x100.365 outtakes: January

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m doing a photo-a-day project this year.

It’s called “x100.365” because I’m shooting every image with my beloved Fujifilm FinePix X100, quite possibly the best camera ever made. It’s tiny, quirky, slow, and almost entirely devoid of bells and whistles. It’s also built like a brick, comes with a beautiful, non-interchangeable 35mm-equivalent f/2 lens, and has a ridiculously capable 1.5x crop sensor inside. I should probably also mention the hybrid optical/digital viewfinder, which makes it a Leica-beating almost-rangefinder, and totally sets it apart from competitors like the OM-D.

It’s everything a serious street camera should be, and I absolutely love it.

Anyway, back to my photo-a-day project.

Turns out, some days I shoot more than one viable photo. What do with the extras?

Clearly, a monthly “outtake” post is called for.

Enjoy the first edition!

Windows apps on Android: because that would be, ah, awesome

Windows apps on Android: because that would be, ah, awesome

My inner geek loves the idea of running Windows apps on phones and tablets via WINE on Android, but I can’t help putting it through my will-this-actually-help-any-end-users filter, and, ah, yeah. WINE on Android is going to be completely and utterly useless. (Except maybe for my dad, who’s a sucker for any modern environment capable of running WordStar.)

Most Windows software is unintuitive with a large, 72dpi screen, full-size keyboard and two-button mouse. Who in their right mind would want to run any of it on a small device optimised for touch-based UI’s?

Not even Android sets its usability bar that low.

But you have fun, Alexandre Julliard. It looks like you know how to:

“Julliard uses an Apple MacBook for development of his software that runs on Linux to run Windows software… Android was emulated for his demo.”

Unreal 3D rendering on iOS and Android: Epic Citadel

I’m not a gamer. At all.

If I’m staring at a screen for fun, it’s to read, write, socialise or code.

But I’m truly impressed with the real-time 3D rendering this free showcase app demonstrates:

Epic Citadel for iOS
Epic Citadel for Android (Google Play)

Check out the falling leaves, flowing water and dynamic sun flare!

Here’s the kicker: the framerate on Mr 3’s first-gen iPad is perfectly acceptable. Of course the iPad 4, iPad Mini and Nexus 7 smoke it, but still. Unreal Engine 3 is amazing.

On private school funding

Full disclosure: I work at a private school. My opinion hasn’t changed much since taking the job, though.

Government funding for schools is a Big Topic (just ask Gonski), but here’s a summary of what I think about private vs. public school funding.

At first, it seems simple. Private schools receive income from fees, alumni donations, side businesses, investment returns and more, so it must be a waste of Taxpayers’ Money1 for them to be given the the same level of government funding as public schools. And if they get MORE money than public schools, well, that’s just outrageous! Right?

If only it were actually so simple.

For starters, it’s difficult to establish a fair comparison between different schools. It’s certainly not as simple as “school A gets $X of government funding per student, vs. $Y per student in school B.” One must allow for variations in demography, facilities, projected growth, private funding levels and more. It’s irresponsible to ignore the complexities of these factors (not that some journalists seem to care).

But if it’s true that private schools get more from the government than their public counterparts (and it probably is), I’m not convinced that taxpayers should fret. Here’s my rationale:

Schools populated by parents willing to make a significant financial contribution to the education of their children should be actively encouraged by the government.

In other words, if the endgame is quality education, then schools full of kids who WANT quality education should not be left behind funding-wise. They should be fully equipped to make potent investments in the future of Australia: the minds of its brightest children.

That said, quality education isn’t the only endgame. We must also offer a viable, competitive education to ALL Australian children, whether or not their parents can afford to send them to a private school, whether or not they’re bright enough to get a scholarship to one, and whether or not their parents even believe in the value of education.

Should this be achieved at the expense of schools that value-add enough to be able to supplement government funds with school fees and other private sector income? You know my answer.

And I haven’t even started on the student welfare benefits of (many) private schools. These can dramatically increase the value of education for some students, but that’s for another day.

1 I hate this phrase. It’s only ever used manipulatively, or at the expense of the Big Picture. I was demonstrating manipulation here!