AnalogSenses

By ÁLVARO SERRANO

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James Joyce Link Fest →

March 19, 2015 |

Every now and then there are some funny coincidences on the Internet. Over the past few days and coinciding with St. Patrick’s Day, both Coudal Partners and Susannah Breslin, writing over at Kottke.org, have linked to two really interesting pieces on the wonderful Irish genius that was James Joyce:

  • The first one of those is the title link of this entry, James Joyce Orders a Shamrock Shake, where the also wonderful Timothy McSweeney recreates the proper Irish way to order a mint-flavored milkshake.

  • The second one is also absolutely fantastic. Apparently, Mr. Joyce enjoyed inventing his own words every now and then, and some of his most accomplished creations have been compiled and proudly displayed by Paul Anthony Jones in 17 Words Invented by James Joyce. These include terms as descriptive as Poppysmic, Obstropolos, and the verb Sausage. Yep.

Enjoy.

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The changing perception of time as you confront death →

March 19, 2015 |

What a thought-provoking video by Stanford University:

Paul Kalanithi, MD, was a Stanford neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with lung cancer in his mid-30s. He wrote a popular op-ed for The New York Times in early 2014 on confronting mortality. Here, he reflects on his changing perception of time as doctor, patient and new father. He died at 37 on March 9. The Stanford community mourns his loss.

For some reason, rather than inspiring or motivational, I always find these stories profoundly terrifying.

Also, here’s an excerpt from Dr. Kalanithi’s article on The New York Times, the one mentioned in the description above, titled “How Long Have I Got Left?”:

But the range of what is reasonably possible is just so wide. Based on today’s therapies, I might die within two years, or I might make it to 10. If you add in the uncertainty based on new therapies available in two or three years, that range may be completely different. Faced with mortality, scientific knowledge can provide only an ounce of certainty: Yes, you will die. But one wants a full pound of certainty, and that is not on offer.

Bone-chilling. Via Kottke.

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Four Handsome Redesigns of the US Dollar →

March 19, 2015 |

Enzo Vito:

The U.S. was built upon the spirit of innovation, yet the money that innovation brings in, has more or less looked the same throughout its many redesigns. Look around at other paper currencies, and you quickly find that the U.S. has the dullest design out of the entire world. Here are some well thought out and beautiful alternatives we would love to see in circulation.

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A website for tinkerers

March 18, 2015

There’s a question I get every now and then, for which I admit I haven’t been able to come up with a straightforward, satisfying answer:

“What is your website about?”

Photo credit: Guy Sie

It’s a deceivingly simple question, often asked by well-intentioned friends and family members who are genuinely trying to understand what it is I’m doing here. However, as much as I’d like to put them at ease the truth is, I’m not sure a correct answer even exists.

There was a time when I guess you could say this was an Apple-centric website, but that time seems too far gone now. These days you could be forgiven for thinking it’s a photography site, but I assure you that’s not the case, either.

The truth is, this website is a bit about Apple, a bit about design, a bit about photography, music, technology, movies, whisky… It is a bit about all those things, and at the same time it isn’t, really. In the end, I suppose it’s about me, and everything out there that piques my interest and stimulates my creative spirit.

Hopefully though, it is a bit about you, too.

Most people’s interests cannot be grouped into a single category. Human beings are multi-dimensional creatures by nature, and that’s what makes the creative community so unique and exciting. If you’re anything like me though, your interests are not only multi-dimensional, they’re ever-changing, fueled by an endless sense of curiosity and a deep desire to understand the inner workings of things.

When you see an iconic photograph, for example, you can’t help but appreciate its artistic beauty or the significance of the events it represents, but part of you is insanely curious to find out just how that picture was taken. What was the process that led to the creation of that particular image? Was it a happy coincidence or was it deliberate? And if it was deliberate, how was it done? And, most importantly, could I do it, too?

Similarly, you may enjoy a good book or a great movie as much as the next guy, but when the last page is turned and the credits roll there’s a lingering feeling that you can’t easily shake: why did I enjoy this so much? What’s the secret that makes it great?

This all-conquering sense of curiosity is what drives you to push beyond your current capabilities, and learn new things every day. It can be obsessive sometimes, and it takes a considerable amount of effort — who hasn’t stayed up all night trying to learn how to fix just one line of your site’s CSS — but it’s always worth it. Most importantly, you wouldn’t have it any other way, because part of the thrill is in the process itself.

I’m not a photographer, or a designer, and I’m not a whisky reviewer. What I am is a tinkerer. And if you’re still reading, chances are you’re a tinkerer, too.

I suspect the reason you keep coming back here day after day, dear reader, is because you sense a like-minded spirit. You see the journey I’m on, and you see a reflection of your own journey as well. It doesn’t take much to realize the two are strikingly similar. Not on the surface of course, but deeper. You may be into videography or architecture instead of photography and whisky, but you can clearly recognize the underlying principles that guide my actions as your own. You share the same passion for understanding, and you enjoy it when others write about their experiences on the Web, because it makes you feel connected to them. It makes everything seem more real, somehow.

I am much the same way, believe me. I profoundly enjoy spending hours or even days researching a subject that interests me. I can rack up references by the hundreds and read online forums until my eyes get sore and once I’ve come to a conclusion and it’s time to move on, I’m actually, honestly sad to let everything go. That’s why I find it tremendously therapeutic to write about it.

There’s also an inherent trust that develops between you and the people whose experiences you lean on, which leads me to the two basic principles I hope to instill in all my writing: honesty and respect.

While I always do my best to present accurate and useful information in my articles, I’m the first to acknowledge that I don’t have all the answers. Far from it, actually. And while I may not always get it right, there’s one thing I can promise you: everything you read here is a 100% honest representation of my knowledge, my opinion and my personal values. Nothing more than that but absolutely, positively nothing less, either.

Whenever I sit down at the computer to write, I have only the utmost respect for you. I value your time and attention every bit as much as I do my own, and I will never gamble with them in the pursuit of pageviews. Whatever your reasons to stop by, I’m honored to have you.

In the end, I may never figure out what Analog Senses is really about, but at least I have a pretty good idea of who it’s for. It’s a website for those who are obsessed with what lies beneath the surface, a website for those who stay up at night, wishing their days were 30 hours long. It’s a website for tinkerers.

Hopefully, it’s a website for you.

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What if Canon Was a Man →

March 18, 2015 |

The folks at DigitalRev TV are at it again:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love Kai Wong.

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Matt Gemmell on blogs →

March 18, 2015 |

Matt Gemmell takes issue with the term blog:

Instead of a blog, let your site be a site. Or a journal. An online anthology. Your collected works. Your essays, to date. Your body of writing. A blog is a non-thing; it’s the refusal to categorise what you produce, and an implicit opt-in to the disappointing default.

Instead of posts, you have articles. Pieces. Essays. Stories. Poems. Briefs. Tutorials. White papers. Analyses. Even thoughts, if you like. Actual works, crafted and presented for the reader, instead of just being punctured by a push-pin, and affixed to a bulletin board, beside lost dog, and roommate wanted.

I emphatically agree. I never refer to myself as a blogger, or this site as a blog. Analog Senses is most definitely a website, and what I write and publish here are certainly not blog posts in my mind. On that note, Matt’s piece actually provides a very nice segue into my next article, but more on that later.

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Josh Ginter reviews the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens →

March 18, 2015 |

Stunningly beautiful review by Josh, as ever:

Right off the hop, the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 may be a mixed bag depending on your goals. The 75mm lens is ideal for in-tight portraiture, blurry backgrounds, and dreamy photos. It’s not meant for anything a full-frame 75mm lens is normally used for. Ever since I purchased the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens, the 75mm has spent the majority of its time in my camera bag. It’s just not an every day focal length. However, when it’s time to see my nieces and nephews, or when it’s time to venture outdoors for family photos, the 75mm quickly becomes my best friend.

This is the single most divisive thing about the Olympus 75mm lens. It is definitely an impressive tool in the right situation, and for studio sessions it could very well be the perfect lens. However, its awkward focal length makes it a specialty lens and as sharp as it is, its appeal in a Micro Four Thirds kit is somewhat limited due to its size, weight, lack of weather sealing and yes, price.

That said, if your usage could benefit from a fast lens in this focal length, the Olympus 75mm appears to be an absolute jewel and its sharpness and image quality are nothing short of astounding, particularly in Josh’s extremely capable hands.

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Elon Musk believes cars you can control will eventually be outlawed →

March 18, 2015 |

It’s no secret that self-driving cars are relatively close to being a reality. At this point, it’s become more a matter of when than a matter of if, and that brings certain questions about their reliability and safety compared with today’s cars.

But if technology has taught us anything, it’s that humans are pretty terrible at precision-based tasks when pitted against machines. Elon Musk, one of the brightest minds of our time, believes once self-driving cars become the norm, it’ll be a question of time before current “dumb” models are outlawed:

“I don’t think we have to worry about autonomous cars, because that’s sort of like a narrow form of AI,” Musk told NVidia co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang at the technology company’s annual developers conference today. “It would be like an elevator. They used to have elevator operators, and then we developed some simple circuitry to have elevators just automatically come to the floor that you’re at … the car is going to be just like that.” So what happens when we get there? Musk said that the obvious move is to outlaw driving cars. “It’s too dangerous,” Musk said. “You can’t have a person driving a two-ton death machine.”

I agree with Musk, but why society has conveniently decided to ignore this fact until self-driving cars arrive is quite frankly beyond my comprehension. Cars will always be around for some uses, but they’re far from a necessity in everyday life, particularly in large cities with comprehensive public transportation infrastructure. Besides, it’s not like there aren’t any safe, affordable, convenient, reliable and sustainable alternatives out there already.

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