Editor's note: From now through the end of December, various Crave experts will be sharing their top five (mostly) tech-related wishes for the holiday season. See what we crave, and maybe you'll get some ideas!
I'll be honest. What I want is Canon's EF 500mm f/4L IS USM telephoto lens, but it costs $5,600, so let's move on to some options that aren't quite so detached from economic reality for a mostly amateur photographer such as myself.
Obviously my camera is a Canon SLR, but I'm reasonably happy with my setup right now, so here are some items I covet that are more modestly priced and that happen to be neutral as regards camera manufacturer.
1. WhiBal white-balance card. I shoot raw images, which means data is taken directly from the camera's image sensor without any in-camera processing. I like it because it gives me more flexibility for matters such as exposure adjustment. Second in importance to exposure, though, is fixing white balance--for example the orangey color cast you'll often see when shooting under incandescent lights or the bluish tinge of pictures in the shade.
The flip side of raw photography is that it's more manual labor than just grabbing the JPEG, but to me it's worth it. I mostly just eyeball the white balance, but sometimes keying off parts of an image--the whites of someone's eyes or gray and black clothing--gives an easier way to set white balance with software. But for more precision, the WhiBal cards from RawWorkflow.com give an easy way to be more rigorous. You take a photo of the durable card, which shows a standard 18 percent gray, then set the white balance in software off that part of the photo. With modern raw-image editing software, you can synchronize the white balance for a series of images off the one you took with the card. The $19 keychain model looks about my speed.… Read more
As reported by my colleague Greg Sandoval in July, the Eepy Bird guys--you know, the fellows who have gained worldwide fame by dropping Mentos into Diet Coke--have decided to move on from explosive sweets.
Instead, the pair have decided to work in the Post-it notes milieu for now, and as such, they've released a couple of new videos showcasing exactly how the little sticky pieces of paper can be transformed into what amounts to colorful Slinkys.
And frankly, I never knew that the utilitarian notepads could be so much fun.EepyBird's Sticky Note experiment from Eepybird on Vimeo. … Read more
Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe, are the performance artists behind EepyBird. The pair will unveil their new "Sticky Note Experiment" Friday at the ComicCon Conference in San Diego.
As an example of how far Web-video fame can take you, the clip of the "Sticky Note Experiment" will debut not on the Web but on cable television. On September 5, the video will appear on ABC Family's Samurai Girl
Voltz and … Read more
Of all the copycat accessories that can be produced, the "AirMail" case for the MacBook Air has some unfathomable popularity. Started almost on a whim, it was followed by the higher-end "Air Manila" in hand-stiched leather, and now there's yet another pretender to the envelope throne.
Japan's curiously named Bird Electron, which has long been known for its odd products, apparently decided to take a safer route in this case and follow what appears to be a popular design. (The original version has been sold out for months.)
This one is leather too and, … Read more
There's no two ways about it: Bird droppings are dirty business. And people who spend an inordinate amount of time cleaning them off their property may understandably wish they had a "Falco" robotic raptor to limit the avian population, but that would probably be overkill (though that may sound good). Still, there's a more appropriate technological response to the problem in the "BirdXPeller Pro."
This device repels winged rats with sounds that deceive them into thinking that a predator is in the vicinity, according to SlashGear, covering an area as large as an acre. … Read more
Randall and Wilson talk today about crazy Apple lawsuits handwritten on notepads, 90210 could be returning from the grave, plus dolla-dolla-bill-y'all, the purple $5 bill hits the streets, and Mark the Intern kicks some ass. All that, plus Jeff is on the phone and 404 best buddy Demetrius Wren joins us in studio. Listen, or else you'll get the clap, too.
Listen now: Download today's podcast
Music industry blog Coolfer has an interesting post this week about online tools for do-it-yourself musicians in which he points to a relatively new service called Speakerheart. I checked out the service, and while I agree with his assessment of the interface--it's based on Adobe's Flex (an offshoot of Flash) and is very slick and easy to use--I think that Speakerheart, like most other digital distribution start-ups, is going to have a very hard time.
The process is pretty straightforward: Artists sign up with Speakerheart to sell their songs through a digital storefront on the site. Artists have … Read more
Now here's a novel concept. We've seen all manner of objects take remote-controlled flight, from mosquitos and dragonflies to laser choppers and UFOs, but there's one that's been conspicuously overlooked: a bird.
Actually, it's an "iBird," to be exact (of course). Silverlit, which makes this winged avenger, says it simulates a bird's flight by using "realistic flapping wing movements" and is part of the "latest generation of RC flyers," according to GeekAlerts. That, at least, may be the case as long as it doesn't go anywhere near … Read more
Birds are a perennial nuisance at many airports, but removing them can be a labor-intensive and potentially dangerous affair when winged raptors are trained to chase them away. So a European company called Bird Raptor has taken live hunters out of the equation altogether by creating an unmanned air vehicle that serves as a "gregarious bird removal system," according to FlightGlobal, or "GBRS."