A few music videos I found notable recently:
Oliver Heldens - Last All Night (Koala) feat. KStewart - a professor tries out a serum, recorded by his assistant. It works.. quite well.
Tiga - Bugatti - I admit, I can take or leave the track, but the video's the key here, set to a tightly-timed near-repetition (but not!) of 1970/80s styled clips.
Roy Kafri - Mayokero - again, not one for the track, but the video, performed by artists on the covers of many a famous album. Very nicely done.
The Bots - All I Really Want - decent rock track set to a cleverly produced simple video, scrolling down the page of a curiously familiar site, BotsFeed.
Stealpot - Forgotten People ft. Anna Ruttar - it's simply an enjoyable video that flows pleasingly, to an engaging track that's reminiscent of Goldfrapp and Studio Killers on mellower days.
Don't suppose anyone I know's had experience with using any form of advertising on the net? I'm pondering trying out Reddit, specifically /r/aww, as the rates are both quite low, and flexible - 75¢ per 1000 impressions, with only a $5 minimum. Of course, it's impossible to tell how many folk might actually click, but one thread there suggested anything between 0.2% to 1.0% is possible. And then, well, the challenge is to actually entice visitors to buy prints, whether unmounted or mounted. It seems like it'd be worth giving a try - if I gave the waters a test, with, say, $15, that'd be 20,000 impressions, for maybe 40-200 visitors. (And if anyone feels like linking to the site, I'd be delighted. ^_^ Best, for now, if you went with just the front page, as I may well be reworking the site in November)
Out of random curiosity, I dusted off the old contour video project today, only needing to apply a couple minor project setting tweaks to get it to build again. Next step, I think, is to run some fresh profiling, to see where improvements could be most fruitfully implemented, whether simply optimising the scalar code, or perhaps, even seeing if there are some promising targets for vectorisation of the code, either on just the CPU, or perhaps getting the GPU to participate - the latter would be ideal during reconstruction, but I'll have to ponder how much parallelism there is during encoding.
There's a Reddit thread that has me intrigued - do you know what book they're talking about? "There were two main characters, a boy and a girl. They found some kind of disk that would transport them to a parallel dimension when it hit the light. They kept the disk in a velvet pouch, to keep it from transporting them accidentally between worlds. The alternate dimension was some sort of desert, and the cover had a bunch of pink sandstone on it. The baddies were cow skeletons that flew over the desert on giant hang gliders. This was also pictured on the cover. The plot involved the two kids trying to get to... a crystal palace...? to stop something sinister from happening. The cow skeleton bad guys were sentries, and the kids avoided them by using the disk to slip in and out of the alternate dimension."
Got to love Scrabble sometimes.. just got 114 points for "QUIZ", as the Z fell on a double letter, with the Q on a triple word. =:D Of course, to make up for that, a few moves later, my slate is RLRLLRR.
2015 appears to be the year of synthetic parts for synthetic actors, with Ex Machina, Automata and Chappie all appearing. Ex Machina's trailer looks quite intriguing, even curious, which is a rare trait in a big production, but given the director was also responsible for Sunshine, I wouldn't be surprised to find it segue into a slasher flick halfway through. Chappie's pedigree, meanwhile, stems from District 9, with more than a little Short Circuit to it.. !
You won't want to miss this interview with Ursula K LeGuin (h/t thewayne). As an example, speaking of Mount St Helens, "There was lots of warning. The mountain had been rumbling and shaking and dumping black matter on her snow all spring. It was really bad luck. They thought she’d gone into a sort of a quiet phase and so they told people they could go that weekend to their cabins, run in and get their belongings out. Well, that was the weekend she blew. So that’s why there were 60 to 70 people killed. You can’t predict a volcano. I got really fascinated with the volcano. About a year and few months after the eruption, the whole mountain was called “The Red Zone.” You could go part way up and then above that, you had to have a permit to go in and the only people that were going in were loggers dragging dead trees out. The roads were destroyed, there were just logging roads. Me, a photographer and an artist, got a permit to go in (to the Red Zone) as a poet, a photographer and an artist." How can you not love that style?
If you're any kind of photographer, I'd definitely recommend taking advantage of this free license for DxO Optics Pro 8. It's a superb program for correcting for lens distortion, chromatic aberration, perspective, and more. Meanwhile, they've just released DxO Optics Pro 10, adding atmospheric haze removal, and improving upon their noise reduction. A minor point: I noticed they've changed the feature set somewhat between the two variants they offer of each version. Previously, the same features were shared by both, with the "Elite" edition covering all cameras, whilst the "Standard" excluded the "pro" bodies (D810, D4, etc). Now, it's a more conventional approach, with the Standard dropping some features instead, notably their PRIME noise reduction. I'm pleased to see the upgrade pricing is attractive, and they've opted to grandfather in users of both Standard and Elite of previous versions for the full "Elite" edition of 10.
Yay! The first Sigma 150-600mm S reviews are emerging. Here's LensTip's. Whilst it does exhibit significant vignetting (easily corrected), the sharpness is indeed quite impressive, even at the long end.
Don't suppose anyone's tried this iPhone teleconverter? It's difficult to imagine it being much good, but for $35, it's tempting to pick up sometime, given the 120fps 720p option in the stock camera app on the iPhone 5s, and ProCam 2's latest update added an IAP for 4K video at 25fps.
Via drhoz, word of a new RPG being designed by long-time furry Paul Kidd, "GeneStorm":
It is a place of terrible dangers. Of sand storms and radioactive dust, of jungles and broken lands swarming with terrible, carnivorous life. A place where gateways lead to a sinister alternative universe where the senses twist and fail, and terrible entities wait to prey upon the weak - A place of ruined, shattered civilisation. Of fallen grandeur and prowling, broken death machines.
- It is a wilderness that has given birth to astonishing new life.
Characters in GeneStorm are the descendants of survivors of the great disaster. They are strange beings made from the inter-tangled genes of all manner of plants and animals. The inheritors of the new earth are bizarre, colourful and chaotic.
It is an age of a weirdly beautiful, resurgent nature.
It is the age of the mutants.
Looking at the anticipated schedule for when the competition's results will be announced makes me wonder: when do you consider the northern hemisphere's autumn to start on the calendar? Some answers claim the autumnal equinox, but that'd leave Christmas at the very start of winter. I think I'd go more for the start of September, myself - which appears to match the meteorological interpretation. (Curiously, on Thursday, I saw the page updated to note that the final judging results would be announced "soon" - only to find the page apparently revert shortly thereafter?)
Have we been considering quantum mechanics inappropriately for most of its time? Some ingenious experiments with vibrating oil baths suggest that one of the early camps in the field may have had the more fundamental concept after all. Whilst we know QM as strictly probabilistic, as championed by Bohr, it could yet be that the determinists, primarily de Broglie, may ultimately be vindicated.
Out of random photographic interest: here's a rather good strip of images demonstrating the effect of different focal lengths upon the appearance of the same model's face, ranging from 350mm down to 19mm. Very smartly, the photographer then placed the longest, 350mm, next to the shortest, to help emphasise the effect.
How do you read? Are your books made of paper, or are they on an iPad or suchlike? I'd love to hear. I'm a digital bunny through and through, but I appreciate there are plenty of folk who prefer the tactile nature of a paper book or comic. Do you know why you have that preference, whatever it may be?
I noticed Autostraddle featured a reasonably interesting rumination of the nature of gender fluidity and transition in sci-fi. It's well worth a look, as a good example of how dreadfully pedestrian cinematic and TV sci-fi is in this regard - and probably many others - versus where the exploration takes place in written works. Can we expand this? FSM knows, I'd love to see "visual" sci-fi be more than invading aliens who, for some unspecified reason, find the Earth to be - out of the uncountable worlds available - the specific one of interest. =:/
If you're in the Bay, you might want to note Dec 5's the Midnights for Maniacs "Los Angeles: Out of the Past" double bill at the Castro Theatre, with 35mm prints of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Ed Wood. =:D
From 20 Nov 2014 - 20 Sep 2015, the Wellcome Collection will be hosting an exhibition, The Institute of Sexology. "Undress your mind and join us to investigate human sexuality at 'The Institute', the first of our longer exhibitions. Featuring over 200 objects spanning art, rare archival material, erotica, film and photography, this is the first UK exhibition to bring together the pioneers of the study of sex." You can also view quite a tastefully prepared trailer over here.
They're not new, but here's a fairly large collection of truly wonderfully silly Underground signs - until now, I'd only seen a few of them.
If you're in need of a quiet moment of visual delight, have a look at this WebGL demo, "Autumn". Simply leaves tumbling down drenched in columns of golden sun. Or, maybe this viscous fluid? Just drag your pointer, and watch.
Wow, some magazines will publish any old photo. =:)
I noticed, the other day, that someone took it upon themselves to design a deliberately lethal rollercoaster, which would kill its passengers by means of oxygen starvation to the brain, induced by a sustained 10g force on the way down from a tall initial peak.
While peering around at options in the Bay, I noticed one embedded position describing the company as a manufacturer of medical devices and high power laser systems. =:D
Witness the power of the net! Be sure to check out the linked photo first, so you appreciate the challenge involved in trying to identify the location - just a few letters on a door sign. Then, either read through the comments to see the deductions as they progress, or search for "CBSA" a couple times. (Here's a direct link to the crucial thread)
I admit, my comic tastes are a bit stranger than his style, but still, very cool to see therealstanlee joining LJ. ^_^
Here's a good interview with Hideaki Anno, perhaps still best known for Evangelion.
Hopefully a good thing for the BBC: seems AMC's just bought a 49.9% stake in BBC America.
I found this essay on the Simpsons' popularity and decline quite interesting. Would you agree with the idea of that shark jump being around 1999/2000?
If you're in the mood for early TV sci-fi, you could do much worse than Pathfinders in Space. The first series is from 1960, with two further following. If I had to encapsulate the feeling, it'd be definitely akin to Tintin's "Explorers on the Moon". (Oh, my, those sculpted hairstyles!) cientifically, it's a blend of realism (radio only being line of sight, with no ionosphere) and oddity (a claimed surface temperature of over 200F?), but mostly trying to do an earnest job of plausibility, before even the Gemini program began, let alone Apollo.
If Monument Valley called out to you, you'll want to take a look at the newly released Miika, which also pivots around the principle of playing around with perspective in order to perform joins. I would feel, though, it's not as polished. It's beautifully designed, but where the rotations available in Monument Valley were limited to (sort of) ninety degrees, Miika permits completely free movement - and so, you're often in the position where what looks like a viable solution isn't actually accepted as the solution permitting Miika to move forward, leading to something of a sense of frustration.
Toby: the Secret Mine, meanwhile, is a silhouetted puzzle platformer with rather a well-crafted feel to it. Stills don't really convey the feel of the game - I'd recommend having a peek at the trailer.
Game of the month, though, is The Sailor's Dream, the latest from Simogo, of Device 6 and Year Walk. If you want atmosphere and curiosity, this is where you want to be looking. (Which, oddly, reminds me of Lume's second chapter, Lumino City, which is coming out on Steam sometime this month - how can you not love a painstakingly produced point and click adventure series all based around stop motion animation of genuine physically constructed sets?)
And if you need Elite on your iThing, Space Merchants: Days of Glory looks like it'll be just the ticket. ^_^
Where did I stumble upon this? Oh well. Also by Ursula K LeGuin, a rivetingly insightful, amusing, and wry look at the nature of gender, and how she is quite definitely a man.
2014's Rare Hare is maturing very well. ^_^ It's only a few months old at this point, but right now, it's.. well, you can tell where it started from, but it's developing a rather nicely spicy nature, heading perhaps into "old ale" territory. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep the rest safe from consumption for many more months, but I would like to see what it'd be like when next year's release comes around. Maybe I'll bring a bottle or two back to my old watering hole and share them. ^_^ (And I see 2014's Festivity is now out.. if you're at all fond of weightier ales, seek it out, especially if you're within reach of one of Bath Ales' pubs, to try it on cask)
No new buns this time around, I'm sorry to say - the weather's been anything from dull to drizzly or outright rainy, for almost all of October. =:P Monday, however, might well be positively sunny, in which case I'll be heading down to the old bunspot for a fuzzy afternoon. ^_^ (And with the sun setting around 1644, too.. *sigh* Why do the clocks have to go back? There's so little to be gained, and it'd be such a damnably simple piece of legislation to enact - far moreso than "emergency" legislation attempting to permit GCHQ's lovable antics, or the abhorrence of workfare)
Saturday's film is one I can recommend: the 2013 live-action Gatchaman. ^_^ It's certainly not perfect, but overall, they did capture the essence of the show well. The outfits were tweaked quite a bit, becoming rather more combat-oriented, but still quite easily recognisable. (Though, for some reason, they changed Jun's from white to deep purple) And I suppose it must've been good enough - we both completely forgot about the Doctor Who finale. ^_^;
I found this story on the recent rise of the Greens quite encouraging: "Top of the target list will be Norwich South, currently held by the Lib Dems with a wafer-thin majority over Labour, but where the Greens took 14.9% in 2010. A recent poll by Lord Ashcroft put the Greens on 20% in the constituency. Another possibility is Bristol West, where the Lib Dem incumbent, Stephen Williams, is likely to struggle because of the fall-off in the student vote. Then there is St Ives. “Cornwall is very interesting because there is basically no Labour party there, only Tory and Lib Dem, yet it is a place with incredibly low wages and seasonal casual employment so, in the county elections, we got an average of 18% of the vote,” says Bennett."
Can't say I like the track (Skrillex & Boyz Noise, making fairly stark EDM), but the video for Dog Blood's "Chella Ride" might interest the canid-minded furs, showing the rise of canid astronauts. ^_^
eep. Nothing like seeing a competition for winning a stay where you once lived, to serve as a reminder of how things change.. =:/ At least, I think it's the same location - some fairly dramatic views off the coast, beautiful golden beaches.. and where I nearly drowned, but thankfully, Dad was close enough to save me. Not much to say, really - I saw some driftwood floating by the rocks, and, I thought, momentarily, that I could just fetch it. Except, I couldn't swim yet. It didn't work out so well.
On the topic of income inequality, how about an animated short, The Unbelievably Sweet Alpacas?
The incident below is no longer current, as Microsoft pulled the update soon after its release. The chance remains, however, that people have been affected by it while it was available.
If you run Windows, be aware that FTDI, a prominent manufacturer of chips that handle the USB protocol side of things, letting the rest of the circuit deal in plain serial data, has pushed out a driver update via Windows Update with the explicit intent of bricking fakes of their chips. The use of fakes (ie chips which identify themselves as FTDI devices, but aren't) isn't easily avoided - counterfeit devices pollute the supply chain routinely, and as a user, you've no way of knowing if the device manufacturer knowingly used a fake, or if a supplier made the switch, or the fake was good enough to seem entirely genuine. FTDI's approach means your device would then not just cease to work with their driver, but any other. It is possible to fix the damage, relatively easily in Linux, or with some hoop-jumping in Windows, but still - a remarkably short-sighted attitude by FTDI, given this is likely to lead to designers simply avoiding FTDI's chips.
Cake Wrecks' Sunday Sweets continues to amaze. jharish, might you be able to offer some illumination as to just how that kind of draped fabric effect is achieved? Let alone those roses, or that intricate lacework. I'm perpetually in awe of such craft. ^_^; (Someday, I must treat myself to a birthday cake of that calibre. Even if I'll then have to deal with the conundrum facing anyone in that position: how on Earth do you begin to destroy such a work of art? I should maybe note, mine wouldn't be Gothic in nature - probably a lot brighter, and likely bunny themed in some way - which would make my hesitancy even more pronounced =:)
A little strip for whitetail, from Weesh, who's a sort of rabbity guy with the ability to grant wishes. It's a fun strip, all quite mellow and good-natured.
Here's a list of "rabbit" around the world - translations into many languages, though sadly, lacking audio examples. If you can supply an audio clip in any language other than English, could you send it my way? I'd like to set up a similar page, and/or work with them to include such. ^_^ Bonus points for a native accent, but I'd be fine with any student, though it might be as well to note.
I so like Yosemite's "Continuity" features. =:D It's nothing that couldn't've been done ages ago - but nobody did! Whether making a phone call on Hazel that actually routes via the iPhone, or receiving SMSs on the iPad - that's surely the kind of fluid comms we want, all the devices playing nicely together, letting each be the sum of them all. Jolly good show, Apple. ^_^
When I'm next in Bay orbit again, I must remember to try out Upcider - a gastropub in the City that, as the name suggests, is all about cider! Plenty from around the US, plus some choice English selections, and a few more from elsewhere in the world. More power to them! Whilst good beer's made a positive upsurge in the US in the last couple decades, cider remains a much more scarce beast.
Saw "Into the Storm", which was exactly what you'd expect - visual effects galore, no characterisation, and generally good fun in that kind of rollercoaster way. Also, "The Signal", which rather caught me - really quite an intriguing flick, even if the reasoning behind everything isn't particularly cogent. Here, we have two MIT geeks seeking out a black hat in the southwestern US, and.. well, probably find them. Next, geek 2 wakes up in a mysterious facility, wheeled around by staff in full biohazard suits, being questioned day in, day out, until he discovers something that happened in that encounter. I'll leave it there - if that piques your interest, give it a shot. ^_^
Looking up some information on just what Crossrail and Crossrail 2 will entail, I noticed one interesting little tidbit: in May 2018, the Crossrail franchise will take over from the current, and eye-wateringly expensive, Heathrow Connect service. Hopefully they won't be quite so eager to gouge, compared to the perfectly normal fares to Gatwick on Southern.
Courtesy of Scrabble, I've found a new darling word: "isohyet", a contour line on a map linking points of equal rainfall. Use it today! (I'm also quite fond of "ecbole", "A digression in which a person is introduced speaking his or her own words." Greek root, as you'd imagine)
And I think the link to finish up with has to be this sex toy disguised as a lens. O.o;