A Look at The iPad2:

Apple iPad2 - In Black and White.

Apple iPad2 - in Black and White. Thinner. Lighter. Faster. FaceTime. Smart Covers. 10 Hour Battery. Original Image: Apple

Been A little while, I’ve been working, and that’s a good thing if you’re a self-employed designer. I also broke my ankle back in August while camping, so been recovering. So blogging a slightly lower priority lately, but here I am again.

I had occasion to be out and about and took the opportunity to visit my local Apple store and take a look at the just released iPad2 for my local Apple User Group. Just like it’s predecessor, it’s a very appealing little slab of electric crack. It’s also a more appealing experience than the original iPad. Apparently, a lot of people think so too, since Apple seems to have sold close to a million of the things in the first weekend of availability, selling out at most locations.

When Apple released the original iPad, they were diving out into uncharted territory. As of last year, no one had gotten a tablet computer out there that captured the public imagination till they completely redesigned the interface. Their success with the iPhone, turning the smartphone market in it’s side, suggested they were on to something. But it wasn’t till the first year of iPad, that the realized that they had something quite amazing on their hands. People are doing things with the iPad that Apple never expected. Continue reading

Games, Geeks and getting Pwned in HALO.

Halo:Reach OMG!

My Typical HALO:REACH experience. Photocomposite and Illustration: Kurt Griffirh. Source renderings: Bungie

This time around I am going to drift off my usual design focused view of the world of technology and creativity. Today I am going to talk about video games. Say what? Yes, this irascible and opinionated almost-an-old-timer is going to venture into a whole ‘nother geekdom. Not just the classic  stand-up and 8-bit arcade games that I grew up with, but the overheated world of console games. It may surprise some of you who read this blog to know, I don’t spend every waking moment behind this workstation. Well, I do spend rather a lot of my time here, both professionally and recreationally. Any design professional in the electronic age has also become by default a technologist. Computers are not only our working tools, but also our sources of information, research and resources. So I am here not only working, but studying, catching up with my mob on Facebook, reading webcomics, news–both tech and the rest of the world, and surfing for pleasure. Oh yeah, I also write a blog in my huge free time. Continue reading

Mac Pros. Mac Users?

Mac Pro: 4, 8, or 12 Cores. WORTH IT?

The current Mac Pro update disappoints actual pro users. Image: Apple Computer

Apple recently released, after over a year in waiting, an update to their Mac Pro line of tower configuration computers. They introduced the Westmere line of the Xeon workstation processors and now a version with 12 computing cores is available. But for many Apple watchers, the update was a bit of a disappointment.

For openers, while Apple has been determinedly cutting edge on their new flagship mobile products, iPhones, iPads… were notably conservative on this update. New tech such as USB 3, Firewire 1600, Litghtbridge, or even established desirable standards as eSATA were skipped. Few expected Blu-Ray support, since Steve doesn’t like Blu-Ray. The video cards options offered by Apple are decent, but somewhat mediocre by contemporary standards. But all in all, commentary in the tech blogs has negative commentary edging out positive reviews. The general consensus seemed “meh,” with a lot of dissatisfaction centering on performance versus price issues compared to alternatives on the Windows and Linux side.
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About Those Ink Delivery Systems…

This time, takin on the wee beasties...

This time, takin' on the wee beasties...

Sorry I haven’t posted in some time. The Studio has been very busy with work and my personal life collided with the business. My wife suffered a dislocated and fractured shoulder at the beginning of October. So I have been taking care of her and doing a lot of housework along with trying to well… work. So not a lot of time for writing blog items. But do have a little something for you.

In early-December I posted this in my personal blog…. And to complete the Tech Fail Trifecta [ joining the failed washing machine and water heater]… My faithful Canon printer started to funk out last night. It began to print thin pale streaks in nice neat precise 3mm stripes. UH oh. After the many cycles of cleaning and test prints, and then a 40 min ride with Canon’s tech support, pretty much convinced me the print head was probably hosed. And a replacement head costs near the cost of replacing the same class printer. So will take a shot at trying to fix it N1NJ4 style before I stick a crowbar in the wallet.

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Video Odyssey

Image size, Standard NTSC vs Broadcast 1080i High Definition - Image from RDP Video Productions

Image size, Standard NTSC vs Broadcast 1080i High Definition Image source: RDP Video Productions

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve been busy. Being booked solid is a good thing for a freelancer. Being booked solid while having a number of real life issues… not as comfortable, but comes with the territory of home and family. Being booked solid and being paid somewhat indifferently. That is certainly… less good, but seems a function of the current uncertain economy. But that’s neither here nor there. I also promised a piece on data protection and backups and the like, but this is still fresh in the Studio. So hitting it while I can rant with good store of fierce.

A couple of months ago, one of my best and favorite clients approached me about a PowerPoint project that they were having some problems with. So I agreed to take a look at it. Some of the problems hinged on the destination of the presentation— a giant 40-inch plasma screen going into their freshly redesigned lobby. I did the specs on the actual LCD, and discovered that it’s native resolution was 1080i… yes, 1900 x 1080 pixels. Not huge by 300 dpi print standards. But HUMONGOUS at screen sizes. So I agreed to build the big graphics for the slides.

So far this is still straightforward. But was not destined to stay that way. The president of the company wanted some fairly upscale animation effects. And an animated title. So the project slipped into the Flash animation level. Recent versions of PowerPoint have the capability to display video on the slides, so I could export the Flash work to Quicktime or Flash Video files and embed them in the Flash Slides.

As things progressed. The client passed on another request. They want a scrolling type effect to run continuously at the bottom of the presentation, and have a picture-in-picture effect of CNN or something running in the bottom left corner of the screen.

This just became a Video Project.

Since it is going to an 1080i device, it has become a HIGH-DEFINITION Video Project. Continue reading