Saturday, August 18, 2018

MacOS Mojave at a Glance


I just installed MacOS 10.14 Mojave Beta for it's better GPU support.  I was surprised to find some excellent built-in utilities, features, and new Apps.

If you use utilities like FlexyGlass, you will be pleasantly surprised. Here's a list of my favorite discoveries so far.

1. Dark Mode. 
This is probably a knock-off of Windows-10, but I like it because it's just easier to find stuff. Affected areas are window borders, finder, Calendar, Messages, Safari and other Apps written by Apple. Developers will be releasing Apps with this new display feature.

To use Mojave dark mode head to System Preferences -> General and then at the top you will see the Light and Dark options.



2. New Screen Capture
Cmd/Shift/5 brings up a new capture feature that is loaded with options. This screen capture is intuitive. It is similar to the capture on IOS. You will love this. I grabbed the screen above with this new feature.

3. Stacks
My desktop was a cluttered mess. Not anymore. Just right click on your desktop and select Use Stacks. Finally, all your icons are organized. I was happy with the default, but play with this feature. There is organizing by Last Modified, Date Added, Date Modified, Date Created and Tags. Here's a snapshot of my new desktop. I'm running Turicreate at the moment but notice how clean my desktop is. My wife would be proud of me.


4. Improved Finder
There's a new Preview pane that displays all the relevant file information. Within the finder, now you can crop and rotate images. You are even able to generate a PDF file. 

5. Improved Safari Privacy
I notice the App popped up a confirmation box when some social trackers come along. According to the docs, it also prevents tracking you based on your tech footprint. 

6. IOS Apps running on MacOS.
Now, this is intriguing. Apparently, there is a framework for developers to convert their IOS apps to Mac Apps. Apple's own Voice Recorder and News Apps are converts. 

Someone at Best Camera will write an entire article on this new devloper framework for the new MacOS.

Thanks for reading. I hope this helps you get started with Mojave. 



Wednesday, August 15, 2018

React Native at a Glance

I’ve been looking at React Native as a tool for cross-platform mobile app development.


Reactive Native is supported by Facebook. It’s written in Objective-C from Apple.  You code RN in Javascript and JSX. The cool thing about RN is that your Apps are true Native, not web apps or hybrids. It compiles to Native code on both IOS and Android.

My conclusion is that React Native is a pretty good way to have one UI of views and elements that work the same on both IOS and Android. If your App is limited to basic functionality and you have RN components that do what you want, then RN is a good solution. And if your App uses APIs that build server-side content, then take a serious look at RN because it is strong on HTTP and Javascript CRUD.

Let’s dig a little deeper. I’m working at an App that does image AI recognition and style transfers. React Native does not have support for these new technologies on either the Android or IOS side.

But it is possible to build your own Swift and Java Components for React Native. Here's the gotcha. The Swift component will not run on Android, and the Java component will not run on IOS. So you are back to platform-dependent development where RN is lacking.

It is also possible to integrate RN modules into existing Swift and Java Native Apps. That's correct. You can add common RN Views to your existing IOS and Android Apps.

So when deciding on React Native, you need to ask yourself these questions:

1) Should my App start as a React Native App or a Native App?
2) Is React a good time saver for the common UI that I need?
3) How much platform-dependent module code do I need to write for IOS and equivalent Android?

Conclusion:

If you are writing an App without too much high tech platform dependencies, then React Native should work. Or if your App uses a lot of back-end APIs that do most of the work, then RN could be a great solution. But if you have a complex App that uses a ton of non-RN supported code, then you are probably better off building two versions of your App, IOS and Android Native.

by Rob Adamson
Contributing Editor

Monday, August 13, 2018

Making Stuff

While working at Los Alamos on the secret Manhattan Project, Richard Feynman was earning just $380 a month. This was half what he needed to cover his living expenses and his wife’s medical needs. On weekends, Feynman drove to Albuquerque to see his ailing wife in a car borrowed from his friend Klaus Fuchs. 


When asked who at Los Alamos was most likely to be a spy, Fuchs speculated that Feynman, with his safe cracking and frequent trips to Albuquerque, was the culprit. Fuchs later confessed to being a spy for the Soviet Union in 1950. Some speculate that Feynman caught him. I agree. 

But many in the FBI kept records on Feynman. They believed he was a communist spy. 

Feynman could explain complex issues with the gift of metaphors. He eventually became a teacher.  Perhaps the best physics teacher ever. 

On politics Feynman once wrote to his wife “Nobody has ever figured out the cause of government stupidity—and until they do (and find the cure), all ideal plans will fall into quicksand.

As American politicians turn back toward fossil fuels and away from solar, I’m pretty sure I know what Richard Feynman would think. “It isn’t the stuff, but the power to make the stuff, that is important. But I realize now that these people were not in science; they didn’t understand it. They didn’t understand technology."

Here's a good read recommended by Best Camera 

Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman



by Rob Adamson
contributing editor

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Inherit the Wind


So you think the Earth is real? The real question is which of us are players, and which of us is code? This is an excellent video if you dare watch. If you want to inherit the wind.

We finally have the theory of everything. There is no Fermi Paradox if we live in a world of alien creation, but what if we are living in an ancestral simulation created by our future selves?

With billions or unknown numbers of simulations, a sci-fi novel about a real base civilization would require imagination. How did they survive? What is their physics? I’m writing about a base as a sequel to Rainhut. Rainhut was about us living in a simulation. I believe a base must have created a form of quantum computer and then hit singularity before destroying themselves. I'm curious to know where the first came from and how they did it, how they built the first simulation.

Are there endless worlds for the makers to explore? Is there a Gateless Gate, a Mumonkan? 

Is it possible that Simulation Theory will someday be taught in school like evolution is today? 







by Rob Adamson 
contributing editor

Monday, July 23, 2018

Entirely New Art Form

The picture on the right was hanging on my wall. I trained it as a style transfer model and then applied the model to the picture of my daughter on the left. The model was built with TuriCreate and I wrote the software in Swift with CoreML.



Best Camera has asked me to review several Apps that use machine learning and style transfers for this new art form. Some are very creative.

Here is a link to an article I wrote for Apple about TuriCreate.  


Rob Adamson



AI Creative

So you think Artificial Intelligence is incapable of creativity and that it will destroy the Earth? Well, at least we won't be destroyed creatively. On the other hand, what if AI understood the futility of Nuclear Weapons and helped humans evolve? What if it helped us to fly beyond our small rock?



At IBM they are on a quest for AI Creativity.


This movie trailer was created with AI




Sunday, July 8, 2018

Marco Polo

My daughter introduced me to the Marco Polo video walkie talkie App. It’s hillarious. This is a non-interactive video messaging solution.



Marco Polo makes it easy to send selfie video messages. Use it anytime. Make a quick video short. Your recipient contact receives a notification once you’ve started recording your message, They are able to watch you live or watch later.

The App has video filters to make you look cool and voice alteration for funny voice response. I find myself using the helium voice because it makes my kids laugh. To change the video filter, swipe left and right on the screen.

I find this App more convenient than FaceTime. You don’t need direct contact and if you don’t like your message, just redo it. And sometimes it’s easier and faster to send a quick video instead of typing on your mobile. 

Best Camera recommends trying this App