Friday, March 6, 2009

Photoshop Tutorial: GT4 Photomode Clean Up & Beyond

TutorialHere are a couple tutorials I created a couple years ago to show folks a semi-easy way to correct the inherent ugliness in a Gran Turismo 4 - Photo Mode image. The subject of the tut may be a bit outdated but the steps are still sound.

he first has to do with removing all the nasty JPG-ed-ness that is extremely visible is some shots. The other is a simple tut on creating wheel blur on an image where the wheels are either not spinning enough or not at all. The second tutorial is not limited to GT4 images, by any stretch. I have used these steps many times before on images of real cars, with great results.

Photo Mode Cleanup Tutorial

Wheel Motion Tutorial

"My photoshop-Fu is strong." - Me

Viva la libertad -- A Friend.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

YouTube-Topia & The Hip-Waders

Funny MediaSomeone once told me (or I heard/read it on the internet) that "Watching YouTube is like panning for gold in a shallow river of crap."

Well, as delightful as I'm sure that sounds to all of you wannabe miners out there, sieve in hand, ready to go out knee deep in the quest for good entertainment, I have this to say:

Please , for the love of God don't!

That is why God made teenagers and the easily entertained. To go out in the poo-slough, find the nuggets, trudge back to shore, so we (the vastly intellectually superior and far less stinky) can knock them on the head and run off with the treasure in a jubilee of maniacal cackling. Now, if cranial bludgeonry is not your bag, then watch from the bushes and wait till they deposit their finds in to one of the internets' many Collections of Retrieved Awesomeness and Prattle & Flexible Archive of Retained Media, or as they're more commonly known, the C.R.A.P.F.A.R.M.s.

I mean, why go to all the trouble of buying a club and running shoes? Just hit the sites that collect the good stuff from the 'log' flume raiders, and then rob them! Much easier! Sites like GorillaMask, Funny or Die, Collage Humor and the like. Now buyer beware, some of these are semi-tasteless and some are NSWF due to language or situation ... but ALL are F-ah-knee!

Okay, time to get to it! Here are a few of my favorite nuggets from the anal canal.
See what I did there? Anal, like poo. Canal, like river. Anal Canal? No? My humor is wasted on you people ...
The WTF Blanket (Snuggie Parody)
Flight of the Conchords - Business Time
White Wedding: Literal Video Version
Take on Me: Literal Video Version
Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it)
Cooking with Christopher Walken
George Bush - Rollplay

What R2D2 is REALLY saying:
R2D2 in Episode 1
R2D2 in Episode 2

Jerry O'Connell in the parody video Tom Cruise
Bo Burnham - New Math
Batman Gets Pwned
Batman vs Superman
Priceless Mastercard Parody
"Whada mean? You people?" - Kirk Lazarus

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Drobo. Better. Stronger. Faster

TechnologyWhen I first heard about the Data Robotics Drobo, " ... the first fully automated storage robot designed to ensure that data is always protected, storage capacity is unlimited and it is exceptionally easy to expand ...", I was delighted.

My introduction came from my favorite of all podcasts, This Week In Photography or TWiP where they (primarily from Scott Bourne of Managing Your Digital Life) were extolling all the praises of this new media savior. At last, they all agreed, there was an easier way to keep files from entering the the great data ethos prematurely and without prior consent, because when that happens, it really stinks.

I say that with all conviction due to the fact that: Not two months before hearing about the Drobo, my 250GB internal media drive decided to die and take one of it's partitions and all of my audio files (of which there were many THOUSANDS) along with it. [me: shakes fist at the data gods and all their cruelty] Needless to say and without reopening that scared wound, the files were unrecoverable. In steps the Drobo. My new hope for never having to go through that again.

As someone who builds computers knows, the standard way of keeping solid backups of your data, was primarily to build a RAID system with many internal drives. This was, unfortunately for me, an option I did not go with on my last PC creation. Primarily for two reasons. Cost, internal case space and pain-in-the-butt'id-ness. Okay, three reasons. After my HD failure, I HAD to get a different storage solution. So off to Costco I went where I purchased an external 1TB drive connected via FireWire. This was great in the sense that I now had way more space but bad in the fact that I could still suffer with another HD crash in the future - only this time, it will take FIVE times the data with it. So far the external drive had performed well, and that is to be expected. They tend to do so right up to the point where they don't. There is, however, one of the four 'accessing data' LED's on the face that has burned out. Is this where it starts? With a .03 LED then -BLAMMO- catastrophic platter death? Let's hope not. Why not?

I do not have a Drobo ... yet.

Yea, yea, I know. "Drobo's are great. Drobo's are the bomb. You go on and on about how awesome they are but don't have one?" Fine. They are great .. and for the less-then-employed, they are also a bit expensive. If only there was a way to get a free one. Hmmmm ...

Anyway ...

They are a small independent computer that can hold up to 16TB in drives (of almost any configuration and size) that not only backs up your data but keeps it safe by healing the data from any drive that happened to go bad, using a set of parity archive files - that is the coolest part of the Drobo.

As a person who had downloaded a bit of data from the internet, I am familiar with the parity file system and think that that is a brilliant way of handling the large data storage solution while removing the chance of loosing files when a drive dies. In the Drobo, if a drive goes tits, you pull it out (literally) and push in a new one. After a while the system replaces the information that was on that drive with the data it has stored in those wonderful parity files spread across the system and -tada- all your data is back. SaWeet!

I guess what this whole post is trying to say is:
  • Drobo's are cool
  • Their expandable to 16TB
  • They run themselves with minimal fiddling
  • I NEED one
  • A free one
  • They are not cheap
  • ... but they are worth it
Did I mention I need one?

Or two ...

The Jubal E. Harshaw Report on: Global Work-Not’s

CommentaryRantA couple years back, I read (and when I say 'read', I mean listened to the audio book of ...) a Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, narrated by Christopher Hurt, and was immediately enammered by the wisdom and ways of one of the titles main characters, one Jubal Harshaw.

Now, I must confess, that a great deal of this enammeration was due the the exceptional personality rendered upon Heinlein's words and phrases by Christoper Hurt; who non-coincidentally, is now my favorite audio narrator. I was so taken in that, by the books end, I felt completely in touch with the character due to that vocal treatment. It seemed that I could almost see through his eyes and feel from his heart - the gruff yet time tempered manner of a southern gentleman.

With that feeling at the surface, and with interjections of my personal thoughts (non of which I could see the immortal Jubal Harshaw having any qualms with) I set out to write this installment of the Jubal Harshaw Report. My take on his feelings of subjects of noteworthiness and relevance.

It is as follows ...

It has come to my attention that this civilization we live in on the great planet Earth, has reached the apex of supreme human laziness and has devoted it's self to the never ending quest to get 'something for nothing'. Now, I say this not glibly nor 'off handedly' but with great amounts of personal witnessing guiding my statement. You may say
"Oh, come now Jubal, I see a folks hard at work each day as I go about my travels. Those at the store, stocking shelves. The person who pumps my gas or even the road crews working to fix that pesky pot-hole that has claimed many an innocent suspension."
Well, as true as your statement would be, I assure you that for every one of those hard working folks you saw, there are just as many out there, unseen, who are ready to steal from the hard earned coffers of others, and prance about in ecstatic glee at their triumph in doing so. Shameful. Downright, shameful.

There are, as you would expect, varying degrees of these ‘types’ in the world. From the person who takes a an entire plate of samples at your local grocers – because he can, to the one who defrauds the welfare system by having child after child after child just to get government funds in order to help ‘provide for’ and ‘raise’ them. Raise them to be responsible citizens, mind you – a result that is all too often unachieved due to the child’s direct sphere of influence. The money then continues to perpetuate the problem. The less I work the more I can get. You could even, if you so desire, throw the consummate dicker-er into this pot. The one who is always out to get a better deal for himself.
I know you have heard them as you go about your business:
“If I buy this vehicle, I want you to throw in better wheels, better tires and an upgraded stereo system, or I’m hittin’ the road, Jack.”
The idea that they could actually earn the money that is needed to acquire these extra options rarely occurs to them – and if the notion does tickle their conscious, it is brushed off like a gnat at a picnic. Why, because they have learned that behavior by watching others do it … and get away with it.

As I touched on above, the greatest criminal in this situation, is the government sponsored work-not. I use the world criminal because I feel that the word ‘abuser’ is a tad light and lacking due impact and ‘villain’ has with it too many top-hatted handlebar mustached imagery.
So what is to be done? Well, is that not the question of our time? I think so. Now, I’m just a simple man who, by that statement, has a simple way of considering such matters. You want to tame the best of laziness and sloth that has been ravaging mankind for the last fifty years? Then you remove the thing that empowered him to be the slacker that he has become: handouts – especially those with a government flavor.

Surely Jubal, you jest? Stop providing free food for the homeless? Certainly.

Quit providing Social Security benefits for those ho have never paid a dime in to the fund? Yep.

Cease the national tax payer provided printing of materials in languages spoken by those of another country, who happen to be here illegally?

Oh, hell yes – and don’t get me started on that nest of snakes! I’ll kick up dust on that road another time.

Now, back to my point.

I do not put the full blame of this abhorrent behavior on the individual who has committed (or is contemplating committing) the act of taking what has not been worked for. He, and I will use the term ‘he/his’ to apply to both the male and female of the species in this diatribe, using ‘he/his’ as the more general term for humanity as a whole. Continuing. He is only a partial product of his environment and has learned much of this behavior by watching those in the tribe in which he lives. Man is nothing if not all too eager to pick up on the bad habits that surround his person – I chalk that up to his original sinful nature. He is ever ready to jump at the opportunity to drink deeply from the well of others fortune, and revel in the increasing of his damnability. It takes a strong individual with sound morals to withstand the bombardment he is subject to on a near daily basis, trying to sway him out in to the path of ‘least resistance’.

Thinking back to my previous comments on these individuals being ‘lazy’, that may have been only partially correct. I have noticed that there are quite a few of these free-mongers that are far from lazy, but are, in fact, tireless in their search for opportunities to get something for nothing. They will fill out form after form, application after application. All with the hopes that all their diligent ‘work’ will pay off and they will find themselves the rightly appointed steward of some fund, or programs money for the needy and not-so-well-off. Well, hell, I’m needy! I needed all the tax money the government siphoned out of my earnings so that I could spend it on the needs of me and mine, rather than give to these ingrates living off of your and my earnings. If only they spent that much effort on actual work, the kind that provides for ones-self and ones-own, then that would be something.

Please understand me here people. I am neither a spiteful man nor am I one prone to malice, unless grievously provoked, but I do take a stand where I see one is needed, and I see that need now. Within my copious life and through my own stupidity and naiveté, I have often found myself in the position of the man whose, afore mentioned, coffers have just been pillaged. Let me tell you, that is a position and feeling that I find most distasteful. It sets my teeth on edge and twists my bowels into bow-ties.

Now, I have never claimed to have all the answers. I will leave that to the preachers and politicians. Let them spin it. What I do claim is the ability to spot error when I see it, and brother, this is a huge spot – casting a dismal shadow over all that is still good in this society. When the common man can no longer provide for his family because he is yoked to the task of forcibly providing for a nation of work-not’s, then it is time for action.

J. E. Harshaw