Archive for October 3rd, 2008

Unfair verdict for Apple

I don’t disagree with the judge ruling that Apple might have violated the anti-monopoly provisions of the antitrust laws for its agreements with AT&T. However, when the judge says that Apple has violated federal and California criminal computer fraud and abuse statutes by releasing version 1.1.1 of its iPhone operating software when Apple knew that doing so would damage or destroy some iPhones that had been ‘unlocked’ to enable use of a carrier other than AT&T, this is not fair.

I own an unlocked iPhone. And while I would be pissed if my phone was to get bricked if I was to upgrade the firmware, the truth is, I have an unsupported phone. I would deserve the pain associated with that upgrade. The risk should be mine, not Apple’s.

And the bigger problem is, it’s difficult to be 100% backwards compatible in a 1.x release of any product. After the original release, it will take 1-2 more years to stabilize a big project in a way that nothing else is going to get broken again. The judge must understand this. That’s how software works. Apple should only get fined if they broke the compatibility on purpose, in order to take revenge on the unlockers. But how do you even prove that in a court of law without the engineers coming forward?

iTunes Genius doesn’t work [for me]

Lots of fanfare for iTunes’ Genius thingie. Unfortunately, it does not satisfy me (what does, right?). I just don’t think it works for me. It is actually consistent, it almost gives me the same songs for two different (but similar) songs of the same artist. So I know that their algorithm works for the way it was designed for. My problem is that the algorithm itself doesn’t do what I need.

I like listening to songs like “Ranting of Eva”‘s “Bright Side“. Now, the interesting thing is that the “Red Letter Agent” band actually does have the exact same style of music. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it was the same person who wrote songs for the two bands (note: the members of the two bands actually are good friends and they usually gig together). “The Coral Sea” also have songs (e.g. “In This Moment’s Time”) that the guitar sounds exactly the same. So if in my ears these bands are actually sounding the same, why isn’t Genius putting these together in my local Genius results?

I am sure that part of the algorithm makes sense, it’s just that it’s not as intelligent or as broad as I need it to be. I am looking for a very specific sound, and Genius doesn’t give it to me. At least not when it comes to guitar sound and arrangement identification patterns.

I also asked Brian, guitarist of the “Drist“, what he thinks about these songs and he agreed that all these songs have a similar style with a “slightly dirty” guitar sound (as he put it).

So I know I am not crazy.

Update: IM chat with my husband:

JBQ: teaches you right for listening to alternative rock music.
JBQ: If you listened to pop music, it’d work much better (since all pop music sounds the same): it’d just return a random pop song.
eugenia: 😀
JBQ: Seriously, all the rants I’ve heard about the genius playlist is that it doesn’t work as soon as you go in the alternative/indie genre (which is *exactly* where you want it to work).
eugenia: ic
JBQ: It doesn’t matter that it can solve the easy cases, I want it to solve the hard ones.
eugenia:: yup
JBQ: I want it to give me whatever band you made me listen to* the other day when I say “I want something that sounds like Evanescence”.

* That was The Luminous Sky‘s new album. While these guys play electronic rock, the singing patterns and style of the lead vocalist are the same as with the singer of Evanescence. Listen to their songs “Devoted” and “Falling for you”.

Sony Vegas color grading presets

I put together 10 color grading presets tonight, 9 of them somewhat emulating the Magic Bullet looks, and 1 emulating the Kodak 3383 film look. The presets work with Vegas Platinum and Pro, but not with the plain version of Movie Studio. Here’s how:

1. Download this zip file. Unzip the “presets” folder in it on your C:\ folder. It must be unzipped on the root folder of your C:\ drive, or the included .vf sample projects won’t load.

2. Download the Preset Manager directly from Sony. Install it. This is a nice official utility that unfortunately doesn’t come with Vegas by default.

3. Browse C:\presets\ and double click the eugenia-part1.sfpreset file to open with the Preset Manager. Click the little + sign on the left of the “eugenia-part1.sfpreset” word, and then select the “FX Chain” word that appears directly underneath it. Then, click the “edit” menu, and “Copy to system”.

4. Now, open a Vegas project (either my sample .vf projects, or any of your own projects), and try to apply a plugin to an event in the timeline (by clicking the blue + symbol on the right side of any timeline event). From the long list appearing, click “Filter Packages” on the tree list on the left, and the new presets will be now visible. You can choose any of them to load, and start playing around.