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Posts Tagged ‘gadgets’

Top Gadget Predictions For 2009

Friday, December 19th, 2008

It’s too close to Christmas to provide any more tips on presentations, because presentation season is over for another year. Audiences have fled to the malls, to panic-buy small digital gadgets.

So we thought we’d gaze into the technical crystal ball and predict the hottest gadget trends for next year.

1. SatNav Cam

One of the genuinely frightening things about being on the road in 2008 is seeing people with SatNav units stuck right in front of the driver at eye level.

“Not my fault, officer, the pedestrian ran behind my SatNav screen.”

These people need a SatNav with a webcam on the back, displaying the obscured part of the road on the screen. So the whole unit becomes transparent, in a weird pixelly way. Alternatively, they could just MOVE THE THING TO WHERE IT’S MEANT TO SIT.

2. Recharger Room

By the end of 2009, home designers will start adding a separate room to house all the chargers for the family’s galaxy of small electronic things. Its floor-to-ceiling racks of power boards will be filled with fat black power adaptors, humming quietly, and an Amazonian tangle of leads. Most of them will go nowhere, because they belong to the phone you threw out two years ago, or the Nintendo that your kid lost last holidays, but you dare not throw out the plugs, “just in case“.

3. i-Tome

A battered, hollowed-out hardback copy of something clever by Proust or Sartre, so you can sit in cafes or trains looking thoughtful and intriguing when you’re actually Facebooking on the i-Phone hidden inside.

4. Facebook Door Bitch

Facebook friend list full of undesirables? It’s bound to happen if you’re a polite person who doesn’t want to offend new friends, even if you’re pretty sure you’ve never met them.

Taking a cue from the world of nightclubbing, new application Facebook DoorBitch (FBDB) takes the responsibility out of your hands. When someone unwanted asks to be your friend, the FBDB avatar pops up and tells them that they can’t come in because their shoes are wrong. Or because they don’t have a collar. No amount of pleading will get them past.

“Please let me into their page! I’m a friend of the owner!”

“Sure, that’s what everyone says. Now on your way or I’ll call security.”

5. Sitar Hero

Like this, only more Indian.

And you don’t have to strike poses because you’re sitting on a mat, looking blissful.

The Guitar Hero shots are from last week’s Scene Change Tasmania staff Xmas party. In case you were wondering how they relax after a year of setting up lots of complex technology - they like to set up even more complex technology, but with a vital extra element: beer.

Going surfing now, back next year. A big thank you to all the Friends of Scene Change, we appreciate everything.

Presidential Technology: No Patching for Obama

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

They won’t let Barack Obama use his Blackberry when he becomes President.

You have to feel for the guy. He’s put a lot of effort into becoming President, and his current Blackberry habits suggest he likes communications gadgetry.

I’m sure he was expecting to be rewarded with access to an Aladdin’s cave of top-secret gizmos, devices light years ahead of the ones us mere mortals fiddle with in airport lounges (and what did business people do in airports before they had things with buttons on them? Play charades? Think?).

A couple of weeks ago we reviewed Adobe Crime Scene, the futuristic image sharpener that turns security-cam to HD, available only to CSI’s Horatio Caine and his white-panted staff. President Obama will need a copy of that, if only for the kids to play with.

But most of all, Obama has earned the right to a Jack Bauer Phone.

You’ve seen it on 24.  Despite its handy compact size, the Jack Bauer Phone sucks bandwidth out of the sky like a jet engine.

Graphics? It can view complex building schematics, including live blinking terrorist trackers, on a screen the size of a matchbox.

Best of all, it has amazing ‘patching’ facilities. What’s patching? God knows, but it beats email attachments.  You just ring up the faithful Chloe and ask her to ‘patch through’ the warehouse security camera from an unknown address across town. Or patch through the instrument readouts from the jet fighters with the nuclear missiles.

The only drawback of patching is that it’s forbidden by Chloe’s small-minded office supervisors, probably because of the bandwidth bills the last time she patched ‘the satellite network’ through to Jack as he clung upside down to the axles of the terrorists’ moving truck.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I try downloading building schematics and satellite networks all day while shooting heaps of people, my batteries tend to go flat. You’ve probably found the same. Jack uses some sort of plutonium battery that goes the full 24 hours.

That’s the stuff President Obama should have! Instead, all his correspondence has to be secure and available ‘for the official record’.

Obama will know what this means. As a lawyer, he would have watched older law firm partners ask their secretary to print out entire web sites so they can read them. Your parents may do the same. You can picture young Obama trying to show them how to read the screen.

That’s not the way we do things here, son.”

Sacrifices of public office, indeed.

CSI: Conveniently Sharpened Images

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

“Well Frank, looks like my algorithm’s better than yours.”

We’re sitting here working on some layouts with images the client sent over, and we’re wishing we worked for CSI Miami. Not the people who make the show, but the actual crime investigators themselves.

Why so?

Is it the magic pistols that nail a crack lord every shot, while their henchmen blaze away with 6000 round-per-minute Gatling guns and only hit one cop at the end of each season?

Is it having workmates who operate in abbatoir-like conditions, up to their armpits in decomposed gore, in immaculate white pants and high heels?

Or is it the way the office is lit up in primary colors of LSD-trip intensity? Though that could explain all the sunglasses indoors.

Nope, none of those.  It’s their image-sharpening software.  We want a copy of ‘Adobe Crime Scene’, or whatever it’s called, the all-purpose still and video clarity enhancer.

All over the world, designers spend most of their time explaining to clients that an 8k .gif file copied from a web site isn’t going to cut it as a full-screen image.

Nobody believes us, because they’ve all seen Horatio ask the image guy: “What if you apply the sharpening algorithm?” And presto! The pixels shrink down and the bad guy comes into view.

Interestingly, the idea of doing this never seems to occur to image guy until Horatio asks him to. Maybe Horatio has the only software key because they spent too much money on white pants.

You can even turn the photo subject around and see what’s on his back, using the ‘Make it 3D’ button.

We particularly love the little Kraftwerk-style bleeping noise the computer makes as it sharpens: the sound of processors working up a sweat.

Adobe Crime Scene would save us a fortune. We could shoot events and ads on cheap security cameras, recorded on VHS tape, and fix ‘em up in post. We’ll let you know when it comes on the market, until then it’s boring old broadcast cameras for your event.