« März 2007 | Main | Mai 2007 »


How to breed terrorists

On my way to good old england I witnessed a couple of things that I think are worth mentioning. Haven´t been in the country for less then a year but things seem to change radically. First off was the flight.
Boarding a plane in Berlin was actually easier then the last time I was flying. I did notice two guys wearing traditional islamic hats, beards, white robes normal pants and some Nike(heavy tm) sneakers. I also witnessed a orthodox jew black robe, black hat, black locks, black shoes. All three where about 25-30 years old. At the security check in in germany I could also witness that all three had a german passport and funnily enough all three got to board the plane without any hassle neither at the security nor at the plane nor nothing. I would even say people absolutely didn´t care about any of them. They all seemed nice easygoing fellas who did not harras or annoy anyone. Then we landed in London Gatwick. While getting ON the plane in Berlin took us about 15 minutes (including security check) there was a HUGE line in London getting OUT the airport. The EU citizens where probably waiting about 40 minutes to get through the passport check the non EU citizens line was about 10 times as long filling a huge hall. Poor people there probably waited about 3 hours to get OUT of the airport into the country of the free. Now as said the three "test" persons had german passport and luckily all three where right in front of me. While everyone got through the passport check just fine without any annoying questions something happened AFTER the passport check that I would call blatant harassment. The orthodox jew was, like everyone else, walking away towards the place where you get your luggage. The two muslims where also starting to walk in this direction but just at a point where EVERYone trying to get through the passport check (probably about 1000 people) could see them two men in black (I am not kidding) approached them showed them some identity card and took their passports away telling them to wait right on the spot and not move. Now my friends thats an embarrassing situation and if I would have been in their Nike shoes I would start to build up some serious hatred against the english government. They where traveling light had been through two passport checks and one serious security check in Berlin, where german citizens and someone from a different religion had just been walking through without a problem. That is what I call breeding terrorists and to any wanna be terrorist I would suggest dressing up as an orthodox jew because these people are never stopped or harassed at all.
But it wasn´t all that I could witness. Besides Britain having one security camera operational for every five inhabitants this country is militarizing heavily. On the way from London to Bristol I saw SIX tanks on the streets about 15 other military vehicles and eight fully armed assault helicopters. Anyone ever saying anything about east germany having been militarized needs to get a grip, at no time in my live have a seen such a military amassment in a non combat zone in one day and I grew up with the Berlin wall in eyesight.
Now I am in beautiful Devon where nature and farms rule the landscape and everything is so absolutely peacefull and quite if it weren´t for the two to three assault helicopters flying low above every day since I arrived.
Naturally with my background growing up in a suppressing communist state I am hyper aware of these things, people around here don´t seem to notice them too much. I do think that is deliberate. I do think they are training the english population slowly to accept the fact that the military rules the country and any dissent is not welcome. And they are using the evil islamic terrorist to give them an enemy that unites the english population in fear to then in return repress them.
Sadly with our current nazi loving interior minister Mr. Schäuble germany will have the same faith in the not too distant future. Free England is almost lost already I would say, this is about as much 1984 as it needs to get for the government (or megacorporation or whoever is in power) to completely suppress any dissenting voice for eternity. Its brutal and it makes me sad and feel helpless and powerless.

Technorati Tags:
, ,


How Controllable is the Mass? Hitler and Göring give a clear answer

Too lazy to translate this but its so absolutely fittingly obvious when you compare these words from 80 and 60 years ago with what is happening today.

First from Hitler himself:

"Die Aufnahmefähigkeit der großen Masse ist nur sehr beschränkt,
das Verständnis klein, dafür jede Vergesslichkeit groß. Aus
diesen Tatsachen heraus hat sich jede wirkungsvolle Propaganda
auf nur sehr wenige Punkte zu beschränken und diese
schlagwortartig so lange zu verwerten, bis auch bestimmt der
letzte unter einem solchen Worte das Gewollte sich vorzustellen

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 6. Kapitel

and from a psychologist observing the Nürnberg trials writing down the account of Göring (these where done in public with lot of publicity so people in the future would learn):

"Nun, natürlich, das Volk will keinen Krieg", sagte Göring
achselzuckend. "Warum sollte irgendein armer Landarbeiter im
Krieg sein Leben aufs Spiel setzen wollen, wenn das Beste ist,
was er dabei herausholen kann, dass er mit heilen Knochen
zurückkommt. Natürlich, das einfache Volk will keinen Krieg;
weder in Russland, noch in England, noch in Amerika, und ebenso
wenig in Deutschland. Das ist klar. Aber schließlich sind es die
Führer eines Landes, die die Politik bestimmen, und es ist immer
leicht, das Volk zum Mitmachen zu bringen, ob es sich nun um
eine Demokratie, eine faschistische Diktatur, um ein Parlament
oder eine kommunistische Diktatur handelt. Das Volk kann mit
oder ohne Stimmrecht immer dazu gebracht werden, den Befehlen
der Führer zu folgen. Das ist ganz einfach. Man braucht nichts
zu tun, als dem Volk zu sagen, es würde angegriffen, und den
Pazifisten ihren Mangel an Patriotismus vorzuwerfen und zu
behaupten, sie brächten das Land in Gefahr. Diese Methode
funktioniert in jedem Land."
(S. 270)

Aus: Nürnberger Tagebuch von G.M. Gilbert. Ehemaliger
Gerichts-Psychologe beim Nürnberger Prozess gegen die
Hauptkriegsverbrecher. Aus dem Amerikanischen übertragen von
Margaret Carroux - Fischer: Frankfurt a.M., 1962

all found in a heise forum posting. fom Werner Zuther.


Apple props Red One

red_one_in_action.pngIn a bold move Apple showed a Red One logo at their NAB keynote presentation.

"You can take 4k files, plug it directly into a MacBook Pro, and see and edit them right there. The industry is going to change. You will be able to work with this whole new breed of moviemaking." (engadget).

WOW. 4k on a powerbook 4:2:2 and it is actually real. I mean that is basically absolutely every motion picture artists dream come true — BiG period for a while (until 3d comes along).

The video is now also on apple.com.

São Paulo goes advertising free

saopaulobillboardli beration.jpgby popular demand. With a vote of 45:1 the São Paulo city government has approved a law that makes ALL and EVERY advertisement in São Paulo illigal - the one dissenting voice is affiliated with an advertising agency. Shop owners are only allowed a very small sign on their shops — thats it. No bus advertising, no billboards, no neon signs, no outdoor led screens, no flyers, no posters — nothing. Its so freaking cool, south/middle america more and more develops into a test ground for a live after kapitalism. I really wonder what the impact is of this. How much big vs. local corporation are loosing in sales (my bet is that multinational mega corps are the ones loosing the most) how much sales in general are affected at all (my guess is not at all). And the affect on the suicide rate in the city (drastic reduction?).
This also seems like the ideal playground for street artists who could help make the city a peacefull calm beautiful inspiring place without the kapitalistic evil lurking on every step you take.

Flickr photoset and original story.


"In all due respect, real artists use canvas."

is what Paul Fleuranges, a New York City Transit spokesman said when asked about an event that a german shoe company is hosting to promote their newest shoe styles. The event features european graffity artist like Can2 from Germany or Skore from the UK who will paint graffiti on a replica of new york subway train.
Authorities are not happy (per usual) because their view is that it promotes crime. How absolutely dumb they are you can see in the headline of this post.

"In all due respect Mr. Paul Fleuranges, real artists have never ever ever only used canvas."

Demonstration against the Orwellian Society

Tomorrow 3.00 pm in Frankfurt/Main Germany will be a (hopefully) big demonstration against the Orwellian tactics of our government especially against the Vorratsdatenspeicherung (recording all internet traffic at the ISP for five years or longer). If you are a concerned citizen - even non german - please get over there and help make a statement against the destruction of our freedoms.

More Information on the official website.

Never Trust a (neonazicon) Politician - EVER

Two years ago we got biometric password in germany nicely with a RFID card. The Chaos Computer Club, Artists in Germany, personal rights activists, myself and many more have warned that the implication of such a move are problematic for a free society because of various problems. Our interior minister who is developing into a totalitarian neonazi lately (even attending convicted nazis funeral) promised back then that the new data garnered to feed the new passport chips will "only be used to speed up border control and will only be on the passport". Intelligent people back then didn´t believe a word of what he and his supporters said and got a passport before the switch over (jey mine is still valid for another 8 years or so). The mass of the population did not and paid more for an insecure passport system that saved their photo, now also fingerprints, all important personal data such as birthplace and the like not only on the outside readable and already hacked RFID chip but also in a massive Orwellian database.
Now only two years later our new Führer in all things 1984 Mr. Schäuble the same guy that just two years ago told the brainwashed population that "its just for your convinienve at the border and we would never use that data for anything else" is pushing for a law that would make exactly that data available to the GestapoStasi ähm I mean BND and the regular bored german police forces.
At the moment cold wind is blowing in the new Führers face as some dissenters are preparing to challange such a move in court but I am sure the plan for new concentration camps is already in the drawer and such dissenting voices will land there soon - latest after a new Al Quaida terrorist attack in Europe - it badly needed for the new Führers policy. And our chancellor? She is dead silent but what could you expect from a Wendehals (to dig up a once popular word again) who headed the Freie Deutsche Jugend - the kommunist youth organization in former East Germany.
It gets soooo ugly here. Vorratsdatenspeicherung (forcing ISPs to save all internet traffic), massive fusion of all databases at the BND and the police, giving out all bank tranfer data (internally und externally) to the US, going into a senseless war in Afghanistan, Bundestrojaner (to spy on individual computers). Now just imagine a real NeoNazi fraction getting into power in germany and all the tools they have at their disposal and you see that 1933 is 1984 is 2007.

Apple delays OSX 10.5

What can be described as a victory for betatesters Apple has delayed Leopard until October. NDA prohibits me to say anything other then that we (the Appleseeders) are very very relieved and we think this is the right decision for Apple to make. For once the quality department has won over the marketing department.

Technorati Tags:


Software Company Ethics 2.0 and the pleasant surprise I had today

First and foremost: I am a very skeptical person and I am very cynical especially when it comes to today companies and their policies but what happened today shattered a small part of my world view about kapitalism in a very positive way.

A little background story: As most of you dear readers know I am doing lots of 3D animation visual FX and similar virtual pop art media work. I do this since 1992 where I started with a program called Silver3D (that then became Imagine) on an utlra fast Amiga 2000. Anyway this backstory is getting out of hand already. I love doing 3d - or at least I love what comes out in the end because it allows me to put into visual form for other people what I see inside myself (even the boring small stuff) so for me its the only way to share my inner vision. The big problem is the technical side. It consumes so much energy that I can´t just pump out stuff. Things are getting better on a grand scale in this field. Jez – I can´t keep focus. Anyway one of the coolest things that I love to do is integrate 3d into real life footage. Its lovely and puts my innerpictures right into clash with reality (and I love it). BUT for doing that you either have to take a camera on a tripod (boring) or try to recreate a real world camera move inside your computer through a process generally called "tracking" today. While there might be a third way that I will hopefully talk about soon the tracking is the state of the art thing to do. Now as easy as it sounds it is not. Its a thing that until a couple of years ago you did by hand (yes I did that by hand in a 1996 project for a local bar commercial with a flying dragon - 30 seconds handtracking 3d is something you never forget in your life as a BAD experience). Of course it was the military that developed computerized tracking guides for their missles and some Hollywood studios got to think that it would be cool to use these algorithms and created half intelligent match moving programs. Now as it is with hollywood and its inner circle - they do not like healthy competition purely based on artistic merits (some bad tongues might interpret this as they would loose their monopolistic propagandistic business model) so in good american manner they keep competition out by either completely shutting out the public (they only use "inhouse software" thats never released in any form) or they price software at sums where any independent artist would need to sell both kidneys half a liver and three quarters of a heart to get their hands on it (outside the wrath of the studios that is) - oh and its not just Hollywood its the whole entertainment "industry". But I am loosing track again (pun pun). Match moving is no exception and in the early days matchmove software cost you the sum you would pay for a house and a garden. Match Mover I think it was that cost like upward of 50.000 USD until like 2 years ago then it all changed. First a university project came to the "market" called "icarus" and it rocked (and it was available for the mac - the only one at that time). It was a very crude interface and all but what it did was generate very accurate 3d tracks. The absolutely shocking thing was: It was free. Yes some student/prof hackers did something for free that the close to hollywood developers where charging you the price of a house for. (Just for the record about the same time it was when Alias|Wavefront|nowAutodesk Maya was dropping in price from like 20.000 USD for the "small" version to 1.500 USD). So the monopoly of big industry studios in terms of 3D was falling like the sky on a doomsday. Then when all independent 3D artists where dancing in the street filmed by shaky cheap DV cameras and later accompanied by their 3d visions the software disappeared. Speculation and conspiracy theories emerged in the whispery hallway chatters in rundown artist mansions all over the world. Did a big hollywood post house bought the right to the software, did a rival company made "contribution" to the University were the software was developed - nobody really knew until a small message on the icarus website hinted that the developers where going to become independent developers and form a company called The Pixel Farm (I am not so sure on that part, PixelFarm might have existed before, but for the drama lets say they created it). The company was also based in some English country side rather then on the self-dominating westcoast of the US of A. So they brought out Icarus under the new name PFTrack (PixelFarmTrack) und they did so for a far lesser price then the original about 4500 Euros and on top brought out cheaper siblings like PFMatch (750 Euros) and PFHoe (150 Euros) that seemingly put the 3D in reach the indy artist. Just last year another app entered the market called SynthEyes (crude interface not good project management but good tracks) which sells for like 350 USD. In the end if you are serious about 3D tracking you need the big PFTrack or one of the other big two (Matchmover boujou) that came down in price to match (pun again) PFTrack. PFTrack for me would still be the choice as it offers about every option available for 3D tracking and matchmoving and scene reconstruction and track project management available and you really want all that for a good workflow without boundaries. Still I mean 4.500 Euros come on, what artist is gonna be able to pay that chunk of money?

The real story (god I wish I would stay on point better): Having an ok start into my after school career at the moment and with some 3d projects that need tracking lining up on the horizon I decided to try out some demo versions to see what I really need and what tracking software would work with me best and so applied to PixelFarm to get a 3 Day fully functioning version of the app — and I loved it a lot.
After 4 days I got a lovely formulated email saying something like "thank you for testing of our product if you have feature suggestions, saw bugs or have general commentary please let us know". Needless to say that the inner betatester came out in me and I gave them a long detailed answer of my experience, send them some crashlogs and a very repeatable bug report and about six feature suggestions. A mail came back thanking me and while I planned the bank robbery to pay for the app the communication went silent. That was all about two weeks ago.

- a little pause for the suspense factor -

Today the phone rang with a number somewhere from germany that I had never seen before. Now normally those numbers only call to sell me something (like lottery tickets or "free" bankaccounts for all the money I don´t have or a vacuum cleaner or such shit). So I was reluctant to answer at first. But I do like to hear their sorry attempts to actually win me over (just so I can cruelly hang up on them) so I picked up the phone. A nice voice in broken german answered and ask if its me on the other end. I said sure that it was me already wondering why they get so personal. Then right in the second sentence he mumbled something that I understood - PFTrack. AHA...

- pause for more suspense -

Now I was preparing to ward off a reseller for PFTrack who probably got my contact details from the trial signup. First I offered him to switch the conversation to english (his german was not very understandable) so the conversation went on. He turned out to be really caring and listening and wasn´t in the slightest way pushing for a sale — a new tactic I though (I already mentioned that I am cynical and skeptical right?). Once we were over the smalltalk part of the conversation (great programm blah blah) I told him quite blunt that there is no way in hell that I can afford the program at this stage. Then (and I spare you another suspense pause) something happened that I have not ever witnessed in this capitalistic society. He offered to me that if I have a project coming up that needs 3d tracking we can talk about it that I would get PFTrack for that project for free.


He said they intend to multiply market share and get into the Industry and they need artists that can use the program and a bigger installed user base so that PFTrack can become the industry standard. Ok thats quite a capitalistic thought process but in the subsequent talk he acknowledged that companies need to care for the customers and see their needs to expand themselves and a lot of other things that normally would sound like marketing talk but sounded for once very honest. He also said that whatever I need we work something out - also for a permanent license in the future. Some more niceties and the conversation ended.
I am baffled - I mean we are talking not about a free Donut or something like that but about a 4.500 Euro software. No they won´t give it to me completely for free but help me establish my business. Something that makes SOOO much sense from my and their perspective its unbelievable.

Conclusion or that means the following: Software companies are start to realize that code can´t be sold like hardware. That there are different needs for the same product out there that deserve special treatment. That your installed user base with lots of experience using your software is more important then a single lost(or never to be done in the first place) sale. That leads to a completely new software sales paradigm for the future - the call today was definitely a right step into that direction and I will surely take them up on the offer rather sooner then later. It is a SURE way to get along with piracy or making the reason for piracy mood. I would always pay for software if I earn money with it but I can´t pay 5.000 euros for a software for projects that - at least in the beginning - only garner 500 euros - there is no relation in my not so humble opinion. Software needs to become an individual product that earns money through services (see all and every big opensource project where this works quite well already).

So thanks to Marcos Silva-Santisteban from FES Media GmbH - the german Pixelfarm reseller - for the enlightening conversation.

Technorati Tags:


Quicktime MacRumors and Reality

Today I stumbled upon a note from a german "mac news site" with the bold headline:

Big Update of Quicktime and OpenGL soon

And my heart jumped like that of probably a lot of others plagued by legacy quicktime that brings the most powerfull of apple computers to a standstill and that makes even "pro" graphic cards run painfully slow. After the Finder Quicktime is the least modern part of OSX and OpenGL while up to sniff with current standards seems awefully slow in games but even more so in pro 3D applications. Now as fast as my heart jumped it dropped because when I read the first line of the article the source cited was a well known unstable rumors site and you seeing me here blogging means that Quicktime is FAR away from a big release because otherwise I would be under NDA and not be able to tell you that Apple prepares a Quicktime 8 or X or revive the CoreVideo brand. I have no idea about OpenGL and can´t talk about whats happening inside Leopard in regards to those two things. I would be delighted if Quicktime gets a major revision until Leos release but from what I am allowed to tell at the moment there is no sign (well I hope I am allowed to talk about things that are NOT beeing tested right?). Given Apples quality control in software and Appleseed betatesting this is either a hidden feature noone has seen other then mighty Steve or this is a completely made up statement to garner some clicks through deep sitting fear of most professional video mac users.
In the end its pretty clear that Apple needs to update the Finder, Quicktime and OpenGL to ward of millions of hate mails in the future and fend off bad press – if it happens in Leos initial release remains to be seen - I for one would be the most happy person if all three would make it, yet I think its a hard push to include those three things into the OS and ship it in three month as a fully tested version, but there is a secret rumor that thinks Apple holds a secret underground facility in North Korea where nuclear mutated people do nothing else then test the Leopard.

Technorati Tags:
, ,


DRM is declared DEAD

Today in London Steve Jobs the Apple Distortion Field Generator and EMI Music (the record label that has the Beatles, Chemical Brothers and some other few) declared Digital Rights Management dead. EMI states that 84% of consumers would prefer digital music playing devices free of DRM to be able to freely copy and use their music.
You will read that in about trazillion blogs in 20 minutes here are the slides:

EMI declares DRM dead slides (pdf)

What this means is crystal clear. A big record studio admits that the whole DRM thing was wrong is wrong and will be wrong now and always. Consumer rejoice, EMI will have a short "record" sales as all those that support this decision will show their support through a purchase (well maybe not) and the other biggies will follow, then next is the movie industry and in three years everything is fully completely DRM free. Right? RIGHT!

Generally this shows how powerful consumers are once they break free of the TV and advertising brainwash the company soak them in all their life. This has extremely far reaching consequences inside and outside all of society. Generally I support this with all my heart - not that I will start buying music again, but maybe this will also spur better music in the future. The next fight copyright as it is at the moment in general? Or a complete reshape of the media industry top to bottom left to right?
With DRM out of the way it definitely frees up some thoughts.

UPDATE: Well its all out there now, the news and all. The sour grape is thats its also a move to price the songs higher - which is bullshit. The move is clever price it higher now, phase out the cheap ones with DRM and leave the new price in. 1,30 USD is pretty huge. Anyway. The best blurb from Steve out of the news conference has to be the following which I definately would like execs of other companies to read and also Apple itself to read - because sometimes they don´t follow that idea themselves:

Q: And the second part of my question is: What do you think this will have an impact on the iPod-iTunes relationship in terms of now being able to buy your music on any player and not just on iPod?
A: Well again, you've been able to play all sorts of music on iPod forever. iPods have played MP3s forever. So the only music that has been in question is music you buy off the iTunes store. Now again, you can burn a CD and read that CD back in and it takes off the DRM. So you could then play it on anything else. We compete based on having what we we think is the best music store and based on what we think is having the best music players. And if customers agree with us, we are going to do well. If they don't, well we're going to get a message back that we have to work harder.