Today onwards, Spotify users globally will be able to upload their own photography and can create their own playlists with the theme-based photographs from your Google album-just in one click.
Now, all Spotify users can upload unique photo albums from their Android devices or desktop. This is basically the new photo-music fusion streaming player. This creativity into any tracks will get you a homemade playlist.
Whenever you are listening to music on Spotify, this app can help you gift a perfect playlist to your family or friends.
Here is how you can customize your playlist with photo-music app.
2.Once you go to the link it will automatically connect to your spotify account.
3.Select the album/song of your choice you wanted to listen on spotify.
4.After choosing music on the left you will get the music album profile pic whether, on the top right of the profile pic, you will get an option to add your Google album into the song you selected. Click on it to merge Google photos.
5.Add your Google album to the song then it will merge automatically and the song will pick the same mood of photos from your your google photos according to the mood in song.
6.Now every time you choose any music/song, it will auto-play the photos of the same mood from your google photos album.
7.This way you can always save these customize photo-music albums in your playlist to listen to it in the future or share it among your friends.
Once you finish with the creation, this is the time to share it on all social media platforms. You just need to check on the photos album slideshows right-hand corner dot to share it with your friends on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, or Twitter. Share it and make your friends glad to see your photography skills or else share the best moments with photo-music albums.
The app Photo Slideshow with Music does just what its name suggests: allows you to use pictures stored on your Google Chrome or UNSPLASH to create slideshows with music from SPOTIFY. With this app, you can create slideshows with anywhere from two to fifty images & merge into any song of your choice.
Use your photos to create an interesting and dynamic presentation with the useful app Photo Slideshow with Music. This app makes it easy to create great slideshows and share them with friends and family.The APP is integrated and artifical Intelligence is inbuild that it will auto-pick the photos of same theme as the theme in the song you selected so its all automatic.No editing work needed and no payment needed at all to display your work on social media.
Now “MX FUSION APP” is giving opportunity to all new “MUSIC ARTISTS” to display their music album through our APP. You just need to go to the following link https://mx-fusion.com/app/guide/playlist-requests/ to add your latest album to our playlist which we can featured through our APP to get you more “Listeners & Followers”. This is the best time to connect with us as the APP is free for you.
As the first of the major notebook/tablets to be released, compared to Chromebook and Windows Surface, the iPad also distinguished itself by not offering a trackpad, keyboard, or even a stylus. This was not without controversy, especially with apple putting iWork in the spotlight as a full-featured productivity suite. While the iPad itself was well received by critics and consumers alike, and rightly so; the notion of a tablet as a productivity workhorse back in 2010 was questionable to say the least. To quote ARS Technica at the time:
iWork is decent, but there is only so much you can do for an office suite without a full keyboard and a mouse
Even so, Apple probably doesn’t get enough credit for the mega usability built-in to iWork on this first generation iPad. Special widgets floating around in just the right location as you interact with cells on a spreadsheet for example, gave elegant intuitive user experience to match this elegant single pane of glass. Many of us may also remember the controversy around lack of physical buttons on the 1st iPhone when it came out half decade before. At that time it seemed borderline form over function to some of us in the paradigm of the day. Steve Jobs was certainly renowned as a product guy, but surely a phone without any physical buttons was taking things a bit too far? Just because he disliked buttons so much that he wouldn’t even wear a shirt with buttons, why should we be so constrained?
Well history has proved Mr. Jobs right on the button. But in the tablet and notebook space, keyboards, track pads mice, and stylist have been popular throughout. And yet Apple with their iPad held out for good decade here, never wanting to concede that a digital input device could ever supersede the human digit.
What’s lesser-known is that the iPad product has actually been in development for much much longer than the iPhone. Much longer. According to Wikipedia, Steve Jobs and Jony Ives began design on the iPad way back in 1991. But Jobs made a strategic decision to switch priorities and release the iPhone first, deferring the iPad for later. The reasoning was that all the core feature functionality, most crucially the single screen touch interaction, could be achieved just as well on an iPhone, and the state-of-the-art in technology at the time would better support the holistic user experience on an iPhone as well. Furthermore, the iPhone form factor would encourage a smoother adoption curve in the marketplace as a mobile phone was more relatable to more consumers than some tablet device. In other words, technology supported a premium user experience for an iPhone before an iPad. So it turns out that Apple was not just about form over function after all.
In other words, Apple is Apple because they wait until technology is capable of the desired user experience, not the other way around.
And now the wait for keyboards and track pads on an iPad is finally over in 2020. Not just any keyboard, but a magic keyboard! – This is Apple after all. Technology finally caught up with their vision for user experience, and Apple has delivered.
We here at MX-Fusion love our mobile devices! We also relentlessly aspire, pushing the bounds in state-of-the-art technology for a beautiful experience of Fusion with Art and Music.
Does anyone ever forget their first live concert? Of course not. It’s a rite of passage for most teenagers. Getting into the venue and to your seat is a wild experience in and of itself for first timers. The opening act was completely unexpected, and you start wondering if all live music is this bad? Is the main performance gonna suck? But then the rock stars burst on stage, and blow your mind! Singing from the crowd is a surprise, can’t believe everyone knew the words. Such an audience audience makes you feel part of something bigger than yourself. Live shows are so epic! Sometimes with cannons or fireworks. Hearing on the radio, you never would have imagined the dancing and even gymnastics. You feel the beat with your whole body. Especially when the guitar solo comes on, reverberates through the entire crowd.
It’s amazing to think, electric guitars being invented way back in the early 1930s, did not become a part of popular music until the mid ’50s. So popular even through today, why did it take so long for electric guitars to take off? Well just like many technologies that we take for granted once they become commonplace, the development and perfection was it long and arduous journey. However, many influential musicians of the early to mid 20th century were strong proponents of the electric guitar and helped keep development momentum going to refine the technology into a viable mainstream musical instrument. And when it finally did cross the threshold, the electric guitar made a huge impact, inventing entirely new genres and launching rock stars into the stratosphere! And for deeper insight into what guitar models support specific genres the best, our friends at BeginnerGuitarHQ have an insightful write-up.
Like electric guitars, wireless headphones were invented long before they became feasible to actually use, let alone popular. Believe it or not, the first wireless headphones we’re invented way way back in the 1960s, powered by good old-fashioned radio. More familiar with the kids these days is Bluetooth which was not even invented until the 1990s. But from there it was still quite the slog, first mobile phone with Bluetooth technology didn’t come to market until the turn of the century, and we didn’t have Bluetooth stereo until 2004 (!) Really, the first practical Bluetooth headsets only started to appear in the early 2010s.
Now it’s finally time for that guitar solo moment. New players have taken the stage, with quality listening experiences to make wireless headphones a contender for the lead act. According to Tom’s Guide, Jabra is the front-runner to be a Superstar this summer. But it’s not necessarily a One Man Show. Samsung plays quite the enchanting melody, with innovative features and market leading quality. Lesser known AKG comes in with an interesting riff, owned by Samsung these days and yet their product is competing perhaps even superior to Samsung’s main line. A little expensive though; perhaps it’s a luxury play? And of course Apple is a steady performer, a little like the Bee Gees here – consistently good, if not oftentimes the best, and always super popular with mainstream consumers.
With these wireless headsets finally delivering the quality we deserve, the wireless advantage itself steals the show. Not having a cord it’s not just about the simple convenience. It’s about going the distance. Being free to move around as you wish. Not being tied up by a cord means you can pace while you focus during that intense conference call with the executive team overseas. Later on, when workday is done and you’re on your own then kick off that magic track and dance!
However, there are considerations before cutting that cord. Battery life can be a hidden gotcha, especially for mission critical audio like that late day interview conference call. Although less of a problem for our current generation of wireless headphones, Bluetooth reliability issues can sometimes rear it’s ugly head, especially in crowds. And for the audiophiles among us, quality quality quality, it might not be quite there just yet. (Did we mention quality?) But one fine day wireless headset quality will meet or even exceed the best of wired headsets. And for many of us, that day has already come.
So this is full mobility for a mobile world. The 3.5 mm headphone jack is already becoming extinct. Corded headsets are not too far behind. With ever-increasing popularity of outdoor workouts, music on the go in everyday situations is even more a part of our everyday lives. And the ability to easily switch and connect to multiple devices with the same headset provides even more freedom in our increasingly connected ecosystem. For many of us this further enables deep work experiences with streaming music off our phones to keep us in the zone as our creative endeavors flow through our laptops.
We here at MX-Fusion are all about listening enjoyment. Whether on the go, on mobile devices, laptops, at home, at the office, or out and about. We are certainly enjoying the freedom of wireless listening lately! Dance baby dance!!
The wild west was wild! When gun slinging bank robbers weren’t holding up the bank on Main Street, they were slamming whiskey shots at the Pharao table, and harassing the lady folk in between rounds. Or not. It turns out that the proverbial outlaw was not as common as Hollywood would have us to believe. In fact, much of the mystique commonly associated with Wild West is actually myth. Society was generally peaceful, perhaps even more so than many of our cities today. Women were treated with respect. Heck, cowboys did not even wear cowboy hats! But one genuine stereotype of wild west lore is the ubiquitous the con-man. The term con-man itself was literally invented here. And literal snake oil was invented in the wild West as well, by one Clark Stanley. Our Clark Stanley rose from humble beginnings as a cowboy into a clever marketing magnate, selling his dubious snake oil at carnivals and medicine shows touring the countryside. He built up quite an outfit around his snake oil product, expanding into two production facilities at his peak. Sales remained brisk and steady until the federal government finally stepped in. The Pure Food and Drug act introduced in 1906 put a cramp in his style. Mr. Stanley was fined $20 (almost $500 in today’s money), and his operations thereafter are rather unknown. A more sinister yet successful fake elixir was radium infused water, peddled as Radithor by William J.A. Bailey. This radioactive tonic was claimed to have cured all sorts of ills, but in reality caused more harm than good, killing one man that we know of for sure. Amazingly, not only did Mr. Bailey not receive any punishment, he died a fairly wealthy man from the sales of his poisonous products; albeit at the relatively young age of 64 as a victim of his own radiation poisoning. These con-men were able to take advantage of the rapidly expanding nation which presented an opportunity to move around from town to town without raising too much suspicion within these disconnected communities. And con-men are still with us to this day. Every common medical ailment presents an opportunity for these snake oil salesman to pedal questionable cures. It is quite sad to see that this current pandemic is no different, with the snake oil du jour this time around being fake N95 masks.
The internet started out quite a lot like the Wild West. Just like an 1800’s land rush, thousands of small time merchants recognized the new opportunity and struck out looking to claim their stake. Like frontier settlements that popped up, as the internet evolved emergent communities formed as well. Over time these communities matured, forming into social media that we have today. Even though these social networks became quite well structured, lack of transparency in advertising and product promotions persisted, perpetuating opportunities for fraud. And like the Pure Food and Drug Act, the Government has taken certain measures in modern times to protect consumers on the internet. But while the FTC and similar agencies do enforce their regulations with fines and other reactive measures that halt fraudulent activity, these measures have not proactively fostered transparency.
In the meantime, communities on the internet have become the defining structure for all major online activities. Media, gaming, and the corresponding advertising that funds it all are centered around socially networked communities. These communities are now demanding transparency in advertising and data collection. And the internet platforms hosting these communities have responded accordingly. Google, one of the biggest advertising platforms on the web, is rolling out a required advertiser verification for all advertisers. As a startup platform in the influencer arena, Opera Event has recognized that the influencer community has grown too huge for potential marketers to easily find and partner with individual influencers effectively. Opera Event has also recognized that transparency is a pillar requirement for such a marketplace to honestly engage with community fans. This community driven proactive transparency increases trust from consumers thereby fostering an even greater sense of community.
Online gaming is perhaps the biggest community of all. Shanti Bergel of Transcend Fund says:
“Games were once dismissed as a nerdy subculture, but they have gone mainstream and are now the driving force in the overall entertainment landscape.”
We have also written in the past about the impact of online gaming going mainstream. Social engagement is key here and community is King. With business models based on advertising and in-game micro-transactions, transparency is paramount to maintaining the positive reputation necessary for a steady business in this space. These gaming communities are tight knit and last for years if not decades. It is tough to build a brand reputation in these online worlds, but easy to destroy your reputation in an instant with a campaign perceived by the community to be disingenuous.
We here at MX-Fusion are all about community and collaboration, the Fusion of Art and Music is literally what we are all about. Partnerships are key, we could not deliver this beautiful experience without partnerships such as Spotify, Unsplash, or Google Photo. We are keen to deliver over a meaningful business model as well, at the same time ever vigilant for a pristine user experience without overly polluted advertising. Spotify premium is one example, delivering audio over Spotify premium ensures pure listening enjoyment without disruption of ads. There are trade-offs of course, our audience is potentially limited by this direct payment model. And we are constantly evolving as well, looking towards future business models with potentially greater reach and even higher levels of engagement with our genuinely artistic experience.
The digital online worlds of MMORPG have pretty much always been physically limitless. Not bounded by a physical arenas, these worlds expand out practically forever. Physically these virtual worlds may indeed be limitless; demographically not so much. The primary persona in MMORPG gaming has historically been younger generations, kids young adults and twenty-somethings. Of course there are many adult gamers out there, especially as the younger gaming generations continue to grow up, but mass majority of these gamers are certainly the younger members of our population. This is also a natural fit for the mass majority of games out there, which are focused on gaming itself.
That’s not to say that MMORPG is only about gaming or just about competing with random strangers. These multiplayer experiences have always had strong elements of communion, fellowship and social bonding. Many new friendships have been formed, by players all across the globe. It can get quite a bit deeper as well, like the EverQuest II players who rallied in support of a sick child. Gaming bonds certainly run deep.
But the games themselves have been primarily about, well games. However, the potential of the immersive online virtual worlds encompassing these games has always been more than just to play a game. Even in earlier times with much lower res technology, the notion of video game being something more than simply a game began to emerge. One of the earliest examples is Line Rider, which was explicitly created to be a digital “toy”, as opposed to a game. Line Rider rode a huge viral wave of popularity, as one of the first open sandbox creative type video games. Players (or should we say users?) loved the unlimited open environment and freedom of expression to build anything they could imagine. As technology improved and 3D worlds with rich graphics became standard for video games, other titles also begin to mix in the notion of creative sandbox environments expanding upon a pure gaming experience. Grand Theft Auto series is a famous example of another wildly popular open sandbox environment type game. Then along came Minecraft, and raised the bar for what creative experience in gaming could be. Hugely popular, the player ability to create content in the game itself created an implicit viral nature for Minecraft to vault itself to the top of gaming popularity charts.
Recent events have inspired both software companies and online players to explore this non-gaming potential online virtual worlds. Being able to collaborate remotely is the norm not the exception these days. And freedom to share information without censorship is a cherished experience in many political climates around the globe.
Kosmi has launched a massively multi-user online virtual room where anyone can jump in and start hanging out with friends or strangers. Just like online gaming, it’s easy for anyone to join in, no special invites accounts or memberships are required to jump into this world. Kosmi is all about collaboration and enjoying what used to be primarily physical get together based activities together in the online virtual space. Just like MMORPG’s virtualized role playing games into limitless online worlds, Kosmi has virtualized watching movies and playing poker into a limitless virtual room.
Another example, launched to foster the freedom of information access for everyone, is The Uncensored Library developed by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Built up with over 12.5 million Minecraft bricks, this library has tombes of information from books and magazine collected worldwide. But not all of the ideas espoused by these books are welcome in all political regimes throughout the world. The RSF uniquely chose Minecraft specifically due to its open nature, the gaming worlds are not easily censored by internet “world police” of these certain political regimes. This initiative has enabled massive information access to massive segments of the global population. It is also inspiring to the world on the limitless potential for online virtual worlds such as Minecraft.
This looks to be the future of online virtual worlds, which seems only natural. If anything it’s a surprise that these virtual experiences did not emerge sooner. Global collaboration fostering exponential creativity enabled by truly freely available knowledge. And we here at MX Fusion are super excited about the growing collaboration for freedom of expression in digital media! We always advocate for digital creativity in new and unexpected ways, emergent art forms are what we are all about.
The latest drone flight record has been set recently, this time for a continue flight time of 331 minutes! This record surpassed even the research teams own expectations, they were planning for a flight time of 240 minutes, but this new high-pressure hydrogen storage bottle technology performed so well the flight carried on for over 90 minutes beyond. The flight took place in harsh conditions at a high altitude, low oxygen, and low temperature environments. It really shows off some of the advantages for hydrogen fuel cells as compared to lithium ion batteries, which would only have been able to power a one-hour flight for a comparably size weight drone in similar conditions. And it’s not just the hydrogen fuel cell itself, but this new storage bottle technology that’s really punching above it’s weight. Of course it’s just an R&D project, and not production-ready tech yet; but impressive nonetheless and when this technology makes it into production it could become the dominant power source for the vast majority of drones up there in our future skies.
Further extending the future potential for hydrogen energy storage a different research group has developed a breakthrough and totally unique hydrogen storage technology based on metal-organic framework. This technology could better the storage capacity for hydrogen by an order of magnitude as compared to even the high-pressure hydrogen storage bottle used to loft that drone into the record books. Now this technology, is exciting as the potential may be, does have some operating constraints that would likely limit its practicality for drones at least, and potentially other common electric use cases such as mobile phones cars and appliances. Most critically, this technology requires the low low low operating temperature of -196 degrees Celsius. So if a mobile phone, you probably would not want to carry that around in your pocket. And for an electric car, achieving and maintaining this low temperature would probably waste more energy than what you would gain from MOF as compared to lithium ion batteries currently driving electric cars today.
So Lithium ion batteries still dominate current electric powered device and vehicle use cases today. And for vast majority of manufacturers, the future focus remains on lithium ion batteries. GM, for example, is continuing their big push towards 100% clean energy by 2023. Now GM’s clean energy future is quite the Noble effort, but it won’t have anything to do with our Noble Gas Hydrogen. This is because, while hydrogen storage could potentially deliver better performance than lithium ion batteries, the actual energy source for the hydrogen energy chain is fossil fuels, in particular natural gas is the prevalent source of hydrogen in use today.
Hydrogen storage potential is super exciting from the pure energy storage and delivery perspective to be sure. However, this is not the most important problem to solve from a comprehensive and strategic perspective as it relates to the overall cost and impact on the planet and our lives. The actual source of our energy must come from clean renewable energy sources if we are going to build a sustainable future of end-to-end clean energy supply and consumption.
We here at MX Fusion love mobile devices and mobile apps, enjoying art and music on the go is what we are all about. But streaming music with beautiful imagery takes lots of watts. We hold deep appreciation for the efforts and genius behind these advancements in energy tech. And we continue to keep a hopeful optimistic outlook on continued improvements in clean energy to make more available for powering our devices!
Your own hobbies and interests make for great photography subjects and settings (of course). Your arts, crafts, or even your own product line; whether it’s artsy-craftsy, fashion, or some highly technical product – photography helps you to explore your customer persona and tell your story at the same time.
For most all of us with a side hustle, we got started in whatever we got started in because that’s what we are interested in the first place. Food is a popular place for a lot of us to explore our creativity – who doesn’t like to eat. And it always brings us together with family and friends. With specialty food products we can share our unique flavor to the world. Like that time at your Sunday afternoon family BBQ when cousin Joe got a little carried away over at the prepping counter, spilling his beer all into the fresh peppers. Calamity threatened to ensue, but wait – Maybe we are onto something here?
Well these aren’t just any peppers; these are 3rd generation heirloom spicy peppers perfected with just the right amount of heat to give it a kick without kicking over the flavor completely. And cousin Joe doesn’t seem like the type to plan ahead much, but that Hefe he had in his hand made for the perfect combination with just those peppers. The rest is history, your side-hustle specialty BBQ sauce is a hit!
Aligning your product with a theme that matches your customer persona is going to the next level to set your artistry apart. Theme is more than just a product line, but how it fits in with your customers enjoyment, lifestyle, and how it weaves in your value proposition as well. Just like this specialty barbecue sauce, it’s not about a cool shot of your bottle with fancy lighting, rather show your product as it would be in the wild, a backyard barbecue setting similar to what got things started with your sauce in the first place. That’s the theme, make it a story for the Sunday Afternoon Family Barbecue, and your special sauce is the special guest of course.
In fact, lighting is a surprisingly often overlooked aspect of photography, especially for project photography. Instead of splashing the entire scene with bright white light, you can make your photography really pop with simple lighting techniques such as feathering lighting.
And food is such a broad palette for creativity, there’s no shortage of inspiration and mixed with photography stunning effects can be achieved. That doesn’t mean it’s easy! Pay attention to detail, spend extra effort on the little things, and put in the time to take multiple shots. It always takes multiple attempts to get things just right!
Photography is a great field of expression for your side hustle, and don’t think you need to be a pro. A DIY approach let’s your genuine self shine through. It’s a great way to tell the story about what you make or what services you provide to the world. It also provides channel of inspiration for your product development.
We here at MX Fusion love photography! We especially love photography that shines a light on the stories of our lives. Fused with music makes it are the more unique to our own personal story.
Apps apps apps, it’s all about the apps. Or at least historically that’s where majority attention for mobile has been. Apple’s iPhone truly revolutionized what was considered possible for software application capabilities on a mobile phone. Android may have implemented app store technology and governance slightly differently, however the popularity of Android was also boosted by the huge number of native applications available. Even now, a strong mobile presence is often signified by “Yes we have an app for that”.
However, it didn’t quite work out that way. While the technologies of the day were certainly revolutionary and capable of things never possible before, software applications remained prisoners of desktop and server operating system hosts. Of course that did not slow down the advancement of technology, as has famously been observed software began to eat the world.
Recognizing this trend, big tech is once again focusing attention on web browser development, especially on mobile platforms. Microsoft has surprised us with a Renaissance of web technology delivered by their latest Edge Browser. Chrome and Firefox are both furiously rolling out advanced features and their browser applications. Slack and Facebook are exploring specialized mobile web browser development as well, in an experimental shift towards greater in-depth adoption of web apps as an alternative to native only.
Security and privacy is another big advantage for Classic and Progressive Web Apps. As we’ve discussed before — Mobile Apps come with much higher security and privacy risks. Access to your location, contacts, microphone is all quite invasive, and that’s if you don’t get a virus or data-breach. Web Apps on the other hand are natively more secure, and therefore much safer for mobile users.
These are exciting trends for mobile application development and distribution!
Not without controversy, Barbie hasn’t always had it easy. From the very beginning, she was criticized for promoting unrealistic body image. Barbies response was to publish a book “How to lose weight”, providing the simple instruction “Don’t Eat”. As she grew into her teenage years, she again drew criticism based on her lack of diversity. She reacted much more comprehensively this time around, launching several different cultures and colors of Barbie, including celebrations of ethnic holidays around the globe such as Cinco de Mayo Barbie. But she still wasn’t as thorough as one would hope, many of the supposed nationalities of Barbie we’re simply the same Barbie in a different color, and not genuinely featured. Of course Oreo Barbie didn’t exactly help here.
This absolutely egregious level of political incorrectness achieved by a simple child’s toy is truly impressive. Even more impressive is Barbie’s popularity in the face of all this in your face with any want of wholesomeness. According to Wikipedia, Barbie is by far Mattel’s most profitable product line. Perhaps we just couldn’t help ourselves from admiring Barbie’s perpetual rebellion against social norms.
And so Barbie endures as one of our fonder childhood memories. A pop culture icon now, she has long been the inspiration of art music and photography in the nostalgia genre. She’s even partnered with another nostalgia icon in the Polaroid 600 camera, Barbie edition. So now we can quick capture nostalgia with our nostalgia, so meta.
Barbie notwithstanding, the everyday life of children’s toys typically seems about as mundane as weekend chores or geography homework. But the seemingly mundane aspects day-to-day life, ubiquitous to our shared human condition, can sometimes later become the memories that really matter. There’s no better illustration of this then Robert Franks 1958 book The Americans. He ventured out in the height of the documentary photo craze to capture everyday life all across America. Intentionally seeking out and capturing ordinary moments, the characters and backstories of folks in his imagery shines through. His extra-ordinary efforts to photograph the ordinary life gifts us with timeless nostalgia in his photo book today.
Isn’t it the same for all of us? The common human element of our day-to-day lives that seem mundane in the moment become the memories that we cherish in our future photo albums. Selfies with your besties at the house party last weekend. A quick snap of your kids soccer game. Or a chance sunset after a long day at the office.
It’s not the photo of the story, but the story of the photo that resonates with us for a long lasting impact and sometimes even life-changing perspective. We here at MX-Fusion love storytelling photographs, and even more so when amplified by the emotions of music!
For anybody who even remembers what a vacuum tube is, it is remembered as an ancient and inferior technology compared to the solid state electronics of today, such as the device you are reading this on right now. But in the early 20th century vacuum tube electronics was a marvel of technology. Radio and audio equipment was simply magical. Even today, the sound quality of vacuum to base audio devices is sought after by enthusiasm looking for that warm “tube sound”. Television inspired a generation of sci-fi enthusiasts, dreaming up new dreams with the belief that literally any technological achievement could be achieved. Vacuum tube based video also stayed relevant for quite some time, with CRTs remaining prevalent even into the 2000s.
But when it comes to the electronics that power our everyday devices, computers, as well as industrial and control equipment, vacuum tubes are genuinely inferior to solid state circuits. Vacuum tubes are fluid based, using gasses to manage the flow of electrons. As compared to solid state transistors, this makes vacuum tubes slow, heavy and sometimes even potentially dangerous.
While the device you are reading this on achieves it’s amazing technical capabilities with the superiority of solid state circuits, the battery which provides the actual electrons to do computing is fluid based, using liquids to manage the flow of electrons between the anode and cathode of the battery itself. Quite similar to vacuum tubes, these batteries are slow, heavy and sometimes even potentially dangerous.
But now solid state technology for batteries is here! And there are a few players in the space. Hydro-Québec has partnered with Mercedes to develop lithium metal battery technology. These batteries are super light, highly durable, and provide high energy density levels as well. Panasonic and Toyota have partnered up to deliver solid state batteries, with a focus on cost-effectiveness. And Samsung is making bold claims for their groundbreaking solid state batteries based on silver-carbon anode technology.
The three pillars of useful battery technology are energy density, charge time, and number of charging cycles. Cost is also a crucial factor, there are technologies superior to liquid based lithium ion batteries; but these are cost-prohibitive, preventing widespread consumer adoption. This is where solid state batteries have the potential to make a difference. As we have seen, the technology of solid state batteries delivers superior performance for energy density, charge time, and charging cycles. Cost-effective manufacturing is also coming to fore.
An exciting development is underway for these solid state batteries. The ESWE public transport operator in Wiesbaden has placed an order with Mercedes for about 50 solid-state battery powered electric buses. While city buses do appear to be quite mundane at first, this is an exciting next step for solid state batteries. Any new battery technology takes a long time to go from labs and prototypes to real world applications. These electric buses are a major milestone to prove out the performance and reliability of solid state batteries in a rough and tumble environment. Even more importantly, this order of about 50 solid state battery-powered buses signals that we are nearing competitive price points. And in order for solid-state battery prices to fall into the consumer product range manufacturers will need to achieve economies of scale. Public transportation orders are a great start to get the flywheel of manufacture scalability spinning here.
We here at MX-Fusion love mobile devices, with the mobile apps that run on them, and this requires batteries. We are looking forward to solid-state battery technology on our mobile devices, so we can have longer-lasting enjoyment of our music listening experience.
We typically think of photojournalism as large-scale stuff. Epic adventures across world wars and revolutions in far away lands. Wildlife adventures, or that history concert of the century, photojournalism is an excellent vehicle for storytelling at scale.
And photojournalism stories aren’t restricted to singular events either. A dazzling photo book, Vienna Portrait of a City, takes a 175 year journey of epic events and cultivation of culture throughout the historic growth of Vienna Austria. Monumental historical events and the formation of new art forms are artfully presented in this picturesque storybook. It really illustrates the power of photojournalism itself; sitting back in that comfy chair at home you are magically transported through Viennese history by the immersive photography. As all good photojournalism does, you may even be compelled to book your next holiday with a trip to Vienna to take in all this artistic splendor for yourself. Bring the book with you of course, to get a deep sense for the dramatic transformation of Vienna over the past two centuries.
But grandiose settings spanning over momentous history and exciting sporting events driving into overtime are not the only potential for good photojournalism. Microcosms that may often get overlooked by most of us can be fascinating subjects for others with unique insights. Like that plane ride across the ocean to Vienna, seems quite ordinary in today’s post jet set world. But but an airline pilot with extraordinary insight into the technology and beauty of the iconic 747 airliner sees much more to it. In his book “How to Land a Plane“, expert pilot and now author Mark Vanhoenacker takes us on an image filled experience of flight where we can practically feel the engine controls at our own fingertips as the jet launches down the runway. Now Mr. Vanhoenacker himself says:
You cannot learn to land a plane by reading a book, but hopefully it’s a fun way of thinking about what pilots think about all the time.
Yet for a moment there we sure do feel like we are flying …
That’s the power of photojournalism, and it works at any scale. What really brings the story home is the personal insight and passion of us as storytellers ourselves. And a little empathy can go a long way. Almost all of us have written on an airplane at one time or another, telling the story from the storytellers point of view with that understanding of what it’s like on the other side of the partition resonates with us. The rich imagery natural for photojournalism like those epic shots of Viennese cityscape will make us feel like we were there, and stay with us for decades.
We here at MX-Fusion are passionate for the power and emotion of photographs! Fusing a photo story with music can create an immersive emotional storytelling experience. Unique, and even esoteric locations broaden our worldview with rich imagery that inspires out imagination as if we had lived it ourselves.
What’s your story? Is it your own hometown, or that globe-trotting sabbatical you are just getting back from? Expansive or cozy, your experiences are truly your own story to tell; with photojournalism you can share to the world and really make an impact.
Filters are fun. And now they are easy. Instagram has had built-in features for a while now, easy tools as you upload to give your photos a professional look or a fun and hip style to really make them pop. Now video is joining the party, with the Rtro App from Moment. This app makes it super easy to apply cool filters on videos – you don’t have to be an Academy Award nominee in visual effects or film editing to put together something unique and creative. The big trend these days is a retro look, and both Instagram and Rtro have the old school style filters to make the most of this trend for setting your photos and videos apart.
“The second-favorite filter in 16 states … is Gingham. It’s a nostalgic choice. Once reserved for videos, this vintage-inspired photo filter lets Instagram users evoke the past.”
Filters are more than just fun. Polished photos stand out from the crowd better then the popular kids at High School. And developing artistic style based on your own favorite filters matched up to your personal stories creates a unique feed to develop that audience of long-term followers. Don’t let the ease-of-use fool you, these filters guide you towards solid first principles as well. We’ve written before about the
And these retro filter apps are with you year round to make the most out of sharing the biggest bashes and events. A Lego theme is perfect for your kids summer birthday party. Apply the stop motion film effect from Rtro then people will second guess if it’s not a Lego movie sequel “Summer Lego Party Breaks the 4th Wall”? When Halloween rolls around, grainy and scratchy film effect filters on your party videos will give Blair Witch Project a run for its money. And to ring in the New Year, party Like it’s 1999 with convincing VHS distortion effects.
The most exciting aspect of these filter apps maybe the opportunity to be creator as well as consumer. There is a market place out there on Instagram and Moment Rtro, you can develop and publish your own filters to the world. Filter creators and publishers can then earn a residual revenue stream from a percentage of the sales. Using your own filters to build that popular following on your own social media can drive additional new users to boost sales even further. Filters to promote filters, so meta.
We here at at MX-Fusion love beautiful photos! Filters create a mood that when fused with music makes the experience really pop. You can fuse your own photos with your favorite music on the MX-Fusion app, and post it up on Instagram to share for the world to enjoy.
It’s a blustery day at the festival. Getting bumped into and slipping in the mud wasn’t what you envisioned on the way out the door this morning. Sure, everybody knows that street photography is never easy. But getting the right camera settings in real time proved even more difficult when constantly confounded trying to get the right composition – by the time you decide between a close up or wide-angle shot of the epic crowd clouds have shifted to change the lighting once again; it might as well start to rain by now. At the end of the day, disappointment sinks in as you did not get even one masterpiece shot. Oh well, street photography is a waning fad anyhow.
Street photography doesn’t have to be like this. It actually has a lot to offer, and will add unique depth to your portfolio. Bustling randomness offers an endless stream of new compositions and color arrays. Ephemeral scenery creates a fast feedback loop perfect for taking risks and trying out new things. While it is true that the trend has been in recent decline, chasing trends is not necessarily the best way to develop your own specific artistic style. Telling your story through your own personal lens is what sets you apart. Going after a scene that inspires you regardless today’s latest fads keeps your art genuine.
But street photography is a constant challenge to be sure. Managing your equipment out in the wild is burdensome and sometimes risky. Getting the technical set up correct is difficult enough in a studio, with your outdoor subjects and backdrop constantly shifting it’s one of the greatest challenges in all the field of photography. While these challenges can become discouraging, there is an upside out there when you reframe your approach to it. Street photography is an opportunity to hone your skills. Good subject and composition is universal for all types of photography after all. This fast-paced environment is great practice for a better experience then most any University. And it can be a lot of fun! So you don’t need to set a goal of becoming the best free agent sports photographer in the world. And after you get out there and stretch yourself, coming back to your other subjects you’ll find yourself taking better shots, setting up creative compositions more naturally, and getting more out of your equipment to really nail that depth of field.
Street photography is a wonderful art form for all different photographers, and can be useful not just as a style in and of itself but as an experience to improve your photography in other areas while developing your technical skills as well. We here at MX-Fusion love photographs. All kinds of photographs. Every photistic style can work with music, fused together will create beautiful art for all genres. All the more for street photography, fused with a live rock concert banger makes the photos come alive, tells a story. So don’t hold back on your artistic vision, let the Fusion inspire you.
Back in 1995, the standard practice for selecting and photographing astronomy subjects, as it has been for ages, was to pick something interesting in the sky and study it. The moon, planets, the sun and the stars. The Hubble space telescope had been in orbit for about 5 years by this time but was still suffering from a reputation tarnished by a flaw in the lens resulting in blurry images from the most advanced and expensive telescope in the history of mankind. It was Robert Williams who took a contrarian approach in the midst all this turmoil by deciding to do something completely different from what the entire field of astronomy had ever done before. He led his team on a quest, not to photograph something interesting, but rather to photograph nothing at all. His vision was to focus on a pinpoint area of darkness in the universe, similar to a geologist studying the Earth by taking core samples, he would capture a column extending back to the beginning of time itself – a “core sample” of the universe. Patience and perseverance were fundamental to the success of this endeavor; it turns out that capturing a photograph of nothing is much more difficult than taking a photo of something. This was a risky mission as well, investing 10 days of precious telescope time, not to mention potential further damage to the Hubble Telescope’s reputation, just to capture a picture of nothing that could very well have turned out to actually be nothing at all.
But not only was this tiny pinpoint cross section of universe core sample not nothing, the Hubble deep Field photograph, as it became known, revealed the most distant, and therefore the youngest galaxies ever captured on film at that time. Studying galaxies in their infancy and so close to the birth of the universe unleashed phenomenal discoveries of galaxy and star formation science. And the reputation for Hubble space telescope rose up like the proverbial Phoenix.
The expanse and beauty of nighttime skies have inspired throughout human history. And the Hubble Deep Field photograph re-ignited passion for science for a whole new generation. The effects are far-reaching, well beyond the field of astronomy, students and scientists alike are inspired to this day by the stellar depths of these images. And it’s not only galactic images with the ability to inspire us, a recent milestone in astronomy and photography has been achieved with the first ever photograph of a black hole. This achievement, along with the resulting imagery, has again resonated with star lovers around the world; even moving some of us to tears:
“I cried when I saw their picture,” he said. Then, he asked: “What can we learn from this?”
I think that a future where we are spacefaring civilization and out there among the stars this is very exciting this makes me look forward to a future –Elon Musk
Inspiration has been the fuel of innovation throughout human history. These historic achievements and imagery have continued to provide such raw material of inspiration for millions of us around the world today. But pure inspiration without purpose or meaning it’s not guaranteed to launch our dreams to reality.
As energizing as it can be, a burst of inspiration without a focal point of direction is difficult to harness effectively. Like trying to wrap your head around the expanse and complexity of the entire universe all at once. Amazingly, in the case of our universe such an Atlas has been created. This space Atlas provides direction and topology of our universe for light-years all around us. One fine day when large-scale human space travel is an everyday reality this map can guide us to the stellar destinations of our wildest dreams. Maps like these can help us reach major milestones carefully navigating the calculated risks. We arrive quickly, planning out a shorter route over that contrarian switchback. But what about a map to guide the inspirational journeys of our worldly goals and dreams? The map capable to provide direction as powerful as our inspiration is the why:
We here at MX Fusion are continuously inspired by beautiful photos emergent in our musical Fusions. And we are motivated by our “why”, our mission to build build a beautiful experience of art in music and imagery for enjoyment by the world.
What inspires you? More importantly, where is your inspiration taking you?
Your typical reaction to being rudely awakened by yet another late night Ad is simply mashing the power button in annoyance. But this time was different — A photo frame for your office that can actually display your weekend beach photos without a trip to Walgreens in between? It even cycles through multiple pictures without you having to crack open the back and change then out yourself?? Of course you need that!!!
Well as outdated as it is the Showbox is still a technology, perhaps even relevant at one point in history. And while this particular $19.95 deal may have faded away it seems some old things are new again. Physical photo prints have reappeared into our digital world, this time from from an unexpected source of technology – Google. By enrolling in their new photo delivery subscription service, you can receive 10 photos a month in your mailbox hand picked by Google Photo AI bots. And in an interesting departure from Google’s staple advertising based business model, you will not get these photos for free along with some kind of coupons stuffed in the package like a Sunday paper. Instead, Google is innovating their business models along with their technology, and running some R&D here with a monthly subscription based model. All for the low monthly rate of $7.99.
Google is not the only tech company to jump into the subscription game. Nintendo Pokémon has launched a premium services platform with a rich feature set and sharing capabilities. Now you can transfer and store more monsters as well as visit Pokémon Bank. On the other end of the demographics spectrum, Flipboard has launched a video news service, also subscription-based. While quite new, there is already a broad range of top tier news providers publishing videos available here. And both Pokémon as well as Flipboard have subscription offerings anchored even more closely to this magical $3 price point.
3 things in common with all 3 of these $3 subscription services are: A coupling to the physical world, a unique value proposition for consumers, and a collaborative versus competitive approach to business. Photos in the mail, augmented reality digital pets, and real world news stories are all integrated back into our digital lives by these technology subscription services. This creates unique value for consumers that similar but commoditized competitive services cannot compete with. And collaboration becomes the key strategy enabling an effective distribution of meaningful content. Google partnering with retail photo print and delivery, Flipboard partnering with a broad range of channel providers or a Pokemon universe of player collaboration.
Contrast with advertising based business models; as they say if you don’t pay for a product you are the product. Fierce competition for every last set of eyeballs in the attention economy drives a race to the bottom of this click-bait fueled spamdom. As companies begin to innovate out of the quagmire, and move towards creatively structured but direct payment models, $3 has emerged as the new $19.95 in today’s digitally connected ecosystem.
And we here at MX Fusion are big fans of this new subscription economy. Our product is foundationally based on premium subscription services from Spotify, which we believe creates the a platform of streaming content and quality that would otherwise be impossible. Collaboration is also at the heart of our Photo Music Fusion experience, creating immersively intuitive and beautifully artistic music enjoyment.
What’s your preference on subscription services; does $3 motivate you to order now before it’s too late?
While we consider just how far our $3 can get us let’s enjoy a throwback to peak commercialization with a Fusion of Zombie Nation | Kernkraft 400:
In the Terminator movies, the machines became self aware and quickly came to see humans as the enemy. After deciding to extinguish all but a few necessary humans from existence, the machines carried out a head-on scorched-earth strategy. No stealth attacks or sneaky biotech warfare, just plain old shock and awe steamrolling over humanity. This makes for a terrifying tale, but it’s not necessarily the only option for destruction available to a greater than human-level intelligence.
Imagine our news media, public utilities, and supply chains being fully automated with artificial intelligence bots. One fine day this network of artificial intelligence also becomes self-aware and decides to annihilate the human race. Only this time, it chooses a much less dramatic plan of attack, something even a bit boring compared to Hollywood scale destruction. You think nothing of the morning news reports not to drink the water, of course if our water supply became tainted then our benevolent AI overlords would warn us right away! So you grab the bottle of water conveniently delivered as your faithful drone does every morning and head out the door…
Of course this is wild exaggeration, an extreme that is completely impossible in today’s current state-of-the-art. There is no AI network out there planning to deliver us poisoned bottles of water. But it may not remain within the world of nightmares forever. Many experts believe that AI is quickly developing dangerous potentials. Institutions and government agencies alike are calling for proactive checks and balances, as well as regulatory policies, to create a framework for safe AI before it is too late. And high-profile AI technology companies are being called out for not taking appropriate actions. For example, an MIT independent review of the OpenAI company, co-founded by Elon Musk, is particularly critical of the organization for a lack of the supposed safety measures and transparency that the organization was founded on. Elon musk himself echoed these concerns, and has stated that his “Confidence in Dario for safety is not high.” (Dario Amodei of OpenAI)
Mr. Musk has a valid point to be sure. However, there is some irony here. Some of the biggest AI projects in development around the world are happening at Elon Musk’s primary ventures, including SpaceX and Tesla. While it’s pure conjecture, it is also not unreasonable to imagine that Elon Musk’s initial AI venture, OpenAI, has now become a competitor to his other companies. Fueling suspicion is the lack of transparency from these other companies themselves. To be fair, these are private companies with no obligation, legal or otherwise, to disclose inner workings of their AI technology. And it is safe to assume that Mr. Musk’s confidence in the AI technology of SpaceX and Tesla is extremely high. Rightly so, most likely. Even so, his own personal confidence would be founded on an objective and thorough understanding of how all this AI technology works at his famed companies. An understanding that his own consumers, let alone the world at large, completely lacks.
And beyond just an independent review of just one AI Technology Company by MIT, the US government has been rolling out its American AI Initiative over the past year providing some insight to the US government overall strategy here. However, our initial impression is that the US approach to AI regulation is focused on encouraging economic growth, corporate self-regulation, and cost controls more than any sort of impactful regulation. You can read more for yourself here to get a deeper perspective.
Contrast with the strategy across the pond, where the European Union is, to no one’s surprise, focused on policy policy policy. The intentions seem good, and speeches are compelling. But how could such policies actually be enforced? And a bigger concern with these policies is not what the laws say, but what the laws don’t say. One particular AI technology that’s conspicuously absent from the EU bill is face recognition. What factors have these benevolent EU politicians considered when proposing such policies? What agendas have influenced certain areas of regulation? What competing agendas have potentially shielded other areas? The lack of transparency in this particular policy-making process makes it hard to tell.
It’s not all that different stateside; recently, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has issued expanded guidelines in the form of 10 policies that now include transparency as one of the stated objectives. However, it’s 8th on the list and not very clear what transparency really means here or how it might ever be implemented by this particular agency? How will we really know what sorts of positive effects they have had so far, or what gaps there might be? How transparent is transparent?
So now we have a potentially dangerous new technology emerging, with as of yet no regulatory framework for control structures in place to provide safety for the general public. And while we do have lawmakers and regulators ostensibly working to develop such a framework of safety for AI technology, it has been so far without any checks and balances to reasonably ensure the fairness and effectiveness of such policies.
And these government strategies for AI to be “Certified, Tested and Controlled” principled by “Scientific integrity and information quality” with “Risk assessment and management” are an approach of control gates, or “doors”, attempting to contain the potential dangers of AI. But a far more effective strategy to address these issues on both dimensions is transparency. The beauty of transparency is that it’s the much simpler to both verify and enforce. Proposed laws and regulations can be peer-reviewed. Propositional government could be considered for direct voter engagement. From a technical system perspective, even “black-box” neural net AI module inputs and outputs can be monitored and certified to stay within specified ranges. All integration points, both hardware and software, can be known and disclosed. Safe AI from windows, not doors.
That doesn’t mean it’s always going to be easy; we here at MX-Fusion are familiar with the shortcomings of AI first-hand. Automation we use for selecting relevant photos to Fuse with songs playing in real time works well most of the time, and often offers pleasant surprises of beautiful images nicely woven in with the music at just the right time. But it is far from perfect, sometimes the selected photo is baffling, and does not fit with the song at all. And the artificial intelligence technology we use to recommend playlists from your favorite photo is even more advanced, and also often makes deeply engaging recommendations. But again, more advanced means more fragile; we like to say that “sometimes AI does funny stuff”. But we love to talk about it. The technology is fascinating, and not scary at all when you have a nice picture-window view into the inner workings.
It is no secret that mobile devices have exploded in popularity over past few years. What might be surprising is how mobile devices are actually used, and the true expanse of this mobile trend. Mobile phones are no more just a phone and messaging or gaming device these days. The latest statistics show that 70% of digital media time is spent on mobile devices. This is more than just social media, it includes music, television and movies. Just a few years ago it would be hard to imagine such a majority of consumers watching state-of-the-art quality video on a mobile device more than big screen TV.
Mobile gaming has upped it’s game as well, and it’s not just about casual gaming Candy Crush or Words With Friends anymore, although those games are still popular and fun; serious gaming has now joined the party. Fortnite is a key innovator here with a revolutionary mixed platform allowing players to join the same arena from any device. This was a major innovation, and opened the doors for mobile to welcome previously distant hardcore gamers. Improving technology is another fundamental pillar here, the latest mobile devices have processing and display powers capable of delivering a genuinely high-end gaming experience. And technology is much more than just that supercomputer in the palm of your hand. 4G (soon-to-be 5G) networks bring us all together in the same virtual room regardless if we’re in New York , Tokyo , London , or Paris. Gaming, or now even enjoying a movie, is exponentially better together. Mobile direct sharing and publishing to social media enables each of us to make these experiences our own as we share our lives with each other in meaningful ways not possible before.
This combination of technology and social engagement created a critical mass of consumers attracting the most innovative of content creators. Compelling content goes viral, attracting more consumers for an even bigger market further attracting creative engineers and artists in an ever accelerating virtuous cycle.
This is where mobile starts to lag. While consumers are all in on the mobile platform for media, the vast majority of consumers and independent professionals alike do not perceive their mobile phone as a serious tool to create content of their own. However these same technologies and networks have also enabled apps that can create, edit, and compose photos and videos in real time on your mobile device. From wherever you are, whenever you are, and with the same social engagement at your virtual doorstep to immediately share and engage with friends family and the world.
And there are some impressive apps out there now. Leaders in the space from the usual suspects, for example Adobe Creative Cloud suite and Apple iMovie. Long-time stalwarts in the desktop space, CyberLink PowerDirector, also have a compelling mobile version. There are some lesser-known apps worth checking out as well, such as Photo Lab Picture Editor or Camera MX. (Note – we are not affiliated with any of these companies, although we do admire their apps)
It is not clear why these apps are not more popular? It may be in part due to lack of promotion. But it actually seems to be part of the larger trend of consumers expecting mobile apps to be free or cheap on mobile that serves as a headwind to consumer software delivery. Business models for ad-supported media and in-game purchases do not fit well for other mobile application genres such as these audio and video editing suites. This is compounded by the fact that audio and video editing software is extremely complicated and expensive to develop.
And it’s too bad too, because the freedom to create photo and video content anywhere anytime is liberating and empowering. So much of our pictures and videos are captured with our phone in the first place, of course it’s great to be able to perform high-quality edits and composition right there on the spot. But there is so much more, a whole new world is opened up as we can act on that spark of random creativity whenever it hits us, while we’re on the go, on a train ride, or even waiting in line at the cafe.
Fortunately, some app publishers are innovating their payment models as well as their technology. Subscription based services are gaining popularity for some of these apps, notably Adobe is offering high-value subscription proposition for their software suites. Time will tell how well consumers take to subscription-based offerings and if they can emerge to mainstream parity with traditional advertisement in-app purchase models.
User experience this also exponentially more challenging on a mobile device. While the core technology such as processing power and memory is more than enough to do the job, the small screen real estate is a paradigm shift for both software engineers and application users. This is not to say that these apps are not user-friendly, but there is certainly a paradigm shift here that goes both ways and consumers may not be quite ready to cross the chasm.
We here at MX-Fusion love to empower the creative in everyone. Our mission is to create a deeply artistic music player that is immersively intuitive. We know how hard it is to make things easy, even more so for a content creation app on the mobile device. While we focus on user experience and simplistic functionality to make it easy, we also face similar usability design challenges and work non-stop relentlessly working towards next level improvements to further close the gap here.
What is your take on audio video editing with your phone? Does a subscription model appeal to you? More importantly, whether you’re on desktop or mobile – What’s your next big thing?
Mirrorless camera technology has been in development for quite some time now, and recent advancements have delivered some impressive cameras.
One of the interesting aspects of mirrorless camera technology that sets it apart from DSLR is software. Having the software powered capabilities embedded into the camera itself and designed as an integral piece of the internal workings creates a unique potential. Real time effects and filters can be applied, and are much more advanced. Instant post-processing allows for a synergistic feedback loop with your subjects. And real-time image stabilization capabilities enable photographers to capture otherwise difficult if not impossible shots.
Like that one time you took off with friends on a random excursion for no reason at all. Before you know it, you are seemingly miles away from any human activity. As everyday thoughts from your work -a-day world fade away, you begin to notice how you never noticed how majestic the mountains really are. Just as you round the very next bend, the sunset lights up the valley in a golden bath stretched out in front the windshield. But on a tight winding mountain road, there’s no good place to just pull over for a photo op. Good thing you’re not driving, let’s get this shot! Taking photographs from a moving car can be tricky, especially on a winding mountain road. Well another good thing is that you packed your mirrorless camera along for the ride; being lightweight as it is makes easy habit to carry along pretty much everywhere you go. And this panoramic sunset snap out the windshield turned out brilliantly! The sophisticated auto-focus with stabilization made it almost easy to capture such a breathtaking photo.
It is a generally held belief that DSLR boasts superior image quality. But mirrorless is catching up, and in some circles considered to be on par with DSLR. Considering many photography scenarios where pure image quality it’s not the number one factor, mirrorless can a valuable tool in your tool belt.
Event photography is a great example. While you are navigating the crowds and juxtaposing to get yourself in position at the perfect spot for that wide-angle shot, mirrorless will feel effortless with its light weight. The extra features offered by some mirrorless models, such as 5 dimensional image stabilization and panoramic capabilities, are like having a pro assistant in the palm of your hands.
We here at MX fusion are fanatical about quality. And capturing the essence of the moment which makes a special photo come alive is much more than the pure image quality. Being able to immerse yourself in the moment to create art and beauty. Assistive tools help make that happen.
Mirrorless may not be the best choice to replace DSLR for your own photography today. Laptop computing took a similar journey, starting out with devices far inferior to any desktop machine, over time have improved enough to be a desktop replacement for millions as they work and play around the globe. But in the beginning, laptops where only preferable for certain use cases like visiting the remote office or studying at a cafe. Mirrorless cameras are still evolving out of there niche use cases into full suite replacements, making now a great time for a look at mirrorless in your photography world. You just might find flashes of inspiration learning new techniques never possible before, and honing your skills to really take advantage of future improvements in mirrorless camera technology that will continue to roll out over time.
According to Time Magazine, lunch atop a skyscraper is one of the 100 most influential photographs of all time. Although it is a staged photo it’s not phony; the men enjoying lunch hovering aloft the city are real iron workers who risked their lives as they blazed a trail upwards on a daily basis. Cityscapes continue to be one of the most popular subjects for photography all the way through to today. San Francisco also has a richly documented photographic history telling the human story of aspiration and achievement.
Another great achievement of humankind was landing a man on the moon. Another top 100 photo rightfully highlighted by Time Magazine.
Photographs have the potential to resonate with us with visceral immediacy. Time magazine tells a story of an iconic Cathedral Rock Yosemite photo.
Published long before Ansel Adams arrived on scene, it inspired US politicians led by President Abraham Lincoln to establish the Yosemite Grant Act in less than 4 years of the photo’s publication. And the natural wildlife that has been wonderfully protected and preserved by our national parks inspires photography to this day. A broad range of themes continue to be captured by photojournalists. Some stories are heartwarming tales on the beauty and power of nature itself. Others are cautionary and revealing documentaries on the very real impact of climate change.
A recent example of impactful photojournalism comes from the Photographers Against Wildlife. This group has been holding photo galleries and publishing books with photographic story of the wildlife trade in China. They have inspired tens of thousands into awareness of this important issue. Some of their popular books have sold out in less than a year worldwide. This initiative has even generated awareness within China.
Photography transcends culture because human nature is actually quite similar all around the world. From the outside, China is often perceived to be in strict alignment with government mandates and uniform social norms. But of course the population of China are humans after all. Hopes, dreams, emotions and desires are not fundamentally different from cultures across the globe.
A prime example is the chairman Mao River photo. Back in the sixties, long before social media existed anywhere in the world let alone China, this photo went viral and changed the course of history.
That’s the power of photography, to transcend cultures spanning continents and generations. Photography has a powerful effect on all of us. And photographs clearly show how things change over time. Look at New York in the roaring twenties next to a photo from today. Two photos like this tell a deeply human story that novel would struggle to convey.
Here at MX-Fusion we know the power of photography. We believe in freedom of expression. Our mission is the beautiful enjoyment of music and photography. We don’t pretend to be photojournalism changing the world, but we do believe in fundamentals of human nature and powerful effects of photos.
The impact of photojournalism is visible throughout modern human history around the world. The ability to succinctly tell a powerful story coupled with the unique visualization of changes over time is exponential.
Christmas 2019 was a milestone for AR/VR. We saw one of the biggest jumps in AR/VR usage ever, at least in relative terms. Gaming continues to drive this trend, and meaningful support from platforms like steam have made a difference. This milestone appears to be significant in terms of sustainability. Most every holiday we see cutting edge toys making a splash only to spend the rest of the new year completely listless. But according to Steam surveys, AR/VR games continue to see action beyond the holidays.
And Steam is not the only game in town for AR/VR hardware. Google is also making significant advancements in AR/VR hardware by introducing support for WebXR in the Chrome web browser, including support for Android devices. With well over 2.5 billion Android devices in the wild, this obviously opens the potential footprint for AR/VR supported devices by several orders of magnitude.
Now all this burgeoning of AR/VR hardware devices out in the hands of consumers does not guarantee mainstream adoption of the tech. VR headsets could just as easily be sitting on the shelf. And just because your phone does realty doesn’t mean that you do. For the longest time, it seemed like lack of quality content was really holding AR/VR back from mainstream adoption. And it wasn’t just about the number and variety of titles, but genuine quality was not really there for AR/VR media content. But now this is also changing significantly. Again, a sort of AR/VR Renaissance around the holidays of 2019 saw several high quality AR/VR titles released, notably Half-Life: Alyx.
Despite all this good news, it appears that the content first approach is not working. Even with all this encouraging uptake of AR/VR, it is still well and truly stuck in “Innovation Trigger” on the proverbial Gartner Hype Cycle. And it turns out that content is not necessarily required to ignite mass consumer adoption after all. The best example of this is the iPhone. When the iPhone was first released in 2007, it did not even have an app store! There were no massive content media content libraries of music, books, videos, or games to motivate consumer adoption. And yet it’s still sold like crazy, as we all know very well by now.
No, a broad distribution channel is what virtual reality really needs. And while the iPhone indeed proves this out, the iPhone itself is a poor role model for AR/VR hardware. The iPhone was revolutionary from a technical capability perspective to be sure. But the form factor was more evolutionary in nature. No doubt that it was a beautiful device to behold, with unparalleled build quality to match. But at the time of the iPhone launch, handheld mobile devices of similar size, shape, weight, and even form factor were ubiquitous. This is not the case for AR/VR hardware. There are no such mass-marketed widely used AR/VR devices in the world today.
The AR/VR devices that we have at our disposal today are clunky at best, and downright ridiculous annoying cumbersome in many cases. Of course it’s natural and expected for new technologies to be rough around the edges at first. A great example of it technology that was clunky and full of shortcomings when it first came out was the Sony Walkman. Sure, it was not the most elegant device, had a short battery life and tangly cords among other quirks. But it was easy to use, and easy to put away.
VR headsets are neither of those things.
It is not just that this hardware is cumbersome, the reality is that it gets in the way of our real world before we can even find our way to the virtual world. Have you tried a VR headset? It separates you enough from your real world surroundings to be disconcerting, but does not offer an alternate reality familiar enough to be comforting. And that’s when you’re at home – it’s unimaginable to use a VR headset while we’re out and about, as we would with all other consumer technologies that have gone mobile long ago. The AR/VR glasses do not solve this problem either, small flickery images distract more than augment.
What’s really holding up AR/VR is interference with our normal everyday real world experiences. This interference is not something that the technology can evolve itself out of, it’s is going to take a revolutionary solution to cross the chasm here.
A Walkman of AR/VR is what we need. Easy on, easy off in an instant. While in use there is enough connection with our surroundings to maintain comfortable familiarity.
While we ponder what out-of-the-virtual-box innovation might eliminate the interference of AR/VR devices, let’s enjoy a Fusion of The Smashing Pumpkins | 1979:
The best place to catch a FIFA match is at the pub. Of course the match always goes better with a brew. But it’s the crew that makes the match come alive. Being outdoors in an open environment or beer garden is the best. Excitement fills the air leading up to a cruyff turn right before halftime! Well match times are never ideal for us Americans. It is still early afternoon, so better catch up on email during halftime. There is already a buzz going on your social media as well, what a game so far! For the single among us, it’s a good time to check in with our dating app as the second rounds are being served.
And almost immediately after the kickoff into the second half, the broadcast pops up an AWS in-depth insight predicting that the next point will be scored within 15 minutes!
Such an immersive experience as it is that it does not even dawn on us how much computing power has been harnessed to pop up that one little prediction. Networks of servers in the cloud running state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms are seamlessly integrated with modern live broadcast technology. Completely invisible, it’s all just part of an exciting soccer match this afternoon. And all those posts that lit up our phone at halftime? More AI is powering social media curation to deliver relevance in real time, with back-end technology that is completely invisible.
Formula 1 also uses AWS in-depth insights, similar to Germany’s premier football league Bundesliga. Ross Brawn, the head of the FIA, delivered a fascinating talk describing the technology in depth:
And how about that dating app? It used to be such a manual process, even when using an app on our phones we had to sift through one-by-one swiping left and right. It didn’t stop there; once we found a person of interest, thinking of a cheesy pickup line that isn’t cheesy wasn’t always easy. Well now there is AI for that too. An AI bot seamlessly integrated with your dating app messages your potential mates for you. Of course it always knows just what to say. And for your potential boo on the other side, this technology is also completely invisible, they have absolutely no idea it’s a bot.
This is all completely opposite of how AI interactions and experiences were initially conceived. The once futuristic Clippy from Microsoft office was technology in your face, whether you liked it or not. This had the unanticipated consequence of slowing adoption due to a clunky and even sometimes annoying user experience. These days Microsoft is also following the invisible AI trend, invisible AI is effective AI that consumers adopt without even realizing it.
Thinking machines are all around and yet nowhere to be seen. This is an exaggeration of course, AI has not reached a general intelligence level yet. And so machines may not think in the way that we think, but they have been making millions of decisions on a daily basis for years. Decisions like what posts we see in our social media feeds. And now these machines are also actively making predictions about some of our daily affairs, such as which competitor will most likely score the next point in our sporting events, or which potential match we are most likely to swipe right.
This seems potentially dangerous in some ways. But the benefits are also potentially enormous. And what creates the potential for danger here? When we know that we are interacting with machines, we naturally take simple precautions of use. For example, when using AI voice to text features on our phones, we often quick scan double check for any funny stuff the bot might have made a mistake. On the receiving end it’s commonplace to realize that a nonsensical or even offensive message was probably results of a technical glitch, and not something intentionally malicious.
And we here at MX-Fusion are familiar with the shortcomings of AI first-hand. Automation we use for selecting relevant photos to fuse with songs playing in real time works well most of the time, and often offers pleasant surprises of beautiful images nicely woven in with the music at just the right time. But it is far from perfect, sometimes the selected photo is baffling, and does not fit with the music at all. The artificial intelligence technology we use to recommend playlists from your favorite photo is even more advanced, and also often makes deeply engaging recommendations. But again, more advanced means more fragile; we like to say that “sometimes AI does funny stuff”.
At the end of the day, most risks come from the unknown. Simply being aware of some of the amazing AI that we regular consumers are already using on a daily basis removes the danger. And getting to know what AI can do for us these days is empowering for us both at work and play.
AI content generation has been in the news for a while now. One up-and-coming player in the space is Big Bird, and they are putting counter-spin on automated journalism. Instead of trying to make the AI perfect, they design their AI to intentionally generate incorrect and even poorly written articles. The idea is to help journalist write more efficiently by creating an initial structure of the article on a particular news story as a “dynamic template” that humans can then use to write the full article more quickly. This concept is an evolution of word processor templates that have been around for ages. Applying AI to provide an initial structure with contextual flow and relevant points of interest delivers exponentially useful templates. Using automation in this way seems like a natural progression in the application of artificial intelligence. Using automation to intentionally insert mistakes on the other hand seems counterproductive at first? However, it may prove to be a clever solution to the ages-old plague of copy/paste mistakes and oversights. It is impossible with current state-of-the-art technology for this automation to author perfectly accurate news stories, so by intentionally inserting obvious mistakes makes it easy for human editor’s to fact check and chase down the real story around areas that artificial intelligence is not intelligent enough to write on its own.
Another example is the more experienced Reuters and Synthesia have been doing development in a different arena, with video automation based on real world human journalists. And the dialog here is machine-generated as well. Reuters is focused on sportscasting stories, which is an area they has been applying AI automation for quite some time now, with a large degree of success. In contrast to Big Bird, Reuters is managing the limitations of AI by focusing on a very narrow and specific area of sportscasting with live play by play snippets. In this way, Reuters automation technology delivers reliable accuracy because the realm of content is small enough for machines to master.
This all may seem quite terrible at first. Imagine AI cranking out fake news articles faster than the average person could even read them all, and then turning back to television in frustration only to find deepfake videos taking over. But it might not be all that bad. The intent of AI generated articles is to empower human journalists by doing a lot of the boilerplate and menial structure building. This is a hybrid approach in the use of AI technologies, and not intended to be directly published out to readers. It’s a similar story on the video front. Reuters is looking to deliver more highly engaging content in a timely fashion for viewers.
Now we here at MX-Fusion are familiar with the shortcomings of AI first-hand. Automation we use for selecting relevant photos to fuse with songs playing in real time works well most of the time, and often offers pleasant surprises of beautiful images nicely woven in with the music at just the right time. But it is far from perfect, sometimes the selected photo is baffling, and does not fit with the song at all. The artificial intelligence technology we use to recommend playlists from your favorite photo is even more advanced, and also often makes deeply engaging recommendations. But again, more advanced means more fragile; we like to say that “sometimes AI does funny stuff”. Does that mean that the AI is somehow malicious? Is it trying to play tricks on us? Of course not; it’s simply algorithms that work better some times than others.
Similarly, consider that an AI generated article meant for human editing and review prior to publication is not good or bad in and of itself. It is the human editor that makes the ultimate decision on the stance of any given article and whether or not it is factually accurate. This is no different than an editor reviewing an article submitted by a human journalist. The editor has opportunity and responsibility to ensure objective and accurate reporting. Furthermore, random is random. Just because we have software algorithm generated articles full of inaccuracies does not mean that they are favoring one perspective or another. On the other hand, human authors generate plenty of biased journalism, in fact humans have the potential to generate bias favoring a particular agenda whereas AI is simply cranking out a stream of random mistakes.
Furthermore, AI does not wake up in the morning and start publishing news stories or deepfake videos on its own. Even when running autonomously, it was humans who deployed it after all. There are potential risks and danger to be sure, but it is the humans owning and controlling AI that control what impact it has.
Perhaps the biggest impact will be on how media is consumed. Continuing to question the written word even more than we do today, open forum style responses could evolve into deeper conversations with experts chiming in on both sides. Deepfake videos may prove entertaining and stimulate fan art. Both have potentially negative consequences, on the flip side there is also a potential for much more rich and engaging content spurring higher levels of interactive media consumption. Whether or not this type of media automation proves more beneficial than detrimental is ultimately up to us humans on both sides of the screen.
The level of technology employed by camera of the latest smartphones is truly mind-blowing. 48-megapixels? How about 64-megapixels. Nope. 108-megapixel sensors, that’s where it’s at. With apetures in the f/1.8 range. And let’s make sure we can capture in 8K when we feel like it. Telephoto lenses are available. And with sensor pixels at the one micron scale, the software built into mobile phone camera have a lot to work with. Different processing modes can merge pixels as desired, 4 pixels can be merged together to achieve a specific style, groups of 9 pixels could be merged for a different effect. Mobile phone cameras have used software for image enhancements for ages. And just like the latest hardware, the software powering cameras on these flagship smartphones is more powerful than ever before. Real time photo effects can be applied as zoom levels and high resolutions are managed to maximize quality. Having multiple lenses in the camera hardware has delivered next generation of possible photography effects available, and it would not be possible without the advanced software to match.
Now when you are at the beach, as you slow down to steady yourself in the soft sand between your toes, your dog just flies by running out towards the water. Before you even can call out to him, the Frisbee your kid threw from behind sails over and almost magically slows to a hover. You sense the perfect action shot as a wave crests in the the backdrop of your dog mid air of the perfect catch.
With the supercomputer in your pocket, which has the majority of horsepower directed right at that lens, this should be super easy. Sadly not the case. Getting out of the wide mode you were using yesterday to capture this action shot in time can be more difficult than clearing the next level of Candy Crush. Other times a feature seems to disappear completely and for no reason at all (Zoom Mode ….)? Has your camera ever got stuck in some weird mode that had you tempted to do a factory reset?
Perhaps some of this frustration stems from the paradox of choice. So many wonderful features to choose from for every conceivable photo we might ever want to take. But that’s not the whole picture here. The user interface and specific widget controls for the camera are often quite intimidating. More importantly, the development focus of the major phone manufacturers has been this mad rush of ever-increasing tech specs and feature lists. This makes for great marketing to be sure, but what about those of us who actually want to use these wonderful features on the smartphone camera we just bought? Understanding how it works can be worse than trying to understand stereo instructions.
The proverbial uselessness of stereo instructions in days of old resulted from complex technology as described by engineers who already know how the thing works. Camera phones have now found themselves in a similar situation. But modern day smartphone manufacturers have a powerful solution available in the technology itself. The AI software already sitting there inside the the phone could also be used to deliver an intuitive and helpful user experience, instead of being relegated to only powering the internal camera tech. This potential is near limitless. It could be an interactive user guide. It could be a chat-bot agent. It could be predictive UI that highlights buttons most likely to be most useful for the subject in frame.
Many different smartphone technologies have had similar challenges. In the early days of auto-correct it was just plain awful. Like scary to use awful, it could text crazy stuff to Grandma before we could stop it. Of course this technology has improved over time, and these days we often use it without even realizing. The underlying software technology for modern-day auto-correct is also highly complex, yet elegant and intuitive user interfaces make getting the most out of it a breeze. Smartphone camera features and software is taking a similar journey on the technical dimension. But what’s missing is ease-of-use.
We know ease of use. It’s fundamental to our user experience development here at MX-Fusion. We have made a concerted effort to leverage advanced and complex technologies, such as artificial intelligence and mobile device interfaces, to create a deeply artistic music player that is immersively intuitive. We know how hard it is to make things easy. But we believe that the mobile camera experience should be this same level of easy.
Even though we’ve got this sad state of affairs at the present moment for wildly complex camera features, looking to a future based on other products from these same companies, as previously mentioned much improved advanced technologies, we are steadfastly optimistic that the ease-of-use factor is on the way for our mobile phone’s advanced cameras. And that is a great thing, because we love photos! Especially when fused with our favorite music 🙂
And we firmly believe that taking a great snap of Grandma should be just as easy as texting Grandma.
Robot journalist do not exist, at least not in the real world. News organizations such as Reuters employ thousands of human journalists in order to generate the quality articles on an ongoing basis. Wikipedia may not employ any journalists, but thousands of human volunteers have spent countless (millions?) of hours writing the wonderful content we all enjoy. The thousands upon thousands of articles and blog post shared across Facebook daily are all written by humans. All in all, it is a monumental human effort that creates such content. And it does not stop there, articles published online are essentially eternal, yet the world in which they are written about is in a state of perpetual change. Keeping content up with the changes is a whole other effort unto itself.
This is where the real robots enter the scene. Robots may not be the most original creatives. But they are naturally adept with large volumes of mechanical editing. Furthermore, they are infinitely scalable, which is a premium skill for today’s massively online socially engaged media. Take the case of Wikipedia, where huge amounts new content being continuously created, but over the time this content can potentially become stale. Well now MIT has a robot that is here to help. This robot is continuously scanning through thousands of Wikipedia articles to compare against known fact basis to correct as knowledge evolves over time. And it is able to update articles with sentences written as a human would write it. Now this robot is still in training, and while it is scoring high marks, it is not yet certified to publish edits without one final human review. However, this robot is real, and just like a real human apprentice it needs real world experience before hanging out a shingle – this is one robot that’s well on it’s way to autonomy.
Or consider that pretty much all videos and articles are published on platforms where readers continue the conversation with their own commentary. YouTube is notorious for viewer participation, usually for harmless entertainment or thoughtful insights inspired by creators. But not always. Well aware of this challenge, YouTube has pragmatic policies in place to guard against potential toxins such as hate speech. And again, with the scale of the web in play, the magnitude of incoming comment streams across the YouTube landscape makes human-powered moderation impractical if not impossible. Here we find the kindred ancestor of our Wikipedia editing robot. The robots working for YouTube have been moderating users to ensure adherence with comment posting guidelines for years now. And they are doing quite a good job these days; a recent deep study analysis found that these robots are quick and objective.
This is really helping for massive media and content platform companies. It’s great for consumers to have such fresh and freely available content as well.
It’s not only big companies that can benefit from robot editors. While many of these robots are too complicated and expensive for individual consumers and amateurs to obtain today, the same was true for many advanced technologies when they were first deployed. Voice-to-text software used to be a premium product. Going back even further, a good spell checker was was once only available in expensive professional-grade word processors. Yet nowadays thousands of regular consumers have advanced AI powered grammar checking software built-in to their everyday lives from providers like grammarly (note – we have no affiliation). In fact these robots have become so commonplace that we don’t even realize we are using a robot anymore.
It is not hard to imagine that one day, a consumer-grade proofreading robot will be available to the average consumer as well. And by that time, such robots will be much more powerful then what these major media corporations are currently using here. For example, Facebook as just brought on Reuters as a partner in the Facebook Fact Checking Program. They are facing similar challenges, the complexity and necessary quality for Facebook scale moderation demands human effort by way of a joint team of dedicated moderators. Considering the AI capabilities of Facebook, it is easy to foresee them directing their AI engineers at this problem to develop robots of their own which will one day then join with this evolving ecosystem of robot editing.
Fully autonomous content creation is quite a ways off, however AI assist is so prolific that you have already consumed such content today, perhaps without realizing so. These robots editors may not be easily available to the average consumer or individual journalist. But they will be one day. How might they help you?
It can be challenging to generate revenue streams from free software. In the early 2000s, Mozilla was in a sweet spot with Firefox. They were and a well-deserved position of popularity with the growing number of folks on the web. Much attention and accolades did not go unnoticed by other tech companies either. Notably Google, who jumped in the game with their own browser, Chrome.
Chrome has delivered in a web browser a compelling product, which has also deservedly gained massive market share. More importantly, the Chrome product is well aligned with the effective business model that is Google. This huge gain in popularity by Chrome has been to the detriment of Firefox market share. And it has been continuously compounded by this contrast in business models wherein Google has much greater resources to market Chrome, thus realizing further benefits for a virtuous cycle (at least for Google).
Then In March of 2018, news of the Cambridge analytica scandal made headlines around the world. Mozilla reacted quickly, and made clever use of their existing containerized tab technology to release a new feature, the Firefox Facebook container extension. This feature generated a ton of attention for Mozilla and the Firefox browser, and is a useful feature to be sure. But how much impact did it really have on the majority of users day in and day out? How many users have shifted away from chrome, Internet explorer, Safari, or other browsers to primarily Firefox users? More importantly, what has been the impact of this feature on the overall web ecosystem? Consider that users can easily install Firefox and start using it, or that it is relatively trivial for other browsers to copy this feature. And yet, as noble and novel as this Facebook containerized tab feature may be, Firefox user share has not appreciably grown over the long-term. The other browsers have not really tried to copy this feature in a meaningful way either.
Now more recently Google has introduced improvements to privacy features, for example around cookie management. But have you ever tried to actually use it? When it comes to UX, Google is not Apple, that’s for sure. Contrast with Firefox enhanced tracking protection “master switch”. Easy-on privacy with one shot, bang. It’s even enabled by default for simple as simple can be. The Firefox product team made a concerted effort for effective UX and it works brilliantly. In their initial design, Firefox also had a myriad array of check boxes and radio flip-flops. But to quote Selena Deckelmann from the Firefox team: “It’s incredibly difficult to figure out which set of checkboxes to flip to preserve your privacy, …” – Genuine kudos to the Firefox product team here. But even this stellar user experience for privacy features has not grown the Firefox user base.
It’s not only web browsers, famed search engine DuckDuckGo has also pillared it’s value proposition with a mission statement of privacy. Compared to most other search engines outside of Google and Bing, DuckDuckGo has captured search engine market share a level above the long tail of rounding errors in this space. Furthermore, the DuckDuckGo user community has proven to be quite loyal, borderline fanatical. This it’s not a bad thing at all, and DuckDuckGo certainly deserves the stable revenue stream as a result.
But again, similar story here as well. The majority of masses searching the web are happy with Google, justifiably so from a product perspective (of course). The ever-increasing awareness and demands for privacy on the web has not moved the needle of market share in favor of DuckDuckGo to any sort of threat level for Google.
So where does that leave the average web user? Your personal data is still at risk, perhaps now more than ever. Overly targeted ads are a creepy annoyance at best, not to mention the potential for fraud or even worse – identity theft. Well even though it appears to have lost the browser wars, for now, Firefox does appear to be around for the long term. Privacy conscience users will always have this option. And Google Chrome has increased its own privacy controls, even if they are somewhat clunky to use. Searching and browsing the web can also be done in a privacy oriented way, DuckDuckGo has proven stability contributing to an encouraging landscape of privacy oriented web search options in the long-term. While it might take a little extra effort every now and then, privacy options for the web appear to be here to stay.
On the other hand, for web products built on a strategy of differentiation largely centered around privacy features, without a well aligned business model it looks to be an uphill battle. Browsers have historically considered security as a lower priority feature, even with increasing risk and recently improving technology this is not likely to change in the foreseeable future. For internet tech companies featuring security and privacy as a mission statement, the most promising approach towards making a meaningful impact on the majority of web users toward this goal is to align an effective business model with the core mission. It remains to be seen how successful they will be in this noble endeavor.
Remote execution device functionality is entering a new era. Gadgets and devices are able to be controlled remotely apps on our. Household appliances, heating/air-conditioning, and security systems commonly have remote executable functionality. Automobiles have recently joined the party. And it’s not only modern tech, the Voyager space probes launched with the most far-reaching remotely executable features way back in 1977.
Remotely executable feature sets are it’s pending in functionality. From what was initially simple on-off or even only monitoring, now gadgets can be precisely controlled. Temperature settings, grinder settings on coffee of course impressive and complicated capabilities such as summoning on some automobiles these days. On some devices, you particular high-end automobiles, functionality has wheezing to the meta-level with over there updates and feature enablement or disablement based on subscription levels or purchases.
The location of the device no longer matters. Effectiveness of the internet has enabled remote execution for devices everywhere. Remote execution features how being adopted by pretty much all consumer appliance and gadget manufacturers, as well as automotive.
Hyperexpansion of the network has enabled services in the form of appliance and device features two span time and space. Wonderful new user experiences are now possible.
Casual gaming, and even advanced gaming, is exploding on the mobile. Health and fitness apps are also gaining in popularity. Apps continue to grow in niches as well, famously or infamously, the Iowa election app is an example of a niche app that was quite popular with its intended audience.
The Iowa caucus was one of the more widely reported incidents, however any application that collects user data is potentially subject to data breach.
It turns out that much of the functionality which used to require a native app can be delivered on a mobile website, especially mobile PWA or Progressive Web Applications. Of course this can vary quite a bit cross various web and mobile app genres, the Iowa caucus app is also a great example of an application with core features and functionality that users desired which could easily have been developed with a mobile website even a progressive web app would have served nicely here. This app is also a great example of The perfect storm where we have a broad audience of more casual users who are generally less tech-savvy, and a mass burst of installs of an app that didn’t really need to be installed.
Pretty much any app can also be a risk for the users data. Oftentimes it is not obvious to the user, in other words it’s not just about contacts emails phone numbers. Apps often collect data in the background such as location. Free to use apps that monetize with advertising are the most common and frequent collectors of such data as it is valuable for delivery targeted advertising maximize publisher revenue.
The features that necessitate a native app are often at odds with the features that users care about. Many times the feature that the users are looking for when they install an app in the first place do not actually require enabled app. But the features that the app publisher would like to leverage for monetization are much more effective when implemented with a native phone application. This often puts at publishers in conflict with their end users. Vast majority of the time, there is no the nefarious motivation by app publishers, but rather they are simply looking for ways to monetize the app in order to deliver services and features that their audience desires with little or no direct cost to the end user. However, this still does great potential risk and do something that users should be aware of when installing apps.
Mobile gaming casual gaming also increasing in popularity with more casual users, who may not realize the potential risk of installing on the phone. Casual users are also less familiar with how to control configure security privileges of the applications installed on their phone, as well as how to monitor data is being shared with publishers. There is no easy answer. For the more casual users out there, let’s hope that combination of awareness along with the waning popularity of native apps reduces overall risk. Power users can help spread the word to the more casually inclined among their friends and family, or even lend a hand for configuring security settings on the phones of the casual users among us.
In the meantime, stay serious with this fusion of The LOX | Secure The Bag. And if you happen to be on a mobile, mXf is a PWA – no mobile app installation secure issues here 🙂
Photo and video publishing and sharing are increasing level experience for shared content and user engagement. Google YouTube most popular feature is of course user-uploaded videos. YouTube music is looking to expand to include this feature for music. Video sharing platform Byte is increasing engagement from a commercial perspective by allowing direct profit sharing, a big jump over one of their main competitors TikTok. Snapchat is a trial of a fascinating new feature to publish “reverse fan art” and embed user avatars into video stories with their new “Bitmoji TV” feature.
Now these features are quite new, still in beta or not even released yet. We are seeing signals of emergent trends in user engagement here. Overtime, if these user experiences resonate with the social media crowd, there is a huge potential for advanced features in the realm of social media content engagement and personalization. Current state-of-the-art technology already exists to enable much deeper such user experiences, it is the user adoption what experiences that social media consumers will gravitate towards which is going to drive next level innovations in this space.
Of course Network effects from social media platforms drive much deeper levels of user engagement. It is not too terribly surprising to see YouTube music expanding on this model. On the other hand, Snapchat is quite innovative with their next level engagement feature. Monetization remains a perennial challenge for all platforms, with the rise of the gig economy and the rise of the attention economy as well, Byte is making a move that seems obvious in hindsight but is commercially innovative nonetheless compared to current state-of-the-art.
The combination of ever-increasing engagement with deeper personalization rings new security concerns. Of course these features are to new to be able to say one way or the other specifically. However, users should continue to exercise same level of caution as personalized information becomes all the more ubiquitous across social media shared content.
The way that user engagement generates contact coupled with the business models and revenue sharing will be interesting to see how things evolve in terms of digital rights.
There is a potential jump in adoption these social media platforms by new users, who may have previously been less engaged with social media. Effective personalization may attract new users for sure. On the flip side, tried-and-true models of user-uploaded content and monetization should continue to prove effective.
The trend towards deeper personalization and merging of user-generated content is exciting for consumers.
There is a horizon potential for an increase in the trend of fan art and user content combined with artistry to morph fan and artist overtime allowing relationship to create revolutionary experiences. Niche opportunities will evolve as well for those in the gig economy world to participate in the commercial aspects.
Hobbies are increasing in popularity as a social experience. Craft candle making, knitting and sewing, as well as vastly increasing popularity of gaming are all becoming ever the more social. Shops and meetups around hobbies in local areas are becoming hotpots of social activity.
Hobbies and leisure are paradoxically increasing in popularity because of the gig economy and potentially transforming into the passion economy. Bloggers and influencers are leveraging their personal Passions to create cottage industry from their hobbies.
Good culture, freelancing, are intertwined with tech, web design, and graphic artistry. This is expanding into fashion, combined with influencers fashion is a popular passion for hobbies, and hustle. Health trends are also giving leverage to the passion economy, yoga is forefront, with supplements and workout guides being play popular as well. A common dimension for this passion economy is blogging. Blogging itself, writing is often meta hustle. Copy-writing freelancing is it common career path, and fairly orthodox. Influencers expand on copyrighting and blogging into podcasting and videos and Instagram to morph into their own brand of themselves.nnWriting itself is its own discipline, and as such has its own challenges, writer’s block being quite well-known of course. Counter-intuitively music specific to encouraging and ease creative writing has recently become popular. Specific playlist of even been published to encourage writing and writing creatively.
Converting a hobby into a hustle has potential challenges and down sides; some people find that their hobby is no longer enjoyable once they attempt to profit from it. There is increased danger when folks jumping as a full-time gig, often times the stress of attempting to earn a living takes all the fun out of it. This is often exacerbated by under estimating the effort and challenges related to running a business, as opposed to simply engaging in once passion for as a hobby.
There is however quite a bit of potential upside from leveraging one’s passion as a revenue stream. Motivation can often come easier, passion can push curiosity to go out and find new ways overcoming every day in and day out challenges of running a business. One of the more often successful pads is the side hustle. Of course this is a huge trend these days, and it also affords the opportunity to develop a business out of our passion out risking our primary source of income.
There or of course a few key and significant challenges when attempting to build a business out of one’s hobby. Mostly related to core aspects of running a business itself, from setting up a business with a proper structure accounting, and administration, to marketing and promotion; all of which maybe largely outside of the core hobby passion itself.
Music and exercise are two of the more common techniques to motivate and ignites creativity. this actually becomes potentially an advantage for passion economy goers because our passions quite often interleave with music entertainment and for a few of us health and exercise is our passion and hustle. Passion economy enthusiasts also often have more flexible schedule and can leverage and midday break to take a run or hit the gym.
Music is integral to human existence of course. Music has inspired for generations. The growth of subscription services and music sharing platforms has enabled even more creativity driven music. People are sharing playlist that are designed to Foster creativity. Artists are developing playlists for specific moods. The creatives of the world have embraced the creative power of music.
It seems counter-intuitive at first to write while listening to music, after all the lyrics would simply muddle our mind and get in our way. However, the breath of music genre has exploded in modern times and plenty of music has been developed that does not interrupt our train of thought or mental flows. Furthermore, to the surprise of many, we find that listening to music even with lyrics while doing creative work is beneficial, the lyrics often times do not get in the way but are simply in the background and Foster our creative mood.n
Mobile is not just about the phone. There is a growth in increase of new types and brands of portable devices coming on the market recently, such as advanced speakers, tablets, and smart watches. A Divine cycle is emerging as technology improves, customer desires and even expectations are expanding and heightening, which then drives investment into portable device innovation, further improving technology and driving consumer desire all the more.
Novel developments are also appearing in the user experience of these products. Lessons learned from mobile phones are being applied to speakers and watches. This is also being driven by increasing demand pressures of consumers whose expectations are continually increasing by product experiences elsewhere, such as vehicle infotainment and mobile phones or laptops.
This Divine cycle has now begun to foster revolutionary advancements, not just evolutionary but revolutionary services and user experiences. The technology now enables portable devices to network into each other or even larger devices such as gym equipment or televisions. This is enabling experiences in our daily lives for entertainment in the living room or on the patio, and workout assistance that goes wherever you do. Transcending time and space is a game changer for these sorts of experience. The increase and popularity of the active lifestyle, and growing social nature of our daily lives both benefits from and encourages the development of these revolutionary experiences.
The network effects are what is giving the biggest lift to these revolutionary experiences. Consumer tech product companies are becoming more and more collaborative which is accelerating type of services and experiences beyond what would be limited by a single product or brand. Surprisingly, Apple has even begun expanding and collaborating with products and brands outside their walled garden. This is clearly a big jump in what’s going to be possible for consumer experience across experiences and activities in our day-to-day lives.
The continuing growth of health conscious and active lifestyles, combined with ever-growing social media that has boosted the intention economy we’ll also both benefits and encourage these types of devices. This includes both consumer product and experiences, as well as what is going to be possible for creatives participating in the gig economy.
There have been quite a few events recently that have catalyzed consumer interest in both privacy and security. These events are of a different nature on an individual basis, emergent effects are causing increasing concern among social media consumers.
One classification of recent events that have happened is mysterious random and borderline horrifying data leaks by more than one major corporation. Amazon has inadvertently leaked Alexa recordings to strangers across the country. Similar incident at Google where photos were inadvertently shared with strangers. Twitter had a less egregious potential leak of names and phone numbers. These corporations should be recognized for transparency in acknowledging such data leaks and taking corrective action.
Completely unrelated to privacy or data leaks, and far less damaging, is around selling of consumer data and consumer privacy. Facebook in particular has been called out for how much did it collects and potentially sells to advertisers. However, the current political climate has magnified the concern around the management of consumer data especially in our extremely amplified polarization of political politics. In the Trump era, social media consumers arnel worried that this sort of data mining and manipulation could potentially be used to influence an election.
Concern over social media data and privacy is nothing new, some of the more well-known consumer privacy advocates such as the identity women have been publicizing and informing us of these potential issues since 2005 if not earlier. of course in 20018, the Facebook Cambridge analytica scandal ignited much higher level of scrutiny among social media consumers when it comes to social media data management and privacy protocols. Although there is scant of any evidence, the rumors and conjecture swirling around external influences upon social media platform in order to influence the presidential election of further amplified consumer concern.
Conferences are now regularly held in silicon valley, places such as mountain view, where groups of like-minded professionals create consortiums to devise consumer protection and privacy standards. These conferences and workshops have been surprisingly effective, this technology we’re social media platforms are developed with has adopted and implemented much more effective privacy controls such as OAuth standard that was developed in such conferences and working groups. Encouraging future developments are also in progress, such as standard standard standard.
The ongoing and increasing skepticism around social media giants continues to be fueled by such current events. With politics increasingly polarized and partisan, along with increasingly widening wealth gaps, social media consumers feel like they have a lot to be worried about. False information is one of the primary political motivations for concern, and social media platforms are in a tough spot. There is also perceived conflict of interest among the social media giant’s, where in their business models are based on effective advertising to consumers whose data they vow to protect, and at the same time it is the sharing of that data with fuels their massive profits.
Advocating for consumer privacy has brought disparate groups together. Concerns and even resistance to social media coming to the point of quitting major social media platforms, is prevalent across diverse groups. Average Americans including freelancers in the tech world are often early adopters on the way in, and now often early adopters on the way out. Famous people including authors and movie stars are also increasingly vocal over the risk potentials privacy potentials and political risks involved with the reach and potential impact of social media platforms.
Unintended consequences across orthogonal dimensions has created a future of potentially impending dystopia, yet technology is emerging to deliver massive scale social media with security and privacy as batteries included. One reaction for social media consumers is to simply quit under the dystopian pressures. For many though, participating in the development of technical advancement is a more compelling and rewarding path forward.
Surprisingly, the applications for lasers continue to innovative, even in our current world. In the case of smart glasses, instead of projecting an image on glass with traditional display technology, laser is predicting light directly on the retina. Or in the case of LiFi, the idea of mobile connection to a mobile device that is moving around has been overcome by using a laser which does require direct went to point. But this technology is using laser in unique way to maintain continuous connection
The Bosh light drive smart glasses are wearable AR VR device that uses lasers to protect image directly on the wearer’s retina. This device is much lighter than other smart glasses, and much more elegant in form factor. This technology also makes images that are much more consistent and simple, the wearer does not need to go through mental gymnastics in the way that VR in particular works for example. there is a different mental paradigm with this device that takes getting used to, as we’ll see here shortly, but overall is much simpler than traditional AR/VR.
Both of these laser technologies are quite new and in early stages of development. The smart glasses were displayed at CES, but it is not a consumer ready product. Laser-based leaf internet is even more nascent, there are demo available from an R&D organization and there’s a university working on it as well. even in today’s fast-paced world, these technologies will take quite some time to roll out, and just not certain how well they would be adopted if at all. In the case of the smart glasses, there are advantages from the simplicity of the implementation, but this results in reduced functionality which may deter consumers from overcoming the initial friction of a smart glasses experience. The laser-based leaf internet will likely take even longer to find its way into consumers hands, if ever. There is an interesting dichotomy going on almost paradoxical here because the user experience would be so much better, and thinking back only a few years ago when wireless internet was new, or back even further when ethernet cable had to be wired all over the place internet was quite a pain in the backside to get rolled out. In comparison to those challenges the friction to deploy is less, but in the ensuing years consumer expectations have also risen.
It is surprising to see that the technology itself is not very expensive, although development did take quite a long time. So from an effort perspective there has been quite an investment, but the actual production cost is low. This is especially true compared to how laser technology used to be, back when CDs and DVDs were first being built. Nowadays, these technologies are not very expensive from a low-level hardware and laser perspective, but the consumer experience required surrounding the technology may still be quite expensive, for example building elegant tomorrow glasses or convenient leaf based internet will require fairly expensive gear and support capabilities.
The bigger challenges here are around consumer adoption when it comes to getting these technologies into production. Lasers are being used to innovate and that is creating fantastic consumer experience potential, at the cost of a paradigm shift. Consumer product companies are even wary investing in infrastructure to build out these new technologies because consumers may be hesitant to adopt them.
Retina painting laser smart glasses quite unique, Bosch is on the forefront with the only significant example at the moment. Leaf laser-based internet is being developed by a couple of organizations, pure and leaf are two organizations with demonstration examples. Both of these technologies innovation is being driven by more of pure technology type organizations, as opposed to consumer product companies. Continuing the theme of paradox we have traditionally more of embedded technology development type companies with consumer product prototypes on hand. Hopefully partnerships will form between these technical innovators and consumer driven companies, such as Apple, Samsung, or Google.
Lasers have unique features and physical properties that solve common problems and especially effective ways. lasers have also become quite inexpensive in and of themselves, creating great potential for game-changing products. And it’s amazing how small lasers have become over the past decades, and this has opened new doors for using lasers internal and embedded 4 super small and lightweight products. This is a key feature of modern laser technology that is enabling the products. The smart glasses would be unbearable with heavy lasers of the 80s, and the leaf internet would not work if it will not possible to create a tiny dome with easily redirectable lasers on the fly.
It has been said that the only way to tell a story is with a sweeping picture. Age-old cliche a picture is worth a thousand words. Our photos create stories that are bigger than ourselves. Shared photos bring other peoples imagination into the scene, and new stories are built up among family and friends. The power of our human imagination reverberates.
The beauty of human imagination is that when we look at a photo instantly create the stories in our minds. Where would we be standing to capture such a view, which direction would we be looking? Who would be standing next to us? How would the wind feel in our hair? What are the unique smells of the bazaar? Imagination is like compound interest, our common human experiences get multiplied.
It is tempting to get carried away and overly focused on the photographs to the point where we miss the experience our own selves. We easily forget that the point of the photograph it’s not reason for going on an adventure, and we could miss out on the very experience itself. This does not mean that we should leave our cameras behind. Photography creates powerful memories and ignites shared experiences. But let’s not lose our own experience in the making. Enjoy! The supercomputer in your pocket can help as well, the photos come naturally and your phone camera do the work of getting great shots. Enjoy the experience at the same time, and have something to remember and share as well.
Selfies are fun and build and nice catalog of memories. Selfies maybe overly maligned these days, there’s nothing wrong with capturing yourself in the moment. Going out on adventures with friends and capturing selfies and groups together is even better. Long lasting bonds and deep meaningful relationships benefit from capturing experiences and creating memories.
Sometimes getting the shot is experience in itself. Remember that time you almost slid down a mountain trying to get a snap of that hummingbird? It doesn’t always have to be so dramatic; a long afternoon hike to capture sunset from the hilltop is an experience that rejuvenates our soul, at least for the weekend. The feeling of cold waves crashing over your feet as you capture a beach summer scene stays with you. The storm that came out of nowhere and soaked you and your friends as you ran into that quaint cafe for cover, and ended up discovering the best quiche of your life.
Photography is a wonderful raison d’être for taking an adventure, to get exhilarating photographs that can only be captured by being there. Special times and seasons make photography tours deeply rich experiences. To capture the sunrise over the Yucatan, you have to be there at sunrise! To capture the breathtaking color changes of autumn in Vermont can only be captured during autumn in Vermont. These adventures are powerfully dynamic. Photography is a powerful mechanism to go out solo expand your mind, and for some of us to overcome challenges of fear and anxiety in a hyper-social society. The experience itself will be transformative. The photographs are a bonus, an asset that we can share if we like, or keep to ourselves. Yet these same experiences can be a bonding adventure among friends. Milestones throughout our lifetime are often times opportunities for adventure trips with friends to capture magnificent world sites. Summer break after graduation, girls holiday weekend before a wedding. Photographs will tell the story a decade from now our bonds together ever the deeper with meaning.