Friday, December 26, 2008

Gunnar Optiks Eyewear

If you are like me and spend the better part of your day staring at a computer screen, you might want to consider a fashionable accessory that also protects your vision.

Gunnar Optiks are the purveyors of stylish protective eyewear for those of us who spend more time in front of a computer, rather than riding a mountain bike. Gunnar's i-Amp technology relaxes the occular muscle responsible for focusing one's eyes at close distances. This helps to prevent Digital Eye Fatigue (DEF) or Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Featuring i-Amp lens technology - an optical platform that incorporates proprietary lens materials, lens tints, lens coatings and lens geometry.

This means that you can look at a computer monitor for a longer period of time with less eye fatigue and fewer headaches. Thereby increasing your productivity and making you much more attractive to the opposite sex. That's a win-win scenario.

Pros: Makes you look like Bono.

Cons: You are not Bono.

List Price: $119.00 - $189.00

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tape Deck - Old School Audio Recording

I am gearing up for the recording of the first Pixelphile Podcast. The big question is what software to use for the recording. Logic, Garage Band, Audacity? While they are all great pieces of kit, I decided to keep it old school and record it on a cassette tape. Well, not really a cassette tape in the traditional sense, but it's funky digital cousin.

TapeDeck brings back the analog love of the portable cassette recorder without all the noise and hum. By utilizing the tape deck metaphor, SuperMegaUltraGroovy have created a visually retro piece of software with all the features of a digital recorder. With it's idiot proof interface, there is never any danger of erasing or overwriting an audio file. Every time you click on the record button a new tape is created that you can label, annotate, and color code for further reference. It keeps all your recordings in the tape box that is collapsible and hides inside the recorder. The interface is familiar and fun to use, complete with all the analog sound effects that a tape recorder provides.

It's no slouch in regards to audio formats. It can export your audio file in pretty much any style you desire, including the ever popular AIFF, MP3, and MPEG-4 audio formats. Super cool extra features such as Email Tape, Copy Tape to iTunes, and Send to YouTube make TapeDeck a must have for your mac software library.

TapeDeck requires a Macintosh with Mac OS X version 10.5 or later.

Pros: Old School Analog Interface.

Cons: Chronological Listing Only.

List Price: $25.00

Friday, October 17, 2008

Vixy Online Flash Converter

One of the questions I receive most often is, "How can I save flash videos from Youtube and covert them to Quicktime?" There are many ways to do it, some requiring special software and a Ph.D. from MIT. For the rest of us without a MENSA membership, there is the free online flash video converter, Vixy.

It's as simple as copying the URL of the video that you want to download, pasting it's address into Vixy, picking what format you want to convert it to (AVI, MOV, MP4, 3GP, MP3) and hitting the start button. Once Vixy resolves the video address, it will convert the flash video from Youtube to the downloadable format that you picked. Then all you have to do is download it to your desktop.

Piece of proverbial pixel pie.

"I got myself a brand new Oakland scarf right here."

Pros: Easy, Fast, Convenient.

Cons: Server Often Overloaded.

Price: FREE!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dash Express Internet GPS

If you live in a major metropolitian area, such as Los Angeles, you already know that traffic sucks. What you need is some insider information that will help you bypass the traffic jams, and pick a faster alternate route.

Dash approaches traffic in an entirely new way - by collecting it from other people driving real commute routes, during real commute times. Each Dash Express anonymously and automatically sends its position and speed back to servers at the Dash Network Operations Center. The Dash servers then update all other Dash devices in the area with current road speeds. That way, members of the Dash Driver Network always have the best, most up-to-date traffic information available.

Dash Express is also the only Internet Connected GPS. Using Dash, you can connect to Yahoo!® Local search and find unlimited, up-to-date information about businesses, products and services—all in real-time, and all rated by real users.

Whether you're at home, the office, or out of town, you can log into your MyDash account from any Internet-connected computer to easily manage and send information wirelessly to your device.

DashApps such as "Trapster", which warns you when there is a live speed trap, photo enforcement camera, or typical enforcement location nearby, add even more functionality to an already robust device.

It looks like Dash has taken an entirely new approach to automotive GPS with the needs of the busy commuter in mind.

Pros: Real Time Traffic, Wifi Connected, DashApps.

Cons: Slightly Funky Design, Not For Rural Areas.

List Price: $299.99

Click here to buy from Pixelphile's Amazon Stop & Shop.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Belkin BreakFree Guitar Connector

Apple hit a home run with their now famous MagSafe power cable connector. A power cable that is held in place magnetically.  This helped prevent your precious laptop from crashing to the ground in case a dog or human tripped on it.  

Seems that Belkin must have had that same problem while playing guitar.  They have now come up with the "BreakFree" 1/4 inch cable connector.  Giving musicians the same break away technology that Mac Addicts have been enjoying for the past 2 years.

Scheduled for release sometime in October.

$19.99 for the cable connector, and $9.99 per pair of extra tips.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Zenith DTT900 Converter Box

As the February 17, 2009 digital television transition draws nearer, it might be a good idea to think about getting a converter box for your older analog televisions. If you are watching your favorite shows through satellite or cable, you will not need one of these boxes. But if you have an older style television lying around, after February 17, you will have one very large and heavy paperweight. Unless you get a converter box.

If you live in a major metropolitan area, such as Los Angeles, chances are that your local stations are already broadcasting a digital signal. Rural locations will probably have to wait until February before seeing the digital transition. The amount of stations you will receive will depend on how close you are to the broadcast antennas and how strong of a signal your rabbit ears, or roof mounted antenna is capable of pulling in.

The great thing about using one of these boxes, besides the large amount of free stations, is the crystal clear quality of the picture. Gone forever is the static and snow. It is now replaced with a vibrant, standard definition signal that looks about as good as a DVD.

I recently tested the Zenith DTT900 and it proved more than capable at converting the OTA (over the air) digital transmission to an analog signal. With this little box I was able to pick up 60 stations that are broadcasting in the L.A. and Orange County area.

3 Easy Steps to Digital TV with the Zenith Digital TV Tuner
  1. Request a $40 coupon for the purchase of a digital-to-analog converter box. Go to to learn more, request coupons here or call 1-888-DTV-2009 for details.
  2. Take the coupon to a participating retailer and purchase the Zenith Digital TV Tuner. Radio Shack, Circuit City and many other fine retailers carry the DTT900/DTT901.
  3. Connect the Zenith Digital TV Tuner to an existing or new TV antenna and connect the Zenith Digital TV Tuner to your existing TV with the supplied cables. Go to for more information about receiving TV signals from an antenna in your area.
Pros: Clear Reception, Abundant Channels.

Cons: Limited Video Outputs.

Price: $20.00 (after coupon).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Large Hadron Collider Rap Video

Alpinekat, better known as Kate McAlpine from Michigan State University, raps about the groundbreaking collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland.

The first beam in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN was successfully steered around the full 27 kilometres of the world’s most powerful particle accelerator at 10:28 a.m. this morning. This historic event marks a key moment in the transition from over two decades of preparation to a new era of scientific discovery.

By creating hundreds of thousands of head-on collisions each second, physicists hope to understand the fiery conditions of the universe a trillionth of a second after the big bang.

The findings could also help resolve some of the biggest mysteries in physics, such as the existence of one long-hypothesized particle called the Higgs boson—or the "God particle"—thought to be responsible for giving all other particles their mass.

All right guys, try not to screw this one up. Seriously.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Text Messaging

Okay, I will admit it, I am one of the few people remaining in the world who doesn't like to text message from a cell phone.  This could be do to the fact that my cell phone is either too small, or my thumbs are too big.  Or maybe a little bit of both.  Thankfully there is hope for people like me who are TMC (text messaging challenged).   

You can easily send a text message from your computer using your favorite email account.  The secret is knowing how to address the message.  I have compiled a little list of the most common cell phone carriers and how you need to format the address to insure that your text message reaches your intended recipient.  

Sprint -
T-Mobile -
Verizon -


Now put down that phone and get text messaging!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

All Around The World

"All around the world, you've got to spread the word. Tell them what you've heard. We're gonna make a better day." - Oasis

Okay, so it's not exactly Shakespeare, but it does rhyme. Nice going Noel.

I wanted to say thanks to everyone who has been visiting my blog over the last eight months. You guys are the best. If you look close you might even see your city represented by a nice little red push pin. I hope by this time next year to have the map covered in a sea of red.

If anyone out there is a friend of Bjork, please tell her about Pixelphile. Iceland looks so lonely without a pin.

Friday, July 25, 2008

AirPort Express Airtunes

As many of you know I just recently relocated to a Mid Century Modern house in Woodland Hills. I had only one small problem. How to get the music that was playing off my iTunes in the living room transmitted out to the area by the pool. It was my dream to have the same soundtrack playing as my guests migrated from the inside of the house to the outside. Steve Jobs must have had the same dream, and the savants at Apple have built that functionality into the very small and affordable Airport Express. With Airtunes, I am now able to wirelessly stream my music from a host computer to any room or outside location. All it takes is a wifi connection, a couple of AirPort Expresses, and powered speakers.

I can now sit back by the pool and enjoy the sweet sounds of my iTunes library. Now if I could only find a way to get my drinks delivered just as easily.

Pros: Easy setup, extended wifi signal, Airtunes audio streaming.

No Video streaming.

List Price: $99.99

Click here to buy from Pixelphile's Amazon Stop & Shop.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Google Maps Is The Best - Double True!

Recently I decided that it was time for a change.  Even though I really enjoyed living in Pasadena, with all it's fine eateries, tree lined streets, and low crime rate, it was time for greener pastures.  Not to mention that the neighbor whose internet connection I was stealing, I mean borrowing, had just moved out, thereby leaving me without my precious wifi for over a month.  So what's a pixelphile to do?  Hit up craigslist and google maps to find a new abode.

In most areas, google maps will be able to show both a street view and an aerial view of a house or an apartment.  This is great for checking out a neighborhood before you even step foot outside your door.  I was able to find a mid-century modern ranch with a much coveted black bottom pool.  All thanks to craigslist, google maps, and a bottle of Merlot. 

Now if I could just find a nice nude beach:)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bloody Omaha BBC

More than 60 years ago, the fate of World War II turned on five beaches in Normandy, France. ‘D-Day’ was the greatest amphibious invasion ever attempted. History remembers it as a great victory. But new research reveals that on Omaha Beach, it was very nearly a disaster. German defenses there were far more ferocious than expected. A massive air strike intended to take them out, was a total failure. For the troops charged with this mission, it would become a killing zone.

In this behind the scenes documentary, Richard "Hamster" Hammond of the hugely popular British show "Top Gear", shows us how with current digital technology and a little British ingenuity they were able to create an epic war scene for very little money and without a thousand extras.

This is from the the BBC's "Bloody Omaha", which is part of their history series "Timewatch".


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Paloma & Mary

Over the Memorial Day weekend I did a photo shoot for a corporate client. I used a Nikon D80 and a Dynalite M1000DR strobe pack. The great thing about shooting in Los Angeles is that if you pick up your rental gear after 4:00 p.m. on Friday and return it by 11:00 a.m. the following Monday, you are only charged for a one day rental. Since it was a holiday weekend, I also got an extra bonus day, and was able to keep the gear until Tuesday. So what is a photographer to do with great gear and a couple of extra days? Doggie Photo Shoot! I wanted to volunteer to help out with a Playboy centerfold shoot, but for some reasons they wouldn't return my calls. Damn you Hugh Hefner!

Here is a photo from that session that features Paloma & Mary. Both of these dogs have been rescued from an animal shelter. They are two of the sweetest and most cuddly dogs I have ever known. If you would like to find out more about shelter dogs, please check out the Shelter Animal Advocacy Fund.

If you are shooting in Los Angeles be sure to stop on by Samy's Camera for all your photographic needs. Tell them the Pixelphile sent you.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Crank 2 - Shot With Canon Consumer Cameras

Crank 2 - High Voltage, the sequel to the 2006 film Crank, about an assassin played by Jason Statham who learns his rival has injected him with a poison that will kill him if his heart rate drops, is being shot entirely with consumer level Canon video cameras.

Primarily being shot hand held with a $3,500 XH-A1 that is mounted onto a Manfrotto Fig Rig (see photo above featuring Amy Smart and Corey Haim) , which was invented by director Mike Figgis while making his 2000 film Timecode. For point of view, car mounted, and crash cams, they are using the less expensive HF10's which records to removable SDHC memory cards. Reportedly they will be using up to 12 of these $1,000 cameras with plans of destroying most of them during the filming process.

Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor have said that the Canon XH-A1 and Canon HF10 will be used as “moving the camera in outrageous ways and being able to destroy cameras without blinking an eye is more important to us than, you know, sort of having this filmic image” says Taylor. Nevedine says “With the cameras we’re using we literally can point and shoot and we have the same image quality that we had on Crank 1“.

With camcorders though won’t it look pretty crappy? “It doesn’t look like Cloverfield. It’s not supposed to look like home video. It’s going to look like a movie, but it’s going to look like a movie you’ve never seen before.“

Crank 1, was previously shot with the Sony F950 that carries a price tag of well over $100,000. So it's refreshing to see that the directors have decided to take an entirely different approach.

Just goes to show you that you don't need a really expensive camera to make a Hollywood movie. All you need is a hot actress with a really short dress.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

MUJI Cardboard Speakers

Ever wanted to fold up your stereo speakers and put them in your suitcase while you are traveling? .... Me neither. But if someday I do, at least I know I can with these cool, lightweight, collapsible speakers made of cardboard. MUJI is from the Japanese phrase "Mujirushi Ryohin", meaning "No Brand Goods". They are the creative force behind these environmentally friendly speakers.

MUJI's emphasis on high quality but inexpensive raw materials, including remnants and otherwise disposable materials, results in products that are economical and environmentally friendly. These ideals are upheld in MUJI's manufacturing systems as well, in their attempt to streamline the design process and eliminate over-manufacturing.

You can pick these up, as well as other works of art from The Museum of Modern Art's online store.

Pros: Eco Design, Collapsible.

Sounds Like Cardboard Speakers.

List Price: $42.00

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Blackle - The Black Google

Blackle was created by Heap Media to remind us all of the need to take small steps in our everyday lives to save energy. Blackle searches are powered by Google Custom Search.

Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black. "Image displayed is primarily a function of the user's color settings and desktop graphics, as well as the color and size of open application windows; a given monitor requires more power to display a white (or light) screen than a black (or dark) screen."

In January 2007 a blog post titled Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year proposed the theory that a black version of the Google search engine would save a fair bit of energy due to the popularity of the search engine. Since then there has been skepticism about the significance of the energy savings that can be achieved and the cost in terms of readability of black web pages.

To quote Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap, "It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black."

Pros: None More Black.

Cons: It's Not The White Album.

Price: FREE!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

BlueAnt Supertooth Light

For those of us who are lucky enough to live in California, or unlucky enough, depending on your viewpoint, a new law goes into effect on July 1, 2008 that will prohibit the use of a handheld wireless device while operating a motor vehicle. I personally think this is a great idea, but can we also outlaw women, and even some men (this is California after all) from applying their make up while they drive? Dare to dream...

In order to keep away from the $20 first time offense ticket, and $50 subsequent offense convictions, pick yourself up a BlueAnt Supertooth Light hands-free device. This neat little device will provide you a hands-free driving experience, leaving your hands free for more important things, such as smoking, drinking, eating...and oh yeah, driving.

Pros: Small Ergonomic Design, Clips To Sunvisor.

Cons: Pull Out Antenna.

Price: $99.99

Click here to buy from Pixelphile's Amazon Stop & Shop.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Princess Leia Costume

For all those guys who enjoy sci fi, the best costume ever has to be the Princess Leia outfit from Return of the Jedi. Looks like there are a lot of women out there who also agree.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Blue Screen Hanging

Blue Screen Plate

Background Plate

Final Composite

Recently I did a little blue screen shoot with my visual effects students over at CSUN. We did 4 set-ups in 4 hours which I think is pretty amazing. We picked blue screen over green screen for this particular shot due to the fact that we were lighting the screen with Kino Flo K55 tubes which are rated at 5500 degrees Kelvin. This color temperature combined with the blue screen provided a well saturated blue screen.

This type of shot requires a heavy dose of keying, rotoscoping, motion tracking & color correction. These techniques are the bread and butter for all visual effects artists and this one shot will use them all.

The really fun part of the shoot was hand holding a fully extended monopod thirty feet in the air while connected to a new $4,000 camera. Priceless.

Monday, April 14, 2008

RED Scarlet 3K Camera Announced at NAB 2008

Today at NAB, Red Digital Cinema showcased the long-awaited Scarlet, a compact model capable of shooting 3K video for under $3,000. Film and video enthusiasts flooded the show floor, clawing to catch a glimpse of the Scarlet's rectangular upright body and unconventional architecture. The Scarlet is equipped with a new 2/3-inch Mysterium sensor and supports 1-120fps with a 180fps burst mode. The Scarlet can capture video up to 100Mbps in REDCODE Raw format and RGB recording to dual compact flash.

Red's latest compact addition has a 4.8-inch LCD screen, 8x optical zoom lens, and full Auto or Manual shooting modes. The Scarlet's connectivity includes HDMI, HD-SDI, FireWire 800, and USB2. A still mode and compatibility with many Red One accessories is available.

Scarlet Preliminary Specs:

* 1-120 FPS (180FPS BURST)
* 4.8″ LCD
* FIREWIRE 800 and USB2

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Adobe Photoshop Express Beta

Adobe recently announced it's beta version of Adobe Photoshop Express. This FREE flash based application has a look and feel very similar to it's bigger and more expensive brother, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. For basic photo editing chores such as; exposure correction, red eye removal, image cropping, and simple touch ups, this software might be all you will ever need. For more advanced editing that requires layers, masking, and other professional tools, you will still need to plunk down some greenbacks for the industry standard Photoshop CS3.

Cool features like it's slide show function, that resembles Apple's "cover flow", makes watching the content of your photo albums much more enjoyable. It can be viewed in either standard 2D or in pseudo 3D.

The main thing missing from Photoshop Express is it's inability to resize the pixel resolution and consequently reduce the file size of your photos that you wish to email. This would make sending your friends and family a copy of your latest pix much easier than having them download a large 1 or 2MB file.

Picassa, a FREE little iPhoto like application has been around for quite awhile and has a loyal user base, appears to be the only competition against Adobe's latest creation.

Pros: Elegant Interface, Photo Cataloging, 3D Slide Show.

Cons: No Image Resizing.

Price: FREE!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Panasonic Retro Headphones RP-HTX7PP

I remember listening to Paradise Theater by Styx on my brother's Puke Green headphones while lounging in a bean bag chair as I played Asteroids on my Atari 2600. How's that for a run-on sentence? The bean bag chair and the Atari 2600 went to the city dump many, many years ago. Not really sure what happened to my brother's headphones, but they must have met the same fate. Thanks to Panasonic I can Rock the Paradise once again in retro style. The RP-HTX7PP Old School Stereo Headphones will transport you back to a much simpler time.

Providing a nice round sound that makes your digital mp3's sound a little less brittle and gives you more of an analog experience. They are much lighter than they look, which will make longer listening sessions less fatiguing. The earpieces are a bit on the smaller size, so those of you with Spock like ears might want to look elsewhere.

You can take your pick of Green, Blue, White, Cream, or Black.

Pros: Retro Design, Round Sound.

Cons: Not for Vulcans.

Price: $59.99

Click here to buy from Pixelphile's Amazon Stop & Shop.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Okay, when was the last time that you rasterbated? What? You swear you never ever have? Well isn't it about time that you started? has a pixlelicious piece of software called the Rasterbator that will help you turn any photo or graphic into a Roy Lichtenstein inspired work of art.

This ingenious piece of software turns any image into a series of halftone dots that when viewed from afar appear to be a continuous tone. You choose how large you want the final image to be, if you want it to be in color or b&w, and then just sit back as the software transforms your image into a PDF document that you can easily print on your latest ink jet or laser printer. Gather up all your prints, arrange them on your wall, and you have instant pop art!

So forget all about what your Mom use to tell you about going blind, and start Rasterbating!

Pros: Simple Interface, Excellent Results.

Doctor, I See Spots Before My Eyes.

List Price: FREE! Private Exchange

Let's say you have some files that you would like to share with your friends or colleagues but they are simply too large or too personal to attach to a basic email, what is a pixelphile to do? Thankfully the geniuses over at have come up with a quick and easy web based solution.

Step 1: Name your drop (the master name of the file or files that you are going to share). This will give you a unique url for this file.


Step 2: Upload your files from your computer. Up to 100MB.

Step 3: Choose a password if you want the file protected. Pick how long you want the file to be available. Set if the recipients can view only, view & add, or view, add & delete.

Step 4: Drop it. Your file has now been uploaded and is ready for whoever you want to download it.

It's just that easy. Give it a try and start creating your own drops today!

Pros: Quick & Easy Private File Sharing.

100 MB File Limit.

List Price: FREE!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Panasonic HDC-SD9 Pocket Size HD Cam

Panasonic has the world's smallest and lightest full HD Camcorder, the HDC-SD9. This pocket size cam features a 3CCD sensor that records at 1920x1080. For the independent film maker in all of us, you will appreciate the 24p mode that shoots at the same frame rate as motion picture film.

It records to SD/SDHC memory cards with the AVCHD codec. Which means, no more tapes. You will need a rather new and fast computer, preferably a dual core machine, if you want to have a chance at being able to edit the footage.

There were some compromises made in order to make this cam so dang small. Panasonic got rid of the viewfinder that is traditionally located on the back of the unit. You must now use only the LCD screen to frame your shots. This isn't such a big deal, since most people only use the LCD screen, and forget all about the viewfinder. If you want to plug in an external microphone to improve the audio quality of your recordings you are in for a big surprise. You can't. You are stuck with the built-in mic that is located on the camera. My biggest complaint is that the HDMI port is located in the battery compartment. If you want to use the HDMI, you have to take out the battery, and run on AC power. This is a big pain in the ass. Hopefully Panasonic will wise up and fix this on future versions.

This little cam also features "Face Detection" which had previously been available only on still cameras. This new function, which can detect up to five faces at once, automatically adjusts the exposure and smooths skin tones according to the ambient brightness, so faces are bright and easy to see.

This is an amazing HD camera that you can literally fit in your pocket.

Pros: Full 1920x1080 HD, 24p Mode, Leica Lens.

Cons: No Mic Input, No Viewfinder, HDMI Port Location.

Price: $799.95

Click here to buy from Pixelphile's Amazon Stop & Shop.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Analog TV Dead at 68 Years Old

On February 17, 2009, the television broadcast spectrum that we have been using for the last 68 years will no longer be used for the transmission of television content. On that day, the analog spectrum will be dedicated solely for the use of consumer electronics. The FCC has mandated that all future television broadcasts will only be receivable via digital transmission.

If you want to continue receiving "Over The Air" television programs, and you are using an older model t.v. that does not have a built in ATSC tuner, you will need to purchase a digital converter box in order to view the broadcast signal.

Luckily the U.S. Government has decided to help ease the cost of the transition. Until March 31, 2009, all U.S. households will be able to request two $40 coupons that can be applied to the cost of buying a digital-to-analog converter box. This will enable older non-digital televisions to continue receiving over the air programming.

Cable and Satellite customers will not be affected by this transition.

Now run and tell Grandma and Grandpa so they don't miss one exciting episode of "The Price Is Right".

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Saul Bass Star Wars

What if Saul Bass did the opening title sequence for the movie Star Wars? Saul Bass, 1920-1996, was a graphic designer and Academy Award winning filmmaker. But he is more well known as the godfather of motion graphics and motion picture title sequences. Bass has designed the title sequences for Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese.

So what if Star Wars came out in 1957 instead of 1977? Would it have looked something like this? Maybe, maybe not. But it's something to think about.

Saul Bass was the Mac Daddy of graphic design and his influence is still felt today.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Maxtor One Touch 4 Plus Hard Drive

There is an old computer adage, it is not a question of if a hard drive is going to fail, but when? Just like death and taxes, hard drive failure will eventually happen to all of us. Protect yourself by backing up all your important data to another hard drive. If one drive fails, you have another copy of your important and irreplaceable files.

I have been recommending the Maxtor One Touch 4 Plus line of hard drives. These drives feature a five year warranty, much better than some manufacturers who only offer a one or three year. I also like the look of the brushed metal and black enclosure and the cool white indicator light. Running at 7200 RPM, with 16 MB of cache, this drive has enough performance for most of your needs. More importantly, it can be connected with either Firewire 400 or USB 2.0. This makes it a perfect cross platform drive for both mac and pc users.

Currently they are available in 250GB, 500GB, and 750GB.

Pros: Quiet 7200 RPM , Heavy Duty Case, Cool White Light.

No Firewire 800 or eSATA Connection.

List Price: $199.99

Click here to buy from Pixelphile's Amazon Stop & Shop.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sony Wins HD DVD War - For Better Or Worse

Sony has been declared the winner in the HD DVD wars. Toshiba has announced that it would stop production of it's HD DVD players. This is the final nail in the coffin for Toshiba's HD DVD format after recently losing the support of Warner Brothers, Netflix and Wal-Mart.

This should help make Sony feel a little vindication after having lost the decade long battle against JVC in the 1980's Betamax vs VHS war. That time, the better format lost out. This time we are not so sure. Sony's Blu-Ray HD format is more costly in both the manufacturing of the discs and the set top players themselves. Eventually prices will fall as they did with standard DVD players. But probably not as fast. Most consumers are perfectly happy with their current DVD players and are in no rush to upgrade. With Blu-Ray players hovering in the $400-600 price range, it will take some serious persuasion to get consumers to plunk down their hard earned cash.

Toshiba's HD-DVD players were far less expensive and were not prone to the manufacturing problems that are prevalent with Blu-Ray. The visual quality difference between the two formats was negligible. So it seems that the public now has a format that is more expensive, more error prone, and visually identical to the losing format. Looks like we picked the wrong format once again.

Stupid is as stupid does. Nice going Sony.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Eye-Fi Wireless SD Memory Card

The problem with digital cameras is that the photos often end up stuck in the camera and are never downloaded to be shared with your friends and family. This is often due to the annoying process of taking the card out of the camera and putting it in a card reader or by trying to find that damn usb cable to connect it to the camera.

Now you have no more excuses. Eye-Fi has come up with a 2GB SD Memory Card that has built in Wi-Fi connectivity. After you return home from taking pictures with your digital camera, Eye-Fi will automatically download your photos to your home network. Nice.

Pros: Automatic Wireless Downloading, WEP & WPA Encryption.

Cons: Currently Only Available In SD.

Price: $99.99

Click here to buy from Pixelphile's Amazon Stop & Shop.

Explosive Slow Motion Skateboarding

As Dave Chappelle once said, "Everything Looks Better In Slow Motion. This is The Truth." You would have to agree with him after you watch the opening title sequence from Lakai's Fully Flared skate video. Directed by the alternative film master Spike Jonze, who once again shows why he is the best when it comes to original ideas.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

You Torrent Comparison Search Engine

I know that PixelPhile readers are law abiding citizens and would never consider using a bit torrent site to find free software, games, tv shows, and mp3's. Wink wink. But if for some reason you needed to, like say for a book report, the big question is which torrent site should you use? Now you can search all the popular sites easily with the real-time torrent comparison search engine YouTorrent. You can find your illegal...I mean for educational purposes only torrents much quicker and easier.

Pros: Searches Most Popular Torrent Sites.

Cons: Big Brother Is Still Watching You.

Price: FREE!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Time Warp

This is a time compression shot that I am working on with my students at Cal State University Northridge. It was shot normally at 24p then stabilized, tweaked, and color corrected in After Effects.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Star Trek The Tour

STAR TREK THE TOUR is dedicated to the over forty years of imagination, artistry and meticulous craftsmanship that together have made the Star Trek legacy the most enduring television franchise in history. This is the largest collection of artifacts, sets and information ever put on public display. A truly impressive array of exhibits, featuring sets, costumes, priceless museum pieces and props from all five Star Trek television series and ten Star Trek feature films. Together these components offer Star Trek fans and novices alike, an unprecedented encounter with the phenomenon that is Star Trek.

STAR TREK THE TOUR is at the Queen Mary Dome in Long Beach, California now through Sunday February 17, 2008. STAR TREK THE TOUR will travel to 40 cities in the United States over the next 5 years.

To quote William Shatner from SNL: "You know, before I answer any more questions there's something I wanted to say. Having received all your letters over the years, and I've spoken to many of you, and some of you have traveled... y'know... hundreds of miles to be here, I'd just like to say... GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it's just a TV show! I mean, look at you, look at the way you're dressed! You've turned an enjoyable little job, that I did as a lark for a few years, into a COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME!"

Pros: Colossal Waste of Time, Captain Kirk's Command Chair.

It's Not Star Wars.

Price: Adult Tickets $35 Weekend/$30 Weekday.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Green & Mean - Hummer HX Concept

Hummer, the manufacturer of gas guzzling, high carbon footprint vehicles for men with small penises, might actually be going green. Recently at the 2008 North American Auto Show, Hummer debuted it's Hummer HX Concept vehicle that will run on E 85 Flex Fuel.

Looking a bit like the M12 Warthog all-terrain vehicle from the video game Halo, the HX will unfortunately not be equipped with the optional M41 12.7mm LAAG machine gun. This would have been perfect for clearing the fast lane of slow moving soccer moms during rush hour traffic.

Pros: Aggressive Design, Flex Fuel Capable.

No Machine Gun.

List Price: TBA