Items of Interest – 27-Feb-12 to 4-Mar-12

As usual, here is a rundown of interesting things that happened in the past week.  This week saw the announcement of two cameras, I shared TED talks from two speakers, and there were a couple of other items of interest.  Here you go –

Announced: the Nokia 808 PureView

On 27-Feb-12 at Barcelona, Nokia announced their upcoming device – the Nokia 808 PureView.  This to me is a camera which just happens to have a smartphone tacked on to it!  The reason I say this, is that the PureView has a camera with a 41 megapixel sensor.

Yes, you read that correctly, 41 megapixels.  Of course, just having a larger number of megapixels doesn’t necessarily mean you get a better picture, and the engineers at Nokia know this.  So is this just marketing fluff or is there something actually remarkable about this?

I would go with the latter – the camera on this smartphone has a larger sensor than the one in the Nokia N8 (my current phone, and in terms of image quality from a smartphone camera, the N8 is by some accounts, the best).  So, the detail it captures is indeed more than any smartphone camera around.

The sensor can capture 7728 x 5368 pixels of information.  If you shoot a picture in 4:3 mode, then the image dimensions would be 7152 x 5368 (38 megapixels), and in 16:9 mode, you get a 7728 x 4354 (34 megapixels) image.  Since the camera is capturing a lot of information, it would perform very well in low light, zooming would still produce very clear images, and when scaled down, the images would have excellent detail.  The larger sensor would allow it to produce excellent video (1080p) too.

The phone runs the Nokia Belle OS (same as the N8) – since apparently, that can handle the hardware required to process this huge amount of image information.

The phone would be available towards the end of March and in India, it would cost around Rs 35,000.  So far I have been very happy with my Nokia N8 and have not thought of upgrading my phone.  But the Nokia 808 PureView is certainly tempting!  I will definitely consider buying it.

When I told my friends this, some thought I would ditch my DSLR – I would never think of doing that, since a smartphone camera cannot replace a DSLR.  But in my opinion, it’s great to have a good camera on your phone, since you’ll be carrying your phone almost everywhere, and in situations where you may not have a bigger camera with you (check this Facebook album for example – these photos were taken by me with my N8 at a get-together at office where I didn’t have my DSLR).

See the following links for more information –

  • Nokia Conversations Article
  • Nokia 808 PureView Whitepaper (593 KB PDF File) – I highly recommended you download this, if you want to understand this technology better.
  • Nokia 808 Test Shots (31 MB ZIP File) – Sample images!  These are apparently unretouched images straight from the camera, shot at the huge 38 or 34 megapixel resolutions.  There are only 3 images inside the ZIP, each being around 10 MB in size.  They’re all shot in good light (apparently by a pro photographer).  If you zoom in all the way, the quality is amazing.  The detail is great and since the sensor size is larger, you can get a better shallow depth of field effect that you can get with the N8.
  • Gizmodo Article – If you don’t want to download the 31 MB archive, you can see smaller versions of the sample images on this article.

I would love to have a camera like this to complement my DSLR.  You’ll notice, that I am only talking about the camera on this phone – a phone to me in most cases is a necessary evil.  One can take for granted that the 808 would do nicely in allowing you to make calls and send messages.  And the OS is no different from what I am using now – it’s only Facebook and Twitter that I access from my phone, and I sometimes view my Gmail on it.  Otherwise I don’t use other apps.  That’s why, if at all I am going to upgrade my phone, this is the one I would get.

Announced: the Canon EOS 5D Mark III

On 2-Mar-12, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its EOS system, Canon announced it’s upcoming DSLR – the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

This is the successor to the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, which was introduced in 2008 and was considered a game-changing piece of equipment.  The Mark II is used by professionals all around the world and it has been used to shoot movies (our own Ram Gopal Varma has made two movies with it – Dongala Mutha and Not a Love Story), music videos and TV shows.

The 5D Mark III is a 22 megapixel full-frame camera and like it’s predecessor, it can do 1080p video (perhaps in the future we will see a DSLR that can shoot 4K video).  Because of its large sensor, the video is very film-like.  There are improvements in the focusing system, and there are improvements in video (technology borrowed from the 1D X) that will aid pro cinematographers.

It’ll be available in April it seems, and will cost $3499 for the body only, and with the EF 24-105mm f4 L lens, it’ll cost $4299.

If I were to upgrade to a full-frame DSLR, this is the camera I’d like to own.  So, as I said on Facebook, if someone would like to rob a bank and then buy me this camera, please let me know.  I will give you my address.  My birthday is on May 15.  Just saying.

I wouldn’t mind if you get me a Nikon D800 either, but I can’t use my 50mm f1.8 II lens with that.  So I’d stick with Canon!

Check out the following links for more info –

TED Talks of Note

There were a few TED Talks that I came across and shared this week.  The first out of these is from the future – Peter Weyland’s TED Talk on “I will Change the World” from TED 2023.

Interesting, right?  This is actually clever marketing for the upcoming Ridley Scott movie Prometheus, and features Guy Pearce playing the character Peter Weyland.

As much as Ridley Scott & Co. have been denying that Prometheus is a direct prequel to Alien, there is quite a bit of evidence to prove otherwise.  The ‘evil corporation’ in the Alien movies is called Weyland-Yutani, and Peter Weyland is obviously linked to it.

This video was directed by Luke Scott (Ridley’s son) and written by Damon Lindelof (more info).  It’s very well done, and one can make some interesting observations from this video –

At around 00:50, a tweet is visible –

Where’s Weyland going with this? Thought fire was for all mankind. He’s probably franchised using it now. #TED http://bit.ly/tgwQvj

Typing in the link will take you to the Prometheus Trailers page on Apple.com.

This tells us two things – one, that Twitter will still be around in 2023, and so will the URL shortener bit.ly.  When I compile this list of tweets each week, I always think, what if either bit.ly or Twitter’s own URL shortener t.co cease to exist?  A whole bunch of links would stop working (“as if a million voices were suddenly silenced”).  Coincidentally, I mentioned this in just the previous “Items of Interest” post.

There is another tweet that you can see earlier on (at around 00:12) –

WOW! This is EPIC!! #TEDlongbeach2023 What has @weylandcorp got up their sleeves this time? The anticipation is killing me.

I had to download the 1080p clip to see this clearly.  @weylandcorp on Twitter does not seem to be officially part of the marketing by Twentieth Century Fox for this movie though.

Later on in the video (at around 01:48) there’s another tweet that comes by, but it’s out of focus so I couldn’t make out what it says.  Only a few words – “Killer #TED…”, “online collaboration” – are discernible.

Weyland mentions that we now have the ability to create cybernetic individuals who are completely indistinguishable from humans – that is a reference to Michael Fassbender’s character in the movie.

Also, in the Paul W S Anderson movie AVP: Alien vs Predator, Lance Henriksen played the character Charles Bishop Weyland.  That movie was set in 2004, so Peter Weyland would be either the son or grandson of the other Weyland.  That is, assuming that the Prometheus filmmakers are considering AVP as part of the continuity.  They could just be ignoring that AVP ever happened, though.

As I was mentioning to my friend, that is probably a convenient thing for them to do.  AVP wasn’t a bad movie in my opinion, but I think it would be better for everyone to ignore what happened in “Gunnison, Colorado” – I’m referring to the second AVP movie, Aliens vs Predator: Requiem which was thoroughly disappointing.

This is like saying that they made only one Matrix movie (as immortalised by this xkcd comic – “Too bad they never made any sequels”), that the Star Wars prequels didn’t exist, and that Indiana Jones was a trilogy (see some of the comments in this Slashdot article).  So I’d say “it was interesting to see a crossover between the Alien and Predator franchise, I wonder if they’ll think of making a sequel to it sometime”. (TVTropes calls this Discontinuity)

Weyland mentions M-theory in his talk, which I did not know and looked up on Wikipedia.  Apparently it’s a concept to describe what makes up our universe, I couldn’t understand it beyond that.

Another TED Talk you should check out, is the below one, by T Chendil Kumar (a.k.a. CK), given at TEDx Chennai in 2010.  This is a talk called “Stand Up, Speak Up and Shut Up (The Art of using Humour in Presentations)” and is really insightful.

You can also watch these two other talks by him – Humour Workshop Dubai, TEDx Dubai “Unleash your Humour Quotient”.

Really brilliant stuff.  How I came to share these talks is, CK conducts training sessions at our company.  Several years ago I had the pleasure of attending two training sessions by him.  Recently, he was in Hyderabad to conduct a program at my office, and I got to meet him.  That’s when I came to know that he had spoken at TEDx.  I looked up those talks on YouTube, and loved them, so shared them.

Other Links of Interest

  • Flipkart has launched Flyte – a digital store that offers MP3 downloads of music.  It’s really a progressive move, you have a variety of music available at good quality and completely DRM-free.  The prices are low too (each song costs around Rs 10).
  • Panjaa Working Stills – This is an album on Facebook, has around 100 “behind-the-scenes” photos from Panjaa.
  • If PHP Were British – Fun stuff.
  • The 84th Academy Awards – I wasn’t too interested in the Oscars this year, since none of the nominated movies really were that appealing to me (not my type).  You can have a look at the list of nominees and winners though.

This image (not by me) was shared on Facebook –

I found it really funny – if anyone knows the source, please tell me.

And to conclude this post, here are the tweets from last week:

Tweets 4-Mar-12:

  • “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this… http://t.co/4nI5qE5g
  • RT @omgthatspunny A polar bear, a giraffe and a penguin walk into a bar. The bartender says, “What is this? Some kind of joke?” #punny
  • RT @mihirfadnavis ‘ ? ‘ wastes lot of time setting up the chars, but the last 10 mins are ball-quivering scary. And surprisingly the acting is quite decent.
  • RT @chasejarvis What the hell is Sepia? photo knowledge 101 http://bit.ly/xMMV6R #ImpressYourFriends

Tweets 3-Mar-12:

Tweets 1-Mar-12:

Tweets 29-Feb-12:

  • Day 44 #Gym
  • RT @R_beccaBlair Whoa, whoa, whoa. February 29th? WTF is this, an alternate universe?
  • RT @torrentfreak The Pirate Bay, Now Without Torrents http://t.co/U71MUV30
  • Rage – Excellent action sequences, never boring and acting is good too. Highly Recommended! 8/10
  • There’s an action scene set in a mall near the end of “Rage” with a fight in a video store – it’s full of PM Ent videos & posters!
  • RT @GreatDismal I liked it better when I thought Kardashians were one of those prosthetic forehead races on Star Trek.
  • Man, they certainly don’t make them like they used to – Rage (1995) is a terrific action movie. Saw it many years back, great to see again.
  • RT @rajturl Feb 29
  • #NowWatching Rage (1995) starring Gary Daniels, a PM Entertainment Release

Tweets 28-Feb-12:

  • RT @urbandaily pocket pool – To stick your hand in your pocket and scratch your balls. – http://t.co/rfltPpeZ
  • RT @sickipediabot Following a sexist joke I made the other day the Feminist Society now has my address. Fortunately none of them can read a map.
  • Haha :) RT @josephradhik RT @sickipediabot: I’m going to get an Oscar next year for my movie, The Fartist. It’s silent, but deadly.
  • RT @R_beccaBlair Not the best thing i’ve drawn, but it IS a sketch for #ASketchADay. Megan Fox doodle from Love The Way You Lie vid http://twitpic.com/8pn1r5
  • RT @mworch That took my brain 20 seconds to process. “@wkerslake: This picture makes my brain hurt: http://bit.ly/yaLBes
  • So It Has Come To This http://t.co/X19yAl6G
  • RT @someecards Sweatshop translation error results in least motivational sports bag on earth. http://t.co/HZr3rffH
  • RT @clientsfh “When you make a logo, do you design it yourself or do you just find something from the internet that…” http://t.co/7L1sxjpQ
  • RT @justkalpana No amount of real scientific analysis can beat the drama one anecdotal evidence can create.
  • Best Picture Winner The Artist Sets New Oscar Records http://t.co/gcEWbPl0
  • Police Find Apple Branded Stoves In China http://t.co/0sHzPaxU

Tweets 27-Feb-12:

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