The Art of Tron

Cool article by Josh Nimoy who worked on creating software for generating special effects in Tron: Legacy.

I take representing digital culture in film very seriously in lieu of having grown up in a world of very badly researched user interface greeble.

Nice read to see how much thought and attention to detail went into creating even the smallest effects.
I hope the sequel is coming along according to plan.

HDTV sucks

Looking around Mediamarkt we walked past all the new snazzy HDTV’s. They had a lineup of all the expensive models in the 1500-2500 euro range playing a Harry Potter movie. You’d think it would look awesome with all the CGI and it being a high budget movie. But it didn’t. The quality of these new TV models is so incredibly good and crisp and detailed that the movie looked terrible. It was so incredibly detailed and crisp that it no longer looked like Harry and his friends were in a cave miles under the bank trying to find a secret item. It looked like a bunch of actors in makeup walking through a well built studio set that just felt hollow and empty. Quite weird, because the picture quality was absolutely perfect, so perfect that it totally failed.

My main computer is my phone

Sad but true. Or maybe a good thing. But I realized it this week.
I have several computers I use either directly or indirectly, there’s my work laptop, running Windows 7, there’s my home laptop, running Windows 7 and solely used for playing World of Warcraft, there’s my Mac Mini, which isn’t used directly but is nevertheless on 24/7 as it runs my websites and as my mailserver. And then there’s the iMac, which was originally meant to be MY personal computer but my wife had other plans.
So that leaves the iPhone. Which is used for email, calendar, taking pictures, social networking, gaming, todo lists.
So yeah, my main computer is my phone. Weird realization. And a good excuse to covet the iPhone 4. Or an iPad.

Blackberry Playbook coming next year

I wouldn’t call it an iPad killer because a) I’m rather tired of everything getting called an iPad or iPhone killer and b) it’s going to be released next year. Meaning by the time you’ll actually be able to buy one there’s going to be at least the iPad2, with possible more models being released if any of the rumors are true.
Also, no 3G in the Playbook, nor any mention of battery life.
But hey, competition is good, it’ll push Apple to keep making more awesome stuff.

1024×600 multitouch screen, DualCore 1 Ghz processor, 1 GB RAM and two cameras: 3 megapixels on the front, 5 megapixels at the back. Add a usb and hdmi port and for those who consider it a feature; it can use Flash.

Note how the video doesn’t really show the thing being used at all. Rendered fakeness ftw.

Android fail

Android apps are found to be sending your gps data to advertisers. And that from Google, the company that makes money by shoving ads in your face.
Wow, what a surprise.
I’ll stick to the phone from the company that makes money by making quality products. Much better business model.

XS4All internet woes, part …

I currently have an internet connection, that is when I have connection, between 800 and 1100kbit/s. Dialup is starting to look good.
And my lovely internet provider, xs4all, has gone so far downhill I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone anymore. And that for what used to be the best internet provider anywhere. I obviously have a line problem when my SNR and line attenuation keep altering. Either that or I’m living in a trailer and keep moving the damn thing, and yet still they maintain I’m 4500 meters away from the adsl central. Ehm, not really possible, that’s not even in this city anymore. And according to speedtest there are 3 centrals within a 2000 meter range of me.
And still it’s taken xs4all over a week of denial and full out nonsense from their ‘help’desk to finally submit a ticket to kpn. Their helpdesk is so bad they can’t even understand their own system, claiming I was still on 8Mbit when I’d already been switched back to 6, first saying I should be switched to 4, then to 2. Every person I’ve talked to this week at their genius helpdesk has told me a different story.
Worst. Provider. EVER.
And this has been going on since July, with still no end in sight.

Line attenuation and SNR, part 2

Following up on my previous post, it seems I have now achieved a stable connection. Emphasis on seems as I still want to wait and see how it holds up next weekend because drops are worse on Saturdays.
There was nothing wrong with my cabling as I switched, swapped, shortened and tried everything to improve that last Saturday and still got dc’ed about once every five minutes.
The magic trick turned out to be lowering the downstream in my profile. I’m supposed to have 8Mbit downstream, but at that speed I have a downstream signal to noise ratio of 6dB, which is bottom of the barrel. Add a crappy line, other people using equipment during peak hours and poof, there you go.
However, letting the provider switch the profile and set it back to 4Mbit boosted the SNR up all the way to 24dB. I then told them to set it 6Mbit and seem to get a comfortable 16dB, which should still leave me more than enough of a margin to handle peak hours.
I hope it holds up this weekend, and then I can start complaining about paying too much for a 6Mbit connection. ;)

Line attenuation and SNR

signal to noise

After our move the adsl internet connection has been less than stable. Sometimes it’s up for a week, sometimes it disconnects 20 times a day. According to the isp this is due to us being 4km from the exchange, which is kinda weird as we only dropped a floor and never had problems before. So now I’m reading into things like line attenuation and dB signal to noise ratio so I actually measure what the hell is going on and if any improvements I make to the indoor cabling have any effect whatsoever. Now if only the cable isp didn’t block certain server ports I’d switch to cable in a heartbeat.

A high SNR (signal to noise ratio) simply means how loud the signal is over background noise. The higher the SNR margin the more stable the connection. You have a strong signal and have plenty of head room to receive faster speeds. Generally you would have a high SNR if you’re on a restricted speed plan eg. 256/64, 512/128 or 1500/256. The faster your connection speed the lower your SNR will be. Generally on unrestricted speed plans like Adsl2+ up to 24mbit the isp will set the SNR margin at which your modem connects generally a range between 6dB to 14dB. This will give you the fastest speed while maintaining a relatively stable connection.
Attenuation on the other hand is a measurement of the resistance to the signal on the line and should never change regardless of speed.

There are many factors which affect both SNR and attenuation. A few are line distance, gauge or thickness of line, quality or age of line, number of bridge taps on line etc.

So now I can start focusing on the latter, one step at a time, as the inhouse cabling is the only thing I can influence myself. And if that doesn’t help… time to start thinking about cable after all.

Android goes Open Source

The operating system powering the G1, aka the Google Phone, is now available as Open Source. Which deserves a yay because 1) it means that a whole army of people around the world can now start tinkering with it and developing apps, or even modifying the OS, and 2) this should disprove all the tinfoil hats worried about selling their soul to Google. Oh yeah, and it’s linux based.
Now where’s the Yahoo phone?

Work in progress... not home!
Trying to get all/most of the new code working before I start on the eyecandy.