out my phone to check in on Foursquare everywhere I go, my Twitter and other mobile app usage has decreased to just a few times a day. And other than taking photos or complete a necessary communication, my mobile is now staying in my purse or pocket.

Who knew that the old Foursquare was such a gateway to more mobile usage all the way around? I didn’t until it was gone.

Goodbye Foursquare, I loved you, you were fun.

Now both you and Swarm are deleted/uninstalled.

* I got got an email from Swarm earlier this week which called Swarm the new Lifeblogging app. REALLY?!?!?!? 10 years too late on using that name for a mobile app. I will now slink off to my non-mancave to grumble in private.

Wanderers

Wanderers – a short film by Erik Wernquist from Erik Wernquist on Vimeo.

Mon 12.01.14 – Digital artist and animator Erik Wernquist has created a wonderful short film on space exploration called Wanderers.

Wanderers is a vision of humanity’s expansion into the Solar System, based on scientific ideas and concepts of what our future in space might look like, if it ever happens. The locations depicted in the film are digital recreations of actual places in the Solar System, built from real photos and map data where available.
Without any apparent story, other than what you may fill in by yourself, the idea of the film is primarily to show a glimpse of the fantastic and beautiful nature that surrounds us on our neighboring worlds – and above all, how it might appear to us if we were there.

The nice folks over at Cumbrian Sky have written a good blog post about the film and what it evokes:

Every few years a space exploration-related film comes along which actually *gets* it. It gets the beauty and drama of space exploration. It gets the beauty of what’s “out there”. It gets it Right. Every few years a film comes along which, with its breathtaking images and optimistic message has the power to excite and inspire a generation, and leaves even the most hardened space cynic picking their jaw off the floor.

Ok. Hands up who thought I was talking about “Interstellar” there… ?

No, I wasn’t. I know that’s the movie of the moment, and huge amounts of bandwidth has been eaten up with glowing reviews, praising to the sky its accurate science and its deep message and meaning. Review after review claims that it will be as inspirational as 2001 was when it was released. So I imagine you were thinking it was Interstellar I was talking about.

No, it wasn’t. I was talking about a film called “Wanderers”, posted yesterday without any fanfare on the Vimeo video sharing site.

Go watch it and then go look at the gallery of stills from the film as they are wonderful.

Thank you, Mr. Wernquist!