Immigrant “boycott?”

In all the coverage I’ve read the upcoming event on May 1st has been referred to as an “immigrant boycott.” Which seems weird, because usually when a large number of people who work for various industries don’t show up for work it’s called a “general strike.”

The S-word doesn’t show up in cursory searches of the nytimes website and cnn.com. Google News shows a lot of big name sources using the “boycott” terminology, and half as many tiny sources using “strike.” I don’t have Lexis Nexis so I can’t really do this properly.

I’m not sure of the reason news sources are avoiding the word, other than perhaps to downplay the significance of the event. I’d be interested to hear from journalists about why they settled on this terminology.

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some more notes

P2 workflow:

We can do an SD-style online where we conform on the offline, much like what we did for prisons (SD). So you edit with the proxies, and then in XpressPro, batch re-capture the full-rez DVCPRO HD MXF files(this would have to be xpresspro HD of course). Then you consolidate to a drive, and copy those files to the DS. Boom, the files show up.

HOWEVER, you have to shoot in 59.94 (standard pulldown) because DS doesn’t understand 720/23.98. So you can’t save space with the 24 advanced mode because there’s no way to convert those files to 59.94. The Panasonic lady was really unreasonable about saying that Avid should get off their ass and support 23.98. While true, doing some sort of software convert from 23.98 to 59.94 shouldn’t be unreasonable.

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NAB and LV wrapup

Here’s my last set of pictures from NAB and Vegas:

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The South Hall entrance

NAB was big. The daily news they were handing out quoted a figure of 100000+ attendees. The convention center covers something like 3.2 million square feet of space, and NAB used the whole thing. I spent most of my time in the South Hall, where the editing, compositing, and color correction apps were. I didn’t even go into the North Hall, which was radio-specific.

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Some of the 100000 people

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Monorail

Las Vegas has a monorail, which happily proclaims that it was built “without a cent of taxpayer money!” This may be why it costs 5.00$ per trip, even though it only covers 4 miles.

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Monorail “Station”

As you can see, this monorail “Center Strip Station” is really a casino. The actual station is behind the casino, so you have to walk through many twisty passages, all alike, to get there. This is the case for nearly all the stations. They are not exactly “convenient.”  More on this later, but first, more plasma screens!

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103″ plasma

Panasonic was showing off their record-breaking 103″ plasma screen. The picture was beautiful, but the screen was so susceptible to glare you’d have to be extremely careful about where you put it.  I think at that size I’d rather have a front projector.  Some of the front projectors being shown looked just as good.

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Lustre

Autodesk Discreet Lustre is one of the applications I came to NAB to see. Here it is working on the toughest color grading shot in King Kong. In this sequence the characters move from inside to outside through two different color temperatures, so they needed to apply 12 special layers to deal with the changes. They even had a special mask for the guy’s nose because it exits the door before the rest of his face does.  As with most demos, it’s easy to see what the solution was after it was found, but I wonder how many tries it took to find it.

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Booth bunny Lionesse

Char asked me if there were any booth bunnies. On the whole, no. I guess they have a larger presence at the gaming conventions, but at NAB I only saw a few.  Most of the people talking about the products were engineers or trained sales staff.

Getting around Vegas

I didn’t rent a car in Vegas, so I took some cabs, shuttle busses, the monorail, and did a lot of walking. Walking walking walking. Even if you’re just trying to get from point A to B between casinos, plan to do a lot of walking, often without a lot of idea where you’re going.

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Casino Map

This is pretty representative of a map inside a casino mall. There are a few reasons, all calculated, why it’s hard to find your way around. First of all, there is no “you are here.” Second, the stores are numbered on the map, so you have to try to find a store near you, find it on the categorized chart, and then find corresponding number on the map. Third, there are lots of twists and turns, making it hard to keep a sense of direction. And finally, the exits are often not marked at all, so it is extremely difficult to find your way out. Spending time in these malls is very disorienting, and leads to a lot of extra walking, especially when you just want to get outside and over to the casino you actually want to be in.

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“Paris”

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“Venice”

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“The Middle East” aka Aladdin

The casino malls also have a painted on sky for a ceiling, so that the interior represents a sort of faux little-french-city or side-streets-of-venice. Also very disorienting.  The sky seems to move above you because it’s closer than your brain is used to.

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Outside “Venice”

I’m sure Peter can confirm that the water in “Old” Venice (as they put it) is just as crystal clear and blue.

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Another fine gambling establishment

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A Vegas Strip crosswalk

By the way, outside the casinos, this is what walking through vegas normally looks like:

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I walked this 1.3 mile stretch at least 5 times this week.

But look on the bright side, if you want, you can get married on the bridge of the Enterprise and have your reception at Quark’s!

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da Vinci

Here’s a shot of the da Vinci color corrector at work.  This thing has some scary features, like it can automatically track a face in (and out) of frame so that you can do a custom color correction just on that.  You just draw a rough circle around the area and it does the rest — no rotoscoping or tracker-picking necessary.

It was also fun to watch them correct the levels in a scene.  They would just manipulate the wheels in front of them, and suddenly the frame looked good.  You could really fly on that thing.

da Vinci
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Day 1 thoughts

Avid:

  • Decent announcements for DS nitris, mostly hardware-related. Not much software difference there. How much do we want to spend on 64bit?
  • 64bit on AMD looked much faster
  • Not much presence(sp?) for DS. Mostly about composer.

da Vinci:

  • neat system. One of those impenetrable UIs, with the bonus of having a special console in addition to a keyboard.
  • They demoed something called “Splice” which made it non-linear. He made a big deal about zipping around the timeline
  • Cool feature that lets you reorder a show by source timecode, so same shots go together. Correct all, reorder back the way it was, everything is corrected
  • Cool “reconform” feature that can import a new EDL and correct everything it can, then note which shots are new.
  • _extremely_ fast correction of black/white levels
  • amazing auto-tracker (picking up the face)

Facilistech:

  • 2.0 “not out yet”
  • RAID5 is there, finally
  • “spanning,” which is like mirroring “only better!”, allows them to do 2-stream uncompressed.
  • We could span our two arrays if we wanted.

Apple:

  • Their big announcement was a laptop. nuf said.
  • well, it did run shake pretty fast.
  • nothing else new
  • I still like Shake a lot. It’s a very simple, unixy concept of taking little pieces and mashing them together until they do what they want. One UI to rule them all. Bought some books, gonna focus on this.

Autodesk:

  • kings of the impenetrable UI. Thankfully it seems to be pretty much the same between all of their 10000 compositing apps.
  • Flame, Smoke, and now Toxik — why so many?
  • Smoke has some great features we could use, like a much better keyer, much better tracking
  • Linux!!!! running on redhat4 on the show floor.
  • I really think they just have too many products with poor differentiation, and their UIs are a mess of buttons, many with single letters. barf.

Adobe:

  • Premiere Pro 2 also has the pane-based UI. Nice.
  • Color corrector is better, but still the sort of lame “whites, grays, blacks” thing.

Panasonic:

  • 103 inches makes for a very large plasma screen.
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Avid NAB2006 announcements

avidnab2006.jpg

From the User Event:

Media Composer:

  • Mac and PC are on the same roadmap now — simultaneous releases. No mention of intel-specific
  • Composer Software-only version, 5K$
  • Mojo SDI, 7500$
  • Adrenaline price drop

Feature improvements to composer:

  • Uncompressed HD playback
  • tracking / stabilizing
  • more protools compatible
  • AVX2 / 16bit plugin compatible

Avid Interplay:

  • “nonlinear workflow engine” — or, integrated asset management. Designed so that everyone will need a copy, even the finance people! Hurray stock price!
  • Also tracks resolutions.
  • Seems unity-specific, but I couldn’t tell. Very vague on the details.
  • Integrated with Composer, but there’s also a couple standalone versions for other people — even interns doing logging (“Interplay Assist”).
  • 100 media types, including avid (obviously), photoshop, excel, etc. Wide-ranging.
  • Can auto-archive
  • Auto multirez based on rules (audio doesn’t need HD, etc)
  • Security for houses that have people renting rooms. (one client can’t see another’s media at all)
  • “Health monitoring”

Storage:

  • Unity ISIS scales to 192TB, 150 simultaneous clients
  • Unity and LANshare, 2x capacity
  • Avid VideoRAID (please buy disks from us!)
  • “Open Storage Initiative” — can use final cut / premiere with unity — probably just making them generic disks if you want.

DS Nitris 8:

  • 4:4:4 support
  • Symphony Dual Boot
  • DS Assist station — ie DS without the Nitris hardware
  • 64bit

XpressPro HD

  • Mac version out. No mention of intel

Other:

  • Liquid 7.1
  • Studio Toolkit works with bluray, whoop-de-doo
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BEWARE: Thinkpads don’t like just any old hard drive!

I bought a cheap Samsung hard drive on newegg.com over the weekend, and it arrived today. I booted up the system, and…

*BEEP* *BEEP*
ERROR 2010: Warning: Your internal hard disk drive (HDD) may not function correctly on this system. Ensure that your HDD is supported on this system and that the latest HDD firmware is installed. Press to continue

It turns out that, although Thinkpads use PATA hard drives, they are very picky about which ones. This is because the later T43 models use an SATA to PATA bridge chipset to convert between the Sonoma chipset and the much more affordable PATA drive standard.

What this means is that drives have to be specially coded to work with this bridge, and the Thinkpad has a little internal list that makes sure that the drive is known as compatible. If your drive isn’t on this list, the Thinkpad beeps at you on every boot.

I might be able to get my beautiful new drive to work, but right now I’m having trouble getting GRUB to figure out where it is. This is because GRUB needs the BIOS drive listing, and naturally the BIOS isn’t recognizing the drive. Linux sees it fine, though.

I got it to boot, but I still worry that something will go wrong. The two big warnings on the wiki are “slow” and “unreliable.” So far it is definitely not slow, but I’ll have to wait a few days for the “unreliable” part.

Update:
So it’s looking ok for now. I’m going to give it a couple weeks before I really trash the old one.
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1 108G 49G 55G 47% /

I’d rather have to put up with 160$, two beeps and pushing escape every boot for 120gigs; as opposed to 300$ for 100 IBM-sanctioned gigs.

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