11-11-09 - Google Voice etc

I have found one great use for Google Voice : I can give that number as my business contact number (for banks, credit cards, etc.) and then set it so that those people go straight to voice mail and never rings through.

Luminaplex algorithm for improved generation of luma subsampling. I guess it's the obvious answer that we will use for everything in the present/future now that computers are fast. Rather than try to specify a forward and inverse transform, just specify the inverse transform and then do a brute force optimization to find the data which reproduces the original as well as possible after inverse transform.

However, Luminaplex is a bit silly. If you're serious about fixing chroma nastiness, the right fix is to use the Luma edge information in the chroma-upsample. I'm not aware of anyone doing this in the main stream, but obviously high quality JPEG decoders should be doing this. In fact there are lots of things you could do to make a high quality JPEG decoder which would actually be a pretty useful thing since we're stuck with this evil format.

In other news : Land's End has gone to shit, don't buy anything there any more. I used to like it because it's one of the few places you can get "tall" sizes, so my freakish monkey arms wouldn't hang out six inches past the end of the sleeves, but suddenly they seem to have switched their production to be super cheapo Chinese shit and they've partnered with Kmart or Sears or some shit. Garbage.

I also just got my Canon S90 today. It was either that or a Panasonic LX3, I couldn't make up my mind so I flipped a mental coin. First impression : URG , I really don't like the ergonomics of it. I hate not having a view finder, but the LX3 doesn't have one either so I was fucked on that. The shitty thing is it's so small and it's got buttons everywhere on it that I don't feel like there's anything to hold it by; I feel like I'm holding a faberge egg, I can't put my fingers anywhere without touching a button by mistake. It's also smooth all over, it has no nice nubby grippy bit; I kind of want to superglue on a strip of rubber. Yeah the control ring is obviously sweet, but I would gladly throw that away for a better grip surface like the LX3 has. Will report again later with more impressions once I take some real shots.

It's still nowhere near my dream digital camera. Some basic attributes of my dream camera :

Tiny. The LX3 is about the maximum size (the S90 is a bit smaller than the LX3, definitely an okay size).

Minimal in-camera processing. Shoot RAW and let me do noise reduction / white balance / etc. in software after the fact. I want the camera firmware to be as simple and direct as possible with as few modes as possible exposed. Basically the only fancy thing I want done in camera is stabilization. This removes the need for a bunch of settings in the camera menus and lets the software get better over time.

Fast. In manual focus mode it should be super super fast, like 0.1 seconds or less cycle time between shots. There's absolutely no reason for all the delays in cameras these days. It should never stall out because of buffer flushing either; WTF is that, memory is fast and cheap.

Good optical viewfinder. Ability to turn the LCD off completely all the time would be nice. Large LCD and image review is completely irrelevant to me; I just want to snap the photos, I'll review them on my computer. In fact I'd be content with no LCD and no review at all if it meant a smaller lighter camera with longer battery life.

Big sensor and lens that lets in lots of light, not too many pixels. I want good low light performance. The Canon S90 is supposed to be okay on this, but I'd like even more. I'd be happy if the camera had no flash at all, it saves me from having to turn it off, saves a mode to fuck with, and reduces size and weight. Has there ever been a flash photo in the history of the universe that was worth keeping? I don't think so. (not in camera flash anyway, external flashes can be okay).

BTW the Leica D-LUX 4 is a pretty hilarious product. It's one of those clear "I'm an absolute moron" purchases. It's literally identical to the Panasonic LX3 (except that it's *worse* because the front is smooth while the LX3 has a nice old fashioned grip style) - and everybody knows it's identical to the LX3, and they charge almost twice as much for it, and yet people buy it. Wow.


Jon Olick said...

I think the proper use of a flash is to not use the built-in flash. Flash with a light diffuser does look pretty good.

Aaron said...

[I also just got my Canon S90 today] Holy crap you actually got one! What's next, a car? :) I'd love to muck around with it next time we see ya. Also:

"The shitty thing is it's so small and it's got buttons everywhere on it that I don't feel like there's anything to hold it by"


"Some basic attributes of my dream camera : Tiny."

Heh heh. You need smaller hands. Or a camera that folds out into a bigger thing. Hm... that might be kinda nice. An inflatable camera :) "Hold that shot for a second (whips out camera and stars furiously blowing into it to inflate it)".

cbloom said...

Get rid of the LCD and there's plenty of room !

The problem actually is A. that the LCD is so fucking big and B. that the front surface is smooth as a greased scotsman.

My old Pentax Optio S is much smaller and has nice grippy bits on the front and back.

I think the physical design of the S90 is just total shit. It's bollocks. It's embarassing.

The Optio S also has a nice grooved metal finish so that every surface on it is grippy. The S90 seems to be made of teflon.

Maybe it's intentional, it's a scam because they know if you drop it you have to buy more cameras.

billyzelsnack said...

I dunno if it works with that camera, but..


Aaron said...

Mmm, greased Scottsman... what were we talking about? Yeah, grippy bits would be good. So weird, the material must be different than it looked in the pictures. In the pictures it almost looked like it was made exclusively of rubbery grippy material. That's pretty disappointing.

old rants