on editing

August 29th, 2006

It’s not that often that a mainstream newspaper comments on details like editing
No comments on the authors opinion though.

slim and cheap server

August 29th, 2006

Of course 1.50 US$ a GB is ridicolous

But the whole concept of a 1U quad drive cheap-o system seems intruiging: Raid cards are still expensive. They certainly deliver in many cases the best solution. But 3TB (4 x 750) cheap ’scratch space’ for data that can be recreated could certainly exist in a 1U box for a pretty sweet price point. Sacrificing 25% storage and you have save space.

And as long Moors Law keeps deflating disk and system prices it is still the best strategy to buy as little storage as late as possible. To paraphrase Einstein just not to late or to little.

ten years later

August 29th, 2006

10 years after the first image stored longitude and latitude site started flickr finally ads this feature.

There have been solutions around for a long time to combine the path from a GPS with the timestamp in the EXIF header of the images.

I’d say we have used about 10% of all GPS applications that make sense. Lots of fun to be had with these two floating point numbers that put anything on the map.


August 28th, 2006

the sudo command

wikipedia’s entry for sudo

and the first use will be …

August 28th, 2006

Lumalive by Philips.

Somebody will have the ‘creative’ and ‘orginal’ idea to sell advertisement on garment.


August 28th, 2006

wiki charts

shows the most popular pages in wiki pedia.

Right now it is (still) unfiltered and it shows pretty much how the internet really looks like.

Two things become obvious:

1. Lots of ’smut’ intermixed with technical and current topics.
2. The long tail. First content entry ranking #3 right now is “Pluto” with 0.1%. Or in other words one in a thousand views falls on the most prominent topic right now.

post mass media art markets

August 28th, 2006

The most expensive paintings were made during a brief period. Most of them in Paris. If you were an Artist in those days you better rent in and around the Montparnasse. Even though back in the day the money was not flowing their way, a handful of artists seem now to make up the quintessential olymp of the fine arts. A show of them will raw big crowds only matched by sports events.

Pop stars. Big freaking Madonna like box office hits.

All along during the times of mass society there was this big and scary void below the mega stars. Nobody would have want to be caught during the travels to fame. The rise of the Popstar needs to be instant, overnight. The uncanny valley between nobody and stardom had to be passed instantly. It was the nowhere land of mediocrity. Where those not so good artists dwelled. Who wants to buy a painting from a ‘not so good’ artist?

Mass media made those Pop stars by putting the massive firehose gush of its attention on specific individuals. It was and is a hit or miss game. Mass media as it developed in industrial societies means that few outlets serve to millions of minds.

Along came the internet. And the thing happened almost unnoticed that would fill the gap between unknown knitting grandma and Picasso. It is filled with content. Decent great content. Lot’s of it. The cost to publish it, allows for an revolutionary amount of diversity.

An example. While window shopping in Hamburgs ‘Stilwerk’, more or less an Ikea for the rich, I came across David Steets “Australia”. I liked it allot. Lumas has a shop in the former Coffee factory, and it seems to do well. Their concept is not to build and sell few popstars, they have maybe a hundred Photographer’s to pick from.
The actual framing is done very well. So well that I used Sander myself, and they have been great. Only complaint is that they don’t have an LA office. So my large prints will probably remain in Europe.

The Lumas concept works well. Based on technological break throughs it allows the content to broaden: Steets sells his images for a couple of hundred Euros. Both sides do well in this transaction. The digital prints make beautiful images. Thirty years ago the alternative would have been a mass produced poster or an original that was unaffordable.

The middle grounds between nobody and pop star artist is now filled with a range of great work that fits all tastes. Other examples of this new art economy could be Etsy but also Flickr qualifies. There is no ‘lower boarder’: Back in the day the Pop Stars clinging on to the
arts Olymp had to defend the few square feet in the spotlight. “That’s not art, that’s amateur stuff” used to be one of their pump guns to defend it. The middle range art market that is emerging does not share this problem. It allows for growth around demand.

what’s wrong with flash

August 28th, 2006

There is of course nothing wrong with flash. Just that I don’t want to do it.
Here are my reasons why I don’t waste any clock cycles on it.

  • It’s allot of work to learn a system like flash to do it really right. I don’t invest that kind of time into a format that is owned by one company. I would become Macromedia’s Adobes bitch if I would do so.
  • Search engines ignore flash. Since more than seventy percent of all internet traffic get directed by google and friends those sites are simply sit idle.
  • Flash content can’t be linked to. The link is to the internet what rails are to railroads. You can not directly link to a item in flash. Or if you can, nobody knows how to do that.
    All you can do is to post the link to the start page and then describe how to get where you wanted
  • Flash navigation can be made unique and creative.Imagine a car maker would make a car with a ‘creative gear box switching interface’. And, only deploy this fancy model in the rental car market.
  • I don’t have enough tatoo’s. Flash designers seem to be mostly extroverted sculptors that want to part take in this internet thing. There is nothing wrong with that, as long I don’t have to deal and compete with them.
  • money, it costs money, but hardly makes any. Hosting and the dev kit, it all costs money. No problem if you have lots. But there is a whole internet out there that starts
    free and easy and might scale nice into something of value. Flash never did that.

Of course sites like youtube, the early flickr or etsy highly use flash and are very sucessful in doing so. Of course flash is here to stay.
Just that I will not deal with it.

colbert’s greenscreen

August 27th, 2006

I missed those so far

What a brilliant concept: Just air some green screen footage. The kids and youTube will do the rest.
Next stop: tracking markers.

found that somewhere

August 26th, 2006

Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.

“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.?

So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.

“It’s perfect!? she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you??

“Five thousand dollars,? the artist replied.

“B-b-but, what?? the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!?

To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.?

Nice story, probably not true. Who cares.

last century

August 26th, 2006

Culture has survived things like this.
I would think it’s pretty much unkillable then.


August 25th, 2006

Mr Strandbeest is back
I usually like my job allot. Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes I would like to do something else.

change name: no you don’t

August 25th, 2006

Apple’s XCode comes free with your operating system. It allows you to compile code. But is it a decent Development API? I highly doubt so. I don’t spend 50 hours a week with it. I hope nobody has too. I wasted the last thirty minutes of my life trying to find a way to rename a project. Just giving it a new name. Not more not less. I truly sucks. This is probably not a bug, just some ridicolous user interface disaster. XCode. It truly sucks, and, isn’t that a coincidence, there is no real alternative to it.

what happens to radio

August 24th, 2006

Seth Godin asks what happens to Radio

Well, first of all, Radio has survived lots of new media. It has changed everytime. Radio plays did not survived radio’s struggle for survival though. Which is a real sad thing. I grew up with those little gems. No, I am not a million years old. Radio plays were a blessing of the german government funded radio stations: They just kept the same kind of program structure they always had. In the seventies we had at least three radio plays a week. Since nobody nobody listened, the authors could get away with allot of stuff. And my parents thought I would be safe if I listened to the radio. Better than TV, they thought. Little they knew.

But that is the past of Radio.

Another personal radio experience was moving to LA and therefor into the reach of KCRW in the mid ninetees. Ear opening, back then. Twelve years of radio in Munich had almost killed my interest in music before that.

KCRW however got supplanted by podcasts. It’s still a decent station, but podcasts fit what I want to hear much better. And, even if my podcast mix contains some NPR, I still prefer the leech from my shuffle: I pause as I like, resume where I left things off, and I mix my shows the way I like it.

So there is no more Radio in my life.

Somebody should start a podcast with Radio Plays though. I have an idea what to play on August 14

google command line calculator

August 24th, 2006

Since years I used the ‘bc’ unix command line calculator. Nice for copy paste jobs, better than a push button calculator, since you can see your calculators. Of course pretty stupid otherwise. I am sure there are advanced calculators around. Those that I would always forget how to use. Speaking of, ‘bc’ needs you to set the decimal precision before something like 5 / 3 gives a result as usually expected. Every couple of month I am trying to find a way to set scale = 4 in a default environment etc. Never had any luck.

Today osxhints - which comes up first for most unix searches these days - I found the Google Command Line Calculator

It’s very very nice. Written in ruby which comes with OS X. Commandline, but that’s what I liked.


August 23rd, 2006

The internet discovers Candida Höfer.

weird news

August 23rd, 2006

Maybe the people
that got canned from AOL
for the “Data Valdez” mishap found a new job to promote movies. While other AOLers dig for spammer gold. Calacanis is probably orderer to lead the shovel pack for obvious reasons.
While youTube hopes that Paris Hilton will save them it turns out that Osama was/is a Whitney Houston fan. Probably just a stunt by the CIA to get him out of his cave. The best one sofar.
not only Dell has problems with Batteries catching fire. The first Maglev trains hoverd in 1971 in Germany. But nobody wanted to buy them. Then the Chinese did. Now they are not so sure if that was such a good idea. Munich will get one eventually to connect Airport and City Center. If it should get build.

update: it seems as if the snakes in a cinema story is one of these things that wrote itself.


August 23rd, 2006

The internet is a funny place. You can make things that make no sense, and they can exist for a while. YouTube for instance. I love it as a user. By now I have given up to frown about the horrible quality. For most of the youTube content the visual aspect is secondary. Flashvideo has won the format war. For years people were writing about quicktime, windows media and real player. Looking at every move of one of these formats. Predicting this or that. Along came flash video and it was all other. No self respecting internet video site would choose something else. No pundit had seen it coming.
It looks worse than anything, and people don’t care, since it looks good enough. Apple lost this one.
YoutTube is trying to find money now. They turn to Paris Hilton. Maybe Paris’ dad sells a Hotel every Tuesday to come up with youTube’s bandwidth bill? Seriously, it might be a rude awakening for youTube to realize that they are able to recoupe 3% of their operating cost before they start loosing audience since the ads get in the way. iFilm had an alright selection, but they never became a youTube. One of the reasons were rather pesky ads.

The content that youTube will continue to be there. But I still think that youTube is a bit like Napster 1.0: Something that works really really great, but that is built on non existing conditions. Napster 1.0 ignored copyrights, and youTube ignores the fact that bandwidth costs money.

macbook wifi: what gruber said

August 21st, 2006

I hope, really hope, that Mr Gruber never catches me when I do anything wrong.

His 6335 words about the story of the Macbook wifi exploit say all that needs to be said. And those words aren’t pretty. Yet needed. After Gruber the record is probably set straight.


August 20th, 2006

Animator vs. Animation
it helps if you have done some flash animation.

How about somebody putting a flame UI in a commercial now?

wishful science

August 20th, 2006

One more round for John Galt’s motor aka the perpetuum mobile. Didn’t Tesla invent something like that?

Since everything we have accomplished is based on energy, it seems not surprising that people continue to dream up scenarios where energy would become free.

Wouldn’t it be nice?

Well, then we would need to rewrite the Laws of Thermodynamics.

hacked hacked hacked, an apple got hacked

August 19th, 2006

Few weeks ago lots of people wrote that somebody had hacked a MacBook via Wifi.
There were never much details or example code available. But the need for the story was there, so felt the people, and everybody repeated it. It seems as if the hackers installed 3rd wireless soft- and hardware on the Macbook and then hacked this software.

Which renders the whole thing to a non issue.

Of course all computers can be hacked in theory. Including Macs. But as long it did not happen, it did not happen. I am sure lots of people read the first (non true) part of this ‘hack’ story, and will miss this conclusion. Those will argue in a year from now “Mac’s aren’t safe either” based on this misinterpreted news story.

Getting down to the truth becomes increasingly complex it seems. Much of the communication surrounding people has been made with an intention. Truth comes second. Which IS a big deal, since it invalidates the whole reason for communication. It was communication that got us of the trees. If we break it, since it seems not to matter, then we might have trouble getting back up into the trees. “Sabletooth tiger!” “Where?” “Just kidding, want to buy a coconut?”

Zodiac at Millimeter

August 18th, 2006

Millimeter Magazine’s coverage of Zodiac

Including some of my own ramblings if you scroll down.

movie title screens

August 18th, 2006

movie title screens


August 18th, 2006

Ads on super market conveyer belts

I wonder why such stuff still gets PR. There are ads on the breakfirst egg, on the paper towel in the public bathroom. If there are blank square inches where human eyeballs come to rest, then some ‘marketing’ person will ‘invent’ a way to put an add there. What’s there to report about it?

Most of it is stupid and it folds. Those abandoned attempts just clutter our surroundings. Like the flat screens in the back seats of a cab in Boston. Outofdate rubbish starts blaring in your direction every five minutes or so. Easy to click off. But still annoying.

One of the best comments on this useless trajectory of the current society was the rsstroom reader last December.

future predictions

August 18th, 2006

the Yankee group predicts 44% market share for the PS3 in 2011

I would bet money on this not to be true. I think that Microsoft will sell more than 27 Million Xbox 360s and Sony will never sell more than ten Million PS3s. Ever. Come back here and comment as much as you like once they should do. Those ‘experts’ at the Yankee group see Sony push 30 million units. Amazing.

But what do you do if you have an ailing consultancy? You publish controversial statements.
And you hope that nobody finds your past prediction attempts.

microsoft: 4.7GB is enough

August 18th, 2006

Microsoft says it will not use the HD DVD add on for games

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 comes with a DVD drive. As an add on there will be a HD DVD drive. This will only be used for movies, not for game content.

Microsoft says that the 4.7GB that a standard DVD offers is enough for games. HD DVD would be 15GB.

More is better. Up to a point. Any Sony-Fanboy will be eager to point out that this Microsoft move is simply sour grapes. After all, will Bluray not feature huge amounts of data. Correct. However, all games I did see on the PS3 dev units looked nice. But none of them showed an amount of detail and scene fariation that would not fit on a 4.7GB disk.

bluray and hd-dvd

August 18th, 2006

There are two high definition DVD formats. Bluray and HD DVD. Of course you knew that. Both formats have been released. There are players. There are movies. And, nobody cares. I don’t see any discussions or reviews online. It’s one big yawn. Bluray fanboys will point to the upcoming PS3 release. That being the Ace up the sleeve of the format. Interestingly enough, PS3 fanboys ‘predict’ that it will be the Bluray format that will help selling the console. A 500 US$ Bluray player disguised as a gaming console might be a cheap Bluray player, if others cost a 1K. But in the consumers mind they have to compete with the 40 US$ DVD player that plays an awfully huge library of movies. Upscaling DVD players cost just a few hundred dollars.

The quality of these next generation formats is certainly superior to DVD. The current discs however have been partially made from sub par telecine masters I have been told. That aside, people don’t understand nor care about quality all that much.

Those two new formats have a better picture than traditional DVD. In order to see it you have to be equiped with a HD set.

Let’s have a look at the last format change. DVD replaced VHS tape. And it was better in the following ways:

  • Image quality. Much more resolution. VHS was dreadful.
  • Audio quality. They called that CD quality. VHS was dreadful.
  • Sourround audio. Five speakers in your living room. No possible before with anything.
  • non touch mechanism. VHS is an analog tape. Tape is tricky as it is. Tape and head wear and environmental impact like dust. Analog tape degrades. Every time you use it
  • multi angle. yes, is a feature. Nobody used it. Almost nobody.
  • multiple audio tracks. Directors commentary or alternative language tracks. Both add great value.
  • menu system. Helps with branding and use.
  • non linear. Jump to any location is almost instantly. Together with the menu system
  • no rewind. Sounds like a stupid thing. Now that you don’t have to rewind anymore. Was major annoyance withVHS and big deal for DVD
  • smaller and known form factor. “just like audio CD”
  • region code and copy protection. Good for the studios. They thought.
  • computer use. I have used a data tape based on S-VHS. Was 75,000 US$.

With DVD there was a format war too. The other one backed by Circuit City and Dreamworks folder almost instantly. It’s “feature” was that the movies were much cheaper, but would expire with in 48 hours. After that they wanted to charge consumers for every view. Greed. Make sure you hide it well, or you will fail like that.

DVD vs. VHS is a pretty substantial list. After a few years it was a done deal.
Bluray and HD-DVD will never build any momentum. They will fail like Super CD or UMD or Minidisc have failed.


August 18th, 2006

Boeing had a system for internet on a plane. Now they shut it down. I used it allot on board of transatlantic Lufthansa flights. It worked great. About the only time when I did not mind to pay (around 25 US$) for wifi.

Nobody really knew about this system. None of the US carriers picked it up, and Lufthansa did not do a good job to communicate that you could have internet over the Atlantic.

I wonder what will happen to this. I hope that google buys it. They can afford it. And it would be great PR.
Wifi to they sky!

Both democracy and capitalism work great. As long people make decissions based on reason. If you buy the best product you push efficiency into the system. Same with democracy. The world grew more complex. And I wonder if people kept up with that. Looking at the habbits of the average AOL user I have some serious doubts about that.
Of course there is no alternative to the current system. Still it is worth pointing out, that the current implementation is broken. More than it used to be: The average skill set and education level is declining. Everywhere. In the 80s I made an apprenticementship to become a Maschinenschlosser in Germany. In three and a half years you work and learn basically how to build machines. This was the kind of job most of the male population did aspire to. It’s demands however where non trivial. You not only learned how to build machines, but also knew backgrounds why they were designed in a certain way. If you got a drawing with an error you were able to go back to the construction people and come up with a better solution together. The percentage of people being able to work on this level has declined in the last years. When the housing bubble ‘makes’ you twice as much money as forty hours of labor, why should you try to improve your skills?
When things get made in China for penny’s why should you learn how to make something? Opening boxes and putting things on shelfs, that’s a skillset in demand.


August 17th, 2006

simple yet true

branding synergy

aol user data

August 17th, 2006

I decided to host the AOL user data
It is a pretty scary view inside of the mindset of people that think they are alone with their computers.
About 2.1GB that need to be processed, so it might take a while.


August 17th, 2006

Microsoft likes more people to develop games for their consoles. In their press release it sounds like a Windows XP machine is all you will need to develop games for their consoles.

The range of impact goes from ‘flash in the pan’ to ‘Sony is finished’. It all depends on the details of the implementation and capabilities. Nobody has ever opened game consoles to a wider development community. It might or might not take off. Trying it is a bold and innovative move.

Microsoft is a funny companies these days: Some of their divisions do all the right things, while others are as stupid as the Ottoman empire in 1907.

Trolltech makes a phone now. Trolltech got big with a toolkit for graphical user interfaces called “Qt”. I used it years ago, and it is not bad. Now they make a phone that runs embedded linux, and their user interface on top of it. In other words it is an open source phone.

From the pure aspect of technology these developments had to happen. The very interesting question is, what will come out of it. Content is a very tricky thing to predict. Hollywood survived despite constant failures in this area. As long the movie industry existed they tried to mechanize and control creativity and content creation, so that they can churn out products like a nuts and bolts manufacturer. And it never worked.

One the other side of the argument one could see Microsoft and Trolltech shipping typewriters to a million monkeys.

And, of course reality will fall somewhere in between. And once the revolution happened, it will be so clear why it did. Same in the other outcome.

Games could really use some injection of innovation. Roaming the show floor of what was the last E3 of it’s kind I was pretty surprised how alike most games looked. I don’t play. But I care about the technology and business side of this industry. There are racing games and first person shooters. Lot’s of those.
With production costs high new content development is tricky. That’s why I liked Rockstar’s Table Tennis.

Tetris was written by a russian programer when there was still a country called “Soviet Union”.

The situation with phones is similar. They don’t suck, but I never saw a phone that made just sense. Of course all Apple fan boys hope that Steve Jobs will come down Moses like with a phone on his arm. They hope so, since phones are ok, but definetely not as useful as we want them to be. And as they could be. If open software can fix this is to be seen.

melting math

August 11th, 2006

the BBC writes about greenland

Reading it, you would think that Greenlands Ice is about to be gone.

Only using numbers from this article (6.5 meters rise of sea level if ice melts completely, 0.5 millimeters rise a year) it will take 13,000 years till Greenlands ice cap is gone.

I am not saying that global warming is not real. I am just surprised how somebody can write an article that contradicts itself in such simple ways.

return path exim4

August 11th, 2006

I moved Method Software to a new server. Licenses always could be generated automatically and sent by email.
It was seven years ago that I did set up the original host. Things have changed. So nothing worked. Thanks to all that spam it is a bit trickier to set up a mail server in the internet in 2006 than it was 1999.

First thing to get right is to have reverse DNS set up right. Otherwise you get something like:

SMTP error from remote mail server after initial connection:
host actual.name.removed.com []: 5actual.name.removed.com You Must have reverse DNS setup in order to relay mail.

In other words: The ip address you are sending from must resolve to something. With

whois ip-address

you should get a domain. This is something that your hosting provider can set up for you. They have the authority over the IP range that they gave you one from. Took only an hour with my hosting provider. Another sign that they are decent.

Even after this fix the return-path was set to something stupid like ‘www-data@hostname-I-gave-the-machine’
I took a bit of googling and a couple of pointless detours to /etc/hosts and dpkg-reconfigure exim4-config before I found this blog entry that pointed to /etc/email-addresses which indeed did the trick.

its agency viral day

August 3rd, 2006

it seems