+Pack by Studio Neat

The +Pack has two very useful components for the Glif: One is the Ligature and the other is the Serif.

The Ligature screws into the Glif. You then put it on your key ring. Quite convenient if you take your Glif everywhere along with your iPhone 4 or 4S. If I could change two things on the Ligature it would be: Add a swivel, and a brass option. Compared to car keys and fobs the Glif is big, especially when the long end is sticking out. A swivel would help keep the long end down. The brass option matches well with the original batch of Glifs that had brass tripod screw threads. The Ligature is an ingenious idea that keeps things simple by making use of what is already there to add a convenient feature.

The Serif perpendicularly connects to the Glif and secures the iPhone 4 or 4S; now it has zero chance of falling out. At times I would put the iPhone in portrait orientation on the Glif, but I always felt it was insecure: The iPhone is off to the side and the vertical grip is too short to keep it secured. The Serif thoroughly eliminates any insecurities and gives me the freedom to use the iPhone on a tripod any which way I want.

The Glif is a small, simple tripod mount and stand for the iPhone 4/4S. The Ligature really secures the iPhone/Glif and the Serif connects the Glif to your key chain making it convenient to take it everywhere. An extra feature: The Ligature fits neatly inside the Glif. Tom and Dan has done it again: Simple, easy-to-use, must-have iPhone tools that add convenience without adding complexity. At US$12 the +Pack is a great deal. Make sure to pick one up at Studio Neat.

The SprintTV App for iPhones on Sprint

Sprint:

Sprint customers with iPhone can now watch free live TV and video-on-demand with the Sprint TV App, available now on the App Store. The Sprint TV App, powered by MobiTV, includes free live news and sports, along with shows from popular content brands such as ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, The Disney Channel, MTV, Comedy Central and more.

Sprint TV comes in four flavors with the free version included with unlimited data plans. This is a smart move by Sprint because it is the only carrier in the U.S. that could offer something like this. Video streams eat up bandwidth and Sprint is the only U.S. carrier that offers truly unlimited data plans. If Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile tried to offer a similar mobile TV service you’re connection will either get throttled making the mobile TV experience excruciatingly painful or you’ll be paying an insane amount of overage charges.

ATF to Delete the BlackBerry

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives CIO Rick Holgate:

We’re going to delete the BlackBerry from the mix. […] The government has been very comfortable with the BlackBerry model for 10 years. Now we’re looking to move beyond that. […] Video streaming, GPS capability, capabilities, the camera … a variety of things. Yes, these things exist on BlackBerrys, but in terms of ease of use and adaptability of the devices, the iPhones are the more functional and compelling use case.

Dell U2412M

AnandTech: The US$329 Dell U2412M is a 24-inch 16:10 1920×1200 LCD monitor sporting a 6-bit + FRC e-IPS panel. If color is important to you, and it probably is if you’re looking for an IPS monitor, I recommend spending a bit more for one with a bona fide 8-bit IPS panel with LUT.

The Art of Living

via Tina Roth Eisenberg. L.P. Jack:

A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.

Nokia 808 PureView

Nokia: The Nokia 808 PureView packs a Carl Zeiss f/2.4 lens and a 41-megapixel image sensor, capturing 16:9 photos with 7152×5368 pixels. By oversampling up to seven adjacent pixels into a single pixel, 5-megapixel photos can be generated. The gargantuan image sensor allows lossless 3x digital zooming. Continuously-focused video is captured at 1080/30p with 4x lossless digital zoom. That’s the amazing part; now the not-so-amazing part: The 4-inch ClearBlack AMOLED is limited to 640×360.

Update 2012.02.19:

NOKIA REDEFINES DIGITAL ZOOM

Juha Alakarhu:

When it comes to mechanics in the Nokia 808 PureView, we went overall the approved limits. This was a tremendous engineering achievement by a big team of passionate and dedicated people. When we started this project in 2007, we kept it very secret. The imaging experts at Nokia and in our partner companies did an incredible job. None of us were willing to give in when facing this incredible challenge.

We made dozens of optical designs trying to build the sensor, tried many different options for the algorithms, and worked intensively with our partners on the sensor design. We weren’t sure what kind of risks were involved, so we started concepting the technology for one device only. The device itself wasn’t actually relevant for us: we were more interested in the technology as a prototype.

The optics in Nokia PureView provides amazing sharpness. Few people will believe how sharp it is until they see the pictures. There is an old myth in mobile imaging that small lenses can’t produce good quality images. This is simply not true, since the performance depends on design, materials and the precision used in the manufacturing.

First, the specs. The Nokia 808 PureView sports a 1/1.2-inch 41-megapixel (7728×5368) image sensor. Each pixel is 1.4 microns. In 4:3 mode you get 38 megapixel images with a pixel format of 7152×5368. In 16:9 mode it’s 34 megapixels and 7728×4354. The sensor is coupled to a 26mm (16:9) / 28mm (4:3) f/2.4 Carl Zeiss aspherical lens system, which includes one high-index low-dispersion glass mould lens. The camera sub-system incorporates a neutral density filter and a mechanical shutter. The specifications are impressive, especially considering it’s used in a smartphone. But there is one particular reason why Eero Salmelin and Juha Alakarhu decided this must be developed: To vastly improve the poor image quality on zoomed photos using camera phones.

Digital zoom simulates optical zoom by cropping a portion of the image and then enlarging it. Let’s say you have the Canon S95. The CCD image sensor has 10.0 effective megapixels for a pixel format of 3648×2736. A 2x digital zoom means you’re image is now reduced to having just 1824×1368 pixels. A 4x digital zoom will further reduce the pixel format to 912×684. With digital zoom image quality degrades. Nokia:

When you zoom with the Nokia 808 PureView, in effect you are just selecting the relevant area of the sensor. So with no zoom, the full area of the sensor corresponding to the aspect ratio is used. The limit of the zoom (regardless of the resolution setting for stills or video) is reached when the selected output resolution becomes the same as the input resolution.

In other words, when you’ve set the image size to 5 megapixels or 3072×1728 the 808 PureView uses all 7728×5368 pixels to capture that image. All those pixels are oversampled to generate a 3072×1728 5-megapixel photo. When you apply a 2x digital zoom the pixels that are capturing the image is halved to 3864×2684. At this point you can no longer zoom, and there is no oversampling, but you have a 2x zoomed-in 5 megapixel photo with no degradation in image quality. In fact the image quality is claimed to be better than camera systems with optical zoom.

More lens elements are required for optical zoom and for correcting aberrations. But more lens elements interfere with image definition and light transmission. The simple structure of the Nokia 808 PureView allows for 10x greater manufacturing precision compared to SLR lenses, better image definition, and enhanced light transmission. I see great potential for professional digital SLR manufacturers to adopt lossless digital zoom to significantly improve photographic quality over optical zoom.

The team at Nokia responsible for the camera sub-system in the 808 PureView has achieved something remarkable: By completely rethinking digital zoom they have thoroughly redefined it. Digital zoom in turn is poised to redefine digital photography.

iPad 3 En Route

Mark Gurman, 9to5 Mac:

To summarize, the image uploader says iPad 3 (or whatever Apple chooses to call it) shipments are already coming out of China for delivery in three of America’s biggest airports. The poster also apparently says that initial deliveries will be made by Friday, March 9th. In typical Apple fashion, the cargo flight organizers are demanding unusual security for the cargo.

If true, this is getting exciting.

Better Street iPhoneography

Travis Jensen:

  • Get close, be bold.
  • If the light sucks, walk on by.
  • Embrace imperfection and keep it simple.
  • But line that sh*t up.
  • Consider your iPhone the greatest portrait camera. Ever.
  • Don’t leave the photos on your phone.