April 30th, 2006

big deal: the founder of Oakley (as in Sun Glasses) decided to bless the world with a new camera. Super 35 sized CMOS sensor, 2K @ 120fps, 4K @ 60fps, 17,500 US$ price, done by the end of the year.

So they say.

I say: Bullshit.

Naked Emperor number 1.

Absolutely ridicolous. Of course it would be nice if such a device would exist within these parameters. People want to believe it in, hence the hype. The hardcore fans can get a serial number reservation for a mere 1000 US$.

I find it amazing how quickly clever marketing can get you such a fanboy following. As of today there is a cad model of the body of the camera. Which also happens to be where the core competence of the company behind the thing (sunglasses!) ends. They say they will have a lens for 4,500. Of course sunglass -> lens. About the same, right?

The core of the red-1 is the ‘mysterium sensor’ capable of shooting 4K and having full super 35 size. Not much more is known about this. Real life problem is, that it is very hard to make a chip that works at this size. Yield becomes a real problem. Nikon just abandoned full size chips in favor for the ASP ones. That means that they more or less left 40 years of lens buyers lying in the dust. If they could have avoided that, they would have. But the owner of Oakley has a 1000 cameras, so that qualifies, right? Well, actually, it’s the other round: What do you need that many cameras for? Oh, well.

Next phase: 4K @ 60 fps or 2K @ 120fps. Whoa. First of all those are big numbers. Secondly: they don’t make sense: 4K is not twice as much resolution, but 4 times more than 2k. So the 4k mode has double the bandwidth needs than the 2K one. If bandwidth should be the bottleneck then 2K might run @ 240fps. I think this little oversight shows how much the red camera is vapor. And within 7 months it has to work? Laughable!

The Mysterium Sensor (there words not mine) is supposed to have 4520 by 2540 resolution. There are bigger and higher res chips around. But this one can generate -so they say- 60 images a second. Let’s assume that they use 14 bit per channel. The data flow would be 4520 (width) * 2540 (height) * 3 (rgb?) * 14 (bits) * 60 (fps) = 28931616000 or 3.6 Gigabytes per second.
‘Red’ is quick to say that you can compress this data. But at some point you have to handle this amount of data, within that little cage. Great. Mysterirum DSP? In comparsion a HD 12bit stream at 1080 24p results in 223 Megabytes/second. So “RED” can handle 16 times more data than the cameras used on major features right now. Cameras that cost 8 times more.
Great. Maybe “Red” should have started out with something easier, like a flying car or something.

The third area is equally odd: A camera never lives alone. Lot’s of equipment makes it a system. Stuff goes in and out. Like sync, like timecode, like audio. Red performs a mircale again: Every option conceivable is available. From a “red raid” the can capture those 3.8GB/s of data to a intnernal drive that operates compressed. It’s all just there. Or, ahem, will be by the end of the year. Of course the camera supports all existing lenses. Not just a few one, no, all.

“Red” is applied wishfull thinking. If somebody would be able to pull of such a leap ahead, then maybe they should have chosen another area to do so. After all the “Red” team knows as much about cameras as they do about any other topic you might pick.

Just for the record:
There will be no working sellable red camera operating at 4520 * 2540 * 60 fps in the promised 11-15 f stops uncompressed ‘444′ by the end of the year 2006. You would need 8 4Gb Fibrechannel interface to transport that amount of data.

Crazy how gullible people are. I hope you come back here in 2007 and read this and compare it to the red-realities that will unfold.

zodiac on BlogsNow

April 27th, 2006

It is interesting to see when what I do to merges in this way: BlogsNow links for David Finchers Zodiac clip

“Zodiac” has kept me very busy since last Summer. Since it is the first major studio movie that has never seen tape [ except for archival ] there were lots of things to be written for it. I am actually still writing tools for it.

misc links

April 23rd, 2006

gnn instead of cnn?

Lelouch’ “Rendevouz” on google video. Shitty quality, and are there still people left that have not seen it?

Warner want 1.5 US$ for the Aviator on DVD in China. This might even work.


lack of imagination

April 22nd, 2006

The ‘municator’ is a very small PC that costs 146 US$. With its 40 GB Harddrive and a CPU that is as fast as a Pentium III it offers what we had couple of years ago as a desktop computer. Imagine the following: If you sign up with an ISP you get this box and a DSL modem. Maybe put them in one box.

The system comes pre configured with firefox and open office. Maintenance could be done by the service provider remotely. The user would use it for web browsing and text processing. The service could include automated backups of your own data and bookmarks. All this would be pretty inexpensive to run once set up.

For 25 US$ a month you could get:
1. Internet
2. Text processing
3. digital photography

No update costs, no virus hassles, no worries. The box is broken? You’ll get a new on in the mail. Your data has been backed up to the service provider anyway. In the future you just push more features out: IpTV, Voip, you name it.

The user experience can be made seamless. How many people actually do like to mess with software installs, security settings and driver nightmares?

AOL should offer this now. Or Google or even Sony or Microsoft could do this. Or At&t or Verizon. If they would not be stuck in their own perception of what their business is, then each of those companies could easy make billions with this.

This machine is really fast enough for 80% of all people being connected to the internet right now. OpenSoftware is available, and ‘just’ needs to be made available automatically. The bandwidth needed to implement this is available too. There is a market and a need. It just needs a little bit of imagination to see this work.

If you should have fifty million dollars lying around then let me know, it could be up and running in 18 months. But I am not holding my breath: Imagination is not in ample supply these days.

what people do

April 22nd, 2006

what some people do to get a number 1 spot in BlogsNow


April 20th, 2006

go! Gruber, go!

interesting patent

April 19th, 2006

Philps patents a technology that would not allow a TV to switch a channel during a commercial break.

Interesting how consumer electronic companies have a very skewed perspective how to serve the people that actually buy their products.

switchn’ distros

April 15th, 2006

Somehow I ended up being a ‘redhat boy’. Just happened, in my former job, that lastest almost as long as linux was on the rise, it was nothing that I needed to do: Install and configure linux. I ‘just’ wrote software for it. Being freelance I know get to pick what I want to do and learn. Which is very nice. For the next two machine that will to clients I have decided to switch to debian. It’s all different, but ‘the head is round so that the thoughts can change direction’. At least that’s what Picabia said.

Debian appeared on my horizon once I had to move a site of a client to a hosting solution of their choosing, which happened to be Debian. They had to drag me there kicking and screaming. Everything was different. /etc/httpd became /etc/apache and so forth. It’s too early to tell if I really like debian. But things that are different seem to be better. Of course I missed


But a quick

apt-get install sysv-rc-conf

took care of that.

I actually have been bouncing around debian quiet a bit, and did horrible things to it (like compiling kernels that ought not to run, messing with raid, initrd and so forth, and so far it has been remarkably robust.
With redhat I would have not gotten that far so quick, and would have cursed allot more.

to be continued …

since we wont need AFBs anymore soon

April 15th, 2006

we could convert them to disco’s

The cold war was over. Just that too bad that certain people then got us into ‘perma-war’.
Good money for them, bad for ours

watching a marble roll for twelve minutes

April 15th, 2006

[software] raid 1 with debian

April 15th, 2006

‘1000 marketing people at the bottom of the ocean’ -> a good start.

So, I needed a couple of servers. Had my trusted hardware vendor slap them together. They felt that I could use the ‘Intel server boards’. Since the price was ok, why not. And in the end they are not bad: 4x Sata, dual gigE, overall standard stuff. I had been told (by its builder and by the boot screen) that the motherboard would have a ‘Raid controller’.
“Cool” me thinks: Hardware raid, one thing less to worry about. Turns out it’s a ‘marketing raid’ that intel present here. There are drivers (no source …) that play together with the bios a software raid. Which is maybe ok for Windows, but certainly stupid for Linux: mdadm & Co work really well and are equally well documented.

Next time sink was the fact that I ended up being conservative in picking the debian ’sub distro’.
Only after picking the future ‘etch’ that is currently the ‘testing/unstable’ stream things worked fine. With this iso
I could make the software raid right in the install menu. Before I wasted pretty much two days compiling kernels, installing lilo, compiling more kernels etc. Google shows you years worth of hacks and workarounds. Just that they are obsolete by now.


April 15th, 2006

glad that BlogsNow is running again:
where else would I have found
tape failure ?

project origami and how it folds

April 15th, 2006

this sounds like a personal Steve Jobs nightmare before Macworld, but it is rather the harsh reality of tech-CEOs trying to use their own products.

Amazing how these companies get to waste Billions of dollars just by ignoring s simple fact:

Features don’t exist if they are not accessible.

The amount of high tech they cramped into those device is certainly impressive. But those don’t do anybody any good if they can not be used.

Windows is not an interface, it’s a hack. People use it since they have to, not because they like to. The biggest miracle is how a crappy system like this could get so far. Trying to resize it into Origami dimensions is not helping.

But let’s focus on something less complex than a OS interface to show that Origami is a dead concept: Battery life.
So it went black during the presentation. That will happen to allot of people. Imagine that the alpha geek you know shelled out seven hundret dollars for this lump of plastic. Eagerly does want to show it to somebody. The chances are rather high that it will run out of juice just inmidst or before this private demonstration. Let that happen a couple of times and your product evangelist moves on to the next gadget. Something that does not let him down when he needs to show off with it.

Origami’s are a debacle. They might get sold to a couple of vertical integrators. But ’selling’ to big companies and the government does not really count. Those processess share an eiry ressemblance with inner working of the market-economy of the failed soviet empire.

Intel, Microsoft and Samsung might be able to churn out some industrial products in vast numbers. But together they can not innovate. 800 pounds gorillas can not enact a decent ballet.

marvelous Restaurant in Hamburg

April 14th, 2006

While in Germany last week I had some quiet outstanding food at:

Kaiser-Wilhelm-Stra├če 71
0 40/35 29 93

Prices are in the mid range, but the food was way way better than that. If you should end up in Hamburg one day and would like to experience a more than amazing dinner then this could just be the place.

google broken, and this time it was not me

April 6th, 2006

It took me a while to be the ‘#1 result’ results when somebody enters my complete name in google. I look at the results page for this once in a while. Since I know the usual order of the pages by heart, it makes a great indicator if something changed at google. This morning I saw a pretty nasty bug:

As you can see my blog agregator BlogsNow contains the wrong “snippet”. It does not produce compelling effects. This snippet is actually one that comes from the result above it. In this case it’s not that tragic, since the result above is still related to me: It’s my former job. But the same might happen to two sites that have controversial views on a topic.

Things break. Google code is not immune to this. The bigger question is, if and when it gets fixed.


April 5th, 2006

would be hyperbole but is actually true.

What exactly are media companies thinking?

Jay Parkinson

April 5th, 2006

interesting images

The recipe seems simple enough: Take the ‘look’ where people appear to be people lost in tought and apply to real existing contemporary people and place them into settings that look much like porn sets.

Via flick ‘interesting’ via popurls which is one of the many crutches during these sad “BlogsNowLess days”

things that are down

April 4th, 2006

Network solutions was down for hours today. Why I pay a premium for their service if they have such a long DNS outage? If that happens again, then I will pack up my domains and go somewhere else. “Gold-VIP” my ass, In a way I always considered the “Gold VIP” status to be a ‘looser batch’: It reminded me that I had spent way to much money with the company. The other annoying thing with Network Solution is, that I have to click through all sorts of stupid options to get to my settings. They sell me things with more than 10,000% markup. I am aware of that. They should not push it, by trying to pushing more junk my way.

The other thing being broken is gmail: Showing me error 704 when I try to send.
Big companies suck. Period.

BlogsNow down for 12 days

April 4th, 2006

The machine that BlogsNow runs on still freezes with

CPU 0: Machine Check Exception: 0000000000000004
bank 4: b200000000070f0f

I have replaced Memory, CPU and motherboad. CPU got an up- and motherboard a slight downgrade. It runs for a couple of days, and then dies. After it dies it sometimes get’s back up only for a few hours. Once it has been down for more than 8 it will run for another four days or so. After every crash I have to fix the database, which takes 70 minutes. The fix of the autoincrement insert_id however takes even longer and took the machine out in the last 3 out of 2 uses. I am running an
i686 athlon i386 GNU/Linux kernel 2-6-9 with an 8 port 3ware card.

I really don’t feel like replacing this expensive card, but might need to.

BlogsNow was great, as long it was running smoothly. Now it needs allot of care, and I am considering to never turn it on again. It’s sad to leave the field to all these others attempts. None of them is convincing me. I would miss BlogsNow.
But that’s just me.


April 2nd, 2006

During all those crashes due to faulty hardware I must have forgotten to fix the mysql database for BlogsNow before I used it. I had to remove som 800K blogs that all had insanly high index ids. Now I am trying to be a good boy and set the auto increment correct via:

alter table blog AUTO_INCREMENT number_here

Just that it seems to take for ever. The temp file and index file grow very erratic since one hour. I will let it cook for a couple of hours, but this looks fishy. 30 million entries should not be that much for mysql …

fool is them

April 2nd, 2006

what Anil said

four steps of history

April 1st, 2006

“stone age”, “bronze age”
these terms align the history of mankind along the materials being used. While these segments are still valid it is also worth noticing that they have been establlished during the ’steel age’. It was when technology had reached yet another pinnacle in the industrial use of metals.

Hundred fifty years later information technology shares the same fate: It’s frenetic paced development seems to change the world in unprecedented ways. It is only natural to ‘re-segment’ history along the current dominating paradigm of progress. A very broad separation could be:

1. Language
2. Reading/Writing
3. Printing press
4. Internet

It is certainly provocative to put the WWW in one line with those other three steps of human progress. The importance of each step compared to its predecessors is without a doubt declining. Language separates people from animals. Reading/Writing invented societies that are bigger than a couple of hundred people. The printing press established the domination of the european culture over the entire world. And the internet? Nobody knows. Still, I think it’s importance justifies to put it in one list with the three earlier ones. Human history can indeed be interpreted as the acceleration of the means of communication.

1. Language
Language allowed for a completely new and improved social interaction. Complex schemes could be planned and executed. Ask the average sable tooth tiger: he knows all to well how a couple of monkeys can make your life not only hell, but bring it to a sudden end. In parallel to language tools came into existence. Nobody would attempt to kill said tiger with bare hands. The argument can be made that only language allowed for the making of the tools. If you would try to make a weapon out of a couple of stones you would quickly realize that even though you are much stronger than the average ice age joe you will fail. No matter how many stones you have at your disposal, you are not more than lunch that happens to make funny noises. What you are missing is somebody to tell you how to make a weapon out of a stone. Since mankind seemed not to have hit the branches of the stupid tree over the last couple of thousand years, it seems that language is what brought tools into our world and kept them there.

2. Reading/Writing
Being able to ‘unrealtime language’ allowed for the next jump in human development. Without accounting nobody could have build a pyramid. All non tribal mass societies that I can think of have established a system of writing. Written language can travel in room and unidirectional in time. The commands of a ruler far away can be read thousands of miles away. And thoughts can be inherited. They can even outlast their thinkers. As a kid you see some magic in a treasure map or a message in a bottle. This magic is simply the power of reading and writing.

3. Printing press
What one person writes could be read by many, but only the printing press invented real mass communication. It allowed the word to spread. With this infinite multiplication concept ideas became ultimately powerful. The moment a printing press was churning out the first book all oppressive societies were doomed. Burning books became a sign of the desperation of the powerful people to maintain the un-maintable status quo of their rule. China and Europe were more or less on the same level of development in the midst of the last millennium. If there was a difference then China probably had the edge in many areas. Still, three hundred years later the entire world was ruled by a few european nations. The printing press allowed Europe to leap ahead in the global competition.

4. Internet
Since the internet is so new and evolving so quickly I am on the grounds of pure speculation now. Looking at the first three steps of culture technology advances each one spured a gigantic leap in human abilities. The Wright brothers could read about physics and metal technologies in books. Augustus could write laws for his far reaching empire that many people could read and copy. Many people that names we will never know lived a couple of years longer because of a story they have heard.

The internet allows knowledge to be shared in an entirely new ways. Knowledge wants to be shared. Even this text will be read by somebody.

The hype around google and very certainly it’s stock price have reached ridiculous dimensions. However, in the core this almost religious feeling towards an ugly website has a sound core: “Organizing the worlds information and making it accessible” is a pretty good glimpse on the real potential of the internet. We are only at the beginning here. The possibilities can only be guessed.