Panic: "The ad that ran only once".

Panic: "The ad that ran only once".

To be honest, I had trouble putting this one in one of our three categories. Because it touches all three of them. It is so cool, I couldn’t wait to write a post on it.

panic_arcade

Panic's vintage Atari game style box set.

Some of you may be familiar with a small software company from Oregon called Panic. They were the original creators of Audion, one of the first mp3 players available on the Mac OS. It’s a little known fact, but because of Audion, Panic was almost bought by Apple in 2000. They didn’t come to an agreement, so Apple went with SoundJam, which finally became the foundation for iTunes as we know it today. (Imagine what would have happened if Apple and Panic would have joined. iTunes would probably look different today.)

Panic makes some of the best and hottest software on the Mac platform, among them Coda, which was one of the tools that helped creating Mashido.

The Panic blog

You can order these posters from Panic.

You can order these posters from Panic.

Just recently, Panic released a blog and one of their first top stories begins like a fairy tale of a decades old software company named “Panic”. If you don’t know anything about Panic and stumble upon this post, it will take until the middle of the article until you realize this is just an elaborate hoax.

It’s an expression of love for those good old days, when software came in large 8-bit pixels, stored in cassettes, packaged in colorful boxes that sparked the imagination of every kid out there. Now you can order these fabulous illustrations as posters, or have Panic send you the collector’s set of fake vintage arcade games.

(Via Laughing Squid, pictures by Panic)

Stunning portraits, taken with the Lumix GF1 (Picture by july_w1123 on Flickr).

Stunning portraits, taken with the Lumix GF1 (Picture by july_w1123 on Flickr).

Panasonic is known to produce high quality compact digital cameras. The quality of their image processing engine competes with those of a Nikon P6000 or Canon G11.

Advantages of DSLR cameras

However, one thing all compact cameras suffer from—and a big advantage of DSLR cameras—is the latency of those little point-and-shooters, the time from the moment you press the trigger until the actual picture is taken. If you carry a compact camera for that reason, to point and shoot, you’ll soon feel frustrated over this latency effect.

Taken with the Lumix GF1 and a Leica 45mm lens. (Picture by digitalbear on Flickr)

Taken with the Lumix GF1 and a Leica 45mm lens. (Picture by digitalbear on Flickr).

Another advantage of DSLR cameras are replaceable lenses. Not only are they bigger (hence, offering a better image quality), they are also swappable, so depending on your motive, you can use a long lens, a regular view angle lens, or a wide angle lens. Compact cameras offer zoom functionality, but some of these are digital zoom, usually resulting in poor quality.

Compact, yet powerful

The Lumix GF1 and Minolta CLE in comparison.

The Lumix GF1 and Minolta CLE in comparison (Picture by Nokton on Flickr).

Panasonic’s new model, the Lumix GF1 stands above Nikon’s and Canon’s flagship models in the compact range. The difference is a replaceable lens, much like it’s used for DSLR cameras. But the GF1 isn’t as bulky as those, it is compact like the Minolta CLE, which came out in the eighties of the last century (and which wasn’t digital, consequently).

The Micro Four Thirds lens system

If you want the most compact camera solution, go for the 20mm non zoom “pancake” lens, equivalent to 40mm in 35mm terms. It works best for portraits and close ups, due to the shallow depth of focus, an image style often desired by professional photographers.

Panasonic Lumix GF1

Control the field of depth with the 20mm pancake lens. (Picture by: takuhitosotome on Flickr)

The GF1 weighs 448 gramms (with power cell) and has 12MP effective sensor resolution. Light sensitivity ranges from 100 to 3200 ISO, but noise is fairly well processed by the image engine. It can take images in RAW or JPEG format and mounts lenses like a traditional DSLR. The Lumix GF1 is based on the Micro Four Thirds system. This technology enables smaller and lighter camera bodies and lenses by simplifying the convoluted optical path required by a conventional SLR. If you want to buy the Lumix GF1 as a kit, you have the choice between a pancake 20mm lens (maximum aperture of f/1.7) or a long 14-45mm zoom lens.

Shoot HD video too

The Lumix GF1 can take 3 frames per second in continues shoot mode, but it has also video capabilities (AVCHD), creating stunningly crisp clips with cinematic style (HD video at 1280 x 720 (720p) resolution):

Within the segment of regular compact cameras, the Lumix GF1 kit stands out with a price tag of an average US$1000 in Europe and around US$850 in the US. An optional external viewfinder is priced at US$199.99. But compared to heavier DSLR models from competitors like Nikon and Canon, the GF1 comes close to an ideal choice photographers have been waiting for.

(Pictures and video clip from Flickr and Vimeo)

More resources

Optimus Tactus in video mode.

Optimus Tactus in video mode.

Art.Lebedev Studio, the team behind the Optimus Maximus OLED Keyboard, has come up with new concept for a keyboard. Revolutionary to some, daunting to others, the Optimus Tactus doesn’t have any keys. The entire keyboard is a touchscreen.

Optimus Tactus does not have physical keys, which means there are no restrictions on their shape and size. Any part of the keyboard surface can be programmed to perform any function or to display any images.

optitact-side

The Optimus Tactus keyboard has a programmable touchscreen.

Gizmodo isn’t too happy about the lack of tactile feedback. But let’s face it: the iPhone has shown that tactile feedback is heavily overrated. It sure is nice, but our capability to type text is not depending on it.

Whether that is true for longer texts remains to be seen, because until today no brand has dared to introduce a no-keys keyboard to the market.

A programmable interface opens up new possibilities.

A programmable interface opens up new possibilities.

(Pictures by Art.Lebedev)