Apparently I am a little late to the game on this one, but I just stumbled across 2 Cellos. If you also find yourself out of touch with that bit of current popular culture, you have to watch this video.
It gets better. After someone showed one of their videos to Elton John, he hired them for his band. And it has only grown since then. They have a big pile of videos available on their youtube page featuring everything from Guns ‘N Roses to Michael Jackson. It’s well worth a look.
The Hansen Writing Ball
Most of us are familiar with the old-school typewriters. Those with the crazy jam-prone typebars and the impossibly long key travel. But have you ever seen what came before that? Meet the Hansen Writing Ball. It was invented in 1865 by Rasmus Malling-Hansen and looks more steampunk than anything, ever. It made quite a splash, and was actually in use in offices until 1909, but eventually replaced by the mass-produced version that we all know so well. The wikipedia entry on it is fascinating, and includes a very interesting story on Nietzsche’s adventure with the Hansen.
Chuck Norris vs Communism
That’s not the plot for the movie that you are going to catch on Showtime in the wee hours of a Friday night, though it certainly could be. For our purposes here, it’s the start down a path that shows the interesting part Chuck Norris and the VHS tape played during the communist regime in Romania in the 80s.Irina Margareta Nistor was a translator at the national television station. A meeting with an entrepreneur led to her becoming the under the table voice that brought Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee, and a host of other larger than life stars to the people of Romania. Her story has now been chronicled in a documentary by Ilinca Calugareanu, and it is fascinating. You can watch a short version of the upcoming feature-length documentary at the New York Times.
The John McAfee story…
There’s your problem!
Batteries man… There are a lot of things that depend on batteries in our world, and some of them occasionally go ignored. Especially if they are in some sort of a backup scenario, like the UPS you see in the picture above. As you can see, not only are these well past their expiration date, they’ve also begun to swell an alarming amount. It’s always a good idea to mark the date of your last battery replacement on the outside of the enclosure, and set up some kind of system to remind you when their factory recommended refresh date is.
If you were into photography at all during the film days (yes, technically the film days are not over, but come on… it’s a niche at best these days), you are probably familiar with ISO, the standardized measurement of film speed. ISO 100, 200, and 400 were all rather common, but film realistically topped out around ISO 16oo. There were some 3200 and 6400 films, but for the average user, 1600 was the limit.
As we venture further down the path with digital photography, the ISO system is coming with us. It’s now rather common for a low-end camera to be perfectly usable at ISO 6400. And if you look to what is happening on the high-end, it’s getting crazy. We saw the 110K mark cracked in 2009 with the Canon 1D Mark IV and Nikon D3s both hitting ISO 102,400. In 2011, Canon’s 1D X took it to ISO 204,800. And now, Nikon’s latest, the D4s, has a staggering ISO 409,600.
Granted, you are not getting a great photo at ISO 409,600. But you are getting a readable image. You can see an example of just what ISO 409,600 looks like at Fro Knows Photo. While it is really cool that 400K even exists, the interesting takeaway from that post is in the ISO 25,600 photo. That’s perfectly usable, and has us looking at a realistic four stop gain over comparable film cameras. It’s cool living in the future.
Travel virtually to Bologna, again
If you have been playing along with the home game, you will remember a post about the Google Maps tour of the Lamborghini museum in Bologna. Well now, Ducati has joined in the fun. The Ducati museum is also in Bologna, and they now have their own Google Maps tour. If you like motorcycles, and especially if you like Ducati motorcycles, it’s fantastic. There are over 40 bikes, tracking the company’s history from 1946 right up to the latest GP ride. The history of Ducati is very interesting. What started as Radio Brevetti Ducati, producing radio components, went on to become one of the premiere motorcycle brands in the world. You can read more about that at the Ducati wikipedia entry.