Ignoring Video Standards

ss1I’ve always fancied getting a drone. The trouble is, with anything of the ‘domestic’ variety I just know I would not be satisfied with either the stability of the platform or the quality of the pictures.

This one is the DJI Phantom FC40 and it’s available from Maplin in the UK for £369.

Now then, it shoots 720 p at 30 frames per second (fps). I want 1080p at 25 fps, so I can edit and burn British/European standard DVDs and Blu-ray disks without all the jerkiness of frame rate conversion.

Here comes the rant

One thing almost all manufacturers of almost anything with a video component forget is that video standards vary across the world. In this case, do they therefore produce a version of the drone that shoots British, PAL, 25fps video format to sell in Europe?  No.  You can have American NTSC 30fps and lump it.  It’s as if they are saying “It shoots video – what more do you want?”

To compound the problem, let’s be honest, most of the British and European customers are too ignorant of the technicalities to realise they are being ignored!   I suppose if all they want is to take a few shots of their house, or the beach, from 100 ft up and put it on YouTube they won’t know any different.  However, should they happen to want to edit it properly and mix it with genuine British 25fps 1080p ‘telly, it’s going to look awful.

Given the lack of knowledge on the part of the customers, I suppose it’s hardly surprising that manufacturers ignore them.  After all, they probably sell no fewer due to having an American format camera built-in.  So . . . why should they care – they’ve already got your money.

Me?  I’ll wait until I can afford one of these:  http://vimeo.com/69865610 .

By Stephen Bell Posted in Media

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

By Stephen Bell Posted in Media

Obduction

Anyone who’s been watching my G+ or Twitter will know I’ve been getting all excited that Myst developer Cyan pitched a return to its roots last month with Obduction, an oldschool surreal adventure in the vein of its best-selling classic, and now it’s achieved its $1.1 million Kickstarter goal. In fact, the final total reached $1,321,306, meaning that the first stretch goal – Oculus Rift support and localization in French, Italian, German and Spanish – will be implemented.

Obduction

Obduction

Billed as a “spiritual successor” to Myst and Riven, Obduction will be a first-person real-time affair built using Unreal Engine 4. Like Myst, Obduction will place the player in the role of a silent protagonist who’s whisked away to an unknown land for no apparent rhyme or reason. As always, it’s your task to find out why you’re there and what to do.

I’ve backed it to the tune of opting for the boxed version of the game. Now, all I and more than 22,000 backers who contributed to help make the campaign successful have to do, is watch Cyan’s updates on progress until the planned release date of October 2015 when we can all be Obducted.

4K TV at PC World

We went into PC World the other day.  They sell TVs there too – all sorts.  I said to Sheila, “I wonder if they have any 4K TVs yet?”  So we asked the assistant.

4k TV

4K TV

The answer: “4K?  What’s that then?”

We explained.  4K.  You know . . . UHD TV, Ultra High Definition, 3840 x 2160 pixels . . . ?

He went off to find someone.

He came back.

“We have one in our Evesham branch, but you have to have a survey first.”

“A what?”

“A survey – we have to come and survey your house first –  to see if you can have one.”

WHAT!?
 

We laughed.  Loudly.  All the way to the door.

Poor bloke.

But what on earth are PC World thinking?

By Stephen Bell Posted in Media

RIP Doug Engelbart

Who?

Doug Engelbart

Doug Engelbart

In 1968, Doug Engelbart invented the Mouse, the Hyperlink, Cut – Copy & Paste, Object Linking and Embedding, and he was a pioneer of Arpanet on which the Internet was built.  It was on his work that Tim Berners-Lee built the Web.  Doug has passed away today at age 88.

He has been absolutely one of my heroes since as AV Technician, I showed the whole 100 minute video (linked to in parts below) to the computing department of University College London back in 1969.

I remember the audience seemed interested but the consensus was “It’ll never catch on”.  I believed him!

I’ve had links to these videos on my website ever since I’ve had a website. Anyone who thinks Microsoft, Apple or even Xerox invented the Graphical User Interface, the Mouse, the Internet, the Hyperlink etc should click here: The real birth of computing as we know it.  Watch Clip 12.

Steve.

By Stephen Bell Posted in Media

M-Audio Microtrack II “Unrepairable” at 32 months old!

I’m extremely annoyed.

M-Audio Microtrack II - Faulty . . . and unrepairable!

M-Audio Microtrack II – Faulty . . . and unrepairable!

We have an M-Audio Microtrack II audio recorder we bought from Maplin here in the UK about two and a half years ago. It has been a delightful little unit to use and we’ve used it regularly.

Recently, it has has developed a great deal of hiss (white noise) and recording sensitivity has diminished. We have tried two microphones (both known good and working) with no improvement. Even winding the level controls right up results in lower than usual level recordings and unacceptable white noise.

So, I emailed the UK agent, InMusicBrands asking them to advise us where we should return this unit to for service.

The reply was less than useful!  I quote:

“The Microtrack is a product that was unfortunately discontinued before we took over the M-Audio brand and the only spare parts that we have for this product are the battery, battery cover and USB cable.”  Whilst you could certainly send it in to us for a repair estimate, it’s quite likely that we wouldn’t have the parts to repair this and even if we did it may be uneconomical to repair the unit.”

They then went on to say even an estimate would be charged at £15 for 30mins work plus £10 shipping back cost – Plus VAT.

I repeat, this device is less than 3 years old and, to all intents and purposes is now rubbish to be thrown away.  If this is planned obsolescence, it’s taking things to extremes. Fancy taking over a brand and only being given spare batteries and battery covers!

I am NOT impressed M-Audio and I will not be buying your products again – unless you have any suggestions?

By Stephen Bell Posted in Media