Tag Archives: video

100 years of my childhood neighborhood


My neighborhood went through dramatic changes while I grew up. I was 10 miles from Washington, DC. Changes are even more dramatic since I left, about 40 years ago.

I went to the US Geological Survey and collected every map I could find of my neighborhood from 1890 through 1994. I lined them all up and made it into a video. It could be better, but it’s interesting.

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Filling up iPad Storage

Biscuit gave me a 64G iPad for Christmas – that was three months ago. Since then I’ve been on a mission to use up at least HALF of the iPad’s storage space. There’s no obvious way to fill the iPad up using Apple software: iTunes assumes that people select files and dump them into a tablet one at a time. If your average file is 1/4 MB long, you’ll have to drag and drop over 250,000 files onto iTunes to use up 32GB.

I poked around on the Internet for ideas, and came up empty. Then I contacted the folks at Tekzilla, a web video magazine on tech that streams onto our Tivo. They made some suggestions that helped a little – but not enough – and asked listeners for other ideas.

Last week, the listeners came through. The winning suggestion was to use the incredible capabilities of GoodReader to upload hierarchies of files. I’ve been using GoodReader for several weeks, but hadn’t dug deeply enough into it to appreciate these features. Thanks to GoodReader, I’ve finally filled up at least half of my iPad!

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Blu-Ray will be a niche market

Several months ago we bought a Sony BDP-BX2 Blu-ray player. I duly upgraded my Netflix account to send us Blu-ray disks. A couple of months later I switched it back to DVD-only rentals.

Blu-Ray - not for me

I had two reasons to move back to DVDs:

  1. Blu-ray just isn’t that much better than DVDs. Maybe I’ve ruined by eyes with decades of watching NTSC television and computer CRTs, but I just don’t see enough improvement to justify a change.
  2. The Sony player is awful. It’s slow. It requires an Internet connection (!!). It doesn’t play all DVDs correctly.

In a way I’m relieved. I have a huge collection of DVDs already and I didn’t want to have to replace them.

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Home Videos

Cousin Jon sent me a link to David Pogue’s recent column on “Why We Make Home Videos.”

Pogue starts by complaining about how consumer video has gone through several recent media transitions, making it very hard to view older videos. He’s developed an almost industrial process for copying his Mini DV tapes to a hard drive “in the background” while doing other work. The Mini DV format is disappearing since modern recorders just use built in flash memory.

I remember moving a lot of Hi-8 and VHS video to Mini DV when it first came out. I transferred several Mini-DV tapes to DVD, but the task remains unfinished.

Personally I’m ambivalent about having a huge family video archive. It’s nice at times, but lots of it is arguably nonsense. Pogue addresses this question, coming down in favor of family video.


Linux and Gnu on “Revolution OS”

There was a documentary produced back in 2002 about free software, open source, Linux, Gnu, Stallman, and Torvalds. A topic ripe with irony.

I finally saw the documentary, Revolution OS, on Netflicks. The video is avaliable through the iTunes store and the DVD through alibris:

The ultimate moment was when Richard Stallman was given the “Linus Torvalds Award” at the second Linux trade show. So we have this scene of Stallman earnestly explaining the irony of the award to the audience of 5,000 people while two blond, Scandanavian toddlers (Torvalds’ daughters) are cavorting around the stage in the background.

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