LG B450

You’ve prob­a­bly heard of the B450, the hottest new flip phone from LG. It sup­ports voice calls, text mes­sag­ing, and it can take pic­tures with up to 1.3 mil­lion pix­els. The mar­ket­ing lit­er­a­ture promi­nently fea­tures stock pho­tos of elderly peo­ple smil­ing at each other.

F needed a new dumb­phone so we brought one of these bad boys home today. I was dis­ap­pointed to find that you can’t sync files to it over USB. It only shows up as a USB device if the SIM card is removed, but then you’re locked out of the phone. That’s crazy. (Hey, it’s 2015, isn’t it?)

Copy­ing con­tacts off the old dumb­phone was easy with Wammu, which can quickly save them in any of a half-dozen file for­mats. But get­ting them onto the new one was going to be prob­lem­atic. The man­ual says noth­ing about con­tact sync­ing, nor are there any menu options for it. LG offers no desk­top soft­ware for it. There is even an offi­cial T-Mobile forum post claim­ing that con­tact sync is just not possible.

Wrong they are! In an act of des­per­a­tion, I found that you can send it a vCard (VCF) file over Blue­tooth. The phone responds by ask­ing if you want to restore con­tacts from the file. What! Since this is an undoc­u­mented fea­ture, I hereby com­mit it to the Interwebs.

August 18, 2015 August 18, 2015 tech by Scott No Comments

WKRC-TV Master Control c. 2001

I haven’t watched his show in years, but it is strange to think it’s done. When I worked (briefly!) in tele­vi­sion years ago, I would end every shift with the first 15 min­utes of Letterman.

May 21, 2015 May 21, 2015 in-the-news by Scott No Comments

On Julius Shulman:

He doesn’t shoot dig­i­tal and has no plans to start. He bought an expo­sure meter in 1936 and tossed it the same year because he didn’t want to lose the abil­ity to read light him­self. If you can’t inter­pret light and the way in which it plays with and defines its sub­jects, if you can’t under­stand the sub­tle and not-so-subtle rhythms of the sun, if you can’t rec­og­nize an architect’s intent the minute you walk into a room, no amount of money you spend on a cam­era will make you a photographer.

Source: Lens Mas­ter – Los Ange­les Magazine

May 18, 2015 May 18, 2015 photography by Scott No Comments

Sonic Arboretum at the ICA

This was amaz­ing. With­out ques­tion the coolest thing at the ICA. See it before it closes!

Sonic Arbore­tum
Ian Schneller (speak­ers) & Andrew Bird (music)
ICA Boston
Feb­ru­ary 4–May 10, 2015

May 6, 2015 May 6, 2015 reviews by Scott 1 Comment

I read a lot of tech jour­nal­ism. Not because I con­sume a lot of tech­nol­ogy, but because I cre­ate it–this is my world, and I feel obliged to know what’s going on. But most tech writ­ing is pretty bad.

So I was not very sur­prised that, since the announce­ment of the Apple Watch, every­one started writ­ing about it as if the smart­watch itself was a new tech­nol­ogy that will dis­rupt every­thing. Apple could release a new doorstop tomor­row and, though I’m sure it would be very nice and pack­aged in an attrac­tive box, it would be hailed as a rev­o­lu­tion­ary change in the his­tory of prop­ping doors.

What I did not expect is a flurry of sto­ries writ­ten as if the high-end wrist­watch itself has just been invented. What are the rel­a­tive mer­its of this band or that? How do they get it to be so shiny? Look how dif­fi­cult it is to man­u­fac­ture a com­pli­cated thing in such a small pack­age– I saw it myself in this flawlessly-illuminated indus­trial film!

Sorry, but these prob­lems were solved ele­gantly 100 years ago with gears, cre­ativ­ity, imag­i­na­tion, and mag­ni­fi­ca­tion. And for the record I’m no longer impressed by the for­mula of, “It’s like X, but with a com­puter inside.”

April 12, 2015 April 12, 2015 tech by Scott No Comments

Inves­ti­ga­tors announced today that the plane crash in the French Alps was an inten­tional act by the first offi­cer. It hap­pened while the cap­tain was locked out of the cock­pit and unable to regain entry.

After the ter­ror­ist attacks in 2001, hard­ened cock­pit doors were uni­ver­sally lauded as a sen­si­ble anti-terrorism mea­sure. It is clear from this inci­dent that there is at least one draw­back: they fun­da­men­tally under­mine one of the safety ben­e­fits of the 2-pilot sys­tem. I have to won­der, will any­one pub­licly revisit this discussion?

March 26, 2015 March 26, 2015 in-the-news by Scott No Comments

Madrian

From August!

February 24, 2015 February 24, 2015 photos by Scott 1 Comment

As if I needed more proof that 2015 will be a crazy year.

January 30, 2015 January 30, 2015 engineering by Scott 1 Comment