September 24, 2007

Star Wars Redux

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I watched the "Family Guy" season premiere last night, and quite enjoyed it.

It was an hour long, but if you take out commercials and about 10 minutes of "Family Guy" nonsense (most "Family Guy" humour seems to be of the "its-funny-if-it-goes-on-uncomfortably-long" variety anyway) - it was pretty much a 35 minute shot-for-shot recreation of the first Star Wars film (Episode IV, to be clear).

It may even be my preferred edition of Star Wars.

The CG was good, that action scenes were crisp, the pacing was tight, and Han shot first. Sure, the (voice-over) acting was a little wooden, but no worse than the original :)

September 12, 2007

Data problems

Not a new observation, or anything, but there's been an explosion in storage capacity, with revolutions of change still coming.... but our ability to organize and manage that data has only incrementally improved over the last two decades. For example, at the high end, although every medium to large business drowns in an excess of data they have trouble managing, core rDB tech has only evolved incrementally, at least commercially - yet remains the tool of choice.

Cutting edge is considered selecting MySQL instead of Oracle - yeah, that's bold :P

Companies like Google, whose mission statement is about data organization, of course, don't just fall back on tried and true patterns - they created tools (genuine internal infrastructure) like BigTable to help address these issues.

In a similiar vein (courtesy of Slashdot), you should check out the Database Column - a "multi-author blog on database technology and innovation" ("Column", get it? :D). Clearly, there's some interesting thinking going in the space that will change how data management happens - column-based dB tech vs. row-based is really only the tip of the iceberg, but provides a nice visual metaphor for how sideways things will get.

Interestingly enough, the "middeware" thing I referred to previously was in this space. If I manage to get out off my keister with that project some weekend, I'll post a sample application... but don't hold your breath :)

September 4, 2007

Seam Carving Images

Boy - there were a number of interesting things at this year's SIGGRAPPH, but so-called "Seam Carving" really seems to have caught people's attention. It seems to have hit upon exactly the right combination of: (1) Easy to demo, (2) Fake AI/magic (seeming) computer smarts, and (most importantly) (3) Relatively trivial to code. Still, even having read the preprints, I'm surprised at all the attention it seems to be receiving.

Video, which explains what I'm talking about (it is fun to watch in action):

And demos, for Windows, in Java, and even Flash, if you just want to try it online (the Windows version is the coolest).

Pretty clever. (And yes, thank you, I've seen it :P)