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I finally received notification that the next project is indeed going ahead, with all the financing sorted out. ^_^ It should now just be a matter of agreeing on a contract, and I'll experience the strange sensation of smoothly segueing straight into another engagement. (For better or for worse - a few times previously, I've used the end of employment as a great excuse to go wandering for a bit. On the other paw, that was with money in the bank =:)

The "WATCH THIS NOW" clip for today is Beyond, an eight minute sci-fi short. Arya is the last of her kind, able to travel through space and time; eventually, she's alerted to an extremely remote destination. This is the kind of sci-fi I'd so love to see more of: genuinely speculative, arguably hopeful, and without a single rampaging alien species intent on conquering Earth. If you liked Contact, this will appeal. Remarkable production values, too, but then, we're now into an era of filmmaking where cinematic color grading, compositing, and modeling are all entirely feasible on home equipment - the barrier now is but talent.

So.. naming suggestions, please. ^_^ Realising that my time qualifying for Apple's edu discounts was drawing to a close, I gritted my teeth and plumped for a new MacBook Pro. 15", unfortunately, as all the 17" models were discontinued a year or so back. Still, 2880 x 1800 will be rather easy on the eyes. One big improvement will be 16GB vs 8GB on Dandelion - with Xcode, VS2010, and the codec all kicking around, the current 8GB can get chowed down quite easily, let alone all the other apps. USB 3 will be welcome, as will 802.11ac, given the volumes of data I'm often shuffling between drives and over the house network. 2.3GHz quad-core i7, joint Iris Pro and 750M with 2GB for graphics, 1TB of SSD on PCIe yielding around 900MB/s read and write.. and to go with it, a 128GB WiFi/cellular iPad Air. Going from my current first generation iPad.. might be noticeable. =:) (That'll then be going to my mother, whom I'm determined to get online)

Anyway! What should I call it? I'd like something leporine, I think, in keeping with its recent-ish predecessors, Hyzenthlay and Dandelion.

Easily the most detailed review of the iPad Air is Anandtech's. Whilst any will note the obvious, here you'll be able to dive into the geekiest details, such as the improved dispatch/retire of the A7, and performance under sustained load, once throttling engages, alongside all the comparative benchmarking you can shake a modest-sized forest at. One interesting, minor point that caught my eye was the Air's use of a second microphone, for noise cancellation, which he demonstrates to great effect on page 6, versus an iPad 4. A similarly minor disappointment is that whilst it shares the rear camera module with the iPhone 5S, it doesn't offer the latter's high framerate video recording. Perhaps just as well, else I'd be trying to rig up the 300mm f/4 to it somehow. =:) (If I ever come into a huge amount of money, I'd love to pick up a Phantom Flex4K - 2000fps at 2K, or 1000fps at 4K. Imagine a rabbit chase or leap at that kind of framerate! But, such tech comes at a price - around $100-160K, with rentals around $1,800/day and upwards)

"Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?" is a project that I imagine I'll find rather interesting, putting the writings of Noam Chomsky to animation, courtesy of Michel Gondry, best known for his notable music videos, as well as a couple feature productions, including The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Could be quite a pairing!

Here's a KS I could hardly not mention. =:D The 7th Guest and The 11th Hour finally receive a sequel! T7G3: The Collector awaits funding. I'm not involved with its development this time around, but I may see if they can slip something leporine in somewhere. =:)

Who else is seeing Day of the Doctor on the big screen? ^_^ After some hesitation, following the realisation that the local fleapit wasn't in fact showing it (the BBC's locator lists all of a chain's locations, not specifically the ones participating), I realised there was another location I could opt for, still easily reached, and part of a decent chain. With, it looked like, about three tickets to go. =:D

We recently watched some of "Paul Merton in China", which turned out to be much less trivial than I'd feared. It's actually.. well, yes, they certainly apply industrial strength lacquer over parts of Chinese modernisation that aren't so palatable. Followed a night or two later by "The Chinese are Coming", looking at the real-world effects of mainland China's growing prominence on the world trading front, in Tanzania, Zambia, the Congo, Brazil, and the US.

A modest competition: a city break in Oxford. Maybe something for moth_wingthane? (Whom I must also thank for pointing out a dirt cheap dual-band handie, which I'll be using to get on air again for the first time in ages. ^_^ First, though, I need the examining body to locate proof of my qualification, so they can issue a replacement certificate, so I can reactivate my license - now, apparently, good for all bands!) Two nights in a plush hotel (not that kind of plush, more's the pity), dinner, and first class train travel. Just a matter of dropping your name and email in, apparently with the option to subscribe to GWR's email, not forced. Entries close Nov 30 2013.

How to crack GSM for $30. Caveats: it isn't real-time, and the victim must be on the same cell. Whilst GSM interception is nothing new, this brings the costs down from a few thousand to peanuts.

Each year, the University of Warwick’s rowing team strips down to produce a charity calendar against homophobia. These are very fit individuals. Several example scenes and animated GIFs are included, to assist with your purchasing decision. (There’s no dangliness, but likewise, they’re not wearing anything; could be NSFW)

So, who caught The Burrowers? "Chris Packham sheds light on the magical underground world of three iconic British animals, badgers, water voles and rabbits. In one of the biggest natural history experiments ever undertaken, he investigates wild burrows to recreate full-scale replicas for the animals to live in and be observed, including the largest man-made rabbit warren of its kind ever built. This creates a window on their lives never witnessed before, from birth in winter to their emergence from the burrow in summer. How do they create their burrows? How do they breed and give birth? Observe fascinating new science and new behaviour as the team design and build a rabbit warren, a badger sett and a water vole burrow with its own riverbank." (Many, many thanks to DH Winterwolf & Darac for furnishing me with 1080i copies straight from the sky) If you missed it, you can find all three parts on YouTube: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, all in 720p. To save the files, I'd recommend either visiting KeepVid (avoid the misleading ads disguised as huge download buttons), or their Javascript bookmarklet, in the upper right - add that as a bookmark in your favorites bar, and it'll automagically pass the current page over to them and parse out the video links for you, for all the resolutions available.

Of all places, I hadn't expected it to be Pawn Stars UK where I'd learn of the existence of a version of Alice in Wonderland, illustrated by Rodney Matthews. The artwork is, as you'd expect, fabulously lush, flowing, organic, spiky, and as mean or as witty as the moment commands.

Want to learn about quantum computing? The University of Bristol is kindly offering their Qcloud project, "which aims to provide resources for anybody interested in quantum technologies. In particular those who want to have some practical experience of using and manipulating information using quantum computers. We believe that people find quantum physics difficult to grasp because it is not intuitive – quantum systems behave in ways that are not seen in our normal day to day lives. We can’t change quantum mechanics but we can at least try to change intuition.

If you use any of the National Cycling Network paths, or just fancy a chance of winning £3,000, you might like to pick up a few tickets for Sustrans' Christmas raffle, a mere pound apiece. Prizes are £3,000, £1,000, and £500, with ten runners-up receiving £100 vouchers for their store.

So, OS X Mavericks (named after a beach apparently originally named after a dog, Maverick - over time, the apostrophe simply ambled away) recently came out. Inevitably, I had to take the plunge, although, admittedly, not until I’d verified Parallels 8 would still play nicely, as I didn’t want to jeopardise my Windows 7 dev environment, and similarly, that Xcode had no show-stopping surprises. For an exhaustive look inside, John Siracusa’s done his usual thing, offering up a 24-page examination. Overall, I’m rather pleased with it - it’s a release that doesn’t trumpet piles of new features, though there are some highly welcome refinements (tabs in the Finder, finally!), so much as concentrating on optimising for performance and battery life, such as coalescing timers together, so the CPU can waken briefly to service several in one go, rather than have to enter and exit sleep repeatedly.

The only significant casualties have been OmniWeb 5, which seems to have trouble with accepting cookies on some sites (but, curiously, not all) - for now, I’m working around that by simply using OmniWeb 6, which is still in beta, and as such, occasionally interestingly broken in its own ways. ^_^; I may well give Safari more usage as well, as the new shared links feature seems like something I might like, and does offer one feature long missing from OW: plugins. And, sadly, Requiem 4.1 doesn’t like the new version of Java, so for DRM stripping of iTunes video purchases, I’ll have to fire up Parallels, until someone fixes the code - unfortunately, the developer behind it retired from the project earlier this year. (And Java is very much not my forte..) Thankfully, running the Windows version works fine.

Minor Mavericks hint: turn off the "smart quotes" option in TextEdit, which appears to've been enabled by default, else you'll find HTML built therein doesn't work so well. =:)

Night in the Woods is a furry game Kickstarter worth mentioning. ^_^ "All Mae wants to do is run around with her friends, break stuff and hang on to a life of aggressive aimlessness. She dropped out of college and returned home to her crumbling old mining town to do just that, but she's finding that nothing is the same anymore. The old town seems different. Her old friends have grown in their own directions. Mae herself is undergoing some sudden and unexplained changes, giving her mysterious abilities that grant her access to a side of town she never knew existed. The world is changing, things are ending, and the future is uncertain. Up behind the park at the edge of town, back in the trees by the old mine- there's something in the woods. And it could mean no future at all."

Now.. the waiting. Which, really, could be a geek horror film title =:)

A Hollywood adaptation of Godot, perhaps? With an unmotivated love story, a high-speed car chase, and various explosions and special effects thrown in, just because... :)

"The Waitening!"

Oh, indeed, buns are quite fine with tasty flowers. Somewhere, I've got footage of a friend's bun happily chowing down on one of the yard's potted plants. ^_^; (It seemed rude to interrupt them) Mostly grasses, of course, but where there are berries within reach, they'll go for those with enthusiasm.

Mmm, Clover could work, yes.. Harebell has quite a ring to it, with a doubly lapine theme, in both its name and (admittedly presumed) edibility. ^_^

Everyone loves berries, don't they? The local bunnies burrow besides a bunch of blackberry bushes (shameless alliteration, I know...); I wonder if they ever manage to snag them when they're ripe. Certainly they are a treat! (The berries, not the bunnies.)

Ah, no, not The 7th Guest - I came on board for The 11th Hour. ^_^ Initially the 3DO version, which was tragically canned prior to completion, then the Mac version, which did eventually hit the shelves. Such a great company! Everyone involved knew perfectly well they could be making twice as much down in the Bay, but nobody left, as we were all enjoying it too much. And the parties.. company sponsored, too. =:D Hell of a start to anybody's career!

Indeed, T7G sold fairly astonishingly well, especially for a medium just hitting the mass market. Deservedly, too, I'd say. ^_^ I'm quite fond of that kind of adventure, and the whole setting had such atmosphere - and Stauf was such a great villain. =:D (Very pleasant guy IRL, too. Originally a theatrical actor, but he found this kind of production much easier, as it meant not having to learn anywhere near as many lines in advance. I can sympathise!)

Ooh, sounds like a cool company to work at. :) I never actually got to play Seventh Guest, but in retrospect maybe I should keep an eye open for it. I do like adventure games, anyway (I grew up on LucasArts and Sierra, particularly the former), and Seventh Guest and Eleventh Hour are classics. I wonder if ScummVM would run them if I managed to snag up some copies on eBay or so.

*checks* Ah, yes, Seventh Guest at least is supported (at "95%", which is about as good as it ever gets). Eleventh Hour is not mentioned at all, sadly.
Someone needs to come up with a trailer for The Waitening. =:D I might even give it a shot, though it'll be quite a learning process - I'm used to still photography, not video, let alone pro grade video. (Though, the D7100 can take such) Last time I was active with video was back in San Diego, at the Zoo and Wild Animal Park, and a few years after. Ahh, those are good places.. much removed from the old school of animal imprisonment, though arguably still a raw deal compared to any realistic habitat.

Yep, buns are no fools. ^_^ When I left the last place, I scattered a bag of raisins across some of their usual spots. I was quite teary doing so - it was, after all, leaving them, from a position of looking out upon their lives almost daily for the past couple years. But, they're wily sorts, and will persist. ^_^

Huh! ScummVM can manage T7G? Impressive! It didn't use any existing engine, after all. Actually, I can't state that authoritatively - I only knew the 11H code, which certainly didn't. But I suppose it can all be reverse engineered. ^_^

Mm, Trilobyte was a superb place. I've known a few good outfits, too. =:) (Not that many! Only about seven, in all. Not to say they were all noteworthy - but, even the last place stands out for being where I was introduced to the wonders of DSLRs, and the calm delight of wildlife photography)
Aye, ScummVM has grown a lot in recent years. I think there was a change in attitude and vision at some point; I remember how the project used to state that they wouldn't support e.g. SCI games due to FreeSCI already existing, but later on they added it anyway. I think this indicates a general shift in vision from a fairly narrow interpreter for SCUMM games (and AGI games, and perhaps a few other ones) to a general tool that's able to play pretty much any adventure game thrown at it.

(The reality appears to have been that FreeSCI was merged into ScummVM, both on a code and a project level; nonetheless I believe this represents a significant change in how ScummVM approaches non-SCUMM games.)

Eleventh Hour support, BTW, turns out to be "in-progress". Who knows, maybe it'll be supported soon. :)

Last time I was active with video was back in San Diego, at the Zoo and Wild Animal Park, and a few years after. Ahh, those are good places.. much removed from the old school of animal imprisonment, though arguably still a raw deal compared to any realistic habitat.

That sounds very nice. Zoos can be quite depressing, but not all are, all the time.