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Entries From July 2008

July 29, 2008

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give Vista a Zero

Filed under Computers, Software


This is pretty interesting...an ad campaign by Microsoft to combat the uninformed opinion that Vista is crap.

It basically echoes what I run into constantly: the people that have the strongest opinions against Vista have never used it.

Click this link to watch the "Mojave Experiment."

The fact page is worth checking out, too.

Don't be an iSheep...use your brain.

Vista Gem #7

Filed under Computers, Software

The Resource Monitor is a new tool for Vista that helps track down performance issues.


To start the Resource Monitor...

  1. Right click on an empty part of the taskbar and select "Task Manager" (or press Ctrl-Shift-Esc)
  2. Select the "Performance" tab
  3. Click the "Resource Monitor..." button at the bottom right



Resource Monitor tracks your CPU and memory like Task Manger does. But, it also tracks disk and network activity.

If any of the charts are pegged, click on it to get more detailed information.

I sort by the following columns to see who is responsible for the resource use:

  • CPU: CPU column
  • Disk: Either the Read or Write column
  • Network: Total column
  • Memory: Hard Faults

I found this tool *very* helpful...I will be using it more in the future.


Motion Tracking

Filed under Animation, Software, Video

image After I saw the new TR2N trailer this weekend, I thought it might be a fun project to see if I could clean up the video (and learn how to use Adobe After Effects CS3).

The first step was getting the bootleg video. I wasn't able to get the source from the link above. I followed the advice from this Yahoo! Answers and used the trial version of Moyea SWF Kits to extract a youtube.com version of the video (which is no longer up). The extracted source video is here (24 MB).

I used After Effects to do the rest.

Look at the source video and you will see lots of problems. The video...

  • is small
  • is not centered
  • is rotated
  • changes size as the camera is zoomed
  • has a youtube time-slider and youtube logo
  • has erratic motion from handheld video recording
  • is missing parts of the trailer

I didn't worry about fixing the last one...too much work.

The first issue I fixed was the erratic motion, which made the other issues *much* easier to fix. I used this page for directions on how to do video stabilization.

In the source video, you will notice a couple of lights above the movie screen. I told After Effects to track the lights. It did a really good job. I only had to help with the tracking at around 0:43 because of the zooming. The rest of the tracking was done automagically.

After the motion tracking was finished, the video was very steady. I had to rotate the image several times to keep it aligned correctly. I also scaled the video to make it fit the full frame width. I translated the video to put it in the center of the frame.

Then I added masks to give the video a 2.39:1 aspect ratio, which is what I'm guessing the teaser was filmed in. I also added a mask to cover the youtube time-slider and the youtube logo.

The final video is here (5 MB).

I'm *very* impressed with how easy it is to do motion tracking and how steady the final version is compared to the original.

July 26, 2008


Filed under 3D, Movies

Disney unveiled a teaser for TR2N, the sequel to TRON, at Comic-Con

on Thursday.

Above is a poor quality bootleg video...but it gets the idea across.

For a play-by-play description of what we are seeing, check this out.

I *really* want to see this.


July 22, 2008

TFU @ E3

Filed under Video Games


Here is a nice write-up by Kotaku on the E3 demo of The Force Unleashed.

I like this quote...

I walked away feeling confident that this could not only be one of the most exciting Star Wars video games of all time, it could very well provide moments more epic than anything we saw in the three prequel films.

July 21, 2008

King of Kong

Filed under Movies, Reviews

image I saw "King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" tonight.

This is one of the best documentaries I've seen! Two thumbs *way* up!

The premise will scare most people away: it follows two men fighting for the Guinness word record high score on Donkey Kong.

What an amazing film! I won't spoil it...but I will say it is hard to not get emotionally involved.

Highly recommended...even if you don't like video games.

The screening tonight had the director, Seth Gordon, and one of the contestants, Steve Wiebe on hand to do a Q&A session afterwards.

Even the Q&A session was amazing! Somebody in the audience was obviously a Billy Mitchell (the other contestant) supporter and tried to take over the Q&A session with pro-Billy propaganda! The director had to stop the man from asking questions and move on to other people that didn't have an agenda! It was tense!

Afterwards, I met Steve Wiebe and took a picture with him. He's hard not to like after watching this film.

David and Steve Wiebe - Donkey Kong World Record Holder

Seth Gordon announced he is working on a new film with Vince Vaughn (Steve Wiebe also has a role) called Four Christmases coming out November 26, 2008.

King of Kong is available on DVD. It can be rented at Blockbuster or Netflix. Check it out!

Star Wars in 90 seconds as Told by a 3 Year Old

Filed under Funny

This almost makes me want...to watch Star Wars again.

July 19, 2008

Memphis Minnie's

Filed under Reviews, Travel

imageI met up with some friends yesterday for dinner at a place called "Memphis Minnie's."

A barbeque place in SF? No way!

It's a small place that is overflowing with character and good/unique food.

I ended up having a little of everything:

  • BBQ Seasoned Fries (*really good*)
  • BBQ Pork Rolls
  • Fried Cheese Grit Sticks
  • Corn Bread Muffin
  • Pecan Pie

Everything was yummy...definitely will have to go back to this place.

Here is the Yelp page with more info.

Big ups to Yung for the hookup. And ladies...he's single.

July 15, 2008

2D on 3D

Filed under 3D, Programming

My current hobby project (I always have some project that I'm working on that I never finish) is using Visual C# 2008 (free download) and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) to make an application with a slick, non-traditional User Interface (UI).

I'm using this project to learn about technology I think will have future importance.

So far I'm *very* impressed with C#. I've been doing C++ work since 1991 (Borland C++ 3.0). C# is a refreshing change, yet maintains enough similarities that it is easy for a C++ programmer to pick up with very little training.

WPF is the new UI API for Windows. It replaces the Win32 API, MFC, and Window Forms.

One of the features of WPF is that the fonts look perfect, no matter how much you magnify them. You can see this for yourself by using the magnifier tool (Start->Search->Magnifier).

To demonstrate, I created a sample WPF app in C# that displays some text...


Here is what my sample app looks like hovering near the task bar...


Here is what the same area looks like when I use 16x zoom with the magnifier (you'll have to click on the image to see it really zoomed in...it's too big to fit here):


Notice how sharp the WPF text is compared to the pixelated task bar. Very cool! This means apps can scale to any size monitor and still look perfect.

Using the magnifier, I've only found one application that uses WPF: Visual Studio 2008. And it only uses WPF in one place: the properties window for WPF elements. This is fairly new stuff...I expect it won't be long before you start seeing WPF-based apps.

Today I learned about another feature in WPF that I look forward to using: 2D on 3D. Basically, you can create standard 2D UI (buttons, scroll bars, sliders, etc.), but they can be mapped onto a 3D surface...and they still work!

It hard to explain, but this video really shows it off.

Daniel Lehenbauer and Kurt Berglund: Interactive 2D controls on WPF 3D Surfaces

I've downloaded the sample code from here. I plan on incorporating this into my project somehow.

This is fun stuff. When I have something worth showing, I'll post it.

July 9, 2008

Cinematographer Style

Filed under Movies, Reviews

Tonight I watched a screening of the documentary Cinematographer Style hosted by director/cinematographer Jon Fauer.

The film covers 110 cinematographers talking about their craft.

After watching this film, I have a better understanding of the role of  cinematographers and the issues they face.

Anybody interested in how films are made will appreciate this.

Should be available on DVD soon.

July 8, 2008

New TFU Trailer

Filed under Video Games, Work


Should drop tomorrow...and it is *awesome*!

Look for it on Entertainment Weekly.

*Update* Here it is!

July 3, 2008

TFU Hands On

Filed under Video Games, Work

IGN has a nice article about playing some of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

They also have several videos from the game (look for videos added July 1st).

These are my favorites...


Boba Fett is a MANIAC!

Filed under Animation, Funny, WTF



Filed under Animation

This may be the most impressive animation I've ever seen.


Coolest Achievement EVAR!

Filed under Video Games, Xbox 360


A buddy of mine (Chris Franka) asked me how I got the "Rockstar" achievement in GTA4.

I didn't know what he was talking about so I looked it up on the Internets.

Apparently, you get this achievement when you kill a Rockstar developer (creators of GTA4) in a multiplayer game!

It's actually not as impressive as it sounds, since it is a viral achievement. Once you kill a Rockstar developer, you are added to the Rockstar developer list and anybody that kills you also gets the achievement and is added to the list.

It is very likely that I killed someone that killed someone that killed someone that killed someone that killed a Rockstar developer.

I am a self-confessed achievement whore. I *love* getting achievements...this is one of the best/most creative.

July 2, 2008

Darth Vader's Girlfriend

Filed under Funny

Saw this at work today...



About July 2008

This page contains all entries posted to David's Blog in July 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2008 is the previous archive.

August 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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