Sander Berents has been fascinated by astronomy since childhood when he started using his older brother’s telescope. In his teens, he also became immersed in BASIC and assembly language programming with his TRS-80. Later, he earned an M.S. in astrophysics. His earliest jobs involved computer programming, and nowadays, he’s an independent, professional macOS software developer and the developer of the macOS app called Observatory. Version 1.0 was released in April 2016. We chatted about the development of Observatory, written in Objective-C and C++, which has several important features for astrophotographers: plate solving, image stacking and a digital blink microscope used for discovery. This app can also be used as a non-destructive photo library for astrophotos. Sander chatted about life as a developer and explained a little bit about how astronomers use his app.
Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]
Whether it’s changing the rules to benefit big business or exerting control over content, governments more and more are seeking to control the internet. It’s all on page 2 of Particle Debris.
Looking for movies on Netflix just about baseball? Deep sea horror movies? Martial arts movies? Mashable has posted a nifty article about how to access the master list of several hundred specific categories that may be more to your liking than the default ones displayed. Check it out.
Consumer Reports compared five mobile payment systems and found big differences in security and privacy practices.
Okay, it’s part of the Asian culture to copy popular products. This has been happening in the car industry for decades. But this Moto P30 just about duplicates the iPhone X design. But come on. Really? Seriously? This is over the top. (Image credit: BBC News.)
The MacBook Air has turned out to be an odd but interesting product. John sizes up the latest reports about a next generation model coming soon.
The article’s opening paragraph puts it bluntly. “The world’s largest lifeguard organization claims there’s a direct link between child drownings and the smartphones parents hold in their hands.” Parents know that kids under 4 must be watched like a hawk, especially around water. Or do they?
Verizon has announced plans for a residential 5G service to be tested in four cities that includes an option for an Apple TV 4K. You’ll need a Verizon 5G modem and plan.
This is from 2016, but I just found it. It’s an article at Futurism about a Sony patent for a contact lens than can record video. Think Google Glass, but imperceptible to strangers. Unless the stranger is a Terminator. I don’t recall seeing anything about this since, and, of course, a patent is always easier than profitable mass production. But it does suggest enormous possibilities. I’ll keep an eye on this technology.
The rumor mill is full of predictions about the next Apple Watch, Series 4, which may well be announced in September, 2018. John sizes up the possibilities.
A rogue planet is a planet that’s not in orbit around any star. It’s by itself, in orbit around the galactic center. It may have formed around a star and perhaps some severe gravitational perturbation ejected it into the space between stars. In any case, only a few are known. In this discovery, a very large one was detected via its radio emissions. Fascinating.
Mark Malkoff is a comedian, filmaker, and the host of The Carson Podcast in which he talks with guests about legendary talk show host Johnny Carson. His guests include stand-up comics who debuted on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, individuals who worked on the show, and entertainers who were influenced by Carson. I chatted with Mark about his early jobs on various TV shows, sketch comedy, and video projects. As a comedian, he’d always been fascinated by Johnny Carson. It was Peter Jones (PBS) who encouraged Mark to do a podcast all about Carson’s Tonight Show. Mark told me about how he lines up guests and how he prepares. In 180+ podcasts, Mark has learned a lot about Mr. Carson’s personal life and the details of show’s production. Mark enthusiastically shares it all.
John collects the interesting news articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines this week, the technical news debris. This week, the topics are all over the map, but one theme remains. Money. So dig in!
The predictions are that we could be in for a spectacular meteor shower, the Perseids, in the early mornings August 12th and 13th. Perhaps 75 meteors per hour. John explains where to look and how to capture some great photos with your iPhone.
Apple product users often work cross-platfom. So it’s good to know what’s going on over on the Microsoft side when it comes to Surface PCs. John provides a quick guide to the Surface family of products.
This article demonstrates many things. 1) Teenagers spend too much time on Facebook. 2) They are subject to psychological manipulation. 3) Those who create channels into teenage minds will do anything to make money. 4) Few realize this is happening. And 5) If Facebook can do this to youngsters, so can others with more unpleasant motives.
Recently, we’ve seen a more visible impact of Apple’s values in the social life of America. John likes what he sees.
The terms artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and deep learning are often confused or interchanged. Friday’s Particle Debris links to an article by a researcher who explains the differences. With that background in hand, PD looks at some intriguing research in the field, including research robots that beg for their lives.
Chris Wood is the developer of the iOS photography app called NightCap Camera, an app that specializes in low-light photography, be it terrestrial or astronomical. Chris told me the story about his technial evolution as a developer, coming out of a M.S. degree and the IT, database and network world. It was the allure of the original iPhone’s graphics that whetted his appetite for programming in Objective-C . His big break came with the iPad 2 which had a fairly strong graphics processor (for its time). That led to the development of the acclaimed iPad app called Camera Boost. Later, the experience Chris gained led to the NightCap app and its descendant NightCap Camera. Chris and I chatted about the evolution and capabilities of this excellent app that even novice photographers should own.
A recent study, described at Big Think, reveals that students who multi-task with smartphones in class are less able to retain information they’ll need for future exams. From the article. “This finding demonstrates for the first time that the main effect of divided attention in the classroom is not an immediate effect of selection or switching on comprehension but a long-term effect of divided attention on retention,” the researchers wrote.