October 31st, 2006

Democracy is based on people casting a vote. Making the act to vote more complicated than it needs to be is a simply a criminal act against the spirit of Democracy. In developed Democracies you vote by taking a thick pencil and making a cross inside of a circle. That’s it. Since decades. Works always and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s the best way of doing this. In 2000 there was a bit of a stir up in the USA around punch cards, butterfly ballots and hanging chads. The remedy was not to abandon complicated things. It was to add more layers of technology. Which defies logic and furhter dilutes the act of voting. This kind of story is to be expected. Actually the whole vote fraud idea deters people from voting, instead of motivating them. Which means that democracy looses it’s foundation.
If you have any doubts about mal intend around the voting process just look up “Gerrymandering”. But sure the US has all the rights to wage war on the other side of the planet to find WMD, retaliate 911 spread Democracy. I wonder if those painted index fingers were collored diebold. Probably not, since the color would dissapear within seconds in that case.

viral media

October 31st, 2006

Advertising Age is raving about Dove’s “Evolution”. Their headline reads “Better ROI From YouTube Video Than Super Bowl Spot”. Now that’s what some people want to hear. And it leaves reason behind. Jumping head over heals into the current media internet bubble bath.
The Dove campaign is great. How often is there an ad for a cosmetic product that I want to show to my daughter? It certainly works on the internet. Because of it’s content. Certain content will work well on the internet. But let’s face it, if something works really well it will get killed by it’s own success: Today you can find a video of mentos + coke on Google Video. It is prominently featured on the google Blog.
Dove is great since it’s decent and sells soap. Are you feeling having a Diet-Coke or Mentos after watching the latest and lamest sticky liquid orgy? Certainly not. Actually with todays video dropping Mentos into big soda bottles becomes officially lame. The Meme has suffocated itself under it’s own weight.

Cnet however sings a different song. I wonder how many kids run around now with the video cameras to do the ‘next big thing’.

war and winning it

October 30th, 2006

Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory:
1. He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.
2. He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.
3. He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.
4. He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
5. He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.

Sun Tzu aprox 600 BC (copy pasted from wikisource)

looks like we are fucked.

John Walker

October 29th, 2006

for my last post I googled around for ‘calculation slide’. And so I found [again] the website of John Walker. He started AutoDesk. The companies second product “AutoCAD” became rather successful. Among other things that I plan to read, I found his anagram creator and learned -after tweaking the dictionary- that my name could be rearranged into draw neck areas or ransacked ware.

calculator watch

October 29th, 2006

According to wikipedia it was the first World War that brought the wrist watch into wide use. Only sixty years later people tought that it would be a brilliant idea to have a calculator in your wrist watch. As brilliant as having a PDA or a camera in your cell phone I suppose.

Before the were pocket calculators there were slide rules. I did like them. Thinking about it, I should get one. Or even better: create one with megabytes, megabit etc scales. Having the common technologies like USB2 etc marked. OK, neat, but obsolete in about a year. Still, it would be fun to wip out a slide scale in a meeting when asked how long xyz would take. Actually I am pretty convinced now that I want a slide scale. Good thing my dad tought me how to use one.

In 1962 the DoD came up with a slide scale to compute the impact of nuclear bombs. Somehow I could see Kennedy operating one of these after a brief introduction. Now imagine your job would be to teach George W. Bush to operate and use this device.
The scary part about this is, that both people have the power to push the same button. People then were fast to say that Mr B. had so many great advisors. Those that gave him that darn good intelligence.


October 28th, 2006

it’s the little things that matter. Apple recipe is so simple: Just make things better. As much as you can. And don’t stop there. Jobs could say for years “Our products look from the back better than the other guys from the front”. Yet nobody really started to compete with Apple in the design league. Sony was good in the 80s and early ninetees. Right now there isn’t much industrial design that would be worth mentioning. Despite the fact that Apple makes a killing, vastly based on design. Go figure.

tape deck

October 28th, 2006

When I was a teenager I worked during the school vacations in order to afford a stereo system. One that was loud and sounded decent. Those came in modules back in the day. It took me a couple of years to make the system complete. I started with an amplifier, speakers and a tape deck.

Basically I wanted to steal music. But those terms were not around back in the day. All I knew was that Albums would cost 20 DM when a pack of Cigarettes ‘only’ cost 3. Both we could not afford. So we rolled our own and taped records. I borrowed my parents record player and my friends albums to get to the music that I liked. That was more than twenty five years ago, and the record industry obviously survived me stealing their music. But they could have noticed a trend a long time ago. They decided not to. They thought their business is to sell physical artifacts that happen to make sounds in the right equipment. First Vinyl then Compact Disc and finally Super CD / Audio DVD. It seems pretty obvious that the record industry got stuck on some model that became irrelevant.

Napster came along at the same time those super high tech next generation audio formats were introduced. Surprisingly people cared about music not about the latest amount of quality that those industry suggestions had to offer.

misc links

October 27th, 2006

stupid title yet worth revisting.

scrable score record

youtube and copyright

October 27th, 2006

the slate sheds some interesting light on Copyright and why youTube might be in less trouble than everybody claimed.

fxguide podcast

October 24th, 2006

The nice people at fxguide were brave enough to record my incoherent ramblings and put them up as a podcast. Luckily Angus Wall and Jeff Heuser were in the same podcast. They added sense and reason and made it so worth listening to.

run - obama - run

October 22nd, 2006

The Republicans assured that the US had the worst possible start into the century. Unfortunately people like Kerry and Kennedy are not exactly inspiring. But now Barack Obama considers to run . Perfect. I only heard him speak once. But he can talk. The next thing I could wish for is a campaign that would cut through all that mess. If only 5% of the people wake up and become active for what they care for that would already be enough to get some leadership back in the Whitehouse.

“stay the course”

October 22nd, 2006

Bush claiming he never has ‘been stay the course’

The only question is why such a person was able run the largest power on this planet for eight years.


men in power

October 22nd, 2006

"What a mighty man he turns out to be! He raped 10 women - I would never have expected this from him. He surprised us all - we all envy him!"

Vladimir Puttin about the President of Israel. According to the BBC

That men can talk pretty outragous bulshit is not really news. What does bother me is the attitude of Putin (According Ze Frank ‘Putin’ is the approiate word for a baby fart) and alikes that run around and try to represent moral values. While they actually are just as bad as your common average guy.

the cost to run things

October 22nd, 2006

Surprisingly little attention goes into the fact that most computer installation run 24/7 and use power that needs to be bought. Electricity bills are often perceived like taxes or any other act of god: An expense needed in order to do business. As long the competition get’s hit as well, what’s there to think about?


The ‘digital negative’ of the movie we just finished was 140 Terrabytes. That got me thinking: what if we would have tried to keep it all online. The installation of those disks would have used 8,750 Watts. Double that for cooling and you would have spent 16,863 US dollar to keep all those spindles spinning for a year. (at 11 cents a KW/h).

That does matter in my book. Since I can never remember anything I thought I would try to come up with a approximation of cost per 1000 Watts. It looks as if realities don’t get bent too much when assuming 80 US$ per 1KW per month, or 1000 US$ per year. Double that if you have to cool the room the machines live in. Which is always the case. The variables here are the efficiency on the cooling and the actual price not being 11cents. Actuall and nominal Wattage might also differ. But close numbers are better than no numbers, or numbers that are so complex to calculate that they never be taken into account.

misc links

October 21st, 2006

Some misc links:

the usual Sony drama around shipments of the PS3.

Cinemas dragging their feet and having generally no vision nor clue. I guess that if you business model is to sell thousands and thousands of tons of pop corn it can not really have a great influence on your creative mindset. Cinema operators probably see themselves more like hog farmers. It’s all about the logistics of getting the corn to the mouths.

Vanessa Williams says HD is not her friend. sqrt(pixelcount) + age of actress * secret Hollywood factor = constant

the paradox of choice

October 21st, 2006

of course I had to watch another TED video while I was at Google Video. Since it’s such a long way there.

Barry Schwartz talks about choice

I agree with him that the choice is by no means linear to happyness. But I dissagree on his remedy. It’s not a decrease of choice that would be the ideal solution. It’s the management of it. People are not in a situation to make decent and educated descissions. Like mine how to spell certain words for instance. But when people are looking into the options and only choose what makes sense, then all the rubbish will disappear. If you buy crap, or equally worse, let your friends buy crap then you inititate the production of more of it. If you only choose things that are good, then you will steer things in the right direction. The choices will follow.

There are so many junk things around us, since people can survive their wrong choices. So they keep making bad ones.

And finally:
Dan Gilbert about happiness and choice

multi touch interface

October 21st, 2006

a quick demo of a multi finger touch interface

Make sure to have alook at the image organisation application he shows around 3:40 before you click away.
There are lots of other TED demo’s online. This is -I believe- the first year that they publish these presentations. Worth the browse.

for the next president

October 20th, 2006

Can we please make sure that the next President and Administration at least have some basic understanding of something like this?

Please imagine GW Bush looking at a website like the one above. How long could he look at it? How would he describe what he saw to somebody else?

This is the guy supposed to run stuff for 300 Million people in all the things where there needs to be somebody running things. Like war and peace and the financial future of the government.

It seems that America has issues with interlect and clarity, as some links might illustrate:

A democrat activist site has an analytical look a CNNs front page in 2000 and 2006.

The GOP is doing the old Terror trick. They were in power for five years after 9/11. Spent billions on war, yet were unable to get OBL. That’s why you NEED TO VOTE for THEM. Amazing that there seems to be an audience going for that.

Politics, always have been messy and partizan. Let’s switch to technology. There never have been any Mac Viruses. I know of a couple of hundret Apple users, or know the people that are responsible for them. The users are a very mixed crowd. Nobody had ever a Virus or malware issue. You get spam email on a Mac too, your google search results are at times full of spam, but that’s where the malware drama ends for you. It is as simple and as clear cut as that.
Still people write articles like this. There are no factual obvious blunders in this. Except that this blurry mixed bag of facts, statements and quotes seem to hover around this bogus theory of market share. This article exists so that people that benefit from it can point to it and say “Look, Mac’s have viruses too”.

If there is an obvious outbreak of stupidity it causes sometimes a clear response.

But generally it seems to cheap and easy to generate messages and ‘news’ that everybody does it. And most people have an agenda to push. The average american is surrounded by communication that is all meant to pull him in one direction or another. People simply give up on having an opinion that is based on facts. They just swim in a pile of soundbytes and pick whatever seems approiate in the current moment. That’s probably why politicians get away with all the crap that they are coming up with.

It was not always like that: In the age of reason there was an attempt to know things. There were discussions, and a quest to find the best solution based on as much objective findings as people would get a handle on. I am sure there were snake oil merchants back in the day as well. I want to believe though, that it was clear and simple that these people were peddling there goods and had no part on a serious discussions about serious matters. OK, maybe I have a slitghly idealized perspective on a world in that the American Constitution has been created.

cellphones, their cameras and missing features

October 20th, 2006

Many Cellphones have cameras. Wether you want it or not. While I had no problem taking 70,000 images with cheap Canon pocket cameras that then became twexus, I never really used the camera in the Motorola flip phone I am using right now.

I find it amazing how there are no phones that make use of the camera for themselves. Phone and camera share the power source, that’s about it. When I want to call somebody that is not in the address book I have to read the number and then type it. Not a big deal. True. But the camera in the phone could do that for me, right? Either trying to OCR a humanly readable number, or -slightly more involved- read a special barcode that could mean all sorts of other things as well.

star trak

October 20th, 2006

sucks to be famous these days.

os x APIs

October 19th, 2006

Learning new stuff. Again. Will it ever end?
When trying to figure out why on earth there is no easy and obvious way to find out why a writeToFile has failed in Objective C the google gods had some mercy and sent me to this page that not furthers my question a single inch. Wil Shipley is the author of Delicious Library and what he had to write let me go further for 48 hours to look into this whole Cocoa thing. And that’s after spending three days to prepend 4 (!) 7 digit phone numbers with 310 since there are now overlay area codes. Cleaning up your address book with Objective C is a rather interesting excersive in patience.


October 19th, 2006

Filesystems store what we use on our computers. They are not an act of god, they are man made. They seem to have an impressive resilience if it comes to innovation though. The folder / directory structure was more or less the last break through. Since the the storage capacity did grow: You mom might manage hundred times the storage now than a mid sized team of lab coat wearing engineers did when she was young.

This general rant got inspired by an rather unpleasant observation: Many filesystem become unstable or only slow in the better cases when they become full. Xsan and xfs
have technically not that much in common, but you better keep 10% space available.
Which is tragically exactly the opposite from any real life use I have seen. Now I am talking about professional storage for media. It always is full. Brimful.

wynn vs. picasso

October 18th, 2006

Ah those billionaires


October 17th, 2006

Conceptually it was a well intended follow up: Sony’s Bravia commercial using exploding paint instead of many balls.

Execution wise there certainly are amazing explosions. There are few good camera angles. But most of them are, well, uninspired. The idea of using an abandoned housing project is interesting. Somewhat. I have just seen to many of them being blown up. Somehow you expect them to sink together once they become the object of the camera. But it was not this non delivering on the expectation that broke the spot. It was the unispired music choice together with that I call dismal editing. I can only write this, since I have not looked up yet who did it. It’s easier that way. And I am sure it was the usual clusterfuck of decission making or pure lack therof that pushed this brilliant idea of a follow up into the lower ends of mediocricy. The sport lives from the real Bravia. Not more, not less. A typical sequell that can’t deliver. Too bad they blew it.

this american life

October 16th, 2006

The NPR radio show “This american Life” is available as podcast.

Finally. Excellent!

bravia teaser

October 16th, 2006

After the balls in SF Bravia ad Sony is making another one. The teaser and some stills.

Ives Klein would have loved that. Wait a minute I just had an idea. Sony, can I make a commercial, please. Pretty please?


October 16th, 2006

“… to take one of your earbuds out and put it in her ear. ”

Yeah, that’s gonna work, Steve! Probably works with him. Reality distortion field of a billionaire on a park bench.

3ware 9550sx DEGRADED und linux

October 12th, 2006

I just positively confirmed that you NEED to run a linux kernel with ‘noapic’ like this:

kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.17-1.2142_FC4smp ro root=LABEL=/ noapic

Omitting noapic resulted in an array that would loose a harddrive for a split second in the very same midplane position after 12 - 14 hours of heavy use. The array state would switch to DEGRADED and it would rebuild for a couple of hours. Never lost any data. Just allot of time in trying to fix hardware that was not broken in the first place.

old news

October 11th, 2006

It really is old news
And nothing special. Just a guy. That got shot. 68 times.

But hey he allegdly had shot a police officer and a police dog.

Movies and realities blend into one for some people. Which is an academic excersice. As long you have the right skin color and social contacts and drug habits. Once you cross that line things don’t look pretty. Not at all.

taking a page from Rove’s book

October 11th, 2006

This Audi commerical -even though made for the UK market- will not really generate sales for the german car in the american midwest.

Audi’s thinking might be similar to that of republican strategist pursuing topics like the Geneva Convention or Gay marriage as ridicolous they are: If you lost half of the population anyway, you might as well go all the way and put out an extreme statement to get you attention. And voters at the polls or yuppies into the dealership.

about those one point six billion

October 10th, 2006

the youTube founders came up with a ‘video’ for the occasion

“Two Kings came together” ?? wtf!

Honestly, I would rather not be in their shoes. Good for them that they cashed in like they did.
But not being a dork like they are: priceless.

It reminds of the “King of the World”.
Somehow the gluttening reference to royality is a sure way to make you disappear.

one point five fps

October 9th, 2006

does sound awefully slow: one point five frames per second. Actually it is a number that makes me happy: It is the performance of the first beta test transfer of the interdubs software that I write. It allows the direct exchange of material from discreet framestore to framestore. Runs in the background, once set up (2 command lines on each end, zero install) it needs not further interaction.

Uncompressed 720×486 at 1.5fps in the background surely beats fedexing a digibeta.
And the 1.5 fps limit is not on my end. I should be good for a bit more. Actually so much more that it’s not worth wondering about it: There are no connections out there that could reach it. I think.

one point six billion

October 9th, 2006

google buys youtube

Didn’t google try their own video thing? If you have it, then you can pay 1.6 billion for making your own solution worse than the one coming out of a garage somewhere. The only problem is, that once you start doing this you loose the edge. Gmail was the last thing that google did that really worked. Search is still of amazing quality for them. Maps is decent,
but video they screwed up, and now they pay the equivalent of the GDP of Mongolia for their mistake. OK almost, that one is 1885 Millions.

iTunes cover art meets monty python

October 7th, 2006

with a twist of 2006 gore

I like

the idea
how quick the iTunes 7 cover art download was able to inspire this
that blogsNow keeps finding these things for me

I dislike

the story (or absence thereof)
the cheap-o Monty Python ripp off, wasn’t funny when Guiness did it a couple of years
the random violence on the level of fart humor
the fact that the quicktime is 4 by 3 aspect ratio!! People, please think. Not outside of the box,
just along it’s corners.


October 7th, 2006

The president, the terrorists, the lies

Olbermann delivers a commentary. Watching it you can also ‘test’ the Microsoft video service.
Much like Zefrank does not seem to blink, Olbermann does not need to breath when he talks.
He has a good writer though. And he is not holding back.

Lucas and the future as he sees it.

October 5th, 2006

Variety quoting George Lucas on the future of movies. Or rather the non existence of that concept. I think he has a point or two and misses on others. But it is worth mentioning since Mr Lucas spend some time on making films.

ps3 @ tgs

October 3rd, 2006

PS3: hot or not

But at least it seems that they managed to build it.

Dodge 600

October 2nd, 2006

Last August I stopped working at Method Studios in Santa Monica. Among other things I did their website. Today a new design and back end went live at I have nothing to do with this version of the site. Of course I have an opinion about it:

To make things overall lighter is a nice touch. That’s where the good news about the new site ends. It’s design is cluttered. “Copyright 2005″ prominently points to what seems to have been a rather long internal process. (Has been corrected.) Much care went into the usability of the original ‘dark site’. It tried to connect people quickly with the content that they would be looking for. None of this is left. Changes in navigations are sometimes needed. But ignoring years of user interaction is plain stupid and arrogant.

Method Studios had a website from it’s inception in 1998. The concept of the site was to show all the work that the company had ever worked on. At least this has not been changed. Just that it’s connection with search engines and users will be different and in parts is broken.

The internet has changed since Method’s site went online. It is saddening to me to see that none of these changes were able to alter the current site. It’s just a failed rip off.
It reminds me strongly of the Dodge 600


October 1st, 2006

I will miss Youtube. It’s as close I want to get to TV these days. BlogsNow is crawling back into existence. Slowly. It would only find two links worth mentioning right now. Bothsurrounding the Page meme. I wonder what the Republicans will come with. Maybee bomb North Korea?

Meandering through youTube’s suggestions I watched a bit of Daily Show (there is lots) and finally ended up with a video almost dedicated to Maf54.