Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Archive for June, 2011

Seven Peculiar U.S. Borders

The state of Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings Time. The Navajo Nation in Arizona does observe Daylight Savings Time. The Hopi Nation, an enclave within Navajo land, does not observe Daylight Savings Time.

Translating Apple’s Final Cut FAQ into Plain English

Via Apple:

Final Cut Pro X is a breakthrough in nonlinear video editing. The application has impressed many pro editors, and it has also generated a lot of discussion in the pro video community. We know people have questions about the new features in Final Cut Pro X and how it compares with previous versions of Final Cut Pro. Here are the answers to the most common questions we’ve heard.

We added some cool new features in Final Cut Pro. These features impressed pro editors until they actually used it, and realized that none of their previous projects would work in the new version. This pissed them off royally.

Can I import projects from Final Cut Pro 7 into Final Cut Pro X? Final Cut Pro X includes an all-new project architecture structured around a trackless timeline and connected clips. In addition, Final Cut Pro X features new and redesigned audio effects, video effects, and color grading tools. Because of these changes, there is no way to “translate” or bring in old projects without changing or losing data. But if you’re already working with Final Cut Pro 7, you can continue to do so after installing Final Cut Pro X, and Final Cut Pro 7 will work with Mac OS X Lion. You can also import your media files from previous versions into Final Cut Pro X.

Fuck no.

Can I import my video directly into Final Cut Pro X as I could in Final Cut Pro 7? Yes. Final Cut Pro X allows you to import video from a wide range of devices, including many AVCHD-based cameras and DSLR cameras. You can find a list of supported cameras here. The list will grow as we continue to test and qualify new cameras. [truncated]

(no translation necessary)

Can I edit my tape-based workflow with Final Cut Pro X? Yes, in a limited manner. Final Cut Pro X is designed for modern file-based workflows and does not include all the tape capture and output features that were built into Final Cut Pro 7. Final Cut Pro X does support FireWire import for DV, DVCPRO, DVCPRO 50, DVCPRO HD, and HDV. In addition, companies like AJA and Blackmagic offer free deck control software that allows you to capture from tape and output to tape.

You still edit on tape? Get with the times, man.

Does Final Cut Pro X support multicam editing? Not yet, but it will. Multicam editing is an important and popular feature, and we will provide great multicam support in the next major release. Until then, Final Cut Pro X offers some basic support with automatic clip synchronization, which allows you to sync multiple video and audio clips using audio waveforms, creating a Compound Clip that can be used for simple multicam workflows.

Hell no. Funny story: we knew people wanted this, but we really needed to meet some deadlines. Therefore, we took a page out of Motorola’s book and shipped it in an incomplete state and somehow managed to charge $300 for it. We’re geniuses.

[boring FAQ points truncated]

Are keyboard shortcuts in Final Cut Pro X different from those in Final Cut Pro 7? Many keyboard shortcuts for navigation, start/end marking, and tools are the same in Final Cut Pro X and Final Cut Pro 7. Some keyboard shortcuts have changed to support new features. Final Cut Pro X offers powerful keyboard customization, and you can view and modify keyboard shortcuts at any time by choosing Final Cut Pro > Commands > Customize.

We took a page out of Adobe’s book and moved a few shortcut keys around. Good thing you don’t rely on those or anything. Right?

Can I use my third-party plug-ins in Final Cut Pro X? You’ll be able to use them as soon as they are updated.

Nope.

Can Final Cut Pro X export XML? Not yet, but we know how important XML export is to our developers and our users, and we expect to add this functionality to Final Cut Pro X.

Does Final Cut Pro X support OMF, AAF, and EDLs? Not yet.

Does Final Cut Pro X allow you to assign audio tracks for export? Not yet. An update this summer will allow you to use metadata tags to categorize your audio clips by type and export them directly from Final Cut Pro X.

Nope, nope and, uh, no. Aren’t you glad you paid $300 for this upgrade?

Can I purchase a volume license? Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, and Compressor 4 Commercial and Education Volume Licensing will be available soon via the Apple Online Store for quantities of 20 or more. After purchasing, customers will receive redemption codes they can use to download the applications from the Mac App Store.

Now that you’ve read our extensive FAQ on why we took a bunch of stuff out of the product you rely on, we’ll soon be offering the chance to purchase enormous quantities of said product. It was clearly the price that consumers had a problem with.

First Night With Google Plus

Marshall Kirkpatrick likes it more than Ben Brooks does:

There is not just public/private, life is more complex than that. This need, unmet by almost any other social network today, is where Google is aiming to win the hearts of users.

Via Shawn Blanc.

Google + (-Me)

Ben Brooks:

They didn’t create Google + because they thought they could do social better, they created it because they need to be in the social game and to be in the social game, they must do it better.

Adobe’s SEO Company May Be Planting Links in Blogs

Seth Weintraub of 9to5Mac:

A guy named Jordan from 97th Floor, a company that represents Adobe’s SEO interests, asked us to “fix/make a link to Adobe.com” in one of our posts. The post had nothing to do with Adobe, but the terms “photo editing program” were desired link terms for Adobe which appears to be trying to juice its search engine rankings.

Pathetic.

AeroPress

Shawn Blanc on purchasing an AeroPress:

I own a drip coffee maker, a Turkish coffee maker, two french presses, a stove-top espresso maker, a siphon, and now an AeroPress. The stove-top makers never get used; the drip maker is only for when lots of company comes over; the siphon gets used about once a week at most; and the french press gets used every single day. Until today.

Just the post to push me over the edge. I should get one.

As Clear as Crema

Electric drip coffee makers are the stuff of just about every kitchen, often requiring no more than the flip of a switch to operate. 

Espresso is not like that, I’m reminded frequently.

A Patent on Crazy

Nilay Patel:

So Apple got yet another patent granted today, and now there’s yet another media firestorm over whether it means Cupertino will be able to sue every other phone manufacturer out of business, or at least out of the business of making multitouch devices. And, as usual, most of the hysteria is based on a fundamental misinterpretation of what the patent claims actually say, and what behaviors they actually cover in iOS. I don’t know why we keep repeating this sad cycle, but I do know that it’s always, always better for us to read the claims and try to figure them out for ourselves — and in this case, they’re actually pretty narrow.

Possibly the best analysis of this patent. As usual, it comes from Nilay Patel.

Best Buy Gets into Cloud Music with an Impenetrable Mess

Jared Newman:

But let’s say I was able to load my music into the cloud. Then I’d be able to listen to the songs from anywhere, right? Wrong. To listen on smartphones, you’ve got to register each handset by handing over its make, model and phone number. Then Best Buy e-mails you a link to the application by text message, and you have to activate the phone by downloading the app and plugging in a confirmation code.

Sounds fabulous.

The Difference Between Tablet Commercials

Rene Ritchie:

Apple has now aired a series of three iPad 2 commercials, the first of which clearly states up front that it’s not about specifications, it’s about experience. They go on to show how different people, in different walks of life, can use, benefit, and enjoy the iPad in a multitude of easy to understand ways. Verizon has aired a couple Android tablet commercials during the same period, and these focus on Flash, chipsets, and radio technologies. […] Apple has shown how to sell tens of millions of iPads but apparently even Verizon still can’t hear them now.

“I’d like your pointiest boot.”

Men’s boots with a very pointy tip are incredulously difficult to find.

I was out with two friends when one decided that he desired such boots. We visited several stores attempting to find the desired degree of pointiness. Most were far too wide, and much too blunt. I imagine that the boots he wanted would have a degree of point so high that they could cut glass. I can’t figure out why he’d want a razor blade attached to his toes, but that’s just me. We entered Store One. My friend approaches the clerk.

“Hi. I’d like your pointiest boot.”

By the clerk’s expression, I assume my friend would have been more welcome asking for a unicorn steak with extra rainbows. Cue a scripted “right this way, sir.”

A quick perusal of the shelf, and I assume my friend would have had more selection asking for that unicorn steak. With extra rainbows. And a dusting of destroyed dreams. The clerk pointed to one particular pair which had a tip about half-an-inch tall by about three-quarters of an inch wide. “This is our pointiest boot, but to be honest, that style is on its way out. You probably won’t have much luck.”

With fashion advice coming from a guy with a brown belt, we immediately left. “I want pointy shoes, dammit.”

Store Two had a banner promoting their “Shoe-aholic” sale. We walked in with my friend strutting slightly faster, as he does when he’s just thought of something incredibly witty. This should be good.

“I’d like your pointiest pair of boots, and some shoe-ahol.”

The clerk didn’t get it. We left.

Store Three had less selection than either of the previous. Their section of non-casual shoes was pitiful, spanning a single shelf. My friend grabbed a stiletto from the shelf, prodded me in the side and asked if it would be weird if he requested a similar style in a men’s size.

He still doesn’t have his pointy boots.

To Hell with Bad Devices

Marc Drummond:

[…] I was willing to put CSS to work in place of tables to handle the heavy lifting of layout. I feel the same way now about responsive web design. Designing a fixed layout just doesn’t make sense anymore. The wide variety of viewport sizes from a wide variety of devices means that assuming a baseline screen size of 800 pixels or 1024 pixels just isn’t tenable anymore.

A Tale of Two Inboxes: RSS and Twitter

An excellent (and thorough) post from the always-great Shawn Blanc. I would disagree with the following though:

Your email inbox is bi-directional: items come in and sit there until you volley them back. Your RSS inbox is uni-directional: items come in, stop at the inbox, and sit there until you file them away. Twitter, however, is an amalgamation of both.

I would argue that email is also an amalgamation of both. I’d wager that most people have at least one daily (or near-daily) subscription email, or something which is from a do-not-reply address.

Otherwise, Blanc’s article is thorough and backed by surveys and data. Really well researched.

Air Guitar Move

We’re not sure proper air guitarists would ever consider adding a bonafide pick to their cherished imaginary pastime, but what if a petite plastic plectrum could turn those strokes into stringed acoustics that more than just you can hear?

The Native is Better Thing Again (sigh)

Via Gruber:

While we typically associate latency in applications with network performance, I’m guessing Gruber is referring to responsiveness to user input. Is this a huge concern for app developers? Not that I’m particularly aware of.

Responsiveness in a touch-based platform is undeniably and unequivocally important. It’s probably one of the most important things, since the user input is so direct. in a non-touch scenario, user input is abstracted through a pointing device, be it a mouse or trackpad. When the user is touching the onscreen controls, it feels more like a direct command, and requires the content to perform and display naturally.