Author Archives: Paul Morrison

Rubber Duck Tech Tip: RD wants the iPhone 6Plus

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Apple iPhone 5s. High noon light, rocking platform. Shot was “normal”, not HD.

Shot this Saturday waiting for the Cut Bridge to go up (high tide) after Mug Up trying to get a duck and the Birdseye Plant being taken apart in the background (They are working Saturdays.)

Non-descript photo, a snapshot, no real subject, point and shoot. But considering the conditions, it captures some detail. There was a lot of light but the boat was rocking. So the iPhone 5s shuts the aperture down to get a long depth of field but it should be muddy in the resolution and indeed it is a bit. We zoom in:

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The rod holder probably got the center of the depth of field but because the aperture is shut down to a F22 pinhole (guessing) the focus stretches from the duck butt to the paint factory. The software digital stabilization gives the Birdseye Plant some muddy painterly effects (the shot is right out of camera unprocessed) but still shows some detail of the demolition of frozen food history.

So what does this have to do with the new Apple iPhone 6Plus? The 6 Plus is going to make this shot better. The six Plus has optical image stabilization. (The iPhone 6 does not, it sticks with software fake focusing.) What is the difference? A lot. When I snap that photo two weeks from now there will be micromotors moving the lens around to lock on the Birdseye Plant while the lens is open. So if you are shooting from a rocking boat it still comes out clean.

But wait, there’s more. Something called pixel focus. Remember when you had that five pound Nikon DSLR and you manually focused the lens and you tried to get that little split image in the center to line up? 20 years ago but they looked like pixels which suddenly cleared when you focused on your subject? That (sort of) is pixel focus. There will be designated pixels across the field that need to match up, and when they do the lens is focused on that subject. When you tap the screen with your finger to light balance on the birdseye plant you are also selecting it as your primary focus (thank you Adam Bolonsky for pointing that out). Pixels in the birdseye plant will be used to “pixel focus”.

But you don’t need to know any of this. What it means is that iPhone 6Plus shots will be cleaner, sharper right out of the camera so you can fill your Facebook feed with more selfies than ever. The focus will be on your subject the entire time in a movie so your cat gifs you upload on #Caturday in G+ will be even more sickeningly cute.

The take home message: Tech marches on led by Apple. That used to be cool point and shoot digital camera you have covered with dust in the drawer next to your film cameras? Get ready for some company. High end point and shoots are history and this phone is going to start nibbling into the professional camera category. OK, you filmsters who said nothing will kill film quiet down. The three to seven thousand dollar DSLRs have plenty of life left. But everything underneath those price points I would worry if I was making a living selling them. People want to take snaps. More snaps on iPhones this year than all photos combined. Compact cameras will go the way of compact video will go the way of the Dodo bird. Because you use what you have. Since you have to have a phone in your pocket to check facebook and text you are going to shoot with your smart phone. Everything else is a slide ruler. Neat to own, but gathering dust in that drawer.

When and what to buy: The new Apple phones are the 6 and the 6Plus. I just described a few advantages of the six Plus. The six Plus also has 37% more screen, more pixels, and also better battery life than the 6. But I am still going to wait until next Friday, September 19 so I can touch them before deciding in the Boylston Street Apple Store. Everything points to the six Plus. For a hundred bucks more you get a ton more features. The battery and the camera are the deal maker. The downside is that the thing is an air craft carrier, a cross between a phone and a tablet. A “Phablet”. An awful portmanteau. I don’t want a phablet in my front pocket. “Is that a phablet in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?” Bend over and start singing falsetto. But I will likely go big. I was poking fun at Toby’s Androidy Phablet just a few weeks ago. (Can you land jet planes on that?) I will live through his eyebrows raising when I pull out my Fabulous Phablet. Or my Fab Fablet out of my Euro man purse.

if you read this far …

Disclosure: I have been an Apple fan, Apple Fan Boy, member of the Apple Sheeple flock, ever since I used a Macintosh 512 to make graphs in a paper published in 1985. I find Apple is like real Science, it just works and makes my life simpler. I am biased towards simpler. Sue me.

Unnecessary detail: the Info on the shot says F2.2 ISO 40. So instead of shutting the aperture down the camera digitally selects “slower” film to capture more detail. I’m not going back to change the verbiage just to make film school graduates happy who want to argue about the size of silver halide crystals.

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Rubber Duck Tech Tip: The New Watch

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I kept this hidden for two years …

So Apple has come out with a smart watch. The question is, are you going to buy one and will Apple sell these like hot cakes? My verdict to those two questions, maybe and yes.

Do I need to know all the time a new text has come in, a new email? Me? No. That is a short leash. I can go the whole day not turning my iPhone on. But others might have a different take. The maps, the photos, the all sorts of stuff this smart watch does is very cool. It does do one thing, make that two. 1) It just destroyed all the other smart watches out there. They are toast. This watch has also sucked all the oxygen out of the room for the fitness dongles, Fitbit etc.. Dead dongles walking.

So you come home, take your phone out and put it on a charger. Now you have a watch that needs charging too, maybe every night. It has a slick easy charge interface. It would be nice if Apple did the same thing to the phone and their laptops. A string of silver medallions to link all the things need charging. Might have to wait until version 2.0 before I dive in. Battery life is going to be a problem.

But what else did Apple announce? Big new iPhones. Gonna get me one of those, maybe even the aircraft carrier to make Joey happy. Apple also is boosting the iOS (phone operating system) to 8. I have been beta testing Apple’s Yosemite (new MacBook OS) and it is going to be kick ass linked to an iOS 8 phone.

Anything else? Oh yeah, maybe the biggest thing. The mobile payment system. OK, Android had NFC but Apple will make it work. Imagine not dealing with cashiers ever again. That seems ridiculous. But remember before ATMs when you had to wait for a bank teller at least once a week? When they first came out some people thought ATMs were silly and unsafe. You might have been one of them. Same with this.

[edit] Here is the best article I have found that explains the details of Pay. I had to read it through twice to get the simple reasons why it is going to kick butt. No more money, no more credit cards, no more wallet. Just your iPhone or your Watch, a fingerprint ID and you bought it.

RUBBER DUCK ARMY ASSEMBLING ON THE ISLAND in a secret location. Homie is on sentry duty.

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88 Rubber Duck sisters form the Rubber Duck Army. We have a Navy. We have NERF guns. We know this island like the back of our rubber wing. You cannot hide. Because the secret to our success? We have way too much time on our hands. FREE RUBBER DUCK! FREE RUBBER DUCK!

Donna & Rick on the Eagle

Donna and Rick on the CG barque Eagle

Around 11AM today. The stern of the CG Eagle. About ten seconds after I took this someone starts hollering from above then Rick and Donna materialized on the stern. Rubber Duck’s big sister, RD got tossed into the drink by grand niece Alice but MOB drills paid off and man overboard was back onboard in less than 30 seconds.

Rubber Duck says, “Yeah, yeah, Schooner this, Schooner that …”

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It would be insane to miss any of the Schooner doings all weekend and RD has a plastic card she will carry so as not to miss one event but remember Cape Ann has other stuff going on. Rockport Farmer’s Market stop by Saturday at 9AM and get a jump on the weekend. Pick up Anadama, Abbott Honey, Sasquatch Smokehouse Salmon or mussels. Then go to Schooner festival but take thick slice of Anadama, butter, honey, add smoked mussels and stuff that in your face while watching the Schooners. Do it early so you have room for the lobster mania at Harbor loop later int he afternoon. Almost forgot the tomato jam stuff which sounds as weird as my above sandwich but it’s crazy good.

Yes, that was the Roseway doing doughnuts in the outer harbor.

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Roseway doing some doughnuts then exit stage right for a little practice.

A neat way to track some of the schooners coming to participate in the Schooner Festival this weekend. Go to MARINE TRAFFIC.COM and create a free account. Now you can make “My Fleet” and find some of the schooners. You can then see realtime where the schooner is. This only works for boats out there with AIS transponders so some have them, some don’t. If anyone comes up with a more inclusive way to follow the whole fleet before the Mayor’s Cup race post in the comments.

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Amistad is departing New London and heading this way!

“MARCIA WILL U BE MINE” Graffiti on Straitsmouth Island

marciawillubemineMonday August 25, freshly painted on the gap end of Straitsmouth Island.

“MARCIA WILL U BE MINE?”

Marcia, here’s a tip, dump this loser and tell him to go row out to Straitsmouth and remove his stupid message.

You could also name him so we could publicly ridicule him too. That would be fun. Is he the D-bag who spray painted “MOLLY” under the Keystone Bridge?

Your boyfriend with the low IQ should not be dating material.

“Oh My God, It’s a Rubber Duck!”

Let’s reel the tape back to 2004. The European Space Agency (ESA) shot a rocket off to land the spaceship Rosetta on a comet. Rosetta has been cruising since then, swinging past Mars and a few other planets to line up so when this comet swings by the sun on November 11, 2014 she will actually attempt to land on it! Here is where it gets weird. As it gets closer Rosetta has sent back photos of the comet. They are calling it a “contact binary” which means two comets collided very slowly a few billion years ago and stuck.

But on closer inspection the first ESA scientist to look at the photos said, “Oh My God It’s a Rubber Duck!”

See for yourself.

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A Rubber Duck the size of Cape Ann is slowly spinning through the universe ready to make a close encounter with our sun on November 11, 2014

I swear I am not making this up. Our own Rubber Duck is starting to act peculiar after I told her the news. I will be posting regular updates of the Close Encounter of a Rubber Duck as we get closer to the the actual contact on November 11. I will be interviewing EJ to find out if her higher beings have lost a bath toy.

 

[edit] Fun Fact. Rubber Duck rotates every 12.4 hours. So imagine a rock the size of Cape Ann (in diameter, dig the thing up and get a big ball), the head is Rockport, the body is Gloucester, the lips enclose Sandy Bay rotating in synch with the tides. Twice a day, jut like the tides the lips point towards earth and you can slip under the bridge without calling to raise it.

Blackburn Challenge This Saturday: July 19, 2014

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You can still race. Registration closes at midnight tomorrow (Tuesday July 15). Do you want to challenge yourself to something not quite ordinary? Jump in a craft powered only by the paddle or oar in your hands and head north from Gloucester High School down the Annisquam then start turning right until you went all the way around and pulled into Gloucester Harbor and aim for the Birdseye plant and the Greasy Pole Finish?

You get a T-Shirt proclaiming your completion as well as pulled pork, beer and a band at Pavilion Beach.

Rubber Duck will be on the halfway-point boat anchored in Straitsmouth Gap to record your number as you go by. Yell the number out since she has very small eyes and no ears.

Sign up now. No walk-ons. Or come out to a viewing area anywhere on the Cape. The times are similar to a marathon. Fast boats make it in two to three hours whereas working dories take five to six hours. Cheer them on.

Here is a handy map. You can check out the list of boats already registers. 245 boats of all kinds, over 370 paddlers or rowers. Click link on this page to see current list of registrants.

photo from official website

The start which is just north of the MBTA Railroad Bridge on the Annisquam

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The finish is the Greasy Pole after a circumnavigation of the entire island. WOOT!

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