Crazy WebGL Water Demo!

I must have missed something.  I wasn't aware WebGL had advanced to quite this point.   This is a really cool proof of concept demo from MadebyEvan.com showing that WebGL can accurately simulate water,  as well as the behavior of lighting in water.   The fact that this runs as well as it does even on my lowly 2012 Macbook Air is super impressive.    I'm embedding a youtube video of the effect below in case your browser or computer doesn't support the effect,  but I highly suggest you check it out at the site instead.  Really, REALLY, cool.

A realtime pool of water rendered using WebGL with reflection, refraction, caustics, and ambient occlusion. The pool is simulated with a heightfield and contains a sphere that can interact with the water's surface. http://madebyevan.com/webgl-water/

Posted on March 11, 2015 and filed under Technology.

The iPhone as a serious piece of photographic equipment.

You see that photo up there?  That was taken with the iPhone 6.  It's just one of a number of images released by Apple today from iPhone users around the world.   This gallery proves one thing.

THE BEST CAMERA IS THE ONE YOU HAVE WITH YOU.

Check out the rest of the gallery for yourself.   If your work isn't up to this level even with thousands of dollars of bodies and lenses, think about spending your time and effort on improving your technique instead of just getting another piece of gear.

A good eye will beat a good camera 90% of the time.   And even then, let's face it, after a few years of evolution,  the iPhone has one hell of a camera.

Posted on March 1, 2015 and filed under Photography.

Nightwish - Èlan Review

As a huge fan of new Nightwish singer Floor Jansen,  I have been eagerly anticipating Nightwish's new album.   I had strong hopes that it would be a return to form for the band that had, at least in my mind, been languishing a bit since former lead singer Tarja Turunen was replaced by Anette  Olzon.  Such a shame that Nightwish's new single Èlan is probably the most boring song I've heard in 10 years.  

Where to start with the bad?  The guitars are so far down in the mix that I've heard heavier Paramore songs.   The pan-flute was a cool little introductory bit,  and then I found out that it is persistent (and annoying) throughout the song.   Even worse, I found out that the flute artist Troy Donockley is now a permanent member of the band.   I can only come to the conclusion that the entirety of this album is going to be a pan flute-heavy guitar light mess of an album.  I desperately hope I'm wrong about that.   Wrapping it up with boring structure, a forgettable hook, and flat production leads me to that sad conclusion that this is probably the most disappointing metal single since Opeth's "The Devil's Orchard".

So is there anything redeeming?  Yes!   Thankfully Floor Jansen shows off singing skills in this song that you don't generally get to see her bring out.   She really is a brilliant front-woman.  She deserves better material to work with than this.

Also, this may win the award for strangest music video I've seen this year.   Here's hoping the full album has... SOMETHING interesting?

Posted on February 19, 2015 and filed under Media.

Mother Jones tries to stir up lame Bill O'Reilly "controversy"

Anyone who knows me, knows that I think that Bill O'Reilly is a first-class dick.   That being said, I would say that writing a hit-piece on his reporting from THIRTY THREE years ago is grasping for straws at the most desperate level.   Come on Mother Jones, you can do better than this.

After NBC News suspended anchor Brian Williams for erroneously claiming that he was nearly shot down in a helicopter while covering the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly went on a tear. On his television show, the top-rated cable news anchor declared that the American press isn’t “half as responsible as the men who forged the nation.” He bemoaned the supposed culture of deception within the liberal media, and he proclaimed that the Williams controversy should prompt questioning of other “distortions” by left-leaning outlets. Yet for years, O’Reilly has recounted dramatic stories about his own war reporting that don’t withstand scrutiny—even claiming he acted heroically in a war zone that he apparently never set foot in.
— Mother Jones

I mean, let's be honest here.   If you want to write a hit piece on O'Reilly, I'm sure you can find something better than that.   Like... oh I don't know.... this.

Posted on February 19, 2015 and filed under Politics.