Brinno Camera Sunset and Sunrise

This is a full night time lapse including sunset, darkness with stars, moon rise, and sunrise captured with the Brinno Construction camera. The settings for this capture were to take a photo every 20 seconds and create a movie at 15 frames per second. This equates to 5 hours of time lapes per minute of this video.

Brinno Timelapse Camera

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.27.30 AMFor the last few days I have been working with a new time-lapse camera called Brinno. The Brinno camera is a self contained camera with the main purpose to create time-lapse video.The particular model of brine I am working with is intended to be a construction camera.

Brinno has been a recognized leader in Time-Lapse Cameras. With the industrial-Grade professional construction camera, BCC200, a wire-free, weatherproof camera bundle, offers quick and easy installation, without cumbersome wiring or power requirements. It illustrates the entire project, no matter how many days, months, or years taken, in few minutes instant HDR time-lapse video which presents the project with a high publicity factor on project and marketing management.

The camera is quite easy to setup and configure for the particular need that you want to capture.  You set the camera to take a photo at a particular time intraval and you set the frame rate of the final video the camera creates from the photos.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.27.19 AMThe example below was taken with a 20 sec image intraval and the final video was created at 15 frames per second.  SO the video takes 3 photos per minute and uses 15 photos, or 5 minutes of time to create 1 second of video.  The video is created automatically in the camera.  Unfortunately, it creates a windows AVI video but iMovie can import and convert it to video you can then edit.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the result considering the limitations of the capture such as a cloudy cold night and the capture being done in the city with quite a bit of ambient “city” light.  I also used a UltraWarmer warming pad around the camera to prevent the condensation but unfortunately it did little good.

I will be continuing to work with this in the hopes of being able to get more comfortable with the settings.

DJI Osmo steps up the Handheld Gimbal Market

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Almost a year ago, I wrote an article about a product called DSLRPros Mantis, a handheld 360° gimbal for a go pro camera. This handheld camera holder provided a motion sensitive gimbal that stabilized video taken with the go Pro camera. Recently, DJI released a similar device called the Osmo. I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to play with one of these gimbals.

If you’re into sports photography, and you’re looking for a way to stabilize video that you’re taking, the DJI Osmo may be exactly what you’re looking for. Unlike previous products, DJI’s has released this device with their own camera that had been used previously in the Inspire helicopter drone. This camera, can shoot 4K video at 24 or 30 frames per second or 1080p video at up to 120 frames per second.  Since DJI ships this with their own camera, they have the ability to be able to make their software work very well to control the camera. To utilize the device, you need to have either an iPhone or an android phone. Utilizing the DJI GO app,  a free download from the respective App stores, you have full control over all the video or still shot parameters and even the movement of the gimble.

The Camera utilizes a microSD card, that’s included, to record video and still images taken with the device. Easily accessible controls on the handle allow you to move the gimbal up down and around. They also allow you to start and stop video or take still images. The handle is extremely easy to use and fairly lightweight. This makes the Osmo a very good addition to tools used for motion photography.

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The handle also includes a well-designed phone holder that securely holds your phone to give you the ability to preview video as you’re shooting it and make changes to settings. This is truly one of the best phone holders I’ve seen in that it grabs your phone on one side and onto corners on the other side for a very secure hold. The holder is fully adjustable for the smallest or the largest phones.

At this point, the Osmo is not without its minor problems. The camera seems very good in outdoor photography, which is likely what it was designed for, but actually doesn’t read light very well when you’re inside in nonoptimum light conditions.   You do have the ability to be able to tap the screen and focus on a particular point reading the light reading at that point also. This works pretty well but is actually another step you have to make to ensure good indoor photography.  The audio quality captured from the built in mic is not very good either but you do have the ability to plug in an external mic and overcome that problem.  The other issue is that at this point the Osmo is not compatible with either DJI’s X3 camera, that comes installed on the inspire aircraft, or their X5 and X5R cameras that are higher quality add-ons to the inspire.  DJI promises an add on control board that will allow these to work and firmware updates to fix the incompatibilities.

Below is some sample video that you can hear the pronounced hum.

Overall, the Osmo is a great camera for motion photography. It certainly isn’t the best video quality at times, and in fact the owner that allowed me to use this device for my review states that his iPhone 6s Plus takes much better video and photography. But the stabilize gimbal included in the Osmo allows you to take photography while in motion that the iPhone would provide little stability for.  I was very impressed with the Osmo’s ability and feel confident that DJI will take care of the minor problems and enhance the device was software in the near-term.

Newer Technology Mini Stack Drive – A Nice addition to a Mac Mini

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 2.24.11 PMWhen I purchased my Mac Mini, I was excited about the fact that I was going to have much more space on my desk. And for a time, I was able to do that. But, over time when I needed additional disk space, I needed to add external hard drives to give me that space. I’ve always been one to purchase external hard drives based upon price.

I typically buy whatever is on sale locally. Unfortunately, that has allowed me to have a number of dissimilar drives that all take up space on my desk. I was excited to see NewerTech’s miniStack drive because the form factor of this drive was the exact size of the current Mac Mini. This allows me to place the drive under my Mac Mini and an additional space without using up more disk space.

I was fortunate enough to be able to tryout one of these units with a 1 TB hard drive built-in to see how it performs and how looked when set up with my system.

NewerTech’s miniStack has a number of ports on the back that allow you to be able toScreen Shot 2015-07-02 at 2.24.19 PM connected with either FireWire 800, eSATA (which doesn’t make a lot of sense in the Mac world), or by the common USB3 port that comes on the current model Mac Mini. Since USB3 is faster than Firewire 800, I chose to make the connection with the included USB3 cable.

If you were using Firewire 800, NewerTechnologies was thoughtful enough to include an additional passthrough port for other Firewire devices. Unfortunately, to get additional USB3 ports you need to move up to NewerTechnology’s miniStack Max unit that provides additional USB3 ports and an SD card reader. This unit also allows for a DVD or Blue-ray drive to be included inside.

After placing the drive unit under my Mac Mini, I plugged in the power adapter and the included USB3 cable. Unfortunately, the power adapter included was a large brick type of adapter that required a wide plug to be plugged in. It would’ve been slightly better had a power adapter been built-in internally so the plug-in would only require a standard spaced plug.

After the initial setup, I was presented with an icon for the new drive software to be installed. I ran the installer and selected the recommended easy-setup option. Having to run software to install a drive was somewhat foreign to me, but running the utility, I accepted the defaults and was presented with an icon for the drive on my desktop. For users who do not install a drive very often, this method of setup is quick and easy. Other options in the process would allow for multiple partitions to be setup if the user wants them.

On the drive was a bundled package of Speedtools OEM version and Prosofts Data Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 3.06.05 PMBackup 3. In general, these utilities are a little dated. but still functional if you’re using the correct operating system. Windows utilities were also included. For my use, I chose to use Carbon Copy Cloner to do my backup since I already owned it and was familiar with it.

The miniStack drive is available in drive sizes up to 5TB or as a bare unit without a drive. If you really want fast storage, you can also get it with a Solid State Drive SSD in 120GB to 960GB sizes.

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 2.25.16 PMOnce the drive was setup and formatted, it was easiest to use just as any other drive on a Macintosh. I set up a Carbon Copy Clone task and copied my main drive due this new drive as a backup. That all without a hitch. Speed was as good as any USB3 drive that I’ve used before. The fan in the drive proved to be very quiet. It did not add much noise to my working environment. While there is a switch on the back of the drive, I doubt that I will use it as I will allow the Mac to continue to run almost all the time.

If you’re looking for a small footprint drive for your Mac Mini, NewerTechnologies many stack is a great solution. The footprint is exactly the same as the Mac Mini and by having a USB3 port it complements the drive internal to the Mac Mini. If you have an older Mac with a FireWire 800 port, and you’re looking for a drive to be able to use it with, the miniStack is also a good choice.

Price varies from $79 to $693 depending on Drive size and type.
For more information check out the Other World Computing website.

Apple “Photos ” iPhoto replacement is right around the corner

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 8.07.07 AMEarly last year, Apple announced it was working on a New photo application for the Mac called Photos. Later in the fall, Apple confirmed rumors that iPhoto and Aperture we’re going to go away and be replaced with this new application. They also said the application will be delivered in the first part of 2015. Well here we are in the first part of 2015 and early reports and reviews of this new Photos application are starting to hit the web.

While II have not actually seen the new application, I have read a number of reviews and descriptions of how it works. Many of these descriptions discuss the abilities of the app and some of them also describe the things the application will be missing when it’s first released. Overall, it looks like the new Photos application is going to be pretty nice and make some interface improvements from what we’re used to and iPhoto.

First off, there has been a lot of conjecture as to what the look and feel of the new application would be like. Just as I suspected, we’ve all been using Photos for a while now. At least those of us using iOS8. If you’re interested in the overall look and feel of the new photos app, take a look at Photos on iOS. The basic make up of the application is going to be very similar to what we’re seeing on the iOS version. Just as we’ve seen before, Apple continues to try to merge the interface of the iPad and iPhone with that of the Mac. This time though, it’s not the Mac features that are moving to the iOS, it’s the iOS app it’s moving to the Mac.

If you become comfortable with the moments, collections, shares, and cloud features in iOS8 photos, the new Mac application is going to be very familiar to you. Looking at screenshots that have been posted on the web, much of what you’re going to see on the Mac is similar to what you’re seeing on iOS today. Now don’t get me wrong, editing features on the Mac will be worlds ahead of iOS but still not quite up to the level of iPhoto. Apple will continue to add new features overtime as they generally do when they rewrite an application. We’ve seen this with their applications like iMovie.

Basically out of the box Photos is going to be very functional, provide nearly all of the things you normally do with photos in iPhoto, and provide one nice benefit. Photos, will directly read your iPhoto or Aperture library. There will be no conversion, no duplication of space, and no possibility of having things mixed up when you move to the new app.

Apple announced that it’s going to make a pre-release version available very soon for us to begin to learn and play with, and make the initial app release with Mac OS 10.10.3 this spring. I’m looking forward to getting an opportunity to work with it and also being able to write more about it. I can also pretty well guarantee that when the application is released, if your local to Jefferson City, we’re going to dedicate an appleJAC Macintosh user group meeting to this new application.

Neither iPhoto or Aperture will be going away immediately. Even the next release of the MacOS will continue to work with these applications. But like many things in life, change is inevitable, if you stick to iPhoto too long and don’t try the new application you’re going to get left behind and end up not being able to update your computer to the latest operating system, or forcing a move to the new application when you’re not ready. So my recommendation to you is as soon as the new release comes out in MacOS 10.10.3, start taking a look at the new photos app. We’ll have to see how well it works before we can make a final determination of whether that will be the time to move, but I’m absolutely sure the new application will be functionally complete enough for you to deal with most of your photo needs right out-of-the-box.

Here are a few good early reviews from people that have been able to work with the new Photos application.

The Verge
Yahoo
Cnet

Bose SoundLink Mini: Great Sound in a Small Package

more_featuresSometimes you just need to rock to your tunes. You may be at a picnic, a hotel room, or even in the car. The easiest way to be able to do this is to connect your phone to a Bluetooth speaker. But there are so many on the market, which should I try?

If your in the market for a bluetooth speaker with great sound, I recommend looking to the Bose Soundlink Mini.

The SoundLink Mini speaker is small and light enough to tuck into your bag. It weighs in at just 1.5 pounds. Its low profile lets you place it almost anywhere and provides a low center of gravity that makes it nearly impossible to tip over.

The rechargeable lithium-ion battery delivers up to seven hours of playtime. And at home, you can listen even longer—the charging cradle lets you listen while it charges. An empty battery usually fully recharges in three hours.

The speaker has a range of about 30 feet, so you can enjoy the sound you want without wires. It pairs easily with your smartphone, iPad® or other Bluetooth device. And it remembers the most recent six devices you’ve used, so reconnecting is even simpler.

There are even more features:

  • Charging cradle recharges the battery and serves as a convenient home base for your speaker, and it lets you play while it charges
  • Wall charger can be plugged into the cradle or directly into the speaker
  • Auxiliary port lets you connect other audio sources, like an MP3 player
  • USB port allows for software update to ensure ongoing Bluetooth device compatibility
  • Soft covers are available separately in red, blue, green or orange. Pick a color to match your style

There are many of these on the market these days but I really like the sound technology Bose uses. Take a look at this one if you are looking and judge for yourself.

 

Automatic: Your Smart Driving Assistant

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 11.46.20 AMThe world is exploding with technology. It’s amazing to see technology entering into so many different areas. One of those areas that has long been ripe for this expansion is Automotive.   Automotive technology has been around for quite a while but unfortunately the technology you get your car is a result of what you get when you purchase the vehicle. In some cases manufactures don’t have very good technology available for their cars. But more often, good technology today Tuesday age poorly in a vehicle.  What may be the most advanced system in the world the day you buy your vehicle tends to be old and dated even before your vehicle is paid for. I have long believed that being able to add tech to a vehicle you all is a natural process.   But unfortunately adding text after-the-fact is to be expensive and also poorly integrated. That’s one reason why I was excited to read about Automatic.

Automatic is a small attachment device that plugs into your vehicles OBD port and provides information that your vehicle computer already has through Bluetooth to an application running on your phone. Automatic supports both iPhone and android devices. Nearly all vehicles 1996 and newer have this port.

IMG_0750The attachment dongle easily plugs in to the same port your mechanic uses when you take your car in for service. It’s easily accessible near the steering wheel. It then uses Bluetooth Low Energy Wireless using Bluetooth 4.0 and sophisticated energy-saving algorithms to allow the link to minimizes your phone’s battery consumption. The application is freely downloadable from respective app stores and can be installed on multiple devices if you choose.

So what kind of information does Automatic supply?

For the most part, you can get Driving Feedback.  Automatic is your auto assistant. It learns about your driving style and gives you subtle audio cues when you do things that waste gas, like:

Rough Braking – Braking abruptly decreases fuel efficiency and dramatically increases wear-and-tear on your car’s brake pads.

Speeding – Highway speeding may not save you much time, but driving 10 MPH over the speed limit reduces fuel efficiency by 12-15%.

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Rapid Acceleration – Stepping hard on the gas pedal decreases fuel efficiency and wastes money.  Automatic shows how you’re doing on every trip.

Drive Score – Automatic scores your driving every week to help you improve. A high score could save you hundreds on gas every year.

Trip Timeline – The Automatic app displays detailed info about your week, like how much you drive and where. See the actual MPGs for all your trips, even for older cars that don’t display fuel efficiency on the dashboard. Automatic also detects* fill-ups and even tracks local gas prices to show you how much you’re spending.

Crash Alert – Automatic can detect many types of serious crashes using the Link’s built-in accelerometer. Agents from Automatic report the situation to local authorities to get you help in an emergency. An agent will also call your loved ones to let them know the details of the crash and that emergency responders are on the way.

Unfortunately, there are a few things that automatic needs to improve. Right now the system provides no ability to do anything outside of looking at your phone with the data it collects. There needs to be A companion website that allows me to download my information or print reports of what I’ve done. I really want to be able to use automatic too log mileage for my trip and provide me a detailed report of starting and ending locations along with mileage and cost. I hope the company realizes that they only just begun.

There is a short YouTube video about Automatic.

Automotive technology supplied by automatic is a great start. The ability to add a relatively inexpensive device to your vehicle and connect to your phone to act as the brain has been a long time coming. Automatic provide you a great start at this. Let’s hope they continue to improve the system and application.

Protect your home with Nest Protect

IMG_0009By now, most everyone must of heard of Nest. Nest is a company famous for their Nest thermostat. This thermostat connect to the Wi-Fi in your home and give you the ability to modify thermostat settings from any place that you have Internet access. It also provides a great deal of intelligence related to setting schedules for thermostat.

Nest’s latest product is called the Nest Protect. Protect is a connected smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Similar to the nest thermostat, the nest protect connects to your Wi-Fi network and provides the ability to monitor smoke and carbon monoxide detection within your home.
Protect is easy to install. Actually it’s quite a bit easier than the thermostat.  Prior to installation you must decide which model of the unit you want to purchase. Nest provides both a wired connected device and a battery only device. That’s not to say that the wire device doesn’t also have batteries, it does, but the battery only unit does not connect to electricity. You also have to determine whether you want the light color or the dark color version of the device.
IMG_0007Once your protect arrives, it’s extremely easy to install. I installed the wired version in my home.  You begin by removing the existing smoke alarm in the house. My particular alarm was a three wire connected unit a positive, negative, and interconnect wire.  Since nest connects with Wi-Fi, the interconnect wire is no longer necessary.  The installation process wires the two wires in to the unit and mounted to the wall.
Next you run the test on the unit to make sure it’s functioning properly. The test provides audible information from the speaker in the unit in addition to tones that identify both smoke and carbon monoxide. Running the test allows you to understand what the different tones sound like. An LED light ring on the box also provides information about what type of an alarm is being sounded.
After running the test, you connected to your nest account. After updating the software onIMG_0007 my iPad, I simply press the add device button and walked through the process as it found the protect and connected it to my nest account.  Now that it’s connected, the unit works in conjunction with my wireless network to provide me information in case an alarm sounded.
One intriguing feature of the alarm is that in case of an alarm sounding, it has the ability to both text or email me letting me know if I’m away from home that the alarm is going off. The unit also has the ability to like the way if the alarm is sounded by using white LED light through the light ring in the front of the device.
If this entire process sounds simple, it was. Installing the protect took only a few minutes and provides that additional peace of mind.  Is bad as it is to say, I did not have a carbon monoxide detector in my home and all. The nest protect gives me that in addition to much more fruits connected technologies.
IMG_0008From the first time I installed a nest thermostat, I love the technology the company uses. They make things extremely easy to understand, and provide great features in a connected method through both iPhone iPad or any android device, and through the Internet in a web browser.
I’m happy with my installation of the protect. I also look forward to other devices for the home that nest may come out with in the future. I believe this company really understands home connection information and I look forward to them providing other additional devices that can connect my home to me whether I’m there or not.