iMovie on the iPhone 4

The other day I was at a friend's house and we set up a slip 'n slide for our daughters to play on. I took out my new phone, recorded a couple clips of the setup and a few clips of them using it. I had downloaded iMovie earlier (it's $5 in the app store unfortunately) so I wanted to try it out for the first time.

I opened iMovie, created a new project, and selected my clips. With its minimal interface and no instructions, I guessed correctly that you can customize output by double clicking items. I added a title and a background song in just a couple clicks, and then it was done.

Here's the output:

What I'm most amazed about is that all the complexity of video editing was taken away and automated but the default settings are very, very good. I'm blown away that an application running on my phone let me edit a little movie, it added cross-dissolve transitions and auto-ducked the music when there was audio on the mic, and even had all the title fade sequences worked out. The whole thing is amazing and pretty incredible for a phone app.

(if you want to see what the app can do in the hands of a pro, check out this video on Vimeo)

Bigger Better Flickr

For over six years, you’ve made Flickr the place to be for photos. Billions of photos of the places you’ve been, the things you’ve seen, and the people in your lives. It’s an amazing photographic record that continues to amaze us. So as part of our Ongoing Quest to Make Flickr More WonderfulTM, we’d like to introduce… a new photo page!


I've been beta testing the new Flickr for the past couple weeks and I'm delighted that they have finally unveiled it to the public (I've been counting the days to when I could say something about it). It's a truly wonderful redo of the photo pages, adding a nice simpler layout with larger photos, easy mapping, and a cool quick zooming lightbox option.

What really makes it shine is that keystrokes (the arrow keys) work both on the photo page and within the lightbox. On my home fiber connection, this makes going through large photo sets pretty close to browsing iPhoto at full screen (in both cases, each new photo takes about a second to load). And while I used to curse having to muck through 70 or 80 photos someone took of an event, now I can just fly through them in large resolution using my keyboard.

The slightly larger photo size is great too, as are the easier to find sharing, favoriting, and other previously hidden controls.

Another thought I had after using it a week or so was that with the larger photos, lightbox, comments, and favorites, the whole photo page comes off feeling a bit more "bloggy" in a way that made me wonder if I should continue to keep a blog of my favorite photos around somewhere else, and instead just keep it as a set at Flickr itself.

Another breakthrough for the low budget filmmaker

I posted this on MetaFilter but I can embed video here so I’ll do that as well.

What happens when you strap a $1700 digital SLR camera doing full HD video to a $2k remote controlled helicopter? You get amazing freaking video:

Another example of what you can do with a few grand worth of equipment that would cost tens of thousands of dollars to do with a real helicopter (not to mention, would also be super dangerous)

Why there is a Save button on Gmail’s compose new email screen on the iPad

Gmailcompose_317x207  I figured out why there is a giant "Save" button on the new mail screens of Gmail on the iPad. 

I was writing a long email to a friend, and I wanted to copy/paste a URL into the message. The URL was already in another open tab, so I simply switched over to it, waited for it to reload, copied the URL from the address bar, then switched back to my Gmail screen.

…and my gmail new message window was blank. Poof! My unsent email was gone.

Turns out I had a 400 comment monster thread loaded in another tab and the iPad seems to not do so well with memory allocation for rendering all your open web windows, clearing out and reloading them whenever you re-request them.

The funny part is that after five years of using Gmail, I've grown so used to its automatic saving of drafts that it never occurred to me that I even had to hit that Save button myself. I assume the javascript necessary to auto-save drafts isn't available on mobile safari, but the big takeaway here is hit the Save button whenever you're in the middle of writing an email and you want to switch apps or switch windows.

Q&A with John Scharffenberger: First wine, then chocolate, and now … tofu? :: The Ethicurean: Chew the right thing.

I speak a lot at business schools, and I ask how many people are there to make money. And then I say why don't you just quit school and be drug dealers then? Because business school is about making things for people. That's why you should be here.


Awesome interview with Scharffenberger, aka the guy that sold his awesome chocolate company to Hersheys (he explains why, in shockingly honest terms). I've heard a lot of great things about the Tofu company he just became CEO of, but this last line in the interview is the keeper.

“Request to License” via Getty Images is here! « Flickr Blog

There are billions of photos on Flickr, which is a whole lotta pretty to look at. But, if you’re a budding photographer, how do you get noticed? And, if you’re looking to use an image for your work, blog, ad campaign or more, how do you find just the right one and make sure you have the appropriate rights to use it?


This is fantastic news and could be a total game-changer. Flickr has already done many great things for budding photographers, but helping them get paid for their work steps it up to a whole new level.

Way back in 2000 when Blogger was first taking off and introducing thousands of new writers to the web we used to talk about a whole photo system pb came up with that would allow amateur photographers to display their photos and eventually become a sort of stock photo house and place to find newsworthy photos for syndicating, with all the money going back to the photographers. 

It seems like the idea took a full ten years to come to fruition, but I sincerely hope this is the start of something big for Getty, to be able to tap the creativity and expertise found among the millions of Flickr users. 

Gawk Gawk Gawk

I have to admit that at some point in the last few months Gawker Media turned a corner and is doing consistently strong investigative journalism* across all their blogs, the likes of which the Huffington Post used to do before they went all sensationalistic tabloid entertainment bullshit on us. I used to write Gawker off as tabloid bullshit generator but they don't have too many peers writing about similar insider leaks these days.

* ignoring that ugly "outing the Apple engineer that lost a phone" thing

Adventures in brain tumors: My first not-good news

Today I got to see images from my most recent (and third) MRI brain scan and with it, the first not-great news to date. While my second MRI showed extraordinary promise with a near 50% reduction in tumor size, and over the past few months I've experienced a return in many of my hormone levels, the results today weren't great. My most recent scan showed negligible change in tumor size (we were hoping for continued reduction) but worse than that, the scan showed two different densities in the tumor, with most of the tumor looking to be quite dense. It could be caused by a variety of things, but the most likely result is the tumor will not likely be getting much smaller. We'll try higher doses of medication and keep repeating these brain scans every 6 months going forward. While the tumor didn't change in size, if it does start to grow again it will be time for surgery to remove as much as we can.

So far I've been lucky in getting good progress reports every month or so as we've done oodles of testing so today's results were the first time it really dawned on me that this is a serious ailment and not likely to go away anytime soon. I know this all started with a pretty big health scare for my friends and family, but to be honest over the past 8 months since it happened I felt like my friends were taking it harder than I was. Everywhere I went since it happened, people corner me to ask how I'm doing and I've often felt a little guilty as their concern for my health seemed to be greater than my own. I was making extraordinary progress this whole time and I guess I figured I was still relatively young and invincible and this minor problem could be easily licked, so today was the day it actually dawned on me that this is serious.

This may never go away completely. This may very well require drilling holes in my skull to try and fix with no guarantee it will be a permanent fix.

Lastly, I found out that even if we can hold everything steady, the medications I'm on have side effects from prolonged use. One shows increased mortality over long periods of use. Another can affect my heart valves over time and leave me with some pretty serious heart disease. I went to the doctor today hoping for not-bad news (I didn't want to hear about a larger tumor) but 12 hours later as I write this, I'm kind of surprised how my not-bad-but-not-good news is really the first time this whole thing started to feel real. My greatest triumph!


Sorry. I can't resist. John Carson, a fellow runner from Canada, unearthed this photo from the archives of the Toronto Star. It's the finals of the 1500 meters at the Ontario 14-year-old championships, many many years ago. The runner on the left is Dave Reid, who was the greatest Canadian miler of his generation. I will only say this: in this particular race, Reid placed second. I "retired" from competitive running a year later, in large part because I realized that the particular statistical fluke represented by me beating Dave Reid was unlikely to ever be repeated. (For the runners out there, I believe I ran something like 4:05.)


Such an amazing photo of a young Malcolm Gladwell!