Archive for ‘March, 2009’

Tilt-Shift fun……

datePosted on 11:45, March 26th, 2009 by Many Ayromlou

I came across Keith Loutit‘s work via an email Brad Fortner sent me a couple of days ago. I have to admit, I’ve never seen anything quite as good as Keith’s work with the Tilt-Shift lens . Hop over to his Vimeo page  and/or his Photoblog to check out more of his work.

Ghost in the Machine

datePosted on 12:18, March 24th, 2009 by Many Ayromlou
Ghost in the Machine: Jimi Hendrix, originally uploaded by iri5.

Here is a great flickr photo set I came across this morning. Anyone remember cassettes? :-)

JetBytes: On-the-fly file transfer……

datePosted on 10:19, March 24th, 2009 by Many Ayromlou

Neat idea…..You all know about sites where you can upload a large file, for your friends to download. It’s simple, but what if you don’t want to store the file somewhere. It suddenly gets a bit harder, right. Now you need to bring up that FTP/SSH server, create userid’s, open firewall, forward ports, etc. You get the idea.

Well, that’s were Jetbytes fits in. It’s a simple on-the-fly file transfer web service. You go to their website, choose the file you want to pass on to your friend. The site prints out a temporary/random URL, you send your friend the URL and as long as you stay on the page, they can download the file by simply clicking on the URL.

JetBytes does nothing more than route the file through their web server, allowing you to share large files easily with others even if one or both of you are behind firewalls. There is no restriction on the size or type of the files. Oh and did I mention, JetBytes is a free service.

New carpentry tool….Wiimote!!!

datePosted on 12:33, March 21st, 2009 by Many Ayromlou

Are you missing a spirit level? Pulling out your hair because you can’t remember where you left the damn thing? Well, install the Leveltool on your Wii’s homebrew channel, grab your wiimote and get to work. Leveltool program uses your wiimote’s internal tilt sensors to simulate a spirit level on your TV.

A recent contest at CanSecWest, an event that brings together some of the most skilled experts in the security community, has demonstrated that the three most popular browser are susceptible to security bugs despite the vigilance and engineering prowess of their creators. Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer were all exploited during the Pwn2Own competition that took place at the conference. Google’s Chrome browser, however, was the only one left standing—a victory that security researchers attribute to its innovative sandbox feature.

Way to go Google….but then again what else were you expecting from THE internet company. So if you wanna be safe while wandering through the tubes, go grab a copy ….you’ll be sorry you didn’t.

You have to watch this….

datePosted on 10:39, March 21st, 2009 by Many Ayromlou

Adam Savage talks about obsessions at TED….absolutely fascinating.

Coraline takes fabbing to the next step…..

datePosted on 09:47, March 21st, 2009 by Many Ayromlou

CG Society has a great detailed article on the tech that went into creating the new 3D animated movie, Coraline . For those of you who don’t know fabbing — the technique used in creating the characters for this movie — is the process of 3D printing . The article explains the use of 3D scanning and printing in the new Neal Gaiman/Henry Selick movie about a little girl who finds a secret door to an “Other World”.

From the article:

The first stop motion filmed in stereoscopic 3D (S-3D) during production, Selick wanted to tackle an even bigger accomplishment: creating a true stop motion film with the smooth facial transitions of CG animation in a hands-on medium.

The answer to this quest was to use replacement animation, where one stop motion puppet face is progressively swapped for another slightly different expression with the needed smile, frown, or appropriate eyebrow position. This method is not new, but the effect is a bit choppy- often desirable for a hand made look, but has never before had all the in-betweens that Selick wanted. However, sculpting those thousands of expressions by hand would have taken years to complete. To keep the budget and timeline intact while creating stop motion animation so smooth you could read Coraline’s lips, production studio Laika creating blend shape CG face models that were output through rapid prototyping (RP).

Teradici PCoIP makes me happy: Initial Review….

datePosted on 13:48, March 20th, 2009 by Many Ayromlou

So after covering the initial annoucement of Teradici’s PC over IP product, I received an email asking to see if I wanted to review the product. I said yes, since we have been looking for a remoting technology to consolidate all our lab PC’s and Mac’s at the university and we could potentially end up using a Teradici or similar product in the future.

I’ve only spent 4-5 hours with the hardware and some of that time was wasted as I didn’t do my usual RTFM. So please keep that in mind as you read through. The package comes in two parts: the PCoIP Host Card — which is a 1 x PCI express card with the Tera1200 PCoIP host chip — and the PCoIP Desktop Portal, which is a small device that houses the Tera1100 PCoIP Portal
chip and connectors.

The host card simply has two ports, a high density dual DVI port — which is where the supplied dual display DVI dongle hooks up to — and an ethernet port that will provide the network link to the portal device. The two DVI connectors at the end of the dongle connect to 1 or both of your Graphics cards DVI outputs and “steal” it’s signal.
The portal device comes with the following remoted ports (in addition to the ethernet port that provides the remoted devices):
  • 4 x USB ports (2 on front, 2 on back)
  • 1 x Audio out (on the back)
  • 1 x Audio in + 1 x Audio out (on the front)
  • 2 x DVI ports (on the back, which correspond to the 1 or 2 DVI ports on the “remote” PC’s graphics card).

The portal device is kinda neat. I don’t know if Teradici is planning on selling it as a stand alone unit, but if all you want is a remote desktop via RDP protocol (MS Windows only) you can just buy the portal device and use it as a “Dumb Terminal” for your PC.

I did run into a small snag as I was setting up the portal. On one of the ethernet ports in my office — which works perfectly with my other Mac’s and PC’s in the office — the portal devices link light would not come on…..not sure why. The issue was quickly resolved (after a bit of head scratching) after I switched to another port. The big head scratcher on the portal side was the fact that no matter what I did my el-cheapo MS digital media 3000 keyboard and MS comfort optical 3000 mouse did not work on the portals USB ports. Not sure why, but one nice thing about my work is that I’ve got my private stash of just about evey keyboard/mouse combination known to man, so I quickly changed it to a Apple keyboard and mouse and everything was happy.

The host card requires NO SOFTWARE which is a blessing, but does require you to read the manual on the supplied CD. I didn’t — since it looked to be so simple at a first glance — and had some problems. It took about 30 minutes to realize that the card has a jumper that defines if it gets it’s power from a small power connector onboard (default, atleast on my card) or from PCI-Express bus. Now, I realise that this card might have been a demo card and consequently might have had the jumper in the wrong position, but I really hope that the shipping cards are setup to default to grabbing power from PCI-Express bus. Better yet, a small switch on the face plate would have done the job.

Once I figured the power situation out, the rest was a breeze. The “physical” machine all of a sudden found a couple of USB ports, an Apple mouse and keyboard, plus my LG W2252 panel which was now listed as a secondary monitor (I used the primary DVI on the graphics card in clone mode to feed a “local” monitor next to the machine).

Well now on to the tests. None of these situations are scientific. They are based on what I see students doing on a day to day basis. The “logical” distance between the portal and the remoted PC is 4 GigE switches and they are on two different subnets. The portal is super snappy, mouse and keyboard feel like they are hooked into the “real” machine. I even had a couple of our staff members come and test my new Quadzilla PC (I showed them the tiny portal device and told them it was a quad core AMD machine) and they could not tell the difference. Once they were told about the remoting concept, I literally saw a couple of jaws drop. It is truly an amazing experience to sit infront of the portal and have a 1ms delay on a routed/switched network connection across the building to the Quadzilla.

Now our network is fast internally at the university (1Gbps to every desktop with 10Gbps backbone), but the PCoIP system seems to work quite nicely even on 100Mbps segments. Just for arguments sake I grabbed a cheap linksys 4 port 100Mb “switch/hub” and stuck it between the Portal device and the wall connection and I’m happy to report that there was absolutely NO difference in performance.

The hardest thing I’ve thrown at the system was playing back the HD versions of Big Buck Bunny and Elephants Dream and aside from a super tiny delay there is no visual loss that I can see. The system uses about 50-65 Mb/s of bandwidth in this default mode and delivers a solid 30f/s to the portal. Keep in mind that this is on scenes where literally every pixel on the screen is changing at 30 f/s. Normal bandwidth usage is about 1-3 Mbps for average webbrowsing/Excel/Word applications and there are options in the webbased Admin interface to squeeze this down if you need to (default is set to zero meaning full speed ahead). I will cover the webbased admin interface in more detail as soon as i get a chance to play with it more.

The PCoIP system is MAC and PC compatible. I will be doing a MAC test run as soon as I get a hold of the MAC Firmware, so stay tuned.

All in all I have to admit that the system has gone far beyond my expectations. I’m now dreaming of a day when PC graphics can be transmited wirelessly right off the graphics card over a fast/low latency wireless network….Mmmmm, wireless GPU’s :-).

Topps 3D Live does Augmented Reality Baseball Cards…..

datePosted on 23:18, March 14th, 2009 by Many Ayromlou

Yep, this must be the newest trick advertisers are devising to get our attention. Michael Eisner’s company is trying really hard to make baseball card collecting cool again, by releasing Augmented Reality enhanced cards. You pick these things up for a buck or two, come home and hold the card in front of your webcam and through the magic of Augmented Reality, a 3D representation of your favorite player, complete with stats will pop up on top of the card.

Mr. Eisner’s company is not the first though, there was a German Mini advertisement that placed a Mini Cabrio on a magazine through some AR magic. So what’s next….I don’t know…..what do you think?

Oh and before I forget…..If you want to try out the Mini Cabrio Ad for yourself, grab this PDF file , print if and head over here to see it work. The only problem, it’s Internet Explorer compatible only…..YUCK.

Sixth Sense: You really need to see this.

datePosted on 22:45, March 14th, 2009 by Many Ayromlou

Well, I watched it and came across a couple of comments. First was “Holodeck is now one step closer” and right below it “Skynet is nearly Self-aware”. I guess I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you want to go on a “Star” trek or Terminate now :-). Just watch it, it’s 8 minutes of wonder.