Thursday, 22 September 2016

Variable Fonts

Adobe Typekit Blog reports: [edited]

Jointly developed by Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Adobe, a variable font is “a single font file that behaves like multiple fonts”. A single font file gaining an infinite flexibility of weight, width, and other attributes without also gaining file size.

The OpenType font file specification now includes a new technology: OpenType Font Variations, which allows type designers to interpolate a font’s entire glyph set or individual glyphs along up to 64,000 axes of variation (weight, width, etc.), and define specific positions in the design space as named instances (“Bold”, “Condensed”, etc.).

For fonts to actually show up anywhere, a rendering engine has to make typesetting and rasterisation calculations. Rendering engines are complex, and will need to be developed before Variable Fonts become viable, along with browsers and design software to support the rendering engine.
------------

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

iPhone 7 Plus Camera Review

Austin Mann reports: [edited]

I’m writing from deep in the Nyungwe rain forest in southwest Rwanda. We’ve been tracking gorillas in the north, boating Lake Kivu in the west, and running through tea plantations in the south — all with the iPhone 7 Plus in hand.

Alternating between wide (28mm) and telephoto (56mm) lenses has fundamentally changed the way I see and shoot with my iPhone, including landscapes, wildlife, and people. The 2x zoom is an especially great upgrade for portraiture.

It works exactly as I hoped. It is super quick to switch between lenses, even while you are rolling video.

In terms of quality, I found the the 2x zoom lens to be equally as sharp as the iPhone wide-angle. However, I do not recommend the digital zoom beyond 2x. The quality of digital zoom degrades quickly and I find it unusable for photography (although it’s actually kind of nice as an animal spotting tool).

The 2x works in ALL modes (photo, video, time-lapse, slo-mo, and even pano).

The iPhone 7 features a completely redesigned camera system with a faster f/1.8 lens which leads to better auto focus, a better ability to freeze motion, and shallower depth-of-field. I also noticed an improvement in the the dynamic range of the sensor.
------------

Friday, 15 July 2016

OnePlus 3

Quartz reports: [edited]

It has 6 GB of RAM — triple what the iPhone 6S Plus ships with — and has a top-of-the-line 2.2 Ghz Snapdragon processor on board that means even the most processor-heavy apps and games should run smoothly on the OnePlus 3.

The camera is a 16-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. The rear camera also has a mechanical and digital image stabiliser. The 1080p AMOLED display looks great, it comes with 64 GB of storage space. And it has two SIM card slots.

OnePlus runs a customised version of Android that it calls OxygenOS that’s pretty much the clean, stock Android software that Google intended it to be, with a few minor upgrades.

The OnePlus 3’s “dash” charging system allows the phone to charge to 60% capacity in 30 minutes.

Price: £329 (A 64GB iPhone 6S costs £619).
------------

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Google My Activity

The Washington Post reports: [edited]

A new tool called My Activity allows you to view the information Google is stockpiling about you — and delete things you'd rather it forget.

My Activity shows you what Google has saved about your online activities going back as far as Google has been tracking them. You'll probably be prompted to enter your Google password, after this you will see a chronological list of things you've done using Google's services — the searches you've made, videos you've watched on YouTube, and so on (assuming you haven't already used Google's privacy controls to block the collection of certain information).

You can even search through the data trove to look up a specific record or activity Google has saved.

If you don't want Google remembering a particular search, find the record you want to delete, click on the three vertical dots on the right end of the record and select the delete option.

You can also delete things in bulk by clicking on the three dot menu at the top of the timeline, choose "Delete activity by" and selecting a date range to erase on the next page. If you want an entirely blank slate, opt for the "All Time" option.
------------

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

Digital Photography Review have published a in-depth review of Sony's premium super-zoom 'bridge' camera.

Snippets from the conclusion follow:

"The superb quality of the RX10 III's lens is quite a technical achievement, to say nothing of the overall feature set Sony has included as well. Whether you're zoomed in or zoomed out, focused close or focused on infinity, you'll be impressed with the sharpness offered by this 24-600mm equivalent F2.4-4 zoom lens."

"It's not perfect, that much is certain. It's not a 'caught moment' camera, or a sports shooting machine. But for outright versatility - for when I need 600mm – for when I need really good 4K in a compact package - the RX10 III makes a lot of sense."

"The autofocus system is contrast-detect only, meaning you can expect some hunting, especially at the longer end of the zoom. And while it aced our bike test for a steadily approaching subject - meaning depth tracking is quite good - the reality is that the camera too often goes into a long hunt if the AF point suddenly encounters a low contrast target - meaning missed shots."

"Overall, we've found the RX10 III the most well-rounded all-in-one bridge camera on the market today when it comes to size, feature set and image quality. But, while the RX10 III and its excellent lens might well be worth the price of admission for those that need it, continued ergonomic and user-interface shortcomings keep it from earning our top award."

Price: £1,499
------------

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Google Gigapixel Art Camera



Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

The Google Cultural Institute, an online virtual museum with high-quality digitisations of artifacts from across the globe, recently added more than 1,000 ultra-high-resolution images of classic paintings and other artwork by Monet, Van Gogh and many others. A new robotic camera system Google has developed called 'Art Camera' has made it possible for the organisation to add digitisations faster than before.

Art Camera, after being calibrated to the edges of a painting or document by its operator, automatically takes close-up photos of paintings one section at a time, using a laser and sonar to precisely adjust the focus. This process results in hundreds of images that are then sent to Google, where they're stitched together to produce a single gigapixel-resolution photo.

Art Camera can complete the process in less than an hour. Google has built 20 Art Cameras and is shipping them to museums around the world for free, enabling the organisations to digitise their artwork and documents.

The resulting gigapixel images can be viewed here.
------------

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Google Home

The Verge reports: [edited]

Physically, the Home is a small cylinder with a modular case that you can customise with different base shells to match your decor. It will also have LED lights to let you know it's working. It boasts a powerful speaker, one of the main uses Google is foreseeing is listening to music.

Google Home is designed with multiple rooms and speakers in mind. And you can talk to any speaker and tell it to play music on other speakers. It will work with Google Play Music, but it should also be able to handle any other service that supports Google Cast.

Compatibility with Cast means it can talk to the Chromecast plugged into your TV.

Unfortunately, the Home won't support multiple Google accounts at launch, but the company says that will come in time.

It will let you ask Google questions, with responses optimised for audio and it will to work with a set of home automation devices — including thermostats and lights.

It's coming out later this year for an unspecified price.
------------