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IUMA is back! Not as itself, but within Archive.org.

Sorry about the size of this entry. ^_^; It's been a bit of a busy time lately (well, not that that's anything new), but the immediate pressure's been relieved, following Tuesday's successful project meeting. With any luck, I'll be able to return to updating every few days again, avoiding updates of quite this magnitude. Persevere! ^_^

sphelx noticed there's a trailer out for Muse's next album, "The Second Law", arriving in September. Yes, it looks worth waiting for. =:9

Here's a series of remarkable bunny photos - I've taken quite a few bunpics, but I've never seen a rabbit climb a tree before, less still carefully descend once satisfied. But there they are! (Note that the full size images, which the photographer has very kindly made available from the page, are PNGs, so they'll take a noticeable amount of time to load)

Some folks might be interested in this CTN Expo panel on The Lion King, "a discussion that brought together several key members of the film's talent, including director Roger Allers, supervising animator Ruben Aquino, supervising animator Andreas Deja, supervising animator Mark Henn, art director Andy Gaskill, writer Irene Mecchi and director Rob Minkoff", as well as the weblog's owner, Brenda Chapman, present as Head of Story.

Speaking of which, you can find a lot of Lion King concept art over here.

That Run CMC design I noted the other week? loganberrybunny noticed the artist themselves has now made it available, not just some copycat schmuck. White background, or black background.

The bat Vrealhi is responsible for the music in the new iOS release WarGames: WOPR. Give it a try. ^_^ (Universal, 99¢)

I noticed Snow Crash has apparently been optioned by Paramount for a while (we all know of the development hell that ensures many books can be tagged for the film rights, while nothing happens for years, or ever), but it seems they might be proceeding with it, now attaching the director of Attack the Block, Joe Cornish. "Paramount dropped the project years ago and it went to Disney with Kennedy/Marshall and languished. Kennedy introduced Cornish to the book, he committed and it is now back at Paramount and is a priority."

Finally got around to seeing Prometheus on Wednesday afternoon (I took a day off, yay!) last week, after debating with myself whether to wait for it to arrive at the better cinema on Friday - I had the spare time, and went for it. Yes, definitely worth seeing, at least once. It genuinely adds to the mythos, and deliberately leaves one major question unanswered - which, as I recall, Ridley Scott was hoping James Cameron would pick up in the next film. Of course, things can change a lot in development, but the symmetry would be amusing. (If anyone's seen it in 3D, how was it? I'm not opposed, as such, to 3D, but I can happily take or leave it, especially with the added cost of 3D screenings - add in the dimmer nature of the picture, and I'm not all that pulled in by the prospect) I might muse on the film's details, but if so, that'll be in a separate entry, clearly flagged to avoid inadvertent spoilers, though I imagine everyone interested's seen it by now. Next, theatrically, might be Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom; check out that cast. =:D Unfortunately, I'll have to wait until its reprise locally - the fun cinema's only a two-screener, so most movies only see a week-long engagement. (Meanwhile, I caught up with Hugo, which I'd been meaning to see for a while. I admit, I've wound up somewhat split on it. It does indeed have a tremendously positive spirit, and yet, something prevented it from being as utterly magical as it aspired to be, despite fine performances, and no shortage of top-notch CG. I say that in no ill intent - I genuinely can't quite identify what didn't work for me, but I'd nonetheless commend it as a work to enjoy)

Another comic adaptation goes CG, better yet than Tintin's quite creditable look: a forthcoming Asterix feature, directed by Louis Clichy, who's spent time with Pixar on Wall-E and Up.

A few peeps might want to know of Blondie and Devo touring together in the US this September, with a few dates in California (for SF, it's the Warfield on Sep 10), a couple each in Washington, Texas, and Florida, plus one each for Indiana and Illinois.

The Smiling Victorian is a Flickr group with one purpose: to show photographs from the Victorian age, with smiling subjects. The relatively long exposures required then - apparently on the order of a few seconds - didn't readily lend themselves to spontaneous moments, leading the general style to be somewhat solemn of demeanor. So, consider the difference that brighter expressions give, as in this sequence.

I might even have a couple new buns on my route! I was returning from my evening circuit on Wednesday, taking me by a few likely spots, when I saw one tinybun just sat there, on the entrance to one of the playing fields. They didn't immediately vanish, and even let me edge closer, only eventually making exit, stage right upon seeing a runner approach from the distance. And the next day: a sibling as well? ^_^ A little more shy, but still not given to making themselves scarce straight away. The light then was rather weaker, but it's a delight simply to watch them, regardless of the photgraphic outcome. ^_^


Two cartoonists whose work you've likely seen, Ruben Bolling (Tom the Dancing Bug) and Tom Tomorrow both launched subscriber email lists recently, offering early access to the strips, alternate/development versions, and miscellania they'll come up with along the way. In both cases, they're asking for $9.99 for a six month subscription, payable via Amazon Payments (not PayPal!).

There's a "new" Vivian Stanshall release out! Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead, long unavailable, has finally been released officially, on CD, download, and LP. "After 30 years, this brilliant album is finally available on CD. This was Viv's first solo effort after leaving the Bonzo Dog Band, and he took the opportunity to explore types of music that the Bonzos couldn't or wouldn't. Don't expect "Sir Henry at Rawlinson End" either--this album is short on comedy and long on songwriting and experimentation. It's almost a world music album, with lots of unusual instruments and African drumming. Very powerful and wonderful stuff--it's a crime it was unavailable for so long." There are more.. musings.. to be found over here.

Ever wondered how they made the THX logo's sound, known as "Deep Note"? The creator speaks. It's even more complex than you probably imagined. =:D

Another photography forum some folks might like to try: Talk Photography. It's quite well moderated, from what I can see - not heavy-handed, but actively nonetheless, keeping the SNR up. It's a British site, but global in scope nonetheless, within the constraint that postings are required to be in English, to maximise the intelligibility of postings. Unlike DPReview, they perform no editorial functions - no reviews or suchlike; it's purely a forum, with the result of minimal advertising, other than the rather clunky "link monetisation" whereby random phrases in postings become links. (Surely one of the least effective means of generating advertising revenue, I'd have thought, but presumably it must work well enough for them to keep it around)

Computing trivia for the day, courtesy of austin_dern: Early versions of the Michigan Algorithmic Decoder programming language would, under many error conditions, print out a crude picture of Alfred E Neuman. Later versions removed this as students were deliberately making errors to get the printout. (Source: "A History Of Modern Computing", Paul E Ceruzzi)

footpad recently enjoyed a rather unpleasant experience with Govolo aka travel-agency.travel. Maybe not an agency to consider.

Rather an interesting new vehicle, aiming for around a 2014 launch: Lit Motors' C1. It's essentially an enclosed motorbike, gyroscopically stabilised, powered by an 8kWh battery that charges in around 4 hours at 220V. They're estimating the production version will offer 0-60mph in
around 6 seconds, 120mph top speed, and a range of 220 miles. The catch, I'd say, is the cost: they're looking at around $24k at launch, going down to $16k.

Meanwhile, Gordon Murray's T.25 and T.27 prototype cars aren't so much special for the basic concept, along the lines of the Smart - but the manufacturing process is quite different to the norm: "The designer's breakthrough was in finding a way to make a city car in two primary steps instead of the standard five, Noble says. His iStream system forms a chassis out of composite and then installs components and attaches body panels made from recycled plastic bottles. Three steps -- stamping the steel frame, welding the body together and rustproofing -- are eliminated. A manufacturer could build an iStream plant to make 100,000 cars annually for 85 percent less capital than a conventional one, Murray says. Since an iStream factory would be two-thirds smaller, it would consume about 60 percent less energy."

Now, here's a portable audio interface that has me interested - MOTU's finally managed to bring together a good few channels into a natty, compact unit, in their Track16. It sports 16 ins, 14 outs, MIDI I/O, optical I/O, and runs bus-powered off Firewire 800 and USB 2. It does wind up having to use a breakout cable or box, but that's excusable. Sample rates up to 192kHz, at 24 bits, availability "soon", with a list price of $595. For something quite this fully-featured, that's really not bad going - and it's all but certain to sell for somewhat less.


For UK peeps: Picturehouses is running a drawing to win a trip to India for two, as part of its promotion of the return of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: just one simple question to answer, and a week in the East could be yours. Entries in by July 31. (And if you haven't seen it yet, you really ought to! A brilliant cast)

UK Uncut, whose legal arm UK Uncut Legal Action recently won the right to challenge HMRC's cozy deal with Goldman Sachs, waiving some £20m that might otherwise not have been borne by actual taxpayers, have produced a documentary on the missing money. One might, if very charitable, accept that the head of the tax agency might have simply overlooked some significant internal advice - but when you see the HMRC and Goldman Sachs lawyers working together to defend themselves in the High Court, the relationship's rather hilariously on display for all to see. If you think massively rich corporations should pay their fair share as well, consider tossing in a pound or two into UK Uncut's coffers - lawyers need to eat too. ^_^

Have you ever used Skype to make free calls to someone else, and thought, "What I could really use now are some opportunities for marketers to reach me"? Be happy, therefore, as Microsoft has made your dreams come true! "Today we are announcing the launch of Conversation Ads in Skype. These new display ad units will appear within the calling window of users who do not have Skype Credit or subscriptions when they're making 1:1 Skype-to-Skype audio calls using Skype for Windows." Bonus points to the PR flack writing that piece, for including the wishful sentiment that "while on a 1:1 audio call, users will see content that could spark additional topics of conversation" - well, I suppose that could be true, but those additional topics might involve an elevated incidence of expletives. =:)

An interesting little semi-abstract animation, just under a minute long, "A World I Never Made" - of a lagomorphic nature. ^_^

A minor LJ curiosity: if you want to post a link to deadline.com, be sure to not include "www" in the URL, else LJ will reject the posting with a fabulously vague "Client error: Sorry, there was a problem with content of the entry", with no indication of just what it objected to. ie:

www.deadline.com/foo/bar.html will be rejected, whilst deadline.com/foo/bar.html will be fine. (Note that even the text, not made into a link, will also trip the filter - I had to break the URL up by bracketing www. in italics, then another pair of tags for the rest!)

And, as one really needs no excuse to quote Vonnegut:

Here is a lesson in creative writing.

First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.

And I realize some of you may be having trouble deciding whether I am kidding or not. So from now on I will tell you when I'm kidding.

For instance, join the National Guard or the Marines and teach democracy. I'm kidding.

We are about to be attacked by Al Qaeda. Wave flags if you have them. That always seems to scare them away. I'm kidding.

If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don't have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
^_^

It's all in the nose.

*twitch twitch*
"Prometheus" is the only film I recommend seeing in 3D. It is also the only film that has its light and colour balanced properly for 3D, and does not either 'pop' everything with bright colours nor allow everything to be muddy and dark. It's naturalistic when it wants to be naturalistic, alien and harsh when it wants to be alien and harsh.
Hm! Well, that does seem to concur with a few other sentiments I've seen around. In 2D, it certainly didn't seem filled with the usual directorial "hey LOOK, we're IN 3D!" wild perspectives, as in the trailer for Rio, or throughout Hugo. Still, I suppose we could rely on Mr Scott to be judicious in such techniques' application. ^_^

It'll be quite interesting to see if Cameron does indeed follow through with Prometheus' sequel - as I recall, that'll link Prometheus and Alien. Though, I'll admit to quite preferring Scott to Cameron, including Alien over Aliens (which does sound a bit odd..) - I've always preferred the former's simple, tight premise, all (well, mostly) one against one, versus the "if one's scary, imagine a thousand of them!", which I felt diluted the xeno's terror. Originally, it was a dicy proposition to even try killing them, given how ferociously acidic their blood was - by the time Aliens came around, it seemed barely notable.
apparently they used the 3D effect on the planetary shots - which makes the planets look like toys.
*wince*
Heh, I should get one of them thar Run CMC shirts! I wonder what they charge for shipping. (Also, 24 EUR for a black organic t-shirt? Hefty price, that.)

Ah, Vivian Stanshall! I still recall him from the end of Tubular Bells (the Boxed version). "Vivian Stanshall, about three o'clock in the morning, Oxfordshire, 1973, goodnight." ^^ And I think he was the one who introduced the instruments in Part 1, wasn't he? IIRC, the Bonzo Dog Band just happened to be in the studio ahead of (or after) Mike Oldfield, and Mike just grabbed Viv and had him do those spoken introductions. Or at least that's how the story goes. :)

The story about the THX trailer(s) was interesting, too, but alas, the site it links to for those doesn't exist anymore. Good thing there's Youtube, although either way, it's not the same as in cinemas. Now if only the C program mentioned (or the parameters/score it produced) were available, too...

Wow, ads on Skype? I knew that being bought by Microsoft, they'd go from bad to worse, but I'd really not expected THAT.
I wouldn't mind the price, if I had confidence they'd last. So many shirts seem destined to sprout armpit holes, for want of slightly thicker material, and sturdier seams - and that's not even counting the printing process used, where some may fade after a few months, while others last years (eg the famed Associated Student Bodies designs).

Ha! Indeed, so he was! I suppose I ought to've recognised his voice. Ah, if only Mr Oldfield would choose to put some of his earlier works out under a NC Creative Commons license.. even better, as individual tracks. (It's much fun, listening to the individual tracks of a familiar work - gives you a good feel for just how carefully layered a given single can be)

Still, at least they do offer up some example THX trailers in the error page, rather than just throwing their paws up in the air. ^_^ I wonder what Dolby's new baby, ATMOS, will be like, by comparison.. although I can't but think of The Sontaran Stratagem on thinking of that name. Perhaps not the comparison they were hoping for. =:) (And as you say, there's always YouTube, now home to the referenced Simpsons reference to THX =:)

I doubt the C would be very meaningful now, without the associated hardware. Still, it could be fun to have it see the light of day again. Come to that, I wonder when the last time was that the sound was actually generated live? I'd assume it's all been from an archival recording for a good while now, long since digitised.

I do hope MS will reconsider the ads. If it's a free call - ie no call termination costs being borne by either user or Skype - it seems inappropriate to try making money off it. I could perhaps excuse them on calls that would otherwise cost money, but I'd never see them - as with LJ, I'd far sooner pay for a service, than have the financing be this murky, opaque morass where people are the service's crop. Not that that need put people off, of course - we still have Facebook in this universe, after all. (Ugh, and then there's Flickr to renew, too.. right when finances are in a lousy condition. I'll probably leave it basic for a few days, until payday - supposedly, nothing happens to one's works when transitioning from paid to basic, and it's entirely reversed once you go back to paid)
*nods* I didn't mind the price in the end, either — so I hope the shirt'll be a decent quality, since I ordered one now. :) I went for the organic shirt, too; experience has shown that spending a few extra bucks can make quite a difference in fabric quality. Still, not a shirt I'll wear and wash all the time, of course: more something for special occasions than an everyday workhorse.

Oh yeah, wouldn't it be nice if Mike did that? Unfortunately, despite him having earned a lot of money with his music already, I'd say it's unlikely, or perhaps even *because* of that. After all, he might think, why slay the goose that lays the golden eggs? (And presumably, Tubular Bells continues to provide more income for him than his later works, at least individually.)

Isn't it amazing that the THX sound's from 1983 already — almost 30 years old now? I don't think I've heard it – or OF it, for that matter – until at least 12 to 15 years or so later.

Yeah, I hope Microsoft will reconsider those Skype ads, too, but unless there's going to be a major public backlash and PR disaster, I doubt they will. It doesn't seem right to make money off of a free service when you're not even providing infrastructure (and they don't; the people who run Skype do), but when faced with a choice of acting ethically or making money, they'll go with the latter.

As for Flickr — yes, everything should be safe if you temporarily let your account revert back to Basic. Not that I've ever tried, but that's what they claim, and they generally seem to pretty good with keeping THEIR infrastructure running. :)
User schnee referenced to your post from Skype ads saying: [...] didn't expect what they apparently come up with now: advertising in your calls. has the scoop [...]
Hah, neat. That's the first time I've seen the pingback bot in action. (Also, did they rename it? I'm pretty sure it was actually called pingback_bot. *checks* Hmm, seems that account still exists, but is apparently not used for pingbacks anymore.)
It caught me by surprise! I'm not sure I've ever seen it in action before either. ^_^; Maybe it's finally started working? An interesting idea, and it's not a bad default that it arrived as a screened comment, so they don't have to clog up the page, if it turns out to be highly referenced, as with tumblr. I do recall them mentioning it, presumably around its debut. LiveJournal's ways are indeed mysterious. =:)
Dude, those bunny snaps are awesome! It's news to me, never knew that buns can climb trees and nom on leaves.

Watched "Prometheus" on Wed night, and I can't it wasn't a gripping movie. There were parts which I would habe changed, but overall I enjoyed it. The aliens were weirded out, which I didn't like.

Eh, Skype's losing it. Since they've been taken over by Microsoft it started going downhill. This? Whatever, really, it's just Microsoft doing what it does best.
I've certainly not seen the like before! But, I suppose buns do have quite good claws, even if they're mostly used for digging and traction. I wonder how that bun came to discover trees weren't off limits after all..

Remember, Prometheus is in the Alien timeline, but not immediately preceding it - what we saw there were different, earlier versions of the Xenomorph we know and.. well, not quite sure about love. =:) I was quite surprised by the meeting with the Engineer - I'm pleased they went that route, rather than the more obvious approach I'd expect of Hollywood. Though I'd maybe have preferred a third way, such as the SMBC strip (which I can't find at the moment, despite a good few searches on DDG and OhNoRobot) where a human's cuddling up to Mother Earth, feeling safe and loved, only to be reminded that she'll be fine - it's humans that'll have to watch out for extinction.

I wonder if MS will reconsider? It's got to be occurring to even the most loyal flack that the proposal's not exactly being lovingly received. (I note the ads mention "if you have no credit" - so, presumably, if you've given them some money to look after, the ads won't appear, even if the call's free anyway) Ah well. It's a real pity none of the early VoIP apps really hit the big time, with fully open protocols, even if the implementations were sometimes commercial, as with CU-SeeMe in its later White Knight incarnation. But, I suppose all (?) of the IM services offer voice and often video anyway, so if people feel sufficiently ticked off, there are alternatives. (Reminds me, I should fire up iChat once in a while.. only problem is, I usually forget about it, only to wind up having someone catch me just as I'm about to go to sleep, or simply too tired for conversation)



Asterix in CGI! Oh boy! Another one I will have to download illegally because it won't be released in the US! :(

Haven't seen Prometheus yet. One friend was annoyed at the bad science and stupid scientists in the film. I seem to remember similar criticism for Blade Runner about the genetic stuff. :)

I noticed you used "alfred e newman" has a tag for this post. If this is the Mad Magazine mascot, his name is spelled "neuman". Also, he grew out of a racial caricature of the lazy Irishmen "invading" New York in the olden days. LOL RACISM


I'm frustrated that we even still have distributors in business, serving to limit the availability of films! Even big-budget productions remain sometimes subject to executive whims - Disney's a particularly egregious offender, leaving anything from 2-4 months between US and UK releases (eg Ratatouille: US, June 29 2007; UK, October 12 2007. It's improved a little since then, but Brave suffers also: US, June 22 2012; UK, August 17 2012, except for Scotland, which gets it a fortnight earlier!). With indies, of course, all bets are off - who knows if Beyond the Black Rainbow will ever see any real offline distribution? Iron Sky's hobbled out here and there, but not locally. Gah! WTH can't I give them a few currency units and just download it in perfect 1080p?

Prometheus was much fun. If you liked Scott's style in Alien, I'd say you're going to have a ball with Prometheus, with its huge budget and current day SFX. True, the science isn't always accurate or meaningful, but hey, back to Blade Runner: recall the photo/video "enhancement". *grin* As long as his artistic license is fully paid up, does it matter?

Xenophobia's one of those wretched human characteristics that I suspect we'll be a long time getting rid of - tribalism seems to be quite deeply rooted in humanity, and remains overtly nurtured by many political factions. Good catch! The correct spelling slipped me by.
Thank you for propagating my gripe about Govolo. As the company has not responded to my complaint (still less apologised), I have little compunction about slagging them off pretty much as vigorously and as widely as I can.

And, oh, your quote from Vonnegut prompted me to get some creative writing done. :-)

Edited at 2012-06-16 09:05 am (UTC)
I just had a quick peek to see how Govolo have performed for other peeps, and came across this example, which sounds like quite the horror story. Possibly they fell foul of the same non-process as yourself?

Not that even larger organisations need, apparently, have their systems thought through completely: my last flight with Virgin issued me with a booking with my first and middle names concatenated; coupled with their dire, express warnings that your passport and ticket names absolutely had to match perfectly, I felt no option but to call them up, whereupon they admitted their system does that, and not to worry about it. Oy gevalt!

Actually, that's reminded me in turn that I really ought to finish The Sirens of Titan. ^_^; It really is a joy to read such skilled writing, even moreso in light of the extruded word paste that passes for writing much of the time, whether in supposedly reputable papers, or fanfic.