Why taking vertical / portrait videos is bad

I can think of four reasons why taking vertical videos is wrong:

Evolutionary: considering our own peripheral vision, we tend to notice things on our sides much more readily than above or below. The most important information about possible threats and resources are much more likely to be in a very expansive horizontal field rather than in a vertical one. For this reason evolution has favored those with better horizontal fields of view.

Technical: widescreen and photo formats tend to emulate our natural vision, that’s why they have evolved in time from a squared shape 1:1 and 4:3 to a rectangle shape 16:9, 16:10, etc. A vertical video is the antithesis of that. When watching a vertical video on a horizontal screen most of the space is taken by empty space, sacrificing the resolution and nullifying the benefits of having a wide screen.

Content: when people film video, there tends to be a lot more action side to side rather than up and down. Mainly because seeing what’s on the ceiling or floor is usually pointless. Most of the time, you want a wider angle shot so the viewers can see what’s happening at eye level, as if they were there.

Quality: as scenes tend to evolve horizontally, in order to capture as much as possible, a person taking a vertical video has to move the camera around much more frequently and abruptly, which makes the video blurrier and disorienting.

Using a ISO layout on a JIS keyboard

A few weeks ago I bought myself a Lingbao Jiguanshi backlit mechanical keyboard with black switches from AliExpress:

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I must say it is a damn good keyboard, considering it cost only about 35€, shipping included. Here you can watch a nice review of it:

This keyboard has a JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards) physical layout, with USA printed keys (letters, symbols and modifiers). The JIS layout is very similar to the ISO layout – used in most European countries – except it has a missing key between the left [Shift] and the [Z], as show in the picture below.

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Differences between ISO (top) and JIS (bottom) layouts

Depending on which actual layout you are using in your country, you will miss the possibility to type certain symbols. In the Estonian keyboard layout for example, that key is mapped with the angle brackets ([<] and [>]) and the vertical bar, aka pipe [|].

One way to solve this problem is to use a keyboard shortcuts application called AutoHotkey. Once you have it installed you will need to edit its script and add the following lines:

<^>!,::Send {<}
<^>!.::Send {`>}
<^>!-::Send {|}

After you have saved and reloaded the script you will be able to output the missing symbols by pressing [AltGr] + [,], [.] and [-]. You can replace the symbols after “Send” with whatever symbols are used in the missing key in your layout.

Dropbox Camera Uploads management

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Camera Uploads is a very good Dropbox feature which, if not taken care with some expedients, can easily lead to having the folder filled up with hundreds or thousands of files hence causing some inconveniences like:

  1. making it difficult to find the most recent photos (as you are forced to scroll down to the bottom of the list to access them);
  2. making it difficult to find the old photos;
  3. quickly reaching your storage limit.

When looking at our photos it’s more likely we are going to look for the most recent ones, and less likely the older ones. Following this assumption we are going to keep only the photos taken in the current month in the Camera Uploads folder, while we will move the others somewhere else.

Inside the Camera Uploads folder we keep one sub-folder for each year, and for each year we keep one sub-folder for each month, like this:

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The months numbers are necessary so that the folders are sorted by month order and not alphabetically, while the months names are useful for human friendly accessibility.

We keep one empty folder with that structure for the next year in my Camera Uploads folder so that every year we don’t have to create it again but we just copy paste it and rename it with the current year.

At the beginning of each month we move all the photos/videos taken in the previous month in their respective month folder. In this way they don’t get in the way when we are looking for the most recently taken photos/videos and it’s also easier to look for older ones if we remember when they were taken.

For special events we put the photos/videos in a separate sub-folder and name it according to the event, like Trip to Tallinn or Marko’s birthday party: this makes it easier to find them again by searching them by name or glancing at the directories tree.

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When we are close to reaching my Dropbox storage limit then we simply take the older directories and move them out of Dropbox to another location (typically a separate external backup drive).

A few resources for learning the Estonian language

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Books

Web sites

Videos

Dictionaries

Smartphone apps

Courses

Proficiency examinations