Publisher's Note: As Uncle Ben once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” But, as Peter Parker would likely phrase it, “With great power comes great fun.” Technology is advancing at an ever-increasingly rapid rate, but balancing out the dangers (such as the egregious Equifax data breach) is the potential for a lot of fun (including augmented reality and better, lighter cameras), education (such as Sphero’s STEAM sensations) and global community (by way of collaborative efforts like contributing to data analytics through distributed computing). The following pages touch on all of these topics and more.
“Tutum manere • Custodiunt illud reale • Have fun”
Raspberry Pi 4 and Coronavirus Research
Updated 4 May 2020
The Raspberry Pi robotics experiment has been an eye-opening look at all sorts of DIY IoT possibilities. Now it’s become an opportunity to join a distributed computing network that provides computing resources to scientists trying to crack the COVID-19 code and — through protein modeling — find ways to combat the virus.
Here’s what it takes to join the fight against COVID-19.
Sphero RVR and Raspberry Pi 4: The Experiment
19 April 2020
I found my new learning opportunity during this “stay at home” period: take Sphero’s RVR from an app-controlled droid with some in-app programming capabilities and turn it into an ambitious skills enrichment project roping in a Raspberry Pi 4B for extended programmability and enhanced functionality.
Behold the beginning of the bold RVR experiment.
The MacBook Pro 16-inch
Updated 19 April 2020
The old 2015 MacBook Pro (with a 13-inch screen) was struggling to process the new camera's RAW photos (each photo around 100 MB). The battery was in need of replacement. And it had started shutting down unexpectedly with alarming frequency.
Enter the magnificent 2019 MacBook Pro.
Active Noise Cancellation Ear Buds
10 November 2019
My personal search for something better in ear buds audio led me to the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8. I got them in March and I was delighted with their performance in the air and on land.
Fast-forward to October 30; both Amazon and Apple launched new ear buds. Curiousity got the best of me and I had to check 'em out.
iPhone 11 Pro Max: The Camera
Updated 4 May 2020
Now including photos and a video from Mattopia Jones and the Jaws of Life, taken with the iPhone 11 Pro Max camera in Australia, Japan, South Korea, India and Thailand.
Augmented Reality: Still a Marketing Gimmick
20 October 2019
As it stands, things haven't changed all that much since I played around with some AR gimmickry leading up to the release of Star Wars: Episode VIII two years ago. A lot of AR is still a marketing toy.
iPadOS in Beta
Updated 30 September 2019
I've been tinkering with the brand new iPadOS now that the public beta has been released. I like what I see so far, but, as expected, there are some bugs to squash.
Becoming a Digital Rembrandt
12 January 2019
Here it is. The technology to turn any aspiring painter into the next Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Lichtenstein or Warhol. All through the swipe of a finger.
Living "Smart" at Matt Manor
30 December 2018
I had no idea I really needed 16 million lighting color options at my disposal until I plugged in that first bulb. It was a transformative experience.
"Clear Me" at the Ballpark: Clearly It Doesn't Work
21 April 2018
I made it to two Opening Day games this year. At both games, I used the Clear lane for — allegedly — speedy access to the park. Their slogan, after all, is "Skip the line, every time." But. Not so fast.
Sphero's R2-D2: Under the Dome
Updated 28 January 2018
Now programmable with Apple's Swift Playgrounds on iPad as well as Sphero's Edu app, R2 offers a lot more dynamic programming and interaction options.
Doo bop bonk bee pffft... (That's Astromech for "read on, Padawan learner.")
Target's Cartwheel Deals Near You
22 January 2018
Target recently updated its app with a cool new feature: Cartwheel Near You. I was wondering when something like this would be available and it's great to see this advancement in making the brick-and-mortar experience (almost) as easy as cyber shopping.
Equifax: Dissecting the Data Breach
16 September 2017
What did Equifax get wrong during the data breach fiasco? Pretty much everything. Let's break it all down with a laundry list of shocking missteps and bad, bad mojo.
It's true. I'm not very social when I'm on vacation, at least in terms of social media.
Traveling thousands of miles away, my first obligation is to take in the atmosphere and the people, always minding my surroundings (sage advice provided to Bruce Wayne).
Living in the moment, sharing it later. Maybe even much later. But those experiences will always be with me because I took the time to let them happen instead of having my face perpetually staring at a glass.
I've had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister (Inception) and also meeting legendary filmmaker Greg MacGillivray.
What do they have in common? Filming in the extra-large IMAX format. Pfister's a key force behind making IMAX a part of Hollywood's blockbuster theatrical releases and MacGillivray filmed the most successful IMAX-exclusive movie of all time, Everest. In my own small — very small — way I channel their creative vision while on vacation, playing around with much smaller and lighter-weight gear at the consumer level.
Why do I follow U2 all over the planet? It's the music (of course) and the unbeatable experience of being in the crowd and absorbing the collective energy.
But U2 also put on groundbreaking shows tour after tour. What they're doing now other bands might be brave enough to try... oh... maybe 5 years down the road.
U2 use technology to bring the audience closer into the show, turning arenas into intimate night clubs and stadiums into venues where even the nosebleeds can feel a part of the band.
Speaking of Kickstarter, I supported the campaign to make the Guitar Triller a reality. Still wating for my one-on-one virtual training session, but my poor guitar hasn't had much play time anyway. Check out the Guitar Triller.
Mattopia.com is a completely hand-coded effort; there's no CMS behind its massive 1,500+ pages of content. At the day job, however, CH2M's was the first Fortune 500 site to launch in Drupal 8 thanks to the mad skills of developers at Chapter Three.
Sorry, BB-8. With a "fresh one," K-2SO has sent you rolling out of my heart's pole position for droids. I appreciate both droids have designs dating back to Ralph McQuarrie's original concept art for Episode IV, but it helps that K-2SO speaks my language and shares my sense of humor.