I got an interesting email this morning. As you may already know about me I’m an extreme photography enthusiast. One thing I love doing is capturing spherical panoramas. To do it well you need a specific tripod head. I use a rather cheap one (the Nodal Ninja). If I had more dough to spend I’d probably upgrade to one of the offerings from 360 Precision. They make amazing panoramic tripod heads. Each one is custom fitted to your particular camera/lens combination. I digress …
Whenever the chance arises, I like to go to Nebraska at the end of March. Besides having family to visit, I love going in March because that’s when the Sandhill Cranes stop at the Platte River in central Nebraska during their annual migration. My grandma lives about 45 minutes from where I like to go to take pictures of the birds. Not only that, but my dad grew up on a farm in this part of Nebraska.
I literally just got home from this adventure, but couldn’t wait to take a look at my pictures. Here’s just a sample of what I got this year. The trip was a bit odd, as it was incredibly cold, overcast, and snowing the entire time. So, I hate to say it, I had to do a little bit of cleaning in Photoshop.
It’s very hard to explain why I love making this trip. Hopefully these pictures will speak for me. It’s amazing how many of these birds all gather in one small spot. They migrate to Nebraska, and so do I :)
This is a great TED presentation. The beginning is fantastic. If you've only got four minutes, take a moment to watch the beginning of this presentation. So good!
I'm obsessed with technology. I love finding new ways for technology to enhance or improve my life. It's a never ending quest. Hopefully, someday I'll find something technology can do for me and I'll capitalize on the idea and have my own business. It's a dream, an ambition, and a goal.
So, that said, the other day I was in the car with Laura when all of the sudden inspiration struck. Out of nowhere I had my next blog idea. I asked Laura if I could borrow her phone. I called myself and left myself a voicemail with my thoughts. I have this app on my iPhone called YAP that transcribes my messages, sends me a text message, and an email with an attachment of the voicemail audio as well as the text transcription. I love the transcription feature. So nice to read your voicemail. Something about it makes it feel like I'm getting through my messages faster. And, in this situation, it allowed me to make a digital record (and text transcription) of my idea.
I've digressed. Back to the topic at hand! I find myself wavering back and forth on the question of who dominates in the technology space. Some of the big players include Google, Facebook, and Apple. Over the past couple of months there's been a lot of chatter about Facebook dethroning Google as the new powerhouse web company. Sometimes I feel the same way. Other times I don't. Bottom line is, they're both amazing technology companies. These days I find myself loving Google. Here's why.
Google makes a ton of incredibly useful products. Just off the top of my head, here are the products I use regularly and why I love them.
Barnes & Noble Nook, which allows me to read some of my books on the go. Further, more props to Google, the Nook operates using Google's Android operating system. It's an open format that allows me to read various electronic book formats (as opposed to the Kindle which only allows .mobi files from the Amazon Kindle Store). If you're looking for a book, check out http://books.google.com. I guarantee you'll find the book, be offered a preview, have the ability to find the book in a library, or be given the option to buy either an electronic copy or a physical copy. I love Google books.
360cities which embeds my panoramas as a layer directly in Google Earth. I love that. I've also mapped locations pertinent to my family history (to illustrate letters sent and received by my great-grandparents during their courtship). I've used maps to show people where I've been (such as on a rock climbing trip a couple of weekends ago). I also use maps to track my exercise paths (whether on bike or foot). I only have one request for Google when it comes to the maps feature - please add a "bird's eye view" perspective. Microsoft's Bing Maps has a layer called "bird's eye." If you've never experimented with it before, do so now. It's amazing. It offers a view taken from a low flying airplane. It's a great way to check out neighborhoods, etc. I've heard rumors that Google will be using drones equipped with cameras to capture similar imagery. I look forward to seeing this product evolve.
Al Jazeera English offers clips on YouTube as well as streaming video which has allowed that network to reach a huge audience. It is now the number 3 news channel viewed on YouTube. These days YouTube is looking more and more like a network for a post-broadcast world. And, don't worry, you can still find hilarious cat videos too.
this video. The video is a little over 2 minutes long and gives a great background on the product. Again, not in my top two favorite blogging platforms, but still a great product.
Chatter. Of course, over at salesforce.com you have to pay for that service. Wave was free.
Google has been consistently innovating in the technology space for over 10 years. They're still innovating and introducing helpful and useful tools. I look forward to the numerous products that are undoubtedly on the way. Go Google!