Oscars are Stoopid

Not to belittle the amount of effort that went into ‘Happy Feet’, but the fact that Happy feet won an Oscar brings me down. Not that I put much stock into awards, but they do seem to have an effect on the industry. Why does it bring me down? It’s mostly ‘performance capture’ – a glorified way of saying motion capture (like sanitation engineer for garbage man). Performance capture, if you are in the animation biz, is not animation at all. It is like seeing an art show full of paintings, but the grand prize for best painting goes to… a photograph. Sigh. Since stage two of grieving is supposed to be anger, here you go: That’s it… I’ve had it. I’m boycotting all motion capture or performance capture films (edit: that claim to be animation). So there.

Spam

Ok, so this is one of my pet peeves: Spam. What is spam? As far as I am concerned it is any email that is unwanted. If I’ve signed up to a newsletter or other email news deliverer, I expect to receive these emails and newsletters and they don’t bother me. I mean, I asked for them. I don’t even mind the companies that I purchased things from who send me an email about a special deal or news annoucement. What I don’t like is all the emails that have nothing to do with me. I mean just check out some of the spams I receive every day (in no particular order):

Drugs (Viagra, Cialis, and the list goes on)
Emails in Languages I don’t speak
Stock trader alerts
Get Rich Quick Schemes and other scams
Illegal software
Phishing Emails (those are the ones masquerading as legitimate websites)
Casinos
Bogus Job offers
… and the list goes on.

Are these people serious? Do they actually think people will buy, visit their website, or even find some of this information useful in the least? What a waste of internet resources, what a waste of people’s time…

I get a lot of spam. Take, for example February 9th of this year (that was a Friday). On that day, in a 24 hour period I received 456 spam emails. That’s about one spam email every 3 minutes, every hour, for 24 hours. What is with that?? Thankfully the new Vista email junk filter caught just about every one of those spams, but you still need to scan the sender/subject to make sure nothing was misfiled into the spam folder. That takes time. How much productivity (or even leisure time) do we lose because of stoopid spam?

For fun, I decided to scan the subject headings of all 456 emails, sometimes I cross check the name of the sender (in case the name rings a bell), and rarely did I click on the email to ensure it wasn’t really a good email. It took me about 5 minutes to scan that day’s spam. So that’s 5 minutes every day. That adds up to about 30 hours a year. That’s equivalent to about 4 work days – which is almost a work week – every year! What a waste!

So here are my rules for spam and spammers:

1) never buy anything from someone who spammed me
2) never go to a website because it was recommended in a spam
3) try not to click on any email that is a highly suspected spam email (that way, in case the email directs you to a website and counts your ‘read’ email, the spammer doesn’t get any stats)
4) spend less time checking the spam
5) tell other people rules 1 to 5

If you are trying to contact me legitimately, and I don’t answer within a day… please email again. I check my email constantly. My mailer is always up and running when I’m at my workstation in the studio. To make sure I don’t miss your email please ensure you have a reasonable subject header – something very specific that I won’t likely miss. If we all ignore those spammers maybe they’ll get the message and just go away.

Don Seegmiller’s Workshop


The end of the Don Seegmiller’s painting workshop is near at hand and for our final assignment we had to paint a monster – so there he is… I know, not too original (you can click on the image to see a larger version), but I almost didn’t have time to do anything, so I think it’s better than nothing. The workshop was a lot of fun and it challenged me to paint a lot more than I ever had. So now I want to try even more! I guess time will tell if I find the time to do just that!

Vista Experience

So here I sit typing away under Windows Vista (64bit). I must say that I’m pretty pleased with how it looks and feels. The Aero Windows scheme is nice. Just remember to throw a lot of processors and memory at it.

There are some legacy tools that either don’t install or have issues. There are also some hardware issues… for example… Vista no longer supports parallel printer ports – I know I haven’t used a parallel port for a printer in a long time, but alas I have several dongles that require the port so now I have to figure out a way to get those upgraded. Lightwave, for one, requires you to send your old dongle back and then they send you a new one – meaning you are without the tool for a number of days (and being in Canada… it’s more like a week or two). In case you were wondering, a dongle is another term for ‘hardware key’.

Another problem I ran into was running Maya 7.0 on Vista. When running under the Aero scheme Maya 7.0 has some display glitches – that’s easily solved by changing to the Vista Standard scheme. Max8.0 does this automatically (if you are in Aero, it switches it to standard and then when you exit it switches it back). No I haven’t upgraded to Maya 8.5 or Max 9. I probably won’t for a long time (unless a client really, really needs it). I have Maya Unlimited so the cost of upgrading a version and a half is pretty incredible.

Vista also does not support my Logitech webcam – so that gives me an excuse to upgrade to a cooler camera in the future :)

My version of Vista (64bit) does not seem to support older versions of Adobe Premiere (I tried 6.0 and it wouldn’t install) – which is a bit of a problem. Adobe After Effects 7.5 installs, but my pro version has a parallel hardware key – which means I need to get it switched over to a USB key (just like Lightwave).

Also, if you are considering migrating to Vista, remember that some games don’t run on it and the one’s that do, run a little slower. The main reason is because the games aren’t using DirectX 10 yet… so they have to use the legacy version 9.

By the way, I installed a copy of Microsoft Office 97 and it seems to work just fine! Yes, that is not a typo, 97. Hey, it works and is sufficient for my needs.

So the moral of the story is don’t upgrade until you have to… I have a dual boot setup so I can boot off of a Vista disk or I can boot off of an XP disk. That way I have the best of both worlds…