how to mess up your weekend

September 30th, 2006

Went and saw “flyboys”. Bad movie. Boring movie. Aces high I remember more vividly than the flick I endured yesterday. It has been more than twenty years ago since I Jack Gold’s ww1 movie.

The effects where mostly mixed. A couple of interesting yet subtle transitions. Comps were partially horrible. Smoke plumes comic like. The dog fight sequences, and there were lots, were executed alright from the fx side. Just that they did not work as a sequence, story or something that seemed worth following. No sense for dramatic guidance. They should have rented the original Star Wars movie. Or watched a couple of people play a video game for that matter.

Then I thought I transfer 2GB of memory from my glove box into one of my servers. I shut down the machine, put in the memory and turned it back on. Just that mysql decided that it’s tables were corrupted. Those had been growing over time. After 24 hours of constant fix attempts I gave up, and hit the reset button. Twenty million blogs down the drain. Again.

On top of that it turned out that it seems not to have been the disk that failed in the spanking new Nas server. In midst of a three Terrabyte transfer the unit became ‘DEGRADED’ again at the same position. A rebuild takes a couple of hours. Tomorrow morning I know better if it is the sled or the connection.

Summary: too much data, not enough content.

tape robot error

September 25th, 2006

If you should run an exabyte 1×7 robot and get an error message like:

libTool V1.62 - (c) 2002-2004 Exabyte Corp.

/dev/sg0 - Device recognised as Exabyte Magnum 1x7
/dev/sg0 - Closing the door...Sense=04H [Hardware error], ASC/ASCQ=44H/00H
Internal target failure

when you try to load a LTO tape, then make sure, that the Barcode faces IN. The arrow on the cratridge might lure you into doing it the other way round and will result in this cryptic error message.

‘that was easy’

September 25th, 2006

I remember people swearing and cursing getting bonding to work under linux. Things have changed. Following a decent and simple set of instructions for network bonding under linux (yes this is anchor text for google ;-) ) it only takes a few minutes. And even works.


Aperture 1.5

September 25th, 2006

Aperture 1.5
Finally it can deal with images that it has NOT ingested into it’s own ‘vault’ system.
Took Discreet Autodesk Advanced Media Division years to figure that out for moving images.
Apple was faster, but started with the 1.0 Version in the wrong direction nevertheless. Apple is very very secretive with their product developement. Great if you want to fill the pockets of the world population with mp3 players. Not so great in the pro Application space: People making their living with and around a software will give you very very good quality feedback, information and direction. If you set up a couple of coders and mad scientists in a lab, and let them boil in their own juice for a while, you get something interesting. But also something that more often than not will not fit into the real world. Like Apertures file handling.


September 25th, 2006

I have gone on the record with my skepticism regarding the ‘RED camera’ before. I actually was suprised that Jim Jannards company was able to show moving images a feeks ago at IBC in Amsterdam. This weekend was a busy one for the camera maker: They posted 2K jpegs on their site. And then reported that somebody had broken into their offices. Stealing development resources they said. “Red” has always been an interesting exercise in marketing. Or you could also say “hype generation”. Hence the title of this post. The internet plays an important role in this. It is mostly a couple of internet forums were people have ‘discussions’. Actually quiet heated ones by now. Not a pretty sight I must say.


September 24th, 2006

This weeks it’s trying to blame 9/11 on Clinton. Last week it was the rejection of the Geneva Convention. What it is ? Voter mobilisation attempts for the hard right wing people. Nobody votes in America. So if you get a core group ralied up enough to move their overweight asses of the couch and go to the polls then you win.

Karl Rove knows how to get those asses moving. He did so in 2004 with the gay marriage issue. A couple hundred thousand people went to vote against Soddom and Gommorah, and the whole country get another four years of the most incompetent administration it ever had. And, yes, once upon a time a guy called ‘tricky Dick’ ran the greatest country on earth. Still, the current regime tops it all.

Back to Mr Rove. He actually likes it, if people start a discussion. About Torture for instance. If he can get those people of their couches, because they think otherwise all of Al-Quaida get’s a free Disney Cruise as punishment than he want. He knows all to well that there is no way of convincing that large part of the population that his written off this President and his gang of Clowns. As long Rove’s people get rallied up enough to vote he wins. That’s why they roll poor Mr. Clinton out: The right wing voter base hates him. Still does, and by trying to tag 9/11 on him they try to brush over the little Iraq debacle.


September 24th, 2006

flash can be nice


have gadgets, will travel (not)

September 24th, 2006

It’s gettting tricky. Flying I mean. I once spent a (paid) week on some obscure island, waiting for the laptop I had to check in to arrive. It was a compaq 286. Yes, I am that old. Since then I say good bye to whatever I check in. When looking for said laptop in Frankfurt they showed me the amount of lugage that got stuck in one week at the airport. Since it had been months since the thing found an interested owner it was kind of pointless. But fun too. Hours and hours among suitcases.

rant inspired by an interesting solution to the check-in problem

confessions of a dangerous mind

September 24th, 2006

Watched Confessions of a dangerous Mind. Part of my catching up program. I need to fill up a couple of years of movie history. DVD’s are how people will judge a movie. It’s too bad if the movie falls technically apart on the media that it will be remembered from. There are lots of little gem’s in this show. It is very sad that the DI of the 40s flash back scenes falls entirely apart in it’s DVD rendering. Very likely much more a technical than a creative problem. It may even have looked interesting on film. The DVD however revealed a sole posterize orgy of 3 colors in those crucial scenes. A bit more care during post could have gone a long way here. This is especially sad since the attention to detail is so amazing in the rest of the movie. And it would have been pretty easy to avoid a mistake that takes you out of the movie for no good reason before it really gets started. Maybe Disney will go back to the original negative for the Blu-Ray or HD-DVD Version. Yeah, right.
If they can find it.

the accidental screamer

September 24th, 2006

Needed to build a new NAS server with safe raid storage. It’s more or less a near line storage solution, so I tried to go for best price per Terrabyte. Just before it dissapears into what will be hopefully years of uninterupted service I snatched it’s keys and took it for a spin on the weekend. So to say. I am still tweaking things, but right now I get just a hunch more than 600 MBytes a second sustained writes xfs.

Which is actually quiet awesome, considering that there is not a single SCSI disk to be found in the case. We paid a very reasonable price for the net 6Terrabytes we got. In theory this machine could record 3 streams of 1920×1080x23.98 10bit dpx frames. For 3 hours.


September 23rd, 2006

Ramadan started today. I am glad that I am not in a country that observes it. No food during the day. After dawn people try to make up for what they missed during the day. Big freaking food orgies. Men shop for food during the days, and of course they buy allot, being hungry and all. Then the women have to cook it, and throw most if it away. Rinse. Repeat. One month of that.


September 22nd, 2006

numbers on TV usage

There are more TV’s than people. The average person watches four hours thirty five minutes of TV.
That’s 494 505 frames of NTSC flickering. Every day.

I wonder how many people have no TV at all. A TV is the last thing I miss. They are huge, show crap, and just
sit there demanding to turned on. The laptop I fold, and that’s that. It’s gone, out of sight. Well, if it weren’t for the little white annoying pulsating light. One day I will cut the cord to that. It is annoying.

driving around with the handbrake firmly engaged

September 22nd, 2006

What do I know about computers? I mean, really. So I build this rather big machine, to read along a couple of million weblogs. Needs storage. Sure. I get a 3ware raid controller. Works like a charm btw. There are more blogs, there is more spam, nothing surprising or new. The machine start to have a load of a solid 95-100%. Well, linux can deal with that, and it can. Today I tune another server, and look at parameters. One of them is the scheduler that is used to do the actual IO. The default for my kernel was anticipatory. I changed that, so that
cat /sys/block/sda/queue/scheduler

reads now

noop anticipatory [deadline] cfq

And, what a surprise, the IO load starts to decline and the CPU is idle for 10-15% again! Of course this makes only sense on a server with lots of IO and database activity. That poor machine had to do stupid things for years.

As I said: what do I know about computers? Academic, yet interesting question would be how many CPU cycles are actually wasted on things like this, how many are needed?

limits: disk size and imagination

September 22nd, 2006

Some days things have the feel of a ‘techno groundhog day’. Once again I set up a computer. Once again it has a considerable sized disk system. It used to be that 30Megabyte (no typo) Winchester disk. Today it’s that 8TB raid. And the problem remains the same: The tools choke on the size. I forget what it was twenty years ago. It was not as easy as it should have been. And that did not change. To cut to chase of the technical knowledge that might be helpful now and will certainly be laughing stock in the future (30MB to big: hahaha):
Getting a 3ware 9550… with 16×500GB drives is a good idea. Fits in one nice case and in a Raid 50 config you end up with 6.3TB usable capacity. Historically it needs to run Fedora Core 4. Which is happy to find the array after the installer has been launched with linux dd and a proper floppy drive (!!) has been inserted with the 9550 drivers. The next mistake one can make (and I sure did) is to let the installer automatically partition the drive it found. Knowing that big disk systems can be trouble to start the OS from I already had seperated a 80GB boot partition in the 3ware bios. The Installer went along, formatted the whole thing and did it’s install. Which take some 6 hours I would guess.
Only problem was, that the poor thing could not boot from what it had made. The automatic partition manager was utterly confusde by the size of drives it found, but didn’t let that stop it from trying and failing hours later anyway.
Manual partition of the 80GB boot drive got me over that part. Having an OS to boot: priceless.
The data partition only started working after using parted and a crucial ‘mklabel gpt’. Only then it would accept the size of the partition correctly. Otherwise it was silently reducing it, and then would fail to mount after a reboot.

Sofar the gory technical details.

The bigger problem is:

Disks have become bigger. Ever since computers are around. Everybody knows this, is exposed to this, and benefits from it. The big question is, how can you write a software that deals with the nuts of bolts of disk systems and not be freaking prepared for that? Of course that 30MB harddrive I dealt with 20 years ago would have been a bit overwelmed to run a partition scheme that would be ready to hold 6 Terrabytes. First question is: Would it be really? Sometime people are scared of wasting 3% but waste the future of something. This side of the equation can be argued with.

There can not be ANY execuse for the way systems fail on bigger hard drive: Numbers roll over, systems report -1600% free space. Shit like this is unacceptable. Tremendously stupid. If you code like that, then you should not code. Period.
Disks will be bigger tomorrow. Deal with it. At least create an error message along the lines of “Can not create partition bigger than 2TB” etc. Fail gracefully. You might have not the money to buy enough disks to test it, but you CAN put in checks for these limits. Nobody will slip in an extra 10% ‘integer boost’ to help your code out. The limits are what they are today. Shame on the authors of the tools for the lack of imagination. If physical harddrives can catch their code only after a few years like they do I am actually surprised that y2k did so little damage …

Breakfirst at Shutters

September 21st, 2006

Sitting on a patio, view on to the Pacific. I am rarely more than a few miles away from the Ocean when I am in LA. Still, I never see it. Being first I had time to watch the people. Mid aged men, fresh haircuts, overweight, just not enough to risk their marriage, blue shirts and khaki pants. It seemed hard to believe, but none of them seem to have something to do with the others. It was not a convention of one blue shirted company. It’s just what the average person looks like that has Breakfirst at Shutters in Santa Monica. All of them, no execption, have Blackberries. Or is it, that the Blackberries just pick a host that is blue shirted and khaki panted? They have them, and they use them. Constantly.

Interesting glimpse into a strange world it was.

The food is overpriced and not that good.
The view (of the ocean) is. As is the Ocean.
Might try to see it again in a month or so.

Universal: no blu-ray

September 19th, 2006

Universal retracts support for retates it is not supporting blu-ray

And so it begins to tip and slide. People said generally that Bluray had the upper hand in the beginning of this format war. It certainly is no ‘war’, since nobody cares. But it looks like Blu-Ray’s chances of getting the market are slimming down quickly. It’s not at the tipping poing yet. But it might happen quicker than Sony wants.

This kind of press puts even bigger pressure on the PS3. Not that it could deal with the current level. I have not seen an announcement that production has begun. Two months left to launch, and nobody has ever seen a PS3 how it would be sold. Just design mockups and Blu-Ray players.

update 9/24/06: it seems that this news item was kind of a press stunt: Universal never backed Blu-ray in the first place. They just said again they would not do it.

an alternative approach

September 17th, 2006

Just heard an interesting interview with Jon Favreau who will make Iron Man the movie. At some point the show should be available as a podcast

He seems to consider carefully where to use CG, and where not to. He cited “Top Gun” allot, which I saw for the first time yesterday. Which would be in itself worth a longish blog post, but I have to work today. Sundays are great for work, since there are less interuptions.

d new tunes

September 16th, 2006

iTunes 7. It’s blue. Again? Wasn’t it already? Album art is nice, yet also scary: I think you need an iTunes login to use this feature. So in theory Apple knows what Music you have. They say that they will not keep this data. It would be a big blow if they would. For everybody. I wonder if the RIAA sharks start to circle the infinite loop.

Apple could use this data. Big time. Imagine what kind of data mining they could do. Knowing about the Music collections of millions of people. Think Amazon’s ‘people that bough this also bought that’ feature on steroids.

Just let’s pretend that Apple sticks to their word. And let’s hope that as well.

Video playback is nicer now. It was actually a horrible hack: “Ze Frank” was mostly tugged away in the lower left corner of the interface.

npr real player, why?

September 16th, 2006

On NPR I heard that the director of “French Connection” did cut the chase to a Santana Track without an intention to actually use that sound in the movie. Which is a neat little story I think. The NPR page for this has a real player link to the movie and the audio. That’s great, just that real player is so horrible it stopped worked a while back.I hope NPR eventually will realize that it real player is not working. For nobody.

They might as well try to sell their programs on 8Track tape.

who knew

September 16th, 2006

The Saturday stroll through those internets. Things I found along the way:

Spinach is bad for you while booze isn’t

Men are smarter than women and coding in Basic is awesome

In politics that are not occupied with an impromptu re-enactment of mideval ages there is Herman Munster (again!) and a President that will fix everything, with, well: Torture if his own Party would only let him

But there are also more substantial things to find, like the Stormtrooper Effect

all your content are belong to us

September 16th, 2006


star trek closer video

into google will provide you with lots of different sources for a rather entertaining mashup. It’s interesting how content that is able to strike a cord with people will propagate into lots and lots of outlets. Virtually impossible to control.

little people

September 13th, 2006

little people a nice project. Almost cute.

Unrelated, just that I picked up it from there: BlogsNow is seriously clogged by spam right now. Problem is that 90% spam is preventing the crawl of the real sites get done in time. Many of those spam sites don’t even react in time. Spam is usually horrible about that. They just junk as much as they can, no matter if it even makes sense or not. They are just rushing to the next thing. And it’s done by idiots in the first place. No wonder they can’t keep their stupid little scripts straight.

bsd vs linux

September 11th, 2006

Maybe someday I will find the time to read this interesting yet long article about the difference of BSD and linux.

red: great, no need to eat my hat

September 11th, 2006

I had not thought that RED would show images @ IBC. I thought I needed to get ready to eat my hat on that one, when they actually did. The footage itself I have not seen, just the the youTube version. Interesting choice of subjects I would say.

Now looking at the images of the actual device over here I think that RED is back in the bin where I had them @ NAB: Funky billionaire bubble stuff. No practicle application that I could think of.

Looking at the thing I wonder what kind of camera operator they would have in mind? By the time you are done you have to spend between 50 and 100K for the kit. You want to be caught with some funky lump of metal for this kind of money? I didn’t think so either.

if this works it will end the ‘format war’

September 11th, 2006

Toshiba and Memory Tech announce a HD-DVD / DVD disc

They call it ‘tripple layer’. It plays in DVD and in the new HD-DVD players. Which is the end of the usual chicken and egg drama with new formats: Not enough players, not enough discs. And it finally respects the consumers.

Every launch of new technology pretends as if people have nothing in their home. Just empty shelf space to fill with their products. With a DVD/HD-DVD combo disc there would be room for a transition. If the Studios would release movies on these combo discs and would not charge more for it, then the format war would be over, and everybody, including Hollywood would be happy.

Technically it is not possible for Blu-Ray to pull this stunt. Given the impact that this would have if executed right it is very surprising how the HD-DVD could take so long to get going on this.

Update: Arc Technica has the better view on this matter.

red on youtube

September 10th, 2006

the RED presentation on YouTube

open terminal here

September 10th, 2006

opens terminal in directory of finder window

To open your current working directory from the terminal in the finder simply type:

open .

That is open “dot”, which you can replace with other valid file names. Works with other files as well. Pretty much does what would happen if you would click on the thing. In unix a . is the current directory

Applescript and launchctl equals beachball

September 10th, 2006

AppleScript I hate. The concept to have a scripting system to drive Applications is great. The implementation sucks ass. No, really, it’s worth this trip into the dumb language bin. AppleScript is a stupid hack. It’s syntax makes no sense for anybody. Only a couple (and I mean less than hundret) zealots that happen to get scared of any real language still use it. Worst of all: the makers of AppleScript are still with Apple and have given us “Automator”. Just add another layer of crap over another one. AppleScript thinks that people want ‘human readable code’. No they don’t. Specially if it makes no sense at all. End of rant.

It is also plain broken:
launchctl is the utility to start and stop processes for Apples launchd tool. For an application I am writing I would like to start / stop services, and launchctl does just that. I can create a .command file and that makes a shell script clickable. The only caveat is that terminal will launch and the window will not go away once the script is done. Not as neat as it should be. As an aside: stay away from the “Save Settings as Defaults” in This will also save your current running application for instance as that. If you have a login to another machine, than all future Terminal windows will want to log in to that machine. The remedy is to trash the terminal.plist out of ~/Library/Prefecenses. And the ‘close winow when shell exits’ option does not work. Hence the detour to Applescript. But, that does not work either, since Applescript just beachballs if it launches a launchtl unload ... for instance.

Applescript is a freaking hack. It makes me sad and angry (ok, actually that would be an overstated, computers don't that do that anymore to me) since it's sitting in a place that an amazing application could occupy. Imagine any decent widespread syntax, an API library to all Applications and some GUI glue. That together with some way of version manage / download these 'system scripts' and you would have lots of people developing nice short cuts, meta apps or whatever you want to call it. It would be extending what Unix did 30 years ago for command line applications. Use Photoshop, mail and iDVD in one workflow for instance. Or google, iTunes and a printer in another. You see, it would be awesome. For everybody. But instead Sal and Co. give us what they can come up with. Which is frankly not much. Sigh.


September 10th, 2006

“Office space” did not do that well in theaters 1999. It developed a following over time. Much like the Big Lebowski it created a culture of references that most big box office hits lack and probably also envy. It’s director made a second film called “Idiocracy”, and it opened last week. Yet, you probably have never heard of it. There is an uncommon reason for that. The Studio did zero PR on this movie. Something that never has been done by a Hollywood studio before. There are no trailers, no PR material, nothing. It opens in a couple of Cities, and Fox probably hopes that it is out of the Cinema’s before a Starbucks, Carls Junior or Costco lawyer sees it. It’s plot line is as thin as it can be, the visual effects are excellent B, no C movie class. Yet, I think it is worth watching. The best that could happen is that “Idiocracy” performs like “SOAP” was supposed to do. Maybe that would teach 20th Century Fox a lesson or two.

how it’s made

September 10th, 2006

fibre optics cables


saturday links

September 9th, 2006

some known and some unknown OS X shortcuts and functions

rare good review of “idiocracy”

google movie reviews are actually kind of usefull. Just prepend your search with movie:

It looks like somebody is benefiting from Sony’s PS3 debakle: This is waiting dot com from the same people (person?) that brought the world Wii60. Wii60s tagline is that youshould buy a Nintendo Wii and a Xbox 360 instead of one Sony PS3. Cost would be probably the same. Of course neither Ninento nor Microsoft could sponsor such a site. Sony does through their actions. Why the site owner do it? Simple: Money. It’s an easy way to get traffic to host these things in time. And if that does not help then you add a little bit of search engine spam:
if you scroll down on this page then you see how that looks these days

done right

September 8th, 2006

this seem to have worked

too bad it will spawn hundreds of failed attempts that will not.

match and fuel and air

September 8th, 2006

human nature, stupidity and the internet don’t make for a nice and pleasant mix

the red camera creates images

September 8th, 2006

It seems that the Red camera does create images. People say so. I have not seen them myself, nor did I have personal contacts with the people involved yet. But at this point I have to write that I did not think that the Red camera would get that far. Still miles to go to be a solution. But, again, my assessment needs correction. I thought we would see images mid next year and would be underwhelmed by them. I was wrong it seems.

next gen numbers

September 8th, 2006

Sony sold one million PS2 consoles in the first 3 days in Japan. Now they launch with 100,000.

They claim that they have received three million Cell Processors from IBM.

Of course Nintendo could not help itself and issued a press statement that IBM ship shipments for their Wii console are on trak. They will announce a launch date next week it seems.

Microsoft will lower the price for the XBox 360 in Japan one week before the PS3 comes out. They only sold 159,000 consoles since they launch last year.

Workaround Bonjour: Unknown error: 0

September 6th, 2006

using launchd under OS X 10.4. I see sometimes errors:

Workaround Bonjour: Unknown error: 0

They google as being harmless, and I have not seen bad things that I could relate to them.

6 years in five minutes and other links

September 6th, 2006

Noah Kalina

Paris a la Banksy

google news archive

PS1, PS2, PSnope

September 6th, 2006

4 days ago I wrote that the PS3 is in trouble Given how grim it looked to me I thought that I might have gone too far in my assessments. Suddenly those predictions look less outlandish. From 2 Million at launch down to 500,000. US: 400K, Japan: 100K and Europe: none, launch in March 2007 over there. Imagine you are a game developer for the japanese or European market. Imagine you bothered to develop for the PS3 at all.

The official Sony PR speak ‘blames’ a shortage in the blu ray diodes. Those do cost like 1 US$? 10? Sony is a propoenent of Blu-Ray technology since 4 years. They knew they would need those blue Lasers at one point. Still they rather make laptop batteries for Dell and Apple, instead of producing this rather essential part? C’mon, it’s called ‘Blu-Ray’. I have problems buying that it’s this little laser that kicks Sony’s next console strategy like it supposed to do.

Beginning this year Sony delayed the Ps3 launch from Spring to November saying that the DRM for the BlueRay discs would not be finalised. Which was obvious BS. They did have enough laser diodes back then? And those dissapeared?
Interesting also that there were standalone players in early summer with working DRM.

I think that the ‘blu-ray-shortage’ is a straw fire to direct the attention away from the real problem. The Cell does not want to run inside of that puny little case that Sony dreamt up. It does, but it gets way hot. The yields are beyond horrible. But if you say that now, then people that run their shiny new console under a blanket will blame Sony for their ‘over heating failures’.

With the ‘blu-ray’ spin Sony says that they very expensive PS3 contains this precious thing that is so amazing that you can not even make it. It’s a rare gem. So they want everybody to believe. “Whoa, you managed to get a Blu-Ray laser”?

Awesome. Kids like Lasers. It might even work. For a week or two. Till people will start looking at the PS3 online component. Anybody heard anything there? Wouldn’t it be time to give out teasers? Getting attention away from the Xbox by announcing details? Well, there is nothing. Which is not a good sign.

laborday links

September 4th, 2006

Banksy does Paris
Nature does Irwin
Leopard does tabs
Terminal does Tetris
The register does rumors
Hillary does everybody a favor


September 3rd, 2006

in halflife

disable trackback for older posts to get rid of spam

September 3rd, 2006

‘trackback’ is a neat concept: You put a link in a blog post and the blogging software (wordpress in my case) will try to notify that link that there is some comment / info about it on this page.

Of course it only get’s abused by spammers. I turned active trackbacks off, so that posts get submited quicker.
Then I turned trackback as a target off in the workpress preferences under “Options” “Comments”.
This will change the default for new posts not to allow ‘pings’ which in this case seem to be synonym for trackback.

However older posts are still pingable / trackable etc. Instead of clicking 581 times on some check box I changed the
status of those past posts via mysql:

update wp_posts set ping_status = 'closed' ;

will do the trick.

option ARMs

September 3rd, 2006

Business week on so called option ARMs.

I always thought that ‘interest-only-loans’ would be a scary thing to sign.

Those poor people that will loose everything and then some. Many of them probably have jobs that require lots of time and effort to make some money. All they probably wanted to do, is to get ‘in on the action’ during that housing boom that is now so clearly over.

geek fight!

September 3rd, 2006

If you enjoy people getting at each others throats and like geek subjects (that’s all four of you) then you could follow the discussion between Joel and David.

I think it’s about Ruby on Rails. I didn’t read it. Although Joel writes usually nice, and David really loves Ruby. He is the one that came up with the Quicktime screen capture movies that show how to do things with Rails. Better get over there quickly, usually smart people ( they both certainly are ) realize very quickly that fighting is not the smartest thing to do. I think they will find a peaceful agreement, or at least will leave each other alone pretty quickly. Then you have to turn to politics again for a good fight. Actually those are not as good, since they are deeply rooted in stupidity.

why flash sucks (continued)

September 2nd, 2006

Just wondered what a Mini S would cost. They have a website. They have a ‘configurator’. After 5 minutes of trying they lost me. I do have a fast computer am behind a 3-tier T1 and still the website was useless.
I kind of know what a Mini would cost, sure. But I wonder how many people really endure such a crappy interface. Typical case of broken feedback loop: BMW feels they need a ‘configurator’. Since everybody hacks them together in flash they do so as well. The ‘designers’ present it probably on a local network, and nobody analyses the actual CTR and usage on the site once it is up.
Next new car the same people get the job again. Another 100K down the drain …

out of the valley …

September 2nd, 2006

this image is supposed to be computer generated Here the WIP posting

Of course on a still you can do lots of tricks. And 1 expression does not make something look alive.
But still, things get better in the department of computer generated reality.

gruber ups the ante

September 2nd, 2006

he is willing to give a MacBook away

On September 9 we will know what it was about this “Mac’s can be hacked” meme that everybody duplicated but nobody did research.


September 2nd, 2006

“It’s Living” Sony’s slogan for the upcoming PS3

“It’s dead, alright” me saying that PS3 might sink Sony much quicker than people think.

Sony said that they would have 2 Million PS3 on launch, 2 by the end of the year and another 2 by the end of March ‘07. Of course they think that all of them will be sold. There are more than 200 Million PS2 consoles out there. To launch a next gen product with 1% of the existing install base seems reasonable. You expect a healthy run on those precious devices. And they feature a Blu-Ray DVD player. Standalone players retail for around one thousand dollars. The PS3 only for 600. What’s there not to love?

A whole lot. It’s September, and officially Sony has not started to make the thing. They have ten weeks to produce two Million units of something that they have not made yet. At this years E3 they showed playable Dev kits (think full size PC) and bluray players inside of the nifty designed cases. It might be very well the shape and design of the box that will make the PS3 the disaster that might take Sony out within a few months. Please note the the double might in the last sentence. Sony is a huge company, how could they fail so disastrous? It’s unlikely, but also the possible truth.

The PS2 saved Sony. The win of that ‘console war’ helped to hide other disasters that the company experienced. On the heights of the PS2 internal and external Sony-might Kutaragi could pretty much ask for anything in order to ’secure’ Sony’s dominance of the gaming sector. Naturally the next generation console would be the battlefield that needed to be defended and won. Sony planned to throw around it’s might and simply went off and invented a new type of CPU. Over four years IBM invested 400 Million US$ into this thing. First application: Millions of PS3s.

Now let’s suppose that things went ok, just not ideal with the Cell. That happens. Actually all things that are visible to the general public indicate that that is what happened. And this might sink Sony quicker than anybody could imagine. In 12 weeks we will know more. In twelve weeks there should be millions of PS3s in homes around the globe, computing the hell out of everything. Sony’s PS3 is expected to ‘awe’ every viewer. It was the japanese electronics behemoth itself that set this level of expectations in widely recognized speeches and announcements.

Back to the ‘what if the Cell was only ok, not perfect’ scenario. The XBox 360 had won the launch time race. Sony countered by releasing enormous numbers for their next generation consoles. Coupled with equally enormous prices. They also revealed a design. Being in the business of making decent looking things for years it was a logical step to present the public of how the thing will look like.

Sony could be in the following simple situation right now: The thing simply does not work. Putting the Cell CPU in a case like they envisioned will melt it. The Xbox had thermal problems. The PS3 case is very small, and has no visible fans. Again: Nobody has ever seen a working PS3 in public. Ten weeks before two Million should hit the street. The yields on CPUs and BluRay diodes are supposed to be very low. If the current Cell does not work in the current case Sony has not many options. They are notoriously bad in pro active crisis management. The last push in the release date came pretty much exactly when the console was to be released.

Of course the likely hood of the instant Sony melt is not high. But it’s not entirely unlikely either. If Cell and cases simply would not work that would explain why Sony did not start making the devices yet. Instead of claiming such simple and embarrassing reasons they might point to a shortage in blue diodes for the Bluray drives as a reason for shortages. Would make the thing more ‘precious’. And would leave less room for people complaining about their overheating devices.

Even if they get the 6 Million units done and sold by March 07 I don’t think that Sony can repeat the PS2 with the PS3. The world has changed. PCs and their gfx cards will soon be much faster than any game console. Gaming consoles have excluded themselfs from the pace of upgrade cycles that are possible in the PC landscape. Good and bad, but fatal for the PS3 in the mid future. If it it’s not DOA that is.

two minutes after posting this rant I came accross this image of the PS3. Interesting amount of holes in the side there.

Bentley, the other Volkswagen

September 2nd, 2006

Autoblog reviews the Bentley Continental Flying Spur

Nice read if you like cars. The 2 door cousin “Continental GT” is kind a ‘dime a dozen’ car in some parts of LA. The Warner Brothers parking lot for instance. The price tag hovering between 1 and 2 hundret thousand US$ scheds a completely new light on situation in some parts of the economy.

Glad I read the review, so that I can hold of the purchase until they get a navigation system that can compete with a Camry.

Royal Automobiles

September 2nd, 2006

Arriving at the parking lot of a theme park in Germany in-midst 8,000 sparkling middle class vehicles my daughter asks “Kings drive what kind of cars?”.

Cars are a product of industrial mass society that is incompatible with feudalism that supports Kings. One clearly came after the other.

Looking at the current situation we are somewhat like Kings with cars. Fossil fuels make energy dirt cheap so that we can clutter our material surroundings in the wildest ways. In the same time we already have access to information technology that is clearly evolving the mass culture of the 20th century into something new that has neither name nor definition yet.

neat idea

September 2nd, 2006

google did a quick little game to let you add tags to images.
It’s actually quiet nice, since it seems to have a couple of innovative ideas and it does even work.