Technocrank

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It Done Broke.

The Web And Your Morning Routine

I’m fascinated by people’s relationship with technology and this recent posting on Lifehacker is a prime example of the wrong questions being asked.  We’ve heard about Internet addiction – there was a story last week out of China with a death related to an Internet addiction rehabilitation program.

What’s most interesting to me about the Lifehacker article is that there should even be an article at all.  Its subject “Is The Web Crucial To Your Morning Routine?” is about as germane as “is the telephone crucial to your morning routine?” or “do you turn on the TV for the morning weather or open a newspaper?”

My routine involves roughly, turning on the computer and leaving it to boot, make a pit stop in the washroom, to the kitchen and make some tea, pour some cereal and then sit down to check out what news or weather updates have come up – on the net.  It’s my main (and preferred) source of information that informs my day and it seems that it should figure into the start of it (I don’t have kids yet, will change, I’m sure).  However, is it really that much different from looking to the sky to see if it’s going to rain today or running around the corner to grab the paper to see if the economy has tanked and I should buy extra tins of food for the bomb shelter?

BT Home Hub 2 Router Security “Feature”

I was wondering why my BT Home Hub 2.0 router would keep resetting/rebooting after about 3 minutes of a outbound activity.  Benign things like uploading FTP files to my webserver.  Infuriating, since my client was waiting for these files and it was looking like I’d have to courier DVDs across the ocean.

This had been happening for months and I started to get suspicious that it might be BT doing something sneaky like sending a reboot command to the router.  After all, they update the firmware remotely and silently with out telling you.  Who knows what else they can do?

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Sat-Nav Use Ushers In Endtimes

This “article” on the BBC Magazine site wrings its hands and cries:

Sat-nav clearly suits an era which has given up on understanding the roads as a coherent, logical system – an era in which map-reading may be going the way of obsolete skills like calligraphy and roof-thatching.

I honestly wish I knew more about how the editorial process in the mainstream media works.  I can’t fathom the genesis of this story and I can’t understand the fear-mongering behind it or why its acceptable to crank out a fluff-piece that does nothing but weep about the loss of our humanity (which isn’t happening, in case you were wondering).  And yes, I am aware that this is quite a common pattern, particularly on slow news days.

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Gamma Correction

There’s a posting on TUAW about how to set your display’s gamma in OSX Leopard to match Snow Leopard’s.  It describes in detail how to go about doing it without actually telling you what you’re messing with.   It’s a concept that isn’t Mac-specific, though.

When I was working at an animation studio back in the late 90s, I was introduced to the avuncular Charles Poynton who has made a career out of sitting on panels, making recommendations to technical boards and writing books on video, color and especially gamma.  I took a course from Charles along with some colleagues because we needed to implement color correction and set a mutual standard across our studios around the world.  So knowing what it was we were trying to achieve was somewhat key.  We had digital ink and paint and compositing people on SGIs, color artists on Macs, a renegade CGI team that switched from Maya to 3D Studio Max and then editors on Macs in Avid but did their viewing through expensive Sony Evergreen reference monitors.  Finally, an art director who looked at the work on all of these systems and wondered why everything looked different.  The majority of people don’t need to ever concern themselves with this stuff and should probably just move on.

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Google Wave

Anybody who hasn’t heard of Google Wave had better sit up.  It’s been in development by a team led by the brothers at Google Labs who brought us Google Maps (along with the API that’s helped make it so useful and popular).

They’ve dubbed it as what email would have been if it were invented today.  It takes the best of online/offline collaborative messaging and smooshes them together into what the preview announcement describes as product, platform and protocol (which will be open).  All of this is currently being made available to developers to start hacking together “robots” and “gadgets” which will surely bring about some terrifyingly brilliant, if not convoluted and sinister collective artificial intelligence which I’ll dub Skynet (when Wolfram escapes into its own robot instance) but is probably closer to Borg.

Anyway.  Sounds neat.