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An Immersive Future Awaits

In 3D, disney, film, future, High Definition, mobile, nvidia, television, Three-Dimensional on November 30, 2010 at 2:19 pm

As high definition media became a standard amongst most homeowners within the past decade, three-dimensional imagery will do so in the next. Right now, a large percentage of major blockbusters are being filmed in 3D or converted to 3D in post-production. There hasn’t really been a 3D boom like this since back in the fifties when Warner Brothers debuted a breakthrough film called House of Wax. Within the next few years’ society later lost interest in 3D as it fell victim to the success of widescreen formats with theater operators. 3D didn’t really make much of an appearance until around the nineties when studios began producing 3D Imax documentaries. A decade later 3D has become all the rage. From televisions to our portable gadgets, we are heading into a technological era that can only be described as immersive.

Film and television

I think its safe to say that James Cameron ignited our current 3D boom. Already we’ve seen 3D films like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, UP, Polar Bear Express and dare not let me forget Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience. Though they make good use of 3D technology, none of them really compared to the unparalleled special effects offered in Avatar (UP being a close exception). With Avatar we learned that when 3D is done properly it could be made into something extraordinary. Since its release, many different media platforms have already jumped on the 3D bandwagon and are in the process of implementing 3D technology into their products.

“Every single television manufacturer you can think of has a 3D TV coming out.” – John Dollin

For instance, Walt Disney and DreamWorks Animation have both made promises to release 3D copies of all future titles. This is exciting news, though I do wonder if the quality of films will decrease in view of the fact that most studios will being stamping 3D on just about any film imaginable. Believe me, I have no interest in seeing Schindler’s List in 3D.

The success the film industry received from 3D movies convinced television manufactures to begin production on 3D TVs. Direct TV and Panasonic continue to work together to create three 3D television stations along with ESPN, which started broadcasting games in 3D earlier this year.

“Disney-owned ESPN will broadcast 85 sports events this year in 3D, starting with a World Cup soccer match in the summer.”–Tod Daltorio

Sony, Discovery Communications and Imax also plan to release a 24/7 station dedicated to 3D programming.

Gaming

A survey conducted in March of 2010 by the Consumer Electronics Association found that 36% of those who plan to buy a 3D television also plan to play 3D video games. It seems pretty obvious to me that video game systems will be the next platform to implement 3D technology due to its user driven experience. I wouldn’t be surprised to see partnerships between 3D design companies and video game publishers in the near future. Nintendo has already started production on their new handheld gaming device called the 3DS.

“Aside for being the first of its kind to offer a glasses-less viewing experience, the device will utilize a slider mechanism that will allow the gamer to control the 3D effects, toggling between full 3D imagery to no 3D instantly.” – Jason Leavey

Publishers like Sony and Nintendo are now asking themselves if the transition to 3D ready consoles is a worthwhile investment. More importantly, they need to know if people are actually going to buy 3D TVs, let alone if they can afford them. Of course it would bring the player to a whole new level of immersion, but do you really want to be wearing a pair of plastic glasses through a 10-hour campaign?

Computers

What about PC gamers? Fear not for NVIDIA has the answer. Meet the 3D Vision Kit.

“Graphics card manufacturer NVIDIA already markets a 3D solution for PC gamers, complete with a high-spec monitor and 3D glasses.” – Dave Stevenson



NVIDIA has maintained close relationships with game developers to ensure that more than 425 PC games are compatible with the 3D kit. You will also be able to view your photos in 3D thanks to Sony and Fujifilm who plan to bring 3D digital cameras to the market.  Surfing the web in 3D will be integrated as well as being able to watch your favorite blue ray 3D films.

Mobile

It’s only a matter of time till our smart phones make the conversion to 3D. Can you imagine the amount of user applications that will be made based solely on the purpose of exploring 3D technology?

The only thing out right now is a 3D cell phone carried by Spice Mobility, as if that doesn’t sound lame enough. The M-67 3D has only been released in India and has received less than enthusiastic reviews thanks to its minuscule 2-inch screen. Though somewhat pointless, I do think we are headed in the right direction. Like the 3Ds, you don’t need to wear any sort of glasses to use the phone in 3D. This should mean that 3D integration with our smart phones is right around the corner.

Who knows what the future might hold for 3D media. I have a sneaky suspicion that this 3D boom might actually take off due to the growing popularity of 3D films. As of now the companies are still trying to understand the concept of 3D imagery, and how it could enhance the overall user experience of the products we use. I think that down the road we will be looking at a full integration of this technology into our lives. That is, once we’ve mastered 3D without those flimsy plastic eyeglasses. I wouldn’t be too surprised to find myself in 10 years browsing music with my iPhone 3D all while checking my email through my tablet pc’s 3D display at the same time as I watch my favorite YouTube videos using a 3D web browser.

http://pcplus.techradar.com/node/3206

http://www.investmentu.com/2010/January/3d-technology-the-future-of-entertainment.html

http://www.emergingedtech.com/2010/05/the-future-of-3d-technology/

http://www.bnet.com/blog/mobile-internet/the-future-of-tv-is-3d-where-8217s-my-advil/116

http://www.ps3informer.com/playstation-3/games/the-rise-of-mobile-gaming-010309.php

http://www.thetanooki.com/2010/04/14/will-nintendos-3ds-change-gaming-3d-terminology/

http://www.tgdaily.com/games-and-entertainment-brief/48975-3d-video-game-adoption-higher-than-hd-game-adoption

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The Power of Open Source

In Accessibility, Cloud Computing, Open Source on November 18, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I first started using Google Chrome maybe a year or two ago after Mozilla insisted to crash on me anytime I tried to download something. Before that I was using Internet Explorer, which I never went back too after I discovered tabbed browsing. As of now, Chrome is my browser of choice. The open source platform is remarkably faster than Safari, and has a cleaner interface than Internet Explorer.

“Chromium has helped to create one of the fastest & rapidly growing popular browsers “

Last week, a company called Rockmelt released a beta version of their new web browser, built entirely for avid Facebook and Twitter users. With social networking at an all time high and Facebook being the worlds most popular website, it was only a matter of time before the two were integrated into one. I myself do not plan on making the switch to a more socially oriented browser, mainly because I couldn’t stand seeing my friends update statuses follow me into all of the dark crevices on the internet. I do not care how many of you are watching Glee!

The main thing that separates Rockmelt from Chrome is the user interface.  The social networking features of Rockmelt are all right in front of you in a slick column based format that runs along both the right and left boundaries, allowing you to share, view your friends, use apps and search, all while browsing your favorite websites.  You’ll find your Facebook profile photo at the top left corner of the browser, allowing the user to update both their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

It’s important to note that Rockmelt has not been the first network browser to attempt integrating social media into its platform. Before, a browser known as Flock, also funded by Mark Andreessen, allowed users to access all of their social networking needs directly from Flock’s homepage. Originally running off the Mozilla open source, Flock has since made the switch to the Chromium engine.

I wonder if Google ever foresaw how successful its open source programming was going to be. I mean, who would have thought that the Google Android OS would reach out to as many hardware platforms and cell phone manufacturers as it did. The same thing can be said about the Chromium engine, which because of its open source code gave a company the idea to implement social networking onto the fastest web browser to date. In a world without open source, Google couldn’t have been able to afford the server space it needed for search engine. Reason being, Linux wouldn’t be a free program for Google to customize to power its servers. Open source coding gave us Google, who knows what we will get next.

 

http://technorati.com/blogging/article/browser-­‐review-­‐rockmelt-­‐vs-­‐flock/

http://ostatic.com/blog/an-­‐open-­‐source-­‐principle-­‐one-­‐good-­‐thing-­‐leads-­‐to-­‐another

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9196005/RockMelt_A_social_networkin g_spin_on_Google_Chrome

 

We’re Going to Need a Bigger Screen

In 3D, Aspect Ratio, High Definition, Three-Dimensional on November 4, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Shortly after the Second World War the film industry noticed a steady decline in cinema attendance. Theatres began to shut down and productions were being postponed. Where did this decline come from? Many believe it was a lack of interest. At the time, servicemen were reuniting with their families and going to the movies was the last thing on anyone’s mind. I mean, who needs to go the movies when you have a perfectly good television set in your living room? The film industry desperately needed a way to change how they showed their pictures, and the best way to do that was to make it a bigger and wider picture.

Fred Waller had the idea to create an extremely wide screen cinema system that would surround the audience with picture and sound. This would be known as Cinerama and would jolt consumer interest within the next few years. Though a minor and cheap change for the film industry, the switch to Cinerama will forever revolutionize how movies are viewed.

It’s important to note that there is more than just one type of wide screen ratio. In fact, there are four basic aspect ratios that are commonly used today in television and in film. First, I’ll start with full screen television, which has a ratio of 1.33. What this means is that for every single vertical unit, there will be 1.33 horizontal units. After television you’ll make the jump to HDTV viewed in a 1.77 ratio, or 16:9 as most have called it. Since HDTV’s have become more accessible and are generally cheaper than in the past, it is becoming, for most of us, the standard television format.

The same rules are applied when you make the jump into cinema. The standard cinema aspect ratio for most films is 1.85 and 2.35 for Cinemascope, or in other words, ultra-widescreen films. Unfortunately films were only showed in Cinemascope between the years 1953 and 1967, as Fox was able to find a cheaper and more cost effective anamorphic lens developed by Panavision. Some notable films shot in Cinemascope were East of Eden and Our Man Flint.

Just as it was in the 1940’s, the line between Television and Cinema is still a thin one. Movies are played on TV within their original aspect ratio, and HDTV is nearly a standard in most homes. This leaves the film industry in basically the same spot as it was in before, maybe an even worse position with the implementation of new media, such as computers. Since the spark of the Internet we have seen ticket sales plummet, giving some the idea that going to the movies is meaningless when you can just download your preferred media legally, or illegally over the Internet. What should the film industry do at this point? Well, they need a way to re-invent themselves as they did before. They need a way for the screen to come alive. They need to bring back 3D.

Living in a Cloud

In Accessibility, Cloud Computing, Netflix on October 26, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I’ve been an avid Netflix user for about, lets say, two years now. I had originally been a blockbuster guy, but after the discovery and realization that I am a lazy procrastinator, I decided to make the switch as to avoid any further exercise.  At first use, I found Netflix to be a very easy company to work with. Signing up only took seconds and the intuitive website made renting movies a piece of cake. Even the customer service is great. Anyways, after almost a month of getting my movies through the mail, I received an email informing me that I can now stream movies directly off of my Xbox 360. Naturally, I was thrilled. Turned my Xbox on, downloaded the Netflix software, and that was it… I was hooked.

I couldn’t believe how seamless the software was. I almost felt like a God, flying through thousands of movies, all categorized by genre and by films that Netflix thinks I would enjoy. The best part, for me, was that I could sit in front of the TV with my laptop and instantly add movies to my Netflix que on my Xbox. It really doesn’t get much easier than this… or does it? Just a few weeks ago I was messing around with my new iPad when I stumbled upon something that caught my attention, a Netflix application. No way, I thought. Can I now watch Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus on my iPad? I soon found the answer to be yes.

Netflix has changed my life, seriously. Since I started using it I’ve rarely shopped for DVDs, which ends up saving me boatloads of money. This maybe a bad thing for the film industry, but hey, I’m not one to complain about accessibility.

Aside from the fact that I obviously love Netflix, it’s important to note the comparison that can be made between Netflix and all wi-fi enabled consumer electronics. We are on the verge of full integration and compatibility with all our cell phones, computers and anything on wi-fi. Apple has been a step ahead of the program with applications like Mobile Me, allowing apple users to connect all of their products together over any available wifi network. Having said that, I wonder how soon it will be until all of our electronics, regardless of brand name or type, are joined together under the same cloud.

Right now, Apple and Google are preparing to release Google and Apple TV. Though slightly different, the products generally do the same thing. They connect your television to the Internet along with synching the devices in your household to the television, thus, forming a cloud network.

Cloud computing does have it’s fair share of obstacles ahead of it, mainly stemming from net neutrality. Is it fair for ISPs to direct access to websites that will be more profitable for the company? David Linthicum, a writer for infoworld.com, worries that net neutrality will restrict cloud computing from its full potential.

“The concept of allowing specific networks, especially wireless networks, to restrict or prioritize some traffic is a huge threat to the success of cloud computing. If provider networks are allowed to control traffic, they could give priority to the larger cloud computing vendors who write them a big check for the privilege. At the same time, smaller cloud computing upstarts who can’t afford the fee will have access to their offerings slowed noticeably, or perhaps not even allowed on the network at all.”

Unfortunately, because of the way a corporation is structured, it’s only a matter of time before the ISP shareholders start hounding down upper management for passing up on opportunities that would make the company money. This leads me to believe that even though cloud computing is right around the corner, we may not experience the full effect as ISPs begin to question the purpose of net neutrality laws.

A three-dimensional take over

In 3D, Star Wars, Three-Dimensional on October 19, 2010 at 2:59 am

It was recently announced that George Lucas plans to convert his beloved films to Imax 3D. As nerds around the world rejoice at the chance to watch a three-dimensional Princess Leia strangle Jabba the Hut, I find myself asking why? Why even bother converting Star Wars to 3D? I mean does it really matter now, George? You’ve already created one of the most praised trilogies of all time. Is blue-ray not good enough for you? Okay, enough with my rant on Mr. Lucas. I guess the better question to ask is, why not?

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Anti-piracy

In Copyright on October 5, 2010 at 11:14 am

Since the introduction of Napster in 1999, the illegal ownership and distribution of copyrighted material has become a key issue in the eyes of the public. Why? Because the majority of today’s younger generation, or more tech-savvy generation, have been or continue to be involved in illegal file-sharing. I can only begin to remember how many viruses I received for downloading music straight from Kazaa when I was a kid. It’s almost like tying a noose around your computers neck.

So far, efforts to regulate this illegal media trade have been gone poorly. As long as avid music goers are connected to the internet, there will always be a strong demand for free media distribution. It’s an on going war that has continued to annoy lawmakers and record labels throughout the past decade. This may change though as new legislation is being made which aims to shut down websites accused of piracy.

“The DOJ would have the authority to serve the accused site’s U.S.-based registrar with an order to shut down the site. Perhaps most important to copyright owners, the DOJ would also have the power to prevent U.S. citizens from accessing accused sites based overseas by ordering Internet service providers to black out those sites. The government could order Google or Visa to cease doing business with the alleged pirate sites.”

The legislation, also known as the The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, gives the Justice Department the ability to take any website believed to be in violation of piracy laws to court.

“Under the proposed legislation, the Justice Department would file a civil action against accused pirate domain names. If the domain name resides in the U.S., the attorney general could then request that the court issue an order finding that the domain name in question is dedicated to infringing activities.”

Now, what separates this type of legislation from ones in the past is that this will affect websites, such as bit torrent, that are based overseas. Because of this, we might finally see the nail in the coffin for music piracy, or at least until someone finds a new method to download illegally.