Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pervasive UI Silliness

  • ATMs ask how many dollars and cents you want to withdraw.  Have they ever been able to dispense cents?
  • Online stores ask for your card type .. but the numbers' format already tells them the card type.  For instance, sixteen digits starting with a four are always Visa.
  • And some carts ask your card's expiration date, but populate the month menu with names rather than numbers.  Does anyone have a card that actually spells out the month's name?

Kodak No.1-A Pocket

Say hello to the Kodak No.1-A Pocket camera.  The "A" in the model is for autographic, just like the Vest Pocket cameras have.  This wasn't a swap meet special -- I actually paid a few bucks.  Not enough to think it works at all, though.

In contrast to the point-and-shoot Kodaks like the Brownies, this one offers f-stops from 6.3 to 45.  It's got 1/25 and 1/50 shutter speeds, as well as a manual shutter.  Additionally, like the Vest Pocket cameras, it has a "timed" setting, where you click the shutter once to open, then click a second time to close it.

left: 116   right: 120
It takes 116-size film.  Luckily, it had a take-up spool in it.  I threw in a roll of 120-size Fujifilm Pro 400H, which is noticeably narrower than the 116, so it sat loose in there.  I had to guess on how far to roll the film to advance it one "frame."  I turned the advance knob eight 360° rotations between photos.  I got at least two shots on this roll.  If the thing isn't a complete light-leak-special, I'll be able to back-out how many rotations I actually need to advance a single frame of 120 film.

I might take a shot at 3d-printing a 116-size adapter that's specifically designed to kludge a 120-size film roll securely into place.   I've been meaning to try printing spools ever since chopping 120 spools down to 620.

Fewer Clocks

A couple months ago, I moved my weather/clock Sony Dash from being centrally located -- easily visible -- to a more remote corner of my livingroom space.  The workday is filled with glances at the clock, mental checks of the calendar, and quick calculations of time remaining to get today's critical tasks done.  The livingroom doesn't really need to do that.  (At least not as much.)

So a few weeks ago, I switched my bike's console from showing the time to showing its total mileage.  After all, what's the use of knowing minute-to-minute how early/late I'm going to be?  It's a bad idea to be in a hurry on two wheels.

I'm enjoying the change.

It makes me wonder if there's a philosophical/hypertension difference between people with wrist-watches and anachronists who use their smartphone as a pocket-watch.  There's got to be an entire history of cultures' concepts of time, and the ways they sync their collective knowledge of the current time.  Does a citywide clock tower's chimes count as hive-mind infrastructure?