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Archive for September, 2010
It can be hard to shop for Zandra (Antoni’s thoughtful birthday gift)
Happy birthday, Zandra!
Karel the Robot keychain gift at CS198 reunion
On August 13, 2010, Professor Eric Roberts and Mehran Sahami, Associate Chair of the Department of Computer Science, sent the Stanford CS198 alumn list an email inviting them to a reunion of undergratuate section leaders, TAs and program coordinators — the first such reunion in 40 years of teaching introductory CS106 classes. (read more »)
For an email client, I use Mac OS X’s Mail.app, which I’m perfectly happy with (in conjunction with Mail Act-On, which I find to be indispensable). To access my various email accounts, I use both POP and IMAP; each offers me something the other does not. (read more »)
I just returned from a trip to the Bahamas, where I shot and posted a bunch of 3D underwater video encoded for viewing with red/cyan anaglyph 3D glasses. When I arrived at home, I opened one of the 3D videos on my calibrated 30″ Dell 3008WFP LCD (connected to a Mac Pro)… and discovered that I could not see any 3D effect. It was quite strange because I could see the 3D effect perfectly when I streamed the same videos from my Vimeo page (on the same machine/display), and everything looks good when played from my MacBook Pro (even when it is attached to an external monitor). I even tried playing the videos back on my 50″ plasma display, and the 3D was fine.
What I discovered is that if you have a properly calibrated video card / monitor, you may not be able see anaglyph 3D-encoded images and video correctly. When trying to render colors “correctly,” ColorSync can change the colors enough to destroy the effect. (read more »)
I’ve listed my Light & Motion Z1u/FX1 Bluefin housing and travel package for sale through Backscatter (located in Monterey, CA, but will ship).
Description: Used Light & Motion Bluefin Z1U/FX1 housing for the Sony Z1U or Sony FX1 camera. The housing comes with the stock flat port and when used with the internal flip down macro diopter gives you the option for extreme macro. Also included is the 80 Super Wide angle lens that allows full zoom through on the camera. This housing is in good condition and comes with the incredible Sunray 2000 light system, two chargers, four batteries and a Pelican 1620 case that holds everything. [more information]
a humorous copyright violation
As a photographer, I am constantly asked for free images. Every day, I respond to upwards of 5 requests for free imagery from a diverse array of entities including individuals, non-profits / conservation organizations, companies, buildings, and other organizations.
Some photographers get angry when they are asked for free work, but I do not. If the request is ridiculous, I find great humor in the situation, but if it is a serious request by someone who has really thought things out, I will reply honestly.
The most recent request was to “borrow” images for some sort of company event, and compensation was to have my name visible next to the prints. Dave, a good friend (and successful artist himself), wrote commentary about the situation after I mentioned it.
If they pick up/drop off, you’re visibly credited w/your contact info and there’s a lot of traffic it could be good exposure.
In theory, I agree with his statement, but I’ve had enormous prints mounted in the lobbies of some of the biggest buildings in San Francisco for months, and do you know how many leads they generated? Zero. Even with my name, a biography, and postcards placed somewhere near the prints, they generated no leads. (read more »)
Burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) in Boca Raton, Florida
Jim Abernethy and Janine took Marcelo and me to Boca Raton today to photograph burrowing owls, which are extremely cute. We found them in a field at Florida Atlantic University, where their burrows are marked with stakes (along with additional markers designating the distance you are allowed to approach). Burrowing owls are a “species of special concern” in Florida and are listed in CITES Appendix II.
3D anaglyph (red/cyan) glasses are required for this video.
Emma the tiger shark and a bunch of reef sharks and lemon sharks feed on a bit of fish bait (bones, mostly) in the Bahamas.
This is probably the most effective blue-water 3D video I’ve posted to date. It is a bit bright, but it’s hard to do color correction for anaglyph 3D. I need to find a way to preview my work on proper 3D displays!
UPDATE: I just looked at this video, and the Vimeo upload’s compression has made the 3D anaglyph effect much less pronounced. At 1080p pre-Vimeo compression, the 3D effect is tremendous. I need to upload a better version…
3D anaglyph (red/cyan) glasses are necessary for this video.
Reef sharks, lemon sharks and nurse sharks investigate a gorgonian, where an injured fish must be hiding. Bahamas.
Two goliath groupers (Epinephelus itajara) on the wreck of the Zion, Jupiter, Florida
While shooting video today, I had quite a few moments in which I wished only for a strobe or two.
3D anaglyph (red/cyan) video of a school of Atlantic spadefish (Chaetodipterus faber). Jupiter, Florida. September 11, 2010.
This particular video looks great at 1080p full screen on a 17″ monitor, but suffers greatly when reduced in resolution and viewed as a postage stamp-sized video.
The Eye of Mine underwater housing for GoPro cameras is simple: it’s a stock GoPro housing with a replacement flat port. Although the standard GoPro housing is waterproof and rated to 60 meters, it won’t focus underwater because of its tiny little dome port. Eye of Mine’s simple solution lets you capture sharp images underwater using a GoPro Hero HD camera.
I took an Eye of Mine-housed GoPro Hero HD camera to the Bahamas a few days ago and played with sharks:
Although I’m used to cameras many times the cost of a GoPro, and I was really impressed by the footage I managed to capture. Specifically, I can’t imagine putting any other camera inside a shark’s mouth! (Also, the footage does actually look pretty good.)
Special thanks to Russell Latimer of Eye of Mine for the loaner housing (which is still in relatively good shape, considering the abuse I put it through); to Jim Abernethy, my good friend and shark guide in the Bahamas for 9 years now; to Sterling Zumbrunn for providing third-party camera footage, and to Ultralight Control Systems for providing the AD-GO ball adapter to connect the GoPro housing to my rig.
Bahamas | link
| Sep 17, 2010 22:24:21
A spawning aggregation of goliath groupers (Epinephelus itajara) off of Jupiter, Florida, taken just before sunset (hence, the noisy video).
People are starting to do HDR video using beam splitters (which are normally used to shoot in 3D). The video above was posted yesterday and was made with two Canon 5D Mark II cameras by the folks at Soviet Montage.
4 months ago, E3D Creative posted an HDR video shot with two RED cameras (again, using a beam splitter):
Fun stuff! I want a beam splitter.
I’m a big fan of CrashPlan, which is sort of like a platform-agnostic Time Machine with full internet support (minus the pretty star field graphics). I use it to continuously monitor and back up two machines (Mac Pro and MacBook Pro), and when I’m travelling, but MacBook Pro continues to back new files up — to a machine in my closet — through the internet.
I have CrashPlan+ licenses for the two machines I back up. CrashPlan+ doesn’t exist anymore, but it seems to give me some of the features of CrashPlan Pro like compression, encryption, and real-time monitoring of file changes.
Now, for the bad news: CrashPlan works really well when I have one machine backing up to another, but fails miserably when I have two machines backing up one machine. My MacBook Pro always backs up perfectly to the destination, but my Mac Pro stops after some time (usually works until I stop the initial backup, at which point it never starts up again).
- starting and stopping the CrashPlan engine
- setting each instance of CrashPlan to a different port
- reinstalling CrashPlan
- reinstalling the OS
- following directions sent from CrashPlan support (multiple times)
Each time, CrashPlan support says that it “must be a network issue,” but can’t figure out why it’s not working. I think it might be because I’m backing up multiple terabytes.
A few days ago, I realized that I was being stupid because I’m backing up my Mac Pro to a NAS volume that is mounted on the server. The server isn’t even necessary for my Mac Pro backup, since the 55-lb machine never leaves the house! So I’m now pointing my CrashPlan backup directly at the volume on the NAS box. The MacBook Pro is still happily backing up via the server.
I hope it works.
I just noticed that Amazon has book buybacks.1 In this case, it would be like a 4-month rental for $2.06! That’s a great deal.
I recently acquired a Fuji FinePix REAL 3D W3 point & shoot camera, which is the only (proper) 3D point & shoot camera on the market (Mark Blum showed me the W1, its predecessor, some time ago). The camera stores still images in MPO format, which is essentially two JPGs, thumbnails and metadata crammed into a single file. It stores video files in a stacked AVI format called 3D-AVI.
New file formats are always challenging to deal with, especially if you’re on a Mac. Fuji ships the camera with its FinePix software, and after installing it, I realized that it has no 3D support because the Mac version is two major revisions behind the Windows version!
I went online looking around for MPO and 3D-AVI support for the Mac. Things aren’t looking so good. (read more »)