Archive for June 26th, 2008

To the AIM hacker

Dear AIM hacker,
please give me back my account. I did nothing bad to you, so I don’t understand why you are doing this to me. Being an open person and writing about everything in my life you probably figured out my security question. You proved your point. Now, please allow me to have my account back.

Thank you.

Linux on the PS3: a waste of time

Look, there are reasons to have a Linux port on the cell-based PS3. Mostly research and scientific software development. But for regular folks like you and me, the only reason we would want Linux on our PS3s is for one thing and one thing only: media playback.

The problem is that the only usable players with enough codecs, VLC and Mplayer, have compatibility problems with the PPC-based PS3. Thankfully, with the newer PS3 firmware versions, except the MOV container incompatibility, it supports all other major media files already. And for the MOV container, I just use the $20 Quicktime Pro which is able to re-wrap MOV h.264/AAC videos to MP4 without re-encoding in 1 minute time.

So what I really need is Flash 9 support so I can run Hulu.com and watch “Arrested Development” in the TV instead of the browser. But the PS3 browser only features Flash 7, and the Linux PPC ports doesn’t have PPC Flash 9 plugin support either because Adobe doesn’t care about it.

So honestly, as a normal user, I see no reason whatsoever to run Linux on a PS3.

HDR in movies

It is not practical or technically possible to shoot movies with exposure bracketing because there is no such camera that can do that (namely, shoot 3 or 5 identical versions of the same shot at the same time with the same lens but at different exposures). However, a camera that already has high dynamic range and shoots RAW can make it possible to create tone mapped HDR-looking movies. 1 RAW copy is not as good as 3 or 5 RAW copies, but it’s better than nothing. The RED One camera should be good enough for this job.

If I had that $150 million that Spielberg has available for the creation of each of his movies, I would do an HDR-like movie. I always had in the back of mind an epic sci-fi movie (a’la Star Wars) with visual elements from the Final Fantasy franchise. A new application or plugin would have to be developed specifically for the movie that does tone mapping (kinda like Photomatix for video), while the actor’s faces would have to be smoothed out in post to look as pristine as in the FF games (I never said my movie would be about humans anyway).

I like the look of these pictures and I think that with a lot of visual effects and CGI buildings would look interesting: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. If you are careful with such color grading you can create a convincing look without looking totally CGI or cartoonish.

The consolidation of the mobile industry

Yesterday Nokia bought all of Symbian and today LiPS and LiMo joined forces. We live in the most interest and most difficult of times when it comes to cellphone operating systems.

To make it more clear: today is nothing but 1985 in PC operating system times. Apple has just introduced the Macintosh (iPhone), an OEM-based Windows OS is about to come out (Android), while the developer friendly Amiga is currently have more users than anyone else (Symbian), while the older Atari (PalmOS) and Amstrad (Windows Mobile) are still fighting for a while more. And of course there are myriad other smaller OSes that are not based on the older command line doctrine (“feature phones”), that will almost eclipse in a few years.

The point of my analogy above is that while we don’t know who will finally make it and get that same 95% market share in the mobile industry (as Windows 98 managed to achieve for PCs), that day is coming. It’s unavoidable, because as these devices mature and do “more”, people will rely on them more. And when you have too many people rely too much on these devices, then these people need compatibility between all these devices. And this eventually creates the “monopoly”. We are 10-12 years away from such a “monopoly”, but it will eventually happen. Either through elimination or consolidation.

The real question is: will Apple redo the same mistake with the iPhone as they did with the Macintosh by not opening it to OEMs?

Prince gets it right again — unfortunately

“Fifty artists who recorded Prince covers in honor of His Purpleness’ 50th birthday June 7 have been slapped with a lawsuit by the short-tempered star”, writes Wired.

I am afraid that Prince once again is right, when it comes to the law (even in Norway, which is part of international commerce agreements). These guys didn’t pay royalties, and it’s kind of Prince to not ask for millions of dollars in damages, but simply ask for the records destroyed.

Does this suck? Yes. Couldn’t Prince just be nicer? Yes. But the law is the law, and Prince has it on his side every time he initiates all these shitty actions.

Rambo color grading

I watched “Rambo” on Blu-Ray tonight and I was delighted to see that their deleted scenes were in HD, and untouched: uncut to regular 16:9 and ungraded. So I could easily go back to the 2.35:1 version and graded in-movie footage, grab some snapshots with my Kodak digicam and compare. Most of the “Rambo” movie uses the blue grading theme that is in fashion at Hollywood in the last 5 years, although if you look closely you will see how the highlights were totally burned out during grading. I really like the ungraded versions, they are more natural, very close to what you would get from a consumer Canon camera like the HV20 when shot in PF24 with “CineMode” turned on and the “neutral” color setting.


Ungraded, as shot

Graded, in-movie


Ungraded, as shot

Graded, in-movie

This is how I would have graded this


Ungraded

Graded, in-movie