Pondering Minstrel

Monday, March 12, 2007

Adobe Creative Suite 3 (CS3) Launch

If you're an ASMP member, you should have received a notice in your inbox a short while ago. If not, check your spam filter.
On March 27, 2007, at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time, Adobe Systems will host a webcast of the official launch of Adobe® Creative Suite® 3, live from New York City.
with CEO Bruce Chizen and COO Shantanu Narayen.


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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Are Gold DVDs/CDs Really Better?

There was recently a discussion on Flickr regarding reliability of DVDs as archival media. I stated that I had heard that media that has a gold reflective layer (which is what I use) were supposedly more stable, but I wasn't sure if it was hype or truth, so I looked it up. Below is a compilation of the interesting articles, albeit short, I found online. Not all are related to the reliability of gold reflective layers, but they're interesting, nonetheless.

Some of the assumptions I had made were somewhat verified.

Answers to your questions about CD/DVD archival capacity and testing
From the story...
Well-known brand names are usually not an indication that a disc is archival grade. Many of these companies buy media from several sources and often buy budget media when a manufacturer has an oversupply, and then put their brand name on it. For example, you will often see the HP name on media, but HP does not own or operate any media manufacturing facilities.

Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology - Stability Comparison of Recordable Optical Discs—A Study of Error Rates in Harsh Conditions PDF

"DVD Rot"

Anecdotal Disc Rot

Disc Rot in Pictures, PDO commercial pressing incident

CDs and DVDs not so immortal after all

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Eeewww... Mouse Diet

A woman found the severed head of a mouse in her Lean Cuisine frozen dinner. How disgusting is that?!


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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Movies About or Set In the San Francisco Bay Area

This is just something I've wanted to do for a while now. I'll keep adding more as I have time. I welcome comments regarding movies to add, opinions on existing movies and anything else relevant! :)

I Remember Mama - 1948 with Irene Dunne. Oscar nominations for Actress in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Cinematography (Black-and-White). If you like classic movies, like Life With Father, you'll probably like this old black and white. Irene Dunne plays a Norwegian immigrant family in 1910 San Francisco. They're supposedly struggling, financially, so much so that they take in a border, one that has trouble paying rent, into their 5(?) bedroom home. Sheesh. Good movie though.

48 Hours - 1982 with Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte. This was hilarious the first time I saw it, but I rewatched it later, and it wasn't so funny anymore.

Another 48 Hours - 1990 sequel to 48 hours, as you may have guessed. Don't bother with this one.

The Rock - 1996. Has it been 10 years already? There's a hostage/terrorist situation on Alcatraz when ex-military commando terrorists take over The Rock and turn it into their base of operations. Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery must break into Alcatraz and stop them. Pretty good action flick.

The Maltese Falcon - 1941 with Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor and directed by John Huston. Oscars for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Screenplay and Best Picture. Apparently, the movie was originally titled The Gent From Frisco, according to Tim Dirks. Based on the novel from Dashiell Hammett. I read the book but have never seen the film. The book was excellent.

Birdman of Alcatraz - 1961 with Burt Lancaster, Karl Malden (Who later starred in The Streets of San Francisco) and directed by John Frankenheimer. Oscars for Best Cinematography, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role and Best Actor in a Supporting Role. I've never seen this one either.

Escape From Alcatraz - 1979 with Clint Eastwood. According to the trivia, it was the film debut of Danny Glover as well. Never seen it myself.

Mrs. Doubtfire

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story

San Francisco - 1936 with Clark Gable. Oscars for Best Sound Recording. Oscar nominations for Best Actor, Assistant Director, Directing, Oustanding Production (Best Picture) and Writing (Original Story). A love story set during the 1906 earthquake. I have never seen it.

Romeo Must Die

The Presidio

When a Man Loves a Woman

Some Kind of Monster - Film documents the strained relationships, disintegration and rebirth of Metallica. Decent documentary with a lot of crying from Lars, in your face anger from James and frustration all the way around.

Pirates of Silicon Valley - 1999 film about the emergence of Apple Computer, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Microsoft. Probably Anthony Michael Hall's best performance since Sixteen Candles. :)

Vertigo - 1958 with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, directed by Alfred Hitchock. Need I say more?

Dirty Harry - 1971 I have never seen this film.

Joy Luck Club

Citizen Kane

Pacific Heights

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner - 1967 with Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier. Oscars for Best Actress and Writing. Oscar nominations for Best Actor, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Art Direction, Direction, Directing, Film Editing, Music and Best Picture.

The Hulk

From voxipsa
The Conversation - 1974 Francis Ford Coppola film with Gene Hackman. Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Sound and Original Screenplay. She says it's "a fabulous early Coppola movie". I haven't seen it, but it sounds intriguing.

From Kevin Bjorke who also happens to run PhotoPermit.Org
Bullitt - 1968 with Steve McQueen and Jacqueline Bisset. That's a sexy combo! Oscar nomination for Sound and won an Oscar for Film Editing.

From homernoh
Sweet November - Klunker
40 Days & 40 Nights - Klunker
The Sweetest Thing - Klunker
Haiku Tunnel - San Francisco stuff that people will recognize.
Colma: The Musical - homer has not seen this, but he hears it's funny.
Mistress of Spices - Unreleased, but set in Oakland.

From kevin
Harold and Maude - 1971 I'd heard of this movie, but I've never seen it. It looks to be a romantic comedy, and it's gotten pretty good reviews on Amazon. It seems worth checking out. kevin also provided a good link to the local shooting locations for Harold And Maude.

From JulioGarcia, who says he "could talk movies all day".
True Crime- 1999 with Clint Eastwood and Isaiah Washington, directed by Eastwood. Eastwood plays an Oakland Tribune journalist that gets assigned an execution story. As he's investigating, he discovers that Frank Beachum, the inmate, may not be guilty afterall. I think I saw this, but don't quite remember. If it's what I think it is, it was a decent enough movie.
So I Married An Axe Murderer- 1993 with Mike Myers and Nancy Travis. Mike Myers meets his dream woman who he suspects may also be an axe murderer. JulioGarcia says, "Whoa-man." I don't know what that means, and I'm surprised to see that reviewers on Amazon gave it nearly five stars. I didn't really think it was funny. It felt forced. I did like the human blanket part. :)
Metro- 1997 with Eddie Murphy. Have not seen it, but it says Murphy plays an SFPD hostage negotiator. Ummm... okay.
Doctor Doolittle- 2001 with Eddie Murphy. I didn't see this, but I caught bits and pieces of it here and there. I believe he plays a vet that can talk to animals but doesn't like to acknowledge his ability because he thinks it's crazy. Saw the original, which I loved. Don't know about this one.
Basic Instinct - 1992 with Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas. Famous crossing legs scene with no underwear. I think people imagined seeing her privates. I didn't see anything. Good thriller. Not as good as Fatal Attraction, but good.
EdTV- 1999 with Jenna Elfman and Matthew McConaughey. This was a pretty bad attempt at depicting reality tv mania amongst the average joe. I can't believe this was directed by Ron Howard.
A View to a Kill- 1985 with Roger Moore and Christopher Walken. Tanya Roberts won a Razzie for worst actress. LOL. I've never seen a James Bond movie, but I'll have to watch this one just because it's got Walken!
The Fan- 1996 with Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes. "...now you know you're in trouble... when you try to get a refund..." LOL. I've never seen it.
Final Analysis- 1992 with Richard Gere and Kim Basinger. I vaguely remember this. It was one of those shows that you watch when you're just vegging for the day. Don't remember if I liked it or not. I guess that should tell you something.
Sneakers- 1992 with Robert Redford, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnel and Sidney Poitier. "One of River Phoenix's last films." I love Redford and Kingsley, and I really liked this movie, but a lot of people hated it. If you're a tech geek, or into the history of the tech industry, the trivia makes the movie that much more interesting.
The Net- 1995 with Sandra Bullock. At the time this movie came out, the idea of worldwide connectivity was just starting to emerge into mainstream understanding, so when the villains use the net to destroy Bullock's life, it was thrilling to watch. It's a well-paced action movie.
High Crimes- 2002 Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd. Never seen it.

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Friday, July 29, 2005


As part of a publishing proposal that I'm working on, I wanted to get photographs of Jack London Square, which is owned and operated by the Port of Oakland. This is a tourist spot with a ferry stop, port cranes for commercial shipping traffic in addition to restaurants, floating museums and other retail outlets.

While I was taking pictures of the ferry dropoff, I made eye contact with a security guard that smiled as he walked by, but a short time later, I was stopped by another security guard that asked me what I was doing. I told him I was taking a picture of the "Ferry" sign, which was glowing in the sunset. He then said that he was going to have to ask me to stop. I asked him why I had to stop because I was on public property. He told me that I was on private property because the property is owned by the Port. Which evokes some questions.

Before I go on, I should tell you that I spoke with someone at the port and received confirmation that I did not need a permit and that it was perfectly legal for me to take pictures in the public access area.

So here is where the issue lies. At the time I was stopped, I was perplexed because I thought the Port was a division of the city. I have now come to find out that it is not a division of the city, but it is still a quasi-governmental entity, though I still have some phone calls out on that one. Now, in talking very, very briefly with someone at the port, some areas out in public space, specifically in Jack London Square, are managed by private companies. However, other areas of the square are considered common public areas that are managed by the Port, such as the common walkways, which is where I was standing.

The people I spoke to at the Port, so far, have been surprised that I was stopped from taking pictures and were unaware of any restrictions to photographing in the area. However, they left a message for the real estate security liason to find out if there are any restrictions that I need to know about. This time, I'm getting everything in writing on letterhead.

But I think you can start to see my confusion. When I'm in a strip mall, I know I'm on private property because the landlord is a private entity. However, at the time, I believed the port to be a division of the city government, or at least some form of government entity, that "owns" many miles of property. They still may be a government entity, but I don't know their status at the time of this writing.

I was reasoning that the mere fact that they are a division of the city government makes all their property that is in open space public, like the sidewalks, and only buildings that are being leased by private entities are still private. However, upon thinking about that some more, I'm not so sure that's correct.

The city and city divisions have the ability to set rules and restrict access to certain areas as they see fit. Parks have hours of operation and not all city buildings are open to the public. So how do we actually know when and where we're permitted to take photographs? If the city can stop you from accessing a park at night, can they stop you from taking pictures in another of their open space properties if they so desire? What is the procedure for restricting use, activities and access of government owned/managed properties? Can they arbitrarily decide that they are not going to permit xyz today and then permit it the next day? Is there a process or do they have to legislate these kind of changes? Where does city property end and public property begin? Is there a difference? Isn't the sidewalk technically "owned" by the city, too?

In order to find out more, I phoned the city attorney's office. I spoke with Michelle Abney. She is an extremely nice woman. I asked her these same questions. She was the one that informed me that the Port is not part of the city. They have their own board of directors, funds etc. Which led me to ask if they are a government entity or if they are then a private company/developer like Coldwell Banker. She said that she thinks of them as a quasi-government entity, but stated that I would have to talk to the Port to get a real determination of their status.

I then posed the question about restrictions on activities, like photography, since the city can restrict access to certain city properties, etc. She listed off some of the restrictions the city has with parks and buildings, such as vagrancy, alcohol consumption and posession in the parks, etc.

I then asked, "But aren't those city laws?"

She said that there were municipal codes in place for those things, so she speculated that maybe the photography was Patriot Act related because she's seen people that take photographs of the Federal Buildings being asked to stop by guards but she didn't know for certain. I told her that there wasn't a provision in the Patriot Act to prevent someone from taking photographs from public property of buildings, etc. that can be plainly seen from a public access space. I continued on that I was actually more curious about the restrictions the city can place on public properties and the process, if any, required to restrict access and use. Is the city within their legal rights to arbitrarily restrict activities on any city property? (I'm guessing the answer to that is yes, but it seems strange since governments are supposed to be held accountable and have procedures in place for that reason.)

I'm abbreviating our conversation, obviously. She really did try to help me as much as possible. In the end, she thought these were questions I should ask the Chief City Attorney, Barbara Parker. I left Ms. Parker a message, and I left a message for the ACLU to get their perspective on this issue as well. I'll keep you posted.

7/29/05 6PM UPDATE: I received a call back from the Port of Oakland. My contact said that she had spoken with the Real Estate Office's liason with security and confirmed that there is no reason I cannot lawfully take photographs in public spaces where anyone can visit. The only places where security may be of concern are the areas that are considered sensitive, such as the ferry ramp behind the gate when there is no ferry there or expected. I told her that I was actually photographing the pathway leading up to the Ferry dock and standing near the USS Potomac entrance. She said that she cannot understand why they would have stopped me from photographing. She also said to simply tell them that the Communications department of the Port has given me the okay. I requested something in writing, to which she said that the real estate office was very reluctant to do anything like that, and besides, it would have to go through legal, which would take forever. I asked for a permit, and she said that she would have the liason contact me directly.

I have been very grateful that the Port has been so willing to work with me on this, and I'm also relieved that they are likewise shocked that I would have been prevented from taking pictures in a public place, but it's clear that the process is broken and there needs to be a better understanding of the law for these minimum wage security guards that are given more and more authority because of heightened terror alerts.

I'm still waiting to hear from the City Attorney and the ACLU, but I have been told unofficially from an attorney that local municipalities cannot arbitrarily restrict access and activities.

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Thursday, June 23, 2005


Soon, the price of tea in China may be something we're all watching. The Chinese have drawn battle lines in their bid to take over the world, economically.

The end of 2004 saw the sale of IBM's PC division and "Think" trademarks to Lenovo, a Chinese PC giant, for $1.2 Billion USD. This acquisition made Lenovo the third largest PC manufacturer in the world.

Last week, Haier, a Chinese appliance manufacturer was reportedly considering making a bid for struggling US appliance manufacturer, Maytag. Today, there are reports that Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), one of China's largest state-controlled companies, made a takeover bid of $18.5 billion for Unocal. CNOOC's stock price is up today on those reports.

Maybe we'll all be learning Chinese in the near future.

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Friday, May 06, 2005


Remember the days when typosquatters only put out porn at places like whitehouse.com when you really wanted whitehouse.gov? Well, the days of carefree web surfing are gone. Typosquatters turn vicious, according to this eWeek article.

From the article:
"The malicious site, googkle.com, is infested with Trojan droppers, downloaders, backdoors and spyware, and an unsuspecting user only has to visit the page to be at risk of computer hijack attacks... When googkle.com is opened in a browser... files are downloaded using exploits and they contain exploits themselves to run embedded executable files... One batch of exploits loads a malware package that includes two backdoors, two Trojan droppers, a proxy Trojan, a spying Trojan and a Trojan downloader."

This website primarily seems to attack MSIE users, so if you're using Firefox, you're probably safe. If you're using IE, follow the steps below to restrict the site. It won't completely block the site, but if you accidentally end up there, it will give you the highest level of security in IE to prevent unwanted downloads and such.
  1. From the menus, go to Tools ->Internet Options
  2. Click the "Security" tab
  3. Click the "Restricted Sites" icon. It's a big, red, round circle with a white line through it.
  4. Click the "Sites" button
  5. Add www.googkle.com and googkle.com to the list

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