Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More Civilised Travel by Rail in the Americas

A reply to:

Dearest Eva,

Civilised my left foot. A three hour trip includes not a glass of wine nor a proper dining menu? Alas, what one must do when roughing it in the colonies. Otherwise, scheduling travel seems little trouble, although I'm a bit unclear as to which station is which. Amtrak offers four stations under the name Boston and two in New York. After some guesswork I tested Boston South Station and New York Penn. I would deeply appreciate some guidance there so as not to step into a neighbourhood resembling a shantytown or war zone.

Presuming I found the correct terminals we'd depart desperately early to arrive before noon, and leave around seven in the evening, or earlier, depending on your schedule. As to the date, I examined the 17th, as we depart for home by aero-ship on the 18th. The 16th is also very possible, as the convention will be largely wound up by then, and it is indeed the Monday, if that is of any assistance to you at all.

I do indeed look forward to seeing the missing sister from Paris, as I am told, in true American fashion, she is the largest of the set. After all, when one does visit the colonial York, the first question one hears upon return is 'did you see the Statue?' Really, for all the city's purported majesty, it is known for so few things, a dusty statue, robbery, and a mixture of cheese, tomato paste and meats baked on a round bread.

So then, 16th or 17th, which works best for you, and what time you wish to arrive and depart our mid-point between and I will do my best to avail myself to your hospitality in timely fashion.

Best regards,


PS: Tell you whut, I'll post first, wait for your post, then edit my post, link to yours, then post again and backlink to the prior. Perhaps we shall forge a new fashion statement. :)

Civilised Rail Travel in the Americas

Oxymoron? I hope not.

Dearest Grace, Eva,

As to booking, I'll first inquire with the aetheric visual wicket to see about firm arrangements for a day trip. I do hope there is a division between the monied and the proletariat.

That said, rail from Boston will likely land us at a terminal, once we make it past the mobs wielding assault rifles as though they were Jihadis in Tehran, what next?

Would you come by motor carriage? By rail as well? Would you arrive at a different terminal? Is the subway in New York truly the land ventured only by hoodlums, daredevils and vigilantes?

But of most importance, where shall we lunch? Some place with an 'essential New York' experience, if possible, a sight of that French monument in the harbour, perhaps? Times Square from all views I've seen before appears to be a Piccadilly redeux, and after Shanghai, the urban-ness of New York strikes me as quaint and small town, sadly. Therefore, the harbour statue is a must, unless you've a brilliant secret little known outside your region. Restaurant atop the Chrysler or Empire State buildings? Art deco museum? Tea house along Central Park?

And in the event of the inevitable muggers, will you be 'packing heat' as you say down there in the deep south? And in such cases, we have excellent concoctions of bear spray here in the wilds, but pray tell, is such personal defense within the bounds of decency? We wouldn't wish to appear too provincial if it should come to it that an assailant need be spritzed in the visage and thusly trounced with logger boot and hockey stick.

Your friend,


PS do let me know if you just sprayed your coffee though your nose and if I'm welcome to blog this.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Brief comments on Maya and Blender

Subdivides edges more intelligently. When you're working in squares, it gives you squares.
The vertex selection tools are weaker, lack of occlusion ability ends up selecting right through the object, more orbits needed to check yourself. (Learned there is such a thing as back face occlusion, never learned where it is.)
Nifty sculpt options, but still prefer a lattice.
Nice extruding along a curve. The extrusion can be manipulated neatly after it's extruded.
Animation graph editing is the_bomb.

Prefer the phonetic hot keys to Maya's keyboard placement hotkeys.
Prefer the extrusion in Blender, more hotkey, less pretty graphics.
Less overall crap in your way. Less camera battles selecting things.
Could have to do with 30" monitor at home running 2500 lines vs school 24 at 1900. But them Deluxe Handles in Maya were pretty big.
Googling help generally resulted in more and better examples. Blender nerds tend to prefix every explanation by declaring how easy X is, which I'm less convinced has to do with ease and more to do with presenting their massive E-nis for praise and adulation. But that's how the open source community works, where there isn't a financial incentive there's a posturing incentive. Net result, lots of help in varying shades of pedantic.

So full of options, good luck finding anything. Taking this class showed me lots of things I didn't know even existed and technique I hadn't thought of. Not bad for a weekend class.

Other observation on financial vs social incentives:
A large firm will want pro-paid for dev tools same reason it will want certified staff. Efficiency in standardisation and contracts signed in eloquent legalese for more effective lawsuits should it come to that.
Yes, a significant part of that 4 grand price tag is the cost of lawsuits. (And later learned Mental Ray rendering, which is irrelevant to Blue Mars.)
Smalltime operators may be less worried about suing and more about just getting the job done efficiently and cheaply. Blender will do just fine for a lone gun contractor or developer with no intention of hopping into standardised employment or expanding operations into the realm of Large. For the lone gun, things like Maya or Illustrator or Max or Photoshop are merely marketing points and might as well be classified as an advertising expense for all the difference I can see between the capabilities between them and open source alternatives.

I will probably be buying Flash Pro, though, so brace yourself, as soon as I jump on a wagon it means there's a strong chance it's headed off a cliff over shark infested seas, on waterskis.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010