9 Eyes/Virtual Preservation Month/Use your phone as a webcam
This blog is called 9-Eyes because the cameras on cars that take photos for Google’s Street View maps have 9 lenses. The anonymous curator of this site posts unusual photos they come across on Street View. Most of the photos are of people being people: acting silly, fighting, eating, pulling leashes attached to livestock, soliciting prostitutes, taking drugs, nursing their young, etc. Endlessly fascinating. — MF
Daily tours of historic sites
For the entire month of May, the National Trust for Historic Preservation is sending out a daily email unlocking one historical site that you can explore virtually. On Friday, I toured Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope-Leighey House in Virginia and fell in love with the Mayan-inspired motif and yesterday morning, the National Trust released a 27-minute concert video filmed at Nina Simone's childhood home in North Carolina. There are still 29 more days to go. You can sign up here. — CD
Using your phone as webcam
Your phone is probably a better camera for streaming than your laptop or third-party webcam you are now using. To see how you can use your phone as a webcam, check out this technical video from Norm Chan at Tested. You’ll need two free open-source apps on your computer, and an inexpensive app on your phone. Following the instructions I got very high quality streams from my iPhone 8. This is good for YouTube, Facebook, Twitch streams but not for Zoom, Meet and other video conferencing yet. — KK
I feel kinda dumb I had not figured this out earlier. We’ve managed to replace all the batteries in our household with rechargeable batteries, except for those 9-volt batteries. The ones with the two nipples on top that are in things like smoke alarms. But you can get rechargeable 9 volt batteries! Duh. As the current 9-volts die off, I’m swapping them out with these AmazonBasics 9-volt Rechargeables. I use this HTRC all-battery charger to charge them. — KK
Mesh Wifi to the rescue
We live in a house with walls that have chicken wire behind the plaster. They do a great job of blocking Wifi. To get around it, I installed a Frankensteinian hodgepodge of cables, powerline adapters, and wireless access points all around the house. They all had different SSIDs and the coverage was still spotty. It was frustrating. A decade later, I broke down and bought a Google Nest router and four wireless hubs. It set me back $500 but now we have great coverage throughout the house with no need to change SSIDs on our devices as we move from one room to the next. I expected my family to be grateful, Instead they are mad at me, “Why didn't you get this sooner!?” — MF
Kevin Kelly's birthday advice
Personally I know Kevin to be effortlessly wise and warm and honest, and his way of life is something I've strived to copy, so I treasure these 68 bits of unsolicited advice. There are so many sparks of clarity here and great guiding principles to adopt. These are my favorite:
• Pros are just amateurs who know how to gracefully recover from their mistakes.
• A worthy goal for a year is to learn enough about a subject so that you can’t believe how ignorant you were a year earlier.
• The universe is conspiring behind your back to make you a success. This will be much easier to do if you embrace this pronoia.