A lasting and dubious contribution to the English dictionary.

Since my day could not possibly be complete without introducing a couple new words to the English language, here are a pair of neologisms that express my feelings about liability legalese.

Adjective: Cyadyicyte

Cover Your Ass,
Dot Your I's,
Cross Your T's,
Every time

Usage: The cyadyicyte aspects of the EULA were unpalatable, but Jack clicked "Agree" anyway.

And a corollary:

Noun: Cyacyiadyte - an error incurred because of, or in spite of, cyadyicyte practices.

Technically these are both acronyms, however I'd like them to enter common usage in the manner of acronyms like laser, scuba and radar.

That the words cyadyicyte and cyacyiadyte are basically impossible to read, pronounce or distinguish is entirely intentional.

I tested these new words on my friends.  The first person who tried to pronounce them had this to say:
Catchy. It really rolls off the tongue. Say cyadyicyte three times fast. I think my mouth is bleeding.
Oops. That was a cyacyiadyte on my part. I forgot to include a liability waiver. Apparently these new words may pose a health and safety risk.

No one should be surprised if cyadyicyte and cyacyiadyte are not in common usage or do not appear in dictionaries.  Obviously fears about lawsuits precluded it.

Off topic: The future of the internet and prognostications thereupon.

See for yourself what it looks like at http://tent.io
"Tent is a protocol for social networking. Tent is open, decentralized, and built for the future." 
I don't know if the Tent protocol will take off or not, but sooner or later the ideas behind it will.

I hope that something like the Tent protocol will do for Facebook and Twitter users what the HTTP protocol did for AOL and CompuServe users.

In short, "Read the Future on Free Floppy Disks"

I am tired of maintaining my résumé and profiles on several different social networks.  I hate being at the mercy of Facebook when they change the site design and somehow find a way to make look worse.

I find Twitter completely incomprehensible.  Why does anyone want to read little snippets of content buried in what appears to be programming code?

I loathe the fact that almost every web page I visit is cluttered with logos and buttons and links for several disparate social networking tools.   Since I work with people from all over the world, I get invitations all the time to join this that or the other new social network.  Even worse, though I avoid the new ones as long as possible, I know that sooner or later I'll probably need to use it.

Worst of all, Privacy is FUSMAN (Fouled Up Situation, Masquerading As Normal) across the whole social networking spectrum.  No one has a clue about how to manage it, especially me.

I've been looking for a way to get free from The Facebook since they foisted the Timeline Layout on users.  I got used to it but I don't like it.  Facebook only has like buttons.  They define the user experience.  The consistency they provide was actually the reason I started using it and continue to do so.  At least users cannot create custom skins for their profiles.

So when I found out about Tent, I took a look, thinking it was an alternative.  It is not.  It presages something bigger.  By the time I finished reading, I was imagining creative destruction on the scale of the AOL/TimeWarner merger.

I find it amusing when Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are compared.  Wrong Steve.  Steve Case is the guy Mr. Zuckerberg would be better able to emulate.   For an Apple fan, Zuck has poor design sense.  He also seems to have no clue how to consistently anticipate and create what users want before they know they want it.  If I understand the current Facebook strategy correctly, he's busy trying to make Facebook become the whole internet instead.

In my prior life, I had jobs at both AOL and Apple providing technical support over the phone.  I spent lots of time talking to customers of both companies.  They usually were not happy to be talking to me.  The main difference was that Apple customers loved Apple products.  AOL customers, for the most part, did not care.  They just wanted to get online.

While I hate the term "walled garden," Apple, Facebook and AOL could all be described in that manner to some extent.  I don't know what new things facebook will do.  And I don't know how the transition to an open, decentralized social networking protocol will play out.

However, I do know that AOL was a service.  Apple makes lovely things you can hold in your hand.  AOL made floppies and CD-ROM's.  Facebook doesn't do either, but it is a company that doesn't know how to make money with 1 billion people using their service.  I really don't see a meaningful resemblance to Apple.

There are many cool things that Facebook does better than anyone else.  Looking at America Online 10-15 years ago, there are numerous parallels to Facebook in terms of why it was popular and why people liked it.  Two words: Free floppies!

The HTTP protocol changed everything for AOL.  The company was compelled to include support for web browsers.  Users met the World Wide Web and often liked it better than exclusive AOL features.  It certainly had a lot more to look at.  After a while, the AOL client software became a kind of weird vestigial limb hindering users when they double clicked to open the internet or check email.

Facebook has 1 billion users.  It is not going away.  AOL is still around.  They made a shift to web content where they do interesting things.  Steve Case retired as CEO in 2003 and devotes a much of his time and money to doing great things in philanthropy.

I might be wrong about Mark Zuckerberg.  He might yet follow Steve Jobs path. Who knows what might happen as Facebook stock values continue to free-fall.

Anyone who reads The Ad Contrarian regularly saw that coming and understood why.  A simple comparison to Google vis-a-vis the ratio of annual per-user revenue to share valuation could have kept the IPO more in line with a reasonable price per share.  Facebook also uses what looks to me like the most ineffective business model ever created.

The stock price may not even have hit bottom yet.  I think I read somewhere there's be a bunch of employee stock options vesting in the coming months or something.  Outside of search, advertising on the internet is better suited as an ancillary revenue stream.  That presents a big challenge to for-profit social networking companies.

The thing is, I can think of only two social networking services people have every actually expected to pay for: Postage Stamps and Long Distance Telephone service.  Remember those?  They seem to have been largely replaced by dumb pipes for data.

Facebook's new gifting service is a great idea and I could actually imagine wanting to use it.  That's not going to bring investors a return on their investments though.  I have no doubt that Facebook will figure out a way to make more money eventually.

Here's what makes me sure that Tent or something like it is the future: Apple integrated Twitter, then Facebook into iOS and Mac OS.  What comes next?  Pinterest?  LinkedIn?  How will they decide what gets in and what doesn't?

A decentralized social networking protocol could resolve that.  What's more, Apple has what it takes to create something like WebKit for social networking.  The browser wars are over.  WebKit won.

Facebook is also uniquely positioned to facilitate a open standard protocol for social networking.  We know Mark Zuckerberg studies Steve Jobs.  I think it's safe to assume he knows what happened to AOL and why.  Certainly he knows way more about his business than I do.  I don't see why he couldn't synthesize all that information and lead the way on HTTP for social networking.

After all, he did create Facebook.  Looking back at AOL, what he does next depends on whether he chooses to stay in the Facebook business or get back into the social networking business.  The two businesses overlap, almost transparently, but they are not the same thing.

Time to get back to my day job which presently involves studying applied color theory.  Enough with the prognosticating. 

REDucation is coming to Asia

REDucation, the official RED training, is a five-day hands-on training workshop using RED cameras for shooting and post-production.

For Southeast Asia RED users, Hong Kong is the place to be November 5-9, 2012.

To register, you can contact RED Greater China Authorized Reseller, 23magic.

This is certainly a much easier way to get acquainted with these cameras than my first DIT job which happened to be with a RED ONE  in LA, back when the camera had been released only a month or two before.

As I recall, my training went something like this:

"You'll be making camera settings and transferring footage. This is the camera. Here's the menu.  Here's a laptop.  Here's the camera manual, Good luck. Don't screw up. Sorry, I've gotta run - gotta get to the hospital before my daughter is born. Thanks for helping out!"

Not an easy way to get to know a camera.  REDucation is.  Since then, I've used RED cameras extensively, I've taken them to the limits and I find there is always more to learn.

A free REDucation Open House will take place on Nov. 7 with speaker DoP Arthur Wong.  There will also be the usual product promotions and mixing and mingling.  I won't be able to make it, so if you go please ask Mr. Wong how a person can possibly get hired to shoot more than 100 feature films within a normal human lifespan, because I would really like to know.

I had a chance to visit 23Magic founder Percy Fung while I was in Hong Kong recently. Percy and the Digital Magic team have been helpful above and beyond the call of duty on a couple of the feature films I shot here in Vietnam and we keep in touch.

Percy asked me to pass along an invitation to REDucation for RED users in Vietnam. He understands the challenges filmmakers face here and that the course is not cheap.

If you're in Vietnam and seriously considering going to REDucation, I would suggest getting in touch with Percy directly.

The class is aimed at working professionals and folks who have an interest in digital filmmaking.

Search Keywords

I notice that someone wound up on my blog by searching for "eraser gets permanent marker off flashlight lens"

When that happens to me, I typically don't bother looking for an eraser and just use my thumb and index finger to pick up the permanent marker in question.

I assume that this person did not need google to figure that out and was actually looking for ways to erase permanent marker ink from a flashlight lens or other hard non-pourus surfaces.

This also happens to me and when it does, I write over the permanent marker ink with a dry-erase marker and it all wipes off like magic.   YMMV, especially if the permanent marker ink has been there a while.

I hope this helps the next person searching for "eraser gets permanent marker off flashlight lens."   

I really don't mind writing an entry if it will help just one person, but I don't plan to address every interesting google search that comes my way.

Another crazy camera test

I have a long list of unusual camera techniques I'd like to test.  I tend to keep these to myself because a) I don't want to make people question my sanity more than they already do and b) on the off chance it works, I'd hate for someone else to do it first.

I'm going to throw this one out there because I am frustrated with the state of color rendition in digital imaging.

RED said 2k wasn't good enough, made 4k happen, and showed the world why it matters.

I'm still waiting for someone to say 12-bit Bayer ( or whatever) isn't enough, make a sensor that does color better than film, and show the world why this matters.

Here's a camera test that might work as a proof of concept.

Grab three Epic-M Monochrome cameras you might have laying about, along with the usual accessories. Get a red filter, a green filter, and a blue filter. You might want to have these custom made.

Carry all this up a mountain with clear air and a nice view to the west. I'd recommend doing this in Arizona in August, and bringing some rain gear just in case.  

Put one filter on each camera, line them up side by side and genlock them.  Compose a frame where everything in frame is far away.  Enough so that the distance between the cameras is irrelevant.  Since the idea is to use stereographic principles to create three identical frames, personally I'd ask a stereographer to help out.  Up to you.

Set exposure and focus.  Go for hyperfocal if you can.  Wait for sunset.  Roll cameras.  Cut.  Wrap.   Cook steaks on a campfire, put the rest of the food out of reach of bears and get a good night's rest.  Continue in this manner until you see the perfect sunset, run out of food, get attacked by bears, or wish you were on Asteroid B-612.  Go home.

If you don't live in a post-production facilty, go there next.  Tell them what you did.  Give them the footage and let them sort it out.  Wait awhile while they figure out how to handle an unprecedented DSMC color space.

This might not be easy, so don't be surprised if they complain.  When that happens, just throw fat stacks of cash at their heads.  As long as no one loses an eye, it'll make you both feel better.

Once the software development is done, get in the projection room with your colorist.  If he or she doesn't look at the vector scope and start crying, either you did something wrong or it didn't work.

Either way, at least you got to go camping.  With any luck, you've probably got the nicest footage of the colors in a sunset that anyone has ever made.