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Updated the incorrect links. It should be ok now.
We’ve moved to a new and better server! Please update your links and feeds to our new blog, over at http://www.livingunderimagination.com/geekmadness
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In celebration of our new server, we have not just one, but TWO awesome posts for you. So don’t dilly-dally, head on over to http://www.livingunderimagination.com/geekmadness right now!
Sorry, but I just had to write something about this. F4 (of Meteor Garden fame) has come out with a new commercial promoting tourism in Taiwan. I was laughing my ass off at Jerry Yan’s seemingly inability to speak English. Either that, or he just didn’t know the script and the director just yelled, “Ah, forget it. That’s a wrap.”
Here’s the mumble mumble Taiwan video:
Are you one of those people who would almost like to switch over to Ubuntu but just couldn’t because you don’t quite like great open source games such as Glest, Sauerbraten and Tremulous? In today’s post, here’s one more reason for you to do so: Now you can play Warcraft III, Frozen Throne, and also Defense of the Ancients, or more commonly known as DOTA! Ok, so that’s 3 reasons…but since DOTA is just a custom map for Frozen Throne maybe 2 and a half…anyway…let’s get started.
It’s now been over 2 weeks since Project Peach’s Big Buck Bunny opened in theaters last May 30, or at least in home theaters. So if you haven’t seen it yet, now would be a good time to head on over to the Big Buck Bunny website and download a copy. If you’re still downloading pirated movies, here’s a breath of fresh air: this short movie is given to you completely free of charge.
Big Buck Bunny is the story of a large, but kind rabbit who is bullied by three naughty rodents. Finally, Big Buck Bunny decides to fight back, and…well you’ll have to see it for yourself. The visuals are breath-taking, from the tall grass blowing in the wind, to the stream reflecting off sunlight, to the cute and cuddly creatures.
If the concept of open movies is new, or strange, to you, you may find it interesting to know that Big Buck Bunny is already the second open movie in the world, following from the success of the first open movie, Elephants Dream.
Two years ago, the Project Orange released the world’s first open movie, and it was titled Elephants Dream. Elephants Dream and Big Buck Bunny are called open movies because they are made entirely with open source tools, where of course Blender is the star player. Not only that, all the production files, all the 3D assets, everything used in the movie is also available for download, and it’s also included on the DVD.
Computer graphics, or CG, has been used with film since all the way back in the 70’s even before films like Tron came out. Back then, the technology was still at its infancy. As the technology progressed, CG found its way more and more into film, combining live action and animation in films like Batman, Star Trek, The Abyss, etc. and moving on into feature-length movies like Toy Story and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. What most of them have in common is the use of expensive software, such as Maya, for creating the CG (except Pixar; they use in-house technology built on top of Linux).
A lot of you probably don’t know that there is a software out there called Blender proving itself and its abilities to be on par with the big industry giants like 3D Studio Max, Lightwave, Maya, and SoftImage. But unlike its counterparts with 5-digit price tags (in US dollars), Blender is completely free! That’s right. Free to use, free to abuse, free to modify, free as in freedom and free as in beer.
Now there are a lot of people I know who are averse to Linux and the concept of free and open-source software, believing them to be of inferior quality because they’re not backed by large companies with lots of capital. I think that Blender is one of the model FLOSS software that proves this to be simply not the case.
If you haven’t seen the Open Movies yet, now would be a good time to do so. Head on over to the Elephant’s Dream page or the Big Buck Bunny page. You can also see how Plumiferos, another movie in the works, is coming about, as well as a whole lot of movies over at the Blender Movie Gallery. Oh, and of course, tell your friends or give them a copy. Don’t worry, it’s free (and open); Edu Manzano or the MPAA won’t be knockin’ on your door anytime soon.
For our 15th year company outing, we were headed off to beautiful Dos Palmas Beach Resort and Spa in Palawan. And my camera gear couldn’t have been more ready. The timing was excellent: the 18-135mm lenses that I bought used from a friend as well as the MB-D200 Battery Grip was hand-delivered from Japan just the day before our outing, as well as a DicaPac WP-S10 DSLR underwater pack I had ordered and delivered to my office.
Here is the official list of gear I brought with me:
- Nikon D200
- Nikon MB-D200 battery grip
- Nikon SB-600 Flash
- 18-135mm lens
- 28-85mm lens
- 70-300 lens
- DicaPac WP-S10 Underwater DSLR pack
- Cokin P-series filter holder
- Cokin 58mm adapter ring
- Cokin 62mm adapter ring
- Cokin Circular Polarizer
- Cokin 81B filter
- Cokin Gradual Grey filter
- Slik Able-300EX Tripod
- Kohjinsha SH6 laptop
- Okion portable optical mouse
- Nintendo DS (Ok, maybe this doesn’t count with photography, but it’s still tech)
Note: If you’re wondering why I still brought with me my 28-85mm, it’s because I didn’t have an adapter ring for the 67mm diameter 18-135mm lens.
I had so much gear with me, that in fact I think I had more gear than clothes! Yeah! All these in tow, camera gear…check. Batteries fully-charged…check. Clothes…check. All set to go to beautiful Dos Palmas!
Now for all of you out there, here’s Piece of Advice #1: If you’re going out on a trip like this with this much gear, I advise you to make a checklist; things can get pretty hectic when you’re getting your gear ready and rushing to the airport. In my case, I didn’t have one. And I forgot probably the most important thing in my gear…
…my fully-charged D200 battery!
My first realization of this fact was in the boarding area, when my boss asked me to take a picture, and I gladly obliged. Bringing out my camera, I wondered for a second why the LCD didn’t show the available shots left (it displays even when the D200 is turned off). And I just bumped my head into the D200 (don’t worry, the D200 is tougher than my head), and muttered “ass…” All of those camera gear, and no SLR to use them with!
On the plane, I rejoiced in the fact when I remembered that I brought the MS-D200 battery holder that came with the battery grip. What this savior did was to allow me to put 6 AA batteries into the battery grip as an emergency power source. I found a sari-sari store at the dock just before leaving for Dos Palmas island (after the bus ride from the airport at Puerto Princesa) and bought a couple of batteries for P18 a piece. Piece of Advice #2: Eveready General Purpose batteries (color blue) WILL NOT power up your D200! Even with a fresh batch, they will display as battery low. At the Dos Palmas Tabu-An (their souvenir shop), I bought more alkalines, this time Kodak batteries meant to be used for cameras.
Piece of Advice #3: When operating with limited battery supply, turn off auto-focus, flash, and keep the LCD preview to a minimum. I also turned off the grid display, for good measure, but I don’t think it mattered at all. The Kodaks lasted for around 25 shots. At P270 for 6, it wasn’t going cheap…
Much later, desperate for power, I thought, flash is useless without a camera to use them with. So I salvaged the 4 NiMHs in my SB-600 and borrowed 2 more from a friend. Piece of Advice #4: NiMHs can smoke alkalines, any kind, any day. The NiMHs could shoot through 2 2GB CF cards and still keep on going (I’m still draining them right now, trying to figure out continuous flash shooting).
Much, much later, I realized that the “drained” Kodaks could still power my flash! Doh!
Anyway, head over to http://www.jplui.com/photos/DosPalmas for the vacation pictures that I managed to take. Enjoy!