Archive for December, 2008

whether I should translate into German and linking back

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Spam is insidious. But it’s fascinating from an evolutionary standpoint. It started with simple “Buy my product” emails. Then it quickly focused into topics like sex and money that more people were more likely to respond to. More recently, it’s gone from just email to include things like comments on blogs. Usually, they’re pretty much the same as the email spam, but I started getting comments on my blog like this:

Hello webmaster I like your post “Progress” so well that I like to ask you whether I should translate into German and linking back. Greetings Engel

Sounds sincere enough, right? Also, kinda flattering. But WordPress allows people to list their own URL when they make comments (which is generally a good thing). This lets readers and other commenters know who each other are. But spammers use it just to get people to click on their sites. A quick google search of “whether I should translate into German and linking back” returned about 196,000 hits. So as elated as I was that Engel enjoyed my blog post, I was a little let down to find that there were 195,999 other posts that he enjoyed just as much.

Fortunately, Akismet detected the spam and automatically blocked it. I only found out because I was curious about what the recent spam had been. Yay, Akismet!

CG Event

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Over the past weekend, I had the opportunity to speak at CG Event, Russia’s biggest computer graphics conference. I think there are something like a thousand people attending and it’s filled with classes, presentations, and even a few contests. Check out my Flickr page for more details about the trip.

I found out a great deal about the Russian effects industry and hopefully the people at the conference enjoyed my little talk. I think they were as curious about me as I was of them. They’ve become very successful at doing effects work like set extensions (where you extend a live-action set with CG models) and fluid and particle systems. They’re also starting to really explore character animation and things like pre-visualization.

The greatest thing about the Russian effects industry is that take many of the things that we do here in the US but add a very Russian sensibility to them. They’ve already come out with some incredible effects movies (Nightwatch, Daywatch, and Wanted starring James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie) that are unlike anything we do here. Next year, they’re coming out with a movie called Inhabited Island. I hope it comes out in the US. It’s just a matter of time before they come out with a full CG animation. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

Chasing the Sun

Monday, December 1st, 2008

I’ll write some more next time about the fantastic time I had in Moscow (thanks to Sergei, Eugene, and Sergei!) once I’ve recovered from the phenomenal jet lag that I’m starting to hit. Moscow’s time zone is 11 hours apart from San Francisco Bay Area’s and I just had a couple days in Moscow which is juuuuuust about enough to start getting used to the new time zone when I had to come back.

I’m still in Chicago right now, awaiting my flight back to San Francisco. But one of the neat things about my last flight was that I left at 3pm and arrived around 5pm. So the whole plane ride over, it was like the plane was chasing the sun in the distance. Surreal.