Adrianne Jeffries, in This Is Why Your Tumblr’s Down (via iamdanw). If I were a sensationalist journalist, I’d also be asking why nobody’s noted that his blog is no longer hosted at Tumblr. (However, it looks like the Instapaper blog still is.)
(Of course, there are many reasons to move a site. Hell, I have friends who rewrite entire blog engines every week for a laugh. Still…)
If San Francisco has a defining event, it’s the 1906 earthquake. The city’s seal depicts a phoenix because of the many fires when it was a gold rush town in the 1850s, but the most recent city-wide conflagration (and the most devastating) was the one that followed the temblor that year.
It’s hardly surprising, then, that even after a century, people remember. Every year, at 5:12 in the morning, they gather at Lotta’s Fountain, at the junction of Market and Geary. I thought I’d join them. Despite fog and the threat of rain, there were about few dozen people when I arrived at quarter to five, and by the time of the motorcade (which carried the youngest of the living survivors, himself 105) there were probably over a hundred people there, a good chunk in period costume (including the MC).
What surprised me was the tone of the event. The earthquake was, if not the worst natural disaster in US history, one of them, but this gathering was surprisingly lighthearted. Yes, there was a minute’s silence, and a wreath hung from the fountain, but there was also upbeat singing, and the sounding of the sirens of the fire and police trucks around the traffic island was taken more as celebration than memorial. Still, perhaps that sums up the spirit of the city- coming through a tragedy, regathering and rebuilding, taking it in its stride.
Nonetheless, more to my liking was a follow-up, at Church and 20th, not far from the corner of Dolores Park (which itself turned into a tent city, a refugee camp before that label existed, in the wake of the disaster). There, one of the few hydrants that kept working still stands, and (combined with the firebreak of the park) it saved the Mission and Noe Valley from the worst. During the 1960s, Doc Bullock started painting that hydrant gold, and now it’s turned into an event.
The J got me there before the tourist jalopy, let alone the dignitaries (no doubt taking good care of their elderly passenger), and I was far more impressed by the tone, with the fire chief, Joanna Hayes-White, passing the microphone and paint to a succession of people, young and old, who had short stories of family caught up in the event, or dedications to other earthquakes around the world, or simply thanking the city for their welcome. I’m very happy to have attended, and I’d recommend anyone who lives in the area to get up early next April 18th and attend.
Microsoft Research have been working on Photosynth for ages. If you’ve not heard of it, here’s the Wikipedia cheat sheet:
Photosynth is a software application from Microsoft Live Labs and the University of Washington that analyzes digital photographs and generates a three-dimensional model of the photos and a point cloud of a photographed object.
Today saw the launch of an iPhone app building on that research.
It’s not the first stitcher (Autostitch has been available for a couple of years at least), nor is it the first live stitcher (360 and Panoramatic both came out last year, I think), but it is notable for being free (unlike the three previously mentioned apps), and for having a particularly slick UI.
When taking a panorama with Photosynth, after taking the first shot (by simply tapping the screen), any movement of the phone/camera is reflected on screen. Once the centre of the image (represented by a green dot) gets outside the dotted line marking the edge of the panorama, a new shot is taken, extending it outwards. This continues until you mark the stitch as done.
Then there’s a short wait while the final image is rendered (and saved to the camera roll, although there’s no notification of this). While that’s happening, you can edit a title, but not description, let alone tags. Oddly, you can “add nearby businesses”. Once it’s complete, you can share to Facebook, Photosynth or Bing. Sadly, email, Flickr and Twitter are missing- but then there is a copy you can work with.
Generally, this is very good for a version one. Although I had one crash while stitching, the image was saved anyway. I miss the option that 360 offers of stitching to a white (rather than black) background, and more share options would be nice. I also suspect I take better source photographs when I’m shooting individual photos, but a bit of patience would fix that. Overall, it’s definitely worth downloading and playing with.