Rockin’ New Year’s Rule Five Friday!

2016_01_01_Rule Five Friday (1)So, what is the tech that will change the way you do things in 2016?  The Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey Fowler and Joanna Stern weigh in. Excerpt:

Science fiction will become science fact this year when you take virtual-reality vacations and your dishwasher reorders its own soap. Are you ready for a drone that follows you around like paparazzi?

When we gazed ahead at the devices, breakthroughs and ideas most likely to make waves, two themes emerged. One is liberation: We’re increasingly less shackled, be it to a phone charger or a cable subscription. The other is intelligence: As processing power and bandwidth increase, our machines, services and even messaging apps become more capable.

Here are our best picks for what’s coming, and what you can do to be ready for it.

Here’s the one I’m kind of looking forward to:

2016_01_01_Rule Five Friday (2)Smartphones and point-and-shoots alike are sprouting multiple lenses and sensors to improve image quality, capture depth and “see” in 3-D. Some laptops and tablets already contain multi-sensor cameras—such as Intel ’s RealSense—to measure rooms and use facial ID at login. A slim camera called the Light L16, due this summer, goes all out, employing 16 lens-and-sensor modules of varying focal lengths to capture massive 52-megapixel scenes.

We’ve been kicking around buying a really good digital SLR.  Mrs. Animal still has her treasured old Canon A-1, the flower of 1979 film camera technology and still as good a 35mm film camera as anyone 2016_01_01_Rule Five Friday (3)ever made.  But film and film processing is getting harder and harder to come by, while digital cameras are getting better, smaller, easier to use…  One would rightly assume that the age of the film camera is at an end.

But most digital SLRs are still big and bulky, nearly as much so as their film forerunners.  Why?  Lenses.  Big, long, heavy optical lenses.  It seems that the new multiple lens-and-sensors platforms will replace the big, clunky optical lenses of yore with a newer, high-tech solution that will be lighter, quicker and easier to use.

The question will be this:  How useful will these be for outdoor and wildlife photography?  Will one of these be able to replace a 500mm optical lens for taking pictures of birds and animals from some distance?  Digital zoom tech isn’t up to that yet; modern digital cameras are still relying on optical zooms for that, and for much of 2016_01_01_Rule Five Friday (4)an optical zoom, you need focal length.

It’s not yet clear whether the new tech will replace these kinds of lenses for this specialized photography.  We’ll see.

Here’s another good bit:

Finally, there’s a reason to connect household items to the Internet, thanks to programs like Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service. Using sensors built into devices like Brita water pitchers, Brother printers and Whirlpool washers, it automatically orders more supplies when you’re running low. In 2016, expect to hear credible ideas about how everyday objects—from garage doors to air vents—can be connected to help run your house and reduce your worries.

2016_01_01_Rule Five Friday (5)Question:  Will I be able to buy a connected humidor, one that will automatically order me more cigars when my supply drops below a certain point?  How about a connected ammo cabinet that will ping MidwayUSA to send me more .45ACP when my supply drops below, say, 500 rounds – a reasonable reorder point for any active shooter?  Those are reasonable questions I will have to have answered.

In the meantime, happy 2016, True Believers!  May your new year be happy, healthy and profitable.

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