fourty five years ago

December 31st, 2006

World receiver from 1962


December 21st, 2006

It probably is a sign of age that these days I can look at a site like arkinetia and like all I see, while pretty women are kind of a yawn lately.
Looking at these houses it seems that Modernism was not just a ‘phase’. It seems to come back, and it makes allot of sense. The iPod could have been done by Dieter Rahms. Kinda. The ideas behind modern design and architecture are still valid. For a while ‘mordern’ was also ‘hip’. People accepted it’s easthetics and repeting it’s symbols, whithout needing to get behind the underlying ideas. Of course this kind of ‘hollow reign’ never lasts.

When modernism comes back now, then I hope that it does for the reason that more people are ready for the underlying view of human life. Not because rectangular is the new black. Time will tell.

December 21st, 2006

Nielsen about movies and interaction design

ps3 and Wii at Ebay.

December 21st, 2006

When the PS3 came out there was allot of media frenzy about the huge ebay prices.

Three days before christmas neither Wii nor PS3 are possible ot find in stores. But @ eBay you can buy them. Just watched a PS3/20GB go for 530 US$ and a Wii for 450US$. The problem for Sony is that the actual retail prices compare differently: 80% markup for the Wii and 6% for the Ps3. Looks like people don’t want the PS3 that bad. Which is really bad: At a whopping 500/600 pricetag and with a considerable install base of the Xbox 360 Sony needs to build some momentum. Sofar they fail to accomplish that. It might become a negative chicken/egg thing: with a not so promising install base game developer might avoid to take the risk of a PS3 development that would use the power of the Cell chip. Innovative ideas might be aimed and tested at the PS2. A known development environment and huge install base. Maybe somebody will make a wii like add on to create similar controllers for it. PS3 has not much going for it, except it’s looks and the fact that it’s the most affordable Bluray player.

quick links

December 20th, 2006

007 title sequences YouTube, but better than nothing.

Man vs. Button

a corporate flash site that does not suck

December 19th, 2006

ILM’s Pirates 2 show and tell

Usually VFX companies have a hard time telling the world about their work. Either they keep their ’secrets close to their chest’ or they simply lack the skills to communicate well. Lately a certain diss-interest of the public can be added to the list: The fact that something is not real in a movie is not worth mentioning anymore. The bar is much, much higher now. And -of course- ILM in Pirates2 reached it big time with Davy Jones. Their site about the fx is surprisingly good, informative and fun.

While looking at the blogs that link to the ILM page I found this 80’s TV piece

at Visual FX blog.
I had no idea that Lasseter / Disney did try to make “Where the wild things are”.

who? me?

December 17th, 2006


so true, just had not heard the term before. ‘linkbait’.

DI workflow for the departet

December 17th, 2006

The ASC has an interesting article about the DI workflow used on “The departed”. It is interesting, yet not surprising, that Michael Ballhaus watches HD dailies and is happy with them. Only a few short years ago it seemed a sacrileg to abandon film dailies.
Interestingly there has not been any technological breakthrough since then. HD is still 1920×1080. But people probably know now better how to do these things, and creatives are more comfortable with a digital aspect, since their final product will be created digitally anyway in the DI suite.

As for the rest of the “Departed” workflow it might have made sense at the time to procede as described at each step. But after a cursory read I am left with the feeling that the movie bounceds in and out of lots of formats in the process. I have not seen it, but it looked good from what I heard. Ballhaus’ movies usually do.

what’s michel doing?

December 15th, 2006

linux screen command

December 15th, 2006

An addition to this blog post

Of course I had forgotten the semantics in the meantime, and google did not point me to my own blog. So with this entry I hope it will. Since one thing is for sure: I will need the screen command again, and it will also have forgotten how to use it.

In order to share one terminal session by two people on the same machine personA runs:

screen -S someName

the second person should be able to share the session by running:

screen -x someName

flash video sucks

December 15th, 2006

yeah, yeah,

youtube. Everybody talked about all that money g paid for it.
Next one on the list of things to mention is the ample amount of content.
And then -of course- people mumble about DRM. Lawsuits. All that stuff journalists like to write about.

But, did anybody ever look at it???

It looks like shit - curtesy Flash video. 95% install base made this format an instant winner.
And it still looks like shit. When MTV appeared it at least had the same TV quality than the rest.
The sad part is, that it seems to be good enough. People don’t seem to mind.

motion blur

December 15th, 2006

two divided by two plus one plus allot still makes zero

December 15th, 2006

Once about a time Amanda and Andrew (2) made rocketboom. And it was alright. Had a couple of ideas, was fresh, delivered in iTunes daily. Overall it was worth watching. Then they broke up (divided by two). Andrew got a new leading lady (+1). I never started watching again (=0). She tried to much to be like the old rocketboom AND try to find her own style in the same time. Amanda went to LA. She signed with a talent agency. And now ABC picked her up (+allot):
ABC’s “page” for Amanda Congdon

Just watched the first installment. It it dull, boring. No content. Nothing of interest. More visual treatment but nothing that mattered or that was original. She still does the signature swing into the camera thing. But not even those worked. Timing is indeed crucial.
Perceived production value on the original rocketboom was definitely higher than it is now. Which is ridicolous, since ABC probably spends between five hundred and thousand times more per second than the original did.

Another sad part of the new presentation is the whole “breast in your face” action. No, it is not me. I have watched her for hours, daily on Rocketboom. Yes, she never was ugly. But it was a good mix, with her looks not trying to center stage. Which is almost always horrible boring. It seems ABC never understood her or the whole concept. They tried, and failed dismally. It could easily be that ABC will loose around hundret US$ per viewer per episode on the web. Nobody would care to watch this.

I hope that ‘zefrank’ is really only one guy. So he can not split up, and leave us with no decent content left in the those video feeds.

broken things

December 14th, 2006

The screen goes dark on an iBook G3 that my wife used to use. Turns out that this is a very common problem with iBooks G3 machines. Google does do a good job in showing related results. But imagine it could do a better job! How if computer makers would give their models google-able individual ‘names’. Those could be anything, as long their use is easy and encouraged by their nature. Bugs could be tracked. There could be a whole new industry around this: I rather write some new code then to battle 50 tiny screws on that iBook. But somebody else might have fixed a few of those iBooks already. Putting a bigger harddrive in while the machine is open. It’s old, but still a very neat machine. Who cares about the Mhz? The white iBook is a great little computer. One worth fixing. One capable ‘enough’.

camera contrast range

December 13th, 2006

A very interesting overview of the different response curves for the Arri D20, Thompson Viper, RED and some other cameras.

first entertainment credit union: as stupid as any other bank

December 13th, 2006

March 12, 2009

A couple of years ago I wrote this post. Putting it under this headline was misleading. I like my credit union (much better than my other bank: Wells Fargo. Well OK, that’s an easy one).

The original post read like this:

I am with that credit union since ten years. And I will probably stay with them. The people in the branch are nice. Since years I wire money. Always the same accounts. It never went through in the beginning. They could not read my handwriting. So I made a pretty version and started to xerox it. Filled in the date and the amount. Things started to work. Then they must have gotten a new middle management moron or just plain lost it: Now they have their people fill in the form, print it and then fax it. Which takes them a while, I have to double check that all numbers are correct and so forth. Stupid really, since they were able to read the forms before. They just loose time. I would too, but I can use the wifi of the nearby coffee shop while they enter the same information. Month by month.
Now the money did not arrive. After 20 minute of call center hell I learned that they now require an additional number: the IBAN number. Another 21 digit number. There are already 50 digits to be filled out for each transfer. Fine. The problem was that they just did not tell their branch that this number is mandatory now. Nor did they issue new forms. Of course the number is already contained on those 50 digits. Wikipedia knows that. I know it now. But the bank, who’s business it should be to know these things, apparently does not. This -unforntunately- is no exception. Every years billions of dollars are being destroyed in endless rows of ugly cubicles by moronic concepts and TPS reports. Since all banks are the same it is hard for capitalism do what it is supposed to do: keeping people on their toes. Make them think, so that they don’t break things.

cellphone hearts blowdryer

December 13th, 2006

A while back a friend gave me his Nokia 3210. Five weeks ago it got soaked with water and stopped working. Just a single horizontal black line on the display flashed up when the phone was powered up. Or the entire screen when it was connected to the power adapter. Removing battery and SIM card and holding a blow dryer into to for a minute fixed this issue. I could not believe that humidity was able to hide for so long in the phone and a decent ‘bake’ from the blow dryer was able to fix it. Should I set a robot an buy everything @ ebay that reads ‘water damage’ and is cheaper than 10 US$ ?
Maybe the miracle can be repeated. Maybe this is the way to get rich? Forget about coding. Value up seemingly broken electronics.

ps2 outsells everybody

December 12th, 2006

In November the best selling game console was (drumroll) the Playstation. Playstation-2 that is: 664,000 of the units that debuted in the beginning of century found new owners. With prices as affordable as 99 dollars and the biggest game library there is it makes for a pretty nice product. Next one in the sales charts is Microsofts Xbox 360 with 511,000 units. Pushing its install base into substance after being out for one year. Nintendo’s Wii was able to get 476,000 out to i’ts users in a few days. Quiet a start. Trailing the pack is the Playstation 3, the console that was supposed to revolutionize everything. Much has been written about Sony’s ambition with this machine, it’s supply issues, the craze for the first units. Not much was said about the pretty pictures that the unit is able to create. Which is not good news. After all a ps3 is five to six times more expensive than a ps2. HD alone is not enough I am afraid.

do features matter, after all?

December 12th, 2006

Joel makes a point that things do well when they features. For INTERDUBS I spent allot of time lately think about the number of features, and ‘iPodness’ of the user interaction. Interesting to read a voice that goes against the current trend of simple, simple and simple.

sony: you are toast

December 9th, 2006

Just saw an unoppened PS3 go for 560 US$. It was the 20GB model that retails for 499 US$. Sixty one dollars for having spend the night in front of a video game store? Not so good in my book. The prices @ ebay for PS3 have been coming down over the last weeks. Which is not a good sign for Sony. If hardcore games would want this machine badly, the prices would be higher. Now if the geeks don’t want it that bad, how about the general public? The plan was that the PS3 would push bluray ahead of HD-DVD. Now it looks as if Bluray has to save the face of the PS3. It’s a cheap player compared to other next gen DVD options. But compared to standard def players it still is expensive: 230 US dollars get you a decent player that will make all you existing movies look really good.

Speaking of: I started buying DVDs. Opportunistically: There are so many movies I have not seen, might want to see again. If the DVD is cheap enough then I just pick it up. After a few weeks of this strategy I ended up with lots of DVDs sitting in my room. IF there is time to watch something there is something to look at. And I like it, that I know I can easily go back to what I have seen. The quality could be better here or there. But it is not worth the money to go back and spend all that money: I get a ps3 from ebay, then a screen that is worth using and I have spent 1500 US$. Then I buy all the movies there are and have 30 mediocre to ok movies for 2,000 US$. When I buy DVDs cheaply and watch them on my laptop I could have 250 movies to watch for the same amount of money. HD is not NOT worth ten times the money. Not even twice. With the Oppo player you actually get an amazing picture out of a standard DVD. Out of most of them. It’s impossible to beat. People will realize this, sooner or later.

how to mount DVD under fedora core

December 9th, 2006

mkdir /mnt/dvd
mount /dev/dvd /mnt/dvd

The simple things that I do every couple of weeks I keep forgetting.
(added slash, thanks Bernard!)

pearl harbor day

December 7th, 2006

It’s Pearl Harbor Day. There should be a national 9/11 holiday. Instead of a pointless war against a country that had nothing to do with it. Bush, that man got stellar approval ratings when he promised cowboy like to ’smoke them out’. Well, he failed, if you simplify the issue as the administration actually did for a while: OBL is still at large.

would you like to save this password?

December 5th, 2006

When going to a website with a password both firefox and safari ask if they should save the password.
Which is an ok thing to do. But who thought that it would be a good idea to ask this BEFORE you know that it was the right password. Ideally the browser would ask you after the page has been loaded. Then you know if it worked or not. Sure, that is a little bit more work for the coder. But that extra day of coding would be well spent. After all, that’s what we are doing all day: Getting those odditiies out of your computer uses. Allot of work, but it seperates crap from things that you would like to use tomorrow as well.

Panavision as seen by the LA Times

December 4th, 2006

Panavision in an Article of the LA Times

According the LA Times Panavision does well. They are planning to make twenty more Genesis this years. Sounds like allot, but their own subsidary “Plus-8″ has added that many of the competing Viper cameras to their rental inventory last September.

looks like I will go to Macworld

December 2nd, 2006

Just forty days left to overcome the fear to speak in front of crowds.

HD for Indies did a roundup of articles around Zodiac.


December 1st, 2006

For the longest time I wrote that the PS3 would be doomed. Then, apparently unimpressed, it shipped anyway. There they were the stories about long lines at the stores. People getting thousands of dollars for the console on eBay. Just this very moment a PS3 sold for 820 + 55 shipping on ebay. Unoppened. Of course. Retail is 599. EA hints that 200K PS3s have been shipped. Ebay is pretty brutal. Demand and supply. EA also claimed that around 20,000 PS3 have gone through the eBay mill. Nintendo managed to make and sell 600,000 Wii consoles in the first eight days of availability. They are aiming at 4 Million by the end of the year. That’s what Sony aimed for. Years ago. Now they settle for an eight of that.
These are the people saying that ‘next gen’ would not start before they said so.

In other words: The Wii won. It outsold the PS3 3 to 1 by now. It gets good reviews. People like it. The PS3 had allot of hype. Now and it exists, and way to many people shrug their shoulders. Having 45% markup on a product that have 200,000 of and wanted to sell twenty times more? Not realistic. If there would be 4,000,000 eager PS3 buyers (for 600 US$) then the ebay price would be way higher than it is now.