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Video joy for the day: Free as a Bird (5.5MB QuickTime), by dv_girl.

UPS introduces Fully Comprehensive Continued Tracking. ^_^ (From the same origin, your daily moment of eww)

Two new trailers of possible interest: Dreamworks' Madagascar, and with what looks like quite a promising voice cast, Robots, from Blue Sky Studios, they of Bunny and Ice Age. Madagascar looks like it might be visually appealing, but, just going by the trailer, they might be straining with the script, along the lines of Father of the Pride; I might plump for Robots instead, particularly if Robin Williams' role isn't just a bit part.

Sonic the Hedgehog - implemented in Flash.

Altermeta may be in guest strips only at the moment, but that doesn't stop some gems from turning up. ^_^

'In the general population, men have a “digit ratio” of 0.98 on average - the index finger being slightly shorter than the ring finger. Women have a digit ratio of 1.0 on average, meaning the two fingers are the same length.' So, now, thanks to modern scientific research, you can check what gender you are just by looking at your hands. Don't say science never did anything for you.

Has anyone got opinions to offer on Willard (remake or original)? I've just noticed there was a sequel made, Ben, which featured that Michael Jackson track..

Yay! Episode 3 of Yakitate Japan is out. (Yakitate translates here as "freshly baked", and "pan" being the Japanese imported word for bread; given the premise is about the creation of distinctively Japanese bread, you can see the wordplay)

VLC 0.8.0 is now out, with quite a few new features and enhancements; at the moment, only OS X and Windows binaries, plus the source, are available - the others will be following in due course. One nice addition is, it seems, VobSub support. There's been a report on xlr8yourmac noting very slow performance, though it seems fine here; probably as well to keep your existing version until you've verified it on your setup.

Heh. Seems Tiger's date & time preferences include an option for what calendar system to use: Gregorian, Buddhist, Hebrew, Islamic, Islamic (Civil), or Japanese. I suppose there's emacs for everything else..

A handy guide to setting up chroot on Panther, so you can offer sftp to users, and have them confined to their home directory.
I thouroughly enjoyed the recent rendintion of the move WIllard, wonderfully directed and acted. Crispin Glover did an outstanding job.
Ahh, cool! It's one I've had sitting around for many months, and simply haven't got around to it - Ben reminded me. Hm. Quite likely I'll finally watch them both tonight or tomorrow. Pity there aren't any transformations involved (or are there?), but one can't have everything. (As the sage said, where would you put it?) That reminds me.. I need to try tracking down Sssss..., an enjoyable bit of 70s fluff about a hapless lab assistant who winds up being turned into a cobra by his mad scientist boss. The makeup's actually not bad, as I recall, and even though the final transition's fairly rapid, and not that much ahead of the old Universal werewolf TFs, it still worked out reasonably well - but, I do have a definite soft spot for transformations on the screen. (Or on paper, for that matter. Yay TransFur!)
I hate to say it, but Free as a Bird depressed me. :(
Well, true, it's certainly bittersweet.. I think I was looking at it from the perspective of the cliched outcome - the cat getting the bird - before the (admittedly not exactly concealed) story played out. So, I was feeling more the gratitude for such a noble effort, than the yearning.

But if you want just purely uplifting, just rewatch Hate Something, Change Something or Nature Anthem again. ^_^ Or Lemon Jelly's All the Ducks, for that matter.. I'd like to find more of what they've performed, although I dare say it wouldn't be quite the same without that wonderful animation. ^_^
I aqlready did wathc Nature anthem again. I was lookign the bird getting out, but the cat staying trapped. I'da hoped the bird would have come back to help the cat tho. But that's my sense of things.
Well, you could always lobby the filmmaker for a sequel..

A red panda in the tree would have been a nice touch, too. ^_^
I may have to make that "short" I've been wanting to, just to do it. Happy endings, all around.

I've also been watching commercials I've got saved on my hard drive, the EDS "Cat herding" commercial always makes me smile.
Heh! Certainly, with the level of CG sophistication possible with modern rendering, even on a home system, an entire short produced at home is conceivable, even if still probably a hell of a lot of work. And there've been some pretty impressive furry works in Flash, too.. that's something I ought to poke my muzzle into at some point. Not that I'll be coming up with anything of the standard of Everybody Else.. ^_^ (Although that was just as much about the actual animation, rather than the technical quality of the drawings - the timing of the eye blinking, the gradual initial zoom in, the various static poses..)

Oh, yes! That one's a classic, no question. The Running of the Squirrels was an attempt to repeat that success, but it just didn't have the same magic, I felt. Advertising can throw up some fairly nifty works at times - the Cadbury Bunny series was.. highly memorable. ^_^ Guinness and Heineken have turned out quite a few classics, including the sea horses/surfers from a few years ago for the former, and Michel Gondry's mini-adventure for Smirnoff is well worth a look. (Indeed, Terran used the latter as a showpiece for how well Cleaner 5 performed. I didn't realise it was MG directing until quite recently) Oh, and let's not forget the reindeer ads for Toys.com - not so much for the ads themselves, as the reindeer.. nice work!
I bet the owner kicked the cat afterward after seeing the feathers on the floor and assuming the cat ate the bird.
IIRC, Michael Jackson actually starred in 'Ben'. He was a crippled boy in a wheelchair who made friends with Ben the Rat, who had managed to survive the Rat Massacre at the end of 'Willard'. I liked it better than 'Willard', myself. I haven't seen either in years.
Really? [insert sfx for page flipping through IMDb] Hmm - doesn't list him, aside from the theme, but it's quite possible it was an uncredited appearance, and IMDb's not without errors. Should be easy enough to tell when I do get around to watching both (the remake of Willard, then Ben), even if MJ has changed a little over the years.

Ah, for a cinematic adaptation of Spellsinger.. with CG at this level, it'd seem quite feasible to handle it either purely CG with mocap, or faces and tails added to human actors. The former's probably simpler - ISTR Babe presented quite a few problems on that front, though handled very well.
Seen the sonic flash game before, it is really cool. A little jerky, but it /is/ flash after all, not a rom. I wonder, if I knew anything about making flash stuff, it shouldn't be too hard to add more characters I'd think. Like Amy Rose. Or maybe (and I realize this isn't a SegaSonic character) Bunnie Rabbot. I wonder what moves she'd have?? The 'cheat' for Amy Rose that's unlocked by winning the game with her could be to use the SegaCD style Amy Rose instead of the newer style. That would be neat.

And I dunno much about fingers, but is the toe right next to each big toe supposed to be longer than the big toe, or do I just have a weird foot?
Mm, a flash of that complexity's going to be quite demanding of the processor - they don't seem to pay too much attention to optimization, unfortunately. I wonder if Flash's format is sufficiently well documented for there to be third-party players? Probably no financial market for them, but just a "for fun" project.

ISTR there are "decompilers" for Flash, but I've never played with them. Would be fun to try dropping in a replacement, or even an addition.. and certainly, Bunnie would be a great choice. ^_^ She always struck me as at least as cute as Tails. (Of course, providing you didn't lose your personality, as in the stories, I've thought it'd be fun to see some more fully robotic characters. Shiny!)
Decompilers? I thought you just used an editor.. Huh.

Anyways, I wonder what the unlockable for Bunnie would be? Maybe a fully-roboticised version?

Just occured to me, Mecha Sonic from Sonic 2 would be easy to accomplish - clone the Tails object, change the pics, and use his booster rockets to fly, (and in the fast-run and rail-grind animations, too). I suppose his unlockable could be Metal Sonic from Sonic CD/Sonic the Movie. Actually, Metal Sonic with Mecha Sonic as the unlockable might be better - your thoughts?

Random Trivia #1- There's a song in Sonic 3 that's completely missing from S3&K - it's not even in the sound test! (It's 2E in the Sonic 3 sound test.) In Sonic 3 it was used in one of the Launch Base levels, when you fight the spinny-spiked-thing mini-boss that comes out of a boxy thing. Rather cool music, too.

Random Trivia #2- I made this from Sonic 1. Used some special mod tools, but heavily used Hex Workshop. Never really finished. The rom's currently on my other comp, the one with a fried mobo. Need to pull it off sometime. You should see what I accidentally did to Sonic 2 once with Hex Workshop, too. Hit a weird glitch, Still have some idea how to reproduce it - Tails becoms P1 and Sonic P2, sonic runs off, can lose rings for you, and doesn't come back (and sometimes dies), and being stuck in the floor is a major problem in some spots. It's really weird.
Mm, a flash of that complexity's going to be quite demanding of the processor - they don't seem to pay too much attention to optimization, unfortunately. I wonder if Flash's format is sufficiently well documented for there to be third-party players? Probably no financial market for them, but just a "for fun" project.

There is a Flash decompiler, but I doubt it has kept up with the latest version (MX2004). SWF files can be imported back into Flash, but I know some SWF files are protected.

There's a Flash compiler that works a bit like a typical console-mode C compiler, but takes ActionScript code and outputs SWF.
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Possibly because a circle can be drawn as a single quadrant mirrored four ways. Neat idea about implementing a Flash player in assembler. The main bottleneck with Flash is in the screen rendering code and there's only been one attempt thus far to recode the Flash renderer to use OpenGL, and it actually sorta works(sometimes) but hasn't been updated in years.
Not My Desk is back..?!


Unfortunately, he's got this "regular employment" thing now, so he doesn't really have the same fuel - but still worth checking in on. (And he does have an RSS feed, too)

Not that it's actually related, but I just came 'pon this tale.. ^_^
I've got a friend in New Zealand who's travelling to Tokyo for a week. He's offered to bring me back anything but I'm not sure what to ask for. Suggestions??
Yay more SONIC! I love the classic Genesis style! I miss the rapid speed of the original game but it's pretty remarkable for flash.
Has anyone got opinions to offer on Willard (remake or original)?

The original...what can I say but, I am who and what I am today because of 'Willard'. Next to 'Bambi', it was one of the truly seminal films of my boyhood. I saw 'Willard' when it was first released to theaters in 1970, when I was 16. The rat became my very first furry avatar; even moreso after I read 'The Wind in the Willows' wherein I met my first anthropomorhic animal hero, 'Ratty', at the age of 19.

Anyway, back to 'Willard'. I totally identified with the main character. I, too, was the shy, insecure son of a steelworks owner who was bossed and bullied by the people my father hired to run his factory, in which I got my first job at 16. It really was like the movie was made just for me. After seeing 'Willard', I wanted pet rats more than anything, but my mother forbade it. It wasn't until I went away to college that I got my first pet rat (white like the rat 'Socrates', of course!). Also when I was in college, I finally found the book the movie was based on, and it turned out to be an even closer reflection of myself than the film. And of course, soon afte VCRs came onto the market, I bought 'Willard' on VHS, even tho it would still be years until I owned a VCR of my own.

Notes on the films: the re-make is an almost word for word recitation of the original screen play, only the visuals and actors are different. The most serious flaw in the re-make is that Willard's gradual (and charming) process of bonding with his new rat friends is totally missing from the re-make. Speaking of missing, there's one scene in the first film that was never shown except during its initial theatrical release, and that's at the end, when the rats turn on Willard. There's a brief glimpse of the rats eating Willard's eyes out of their sockets that just about made me pee my pants in the theater. That was cut out of subsequent theatrical releases and was also not included in the home video version.

BTW, have a look at the very first drawing I ever made of an otter, when I was about 22 years old and just starting into my lutrine/mustelid obsession. That tail is remarkably rat-like, isn't it? The overall conformation of the body is also quite murine. And yes, that's my old 'chop' down at right. (It says 'otter' in ancient Chinese script.) ;-)
Addendum: I almost forgot! Back around 1982-3, I paid a visit to the lady who had formerly done my river otter newsletter. She had a new office in an old mansion on Wilshire Blvd in LA, a few miles west of the civic center. I entered this grand old house and almost immediately, I had an overwhelming feeling I had been there before. I recalled precisely the layout of all of the rooms relative to each other, the living room, the dining room, where the staircase to the second floor was, even the location of the old kitchen where my friend had her new office. It was only after I entered the kitchen and looked out into the back yard that I realized where I was. I was in the exact same house that the film 'Willard' had been made! When I had the revelation, I spake it out loud: "This is the Willard house!" "Yes," said Jan, "it is! How did you know?" "I've only seen that movie about a million times!" It was uncanny how little the place had changed. I left utterly amazed. I'd always assumed that the Willard house was just a set, but it was a real house after all! If I ever get to visit LA again, I will make a point of it to see if the old manse yet stands...
Good grief.. ! That must have been a most odd sensation indeed.. ! *chuckle* I still haven't got around to either movie, I'm afraid (if someone could deport akira114, for example, that would help tremendously. Thanks. A good film's always so much more fun with good company), but I certainly intend to - possibly even today.. the mood seems right.

Are you now able to digitise your ottah footage, btw? That seems like a fabulous resource. Do you ever record yourself making notes or comments, or only them?
I'm in the process of turning my VHS and Hi8 otter videos into DV right now. So far, I'm up to June, 1988. ;-) I have audio tapes of all my dictated field notes, but the videos are far more entertaining. ;-)