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Entries in iphone (24)


Maps and settings

Recently I was asked to install an upgrade on my bluetootch connection in Prius when I got the new iPhone X. So I waited to go through the motions.

Now everytime I get out of my car, there is a "parked car update". That was interesting.

Also given I am a creature of habit, the phone would tell me "14 minutes to Bikram Yoga San Jose" if I ever sat in my car and started to drive at certain times.. or it would say "45 mintues to Home" when I leave office.

Sometimes I would have to go do a drop or pickup for the kids and skip yoga for a late class and the app would give me this bitter reminder that not everything goes like clockwork. 

Last 5 days has been interesting. I had left work and suddenly my phone pops a reminder that says 30 minutes to Felix labs. I was worried for a second. So called my office promptly and said "did you guys book me for some meeting with someone at something called Felix labs or copy me on calendar?" I just got instructions to drive there.

My guys said "no we dont work with any Felix labs or have plans to. Maybe your phone or outlook is hacked?".

Came home and checked. It was not a calendar thing. It was a "maps" thing. Someone has marked Felix Labs on one of the houses near my house and the maps is picking up that as the location instead of my Home! 

The same thing happened the other day when I was trying to drive to another known location. It gave a different name! 

This is really weird. Thought this should be posted out there to see if others are seeing similar things and why?!


Software tricks that compensate for hardware

If you hear about software compensating for hardware be it in imaging, networking, security, etc. etc. take it very seriously. 

Got to witness it firsthand over the weekend. We were at a friends place and one of our friends who works at Apple, whips out an iPhone8 and says "let me show you the portrait mode on this one". She takes a photo of me and with a single swipe on the icons in the bottom she was able to adjust the lighting on the portrait, AFTER the photo was taken. The background was also blacked out instantly and precisely.

It is interesting to note that Apps have figured out how to identify your face and put bunny ears on them, glasses and hats on your image and move them dynamically as you move your face. That is already 2016! as pointed out by my other friends. So the face and body recognition has come a long way. The speed and precision with which it is being done is what is amazing and scary! 

It takes me (and I do this with practiced ease) 3-4 minutes to cut an outline and create portait shots by blacking or whiting out the background. I use the smart cut tool in Adobe Photoshop CS5 and do a layer by cut followed by a solid layer and reordering the layers. 

The key issue is that the smart cut is only as precise as I can do it manually. My rush and crude job in the picture below shows that I did not get the boundaries right on my head line or right ear, which is because the background color blends with skin color or fuzzy boundaries are hard to delineate. The option is to gradually increase opacity between the layers. It can be done and it will take another few mintutes and can be automated.

How do you adjust the lighting post picture?! Think the iPhone8 is taking a page out of the Lytro book and doing multiple exposure shots (kind of like HDR but by adjusting focus) or is adding image sensor tricks to deliberately over expose or underexpose a group of pixels after it identifies the face prior to taking the pictures and is then able to play with this in the post processing. Dont know what kind of AI went into this, but whatever it is, very impressive!

Note that when I do smart cut and add a black layer, there is no lighting effect. I can also recreate part of the effect by creating a custom Vignette option. But I cannot change the local lighting on my face. It will always match the original. 

The "smart cut" being done with software is what is incredible. This is going to put portrait studio kits out of business. 

The SLR camera and lenses are temporarily safe. It still takes a good zoom to capture pictures of moving subjects against a plain backdrop and CS5 to adjust it. Maybe when you import the photos into an iPhone8 those photographs will be edited with a button click. Photoshop options and customized macros are going to be folded into the iPhone. You dont need those anymore soon..

One idea that I had was this.. Build a housing for an iPhone where the phone's camera focuses on an internal white board inside the box which replaces the plane of the full frame sensor in an SLR. You directly put your 2000$ lens on to this small box and the phone connects to an EF lens, telescope, binocular etc. etc. 

In the mean time photography enthusiasts like me will still lug around a heavy bag... 

Technology is moving very fast. Faster than a common person with respect to that technology field is improving. I am in hardware and see a scary progress in software. A software person is probably seeing the same thing in hardware space. The collective improvement is something neither one can anticipate or expect. . . it beats the average expectation by a wide margin!  The happy go lucky average users (all of us) don't see the larger picture of where this is going!



Given a choice, I would go with my family to the coast and take sunset pictures. But recently that has not been possible with travel. There are amazing sunsets no matter where I am.. so here are some sunsets taken with the iPhone from car rides from airports to hotels, which invariably happen during sunsets!

These were all taken over last two months from moving vehicles.

There were also taken with the iPhone but didnt have to deal with movement..

Sometimes the best camera you have is the one in in your hand!


Taking sides at a young age

Given my iPhone 5S is nearing its 2 year contract, I can get an upgrade to the 6 or 7 or whatever comes by November. 

Jr. already has got her own 5S and her iPhone 4S is now a hand me down to the little one. I have since been getting an earfull on how the 4S is useless! It has no memory. It has a poor battery life and keeps losing charge. It is slow and there is a long list of complaints. 

Also the little one is hoping that I get the new phone and she automatically gets my current phone as a hand me down... with a phone number. She now has a busy calendar and friends to call on play dates.. which will soon be called "hangouts"

Another thing I learned is that when a girl goes from elementary school to middle school and does the same thing with the same friends in the same houses, it still goes by a different name. It is not a Playdate anymore. It is a "hangout". 

Life was simpler when I was a kid. Same cricket bat, same electric box used as stumps, same bunch of boys.. same rules for what gets called a 4,6 or out. None of this playdate vs. hangout stuff. We didn't even have a name for when we all got together and played cricket or table tennis or went to the beach on our bicycles.

Given all the playdates and possible future hangouts, the little one made us wander to the phone section in target to "check out" the phone deals. Of course she points to a 5S and goes "it is 40$ per month ONLY appa!" 

If ONLY she knew what that ONLY meant for a two year contract! That is when San takes her to the wall and goes "why dont you pick one of these phones. they are larger, have more memory and come with cheaper plans"

The little one wanders through the display and comes back to us and goes 

"that wall is ENTIRELY full of Android crap!" 

I burst out laughing but looked the other way.

Jr. and San were shocked by the way she said it with all that frustration.

Given San uses a Xiaomi Android phone, not sure how she took it.

Looks like we have an "i-ddict" in the house. They got this one young.. 

Now we wait for November. 


Start with the clouds

It has been a good three months since the India trip. There has been a lot more traveling, all work related. Interesting places, experiences, people! A lot to write about.

However, work dicates I keep my travel locations confidential. It is a funny request given I meet so many familiar faces at various international airport waiting lounges. Also, there are only a handful of fab locations in the world one can go to these days, if you group it by country!

For now, the request has to be honored.. so let's start with the clouds!

This picture was taken somewhere at 33000 feet above an ocean, with the iPhone 5S

Think that is generic enough!

Now don't start asking me which ocean.. 

While I was going through iPhone pictures, came across another recent one taken at Big Sur where we went camping a few months ago. 

Both photos were sent through Photoshop for the same reasons. The first photo had way too many light spots from the plane window. So eliminated them on the middle of the picture. The second one had raindrops on the windshield which showed. Removed most of the drops that showed up on the road (you can still see the drops on the tree and sides). 

Here are two photos taken with the 5D Mark II the previous evening at Big Sur.

Have now found a new treasure trove of pictures on my iPhone. 

A friend who works at Adobe just got me a copy of the latest Lightroom! 

Apparently presets are a breeze with Lightroom. Will tell you how it goes soon..