Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dave Matthews Band - Inside The Studio for Big Whiskey

This is SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love that this is a group of Canadians, too... so awesome!

In late February, a group of 15 DMB fans from Canada discovered the location of the DMB studio and upon arrival, lingered outside hoping for a chance to meet DMB. Rob Cavallo, producer, invited the lucky fans in for an initial listen to material from Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King. Out June 2, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

F-35 over the Golden Gate Bridge!!

Whoaaa??!! Could it be real? An F-35 flying over the Golden Gate Bridge?

Or are those just young actors and a 3D airplane with some great special effects (Do you see an attractive young Canadian in a Roots Hat?) ;)

Blarrrgh... sick.

I managed to come down with a cold, which sucks. The weather is beautiful and my sister is coming to visit soon and I have lots of apartment work to do... but I gotta just sit around and do nothing but rub my aching head, sneeze, and drink tea and chicken soup.

Ahhhhh man I have too much to do to get sick. ;)

Anyway just takin' it easy, and I'm gonna go for a little walk. Trying to catch up on a few easy things today, maybe do some laundry or something too. Oh, lazy day...

In other news, the idea of going to Australia sounded awesome cause the flights were so insanely cheap. But I'm gonna keep my eyes on the prize and still aim for Japan and South Korea over the December break. It'll be awesome!! Hopefully I have enough time to plan stuff out well... I think this is gonna be really fun.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Alex is here!

Its 21 Celcius and just glorious out here! Just net the owner of blue bottle coffee!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Canon Rebel T1i tomorrow?!!

Looks like the new Canon Rebel is going to come out tomorrow (I've been
waiting for this one for a while!) This is gonna be AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!


This is not official yet, but the announcement is supposed to be tomorrow...

The "Rumoured Specs" are:
Megapixels: 15.1
ISO: 100-3200
crop: 1.6
FPS: 3.5
AF: 9 Point AF
AF: Face Detection
Battery: LP-E5
Feature: LiveView
Feature: Movie Mode w/contrast detect AF

There has also been talk on the forums about a jog wheel, 720 + 1080p
movie mode... even possibly a swivel screen?

Oh man, this is awesome. I am defffffffinitely getting this camera!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

OMG - Karmageddon Remaster of Dave Matthews Band Lillywhite Sessions.... and "Build you a house"

The only phrase I can think of right now is... OMG.

I just found a link to the 2006 "Karmageddon Remaster" of the greatest DMB album ever made, the never-released rough cut from 2000, usually referred to as "The Lillywhite Sessions"...

THIS IS AMAZING. So a guy who called himself "Karmageddon" did the first ever remaster of The Lillywhites (which were originally leaked on Napster back in 2000) and released it in 2006 online. I missed the boat on that "release" and just managed to find it online now. I had this album on tape and rocked out to that in my parent's 1990 Honda Accord just after learning how to drive... this is the album of my senior years of high school... oh MAN!!!!!!!!!! Anyway this is a beautiful remaster and it just sounds so clear and sharp compared to the original recordings (which, again, are the best Dave Matthews songs I've ever heard...)
Note you can download the FLAC->Wave File decoder here:
The other thing that rocks? While on the weeklydavespeak site I also found a download to a song called "Build you a house" - I've never heard it before, and it's also apparently from around the same time as the original Lillywhite Recordings in 2000. HOLY CRAAAAAAAAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I've got my tunes set for the next 6 months. Remastered Lillywhite Sessions... on repeat. DONE!

Friends at my place

Waterloo meets Boston

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Congratulations, Alex!

One of my best friends since I was 14, Alex Finlayson, is moving to the Bay Area!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is freakin' AMAZING news. Alex and I went to high school together and we were best buddies after just a few days in Grade 9 English class! We both ended up in Computer Science in University, and both spent a lot of time doing leadership training and motivational work with new students at our Universities. Our interests have been similar for quite some time, the clear definition being Mr. Kerr's OAC Electronics Interfacing class, which we both attended at Beal Secondary School as "roadrunners" from Central Secondary School in London, Ontario.

This is really fantastic news, and I'm really psyched to have another one of my best friends move out here to come to this area that has now very quickly become my home. The inspiration in the air, the entrepreneurial spirit, the keen sense of adventure... there is a lot about the Bay Area that freakin' rocks, and I'm daaaaaaaaang psyched that my buddy Alex is making his way over here. This really is the hub - so much of the computer, internet and technology revolution has happened (and continues to happen) from about a 50-100 mile radius from here, and maaaaaan it sure is exciting to be a part of it. I have no doubt that Alex will just love it here, and will fit in perfectly with the other ultra-motivated, driven, entrepreneurial people here in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

If you know Alex, I'm sure he'd appreciate a word of congrats, and you'd better catch him quick! He's moving out here pretty soon.

He'll be working at Apple in Cupertino, on the iPhone!!

What a perfect job for him, and he's just gonna love it. Congrats buddy. Welcome to the greatest and most exciting area in the world for a Computer Scientist!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just bought the craziest shoes ever

Just when you thought my Red and White Ferrari Puma shoes were crazy...

I've seen these shoes before and they are totally INSANE! I love them, they are crazy, and I'm near to the only person in the world who could plausibly pull these off in a business meeting at work. Done.

I had a few giftcards sitting around, so this seemed like the best idea. :) Found 'em on sale ('cause seriously, who would buy these except for Mike Jutan?)... great deal.

adidas centennial lo oddity

Attack of the packing peanuts

An explosion. Of awesome?! Note that this post was sent from mobile phone! :-)

Finaaaaaaaaaally solved the multiple photo upload problem

I use Blogger with Picasa exclusively. This should work like it used to back in the "Hello" days where you could send a stack of captioned photos to your blog in 1 swoop. Thus photoblogging became awesome.

Picasa has an annoying "feature" where you can only send 4 images at a time, per post, to your Blogger account. After suffering through tons of manual photo re-sizing while on the road in Europe in 2007, and multiple crazy length posts with like 30 photos since then, I've FINALLY found a good solution to solve this issue.

You still can't caption them, but this is close enough!! Saves literally hours of wasted time selecting 5 images at a time manually, and hoping they get into the document correctly, pretty amazing stuff!!

The secret is: get a Mail2Blogger Blogger email address. This is an email address with automatically converts your message (and photos) to a draft post in Blogger. So you select all the images you want in Picasa, and Picasa resizes your images to 800x600, then it uploads the whole lot of them with room for captions. This is an amazing discovery because it'll save me ages of time on my next trip. Great stuff!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tilt-Shift Video

This is sooooo coooool. Tilt-Shift lens on a Digital SLR... gives this cool minature feel... amazing!!

Bathtub IV from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Aparment is coming together...

The new place is coming together pretty well. I still have a lot of work to do here, but I managed to get the desk together this afternoon (actually, it was a lot easier than putting together the futon)... but then took about 1 1/2 hours trying to get the supports onto the desk.

Then magically, Frank and Jess came by for a visit and Frank the master craftsman took one look at the desk and affixed the metal supports in about 2 minutes, it was absurdly amazing. That was great and really helpful! Then finished the like 6 loads of laundry I did (re-washing everything again that was in the old musty chest-of-drawers)... so everything is much fresher now.

So that's pretty great. Gonna go fold a bunch of laundry now, and try to pack up the suitcase so I can put together the chest of drawers tomorrow (or soon) and then I'll be pretty much sorted out here in the new place.

Once the new computer is rollin, then I can finally take some pics of the place and blog how awesome it is.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Some comments on the Extended vs. Aired edition of the Jon Stewart/Jim Cramer interview

Aired Comedy Central interview here:

Extended Interview here:

This extended interview is a LOT better than the one that was aired on ComedyCentral. I am a heck of a big Jon Stewart fan, but one thing I think The Daily Show needs to be very careful of is walking on the thin line between exciting, riveting entertainment and true journalistic commentary. Jon always talks about how noone needs to take him seriously because his show comes on "after puppets making crank phone calls" - and while it is true he is on a Comedy network, we ALL know that we DO take Jon Stewart seriously. If he was on CNN I'd watch him just as much as I watch him now, and I'd respect his opinion just the same as I already do.

One issue I see though is that there is (at least in my mind) a fair bit of discrepancy between the aired interview and the extended "full interview". The aired one makes poor Jim Cramer look like he's more often fumbling for his words, and it, in a way, focuses more on the old clips that Jon rolled and how they seem to throw Jim Cramer off track.

So my gripe is not with the interview, Jon's passionate response to the markets or the "shenanigans", or even that Jon brought up some old clips to shine some light on his thesis for the interview. My gripe is that the EDITING of this interview for TV removed the context of some of the back-and-forth... it seemed to me that when it was aired (i.e. the version that MOST people saw), the point of the editing added a much larger embarrassment factor for Jim Cramer. This is just the kind of "sensationalizing" that Jon Stewart always says he hates, and one of his major criticisms against CNBC, too. I just think The Daily Show needs to be extra careful not to fall victim to a similar problem that they are criticizing other networks for doing. The American public is not stupid - and we don't need the extra emotional factor added - just give it to us straight, Jon!

On the other hand, I appreciate that during the Comedy Central airing they said you should come to this site to see the Extended interview, and that's exactly what I did. I understand it needs to be cut for TV airing time, but there's no need to make the guest look weak unnecessarily due to some careful editing.

The full uncensored Jon Stewart vs. Jim Cramer interview

This was so intense.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Jon Stewart vs. Jim Cramer

Oh man, this interview was intense.

After a week of bad-mouthing the CNBC network, Jon Stewart had Jim Cramer on his show. What resulted was an absolutely intense, 30 minute power-slam from Jon Stewart. It seems to me that the news networks pretend that Jon Stewart is "just a comedian", and that since his show is on Comedy Central, somehow that means he can't hold his own in purely intellictual arenas... I tell ya - he even outdid himself this time.

The main purpose of the interview was to try to hash out some of the details about why CNBC touts itself as a business news network and Jon Stewart argued that the network was "in bed" with the seedy Wall Street underground. He talked about the disconnect between long-term pension fund growth from regular Americans, and speculative/risky short-term stock trading by Wall Street "insiders" which rests on the shoulders of the regular Americans who want to protect their future earnings.

This interview was ABSURD!!!!! I feel pretty darn bad for Jim Cramer - it was almost of Jon Stewart vs. the Crossfire dudes proportions... totally nuts. Jon Stewart was SO angry. Just one punch after the next. Jim Cramer didn't stand a fighting chance. Also I should note, it was a good "interview" - though it was really more like a very well-researched, "intellectual rant" than a 2-way conversation. Jon Stewart just ploughed him down. Whether or not he "deserves it" is a totally different story. The video clips were brutal though - just so harsh and such an awkward situation...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Mac Mini!

I MUST be busy. How the heck did I miss this announcement?


Last week Apple announced new Mac Minis!! This is great. I was planning on getting one of these last year and they have improved it in a few ways that benefit my current setup. They now have 2 display outputs, a Mini-DVI port and a Mini DisplayPort. Both can output to DVI or VGA which works well for output to my new LCD TV (which has inputs for HDMI or VGA), and for output to my 2 LCD monitors. The cool thing is that now the MacMini natively supports 2 monitors, since I will obviously want to get a KVM switch (or, actually, probably the software solution "Synergy") and use the Mac Mini and my Windows Dell Desktop on with the same keyboard and monitor setup.

So why else is this cool? Well the potential for more iPhone Development is obviously awesome. But the other cool stuff is that it comes with iLife, which includes RockBand and iMovie and some other really great software packages that I'd love to use.

It has 802.11N wireless which is good (guess I eventually need an "N" router, then) and some other nice features like 5 USB ports on the back. I could see using this as a sort of DVR if I could get a TV Tuner for it somehow and hook it up to my cable. Or more likely I'd connect my desktop to the cable and then stream the DVR-captured TV shows from the Desktop over the wireless network (or wired network, more likely, for speed issues) and output it directly to the TV. The other cool thing is that sites in the US like Abc.com offer HD Streaming on tons of their shows. Since this has a reasonably decent video card now, it could probably handle output to my LCD TV pretty well, and that would mean free (with advertisements) HD streaming LOST episodes on my sweet TV. Interesting possibilities!!

So anyway this is a great invention, and I could definitely find some great use for it. Also with my friend's discounts, I can get quite a good deal on this little guy, so it might be worth it for sure!

So there's a lot of general computer stuff to set up before I could have that crazy streaming-to-the-TV setup, but I think I could make it work. Also other cool options like renting a movie on iTunes and then watching it on my TV would be quite easy to work out.

This is pretty cool and exciting, and I'd probably get just the cheaper Mac Mini, but upgrade the RAM to 2 Gb instead. That takes it to $649 before a discount, which isn't too bad.

Unfortunately I also have my eye on another cool toy, the new Canon Rebel Digital SLR camera which is possibly coming out soon. That looks awesome, and I'd really like to get more into Digital Photography before I go traveling again. That'll be awesome, but it's gonna be about the same price as the Mac Mini, so I'm going to have to hold off for a while on both of these things and save up a lot. But anyway, lots of cool toys lately, and this one is particularly interesting in the realm of "wiring my house" for the "digital content revolution" - or something to that effect. :)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Pandora Radio frickin' rocks

So "Pandora", the online music radio, is absurdly good. I don't have my new desk ready yet, therefore I don't have my new computer up and running yet, therefore my Mp3s are who-knows-where, and I don't even have a stereo system yet, therefore I presumably have no way to play my beloved Dave Matthews Band, right? Wrong! Enter this glorious Pandora radio awesomeness.

I thought that was a reasonable backup plan, and I figured it couldn't be too bad, right? Anyway, it's like glorious. It's what I've always said - wouldn't it be great if I had a radio station with NO COMMERCIALS that also played pretty much ONLY Dave Matthews?! And... problem solved.

This is amazing. I'm on the "Dave Matthews Band Channel" which plays literally a DMB song every OTHER song. They are interspersed with other very very very reasonable Jutan-friendly artists: Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Counting Crows, Bush (Acoustic "Glycerine??!?!?!?!?!"), even some Pearl Jam and some other kinda chill stuff that would literally be the EXACT kinda stuff I'd choose to listen to anyway. This is amazing.

I am blown away. Who else in the world has my exact taste in music?!?!??!?! Well played, Pandora Radio, well played. Apparently the "Music Genome" project tested a sample of audience which included the Dave Matthews-obsessed and discovered that these key specimens also like other chill/sick jazzy blues-rock from artists with incredible talent, artists who are great on their studio albums but like absurdly awesome when live. I don't know how you'd quantify that as a specific musical taste, but apparently there is some underlying method to my musical-interest madness.


This new place is freakin' awesome. I can just call friends and wander over to a coffee place when the weather is nice (like right now). My old place felt so out of the way, so removed from being close to friends and stuff. This is so much cooler now... I feel like I have an actual neighbourhood now... this completely changes my weekend plans, my social life, everything. I love this new place for like 10,000 reasons.

Operation De-Chubbify continues

Good news, still on track...

Created by MyFitnessPal - Easy Calorie Counting

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Zen Bound iPhone App

This is nuts. This app is from a friend of a friend from work... this is amazing. Really pushing the limits of graphics capabilities on the iPhone... pretty impressive work.

Zen Bound iPhone App

JogDial - My buddy Nathan's iPhone App!

Hey all,

My insanely talented buddy Nathan Matsuda just released his first iPhone App.
Check it out!

"JogDial turns any iPhone™ or iPod Touch® into a scroll wheel for your Mac.®"

Pretty amazing stuff, and he's got a Client App that talks to the iPhone App... very cool stuff.

Description from Nathan:
It's just a jog dial, like you'd find in a professional editing suite, except it's on your iphone screen. I just set it next to my keyboard to scroll through clips while I'm editing in final cut. Much easier to find a specific frame then arrow-keying through or whatever. It also works well for navigation long lists of things, like songs in itunes (since it works like the ipod clickwheel), or photo albums.
Sharp website, too!
You can download it now in iTunes here for only $1.99, and support Nathan's work!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Meshugene Men

Check this out! My buddy Rob is a writer for Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" and his work is always frickin' HILARIOUS. He wrote the "Jewno" movie last year around this time (parody of "Juno") which was just amazing. This year, Rob comes back with another instant classic, "Meshugene Men". (Parody of "Mad Men").

If you're in NYC Monday March 9th, you should check out Rob's show! (tickets at http://www.92yTribeca.org)

Meshugene Men

Sunday, March 01, 2009

My hotttttttttt new TV

I've thought for a little while that having a big, fancy TV was a huge extravagance - it seemed kindof unnecessary and just a little overboard. So I got an old school Sony Trinitron XBR 36" CRT TV from a colleague and hauled all 216 lbs of it into my old aparment. For the moment, I was fine.

So I thought, "I don't need a flat screen, I've got a beautiful picture right here! I've got excellent contrast and glorious colours and sharp blacks and strong reds."

Then I had to move to a top-floor San Francisco apartment with no elevator in the building... and try to determine how many Computer Graphics nerds does it take to haul a 216 lb, front-heavy beast-of-a-TV up multiple flights of stairs. The answer? Get movers.

But the plot thickened, because movers were going to be $400. Ouch. I decided instead to recruit some kind friends and get a ZipCar Toyota Tacoma truck, and lug all my stuff on a day with impending rain... but it was all a complete success. And I sold that darn TV on craigslist and got one guy and is 2 poor buddies to lug the thing outta my old apartment (which was the main floor, thankfully).

Now onwards and upwards. So I modified my original ideas, and decided that LCD TVs weren't just for people with money to waste... it was for people who didn't want to pay $400 to movers every time they wanted to move apartments and had to move a TV of sumo-wrestler proportions to their new home.

After some massive research, emails to friends, reading articles upon articles on CNET, referring to Consumer Reports, talking to co-workers and family and friends... I decided actually against the Samsung LN40A550. I was pretty sure I was going to go for that and turns out when I looked at it side-by-side with the S-Series and V-Series Sony Bravia's at BestBuy, I was not too happy with some of the pixellation that was happening from the source channels. The picture in even the cheaper Sony seemed to be "cleaner" (that's the S-Series) though the colours didn't seem as vibrant in the S-series Sony. Anyway, the pixellation artifacts really bugged me in the Samsung LN40A550, and so I looked at the upgrade one, the Samsung LN40A650, which was almost $1700... and the picture was a lot better and sharper in that one. But it was pretty expensive.

Soooooooo... long story short... the Sony Style store downtown is closing. They will sell their stock and their floor models for a ridiculously amazing price. I ended up getting an absolutely ridiculous price (like 55% off MSRP?!) for the Sony V-Series. Since the deal was so good, I went up a size and got the 46" TV... the KDL-46V4100!! It is gorgeous. It looks AMAZING, the quality is great, the size upgrade from my old 36" CRT to the new 46" LCD is massive. This looks just amazing, the local free HD channels look amazing, and I can't wait to watch some movies on this awesome TV!!

So far there are some amazing features, the menuing system is very, very good. It is clearly modeled after the PS3 system (also by Sony) and it is incredibly simple and efficient. The TV itself looks great, and the quality is awesome. I believe this model has 60Hz Sony "MotionFlow" - the frame interpolation stuff, so I doubt I'll use that all that much... I didn't really like it when I saw it running on the James Bond trailer at the Sony Store... I agree with what some people say, it looks pretty weird.

Anyway this TV is just amazing, and I'll blog some photos soon. I now am officially impressed with large LCDs... as long as you get the deal-of-a-lifetime on them. ;)

Soooo hot. Here are some of the specs.
46" BRAVIA® V-Series LCD Flat Panel HDTV
Model Number: KDL-46V4100
V-Series features: Full HD 1080p, BRAVIA Engine 2™ , Advanced Contrast Enhancer circuit (ACE), 24p True Cinema capable, enhanced XMB™ user interface, BRAVIA Sync capable, piano black gloss finish
(Screen size measured diagonally.)

This is HD done the Sony way. The awe-inspiring KDL-46V4100 brings 1080p picture quality home with amazing, Sony-exclusive features like the XMB (Xross Media Bar®) with 3D graphics, DMex capability so you can add functionality to your TV, and technologies like ACE (Advanced Contrast Enhancer) and BRAVIA Engine 2™ for impeccable picture quality. Add to all this a sophisticated, piano black design, 24p capability so you can get the most out of the movies you watch on Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD media, four HDMI™ inputs along with three other HD-capable connections, and you have a TV that dreams are made of.
16:9 Full HD 1080p

16:9 Full HD 1080p resolution panel (1920 x 1080) accepts any HDTV signal and renders them with optimum resolution.
Motionflow 60Hz technology

Motionflow 60Hz technology allows you to enjoy movies and prime-time TV (film-based content) with a clarity and resolution in motion that will spoil you. Sony’s Motionflow motion-compensation algorithm identifies film content and removes “judder”. That means you'll get a clearer picture during sweeping pans with reduced visible jerking or stuttering.
DMeX™² functionality

DMeX™² functionality lets you expand your HDTV’s capabilities by connecting optional BRAVIA® Link Modules, such as the DMX-NV1 BRAVIA® Internet Video Link module (sold separately).
Enhanced Xross Media Bar™ (XMB™)

Enhanced Xross Media Bar™ (XMB™) makes it simple and intuitive to navigate the television's menus, controls, and user settings.
TV Guide Interactive Program Guide

TV Guide Interactive Program Guide is integrated into Sony’s exclusive Xross Media Bar™ user interface to deliver continually updated program.
BRAVIA® Sync™ capability

BRAVIA® Sync™ capability combines the one-touch access and control functionality of BRAVIA® Theatre Sync™ with the ability to control CEC-enabled Sony® Handycam® camcorders using the TV’s remote and an on-screen display.
HDMI™ and PC connectivity

HDMI™ and PC connectivity transmit both uncompressed digital video and multi-channel digital audio on the same cable for maximum versatility. (4) HDMI™ inputs deliver up to 1080/60p input capable video content. Additionally, a PC input1(HD-15 pin) offers up to a 1920 x 1080p connection to your PC so you can use your HDTV as a computer monitor.
BRAVIA Engine™

BRAVIA Engine™ fully digital video processor significantly reduces noise, enhances overall image detail, and optimizes contrast.
Advanced Contrast Enhancer (ACE)

Advanced Contrast Enhancer circuit (ACE) dynamically controls the backlight improving contrast and resulting in deep blacks in dark without losing fine details in shadows and other dark areas of the picture.
24p True Cinema mode

24p True Cinema mode enables you to enjoy films at their intended 24 fps (frames per second) when viewed using a 24p capable output device, such as a Blu-ray Disc™ player.
S-Force® Front Surround enhancement

S-Force® Front Surround enhancement function generates realistic, virtual three-dimensional “surround sound” from the two speakers in the TV.
Favorites function

Favorites function features rich graphics capability that makes it easy and fun to quickly access video content.
Voice Zoom

Voice Zoom extracts the "center" sound (where the human voice is positioned) so you can control the volume of commentators.
VESA® compatible hole spacing

VESA® compatible hole spacing uses an industry-standard mounting hole pattern that can be used with VESA-compliant mounting brackets.