Superb creative photo manipulations by Chunlong Sun — from designyoutrust.com
Chunlong Sun is a talented graphic designer, art director and retoucher who lives and works in Beijing, China. Chunlong focuses on advertising, he creates stunning surreal, sci-fi and humour manipulations.

 

 

 

From DSC:
After seeing the sharp interface out at Adobe (see image below), I’ve often thought that there should exist a similar interface and a similar database for educators, trainers, and learners to use — but the database would address a far greater breadth of topics to teach and/or learn about.  You could even select beginner, intermediate, or advanced levels (grade levels might work here as well).

Perhaps this is where artificial intelligence will come in…not sure.

 

 

 

 

Introducing the new Surface family — from microsoft.com
To do great things, you need powerful tools that deliver an ideal balance of craftsmanship, performance, and versatility. Every Surface device is engineered with these things in mind, and you at the center. And that’s how the Surface family does more. Just like you.

 

 

microsoftintrossurfacedesktop2-10-26-16

 

Also see the new Surface Dial:

 

mssurfacedial-10-26-16

 

 

 

Microsoft ‘Surface Studio’ and ‘Dial’ Up Close  — from blogs.barrons.com by Tiernan Ray

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Microsoft (MSFT) this morning held an event in downtown Manhattan that included both an update to Windows, the “Creators” edition, and also new versions of the company’s Surface tablet computer, including a revamp of the “Surface Book” laptop and tablet combo device, and a new desktop machine called the “Surface Studio” that has the thinnest display ever made, the company claims.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing at the event was something called “Dial,” a rotating puck device that can function like a wireless mouse with the Studio, but can also be placed right on top of the display itself to bring up a context-specific menu of functions, or to perform actions like cut and paste.

 

 

 

Microsoft announces its first desktop PC, the $3,000 Surface Studio — from businessinsider.com by Steve Kovach

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Microsoft on Wednesday announced its first desktop PC, the Surface Studio.

It’s an all-in-one computer, designed to compete with Apple’s iMac. The PC is geared toward professionals, and it has high-end specs designed for tasks like video or photo editing.

But the real surprises are the adjustable display and a new accessory called the Surface Dial. The display can lie nearly flat on the table, giving graphics artists the ability to draw and work. The Surface Dial can be placed on the screen to bring up color palettes and other options. The Surface Dial will work with other Surface products — the Surface Pro and Surface Book — but you won’t be able to use it on the screens.

 

 

 

Microsoft wants to bring machine learning into the mainstream — from networkworld.com by Steven Max Patterson
Microsoft released the beta of the Cognitive Toolkit with machine learning models, infrastructure and development tools, enabling customers to start building

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Microsoft just released the open-source licensed beta release of the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit on Github. This announcement represents a shift in Microsoft’s customer focus from research to implementation. It is an update to the Computational Network Toolkit (CNTK). The toolkit is a supervised machine learning system in the same category of other open-source projects such as Tensorflow, Caffe and Torch.

Microsoft is one of the leading investors in and contributors to the open machine learning software and research community. A glance at the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference reveals that there are just four major technology companies committed to moving the field of neural networks forward: Microsoft, Google, Facebook and IBM.

This announcement signals Microsoft interest to bring machine learning into the mainstream. The open source license reveals Microsoft’s continued collaboration with the machine learning community.

 

 

 

Microsoft just democratized virtual reality with $299 headsets — from pcworld.com by Gordon Mah Ung

Excerpt:

VR just got a lot cheaper.

Microsoft on Wednesday morning said PC OEMs will soon be shipping VR headsets that enable virtual reality and mixed reality starting at $299.

Details of the hardware and how it works were sparse, but Microsoft said HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer will be shipping the headsets timed with its upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update, due in spring 2017.

Despite the relatively low price, the upcoming headsets may have a big advantage over HTC and Valve’s Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift: no need for separate calibration hardware to function. Both Vive and Oculus require multiple emitters on stands to be placed around a room for the positioning to function.

 

microsoft-299-vr-headsets-10-26-16

 

 

The 10 Coolest Features Coming to Windows 10 — from wired.com by Michael Calore

Excerpt:

Microsoft is gearing up for a Windows refresh. The Windows 10 Creators Update will arrive on all Windows 10 devices for free in the spring of 2017. Today, Microsoft showed off all the new features coming to the multi-mode OS. Here’s the best of what will be coming to your Windows PC or Surface device.

 

 

 

 

 

The Surface Studio Story: How Microsoft Reimagined The Desktop PC For Creativity — from fastcompany.com by Mark Sullivan
A 28-inch screen, a very special hinge, and a new type of input device add up to an experience conceived with artists and designers in mind.

 

 

 

nmc-digitalliteracyreport-oct2016

 

The New Media Consortium (NMC) has released Digital Literacy: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief in conjunction with the 2016 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference.

In analyzing the progress and gaps in this area, the NMC’s report has identified a need for higher education leaders and technology companies to prioritize students as makers, learning through the act of content creation rather than mere consumption. Additionally, the publication recommends that colleges and universities establish productive collaborations with industry, government, and libraries to provide students with access to the latest technologies and tools.

Based on the variety and complexity of these results, NMC cannot identify just one model of digital literacy. Instead three different digital literacies are now evident, each with distinct standards, potential curriculum, and implications for creative educators.

 

digitallits-nmc-oct2016

 

 

The aim of this publication is to establish a shared vision of digital literacy for higher education leaders by illuminating key definitions and models along with best practices and recommendations for implementing successful digital literacy initiatives.

 

 

To be digitally literate, you need to be:
fluent at critical thinking,
collaborating,
being creative, and
problem-solving in
digital environments.

 

 

Computer science and digital media classes can instruct on everything from office productivity applications to programming and video editing, for example.  Sociology courses can teach interpersonal actions online, such as the ethics and politics of social network interaction, while psychology and business classes can focus on computer-mediated human interaction. Government and political science classes are clearly well equipped to explore the intersection of digital technology and citizenship mentioned above. Communication, writing, and  literature classes have the capacity to instruct students on producing digital content in the form of stories, arguments, personal expression, posters, and more. 

 

 

 

From DSC:
If faculty members aren’t asking students to create multimedia in their assignments and/or take part in online/digitally-based means of communications and learning, the vast majority of the students won’t (and don’t) care about digital literacy…it’s simply not relevant to them: “Whatever gets me the grade, that’s what I’ll do. But no more.”

This type of situation/perspective is quite costly.  Because once students graduate from college, had they built up some solid digital literacy — especially the “creative literacy” mentioned above — they would be in much better shape to get solid jobs, and prosper at those jobs. They would be much better able to craft powerful communications — and reach a global audience in doing so. They would have honed their creativity, something increasingly important as the onward march of AI, robotics, algorithms, automation, and such continues to eat away at many types of jobs (that don’t really need creative people working in them).

This is an important topic, especially as digitally-based means of communication continue to grow in their usage and impact.

 

 

Part of digital literacy is not just understanding how a tool works but also why it is useful in the real world and when to use it.

 

 

 

 

2016 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards Winners — from fubiz.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bird Chronophotography — from theawesomer.com by photographer Xavi Bou

 

 

 

 

Magical Pictures of Nature shot by a Traveller — from fubiz.net by photographer Lorenzo Montezemolo

 

 

 

 

 

Jane’s Top 10 Tools for Learning 2016 — from c4lpt.co.uk by Jane Hart

Excerpt:

On Friday 23rd September, voting closes in the 10th Annual Survey of Learning Tool  – so it’s not too late to vote!

You can find out how to do so HERE – essentially it involves sharing your own Top 10 Tools for Learning – privately or publicly.

Anyway, as we reach the final few days of voting in 2016, I thought it was time to share my personal top 10 tools – so here they are:

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

From DSC:
Interactive video — a potentially very powerful medium to use, especially for blended and online-based courses or training-related materials! This interactive piece from Heineken is very well done, even remembering how you answered and coming up with their evaluation of you from their 12-question “interview.”

But notice again, a TEAM of specialists are needed to create such a piece. Neither a faculty member, a trainer, nor an instructional designer can do something like this all on their own. Some of the positions I could imagine here are:

  • Script writer(s)
  • Editor(s)
  • Actors and actresses
  • Those skilled in stage lighting and sound / audio recording
  • Digital video editors
  • Programmers
  • Graphic designers
  • Web designers
  • Producers
  • Product marketers
  • …and perhaps others

This is the kind of work that I wish we saw more of in the world of online and blended courses!  Also, I appreciated their use of humor. Overall, a very engaging, fun, and informative piece!

 

heineken-interactive-video-cover-sep2016

 

heineken-interactive-video-first-sep2016

 

heineken-interactive-video0-sep2016

 

heineken-interactive-video1-sep2016

 

heineken-interactive-video2-sep2016

 

heineken-interactive-video3-sep2016

 

 

 

 

2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest — from fubiz.net

Excerpt:

Every year, National Geographic opens its nature photography contest to photography lovers all around the world, with four categories: Landscape, Environmental Issues, Action and Animal Portraits. A perfect occasion for people who are passionate about nature to enjoy unusual or majestic scenes. The winner of the Grand Prize will win a 10-days trip for two in the Galápagos as well as two online portfolios with National Geographic.

 

Also see the National Geographic site regarding this year’s contest:

natlgeog-pic2016

 

 

 

iphoneplus-2cams

From Apple:

iPhone 7 Plus doesn’t have just one entirely new camera system — it has two. The same 12MP wide-angle camera that’s on iPhone 7 works with a 12MP telephoto camera that can get even closer. That means you can get higher-quality zoom from farther away. And with an all-new depth-of-field effect (coming soon), portrait shots will look better than ever. Say hello to the world’s best photo op.

Depth-of-field effect.
Depth of field allows you to keep faces sharp while creating a blurred effect in the background. When you take a shot with iPhone 7 Plus, the dual-camera system uses both cameras and advanced machine learning to make your subject sharp while creating the same out-of-focus blur in the background — known as the bokeh effect — previously reserved for DSLR cameras. So no matter what’s behind your subject, it’s easy to create a great portrait.

 

 

Dual camera smartphones – the missing link that will bring augmented reality into the mainstream — from theconversation.com

Excerpt:

Smartphones boasting “dual cameras” are becoming more common, and news that they will feature on the just-announced iPhone 7 Plus indicates the arrival into the mainstream. But while dual cameras may stem from efforts to improve picture quality, it has the potential to lead us down much more interesting paths: the real story may be that Apple is using dual cameras to position itself for the augmented reality world ushered in by the Pokemon Go phenomenon.

The iPhone uses machine learning algorithms to scan objects within a scene, building up a real-time 3D depth map of the terrain and objects. Currently, the iPhone uses this to separate the background from the foreground in order to selectively focus on foreground objects. This effect of blurring out background details, known as bokeh, is a feature of DLSRs and not readily available on smaller cameras such as those in smartphones. The depth map allows the iPhone to simulate a variable aperture which provides the ability to display areas of the image out of focus. While an enviable addition for smartphone camera users, this is a gimmick compared to what the depth map can really do.

 

What Apple has is the first step toward a device like Microsoft’s HoloLens, an augmented reality head-mounted display currently in development.

Software that provides similar analysis of people’s poses and location within a scene for dual camera smartphones would provide a virtual window onto the real world. Using hand gesture recognition, users could naturally interact with a mixed reality world, with the phone’s accelerometer and GPS data detecting and driving changes to how that world is presented and updated.

 

 

Apple has not arrived here by accident. In addition to acquiring Linx, Apple also purchased augmented reality pioneer Metaio in 2015, suggesting a game plan to develop a mixed reality platform.

 

 

 

Dual camera smartphones: here’s why you should want one — from t3.com by Joseph Carey
The iPhone 7 Plus is meant to feature dual cameras, but why are two cameras better than one?

Excerpt:

One sensor for the main image and one for the detail – dual cameras never usually have two of the same sensor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prisma-July2016

Description:
Turn Every Photo into Art | Using Artificial Intelligence
Prisma transforms your photos into artworks using the styles of famous artists: Munk, Picasso as well as world famous ornaments and patterns. A unique combination of neural networks and artificial intelligence helps you turn memorable moments into timeless art.

 

From DSC:
I’ve tried this tool and it’s really fun to use — producing some creative results! An innovative, sharp tool for sure.

 

———–

Addendum on 8/22/16 from DSC:
I wanted to highlight Nikos Andriotis’ comment on this posting, as it’s creative, innovative, fun, thinking!

Great tool! I’ve used it already too. A neat excersise for art classes would be converting an unrelated picture to a particular style, and then asking the learners what style is it, and where has it been used. Quite simple, but sounds rather enjoyable to me.

 

 

 

 
© 2016 Learning Ecosystems