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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Comment: Re:Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth... (Score 2) 197

by dwywit (#49326165) Attached to: Pixar Releases Free Version of RenderMan

Eh? Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 (when I bought it) was priced around AUD$2500 retail - lets not talk about the stupid markup we have to pay, here in Oz. My daughter bought it for me on educational pricing for about AUD$450.

For that I got Premiere Pro, Photoshop, After Effects, Audition, Illustrator, OnLocation, Encore, etc, plus add-on tools like Media Encoder, and a bunch of user content such as templates. Also access to Adobe user forums (worth it at twice the price).

I also got a 32-bit version of PPro 4 - "to assist with transition to a 64-bit workflow", and because I bought it in the grace period after they'd announced CS6, I got a free upgrade to CS6. Each version had its own serial number - so I'm licenced for PPro on 3 machines, which is very helpful when I can have a laptop on set to ingest and test footage.

If you're clever, you never have to pay full retail price for licenced software. The Adobe suite has more than paid for itself.

Oh, you're trolling. Carry on.

Comment: Re:When did Slashdot become a press agent? (Score 4, Insightful) 197

by dwywit (#49325895) Attached to: Pixar Releases Free Version of RenderMan

Not seeing the downside yet. You want to cultivate a pool of bright, dedicated people to work for you one day. You give them a tool - free of charge - for them to play with, develop their skills, maybe use the tool in ways no-one anticipated, let their creativity run free, maybe one of them will produce a product you'd be prepared to buy or license from them, and then offer them a job. Can you point me to a loser in this deal? It's not like a free software advocate, i.e. a Blender user, couldn't produce an impressive CV to show the hirers at Pixar, right? When you have to choose between 2 applicants of equal merit EXCEPT one them knows how to use your tools, and the other doesn't, who do you choose? Who do you choose when the Blender user is *slightly* better than the Renderman user? Of course, someone *really* dedicated will have skills in both packages.

Apple do it. Microsoft do it - although their motivation is less to get you to work for them, than it is to advocate the purchase of their software, wherever you work. There is (or should be) no legal reason that schools can't install free alternatives (and some do just that). They make their decisions based on a lot of factors - the perceived market for their students' skills, the bias of selection committees, ease of use, and outright bribery in some cases - but free software needs to compete on more than its merits, unfortunately.

Show me an easy installation package (LibreOffice ticks that box), a series of relevant templates that meets the teachers' needs (not sure, haven't seen any, yet), and interoperability, and I'll advocate free software. Sadly, it misses out badly on the third criteria. Fortunately, MSOffice since 2007 has been less usable than before, and the free alternatives have become more attractive. I've had customers select LibreOffice over MSOffice 2010/2013 when upgrading, because they just want the old interface (and they've "lost" the Office 2003 installation disc).

All that said, I'm going to try Renderman.

Comment: Re:I can't be the only one wondering (Score 1) 91

by dwywit (#49310979) Attached to: How To Encode 2.05 Bits Per Photon, By Using Twisted Light

I'm wondering how the conventional logic at either end of the process would manage to cope with three values. Can hardware be designed to work with more than on/off one/zero logic, i.e. perhaps one reaction for zero volts, another reaction for 2 volts, and a third reaction for 4 volts.

Of course, I am not a hardware designer.

Comment: Re: No. (Score 1) 362

by dwywit (#49305555) Attached to: OEMs Allowed To Lock Secure Boot In Windows 10 Computers

That's true. You accept delivery of a computer, insert your favourite distro disc, and it won't boot.

I also build desktops for customers, and I get to decide which mainboard goes in, and which operating system is installed, and it will always be be whatever best meets the customer's needs (and pockets).

Comment: Re:Not GoDaddy. (Score 2) 295

by dwywit (#49281507) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Advice For Domain Name Registration?

My experience has been that you get what you pay for. Had a domain registered with crazydomains, chosen because one of the other directors of the organisation is one of those folks who will always take the lowest bid. Surprise, surprise, we got nickel-and-dimed for everything else, and tech support was not encouraging. I quietly changed it to planetdomain (since then, absorbed by netregistry) when renewal time came around, and things are much better, even though we pay more.

I wouldn't touch anyone with words like "cheap", "crazy", or other trigger words in their business name.

On the other hand, I just can't see the value in anything from MelbourneIT.

Comment: Update (Score 2) 169

by dwywit (#49229531) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Video Storage For Time Capsule?

While I was waiting to see if this would make the front page, I called a post-production business based at the Village Roadshow studios on the Gold Coast http://www.movieworldstudios.c...
and asked them about a transfer from video to film.

No-one does it in Australia. Lots of people doing film to video, but apparently I would need to send it to Technicolor in Thailand for a video-to-film transfer. And it would cost a lot more than the budget for the event. They suggested storage on multiple formats from Kodak Gold discs to USB memory sticks, using open-source codecs, with the codec whitepaper included.

There's always the cheap film-to-video method - project your film on a screen and point a video camera at it, but do it in reverse, i.e. point a film camera at my LCD monitor. I've got a super 8 camera, but it's silent, so the audio would have to be recorded separately.

I also got a look at the capsule - it's got about 1 or perhaps 2 cubic feet of storage, so it's not going to cope with more than a few minutes of film reels, having to compete with whatever else goes in. I'll add a DVD and a USB stick with some instructions.

As it's not going to be a surprise for those who open the capsule (copies of footage are going to the state library and anyone who wants a copy on DVD), I think I'll contact the National Film & Sound Archive http://www.nfsa.gov.au/ and ask them to store a copy, then include a nice letter in the capsule: "Would you like to see a movie of this? Ask at the Qld State Library or the National Film & Sound Archive."

Heh - captcha is "paranoia"

+ - Video storge for time capsule

Submitted by dwywit
dwywit (1109409) writes "I've been asked to film this year's ANZAC services in my town. This is a big one, as it's the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign, and dear to our hearts here in Oz. The organisers have asked me to provide a camera-to-projector setup for remote viewing (they're expecting big crowds this year), and a recording of the parade and various services throughout the morning. Copies will go to the local and state library as a record of the day, but they would also like a copy to go into a time capsule. I have two issues to solve: 1. a storage medium capable of lasting 50 or 100 years and still be readable, and 2. a wrapper/codec that will be available and usable when the capsule is opened. I have the feeling that a conversion to film might be the only way to satisfy both requirements — it's easy enough to build a projector, or even re-scan the images for viewing. Has anyone got a viable alternative? Cloud storage isn't an option — this is going underground in a stainless steel container."

Comment: Re:These guys call me every few months... (Score 2) 229

by dwywit (#49219475) Attached to: Listen To a Microsoft Support Scam As It Happened

1. I get told that I am lying, and that they KNOW I'm running Windows.
2. I get more laffs out of leading them astray, "reading" the errors in my event logs.
3. Tried that. "I have several computers. Which one is it?" "All of them, sir" "But which one do you want me to turn on?" "Any of them, sir" "But which one are you getting the error messages from?" "All of them, sir" and so ad nauseam.
4. See #2

I've been handed off to "an expert on your computer", who I promptly told I knew he was a scammer. His reaction was to act surprised and even claim ignorance of phone scams.

Best reaction was telling one girl that her mother would be ashamed of her. That got a 5 second pause, then "Shit" and she hung up. I told another that I had a broken leg and couldn't get to my computer. You could practically hear the pages flipping as he searched for a response.

I once strung one along for 16 minutes, but 5 minutes seems to be a trigger point for most of them. I guess if you haven't got to *this* point in the script by the 5 minute mark, hang up and take the next call in the queue.

Comment: Re:12 in laptop != desktop (Score 1) 161

by dwywit (#49208407) Attached to: Ultralight Convertibles Approaching Desktop Performance

Yep - and not just power, but storage. High-def video footage takes a lot of space, and it's not sensible to have your OS +programs on the same physical disk as your footage, and it's even better to have a multi-disk RAID for footage (RAID 5/6?), AND a separate disk for renders. Can't see them putting 3 or more drives in a laptop anytime soon.

I've spoken to a number of people who want to edit/produce their own videos, but the most complaints come from people using laptops, i.e. OS + programs, footage, and renders on the same physical drive, and they wonder why their corei7/8GB laptop won't process video faster.

Premiere Pro in particular is finicky about which video cards it's happy to use for hardware rendering (although it's only a plaintext file in the program's directory, and easily modified), but if your laptop's video isn't on the list, you'll be stuck with software rendering, which is MUCH slower.

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.

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