On being overly-ambitious

Blog | Nov. 18, 2009

I wonder if it’s actually counter-productive, when faced with one task and finding it unambitious, to then pile on two or three more, only to feel completely overwhelmed and ultimately complete none of them.

In other words, I am having writer’s block on three fronts and don’t know where to start.

A critique of Apple’s Magic Mouse

Blog | Nov. 9, 2009

I will not be using Apple’s new Magic Mouse because it drops the middle-click functionality of its predecessor, the Mighty Mouse.

Why didn’t Apple make the Magic Mouse more configurable? It could have all three possible buttons with just a little ingenuity. Make left-click on the left, right-click on the right, and middle-click achieved with a two-finger tap. Apple’s trackpads already support the two-finger tap, the Magic Mouse supports two-finger swiping, and hackers have even found a solution, so it is feasible. Maybe this will come in a software update, but in the meantime, this is not the mouse for me. That and the fact it requires batteries. I use a desktop and don’t need my mouse to be portable.

I get that Apple is sort of reinventing the mouse, but it still sucks that users have to lose some functionality while the next big thing catches up to the same old stuff.

Farscape will not be released in high-def

Blog | Nov. 7, 2009

In light of Sci-Fi channel’s hit 1999 series Farscape getting re-released on DVD, Brian Henson admitted to the crowd at Creation Entertainment’s annual Farscape convention that there are no plans to release Farscape in any high-definiton format.

The series was filmed on 35mm, which is far superior to HD, said Henson, but the visual effects were created for a standard-definition format, and when looking at the costs of re-creating the visual effects in HD, it would have been in the millions of dollars. Per season. Understandable for a series that holds the Guinness world record for the most digital effects in a TV series.

Unfortunately, there was yet another cost that would kill the possibility of Farscape appearing in high-definition. At the end of each season, the original camera negatives were archived, which according to Henson left “a gymnasium of footage” that was particularly costly to store due to the volatility of the film itself. And so, I assume, the original 35mm prints of Farscape have been scrapped.

Henson stated that the Farscape series was produced in both NTSC and PAL formats, and that PAL’s 576 horizontal lines of resolution (compared to NTSC’s 480) was the highest-definion version of Farscape available. This is a far sight less than HD’s top resolution of 1,080 lines, and a sad fate for such a visually stunning and complex series.

Hey, can you spare some change?

Blog | Nov. 7, 2009

When asked this by a panhandler, what are my options? A shrug, a sneer… but still one is left with a small degree of guilt for not complying with the situation a complete stranger has imposed upon you. Until now. My friend Nick has crafted the perfect response which is not only a brilliant example of flipping the script, it is sublime in its dickishness:

“No; can you spare some change?”

Drupal Internet Explorer 6 has a hard limit of 31 CSS files

Blog | Nov. 4, 2009

I don’t know what’s worse, that Drupal Internet Explorer has an arbitrary limit on how many CSS files it can include, or that we’re developing a website with 32 separate CSS files.