Wednesday, March 31, 2010


CNN on RapeLay video game

I have to admit, I'm not familiar with Hentai games, but I am intrigued! I'd like to play this one, called RapeLay...

The object of the game is to rape and brutalize young teenage girls. Mmmmm.

Women's rights groups all around the world are up in arms over this. What a bunch of whiny, self-righteous, sanctimonious nags!!

Hey, people, this is just fantasy. You know, things you do in your imagination that you'd never do in real life? It's downright therapeutic to go through these kinds of psychic exercises to purge yourself of dark tendencies.

People have been playing such violent video games for ages and our society is still intact and we haven't created a whole new generation of rapists, murderers, and thugs.

Oh, and don't even *try* to bring up the few instances of aberrant behaviour that have been sensationalized in the news. The truth is, there has always been, and there will always be, mentally disturbed people in our society. We cannot live our lives in fear of inciting these perverts to action.

For the rest of us, there is nothing wrong with these games. The argument that they "desensitize" us to violence is nonsense. I love watching shows like Spartacus: Blood and Sand and 300, but that hasn't made me a violent individual. I still feel empathy for those who suffer pain from crime or war. I'm still very compassionate.

How to explain this apparent inconsistency? Simple...

Like most people, I can make the distinction between fantasy and reality. I can embrace my dark side, and stay firmly grounded in the light. Like a master thespian, I can play evil without *being* evil. I can have fun playing Devil's advocate without subscribing to demonic creed.

In short, I recognize the duality of my (human) nature, and I am not afraid to explore both aspects. Critics of RapeLay cower in fear over their own potential to do evil. They do not understand that such games *defuse* such tendencies...

[Editor's note: By the way, RapeLay is marketed to adults, NOT kids.]

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

iPad Thai

Green-Lantern weighs 2.6 lbs, 1.1 lbs more than the iPad. (The iPad has roughly the same footprint, but it's a LOT thinner.)

What do you get in return for this extra weight?
  1. a REAL, physical keyboard
  2. a 250GB hard drive -- about 4x the storage of iPad
  3. a user-replaceable battery
  4. a card reader, VGA port, Ethernet port, and several USB ports
This makes Green-Lantern eminently more versatile than iPad. And, honestly, Win7 Starter Edition isn't much more onerous than the iPad OS.

What iPad has going for it is the e-reader capability, something Green-Lantern is distinctly unsuited for. Also, iPad is good at playing HD videos.

Where the iPad falls down are:
  1. no built-in webcam (for videoconferencing)
  2. no multitasking
  3. no support for Flash
  4. Apple's draconian control of the App Store
  5. no USB (except via a stupid dongle)
However, iPad is the future of computing. Someday, I'll ditch Green-Lantern in favour of an iPad-like device (with the abovementioned problems fixed)...,2817,2361906,00.asp

timseh says:
I contend that it will change the game. and radically change it at that. Why? Tablets have been tried over and over again for years. In some cases, they've proven to be interesting, even useful niche products, but they haven't caught on. Previous tablets have tried to shoehorn a desktop OS into a keyboardless, touchscreen laptop. They put too much emphasis on remaining backward compatible.
The iPad is a forward looking device. Apple has managed to do what previous attempts at tablets have failed to do. They have re-imagined what a truly portable touchscreen device can do and how. Interacting with the iPad and the core applications is intuitive. Natural. It's more than the Apple "it just works" propaganda. It makes sense when you use it. The calendar and address book behave the way their paper cousins do, but they can do so much more. In iBooks, books behave like... well, books. Apps like these, and like the photo app, Mail and Safari show us new ways to do the things we do on other platforms.
Where it really breaks new ground is the fact that people (lots of people) will actually use it. And once they start using it, it will change the way people interact with information of all kinds.
Check out these Apple/Steve Jobs recipes:

Monday, March 29, 2010

Netbook Screens

I went to the Sony Store and looked at 10.1" netbooks with 1366x768 screens. The text on the screen was tiny, both in Windows and in webpages. It was hard to read and hard on my eyes. To be sure, the fault is mine: my weak, aging eyes.

This is what happens when you try to stuff 70% more pixels into the same screen real estate (most 10.1" screens use 1024x600). Of course, you can enlarge the font size in Windows to compensate, and you can magnify the webpage in the browser. But I have to ask: What's the reason to have a higher resolution screen in a netbook? Play video games? Watch HD movies?

Dan Ackerman and Scott Stein at CNET are always going on about how the newer, premium netbooks offer the higher resolution screen, a gentle rebuke of high-end devices such as my NB305. But if you don't have the right hardware, a high resolution screen is a waste.

You need discrete graphics acceleration in order to enjoy a positive gaming experience, or a positive HD video experience. However, discrete graphics will also drain your battery more quickly. I appreciate the 8.5 hours of battery life on my NB305, and I wouldn't trade any of it for better gaming or High Definition. In the end, it really depends on what is important to you.

My Green Lantern Netbook

I just bought the Toshiba NB305 netbook from Futile Shop for C$390. (Mine is Mocha Brown.)

I've given it the machine name Green-Lantern.

The selection of the NB305 was based primarily on its exceptional industrial design. It looks gorgeous! The trackpad is very nice to use. The high quality keyboard feels luxurious. The 6-cell battery has a good shape that doesn't protrude impractically.

There's also the Toshiba brand, which I've always favoured.

The NB305 has a large 250GB hard drive, a 10.1" screen with 1024x600 resolution, and the new Atom N450 processor. The 6-cell battery provides an impressive battery life of 8.5 hours.

Green-Lantern will serve three purposes:
  1. Mobile Internet Device
  2. Digital camera backup for 40D & S90, via USB or SD card
  3. Media player (mainly movie files)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Scaled Test

There are some people who claim that the tests for high ISO noise are unfair because they use 100% magnification to compares images of different resolutions. So I took the 50D 3200 ISO RAW noise sample and scaled it down to match the size of the corresponding 40D 3200 ISO sample. And you know what? The 50D still looks noisier!

Perhaps it's because the difference in resolution isn't sufficiently great. But I think there's a better explanation: if you take a cluster of noisy pixels and average them out into a single pixel, you still get a noisy pixel. The process of averaging is NOT any kind of noise reduction.

Now, you may argue that the resulting noise is less noticeable but the loss of detail due to smearing is also noticeable, as you can see above.

Repeating the process for

As you can see, same outcome. The downscaled 50D image has less detail.

My Gear
  • Canon EOS 40D with BG-E2N battery grip
  • EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS
  • EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS
  • EF 100mm f/2.8 macro
  • EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5
  • EF 50mm f/1.8 II
  • 580EX II external flash
  • Cameron/Marumi DRF14 macro ring flash
  • Induro C-014 carbon fiber tripod with SA-0 ballhead
  • Lowepro Fastpack 250 camera bag
  • Canon PowerShot S90 backup camera
For an amateur photographer, and a novice at that, this is pretty good gear. C$5,100 worth.

(For the same price, the EF 70-200mm f/4L is much sharper than the 70-300mm. However, the latter has Image Stabilization, or IS, and a longer focal reach. IS allows for handholdability, without the need for a tripod, and that's very convenient.)

The 40D body alone was effectively C$1,000, slightly more expensive than the consumer-oriented Rebel T2i that you can buy today. But in return, you get:
  1. durable magnesium alloy construction
  2. comfortable grip
  3. ergonomic control wheel
  4. large bright pentaprism viewfinder (0.95x magnification)
  5. better AF (9 cross-type points)
  6. 6.5 fps shooting speed
  7. top LCD info display
Otherwise, the 40D is a fairly basic body, without such amenities as built-in vignette correction, contrast-detect AF, and VGA screen.

I am primarily interested in wildlife, landscape, and macro photography.