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05/06/11

Permalink 02:05:38 pm, by Paul ROBINSON, 616 words   English (US)
Categories: Announcements [A]

3D Editing: It ain't changed in 3 years

I want to try my hand at designing some 3D objects or at least do some work with them. And in 3 years there still isn't a simple 3D editor! Every single one of the open source projects either has a user-hostile user-interface that as a learning curve steeper than mount Everest, or plain doesn't work.

I've tried Blender, and I've tried Google Sketch Up, Polygonize, Meshlab and Maratis, and you know what? They all suck.

I want to at least do some simple 3D objects. That's all. Edit a few objects and create a few. Nothing hard, nothing complicated. Maybe a box. Maybe a building with a corridor. All I need is something that allows me to put down vertexes and connect walls to them. Can I get that?

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

They either provide no means to do the simplest, stupid editing I can think of, or require you have full training in brain surgery to even understand the interface.

Again, go back to the editor in Duke Nukem 3D as I described it three years ago in my article of December 2007. Pick a spot. Press Space; BOOM! You have a vertex. Move to the new spot, press space, BOOM! Two vertexes. Complete the object by going around. BOOM! You have a box. It will look terrible - it uses the ugliest texture - but it will be a box. It is now basically the world you start with, e.g. the skybox. Move the cursor inside the box, hit enter on the numeric keypad. BOOM! You're inside the box. You can make it taller or shorter or move the floor up and down with pageup and pagedown. Hit enter on the numeric keypad, you're back in 2D space. You can make the skybox bigger or smaller.

It takes about a minute to learn the interface.

Now, why is it that the developers of 3D software can't produce something this easy to use? I know that you're going to need a little more to handle a true 3D object, but for a lot of us, this is all we need, at least to get started. But you can't get started, either the interface is about as easy to use as the cockpit controls on a Boeing 777 or there are no controls at all and no way to do anything.

It's gotten so ridiculous I've almost gotten disgusted enough to write my own simple 3D editor. What is so hard about 3D editing that nobody with the exception of the guy who wrote the BUILD editor for Duke Nukem 3D can make an editor for 3D objects that someone can use out-of-the-box without needing a 200 page manual and a degree in engineering?

I use all of these and I can't find a way to put down a vertex, the primary method of creating an object. Or maybe you get one, but how now do I move to a new spot and put in a new vertex? It reminds me of Noah Antwiler, the guy who does "The Spoony Experiment" ranting about how all he wants to do in a ceertain part of Final Fantasy VIII is fight, and he's stuck doing some side-game.

I just want to either create some simple 3D objects or edit some. And it's like pulling teeth to accomplish this. I mean, I'm fairly bright and even I can't figure it out. It's ridiculous, it shouldn't be this hard, and I can't see why it is so hard to do.

I can see that with a bit of work and a bit more learning you can use some of these things. But they're not intuitive, they are hostile and it's difficult to figure out what to do.

04/15/11

Permalink 11:06:10 pm, by Paul ROBINSON, 89 words   English (US)
Categories: Announcements [A]

Those 'Statue of Liberty' postage stamps, aren't

If you've looked at those Statue of Liberty forever postage stamps, they aren't real Statue of Liberty stamps.

The Statue of Liberty sits in New York Harbor. These aren't an image of that structure.

A sharp-eyed collector noticed that the stamps are actually the image of the replica of the Statue of Liberty that sits on the property of the New York, New York Casino in Las Vegas.

The hairdo is wrong and the top point on the crown is different from the one that sits on Bedloe Island.

04/05/11

Permalink 10:30:39 am, by Paul ROBINSON, 435 words   English (US)
Categories: Announcements [A]

AVS Video Editor is completely unacceptable

I decided to try AVS Video Editor because I think that the package suite included a screen capture and a few other things. And I wanted to see how it compared to Windows Movie Maker; it wasn't too bad. But when you try it before registration it puts a watermark. Well, I can accept that; a lot of programs do that and I suppose it encourages registrations. But not in the exact center of the video!

I don't see where it gives me a huge advantage over Windows Movie Maker (as I explain below), so this hideous watermark is such a big turn off that I decide it's not only not worth buying I'm uninstalling it. When I uninstalled it it went to the company's website to ask why, and I told them:

I guess I can understand putting a watermark on the output of a video produced by an unregistered copy is one way to try to encourage registrations, but placing it in the exact center of the video is completely unacceptable; a watermark on the top or side would be okay, but doing it that way looks so tacky that I can't use it at all, because I'd be embarassed to show that to my boss in order to ask him to buy it. I'll stick with Windows Movie Maker, it does the job, it's included with the computer, and your product provides no significant functionality in and of itself that I saw that I can't get through WMM.

Take a look at the product "Fraps" which puts a watermark at the top of the screen, at least if I wanted to try something for demo purposes I can say that's reasonable. But this is basically overkill, it's like putting a kill switch in a test drive vehicle that causes it to shut down if you're on the road more than 1 1/2 minutes. Either setting a limit on the size of the generated video, say 5 minutes without putting on a watermark, or putting a watermark on the top or bottom edge would have been ok. This is worse than someone doing both time limits and watermarking.

You have every right to run your business any way you want, I just feel this method is just so nakedly hostile to someone running a trial to see if it's usable that I cannot recommend it at all, I am uninstalling it and I'll encourage people not to use it, or anything else from your company.

I may actually install Linux and try one of the tools running there, see how they compare to Windows Movie Maker.

04/02/11

Permalink 08:27:45 am, by Paul ROBINSON, 159 words   English (US)
Categories: Announcements [A]

At my Credit Union Yesterday...

Since my Social Security is direct deposited to my credit union I go out there once a month to have them give me money, basically I get a check for my landlord, a check for the storage fees I have for the stuff I have in storage, a check for the one credit card I have, and a check for the corporation I operate, and I use the corporate check card to pay for anything that I don't have to use cash for, and about $50.

So I go over to the credit union Friday, and I total up everything I'm sending everybody, and this comes out to be over $1,000. It's actually more than my check this month, but I'm paying extra on a few things to cover some anticipated expenses, e.g. I have some domain names coming up for yearly renewal, among other things.

I wrote the date on the withdrawal slip: March 32, and the teller never even noticed.

Permalink 07:15:17 am, by Paul ROBINSON, 531 words   English (US)
Categories: Announcements [A]

Throw-Away Domains

I have found a very useful feature of GoDaddy's very cheap $1.04 first-year pricing for .info domains: "Throw-Away" domain names.

Basically, I can set up a domain name for a project I'm working on, like a customer's setup, have it point to a workspace on a provider, and then do whatever the project requires, and at the end, forget about the domain and allow it to expire. Or I can even do this for something I want to practice on for my own learning. Or for use on a project I might be doing "on spec" where I might be setting something up for a bid I'm proposing for a project where if I don't get the bid I eat the cost, I can still afford to do it.

If I use a domain name and it's still valid once a project I picked it for ends - because it's been less than a year - I can just recycle it over to the any new project.

So I can just make up some name for whatever I'm doing, and if it's not in use I can use that name and access the project through its own domain name. Hey, at $1.04 it's so cheap to do it that it makes sense.

Only problem is if I pick a "good" name I'd end up having to renew it at the regular $10 price. Well, if there's a reason to do so - like I'm using it to make money - it's not a bad idea. A lot of domain speculators do something similar to that, they'll do "domain tasting" where they register a domain and see if it gets enough traffic during the 5-day change your mind period and if it would - and "enough traffic" means enough paid click-throughs to generate about $20 a year based on estimates from what they see during the "tasting" period - then they keep it otherwise they drop it.

With ICANN insisting, however, that they get to keep the 18c registration fee whether you meant to register it or not, it's not as free as it used to be. When it cost speculators nothing to do this - literally nothing, the picks, registration, site setup, usage counting and cancellation if the traffic is too low are all done automatically through computer programs that did all this - I think they routinely churned millions of spammy pass-through parking pages and sometimes upwards 95% of them were dropped; something like 60 million domains would be registered each month and upwards of 45 million would be canceled within the 5-day period.

But if you can get $10 a year profit after expenses with no personal work on, say, 100,000 domains that you do decide to keep, that's a nice chunk of change. But now, you can't just register a couple million to "taste" for free every month, you're looking at, say, 18c apiece whether or not you keep them, that's $360,000 a month you don't get back.

That tiny little disincentive changed the cost-benefit factor. But in my case, I'm willing to pay the $1.04 because even on the tiny amounts of money I have it's still chump change. Of course, there's a difference, I'm going through maybe 10 temporary domain names a year, not 10,000 a day.

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Welcome to My blog! This is where I store my thoughts so that I can come back to them at some point in the future. This allows me a place like a journal to keep what I'm thinking about. But anyone else is welcome to visit; I make this place public so that other people can hear what I'm thinking.

This is where I make comments on any subject I find of interest. My political comments are in the Politics section, and technical items are in the Computers section. Note, if you want to make a comment, e-mail it to me at paul@paul-robinson.us. I am sorry that I had to disable comments, but after I had deleted the 300th worthless piece of spam comment on this blog and receiving exactly zero valid comments, I decided to stop allowing spammers to excrement all over me and my blog. If you have *anything* at all to say, send it to me in e-mail; if it is even the slightest bit relevant - even if I don't agree with it, I will post it. (As soon as I find a way to stop spammers from posting junk I'll allow direct comments.) Note that if you are a visitor and post a comment, it defaults to "draft" meaning I have to approve it before it is visible, so if you're posting spam, don't bother, nobody will see it.

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