EffecTV – real-time visual effects

There’s a discussion on Thumped about the merits of ‘visuals’ at gigs/shows. Personally speaking, I’m all in favour of some sort of visual show to accompany the music, especially when the music of the particularly chin-stroking variety. Although I can see where many people’s complaints are coming from: it gets very tiring seeing the same handful of movies being chopped up to make a visual backdrop.

So that’s why I think something like EffecTV is such a good idea. Armed with a computer running Linux and a webcam, you can create some pretty interesting visuals in real-time, for a tiny, tiny budget. Installation (on Ubuntu, at least) was a snap. And it goes some way to providing a middle-ground for the people who don’t want to spend the night looking at a DJ nodding his head and people who don’t want to see the same old stock footage soaked in irony.

Here’s a shot of me playing with it earlier – not mind-blowing, but bear in mind that this was being displayed on my desktop in real time.

Side-note: Jesus, I really need to trim my beard.


Unlocking Sony DVD players

I recently bought another new DVD player – a Sony DVP-NS52. Both the Sony Store and Peats offer to make this player multi-region for an extra EUR20. I opted not to go for this and take my chances unlocking it myself (albeit safe in the knowledge that I could bring it into Peats and get them to unlock it at any time in the future for the EUR20).

Anyone with a region-locked Sony DVD player could do worse than to check out Selen.org’s Making the Sony DVP-NS705V multi-region before shelling out for a ‘chip’ or anything like that. Although this didn’t list my model explicitly, it did say that it theoretically should work for the entire “NS” series, and has even worked across other models. I tried it on mine last night and success!

One note though – Windows 2000 and XP have nasty IR support. You’re much better grabbing a DOS boot disk from bootdisk.com and using that instead.


A weekend wasted

My girlfriend took off to Westport on Friday for a hen weekend, leaving me with an entire weekend to myself. By Friday evening, I had slipped back into the exact lifestyle I lived before I met her. Watching bad movies, eating food that would rot my teeth (and my gut) and playing games that would rot my brain.

Over the course of a single weekend, I watched nine movies (For the record: Children of the Corn I-III, House of the Dead, Jaws, the Incredibles w/animators commentary, Red Sonja, Exorcist III, Clerks). I also spent some time rearranging my DVDs. After trying a few standard organisational schemes (Alphabetical, chronological..), I decided to set myself a challenge and organise my 800+ DVDs by colour (and then by sub-colour, e.g. white background with red writing, white background with blue writing).

I’m not entirely thrilled with the results. Disappointingly, approximately 60% of my DVDs have either black or white sleeves, which means that our shelves look a whole lot more sterile than I’d hoped.

My favourite organisational scheme so far has been contextual – Robocop beside Total Recall beside Scanners (Paul Verhoeven directed Robocop, he also directed Total Recall, Total Recall has Michael Ironside who also starred in Scanners). Because the context is purely my own, it makes the whole thing more personal. This was fine when I had a couple of hundred DVDs, it could be done in an afternoon. At 800, I think I’ll need a week off work.

I also spent a while getting back into GTA: SA. Given the recent furor about the “Hot Coffee” ‘mod’, I’ve been shocked at the amount of stuff that people aren’t getting upset about. For example, a billboard with an image of a girl licking her lips suggestively and the words “A taste of what’s to come” that suddenly gets a hole ripped in it to change the words to “A taste of … come.”