Looking behind

I’ve always said that the best camera is the one you have on you, and I’ve mentioned that that cameraphones have a lot of versatility.

I haven’t been shooting seriously in over a year and my cameras are screaming for me to take this stuff seriously again.

Even my iPhone camera.

With my car finally back from the shop, my rear mirror finally repaired, me in the passenger side, and the latest burger from McDonald’s in my lap, I felt a lot of regret I couldn’t snap this with my Leica or Panasonic LX1. But then I remembered I was charging my iPhone…

Ferry Building

Ferry Building
Embarcadero, Waterfront, San Francisco, California

Apple iPhone 3G
f/2.8, 3.85mm (37mm)

View Large On Black

Continue reading about iPhone as a serious photographic tool after the jump

Kindle hits the iPhone

One of the iPhone updates I downloaded last night was the New York Times app. Trying to figure out how it was better than the previous version I was hit with the announcement that there is a Kindle app for the iPhone.

Here are some screenshots with commentary:

Kindle on the iPhone

The Kindle icon is nice. I put the app next to Stanza which is, by far, the best free book reader for the iPhone. Yeah, my battery is running out.

Startup screen

This screen is the same as the Kindle 2’s UPC symbol.


All my purchased books are synced and the covers are in color. Nice.

On the other hand, none of my sample chapters synced, none of my documents synced, and my magazine subscription The New Yorker didn’t sync. I was hoping to see the latest cover in color on the iPhone. 🙁

Where's the color?

Kindle app wirelessly synchronized my page position from my Kindle 2. Slick! You flick tap to change the page, tap hold to pull up the menu. They’ll probably have to change the navigation UI to be more in line with other iPhone readers.

For some reason the scroll is too slow for page flipping. You flick to fast you just get a white screen. You can change the font size but you cannot rotate the display.

Images on Kindle books are supposed to be color. Not for me! Maybe it depends on the book, but the print version of this book is clearly color, while the Kindle version is black and white. Also you can’t pinch zoom or tap zoom any of the images. So much for using the Kindle for my pr0n needs. Argh!

Go To…

There seems to be a bug where both “Beginning” and “Cover” jump to the cover. Beginning is supposed to jump to the first readable area.

Note that the app syncs my notes and marks from my Kindle 2.

The jump menu is the only thing clearly better on the iPhone. I can jump to the section with just a flick and tap. Those of you who take a lot of notes know how frustrating it is to navigate the Kindle 2’s eInk display.

BTW, there is no text-to-speech. This is disappointing. I know the iPod has spoken menus and there is a way sync high quality voices to it. I’d love for a high-quality voice like Alex read my books while I’m driving (and then sync my book position back to my Kindle 2.
[If I have time I’ll archive my notes later in this article]


Well the Kindle 2 came out today so I preordered it.

This morning two people IM’d me about it so I decided to give the first my Amazon referral bucks. I give Amazon bucks semi-randomly to various friends and he asked me how I do it.

I use a “Buy from Amazon” bookmarklet I wrote to make life easier.

You can drag that into your toolbar if you like. One nice thing is to remove the second prompt and just replace the href with the tag to yourself. I keep it this way so that I remember to put the associate ID of one of my friends since I put them on rotation.

Amazon.com: Kindle 2: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation): Kindle StoreAmazon.com: Kindle 2: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation): Kindle Store

Anyone else wonder why Amazon decided to call it the Kindle? Shouldn’t it be something more akin to Treehugger? I thought Green was in.

Continue reading about My take on the K2 after the jump


Even though it’s been a month, I still have yet to write down my New Year’s resolutions. I think that’s because last year I only completed one of four, after being three for three in 2007, I’m demoralized.

If I were to write one, the resolution would center around becoming a person more honest with myself and, by extension, with others. So far, I’ve found it relatively easy to do the physical aspects like “workout” but rather hard to do emotional ones like “letting go.” This is compounded by the fact that it is relatively easy to write achievable goals for the former, but not so easy to for the latter.

iPhone Gratitude App

I stumbled across an application this morning after working out. It’s selling for 99 cents on iTunes.

The idea is to write five things a day you are thankful for. Every so often (every day?) after writing in the journal it gives you an inspirational quote. I guess the idea is that if you focus on the positive you can create an abundance mindset and thus be happier. As for me, I just think that we don’t focus on our inner selves enough.

We cannot exercise the physical heart directly, so we do so indirectly with large muscles moving. Perhaps we cannot exercise the emotional heart directly, so we do so indirectly with small gratitudes giving.

Maybe it’ll help, and, if you’re in the same boat, maybe it’ll help you too. The nice thing is, you can even do this without an iPhone.


This iPhone application is amazing:

I remember growing up with Rubik’s cubes in grade school. In college, a friend showed me how he came up with his solution at my age simply by inventing algorithms to transpose any two corners or sides. I never managed to get past two rows myself—a shame to my alma mater no doubt.

Rubiks cube (unsolvable)

It goes a long way to show the sort of person I am that as a kid I would love to “solve” cubes by cracking them open and putting it back together delta a single side piece which I would flip. I would then mix the cube up and put it back.

I guess you have to be a geek like me to get the humor in that one.


Because it is the 25th anniversary of the Macintosh, there is twitter meme going on where you talk about your first mac.

Reading the headlines on Microsoft, Sony, and Nokia, I’m struck with just how impressive Apple’s quarterly’s are. Yesterday, I noticed that Apple’s front page was bragging that they have had over 300 million iPhone AppStore downloads since its launch.

Instead of going back 25 years, I’d rather go back seven when, in October 2001, Apple released the iPod. Now most of us don’t have to eat as much crow as Slashdot did—I purchased my first iPod one month after the release. However when Steve Jobs said then that the iPod was “the 21st-century Walkman” who didn’t think it was laced with more than a little hubris? And yet, now, we’d probably think that the iPod which reenergized the Macintosh, changed the music industry, and was parlayed into the “it” smartphone was the Walkman and much more.

Sony missed the iPod market because its acquisition of Columbia made the huge technology company a victim of the requests of its media division. Instead of learning from this mistake and moving forward, in 2005, this Japanese engineering company appointed an American entertainment executive to lead their company.

“If you look backward in this business, you’ll be crushed. You have to look forward.”
—Steve Jobs, on the 25th Anniversary of the Macintosh

My #firstmac? Well that was just under 25 years ago. I can still remember making Dungeons and Dragons maps with it in MacPaint at my best friend’s house—that computer changed my life. I went home and begged my parents to buy one and I’ve used sixteen macs since that day—I can name every one.

That moment also marked one of the last times I’d spend with my friend—the years play-acting fantasy books in the junkyard behind his house giving way to separate schooling and separate lives. That computer also changed some others lives. It was purchased with the same drug money that would later kill 18 people.

For different reasons than Steve Jobs, I can’t look back, I’d be crushed. I can only look forward.