Category Archives: Technology

Scrippet (you know, for script snippets)

This is a test of the Scrippet plugin for WordPress, which would help me render bits of scripts and screenplays and such. I’ll be tweaking this until it looks OK.

INT. RESEARCH OFFICE – DAY

SMITH stands next to BILLY, who is seated at his desk. Billy hands him a fat folder.

BILLY

I don’t even think you’ll need a costume, Mister Vintage.

SMITH

Nope. It’s like going home for spring break.

BILLY

Except you’re supposed to have fun on spring break. You are going to have fun, right?

SMITH

(opening the folder)

You should know, Billy. Isn’t there a high statistical correlation between me staying on a college campus and the simultaneous occurrence of fun?

BILLY

Are you accusing me of forcing co-eds on you?

You might recognize the awful dialogue from The Last Domino, my cursed time-travel screenplay from Script Frenzy a couple years back.

in defense of the green screen (and perhaps killing it)

Lee shared this article and photo from Gizmodo today, and it resonates:

George Lucas, then vs now

On the left, Lucas surrounded by a ton of stuff from the first Star Wars trilogy, which ended with 1983′s Return of the Jedi. On the right, Lucas surrounded by the only object that mattered in his second Star Wars trilogy, finishing with 2005′s Revenge of the Sith: A green chroma screen.

I’ve been thinking about this in terms of television shows lately. On the one hand, using CG and green screens is so much cheaper that it allows shoestring indie productions to look as good as big studio stuff. (See the indie-to-SciFi show Sanctuary for an example.) On the other hand, green screens make it harder for actors to get involved, and there are lots of ways to get the visuals subtly wrong.

So here’s my question: do we actually need the green screen anymore? There seem to be lots of “extended super special restored director’s cut” editions of existing shows and movies now, and plenty of YouTube remasters of even the crappiest pre-digital video. None of that stock had green screens or motion dots or matchmove data, so why can’t we shoot new video without all those things?

As an intermediate step, would it be possible to dress a set the way you might for a stage play, then fill in the screen-quality props and sets digitally? Can actors look out a cardboard window at a black cloth with stars painted on it, but viewers see a porthole with galaxies whizzing past? That way, you don’t have to make the decision between the on-stage prop and the virtual one until you’re in the editing room. Who knows? You might just decide to leave the cardboard in.

Why is this site naked?

UPDATE: CSS Naked Day is over, so the site is back to its stylish self. If you missed it, the home page looked something like this:

Global Spin naked

Are things lookin’ a little 1994 in here? That’s because it’s CSS Naked Day 2009, a day when people around the world strip their sites bare so you can see what’s underneath.

The idea behind this event is to promote Web Standards. Plain and simple. This includes proper use of (x)html, semantic markup, a good hierarchy structure, and of course, a good ‘ol play on words. It’s time to show off your <body>.

Since Global Spin looks pretty good even without CSS makeup, I decided to join in the fun. Enjoy the nostaligia; tomorrow we go back to the 21st century.

on PUMA and other silly endeavors

GM-Segway PUMAUpon seeing Project PUMA, the new joint venture from unlikely partners GM and Segway, you might have thought of me. Specifically, you might have wondered, “What would Chris think of this?” And so I’m going to tell you a little story…

[strums guitar]

What? Okay, maybe not.

I thought, “What the hell are they thinking? Is there really a problem this solves, a problem so compelling it required someone to figure out how to balance a two-person vehicle on two wheels in city driving conditions?”

Seriously. Who is their target market? Prospective Smart car buyers who would jump for something that popped more wheelies? All those Segway owners longing for a dorkmobile built for two?

No, I think this is something much simpler: another publicity stunt by GM to try to associate themselves with progressive “green” thinking without the risk of producing a product that might displace the automobile. Can’t you just hear them talking about it in the boardroom? “I mean really, this one practically kills itself!”

Ada Lovelace Day: Esther Dyson

"take it away!" by Esthr on FlickrToday is Ada Lovelace Day, a celebration of women in tech. Ada was a mathematician and the world’s first programmer; in the mid-19th Century she wrote technical documentation and programs for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.

This year, Suw Charman-Anderson made a pledge: “I will publish a blog post on Tuesday 24th March about a woman in technology whom I admire but only if 1,000 other people will do the same.” Over 1,800 people agreed, and so here you are. Continue reading