3 August 2006

@apple@

Insecure wifi: whenever your MacBook’s AirPort (or several PC wifi cards) is looking for networks to connect to (or maybe even when it’s already connected, the article isn’t that clear), a hacker can hijack your computer.

Or, well, that’s what I wrote yesterday. In the meantime, the demo video has been posted and it turns out that they make a point of using an external wifi adapter on the MacBook (thanks to John Gruber for noting it). In other words: MacBook’s internal wifi, presumably safe; crappy wifi USB adapters, unsafe drivers, whether you’re running OS X or Windows. (Nevermind that the journalist states: “those device driver flaws are particular to the Macbook (sic).”)

 

@windows@

A Windows tip for a change: you can ctrl-click taskbar items to select multiple windows (and close or minimize them at once, or tile/arrange only them). Who knew?

 

@games@

Avoiding the Uncanny Valley, or the future of motion capture: instead of pasting ping-pong balls onto your actors, just cover them in radioactive phosphorescent powder and film them with several cameras. Oh, and stroboscopes, you just need to have stroboscopes. Then you end up with an incredibly detailed, fully textured, perfectly animated 3D model. Magical.

The demonstration video is more than impressive when you consider how hard it is to get realistic, expressive CGI humans, but I’m not quite sure how useful that is actually going to be. For movie effects, the result is pretty much the same as just shooting an actor in front of a green screen — well, except that you can change camera angles afterwards, but there won’t be so many cases where it’ll be worth the complication. And, yes, it could be interesting for game cinematics and character animation, but the whole point of regular motion capture is that you can apply captured movement to any model, whereas with Contour you only get a lifelike clone of the actor — so you’ll have to hired a different actor for each character, and they’ll have to look the part, and you’ll need to get exclusive deals with some actors for the most prominent parts, and… well, that’s all very unpractical.

Basically, it’s a fantastic technology with not much real world use apart from the odd Polar Express feature.

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