I have been taking pictures for about 4 years, since my freshman year of high school when I found myself in yearbook staff, wherein they hand you a camera and shoo you out the door with the instructions “take pictures of faces please, don’t scare the kids, and try to go as unnoticed as possible”. Well, I don’t know if you’ve ever walked into a classroom of media deprived 9 year olds (ah, Waldorf), trying to be inconspicuous as a) a “big kid” and b) with something very media – full in your hands, but let me tell you, going “unnoticed” is not exactly going to work. I have gained so much respect for child and family photographers through my yearbook experiences. Turns out, it is possible to get some fairly candid photos of the kids, but it takes patience. The challenge of taking good photos while being inconspicuous wound up becoming a hobby of mine, and I have loved not only photography, but candids as well, ever since.
I’ve grown since then, mentally, physically, creatively, and also with cameras, of course. I’ve graduated from a little point and shoot in 8th grade, to moving my way up the ranks to a Canon DSLR 5D Mark iii. The camera I have now I absolutely adore, and I have it attached to my side almost at all times. This of course, presented a problem. I could no longer throw my camera in my purse before tossing it in the passenger seat, (I mean, technically I could but… Yes dad, I’m making good choices), and I needed a professional quality camera bag.
I have had a couple of camera bags in my day, but they’ve always been big, bulky, awkward and uncomfortable to carry, let alone carry long distances, and a general pain to travel with, as as big as they were, they only fit my camera, not my purse, flash, lenses, or computer. In addition, I wanted something that was aesthetically pleasing, and I didn’t find the traditional black boxy bags to be particularly so.
So I was very happy, and a little shocked, when I found the Reflexion DSLR + iPad Medium Cross-Body Bag from Case Logic. Shocked because it was a little bit like finding the unicorn of camera bags, something that I didn’t think actually existed.
The bag itself is a good size, messenger type bag. It comes in two colors, a dark grey and an army green. They market it as being very versatile, with a removable camera pouch if you want to carry iPads, computers, headphones, or whatever else you may stuff into a bag. There is a small zippered pouch in the interior, as well as a bigger pocket on the opposite side. In addition, the front doubles as another pocket that snaps closed. Overall, it is a sleek and fairly simple looking bag that has many uses. It also was the 2014 winner of the “Red dot Award”, an international design award that is highly favored in the industry.
What I immediately liked about the bag was the big shoulder strap. It makes the bag comfortable and easy to carry with the grip, and the bigger strap distributes the weight of the camera bag, making it easier to carry. This is an especially important factor for me, because almost all the shoots I do are out in nature, which often entails me having to carry my camera bag for long periods of time as we hike, walk, skip, swim, (haha, not really, but you catch my drift). Another huge pro to this bag is that it is indeed very multi purposeful.
I recently went on a trip down to Florida, and I fit my camera, computer, camera chargers, various cords, headphones, and wallet in my new bag. It was my only carry on, and after traveling with it on my shoulder for a good 8 hours, my back was not at all sore, which is a definite first for my traveling – with – camera – bags career. I also love the design; it looks high end without being overly glitzy, for a camera bag. It’s simple and low key, and yet does the job better than any other camera bag I’ve seen.
One thing I didn’t like about the bag was that the slot where you keep the camera itself is not actually attached to the bag itself; it is just a pouch that sits in the bag if you choose to keep it in. I have opened the bag after a car ride to find the pouch overturned and the camera upside down, simply because there is no way to attach the pouch sturdily to the bag, as far as I know. The pouch is also a bit small, and is dwarfed in the bigger bag. In a way, it seems like the camera aspect of the bag could have been added as an afterthought to the whole messenger electronics bag appeal.
Overall, I would say the Case Logic Reflexion bag is absolutely worth the $89. It’s a beautiful design, extremely versatile, and comfortable to carry. I will definitely be keeping this bag with me wherever my photographic adventures take me.
The post Review: Reflexion DSLR + iPad Medium Cross-Body Bag from Case Logic appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.
Is it white and gold? Or blue and black? That’s the question that had everyone searching, tweeting and generally freaking out Thursday after a Tumblr user posted a photo of a dress that seemed to appear different colors to different people. Debate over the true color of the dress raged for hours, while others tried to solve the mystery of its divisiveness. All we know is, there were more than two million searches for [white and gold dress] yesterday—more than for [blue and black dress]—proving once and for all that it’s white and gold… right?
Before #thedress, though, there were the llamas. In Phoenix, Ariz., yesterday, two llamas got loose from their handlers and took off on a trot through neighborhood streets, yards and sidewalks. Searchers were captivated by the “llama drama,” which ended when police (l)lassoed the animals after a low-speed chase.
Obama says (K)nope
Armed with waffles, Lagavulin and a lot of tissues, we said farewell to NBC’s Parks and Recreation on Tuesday after a seven-year run. Searchers turned to the web to revisit favorite characters, quotes and episodes from the show that brought us “Treat Yo’ Self” and the Cones of Dunshire, while (wackily) celebrating the value of hard work, friendship and public service.
Moving from the small-town politics of Pawnee to the big-time in D.C., this week President Obama issued his third-ever Presidential veto, rejecting a bill that would have approved the Keystone XL Pipeline project. People turned to the web to learn more about Presidential veto power throughout history and the pipeline itself. What would Leslie and Ron make of all this, we wonder?
Woo-oo! Nineties kids are rejoicing following news that the Disney cartoon DuckTales is getting a reboot. Searches for the show spiked 8x the day after the announcement. Sounds like a lot of you are ready for some tales of derring-do in 2017.
And Madonna had a bit of a shaky week, after she fell backwards down a flight of stairs during her first performance at the Brit Awards in 20 years. But the Queen of Pop recovered quickly to finish her song “Living for Love.” She’s still an icon for a reason.
Tip of the week
This will be illuminating: if you have an Android device running Lollipop, you can flip the on/off switch on your phone’s flashlight just by saying “Ok Google, turn on my flashlight.” You can do the same trick to turn on or off WiFi or Bluetooth.
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched for [lil sebastian] and [duck tales real ducks]
Today we’re submitting a plan to redevelop four sites—places where we already have offices but hope to significantly increase our square footage—to the Mountain View City Council. It's the first time we'll design and build offices from scratch and we hope these plans by Bjarke Ingels at BIG and Thomas Heatherwick at Heatherwick Studio will lead to a better way of working.
A rendering of our proposed new campus. See more images on Google+
The idea is simple. Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas. (Our self-driving car team, for example, has very different needs when it comes to office space from our Search engineers.) Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside yet letting in light and air. With trees, landscaping, cafes, and bike paths weaving through these structures, we aim to blur the distinction between our buildings and nature.
Of course, this project is about much more than just office space; it’s about doing more with the local community as well. So we’re adding lots of bike paths and retail opportunities, like restaurants, for local businesses. We also hope to bring new life to the unique local environment, from enhancing burrowing owl habitats to widening creek beds. And we’re committed to do everything we can to save energy—our recent agreement to offset our energy consumption in North Bayshore with renewable energy includes the development of this proposal.
We chose Mountain View for our headquarters 15 years ago because we love the beauty of the bay, the close proximity to great universities, the family-friendly environment and the chance to work in a city at the heart of Silicon Valley. Today, we want to create office spaces that don’t just provide a great home for Google, but which also work for the city that has given us so much.
We look forward to working with our neighbors at the City Council on this proposal—and the future of Mountain View’s North Bayshore.
Posted by David Radcliffe, Vice President, Real Estate
This is definitely modern times, when gender can encompass over 75 options, far more than just “male” and “female”. There are “transgender”, “pangender”, “cisgender”, and so many more, a remarkable array of choices and options. And it turns out that it’s easy to change the gender associated with your Facebook account to match your own now, far more than it was even a few months ago.
The trick is to find where on your profile editing options the gender is specified.
To do that, go to your home page or base page on Facebook, then look on the top left. It should look approx like this:
Click on Edit Profile to get to your profile settings.
Now on the left you’ll see a bunch of options:
What you want to select is Contact and Basic Info. This will then take you to a page with a lot of, well, basic info about yourself.
Scroll down a bit until you find this section:
As you can see, I’ve moved the cursor over the “Gender” area, so the Edit option has become visible.
Click on Edit to update your gender identification:
To see where everything’s changed, click on the menu option that shows either “Male” or “Female” right now.
There are three values: Male / Female / Custom:
Once you choose “Custom” a number of other fields show up, along with a box where you can type in a value. Start typing and autocomplete will show you the options that match:
Experiment by typing in different letters, you’ll see there are a remarkable number of different choices now.
Also pay attention to the sharing option on the top right of the field. Mine is set to “Friends”. You can change your gender to whatever you’d like and separately you can decide whether your friends, everyone or no-one gets to see it. Nice touch, Facebook.
Underneath the pop-up is a second option: the pronoun you prefer for Facebook references:
Again, nice touch, Facebook, having that be an option you can modify. I kind of like the neutral one myself.
Make the changes you want and you’re done. That’s it. No “Save” button, it’s ready to go.
If you’re a long time reader of this site, you know that I have previous reviewed ZeoSpace and found it a competent cloud-based file sharing service for PC users. It’s definitely worth checking out. But like any other software program, sometimes the result of an evaluation is to decide that it’s not actually for you and that there are better solutions for your usage patterns and budget.
No worries. We don’t judge here at AskDaveTaylor!
Fortunately ZeoSpace is one of the diminishing number of Windows programs that plays well with the operating system, which means that to uninstall it you can use the system “remove programs” feature.
To start, open up the Charms bar — or use the Windows-S shortcut — to search for “remove program”:
It’s the first match immediately below it that you want, so click on Add or remove programs.
Now here’s what you’ll see:
Lots of options because you probably have a ton of programs, add-ons, extensions and related all installed on your Windows 8 system. No worries, scroll down to the bottom and you should have ZeoSpace listed, as I do.
Easiest is to just right-click on it:
Surprise, choose Uninstall to proceed.
Changed your mind? Just click on the “x” on the top right.
Assuming you want to proceed, however, click on the big “Uninstall” button.
Now you gotta say why you want to uninstall it:
Don’t worry, you can just choose “Other” and proceed. In fact, you can probably ignore it all and just click on “Uninstall ZeoSpace” now that I think about it!
In any case, might be nice to give the company some info so they can refine the product, if you’re so inclined.
To proceed, click on Uninstall ZeoSpace.
Watch the progress bar on the bottom as it goes through its various steps.
At some point it’ll look like this:
And finally, it’ll be done:
Oh, oops, one more step:
Okay, so click “Yes” and you’re good to go, no more ZeoSpace.
Flexibility is key when finding great deals
There’s a travel myth that you can always find the best deals on Tuesday. But actually, you can find good deals any day of the week—especially if you’re flexible with your travel dates. Though it’s sometimes hard to pull the trigger because you’re afraid the price will drop tomorrow (or next Tuesday, maybe?), our experience shows it’s usually best to book right away.
Regardless of which day you sit down to plan your trip, you can use the calendar in Google Flights to scroll through months and see the lowest fare highlighted for each day. If you’re planning even further out, use the lowest fares graph beneath the calendar to see how prices may fluctuate based on the season, holidays or other events. You can also set preferences (such as direct flights only) and our calendar will adjust to show you just those flights and fares that fit the bill. Finally, if you can save more by using a nearby airport or flying on a different day, we’ll show you a tip at the top of your results.
Not sure about your destination? No problem
Sometimes, you know exactly where your destination needs to be—say, when you’re taking a business trip, or headed to a wedding or family reunion. But there are times when all you know is that you want to go somewhere. Maybe you want to go somewhere with a beach, but don’t care if it’s in Greece or the Caribbean. Or you want to visit Southeast Asia, but aren’t sure which countries to visit.
Our research shows more than half of searchers don’t know where they’re going to travel when they sit down to plan. With Google Flights, you can search for regions or whole countries, like “Flights to Europe” and “Flights to Mexico." Or, expand the map to scan the entire world and see accurate prices for all the different cities you can fly to, along with filters for your flight preferences. If you’re in a particularly adventurous—or lazy—mood, select the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on the map and we’ll suggest ideas for where to go based on popular destinations and your past search history.
But… cheaper isn’t always better
We all love a good deal, but when it comes to choosing flights, cheaper doesn’t always win—and no wonder, when sometimes that means two connections instead of none. On Google Flights, the vast majority of people choose one of the Best flights—considered to be flights that are the best combination of price and convenience. Try it out next time you’re looking for something that fits your schedule, not just your budget.
So once you’ve warmed your hands on that cup of hot cocoa, put them to work on your keyboard or phone. Google Flights is ready to find the best destinations, dates, fares and flights for you to get away from it all.
Posted by Eric Zimmerman, Product Manager, Google Flights (dreaming of warmth from my Boston ice prison)
Pinterest was originally designed as a sort of visual bookmark sharing service so when you “pin” a Web page to one of your pinboards on the service, it automatically links to the right place and works as you’d hope. To upload a photo and then have it point to a specific page or site, however, is a bit more work. But it’s not too bad, so stick with me.
The first step is to log in to your Pinterest account and have a photo, infographic, or other image ready to upload, either on your desktop or elsewhere on your computer. (this is harder to do on a tablet or smart phone, but the process is fundamentally the same).
Here’s my Pinterest home page:
The most important thing to see here is on the lower right: the floating “+”.
Click on it to add something to your Pinterest account. The pop up that appears is pretty self-explanatory:
Click on “Upload a Pin” to proceed.
A mostly unnecessary step essentially has you make the same selection again, but it’s just an artifact of how Web pages can request uploads:
Okay, click “Choose Image”.
Now a standard file selection dialog window will pop up.
I’m uploading the photo “funny-lucasfilm-trivia-night-poster.jpg” so that’s what I’ll select, then click on “Open” on the lower right.
The file is uploaded to Pinterest and I am now presented with the opportunity to pick which board, add a comment, etc:
Choose the board that’s the best match for this particular image. Not sure which you’ve defined or want to create a new one? Easy, just click on the menu and a scrolling list appears:
If you scroll through your own list and don’t much like any of them, simply type in the name of a new board in the box box and click “Create”. Easy enough!
For this particular photo, I’m going to choose “Travel Pics & Videos” as it’s a good match.
Add a comment and here’s what I’m ready to post on Pinterest:
What’s missing here? A target URL if someone clicks on the image.
We can fix it though! The next window you see once you click “Pin it” is this:
Click on “See it now” to proceed, or, if you’re not fast enough, refresh your Pinterest home page to find the newly uploaded photo. Move your cursor over it and a few buttons magically appear:
The top right, “pencil” button is actually how you access the edit feature.
Click on the pencil and a new window pops up:
As you can see, it adds “Source” and “Place”, both of which you can optionally fill in. I’ve identified where I took this particular photo, Lucasfilm Ltd. and am going to link the poster to the Lucasfilm Web site too by entering “http://www.lucasfilm.com/” in the Source box.
Everything looks good? Click on “Save Changes”.
Now, finally, you’re done and your photo has a proper URL link. A bit of jumping through hoops, but not too difficult to accomplish.
Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest too: Dave Taylor on Pinterest. Thanks!
We launched CS First back in 2013, and since then more than 19,000 students have participated at one of 1,300+ CS First clubs around the country, most run by teachers, parents and volunteers. All our CS First materials are free and available online, and the curriculum is designed for everyone to work at their own pace, meaning it’s accessible even to people who are new to technology. It’s also designed to tap into students’ existing interests, showing them how CS can integrate with the rest of their lives. Inspired by fashion, art, music, politics and more, students have used code to build videos, games and stories on topics big and small, from how they met their best friends to solving global hunger.
CS First participants at Sedgefield Middle School in Goose Creek, SC look over a friend’s shoulder at her project
Now, we’re partnering with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Corporation for National and Community Service to bring CS First to even more students across the country. A new group of 20 AmeriCorps VISTA members will spend a year helping local Boys & Girls Clubs incorporate CS First and other educational programs into their slate of activities, giving more young people, especially those who might not otherwise be exposed to coding, greater access to computer science education.
Computer science is increasingly important to building a successful career, in fields varying from medicine to architecture to music. But today, there aren’t enough computer scientists to fill the available jobs—and on top of that, many populations aren’t equally represented in the field. According to code.org, only 8 percent of people who take the Advanced Placement Computer Science Exam are students of color, and only 15 percent are women. And while women earn 57 percent of all bachelor's degrees, only 12 percent of computer science degrees are awarded to women. We want to expand the pool of technologists, and make sure that all young people, regardless of background or resources, have access to high-quality CS education from an early age.
That’s what this new effort is all about. Our partners have long been committed to supporting young people and communities. Boys & Girls Clubs of America gives young people access to opportunities to help them become productive and responsible citizens during out of school time. And AmeriCorps VISTA taps the skills and passion of more than 7,000 Americans annually to support community efforts to overcome poverty. Working together, we can empower more young people with the technical know-how they need to succeed in today’s society and economy.
Join us in making CS more accessible to more kids, and apply on the AmeriCorps website by March 1. If accepted, you’ll come to the Google headquarters in Mountain View for training before spending a year in one of six cities. Best of all, your year of service will make a real difference in the lives of young people.
Posted by Kate Berrio, Google CS First Program Manager
So over the past year, teams across Google—including many passionate parents—have been looking at how families are using our products, and how we can make it easier for children and parents to explore and play together. We decided to start with YouTube.
For years, families have come to YouTube, watching countless hours of videos on a variety of topics. And today, we’re launching YouTube Kids, a new family-friendly app that makes it easy for kids to explore a vast selection of videos on any topic.
In the new YouTube Kids app, available on Android and iOS in the U.S., videos are narrowed to focus on content that is appropriate for the whole family. You might explore DIY arts and crafts, learn how to find the circumference of a circle, or watch favorites from Mother Goose Club to Minecraft, as well as new series from National Geographic Kids and Reading Rainbow. And there are more train videos than even you can count.
We’ve designed the app to be easier for kids to use, with a brighter and bigger interface that’s perfect for small thumbs and pudgy fingers. For parents, we’ve built in options that let you decide how your family uses the app, including the ability to set viewing limits with a timer.
Head over to YouTube’s blog to learn more. This is just our first step—we’ll keep tinkering and hope to have more great products for your family soon.
Posted by Pavni Diwanji, VP of Engineering, and Shimrit Ben-Yair, Product Manager, both moms of two
And welcome to the world of Instagram, where your every photo can be on the screen of dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people. It’s like all the shared photos on Facebook without all the other stuff cluttering things up. It’s also pretty darn fun.
To start, grab the Instagram app for your smartphone: You can’t post photos to Instagram from your computer. They have apps for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone. Sign up, get your account set up, then find something interesting in front of you that’s worth taking a photo of and sharing.
It’s a bit confusing, but the button on the bottom that’s highlighted in blue? That’s not the current view you have, even though that’s certainly a common user interface convention. You’re on the main feed which is accessed by the home button on the lower left. Weird, I know.
Tap on the camera icon on the bottom – center! – with the blue highlight. Now your camera will activate and you’ll see a preview of the photo you’re about to take:
To take a photo, tap on the blue button. To make a (short) video, tap on the video camera icon to the right of the button. Tap on the left button and you can access your existing photos on the phone (what I generally use, utilizing the regular phone camera app for taking the picture).
Above you can see that you can superimpose a grid to ensure things are level, rotate your perspective 90, 180, or even 270-degrees, and disable flash if you want to be a bit more discrete with your photo capture. Changed your mind entirely? The “X” on the top left lets you quit the capture and move back to the main Instagram feed.
Let’s capture this photo by lining things up and being just a bit more still so it’s not blurry like in the last image.
What you can’t do here, frustratingly, is zoom or pan the image. It is what it is. You can, however, do lots of tweaks and mods to improve it before you post. I definitely do for 99% of my own Instagram pictures (and if you’d like to follow my popular Instagram feed, please find me there as d1taylor on Instagram.com).
The bottom boxes represent different preset filters, “Slumber”, “Crema”, “Ludwig”, etc. There are quite a few if you swipe to display them. I prefer tweaking images manually, so I tap on the stylized wrench icon on the right, about 2/3 of the way down the screen.
Let’s start with “Adjust” because the photo’s not quite square. Easily fixed, fortunately.
Tap on “Adjust” on the lower left corner.
By sliding your finger along the bottom, you can fine tune the alignment. Notice along the top you can superimpose a grid and on the top right you can rotate the image in 90-degree increments if so desired. You can also adjust the skew or parallax.
I’ll tweak my image just a bit so that the wall edge at about the 2/3 mark horizontally is lined up properly. Done? Tap the check mark button on the lower right. (tap on the “x” and you discard your change)
Next up, I’ll tweak the Contrast since I find that on my iPhone, at least, it’s always just a bit lower than I prefer:
Again, use your finger to adjust it with the slider, and tap on the check mark to commit the change or the “X” to discard it if you change your mind.
Here’s how it looks now:
The photo definitely looks better. To proceed, tap on the “Next” link on the top right.
Now you can enter a caption, tag the location, identify people in the photo, etc.
Let’s start with the caption, something I think is pretty essential for an interesting Instagram post.
To do so, tap in the “Write a caption…” field and your phone’s keyboard should pop up:
You can see that I’ve already typed one in here. Note the use of “hashtags” (“#RealStrength” and “#Dad2Summit”). That’s a notational convention popular in Instagram and helps your images be found. If you’re attending a concert, visiting a scenic spot, at a conference, all of these likely have hashtags you can use to help your images gain visibility. Then again, if that seems overwhelming, don’t worry about it and just add an interesting and/or witty message.
Once you’re done, tap on “OK” on the top right and you’ll have the option of doing more…
If there are recognizable people in the photos who are also on Instagram, tap “Tag People” and identify them. If you want your location identified on a map when the photo is posted — don’t do this if you’re home!! — then leave the slider on “Add to Photo Map” enabled, as I have. You can also identify specific locations by tapping on “Name This Location” and scrolling through the list to find the restaurant, bar, concert venue, auditorium or other location.
Finally, you can also share your Instagram photo with any of a wide number of different social media sites, depending on if you have accounts on those services and have things set up properly. Tap on “Facebook”, for example, to share your posting to your Facebook account (as set up).
Done? Ready? Tap on “Share” on the bottom of the screen. Now’s when it’ll actually upload the photo, so you’ll likely see a progress bar like this:
When it’s done, finally, you’ll see your photo on Instagram, captioned and ready for everyone to like and enjoy:
Need someone to follow on Instagram? You can find me on Instagram and start with my feed if you’d like!