Sintel, the Blender Open Movie Project

Sintel is Open Movie project developed by Blender Institute. In case you are not familiar with the concept, it is movie created mostly (other than some audio production) using open source software, prominently, Blender, the 3D production software.
If you haven’t seen it, here it is on youtube…

Sintel is a little than 15 minutes in length, and I felt it is little too rushed, making it hard to get relationship between Sintel (protagonist of this movie) and Scales (dragon) are being developed. I guess they have packed too much drama into 15 minutes. But other than that, I think the art and music is excellent, and I recommend everyone to check it out.
Blender 2.5 was (and still is) being developed alongside development of this movie.
Oh, also, my name is credited in their DVD sponsor section, for pre-ordering DVD. (wow, that was more than a year ago.)

So, yeah, checkout Sintel, and if you haven’t already, buy a DVD box! (It’s actually 4 disc set with all the production assets included!)

Working Around Nexus One’s 3G Issues

There seems to be several issue regarding 3G connection issue on Nexus One.

Issue range from fluctuation of signal strength depending on where you hold your phone, and others.

One issue I am experiencing, which some other people report is the fact that Nexus One causes network error while up arrow indicator was staying on.

This has been reported on several of help forums.

Investigating issue myself, it because evident that this problem was happening when the device is transitioning from UMTS to HSDPA.

I have observed that normally, the device claim it is on UMTS connection. But at the moment that something try to access the network, this mode changes to HSDPA. After few seconds of network inactivity, this mode turns back to UMTS.

Looking at pattern, there are quite common chance that this transition do not go smooth, and the device would stuck with UMTS, unable to send or receive data. Therefore, data is constantly resent, eventually timing out causing error. Problem is that timeout can get very long when applications are trying to gain access to the network connection, as it appears to be only chance it can reset is when the application attempts to transition to HSDPA from UMTS, after connection attempt is ceased. (Note this problem do not happen if you are on 2G (EDGE/GPRS) connection. Also there were some story that some people have their phone in HSDPA mode permanently. (perhaps they have very strong 3G signal?)

I found simple workaround to this issue. My idea was, if this is caused by failure of transition from UMTS to HSDPA, why not just force the device to be on HSDPA mode?

I downloaded the piece of program called ConnectBot, which is terminal emulator program. There is way to connect to local console using program. You’d login to your local console, then type in the following.

ping -i 5 &

Where is some IP address. This particular command line will send out ping packet every five seconds. Now this IP address doesn’t have to be reachable. It is actually beneficial if it is not, as you only need to send out some packet and you don’t care about any reply. After you type in this command line (do not forget “&”) press enter, and then open up a menu and disconnect. This ping command will be running in background.

Alternatively you could create text file containing the command line above, then execute using the following command.

sh ./script &

Because it is merely running the program in the background, if you restart your phone, you will do this process again.

Trying this, now my phone stays on HSDPA all the time, and seems to be stable now. I had some concern about impact on battery life this may cause, but it seems to be minimal.

Please do note that this may potentially violate T-mobile’s term as described below

(e) running software or other devices that maintain continuously active Internet connections when a computer’s connection would otherwise be idle, or “keep alive” functions. For example, you cannot use a Data Plan for Web broadcasting, or for the operation of servers, telemetry devices and/or supervisory control and data acquisition devices.

Although purpose of this workaround is not to activate connection the internet, they may point out that by doing this, we are still shooting out ICMP packet though impact to infrastructure should be very minimal.

Personification of Hayabusa’s Re-entry to Earth

Hayabusa, also known as MUSES-C has been subject to personification by a lot of people in Japan, just like anything else.

Someone goes by Sukocchi posted manga of Re-entry of Hayabusa in personified style. In this article, I will share this with translation.

2010 0613 19:51
(Over the radio): Hayabusa, detach the capsule.
Hayabusa: Roger, understood.

Hayabusa: Capsule, detached
Hayabusa: Ah…Now my first chore is done, nothing left other than burning out to pieces…
(Over the radio): Hayabusa…

Hayabusa: Y, yes
(Over the radio): I got last chore to ask you, turn around to see behind you.
Hayabusa: Eh? Behind?

(Over the radio): Thank you for your hard work for long time. This is treat for you for that.
Hayabusa, welcome back…

Hayabusa: I’m home

The manga version of the story came from the fact that operators of Hayabusa signaled Hayabusa, shortly before its re-entry to atomosphere, to turn around 180 degrees, because they wanted to let Hayabusa see Earth once again. Since Hayabusa’s attitude control thruster was dysfunctional, they changed its orientation by jetting fuel. In series of many pictures taken, last one had picture of Earth. Which can be seen in JAXA’s article.

Sentimental, maybe, but considering this mission had go through a lot of hardship, which its probability of returning to Earth was questioned many times during its 7 year mission, I think emotional attachment would have been great among operator staff and people who were following the mission’s happenings. Although in different style, sentimentality to space exploration machines are not unique to Japan, as there was XKCD strip about mars rovers.

Apparently, at the time Hayabusa sent in its picture, it was already beginning to burn in re-entry, wow.

Google Chrome for Mac and Linux, and Why That Matters

It has been a little more than a week since stable version of Google Chrome for Mac and Linux was made available by Google. I haven’t tried Mac version, but I’ve tried Linux version.

Linux version supports extensions as much as its Windows counterpart does, and it seems to be they are pretty much compatible out of the box. (which isn’t surprising as they are written mainly in JavaScript.)

Google Chrome is perhaps not adding too much of competition on Linux, as there aren’t so much notion of standard browser, although probably most of distributions are including Firefox as default browser, therefore, I can see it will be start eating some portion of pies from Firefox…

Google Chrome on Mac is more interesting as there is Apple’s own Safari browser. (much like the case of IE on Windows.) It’d be interesting to see how their new version 5, which was released earlier today will compete with it. (word on the street is that Safari now supports extensions.) Though when I used to use Mac, I was on Firefox rather than Safari. I simply didn’t like Safari for some reason.

Google Chrome’s introduction to those additional platform is quite meaningful, because people who are using multiple computers, and often different operating system (for example, Windows at work, Mac/Linux at home) will find Google Chrome’s multi-platform very useful. I can find this availability issue between platforms could defer some users from it. You can use same extensions (which actually somewhat better than Firefox — believe or not, there are Firefox extensions that only supports certain platforms…), same browser sync feature.

Google Chrome won’t be grabbing big chunk of market share overnight, but I can see it slowly approaching to solid two digits sh

Useful Google Chrome Options for Privacy Protections

Google Chrome offers several different parameters you can pass in when you launch the application. Use them, you can disable components of Google Chrome.

  • -disable-extensions disables extension
  • -disable-images inhibit Google Chrome from loading images
  • -disable-java disables Java
  • -disable-javascript disables JavaScript
  • -disable-plugins disables plugin
  • -disable-sync inhibits bookmark sync feature
  • -incognito opens browser in incognito mode

Those parameters need to be passed in the command line. (or if you are using Windows, you can also add those to your shortcut, too.)

For instance, the following would disable both plugins and extensions. (thus no Flash, etc.)

chrome -disable-plugins -disable-extensions

Also there is -proxy-server, which you can also make Google Chrome access through proxy server. (Useful if you are creating SSH tunnel, for example.)

chrome -proxy-server=socks5://localhost:1234

One caution is that in order to use this, you will have to make sure that all instances of Google Chrome are closed, or this will not work.

Vocaloid2 Names on My Works

You may be wondering why my songs with Vocaloid2 (Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin/Len, Megurine Luka) are not tagged so, with few exceptions.

Here is why. Because I have not obtained license from Crypton Future Media (publisher of Character Vocal series of Vocaloid2) to use character likeness.

According to Crypton Future Media’s license they require additional license for the following form of use.

(1) Use in Commercial Karaoke
Use of generated audio in commercial karaoke software, karaoke hardware, karaoke system using the Internet, other commercial karaoke product, and karaoke service (including online, offline, and other form)
(2) Use in Commercial Telephone / Mobile Phone Ringtones
When generated audio is used commercially for telephone (including mobile) and equipments for telephone (here after “telephones”) ringtones. However, this agreements covers ringtones, and warning tones including generated audio, but mixed with other musical instruments and in case of use within musical work, in which case do not require additional license.
(3) Use in Videos
Use as if characters in video work (including animation) is singing and performing with generated audio.
(4) Product Display
Title of the product (“Hatsune Miku,” “VOCALOID,” “Virtual Artist,” or related display (hereafter “contractual display”) is credited and prominently displayed to end user on the product, package, promotional material, and/or staff credit on video works as singer, artist, musical instruments, which utilizies generated audio, and used for commercial trade and performance.
Although most of my work are available free of charge, but at same time most of my works are published by a profit corporation, I cannot use their mark, unless I obtain license from them. That’s why you don’t see Vocaloid2 names on my work.

In same count, there are people who are actually selling digital album on the net with Vocaloid2 mark and names. I’m not sure if they are properly licensed. Although I’m not really sure Crypton Future Media’s enforcing those very strongly.

How Painful

Argh, this is painful. I don’t go into arguments if the lamp would have a feeling or not. (I don’t personally think so.) But I feel like sentiments of appreciating everyday thing is important.
If people don’t feel bad about throwing working items, we’d be full of garbage really. (which sadly, is what’s happening in many part of the world…)

The Way Japan Treats Japanese

There’s a law in Hyogo, and now Saitama prefecture that forces parents writing essay to their carrier in order to the parents to lift mandatory internet filtering service on their childs’ mobile phones.

It is their effort of preventing children in their community to not be exposed to inappropriate contents, but I just felt it’s quite creepy. It is parents responsibility to be conscious about what their children are being exposed to, but isn’t it ultimately parents’ decision, and also authority to determine what their children can do and not? I just don’t see why parents need to “beg” to their service providers. (It is worthwhile to note that this clause is also included in TWYFO as well.)

In recent years, I’m starting to see news about government going into individuals’ jurisdiction. For example, people cannot use mobile phone at some ATMs because that would encourage fraudulent transaction directed from the phone.

Seriously, people in Japan are willing to put up with it?