Saturday, February 12, 2011

Quiver Pen Holder Adapters for Soft Cover Moleskine Notebooks Review

Quiver Pen Holder Adapters for Soft Cover Moleskine Notebooks Review, article.

A review... of an adapter... for pen holders... for paper notebooks... specifically Moleskine ones... softcover, that is. Now that's for the really specialized geek! Wow.      :-)

The Tiffany Aching books by Pratchett

For anybody who liked Harry Potter, and for many who didn't, I warmly recommend the Tiffany Aching books by Terry Pratchett. The first one is The Wee Free Men.

The witches were always my favorite characters of Pratchett's diskworld books. Unlike, say, the wizards, they are tough and dead-sharp people who know what they are doing. But of course written about with Terry's usual warm wit and inventiveness. So imagine my delight when some years ago a new and fresh witch character came around, and one of the toughest and sharpest ones ever, in the unlikely little frame of Tiffany Aching, who was only nine in the first book. She grows older as the books go on though, in the latest, I Shall Wear Midnight, she is sixteen.

Pratchett said that the books are "ostensibly" for young readers, and I couldn't agree more. There is nothing to distinguish his "young reader" books from his others, except that the characters are young and I imagine a young reader would love to grow up on them, like kids did with Harry Potter. But even experienced readers may find words and concepts he'll have to digest a bit, there are no weak blows here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Leica M9 Titanium

Well, it sure ain't ugly!

But a $30.000 camera... how do you even take it outside?

Top 10 e-paper technologies in the next 20 years

Top 10 e-paper technologies in the next 20 years, article.

Doctor Seuss

Apropos artists etc, Tommy found this drawing by Dr. Seuss.


'1984': As Good as It Gets
A single TV commercial redefined Super Bowl advertising. How was it made?

Video question

Here's a video production question: if I want to film a comic strip, and zoom in on a frame and move between frames, how can I do it so it looks smooth and professional?

Making Your Thieves Work for You

Making Your Thieves Work for You, article of mine from about a decade ago.

"... Unlike most bands, they did not take a dim view of pirate recordings of their concerts. They used them to their own advantage. The band went to the length of setting up a special area close to the stage where "pirate" recordings could be made in the best quality. So what happened, did the band go bankrupt because no one wanted to pay for their records now that they could get pirate recordings much cheaper? Au contraire, as the Dutch say, the band prospered because the widely distributed recordings were simply free publicity, and lots of it."

Hark at Neil Gaiman's experiences with the same: 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A little tech news/fun

(They are streaming a show live right now, Thursday afternoon.) (Hey, we can chat with them live, this is fun.)

Macro lens bokeh

Talking about bokeh (the quality of background blur), our reader Alex has a new macro lens, very nice.

"Good bokeh" is subjective, but generally people mean a soft, creamy quality, not with harsh edges. Here is an example of bad bokeh

Good trimmer

Small tip:
I've owned a bunch of shavers and trimmers over my life, but I just bought this Remington again, it's both the best and the cheapest I've had. That's not normal.

(I'm only buying a new one because the battery is worn out in my old one.)

A movie trailer (Three)

Gawd, is this brain-dead or what? It's like a bad music video without the music.

6 Famous Artists You Didn't Know Were Perverts

6 Famous Artists You Didn't Know Were Perverts, article.

Perverts of the world, untie!

... Stan Lee of Marvel Comics writes in an introduction that the Shuster work is "startling" in that it caters to "the basest of man's character. … It clearly indicates how desperate Joe must have been."

Desperate, sure, otherwise he would not have taken the risk of producing art which then was illegal. But I don't see anything wrong about it. It is art after all. And like the philosopher said: "no human experience is alien to me."

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

X100 sample images (updated)

Fujifilm has posted sample images from the eagerly-awaited rangefinder-like semi-compact X100 camera.
(To download full size, see the link in the pop-up.)

The picture quality is really nice, well done Fuji. If one camera yet says "big quality in a small (ish) camera", I think this is it. Sharp and smooth as silk. I don't think I've ever seen images looking as good as these at 100% on screen.

It's funny about noise (of various kinds), you often only notice it when it's gone. 

I don't think the price has been announced yet, but it won't be a cheap camera. 

Some say around $1200. 
And already pre-selling like hotcakes despite that solid price. Just shows to go ya that there's a demand for quality, not just low prices. 
Of course quality is much, much harder to do than to make cheap junk. 

(This portrait shows off the nice bokeh of the lens and sensor.)

Oh, by the way, it's clear that they are targeting this camera at the advanced user, one indication is how they have not touched these image files at all, no sharpening or improvement of contrast or anything, even though many of them would look much more appealing to most viewers if polished a little. They know that their audience wants the pure data, and they trust their audience to know something about how a picture can be optimized later. 

Update: here is a good interview with Kawahara from Fuji. 
I disagree, by the way, with observers saying that this is Fuji's come-back into the professional arena. The X100 is not a professional camera. It's too good for that. It's an enthusiast camera. A professional does not care about the size of the camera as much as he cares about flexibility, and he does not care so much about ultimate quality (of camera and images) as he cares about speed of operation and ruggedness. Only an enthusiast wants this kind of uncompromising, inflexible (only one lens) machine, he wants it for the love of it. 
A few pros might certainly get this camera, but they would buy it as enthusiasts, not as pros. 

Wide-traveling paper planes

Technically they were never in space, but they do get around, there's been reports of them landing on several different continents!

Pop mag reporting

Just a little example of how one should read pop magazines: the clip below is from the gadget magazine T3, the January 2011 edition. It waxes poetic about how fantastic the new Motorola Xoom tablet and its software is.
I'm sure it'll be good, but the problem is, nobody has seen it yet, or tested it. Also the super-OS it runs, Android Honeycomb, has not been seen or tested yet by anybody. Lame "reporting". I wonder if it's an "all ad" magazine, with companies buying article space with their ads?

The whole magazine is full of enthusiastic reports of amazing technologies which, if one is critical, nobody has actually seen yet, like the Blackberry Playbook, the astounding new 4G mobile network, etc. I'm sure it's very exciting reading for those who don't know what they are reading about.

Why The Daily Is So Yesterday

Why The Daily Is So Yesterday, article by Adam Engst.
"In the end, The Daily feels like just another swing at defining what an iPad news app can do, with few new ideas and mediocre usability. With shallow, wide content from a single source, it ignores the way journalism and reading has changed in the age of the Internet. It’s a pretty digital face on a publishing approach from the 1980s."

Sunday, February 06, 2011

And without drugs too...

[Thanks to Kirk]

1.- Click on this link
2.- Then "click me to get trippy",
3.- Look at the center of the screen for 30 seconds (no cheating), and then
4.- Look at your hand holding the mouse, without moving it away from the mouse.

Pretty kewl.
"Why do you doubt your senses?"
"Because the slightest thing might affect them."
(A Christmas Carol.)

Paul Neave has made other nice stuff.