Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holiday Posting

Very light blog posting for now. Enjoy the holidays and we'll chat in 2009!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

TNT Leverages Apple's Final Cut Studio

I always find it interesting when I run across articles showcasing high-end, quality work that uses the exact same software available to me. I generally think of those companies achieving their results by using fully custom software, not the out of the box kind. Well, TNT's new show "Leverage" relies on Apple software for their post-production work.

From Dean Devlin, the show's Executive Producer:

"We do the entire show in Final Cut Studio. We shoot on the Red One camera, bring it back on hard drives, and put it in our Xsan. Then every department here pulls off those servers whether it's for digital effects, sound effects, sound mixing, picture editing, color correction, everything. And it never leaves our building. This is all able to happen because of Final Cut Studio."

Pretty neat. And available at your nearest Apple store -- talent not included.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Photo Friday

December 12th is National Poinsettia Day

Joel Roberts Poinsett was the first United States Ambassador to Mexico being appointed by President John Quincy Adams in the 1820's. At the time of his appointment, Mexico was involved in a civil war. Because of his interest in botany he introduced the American elm into Mexico. During his stay in Mexico he wandered the countryside looking for new plant species. In 1828 he found a beautiful shrub with large red flowers growing next to a road. He took cuttings from the plant and brought them back to his greenhouse in South Carolina. Even though Poinsett had an outstanding career as a United States Congressman and as an ambassador he will always be remembered for introducing the poinsettia into the United States.

The Poinsettia Pages
University of Illinois Extension

Thursday, December 11, 2008

NFL Meets 3D Technology.


Last Thursday's NFL game between the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers was the NFL's first foray into 3-D broadcasting, compliments of the camera technology from 3ality Digital LLC, the Burbank-based company that put on the show for the NFL. Some kinks were discovered, e.g., satellite glitches blacked out a portion of the game, a quick camera movement or a refocusing was a bit too quick for 3-D and had viewers pulling off their glasses. But overall, the audience was mostly in awe of a spectacle that in some instances gave the feeling of being on the field, especially for the opening coin toss and an interception by Chargers linebacker Stephen Cooper.

For me, it's bad enough watching the Bears fumble in 2-D; I'm not sure I really want to see it in 3-D. However, if you want to try out the experience yourself, Fox Sports plans to broadcast college football's BCS National Championship game to 150 digital movie theaters in 3-D in January. While Chicago does have movie theaters than can show 3-D broadcasts, it remains to be seen if we're one of the cities for the BCS game.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Don't Forget - NIU Visit This Week

On Thursday December 11, 2008 (between 4-6pm before the tutoring/mentoring session) a representative from Northern Illinois University will be visiting Cabrini Connections to provide a variety of information about the university, financial aid assistance, athletics, and any and all questions that the group may have.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Big Picture

The Boston Globe's online edition, boston.com, has a section called The Big Picture, which is found under the News tab and is a photo blog run by their web developer Alan Taylor. To paraphrase Mr. Taylor, inspiration for The Big Picture comes from the rich imagery found in such publications as the old Life Magazine and National Geographic and the stories those photo essays would underscore. Its intent is to highlight high-quality and amazing photos with a focus on current events.

Their recent photo essay is on space, courtesy of the Hubble Telescope. From Mr. Taylor:

As we head into the traditional western Holiday Season, I'd like to present this Hubble Space Telescope imagery Advent Calendar. Every day, for the next 25 days, a new photo will be revealed here from the amazing Hubble Space Telescope. As I take this chance to share these images of our amazing Universe with you, I wish for a Happy Holiday to all those who will celebrate, and for Peace on Earth to everyone.

Here's the view from December 5th along with a partial description:
View from Hubble Telescope

"... the sharpest view ever taken of the Orion Nebula - a picture book of star formation with massive young stars that are shaping the nebula and pillars of dense gas that may be the homes of budding stars ..."

And if you want to see how the image fits into the universe, The Big Picture provides us with a link to Google Sky.

Bookmark The Big Picture to see some
amazing photos.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tech Talk

Sun Microsystems released JavaFX 1.0 last week, which is Sun's first Java release to include standardized, cross-platform audio and video playback code. This release is comprised of a new software foundation, designed to run graphically rich Internet applications, and a new programming language called JavaFX Script that's intended to be easier to use than traditional Java. The development kit currently consists of the base run-time, a NetBeans/Eclipse plug-in and a set of artifact exporters for Adobe CS 3&4.

While Java paved the way in 1995 and Sun spent much of its energy adapting Java for servers, a host of other software options for building rich Internet applications sprang up in the meantime. JavaFX is Sun's bid to take on Adobe Systems' Flash and AIR and Microsoft's newer arrival, Silverlight, along with JavaScript and its more sophisticated cousin Ajax. From the JavaFX site, here is a gallery of sample code and projects.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Photo Friday

Changing Weather
Chicago, Illinois
Watching the clouds build up over Lake Michigan

Thursday, December 4, 2008

NIU Visit on December 11th

We are continuing our efforts to get our students excited and exposed to post high school educational opportunities! As a result we will be hosting a in-house college visit from Northern Illinois University.

On Thursday December 11, 2008 (between 4-6pm) a representative from Northern Illinois University will be visiting Cabrini Connections to provide a variety of information about the university, financial aid assistance, athletics, and any and all questions that the group may have.

This opportunity is taking place on Thursday before the tutoring/mentoring session but it is open to any and all students, volunteers, and staff who would like to attend. This is another great opportunity for the Cabrini Connections’ program, so please attend and be prepared with questions!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Congrats Sean Mayfield!

Tech Club's own Sean Mayfield was elected by a group of his peers to be on the Youth Leadership Council.

Great job, Sean!!

For details on the election and the other student representatives, I'll send you over to Chris' post.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Staying awake at night concerned that asteroids might be hurtling towards the Earth, obliterating life as we know it? Well, fear no more. Thanks to the smart folks at the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy and MIT's Lincoln Lab, Pan-STARRS is looking out for us.

The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) is the world's largest digital camera, and it's to be used to keep an eye out for asteroids heading towards Earth. This 1400 megapixel camera sits atop Mount Haleakala in Maui Island, Hawaii, and will scan the skies looking for rogue objects approaching Earth at a trajectory that's a little too close for comfort.

Finding moving objects isn't the only objective of this project: another focus is its ability to map very large areas of sky to great sensitivity thus producing the deepest and most complete survey of the Solar System so far.

Again, to all Tech Club denizens and others who have an interest in science, astronomy, or space exploration, here's another example of how your passion can translate into a career. Not only are people needed to think of and design these types of tests, but computer programmers are also needed to develop the software necessary to run the instruments to perform the scientists' tests.