Someone on Reddit is making a custom snowboard and wanted to base their board’s design off of one from the classic video game SSX Tricky. I felt like tackling a unique challenge this morning, so I took screenshots of all of the boards from the game. You’ll find a gallery of those screenshots just below. Below that, I share my method for grabbing and cropping all of these screenshots. Enjoy!(more…)
At CES yesterday, directors and cinematographers further endorsed the concept of a “Filmmaker Mode” setting for new TVs. New TVs from Samsung and LG will include this setting, which will disable post-processing effects like motion smoothing. Motion smoothing is a technique used to make 24fps videos look like they were shot at a smoother framerate, like 120fps. These post-processing effects cause the TV to display media in a format quite different from the way that it was intended to be displayed.
The concept of “Filmmaker Mode” for televisions is a fantastic idea. I believe that people watching movies and TV shows at home should be able to experience media in as close to its original format as possible given the technology that they own.
My only problem with this mode is that some filmmakers don’t give me enough frames in their movies. Filmmakers have been stuck producing content at 24 frames per second for a very long time. There are several good reasons for this: fewer frames means more of a chance for our brains to fill in the gaps with magic, and fewer frames means cheaper CGI. But certain types of movies beg for more frames. And sometimes, I want more frames, and I’m going to use technology to enhance a movie by adding more frames via motion smoothing.(more…)
Way back in March 2014, I wrote a blog post called “20 Essential Windows Applications You Should Install.” A friend recently installed Windows after using MacOS for a long time, so I decided to update that list of applications for 2020. Many of those apps are still relevant and critical to my workflow today. Some of them are no longer useful, so they’ll get the cut.
I’ll also include in this post a few handy pro tips for speeding up your task flow in Windows 10, including things like keyboard shortcuts.
Even if you’re already a pro, I think you’ll learn something new!(more…)
Madeon recently released his Good Faith LP, and I’ve been listening to it all day. I’ve found myself more interested in music and music production lately, and this LP inspired me to write my first detailed album review.
In this album review, I will:
- Score each track individually on a scale from 0 to 10.
- Share some thoughts about each track.
- Among those thoughts, I will share my favorite moment from that track, which is generally the moment or section that makes me feel the most intense emotion.
You can listen to all of Good Faith via your favorite music service by clicking here.(more…)
Choosing the best car to buy for you can be a challenge! The number of options available can be overwhelming, and it can be stressful to sort through all of them without a clear game plan. Here are nine clear steps that you can take to make your car-buying research process feel significantly more manageable.
1. Create a Google Spreadsheet
Create a new Google Spreadsheet. Add the following column headers:
- Body Style
- Notable Features
- Other Comments
Then, somewhere between two of those columns, create
N columns whose headers are named after years, starting with the earliest year before which you wouldn’t even look at a car. For example, you might create one column for each year between 2009 and 2019. In Step (4) below, when you are filling out rows, you’ll be putting the Kelley Blue Book prices for those models in those years’ cells. (Don’t worry about that for now.)
A recent Reddit post inspired me to scour through my photographic archives in search of proof that I’ve improved as a photographer over the past several years. My hunt led me on a nostalgic tour through time, questionable data retention practices, and my entire
D:\ drive. While it quickly became obvious that I’ve learned from previous mistakes, what I discovered forced me to rethink what it means to have become “a better photographer.”
The very first digital photograph that I have proof of taking is timestamped “October 10, 2004.” It’s a hastily-produced 2.1 megapixel snapshot of the very first computer that I built a couple of months prior. The top of the case is cropped out of the frame. A huge spot of glare is reflecting off of the clear plastic side panel. The glare does little to obstruct the view of my tangled cable management.
My first serious foray into digital arts started somewhere around this time. My father bought me a copy of Pinnacle Studio 9 and graciously let my cousin, my sister, and I use the family camcorder. The three of us spent family gatherings making short movies and editing them. My first “special visual effect” consisted of teleporting myself into a pile of dirt.
Making funny movies was a great source of joy to 12-year-old me. Inevitably, there would be times where my two favorite co-actors weren’t available, and I’d be forced to find other ways to express myself artistically. Dad’s digital camera seemed like a compelling tool for that purpose, so I started experimenting with still photography.
Over the next several years, my visual eye and knowledge of cameras improved significantly. I’d like to share a few examples of how far I’ve come, some background behind each photo in each comparison, and what I see when I compare old versus new.
- I’ve become way more intentional about my photography.
- My eye for composition has drastically improved over the past 15 years, even more than I thought.
- I’ve learned how to use light to greater effect.
- Post-processing is very important to me now; I won’t call a photo “finished” until it’s been through Lightroom.
- I’m way more critical of my work now than I used to be.
- Photography is the best way I have to remember my past.
For many years now, I’ve made one music playlist for every quarter of the year. Today, I’d like to share with you a subset of my Q4 2018 playlist. The subset list is titled “2018 Q4 – Best of the Best”, and it consists of my favorite music that I’ve discovered or rediscovered during the final quarter of 2018.
It’s the best playlist I’ve come up with in recent memory. There’s something for everyone: Rock, chiptunes, oldies, drum ‘n’ bass, game soundtracks, EDM, and Bill Wurtz.
Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
This post itself is a beautiful gem, but I found the real treasure trove in Mr. Eichenlaub’s answer to this Quora question:
His highly upvoted answer is long, but well worth the read. It eloquently relays concepts about learning, language, and psychology that deeply resonate with me. I hope reading the answer will make you smile and think as much as it did for me.
My parents have done an outstanding job of instilling in me the importance of developing intuition rather than memorizing facts and formulas. When I become a parent, or otherwise have the opportunity to mentor a young learner, I hope to be able to do the same thing.
Intuition, Computers, and User Experience…
In his email quoted on Lesswrong, Mark mentions that he thinks of intuition “as the ability to quickly coordinate a large number of small heuristics”, and that those heuristics “are often pretty local and small in scope.” I love how this applies so clearly to the way I subconsciously think about using computers after having used them for so many years. More broadly, I love how this applies to design and user experience.
When I use a computer running Windows, here are just a few of the small and local heuristics I regularly apply without thinking:
- Left-clicking inside an editable text field will bring focus to that text field, enabling me to use my keyboard to type
- Pressing a hotkey combination that involves the Windows key will apply to the OS, not necessarily to the window that’s currently in focus
- For example, if I press Windows+1, it’ll open the first application pinned to the Taskbar, even if I’m in a full-screen application
- Right-clicking most anything will bring up a context menu related to the thing I clicked
- When running a tabbed application like Chrome, if I press CTRL+TAB on my keyboard, I’ll cycle through open tabs
Perhaps none of these heuristics would be immediately obvious to anyone using a Windows computer for the first time. At this point, I apply them without thinking.
The articles linked above encouraged me to be mindful of the heuristics that I regularly apply to computing. They also encouraged me to carefully consider what heuristics others apply when using computing devices. This will undoubtedly make me a more competent designer moving forward.
There is more to say on this buzzing around in my head, but I’ve already delayed pressing the Publish button on this post for far too long. Perhaps I will return later…
It’s quite difficult to settle on comfortable audio input/output settings from within Windows. All audio hardware is different, and there are many factors that play into how audio playback sounds to your ears and how your microphone input sounds to others. This is a guide to setting up your audio devices to achieve maximum comfort for you and your listeners.
I work at a VR company called High Fidelity, where audio I/O is critical to a powerful experience. Our audio spatialization technology is designed for maximum immersion and realism. If one person is speaking so loudly that they are causing audio distortion, while another person’s microphone is set such that they are extremely quiet, everyone in the virtual space will find themselves in an uncomfortable and unpleasant situation.
While this guide is focused on making sure High Fidelity on Windows sounds good, these concepts can be used to tune your I/O settings for maximum comfort across all applications.
This past weekend, I went on a camping trip to Ocean Cove, a gorgeous campground just north of Jenner, CA. It gets very dark there at night, especially when the moon is new. Just after midnight, I set up my tripod and camera on a big rock overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Milky Way, and Mars. My girlfriend Liv perched herself on another rock in the corner of the frame. I readied my camera, took a few photos, and ended up with this:
I’d like to share with you how I created this composition in five steps – please join me in this photographic journey!
The Five Steps
I’d like to break up my process for capturing this image into five steps:
- Planning: Ensuring that conditions will be optimal for the shoot
- Composing: Placing the camera and framing the shot
- Directing: Telling another human being where to go
- Capturing: Modifying the camera’s settings and capturing enough frames
- Processing: Using photo editing software to create the final result