Thursday, July 14, 2011

Extreme and Murderous Absence

Space is a vast and frightening thing; it is an extreme and murderous absence; it's the closest physical metaphor for the disturbing unknowns that follow death; space is a villain from a children's book -- it's the Nothing from The NeverEnding Story.
- Robert Brockway, writing the article "7 Awesome Images That Will Make You Mourn The Space Shuttle".

Last weekend Christine and I went on a very-much-needed brief vacation to Toronto.  As has become our habit, we took the Megabus there and back.  During the trip up last friday, I took some time as we passed through Buffalo to fire up Ustream on my iPhone and make good use of my unlimited 3G data...

On one hand, it was certainly impressive to realize I was watching the launch of a rocketship.... from over a thousand miles away (and orders of magnitude farther once it flew higher), in pristine quality, on a device pulled from my pocket, on a bus -- a true "This is the 21st century" experience.

On the other hand however, it was very bittersweet to see the end of this era.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Supreme Court Rules Video Games Covered By First Amendment

Full NY Times Link
“Like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas — and even social messages — through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world),” Justice Scalia wrote. “That suffices to confer First Amendment protection.”
Thank you!  (And take that, Jack Thompson!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

PlayStation Network Data Compromised

This morning I received an e-mail from Sony, including the following:
Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.

Fun.  Time to change some passwords...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"The Formats Won"

Adam Wilt, writing for ProVideo Coalition about the current state of the film/video post-production world:

A few years back, we were talking about seeing the end of the formats wars.  Remember when we shot interlaced 4x3 SDTV with a specified colorimetry and gamma to a handful of tape formats, and delivered interlaced 4x3 SDTV to an audience using interlaced 4x3 CRTs? Ah, those were the days… we didn’t know how simple we had it.
Now, let’s see, for acquisition, we have AVC-Intra, AVCHD, HDCAM, HDCAM-SR (in three different bitrates), ProRes (in more than three different bitrates, depths, and color resolutions), XDCAM HD and EX variants, DVCPROHD (still out there), ArriRAW, R3D, Codex Digital, Cineform, uncompressed (S.two; DPXes on SR 2.0), and whatever your HDSLR du jour shoots, just to name a few. And that’s just HD. There’s still SD being produced, and 2K and 4K, in gamma-corrected “linear” or log (LogC, S-Log, REDlog); 4x3, 16x9, 2:1, 2.4:1; 8-bit, 10-bit, or 12-bit; 4:2:0 to 4:4:4; full-res, subsampled, or oversampled (both well and poorly).
If you add in the number of deliverables the various presenters were talking about, and consider all the permutations of inputs and outputs, it just boggles the mind.
The format wars are over. The formats won, all of them. May their tribes increase.
Deal with it.

Truer words, never spoken - even in my low-end, behind-the-curve corner of the industry.  I just moved into a new apartment, and glancing over at my newly-reorganized shelf of archival media for video projects from the last couple years, I see:
  • MiniDV tapes
  • Digital8 Tapes (basically the same as MiniDV, but require a different camera/deck.)
  • Video DVD's with some Quicktime masters as a bonus
  • Mini-DVD's from a Sony DVD-camcorder (not my choice)
  • A couple SDHC cards from my HDSLR, that I still haven't decided on an ideal archival plan for.
But hey - at least we're leaving tape behind!  (I say, having just spent over an hour tonight fighting to get Final Cut to stop complaining of timecode problems while recapturing some interview footage from barely a year and a half ago.  But I digress...)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's The Little Things...

How the iPhone mail app decides when to show you new mail

This is what I love about many Apple products - not big, impressive features that "revolutionize" a product, but the little, well-thought-out details that, once your realize them, make you frustrated that everything doesn't work that way.

Other favorite examples, from Mac OS, include spring-loaded folders, and proxy icons.