LYTRO – GIMMICK OR REVOLUTIONARY PRODUCT?

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I remember the first time I found out about the lytro, I was super excited about the gadget and thought it would be a great addition to the ever crowded field of photography.

I consider myself a photography enthusiast and I am always on the lookout for new technology in that field. I usually prefer using portable cameras to the bulky DSLRs that most professional photographers use. I know when it comes to resolution and such, DSLRs generally trump their smaller counterparts. With that said, after reading about the lytro, I thought to myself, is it possible that this device could make up for all the lost pixels that smaller cameras are inevitably plagued with?

The only way I was going to find this out was to get a hold of a lytro and test it out myself. Approximately 3 years later, I was finally able to get a hold of one, and in this article I will try to give an objective review of the gadget. Is it a gimmick? A one trick pony that only offers one feature, or is it something that could seriously challenge the major Cameras in the industry and convince me to look into seriously buying one?

Before I go any further, the reader might be wondering what a lytro is.

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It is basically a camera that specifically works with light field technology to enable the user change or alter the depth of field after the picture has been taken.

According to this article, the lytro has been in the works for almost 20 years. Light field photography, the underlying factor behind the lytro is also not new. Whilst it remains a field of photography without much acclaim, the idea behind it is something we will most likely be seeing a lot in our mobile cameras down the line. Light field photography gives photographers, both professional and amateur, the ability to enhance and alter everything from focus to after the picture has been taken.

Here’s a better quote from the Spectrum website, “Instead of merely recording the sum of all the light rays falling on each photosite, a light-field camera aims to measure the intensity and direction of every incoming ray. With that information, you can generate not just one but every possible image of whatever is within the camera’s field of view at that moment. For example, a portrait photographer often adjusts the lens of the camera so that the subject’s face is in focus, leaving what’s behind purposefully blurry. Others might want to blur the face and make a tree in the background razor sharp. With light-field photography, you can attain either effect from the very same snapshot.”


Many photo-editing apps and websites like Flickr, Fotor, Instagram and the likes, to some extent, utilize light field technology by allowing the user to edit and alter a picture or multiple pictures after it has been taking. It only adds credence to the earlier point that the technology might not be very popular right now, but it seems to be making the upwards climb to prominence.

So is the lytro worth buying? Does it pass my test?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. My plan was to use it for three days and then write this review. But after spending a day with it, I don’t think an additional two days will matter.

The lytro as far as design looks portable and can be carried around with ease, but because of said size, it makes it hard to take good pictures. I mostly use my IPhone for pictures, and I will argue all day about how great it is, so it was a bit of a letdown trying to use the lytro take pictures and not getting the desired outcome.

The screen is too small, and the touch screen functions aren’t as responsive as I’d hoped. The picture quality also leaves a lot to be desired.

The picture below was taken with a lytro to emphasize my above point.

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 The one below was taken with an IPhone

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Whilst comparing both is subjective depending on who is viewing, I would say that the IPhone delivers the better picture.

Below are more pictures taken with the Lytro, to further prove that the camera needs more work at least resolution wise. Even with the advertised light field technology, the quality and resolution of pictures taken could use some serious tweaking.

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CONCLUSION

All in all, I think the lytro is a promising tool. The ability to alter depth perception and exposure after taking a picture cannot be understated. Whereas DSLRs give you this function prior to shooting, most if not all smart phones could definitely use with post editing.

This is what I think the lytro makers should look into. Using this technology on smart phones or licensing it to photo editing software and applications. That would truly improve the mobile photography industry. As of now, the lytro is nothing more than a gimmick. It looks fancy, but the field of photography requires more than just a cute looking toy.

References

Lytro camera review. (n.d.). Engadget. Retrieved June 29, 2014, from http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/08/lytro-camera-review/

Light-Field Photography Revolutionizes Imaging. (n.d.). – IEEE Spectrum. Retrieved June 29, 2014, from http://spectrum.ieee.org/consumer-electronics/gadgets/lightfield-photography-revolutionizes-imaging

Lytro’s light field camera captures ‘unprecedented’ images, lets you choose focus later. (n.d.). Engadget. Retrieved June 29, 2014, from http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/22/light-field-camera-captures-unprecedented-images-lets-you-cho/

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Your Recycling Bin is Stalking You

               People think it’s creepy when the internet monitors how much you google something, but in London they have it way creepier! Recycling bins in London are monitoring the phones of people who pass by, so that advertisers can target messages at people whom the bin recognizes.

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The company, Renew, has installed 100 recycling bins with digital screens around London before the 2012 Olympics. Advertisers can buy space in the internet-connected bins and get the city 5% of the airtime display to public information. The bins also have technology that scans the smartphones of people who are walking by.

The idea is to bring internet tracking cookies into the real world. The bins keep track of a unique identification number (known as a MAC address) for any nearby phones and other devices that have Wi-Fi turned on. That allows Renew to be able to tell if the person walking by is the same from yesterday and the specific route down the street…. It even records HOW FAST the person is walking!

            For example, if a coffee company wants to win over customers from another rival, they can buy the bins and track if you are a loyal customer and come often and then tailor the ads on the bins accordingly.

This kind of personalized advertising, according to the company, does not invade anyone’s privacy. London is the most heavily surveillanced city in the world and so this is considered legal in the country.

The company wants to expand this new technology to all of the recycling bins in huge cities and Dubai and New York City.

There is a London bar that Renew wants to install five tracking devices in: one by the entrance, one on the roof, one near the cash register and 2 in the bathrooms. This way the bar could know each person’s gender (from the bathroom trackers), how long they stay (dwell time).

The bins track almost a million people every single day who are walking from work, home and restaurants.

There is a way to avoid your phone being tracked, and this is by turning off the Wi-Fi on the device or filling out a privacy form online. The woman who is in charge of the recycling bin company said, “the chances are, if we don’t see you on the first, second, or third day, we’ll eventually capture you…we just need you to have it on once.”

Personally, this freaks me out and I do not want anyone tracking me walking down the street. I think that we need to form together as citizens and put our phones on airplane mode when we are in the streets!

Before we only had to watch out for humans stalking us and staring us down when walking in the streets of the city, but now we have to worry about recycling bins? This is crazy!

Advertising Through Twitter

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With mobile technology and social media on the rise, advertisers have begun to become creative when it comes to placing ads. Through mobile device platforms, ad creators have to find ways to reach its consumers in ways that do not stray them from the product being advertised. Twitter has recently begun to implement “promoted tweets” as well recommending twitter accounts that might interest the user. Through these forms of advertising, companies have the ability to interact on a more personal level as opposed to other forms of advertisements. 

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Companies are able to have personal interaction with its consumers through Twitter due to the small scale in which they have to respond. Twitter is becoming more interactive with its advertisers by providing platforms better suited for the companies’ advertisements. Through the promotion of tweets by celebrities or the “promoted tweet” mode, companies are able to share photos, news, videos, links, and more which reaches the consumer in 140 characters of less.

Twitter has recently added ESPN, Ford Motor Company, and CBS to its major advertising program. This brings in revenue to not only these companies but Twitter as well. Major networks like ESPN and CBS find it innovating to see the power that live broadcasting and twitter interaction can have. The interaction consumers have with television and twitter is in most cases 58% more likely to create a sale than if the consumer only saw a commercial without any twitter interaction. It is simple; the consumer likes to be in control at all times. With this interaction they can have through twitter, they are able to believe that they are controlling the outcome. Through twitter they can express complaints, concerns, and suggestions on the products.

The importance of twitter on advertising is increasing everyday. With new technology and advertising partnerships, Twitter has the potential to become one of the biggest advertisement platforms in the market. The problem with this is how the consumer will react if their social media is covered in advertisements. Facebook received criticism when they began to show more and more ads on its page. However, many people forgot about it after some time. I believe its beneficial to the companies to advertise on all social media platforms, and as a user of social media, I can honestly say I am okay with advertisements as long as they do not interfere constantly with my content.

 

References

Yeung , K. (2013, August 29). Twitter’s lead generation card opens to all advertisers with a new layout, analytics, and more. Retrieved from http://thenextweb.com/twitter/2013/08/29/twitters-lead-generation-card-opens-to-all-advertisers-with-a-new-layout-analytics-and-more/

 

Goel, V. (2013, September 23). Twitter adds cbs to its stable of big advertising partners. The New York Times . Retrieved from http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/twitter-adds-cbs-to-its-stable-of-big-advertising-partners/?_r=0

 

Dress, Click N Pose!

Dress, Click N Pose

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Who knew snapping pictures could become such a fad? Mobile technology has taken the industry of photography by a storm with user-friendly applications like Instagram, Pinterest,Vine and now Pose!

This new app, which was, launched on the Apple iPhone nearly two and half ago recently reported with more than 2 million registered users.

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Pose is essentially an online and mobile community that allows users to swap photos and videos of their outfits, makeup and shopping accessories. Some call it the future of fashion photography or Instagram for fashion. It surely has a lot to offer.

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More than the fashion itself, there is a greater audience of people who are interested in what people wear and how they wear it. Users find Pose as an accessible platform to search the latest trends. Many of the clothes are often tagged in the pictures, which makes it easier to track down and or directly purchase the item. The app also features a pinterest-like clipboard where you can save your favorite styles. Another reason why Pose has been so successful is due to the fact that it brings fashion bloggers to it’s site further attracting mass of followers. Unlike many other fashion apps like Fashism and Lucky at your service, Pose is available on several platforms including apple and android devices both online and mobile. Pose uses the concept of geolocation to target consumers that live specific urban markets where the product is readily available.

 ImagePose founder and CEO, Dustin Rosen describe the app as a fashion magazine but on a phone, a great way for women to spend five minutes on their commutes.”

 This app is actually quite beneficial to the creator and the angel investors involved in the project. Every time a user purchases an item from the app a small fee is included in purchase. Pose serves as an online monetizing merchant. The app continuously seeks for creative ways to attract advertisers to better serve its community. They want to refrain from traditional advertising techniques as they feel they are often ineffective. In an Interview with Mashable, CEO Dustin explained that, “the vision was to build advertising into the stream, to make them more integrated and actionable.”

 It was only recently that Pose landed their first successful ad campaign with Juicy Couture Fragrances to promote its Viva La Juicy Noir fragrance. The advertising technique is unique because of product placement with users.  The product can be seen in use as users post pictures posing.

 References

Indvik, L. (2011, 01 112011, 01 11). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2011/01/18/pose/

Indvik, L. (2013, 06 29). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2013/07/29/pose-advertising-revenue-model/

[Web log message]. Retrieved from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pose/id402272154?mt=8

http://pose.com/

Poking at Apple

Microsoft’s Windows Phone crew posted a long advertisement on YouTube that takes a punch at Apple and the two new types of iPhones that the company released last week. The video is called “a fly on the wall in Cuptertino.” If you watch the interesting video above, it shows two fake Apple employees (that are rumored to depict look-a-likes of the real Apple CEO and vice President, Tim Cook and Jony Ive).
This commercial is different from the commercials that Windows usually makes when poking fun at iOS and Android cell phones. In the video, the person who the two employees are pitching their ideas to looks just like Steve Jobs. In the video, it shows the two workers calling the iPhone 5c phones fancy colored names (saying “vermillion,” when it is just pink and “chartreuse” for green). The commercial makes fun of the fact that it took Apple 6 months to create the idea of coming out multi-colored phones.
The commercial then moves on to attack Apple yet again after saying that they created the newer phones out of plastic to save money. The man jokes and says that the company will not tell the customers that they are actually made out of plastic.
Another memorable joke that they use against Apple is regarding the fact that the new iPhone 5s can not come in gold. The man says, “everyone likes gold, pirates, leprechauns and this guy (a random hairy-chested man, which I did not understand why it was meant to be funny).
The video closes with a black backdrop and the hashtag “#timetoswitch” (implying the idea that consumers need to switch from IPhone to the Windows products).
Right after I saw this advertisement, I rolled my eyes at how desperate and embarrassing Microsoft look in this ad. A day after the video was released on YouTube, Microsoft released the statement and said that they intended for the video to be a “light-hearted poke at our friends from Cupertino. But it was off the mark, and we’ve decided to pull it down.”
In my opinion, I think the real reason they removed the video is because they realized from all of the negative comments and feedback from viewers that the video was very poor in creating a funny or good attack at Apple. We all know that these two are really competitive companies, so I expected a lot more from Microsoft.
Although the company took it down, the parody commercial still lives on. I was reading the YouTube comments and one comment that got many likes on the site simply said, “lamest ad ever!” I agree that this was a bad move on Microsoft because they look really stupid at trying to come up with an attack on iPhone and then failed miserably at creating it. If anything, it just makes Apple look better!