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freakylynx noticed a fun short available for download from the maker: Robot Bastard. (If the style reminds you of Scud: the Disposable Assassin, that's not coincidental.. and he had a hand in Heat Vision & Jack too)

When BoingBoing noted the lyrebird's versatility as an impersonator, they weren't exaggerating. This clip needs to be heard to be believed. ^_^

MacSaber 1.0 has been released. Now it's not just for MacBook owners, but all PowerBooks with the sensor. ^_^ Really needs some suitably flashy graphics, though. (Wonder if the keyboard lighting's software controllable.. think I read it's only handled by the PMU)

worthyadvisor might enjoy some of these icons, from 1950s "bad girl" B-movies. ^_^

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The free version of SketchUp for OS X is now, finally, available from Google. And there's v.4 of Google Earth, though I've not tested to see why the system recommendation's been bumped up, from 500MHz to 1.2GHz G4.

What a wonderful name for an coating intended to provide better plectrum grip - Gorilla Snot.

Nice little farm.. to remaster the James Bond Ultimate DVD collection took 2.5 years on a bank of six hundred G5s, with 700TB of storage. Interestingly, the scanning took place at a resolution of 4000x3000 pixels per frame - wonder if that means they've got HD masters as a result as well? (Though with the original film quality, that may be superfluous)

Via otter3, the only mention of the World Cup you'll see me make:

telnet ascii-wm.net 2006

.. to see the match. In ASCII. ^_^ Streams start ten minutes before a game, apparently.

(Kewl! Germany wins against Poland 1-0)

If you've got an Intel Mac, and like Parallels Workstation, they've just announced a final release. The final version will sell for $80, with a 30-day launch special of $50.

For potential SL newcomers, I noticed they're intending to remove the requirement for billing information for free accounts - that may already have taken place. That'll be helpful for those without access to a suitable credit/debit card.

This video player looks like a promising start, with support for all the usual codecs, plus 802.11b connectivity. Three things I'd like, though: H.264 support (tiny files, or much better picture quality), gigabit ethernet, and definitely WPA support. Still, pretty neat.

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Was it as good as VHS at that point?

Generally much sharper than VHS, yes. Provided there was very little motion in the video. The PC-based transcoding software was designed for speed rather than quality (required at least a 2ghz CPU) so anything with a lot of motion ended up extremely blocky. Of course, you could kick down frame size from 720x480 to 320x240 to eliminate this problem with fast motion but then you're stuck with sub VHS-quality video. The server software was also unable to handle a lot of formats it claimed to support and it also was extremely resource intensive - I wasn't very keen on dedicating my main desktop machine to acting as a media server.

Ow! $400? Mm, that is getting a bit high.. though it does claim 1080p output. But would it really have the processing power to decode such video? 1080p is pretty demanding - beyond Hyzenthlay, by far (partly the processing power available, but also capped by Freescale's MAXBUS pegging at 167MHz), but fine on a MacBook Pro.

hmmm - is this decoding 1080p video, or some sort of rescaling? I would be amazed if you could feed a 1920x1080 DiVX stream to this thing and have it play it.

I'd definitely want something capable of good H.264

H.264? I must read more about this. I was quite impressed that my Sony/Ericsson Z520a cell phone can record about 30 seconds of video in about 100kb and I believe it supports some derivative of MPEG-4.
Mm, not much point making a computer do so much work - rather obviates the benefit in having a standalone player in the first place. It's fairly dramatic just how much more frugal "plain" MPEG-4 is compared to MPEG-2, though I suppose MPEG-2 still achieves quite decent results. Reminds me, I should try laying my paws on a DV bridge someday - though I may well wind up just getting a low-end camcorder instead, given how similar that'd be in cost. (That said, what I'd like is something HD-capable, at least 720p. Still, that's a little way off yet)

I would be amazed if you could feed a 1920x1080 DiVX stream to this thing

That does seem implausible, yes, considering the level of general CPU power 1080p playback requires. I wouldn't be surprised it's actually a matter of upscaling, so it can claim to be "HD ready" or some such junk.

As for the phone, it could well be thinking of 3GPP, which IIRC, is indeed an MPEG-4 derivative aimed at insanely low bitrates - play around with the QuickTime Player with a Pro key, and you'll find 3GPP amongst the export options, with audio down to something like 8kbps. Not exactly CD quality at that bitrate, though. =:) Could also be H.264, though, especially at phone resolutions. Something like my transcoding of "History of Oil" demonstrates H.264's low bitrate performance pretty well, even at modestly large frame sizes and uncompromised framerate.

Have a fiddle sometime - ffmpegX is a good app to play around with, sitting on top of mencoder and x264. Exhaustive motion estimation searching works very well, but does take a lot longer - most of the time, I just go for multihexagon, as well as enabling trellis encoding and CABAC. (Though, for whatever reason, ffmpegX fails when using x264 at low bitrates - rather than just letting the quality drop, or the filesize increase, it'll take the rather useless third option of just dropping frames entirely. So you wind up with a file of the correct duration, but the video track only lasts around half of that, at what winds up being around double speed. Selecting mencoder avoids that issue)

Presumably it's got a full J2ME implementation too? Sounds like it'd be fun to hack up a quick game or two on. ^_^ (And there's a mobile edition of Lumines, apparently)