This morning's roundup of this month's Wired missed this fantastic article by David Weinberger on the coming infocalyptic disaster when we all have a squillion photos with no metadata.
Thus, the metadata most of us attach to our photos is pretty pathetic. We can name them when we transfer them to a computer, but most people don't bother and end up with a hard disk full of photos with names like DSC00012.jpg and DSC00234.jpg. As the years go on, DSC00234.jpg will become an archaeological artifact that might as well be labeled Don't_Know_Don't_Care.jpg. If we're to have any hope of preserving our memories, we'll need to be more clever than that. Much more clever.
What do you do if you're too lazy - or overburdened or preoccupied - to tag your photos? Let a machine do it. Digital cameras already capture critical data points at the moment the shutter clicks. Most models record - in the image file itself - not only the date and time a photo was taken but also the focal length, the aperture setting, and whether the flash fired. These tidbits can provide clues about whether the photo was taken indoors or out, during the day or at night, focusing on something close up or far away. Scanty metadata, but potentially helpful.
But why limit the possibilities to what today's cameras can do? The image file format most cameras use includes fields for longitude and latitude, in anticipation of the day when global positioning systems are built in. That day could be soon. Cell phones already gather some positioning information, and by the end of 2005 all new cell phones in the US will be locatable to within 500 feet or so. Establish a Bluetooth wireless connection between phone and camera and the camera will know where it is. Web sites already exist that use GPS data to let you upload photos pegged to spots on maps, and a Stanford research project compares photos with shots of known locations, automatically annotating snaps with information about where they were taken.
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
Ok, it’s not just solar powered. It’s also an anti-theft, waterproof marvel that keeps my phone’s power bar from ever getting into the red.Sure the idea seems obvious now – tuck a gigantic solar powered battery pack into an exposed slot and turn the wearer into a walking energy harvester. Simple maybe, but I didn’t […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has done outstanding work packing a fully capable desktop computer into a package the size of a deck cards—especially one that only costs $35. But if you already have a working laptop, why should you care? Oh, how much you have to learn. Besides operating well as a compact digital media hub, […]