Category: Digital Lifestyle

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: AI

I first photographed today’s feline on Jan. 7, 2023, using Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. But on examination, some guy’s beefy arm could be seen inside the window behind, left of the animal. I thought best not to use that one until remembering Samsung’s Generative AI photo editing, which is available in the Gallery app on S24 Ultra.

The results are scary remarkable. I selected the full frame of the window pane to the left of the cat and let the tool do its thing. Result: Perfectly placed full reflection of the car. Whoa. Wonderful. Icky. Vitals, for the Featured Image: f/4.9, ISO 40, 1/640 sec, 230mm (film equivalent); 11:10 a.m. PST.

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Yikes! Two Galaxy S24 Series Smartphones are in the House

Yesterday, UPS delivered the Galaxy S24 and S24 Ultra, which I preordered from Samsung on Jan. 17, 2024. My wife and I each chose one of the three exclusive colors; she moves up from the S22 and I from S23 Ultra. The South Korean manufacturing conglomerate offered generous $450 trade-in value for her phone and $750 for mine. Combined with other discounts and incentives, which includes double storage, my out-of-pocket spend for the new model is less than the older one. For hers, I paid less than the discount given for the trade-in.

Last night, right before going to bed, I finally opened the box for a peak and a shock. Titanium Green wasn’t as strong a color as I expected. Oddly, the Featured Image and companion—even taken with Leica Q2—isn’t representative. The green isn’t as faint or pastel as you see but not really far from it.

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It’s Digital Time

About a month ago, I received a steroid shot in my left hand to treat trigger finger; the middle digit wouldn’t close-fisted and clicked with a spine-chilling popping sound when extended. While technically a righty, I primarily use my left hand to open jars, turn doorknobs, and hold Galaxy S23 Ultra, among many other activities. I worried about the affliction leading to a calamity: dropping the smartphone, which is carried caseless.

So when Samsung offered generous, $150 trade-in for my Apple Watch Series 5—wasting away unused—on top of steep holiday discount for Galaxy Watch6 Classic, I ordered one. The smartwatch arrived today. To be clear, I love my no-nonsense, distraction-free Luminox Automatic Sport Timer 0921 and will not completely retire it: Digital by day, analog by night.

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Tennis This Time

San Diego’s three-season summer weather creates all kinds of outdoor activities that would be uncommon elsewhere. Consider public schools: Many are indoor/outdoor, meaning classrooms are enclosed but kids go out to move among them. Costco eateries are on the outside of the warehouses rather than within. The examples abound.

As such, I shouldn’t be so amused, but am, about the older gent watching sports programs out of doors. On Aug. 9, I passed him riveted to a baseball game—all by his lonesome. Tonight, it’s tennis—and he has a friend. “Say, could you pass a can of Modelo Especial?” (Because Bud Light is boycotted, the Mexican beer is now top-seller.)

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Remembering Moto X

A decade ago today, Google released Moto X—a classic smartphone by every measure that matters. Two years earlier, the search and information giant initiated a $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, which would manufacture the Android. Months following the initial launch, I bought the Developer Edition and loved it.

Moto X promised so much: American assembled in a Texas factory; made-to-order, with custom color and other personalization options; simple, straightforward online ordering, tight integration with Google services; voice activation and commands. Nothing like the device, the purchasing experience, or truly hands-free operation existed in 2013.

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Batter Up!

The appropriate action would be to ask this gentleman why he watches television outside. But I instead chose to shoot stealthily from across the street because mystery makes the moment. The answer could ruin the curiosity.

Perhaps his partner or spouse doesn’t like baseball. Maybe he is lonely and hopes the outdoor game will draw some company. Perhaps ambiance is the reason: He wants a taste of remembered experience of going to the stadium and watching the game. I will never know and don’t want to.

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Remembering Nexus 7

Ten years ago today, July 26, 2013, Google released the Asus-manufactured (second-generation) Nexus 7 tablet in the United States. I almost need say nothing more than share headline to today’s Android Police story by Zachary Kew-Denniss: “10 years ago, Google launched the 2nd-gen Nexus 7, and no tablet has captured its magic since“. Dek: “An elegant tablet from a more civilized age”. Ah, yup. (Oh, check out the tech site’s way-back-when unboxing video.)

To be honest, I was enamored with the first iteration released the previous year, too. But the second checked all the right boxes: Android version maturity, balance, price, size, specs, supporting services, and utility. The thing felt good to handle and use, and Google smartly marketed the device as a tool for family and school purposes (great marketing video; click through). Apple couldn’t come close for communications, informational utility, virtual assistant capabilities, etc. etc.

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You Could Work From Home

Are you doing it now, or hoping to? Thanks to  SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 mandates, many people were compelled to work from home—and when the restrictions lifted many didn’t want to return to the office. Of course, much depended upon the employee’s duties.

Let me clear up some myths, having worked out of a home office since May 1999. Often someone would ask how I could work at home and not be distracted by the environment or tempted to watch television all day. That was never my problem. Let’s start with that one and move along.

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Time Flies

Today, Apple held its annual developer conference, where the company announced new versions of iOS, macOS, and iPad OS along with hardware that includes 15-inch MacBook Air. Any other year, I would have watched the keynote and downloaded developer builds of the new platforms. Instead, I cancelled my annual developer subscription that was about to renew.

How time flies. In December 2022, I started a complete fruit-logo exodus. This morning, Samsung emailed that my iPad Pro had been received for credit towards the Galaxy Tab S8+ acquired last month. My smartphone is Galaxy S23 Ultra, replacing iPhone Pro 13. I gave up the 16.2-inch MacBook Pro for Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio.

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Light Traffic

Lots of people are overly, ah, proud during June every year, around San Diego neighborhoods Hillcrest, North Park, and (here) University Heights. Stepping back from the parade of flags—and distracting colors galore—I will use Leica Q2 Monochrom to primarily shoot black and white. When need for color arises, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra will fill in.

The Featured Image is first photo of many other monochromes to follow between now and last day of the month. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/11, ISO 200, 1/250 sec, 28mm.

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Not Hello, But Another Goodbye

The last of my Mac gear is gone. This morning, I packed up and shipped off the 11-inch iPad Pro M1 acquired two years ago—coincidentally, also on May 31. Galaxy Tab S8+ replaces the Apple slate, for which Samsung gives generous trade-in credit.

Among my three computing devices, tablet is by far the most used, easily exceeding both laptop and smartphone. For the longest time, iPad has been the only choice, although over the years several Androids contended for my affections: Nexus 7, Nexus 9, Nexus 10, and Pixel C; also Chrome OS-based Pixel Slate. Switching was no simple decision but was made in a larger Apple abandonment that started in mid-December 2022. I bid goodbye to 16.2-inch MacBook Pro and iPhone 13 Pro during the same month.

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Regarding Leica Q3

German camera company Leica today announced the Q3, which is now available for preorder. While being tempted to trade in Q2 and upgrade, I am overly enamored with my existing equipment, which more than achieves the “good enough” threshold.

I obtained Leica Q2 on the last day of 2019—and wrote a review two years later (do read it). For sure the new thing tempts, but I must resist—and for another reason that will be explained below.