Thursday, August 21, 2008

Microsoft Photosynth goes live

Microsoft PhotosynthMicrosoft Photosynth is now live. Or sort of. It's been in "static mode" most of the day, not allowing anyone to create new synths. Hopefully it'll get back up soon. I've even shot a couple suitable photosets over the past year thinking I'd throw them into Photosynth if it ever came out to play with. Hopefully soon I'll have them up soon and you can see them here.

If you've never seen or heard of it, check out the sample synths they're serving up and go watch Blaise's talk at TED or a deeper dive on Channel 9. It's amazing. Here is a good simple synth someone created today, using just some snapshots around his office.

This is the kind of thing that needs to be on Microsoft commercials, not Jerry Seinfeld or Folgers coffee switch gimmicks.

Free Shipping Over $75 at Calumet Photographic

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Amazon Goes Green

Amazon just launched Amazon Green, their effort to market just products customers selected as the best green products. There are some overpriced things like the $10 five-pack of grocery sacks that are 99 cents each at every store I go into, but I'm sure there are some interesting things.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Baby Bike Ride

iBert Safe-T Front Mounted Child Bicycle SeatOne day this week I almost rear-ended the car in front of me when I glimpsed a woman riding towards me on a bike with her toddler balanced on the handlebars. What kind of idiot would do that? About the time I almost locked up my brakes, I realized it was one of these new "kangaroo" bike child seat things that puts the kid up front. This one's an iBert but there several other manufacturers.

I think this is another one of those products that only get bought for first-born kids.

(Photo courtesy of jinglejammer.)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Girl in the Window

If you haven't seen the St. Petersburg Times feature, The Girl in the Window, you're missing what could easily be their best story in years. I will warn you that it's a very emotional story about an extremely neglected little girl.

I'm not even sure what to say or feel after reading it. On the one hand, I want to be angry at her birth mother, like so many others are, but I realize how sick the woman must be. I'm probably most angry at neighbors, authorities, and anyone else that could have intervened sooner.

The adoptive family is in for a heck of a ride. I know with all the attention they're getting now, they'll get some financial assistance. I won't be one bit surprised to see them hit Oprah. That's great ... for them.

But what gets lost in all of this is the fact that there are hundreds of other kids right here in Tampa Bay hoping to find their own adoptive family. These are the kids that nobody wants. People want to adopt babies, not pre-teens or older.

But there are these hero families out there, quietly doing their best to fix broken kids. I'm proud to know several of them. I know one that adopted a girl that was not just neglected, but downright abused in ways that make me so much angrier than this story. She's made tremendous progress. Another family has adopted four children from the Heart Gallery.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

What the World Eats

Earlier this year, we checked out Material World, a book of family profiles from around the world. Each family has a short interview, some stats, and a photo where they moved every belonging in their household outside. There's a stark contrast between many cultures and not just between Americans and the poorest countries.

Peter Menzel has a newer book out, Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, that shows each family's weekly food intake. Time has a number of the photos on their site. I like how the Beijing family has KFC.

Menzel's books make an excellent addition to fill out general social studies in a homeschool curriculum or just to enhance your kid's education. We also have DK's A Life Like Mine, which shows how children live around the world.