Hollywood East comes to Boston... or not

Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray has better things to do... What?!?!

The Boston Globe reported today on the progress of a legislative bill to increase tax breaks for Plymouth Rock Studios, a.k.a. Hollywood East. Former executives from Paramount Pictures have been planning construction of a massive $420 million studio located less than an hour south of Boston, expected to have over 1.2 million square feet with 14 stages AND "50,000 square feet of the world's most advanced Post Production facilities"!!

The Massachusetts House of Representatives discussed the bill this week, and its destined for approval in the state senate next, but according to the Globe, Senator Therese Murray is blocking the additional tax incentive by claiming that its "not at the top of her agenda". The Senate's not even going to think about it.

Taxachusetts, er, Massachusetts has been hemorrhaging residents for years because there's not enough high wage jobs and out of control housing costs (a problem that continues in the area despite the nation-wide housing crisis). Hollywood comes to Boston and wants to drop a huge chunk of change, but now Senator Murray's too busy to help give the state a massive shot in the arm?

The opportunities for creative professionals in film, photography, audio, animation, and other computer specialists would be a boon for the state, and New England. According to Plymouth Rock Studio's website:

Plymouth Rock Studios will employ over 2,000 skilled professionals and generating billions of dollars in direct and indirect economic benefits to the Plymouth area and the Commonwealth.


And where is the brand spanking new Massachusetts Creative Economy Director Jason S. Schupbach in all this? He should be in Senator Murray's office tearing her a new lobbying on behalf of Plymouth Rock.

Geeze... Massachusetts, please get a clue!

Working with Models: A tough gig, but someone has to do it!

This month at Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts I'm learning to work with fashion models in studio photography. This course, DP206, teaches us the rhythm of working with models, how to direct them and engage them to turn the shots we visualize in our heads into beautiful prints in real life. It puts together everything we've learned so far about about camera operation, studio lighting, portraiture, concept, and posing. Additionally, as the program emphasizes the use of Lightroom for digital imaging workflow, and Photoshop for retouching and compositing, this course also puts our full range of beauty retouching skills to the test.

...not that we really need to, because they are -after all- models. ;-)

BOOM!, there it is in living color. I'm especially proud of this one, and I think its my best image to date. You can check it out on Adobe's new Photoshop Express Gallery.

The Look



The models are real, both male and female, and our best images will go into their portfolio as well. This means lots of exposure to the photographers because every ad agency they work with will see model's portfolio, and if we're lucky, they'll want to know more about the photographer behind that great model shot. From the CDIA website:

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CDIA Web Development: A mix of LAMP and RIA that lacks focus

The B.U. Center for Digital Imaging Arts has just added another core curriculum to their stable of information technology certificates by introducing the Web Development Certificate. As you may know, they completely won me over with their Digital Photography program, and one of my coworkers at Adobe has been raving about their Audio Production curriculum as well. As such, I have high expectations that they will deliver great instructors for the chosen curriculum.

Their Web Development certificate program, founded on more than 20 courses, emphasizes the use of PHP and MySQL as core technologies, including a Rich Media Web Development subtopic focusing on the use of Flash and ActionScript. Along the way there's a sprinkling of Javascript, XML related technologies, and AJAX, and the course is capped off with some Content Management and Web 2.0 social network topics.

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Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Adobe Lightroom: The gifts that give then give again

If you're giving Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop CS3 for the Holidays this year, or if you're lucky enough to receive them as a gift, read the EULA to double your gifting fun!

I've seen very little mention of the Adobe End User License Agreement, or EULA, for these products in the blogosphere, and I haven't spoken with anyone that already knew about this little gem either. Specifically, the EULA is the license that Adobe gives you as the purchaser or user of the software, and that license states the terms under which you are legally permitted to use them.

Both Lightroom and Photoshop CS3 EULA state, under section 2.4 Portable or Home Computer Use, that you're allowed to install the software on not just one, but two of your home computers! Yippee!!! There is a small caveat that technically you're not permitted to use the same product at the same time on the two computers, but unless you're a serious Type A Multi-tasker then I doubt you'll have to worry about that... The official Legalease from the EULA is as follows:

Adobe Lightroom EULA

2.4 Portable or Home Computer Use. The primary user of the Computer on which the Software is installed may install a second copy of the Software for his or her exclusive use on either a portable Computer or a Computer located at his or her home, provided the Software on the portable or home Computer is not used at the same time as the Software on the primary Computer.


Adobe Photoshop CS3 EULA
2.4 Portable or Home Computer Use. The primary user of the Computer on which the Software is installed may install a second copy of the Software for his or her exclusive use on either a portable Computer or a Computer located at his or her home, provided the Software on the portable or home Computer is not used at the same time as the Software on the primary Computer. You may be required to contact Adobe in order to make a second copy.


Further, when Lightroom was still in beta version back last January, the Lightroom Program Manager, Tom Hogarty, posted to a forum thread that you may choose a different operating system when installing the second copy, just in case, for example, that you have PC as your primary computer and a Mac Powerbook as your second, then you're good to go.

Ubuntu @ the Library -and- Vista SP1 Will Install XP

Jessamyn, a Flickr contact and the daughter of one of my friends at my photo club, recently posted a great video on YouTube about installing Ubuntu Linux. As a Librarian in Vermont, she was tasked with repurposing several computers donated to the library, each of which had a potentially unlicensed copy of Windows installed on it. Watch Jessamyn wipe the Windows off the computers, install Ubuntu Linux, and show how great Linux really is. She captured the whole procedure in this short and humorous video.

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Linux Magazine on using Flex with PHP

In the August 2007 edition of Linux Magazine, the editor contributes an article about the usefulness of integrating PHP with the free Flex SDK to achieve a Rich Internet Application (RIA) in a Web 2.0 world.

Flex and PHP
by Martin Streicher
Linux Magazine (full article available online with free registration)


The author begins by a short comparison of the RIA technologies of AJAX vs. Flex, and goes on to suggest that while AJAX is touted as an alternative to Flex UI's, AJAX suffers from a lack of rich media integration such as video, music, or animations and carries the risk of varying JavaScript behavior across different browser implementations.

The article does a great job describing architectural differences between classic web applications and RIAs. In a multi-tiered Rich Internet Application the application server technology such as PHP, or better yet ColdFusion, acts as the controller to implement business logic and interacts with deeper service layers that interface with the database. However, on the client side, Flex runs in the browser to perform data input validation, displays data visually via drill-down charts and graphs or via paginated data grids, and provides real time updates to changes in data (via Live Cycle Data Services a.k.a. Flex Data Services).

Furthermore, Flex provides a smart looking user interface and seamless user experience akin to typical desktop software while lacking the notoriously painful white screens of death during page refreshes that are commonplace in the Web 1.0 world. In effect, more work is done in the browser as a means of distributed computing, leaving the application server to focus on business logic and freeing it from having to generate the UI again and again across requests.

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Performance Considerations for Running ColdFusion 8 in 64-bit Mode

In yesterday's post about configuration nuances of using a 64-bit webserver and 64-bit JVM with ColdFusion 8 on the 64-bit Sun Solaris OS, Damon Gentry posted a comment that is, frankly, way above my head.

I'm curious about if there are any performance gains by running CF8 with a 64-bit JVM. More specifically, given the CPU architecture differences between Intel/AMD, and Sparc (speed vs. cores), does it make since to stick with Solaris? I know that the Sparc T1 can support 32 cores, albeit at 1.2 GHz, whereas the Intel CPU can support 4 cores @ 3.6GHz. [more]


The short answer is, "I don't know".

64-bit Basics
Ok, so I'm not a computer scientist. I don't even have a computer science degree. However, I do have Google. And Wikipedia. And the rest of the Web. So, I've filtered through a variety of articles and selected the following to help inform me on the topic:



All of these articles are quite long, and I encourage you to read them if this subject interests you. Since I cannot precisely answer Damon's question, I'll try to summarize relevant information that I have gleaned from them about running a Java-based web application on a 64-bit JVM/OS. If you want details about any inferences, you should read the above articles, although I may end up quoting liberally here.

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Professional Digital Photography at CDIA

This year I've taken a big step towards turning a long time personal interest into a professional skill. In May I enrolled in the Professional Digital Photography program at Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging Arts, or BU CDIA for short. The curriculum spans 24 classes over nearly 18 months, and requires the commitment of 2 nights per week and every other Saturday.



First Class at CDIA
First class at CDIA
Over the years I've been able to study at various local universities to build web technology skills, including Bentley College, Brandeis University, Harvard Extension School, and BUTrain (Boston University's corporate education). Compared to CDIA, I would be hard pressed to describe a curriculum or facility that was more current and state of the art, or better staffed with highly qualified instructors. CDIA's facility, conveniently located on Moody Street in Waltham, can hardly be called a campus, although it occupies three floors of a huge building converted into classrooms and studios, and will soon expand into an adjacent building that formerly housed a Jordan's Furniture store. In retrospect, only Harvard's Extension School rivals CDIA in quality of equipment and facilities as well as teaching ability of instructors.

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Google Wants to Get into Your Genes

The Biotech startup 23andMe aims to take genomic analysis up a notch, up several notches really, by bringing genomics down to a personal level backed by 21st century technology. In an SEC filing in May 2007 it was disclosed that Google floated 23andMe a whopping $3.9 million in addition to an previous loan of $2.6 million. [Via Bio-IT World]

As it turns out, this is not mere business nor even coincidence since 23andMe's co-founder Anne Wojcicki is none other than the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

Wojcicki briefly commented that her goal is to use proprietary software tools, "to allow individuals to gain deeper insights into their ancestry, genology, and inherited traits and, ultimately, the option to work together to advance the overall understanding of the human genome."


As a software engineer and former biologist, I'm all for it. I wish Google and 23andMe many years of happiness and bliss together. Now if 23andMe only had an office in Boston...

(Funnily enough, the URL for the Bio-IT article ends with first base. >insert Beavis and Butthead snickering< *hee hee*)

Total Training is Going Online

As a very satisfied owner of Total Training DVD video tutorials on Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, and Flex, I literally recommend their training to everyone I speak with that might have an interest... really, and half the time I chew their ear off because I won't shut up about how great their tutorials are.

Now they're launching online training as well, in HD and available 24/7. Here's some quotes from their website:

Premium Training Goes Online
Total Training is a pioneer in innovative video-based training for creative design, digital video, and office productivity software programs. Our mission is to deliver premium training to our users enabling them to quickly learn new software applications. Now, for the first time, our award-winning videos are available online.

  • Access award-winning training 24/7
  • High-quality content produced in HD
  • Explore the customized interface


  • Customized Controls
  • Search Content Within Lessons
  • Lesson Progression Tracking
  • Ability to Bookmark Lessons




Get the Entire Total Training Online: Adobe Library for FREE!
In celebration of our upcoming Total Training Online release, we're offering this once in a lifetime opportunity. For every purchase of $150* or more, you will receive the Total Training Online Adobe Library absolutely free for 1 year that's over $1,000 worth of DVDs accessible online! View our Adobe Library below.

Hurry! Offer expires June 15, 2007.



P.S.

Dear Total Training:

Please add ColdFusion 8 training as a part of your web technology stable of training products.

Thanks!

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