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Monday, August 28, 2006

Speed & Angels movie is a mind-blowing experience

Speed_and_angels_1 Fighter jets have always fascinated me in some way as the ultimate power machines. Ever since seeing the fictional Top Gun with Tom Cruise I have had an image of these amazing men in their flying machines. It was with this though I went to the screening of Speed & Angels in San Francisco last week. I got an invitation from my friends Sarah and Steve who said in their discreet way if I did not have anything special to do that evening that I should come to the screening. I went and was blown away, I mean completely blown away. (trailer). Here I am watching a documentary, which immediately forgot, about two people, yes two ordinary people with a lot of drive, passions to become fighter pilots. One is a woman and the other is a man. The story which follows them through their last year of flight training is so amazing that my brain somehow forces this movie into the fictional part of the brain, filtering what is said and experienced. Let me take an example, the leading man in the movie Jay is an ordinary guy who grew up in a small town. At the age of 17 or so he is shot in the mouth by a marine soldier showing off and having an accident. If you are shot in the mouth and the bullet goes through your neck you are, in every case except in Hollywood screen writing, dead, but no, this is Jay and I am watching a documentary. The other character is Meagan an ordinary 24 year old woman, who is the Kelly McGuiness of this Top Gun movie except she does not fall in love with Jay and waits on the ground, but she is up there with mostly men in this amazing machine, kicking well most guys but. Again Hollywood could not have written this character, a beautiful funny ordinary girl who is a top notch fighter pilot. It does not fit the fictional mold, well again it is not fiction; this is reality.

Without giving the ‘plot’ away I can only say that this was one of the best action films I have seen in a very long time and being a documentary, it just does fit into my mind. This is a movie that feels, sounds like a Hollywood movie, but it does not have any special effects, stunt actors, it is just the true story.

I know nothing of movie making, other than it is darn hard to shoot any meaningful footage as an amateur. But the challenge Spellbound Entertainment has in positioning this, distributing it and marketing it is amazing. They sit on a story far beyond what

Hollywood could produce and at the same time they are trapped in the convention of what a documentary should be. Fortunately these are very smart people, so I am sure they will figure it out. I am sure this will be a bigger hit than Super Seize Me or Fahrenheit 9/11 provided they find a way how to unlock it into the wide audience. I can really imagine a high school jock invi ting a girl on a date and that the girl is not only entertained by the jock, but inspired of what women can accomplish in a world of men. So if you have a chance check it out when it hits the theatres and I am sure you will like me, be blown away. This is about a 8,5G movie, it will knock you out!

05:33 AM in Play | Permalink | Comments (7)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Surprisinlgly the N93 is not my cameraphone of the year in 2006

Latte recorded on the N93
Latte recorded on the N93
Latte recorded on N73
Latte recorded on N73

Latte recorded on K800i
Latte recorded on K800i
London restaurant Guides recorded on the N93
London restaurant Guides recorded on the N93

London restaurant Guides recorded on the N73
London restaurant Guides recorded on the N73
London restaurant Guides recorded on the K800i
London restaurant Guides recorded on the K800i

Food stil life recorded on N73
Food stil life recorded on N73
Food still life recorded on N93
Food still life recorded on N93

Food still life recorded on K800i
Food still life recorded on K800i
London on Picadilly on N93
London on Picadilly on N93

London Picadilly on N73
London Picadilly on N73
London Picadilly on K800i
London Picadilly on K800i


One of the trends I mentioned in my 2006 predictions was about the Cameraphone maturing to a camera replacement in the point and shoot segment. It is now time to come back to the prediction and select my favourite cameraphone in 2006. I have had three finalists which I have used over the past weeks. The SonyEricsson K800i, the Nokia N73 and the Nokia N93, the second generation transformer.

I used all the devices as Liferecorders, doing the continuous act of recording the big and little things around me. This means it is a mix of detailed macro photography, landscape and snapshots of people, primarily my kids. To finally make up my mind I spent an afternoon in London recording same picture on all three devices so that I could get some facts to my intuitive feel. You see a few of them shared here.

If one only follow the specs then the winner should be the N93, the second generation transformer. With its performance; 3x optical zoom, full VGA video I was sure that would be the device I would liferecord the latter half of 2006 with. After usage the N93 comes last. Others think it is the best. Its camera for still is not as good as the N73 or the K800i. It has been is optimised for video and for that one does pay a quality price in still photography. The images seem more washed out and blurry. (Could be my unit, which I bought in the shop) I know I record about 10% video, maybe that could increase to 20% with the N93 quality. With the zoom I could do more interesting photography, but it comes with a serious drawback in bulk and will set a bigger dent in the wallet. On the N90, which was my favourite Liferecorder for 2005, I accepted the bigger bulk. Now with the N73 and the k800i, It gets harder to justify.

I am terribly torn between the k800i and the N73, both are amazing. After looking at the pictures on the computer, I do not print images, the K800i takes the best pictures. They are richest in colour and have a warm and sharp feel to them. So if my only criteria would be image quality then the K800i is my Cameraphone of the year. However one cannot completely forget video, it is important for a Liferecorder and this is the SonyEricsson’s Achilles heel. The N73 does 4 times the resolution of the K800i or 352x288 pixel. I do also like the bigger screen and the stereo speakers of the N73. It also does a great slideshow feature with Ken Burns effect. On the other hand the K800i has a cool possibility to shoot panorama and its best picture feature is superb. Both of these are accessible from camera idle, increasing their usage.

Function is not everything in a cameraphone. Consumer behaviour in the mobile business is such that users select the form not function. Here my favourite is the N73, I think it is the most beautiful S60 device to date, the designers really paid attention to the little details, I love the speaker grilles, the super clean backside and the immediate impression of a giant screen . The keypad is not good enough, I would have made number keys larger. The N73 is after all a smartphone supposed to be used for text as well. Nevertheless my choice is the N73, it is the Cameraphone of the year.

03:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (20)

A Journey south west and thousands years back in time.

Stonehenge and the dark sky. (N93)
Stonehenge and the dark sky. (N93)
Coming into Freshford. (N93)
Coming into Freshford. (N93)

An amazing door in Freshford several hundred years old (N93)
An amazing door in Freshford several hundred years old (N93)
A small Cottage with a lush garden, built traditionally from local sandstone. (N93)
A small Cottage with a lush garden, built traditionally from local sandstone. (N93)

Here one can see the water pouring out. The got spring in bath. (N93)
Here one can see the water pouring out. The got spring in bath. (N93)
We are ready to toast in Bath water. It comes from a well 85m deep and is 45c warm. It had an interesting lightly muddy taste with a bouquet of earth. I liked it.
We are ready to toast in Bath water. It comes from a well 85m deep and is 45c warm. It had an interesting lightly muddy taste with a bouquet of earth. I liked it.

Silbury hill, the 4800 old 40m high man made 'mountain'. (N73)
Silbury hill, the 4800 old 40m high man made 'mountain'. (N73)


Last week-end my friend Ben invited me for a week-end to Bath stopping at Stonehenge, it was an amazing journey in time. We spent time traveling speculating on the future of mobility recording lots of pictures and wondering about the visions and stamina in our ancestors when the hauled the giant rocks to Stonehenge and shaped them into the landmark it still is or how the Romans took advantage of the hot springs in Bath and engineered an amazingly sophisticated and beautiful spa. The 46c degree water pours out of the ground at a volume over 1M liters per day and it has done that for more than 2000 years. The bath was actively used as a place for cleansing, relaxing and worship for more than 400 years.

We drove along the small country roads spending the night in a small village called Freshford, where Ben grew up. Ben being a local I had the most authentic guide I could imagine, thanks. Stonehenge is about 1.15 minutes outside of London and Bath another hour south west.

When you visit England the history and heritage is omnipresent, but when you go to Stonehenge, Bath and when you drive by Silsbury Hill, the 4800 year old 40metre high man made hill, the largest man made structure in prehistoric Europe one really realize that one is in an epicenter of human civilization. Silsbury Hill is a mysterious place, researchers have not found a reason why it was built, place of worship or a gigant pile of tone to clear the ground around for farming.

We even had an opportunity to get a sense of the Bath spa culture, bathing in the new Thermae Spa recently opened in Bath. Unfortunately it was not as amazing as it could be as the water was cooled to normal pool temperature and did not have the taste and smell of earth that characterizes the water in the Roman bath. It was a well designed pool, yet it could be so much more….

Much of the country side is built with local material, sandstone retrieved in the local hills. It is a wonderful building material. It has a natural texture and a very pleasing calming colour tone and mixing it shaped and smoothened or raw gives the landscape a unique character.




03:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)