Monday, November 30, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Computer graphics in Star Wars (1977)

This is a video documentary about how one scene in Episode IV was prepared, the scene in particular is when the rebel pilots were planning how to attack the Death Star. The Commander showed them an animation of the Death Star and where to fire.



Of course, this is 1976, no high end computer graphics cards exists yet, so Larry Cuba describe the steps in the 3D modeling based on photographs of the real miniature models. Check how he's controlling the rotation in real time (awesome) with big controls (no mouse neither exists).

The final touch was to render each scene, shot by shot, in the computer screen with and automatic camera capturing in film.

Via Topless Robot.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Updating nightmare

Before I must say, I have a laptop with dual boot, Mandriva in Dr. Jekyll and MS-Vista was Mr. Hyde. Yes, it was because two days ago I decided to update to the well recommended Win7. Few days ago I received a legal and nice DVD with the OS, the 64 bits version to upgrade Vista Home Premium. Then, I backup all my personal data.

My laptop is an Acer Aspire 5520, AMD Athlon 64 x2, 2 GB RAM, 160 GB HD, Nvidia 7000M, since I have it, I never touch the disc partitions, because the disc was already divided into 3, one part for the Acer recovery tools (3 GB), 70 GB for Vista, and the rest I used for Mandriva (from 2007 to now 2010 versions).

Everything works, well, of course Vista was slow and frustrating, I keep it because I share this computer and when I had time, I played games unsupported in Linux. After the bunnies convinced me to upgrade, I put the disc and upgrade to W7. Easy, after few clicks and 1 hr, W7 was installed. I rebooted the laptop, and waited for the final installation. I you are familiar with this installations you must knew that it takes time, so I was doing other stuff and just checking when it needs some clicks, that was my error, when the SO reboot, the Acer recovery mode entered and tried to restore Vista, blowing the whole hard disk!

Sadly, I tried to recover with a Mandriva One liveCD, everything was lost, but I was a backup for my data, no problem. So I modified the hard disk to remove the recovery partition and create a fresh installation for both SO. I tried to install W7, but my first mistake was not formatted the partition in NTFS mode, W7 said it cannot be installed in a FAT32 partition (wtf, just format it!), again, I use the liveCD, formatted this and installed W7. When it finished (another lost hour), it asked for the Product Key and cannot validate! I take a rest, watch a movie (Nicholas Cage's "Knowing") and came back with the solution, my disk was for a Vista UPGRADE, so I reinstalled Vista from my laptop original DVDs (another hour), then I use the W7 DVD and voila, it worked!

Finally I installed Mandriva 2009, upgraded to 2010, it was more simple than MS migration, and now both SO live together in my computer. I cannot believe people said that private SO are better than GNU SOs. BTW now I'm using KDE 4.3, let's see if it can convince me to leave Gnome.

What is my opinion with this new SOs?
  • W7 is better than Vista, of course if you only have worked with Vista you feel the difference, I'm not impressed because I know other SOs (Linux/Mac OS X). W7 is cute, little fast, and after one day using it, it works fine.
  • KDE/Mandriva 2010 is also pretty, faster and really usable.
Should I migrate Mac OS X Leopard to Snow Leopard now?

Monday, November 9, 2009

The history of computing (video)

The next is nice and educational video about computer history and the future, I like the analogies with biological systems.

Trillions from MAYAnMAYA on Vimeo.