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senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

first timer fumblings

permalink Sunday, 19FEB2006:

got up early on a sunday morning to take in the first class of the documentary film course that neil managed to arrange at the college. there are 9 students in the class (neil, anna, robert, gord, scott, kurt, elisapee, JFre and myself) and each of us had quite different ideas about why we were taking the course and what kind of topic we were interested in pursuing. our goal is to each create a 3-minute piece by friday and then have a mini film festival viewing during the final class.

my motivation for taking the course was that i get really peeved by what i perceive to be bad editing during movies, where a focus on visual or aural stimulation gets in the way of the storytelling. unless it's some kind of art film, i want to know what's going on! by taking this course, i'm hoping to figure out if it's just some snobbish sensibility on my part, or if it really is just a matter of making the best of the building blocks of footage, music or techno-magic that you have available.

so, once we had finished our hands-on examination of the cameras, tripods and microphones, we parted ways to create something fabulous. i had thought about doing a poker vs. patiq comparison, but i don't really frequent crowds where patiq is an obsession. patiq happens to be a card game that a lot of the local inuit play for money. the rules are murky, and new players who can't get up to speed quickly enough will drop wads of cash figuring the rules out. instead, i decided to focus just on poker and figured that my initial foray into online poker for money might make an interesting momento.

setting up the camera in my living room to shoot me at my computer, i proceeded to login to tigergaming and sign-up for a $5 tourney. the first tourney went quite well for me. i got pocket rockets on the 2d hand, but they went nowhere for me. however, i kept plugging away and managed to get a couple of nice hands paid off so that by the time the 2d break came around, 2 hours into the tourney, i found myself in 6th place.

after the break, disaster struck as i called 2 all-in bets in a row. the first one was just bad luck where my pocket rockets got busted by pocket Js. the 2d one was more pitiful, as i misplayed my AK unsuited. DustyDan had raised after me and then been re-raised by Macher who went all-in with AJ. i raised again all-in, thinking that DustyDan would back off, but he had the pocket rockets and called me too. a K came on the flop, and a J on the turn, but DustyDan took us both out to the cleaners when no further assistance came on the river. out of 127 people that started, i finished in 27th place. DustyDan finished the tourney in 6th spot for $177.

lessons learned - in the early rounds, it's important to bet more prudently to get paid, but in later rounds without rebuys, you need to take more risks and gamble on decent cards in order to increase your chip stack quickly. also, based on your position, sometimes you still have to be able to throw away big slick if someone else has you well covered.

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laying the groundwork

permalink Monday, 20FEB2006:

today's film course class introduced us to final cut pro, and we began to capture our video from the cameras. i have never actually used a mac to do any real work before, so it took a little bit of time to get adjusted to its idiosyncrasies. like many of the other students, i found that in my rush to film, i had neglected to check the sound every time and some of my video tracks were completely silent. of course, i had been hampered by having to re-charge the camera battery constantly, but it wouldn't have hurt to leave the microphone on the whole time as it was powered by a separate 9v battery. afterwards, i persuaded gord to face off against me for a few hands so i could get some footage of offline play and show off my poker chip riffling and bluffing skills.

as planned, my movie soundtracks radio show was re-broadcast on CFRT from the hard drive. however, the recording of the show sounded *horrible* over the air. apologies for the burst eardrums of anyone in town who was listening :( next time, i'll output the mp3s to cd-audio or wav files so that the transfer to the CFRT dalet system preserves the sound quality. so, instead of the show broadcast this week, i have made available for your download listening, the original show recorded from last august.

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shuffling the deck

permalink Tuesday, 21FEB2006:

in today's film class, we began to sequence our footage and used the canvas timeline window to cut / paste, separate audio / video, superimpose and cross-fade pieces - twas great fun ! especially interesting was re-watching the video of gord and i playing a few hands and trying to pick up a few of gord's tells :)

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information efficiency and effectiveness

permalink Wednesday, 23FEB2006:

had my monthly meeting with my supervisor today and i commiserated with her about how our email had gone down for 3 days, losing over 10 days worth of emails in the process. the staff who had been most affected had attempted to use outlook as an infobase, something that it is poorly equipped to do. however, since we had nothing else available, there really wasn't anything else we could do short of printing off every single email and saving every attachment to the hard drive (*yuck*).

also, the idea of how to determine whether a copy could be deemed an 'official' version came up. the question i was asked dealt with copying electronic data to cd-r's, but i cautioned her that even cd-r's have a shelf life. accordingly, i switched the discussion onto a different track - that the issue was more about how to certify the copying *process*, regardless of the specific media in question, and how to determine the accuracy of the copy. if the copying process is secure and the copies have been confirmed to match the original, this allows you to make an 'official' version whenever the original media version reaches its designated lifespan. the question of what actual media is used before / after becomes moot and we can be free to use the best available technology to suit our purpose.

in today's film course class we covered how to apply video and audio effects such as colour correction and noise filtering. i spent over 9 hours staring at the computer in the lab and still have quite a bit to do tomorrow. hopefully it all comes together in time for the evening screening of all of our films (or works in progress).

  • ip link of the day: Justice Rothstein nominated to be the next justice to join the Supreme Court of Canada.

  • even tho some of his significant IP decisions have gone against my own views, i think that having another SCC justice who is familiar with IP issues can only be a benefit going forward.

    however, legal researchers and librarians should keep in mind what Justice Rothstein wrote in the CCH decision 2002 FCA 187 (FCA):
    "[265] In this case, the Law Society 
    does more than merely provide 
    photocopiers to its patrons.  It also 
    provides a large collection of the 
    Publishers' works and these two 
    elements are offered by the Law 
    Society in a single environment.  
    From the nature of the requests 
    received by the custom photocopy 
    operation, it is evident that patrons 
    access the Publishers' materials.  I 
    infer that patrons of the free-standing 
    photocopiers have similar interests and 
    therefore that they will also access 
    the Publishers' materials.  Although 
    I recognize that the Great Library 
    contains non-copyrighted work, 
    e.g. statutes, it is unrealistic to 
    think that only this type of material 
    is reproduced on the photocopiers.  
    This is a case in which the action of 
    placing photocopiers in an environment 
    full of copyrighted works is bound to 
    result in infringing reproduction of 
    the Publishers' materials.  In such a 
    situation it is my view that the Law 
    Society's indifference to this 
    inevitable outcome amounts to 
    authorization of the infringing 
    reproduction engaged in by its patrons."

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completing a final cut !

permalink Friday, 24FEB2006:

so i took a day of annual leave today in order to spend 12 hours at the computer lab at the college working on my film project. it was a good thing too, as a blizzard kicked up in the afternoon and sent everyone packing, resulting in a postponement of this evening's class to tomorrow afternoon. instead of running against the clock tomorrow, i managed to get a cut that i was happy with tonight. i can still do a little bit on transitions and credits tomorrow, but the major work is done.

lessons learned - whatever time you expect something to take - double it. get as much footage as you can, do a first pass thru it as you capture to disk, then kick back and reflect a bit on everything you have. make sure you've developed enough of a puzzle that all the pieces can slot themselves into. without an aim in mind, all the futzing around with the editing software looking for 'creativity' will only cause despair. once you have your plan outlined, sift thru the footage once again and note the pieces that fit your new vision and ruthlessly excise the rest from your consideration.

i must say that the week spent on this project has been extremely enjoyable. neil tempted me with the thought that apple might offer us educational discounts on the final cut pro software AND HARDWARE to boot ! maybe i should consider an editing career rather than the planned journey to law school ?

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putting on a show

permalink Saturday, 25FEB2006:

skipped out on broomball today in order to attend the screening of the films that our class produced this week. i was pretty happy with my piece, but will tweak it a bit more tomorrow and monday before letting neil burn a copy to the official class dvd. one of the sound samples almost blew out the portable speakers so i'll mess with it on my home pc and reload it. i'll also replace a couple of the video pieces in the credits. JFre was a bit exasperated when he output his final film 5 minutes before showtime, only to realize that his music tracks had not been incorporated because they had not been copied to the local hard drive. a short delay ensued, but all worked out in the end.

in the evening, we helped celebrate cyndi's birthday with another poker matchup hosted by curtis. i managed to reverse my losing streak and almost recovered enough to make up for my online loss last weekend (recorded for posterity on my film - oops, did i give away the ending ?). i won the first game after vegas kevin bet out so that we could start another game. in the second, i did the same against kevinj so that a 3d game could start (a room full of addicts, eh ?). with the decreasing amount of time between increases in the blinds, the game was not designed for patience, and i was glad to skip out early to engage a prior commitment.

from there, i travelled up to the storehouse to meet up with some of the other filmmakers and then ferried our instructor ariella to the legion so that she could get a taste of the real iqaluit nightlife. a special treat awaited us there - a group of hip hop dancers had been working with some locals and they put on an amazing show on the legion dancefloor. full of moxy moves, spins, handstands and even a guy bouncing up and landing right on his head - the crowd was totally pumped up.

  • link of the day: 'how to spell' - john irving comments:
    Beside every word I look up in 
    the dictionary, I make a mark.  
    Beside every word I look up more 
    than once, I write a note to myself 
    - about WHY I looked it up.  I have 
    looked up "strictly" 14 times since 
    1964.  I prefer to spell it with a 
    k as in "stricktly".  I have looked 
    up "ubiquitous" a dozen times.  I 
    can't remember what it means.

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