Blackbird

Blackbird

The Mill created The BLACKBIRD, the world’s first fully adjustable car rig, that allows movies to film and insert any CG car. The Blackbird’s frame can adjust to mimic the dimensions and driving characteristics of any real car chassis. It captures accurate reflection and environmental reflection data while filming to allow the virtual re-skinning of almost any car in CG over the original modular frame.

Casino cheating expert

Casino cheating expert

“If you want to be guaranteed to leave a casino with a small fortune, come in with a large fortune and you’ll go home with a small one.”

Sal Piacente

Sal Piacente reviews various gambling cheating scenes from popular movies. He also goes on to show some of the fascinating and interesting ways people cheat in a wide variety of casino style games. Really cool

Over-conservation and forest fires

Over-conservation and forest fires

Paul Hessburg gave this amazing TED talk in Oregon. Combined with Oregon’s increasingly hotter and drier summers (which will only increase), he says that our well-meaning efforts at forest conservation have actually led us to have very unhealthy forests that are ripe for megafires. He gave this talk years ago, but it has turned out to be even worse than he knew. The Pacific Northwest now has summers with massive forest fires – and air quality so bad that is now regularly off the chart and worst in the world. Most summers you can no longer have campfires in federal, state, or local forests. Unless we change our unhealthy forest management, we should expect bigger and bigger megafires as well as massive forest diseases.

It’s another example of unintended consequences of human actions. Sometimes, as we’re finding, over-conservation is turning out to be just as damaging as unmanaged forest destruction.

AI architecture

AI architecture

Architects and designers are increasingly experimenting with AI generated art and designs. Michael Arellanes II of MA2 Studio created a series called ‘Synthetic Futures’ in which he experiments primarily with Midjourney in an attempt to create a consistent and controlled aesthetic for architecture. 

I personally think wide-scale use of AI based art generation to continue a theme or even explore and create new ideas/directions is a foregone conclusion at this point. I’m continually astounded by the results these algorithms generate. Results that will just get better very quickly.

Arellanes seems to agree when he says: ‘The current open platforms for AI imagery work from word descriptions alone, as opposed to architectural 3D modeling and/or encoding surface parameters. This leaves the operator with flat images or AI impressions based on descriptions with extraordinary results of the unexpected. The unexpected results are the most exciting aspect of this new paradigm. As designers test the limits of AI’s imagination and complex image compositions, new possibilities emerge that have never been seen before.’

PT on an old Mac

PT on an old Mac

The astoundingly good horror game teaser P.T. has, after its painful removal from the PlayStation Store, been remade by fans on a variety of platforms — on PCin virtual reality, in the video game creation game Dreams.

Polygon found there was a new take on the game which reimagines P.T. in HyperCard, the black and white visual database application for Apple Macintosh computers. It works surprisingly well, capturing the hallway horror of the Silent Hills teaser in clean, lo-fi graphics.

Find it here on its Itch.io site

Scanning multiple pages into a single PDF

Scanning multiple pages into a single PDF

I have a Brother DCP-L2540DW combined scanner, copier, and laser printer unit. It’s been a great little unit I picked up for about $100 on a Black Friday sale that has cheap cartridges and loads of features for the occasional printing/copy job. On a side note, laser printers are a FAR better option than inkjet printers if you only occasionally print something. Now that good laser printers are below $100 and their toner is far more stable than inkjet printers that dry up and clog if not used regularly, they’re really the way to go for occasional everyday printing.

Recently I had to scan in about 100 pages of text and wanted to scan them in a single PDF document. Low and behold, the Brother toolkit provides a way to stack up all the documents in the feeding tray, scan the whole lot, and then automatically output a single paginated PDF document. Really awesome!

Instructions:

  1. Install and click on the Brother Utilities provided with the printer: Image
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  1. Click ControlCenter4 to open the Control Center 4 app.
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  1. On the Scan top menu, click the button for the type of scan that you would like to perform. For a multi-page PDF, you want to select File. A new dialog box will open:
  1. Be sure to change the File Type to PDF and then select the folder you want to save the document.
  2. Load the upper tray with the pages you want to scan. I’ve scanned up to 40 pages simultaneously this way without issue.
  3. Press the Scan button and the bottom and it will scan all the pages and combine them into a single PDF that is located in the folder set in the Scan Location directory you specified.

 If you have enabled the ‘Show settings dialog before scan’ option, then you will be prompted to choose your desired settings and then click Start Scanning.

 If you are using the Continuous Scanning option, you will need to load the subsequent pages either on the flatbed or in the Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) if available and then click Continue.  Once you have scanned all pages, click Finish.