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Archive for January 23, 2019

Jan. 23, 2019 — What eight years means to technology

I received the box, oddly enough, on a Sunday.

Inside was a small device, smaller than your normal smartphone, plus a handful of accessories and a mini-CD.

The device is simple in its fit and finish: three buttons, one mini-USB connector.

It’s a small digital screen which is designed to auto-play video and folders of pictures; a smaller version of those digital photo albums which were all the rage. These started hitting the market sometime around 2011.

I’ve seen these “digi-tags” applied at conventions in order to be able to get attention in the midst of a crowded floor. It is an arresting vision when colored and moving lights emanate from something attached to one’s clothing.

One interesting application of these occurred in June of 2011, when the broadcasters of the NBA Finals used these screens mounted on the microphones of the broadcasters to rotate images of their network, the NBA Finals logo, and the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

I found it pretty pricey, given the fact they were being used for only a few seconds at the inception of the broadcast.

But it was also in 2011 when the iPhone 4 first hit the market. And with that, three generations of iPhones were left behind.

Some people kept their older iPhones in order to turn them into either music players, but others turned them into rudimentary (and free) video presentation devices that could be worn much like the single-purpose video badge.

What had been a $500 item at full price had come down to my $25 purchase eight years later.

When I unboxed and plugged in the USB cable, what played was a series of presentations extolling the virtue of a used-car business. Great.

It took me a while to figure out that I had to upload a movie on it with a certain internal codex, one which I was able to change using a bit of freeware called Handbrake.

Today, there’s a three-minute video on the badge, which features about 40 different representations of this site’s logo. All of the design work had been done on an iPhone, though the final assembly was done through iMovie.

It’s quite impressive, and we’ll be sure to implement this microphone flag in future videos we do for this site.