LG B450 Contacts from Backup

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.

Letterman

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.

Interpreting light

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.

Lens Master – Los Angeles Magazine

Bird Strikes

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

The Apple Watch

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.”

On the Germanwings crash

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?