See you there.
“2001 seconds is a complete re-edit of Stanley Kubrick’s original Space Odyssey from 141 minutes to 33 minutes 21 seconds.”
What these guys created is just stunning:
“Ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi has come up with a new version of those annoying advertising fliers.”
So, you think MS Paint is just nothing worth mentioning? It’s quite remarkable what this artist did in more than 100 hours of work:
“This drawing was done entirely in MS Paint with a Logitech laser mouse. I did not use the copy and paste tool, or the text tool. There was no color sampling or pasting from other images, but I did view some seperate images as reference, as do most artists. ”
it’s 700px x 10.000px in the big version
Peter Haas and Silvia Holzinger did a film called “Weizenbaum. Rebel at Work.” and I think you should hear about it:
“The film spans 8 decades of Joseph Weizenbaum’s life. It provides a stage for his humorous narrative depicting a World of Yesterday while reflecting on the dawn of the computer age. It follows 83-year-old Weizenbaum on some of his numerous public lessons, effortlessly entertaining overcrowded lecture halls.
The old man is an up-to-date chronicler, a chief witness against militarism and the myths of technological progress, but he remains a modest, funny and most reflective story teller.”
It’ll be available in german language in august and later this year in english.
Have you ever seen the Jetsons? If so, you might remember the vacuum elevators. Well. If you ever wanted to have one of those, you can now:
“It is our self-supporting vacuum elevator; a light and resistant structure built with aluminium and polycarbonate. By simple principles of physics; the difference in air pressure above and beneath the vacuum elevator cab literally transports you by air. It is the vacuum pumps or turbines that pull you up to the next Floor and the slow release of air pressure that floats you down.
Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators are easier to install, maintain, and operate than traditional elevators. They are especially ideal for existing homes due to their compact design because excavating a pit, and hoistway are not required. Air pressure above and beneath the elevator cab are the key to transporting.
The reliability and safety of these vacuum elevators are unsurpassed due to the physics behind the design; it is virtually impossible to get stuck between floors, or freefall.”
UPDATE: I added the full resolution versions of the HDR pictures.
During FIWAK I had the chance to play a bit with a Canon EOS 20D. It’s proper DSLR and you can do many great things with it. All the pictures below where done without a tripod. As you can see there are a few ghost pictures but less than I expected in that mode. Nevertheless my Canon PowerShot A400 is better for panoramic views – the EOS is way to big and heavy, you surely need a tripod to do proper panoramic views whereas you can do quite good panoramic views with the A400 without a tripod.
“The .NET framework provides a powerful class
creating and using Regular Expressions. While regular expressions are a
powerful way to parse, edit, and replace text, the complex syntax makes
them hard to understand and prone to errors, even for the experienced
user. When developing code that uses regular expressions, I have found
it very helpful to create and debug my expressions in a separate tool
to avoid time consuming compile/debug cycles. Expresso enables me to do
Build complex regular expressions by selecting components from a palette
Test expressions against real or sample input data
Display all matches in a tree structure showing captured groups, and all captures within a group
Build replacement strings and test the match and replace functionality
Highlight matched text in the input data
Automatically test for syntax errors
Generate Visual Basic or C# code that can be incorporated directly into programs
Read or save regular expressions and input data”
There are often some new ideas of graphical user interfaces. Especially when you have to organise a number of documents you would instantly fall in love with this new idea:
And now I can present my new neighbour: Kathrein 742215 UMTS Antenna! With 300 W it
No, you won’t need a hammer to do the things I write about in this article. You will need a camera and a special lens.
this actually IS the Roman Colosseum
“To create this effect, Barbieri uses a tilt-frame camera to shift the plane of focus so that it is out of alignment with the film. Normally, this allows wide-angle aerial views to be captured in proper perspective. But used incorrectly, an optical illusion occurs.”
It’s the year 1986 and Kings Quest got it’s 3rd episode. An adventure in 16 colors. But now it’s 2006. And Infamous Adventures did a remake:
“Infamous Adventures is proud to present a Remake of Roberta William’s classic 1986 hit, King’s Quest III. Remade in VGA color to match later Sierra releases, and using the AGS engine by Chris Jones, IA promises to make an enjoyable 1:1 remake of King’s Quest III. In the tradition of recent remakes, King’s Quest I and II+ by Tierra/AGDI, Infamous Adventures hopes to create a new classic of the Beloved Series.”
- All 16 color backgrounds remade into stunning VGA graphics
- Enhanced Close up cut-scenes and dialogue pictures help immerse you into what is known as the first plot driven chapter of the King’s Quest series.
- Original music by professional music composer(s)
- Re-experience the adventure with a stunning new interface (no more typing) And if you never played well, you’ll probably enjoy it anyway.
BrightSide is the name of the company that announced their High Dynamic Range display recently.
“BrightSide introduces the DR37-P, a pectacular breakthrough in display technology that uses an array of LED backlights to deliver 10 times the brightness and 100 times the contrast of existing televisions and computer monitors. BrightSide’s Extreme Dynamic Range displays deliver more vibrant images and allow you to see your data in
- Extreme Dynamic Range
- Over 3000 cd/m2 Brightness
- Contrast Ratio > 200,000:1
- High Definition 1920×1080
- 37” Screen
- 16 bits per color
- IMLED – Individually Modulated Array of LED backlights
There are some movies available where you can get an impression what HDR really means. It’s a bit heavy…”less than 72 kg” says the spec. But it looks cooool:
A couple of months ago we got us a Canopus ProCoder 2.0 educational version. Because we, well had to convert a shitload of MPEG2 and DV movies into several different formats. And because Canopus is telling us that their product is by far the best you could probably get on this planet, we were in.
There is a free demo version available which does not require the red glowing, blue plastic HASP hardware USB dongle key’i thing we got with the full version. Those kind of dongle stuff is really nasty. First of all it bugs you right after you got your Windows started up with an error message, just because you probably haven’t plugged the dongle in. The point here is though: Why checking this at the system start, why not when ProCoder 2.0 is started. And heck! Why a dongle key’i thingy anyways?
ProCoder 2.0 has a neat little feature, the only feature why I would use ProCoder personally, which is called “Watch Folders”. You take a ProCoder 2.0, set it up to watch a folder on a network storage or anywhere you like, and after you setup’d some target movie formats it’ll start to convert everything that appears in those Watch Folders and transcodes it to whatever you configured as a target. Great feature!
But here comes the dongle right back in: You need to go to the server room, find your powerful number crunching server park and stick the… well dongle… into… great. After you recovered from the headache and tinnitus (dramatisation!) you got your ProCoder “server” up and running. The point here is: Why all that fuss with that dongle usb stuff. What’s wrong with serial numbers which are necessary anyway for ProCoder 2.0? Piracy can’t be the answer here. Maybe they want to pretend that it’s worth even a dongle, like AutoCad was back when we called our operating systems DOS.
So back to the Canopus ProCoder 2.0 test: After the setup it comes in two different flavours: The fast and the furious, called “Canopus ProCoder 2.0 Wizard” and the all-inklusive one, called…you get the idea.
So first of all let’s cover the Wizard because the workflow of the Wizard is likely the same as in the ProCoder 2.0.
Step 1: Welcome dude!
oh there it is…Watch Folder!… but we want to convert a single file…
Step 2: Load a Source
I used the current Halo 3 Trailer for demonstration…it’s a WMV HD.
Step 3: Set Source In and Out Point
You can specify where the movie starts and where it ends. So you have some kind of cut-editing capability…well not really. I flinch from calling it cut-editing actually.
Step 4: Advanced Settings
Well Canopus things that Crop-Settings are advanced. But hey, there is a “Select Settings” button which opens a dialog where you can specify alternat audio, specific aspect ratio and so on. Nothing to yell about there.
Step 5: the fantastic and well thought of… ProCoder 2 Wizard Wizard (!!!1!)
Why hasn’t anybody else thought of this before? Use a wizard for the wizard. A master to teach the apprentice. A … oh well, it’s nothing special really. Because if you choose to use it just another dialog box comes up:
Step 6: Select Target
Tricky decision here. We want it HD!
Step 7: a question of format.
[don’t forget to put some text here]…
Step 8: High Definition Format…
Again the very tricky format decision. Rather than recommending a format you have to choose. I did not try what’s going to happen when my source has 29,97 fps and I select 25 fps here (or the other way around). Canopus says ProCoder can do a 3:2 pulldown. Great…
Step 9: Saving your file
Save the day.
Step 10: Job Summary
In the end the wizard sums everything up and you can press some more advanced output setting buttons. And if you’re done, you click “Convert”, finally.
And the evil boffins in your number crunching server park are starting to convert your source movie into whatever target you selected. If it doesn’t do this. Well you will never know why it didn’t do it. Because Canopus choosed to not use any error messages or logging. You can be lucky if you get a dialog box telling you that it just won’t do it. In 9 out of 10 cases it just wasn’t telling anything.
It’s not particularly slow. In fact, if you just transcode something and you’re not using any additional filtering it’s as fast as any other transcoding tool (which come sometimes without dongles, you might have heard that).
So that’s quite everything what’s to be told about the Canopus ProCoder Wizard. Finally let’s take a look at the one feature I love: Watch Folders.
So let’s fire up the ProCoder 2 (watch out to have the dongle plugged in!):
I just want to say something about the GUI of ProCoder 2. About GUI design in general. And I want to start with a simple question: What is wrong with standard system controls?
Why are many software companies are writing their own scrollbards, buttons, dialogboxes, tabs. Why can’t they just use the system wide available ones? The ones that actually work. The ones that draw correct on any machine. The ones that I’ve never seen blinking or be drawn incorrect. In case of Canopus ProCoder 2.0 the custom-made scrollbars sometimes even disappeared and you could see that they where just drawn above the system scrollbars. You software companies. If you take an advice from me: stick to doing the user software and leave the multi-purpose GUI elements to the operating system.
Back to ProCoder 2 and to the precious Watch-Folders. If you click on the “Watch” button you get this dialog box:
Nothing really to write more about than: Everything is intuitive and works out of the box. Select a folder. Select a target. And you’re done. It just works as promised. And if you’re in luck and your movies are in a format that ProCoder 2.0 can read without hassle it even will work with your movies.
The target in this case, if you are curious, is a pre-configured format specification. You can use the wide variety of available pre-configured targets, or you can configure your own. (this is quite tricky and not so intuitive)
Since there’s nothing to complain about the pre-configured formats you are certainly not going to have much fun setting up very very custom things. Like the time when I wanted to just setup my own MPEG-4 target. Which isn’t that easy because when you select the MPEG format you only can choose from MPEG-1/2 formats. Or the other time when I wanted to do it in H.264. That format is available, but you have to find it. It’s deeply burried into the third dialog-layer.
In the end you get quite a good transcoding application with this neat Watch-Folder feature. You also get an awfully rubbish GUI with no error messages at all. If something goes wrong you’ll never know why.
In our case everything went fine and in only one case in my testing I found something that the Windows DirectShow could decode but ProCoder 2.0 could not. I really recommend it for video encoding servers. It’s one of it’s kind when it comes to that discipline and the money is well spend.
So. Who knows what this is?
use the comments to answer please…
What happens when an API uses guessing to identify which character encoding is actually used in a text file:
- Open Notepad
- Type the text “this app can break” (without quotes)
- Save the file
- Re-open the file in Notepad
And the explanation: Notepad uses as windows system method called “IsTextUnicode()“. In the MSDN Library article on this method you can read:
“This function uses various statistical and deterministic methods to make its determination, under the control of flags passed in the lpi parameter. When the function returns, the results of such tests are reported using the same parameter.
The IS_TEXT_UNICODE_STATISTICS and IS_TEXT_UNICODE_REVERSE_STATISTICS tests use statistical analysis. These tests are not foolproof. The statistical tests assume certain amounts of variation between low and high bytes in a string, and some ASCII strings can slip through. For example, if lpBuffer indicates the ASCII string 0x41, 0x0A, 0x0D, 0x1D (A\n\r^Z), the string passes the IS_TEXT_UNICODE_STATISTICS test, although failure would be preferable. “
That simply means, that the method fails on detecting the correct character encoding. Aftermarket Pipes tells us:
“It actually runs a couple of heuristics over the first 256 bytes of the data and provides its best guess. As it turns out, these tests aren’t terribly reliable for very short ASCII strings that contain an even number of lower-case letters, like “this app can break”, “
I don’t own a 600 Euro digital camera. Mine was cheap and does the job well so far. And now I’ve found something more to play with. I like to do panoramic views, as you might have mentioned before. But the technique I am now discovering is far more interesting. It’s called High Dynamic Range imaging.
Here’s an excerpt of the wikipedia article on that subject:
Since it’s night here at the moment I could only experiment in the dark, where my camera creates, beside dark pictures, very much picture noise.
So, what to do, you may ask. Well grab a camera where you can control at least the exposure time. Than take at least 2 (the more the better) pictures with different exposure times. I started with 3 pictures per HDR image. As you can see above:
When you have those pictures you need a software to combine them to an HDR image. There are many sites that can provide such tools, I recommend hdrsoft.com. They provide a tool called “Photomatix” which is specialized on HDR imaging. If you have a Photoshop CS2 available, well, that will do the job as well. Just go to the “File->Automate->Create HDR” dialog.
If you downloaded the tools, throw the pictures inside and let the magic happen. You get a 16 or 32 Bit per pixel image. You can control the exposure and saturation, the white and the black levels and so on. To save the picture as a standard-JPG like I did, you have to do some Tone-Mapping. Photomatix can do that as well.
Expect more on that subject here tomorrow. Then with some pictures of the sunny nature…well if there is sun tomorrow…Till than: Enjoy the HDR images I’ve got so far:
First the 3 source pictures:
And then the HDRI:
First the 3 source pictures:
And then the HDRI:
Source 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_dynamic_range_imaging
Source 2: http://www.hdrsoft.com
“Windows Mobile Starter Kits are fully functional sample applications. Each sample is complete and contains its documentation, so you can get started right away.”
And the Starter Kits for Windows Mobile 5 is available for download. Featureing this three samples:
digital display (computer screen), 12 feet tall and 12 feet in diameter. Vertical
columns of multi-color LED (light emitting diode) clusters spin around a vertical
axis at 90 revolutions per minute. At a radius of 6 feet, they move at 41 miles
per hour. 2880 LEDs are turned on and off by a computer in precise synchronization
with the rotation of the columns, creating the illusion of a cylindrical digital
display. Spin has a vertical resolution of 16 pixels (picture elements), each
of which can display one of 8 colors. As horizontal position is determined by
time in Spin, the horizontal resolution is theoretically infinite, but for the
sake of data manipulation efficiency it is be limited to 360 pixels all the
way around the cylinder.”
- 400 Mhz
- Windows Mobile 5
- GSM/UMTS/GPRS/802.11b/g/Bluetooth 2.0
- 64 MB RAM and 128 MB FLASH
- microSD slot
- keypad and real wheel jogdial
- QVGA screen (I wish it was a VGA…)
Due to network maintenance work schrankmonster/technology-ninja will most likely not be available from 2030 till 2230 CEST (UTC+2).
Go and make some babies instead! Thank you.
Hmm…those things get more realistic than you would expect…
to achieve realistic, lifelike face animation for high-end film, post,
and games projects. Based on extensive anatomical research, Face Robot
uses a groundbreaking new computer model of facial soft tissue to mimic
the full range of human emotions. Designed with input from leading
animation experts, Face Robot gives artists an intuitive way to
interact with their characters while providing control over details,
including wrinkles, frowns, flaring nostrils, and bulging neck muscles.”