Motorcycles. Photography. Tech gadgets. Games. Food. Wine.
235 stories
·
6 followers

Nikon Selects 32 Pro Photographers for Promotion: None Are Women

1 Comment

Jason Vinson, writing for Fstoppers:

The only problem with such an amazing monster of a camera is that Nikon thinks it’s too much for women to handle.

I know what you are thinking. No way Nikon would ever make such a claim. It seems absurd that only men could handle the D850. I myself can think of a large number of women photographers that would be more than capable of producing spectacular images with any camera, let alone this camera. But when Nikon created a team of 32 professional photographers to be the faces of the Nikon D850, they didn’t choose a single woman photographer.

This is just astonishingly bad. It would be worth complaining about if there were only a handful of women in the group, but zero? How did that ever get approved?

Read the whole story
mxm23
5 days ago
reply
Nikon is a Japanese company.
San Rafael, CA
Share this story
Delete

On the Equifax Data Breach

1 Comment and 6 Shares

Last Thursday, Equifax reported a data breach that affects 143 million US customers, about 44% of the population. It's an extremely serious breach; hackers got access to full names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver's license numbers -- exactly the sort of information criminals can use to impersonate victims to banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, and other businesses vulnerable to fraud.

Many sites posted guides to protecting yourself now that it's happened. But if you want to prevent this kind of thing from happening again, your only solution is government regulation (as unlikely as that may be at the moment).

The market can't fix this. Markets work because buyers choose between sellers, and sellers compete for buyers. In case you didn't notice, you're not Equifax's customer. You're its product.

This happened because your personal information is valuable, and Equifax is in the business of selling it. The company is much more than a credit reporting agency. It's a data broker. It collects information about all of us, analyzes it all, and then sells those insights.

Its customers are people and organizations who want to buy information: banks looking to lend you money, landlords deciding whether to rent you an apartment, employers deciding whether to hire you, companies trying to figure out whether you'd be a profitable customer -- everyone who wants to sell you something, even governments.

It's not just Equifax. It might be one of the biggest, but there are 2,500 to 4,000 other data brokers that are collecting, storing, and selling information about you -- almost all of them companies you've never heard of and have no business relationship with.

Surveillance capitalism fuels the Internet, and sometimes it seems that everyone is spying on you. You're secretly tracked on pretty much every commercial website you visit. Facebook is the largest surveillance organization mankind has created; collecting data on you is its business model. I don't have a Facebook account, but Facebook still keeps a surprisingly complete dossier on me and my associations -- just in case I ever decide to join.

I also don't have a Gmail account, because I don't want Google storing my e-mail. But my guess is that it has about half of my e-mail anyway, because so many people I correspond with have accounts. I can't even avoid it by choosing not to write to gmail.com addresses, because I have no way of knowing if newperson@company.com is hosted at Gmail.

And again, many companies that track us do so in secret, without our knowledge and consent. And most of the time we can't opt out. Sometimes it's a company like Equifax that doesn't answer to us in any way. Sometimes it's a company like Facebook, which is effectively a monopoly because of its sheer size. And sometimes it's our cell phone provider. All of them have decided to track us and not compete by offering consumers privacy. Sure, you can tell people not to have an e-mail account or cell phone, but that's not a realistic option for most people living in 21st-century America.

The companies that collect and sell our data don't need to keep it secure in order to maintain their market share. They don't have to answer to us, their products. They know it's more profitable to save money on security and weather the occasional bout of bad press after a data loss. Yes, we are the ones who suffer when criminals get our data, or when our private information is exposed to the public, but ultimately why should Equifax care?

Yes, it's a huge black eye for the company -- this week. Soon, another company will have suffered a massive data breach and few will remember Equifax's problem. Does anyone remember last year when Yahoo admitted that it exposed personal information of a billion users in 2013 and another half billion in 2014?

This market failure isn't unique to data security. There is little improvement in safety and security in any industry until government steps in. Think of food, pharmaceuticals, cars, airplanes, restaurants, workplace conditions, and flame-retardant pajamas.

Market failures like this can only be solved through government intervention. By regulating the security practices of companies that store our data, and fining companies that fail to comply, governments can raise the cost of insecurity high enough that security becomes a cheaper alternative. They can do the same thing by giving individuals affected by these breaches the ability to sue successfully, citing the exposure of personal data itself as a harm.

By all means, take the recommended steps to protect yourself from identity theft in the wake of Equifax's data breach, but recognize that these steps are only effective on the margins, and that most data security is out of your hands. Perhaps the Federal Trade Commission will get involved, but without evidence of "unfair and deceptive trade practices," there's nothing it can do. Perhaps there will be a class-action lawsuit, but because it's hard to draw a line between any of the many data breaches you're subjected to and a specific harm, courts are not likely to side with you.

If you don't like how careless Equifax was with your data, don't waste your breath complaining to Equifax. Complain to your government.

This essay previously appeared on CNN.com.

EDITED TO ADD: In the early hours of this breach, I did a radio interview where I minimized the ramifications of this. I didn't know the full extent of the breach, and thought it was just another in an endless string of breaches. I wondered why the press was covering this one and not many of the others. I don't remember which radio show interviewed me. I kind of hope it didn't air.

Read the whole story
mxm23
8 days ago
reply
How can I force Equifax to delete all their data that they have about me?
San Rafael, CA
CrystalDave
8 days ago
Lobby Congress to require an opt-out, I'd imagine. As the article notes, we're products rather than customers. Something like the EU's General Data Protection Directive should do the trick
zippy72
5 days ago
I don't think the EU's GDPR will - they will just roll consent into the terms and conditions of the financial products, which is what they currently do now.
Share this story
Delete

Richard Branson's private island destroyed by Irma and here are some photos

1 Comment

Billionaire Richard Branson has posted images on Twitter that show post-Irma damage to his island, Necker, as well as other surrounding islands. He's working on getting aid to the British Virgin Islands, which were wiped out by Irma. "Necker damage huge, but BVI #Irma story is not about Necker - about 1000s of people who've lost homes & livelihoods" he says in one tweet.

On his Virgin Group website, he blames climate change for the recent weather catastrophes. "Man-made climate change is contributing to increasingly strong hurricanes causing unprecedented damage. The whole world should be scrambling to get on top of the climate change issue before it is too late – for this generation, let alone the generations to come."

And according to Mashable:

This isn't the first time Branson's called for urgent action on climate change. After President Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, Branson spoke out against the decision, for himself and for other business leaders, and pledged to continue fighting global warming in the private sector.

In addition to combatting climate change, Branson's repeated emphasis on helping the victims of Hurricane Irma is well taken. Many Virgin Island residents are banking on social media to spread word of the damage, and marshal as much aid as possible.

Branson has a link to his Virgin Money Giving donation page to help supply food, shelter and water to those living on the islands.

Read the whole story
mxm23
10 days ago
reply
Serious question: isn’t it too late to mitigate climate change for this generation already? I thought I’d read multiple places that we’re locked in to a 1-2C rise in worldwide temperatures even if we stopped producing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere today.
San Rafael, CA
axlekb
10 days ago
The sooner we change, the slower the onset of the effects. If we don't change we will continue beyond 1-2C.
Share this story
Delete

David Byrne: The secret appeal of technology is that it takes away the need to talk to people

1 Comment

Writing in MIT Tech Review, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne points out the secret and, in retrospect, obvious driving force behind tech: it reduces the often awkward and unreliable process of dealing with people, so you can buy music without asking friends for recommendations, take a cab without talking to a dispatcher, buy your groceries without speaking with a clerk, and get your money out of the bank without seeing a teller. (more…)

Read the whole story
mxm23
36 days ago
reply
This isn't a secret. Why is it news?
San Rafael, CA
Share this story
Delete

Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin ‘Baja’ Build

1 Comment

The Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin was introduced last year to rave reviews from the motorcycle press. Bucking the trend toward ever-larger and less off-road-capable Adventure Bikes, the Africa Twin set a new course for the industry with its compact, mass-centralized design. And with a package that includes a torquey 998cc parallel-twin engine, off-road wheel sizes […]

The post Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin ‘Baja’ Build appeared first on ADV Pulse.

Read the whole story
mxm23
74 days ago
reply
Go BDCW!
San Rafael, CA
Share this story
Delete

Testing the Fat Shark Transformer HD FPV System

1 Comment

Not so long ago, purchasing the ground equipment for First Person View (FPV) flying meant that you had to decide between a tripod-mounted monitor and wearable goggles. Recent developments have removed that fundamental decision. New systems, like the Fat Shark Transformer HD ($249), give you both viewing options with the same equipment.

The Fat Shark Transformer HD allows you to view FPV video as a standalone high-definition monitor, full-screen headset, or binocular viewer.

Actually, the Transformer offers three viewing possibilities. I suspect that this adaptability is the root of its name. The system's display module can be used as a standalone monitor. There are also two different ways to use the monitor with head gear. The full-panel viewer masks out the rest of the world and gives you a 720p view of your video stream. Using the binocular viewer provides an even more immersive experience with a 55-degree field of view. If using the full-panel viewer is like sitting in the middle of a movie theater, the binocular viewer is like being in the front row.

The Monitor

The heart of the Transformer is a high-definition (1280x720) LCD monitor with a 5.5-inch (140mm) screen. Female ¼-20 threads on the bottom of the housing let you mount the monitor on a tripod. Using a standalone monitor is great for flyers who are just getting used to FPV flight. They can alternate between FPV and line-of-sight flying just by deciding whether to focus on the model or the monitor. Monitors are also perfect for giving spectators a taste of FPV.

The integrated 5.8GHz receiver utilizes two antennas. Using different antenna types betters your chances for a clean signal.

You can choose from three video input sources. When using the monitor for FPV flying, you'll take advantage of the built-in 5.8GHz video receiver. There are two antenna mounts for the receiver. The idea is that you can simultaneously attach both a high-gain directional antenna and an omni-directional antenna. This gives you the benefits of both antenna types since the system automatically uses the best signal at any given time.

As I write this, the Transformer HD bundle does not include antennas for the receiver. I used an ImmersionRC omni-directional antenna and an ImmersionRC Mini Patch Antenna. I am told that future bundles of the Transformer HD will include antenna options.

The monitor also includes a mini-HDMI input, allowing it to display high-definition video from any HDMI-equipped device. There are even a few multi-rotors on the market (or coming soon) that transmit an HD video feed and have an HDMI output from the video receiver. The Transformer HD can tap into those signals.

The monitor does not have a built-in speaker. There is, however, a 3.5mm audio output jack that you can attach to headphones or powered speakers. You'll just want to make sure that your audio device has volume control because the monitor's audio output level is not adjustable.

The third input option is a 3.5mm A/V jack. This folds in most analog video sources. Although the Transformer monitor does not have a built-in DVR, there is also a 3.5mm A/V output jack. You can pipe the signal to an external recording device.

The Transformer bundle includes a battery holder meant for two 18650-sized Lithium-Ion cells.

The monitor is powered by an external 2-cell Lithium-Ion battery. The battery is not included, but Fat Shark does provide a case for holding two 18650-sized cells. These batteries are popular and easy to find. I have a stash of generic 18650 cells and all of them that I have tried worked perfectly in the Transformer. If you're buying new Lithium-Ion cells for this system, make sure that you get a charger as well.

Full-Screen Viewer

When you're ready to take the next step in FPV flying, you can install the monitor into the full-screen viewer. It simply clips into place. Those of you who are familiar with VR gear will have an easy transition to the full-screen viewer. The form factors are very similar. The viewer fits over your eyes and blocks out the rest of the world, leaving you to focus on the view from your model.

Both the full-screen viewer (top) and binocular viewer have a foam liner where they meet your face. They are comfortable to wear despite being larger than standard FPV goggles.

The viewer is essentially just a plastic box for holding the monitor. It has no electronics. Foam on the front of the viewer provides a comfortable fit against your face. Well, it's comfortable against my face. Your experience may vary. Adjustable elastic straps hold the viewer in place on your head. A pocket on the rear of the straps holds the battery. A power extension cord is included to connect the battery to the monitor.

One thing that I immediately noticed with the full-screen viewer is that its positioning is much less critical than with my traditional FPV goggles. When I use my goggles that have individual eye cups, I often have to fidget with them before I get everything in a position that doesn't mask part of the screen. With some goggles, that non-interference position is a pretty small envelope. The Transformer's full-screen viewer has a much wider tolerance for positioning. This makes it easier for me to get prepped for a flight. I also worry less about the goggles shifting while I fly.

The full-screen viewer has a significantly larger footprint than traditional FPV goggles. I don't think it's a factor when flying. Yet, they are more obtrusive when not in use. I don't usually slide the viewer up to my forehead between flights like I do with my other goggles…it's just too big. The viewer does fit easily in the 4-pistol cases that I normally use to carry my flight gear.

Binocular Viewer

At first glance, the binocular viewer appears to be the same thing as the full-screen viewer. In fact, the basic elements are very similar. They're both plastic boxes that isolate your view to the monitor. The primary difference is that when using the binocular viewer, the screen is split into separate right and left images.

When that split screen is combined with the magnification of the viewer's eye pieces, the screen fills your view. It's a totally immersive feel. Fat Shark's specs indicate that the field of view when using the binoculars is 55-degrees.

While you can use the binocular viewer with an HD source, the split screen prevents you from seeing it in full HD. Each eye gets a 640x480 view.

Using the Transformer HD

The Transformer is easy to operate with any of the different viewing options. The monitor is powered on by plugging in the external battery. The only controls are on the back side of the monitor. Two buttons allow you to scroll up or down through the receiver channels. There is also a small joystick. Within the first ten seconds of being powered on, pushing inward on the joystick will cycle though the input sources. A long-press of the joystick will invert the screen image. Directional movements of the joystick allow you to adjust the screen's brightness and contrast. That's all there is to it.

The Transformer provided my first taste of using a high-definition FPV monitor. I'm not taking full advantage of the available resolution since none of my FPV systems output a HD video signal. However, the image is still crisp. The only downside with the monitor is that it does not come with a sunshade. Glare could be a problem if you're using it on a tripod outdoors.

The monitor includes ¼-20 threads for mounting on a tripod.

Both the full-screen viewer and the binocular viewer are comfortable to wear. I expected that they would be front-heavy and a little awkward, but that has not been the case. Using an external battery rather than an internal unit certainly helps with the weight distribution.

So far, most of my experience with the Transformer has been flying indoor quads. Even though the video transmitter is putting out only 25mW of power, reception has been perfect. I can fly into the basement, through doorways, behind walls…it doesn't seem to matter. My experience with more powerful transmitters in outdoor quads has been equally glitch free.

I'm still trying to decide whether I prefer flying with the full-screen viewer or the binocular viewer. The full-screen option is sharper, while the binoculars make you feel like you're right in the thick of things. Both have their high points. Since it only take a few seconds to alternate between each setup, I suppose I never really need to choose a favorite.

Final Thoughts

With so many different FPV goggles on the market, it can be difficult to choose a set that fits your needs. That's especially true if you're just getting started and don't even know what your needs are. The Transformer HD lets you explore the fundamental viewing options without ever having to commit to one type.

Using the either the full-screen viewer or the binocular viewer provides an immersive FPV experience. The full-screen viewer has a sharper image while the binocular viewer (shown here) has a wider field of view.

Once you factor in the accessories that you have to buy (antennas and battery), you're probably looking at a $300 investment for the Transformer HD. That puts the this unit squarely in the middle of the current price range for FPV goggles. Less expensive competitors tend to offer lower resolution, while higher-priced models have extra features such as built-in video recording. I've found no other units (at any price) that have the monitor/full-screen/binocular viewing capability of the Transformer. The system's adaptability means that it can be configured to suit the preferences of many FPV flyers. It is a nice all-in-one system that doesn't demand many compromises.

Terry is a freelance writer living in Lubbock, Texas. Visit his website atTerryDunn.organd follow him onTwitterandFacebook. You can also hear Terry talk about RC hobbies as one of the hosts of theRC Roundtablepodcast.

Read the whole story
mxm23
121 days ago
reply
This is relevant to my interests. :-)
San Rafael, CA
Share this story
Delete
Next Page of Stories