Monday, March 03, 2008

Nanotechnology + Consumer Electronics = Magic

Nokia's R & D group seems to be interested in developing super-cool, shape-shifting consumer electronic devices.

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posted by Brian at 1:39 PM 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ordeals In Upgrading Media

In 1994 I bought a Panasonic 4-Head VCR. In 1997 I bought a Hi-8 Camcorder. Now it's 2007 and I have amassed a relatively small but still space-taking collection of VHS & Hi-8 tapes, mostly recorded off of TV (when cable was still $12-40, had few commercials, and a diverse set of channels), some recorded events like my brother Colin's wedding, San Francisco Bay Area Puppetry Guild shindigs, and other random stuff.

Sadly, that very well-made VCR would cost a lot to repair (Note to self: Never pack a VCR in styrofoam peanuts!) though it is so much better built and (when it worked) records better than the crappy plastic JVC behemoth I had to buy in a pinch (2003). And in any case I don't watch Cable or Satellite TV anymore (a growing trend in Hollywood. Ironic, huh?) so having an analog playback device around constantly is no longer necessary. Soon the U.S. government will be forcing everyone to upgrade to digital TVs (2009) and shutting down analog TV signals altogether in 2012, so my eventual goal is to move entirely to computer-based playback.

Anyway, this desire to upgrade my media situation coincides with my recent post about wanting to put clips from "Lifeformz" online, the only copy I have of which is on VHS. I bought a Canopus ADVC-110 for this purpose, a cute little box that digitizes analog to DV quite nicely. Granted, DV is not the best format because it can cramp colorspaces but for my budget and purposes it should be fine.

Discovered that even DV footage takes up a TON of disk space! My poor Mac was running dry after just 2 tapes. So I bought a Lacie 1 TB drive with USB 2.0, Firewire 400 & 800 ports. There we go. 60 hrs!

Today I just took a look at the entirely open-source Neuros OSD multimedia device, which seems to have evolved a bit since I last checked. Might have bought that instead had i known I could watch Youtube with it and that it doesn't need a computer. Ah well.

Incidentally, you can actually recycle VHS tapes and other media through a company called Green Disk.

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posted by Brian at 3:59 PM 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, August 05, 2007

T.I. Super-genius Life updates

After a few weeks of interviews, I am now working for a comparison shopping site with a name sounding like Godzilla. Great bunch of people on my team into LEGO®, figurines, and 80's music. I will be learning a lot about the architecture of huge websites, quite different from the tiny intranets and simple load-balanced CGI sites I've worked on before. And we'll be doing agile development, a buzzword meaning that we do frequent software releases for incremental and sometimes major improvements, rather than every 6 months or whatever.

The plan will be to get settled into the job and then move closer, away from my noisy apartment. (It's next to a condo in-progress, and an alley frequented by inebriated punk rockers, skateboarders, homeless people, and speeding vehicles using it as a shortcut.) I do like Hollywood, but I'm afraid the taggers and swirling police helicopters get old after a while.

One perk of the job -- I get to have a Macbook Pro! Most of our team is Mac-centric. I love it so far! If you know of any Mac-ish tools or games I should have, leave a comment.

Meanwhile, little Charlotte and her parents are in town this week!

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posted by Brian at 10:09 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Robot + Pet + Analog Synthesizer =Thingamagoob

For $100, this adorable pet Thingamagoob can be yours to love and give a good home. Each one has a customizable color scheme and is a simple monophonic analog synthesizer hand-made by John-Michael Reed over in Austin, Texas. I met Mr. Reed at Bent '07 here in Los Angeles. Formerly a grocery store clerk with no formal electronics training, he has cleverly turned his music tinkering hobby into a full-time business.

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posted by Brian at 1:19 AM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, January 26, 2007

Behold! My GINORMOUS Computer Monitor

Hmm, well this photo does not do my new Dell 2407WFP monitor justice. But trust me. It's HUGE. It's literally two-feet wide. Very reasonably priced too, compared the Apple ones. (It was my friend Jeff Pidgeon's 23-inch Mac monitor that inspired me to take the leap)

24-inch is small by today's TV standards (Ahem. I still have a 20" inch Sony Trinitron from 1994 that's still chugging along, thank you very much) But a computer monitor, with 1900x1200 resolution... Good Lord!

Did I need it? Well, things were getting fairly cramped screen-wise when I was editing music. My old-faithful monitor (on the left) is the 1995 Portrait Radius™ (the original rotating monitor) and is still working. But it's a behemoth, a stove (you can cook a waffle on it), and takes up a good third of my desk when in its landscape mode (99.9% of the time). It chokes up on anything beyond about 1100x800 resolution. It's about as deep as this new monitor is wide. When I get a cable extension, I'll hook it up too for even MORE SCREEN SPACE!

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posted by Brian at 12:18 AM 0 comments links to this post