April 20, 2004

Please see my new site at www.markfox.ca.

Now with comments and trackback!


12:14:21 AM    

  April 18, 2004

The New York Times looks at the work of John Lowry of Lowry Digital to produce ultra-high resolution digital copies of nine James Bond films for MGM. Using sophisticated digital scanners that scan each negative of a film 4,000 times a digital master with a resolution of 4,000 horizontal lines of data is created which is considered to fully capture the detail of 35mm film. The digital master than can be downsampled to the 480 line DVD quality standard or the high definition TV standard of 720 or 1080 lines. Ultimately the goal is avoid any further downsampling as current research prototypes of ultra-high definition TVs that have a full 4,000 lines of resolution become commercially available.

No word when DVDs or high definition DVDs produced from these new James Bond masters will become available.

2:16:16 PM    

  April 17, 2004

MSNBC’s Michael Moran has received numerous letters from soldiers and their families in response to his column critical of the use of unamoured US Army Humvees in Iraq. Like Moran they are highly critical of the use of these unamoured vehicles on patrol. He notes that a 1997 study in response to loss of 18 U.S. troops in Mogadishu, Somalia stated that the reliance on soft-skinned Humvees "needlessly put their troops in harms way without the proper equipment to successfully complete the mission."

As part of efforts to get more amoured Humvees to Iraq faster the United States has requested and Israel has agreed to divert an order of amoured Humvees by the Israel Defense Forces to the US.

3:46:29 PM    

  April 16, 2004

Paul Boutin of Slate.com has reviewed a beta verison of Google’s Gmail web mail service and finds its content based ad model perferable to existing services. He states:

Gmail isn't an invasion of privacy, and its ads are preferable to the giant blinking banners for diets and dating services that are splashed across my other Web mail accounts.

Presumably this include’s Hotmail which is owned by Microsoft, Slate’s parent company.

Like other Google pages Gmail will insert ads to the right of your content. There will also be automatically added linked to related content pulled from Google’s main search index. Overall it looks fairly clean and uncluttered.

One key feature is that instead of folders you can apply labels to pieces of mail, which you can later search for. This allows a more flexible filing system then a hierarchical folder based one in which you have to decide the one category in which a piece of mail should be placed. A similar system to label your pictures for later sorting and retrieval is used in Adobe’s PhotoShop Album, which has a free Starter edition available from Adobe.

No doubt somebody has a patent on the idea of assigning attributes to documents to search for later retrieval.

12:11:18 AM    

  April 14, 2004

After two years of playing second-fiddle to ATI, NVIDIA regains the performance title in the graphics card market with the introduction of the NV40 GPU which will power the GeForce 6800 Ultra and other cards.

The 400MHz 16 pipeline chip provides complete DirectX9 Support including Shader Model 3.0 and is designed to do various forms of image enhancement including 4X Native Multi-sampling FSAA with rotated grid sampling. It uses a 256-bit DDR/GDDR-2/GDDR-3 memory interface and contains 222 million transistors powering a 6.4 billion texels/second fill rate, and it’s endorsed by John Carmack .

As a result of its large transistor count the chip requires a lot of power, NVIDIA recommends a 480-Watt power supply. It also uses a large fan and air intake design that may block an adjacent PCI slot. On the plus side it definitely beats the ATI Radeon 9800 XT for fastest gaming card available. Now we just need to wait until the introduction of the Radeon X800 later this month and the X800 XT next month to compare latest generation cards.

Beyond3D has a detailed technical review of the chip. No word if any technology from 3Dfx made it into the chip.

11:06:31 PM    

While meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Sharon, American President George W. Bush stated the United States' reaction to Sharon’s proposed withdrawal of Jewish settlers and most military units from the Gaza Strip. He hails the proposals as helping to lead to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and gives acceptance of certain Israeli territorial rights to the West Bank in light of new "realities on the ground". Even more importantly he stated that a Palestinian "right of return" would only occur through the settlement of Palestinians in a Palestinian state and not in Israel.

While it is by no means a given that the United States can lead other Western nations to accept this position these statements are an important step to convincing Israelis that taking risks for peace is worth it.

11:04:19 PM    

Aren’t you glad President Bush did not use the phrase, "The sky is falling" during his press conference last night?
11:03:56 PM    

  April 13, 2004

If people wish to debunk Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code they could start by giving away copies of his earlier work, Digital Fortress: A Thriller. His completely inaccurate description of encryption methods and code breaking, unbelievably lax security measures at a top secret computing facility, and an ending that relied on incorrect information concerning the "Fat Man" atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan make one wonder if the author did any research whatsoever. This leads to the question: have his methods changed leading to better selling books, or did he just pick a more interesting topic?

Other people have similar reservations about Digital Fortress, from back before The Da Vinci Code catapulted Dan Brown into fame.

10:54:34 PM    

  April 10, 2004

The 2003 Hugo Award Nominees for best science fiction and fantasy have been announced. They are nominated by voting members of Noreascon Four, The 62nd World Science Fiction Convention this year in Boston, Massachusetts, September 2–6, 2004.

I have not read the other nominees but Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold is a much better book than Humans by Robert Sawyer.

While I don’t plan to attend since I attended last year’s Torcon 3 I am baffled that Noreascon Four never contacted me to see if I wanted to buy a membership. Why not?

12:22:45 AM