Posts in January, 2009

31 Jan 2009
Why the recession/depression has hit bottom

This is a strange kind of post when politicians are getting shot down for mentioning ‘green shoots’ – in a reference to Norman Lamont and the 90s recession.  But you can get all the real information here, this recession will be V shaped, as in very quick and steep down, and possibly up again at the same rate.  But the big question and unknown is where the bottom will be.

We may have hit bottom this week. All the banks share prices have doubled this week but why?  Remember, bank shares are a symptom not a cause. In fact last week all UK banks other than HSBC were going out of business, why the change?   Well, in the far off US of A house prices stablised for the first time in 3 years.  This in theory puts a bottom on the losses the banks in the UK will experience, based on the UK economy following USA, and also that we have lots of US debt over here.

Will it stick?  Well it might this crash however is cyclic, and to misquote Paul Krugman, is the mother of crashes. We have over priced housing, as in Japan early 90s, bank runs like both the 1930s and the 1910 trust fund crisis, and possibly, though thankfully not yet in the UK, a currency crisis like Asia/Argentina in the 1990s.  In fact the Irish are complaining we devalued the £ on purpose,which i am sure we did. Not that we had any choice.

We may have seen the bottom, therefore. In about 4 years we will escape from the crash, I am old enough to have had a father (he was 49 when I was born) who remembered and talked often of the Great Depression.  It genuinely influenced his actions until the end of his life (he was mean with money). I hope this is not the world my children will live in.

31 Jan 2009
Sublime Drone Installation / NYC

La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela
Museum, NYC
Annex Gallery 4

Friday, January 30 – Sunday, April 19, 2009

This new site-specific Dream House installation is a rare counterpart to the 16-year ongoing Dream House installation at 275 Church Street.Young and Zazeela characterize the Sound and Light Environment as “a time installation measured by a setting of continuous frequencies in sound and light.”

In the concurrent sound environment, La Monte Young presents The Base 9:7:4 Symmetry in Prime Time When Centered above and below The Lowest Term Primes in The Range 288 to 224 with The Addition of 279 and 261 in Which The Half of The Symmetric Division Mapped above and Including 288 Consists of The Powers of 2 Multiplied by The Primes within The Ranges of 144 to 128, 72 to 64 and 36 to 32 Which Are Symmetrical to Those Primes in Lowest Terms in The Half of The Symmetric Division Mapped below and Including 224 within The Ranges 126 to 112, 63 to 56 and 31.5 to 28 with The Addition of 119, a periodic composite sound waveform environment created from sine wave components generated digitally in real time on a custom-designed Rayna interval synthesizer. As this is a setting of the same sound environment presented at the MELA Church Street Dream House, the two Dream Houses running in simultaneity represent a perfect unison in New York City for the first time.

The New York Times wrote: “…As for Mr. Young, he and his ‘Dream House,’ with a 24/7 drone and trippy lighting by Marian Zazeela, have long since become underground institutions. First installed as a permanent environment in his Manhattan home in 1962, then used for performances with his teacher, the Hindustani raga vocalist Pandit Pran Nath, and now reconstituted at the Guggenheim, “Dream House” forms a natural bridge to the conceptual and performance art”.

For more information regarding the Church Street installation, the Guggenheim installation, or the upcoming concerts, please email

30 Jan 2009
Pixel Aspect Ratio / QT Compression tips

Tips on getting good quality/low filesize Quicktime vids.

And this site has some very useful tools for sorting out footage.

Aspect Ratio calculator, Pixel Aspect calculator, etc

Here’s a good tutorial on resizing Aspect Ratio in your NLE for Widescreen, DVDs, etc

30 Jan 2009
Youtube changes Aspect Ratio from 4:3 to 16:9

useful to know.

“Greetings. It appears that YouTube has switched their standard video display window from 4:3 aspect ratio to 16:9 widescreen. As anyone can tell you who has ever worked to try make sure that a 16:9 image displayed reasonably in YouTube’s previous 4:3 window — not as straightforward as you might think — this should be a welcome development, as was “high quality” video mode (if you know how to trigger it).

Of course, videos previously encoded 4:3 will now display black side panels, just like your home HDTV when showing standard definition fare — assuming you’re using the proper TV display mode and don’t select the painful “distort the image to fill the screen” setting. (Note to History Channel: stretching most of your standard definition shows feeding on your “History HD” channel looks seriously awful.)”

30 Jan 2009
MoCap FTW!

PsyBot Mocap Test render

This is a quick sample animation render of a little robot guy messing around, The animation data came from our first quick test with our new Motion Capture system, when simon was messing around in a skin tight suit, covered in shiny nipples. Not bad for a first attempt, methinks. We learnt about a lot of stuff that we’ll need to work on next time we get a chance to use the system, mainly regarding the calibration of the cameras, in this we had issues with feet going through the floor, because we hadn’t calibrated it to recognise the space within about 4-8 inches of the ground, we also had some weirdness when simon walked around in certain areas of the space, because we had gaps in the recognised space due to incorrect waving of a stick (with a little shiny ball on the end) in the space, that left the cameras unable to recognise a big donut shaped area going round the middle of the capture volume

30 Jan 2009
Multimedia C++ Framework

Very interesting course at the Fact Centre, Liverpool into a new multimedia C++ framework which of course i only found out about once if was over.  The examples of work look amazing and the aspiration is one we agree with the ease of Flash with the performance of C++.  Not released yet but will be LGPL – Open Frameworks

Open Frameworks

29 Jan 2009
Performance in MMO Engines

Generally i can’t find any information about the way in which World of Warcraft is put together, but through some lightweight spying, looking at their jobs page you can see that the whole thing is coded in C++ which must have been a hell of an engineering effort, hence their enormous budget for production.  Obviously C++ is the fastest possible code for raw speed but i don’t fancy we have the budget to go that way.

We are currently using the Tmmokit which will max out at around 200 players per server.  I am keen to move forward incrementally and come upon an interesting article about Eve online (which claims players in the thousands on individual shards).  Eve uses Stackless Python.

29 Jan 2009
Progressive / Interlaced video
28 Jan 2009
Blogging while the design is changing

I am having the interesting experience of chucking up a few posts while elsewhere Dan is changing the design, every time i look the world of blogteca changes

28 Jan 2009
The Horde

My continual search for interesting game engines missed one out Horde 3D is released on a LGPL license and has a basic world editor. Got a bit stuck trying to get it to work but i think it would bear more time.  Needs Open GL 2.0 though which is beyond my home laptop

Horde 3d image

Horde 3d image