A Message to the Supreme Court: Over-the-Air TV Doesn’t Work

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On April 22nd, 2014, a small technology company called Aereo goes head-to-head against the might of the major TV networks in the Supreme Court. If you’re not familiar, Aereo provides a service where you can rent a physical TV antenna, located in a remote area of your city. The antenna acts like any TV antenna should: it enables you to watch local broadcasts of over-the-air TV. The networks are suing Aereo because they consider this a retransmission of their content, which requires hefty licensing fees. My issue is that Aereo solves a fundamental problem that many Americans face: over-the-air digital TV simply doesn’t work.

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Two Months with the Nest Protect

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In our post-2007, post-iPhone world, it can be misleading to define oneself as a “gadget geek.” When you consider that the majority of people in the United States now own a smartphone, this particular term becomes distinctly trite. To truly be a gadget geek, you need to do better than being a smartphone or tablet nerd. You need to embrace bleeding-edge gadgetry in unusual product categories. You need to be a true dork.

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A Major Reason Why the iPhone Doesn’t Auto-Upload Pictures to iCloud

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As a former long-term iPhone user, I was always a bit perplexed why Apple didn’t configure the device to automatically upload every picture you take to iCloud. As a recent user of Android, the reason seems embarrassingly obvious: it can devour the average person’s allotted data plan in a matter of hours.

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One Month with the Nexus 5, After Five Years of iPhone

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I did it. After five years of nonstop iPhone, waking up with the iPhone, sleeping beside the iPhone, keeping the iPhone with me at all times… all the time, I finally switched to an Android phone. I’ve had the Nexus 5 for an entire month. Would I recommend other iPhone users make the switch? The answer is no. Kind of.

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Camera Hackers Beware: Feds Can Raid Your Home

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Did you know that making a vague reference to “hacking” on the internet gives the federal government the authority to raid your home? An Idaho court ruled this week to invade the home of Corey Thuen, confiscate his computer, and duplicate its data for investigative purposes, all on the grounds that he loosely referred to himself as a hacker on his website. Continue reading

Nest Protect: The Future Arrives for Renters

nest_2Last week, a forward-thinking company announced their latest innovation: a smart smoke alarm that talks, and shuts up—without requiring you to run around the house in a frenzy. The Nest Protect is a new kind of smoke and carbon monoxide detector that leverages the power of microprocessors for the goal of being less annoying. Simply put, if you burn a corn dog, the Nest Protect will immediately alert you, however, its calm (yet loud) electronic voice will be much less jarring.
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iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s: Does Steve Jobs Have Their Back?

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When the iPhone 4 was announced way back in 2010, the most perplexing thing about it was the choice of glass for its back panel. For a device that you carry around in your pocket all day, it seemed unnecessarily precarious. Some people theorized that it aided signal reception, others thought it would shatter more easily, necessitating a costly replacement. I had my own theory: I thought Apple would eventually add a second screen to the rear, so you could take better selfies, have nicer looking video chats, and see notifications when the phone was face down. The glass back of the iPhone 4 was just there to get users accustomed to the feel. Continue reading

Pancake Too Thick? Hands-On with the Olympus BCL-1580 “Crêpe” Lens

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As much as I love my Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens, I wish it was even smaller. This is the story of modern photo gear: we’ve got amazing cameras built into our mobile phones, now we just need amazing lenses that are somehow miraculously compact. Recently, the Olympus BCL-1580 came to my attention. It’s compatible with my trusty (and discontinued) Panasonic GH2, and it’s only $50. Plus, it’s drastically smaller than my 20mm f/1.7. Game on! I needed to try this thing. Pancake schmancake. I’ve been wanting a “crêpe” lens, and it seemed like it was finally here. Continue reading

How a Smelly Rock Club Becomes Part of Your Soul

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When the news first broke that Maxwell’s was closing, it didn’t immediately strike me as upsetting. It was more of a “woah” moment. Shortly afterward, I read the following tweet from The Awl and chuckled:

However, in the days that followed, I realized more and more that Maxwell’s played a pretty significant role in my life, compared to all of the other rock venues in New Jersey, anyhow. Continue reading

Riding the GIMP: My Photoshop-Free RAW Workflow

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I committed to shooting strictly in Manual Mode at the beginning of the year, because I could see an improvement in the image quality of my photos, and I felt more of a bond and sense of ownership over my work (you can read about this process in this post). In order to push the quality of my work further, I knew the natural thing to do was to start shooting in the RAW format, however, my ancient copy of Photoshop CS3 was incapable of processing these files. I didn’t own post-production software that allowed me to shoot in this mode. Continue reading