This week Don McAllister published my video tutorial of the iOS app Focos on ScreenCasts Online. This is an amazing app that works with dual-lens iPhones: iPhone 7+, 8+, and X. I’m really proud of this particular tutorial and the feedback has been amazing on it.
Remember the Lytro camera that took the world by storm because it’s proprietary image format allowed you to change what was in focus after the fact? It never became really popular because it was proprietary. Focos allows you to do the same thing (change the focus point) on portrait-mode photos taken by one of these dual-lens phones.
That’s not all though, you can change the virtual aperture of the image, thereby changing the depth of field. You can simulate an f/1.4 lens up to f/22. You can change how the background (fuzzy) bokeh looks by simulating famous lenses, you can change how far forward and backward the fuzzy part is in the image using an amazing visual representation of the depth data, and you can even change the shape of bright lights in the background to new shapes up to and including Apple logos.
I’ve embedded the video preview into the shownotes, but you can proceed over to ScreenCasts Online from the provided link to watch it for free with his 14 day free trial. Don’t do it though, you’ll get hooked when you see how much amazing content is there and you’ll want a subscription.
This week Bart and I celebrate 50 episodes of Programming By Stealth. As Bart points out, we’ve been at this for two years now. I’m so happy he’s stuck with me on this and he says he’s got literally years of material yet to go. To commemorate this occasion, Bart got the crazy idea to build a web app live on video. We used a YouTube Live Hangout on Air while he shared his screen. He started with a blank canvas and when he was done we had a working web app. The video is probably a better experience but the audio is supplied for those who prefer it. We did try to narrate what was going on to help with the audio.
You know I’m a fiend for taking screenshots and annotating them. I’ve most recently told you about TeamPaper Snap which is a somewhat limited, but still useful menubar app for screenshots. Its big advantage is that it allows you to instantly upload to the web and copy the URL to your clipboard so you can insert the screenshot into any place that only allows text. As useful as that is, the annotation tools are really limited.
Allison interviews Alicia Gauer from GE about their new connected lighting products. Alicia describes their voice-controlled ceiling fixture that integrates Alexa and Google Home into an overhead light. She also describes the innovative GE Sol: the first table lamp to integrate Amazon Alexa voice services. The Sol includes a warm-colored light selection designed to help you get to sleep and a built-in voice-activated timer that indicates countdown by radially changing lights on a ring. Finally, Alicia mentions that GE smart lighting will have compatibility with Apple HomeKit by the end of first quarter 2018. The setting is Pepcom at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Learn more at https://www.cbyge.com/
Allison interviews David Jiang from MirraViz about their new multi-view display. This innovative display uses DirectedPhoton technology to direct photons from the screen to a specific viewing location. Using two projectors, the MirraViz screen can display two separate, simultaneous images/video to viewers who are located at different viewing angles. Photon utilization is increased by a factor of 100-400 fold compared to traditional displays. Use cases for this display include business display/signage, office and schools, home gaming and entertainment, glasses-free AR/VR, and personalized advertising. The setting is CES Unveiled at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas. Learn more at https://www.mirraviz.com/
Allison interviews Jenna Rider from Wagz about their connected home for pets. At the center of the connected home is the Wagz Smart Collar with a cell connection and GPS. Using the app that accompanies the Wagz collar, you can track your pet and monitor his speed and activity. The collar also opens and closes a connected pet door, enables automated food dispensing and serves as an invisible leash using gentle vibrations and ultrasonic sensors. The Wagz collar even provides live HD video streaming that you can remotely enable or set it to turn on automatically with bark detection to check in with your dog. The setting is Pepcom at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Learn more at https://www.wagz.com/
Allison interviews Mads Rugholm from LIZN about their new wireless “hearpieces”. LIZN earphones make it easier to hear in a noisy environment by amplifying sound in the direction the wearer is pointed and by enhancing consonants in speech. These devices are not aimed at those who are hearing impaired but rather those who struggle to understand speech when there is a lot of ambient noise. LIZN hearpieces offer a Bluetooth connection to your mobile device so they also can be used to listen to music, make phone calls and access digital assistants. They are small, simplistic, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive at $199. The setting is CES Unveiled at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas. Learn more at https://www.lizn.biz/
Terry Austin here with a brief review of my brand new Matias keyboard. I recently found myself in need of a new wireless keyboard and on the very reliable recommendation of the ineffable Jeff Gamet over at the Mac Observer, I went with the Matias Wireless Aluminum Keyboard in Space Gray (to match my MacBook Pro).
This keyboard has a few key features that make it invaluable for my home office. I’m a work at home professor who teaches college level anatomy & physiology classes online. On top of that I do some consulting work for a major publisher of higher ed textbooks. My work station is something of a geek’s dream…
The show isn’t too long this week, but it’s action packed. We’ll start with a conversation about what surprised Steve and me about HomePod. Then we’ve got Steve in front of the microphone (and camera) with an interview from CES with Fortem about their Drone Killing radar. I’ve got an interview with OWC at CES about their wicked fast Thunderbolt 3 Storage and their docks. Then I’ll tell you about how we finally broke down and installed a smart lock – the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect. Back to CES and we’ll talk to Guardzilla with their 360 security camera. We’ll wind up the show with a review of the Belkin Valet Power Pack that charges both your iPhone and your Apple Watch with a built-in Apple Watch charger puck.
Steve and I have been moving very cautiously into having a smart home. We started with a smart smoke detector with the Nest, then a couple of Hue lightbulbs came on the scene. We added a couple of Wemo switches somewhere along the line, and eventually a couple of security cameras, as I’ve told you about before. The one thing that really gave us pause was the idea of a smart door lock.
But then I started talking to that crazy Joe Dugandzic of Smarter Home Life, and he talked about his cool August Smart Lock. I was jealous, but I still didn’t jump. Then I listened to a podcast (and I wish for the life of me I could remember which one) where they talked about someone testing a whole pile of smart locks and determining which had good security models. The August Smart Lock was on the good list. Additionally, the August Smart Lock is HomeKit-compatible. It isn’t the only smart lock that’s HomeKit compatible, but that definitely played into our decision. If you’re a fan of Alexa, she can play with the August devices as well.