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Focusing: It’s Getting Easier Every Day
By Rachael Britton, Grade 9

We’ve all had our parties where that hilarious picture would have made it onto Facebook if only the focus had been faster. Now it’s all blurry, and the memory, at least in photo form, is lost.

Lytro, a company specialising in light field technology, is coming out with a camera. Big whoop, right? Wrong. This camera will allow you to focus the picture after you take it. You can also focus on any area of the photo you wish, or turn a regular picture into 3-D. This new kind of camera technology also presents unparalleled speed when it comes to shutter motion. You can simply click and go. Sounds almost impossible, but this company has got the science down to a, well, science!

Lytro was launched by a 31-year-old man by the name of Reg Ng, who says that this is the start of “a picture revolution.” He promises that the camera will be released soon and it will “forever change how everyone takes and experiences pictures.” It seems many investors have taken the chance with this new technology, as reportedly the company has raised more than $50 million dollars, which is a lot for a company the debuted on Tuesday, June 22 of this year.

Since the science is undoubtedly complex, the basics are probably all you want to know about this camera. According to Lytro’s website (www.lytro.com), the light field is “a core concept in imaging science, representing fundamentally more powerful data than in regular photographs. It is the amount of light traveling in every direction through every point in space – it’s all the light rays in a scene. Conventional cameras cannot record the light field.” Sounds pretty cool to me! This camera uses a whole new sensor, with which the camera captures the light rays and records them, called the light field sensor. It also uses multiple internal lenses to capture more light and more excitement in your photos. This allows many pictures to be taken in a short amount of time, and then later edited, using the software, and even made into multiple photographs, each with the focus on something different. The result? “Living pictures,” says CEO Ng.

I must have spent an hour on their website, experimenting with this technology, and I must say I was very impressed. If you’d like to try it out, go to http://www.lytro.com/picture_gallery. There, you can click on a photo, and click on the part of the photo you would like to focus on. It really is amazing, although there are no pictures of the actual camera itself. But on the Lytro site, you can submit your email address so they can send you an email as soon as the camera comes on the market. The New York Times states that the camera is due to come out later this year. The company also has not fixed a price point for the public as of now, but that information should come out later this year as well.

So will you be first in line at Best Buy to pick up this new camera? You might have to save up for a while, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it all the way. If you’d like any more information or would like to play around with the software, go to www.lytro.com and click on “picture gallery.”

Sources:
http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/gaming.gadgets/06/22/auto.focus.camera/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn
http://www.lytro.com/science_inside
http://www.lytro.com/lytro_company_factsheet.pdf
http://blog.lytro.com/faq/
http://www.lytro.com/cameras
Photograph by Rachael Britton, Grade 9

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Messengers: Endless Connections
By Loren Allen, Grade 9

Messenger programs are a way that people stay connected. There are so many out there! How can you discern which one is right for what you are looking for?

1. Skype: This is great for video and voice chatting. You can also type chat, but it is commonly used for its voice and video chat features. The great thing about Skype is that you can group chat. Group chatting with voice is free, but with video you have to buy it. You can get 7 days of free video group chatting to try it out and see if it is worth buying.   

2. MSN: MSN, better known as Windows Live Messenger, also has the feature to video and voice chat, but it is not as good quality as Skype. This one is really cool because you can make your own smiley faces. You type in google, “Free MSN smiley faces.” You save the picture you want. Go under the smiley icon press “More,” then press “Create.” You then will choose your picture and type in what you want to type for the icon to appear.

3. Google Talk: You get this automatically if you have a Gmail account. You can voice chat and video chat from here too, but I would not suggest it. You can also send files. This has very standard messenger options. I would suggest this for someone who is not computer savvy, because it is very simple to use.

4. Yahoo Messenger: You receive this automatically if you have a Yahoo account. You can also video and voice chat here, but it is not as good as Skype. They have the cool feature of being able to play and draw with the friend you are messaging. They also have winks and insults you can send to other people.

5. AIM: You get this automatically when you sign up for an AOL account. This is great to message with other friends. It has the standard messaging options. This one is a simple way to connect with friends, but you still have some fun options for those more computer savvy people.

6. Facebook: With Facebook, you can message your "friends" who are online. This is a very simple messenger and there is nothing to it. One cool option is you can send a file through it. But this messenger is only generally used to connect on Facebook. No fancy options to it.
 
Are you the tech master? Or do you know only a little when it comes to computers? There are messengers for every type of person.

Photograph by Lexi Applegate, Grade 12


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