16 December 2011

Milk of Amnesia


Donna Lethal is a personal friend, actress in a couple of my films and accomplice in several other things so I wouldn’t write a review of her book unless I liked it and luckily.. I do.

Her book is fiction but taken from stories and events inspired from real life which is, considering some of the characters in this book, a very daring thing. She’s had all sorts of nasty emails as a result. This shows just how stupid some people can be. If you recognize yourself in a story in an unflattering way, but the names etc have been changed, why on earth would you tell everyone who will listen that it really is you? Wouldn’t common sense advise you to keep it to yourself? Besides... what if it really isn’t you in the end? You’ve just told the world you think you are an asshole, non?

The book is a really quick read... I read it all in almost one sitting, going from each short chapter to another, Donna’s prose dragging me along to the next one until I was done. The most disturbing elements are told with wit and humor. You may find yourself chuckling about some things we all know we really shouldn’t be chuckling about. Donna doesn't go into graphic details of things, preferring instead to keep it moving along and letting the reader to make up their own minds on what think about what’s going on. There is no psyche-babble or “deep examinations of her very soul” here, only matter of fact little vignettes of life that add up to something meaningful without having to take you by the hand to give “meaning” to it all. I like being treated as an intelligent adult and this book does just that.

My only beef with is the book itself. As a designer, it was pretty obvious what happened... someone other than Amber Sexton, designer of the excellent cover, took over the rest of the book. (It’s happened to me also.) The font is all wrong... the typography takes you away from the experience, not into it as it should. The spine (in my copy anyway) is off. The ads in the back for other New Texture books look like a high school fanzine. Chapters end visually in a very awkward fashion with a couple orphaned lines on an otherwise blank page. Only Lethal’s compelling storytelling keeps you reading because you know it’s worth it.

Buy it here. Now.

13 December 2011

Copps Hill Burial Ground




I've always loved this place, having read about it a Lovecraft story as a young person. It's sort of the perfect graveyard. Old enough, broken and tilted stones... overlooking the harbor and hidden in a maze of streets in Boston's North End.

I am hoping to put together a little book for myself using the 200 plus photos I took there, adding some personal stories and history to go with the photos. Some of the stones had graffiti on them... to be fair it mostly from the 60's in all appearances, but still you had ego wonder why some brain dead people would think it was fun to ruin grave markers in a beautiful historic setting.

08 December 2011

Mount Auburn Cemetery



I spent over 4 hours here on a Saturday morning and took so many photos my 8 gig card ran out.. first time ever. I end ed up with quite a few decent images. A few more are on my flicker page.

30 November 2011

Boston


I was in Boston for the American thanksgiving holiday. Took some shots of the city while there, but mostly spent time photographing a couple burial grounds I've been itching to do. I've been thinking of making a little book on them but in the meantime... the Boston landscape as seen from Devonshire Place where I photographed a massage studio for publicity purposes.

A few more on my flickr page.

14 November 2011

Rollicord 120mm



My first 120mm camera, which I still keep with me. Still functions. Like most other photographers who started in film many years ago, cameras were works of art and beautiful in of themselves.

I decided to go all macro and try to highlight the little things, using stacked images to get more details when needed. I am sure there are young photographers today who will have no idea what some of these controls could be.

I will post a few more on my Flickr page soon.

08 November 2011

Graveyards of Burlington Vermont



Some people think I spend too much in cemeteries. Well, maybe. I always have since I was child and it still fascinates me now. I drove around with a friend to quite a few this past weekend and we had a grand time looking around and taking photos. It wasn't without incident, as I lost somewhere in our travels my 18-55mm lens. So my cheap weekend with friends wasn't so cheap after all. I quickly replaced the lens when I returned before I could freak out about the money and not buy one. It's the lens I use most often so I really can't be without it.

macro




31 October 2011

21 October 2011

expanding on some techniques

In my work, I often have to retouch photos for video and sometimes turn those photos into something that actually moves in a 3d space or has animated elements. Though I am not trying to take a single photo and turn it into a full blown 3D animated scene, I am trying to get more bang for the buck by giving a single photo more 3D space to move around in and by adding more traditional 2d animation in addition to the 3D to try and bring more life and interest. Years ago, just panning across an old photo was considered enough... not anymore!

My goal is always to keep the integrity of the original photo, which is usually an old one, but add enough to it to keep a modern viewer's interest.




20 October 2011

Some new photos



Been out and about to Mont Royal and cimetière Notre Dame des Neiges

23 September 2011

3 Emmy Awards for Freedom Riders


While I had only a small job doing some re-touching in this project, it's just another reason I was proud to have produced some work for a very worthwhile documentary.

Firelight announcement

21 September 2011

Google + (and minus)


I have been using Google + for a couple months now and, since I am not a fan of «social media» sites, I was dragged kicking and screaming to it. I have been working on a large video project and after rejecting several other solutions, my partner on the contract with me decided to use this new service to communicate.

Setting up this service could have been a lot more intuitive, it wasn’t clear what functions there were nor how to use them. When they were sorted out, we found several very helpful, however. Being able to insert images, links and movies (which are re-formatted via Youtube) let us put what we were working on in one place with our comments and questions. Setting up a «circle» for us to comment on and another for the client to access gave us the ability to freely comment between ourselves and to have «filtered» comments the clients can’t see. This is essential on a big project in case there are disagreements and on a more practical level, to talk about technical stuff that, frankly, the clients wouldn’t understand.

Problems were many, and quite serious. The most damning one is that the notifications when a comment or response is left in a circle, the email was often either not sent or sent a fairly long time after the comment was made. Some comments also never appeared on the site at all. This makes it unreliable for serious conversations.

As for the «social» aspects like video conferences etc, I can’t speak to them as we didn’t use them and frankly, like all social site gimmicks, they don’t interest me. Google also insisted I give them my phone number to use the service, which really bugs me and makes me very suspicious as to what my personal info will be used for.

12 September 2011

Big MA 2011

When my mother asked for DVD version of the documentary "Big Ma" about her mother, I thought it might be a good idea to redo many of the graphics and tighten it up a little. A big plus was You tube had a message telling me I can now upload films longer than 15 minutes so I didn't have to split it into parts!

Just for fun and practice

a little rude but it's a joke between Yvon and us.

Pour une blague, j'ai décidé pour faire une copie du générique de téléséries... "Grande Ourse". Je n'ai pas très content avec les résultants. Quelques transitions n'ont pas très subtile.

06 September 2011

stacked photos


I have been hoping to try stacking photos to get more depth of field in my macro photography for years. I finally had a chance to try it out. As it turns out, the last few versions of Photoshop have the ability to do the job. There are a few separate software that do the same thing, but I am not sure they are actually better.

Stacking involves (in my case) taking a series of macro photos with different areas in focus and literally stacking on top of each other on different layers then telling photoshop to blend the layers. While blending, photoshop determines the areas in focus and masks out the blurred areas. This can give you an incredibly in focus detailed image not possible with normal macro.

While not perfect, it does make for some interesting images, even with this first try. This particular mage took a bit of additional manual manipulations and alignment to get it looking ok.

28 August 2011

OS X - LION


I didn’t exactly feel the need to run out and get Lion the day it was released, not after the problems I had with Snow Leopard not too long ago. The new laptop I bought didn’t come with Lion either, though I expected it too, and that was more a relief then a point against it. Apple did offer a free upgrade for the laptop and eventually I did take them up on it. I did this after I was sure I wouldn’t be needing the laptop for anything crucial for a while.

Backstory over, the upgrade went extremely smoothly. No compatibility issues so far at all and it all seems to work as advertised. Getting the code for the free upgrade took over a week, a common problem I discovered, but since I wasn’t in a hurry, it didn't really matter to me.

Lion does seem to slow down start-up a little bit, shut down is just as fast as before. I like many of the new features I’ve tried... the «versions» feature I have no idea where it is or how to use it yet.... the multiple desktops are much more useful than I thought and «Launchpad» is just a little less useless than I feared. I like the gestures for flipping through webpages and I really like the new calendar, Address Book and Mail updates.

I had no PPC programs on my laptop, I suspect there may be 1 or 2 on the tower though so I am not upgrading that too soon. Also, the gestures, full screen apps etc are all pluses with the portable computer... less so or useless to me on me 2 screen office computer. I also discovered the «Airdrop» feature which lets you easily transfer from one computer to another will not work with the towers, who don’t have a wifi card installed. (I recommend a software called «Drop Copy» for that anyway).

Lion, as a little plus, fixed a bug with the «Dream Chronicles-book of air» game I was playing as well!

15 August 2011

one more


before I start putting the bulk of photos on Flickr this week.

12 August 2011

Provincetown




In Provincetown for the week taking photos and relaxing with friends. Experimenting with some techniques and finding the HDR is not the best thing for sunsets.. at least I haven't figured it out yet.

01 August 2011

Mac Book Pro 13 inch


My macbook pro from over 4 years ago finally got to be too much for me. Overall it still works very well. Some dead pixels, a little slower than I’d like, not enough ram, typical stuff for an older computer. It had one terrible defect that presented itself awhile ago that finally get the better of it and made replacing it a must. It seems this model, after several years, wears down the connection between the keyboard and the rest of the computer and the only way to get it working is to smack the battery area really hard. You can imagine how professional that looks.

Since I might have some hard core work to do while I am away on a trip coming up, I bit the bullet and bought a bottom of the line macbook pro. I am pretty surprised how much I like it and how much improved it is over the older (but higher end model) I had.

The screen: is simply incredible for a laptop. there some falloff but for a portable, I’m really liking it. Going from 15 to 13 inches was no big deal either. In fact I hardly notice it.

The body: The new macbook pro is literally as thin at my old one, minus the cover. The one piece design is pretty easy to hold and the smaller form is preferable, to me anyway. I like a portable to be... portable. This is a “while I’m not in the office” computer, not a replacement for a desktop. Not having a million dollars lying around I didn’t try any of the new “thunderbolt” connections or external drives. I’m not lacking anything I need to connect to my current devices.

Operation: The transfer from old to new was so simple, even by Apple’s standards it was sort of surprising. A couple of software issues that were easily fixed by re-installing. In use it’s much, much faster than the older one, starts up extremely fast and opens software, even slow pokes like Photoshop and IN design much more rapidly than my Mac Pro tower does. The trackpad... which in general I don’t like in principal, has little odd glitches I find annoying. It’s hard to click on things sometimes or open software from the dock, instead you get the pulldown menu. Might be me not using it right but it’s not as intuitive as I’d like. The faster graphics card, 5 gigs of ram and larger hard drive help a lot.

Overall a great new tool to take on the road with me.

07 July 2011

American Experience


I've had the privilege of working on the PBS show "American Experience" a couple of times restoring and preparing photos for video as well as some animations with photos. Last year I worked extensively on the episode "Triangle Fire" and somehow, forgot to mention it in my blog.

The doc was made for the 100th anniversary of the terrible fire that took the lives of many young female workers and forever changed safety regulations throughout the United States. It is also a very important reminder in this period of time of why unions are important for not just salary needs, but safety needs as well.

See it on the PBS website.

25 June 2011

Final Cut X


Having had a chance to play with this software and read up on it’s features and what other professionals say about it I have to report FCX is not aimed at the professional film maker or editor but rather the one man show at the office who must put together the corporate videos and the small film makers working on you tube and on the internet. While being a bold step forward in many ways, it’s also a huge step backwards, away from the professional work of collaborative and high end video production.

the good:
There is plenty of interesting and worthwhile ideas in this software. The magnetic timeline, the 64 bit and Motion 5 integration, the addition of larger formats, the on screen image is much improved on my monitors, the implementation of the the sound editing and color correction as well as the ability to burn DVD (including Blu-ray) directly from Final Cut are all inspired changes. The metadata ideas are very welcome and will greatly cut down the endless searching for clips. I have no doubt that many of these features are in the future of digital editing and many other non linear editors will be embracing them as well.

the bad:
Apple’s rush to “the future” is really just a rush to get rid of features it didn’t like supporting in place of creating something much too stripped down for professional use. No multi-clip? The iphoto/imovie approach to file management is great for some one person operations and a nightmare for most anyone else. In the film/broadcast world, there might be several if not 100’s of people working on a film and this current system is not good for that. Not being able to import older projects is annoying but not a fatal flaw in my view. Apple seems to think the world has moved on from DVD but as many FCP users are editing for weddings and events or independent filmmakers who need to send their work to investors and festivals by delivering these projects on DVD, the included solution is not a solution at all. I have been already using Adobe’s Encore to make DVDs as Apple had done nothing to improve DVD Pro (now defunct) since almost a day after version 1 came out. The killing of Soundtrack Pro is also a huge loss for those of us who are not and can’t afford musicians for every small project but I supposed Garageband is more or less up to that task at this point. Sort of.

Conclusion:
If you are a video professional who found FCP too daunting to use and wanted a more full featured version of imovie, FCX is really a huge step up for you and together with Motion 5 it will up your game to new heights. If you work alone and don’t mind having all your media organized for you instead of by you (which does have it’s advantages) this will also be step forward. If, however, you are working on anything more collaborative, or complex you will find FCX lacking in basic features too important to make it’s pluses outweigh the minuses. Apple’s back peddling recently and re-writing history with statements that FCP was “never intended for real professional work flow” not to mention the recent statements the this next version would have lots of things for the professional community is just a way to avoid admitting they have decided not to support a well and hard earned user base. Though updates may come fast and furious and this may become an incredible way to make broadcast in a year or two, that may be too late to attract the professional market who can more easily move back to Avid or the ever improving Adobe suite of video products.

I personally won't be using FCX anytime soon as imovie currently fills the niche I would use this sort of software for well enough and Final Cut 7, though still slightly buggy is much more appropriate for larger projects.

22 June 2011

Motion 5


Apple released some major software this past week for video professionals and for the first time only from the Apple store. I’d love to try the new Final Cut Pro X, but 300$ for something I’m not sure I really need was a little high to pay and Compressor I rarely, if ever use as it is. Motion 5 was the logical choice for a test spin. It has some of the same new interface ideas behind it as the new Final Cut and was only 50$.

Buying:
Buying from the app store is easy, these are big downloads and then you must download even more to get some of the templates etc. So watch your bandwidth. Installation is all automatic but be prepared for some bugginess and weirdness first time you open the software.

Using it:
Not much difference from earlier versions to tell the truth. The interface is the most noticeable thing and it is a great improvement in my opinion. Getting used to it might take a little time but it’s much more intuitive overall. it’s full screen, 64 bit and much faster overall. I found it did most things I use Motion for very well but it crashes pretty often. This could be because Apple recommends you use it with a version of the OS they haven’t actually released yet. So while it was stable enough for most things, it’s not going to be a good idea for critical or professional use until this gets works out. Some feature look promising, like the tracking features. I have to say look promising because while the tracker did a pretty good job, applying the movement to another layer crashed the software every time I tried it so I have no idea if the tracking is really useful or not right now. I didn’t notice any new emitters, which is a shame since it’s one of the thing I like about Motion over After Effects. The rigging feature seems a nice way to make changes in templates easily and quickly.

Final Cut X integration etc:
This version has some serious integration with the new Final Cut X which is a welcome addition to the functionality. Not having the new FCP, I didn’t test it out. This might be a double edged sword for some people. The New FCP seem much more template and quite honestly, corporate headquarters oriented than a serious film maker’s tool. It radically changes how editing is done in a way that will benefit more those who must put together a corporate presentation or a podcast than a feature film and the Motion integration is part of that change. Both Motion and FCP can output to social media directly like You Tube, Facebook and will even burn to dvd... including Blu-ray if you have a burner. How this will work out is anyone’s guess at the moment. Apple has stopped making DVD Pro and Soundtrack Pro as well as Color. In theory many, but not all of those functions are now part of FCP. I do know that motion is hardly useful as a colour grading tool as AE is.

Conclusion:
Thought only 50$ this does mean a higher price for old time Final Cut users who upgrade. The 300$ for FCP X was the cost of the whole suite upgrade last time around. Still Buying FCP and Motion will likely handle most people’s immediate needs and it’s a damn good price. Time will tell if this is a step forward for editing or Apple’s first step away from truly professional software to more of a dumbing down of the artistic process of film making. Motion is a solid software but not much different than the last version function-wise. The 64 bit, speed bump and new interface is certainly worth 50$ or will be once the bugs are worked out.

update
the new OSX update is out and Motion has stopped crashing all the time. I also have access to try the new final cut X and will be reporting on that soon.

17 June 2011

Not Worth The Wait


I can’t speak for the other iphone apps from the iworks suite from Apple but Numbers was not worth the wait for it’s iphone counterpart.

I am not a heavy spreadsheet user and even I found important things missing. The most mystifying thing is the lack of landscape mode, if any iphone app needed it, it’s a spreadsheet software. Another thing is the lack of drop down menu support which is something else you really need on a device with limited screen space.

The interface is clunky, especially for an Apple product and the import/export functions are downright horrible. Mac doesn't seem to have a good plan for updating documents across the desktop to mobile and back arena yet. I am sure this «icloud» thing is going to address some of that but trusting my documents to be on Apple’s servers is not a comforting thought for as I mentioned in an earlier post.

Seems to me the Google online suite is much better thought out. If Apple wants to compete in enterprise more, these issues will need to be addressed. I wasn’t expected anything near a full features spreadsheet, but I was expecting something useful and this can barely make even that low goalpost. 10$ is a lot to pay for something this lacking in features and usability.

10 June 2011

New Look

Always trying new things, including the image of Behemoth media. This is the most radical departure in a long time. The portfolio/home will have a few more changes as well. I am experimenting with some HTML 5 techniques that should be ready for use in a couple weeks to add a little more interactivity. No one went to the mobile version of the site so I will use the new techniques to make the "normal" site more accessible to mobile devices such as tablets.

I think the new look is a little more universal and will hopefully give potential clients the chance to imagine their project in place of the Behemoth items. Sort of like preparing your place for sale, you have to de-personalize a bit so the prospective buyers can see themselves in your place.

03 June 2011

HYPE html5 app


The html 5 creation software HYPE has appeared on the MAC app store and has gotten a lot of attention. Not undeserved attention either. It is a great way to get basic animations, html 5 video, rounded corners and many other things normally relegated to Flash onto your site without worrying about mobile device compatibility.

Designed by a couple of ex apple employees, the interface is pretty easy to understand and use. The functionality is pretty basic at the moment but i have no doubt it will grow quickly, adding new features and functions as we all decide what exactly we want from html 5 anyway.

Strong points already present in the software are the key framing options for position, transparency, you name it. Also, the ability to have multiple scenes and then transitions from one to another is very reminiscent of early Flash versions... before it became an operating system on its own and stuck to animations and some interactivity. You can make custom slide shows, web page based presentations in practically less time ti takes to open other software. Adding buttons and functionality is a breeze and integrating into existing sites and templates is a simple copy/paste of 3 lines of code that references files saved in a dossier all nice and neat. Videos and animations can have overlays etc. All and all very well done. My only quibble is that it can't take illustrator or eps files.. might be too much to ask as it would have to rasterize them on export... but I can see a time that would be included.

I really look forward to seeing how this advances and 30$ is a very fair price. Once of the best versions 1.0 pieces of software I've seen in a long time.

19 May 2011

Bag O heads


Well I had to take a picture...

09 May 2011

Some Hidden Object Games


20000 leagues under the sea
Jack l’eventruer
Frankenstein- case of the dismembered bride
treasure island- the gold bug
time machine
Hollywood

I have to put these few games under the same review fro a few reason. Firstly they are all very similar and second, it’s just easier to lump them all in one.
Part of the HDo adventure series of games, these are all based, very loosely, on classic stories. The interfaces are pretty much the same as is the gameplay. Click to go from one location to another and find objects, as well as a couple of puzzles here and there. None of them is very hard, but all of them are diverting and amusing. The Jules Verne game follows the story well and would be a good introduction to young people to Verne’s novels. I played these all in French so I can’t speak for the english versions, but some of the names of objects were a little weird, including one I could not find in a dictionary! The graphics are all well done. The only setbacks are that the games were obviously ported from larger screen versions and finding some things is all but impossible save for luck. They all have interesting twists on the original book scenarios and give the player a little «wink wink» that they know the game is not the point of living but a nice diversion from a dull day. I big plus is that you can shut off the repetitive music in the background which will quickly drive you insane. The only one I really found lacking even at 99 cents was «Hollywood» as each scene had many of the same objects to find and overall the concept was pretty dull.

28 April 2011

The Twelve - remastered 1270 doc on sale!



My film "the Twelve" about the 15 years of fun at Boston's most divers disco is now for sale at Amazon.com! Remastered with new animations, sound and slightly longer, this film lets the employees and club goers of the time tell the story of Boston's disco hay days. 3 floors of music and a roof deck, nothing before or since has graced the club scene like the 1270 did!

buy it now!

25 April 2011

cimetière





J'adore les vieux cimetière et les espaces abandonnée. Les photos sont HDR et photoshop.

20 April 2011

Church Illustration


It's not often my dad asks for anything, so I was really happy to do this illustration he needed for a future project. It's the Immaculate Conception Church in Everett Massachusetts where I grew up. I always thought the place looked like a haunted mansion. My mother has been told it is more like Cinderella's castle.

07 April 2011

Paul McMahon - subject of film "50 years" passes


Paul McMahon and his husband Ralph Hodgdon were the subject of my film "50 Years". Last week Paul past away suddenly from a cancer he had no idea he had at the age of 78.

Paul was a confident and stage manager for Ms Dietrich for 13 years. He met her when he tried to get her autograph back stage and was hit by the hair brush she had thrown at someone in a tantrum. He handed it back to her saying, "Miss Dietrich, I believe you dropped this" and they became fast friends.

Paul was also a photographer, silversmith and writer on top of being a pioneer in the fight for gay rights. He met his husband, artist Ralph Hodgdon in Central park, New York in the 50's and they never separated after that. I met them well over 20 years ago and we maintained a very nice friendship that led to my film about them.

A fixture in gay pride parades in Boston, the sign they carried said how long they had been together and how many years they were married.

This year's sign would have said: "Together 56 years, married 7".

04 April 2011

Review: Myst & Riven on IOS



I should begin by stating up front I am not a gamer. I don’t really like 90% of the games out there on principal. I don’t want to shoot, kill, blow up etc etc things on my computer, so my reviews should be taken in that light.

Now to Myst and Riven- the sequel to Myst on iphone/ipod. THESE are the types of games I love to play. Beautifully rendered, challenging, no clock running out when you want to take your time to look at something or figure something out. They are as much about exploring a fascinating world as they are about «winning» the game. Now available in IOS, these games are a welcome sight on my ipod touch.

For those who don’t know: Myst finds you on a mysterious island where you solve puzzles and discover clues to find «Linking Books» to other islands/worlds and to progress the story. Riven is a much more elaborate variation on this theme with some stunning animations integrated into the gameplay.

If you loved the Myst series, you still will. They have been long absent from the MAC format for no reason I can fathom that makes sense. I only hope these app game versions sell well enough to do the rest of the series (which I believe is owned by more than one company now so it might be a long time working all that out). Later games in the series have been out on the Steam gaming platform, but not for MAC.

The original Myst is a little too much the original myst. I would have liked to see the improved graphics and the additional worlds added in later updated editions of the game. Riven is exactly as I remember it from the computer version, which made it a huge but well worth it, download. The real minuses in the IOS releases is the small screen size which makes some things hard to see, hard to navigate in places and you don’t get the full impact of the wonderful landscapes and vividly detailed settings. You can enlarge the images as in other games but the quality suffers greatly. I didn’t have any crashing on either game, though I did hear some people did. Bug fixes were posted pretty frequently compared to other games I could mention (and might in later reviews).

If you never played them, here’s you chance. If you miss them on your computer screen, it’s well worth a few dollars to play them over again. In my opinion, THIS is what computer gaming should be like. I know I am in the minority with that, but since these were once the most popular games of all time, there must still be a market for a little slow, thoughtful exploration left in the gaming world.

01 April 2011

Cloud Computing


«The cloud» is all the rage in computer circles these days, aggressively pushed by computer companies as a great solution to «never lose» data and have access to all your stuff where ever you are and on whatever device or operating system you are using. Sounds fantastic!

There are advantages to cloud computing. Mobile devices have limited storage and most people never back up at all, never mind enough. Forgetting to bring the powerpoint file to the meeting would be a thing of the past. You would be able to buy software once and use it across computers without the complicated and draconian agreements all software producers require these days.

However, I personally do not want my computer info in someone else's hard drive and I don’t want some «Cloud» having complete control over my data. I like my Mobileme service for transferring large files, sharing short videos and syncing my calendar and contact info across my devices, but that is as far as I want to go.

«The Cloud» can crash (or dry up), I’ve already lost and screwed up data with the simple Mobileme setup.. imagine if all my work was on there. I work in video and in print, files can be HUGE (liked 100’s of gigabytes) no service will be able to handle that for a long time in a way that will be functional. Not everyone has unlimited super fast broadband service and this will mean service providers will have another way to gouge you for more money. There is also the unavoidable fact that no one is able to be connected to the internet all the time in every circumstance. What if the software producer decides to pull the product and they erase it from your storage so you no longer have access to it? This already happens with books in Kindle and the App Store and is justified with the «you were only renting it you didn’t really own it» line... despite having paid good money for it. A cyber attack on one of these cloud systems could be disastrous for the everyone. Hackers could get into sensitive work documents. Heaven forbid you have porno on your computer, some right wing Tea Party nut job in the United States or elsewhere could decide to prosecute you (after watching it no doubt). Music and movie companies would have a field day harassing people they feel have stolen their intellectual property or just decide they want to charge you another fee for having bought it already.

So, in my mind this service, interesting and useful though it is in a limited way, is for too dangerous and intrusive in many, more serious ways.

Keep your head out of the «Clouds» .

13 March 2011

Too Great Expectations


Clients, home users and even professionals have less and less understanding of what exactly can be done on computers and not only how but who can accomplish what they can do.


Because I use a computer in my work and an proficient with certain software, I am expected to teach, update, repair and write specialized software for every operating system and every computer brand out there.


Now, I am a good driver, but no one has ever asked me to change their transmission or even assumed I would know how to do it simply because I drove them to the airport once. Why then, because I designed a business card for someone 4 years ago, do I get called asking to install a hard drive, upgrade memory or fix a software glitch?


On a more basic level, even professionals make the mistake that computer itself «should know» what they want it to do or worse, adapt to their needs, magically. What seems like a completely basic feature to me or you working in film production is likely a completely useless extra to the 30 million other people using the same type of computer or software for something else.


If you buy a professional, specialized software you have every right to expect it to do most if not all of the current functions needed to complete a task in it’s speciality. More and more the attitude that your photo editing program should do page layout as well, simply because it was expensive and you want it to to it is simply unreasonable. I’d say the «jack of all trades, master of none» problem quickly shows it’s head when a software is forced to go beyond it’s speciality.


The same is easily said when using professional workers. A designer is not a programmer. A programmer is not a photographer. The important thing here is for you to know what you need and how to get it. Just as «he drives a car, mechanics drive cars, he must be a mechanic» is an obvious logical fallacy, so is «he uses a computer, programmers use computers, he must be a programer» or «Word is software, video is edited with software, Word must edit video».


As easy as it has become to use computers, they only do what you tell them to do and what they are programmed to accomplish. This means you still have to know what to tell them. It takes effort and it’s your responsibility to make that effort. If you need something done that requires a specialist, you need to research who you need to hire and what to reasonably expect from them.


This is not to say software or people don’t claim to do things they can’t, that’s another topic. However, if you make it a requirement for someone or something to do more than they are qualified to do for any reason and it doesn’t work out, you have no one to blame but yourself for asking too much in the first place!

26 February 2011

Slowly making progress



I've been slowly working on an animation based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft.I have the street scene done and I'm working on the main room. I still have a second room and stairway and hallway to do before even starting the two characters... plus a monster. This will be one of those 5 years all by myself projects I'm thinking. Finding free models for some of the stuff helps a lot, but they need to be modified and textured for my needs so it still takes a long time.

16 February 2011

The Twelve - remastered 1270 doc


I've been working hard on re-mastering and updating my 2006 documentary "1270". It will now be called "The Twelve", be in 16:9 format for today's screens and have about 40 redone or completely new graphic animations throughout. I might try and get a new interview in there, but that seems unlikely given the time constraints and difficulty getting someone here to be interviewed, but well see how it goes. As this nears completion, I'll be taking the old version off you-tube and the new version will be the only one available and it will also be for sale on amazon. Many people asked about buying copies over the years, now they will be able to. The film is basically the same style and feeling, but just updated graphics and nicer looking video quality. Some info will be updated as well.

If you want to be ind=formed on when you can get the new version, send me an email and I'll put you on a list to be the first to know!

04 February 2011

Unlaunch'd Voices.... launched


The play "Unlaunch'd Voices",a one man show about Walt Whitman is now for sale at Amazon.com. I did the cover, the author is Michael Z. Keamy from boston who was also in several film projects of mine and the voice of "Nostro-dumbass

buy a copy now!