Red Dot Awards for 2019

Happy New Year! Time to open a new chapter in our working lives, one that is full of learning, growth, and productivity. I like to kick off the year with a recent Red Dot Award winner. The Red Dot competition is hosted in Germany, and celebrates human-centric design and innovative products from around the world. Last year I reported on the L16 Computational Camera by Bould Design and Light in Red Dot Awards for 2018. Starting the year with great design reminds me to bring beauty and elegance to my work.

Scrolling Keyboard by Royole Corporation

Scrolling Keyboard by Royole Corporation

This year I selected the Scrolling Keyboard by Royole Corporation, designed in-house in Fremont, California. The keyboard is 6 inches wide (154 mm) and rolls up into a tube. When extended it connects to a mobile device via Bluetooth. Push a button to roll it up back in the tube. Although tiny, when compared with the size of mobile phone keyboard, it seems quite generous. This is ideal for anyone who computes on the go.

I research and write everywhere I go, and love tools that are small, compact, and practical. This would be perfect for situations where I need to throw up a quick “office” in a small space like on an airplane or at a coffee shop. The keyboard seems to be in the design stage, but I’d love to try it out in the future.

Red Dot Awards for 2018

Happy New Year! A fresh year of work, exploration, and productivity stretches before us! I like to kick off the year with a recent Red Dot Award. The Red Dot competition is hosted in Germany, and celebrates human-centric design and innovative products from around the globe. Last year I reported on the Logitech K780 Multi-Device Keyboard in Red Dot Awards for 2017. Starting the year with great design reminds me to bring beauty and elegance to my work.

l16_computationalcamera_reddot2018_44-07612-2018-3

L16 Computational Camera by Bould Design and Light

This year I selected the L16 Computational Camera, designed by Bould Design, and manufactured by Light, both located right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. According to their description, the camera “is the world’s first multi-aperture computational camera. It combines an ergonomically refined case, breakthrough optics and the most advanced imaging engine ever created to bring DSLR image quality to a pocket-size form factor. Sixteen image sensors span wide angle, mid and telephoto ranges. There are no extra lenses to carry or change. Based on focal distance, each shutter click captures up to 10 images, which are then fused into a high-resolution photo that can be refocused and adjusted with the Light editing software. Each shot yields infinite photographic outcomes.” 

I love how small, light (about a pound), and compact this camera is, and the picture quality is quite remarkable. You can see a gallery here: https://light.co/gallery. I look forward to seeing how the camera evolves.

Toolkit: Audacity

This week I’m reporting on my progress with Audacity, the free, open source Digital Audio Workbench (DAW). As mentioned in Toolkit: Working with Sound, I’m upgrading my own toolkit with some tools for capturing and processing sound files. Audacity is a popular tool at work for creating sound files for tutorials and online documentation.

Audacity_GmaLetter_Sample

Reading a letter from my Grandmother using Audacity® software.

Downloading and setting up the Audacity DAW was pretty easy, and I created my first voice recording, edited out the “ums” and blank spaces, and saved the WAV file without using the documentation. I downloaded and installed LAME encoder so I can save MP3 files. After the initial success with my recording, I backtracked and read some of the documentation and worked through a couple of tutorials (I learn best when I try things out first, and then delve into the documentation to fill in the gaps).

The tool is very intuitive and easy to use once you master a few basics. I’m finding it helpful to learn more about sound as well. For example, I had to learn about cordiod, super cordiod, omni and figure 8 sound patterns, to set up my mic and try different settings.

Audacity_MordantsScript

Editing a recording using Audacity® software.

In the past few weeks I’ve recorded some family history tracks and tutorial scripts, and experimented with importing sound files. The files have provided great source material for playing around and getting to know the tool.

I can hardly claim mastery over Audacity or working with sound files, but I feel a sense of proficiency emerging. I have an idea of the tool’s capabilities, and how to use it to accomplish what I want. I also have a better idea of timing, the process, and how long things take. I’ve also found some great sources for public domain and Creative Commons sound files.