Saturday, April 13, 2013

Where magic happens

Thanks to Pascal for the best and funniest truth of the day.

Strange Love, Karen O, Frankenweenie

I like this song, it has an odd quality, I'm not sure what it reminds me of.
Oh, she sings for The Yeah Yeah Yeahs! That's a big part of it. Her voice seems almost out of control, but isn't, a bit like Bjork's.

I also liked Frankenweenie. I think it really helped that unlike A Nightmare Before Xmas or Corpse Bride, it was not a musical. I think a musical with puppets is a silly idea. Stopping the story to have the characters sing on stage is a little strange, but can work. Doing the same on film, where you can put in a song anyhow you like, is a lot stranger. But doing it with puppets, who don't sing, is just one step of oddity too much!     :-)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Smartphone prices

Hi guys,
Can anybody tell me why a smartphone costs $500, while a 7-inch tablet with the same capabilities costs $200? I find it difficult to believe that building in the voice-capability is that costly...
(Granted, $200 tablets are selling at cost, but then they are also over four times bigger.)
Is it just the usual that so long as the public are used to a certain price area for a product, they'll keep charging that price, or is there more to it?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dave Sim's religion

Dave Sim interview. (Recent, and very long.)

Dave Sim, as most serious comics- and counterculture fans will know, is the writer and artist of the phenomenal Cerebus comic, which was self-published and was one story which took 24 years to do, all issues arriving more or less on schedule. And it was even really good! Except in the parts when it was unreadable, like in many late issues which were taken over by long, tiny-type, highly unorthodox religious speculations (or rather assertions, he never gave any indication of ever being uncertain, sort of like L. Ron Hubbard), occasionally only broken by admittedly well-done illustrations. Hardly a "comic" in those parts, at least.

He wasn't kidding either, despite his religion (which he seemingly acquired unexpectedly in the middle of it all) apparently (I confess I simply could not read all that... stuff) being a mix of the three major religions, with tons of his own stuff thrown in, like a male and a female god, the female one being seen as "the Void", and apparently generally the source of all bad. He got religion hard. From this interview:

I wouldn't advocate the use of LSD or other drugs by anyone.  But, at this point, I wouldn't advocate masturbation, cigarettes, fats, sugars, popular music, most fiction, dancing, movies, card-playing...very little besides reading Scripture aloud, working 12 hours a day six days a week, fasting nine days out of ten, eating very little when you're done fasting, see where I'm going with this? :)
For me, it's forty years of bad decisions and -- to this point -- sixteen years of repentance.  SERIOUS repentance.  Don't apologize for it.  STOP DOING IT and apologize to God for how long you did it.  22 years of fornication and 16 years of repentance.  Six more years and I'm even.  Theoretically.

Makes the Puritans look like Saturday in the Playboy Mansion.
Also, one might almost say "of course", part of his complex creed is the big importance of "Zero Contact With Computers!" I'm not sure why, but it seems to fit with his deploring anything which is pleasurable. The exception re computers is a bit of help and the library computer so he can earn a bit of money on Kickstarter and digital versions of his work. 

I like Dave, and I think his work is... unique in the very best way. But I really doubt we could be friends these days. How can a lazy hedonist with a girlie web site be friends with somebody who thinks pretty much everything is a sin, even listeting to pop music, masturbating, or eating more than once every two weeks? I can't imagine a single subject we would clash over within three minutes tops. (He also seems to have parted with many past close friends and collaborators, like Gerhard, who did the amazingly detailed backgrounds in Cerebus.)

And I sort of feel like it's a pity, he really had (have?) a wonderful sense of humor, is highly intelligent, and made a fantastic comic. (Now he makes comics too, but stuff which probably 15 people in the world will be interested in.) 

I've sent him donations a couple times, on principles of love and admiration. (He knows me, I had letters in his letter column a few times back in the day.) The second time was today, the first time he was nice enough to send me a couple of sketches in the mail, even though that had not been promised.

Clickable. Cover of High Society, fantastic art by Gerhard (and Sim).
BTW, I am now reading the wonderful High Society story line in digital form through the iPad Comix app. It's good, I think I'm enjoying it more than back in the day on paper. It was cheap paper by necessity, and the contrast was not as good as on the iPad's Retina display. And until we get the super-iPad, you can turn it on the side, and view half a page at a time, and have it also be larger and clearer than in the paper comic. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lossless digital zoom?

Wow iPhone lens case.

This gang says they have a case with iPhone lenses which “rival the performance of a 200mm camera”. 
I never heard of such a thing as a "200mm camera", must be too advanced for me. 
(Seriously, I’m confused, are they referring the focal length of the lens, or the physical size of the camera, or… ?)

… Oh, they also claim to have the first digital zoom which is lossless. That should get global headlines! So far we've always heard that it's impossible to create details in a picture if it wasn't captured by the camera in the first place. If they have solved this, it's a scientific quantum leap of magnitude! 
(Of course I don't believe they have that, it's probably regular upsampling like you get in Photoshop, the app simply add pixels based on the average of neighboring pixels. It prevents huge pixels, but it adds no detail, it just makes blur.) 

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Run on a bike

Adam Engst showed me this, the Elliptigo. It seems like a really cool and excellent invention. The motion is very much like running, but without the impact.

This guy once ran 350 miles, 82 hours non-stop! Holy mofo.