the future is clear, if you are smart

December 31st, 2007

Paleo Future is a blog that collects part predictions of the future. The usual flying cars and rocket belts. This interview with TA Edison is an execption to the rule. He got it all right. Probably because inventing much of those changes were what he did all his life.

Mr Edison contradicts the rule that knowledge dampens innovation.

airport security

December 30th, 2007

Patrick Smith writes about the TSA and how we fight an attack that happened six years ago, that is over and could not be repeated.

music and technology

December 30th, 2007

The Rolling Stone writes about audio technology and music and how things have changed in recent years.

Technology and Art influencing each other is a very interesting topic for me. This article touches on a couple of interesting points. Not more though. Without any respect for the matter it tries to discuss it merely assembles unrelated facts and sound bytes along one imaginary audio/digital axies. From production to consumption it bounces back and forth. Emitting half educated statements along the way.

A couple of articles, better researched would have been much better.

The bigger question is how I get my wife to approve the move of the Stereo from the attic into the living room.

power consumption of Game consoles

December 28th, 2007

Compared here are the power consumptions of the three current consoles Having graphics from a couple of years ago pays of big time for the Wii here. If all 13 million sold Wii’s would be running they save roughly the power that Hoover Dam in Nevada generates. If you would assume that 13 million PS3/XBox360s or PCs would be running otherwise. This excludes any transportation losses etc.

Even more interesting is the comparison of power consumption for Movie playback. During gameplay you actually get different results from the Wii versus the high performance consoles. But the movies look the same.
As shocking as those graphs look it costs roughly 4 cents more in energy to watch a 2.5 movie on a game console / PC instead of a dedicated player.

format wars, winner: DVD. again.

December 26th, 2007

750,000 HD DVD players and 2.7 million Bluray players have been sold in the last 18 months that the formats have been available. In those BluRay numbers are about 2 Million PS3 consoles included. 4 Million Bluray discs have been sold, 2.6 Million HD-DVD ones. Which comes down to 1.5 Bluray and 3.5 HD-DVDs per device.

The DVD of “Knocked up” alone sold more often than all HD-DVD and Bluray formats combined. I wonder how the marketing budgets would compare.

In 1998 9.8 Million DVD Discs had been sold. Almost ten discs for each player that was out there. People loved DVD. They still do. As for the two replacement formats they could care less it seems. And that’s only partly a problem of the rivaling formats. I think that DVD is good enough for people. Most simply have neither the hardware setup nor the desire to spend allot of money for the extra resolution that the new formats provide.

Here the DVD hardware sales:

315,136 1997 (April-December)
1,089,261 1998
4,019,389 1999
8,498,545 2000
12,706,584 2001
17,089,823 2002
21,994,389 2003
19,999,913 2004
16,147,823 2005
19,788,279 2006
10,252,893 2007 (January - July)

sources: current HD numbers past DVD device numbers, reversed via the linux ‘tac’ command. I had no idea it did exist. DVD disc numbers Warner DVD sales in 1998 DVD sales in 1998 and 1999

that would be nice

December 24th, 2007

cheap solar panels?

That would indeed be nice.

Steve certainly takes no Pictures

December 24th, 2007

Steve Jobs certainly takes no pictures. At home, the task for the day: to get the pictures off the Samsung snapshot camera onto the iPook. So that my wife can take new ones. Not thinking much (always a bad start) I directed her to iPhoto to manage the digicam images. What a piece of junk. iPhoto.

If iPhoto would be an application that people were supposed to be money for, then it’s prices should be minus a couple of hundred dollars. Seriously. Nothing works as expected. It seems to have it’s own little logic. I seriously think it as big of a piece of junk as iBackup. Or whatever that pre Timemachine pretend-ware was called. The one with the red umbrella icon.

I heard (in horror) that iViewMedia got bought by Microsoft. If I have to deal with iPhoto for 2 more minutes then I am ready to buy my first Microsoft software.

Wii Remote for tracking

December 22nd, 2007

apple and unix

December 20th, 2007

In unix you tell the system via a file called /etc/fstab which drives should be mounted.
Simple. Works. Except for OS X. Some crazy new fancy database sheme was supposed to replace /etc/fstab. It was all so amazing. It is junk, that’s what it was. Didn’t stop Apple-Idiots to claim it would be amazing. And countless websites offered help. What was one line a file became pages and pages of instructions.

Finally with 10.5 /etc/fstab is also part of OS X. It took years. It’s good that it’s there. it’s not good that it did not become available in the updates to 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 and 10.4. Apple is idiotically stubborn sometimes.

mass media?

December 20th, 2007

Almost a year ago 0.02% of all Americans bought a specific record. And it became the number #1 of the Album charts. One in 5,000!

fourty some years ago one in 200 US Americans went to buy a specific Beatles record the day it came out.

Even six years ago the Beatles convinced one in 600 people to buy a record in the week it became available.

things we like to hear

December 19th, 2007

via IM, earlier today:

just wanted to tell you: we were training a new freelance producer and she said; "you use Interdubs? I love interdubs!"

Hit the 40,000 mark today. Nice.

And now, I am worried

December 17th, 2007

Over at Independendant Arts Media Preservation I can read:

The complexity of digital media preservation is fourfold. First, data resides on a physical support–a floppy disk, CD-ROM, or hard-drive, for example–and this physical container or support naturally deteriorates. Second, the data itself may decay. Third, most software is proprietary and has no long-term technical support. Finally, hardware obsolescence makes a great deal of digital media inaccessible.

I would merge point 3 and 4 into one. 3 being able to be overcome by open source. Point #1 is also called Entropie, and it’s a real bitch. If you escape all illnesses and accidents it is will get you in the end. But the “data itself may decay” ??? Huh? How so? If bit’s are not what they used to be, than it’s the first point. Data is pure.

It is kind of scary that the people that tasked themselves with the preservation of stuff have such a bent understanding of the thing they like to protect. Somebody probably started his/her computing experience on a bug ridden system like Windows 95. I wonder what their plan against ’self inflicted data decay’ may be.

word installation

December 12th, 2007

Adib Frickes latestword installation is showing at Realace GmbH in Berlin right now. It is hard to judge the work of a friend. I like this room. There was relatively little time between opening day and commision. And it seems, that the work is great, as it always has been. There is a certain directness. Other works, that in the making for months or even years are perfect. But by missing perfection amplifies the initial impact of the work. It might become easier approachable by the unintiated. And, with Adibs work, we all are just that.

just don’t tell me it’s new

December 9th, 2007

US Airlines scramble to get internet on airplanes. Which is great. I loved it when Lufthansa had it. I wonder why they stoped offering it. It worked well, and I was more than happy to pay 25 US$ for a flight with internet. Actually, while I used to have a second battery when flying with the ‘Titanium’, I don’t open the laptop anymore these days. There is no room for starterts. And a computer without internet connection is nothing more than a grim tease for me by now.

next war get some rfid tags

December 7th, 2007

The mightiest force ever lost some stuff in the desert it seems.

you gotta start them young

December 7th, 2007

pretty horrible

the horror!

December 5th, 2007

what could go wrong if Siemens and the BBC team up? everything

I am sure there are lots of projects where people try really hard to push a rope. Instead of pulling on it. If the structures involved are big enough they will try. What a waste of everybodies time!

what Annie said

December 4th, 2007

Annie Leonard talks about stuff Whoever she is.

I am with her. To a point. The breastmilk part is a bit much, and on technology she is just plain wrong. Which discredits the whole piece somewhat. And that is a real shame. Since the whole consumerism / consumption stuff weighted against diminishing returns in respect to happyness is a very important point. And there are others in this presentation that are pretty obvious and get equally ignored. Still worth the link, and maybe even worth watching.

0.09% vs 0.22%

December 4th, 2007

Computerworld looks at internet market share data for different devices / operating systems. The headline reads ‘iPhones closing in on 0.1%’. That does sound like laughable little. The author paints a different picture, but I have no interest repainting that here.

I looked at the iPhone user share on Interdubs, and found the following numbers:

November 0.22
October 0.54
September 0.35
August 0.74
July 0.45

Not surprisingly they are by small magnitudes bigger than the general ones found by Net Applications. I had thought that they would be even higher. The iPhone has a nice display. It’s fully supported by Interdubs. Was it a mistake to invest into the iPhone mode? Absolutely not. It is very interesting to see those numbers. With already having iPhone support there is no second guessing ‘what if there were a special iPhone browsing mode’. There is, and that’s what the numbers look like. Right now.

paid to blog

December 3rd, 2007

Matt Cutts , the google quality czsar, explains why they reduced the importance of weblogs participating in pay per post programs. I feel the same way and block them since May in BlogsNow.

Interestingly, and extremely simplified, I admit, it seems to be the business model of Google to sell the truth. Which makes it valuable. They steer most of the internet traffic. But if they would fail, people would notice. As long as Yahoo and MSN still exist and could in theory kinda half ass a hypothetical un-ethical google if it came to it, it’s good busyness for for Google to stick to the truth.

Which is not what usually is going on:

A question asked, and no answer:

Same pattern here:

So, my simple reaction is, if people like politicians and Apple-PR are not answering questions, then I will not listen to what they are trying to say. Why should I?

can not find that host?

December 2nd, 2007

Once in while my OS 10.4.11 machine goes stupid, and has trouble resolving specific host names.

Opening a terminal window and entering:

sudo killall -HUP lookupd

fixes this. Lookupd is one of these more stupid Apple ideas. But since Cupertino has inherited the infallible attribute from the Roman Catholic Church it is pointless to tell them about it. Apple is so shiny and perfect to the outside. Inside it just looks like the Roman Catholic Church on the peak of it’s power.

Ma Bell, confused.

December 2nd, 2007

So, I needed an 1-800 number. There are lots of vendors. I picked AT&T. They were not the cheapest, but in telco services there are lots of odd offers and services. And it’s not crucial that number. Just something you also need to have. Getting the number itself was alright. They sent an email that it would take a nebolous amount of time (”several weeks”) before they were able to execute my order.

Months passed. No word from Ma Bell. Diving into voice-system-hell. Finally I got somebody that was the right division etc. He simply proclaimed that the number already worked. Which is great, and it actually did ever since. But they could have let me know.

Then I got an email telling me that I had not logged in their Buisness Website for a while, and that they would disable my login should I not do so within 30 days. So I logged in. A question that is innocent enough came up. AT&T would like to know which state I am. Not that they could deduct that from my address. But hey. Of course entering the info brings me right back to the same screen. Oh, Firefox quirk. Can happen.
Safari: Same result. So, do I have to buy a PC to tell them that I am in California? Of course, there are no links where you could contact that division of AT&T and let them know that they website is simply broken.

Neither is there a way to get in touch with AT&T mentioned in that email announcing me to lock me out of the website unless I would log in in the next thirty. Sure, I could spend an hour on the phone tomorrow with AT&T. Like everywhere, once you reach a human things are not even that bad. There are often ways to fix things.

But the problem is deeper than that: AT&T used to be a technology company. They invented the transistor and a couple of other important things. But in 2007 they can not even run a simple website. It fits in the picture that they spend billions, yes, billions not millions, for rebranding. Making them look to good to the outside. While everybody knows that internally it’s just barely good enough. Since they other telco’s suck equally bad they even get away with it. Time for a company like Apple to get into the cellphone Business. No, wait. Ok, nevermind.

mirroring content with ease - or why unix is just nice

December 2nd, 2007

A client of mine has a shoot supervisor in Paris. He takes stills for an upcoming job and is posting them on his own ftp site. My client asked if he could use Interdubs instead. He could. There is the public upload function that can be enabled for a login. But right now it does not support creation of folders. And he shot thousands of images. That’s where unix comes in real handy: He had given us the access paramaters for his ftp site where he stores those images. Using wget it was a breeze to write a little script that works as a conduit it and puts those images on to the interdubs server. Now whatever he creates on his ftp server in Europe will be mapped automatically into Interdubs. So people can use the comment feature, see thumbnails, can copy content.

All those nice features that Interdubs has, but ftp naturally lacks. ftp is a great work horse. Kinda. It’s so simple (actually it isn’t even), let’s say it’s so widely in use that it will not go away to soon. So it’s only natural to support it, and work with it. Instead of forcing people to use something more advanced. And with solutions like todays hack they can have the best of both worlds: They don’t need to change the way that they work. And in the same time everybody can have the benefit of working with the best tools available.

But wait, wget stores unix files and interdubs keeps files in a database. Did I recompile wget with Interdubs support? Well, that would be possible, but would take a day. Nobody has a day on a shoot for a commercial. At some point a couple prospective clients said that they could only use Interdubs if they could upload content via ftp. So I wrote an ftp gateway. Same deal: I did not change the ftp source (yet). I just wrote a general filesystem to Interdubs Database mapping tool. Not many people use ftp to upload content into Interdubs: The web interface is way to nice for that purpose it seems. But have this conduit is still a great way to get any data quickly and consistently into Interdubs.


December 1st, 2007

17 years ago Germany got reunited. Yet, CNN did not get around to reflect this change on the maps they use for their weather. Actually, that map was acurate before 1990. What kind of computers that can deal with map images did people have back then? I would guess you would have actually real trouble to find a file from back then.

No wonder some people have strange ideas about Europe:

can’t get a Wii? blame Bush

December 1st, 2007

Still can not get a Wii for Christmas? It’s actually Bush fault. Sounds crazy, still true, and just the tip of some horrible iceberg. Nintendo makes those Wii’s as fast as they can. Then they like to make as much money with them as possible. If they sell them in Europe for 250 Euro they get 40,721 Yen. For the ones they ship to the US they get 27,630 Yen. That’s 47% more profit for them. No wonder there is ample supply of Wii’s in Europe.

But that’s currencies, what has Bush to do with it? Well, he makes the fiscal policy. Before he became President you needed to pay 0.9 US dollars for each Euro. Now it 1.47. That’s a sixty three percent decline in value. That’s just great. YellowCake disciples will be quick to point out that this low rate would help the economy since US exports would become cheaper. This is true, but only 16% of the US enconomy is based on exports. Most of the country is depending on the inflow of capital. Or should I say ‘was’? How attractive is it to invest Euros into dollar when you get less and less back out?

So not getting your sweaty little hands on a Wiimote in the foreseeable future might actually not be your biggest problem.