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Posts Tagged ‘photography’

OK Go’s Latest Is a Music Video Mixed With Illusion

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OK Go is known for music videos that surpass even the most liberal definition of what a music video can be. Their latest video, for a song entitled The Writing’s On The Wall, is downright mind bending.

The video is below, but you should know a few things:

  • No CGI or effects are involved.
  • It was shot in a single take. Meaning: there are no edits, and exactly one video track for the entire thing. No cuts, no splices. No mistakes fixed in post production.

Here it is:

I’ve watched this at least a dozen times, because I’ve shot my share of video, and I cannot imagine how well the stars have to align to get this done in a single take. That’s astonishing.

Now, it did take nearly three weeks and over 50 takes until they got it right, which tells you how fragile the shooting strategy and set logistics were. But still, OK Go eventually nailed it, which is amazing unto itself.

Now, the question you should be asking is, “How did they do that? What was the setup? What did the set look like?”

I’m glad you asked.

In some ways, that video is even more enjoyable than the original, just because I kept distracting myself during the original wondering how they pulled shots off and got band members into new positions so cleanly.

In an age where everything is digital and you can’t trust much of what you see, what OK Go has done is that much more satisfying.

Have a great weekend, everyone. For our U.S. readers, have a happy and safe 4th of July.

Your iPhone Is a Better Camera Than You Think

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The web has a famous cliché floating about in regards to photography. Hailing from photographer Chase Jarvis, the quote goes, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” It’s also the title of his book on iPhone photography.

There’s a good deal of truth to this. As I write this, I have a Canon 5D MkIII sitting next to me, with the venerable Canon 70–200L f/2.8 USM IS II mated to it. All in all, about a $5K piece of kit, more than capable of making professional-quality output.

Problem is, it weighs as much as a sniper rifle, and looks just as imposing.

I don’t carry it with me unless I know I’m going out shooting. That means for most of my life, especially when I want to capture impromptu moments, my big-rig Canon is at home in its bag.

What do I always have with me? My smartphone (an iPhone in my case), and it’s far more capable to shooting quality photos than your Facebook feed filled with blurred cat pictures would have you believe. In fact, on our mantle sits a canvas-printed photo I took in Italy, blown up to about 20“ x 20”. The camera responsible for that pic? My iPhone.

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Casual Friday: A Web Geek’s Hardware/Software Setup Revisited

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About a year ago, I wrote a post detailing what hardware and software I use on a daily basis, a la The Setup’s format. I know I never tire of knowing what fellow geeks are using to be productive. Perhaps you’re the same. If so, you’re in luck. Here’s my updated setup.

My big takeaway, which hit me as I wrote this: it’s amazing how much changes in a year.

What hardware are you using?

In the office, I use a 27“ iMac running a quad-core Intel i7 clocked at 3.4 GHz. It’s a monster, sporting 16 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD boot drive, and a 1 TB SATA data/scratch drive. I have a giant, loud, hulking Das Keyboard Professional Model S for text entry, seeing how I do an absolute ton of it. I also have a second Apple 27” display attached to this iMac, and I’m pretty certain that if NASA called me today and said hey, run our space program, I could without having to change much. This setup is pretty much my dream rig.

At home, I donated my old 2008 MacBook Pro and moved to an iMac 27″ for heavy lifting (quad-core i5, 12 GB RAM, 1 TB SATA for storage). Heavy lifting here means photo and video editing, mainly. It too has a monolithic Das Keyboard chained to it, and while I hate the looks, the writing purist in me appreciates its tactile feel and obnoxiously loud noise.

Mobile computing gets a bit messy for me. I have an 11″ MacBook Air, which I consider an iPad Pro, and I love it to death. This makes my new iPad (or iPad 3, as many mistakenly call it) a bit of an outlier, because I split time between the MBA and the iPad. If I had to choose only one, today it would narrowly be the MBA. Over time, however, I think we’ll see the most innovation with iOS.

Because three Macs and an iPad aren’t enough, I have an iPhone 4S, which almost never leaves my side. My main gripe about it is the AT&T service, which I swear will change when the new iPhone 5 (or whatever it’ll be called) comes out, at which point I will jump to Verizon’s LTE and never look back.

So what software do you use?

I still run Google Chrome almost exclusively, and have very few problems with it – it’s a great piece of software. When I do need a second browser, I use Safari. As I write this, I have 32 tabs open.

For longform writing, I do most everything these days in Byword, using Markdown formatting for plain text. (All my writing these days is plain text, because I will never need to worry about being beholden to a certain app or rich-text formatting data structure in the future). When I’m done writing for the web, I export the HTML out of Byword and slap it into whatever CMS I’m using.

For mail, I am still a giant, swooning Gmail nerd. To me, using older clients like Outlook our Entourage just grinds me, and I’m not productive in them. Gmail has ruined email for me – in a good way.

For photo work, I use either Lightroom 4 or Aperture 3. I would like to settle on one, but I am trying them both out to see which best fits my needs. So far, I think I like Lightroom 4 best. Aperture, while having Photostream support and being much more ‘Apple’, is slower and uses a ton of RAM. Plus, Lightroom’s noise reduction is phenomenal, even when working with OOC JPEGs.

For video, I use Apple’s Final Cut Pro X. It’s a heavyweight, but if you can get past the learning curve, it can do almost everything you ask of it.

I said before I would die without Dropbox, and I stand by that. I use it daily.

For capturing the random thoughts that pass through my head, I use Captio to send an email to myself, or, if I have more time, Simplenote. From there, many to-dos go directly to my Fantastical calendar, or my iPhone’s Reminders app.

For taking pictures, I mainly use an Olympus OM-D EM–5 micro 4/3 camera with a prime lens (either the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 or the Olympus 45mm f/1.8), and it’s fantastic. If anything heralds the demise of giant, slapping, mirror-box DSLRs, it’s pro small form factor cameras like the OM-D.

For social media monitoring, I use Hootsuite. Yes, I pay for it, and yes, it’s worth it. For general web bookmarking for things I find interesting or want to save for later, I cannot recommend Pinboard enough.

What would be your dream setup?

A year ago, I said I would like a quad-core iMac with oceans of RAM and storage. I pretty much have that now, so all I’m missing is a search engine for my brain. Because I’m 43 and sometimes forget to wear pants. You know.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About this blog.

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 4/6/12

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If you observe Easter, we’re heading into a holiday weekend. As such, you need things to talk about. I would give you all you need about playoff hockey, but since about 9% of the population seems to care, I’ll instead arm you with all sorts of web esoterica. Hang on.

Google announces Project Glass, their augmented-reality glasses. The general vibe of this news is thus: futuristic, potentially cool concept, dorky look. What people aren’t talking a great deal about: can you imagine the user data Google collects on someone using this? That boggles my mind — and not in a good way.

Why $7.99 beats $0.99: an articulation of the end of the race to the bottom in iOS app pricing. I think the iPad paved the way for higher app pricing (and far better apps) on iOS in general. Note: this is not a missive to justify taking a junky app and overpricing it; it’s an argument for pricing value at the appropriate level and not feeling downward price pressure because everyone else’s garbage app is a buck.

Still rough on touch typing skills? If so, your life is hard, and getting harder by the day. Try TypingClub, a free online touch typing trainer. Even though I’m a serious keyboard monkey, I found this actually improved my typing rate. No joke. Try it yourself and tell me I’m wrong. In an email you write insanely fast, please.

I hereby resign: a fictional letter on the liability of Facebook background checks.

Like tower defense games? If so, try MapsTD, a tower defense game based on Google Maps. The best part is that you can play anywhere in the world: Rome, Moab, or your own neighborhood. Dorky? Yes. Surprisingly fun even once the novelty wears off? Yes.

To Do: a Venn diagram eerily based upon what seems to be my brain. Accurate and, in a way, bothersome. Now let me go do some — HEY LOOK A SPOON!

Paper: if you have an iPad and have any inclination to sketch, jot down ideas, paint, or otherwise be creative, this is an app you simply cannot miss. I’ve been playing with it for hours, and it even caused me to buy a Wacom Bamboo stylus. Worth every penny.

Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray says Apple shares are projected to reach $1000/share in 2014, which would make Apple the world’s first trillion-dollar company. Trillion with a T, folks.

If you’re camera goomba like me and don’t feel like blowing good opportunities messing with aperture and shutter settings at your kid’s birthday party, experiment with The SLR Camera Simulator for a bit. It lets you modify lighting conditions, distance, focal length, ISO, aperture, shutter speed and camera shooting modes. Pretty fun to see what sort of good — and awful — combinations you can come up with. Very useful if you’re new to photography.

As if declining market share, failed products and slipping relevance weren’t enough problems for RIM, now people are getting stabbed at the events it hosts. Talk about not catching a break.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About this blog.

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 12/2/11

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It’s strange what open-ended, odd memories your brain holds on to.

We were 11. Our friend Shawn had this thing about putting tinfoil boots on his cat. He’d talk about it more often than one would expect, to the point where you realized, He’s not kidding. He really wants to put tinfoil boots on his cat.

Chuck was the cat in question, and he was a beast all the way around: grossly overweight with a bulbous head and squinty eyes, he defied what Siamese cats are supposed to be. He was old and slow and clumsy, which made him hapless, which is why I think Shawn wanted to put tinfoil boots on him: because the chances of him being able to do so were very high while simultaneously having almost no chance of getting injured himself.

Everyone thought Shawn was weird duck, even weirder when he started talking about cutting short whatever we were doing so ‘we’ could go home and put tinfoil boots on Chuck. It was all uncomfortable small talk until the day he invited us over for some casual Commodore 64 video games, and, as it turned out, to watch him ensnare Chuck and finally put aluminum booties on him.

When we walked in the house, Sean was in the living room — his mother off at work — and Chuck was on the couch. Chuck, having the metabolism of a potato and the IQ to match, was lying on the couch while Shawn cut small swaths of tinfoil from a roll of Reynolds Wrap. Shawn barely looked up at us. Chuck stared at a throw pillow, completely unaware.

“Hey guys.”

“Hi Shawn,” I said. “Um, what are you doing?”

“Finally gonna put booties on Chuckles here.”

The three of us — me, Chris and Tom — stared at him. Tom finally spoke, “Dude, we’re here to play Bruce Lee. We don’t want to put tinfoil on Chuck.”

Shawn looked up from his tinfoil and pile of rubber bands. “Oh come on. Consider it science.”

“Or consider it mean,” I said. It seemed to me that putting tinfoil boots on a cat with likely cardiac problems was not a good idea.

“Nah,” Shawn said, expertly sidestepping the issue.

Then Chris asked what none of us probably would have thought to: “Once you get the tinfoil on Chuck, what are you gonna do?”

Sean had the answer in his mental chamber and didn’t miss a beat. “Gonna put him on the kitchen floor, turn on the vacuum and see if he freaks. If he does, he won’t be able to run, and that will be hilarious.”

None of us were vets or cat whisperers, but we were pretty sure if you put an overweight 14 year old Siamese cat on a linoleum floor and hit the vacuum while said cat was wearing tinfoil booties rubberbanded around his legs, yeah, we were thinking, he’ll probably freak. If you’re a 14 year old overweight cat, freaking probably leads to not being alive anymore.

The exact mechanics of the debate that ensued are unimportant, but in the end sanity prevailed: the tinfoil was thrown away, the vacuum stayed in the closet, Chuck didn’t Code Blue in front of sink, and Shawn didn’t go to juvy. Shawn did seem slightly defeated, but later came around to admit that it wasn’t a good idea after all. “Cats are pretty uptight,” Sean concluded, authoritatively.

We let the issue rest after Captain Humane closed the topic with this. We all thought it best not to upset whatever balance his hormones found that made him temporarily stable. We’re pretty sure Chuck appreciated it too.

We didn’t do much with Shawn after that.

Some links:

What if books were free?

Here’s a gallery of babies swimming underwater. The photo geek inside me wants you to know this is more impressive than it sounds.

The worst Christmas tree in Britain. Yeah, pretty much.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 7/8/11

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When I tell people I do web/social media marketing work, that basically I’m a full-on web nerd, they look at me funny.  Like, “Oh, how long have you been unemployed?” funny.  After we get past that initial awkwardness, they invariably ask two things: (1) Can social media help my business? And (2) What is your computer hardware/software setup like?

For this Friday post, I will tackle both questions.

For (1): yes.

For (2), I will answer in the format of The Setup’s interviews, because I can read that stuff all day and have found some excellent software from them.  Here goes.

What hardware are you using?

In the office, I use a super-gonzo Dell Precision laptop running Windows 7 Professional connected to three 24″ monitors.  Multiple monitors are the single best thing you can add to your setup next to a jetpack to improve productivity, and I would be far, far slower without them.  If you don’t have multiple monitors but can afford them/are allowed to by your IT team, you’re cheating yourself.

At home, I use a pretty banged-up early 2008 MacBook Pro with 4 GB of RAM that’s connected to a 2002 HP 2335 LCD monitor.  I use Apple’s wired keyboard because I have to have a number pad for data crunching, and I have a filthy — disgusting, really — Logitech wireless mouse whose model number I can’t remember because it was made before the dawn of language.

I have a first-gen iPad that I use for everything except longform content creation.  It’s awesome, if a bit heavy and sharp-edged.  Still, it has replaced a laptop for 90% of my tasks when my son isn’t stealing it to play Dungeon Raid.

Right next to my iPad you’ll almost always find my iPhone 4, which I take with me everywhere.  Literally, everywhere.  Well, except the shower and the gym, but aside from those caveats, everywhere.  I’m not sure if I own it or it owns me.  I suspect the latter.

And what software?

Being a web dork means having a romantic relationship with your browser, and I am an unrepentant Chrome devotee.  It runs on both my work and home laptops.

For longform writing, I get all weird: I will use Ommwriter, WriteRoom, BBEdit, Sublime Text or even the WordPress editor.  It depends on my current propensity to get distracted.  For a pure, clean blogging on the Mac, I couldn’t live without MarsEdit.  On Windows, Windows Live Writer 2011 is pretty solid, if a bit slow (thanks .NET!).

For mail, I am a gigantic Gmail nerd.  Gmail might be the best implementation of email in the world.  And by might I mean is.  At work, I have to tolerate Outlook, which is really starting to feel like something wet, angry and smelly that crawled onto my computer from the late 1990s.  Because it is.

For keeping the soul-crushing silence at bay and the voices in my head arguing amongst themselves instead of with me, I fire up iTunes or Rdio.  Lately, a lot has been Rdio.

For keeping track of stuff, I use Notational Velocity on my Mac and SimpleNote on the web and iPhone/iPad.  I would probably keel over dead within a half hour without Dropbox.  Whenever I have a thought that doesn’t fall apart like a soggy box after a few seconds of critique, it goes into one of these apps for later curation.

For photography, I use a Nikon D90, Canon S90, or my iPhone 4 (don’t laugh — it’s the most popular camera on Flickr).  For post work, I use iPhoto, Photoshop CS5 and occasionally Acorn, which is a terrific OSX application that does, for me, 90% of what I use Photoshop for.  On my iPhone, I am a huge Instagram evangelist, along with Camera+ and Photogene.

For social media stuff, I use Tweetdeck on Windows (still wish it was a web app though) and the official Twitter client on my Mac.  I have an entire monitor devoted to Facebook, blogs and Google+ sessions running in Chrome.

What would be your dream setup?

My MacBook Pro is getting long in the tooth, and the screen does a weird flicker thing against certain gray backgrounds, so I’ve been thinking about a replacement.  I’m torn between two masters: portability and power.  The idea of a new 27″ quad-core iMac is very appealing because of the screen real estate and power, but it’s a desktop and who buys those anymore?  On the other hand, I’m waiting for Apple to stop being so jerky and release the new MacBook Airs with the Sandy Bridge architecture so maybe that will be enough power and I can nerd out in lightweight, sealed, portable style.  (That option might actually steal time from the iPad.)

Oh, and I’d like software that does what I think, no questions asked.  That’d be cool.  Also, Google search box for my brain because, yeah, it’s come to that.

Shut up about your dumb nerd stuff.  Do you have any links?

Yes, yes I do.

This man won $3.4 million — and then went back to work as a janitor.  The world needs more people like this.

Here’s a site that provides the best introductory books for myriad topics.  Tons of browsing pleasure here, folks.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

SLR Camera Simulator

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If you’re a photographer anything like me (and seriously, I mean this: let’s hope you’re better), you occasionally wade into camera modes like aperture-priority or shutter-priority or even, when you’ve totally lost control because you saw an Ansel Adams documentary the other night, full manual.  When this happens, I invariably wind up taking pictures that are nothing more than a series of failed experiments.  I overexpose, blur anything even slightly moving, underexpose, and basically embarrass my camera for not having a more skilled owner.  Do you have any idea how many times I wished there were a tool where I could mess with settings — and maybe even learn something — before wasting a chance to capture my son’s incredible sliding soccer goal?

Oh, hey, what do we have here?

It’s an SLR Camera Simulator.

Here is the perfect tool to let you play around with SLR settings to see how they affect your photo, but in a sandbox: you won’t actually be botching dozens of pictures at the family’s Memorial Day BBQ.

A great way to help illustrate SLR basics and how the settings interplay with one another.  Give it a shot.

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 12/3/10

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It was such a frantic time on the Internet this week (as determined by my highly subjective evaluation method) that I nary have any word count allowance for an anecdotal preamble.  Which is too bad, because I was going to go on and on about the piece of French cheese I purchased that I had the counterperson shape in the head of a world leader with a soap knife.  It had facial hair and everything.  Man.  What a story that is.

But no, no.  Much too busy with links this week.  To wit:

Ben the Bodyguard is an upcoming iPhone app.  Check out the absolutely fantastic HTML5 teaser website.  Simply scroll down.

Podcast freak?  Check out this post over at Metafilter which not only suggests good podcasts (This American Life takes top honors), but also the best episodes of a podcast within a series.  Much stuff to download here.

The isolated vocals from Gimme Shelter are chillingly good.  Jagger and Merry Clayton are perfect.  Skip to 2:38 if you’re pressed for time.

Most people, when they get their hands on an ultra-high-speed camera, shoot an athlete or something else moving fast.  That’s why this is so perfect in its simplicity: someone took a high-speed camera, mounted it to a train windowsill, and shot high-framerate footage of the platform passing by.  Life in ultra-motion.  Surreal.

New theory suggests insanity (and to an extent multiple sclerosis) is a virus entwined in every person’s DNA.

I, Reader: a lovely essay about books, reading, and e-reading.

Speaking of e-readers, Kindle is ‘rapidly’ losing e-reader market share to Apple’s iPad.  My take?  Once the iPad gets lighter and goes to a better display technology, it’s game over for the Kindle and other standalone readers.  Amazon execs have to know this, hence their hedge by releasing Kindle apps for competing devices.

Want Google to beatbox for you?  Go to this page and hit listen.

Finally, there’s this.  If this Kyle Maynard video doesn’t inspire/touch you, nothing will.  Have a tissue handy.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management) and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More Linkology posts.

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 11/19/10

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You’ve been busy.  We get that.  That’s why every Friday we collect the week’s best links from all over the Internet and give them to you in one tidy, hermetically-sealed blog post.  After just a few weeks of these, you’ll be smarter, thinner, more handsome/beautiful and your kids will get better grades.

We totally made that last sentence up.  And the hermetically-sealed part.  Sorry for lying.

But, onward:

SciAm’s John Horgan makes the case that some areas of science are going in the wrong direction.  Among them: curing disease, research on the origin of life and space colonization.

Sacha Goldberger’s 91-year-old grandmother was depressed.  So the French photographer did what any good grandson would do: shot a set of outrageous photographs with his grandmother as a superhero.  After everything was said and done, there was no trace of depression.  None.  Moral: break your habits.  Be silly.  Explore.  Grow.

Rovio’s Angry Birds development team on the issues with developing for Android.  Don’t miss the comments.

Here’s the trailer for Cowboys & Aliens.  Can’t wait.  (See the cast/production/direction lineup? A-list.)

What it’s like to work at Apple.

David Pogue on Google TV [beware the paywall].  Key excerpt — This much is clear: Google TV may be interesting to technophiles, but it’s not for average people. On the great timeline of television history, Google TV takes an enormous step in the wrong direction: toward complexity. I’ve seen Sony’s Google TV in Best Buy and the remote control alone would be menacing to most.

Rage HD for iPhone/iPad.  Imagine going back to 2002 and showing this to someone.  Running on your cell phone.  Amazing.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management) and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More Linkology posts.

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 11/12/10

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Busy week, so let’s skip any silly precursory stories (such as the one involving my cat and how he has discovered that he can chew on a bathtub faucet knob with such horrible force that it wakes me up, and even when you start laughing and tell him to stop at 3:20 AM he just keeps on going, so you grab your iPhone because it strikes you that yes, this might be a funny YouTube video and you don’t want to miss it, so the cat just hams it up for you and goes nuts on the faucet knob, and we all have a good laugh and then go back to sleep, even though I secretly lay awake for another solid 10 minutes wondering exactly what is wrong with my cat), and get right on with the links.  Because yesiree, it’s been a busy week on the Internet.

Random acts of culture: over 650 vocalists burst into ‘Hallejujah’ at a Macy’s in Philadelphia.  Pretty awesome.  The accompaniment of the world’s largest pipe organ was icing on the cake.

What the old timers used to call cabin fever.”  An illustration of Jack Nicholson’s clothing changes in The ShiningEadweard Muybridge inspired.

USAToday: Unions tell pilots to avoid body scanners at airports.

Dueling Michael Caine impressions.  Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon try to out-do each other’s Michael Caine impression, and both of these are fantastic. (Disclaimer: one instance of language in the video, so use discretion in the office or other public venue.)

Faces at the finish: a photoessay of 99 runners just after they crossed the finish line of the New York City Marathon.  The scary part?  Most of these folks look better after running 26.2 miles than I do on my best day.  What gives?

The Driscoll Middle School varsity football team devised a trick play for the ages called the Penalty Play, and it’s fantastic.  What’s even better is that this was the first time they actually tried it in a game.

Finally, you might have seen Nike’s latest ad featuring LeBron James saying, “What should I do?” every other frame.  Well, here’s Cleveland’s video response.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management) and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More Linkology posts.

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