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Last Saturday's films were Zootopia, and The Lobster. I was delighted to see the first again, and actually quite gratified that the roomie immediately got into it! He's often inclined to try second guessing plotlines. But, only a couple minutes in, he declared "this is excellent". Ah, they did so much right there. ^_^ (And apparently, the initial seed for the storyline had Nick Wilde be the star - but along the way, they realised it could be much more interesting to have Judy Hopps leading the way. I raise no objections =:) The Lobster was rather more of a change of pace than I'd anticipated - it's an awkward one to describe well without giving much of it away. Suffice to say, it's darkly hilarious in many places, and occasionally deeply disturbing, whilst always being essentially about togetherness, of some quite starkly differing kinds. It's worth seeing, but don't go in expecting anything light and fluffy.

A spectacularly horrible look at an all too realistic media/advert-saturated augmented reality future, in the six minute short HYPER-REALITY. Anyone want to reassure me this isn't where we'll wind up?

Don't suppose anyone's dabbling in robotics or animatronics? I'm angling to get into the field, just for fun, starting with how to control my ears, nose, and tail, when I finally can bring my SL self into RL. I figure that as the 'suit itself is going to take a while, both out of complexity and cost, I may as well spend some time now thinking about how to animate it realistically. One key part will be the motors - ideally, the combination of characteristics may be impossible: silent and cool running, and not requiring a large battery pack to run. The ears will be the main emphasis on those requirements, of course - I'm not aiming for a cybernetic effect, so I can't have them give any kind of whining or whirring as they move around. I'm thinking much of the time, they'd be in "autonomous" mode, simply replicating natural movements - largely facing outwards, always pointing upright regardless of head angle, but always in very slight movement, perhaps automatically focusing on a sound source (which would be pretty cool to pull off =:). I'd need at least two axes of motion, too: vertically, so they could go from outward facing to front facing, and horizontally, to be able to go full perk, or downward. I'd then be able to override this, if I wanted to, say, focus on someone specifically, or send my ears down or up as a reaction.

There's a pilot study underway attempting to cure brain death in twenty subjects. "The trial participants will have been certified dead and only kept alive through life support. They will be monitored for several months using brain imaging equipment to look for signs of regeneration, particularly in the upper spinal cord - the lowest region of the brain stem which controls independent breathing and heartbeat. The team believes that the brain stem cells may be able to erase their history and re-start life again, based on their surrounding tissue – a process seen in the animal kingdom in creatures like salamanders who can regrow entire limbs."

On that note, Midnites for Maniacs is running a double bill tonight (Sat, May 28) at the Roxie in SF, starting with The Thing, followed by a new Western, Bone Tomahawk. And as a bonus, they're including a numbered lobby card for everyone, of an awfully spiffy design. ^_^


Well, a minor correction to my last entry: Warp Shift wasn't the next game I bought - they gave me a copy. ^_^ So far, I'm liking it, but I feel they may want to tweak it, as the difficulty isn't significantly ramping up, nor are extra features being introduced (yet, anyway), so it's feeling a bit repetitive.

A good C|Net article on the next format war now brewing over in 4K/UHD land, between HDR10 and Dolby Vision. It's quite detailed, going into what makers, studios, and services are supporting what, and some insight into why.

Some tech porn: some photos from an Imgix datacenter, being the folk who power Imgur, amongst others. Interesting to see not just the usual Linux blades, but Mac minis and Pros as well.

jenndolari offered up her take on a Mortal Kombat sequel - if you're a fan of the games/film, have a look. ^_^

Or, if astronomy's more your bag - or simply very good photography - do check out thewayne's superb shots of the Sloan 2.5m Digital Sky Survey telescope!

Latest in the Big Book of Schadenfreude: reports that "Kenneth Starr, the former independent counsel charged with investigating Bill Clinton during his presidency who is now the president of the world's largest Baptist college [Baylor University], has been fired over sexual abuse scandals at the school."

Running computers off DC supplies isn't anything very new - some datacenters already offer DC buses - but this trial at the University of Bath, where 50 computers and some support equipment were modified. It's the scale of energy saving that surprised me: "The project found that the DC network and associated computers used about half as much electrical power as the AC-powered computers they replaced - which could lower the University's energy costs by £25,000 a year."

E-Ink's announced a full color display. Sounds like it's quite early days, with 'Multiple 20” displays with a resolution of 1600 X 2500 at 150 ppi' built, but the fact they've achieved it, using what sounds like relatively simple manufacturing, should at least make for color eBook readers with similar battery lives as present. Hopefully the pixel density will improve, with 150dpi rather on the low side these days, especially for any hand-held device.

Could be handy for some folk: the Kanex keyboard matches a Mac setup nicely, and is wireless, but the neat wrinkle is the four keys above the numeric keypad. It can pair with four Bluetooth devices simultaneously, and you choose which you want to be typing on with those, be it your MacBook Pro, iPad, or iPhone.

Not too long now until WWDC! I'll be interested to see what goodies they disclose, not to mention what the priorities have been for OS X 10.12 and iOS 10. 'Course, I'll also have to keep an ear out for Aperture compatibility with 10.12 - I'd really prefer not to migrate to Lightroom, as I'm not much of a fan of Adobe's UIs, LR included. For image manipulation and detailed enhancement, there are plenty of contenders, like Affinity Photo, Pixelmator, and Potatoshop, but the list's a bit more lean on the asset management front, where Aperture does particularly well.

How's this for geeky spiffiness? A pop-up Himeji castle made out of Lego. =:D

I'm really happy to note that whilst the leporine plague has impacted my main warren's numbers - those I can see above ground, of course - it doesn't seem, yet, to be a rerun of the apocalypse a couple years back, where at one point, I could see upwards of 25-30 at any one time, all around me (surrounded by bunnies), and a couple weeks later, maybe two or three. Needless to say, I dearly hope their numbers remain reasonably steady hereon. I also scattered a second couple handfuls of raisins for them on Friday, which I'd like to hope will make a pleasant surprise for some of them. ^_^

Speaking of whom, this individual had quite the spring in their step, occasionally doing - not quite full-on binkying, but those wonderful little flourishes buns are occasionally wont to do, when the mood takes them.



And then, there are those moments, when you're chasing another bun, and maybe they mis-step, or you thrust forward a little too enthusiastically..

 
 
 
 
 
 
A spectacularly horrible look at an all too realistic media/advert-saturated augmented reality future...

Reminds me of a Minority Report/Surrogates crossover, very frightening indeed!

I like those lobby cards! John Carpenter's The Thing was a wonderfully dark little movie; full of action, drama, suspense, and whatnot. So much more entertaining than the original (with James Arness no less!).

"A spring in one's step" is adorable! And so clear :o)
I just look at the way much of the web's developed, especially in the last 5-10 years - ads have grown unabated, to the point where, if you're not using an adblocker, you're seeing maybe half the page taken over by ads on the worst pages, and companies like Google and Facebook do their utmost to track every site you visit, so they can try selling you the same thing you just bought last week. (No, I don't get how that works either) Go to a site, and there's a good chance they'll give you the page, and then immediately slap a modal dialog on top, begging you to sign up for their newsletter. Go to a news site, and you'll be lucky to see more than five words per story on the front page - it's all photos; what, do words frighten people, or at least, company executives?

It all makes me thankful for LJ. ^_^; FSM knows, they've been idiots too many times over, but it's still somewhere I can enjoy catching up with what everyone's been up to, or what's piqued their interest lately, with real comment threading, per-reply icons, and all that great stuff that makes reading and replying here so.. un-aggravating. =:D

I do need to see The Thing again sometime - it's been quite a while, for either version. I suppose I just don't really watch all that many films, at the moment.. I used to be quite heavily into filmwatching back around 2005 or so, often going through a couple a day, or entire anime series in a couple days, but currently, I seem to be much more into LJ, SLU, and probably Reddit again soon. That said, I did go out to see films more often back in Bath, especially at the Little, a fabulous cinema tucked away in just another Georgian terraced building, with the larger screen downstairs (where I finally saw Hot Fuzz, courtesy of VW, who paid for the screening, plus wine and popcorn =:), and a smaller one up a.. well, it's not quite a spiral, being squared off, but.. hm. Squarel stairway? Still, worth looking where you're going. Not as much as going upstairs at the Euston Cider Tap, though, which is a genuine spiral stairway, with the inner edge supported by a (hopefully) sturdy pole, so it's quite a tight loop. Considering the volume of high strength farmhouse cider that must get consumed there daily, I'm surprised they don't have an ambulance waiting outside every evening. =:) Brilliant place, though - and on the opposite side is their sister pub, the Euston Tap, which serves beer, of similarly interesting origins. If you're ever in London, I'd highly recommend giving them a try - they're just outside Euston station. Best not to go around 5-7pm, though, as it can get very busy.

Thanks. ^_^ That bun was really quite bouncy that evening - that moment turned out just so, in lovely focus, and just seemed to capture the mood so well. (Ah, if only I could work out how to sell such imagery! There must be folk who could do with some leporine joy on their wall or desk) Hopefully I can get out rabbiteering again before long, though the start of the week's looking rather dull. At least tomorrow's looking nice, but I'll be along to a local music festival then - no big names, but it's a very chill affair, with an electric stage at one end of the street, acoustic tent at the other, and various food, beer, and cider on offer, plus puppetry and suchlike for the anklebiters. =:) I did get a couple other superb moments, but tragically, rather out of focus. =:P Still, with one of the buns being solid black, and the lighting angle, I suppose they'd have been a bit awkward anyway. Not to say I'm not vaguely tempted to basically re-draw some of the fur in focus, or even just draw them from scratch, essentially tracing over the photo. =:) The one I'm thinking of would actually make quite a cool drawing, too..
Give me a colour e-reader with the ability to be used reliably in full sunlight in the way that mono ones are -- at a sensible price, of course -- and I'd be very interested indeed.

The brain experiment is interesting indeed, though it does potentially raise some awkward ethical questions about what might happen regarding organ donation in the future.
I can easily see the market being huge, especially if the reasonably simple manufacturing means they'll be able to keep costs down - there's probably still a large market for devices that are basically just readers, with functionality like browsing and email also available. (Such a device would be ideal for my mother, come to that - she's not likely to go hammering on the App Store's doors)

Thankfully, at least LCD readability in sunlight's come a long way in recent years, both through panel improvements, and backlighting - full brightness on Hazel or Dandelion is quite uncomfortable at night, and clear even in Bay Area sun. ^_^ Though it's the iPad that goes out and about these days, including rabbiteering, where I'll be able to keep up with email on the move, as well as remain abreast of weather developments, with satellite and radar imagery letting me know if some new cloudfront is just a blob on the move, or the shape of the rest of the evening. (Though I would like higher res visible images - but such may not be cheaply available outside specific commercial uses. Mostly, I use MeteoGroup's rather good WeatherPro HD app - not sure what satellites they use)

That's a very good point you raise. Chalk up another set of difficult decisions to have to make, on the doctors' and families' parts both, should this prove successful. One imagines the field might well advance, and be able to help people with less severe, but still significant, brain trauma, such as through bad traffic accidents, or war zone explosions.
They still hold a WWDC ah? I recall the year I got to work it.. was rather neat!
Love those bunny pix! ^V^
Russet was commenting on Uncanny Valley with the recently opened Through The Looking Glass. We haven't seen it yet as we haven't seen the first one yet, but it's available through iTunes, so maybe Tuesday or Wednesday night we'll watch it. My wife has the next two weekends off, so we're going to get out for a couple of movies hopefully.

I took my visiting friend Terry out to the observatory and got some sunset shots of the Sloan, but they're going to take a little bit of Photoshopping as they're quite blue. You'd think my white balance was off.

Love the bun shots! The rim lighting when they're in the air is quite awesome!
Another advantage is that DC-powered stuff is easier to run off alternative DC power sources (e.g. solar) without conversion loss.

I have a modest amount of background in small motion control projects, which is most of what you're talking about with servos and such. I even wanted to get into putting some of it into suits, but I lack the artistic knack. If you ever want to float some ideas from a technical point of view, let me know.
As someone with a Pebble Time, I'm excited for good e-Ink technology. I read a phone review a few years ago where they guy was like, "They still haven't solved the problem of viewing in harsh lighting..." and I was like, "Yeah they did! We all played a Gameboy Advance, right?"

One thing I'd thought about is the practicality of using a transflective LCD with a transparent OLED film on top. It would be perfect in sunlight, and the OLEDs could turn on as it got darker to preserve visibility. Transflective screens usually have terrible backlights, and regular LCDs or OLEDs tend to waste a horrible amount of energy trying to overpower the sun. It seems strange that someone hasn't tried this, yet.
I remember when I first heard of devices using two cameras; I was flabbergasted. I guess lots of devices have two speakers, and flip phones had two screens. This stuff isn't new.
Great post with some excellent bun shots!

Robotics is easy. There's a million different ways to add some animatronics to a costume. But one way to do it is to use radio control components meant for model cars and airplanes.

To run "canned" routines though, an arduino or RaspberryPi based controller is a good bet. Both have tons of available "shields" for connecting up common things like little DC motors and various kinds of sensors.

I don't have much experience with the "hobby" market. But if you want to go industrial or research quality, I can do turn-key. *grin*
Silliness aside, http://playground.arduino.cc/Learning/SingleServoExample

I thought this was a pretty decent primer.

These seem pretty hackable: http://www.musclewires.com/MWMovingHandKits.php

Been thinking about some projects for myself lately too.
That lobby card is gorgeous, but I'm not sure I'd want it in my home, nor do I plan to see the film any time soon. (I recently passed up a really nice T-shirt because it also creeped me out a little.