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New White House Privacy Report

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Two days ago, the White House released a report on privacy: "Privacy in our Digital Lives: Protecting Individuals and Promoting Innovation." The report summarizes things the administration has done, and lists future challenges:

Areas for Further Attention

  1. Technology will pose new consumer privacy and security challenges.
  2. Emerging technology may simultaneously create new challenges and opportunities for law enforcement and national security.
  3. The digital economy is making privacy a global value.
  4. Consumers' voices are being heard -- and must continue to be heard -- in the regulatory process.
  5. The Federal Government benefits from hiring more privacy professionals.
  6. Transparency is vital for earning and retaining public trust.
  7. Privacy is a bipartisan issue.

I especially like the framing of privacy as a right. From President Obama's introduction:

Privacy is more than just, as Justice Brandeis famously proclaimed, the "right to be let alone." It is the right to have our most personal information be kept safe by others we trust. It is the right to communicate freely and to do so without fear. It is the right to associate freely with others, regardless of the medium. In an age where so many of our thoughts, words, and movements are digitally recorded, privacy cannot simply be an abstract concept in our lives; privacy must be an embedded value.

The conclusion:

For the past 240 years, the core of our democracy -- the values that have helped propel the United States of America -- have remained largely the same. We are still a people founded on the beliefs of equality and economic prosperity for all. The fierce independence that encouraged us to break from an oppressive king is the same independence found in young women and men across the country who strive to make their own path in this world and create a life unique unto to themselves. So long as that independence is encouraged, so long as it is fostered by the ability to transcend past data points and by the ability to speak and create free from intrusion, the United States will continue to lead the world. Privacy is necessary to our economy, free expression, and the digital free flow of data because it is fundamental to ourselves.

Privacy, as a right that has been enjoyed by past generations, must be protected in our digital ecosystem so that future generations are given the same freedoms to engage, explore, and create the future we all seek.

I know; rhetoric is easy, policy is hard. But we can't change policy without a changed rhetoric.

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gradualepiphany
1 hour ago
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Coming from Obama, I'm sure there's a classified legal interpretation of this that says that the government's right to privacy trumps that of the individual, and any right to privacy doesn't apply when "national security" is involved. And #6 is truly hilarious coming from this "most transparent administration in history", and the guy who "welcomed" having this debate only after the public was informed by Snowden. I still can't figure out if Obama is a master of self delusion, a master liar, or just not able to control the actions of the executive branch.

As with almost all of Obama's speeches, I would have been pretty happy if we had actually got an administration that made any effort at all to match policy to rhetoric.
Los Angeles, California, USA
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Leica M10 Hands On Review

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On January 9, 2017, I was invited to a meeting in New York City to see a preview of the brand new Leica M10.  I have been a Leica user for a long time, dating back to the M3 and M4 film days.  I also purchased the first digital Leica, the M8, and suffered through many issues with the magenta cast turning [Read More]

The post Leica M10 Hands On Review appeared first on Luminous Landscape.

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gradualepiphany
19 hours ago
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"If you use tripod mounting plates, you must unscrew the mounting plate and then open the bottom plate."

Good grief Leica. STILL? If you think that tripods should never be used with an M, just remove the screw threads on the bottom.
Los Angeles, California, USA
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Fujifilm medium-format GFX 50S to ship in late February for $6500

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Back at Photokina in September, Fujifilm took the wraps off of its new mirrorless medium-format camera, the GFX 50S. Today they're released all of the details, including price and ship date.

The GFX 50S uses a 51.4MP 'Fujifilm G Format' medium-format sensor (43.8 x 32.9mm), which is 1.7x the area of a full-frame sensor. The lens mount is known as G-mount and, like all medium-format cameras, it has a 'reverse' crop factor of 0.79x, so that new 63mm F2.8 lens is equivalent to 50mm. The camera has a 117-point contrast-detect AF system, and users can set the focus point using the touchscreen or a joystick on the rear plate. Its NP-T125 lithium-ion battery is rated for 400 shots on a single charge (meaning you'll probably get many more in most real-world usage).

The weather-sealed body is made of a magnesium alloy and weighs just 825g/43oz with battery and memory card installed. It has a 3.2" dual-tilt touchscreen LCD display and a 2.36M-dot OLED viewfinder, to which you can add a 'tilt adapter' allowing it to tilt upward by 90° and rotated left or right by 45° (that's a lot of tilting). On the top plate is a 1.28" LCD which displays current shooting settings. There are two SD card slots, both of which support high-speed UHS-II media.

The GFX 50S has Fujifilm's Film Simulation modes, including a new Color Chrome Effect option. It can capture Full HD video at up to 30p, with a bit rate of 36 Mbps. As one would expect from a camera in this class, the GFX 50S supports tethered shooting from a PC. Optional accessories include a battery grip, H-Mount adapter for use with classic Fujinon HC lenses and a 'View Camera Adapter G' that lets you use the GFX as a digital back.

Along with the GFX come three new lenses, with three more to follow by the end of the year. The initial trio of lenses including a 110mm F2 (equivalent to 87mm), 23mm F4 (18mm equiv.) and 45mm F2.8 (35mm equiv.).

The GFX 50S will ship in late February at an MSRP of $6499/£6199.

GROUNDBREAKING FUJIFILM GFX 50S MEDIUM FORMAT MIRRORLESS CAMERA DELIVERS ULTRA-HIGH IMAGE QUALITY

FUJIFILM GFX 50S combines an extraordinary sensor, processor and design with FUJINON lenses to give users the ultimate photography experience

Valhalla, N.Y., January 19, 2017 – As the leader in innovation for photographers, FUJIFILM North America Corporation today announces the FUJIFILM GFX 50S medium format mirrorless digital camera that will launch late February, 2017 with an initial selection of three FUJINON lenses - the GF63mmF2.8 R WR, the GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR, and the GF120mmF4 R LM OIS WR Macro. These lenses encapsulate the design philosophy of FUJINON lenses that are renowned by photographers around the world.

The innovative GFX system utilizes a Fujifilm exclusive 43.8 x 32.9mm (FUJIFILM G Format) 51.4MP CMOS sensor. The GFX 50S combines the heritage of over 80 years of imaging and the innovative award-winning functional design of our X Series digital camera system in the relentless pursuit of image quality.

The FUJIFILM GFX 50S Revealed

The FUJIFILM GFX 50S mirrorless digital camera uses the new 51.4MP FUJIFILM G Format 43.8 x 32.9mm sensor with approximately 1.7x the area of a 35mm sensor. In addition to the camera are three new FUJINON GF Lenses that will be followed by three additional lenses later in 2017.

The GFX 50S 51.4MP sensor shows its true potential when making large format prints, capturing majestic landscape photos or reproducing historical documents. Compared to a full size sensor with equivalent megapixels, both resolution and sensitivity are dramatically better due to the larger size of each pixel. As a result, the sensor captures great textures and subtlety of tone that is unique to large size sensors. The texture and tone combine to give a unique three-dimensional effect creating extremely high quality photography. Images captured can be reproduced down to the smallest detail, conveying the texture of the subject, a three-dimensional feeling, and the atmosphere of the scene.

For flash photography in the studio or outdoors during the day, the GFX 50S sensor has a native ISO of 100. The sensor can also be adapted to various aspect ratios, including 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1, 65:24, 5:4, 7:6, all of which are available in large and medium format film cameras.

The FUJIFILM GFX 50S uses the X Processor Pro (also used in the X-Pro2 and X-T2 cameras) and allows photographers to use Fujifilm's proprietary Film Simulations with a Medium Format sensor. The camera supports Full HD recording at 29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p. Users can enjoy high quality video with no post-processing required by using Film Simulation modes just like they would with a still image. The GFX 50S introduces a new Color Chrome Effect feature that reproduces subtle tones in highly saturated subjects.

Ultimate Performance in a Compact Body

With a compact and lightweight body constructed from magnesium alloy, the FUJIFILM GFX 50S weighs approximately 43 ounces when paired with the FUJINON GF63mmF2.8 R WR, and weighs approximately 60% of a medium format DSLR camera equipped with a sensor of the same size. When compared to a full frame, the weight is almost identical. Overall camera body height and width have also been minimized for maximum flexibility, overturning the common perceptions regarding the mobility of medium format digital cameras.

Bright, Crystal Clear Viewfinder and Large Touchscreen

The FUJIFILM GFX 50S gives users a 3.69M dot organic EL electronic viewfinder and 2.36M dot touchscreen LCD back panel for easy viewing. The EVF is detachable to allow for flexible operation. Users can attach the accessory EVF-TL1 EVF tilt adapter (sold separately) to allow the finder to be tilted to 90° vertically and swung ±45°. A 3.2 inch, 2.36M dot touch panel is used for the rear monitor, with touch operation for the menu, focusing points and image playback. A three-directional tilting LCD screen improves operability and makes viewing images and checking focus even easier.

FUJINON Lenses Guarantee Image Perfection

As part of the GFX system, Fujifilm is launching newly developed, ultra-high resolution FUJINON GF lenses. Taking advantage of the mirrorless system’s structure, the G Mount has a short flange back distance of just 26.7mm that reduces the back focus distance as much as possible. This prevents vignetting and achieves edge-to-edge sharpness. All FUJINON GF Lenses have been designed to support sensors of over 100MP.

GFX lens barrels feature an aperture ring in the same manner as FUJINON XF lenses, for intuitive operation. A new C (Command) Position has been added to the aperture ring, allowing users to change the aperture with the camera’s command dial. The A (Auto) Position and C Position feature a locking button installed on the aperture ring that must be disabled to implement changes.

Built for the Professional, and the Enthusiast

Just as with the flagship X Series models, the FUJIFILM GFX 50S features dedicated dials to independently set aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, the important factors in determining exposure.

Aperture and ISO feature a C (Command) and the shutter speed dial has a T (Time) Position. Setting the dial to this position allows the user to change exposure settings using the command dials on the front and rear of the camera body. The user can choose between these two operation methods according to their preference, ease of use, and the shooting environment.

The GFX 50S is equipped with a 1.28 inch LCD sub monitor on the top of the body. Important exposure data such as aperture and shutter speed is displayed on this screen. This display is extremely useful when shooting on a tripod or tethered to a computer.

A 117-point (9 x 13 / maximum of 425 points when miniaturized) contrast AF system is used on the GFX 50S. High-precision AF on the imaging sensor dramatically improves focusing accuracy with the shallow depth of field produced by medium format lenses. First adopted in the FUJIFILM X-Pro2, focus point selection can be performed by using the Focus Lever, which allows intuitive movement of the focus point. Alternatively, users can select the focus point from the touch panel LCD screen.

Initial Lens Lineup Will Include the Following Three FUJINON Options:

  1. GF63mmF2.8 R WR (equivalent to 50mm in 35mm format)
  2. GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR (equivalent to 25-51mm in 35mm format)
  3. GF120mmF4 Macro R LM OIS WR (equivalent to 95mm in 35mm format)

FUJINON GF63mmF2.8 R WR

The optical system features a construction of 8 groups and 10 elements, including 1 ED lens element. This lens construction is the most suitable for high resolution in compact and stylish design, the external form of this small and lightweight lens has a diameter of just 84.0 x 71.0mm with a weight of only 14.2 ounces \ 405 grams. Using the front group for the focus, aberrations due to focus distance are suppressed, achieving high resolution performance even when wide open from the center to the edges of the lens.

FUJINON GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR

The FUJINON GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR features a construction of 11 groups and 14 elements, 3 aspheric elements, 1 ED lens and 1 super ED lens, allowing this lens to achieve image quality rivalling prime lenses. As a result, the lens demonstrates extremely high performance from the center all the way to the edges. The lens uses internal focusing, reducing the weight of the focus lens and achieving fast and silent AF by driving focus using a linear motor.

FUJINON GF120mmF4 R LM OIS WR Macro

The FUJINON GF120mmF4 R LM OIS WR Macro has a construction of 9 groups and 14 elements, including 3 ED lens elements. By adopting a floating focus method using a linear motor, silent high-speed autofocusing is achieved while aberrations are corrected, dramatically increasing the resolution. Furthermore, by arranging the ED lenses properly, chromatic aberrations are also properly corrected, contributing to high quality images. In designing this lens the quality of the out of focus area both in front and behind the plane of focus were considered, giving this lens beautiful bokeh. This lens is equipped with optical image stabilization (OIS) effective up to 5.0-stops, making this lens perfect for handheld shooting in low-light situations.

Three Additional FUJINON GF Lenses to be Announced Later in 2017:

  1. GF110mmF2 R LM WR (equivalent to 87mm in 35mm format)
  2. GF23mmF4 R LM WR (equivalent to 18mm in 35mm format)
  3. GF45mmF2.8 R WR (equivalent to 35mm in 35mm format)

GFX 50S Accessories (sold separately)

  1. Vertical Battery Grip VG-GFX1 – high-performance battery grip is designed to place the release button, dials, and function buttons in the same positions when shooting vertically. The battery grip can be loaded with one NP-T125 dedicated battery, lowering the frequency that batteries need replacing. Also, by connecting the AC-15V accessory (sold separately), it is possible to charge the battery within the grip in approximately 2 hours.
  1. EVF Tilt Adapter EVF-TL1 – mounting this accessory between the camera body and EVF, the angle of the EVF can be changed to angles from 0°〜90° vertically and from -45°〜+45° horizontally. Doing this allows the user to shoot at various angles while using the viewfinder, greatly increasing the versatility of the finder for different subjects.
  1. H Mount Adapter G – allows you to use SUPER EBC FUJINON HC interchangeable lenses developed for the FUJIFILM GX645AF medium format film camera (discontinued). By attaching this adapter to the GFX 50S, a total of 9 SUPER EBC FUJINON HC interchangeable lenses and 1 tele-converter developed for the GX645AF can be used. While the focusing method will be limited to manual focusing, the lens aperture can be changed using the command dial on the camera body, and shooting with the leaf shutter built in to the lenses is also possible. Using this lens shutter will allow high speed flash synchronization up to a maximum speed of 1/800 sec.

    Also, the adapter is equipped with electrical contacts that can communicate with the camera body, independently creating, saving, and applying correctional data for each lens. The adapter supports Manual and Aperture Priority AE exposure modes.

*A removable tripod foot is included to mount the camera with a heavy or long focal length lens.

  1. View Camera Adapter G – allows the GFX 50S to be used as a digital back. The view camera adapter allows the GFX 50S to be mounted to the standard universal-type back of a view camera. This allows the use of FUJINON large format camera lenses, such as the CM-W FUJINON lens series. The camera or lens shutter can be triggered, allowing the user to choose the optimum method. The large image circle and the bellows of the view camera can be used with tilt, shift and swing movements, effective for product and architectural photography.
    *There may be instances in which the adapter cannot be mounted depending on the shape of the view camera.
  1. Tethered Shooting Solutions – We have the following tethering solutions for photographers, including: X Acquire to transfer images from the camera to a hot folder on your computer for use with your preferred imaging software, Tether Shooting Plug-in PRO for Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® and HS-V5 for Windows (sold separately).

    By connecting the GFX 50S to a PC via USB cable and using this software, it is possible to transfer photographed images directly to the PC, as well as control the camera from the PC. Also, by using the Control Panel Window newly added to Tether Shooting Plug-in PRO for Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom®, additional camera functions become available.
  1. RAW FILE CONVERTER EX2.0 – powered by SILKYPIX (free of charge) RAW development software and Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® / Adobe® Photoshop® CC (sold separately). RAW development software is used for detailed corrections and advanced image processing that isn't supported by the in-camera RAW conversion. Both software support Fujifilm's "Film Simulation" modes, allowing creation of image data that is extremely close to Fujifilm’s advanced color reproduction.

FUJIFILM GFX 50S Key Features:

  • 51.4MP Medium Format 43.8 x 32.9mm sensor for superior sharpness and image quality for all photographers
    • Adaptable to various aspect ratios, including 4:3 (default), 3:2, 16:9, 1:1, 65:24, 5:4, 7:6
  • FUJIFILM G Mount with short flange back distance of just 26.7mm
  • X-Processor Pro imaging processor
  • Detachable electronic viewfinder
  • Weather and dust resistant; operation to as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit \ -10 degrees Celsius
  • File formats include three different JPEG settings (SUPER FINE, FINE, NORMAL), as well as two different RAW settings (uncompressed, compressed). TIFF output is also possible with in-camera RAW development
  • Full HD for Movie Mode: 1920x1080 29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 36Mbps, in Film Simulation modes
  • Light body weighs approximately 43oz. \ 825g (including battery and memory card)
  • Uses SD Cards (UHS-II recommended)
    • Equipped with dual slots
    • Supports three different types of recording methods, "Sequential," in which recording can be continued according to shooting order, "Backup," which records the same data on two cards simultaneously, and "Sorting," which records RAW and JPEG data on separate cards
  • Uses newly developed NP-T125 high capacity battery for approximately 400 photos (with Auto Power Save ON)
  • All FUJINON GF Lenses are dust and weather resistant, built to withstand operation at temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit \ -10 degrees Celsius allowing photographers to take them outdoors with confidence in challenging weather conditions.
  • The new FUJINON GF Lenses feature an aperture ring, a popular feature in the X Series, and have a new C (Command) Position on the ring to enable aperture adjustments with the Command Dial on the camera body
  • A Fluorine coating applied to the front lens element creates a hydrophobic coating that repels moisture.

The GFX 50S and FUJINON GF lenses culminate to create a new camera system capable of creating the world's highest level of photographic expressions by combining the thorough incorporation of knowledge regarding camera operation, optical design, image capture, and image processing.

Availability and Pricing

The new FUJIFILM GFX 50S Medium Format Camera Body will be available Late February, 2017 in the U.S. and Canada for USD $6,499.95 and CAD $8,499.99.

Also available in February, 2017 will be the first three FUJINON GF lenses. GF63mmF2.8 R WR for USD $1,499.95 and CAD $1,899.99, GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR for USD $2,299.95 and CAD $2,999.99, and GF120mmF4 R LM OIS WR Macro for USD $2,699.95 and CAD $3,499.99.

Fujifilm GFX 50S specifications

Price
MSRP$6499/£6199
Body type
Body typeMid-size SLR
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution8256 x 6192
Image ratio w:h1:1, 5:4, 4:3, 3:2
Effective pixels51 megapixels
Sensor sizeMedium format (44 x 33 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorX Processor Pro
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 100-12800 (expands up to 102400)
Boosted ISO (maximum)102400
White balance presets7
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW + TIFF
JPEG quality levelsSuper fine, fine, normal
File format
  • JPEG (Exif v2.3)
  • Raw (14-bit RAF)
  • TIFF (via Raw conversion)
Optics & Focus
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points117
Focal length multiplier0.79×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3.2
Screen dots2,360,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeOLED
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.85×
Viewfinder resolution3,690,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed360 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Maximum shutter speed (electronic)1/16000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Program
  • Aperture priority
  • Shutter priority
  • Manual
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe or flash sync terminal)
Flash modesAuto, standard, slow sync, manual, off
Flash X sync speed1/125 sec
Drive modes
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Self-timer
  • Remote
Continuous drive3.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Average
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±5 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes
Videography features
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Modes
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 30p / Mbps, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 25p / Mbps, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 24p / Mbps, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p / Mbps, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC (dual slots, UHS-II supported)
Connectivity
USB USB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
HDMIYes (micro-HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n
Remote controlYes (via cable or smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionNP-T125 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)400
Weight (inc. batteries)740 g (1.63 lb / 26.10 oz)
Dimensions148 x 94 x 91 mm (5.83 x 3.7 x 3.58)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPSNone
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gradualepiphany
22 hours ago
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"The lens mount is known as G-mount and, like all medium-format cameras, it has a 'reverse' crop factor of 0.79x, so that new 63mm F2.8 lens is equivalent to 50mm."

This is poorly worded. The crop factor is not the same on all medium format cameras. All MF cameras do have a 'reverse' crop when compared to 35mm, but the factor is not always .79x.

The GFX is kinda stretching the bounds of what "medium format" is, since it's cropped-frame 645, which is itself cropped 6x6...

Still, I might wind up with one of these until someone makes a reasonably priced full frame 645 digital. It'd fix several things that are lacking in my Sony.
Los Angeles, California, USA
dreadhead
9 hours ago
I'm sure there are some use cases but honestly I can't see needing more resolution than my D800, I would rather have an increased dynamic range or high ISO performance at this point.
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Udee universal backpack includes camera compartment, external USB charging and more

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A versatile photography backpack called Udee is seeking funding on Kickstarter, offering a design that's meant to cover many different circumstances and needs. The backpack boasts 19 features, including a dedicated ‘photography bag,’ an external USB charging port, an integrated LED safety light, integrated earphone port, and more. With 39 days to go, the campaign is looking to hit a $20,000 funding goal to bring the backpack to production.

Udee is designed for everything from travel to regular daily use, covering most of the bases anyone could need via a combination of security, convenience and comfort features. As far as comfort is concerned, Udee has a weight reduction design that includes an X-shaped back support element combined with an S-shaped belt, memory sponge material and air permeability.

This is complemented by an anti-theft security feature in the form of a coded lock which, when used with a steel cable, can lock the bag in place and keep thieves out. Convenience is also given a strong focus, and includes quick- access zones, a 3M reflective strip, an earphone port for listening to music through headphones connected to an item inside the bag, and an external USB port for charging a phone using a battery stored within the bag.

Udee's design allows specific categories of items to be stored separately from others. A photography bag section has cushioned spaces for a camera and lenses, for example, while there's also a pocket for a laptop, sleeves for notebooks or similar items, small pockets, a glass chamber for breakable items, and even a compartment that can be used as a portable cooler. Overall, the bag has a 25 liter capacity.

Meltpartners, the entity behind Udee, is seeking funding for the bag on Kickstarter, where there’s a stated $20,000 funding goal. Backers are offered an early bird Udee basic backpack in exchange for a minimum $99 pledge, though other more substantial pledge rewards are also listed.

Via: Kickstarter

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gradualepiphany
3 days ago
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Doesn't look good for my 4x5.
Los Angeles, California, USA
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Canon granted third most US patents in 2016

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Apple, Google and Intel are considered some of the world's most innovative companies, but you might be surprised to learn that in 2016 camera maker Canon was granted more United States patents than all those technology giants. With a total of 3,665 patents, Canon placed itself third on the annual IFI Claims ranking, just behind IBM and Samsung. Google, Intel, LG, and Microsoft occupied positions five through eight and, with just over 2,000 patents Apple is 11th. Ricoh ranked 21st and Fujifilm 48th.

'The first critical element towards developing remarkable solutions that move the needle for consumers and business industries alike is research and development,” said Seymour Liebman, executive vice president, chief administrative officer and general counsel, Canon U.S.A. Inc. “This strong showing of patents granted year after year allow us to build intelligent products and solutions for the future, turning great ideas into reality.'

2016 is also the the 31st consecutive year that Canon is among the top five U.S. patent holders and for the 12th year in a row it is ranking first among Japanese companies for U.S. patents granted. The Canon patents likely include technologies from the company's printing, medical and other non-camera divisions but those are still impressive numbers, showing that the Japanese company remains one of the drivers of innovation in the industry.

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gradualepiphany
3 days ago
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Further proof that volume of patents equals paucity of ideas.
Los Angeles, California, USA
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The Surprising Truth About Gun Silencers

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GunIn The Godfather, a Mafioso prepping young Michael Corleone to assassinate some rivals gives him a pistol for the job. After firing a bullet into the wall, Michael complains, "Ow! My ears!" His friend says, "Yeah, I left it noisy. That way, it scares any pain-in-the-ass innocent bystanders away."

The Corleones would have had little interest in a bill allowing gun owners to obtain silencers without the federal permits required since 1934. Some people like the deafening boom of a gunshot. Most shooters don't, and the National Rifle Association is pressing for enactment of the Hearing Protection Act, which also has the endorsement of Donald Trump Jr., an avid trophy hunter.

The proposal horrifies gun control advocates, who see it as a favor to homicidal maniacs. The Violence Policy Center in Washington argues that silencers pose a grave danger to public safety because they "enable mass shooters and other murderers to kill a greater number of victims more efficiently."

Some perspective is in order. Right now, getting a federal permit requires a $200 fee, an extensive background check and a wait of several months. Possession of a silencer without a permit is a felony that carries a 10-year prison sentence. Under the proposed change, silencers would be treated like ordinary guns. Criminals would be ineligible, since they can't pass the required federal background check for purchases. Only law-abiding adults would have legal access.

The industry prefers the term "suppressor" because the devices don't eliminate the noise; they merely diminish it. The American Suppressor Association attests, "On average, suppressors reduce the noise of a gunshot by 20-35 decibels, roughly the same sound reduction as earplugs or earmuffs." A shot from a 9 mm pistol equipped with a silencer is about as loud as a thunderclap.

Recreational shooters and hunters would like to have silencers because they don't want to damage their hearing but dislike using ear protection. If the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had been around in the 1930s, gun rights lawyer Stephen Halbrook quipped to The Washington Post, it probably would have mandated their use.

Silencers also reduce the recoil and improve the accuracy of guns. For the average gun owner, there is no downside. There are collateral benefits, too. In rural and unincorporated areas where shooting is allowed, they minimize the disturbance to neighbors and wildlife.

It's not hard to imagine how they could be deployed for bad purposes. Yet there are some 900,000 registered silencers in this country, and they are rarely used in crimes.

Chicago has a lot of bloodshed, including 762 homicides and more than 3,500 shootings last year, but silencers figure in little or any of it. Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department, told me, "We seldom recover silencers. Sometimes you may get a gun with a makeshift silencer, but even that is rare."

A report last year by the VPC cites a handful of shootings in which silencers were used. But the paucity of examples confirms that they are not of great interest to criminals. An earlier study by Paul A. Clark published in the Western Criminology Review found only two federal court cases involving the use of a silencer in a murder between 1995 and 2005.

He also unearthed eight cases in which "a silencer was actively used during commission of a crime but not used to physically injure anyone." That works out to one serious silencer-related crime per year, in a country that in 2005 had 16,740 homicides and 417,000 robberies.

Supporters of the status quo say this merely proves the effectiveness of strict regulation. But improvised versions can be fashioned out of flashlights, oil filters or metal conduit. YouTube has numerous videos providing guidance for the do-it-yourselfer.

If silencers were truly valuable to ordinary criminals, there would undoubtedly be a thriving black market and plenty of crimes committed with them. But the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced only 125 silencers in 2015—not all of which were connected to crimes. As Clark notes, a minimally clever miscreant can get the same noise reduction by wrapping his gun in a towel or pillow.

Any useful technology can be put to villainous ends. But the existing rule on silencers is a major hassle for the law-abiding and an irrelevance to criminals.

© Copyright 2017 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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gradualepiphany
4 days ago
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Anyone who's fired or stood next to someone firing a "silenced" firearm can tell you that they are by no means silent. I think most people think that they make a firearm sound like an air rifle, because that's what they do in Hollywood movies... and of course all swords and knives emit a constant "shinggggg" noise any time they are near a camera...
Los Angeles, California, USA
freeAgent
4 days ago
I would add video games to the list. Counter-Strike, for example, does this as well.
kazriko
3 days ago
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Colorado Plateau
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