Archive for the ‘Movies’ category

Samsung Galaxy S / Vibrant Video Performance Tests

16/11/2010

Hello, dear readers!

I recently acquired a new cell phone – the Samsung Galaxy S (aka the Vibrant in America) and as with all new toys I love to push their limits! Today we are going to take a look at the video playback capabilities of the Galaxy using the stock video player that comes with the phone. Let’s begin!

SD Playback (Divx/xvid)
The Galaxy easily chews through any standard definition videos you throw at it. In certain videos microstutter can be noticed, which is most likely related to a lower fps. 25fps and 30fps videos seem to play very fluently. A video example below!

Performance: Perfect!

HD Playback 720p (MKV/h264)
I really didn’t expect much going into this test, but believe it or not, the first video I threw at the Galaxy played brilliantly!

However, I noticed that videos with DTS audio would not play back any sound.

I also noticed that some videos (mainly trailers) would not play back at all for some reason.

Conclusion: Most videos should work, but not DTS audio/wonky container configurations.

Performance: Works

HD Playback 1080p (MKV/h264)
Unfortunately I never got this to work, as illustrated by my feeble attempts below:

However, don’t let this be a deterrent, because even distincting SD from HD material is pretty hard! 1080p would add nothing to the WVGA resolution of the Galaxy.

Performance: Does not work

Conclusion
I was pleasantly surprised at the possibility for HD video playback on the Galaxy. This means less time converting videos to weird formats and more time viewing them. Cheers!

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ATI Catalyst 9.12 fixes DXVA flicker issue on Radeon cards, improves performance!

19/12/2009

sean_mcnamara Sean McNamara, now with 100% less annoying flicker.

When I first tried DXVA (DirectX Video Acceleration, a technology to offload the CPU by letting the video card render videos.) on my ATI Radeon HD 5770 I noticed a weird issue that would seem to change the brightness of whatever I was watching in-between shots. An angle change would often mean that the brightness would either hop up or go down a few notches. It’s very hard to explain this phenomenon but it was highly disturbing. I didn’t bother looking into it more so I don’t know if only specific software/OS’es were affected, but what I do know is that after installing the Catalyst 9.12 update I have watched an entire episode of Nip/Tuck without any issues, and so it seems resolved. 🙂 (At least in MPC Home Cinema.)

The 9.12 update also boosts an impressive (“up to”) 9% performance increase in 3DMark Vantage and OpenGL 3.2 extension support.

However, they forgot to fix this.

In other news…
You shall listen to this song, because it be awesome.

On The Pirate Bay verdict

17/04/2009

tpbThe bay lives on, for now.

People who know me are familiar with my strong interest in file sharing, copyright law and the moral consequences involved. Therefore I feel almost obligated to write up a my opinion on the verdict that surfaced att 11AM today – sentencing the four accused – guilty, giving them one year in prison each and a collective fine of 30 000 000 swedish crowns.

I followed the trial almost every day through the live webcasts from the courtroom, and was often appalled at the low standard of technical knowledge throughout the course of it. Not only that – according to me the prosecutor failed to show that they had financial gain from the ads displayed, something the judge disagreed on and stated increased the penalty.

But as my friend Eva (Original Swedish / Translated English) points out, this trial does not mean the end and will most likely be appealed shortly. Experts speculate that the final verdict from the Swedish supreme court will be clear in no less than five years time.

In other news…
Fun trivia #1: I forgot to write the “In other news…” section when I first posted this, here’s some fun trivia to rectify it!

Fun trivia #2: Just played Mahjong for the first time, quite an interesting concept and game, look forward to many nights sweating, staring angrily at the other players!

I visited the trial on the last day briefly and you’ll find a few of the pictures I took in the gallery below!

A trip to London

14/04/2009

Greetings everyone! As promised, here are my notes on the journey to London! Most of these were scribbled down on the plane home.

The culture
Under this section I’ll mention some of the sights and attractions visited and give my personal take on them. After writing all of them I notice a generally negative tone, but it isn’t really my intention. I liked most of what I saw… Maybe I just like to complain. (My friends will probably agree on that one. xD)

– The Phantom of The Opera

phantom
I didn’t really know what to expect as I walked into the theatre for this performance. I’ve seen my fair share of musicals, and sometimes I’ve been really blown away. I remember seeing a Swedish rendition of “The Producers” and really liking it. Sadly, I wasn’t as amazed about The Phantom Of The Opera. The music was sort of repetitive, we were treated to half a dozen renditions of the signature track and another half dozen of “Angel Of Music” with other songs in the intermissions between the two giants. The lyrics were sometimes pretty laughable (Not a compliment!) and any “funny lines” seemed more likely to be a mistake than an actual attempt at comedy by Mr. Webber. I can’t complain about the story though. It was interesting, beautiful and captivating. All and all, I was satisfied with the show.

– The Salvador Dali Exhibition

20080915113438salvador_dali_a_dali_atomicus_09633uA famous portrait of the master.

I’ve seen a few paintings by this Spanish prodigy, but it was great to see some of his lesser famous works. Over 500 of his works are available for viewing, everything from giant paintings to quick sketches. All and all, a fantastic man, who had an extremely wacky imagination. (Compliment!)

– The Science Museum
london_2009_347

The two great arts… or something.

Now this is my cup of tea. A great museum (which incredibly enough was free with the exclusion of a couple special exhibitions) and an IMAX theatre under the same roof. The 3D technology used wasn’t the red-blue-based Anaglyph type, but rather some sort of polarization-based technology (although still using glasses) which was better, but still not perfect. The high-point was definitely the Computer Science exhibition, which showed a lot of old-age computer memorabilia. (Although I’d love to have an ERNIE-I in the closet connected to a server for use as a dice over 3G!)

london_2009_355Who says you can’t find practical uses for old computer today?

– The Kensington Palace

london_2009_153That’s got to be a pain to wear! But talk about child-bearing hips.

A look at the clothing of the royal family throughout the ages. Not really my kind of thing, although with the extreme care, talent and creativiy that goes in to creating these fantastic garments is really something to admire.

– Madame Tussauds

london_2009_459Overheard in the waiting queue:
“- Who’s that?
– Oh, that’s Angelina Jolie and MacGyver.”

I was excited to visit Madame Tussauds because of the extreme care and talent that goes into making one of these dolls. After seeing a few, the rest of the museum wasn’t as spectacular, although the Chamber Of Horrors cheered me up a bit!

PS. The dolls were harder than I had imagined. DS.

Observations

london_2009_460Look at me, daddy!

I really must say that England as a country was quite fantastic. I noticed an incredible mix of nationalities and races. It really is a multi-cultural country. Women and men were dressed handsomely and seemed to be generally very patriotic of their country and the royal family. The drug culture seemed a bit more relaxed than in Sweden, with smoke shops selling “Smoke blends” and bongs in all colors, but it’s actually pretty much as restricted as in Sweden – and so the tolerability amongst the population must be higher. Onto something a bit different, the Brits really love their CCTV – it felt like you couldn’t walk much more than a a few dozen feets between the signs warning you that you are constantly being monitored. A quick look at Wikipedia shows that there is an estimated 4,200.000 cameras in use throughout the kingdom. Cameras were everywhere – I wouldn’t be surprised if I was registered on several hundred of them throughout my four-day visit.

Oh yes, and here’s a British Big Mac.

london_2009_2391Verdict: Nice, reminds me of the Swedish version.

In pictures
Go ahead and look through the gallery below!

In other news…

jericho-finale-picHis awesomeness is so thick, you can almost
cut through it with a butter knife.

These past few weeks I’ve been indulging myself in the post-apocalyptic 2003 CBS show Jericho. Portraying a small town at the heart of the United States in the aftermath of a series of nuclear explosions. The show was initially cancelled after its first season but resurrected after a petition for a seven-episode second minis-season, after which it was… yeah, you guessed it – cancelled again. A real shame according to me. To be completely fair, the show is very corny – sometimes it feels like you could guess large parts of the dialogue, but despite its flaws, it somehow managed to go beyond them and the show really works. In fact, it works really well, although it might just be my love for dystopian futures at play. Definitely a recommended watch!

Slumdog Millionaire: Thoughts and impressions

09/03/2009

slumdog-millionaire-movie-posterI’m gonna go with B, Regis

I finished watching Slumdog Millionaire a few hours ago, and have been mostly sitting down trying to let the movie sink in, just like a big meal. Somehow that seems an appropriate comparison. Slumdog Millionaire is filled to the brim with a lot of things. Drama – Check, Love – Check, Passion – Check, Violence – Check. There really isn’t much left out. Without saying too much about the plot, we follow slumdog chai-boy Jamal as he tries to win over the girl of his dreams by participating in the Indian version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. Due to accusations of cheating for doing overly well, Jamal is forced to explain to a police officer how he know the answers to all of the questions on the show, and so the epic tale of his life from early childhood begins. As we travel we see the old and the new India – a country in violent change with the influence of modern day society, with urbania slowly creeping outwards from the big cities, swallowing the slums – the film definitely deserves its cinematography Oscar, and the same goes for the musical score, which was breathtaking. I award this movie seven out of ten function points.

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7/10

For all of you who want to know more or want my non-spoiler-free opinion, keep reading below!

Warning: Spoilers below!slumdog-millionaire-poster1This is not an accurate representation of Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire was rapidly approaching an epic movie, the elements were all there, but the cringe-worthy ending was such a huge letdown. (Although the dance number at the end made up for it a little) Whoever designed the poster pictured above didn’t seem to notice how most of movie portrays a dark and inhospitable India, but had his eyes peeved at the last ten minutes of the movie, which had the sweetest fairytale ending ever. I don’t hate fairytale endings, it was just that I didn’t expect a finalé that was interchangeable with a cheesy MTV production. Although don’t’t get me wrong, I might have scolded this picture, but it is  by no means a bad one, although I can’t believe it took home an entire eight Oscars, it’s still a good alternative take and interesting integration with foreign culture, which I hope to see more of in the future.

The Thomas Karlsson Project – Part 1

04/03/2009

thomas_feb_008

Last weekened marked an important step forward in the development of The Thomas Karlsson Project, a series of short films concerning different aspects of professional bicycling that me and my friend Thomas have had in the plannings for almost two years but due to different circumstances have never gotten off the ground. Finally – last weekend we started filming! The result was a whole bunch of great filler shots for the future, and hopefully we’ll be expanding upon the film(s) on a more frequent basis from now on. We’re not sure ourselves how these will turn out in the ends, but we agreed to try to make the best movies possible with as small of a budget as can be. We’ve made plans to build a steadycam, and I’m currently trying to build a homemade studio lamp, with a lot of help from Stephanie. If it turns into anything usable, I’ll make sure to post a DIY tutorial on it! Keep a look out for more information, as I will be updating on the status of the project as it develops.