Today Google came out with a new app called PhotoScan that will scan your old photo collection. Like just everyone, I have stashes of shoeboxes inherited from parents full of pictures. Some were scanned in a scanner, back when I had one that was compatible with a computer. More recently, I’ve used scanning apps like Readdle’s Scanner Pro and Scanbot. These de-skew the photographs of the photos that your phone takes but the resolution’s is not always the best and there can be some glare from overhead lights, especially when you’re working with a glossy original pictures.
Google’s approach cleverly stitches together multiple photos. It uses a process much like their 360-degree photo app: you start with a overview photo. Once taken, you see four circles hovering to the sides of the picture. Move the camera to each and it takes more pictures. Once you’ve gone over all four circles, Google stitches these five photos together in such a way that there’s no perspective distortion.
What’s remarkable is the speed. I scanned 15 photos in while also making dinner for the kids. The dimensions of all looked good and the resolution looks about as good as the original. These are good results for something so easy.
Maybe the web’s form of hyperlinking is actually superior to Old Media publishing. I love how I can put forward a strong vision of Quakerism without offending anyone – any put-off readers can hit the “back” button. And if a blog I read posts something I don’t agree with, I can simply choose not to comment. If life’s just too busy then I just miss a few weeks of posts. With my “Subjective Guide to Quaker Blogs” and my “On the Web” posts I highlight the bloggers I find particularly interesting, even when I’m not in perfect theological unity. I like that I can have discussions back and forth with Friends who I don’t exactly agree with.
Comcast literally didn’t know how to give me access to their streaming apps without also mailing me this six pound box of equipment I’ll never install. The customer service rep had to get a supervisor override to even upgrade my account without this hardware being installed (“I know you just want the apps and you know you just want the apps but I’m not sure we can do that.”)
I’m thrilled that the Ulysses writing apps for iOS and Mac have been updated this week. They now have Dropbox syncing back and can post directly to WordPress. If this post shows it means the WP integration works!
A Quaker educator recently told me he had appreciated something I wrote about the way Quaker culture plays out in Quaker schools. It was a 2012 blog post, Were Friends part of Obama’s Evolution?
It was a bit of a random post at the time. I had read a widely shared interview that afternoon and was mulling over the possibilities of a behind-the-scenes Quaker influence. This sort of randomness happens frequently but in the rush of work and family I don’t always take the time to blog it. That day I did and a few years later it influence spline on some small way.
It reminds me of an old observation: the immediate boost we get when friends comment in our blog posts or like a Facebook update is an immediate hit of dopamine — exciting and ego gratifying. But the greater effect often comes months and years later when someone finds something of yours that they’re searching for. This delayed readership may be one of the greatest differences between blogging and Facebooking.
Twitter has always been a company that succeeds despite its leadership. Many of its landmark featured started as hacks by users. Its first apps were all created by third-party designers, whose good will to the curb when it about-faced and killed most of them by restricted its API. Top-down features like Twitter Music have come and gone. The only interesting grassroots innovation of recent years has been users using image attachments as a way of going past the 140 character limit.
I’ve been getting less patient with Twitter in recent months. Then-CEO Dick Costello acknowledged their failure handling abusive situations early in 2015 but nothing much seems to have changed. Having co-founder Jack Dorsey come back this in Jobsian fashion has been encouraging but only to a point — there’s a lot of weird ego involved in it all. Twitter’s inability to promote diversity and the tone-deafness of hiring a white man as diversity chief last month makes me wonder if it’s just finally going to do a full Yahoo and implode in slow motion.
One could argue that these “fatter tweets” is Twitter’s way of building the popular long-text picture hack into the system. Could Twitter management be ready to look at users as co-creators of the wider Twitter culture?