Why 3D just isn’t good enough

Eyes are amazing devices. When you look around your eyes focus on what you are staring at directly, and everything else you see becomes softer in focus. But as soon as you move your focus the new thing you are looking directly at comes into focus.

Continually your eyes are moving changing the place you are focusing on. Everything in your field of vision is available to focus on.

But when you go to see a 3D movie. The director (through the lens of cameras) has chosen what you should focus on, keeping everything else in soft focus. This is okay for a flat image, because it shows you where to look on the screen. We have become used to it (to some extent) and see it as artful direction.

But when we go to see a huge screen (such as an IMAX movie) in three dimensions, this just does not work.

When you are looking at a massive screen in 3D and only a small proportion of it is in focus, it is just annoying. The issue is that for a 3D movie to be totally immersive, you need to be able to see everything in sharp focus, not just the center of the director’s intent.

When you are watching a forest in a movie (such as Avatar) you want to see all the vines in sharp focus. This gives you the impression of being totally immersed in the movie. But the director chooses to keep just the section when the camera is focused in sharp focus and the rest in soft focus. This just ruins 3D.

Now when a scene is computer generated (CGI) there is no reason to create a depth of field. And when they choose to keep everything in focus, it works so much better. All of a sudden you are totally immersed in a 3D world. That’s how 3D should be!

The only 3D movies worth seeing on a big screen are computer generated. Cameras with lenses need to be focused on a specific spot. That technology just doesn’t do it for 3D.

As filmmakers learn to shake of the shackles of 20th century movie making and adopt a pure system for 3D making, the genre will have a future. If they continue to hold onto depth of field photography along with low frame rates to add creative blur to movies then the life of the cinema may be coming to an end.

If when you go to the movies to watch a 3D movie, and you find the effect makes you a little queasy then that is because of the low frame rate, and forced soft focus. If the whole image is created using CGI and is at a faster frame rate, you would feel you were part of a 3D world on screen, and not on a rollercoaster of blur and enforced head shaking movement.

I suspect the move to create move immersive 3D movies has a couple of groups fighting against it.

Firstly there will be those who are firmly convinced that “traditional” rules are film making must be enforced, in the same way that those who though movies were better without sound fought for their art (and the jury is still out on that one of course).

And secondly if a movie is made to be an immersive 3D experience (as I’ve described) the costs of production would be much higher and the resulting film wouldn’t look as good without a massive 3D screen, reducing the revenue possibilities from smaller theaters and home viewing.

So the chance of seeing really great 3D is limited my tradition and greed.

Two huge factors which are (if history is any guide) likely to win.

Here’s hoping for fully immersive 3D


How the hell can every other tech company be so bad at copying Apple?

Twenty years ago, I setup a computer on my breakfast bar. At a time before Wi-Fi this required me to route a cat 5 cable around my house from the location of my ADSL router. It was a bit messy but it worked. And I had an early 10 inch LCD screen above the bar, with a keyboard and mouse. It was great, and set me on a path to make it better.

Since then I’ve tried an amazing number of ways to be able to integrate my computing and my music/movie/internet viewing with my life, and to varying degrees I’ve had some success. Of course my success came with a lot of remote controls, script files, weird cables and lumps of technology sitting in strange places. Along with a plethora of applications to convert video formats and music types.

I’ve always loved to live on the forefront on consumer tech, but anyone else trying to use my setup has had a very hard time. When guests stayed it was almost impossible for them to use the setup without a significant level of training, and on a number of occasions enterprising house guests have assumed the setup wasn’t working and attempted to “rewire” it, causing me days of rework to get it back to life.

But these are the trials and tribulations of an integrated AV setup, and we have all become used to it.

Then along comes Apple and rewrites the entire world of home entertainment.

People complain about itunes, because it can seem a little restrictive (and it is), but there is nothing else in the world like the Apple setup. If you have an apple TV plugged into your TV and hifi, all of a sudden you have the absolutely best integrated home entertainment system in the world.

The glue that pulls all Apple products together into a near perfect home entertainment solution

I actually have 2 apple TV’s, one in the lounge and one in the bedroom, and this lets me watch movies and listen to music pretty much everywhere in my house. It’s incredibly easy. Now add Airplay and you can bounce music and videos from your macs, iPads and iPhones directly to your TV’s. It just works.

Now with Mountain Lion (the latest version of the Macs operating system), I can even show my laptops screen on the TV. Perfect for working at home, or presenting.

Even in a rented a house in the south of France, that just so happens they have an apple TV on their TV. I was able to watch movies from my ipad directly. No setup, no cables, it just worked.

This stuff is brilliant, and very simple. So how comes no other company or consortium has been able to get this very elegant and working idea in their devices.

There are many solutions out there from companies ranging from Roku to Sony that offer little bits of the apple solution, but in comparison they are terrible.

There is no excuse! I know windows 8 promises some of the features apple has today, but unless they seriously fix the X-box’s user interface and limited media compatibility this will be a non-starter. Sony talk about doing something similar with the PS3 as a home hub, but it is nowhere near as simple as Apple today. Again Sony’s pre-occupation with digital media rights and horrible to use user interfaces means they have a very high hill to climb.

Come on consumer tech companies, get out of your own way and bring out something that gives Apple a challenge.



Where’s My Awesome Stuff???

I’m angry because I feel I’ve been cheated.  Shortchanged. Bait and Switched.  Overpromised and “Underdelivered to.”

Hoverboards, flying cars (or at least aqua cars), wristwatch TV/phone, holographic 3-D chess and much, much, more were “promised” to me as a child and now it’s 2012 they’re not here (iPhones and Droids don’t count btw – too big and Siri has a big voice recognition problem).

So to all of you involved in making me long for these things I say, “Shame on you and all the people that failed to make them happen!”

The Big Tease From Bergdorf Goodman

OK, I’ll survive.  I’ll be fine and I can live without those things for now; they’re just gadgets really.  But what about my “Monkey Butler?”  Weren’t we all really led to believe we’d each have a smartly dressed, exquisitely-trained monkey servant by now?  I certainly was and I’m ready to take delivery now.  Is he ready?  Well, the Bergdorf-Goodman department store (as well as a shop on Lexington Ave.), teased me a few years back by featuring Monkey Butlers in their 5th Avenue windows and I thought maybe the time had finally come… but alas, it hadn’t.

Michael Jackson had Bubbles, Homer Simpson had Mojo the Helper Monkey, Stacee Jaxx has one named “Hey Man” in the new Rock of Ages movie.  Even that schlub Ross had Marcel in TV’s “Friends,” so where’s mine?  Indiana Jones had an evil one, but he was still cool (right up until his “bad date”).

Famous “Monkey Butler-Man” duos in history.

Look, I know me having a Monkey Butler will eventually lead to the demise of the human race (see Monkey Shines, Outbreak, and of course Apes, Planet of), but that’s a while off and I really want one!  Making my co-workers/employees act like one just isn’t cutting it anymore (but I do appreciate the effort David).

“Planet of the Apes: The Musical” – Now playing at the Springfield Theater

I don’t want to be angry with the monkeys but I’m afraid I may start to blame them for not stepping up.  My favorite 70’s show “Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp” shows us they can easily do the job and Downton Abby (if not the original Hobson from Arthur) shows that there should be no shame in having the job of butler, so it’s not that.  I’m just worried that if I don’t get my own real Monkey Butler soon it’ll be me, not Troy McClure from “Planet of the Apes: The Musical,” scream-singing the sad refrain, “I hate every ape I see, from chimpan A to chimpan…Z!

The Elusive Monkey Butler Store?


Naymz – Don’t Be “That Guy”

Naymz… Naymz.com… yes I’m talking to you.  No, I’m not answering one of your many automated emails or Reputation Intercept Alert offers, I’m talking to you eMano-a-Mano.  My message?  Back off, take a breath, and reflect on your life so far and your life yet to be.

Evolution or Unintelligent Design?

Look, face it – you’re not LinkedIn or even Plaxo and never will be – It’s not the end of the world!  Admitting you’re an “also ran” and that you will always be sucking hind teat is part of the process for you now.  Becoming some pathetic hybrid by adding weak chromosomes from  reputation.com and that cheesy LifeLock service is not the answer.  Changing your name to visible.me and then back again to Naymz clearly wasn’t either btw (quick game of Qwikster-Netflixter anyone?).

Prodigy,  AltaVista,  Rayovac, RC Cola, Eric Roberts, Buttbook and the rest of your brethren have nothing to be ashamed of, so neither do you (OK, I made up Buttbook but you get my drift, right?).

New Naymz Spokesperson Eric Roberts?

Be comfortable in your own skin, accept reality and stop “calling” us like you’re an important part of our lives – Don’t be “that guy” that we tolerate nagging us and then have to cut off completely, OK?  Be the sometimes interesting uncle we check in on when WE want to; it’s really better for all of us.



Robots: Helpers or Horrors?

Robots.  I keep reading more and more about robots lately and the advances in robot technologies that will help improve our QoL (quality of life) quotient; it makes me wonder whether I should be happy, skeptical or angry about it.  In the same week that CERN found the elusive “God Particle” it just seemed appropriate to ponder Robots.

Japanese humanoid robot “Geminoid” at a press conference in Osaka.

Nanites for medical treatment, microbots (tiny black dots to the naked eye), tiny robots that resemble bees and bats, home helper robots for bartending, automated automobile assemblers, unmanned aircraft – robots are here and helping us already. According to a recent USA TODAY Technology article I read this week, “Experts predict that within 10 years, general-purpose robots — at $25,000 to $30,000 per unit — will perform house chores while consumers are at work; or serve as butlers at cocktail parties. “We are putting robots into people’s lives,” says Sarjoun Skaff, co-founder and chief technology officer of Bossa Nova Robotics, which is developing a robot maid modeled after The Jetsons’ Rosie for less than $5,000.”  C-3PO, R2-D2?  I’ll take one of each please thank you.

But I also see evidence of where robots are, or could easily be, used for nefarious means.   General Atomics’ Predator Drones patrol the skies for the US Military while at Carnegie Mellon University’s nano-robotics lab an inexpensive, 1 foot wide “vampire bat” surveillance robot loaded with a motor, camera, and sensors will be part of a “swarm” sent out soon to gather data.  Can a Cyberdyne Systems’ Model T-101 Terminator really be too far behind?

If this sounds far fetched or far off into the future consider this… my business partner just had his beloved dog implanted with a radio-frequency identification device (RFID), which is some sort of wireless non-contact tracking system that uses radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data powered by the electromagnetic fields used to read them – essentially the poor dog was assimilated into the Borg Collective (and of course I would assume this means that, “Resistance is futile” for the rest of us as well).

Look, I saw the movie Cherry 2000 (with a young Melanie Griffith), and thought it sounded cool and I definitely still want a Roomba cleaning my apartment but I also saw Westworld with Yul Brynner, Bladerunner, A.I. and all the Terminator flicks so I’m thinking this robot business will likely all end badly for us (humans, that is).

I was pondering this and getting angrier and angrier by the day.  Luckily I caught a TV commercial with Sam Waterston (Law & Order), in which he is pitching “Robot Insurance” from Old Glory Insurance Company – so at least we can get some protection when our robots do inevitably attack.