On the September 27, 2006 CSI:NY there was a scene that showed a robbery. During the robbery glass cases were shattered using sound. Later in the show it is revealed that the robbers used an Apple iPod and Hi-Fi to generate the sound. Part of the story was that the sound made a dog bark and it was beyond human hearing. Just to check I looked up what a dog whistle usually is sound wise on wikipedia. First problem is that they showed the CSI tech trying to reproduce the sound. The graphics on the screen showed 4000 htz, which I am guessing is 4 KHz. That is well within human hearing. For the sake or arguement lets just say the frequency was a dog whistle like at 22 KHz. The second problem is the Hi-Fi (and most consumer speaker systems) can't reproduce that sound, according to the specs it tops out at 16 KHz. The last problem is that the first thing that MP3 encoders do is throw away anything beyond human hearing. It is possible Apple Lossless could be used, but the CSI tech specifically mentioned MP3. I know it is all made up TV, but they got very close to reality and just didn't quite do all their research. It was a neat idea anyway.
September 2006 Archives
Well the real professional photographer pictures got put up a little while ago. They won't be up for long but if you want to see them you can click on this link. The picture on the side was the only one of Kelly and I. If you click on it a larger version will come up. The whole wedding photography game is something I am just beginning to understand. The prices to actually get prints are interesting to say the least.
I have finally updated my DVD list. I also got a program to help me keep it updated. The new list can be found at this link. The program is handy, it let me scan via upc my whole collection and entered everything for me. If the disc didn't have a upc (some special editions) I could just insert DVD and it would use disc id. There was only one that couldn't be identified, it was the In the Line of Fire that was included in my first DVD player. Most likely the number of these discs pressed is very small.
The funny thing is that I am just now doing this. Simply because my DVD purchasing has slowed to a crawl since the spring of 2005. Especially if you compare it to the number I used to buy. I just didn't buy any really while I worked on my basement and I haven't picked up much since. Maybe in the next 6 months I will get a HD-DVD and get a few more discs.
In August of this year Roger asked me what I was going to do for my 30th birthday. At the time I wasn't sure, August is always my busiest time of year. After much discussion he offered to have something at his house. This works better than my place since most of my friends live a lot closer to him than me. We decided to have it on the Sunday of labor day weekend. I figured people would be available that day due to 3 day weekend. The night before was to be the fantasy football draft, that way people had another reason to be in town.
I came up with the idea to have an outdoor movie, since we hadn't done that in a long time. We decided to have a low key BBQ as well. Roger even sent out an e-vite to get an idea of who could make it. Quite a few people did make it; Greg, Travis, Josh (short stop in country), Tommy, Matt, Colleen, Kevin (and his new girlfriend), Jerry, Karri and of course Kelly.
Kelly and I got to Roger's place around 1:30 on Sunday. First we unloaded all the left over beer from the rehearsal dinner at the wedding. Then we went to Safeway to get supplies with Roger. We got some ground beef, hot dogs, chicken, beans, chips and ingredients for Kelly's homemade mac and cheese. Roger and I played some games while Kelly made her mac and cheese.
First to show up was Greg and others started coming between 3-5. Around 5 PM Roger started up the grill. I was elected grill master, which I did um ok at. Luckily no one seemed to get sick from the food and it wasn't all burned. Everyone seemed to be happy with it, even Josh the reformed vegetarian.
After dinner Kelly brought out my cake with all the candles on it. She started and others joined in singing happy birthday. We had her layer cake and some ice cream, it was really good cake. After dessert I started getting the movie setup. I hung the screen from the house with some help. Got out the step stool and setup the projector, laptop and speakers.
Everything seemed to work well. I brought an Epson 765c from work along with a Toshiba Protege M400. I got a new set of speakers for the occasion since I had wanted some. I got the Boomtube H2O1 and it really worked well. It is a nice looking, loud, compact and battery powered speaker set. If you want one check around for pricing, the list of $250 is almost $100 more than I found it for.
We first watched Tommy's fight that a bunch of people went to. After that we watched the main attraction of the night Gone in 60 Seconds. I couldn't find my original copy of the film so I had gone out and gotten the newer director's cut edition. The original wasn't even anamorphic so it wasn't a big loss. There was actually some noticeable changes to the movie in this edition. This was a good movie for a drive-in back yard movie experience. Lots of action and car chases, true summer popcorn flick.
After the movie as I was breaking down the setup everyone left pretty quick. Due to the amount of drinking the night before at the FF draft many didn't seem up for another night of it. By the time I left no one was still there other than Jerry and Karri who were on their way out and Greg who was staying to wait for Camille to arrive.
Thanks to all that came and enjoyed the night with me. Travis, Kevin and Roger were even well behaved. Since all three weren't drunk they couldn't feed off each other.
I saw this on HD Beat. It finally looks like someone is getting receiver setup right. I almost hate to compliment Sony at this point but they are at least leading the trend here. My Onkyo from 5+ years ago had what can only be called a rudimentary on screen setup when compared to this. Mine was basically displaying the text from the LCD on the receiver in a more readable fashion. One of the problems that was quickly apparent was it didn't work on anything better than S-Video. This wasn't a huge problem at first, but now I don't have anything other than component or HDMI running to my projector.
This new receiver is able to handle everything up to 1080p. It is also able to display its interface and do other controls at that resolution. This is a big upgrade. Also as you can see from the screenshots there is an entire GUI to assist in configuring the receiver. The receiver also has the ability to convert from other inputs to an HDMI output, it may also upconvert but I am not sure. One other nice feature is to be able to implement Picture in Picture even if your display device doesn't.
The receiver hasn't even been released yet and it is already out of date however. It only supports HDMI 1.2a and not 1.3. This means it doesn't support the transmission of Dolby Digital TrueHD or DTS HD. Hopefully that feature will show up soon along with the other features to enable full enjoyment of HD optical discs like HD-DVD or Blu-Ray.
On Friday night Kelly and I were both tired and decided to just relax and watch a movie. We decided on one of the ones I got from my family for my birthday. The movie we watched was Shopgirl. This movie did not do well in theaters, it only made 10 mil, so I wasn't expecting too much. Also the commercials and trailers I had seen didn't seem to portray the movie as it really was. It was a very good drama with a well laid out storyline. It had good pacing so it didn't seem to drag at all. I really enjoyed the film and would recommend it, especially if you are in the mood for an emotional drama. It doesn't get overly emotional though, just enough so you know what the characters are feeling.
On Saturday night I had been left alone to try and recover from my recent sickness. I took the opportunity to watch one of the films that Kelly seems to keep skipping as a possibility. I watched Zathura which is a spiritual successor to Jumanji. This movie is best described as a family friendly action adventure movie. It is aimed more so at kids but I liked it as well. The movie has some good special effects and great action scenes. Also it has a nice brotherhood moral which I thought was cool. It isn't a great movie but I did enjoy it. One interesting note is how few people are in it. There are two main characters, two sub characters and a bit part by a fifth. That is really it, I guess you could call the house itself as a character. It is a fun little movie that can kill a couple of hours.
I read a post (I believe) by Robert Scoble first and then another by Omar Shahine that pointed out the idea of good headphones. I bought a pair of Etymotic ER6i headphones shortly thereafter. I have used them ever since with my pair of iPod Mini's (first one died sort of). I cannot recommend too highly getting a good pair of headphones if you use a portable music player regularly. One of the best parts of these headphones is that they are noise blocking. They act as ear plugs and block out music as opposed to the noise cancelling products offered by Bose primarly and Sony as well. I don't like noise cancelling ones since it makes it feel like my head is collapsing. The main benefit of the noise blocking headphones is to allow you to not turn up the sound nearly as much. This helps protect your hearing and also greatly improves the sound quality.
These headphones are also very durable. I have paint on mine as I used them extensively while working on basement. They helped alot while working on basement as earplugs since some of the equipment I used was quite loud. Also as I mentioned in my Maryland State Fair entry they survived going through the wash and dryer in a pair of shorts. The headphones even came out quite clean.
If you want to get a pair look around for prices. The list price on Etymotic is $149 and they can be found for as little as $80. It may seem like a lot to spend on headphones but I think mine will survie multiple players just as my speakers will outlast my stereo. Another company to look at that makes similar products is Shure.
On Sunday August 27th Kelly and I went to the Maryland State Fair. I am pretty sure I have never been to a true state fair before, at least that I remember. I have been to county fairs, but they are more carnivals than this was. Kelly really wanted to go to see all the animals.
The day started out a little less than ideal. We first went to the light rail at about 10:15 and bought round trip tickets. The only problem was the light rail doesn't start running until 11 AM. There were a few others who had made the same mistake as well. We decided to drive to the fair grounds instead.
As we were driving away I for some reason looked for my headphones. I couldn't find them and then tried to remember where they were. I realized I might have left them in my shorts and washed them. This soured my mood immediately and to an extent for the rest of the day. I am not sure why I let it get to me but I did. As an aside I did wash the headphones and they did survive, more on that some other time.
When we got the fairgrounds traffic was a bit of a mess and confusing. We couldn't quite figure out where to park and I was being grumpy. We finally figured out where to park and paid the boy scouts working the lot. We got into the fair at about 11 AM.
We started with the craft pavilion. It was a giant display area with all sorts of items. We started with the sewing/knitting/needlecraft/quilting section. While browsing this section my favorite quote of the day occurred between Kelly and I:
Kelly - "You don't have to act so bored"
Me - "Who said I was acting"
The next section was photography that had interesting pieces from digital and regular film. After that was the baking/cooking section, which Kelly did not enter this year with her wonderful pies. The last section was an array of children's entries and 4-H sponsored items. Before we left we voted for our favorite quilts, I think I chose the one that looked like a Q-Bert board.
Next we began the odyssey of livestock. The first animals we saw were bunny rabbits and chickens. Which of course Kelly had to pet, even with the threat of losing a finger. The next animals we saw were actually wild animals that had been rescued. There were various birds and reptiles brought by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
After the first round of animals we went into another pavilion with various booths. Everything ranging from pinball machines to military recruiters. Kelly wanted a caramel apple and the best were apparently found there. We then headed over to the horse stalls. We walked around and looked at all the horses. Kelly pet many of them, even the ones that said "don't pet I bite."
My memory of the remainder of the livestock gets hazy on order. I think the next think we went to look at was milk cows. In the same area was the animal birthing center. We got to watch piglets being born, Kelly more than I. We then headed over to one of the many judging areas. My second favorite quote of the day was used over and over by the judge "I like the mamories on that one."
We got lunch next. There were various levels of food at the state fair. The lowest being true carney food. We went to the food pavilion that was a notch higher and had more selection in one area than the carney food. The only downside for me is I couldn't get a corndog, I never seem to get them at anything other than carney fairs. One of my other problems with events like this was prevalent at this venue, too many people combined with not enough food booths and not enough seating. Just a mass of humanity not thrilled to be there.
After lunch we went back to looking at various livestock. We watched the judging of some sheep and rams. This time it was primarily kids showing the animals, less than 13-14. We walked around and looked at the various sheep, goat and pigs afterward. Just an amazing array of animals. Next we headed back to the cattle. This time we saw the beef and hybrid cattle. Kelly found some calfs that should could pet and play with. She also did it to a certain extent with full size cattle. I on the other hand don't really like hanging with the livestock. We headed back over to the birthing area to see more piglets being born, not sure if it was the same mother.
On our way out we got some ice cream. While we ate we saw the milking of cows via a machine. We left the fair about 4 PM.
I could go without ever seeing livestock again, however I have feeling I won't have that luxury. The rest of the fair was a normal traveling carney with rides and games. We didn't partake in that. The other part was horse racing on the track at the fairgrounds.
On September 5th Kelly and I went to a preview screening of The Guardian, which comes out September 29th. It was a free screening at The Charles. It was in their second largest auditorium and it was about 85% full. I had seen trailers for the film, but I still wasn't sure what to expect.
I didn't see Annapolis but somehow I see this movie as the Coast Guard's response. I doubt either the Navy or Coast Guard really had much to do with the original idea of these movies, however both seemed to support them fully. I think the Guardian will do better than Annapolis, which wouldn't be hard compared to its total gross of 17 mil.
The movie is kind of a standard old guy needs to retire but instead becomes teacher and then a new young kid thinks he is better but learns a lesson. One of the problems with this film is it is pretty long and has too many things going on. One of the weird parts was a 10 minute montage of working out. It was done to look like it was a reality show with grainy video and it was a little jarring compared to the rest of the movie.
The story was pretty good and gave an interesting look into the Coast Guard rescue school. It was also funny to watch some of the Coast Guard vs. Navy jokes. A good chunk of the movie was very similar to the Perfect Storm, only from the rescuers standpoint. There was some really good special effects and it was obvious they had buy in from the Coast guard from the on location filming.
The movie had some issues and tried to be a little sappy at points. However it had some pretty good action scenes and decent acting. I wouldn't run out to see it, but it is worth seeing. I almost want to see Annapolis just to compare the two.
I am in the process of watching the premiere of MNF with a regular season game. I am watching it on TiVo so I just saw the Clinton Portis TD. I wanted to mention the production values on the program and some other notes.
The opening was really well done I thought. It may be semi-special for the opening but still. It was a two partner. The first part was a short film with a special agent running through Washington DC. The agent is being chased and finally makes it to the ESPN truck. The MNF intro DVD is inserted and then the normal intro started. The second intro started with the governator Arnold picking up a helmet and unleashing an emp like blast to begin to change the city (fictional computer generated not DC). The city then changes into a massive football stadium with high rises becoming seating and roads becoming yard markers. It was really well done and I can even except the massive GMC advertising embedded in.
They later had the standard MNF intro by Hank Williams Jr. It is still better than Pink on Sunday Night Football, but it just seems to be aging. It was short thankfully. It had a wide range of rockers from Little Richard, Steve Van Zandt and Joe Perry.
The picture quality of the game is really amazing. I watched a bunch of games on Sunday Ticket HD yesterday and this just looks better. It may be that DirecTV is allocating more bandwidth to ESPN HD or it may be the ESPN production itself, either way it looks good. The graphics for scores and other stuff is done quite well. It seems ESPN has just invested more in HD than some others have.
The calling of the game seems to be going well. Tericho is a good play by play guy and Theisman is a pretty good color and football technical announcer. So far Kornheiser seems to be doing well. He is interjected nicely and even seems to be fitting in. I didn't watch any of the pre-season games and from what I have heard Tony was rough at times. He is a good add-on of a person between the average fan and Theisman in football knowledge. He asks questions that many people watching might ask. He also reads emails which seem to add a new twist.
In the middle of the second quarter Jamie Foxx joined the other guys in the booth. Usually when some random star does this the result is some thinly veiled commercial for a project. However as far as I could tell Foxx was not pimping anything. Also Foxx was really good in the booth. He played high school football and then played a character in Any Given Sunday as well. He knows his football and was a really entertaining addition to the booth for about 20 minutes. There was some talk and joking about Tom Cruise who was in Dan Snyder's owners booth next to the broadcasting booth.
The half time show appears to be at least partially about 9/11. I will probably not watch much of it. Don't need it from ESPN or any other TV channel really. The half time show is sponsored by Lexus, too bad they didn't take the opportunity to show a HD commercial.
That gets me to halftime. I may add some final thoughts at the end of game, if I am still awake.