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I seldom note the deaths of popular figures, but I'll make an exception for someone whose imagination powered several series that remain enjoyed, decades on: Gerry Anderson has died. With a long list of productions to his name, his place in many people's memories was assured - Space: 1999, Thunderbirds, UFO, Captain Scarlet, Stingray, and more.

Read on for a rather unsavory tale of how Expedia screws small hotels. In this instance, an 18-room hotel run by a couple in the Caribbean coast of Mexico, wound up with Expedia showing absolutely no room availability for any time, and even cancelling existing bookings, asking the hotel to then pay those guests' rebooking fees.

Have you been hankering for a Cintiq, but found yourself thwarted by its less than svelte price? Have a look at the Yiynova MSP19U, suitable for OS X and Windows. Finally, it would seem that Wacom has some serious competition. It doesn't blow away the Cintiqs, but with similar parallax involved, and slightly better cursor lag, it's a genuinely solid alternative. And the price? The 22" Cintiq is $1,999. This one, slightly smaller at 19", is $499. =:D

The NFU is making noises to the effect that the badger cull could be limited to just sick badgers. I'm doubtful as to their honesty in such a proposal, as even they admit, "Adam Quinney of the National Farmers Union agreed that a targeted cull may work in some areas. However he said it would be very difficult to carry out a targeted cull as it is difficult to identify infected badgers and upsetting the social structure could cause diseased animals to move around more." I'll admit, when you consider the practicalities of trying to implement such a scheme, this comes off as more of a means of attempting to sweeten the killing by courting a gentler PR image.

So, I finally buckled, and went for DxO Optics Pro 8, on the final day of their ⅓-off sale. It's a versatile package, able to perform perspective correction, noise reduction, and other manipulations - but the feature that lured me in was their chromatic aberration correction. CA's a phenomenon that manifests particularly noticeably along boundaries of high contrast, if the lens' performance is less than ideal. In my case, that sometimes meant seeing magenta fringing along buntails, with their perfect white against often quite dark backgrounds - so, not just a bit of an issue, but in a place in the image that'll be particularly noticeable. Many packages claim to be able to help with chromatic aberration correction, but on a couple tests, DxO Optics Pro 8 actually worked. (One factor that doubtless helps with its efficacy is that they model the actual performance of a large number of combinations of camera body and lenses, each combination having its own set of data, permitting lens/body-specific corrections, such as removing the subtle distortions you'll find, like barrel and pincushion, and combinations thereof) So, if I can secure a few days off, maybe directly after New Year's Day, I might finally be able to complete the preparation of the 35 or so shots for the store - with the fringing removed, I'll be able to offer a subtly improved version of those shots, which I'll feel much more comfortable about asking money for, and buyers will have a view closer to what was actually seen at that moment. ^_^

Does anyone have (a) Photoshop and (b) a system with an insane amount of RAM? If you remember that high-resolution cityscape panorama I posted a few months ago, you'll remember there's a bit missing in the lower left. As there's not really any useful detail there anyway (just some trees on the cliffside, quite close to the camera), it seemed like an ideal opportunity to use a content-aware fill to try making a gentle segue into a block with the scene's title. Unfortunately, trying that wound up going to over 60GB swap space, before giving up on the thing entirely. The trouble, of course, is that the complete image is rather gigantic, with the PSB file around 18GB.

The Freedom of the Press Foundation's opening appeal for funds to help in investigative journalism has been working out quite handsomely! Already, $120,000 has been donated, with Wikileaks ahead, but MuckRock News, The National Security Archive, and UpTake also benefiting greatly.

Ah well. At least the plague seems to be diminishing slightly, having had to retire last night before midnight. I did wake around 5.30am, spending an hour or so awake, but finally waking properly a bit after noon. Having mostly caught up with LJ again, maybe it's time to head downstairs for some more Tom Baker era Doctor Who. ^_^ (We're gradually working through all of it. Ah, Sarah Jane Smith always was one of the very best companions, easily able to hold her own - as indeed she did, in The Sarah Jane Adventures)

Holy cow. Wow. Well it sucks that he's dead NOW but WOW!
Oh, very much so! Remember, he was involved in the CG continuation of Captain Scarlet - very successful in retaining the fun and adventure of the original, but freed from the constraints imposed by physical models and studio sets.

It's sad about Gerry Anderson. I didn't know he had dementia.
I used to watch "Thunderbirds" and "Space: 1999" growing up in France, and I had the excellent (albeit oddly-colored) Dinky Toys vehicles of ALL his creations. He always did have the best toys. :)

Mm, not exactly the happiest twilight for one's life.. at least it sounds he remained cogent for most of his time. *sigh* I wonder what's going on with the UFO film mentioned? Would be rather fun to see that on the big screen, as long as it remains his work, not something that lifts a concept and title.

Yep! I watched Thunderbirds and Space: 1999 regularly, and caught up later on with Captain Scarlet and Joe 90. I think I even saw at least one of the Thunderbirds flicks on the big screen. ^_^ (Was it on its original release? It was on a smaller town screen, but then, we did live nearby)

The toys! I only remember having a couple of them - Thunderbird 2, I think, and one of the UFO interceptors. Now those'd be fun to see out again.. wish I still had mine, but like pretty much everything else from then, it's long lost (or quietly tossed..). Still, the physical items hardly matter - it's the memories, and the fun. ^_^

Wonder if we can have a second new season of Captain Scarlet? And a new Thunderbirds? And Space:1999. =:D
And the price? The 22" Cintiq is $1,999. This one, slightly smaller at 19", is $499. =:D

Chop off another 9 and you're entering the price range I'd be willing to consider. :) (Still thinking about that Bamboo, myself...)

DxO Optics Pro sounds nice, too. And if you're going to sell prints, then yes, it seems like a good investment. :)
I know plenty of people use Intuos and the like perfectly successfully, but it just doesn't feel natural to me, having the input so disconnected from the results. Still, I suppose it's something you just have to get used to, like moving a cursor with a trackpad, versus the more direct control of a touchscreen. $499, though, gets well into the realm of interest.. distribution outside the US seems a bit patchy and/or expensive, but, I'm vaguely hoping my orbit passes the Bay again before too much longer.. ^_^

It was how easily DxO managed the CA correction, too, as well as how effectively. True, the prints as they were did look good (I ordered proofs at reasonable size of all of them), but you could notice the fringing was there, if you knew it was there. If I'm going to be asking money for them, I really want to make sure it's as good as I can manage, within the constraints of not having a TARDIS to retake the shots using the Nikkor 300mm f/4D. =:) Things like perspective correction might also be fun, to remap wide-angle shots, in instances where I don't actually want that nifty perspective distortion - of course, there are plenty of times where that's actually part of the intent. ^_^

Mmm, I must remember to ask for the rest of next week off, to give me a few days to actually dive into going through all the prospective store shots, and finally open it for business.. ^_^;
You do make it sound like a rather neat program! :) I'm almost wondering if I should've invested in it myself while I had the opportunity to get it for less, but OTOH, I'm neither intent on selling shots nor am I really into post-processing to begin with (I'm just too lazy). Still, it does sound nifty!

And I agree, if you want to sell shots (and presumably build a reputation along the way), you'll want them to look as best as they can. :)