Thursday, July 19, 2007
Rainforest World Music Festival 2007.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
What is up with Blu-Ray and HD-DVD?
There have been many discussions on the Net in regards to this annoyingly expensive war between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD as High Definition entertainment standards for disc media, as well as the seemingly smaller battle between the Sony PlayStation 3, and Microsoft's Xbox360 (which is being purported as HD-DVD's biggest champion, aside from HD-DVD's patent holders, Toshiba).
As many would know, if you are gamers, or most would not, if you are simply just general laymen, the PS3 has a Blu-Ray drive built-in, whereas the Xbox360 has an HD-DVD add-on, purely for playing movies.
First of all, a technical dissertation. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs are basically the two new formats competing for the attention of AV-philes and Home Theatre nuts, as well as the average Joe who just wants to watch movies at home. Blu-Ray utilises a blue laser that can read BDs that are more densely packed with AV data. Due to the fact that the blue laser is smaller than the red laser used to read normal DVDs, BDs can pack up to more than 5 times the data of a standard dual-layer DVD. Blu-Ray discs can hold up to 25GB of data (single layer) or 50GB (dual layer). They utilise the MPEG-2 and/or the MPEG-4 AVC codec for visual streams, and either AAC or VC-1 for compressed audo, or Linear PCM for uncompressed audio streams.
HD-DVDs are basically Super DVDs, or upgraded DVD technology, and also utilise the blue laser technology. They have a capacity of either 15GB (single layer) or 30GB(dual layer). HD-DVDs also use the same codecs for compression as Blu-Ray, although they are compressed even more. The differences in capacity are due to the physical characteristics of how the discs are made (such as how many layers they have, and the amount of protective coating they employ).
Due to the fact that HD-DVD utilises much of the same technology used for DVD, and can be simplistically said to be merely expanding upon it, it is at this point easier and cheaper to manufacture. Blu-Ray uses more innovative technology and different standards and protocols resulting in higher manfuacturing and re-tooling costs. However, this is seemingly offset by the theoretical advantage afforded by Blu-Ray's bigger capacity, and consequently, its potential to deliver more visual and audio quality. There are many other deeply technical aspects that differentiate the both of these formats, but I shall not delve into them here.
Now, the small matter of content.
The main proponents of Blu-Ray are Sony, whereas Toshiba are the main technology holders for HD-DVD. To date, 9 of the 10 major Hollywood Studios (Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, Disney, Paramount, Dreamworks, New Line Cinemas, Warner Pictures, MGM Studios, Fox) have software/content out on Blu-Ray, with 5 of those studios (Sony, Disney, Fox, MGM, Lionsgate) having exclusive support for Blu-Ray, with HD-DVD having only one exclusive supporter (Universal Studios). The other major studios (Dreamworks, Paramount, New Line, Warner) are format neutral, and support both.
What this basically means is that you can buy content for Blu-Ray players from all major Holywood studios, except for Universal Studios. Notable franchises that are available on Blu-Ray are The Spiderman Trilogy, Disney's entire backlog of animated motion pictures and the Pirates of The
Movies aside, the only other main purveyor of Blu-Ray content would be the Sony PlayStation3 (PS3), which is a games console that has multimedia capabilities far reaching beyond its original mandate of merely playing video games. All PS3 games are available only on Blu-Ray, which in theory provides more storage for game developers to create more detailed environments and textures as well as more programming to create better gaming experiences.
Microsoft decided to counter this by realesing an HD-DVD add-on for its Xbox360 console, to undermine Sony's efforts to increase market penetration of Blu-Ray. However, Microsoft themselves have said that should Blu-Ray win the format 'war', they will simply release an add-on that plays Blu-Ray discs, which casts into doubt their motives for supporting HD-DVD in the first place, and casts a shadow over Toshiba, and its efforts to make HD-DVD the de-facto standard for High Definition content.
So what does this mean for the consumer?
Go Blu, as opined by various audio/visual enthusiast websites all over the Net. However, it doesn't hurt to wait. Prices will go down, and the showdown between the two formats will shake down more thoroughly to offer a proper appraisal of thow this format war will turn out.
Many people however, would not really care, seeing as it is that DVD is still the most popular format for conveying entertainment media into the average consumer's home, and shows no signs of dying yet. However, due ot the increasing number of HIgh Definition displays being sold, and the advent of High Definition TV broadcasts in the United States and Europe, as well as Japan and South Korea, it is a format war that consumers will have to take an interst in, sooner rather than later.
This piece will appear in full on TechARP.com
Incognito @ Inti College Charity Dinner 2007
Event : INTI College Charity Dinner
Date : 21/7/2007
TIme : 8 p.m.
Venue : Inti College hall.
Overview : In conjunction with INTI College's annual charity dinner (Francis, did I get that right?), Incognito will be lining up alongside other local bands to bring cheer and entertainment to an evening of low-key fund-raising and goodwill. Other activities include games, lucky draws and karaoke sessions.
It's all rather tentative at the moment, but our song list will include Ancients, I Don't Love You, and a few other new ones (if we can all agree on what new songs to play, since none of us actually listen to the radio). If not, there are always the trusty fallbacks of Can't Take My Eyes Off of You, Love Song, or Anna Molly. (=
As it is, everyone's schedule is getting a bit hectic, so we'll see how it turns out. But it won't be a problem. (=
After all, it's all for charity.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Incognito @ Siburan Carnival, 30th June 2007.
Event : Siburan Carnival, sponsored by Celcom Xpax
Date : 30th June 2007
Song list : 311 - Love Song, Incubus - Wish You Were Here, Taking Back Sunday - Make Damn Sure, Incognito - Ancients, All-American Rejects - Swing Swing, My Chemical Romance - I Don't Love You.
Overview : This is going to go down as one of our worst gigs ever, by sheer dint of the fact that we had the worst crowd ever. Non-responsive, separated by a language barrier (barely anyone spoke English, and few could understand my town-style dialect of bahasa sarawak), not a shred of appreciation for anything shown.
None of the acts that night got any worthwhile applause. None of the bands, or solo singers got any recognition.
The one thing that I was happy with though, was our debut of our original song, Ancients. It sounded awesome live, and the backstage crew loved it (who actually went to the front to cheer for us after we played it). I pray to high heaven that we never have to play Taking Back Sunday ever again, because it never sounds good played live, and theor songs are just... >.< My bassist wouldn't like to hear me say that, but he already knows what I think.
The rest went okay. But the highlight of the show for me would still be Ancients. I wrote the lyrics for it a few months ago, and the tune was dreamed up by my guitarist around that time as well. We finally worked out the kinks properly, and finally debuted it. It's basically about looking at someone swim around in their own frustration and anxiety, as you look on, wishing to show them they are not alone, and that their fear, does not make their world any lonelier.
Next show : August!
Sunday, July 01, 2007
There is a slight difference between finding happiness, and being made happy.
Unfortuantely, there are only so many words you can use to describe these feelings, to the point of saturation, and the danger of sounding like a broken record and repeating yourself. A point, I suppose, which is amply demonstrated by the same tired cliches and oft-repeated emotional outpourings that this blog has been witness to (and that of its predecessor).
However, the emotional maturity needed to properly differentiate between what's old and new, between what's original and what's merely a re-hash of a bygone fantasy and longing, is not always in evidence when you need it.
And this is where I find myself, with you.
The same old words come out, and the same old tried-and-tried-again utterances find their way on to these pages. Yet, I suppose, I have not found any adequate way to properly encapsulate these feelings. Not since I suffered the emotionally-stunting loss, from the death of my first love when I was 14, nearly 9 years ago. A scar which I'm not sure will ever actually heal.
You know the story, since I told you about her, and some of the moments I shared with her, as well as some of the moments I recorded in these pages. Memories, they are. Difficult, and painful ones. It doesn't help that her grave is less than a minute form my house, and I pass it every single day.
But I digress. I have tried to push you away, after all, yet you do not wish for me to do so. It is strange, to be in that position. To be forcibly shaken into realising the responsibility that is at hand. Difficult, and alien to deal with. As my detractors are more than willing to admit, I am usually ambivalent, or uncaring, when it comes to the subject of people needing me around, or my supposed help.
Put it this way. I don't want to be held accountable for holding up the ceiling, to prevent its collapse. But I want to be the one who's told to hold it up. Bend your head around that one.
So where do I put you? I guess I know where. As do you. Need anyone else know? Of course not. Because this is the last time I'll be writing about you on these pages. It's time to stop the emotional rot and the accumulated bloat of years of emotional immaturity.
Let's start over.
Hey, I'm nuts and almost impossible to comprehend or have sympathy with. (= What about you?
That's not to say I would never write about another girl ever again. Because if I do, she would definitely not be you. ;) Have a great holiday, and don't forget who's waiting for you at home.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
The phone was warm, almost hot to touch, pressed up against my ear, my eyes open but oblivious to what they were seeing, my reality barely defined by the soft glow of blue LEDs and the humming of a sleepy laptop.
"Nothing you say will stop me from caring about you."
"But you shouldn't. I know I'm not worth it. Don't get yourself into something that you'll regret.."
"Can't you just... be happy that you met me..?"
"I wish I could just be happy too.. But it's not that simple."
"I'm not going to stop caring. You can't make me."
I managed a weak smile. Weak, because the swirling negativity seemed rather intent on staying in control. A smile, because I could feel the sincerity and earnestness in that soft, melodic voice.
"Because you're interesting.. And with you, I could never run out of things to say.. Why would I want to stop talking to someone who can make me go on forever?"
And for once, I had no answer.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Of Trolls and Beauty Queens.
What if I really did fall in love again? When I have reached a point in my life, whereby I barely believe it exists?
You scare me, when you shouldn't. You invigorate me, you make me smile, and laugh and do the dumbest things. But you make me feel intelligent, accomplished. You make me learn, and you make me teach and educate. You make me feel alive.
This shouldn't be happening. Ignore this flight of fancy, for it may just be the child of an over-active nocturnal imagination. I suppose Ishould relax, and take it easy.
And enjoy having you around, while I still can.
I must say, it was a rather awesome one. A 400-strong crowd, lots of ego-massage, and some of our best performances of cover songs ever The notables that we played perfectly included : Ghost of You, That Thing You Do, Only One, Last Kiss, and the perennial favourite, Can't Take My Eyes Off of You. Last kiss was indeed our last song, and it got everyone up and dancing, just adding to the ratehr magical night we had.
What happened afterwards however, defied belief.
The princess in the pink kebaya, all the phototaking, the adulation, ego massage and hero worship..!
ONe of the best gigs we've ever done. And probably will ever experience.
PS: I had actually written a much longer post detailling almost every single moment of interest, but the internet went crazy on me, and it was gone. >.<
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
I fell in love with the crazy one
Right then, show details.
Time : Night
Place : Puncak Permai National Service Camp, Tondong, Bau (Sarawak)
Date : 8th June 2007 (EDIT)
Occasion : Farewell dinner for the NS trainess who are part of the second stint of trainees for this year (2007).
Entrance fee : FREE!
If anyone wants details, let me know. As it is, it'll be my first show in 4 months. God I miss performing. The ones that will be performing include our usual bassist and guitarist and myself, from what remains of MJ's Ex, as well as my three brothers, with one on drums, another on guitar, and the other one sharing vocal duties with yours truly.
The song list will be a mix, as usual, of Incubus, Muse, and many others. I haven't been listening to alot of new music in recent months (with the caveat that most of it is utter tosh and complete rubbish anyway), so hopefully the crowd, which will mostly be NS trainees, will be entertained.
There are a few tunes, however, that I really hope will go down well with our audience. One of them is the mightily impressive Home, by Daughtry. Another would be an original that our previous guitarist for MJEX came up with nearly 3 years ago, and is a coming of age song called Graduation. Last but not least, is what I would consider the song that finally made me respect and admire the creative energies of Fall Out Boy. The song, of course, is Thnks fr th mmrs (as spelt on the album and what not). For those among you that are rather thick, it stands for Thanks for the Memories.
I merely hope that we do rather well.
Friday, June 01, 2007
And so we have a show next week, I think.
7th June 2007. A day after my brithday, where i shall be turning a ripe old 23. >.<
Details will follow.
1. Jedi Bodicea Starswish
I'll call you when the lights are out
When the days are gone and nights are long
I'll find you when the sky ain't blue
When the clouds are dead and birds don't fly
I'll play the strings as you lie down
Ring out the notes as the world passes by
I'll tap the beats as you fly along
Tapping out the beat of a beautiful wrong
Take me from here and blow me away
Drag me from there back into my place
What do we build with bricks of sand
When will we ever understand