Stark Insider Arts, Film, Tech & Lifestyle Mon, 25 Jan 2021 19:07:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Time to Walk: Apple wants you to walk more often, introduces new “audio walking experience” for Apple Watch Fitness+ Mon, 25 Jan 2021 18:27:48 +0000 Get your steps in with some entertainment and motivation.

By Clinton Stark - Stark Insider.

Podcasts are great, but Apple has something else to complement your listening sessions.

Called Time to Walk the new feature is rolling out to the Apple Watch via the Fitness+ app (a Peloton competitor). The idea according to the PR is to “immerse” users “in a walk alongside influential and interesting people as they share thoughtful and meaningful stories, photos, and music.”

To use Time to Walk you need the following:

  • Apple Watch
  • Apple AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones
  • A subscription to Fitness+

Note that Apple offers a generous 90-day trial of Fitness+ so you can test this out at length before deciding if you want to dive into the monthly subscription and all the workout programming the platform offers.

“Walking is the most popular physical activity in the world, and one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies. A walk can often be more than just exercise: It can help clear the mind, solve a problem, or welcome a new perspective,” said Jay Blahnik, Apple’s senior director of Fitness Technologies. “Even throughout this challenging period of time, one activity that has remained available to many is walking. With Time to Walk, we’re bringing weekly original content to Apple Watch in Fitness+ that includes some of the most diverse, fascinating, and celebrated guests offering inspiration and entertainment to help our users keep moving through the power of walking.”

Some examples of what you might expect when using Time to Walk:

Per Apple: Musician Shawn Mendes shares how a slower pace has helped him personally and creatively in his Time to Walk episode.
  • Country music star Dolly Parton reflecting on her career, family and growing up in rural Tennessee.
  • NBA player Draymond Green reflecting on the virtues of failure and tuning out criticism.
  • Emmy Award winner Uzo Aduba talks about lifelong relationships and keeping the faith.
  • Musician Shawn Mendes sharing how a slower pace has helped him personally and creatively.

Photos in Time to Walk episodes appear on the Apple Watch timed with the respective narrative.

Following each episode is a short playlist of songs that have given that particular guest motivation and inspiration.

Connectivity shouldn’t be an issue. Each Time to Walk episode is automatically downloaded to your Apple Watch. Starting it also automatically kicks off an Apple Workout, so you’ll get credit for your walk.

Stark Insider Take

Overall Apple adds something to the Fitness+ platform that can not only entertain its subscribers, but, more importantly, perhaps help those struggling with shelter-in-place and the various lockdown restrictions.

I know that professional athletes have discussed the importance of mental health during coronavirus. In the NHL, for example, quarantine rules can mean far less in-person contact with families and friends. Over time maintaining focus can be an issue. Several players — including Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks — have mentioned these concerns, and how they try to look out for each other as a tricky season progresses.

Keeping a clear head and exercising regularly can certainly help all of us. I’m certainly not an expert, but I suspect things like Time to Walk and other types of podcasts can provide a certain amount of helpful and healthy escapism — not to mention inspiration and motivation.

Time to Walk is available in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK, and the US. After a three month trial, Fitness+ costs $9.99 USD per month or $79.99 per year.

By Clinton Stark - Stark Insider.

Trendspotting: The Touch Bar on MacBooks will not be missed… at least not by this guy Thu, 21 Jan 2021 23:39:53 +0000 All I want to do is adjust screen brightness.

By Clinton Stark - Stark Insider.

When Apple first released the Touch Bar on its 2016 MacBook line I was duly impressed. Indeed it made for a whiz-bang demo; the ultimate party trick.

Here was a dynamically changing range of buttons and controls that adjusted depending on what app you were running. You could customize the layout in true Apple fashion — meaning it was easy, intuitive and even fun.

But I’m a pretty basic guy.

I run Google Chrome. Spotify. Maybe the Calculator some days when I’m really feeling adventurous. And that’s about it.

Occasionally if I’m on the road — which is never these days — I will edit videos or at least parts of videos for Stark Insider using Premiere Pro.

There the idea of the Touch Bar did seem intriguing. Having shortcuts a short distance away from the keyboard sounds great in theory, and could potentially save time when editing (I’m already the world’s slowest video editor so not sure this even matters).

When the time came, however, I simply found myself using the standard Premiere shortcuts, ones that are essentially the same across Mac and Windows, where I do my main video editing on a Ryzen-based, 3-monitor setup which works amazingly well, especially given its total cost. Those keyboard shortcuts together with a mouse was all I needed to get the job done.

Years later, after using my MacBook Pro since December 2016 when I acquired it just before a trip to Paris and Iceland I now find myself assigning a pretty simple duty to the brainy Touch Bar: making it act like a normal (aka physical) row of function keys found on the previous gen Touch Bar-less MacBooks.

So instead of having a Touch Bar that dazzles all Starbucks onlookers, mine can do things like adjust screen brightness, volume, and keyboard brightness. There’s also a shortcut for taking a screen shot!

Every time I try to get fancy and re-visit my decision and try some new customizations… nope, I find myself changing it back to the tried and true MacBook function keys layout of circa 2015.

All that to say if Apple does kill the Touch Bar this year as it’s currently rumored to do then I won’t be one of the ones complaining. Who knows. Maybe not having that extra LED display will mean longer battery life.

That’s a trade-off well worth it.

Throw in the Apple grown M1/M2 chips and I think things are looking up for a smart 2021 MacBook refresh. Just in time for my upgrade cycle. And won’t it be nice to have an old school approach to adjusting speaker volume, not to mention a tactile ESC key?

Keep it simple. Keep it simple.

(oh: and thanks in advance for adding back an SD card slot… same as it ever was.)

By Clinton Stark - Stark Insider.

Now Playing: Stark Insider’s ‘3 Days in Iceland’ (Short Film) Tue, 19 Jan 2021 18:32:49 +0000 A Woman in Time. A Place in Time.

By Monica Turner - Stark Insider.

Join Stark Insider as we head up north, to the snowy and expansive landscape of Iceland.

Shot on location in Iceland including the iconic Highway 1 (“Ring Road”) and featuring scenes from the Blue Lagoon, Reykjavík, and incredibly beautiful waterfalls (Kirkjufellsfoss, Skogafoss, Seljalandsfoss) in addition to supplementary footage from Mendocino, California and in-studio scenes filmed in San Jose, California, the new short film is now playing Stark Insider. See embed above or below to watch.

Written by Clinton Stark, the project he describes as Neo Vérité:

“… an interpretation of a modern day version of the French new wave movement of the 1960s,” he notes on the web site for 3 Days in Iceland.

The location serving as the home in the short is based in Fljotshamrar. In addition, Loni Stark tours a magnificent blue ice cave on a dark and windy morning atop an actual glacier — if you visit Iceland please add this to your to-do list.

WATCH: 3 Days in Iceland

A Place in Time. A Woman in Time.

A tour of Iceland with Loni Stark.

3 Days in Iceland (2020) marks the final episode of the “3 Days Series” which also includes 3 Days in Sonoma (2018) and 3 Days in Paris (2019).

Look for more original experimental video projects and short films coming to Stark Insider throughout 2021 and beyond. Be sure to sub to the SI YouTube channel to follow the adventure.


By Monica Turner - Stark Insider.

Now Playing: Stark Insider's '3 Days in Iceland' (Short Film) | Stark Insider 3 Days in Iceland. A short film shot on location in Iceland by Clinton and Loni Stark. Ring Road. Blue Ice Cave. Waterfalls. Watch the adventure!
Peloton New Feature: Stacked Classes enable you to plan entire workout ahead of time Thu, 14 Jan 2021 18:16:36 +0000 Auto-play from one Peloton workout to the next.

By Clinton Stark - Stark Insider.

Users asked. Peloton answered.

Nice the way that works.

Today Peloton sent out an email announcing its latest new feature: Stacked Classes:

Peloton Stacked Classes in action

Many of us like to take two, three or even more classes in a row during a workout. So, for instance, instead of taking one 30-minute HIIT ride we might take a bunch of shorter classes, say a 10-minute warmup, 10-minute Tabata, followed by a core strength class on the mat. In the past with the Peloton Bike or Tread or the standalone Peloton Digital App (iOS, Android) you would need to remember (or bookmark) those three classes and then when one ends you’d look up the next and start it, and so on.

With the Stacked Classes feature you can now curate your workout by choosing classes in advance and, in a sense, line them up. Then they automatically play one after the other.

Essentially this is like a music playlist, but for workout videos.

Peloton: How to Create a Stacked Classes Workout Playlist

Here’s how to stack classes on the Peloton (hardware or web):

  • Tap the stack icon:

Peloton News: Stacked Classes feature - How to stack classes and create a workout playlist

  • Add up to 10 classes to your stack — to do this quickly Peloton notes you can long-press a class thumbnail like so:

  • Finally, review your stacked classes (aka playlist) and if all looks good press the start button:

Peloton - How to build a stack

Stacked Classes are available on most apps according to the Peloton blog post and includes:

  • iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads
  • Apple TV
  • Android app
  • Android TV
  • Amazon Fire devices
  • Web

The new feature is available starting today, so time to get stacking!

Once again I’m pretty impressed how responsive Peloton is to user requests. I’ve noticed Peloton riders talk about this feature (I never guessed it was a thing) on Reddit for quite some time now, in fact probably for as long as I first received my pandemic Bike back in March of 2020. So it’s nice to see the team listen and respond with a regular stream of updates and new features.

ALSO SEE: Peloton Top 10: Best accessories for your bike

As far as the implementation goes it’s Apple simple. Meaning it’s intuitive, easy to use, and aesthetically pleasing. And it works as expected. Net-net: thumbs up from this Peloton fan.

Double-dare: stack two or more Robin Arzon Tabata rides…

By Clinton Stark - Stark Insider.

Peloton Stacked Classes in action Peloton News: Stacked Classes feature – How to stack classes and create a workout playlist Peloton-Stacked-Classes-long-press-add-workout Peloton – How to build a stack
Sony Airpeak is a drone, but it’s also a slick way to boost Alpha camera sales Tue, 12 Jan 2021 17:46:24 +0000 Why sell just a drone when you can sell a drone plus a camera?

By Clinton Stark - Stark Insider.

CES 2021 is happening now. Virtually at least. In terms of camera news there’s not a whole lot to dig through, but one announcement and video did catch my eye.

Sony revealed its first drone. Called the Airpeak (good name!) the new drone caters to video and photo professionals and features most of what we’ve come to expect from quadcopter drones over the past few years including cameras and sensors and looks pretty much the same as any modern day drone from, say, DJI — in fact the DJI Inspire 2 is a good reference point due to its pro specs.

You can take a look at the drone in action in this CES 2021 video Sony released:

WATCH: Sony Airpeak Drone with Sony Alpha Mirrorless Camera (Video)

But there’s a key and interesting difference.

The Airpeak is designed to work hand in hand with Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras. In fact, Sony says the Airpeak is the smallest drone capable of carrying an Alpha camera.

Though we don’t know any specs yet — or the price — we do know Sony will ensure that it will work well with your Sony camera. That likely means if you want to get the best performance out of the Airpeak you’ll use your existing Alpha or… (and this is what Sony is hoping for in its strategic plan)… is that you’ll also add an Alpha camera to your shopping cart when you checkout. A two-fer. You buy a Sony drone + a Sony camera.

Per Sony the Airpeak is the lead product in a new division the company is created targeted at professional photography and video production.

Stark Insider Take

Sony Airpeak - CES 2021 - Launch Video - Sony Alpha Mirrorless Cameras

Given the boom in aerial visuals for commercials, film, music videos, wedding videos, and other high end work Sony is taking a step towards grabbing a bigger piece of that market. Why just sell an Alpha that will be used on set for a project in tandem with a DJI drone when it can sell the whole kit and kaboodle?

Further, I’m guessing since the whole kit (drone + camera) is developed by Sony that it’s engineering team will (obviously) ensure it all works well together as an entire system. Similar to what Apple does by integrating software and hardware for its iPhones. The end result is typically simplicity, ease of use and reliability — at least that’s what past experience has mostly taught us when it comes to vertical manufacturing integration.

Will other camera companies copy this model?

Canon might be a likely candidate. Why not follow in Sony’s footsteps? Drones could drive additional camera sales. And Canon has released several full-frame mirrorless bodies over the past few years. Building a drone can’t be that difficult given all the AI tech out there.

Meantime Sony has a jump on its camera competition and will look to take a bite out of DJI’s leading market share in the higher end drone market. Many paid video shooters will see the Airpeak and Sony Alpha a7S III as a dream combo.

The Sony Airpeak is scheduled to launch Spring 2021. Price as of yet is unknown (though don’t expect consumer-like pricing as you find on something like the DJI Mavic).

By Clinton Stark - Stark Insider.

Sony Airpeak is a drone, but it's also a slick way to boost Alpha camera sales | Stark Insider Sony enters the high-end drone market. Airpeak is designed for video and photo professionals and works with Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras. Canon,Sony,Sony a7S III Sony Airpeak – CES 2021 – Launch Video – Sony Alpha Mirrorless Cameras