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Entries From May 2007

May 30, 2007

Microsoft Surface

Filed under Computers, Gadgets, Software

This is amazing (thanks for the heads-up TreyS). Surface is a new "table computer" that uses touch instead of a keyboard or mouse. You really need to see it in action to appreciate it. The Surface homepage has several videos that are all worth checking out.

The part I'm most interested in is the idea of a computer that multiple people can work on at the same time. I can see where a family could sit around their Surface table and plan a trip...one person could map out the activities for the trip while another books the flight at the same time. Or you could play Monopoly or any other board game, where the board is virtual, but the pieces are real. Or work on a photo album together.

Today, computers tend to isolate us from other people (not counting virtual people). I see this as a platform that will bring people together to collaborate.

It will be interesting to see the new applications created for this platform. Will this be a success or a failure? I hope it is the former! I'll be following this closely. Microsoft is going to demo this at SIGGRAPH, so I'll check it out then.


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May 29, 2007

Google Street View

Filed under Software, Web

Google Maps added a *very* cool new feature...Street View. Instead of the overhead view you normally get with mapping software, you get the view from the street. You can rotate 360 degrees and move forward or backward along the streets. You can zoom in quite a bit in Street View...the detail is amazing. You can see some of my co-workers if you zoom in on the Presidio sign above.


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May 28, 2007

Star Wars Convention

Filed under Celebrity, Events, Family, Movies

I went to my first Star Wars convention this weekend...Star Wars Celebration IV.

This convention celebrates the 30th anniversary of the original release of Star Wars on May 25th, 1977.

As a Lucasfilm employee, I got a 40% discount on our tickets...with single day tickets costing $45 without the discount.

Here is the schedule for Saturday.

It was held in the Los Angeles Convention Center over 5 days. I brought my cousins Anne and Michael with me and forced them to wear Star Wars shirts.

I used to think *I* was a big nerd...but not anymore! I seem quite normal in comparison to the people at the convention. 

I took a bunch of pictures...check 'em out here.


May 20, 2007

Star Wars Robot Chicken

Filed under Funny

I heard that Robot Chicken was doing a special Star Wars episode June 17th on Comedy Central Cartoon Network, so I wanted to see what it was about. I had never seen Robot Chicken before...but I like what I've seen so far.

I don't get Comedy Central Cartoon Network, but I see that Xbox Live Marketplace carries it...I may have to pick up some episodes.


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May 18, 2007


Filed under SIGGRAPH

I just registered for SIGGRAPH 2007. This year it is August 5-9 in San Diego. Online registration is here. Register by June 29th for the cheapest rates.

This will be my 11th SIGGRAPH! If you have any interest in computer graphics...you have to see SIGGRAPH.

I decided to try staying in a hostel (my first). I have a private room for $60/night just 4 blocks from the convention center.

Some people were talking about driving down. It is 500 miles from San Francisco to San Diego. I got my airline tickets for $150, which is about what I would pay in gas to drive to San Diego and back. When you consider driving down will take about 8 hours versus a 1.5 hour plane trip...it is an easy decision.

I got the Full Conference ticket for $800. I am going to the Electronic Theater on Monday night.

TIP: Always do the "Credential Mailing" option ($15)...it is no fun to wait in block long lines with everybody else trying to get your badge so you can go to your first class. Let the badge come to you!

Let me know if you are going so we can meet up.

Looks like SIGGRAPH 2008 is going to be in Los Angeles and SIGGRAPH 2009 will be in New Orleans.


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May 17, 2007

Get Visual Studio 2005 Free

Filed under Computers, Programming, Software

I saw this today and thought I'd pass it on. Microsoft is doing a special where they are giving away Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition for free (normally $299). The catch? You have to watch a couple of Visual Basic videos. Click here to learn more about it.

My brother did a similar setup to get Microsoft Office 2007 for free, so I know this works and is not a trick.

Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition comes with C++, C#, Visual Basic, and J#. Here is how the Standard Edition differs from other versions of Visual Studio.

I use Visual Studio 2005 at work and at home...highly recommended!

They are only giving away a limited number of the free Visual Studio 2005, so get it while you can.

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May 16, 2007

Episode III: The Backstroke of the West

Filed under Funny, Movies

star wars iii: backstroke of the west

This is...interesting. It is the Chinese DVD version of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, with the English subtitles on. Call me crazy...but I actually prefer this version.


May 15, 2007

Any game companies in this town?

Filed under Programming, Software, Video Games, Web

Gamedevmap.com helps answer this question. Just click a red dot on the map to get a list of game companies that call that area home. The site claims it stays current.

I love information like this. I just wish there was the same thing for every work discipline. Very helpful!


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May 13, 2007

Vista Gem #3

Filed under Computers, Software

First, some background.

I wanted a graphics card that would let me play around with DirectX 10 programming *and* be quiet (i.e. no fans). I picked up a Gigabyte GV-NX86T256D from Newegg.com for $150, which comes with the new Nvidia 8600 chip.

I downloaded Nvidia's SDK 10, which features demos and sample code for DirectX 10. While playing with one of the demos, the graphics driver crashed.

In Windows XP, a graphics driver crash would show a blue screen and you have to reboot and lose all your work you had loaded.

Vista works differently. When a graphics driver crashes, you get a pop-up message that says "Display driver stopped responding and has recovered." Then you continue as if nothing happened. No reboot!

In the case of the above screen shot, the application that caused the graphic driver to die ("Smoke") no longer works. I'm wondering if you could write your graphics application in such a way that it could survive a driver crash. It seems like you should be able to, but I haven't seen it in practice yet. If you could, then people wouldn't lose their work because of buggy graphics drivers.

Bugs in graphics drivers are the main reason Windows XP would blue screen. With Vista, graphics drivers won't be able to do that anymore.

For more details on the new Vista graphics driver model WDDM (Windows Display Driver Model), see this article


May 10, 2007


Filed under Movies

The new trailer is out for Ratatouille...a new Pixar movie by Brad Bird (Incredibles, Iron Giant, Amazing Stories: Family Dog). The previews look great. Even with everybody firmly entrenched on the 3D animation bandwagon, somehow Pixar is able to stand out. Their stuff is just beautiful to watch.

This is the summer movie I am most anxious to see. It comes out June 29.

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May 7, 2007

Wine Tasting

Filed under Travel


This weekend I went wine tasting in Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley, which is just 45 minutes north of San Francisco. We didn't have much of a plan...just randomly picked places to stop.

The first place we went was Gloria Ferrer Winery. It featured sparkling wine and a fantastic view. Of the three places we visited, this was my favorite. Next, we stopped at Nicholson Ranch and then we finished at Merryvale.

You can see the pictures here.


May 4, 2007

You First...

Filed under Funny

I saw this while I was watching a playoff basketball game recently.


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About May 2007

This page contains all entries posted to David's Blog in May 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2007 is the previous archive.

June 2007 is the next archive.

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

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