Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hasta la Vista

Some are calling it: "Virus Inside, Switch To Apple"... Lucky me, I don't have to worry about it anymore. Although, apple is also doing some evil practices: it's like choosing between a tyrant and an absolute ruler. Anyway, criticism of the new vista is greater than expectation. Again monopolistic practices like making it 100% X-box compatible but reserving the right to work and communicate with certain peripherials and gizmos; it is (again) a copy of apple's interface... just look at the windows logo inside the so called "aqua" bubble which will replace the infamous "start" button. Then, all those stories about vista deliberately degrading the image quality when playing HiResDVD's, or uninstalling (removing) any software that microsoft suspects to be malware or pirate software from your computer, without even asking the user. Here's what Michael Geist from the Toronto Star says about that:
Once operational, the agreement warns that Windows Defender will, by default, automatically remove software rated "high" or "severe," even though that may result in other software ceasing to work or mistakenly result in the removal of software that is not unwanted.
And once again, instead of being a more efficient operating system and just that... I mean, it's just a frame for other programs to work, it will be more demanding on any processor, so at the end, it doesn't matter if you are using a dual core chip, most of the memory, graphics and processing power will be swallowed by vista. In fact, most of the current computers today do not have enough power to run vista.

For greater certainty, the terms and conditions remove any doubt about who is in control by providing that "this agreement only gives you some rights to use the software. Microsoft reserves all other rights." For those users frustrated by the software's limitations, Microsoft cautions that "you may not work around any technical limitations in the software."

When Microsoft introduced Windows 95 more than a decade ago, it adopted the Rolling Stones "Start Me Up" as its theme song. As millions of consumers contemplate the company's latest upgrade, the legal and technological restrictions may leave them singing "You Can't Always Get What You Want."
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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Eergo Aarnio

Once again, the mexican society of ergonomists SEMAC invites everyone to their IX international ergonomics congress from april 25 to 28 in Mexico city. The so called "pre-congress" includes several workshops. It might also be a good opportunity to visit the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico city, but you have to be there a couple of weeks earlier to see a true design classic: Eero Aarnio's exhibition "Pop Fantasies".

ASABE AIM 2007An historical meeting will be ASABE's 2007 Annual International Meeting. The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineer’s (ASABE) Annual International Meeting (AIM) will be honoring 100 years of tradition, educational excellence and opportunities as it opens it doors June 17-20 in beautiful Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was looking forward for that, but it seems that money will be too tight for me to attend. We'll see.

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No shame

I know, I know... I have no shame. After more than one week almost with no computer, and the first thing I do is play with "Line Rider". After a mental recess, I was ready to re-start the new year, and I thought it was a good opportunity to reformat my computer. It was too slow, almost like a pentium PC... you know: you write something on the keyboard, and 30 seconds later it starts to type on the monitor.

So, I completely erased and formated the hard drive and installed OSX. However, it didn't want to install the upgrades. For 3 days I tried everything... downloading and downloading the combo updates, trying to install from root, etc, etc... but nothing worked. So, I made an appointment at the apple service... and they fixed it in just a couple of hours. What they did was to install the upgrades from another computer i.e. using my computer as if it was a removable drive. But then, I had to spend another whole day just installing the extra software: office, CAD, premiere, acrobat, freehand, etc, etc.

The good news, is that now it runs like new, applications open real fast... and the hard drive is not searching for fragmented files anymore, which was the problem in the first place. I could even hear that the hard drive was like crazy searching and reading every time I blinked.

Anyway, after the whole computer adventure, I found out about Line Rider, which is a flash simulation game. And well, it was a good opportunity to test video capture, movie cropping, transfer to mp4 and other things that are very demanding on the processor (and hard drive) to see how my lap is working (well, that's how it's called nowadays) So, I did this movie. The thing is, that line rider is quite addictive... once you start playing with the simulation, you may spend hours, and hours playing with it. I found some quite interesting line rider movies on YouTube, like the urban rider, tumbling, 9400 lines and the one eyed giant. They say that there are more than 10,000 line rider movies on YouTube... wow. it probably would make an interesting exercise for composition.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Send a smile

I received a request to include a link on our special kiwis website to this amazing charity, it's called "make a child smile". It works like this, all you have to do is write an encouraging letter or card to one of the children and mail it to "make a child smile" including the code for that children or family and an extra stamp. They re-send the letters and sometimes they also include some extra gifts donated by sponsors... the result: a big smile on those children's faces. So simple and yet it makes all the difference in brightening up someones day.

Make a child smile
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Friday, January 19, 2007

iArch to go

One of my new years resolutions was to finally write about kiwi architecture or better said kiwi pioneer construction methods... but I'll do that later. The point is that a group of people (like moon-watcher) became a tribe when they established a political system, they became a culture when they started writing and keeping records, then they become a civilization when they start making permanent buildings using stones or bricks. Usually the first permanent buildings in any culture are churches. Maybe because it has a symbolism that their beliefs and religion will stand forever, long after they are gone. A church cannot or should not be built out of wood... because that would mean that the worshipers are not considering transcendence, they just want a roof on top when they pray.

When civilizations started to make permanent buildings, they realized that those building would be there forever, Well, Duh! Anyway, if you are going to build something permanent, you need someone to plan something that says: here is my permanent legacy, at least until someone demolishes it, like the twin towers or you build portable non permanent structures like Shigeru Ban's. That is the role of a good architect, like Numerobis for example.

Nowadays is more complex than that, we have functional, economic, environmental, historic and many other factors to consider. To be a serious architect (just like for designers too) you also have to be serious about all those issues... it's not just intuition or ingenuity, it's an academic science. Check out arq.com.mx for good tips and articles (in spanish) or you can also make your own suggestions on the 10 most hated/horrible buildings and/or monuments in Mexico. By the way ITESM's campus ciudad de Mexico looks like it's going to be a finalist with more than 1,000 votes, also remarkable that there are many sculptures of Sebastian as most hated... but my "favourite" most hated is the "Presidencia municipal de Michoacan" or the copy of the stairway to nowhere (from the simpsons)... but there's also the "puente atarantado" (a plagiarised copy of one of Calatrava's bridges), Macroplaza, and many other sculptures and buildings which could fill an "architecture horror spook museum".

Raul Juarez, Academia Nacional de ArquitecturaRaul sent me the invitation to the ceremony to welcome the new academic members (including him and some other friends and acquaintances) into the National Architects Academy (Guadalajara, Mexico) at Goethe Institut, Guadalajara. It's funny that Arq. Venancio Ordoño was also awarded as emeritus member, he was Raul's bachelor thesis supervisor. Congratulations to all new members. (update: here are the pics of the ceremony)

Just to add some product design into this post. Here are the "cities in a bag" (via) which are building blocks resembling buildings in New York, Tokyo and Paris... when architecture meets industrial design, it becomes portable too. (not port-a-loo)

One question: If there's "Real Estate" is there an "UnReal Estate" ?

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Video editing tips

Happy new year, etc! I've been busy watching some youTube clips... and what I learned is:
  • Never take a picture of you standing besides a giant M&M
  • Don't take video clips of trash bins
  • Don't ever dare to take video of you and your mates eating hamburgers
  • Don't leave your camera on while you are walking
  • Don't ever take video of you standing in queue at Disneyland
  • Do not take videos of your mates singing karaoke
  • Never, ever say "Hi, Mom" on one of your home videos

I also learned that you shouldn't send a wedding announcement via e-mail, or you might spend your honeymoon at Guantanamo. I also just learned about the new iPhone... some people here in NZ say that despite it will be available here soon, you won't be able to use it here in the next 10 years! (cell companies do not offer all those services yet) But it's actually quite cool! specially the automatic rotating display... and the touch screen zoom! wow! I want one of those for my birthday, even if I can't use it here!

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