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     Tar baby tar baby tar baby
    Filed under: — David @ 2:44 pm

    Here’s a thought: how about we start using “tar baby” in its original “sticky trap” meaning, and then we can leave the outdated racial connotations behind and get on with our lives?

    I’m not normaly very anti-political-correctness, but if a phrase has more than one meaning, and one of those is not offensive, why not focus on that one, and let the evil, predjudiced, obscene meanings die the silent lonely death they deserve?

     Visible progress
    Filed under: — David @ 3:21 pm

    I got some good momentum again working on XVG the last few days. There is visible progress on filters finally, though none of the test suite images are working 100% yet. I also added support for loading external image files (except other SVG files), and implemented the <symbol> and <use> elements.

    I kind of wish I had taken a more methodical approach to adding features: implement some new SVG thing, and then add the editing UI before moving on. I think that would have made it more convincing in the early stages of development to anyone checking it out. But it’s so nice to see the test suite coming together.

     Nope
    Filed under: — David @ 6:50 pm

    The movie UHF has a little gag scene that starts with the camera panning down a street and you hear two men saying “Is this it?” “..Nope.” “Is this it?” “Nope.” Soon you see them sitting on a bench: one is blind, holding a scrambled Rubik’s Cube. He turns one side of the cube and then holds it up to his neighbor, asking “Is this it?” The other man looks at it thoughtfully and says “Nope.” And repeat.

    Life feels like that sometimes. Looking for a job, dating, apartment hunting, programming…

     Open PSD
    Filed under: — David @ 7:38 pm

    This article on NewsForge talks about efforts to create an open-standard Photoshop-like file format, capable of storing raster (pixel-based) images, text, paths, etc. This is interesting to me because such a format would be a candidate for the XVG and/or Icon Machine 4 file format, instead of the SVG-based format that I currently have in mind.

    I was disappointed to find that the PSD file format isn’t open (though according to the article it used to be). You can use QuickTime to get at individual layer images, but that doesn’t get you everything. So I’m going to be following OpenRaster (a tentative title that doesn’t appear on that wiki page) and similar efforts, and see if I end up using a resulting standard or just some of their ideas.

     Avatar: The Last Airbender, my first iTunes show
    Filed under: — David @ 11:34 am

    I had seen Avatar show up occasionally on my Amazon recommendations list, but never seriously checked it out. I wasn’t sure what to think of it at first, especially since it wasn’t quite obvious whether it was Japanese or American. It looked like anime, yet something about it had the look of a show aimed at American kids.

    Finally yesterday I checked it out on the iTunes Music Store, where it was recently (I think) added along with a bunch of other Nickelodeon stuff. Nickelodeon hasn’t interested me since I was a kid, but this was just unusual enough to merit a second look.

    First of all, the reviews were very positive, even the ones that aren’t obviously written by children. I only found one with anything negative to say about the show, and even then there was no specific criticism, so it doesn’t count. Other negative “reviews” only complained about the price. It also currently ranks #1 in purchases of iTMS season passes.

    Contrary to what some of those comments say, buying it on iTunes is less expensive than buying the DVDs, based on Amazon’s prices. For one thing, you can’t even buy the whole first season on DVD yet; the fourth of apparently five discs comes out about two weeks from now. At an average of $12 each, that’s considerably more than iTunes’ $30 for the season.

    Checking out the samples, I noticed that while the animation definitely looks Japanese, it is also lip-synced for English. That’s unusual… plus the animation is pretty good.

    I decided to buy an episode - the first of season 2, thinking mistakenly at the time that it was the first episode iTunes had. It’s pretty good stuff, and I felt like I had gotten my $2 worth even before it was over. The animation quality held up, and there was more depth of character and story than your average kid’s show. It has just enough light-hearted moments without ruining the respectably serious overall tone.

    I had stretched the playback window to fill most of my 17″ screen, and the video quality was a little bit distracting, but most of the time the story was engaging enough to keep my mind off that. Given the price, and the battery savings of not having to play a DVD on my PowerBook, I’m tempted to buy the first season to watch on the plane this holiday weekend.

    So that was my first experience buying a TV show from iTunes. Pretty good. I just wish I could find more worth downloading.


    This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

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