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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

This makes paper books seem really boring…

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Check out this highly interactive book:

How cool that it’s a follow up to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth!
If only the education of children in our society was important enough to do this for schools….

Information rich, attention poor

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

An interesting article in the Globe And Mail recently discussed how technology and the digital revolution has created a corresponding scarcity of attention. In becoming information-rich, we have become attention-poor.

Quite extraordinary how fast the technology has accelerated actually as this amazing video I posted illustrates… It is as if a house that cost half a million dollars in 1964 could be bought today for a nickel, or if life expectancy had been reduced from 75 years to four minutes.

And with almost all of the world’s codified knowledge at your fingertips, why should you spend increasingly scarce attention loading up your own mind just in case you may some day need this particular fact or concept? Far better, one might argue, to access efficiently what you need, when you need it.

The concern is that for now, the just-in-time approach seems to be narrowing peripheral intellectual vision and thus reducing the serendipity that has been the source of most radical innovation of the past, when brilliant minds studied concepts for hours before gaining their important insights.

The article suggest that our challenge is to adapt, and then to evolve, in a world where there continues to be an exponential increase in the supply of information relative to the supply of human attention.

I have certainly found this to be a challenge as an instructor for material that is ever changing.
More in depth discussion regarding this can be found after the article:

www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/information-rich-and-attention-poor/article1285001

Amazing prosthetic robot arm & legs

Friday, April 17th, 2009

I love it when technology changes people’s lives! And even better when good like this can come from war… The future is here!


From CBS Video Online

Amazing video about human progress

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Check out this amazing video about human progress and change through technology:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o9nmUB2qls

Controlling computers with the mind…It’s here!

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

The Obama historical event is nice and all, but if you want to see something REALLY cool, check this out:


60 Minutes – Brain Power

Love the part where they jack in the Matrix like plug into the womans head…
Science fiction is reality in the new world era!

eWaste: Ever wonder what happens to your electronic devices when your done with them?

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Ever wonder what happens to your electronic devices when your done with them, and they no longer work, and it costs too much to fix them? Well, I did, and was excited that someone finally did a documentary about it to expose the secret life of dead electronics!

Michael Zhao is a graduate from the Berkley school of journalism, and for his thesis did a documentary about what happens to all our computers, mobile phones, audio visual components, and gadgets,when they either break down, or become obsolete, and we replace them with the latest hottest technology. It’s called ‘eDump’, and it’s pretty shocking. Here is a preview, watch the full 20 min. version from his website.

Here’s an article about it as well:
Time Magazine: Your laptop’s dirty little secret

I love technology and the latest gadgets, because I love the future, and progress, and efficiency, in fact, in my field of audio visual work, ideally computers should be upgraded every two years. But when materialism and excess leads to environmental disaster, and illness and suffering for human beings, something has to change. I always imagined the ton of electronic components we get rid of, and wondered what happened to them, I didn’t realise how neglegent and serious the situation was.

I remember the time I could finally unload my pockets from a phone, a PDA, and a music player by combining them with one Treo Palm phone! Awesome! I got such a mobile phone that was working fine and meeting my needs a couple years ago, I figured I would get another few more years out of it, then upgrade, and I could wait until then for the latest greatest technology. But it started malfunctioning years before it should have, becoming useless last year, and now i have had it in a bag, waiting to somehow recycle it.
After seeing the movie, I looked into it and found that enCorp now recycles a lot more than bottles in Canada and may be able to do something with it. There are also other companies that recycle electronics, fixing them so others worldwide who don’t need the latest technology can use them.

The eDump documentary really illustrated strongly for me how everything we do affects others, and how we should be responsible for our every action and understand the implications and consequences.
I encourage you to make some effort to sell, use, or recycle your electronic components as much as possible because there are literally tons of this stuff out there, and companies keep making more!

the future of eWaste? From the awesome Speilberg/Kubrick movie, ‘A.I.

New $10 billion Particle Accelerator intends to reveal secrets behind the birth of the universe

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Something incredible happened yesterday that barely made news (cause no one died…), A new $10 billion Particle Accelerator near Geneva on the Swiss/Franch border went live, firing it’s first protons.

Hadron Collidor
Here’s a bit more about it:

Large Hadron Collidor – Wikipedia

It’s the largest particle accelerator ever built and took 3 decades to create. By colliding opposing beams of protons with very high kinetic energy at the speed of light, scientists intend to amongst other things, prove how the universe was created, and the existence of God!
And as if that isn’t cool enough, many scientists and the media believe that the LHC is so powerful that it is too dangerous because it’s experiments have the potential to create low velocity micro black holes that could grow in mass or release dangerous radiation leading to doomsday scenarios, such as the destruction of the Earth!

Now that is what I call exciting news.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/09/10/2361197.htm

Much Music VMA TV broadcast screw up

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Felisha was watching the MTV Video Music Awards yesterday, broadcast in Canada by Much Music, who censored a lot of dumb things, like the song ‘I kissed a girl‘, and the word ‘balls’. She called me for help because she was getting some weird audio problems…

I avoid awards shows and other such drivel like the plauge, and the VMA’s are no exception, it’s just one big ad for the dying MTV channel, and artists with a ton of money behind them to compensate for their minimal talent. Do you know that they don’t show a single video during the ‘Video Music Awards’? What a joke.

Anyway, I went to investigate and found there were two audio tracks playing when Felisha was watching the show. She had recorded it with our PVR, a digital video recorder that is also a DVD player with an optical 6 channel cable feeding into a surround amplifier. Boring technical mumbo jumbo aside, I found out that when the Amp dvd input was in auto rather than analog, it was getting TWO audio feeds from the TV station, and one of them wasn’t supposed to be broadcast, and had nothing to do with the show we were watching!
Here’s a sample of what we heard in the left speaker:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

We found out that this was a behind the scenes feed from a video shoot in progress at the Much Music studios during the airing of the VMA’s for a show called ‘Fashion File’, according to Felisha. It was complete with personal comments of the event film crew, cussing and all, and this was being broadcast with the regular cable signal! We have also had the same thing happen with other TV stations like CTV. Seems kind of careless and unprofessional that this stuff gets broadcast to the public, but not so surprising  from a slowly dying medium, a lot like the blunders we’re seeing in the music industry…

Death Of TV

Poor Quality Sound: Now Standard!

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

In my last post I talked about how the quality and natural dynamics of music is being destroyed through digital software technology that allows unnatural processing of audio.

But there is a much greater threat to the quality of audio that has been the subject of my thoughts for some time now: The way we listen to sound.

Back in the 1970’s the quality of sound recording technology, production techniques and playback systems reached a pinnacle with some of the most incredible music and sound humanity had ever known, and this became further fine tuned in the 1980’s. Brilliant, rich full spectrum sound that went beyond the range of human hearing, but influenced the richness of the sound through frequency harmonics that enhanced what we could hear with our ears.
Two things initiated the downward spiral that has led us to where we are today: The Walkman and the CD.
Very briefly, the walkman influenced music lovers to listen to music on crappy little earphones, and the CD chopped off audio at 20kHz without researching the influence of harmonics above that hearing range on sound we do hear. This is why vinyl records really are better sounding than CD’s in many ways.
From there, the convenience of sound gave way to clarity, and quality until we come to the present day world, of massively widespread use by the majority of music and audio listeners of terrible sounding MP3’s played on the worst possible sound producing devices humanity has ever experienced: earbud iPod headphones, computer laptop speakers, and cel phones! And this doesn’t even begin to cover the music and production tools and techniques prevalent with the trend of do it yourself computer production.

To a producer like myself who has spent over a decade mastering the subtle art of trying to perfect music and sound, this trend is devastating to say the least. And if you ever compared how music sounds on a really nice hi fi stereo system (you know like the ones they used in the 70’s) with a computer laptop speaker, it would make you nauseous. You lose something like 80% of the sound! But that introduces another problem- people don’t really know what sounds good and what doesn’t, maybe because they have become so used to listening to terribly reproduced sound, in my humble opinion and experience.
(Just as a benchmark, and cost is by no means an accurate measure, if your speakers cost less than $500, they are probably cheap garbage that sounds terrible!)

This has brought up all kinds of questions for me with regard to what I do as a profession… Why create great sounding 24 bit 96kHz audio if it is going to end up at 80% of what you created? For the 20% of people that like good sound?
My only answer is to become more involved in the film industry side of audio production as a sound designer, since at least sound is formatted and reproduced in higher fidelity than with music. So that is what I have gradually been doing. A film I worked on last year is hitting the theatres in September here…

I truly feel for the future of music in an environment where it is so under appreciated. It makes me wonder what the future holds for someone in a profession like myself and wether or not there will even be the need for professional producers and engineers if no one can really appreciate or notice their efforts.

For those of you reading this who don’t really know what I’m talking about, you don’t know what your missing!

The way audio was meant to be heard...

Feelings For A Machine

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

I’ve always been intrigued with the concept of having personal feelings for a machine. I’m not sure what sci fi experience started it, probably Star Wars, back when my parents took me with them to see it in 1977 in the theatre (yeah, that’s right, I’m kinda old). Then again with Blade Runner. I became fully aware of my fascination with feelings for a machine with the Kubrick/Spielberg movie AI which despite much hatred amongst most who viewed it, I loved. I vowed to see everything that Haley Joel Osment acted in since that movie. I also studied the idea further in the book “The Age Of Spiritual Machines” by music technology genius and futurist, Ray Kurzweil, who’s philosophies I only partly agree with.

It requires true talent for a director to make you have feelings for a machine, and they’ve done it again in Wall-E, the latest hit from Pixar. I was amazed at how the movie not only gives you empathy for a machine, but makes you forget your watching animation despite it being sci fi.

So another brilliant hit for Pixar (Disney’s just along for the ride), so that makes, what NINE hits? Every single movie Pixar has made has been a huge success. How can they sustain that when all the major studios fail?  If you ask Bob Lefsetz, he’ll tell you it’s because of a dedication to, a focus on, only one thing, quality.  EXCELLENCE! They don’t copy others, they don’t use cliches, they want nothing but to be the very best at what they do, and so they are. One could say it’s easy in a world overrun with mediocrity and people who are satisfied with making a quick buck. But it also takes the will and creativity and desire to do something a little different from everyone else, to take risks, but put your all into it, your best.

Will and Creativity are two things that have been sorely lacking in the music industry for some time. And that’s exactly what it desperately needs right now. But things are changing fast (unless you work for a large music corporation.)