_Mark_ (eichin) wrote,

Change/New Adventures/Disruption/Opportunity

As the entire world has figured out (I've even seen a translation of the press release in what I think was Thai) MetaCarta has been acquired by Nokia. This is a positive, even rewarding, thing... Nokia brings lots of resources to the table, and is building a global geographic search service ( http://maps.ovi.com/ - no, you probably *haven't* heard of it, at least if you live in the US, but they do own NavTeq...) (ovi is Finnish for "door") and MetaCarta's team and technology will be an interesting and even important part of that.

Of course, the last time I worked for a company with more than 150 people was HP/Apollo, an experience which contributed somewhat to my working only for small startups for the last 18 years :-) But this is a new century, and the part of Nokia we're plugging in to seems to "get it" in ways that are unexpected for a large multinational with a somewhat diverse set of products... so we'll see how that goes.

Even before the acquisition, this has lead to more travel for me (a week in Berlin talking to their engineers and exploring the city, for starters.) Since we're working mostly with people in Berlin (not Espoo) there may be more of that in my future.

(On a related note: at this point, 3 of the 4 IP lawyers I've interacted with professionally are tall and blonde. That's not enough to extrapolate from, of course :-)

While I'm here - after seeing a poster session at Pycon (in Atlanta, mmm more travel, mmm ribs) about the Georgia Tech CS-through-python-and-robots curriculum, I picked up the textbook (and the toys :-) and started working through it, in order to finally put some structure to my robot-related flailing, aiming towards something more real than a magpie-like accumulation of robot hardware. We'll see how that goes; if nothing else, it's entirely non-work-related (Nokia owned Puma for a while, but got out of robotics altogether in the early 90's.)

On the photography side of things - Amazon had a very deep discount on the Canon Rebel XS just before Christmas, so I took the opportunity to see "just what is the deal with DSLRs anyway". My conclusions so far are that they're great for fast wildlife shooting (with an appropriately large lens - I'm staying on the edge of the slippery slope and only using the 18-55 kit lens and the widely recommended 55-250, which still disappoint me in terms of reach compared to the superzooms) and they're *wretched* for anything more casual than that - mirror noise makes them unsuitable for shooting at conferences or lectures, limited live-view makes them useless for shooting "drive by" when your attention is primarily on something other than the camera. I didn't bring the Rebel to Pycon (mostly indoor lectures, plus the hassle of airports, made the SX10IS a much better choice) but now that it is Spring (and I have taken 4400 shots with it) I am taking it out for bird and wildlife photography.

On the wildlife side, I recently saw my first red-bellied woodpecker http://www.flickr.com/photos/eichin/4140871515/ and my first turkey vulture http://www.flickr.com/photos/eichin/4299091075/ (which lead me to learn a new if somewhat archaic word, "feaking".) It's still more about making shiny pictures, for me, but "ooh I've never seen one of those before" is interesting too... as is "doesn't that bluebird http://www.flickr.com/photos/eichin/4320304776/ know it's winter?"

One last bit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eichin/sets/72157622977363009/ is my first "exhibition"! Small, ad-hoc, and amateur - after talking with the owner of the new coffeeshop in my building (Central Brew) about the photography I do (and the camera I *always* carry/wear) he asked if I wanted to put up some pictures. They've been up since January - I've actually been asked for some Spring pictures to replace them with, so I'll have to make some new choices - it's just nice to have some independent indication that maybe I'm getting the hang of this :-)
Tags: metacarta, nokia, photography, python, robots, travel

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