Category Archives: media

why can’t all tech movies be like “into the blue”

Jessica Alba swimming in clear blue waterThink about it. Jessica Alba showing of those perfect curves while typing away on her laptop. It would probably be an iBook, or a Sony Vaio, the only laptops that have a design sweet enough to be seen around a gal like Jessica.

But that’s not really what I want in a tech movie no, although I wouldn’t mind. I’m talking Jessica Alba swimming around, scuba diving like she knows what she is doing. Scuba diving training they have had for that one, and it shows. Into The Blue is either written by guys that know how to dive, or assisted by diving instructors. There are a bunch of scenes in the movie that show that. The one where the tank is used as a weapon for one, there’s a buddy breathing scene, or simply using the correct diving signs. There are some mistakes in there as well of course, but the movie wouldn’t be very exciting if they wouldn’t screw up now and then right. Checking your air supply is something they didn’t do a lot I noticed. But then again, your manometer might be the last thing you’d check if you have Ms. Alba swimming in front of you. In a bikini! Look at that butt go!

Anyway, what does this have to do with technology movies? Those mostly suck, that’s what. I’m a scuba diver, and I can enjoy watching Into the Blue for its correctness. I can actually believe what I see happening on screen, and that’s what you want from a movie right? You want to see something great, but still have the feeling it could really be happening. For realistic movies of course. Horror or fantasy movies create their own world, and then still.

Movies where technology plays a central part make me feel like I’m sitting on an ant hill. They jump from one mistake into the other making the whole movie lose its credibility because it turns out being based on unexisting and impossible technological tricks with laptops, cellphones and unexisting operating systems that you can hack in a second or two. I saw a trailer of this new tech movie called Untraceable for instance, and I so do not want to see that one. Check the trailer, and you’ll know what I mean. The whole idea of an untraceable website with streaming video of a murder alone is so technologically wrong it screws up the whole movie even before I’ve seen it. I bet the rest of the movie is filled with more of that inexplicable techno mumbo jumbo as well.

If a website is untraceable, how the hell are simple internet users supposed to find it? So dear Hollywood script writers, consult your IT specialists in the future before you start writing those ridiculous IT-fantasies of yours down into a so-called script. Us geeks will appreciate it, and there’s more of us than you might figure. If you realize that the most realistic hacking scene ever to show in a movie was featured in the Matrix as Trinity exploited an SSH server using nmap, there still is a long way to go.

(Photo © Sony. All Rights Reserved)

60×60 subvert central compilation

Cover of the 60x60 album from Subvert CentralHow about some music to start the weekend? Sounds nice doesn’t it, and it does, trust me.
The guys up at the left field jungle/drum’n’bass forum Subvert Central started a so-called 60×60 music compilation amongst the forum members and have now come up with the final result.

60×60 stands for 60 second tracks from 60 people, resulting in one hour of electronic and quite experimental music.

Complete with good-looking artwork, released under a Creative Commons license and free to download at high 320kbps or FLAC downloads. I mean seriously, if that doesn’t get a music geek excited anymore, what the hell does?

A Real Doll with a built-in wireless internet radio receiver maybe… hmmm… but the mix will do for now.

why vinyl sucks compared to mp3s

a mashed up vinyl recordLet’s make a bit of a bold stand here, and crack down on the old black crack called vinyl which still seems to be appreciated so much by the so-called music connaisseur.
Wired posted this article about why vinyl may be the final nail in the CD’s coffin which is so full of crap I found it hard to believe it got through their editorial process. In fact, I’m starting to think they are taking the whole Wired-wiki thing to far and allow just about anything to be posted nowadays.

Without going into too much depth however, here’s a list of reasons why vinyl sucks compared to a good quality mp3 file (320kbps baby, no less plzkthx!). (Thx Gabber!)

  1. Vinyl dies on you. It bends due to heat, it scratches, it needs maintenance. MP3s only need a backup.
  2. Vinyl is clunky. It takes up a lot of space to store.
  3. Vinyl isn’t portable. It sucks to drag around in crates if you’re a DJ going to a gig, and you can’t play them in the car or while commuting.
  4. Porting vinyl to any other format will make you lose quality. It’s the advantage of analogue technology baby.
  5. Dust may reduce your listening experience. Crackle. Pop.
  6. Vinyl can’t take extremely high frequencies. Nor can it deal with panning on lower frequencies. How’s that for the myth of audio quality?
  7. Badly maintained turntables will cause your DJ gigs to sound crappy. Playing the same tunes off a laptop might not look as cool, but it will make it sound good at least. Trusting you have a decent sound card in your laptop that is.

Since you can rip any CD into a perfect 320kbps MP3 file without any real effort, unless you find popping the disk into your CD-ROM drive hard, I’ll take CDs over vinyl any day.
Oh, and yeah, I know there’s quality loss when converting to MP3. Not that I ever noticed at 320kbps, but yeah, I know it’s there.

all you can eat 128kbps live drum'n'bass weekend

It's gonna be a party alright, you bet! (pic by Lethally Dosed)You like drum’n’bass? Yeah? Cool. How about some live DJ sets? Even better?
Well, how about a 65 hour marathon of live sets mixed by over 50 DJs from all over the bloody globe hitting you in brand spanking new 128kbps quality?

If this sounds like your cup of Java, well then head over the starting this Friday the 19th and get ready for 3 days of the Infinity Tracks live DJ marathon.

Rabid (NZ), WoZ (AU), Juxtapose (RU), Docius (FI), Tripnotix (DE), Dosis Decibel (NL), Nasty Trickz (BE), Equinox (UK), Avontz (BR), 0=0 (CA), Dirtbox Radio (MD US), BelowCLevel (LA US), Aztek & Darkstar (AZ US) and San Diego Shakedown (CA US) are just a handfull of DJs that will be performing over the weekend. To get the full schedule for your timezone check out the jungletrain shows.

To tune in over the weekend (or any other time, just slap into your favourite media player (that better be WinAmp btw) and enjoy the crispy stereo beats, or check out this link for more info about the event.

about licensing

Franz Patzig's CC eyesI was thinking about writing a post about licensing stuff online because I find that it would be just dandy if more people would publish their works under a more liberal license. My idea is that a lot of folks don’t do this this simply because they don’t even know about it, so their creations fall under the default full copyright clause.

Recently however another angle came up giving me another reason to write something about licensing. As you might have noticed I use pictures from other people in this blog published under a Creative Commons license. This allows me to use those sweet visuals without having to ask consent of the author for every pic, as long as I attribute him. I’m doing that by linking back to their Flickr site where the original is hosted. This is handy because I don’t have to email everyone and ask them if I can pretty-please use their picture in a blog post, and wait until they send me a reply back. That last bit can take a while because you can never tell when somebody will check their email, and find it in their heart to reply your request.

Sometimes however people haven’t taken a lot of consideration while slapping that CC license on their pictures. Afterwards it turns out that they don’t like the idea of their shots being used in some blog after all, and ask me to change it again. Since I’m a nice guy I have a habit of doing this. But once you’ve set your mind on using a certain visual for your post, it sucks having to remove it and find yourself another one.

So here’s a few things to consider when you’re putting any kind of content or art online:

  1. Whatever license you use, there’s a chance it will be violated. Some people won’t know they are violating it because of their ignorance. Others will but simply don’t give a toss. If you’re serious about your works not being used without permission, consider not publishing them online at all. I know this isn’t very encouraging, but this is a fact of cyberlife.
  2. Even working within the rules set in your chosen license, it’s possible your work will be used for something you don’t like. Let’s say you created a piece of kick ass music you’re proud of and you decide to put it online for others to enjoy freely. You choose a Creative Commons license that allows other to use it non-commercially as long as they attribute you. Someone looking for a soundtrack for his Youtube video on some extreme kind of radish fetish decides to use your beautifully crafted musical masterpiece, and attributes you as he should. You however are a radish-friend, and feel appalled as you find your music used in such a radish-unfriendly manner. Tough luck however. There was nothing in your CC license mentioning any kind of limitations concerning radish pornography.

So it’s good to ponder these above points, and see if this kind of permissive license is something you want to choose for your creative brain farts.
However, I’d suggest you look on the bright side of things and consider all the good things that can come from them as well. Or better, what’s the worst that can happen, and is it really that bad? It’s like Matt from the WordPress team said in his post about people doing unwanted things with his open source blogging software.

“Good people will do good things with it, and bad people will do bad things with it”.

Instead of looking at the bad ways your product is being used, you should concentrate on the good stuff, which is why you made it in the first place.
If you think about how many people that might benefit from your free or permissive license, and that those people might be doing creative things with it in ways you couldn’t even think of, then I guess it’s all worth it. If you want other people to benefit from your work, expand upon it, and perhaps take it to another level, by all means use a CC license and allow them to do so easily.

To close off, here’s another quote from the post by Matt:

“First you have to figure out who you’re fighting, who you’re trying to help, and if the price of freedom is something you’re willing to embrace”

a bunch o' links

Links. Not really, but a nice picture anyway!Yes. It’s that time again.
We have been too busy screwing around with all sorts of everything and nothing much that we didn’t have time to spend on a proper blog post. So we end up posting a bunch of links to nifty sites that we’ve come across in the past few days. Or weeks. Or time…

There’s a bit of everything, so let’s get down to it shall we?

  • : I came across this one while looking for mp3 dj sets using Gooogle. I have no idea who runs this, but apparently it contains a huge, and I mean HUGE database of music previews. Search by artist or genre and you’ll probably find that CD you’re looking for in 64k preview mp3 format. Nice if there are no samples online for that CD you’re willing to buy. Yes, you should buy CDs from artist you dig. So they don’t starve to death, the poor sods.
  • DNAStream : This is the web-rip off of the Joost internet TV app. I have to say that I haven’t really been using Joost too much since I tried it out in the beginning. For some reason I tend to watch TV on the TV and not while I’m sitting in front of my PC. You mileage may vary however, so if you dig it, you can now do it without having to install the client software. It even works through firewalls. Yes. Watching TV at work is now an option. Getting fired as well.
  • This Bioshock game review is probably the funniest game review I’ve ever heard. That’s not too hard really because I’ve never heard a game review before. I usually read them, and then still, I hardly read game reviews anyway so there isn’t much competition. But this one is really funny. Check it if you have a few minutes to spare.