5. January 2009

My Dell UltraSharp 2709W (Review / Test)

Dell UltraSharp 2709W

Ok, “my” is not quite right in this case. Not too long ago I bought a new monitor, the Samsung SyncMaster 226bw, and i would not be that decadent to buy yet another new monitor so soon. :) I am using the Dell UltraSharp 2709W for a larger project, but I do not own it. Bold 27” screen size and a resolution of 1980×1200 come quite handy for video post processing. Too bad I’ll have to return it some day…

Specs

Screen size: 27“
Resolution: 1980×1200
Video ports: DVI, VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort, Composite Video, Component Video
Viewing angles: 178°/178° (Standard)
Contrast: 3000:1 (dynamic), Standard
Response time: 6 ms (Grey to grey), Standard
Energy consumption: 57 W (standard); 110 W (max)
Panel technology: S-PVA
Integrated speakers: no
Other integrated accessories: 4 port USB hub, 9-in-2 card reader
Price: Bought in July 2008 directly from Dell for 623 Euros. Current price: 831,81€

First Impression

A Dell UltraSharp 2709W on my desktop

After unboxing my 2709W, my first thought was „yay, biiig“. :) The UltraSharp 2709W fits just barely together with my laptop and old monitor on my desktop. The second monitor has to be turned upright to fit it besides the large 27” screen.
My personal command center. :)

Design

Visually, this large monitor does not have to hide. He is well built and has a beautifully simple design which also isn’t destroyed by pointless speakers. The material itself does not feel or look cheap, although Dell’s official product photo does not look that convincing. Fortunately, it looks better in reality.

One reason why the monitor looks so beautifully simple is that there are very few visible buttons. Only the power button is permanently emitting a blue or orange light. The other buttons for menu controls are very small LED rectangles, which stay black and mostly invisible when not in use. The only awake and shine when you approach them with your hand or finger. This is quite cool, although the technology still seems to have a few hiccups – more about this later.

Image Quality: See next page

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: computerDelldisplayhardwareLCDmonitorreviewscreentestTFT

1. October 2008

My Name is Bruce (Movie Review)


My Name is Bruce - Poster

Plot Preview

Bruce Campbell (Bruce Campbell) is currently busy producing his newest movie, the terrific Cave Alien 2, when a young fanboy* asks for his help. He accidentally released an ancient Chinese daemon that now has set out to slaughter everyone who is related to the fanboy – coming from a small town this puts its whole population on the brink of a bloody death.

The passionate Bruce Campbell fan sees only one solution to this problem: Bruce himfels has to save the town utilizing his elite monster slaying powers which he aquired acting in various grand movies like Evil Dead. The True Fan faithfully overlooks the dramatic downfall which Bruce’s career has taken since his heydays. Neither is Fanboy irritated by the fact that his idol turns out to be the most arrogant asshole alive who couldn’t care less about his fans and annoyingly keeps hitting on fanboy’s mother (and pretty much any other female).

Thanks to some gentle persuasion involving a baseball bat and Bruce’s subsequent erroneous assumption that the whole story is just an elaborate birthday present from his manager (Ted Raimi), he agrees to pick up the fight against the daemon…

Review

My Name is Bruce: Evil Chinese Demon Spirit

As one might guess from the plot description, My Name is Bruce is not exactly a movie that is meant to be taken seriously. It is a parody – primarily on Bruce Campbell himself, but also on the movies in which he acted.

» read on!

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: Bruce Campbellcomedyhorrormoviesreview

5. September 2008

Lethal Water Overdose: Water Intoxination


Pretty much every substance can be unhealthy or even lethal when taken in large enough quantities. This also holds true for plain water.

If one digests too much water, the level of sodium in the blood gets out of balance. There is enough sodium, but too much water. The consequence is a hyponatremia, or water intoxination. The possible symptoms are quite scary:

”Initial symptoms typically include light-headedness, sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, headache and/or malaise. Sodium levels below 100 mmol/l (2.3 g/l) frequently result in cerebral edema, seizures, coma, and death within a few hours of drinking the excess water.” (Wikipedia)

In extreme cases it is even possible to die of water. This should be quite impossible through any sane consumption (so don’t panic), but every now and then some people indeed manage to die of water – usually in the context of strange contests.

» read on!

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: intoxinationoverdosewater

3. September 2008

Atmospheric Railroad Photos by Kevin Scanlon


Eisenbahnromantik von Kevin Scanlon

I stumbled over a beautiful photo set by Kevin Scanlon. Bearing the simple title “Railroad” it shows diverse impressions of railroad scenery.

I’m not particularly drawn to railroads, but these photos are really beautiful. Especially the numerous shots with backlight produce a wonderful atmosphere.

» “Railroad” by Kevin Scanlon

Why Kevin Scanlon presents such beautiful images on such a not beautiful website is beyond my comprehension, though. :)

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: photosrailroad

29. August 2008

Step-by-Step Video of a Matte Painting by James McWilliams / Digital Animosity


Ancient Bathhouse von James McWilliams

A matte painting commonly refers to a painted or drawn piece of scenery used in movies or animations. They belong more or less to the standard repertoire of special effects.

James McWilliams created an interesting short video which shows the progress of such a painting. In several steps he first paints the scenery of an “ancient bathhouse” (read: mysterious ruins including a water fall). Then the painting is projected onto simple 3d geometries and a short tracking shot through the scenery is animated.

The video is a nice insight into how such effects are created. The download size is kinda hefty, though: 65MB.

» Digital Animosity / James McWilliams

(via The Reaction)

See also

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: compositingeffectsmattepaintingvideo

22. August 2008

Photo-Compositing Step by Step


Webseite von Taylor James

Recently I stumbled over the site of Taylor James. He has step-by-step illustrations of the different photo editing stages involved in creating complex compositions.

» Taylor James (see Retouching > Case Studies)

I am especially fascinated by the amount of manipulation that is involved in each picture. Usually I only wonder how certain outstanding elements have been inserted into a picture. But in this step-by-step show you can see that almost nothing originates from the same picture. Backgrounds and even floors are composited from numerous completely different photos.

Some but few of these compositions have accompanying explanations which are also very enlighting.

I am wondering what the source is for all those single parts that make up the whole image. Buying them from stock photo agencies would be excitingly expensive – but traveling around to photograph them by oneself wouldn’t be much cheaper.

(via The Reaction)

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: compositingeditingphotographyphotosstep-by-step

21. August 2008

Incandescent Light Bulb Scultpures by Dylan Kehde Roelofs


Light Bulb Sculptures by Dylan Kehde Roelofs

Artist Dylan Kehde Roelofs responds to the „soulless glow of low-energy bulbs“ with a series of self-made light bulbs and lamps.

These artworks are fully fledged lamps which indeed do give off light. Dylan doesn’t specify the life span of such a bulb, but he claims that his testing lamps are already glowing for 2500 hours. The price of these art lamps ranges from about 130 Euros to 870 Euros. Once burnt out, the filament can be replaced – for a fee.

I like these incandescent lamps. The style is beautifully steampunk’ish They would also fit very well in a Firefly set. ^_^

» The Incandescent Sculpture of Dylan Kehde Roelofs

(via Boing Boing Gadgets)

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: artglasslampslightsteampunk

8. August 2008

Music Matching your Running Speed or Heartbeat: Yamaha BodiBeat


Yamaha BodiBeat

Yamaha released a mp3 player which automatically chooses songs which match your current activity. It is called BodiBeat or more plainly BF-1.

Using a accelerometer the player tries to determine the current running rhythm. It then automatically chooses the music best matching this rhythm.

In another mode, it monitors the heartbeat of the listener using an ear clip (stylish… yuk). If the pulse becomes slower than the optimal training pulse, BodiBeat plays faster music. If the heartbeat accelerates too much, it plays slower music.

Alternatively Yamaha’s BodiBeat can also be used as a plain simple mp3 player. ^_^

I’m not really a jogging person, so this toy is not for me. However, I’m very curious how well this will work. Yamaha claims that the player can even switch mid-song to something with a more approptiate speed – I can hardly imagine how this can be done smoothly.

Nevertheless, I think the idea is pretty cool. :)

» Yahama BodiBeat

(via Boing Boing via OhGizmo! via The Red Ferret Journal)

More weird mp3 players

Floating MP3-Player: Music for your bath tub

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: fitnessjoggingmp3 playermusic

23. July 2008

Paintings of Raw Meat – Victoria Reynolds


Victoria Reynolds chooses rather uncommon subjects for her paintings: Raw shreds of meat.

Pictured left is Flight of the Reindeer (2003, 81,25×111,12cm ). Most of Victoria’s painting in that size cost about 3000 Euros.

Somehow, the paintings have a fascinating morbid flair. I only wonder what the buyers are going to do with them. I can hardly imagine that someone decorates his or her living room with art like that – although I would be positively surprised if someone did. :)

» Victoria Reynold’s Paintings at the Richard Heller Gallery
» Another article with slightly more background info

(via Boing Boing)

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: artmeatpainting

22. July 2008

Free Offline Dictionary: LingoPad


A Screenshot of LingoPad

For translations, I usually refer to the excellent online dictionary of LEO (German-English). Unfortunately, this is suboptimal when you are currently without internet connection. So I searched for a offline dictionary – and found it: LingoPad.

LingoPad is free (though not Open Source). It can display phonetic transcriptions for many words. Besides the obvious way of using it (entering words into the GUI) it can also translate words taken from other application using shortcuts or Alt+right mouse click.

There are just two downsides: To copy words from another application, these words need to be marked. It would be easier to just move the cursor into the word without having to mark it. It’s also a pitty that you have to manually choose which direction you want the words translated upon entering directly in the interface. LEO just takes any word and automatically figures out which language it is.

On the bright side, the supply of different dictionaries is impressive. Besides German?English there is this excessive list of available languages:

  • German? English
  • German ? English Specialist Dictionary for Wale and Delfine
  • German ? English Specialist Dictionary for metalworking
  • Norwegian ? German
  • Spanish? German
  • German ? Latin
  • German ? Khasi
  • Japanese ? German
  • Chinese ? German
  • Chinese ? Englisch
  • Esperanto ? German
  • Turkish ? German
  • Kurdish ? German
  • Italian ? German
  • Hungarian ? German
  • Portuguese ? German
  • English ? Arabic
  • Frensh ? German
  • Dutch ? German
  • Russian ? German
  • Thai ? German

» LingoPad

By the way, LingoPad used to be known as LingoDict and Lingo4u Dictionary before that (according to Golem.de).

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: dictionaryfreeprogramsoftwaretranslation

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