DINOSAURS in 4K! LA Natural History Museum (Shot on Galaxy S6 with KumbaCam Stabilizer)

Spent a day at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum with my Samsung Galaxy S6 and a KumbaCam smartphone steadicam stabilizer. It’s pretty incredible, the quality of footage we can achieve with consumer products these days…

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Samsung Donates $50,000 to LA Habitat for Humanity at #DITCHtheDSLR Event in Hollywood

I finally said goodbye to my old Canon Rebel. Samsung made the pain of giving it away easier by allowing me to trade it in for a new NX30 mirrorless camera. The event in Hollywood also featured a Guinness World Record selfie chain, and showcased Samsung’s charitable side with a $50,000 donation to the LA chapter of Habitat for Humanity!

Shop the Samsung NX30 on Amazon.
Shop the Samsung NX Mini on Amazon.

Sign Me Up. I’m Ready For Driverless Cars In California.

google self driving carThe open road. The freedom. The romance of wide open throttle on a long stretch of asphalt.

None of that exists in Los Angeles anymore.

Sure, on a holiday weekend at three in the morning you can let loose a little, but the normal condition for Los Angelinos is a bumper to bumper, stop and go, passive-aggressively, road ragey experience. You can’t live in the state for any length of time without witnessing the most common stories we all share. The jerks who skip the line of cars to merge at the last possible second. The jerks who cut you off while driving ten miles an hour slower than you were going. The INSANE number of people doing anything else instead of focusing on driving, even watching videos on tablets (actual pic from one of my commutes)… Continue reading “Sign Me Up. I’m Ready For Driverless Cars In California.”

AT&T invests more than $1.95 billion into LA improvements

ATT logoConsumers are getting hungrier for better service and data access. In Los Angeles, AT&T is pushing forward on wired and wireless improvements for consumers and businesses.

Over the last three years, Big Blue has poured almost $2 Billion into opening up new pockets of LTE for thousands of LA residents, and offering up fiber lines to over 40,000 business locations.

“Continued investment in fast and reliable Internet connectivity is critical for both quality of life and economic growth in Los Angeles said Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.  “Enhanced wireless and wired connectivity is an important benefit for residents, and the expansion of fiber-optic connections helps to level the playing field for small and mid-sized businesses across the metro area.”

Hopefully we’ll soon see more of that competitive spirit for residential wired services. LA is looking into providing free basic data service to all residents over the next several years, and we know Google is investigating a Fiber roll out in Northern California. AT&T has shown that it’s game to compete, matching Google’s offerings in Austin, so fingers crossed that we Los Angelenos start seeing some better opportunities than what we currently have with cable.

Full PR below.

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Can Los Angeles light up Fiber for the whole city? Free broadband internet for all?

Los Angeles winterDamn I hope this can work.

LA City Council officials are working on a Request for Proposals. They want companies to offer bids on an extremely ambitious project, namely lighting up fiber optic broadband internet for every business and residential area in the Los Angeles city limits. No piecemeal, staged, “testing” of the viability for the potential, to maybe, some day, consider, trying a starter market in one corner of a McMansion in Beverly Hills. They want to go whole hog, all or nothing.

The plan for the proposal so far would be to offer up a baseline low level service for everyone for free. It could be ad supported to offset costs, and most likely speeds would top out around 2Mbps, yet it would be available for everyone. This could be a huge boon for those in lower income neighborhoods, areas not often well supported by current ISP’s, and tremendously helpful in an economy where many have to choose between home internet and low cost cell phone service to remain competitive in the job market.

For those who can afford it, higher tiers of service will be made available, most likely topping out at gigabit bandwidth, resembling services like Google Fiber. This backbone could also be used to power WiFi hotspots in public areas.

The implications of such a move could be remarkable.  Continue reading “Can Los Angeles light up Fiber for the whole city? Free broadband internet for all?”

UPDATED! SomeGadgetGuy’s Production Master Class for Social Media Week LA 2013

BVHHsnNCUAAcIrfIt’s a good thing I don’t  ramble or anything…

I was invited to teach a master class on media production for Social Media Week in Los Angeles. I was honored to be asked, and thankfully they had me tackling a subject I could jump into, producing higher quality materials using the tools which come standard on just about all of our various gadgets and phones and tablets.

It was a great environment, being able to let my geek flag fly, and share my experiences ABOUT sharing my experiences while discussing how to create a work flow, tackle pre-production, and take some of the stress out of the post process for photos, audio, and video.

We’re wrapping up SMW-LA tomorrow, but I’ve gotten to meet some really cool folks and sit in on some fantastic workshops. For more info on Social Media Week events around the world, check out: http://socialmediaweek.org/

***UPDATE***

My somewhat rambling master class is now on LiveStream for you all to marvel at my presenting skills!

California Approves Ride-Sharing Services like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar

lyft_car_on_roadSo here’s the deal. If for some reason you find yourself without a car, or need to find a ride in LA, it used to be a somewhat miserable experience. It’s hard to rely on buses, the Metro only has a limited route, and cabs are slow to arrive and expensive.

When ride-sharing services started filtering into the city, it was a refreshing and high tech change of pace. Looking for a nicer “Town Car” service, you could fire up Uber, and for those short trips I might’ve called a cab for in the past, Lyft consistently proved faster and nicer. Especially from those ride-sharing folks who really got into it, offering beverages and snacks.

Of course Taxi companies, being somewhat old school, have to follow myriad rules and regulations that their app based counterparts weren’t subject to. Understandably, this has led to friction as established companies feel this gives newer services an unfair advantage. Plus many have brought up safety issues as things like vehicle maintenance and driver background checks aren’t executed in the same fashion as they might be with cabs and divers.

Well now ride-sharing services will be brought under the regulatory control of the Public Utilities Commission which unanimously voted to allow these services to operate. Creating a new classification, “Transportation Network Services”, now drivers will be required to pass background checks, pass training courses, and carry a minimum $1 million liability insurance policy.

This vote by the state government will probably serve as an end-run around cities and smaller communities which were exploring outright bans on ride-sharing. I’m personally glad to see this move, as we can always use a little more competition, and maybe we’ll see traditional taxi services step up their game too. Hopefully this encourages a little more open-mindedness around alternative forms of transportation all around.

Pledge to reduce distracted driving! #ItCanWait ‘Drive 4 Pledges Day’ – September 19th!

it_can_wait_logoDistracted driving is becoming one of my primary technology “cause” issues. As tech becomes more fashionable, as we integrate data into more and more of our waking day, we’ve still yet to completely crack the user experience of interacting with technology while operating a motor vehicle. Some day we’ll have better solutions like heads up displays and eye pieces, probably used in conjunction with driver-less cars, but that day has not yet arrived.

Over 100,000 crashes a year involve distracted drivers. We can do better. We need to do better.

Backed by all four major carriers, the It Can Wait campaign will be sponsoring events all around the country on September 19th. During the Drive 4 Pledges Day, communities will be hosting pledges drives, encouraging their neighbors to sign the pledge to not text (or use your phone) while driving. I’ll be attending the Los Angeles pledge event to show my support.

For those of you who want to participate, but wont be able to attend community events, check out ItCanWait.com for other ways to support the cause. it only takes a moment’s indiscretion for someone’s life to be irrevocably changed.

If you haven’t yet, I would also recommend watching the documentary From One Second to the Next, directed by Werner Herzog. It’s available for free on Youtube, and I have it embedded after the break.

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