Fun with Technology

Back in the day, Apple made a computer called the Apple //c, which came with a tiny 9″ black and green monitor that had, for some strange reason I can’t identify, a composite video jack on the back.

What that means is you can feed a regular TV signal, like from a DVD player or VCR, into the monitor, and you’ll see a coarse, green and black picture. No sound, but you’ll see the picture.

Yesterday evening, I mentioned this to my friend Eric, who immediately demanded that we watch the DVD version of The Matrix on it. And yes, it rocks! The Matrix was MADE to be seen this way.

Then it occured to me that my digital camera has a standard video-out jack on it. And yes, connecting my digital camera to the monitor produced a weird, low-resolution green-and-black picture.

So I grabbed my wife’s video camera, and took a picture of the picture being played back from my video camera. The result:

I really like this effect. I think I’m going to use it in a shoot I’m doing this week. I want to put an image of the model on the green and black monitor and have her holding the monitor during the shoot.

The irony of the universe tends to a maximum

I’ve sepnt much of the week working very late–until midnight on Thursday and until four AM Friday–preparing a multimedia project for–get this–a church.

A client is a client, I suppose, even if that client holds views opposed to mine.

In other news, kellyv and I were able to catch the new Star Wars movie. I had very slim hopes for this one, after the unmitigated, howling-dog, train-wreck disaster that was The Phantom menace, so I was pleasantly surprised.

First, the bad:

George Lucas has no ear for dialog. Put plain and simple, his dialog, in places, stinks.

The love scenes were wooden, poorly-directed, awkward, and unconvincing–a jarring contrast to the flow amd pacing of the rest of the movie.

Now, the good:

Visually, this movie is stunning. It’s nothing short of gorgeous, both in scope and execution.

The new movie does not suffer from the pacing problems or logic flaws of the Phantom Menace. It keeps moving, stays interesting, and tells an engaging story.

Lucas got the marketing hype under control for this one. There’s no cutesy made-for-Mattel characters, no golden product-advertising shots; it’s driven by story and character, not marketing tie-ins. And this movie is 97% Jar-Jar-free!

In short, he gets right a lot of things he got dismally wrong in Phantom Menace. See it; it’s a good movie.

Unix users really are the Amish of the computer world

So feorlen tells me the Apple Design Award winner int eh Open Source category is a front-end to TeX.

Oh, for God’s sake.

C’mon people, grow the fuck up. This is the new millennium. There have been superior typesetting tools to TeX since…oh, I don’t know, about 1990 or so.

The Unix world is amazing. Instead of TTY terminals, Unix users now run a GUI so they can open a dozen TTY terminal windows. Instead of WYSIWYG editors, Unix people still cling to antiquated systems like TeX and Scribe. Until Apple came along, nobody had ever written a GUI for *nix that was worth a goddamn anyway.


Linux will never beat Windows ont eh desktop until my father can install it and make it work. Got that?

Yes, Linux is technically superior to Windows. Yes, it’s more stable. Yes, it’s more efficient. But guess what? XWindows sucks. The Red Hat installer sucks. The productivity software, for the most part, sucks.

Clue-by-four time: Desktop users do not LIKE to have to make kernel mods. They don’t WANT to drop down to a command line to find out what’s up with the cable modem not responding. They want to turn the computer on and make it go.

I’ve been using computers in general since 1976. I’ve owned two PDP systems (as in, in my house). I’ve been using Unix since before most Linux hackers were born. I can code in assembly language as fast as I can type. And you know what? It takes me 20 minutes to set up a MacOS or ‘Doze system and all friggin’ WEEKEND to set up a Linux system. Not because I don’t know Linux, but because every piece of hardware that’s at all unusual means a trip to Google and an hour of configuration hell–and God help you if you’re installing on a laptop.

Writing installers and GUI middleware isn’t sexy and wins you no “cool points” with the open source community the way a nifty kernel hack does, but until someone gets it working easily enough that my barely-computer-literate dad can make it work, Linux is going to continue to have its clock cleaned on the desktop. Got it?

We now return you to your regularly scheduled LiveJournal activity.

Home again, home again…

After almost three weeks away visiting relatives, my wife kellyv is once again home. It was both a long and a short three weeks–long because three weeks is a long time to be without one’s mate, short because lacaba kept me quite busy. You’d think a long-distance relationship would pose a barrier to nonstop kinky exploration, but you’d be wrong. 🙂

Highlights and lowlights of the week (you decide):

– Seeing Spider-Man, the movie. They didn’t fuck it up, but they didn’t transcend the comic book cliches either. All in all, an aggressively mediocre movie. You wo’t hate it, but neither will you find anything novel or surprising in it; it’s entertaining but predictable and bland.

– McDonald’s. Way too many times. I NEED to learn to cook.

– The other girlfriend M. cooking me breakfast, which was very sweet, as she is almost as kitchen-impaired as I am; and nursing me through a nasty bout of food poisoning from, oddly enough, a restaurant that wasn’t McDonald’s.

– M. smoking my ass at video games all night long when we went to the arcade. No shit. I didn’t win once.

In the Realm of the Senses. A Japanese movie about an obsessive, destructive sexual relationship between a 1930’s Japanese man and one of his servant-girls. Weird, unsettling, and Ballardesque. Quite good, really.

Say what?

ALL the Sesame Street characters can see the Snuffleupagus now? WtF? I always thought the whole point of Snuffleupagus was that he was a figment of Big Bird’s imagination.

So did a bunch of angry parents get together and demand that Snuffleupagus should be real, because otherwise children might learn to be imaginitive and creative, or did everyone on the Street start taking drugs?