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April 29, 2013
by admin
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Adaptive Motion And Voice Control

[:en]In February of 2012, I started a company to develop PC applications for the Microsoft Kinect and other motion control sensors.

Just over a year later, I had the great privilege to stand on a TEDx stage, with Marco Pasqua, to share the story of what we have been working on at Reality Controls.

Here’s the video…


[:]

October 26, 2011
by admin
Comments Off on How to fix 3G on your iOS5 iPad or iPhone

How to fix 3G on your iOS5 iPad or iPhone

It took me a few days to realize that my iPad 2 was no longer able to connect to 3G, after I upgraded to iOS5. I made the prerequisite, yet futile, attempts to solve the problem with Bell and Apple’s support. Bell support people were excellent, though they didn’t solve the problem. Apple’s “Genius” staff (the four or five I dealt with) were completely unhelpful, though very friendly and courteous.

After much hair pulling and frustration with Apple’s “too bad, you lost the files even though you were obsessive in your backup schedule,” scoop on the process, here’s how I managed to build a fresh, 3G-functioning, user profile with my previous preferences, documents and Angry Birds scores intact!

One good thing came out of my long talks with the support team and a couple of replacement iPads (to ensure it wasn’t a hardware issue):

The problem is stored in your backup file!

If you do a fresh install of your device, everything should work like a charm. If it doesn’t, STOP HERE. Schedule an appointment with an Apple Genius.  Be sure that you leave with a working 3G device! If you don’t have a working data plan, deal with that next.

Warning: I take no responsibility for the effectiveness of this procedure! If you manage to mess your iPad or iPhone up badly enough that a restore won’t fix it, you shouldn’t be allowed to own it. When done incorrectly, the worst you should expect is to do another restore of the factory default setup.

Note: Calendars, Contacts, Safari, etc. that can be synced with iTunes should be. They are not part of this process!

I discovered a piece of software that will allow me to copy app-level files to and from an unjailbroken phone. It’s called iExplorer, by Macro Plant (no, don’t have any affiliation). The best news is that it’s free, too!

Previously, I tried one of those backup extractor programs, which was great to see the files, but did nothing to help me get them back into the backup file for restoration. I paid 24EU on one for PC only, then discovered a free one that works on the Mac. Duh. Well, hey, the price of R&D.

MacroPlant iExplorer: http://www.macroplant.com/iexplorer/

Anyhow, let’s get down to it…

The Process of Restoring Your iPhone or iPad documents and preferences:

  1. Restore your iDevice to the backup you made (with your good files), before you screwed it all up with iOS5. You did make a backup, right? You’ve made a backup at SOME POINT recently, right?

    If you have multiple backups, be sure to compare dates when selecting them in iTunes to ensure you are going for your most recent one. If you don’t know which one it was, work your way back until you find your data. Yes, it will take a bit, but what’s your data worth?

  2. Install and start iExplorer. If you don’t know where to find it, you really shouldn’t be doing this.

  3. On the left, you’ll see a with the Apps and Media folders. Open Apps. If the folder is empty, you need to sync some apps into your device first! You know how to do that, correct? Go nuts!

  4. Now, open your Finder and navigate to a folder that you will use for your temporary storage.

  5. Make a folder for each app you plan to backup the data for. Don’t try to do it in one drag, I found that the APP folders act strangely.

  6. Go into each App’s folder and grab everything (except the app folder, weren’t you listening?), dragging what’s in each to the corresponding folders that you made in your Finder.

  7. With that done, feel free to dig through your Media folder to see what else is floating around in it.

  8. Shut down iExplorer, go back to iTunes, and do a restore of your awesome Apple product. This time, DON’T RECOVER A BACKUP, go for a fresh install.Yes – wipe it all! The last thing you want is something lingering from one of your post-iOS5 install recovery attempts messing you up again.

  9. I recommend not selecting a WIFI network until after you’ve done the recover. Oh, and for the love of all that is Apple, select “Don’t Use iCloud” when the question is asked.

  10. You’ve now got a completely stock looking install. It makes me not want to blemish it with any software… the good news, I suppose, is that this is a good way to ensure your iPad, iPhone or whatever it iIS you have, is clutter free and performing at its peak

  11. Now, it’s time to screw all that up. Go into iTunes and select your apps, then sync!

  12. Check that your 3G is working. If it’s not, at least you didn’t spend 24EU on a piece of software that ended up being completely pointless. You also probably dropped it on your cat, that often kills the 3G.

  13. do the double-tap on your home button to see what’s running. Hold down one of the icons, and remove anything that’s there. If an app is running when you replace the files, they will likely not show up until you do this, if at all.

  14. Start iExplorer, take a look-see to ensure your apps are in place, and start carefully dragging files and preferences back from the Finder. Be patient, do once folder at a time. If you mess it up, you are best to start again, I don’t see much in the way of “undo.”

  15. iExplorer also blew up on me when I tried to overwrite three folders on an app. I didn’t take the time to diagnose or replicate the problem, but restarting iExplorer and copying the files, one by one, did the job.Test each app as you do it! Be sure to fully close the app, as I mention in #13, after you are satisfied that it’s doing it’s job.note: iBooks has files in Apps as well as the Media folder, though you probably only need to copy the Apps ones, as the Media files are for purchased books that should re-sync for you. I imagine it’s not the only app to do that, so keep an eye out!

  16. Once you are satisfied with your work, close iExplorer, open iTunes, and make a backup right now, before you mess it up again!

  17. Test it. If it doesn’t have everything, go back to restoring your messed up profile, get the files, then restore to the backup you just made in 15. Wash, rinse, repeat.

October 12, 2011
by admin
Comments Off on “iOS 5 erased my files!”

“iOS 5 erased my files!”

I heard some complaints about the latest Facebook iPhone 4 app (2011-10-11) was responsible for deleting user files stored on the phone.

Be warned (and Apple does clearly warn you during the install process), iTunes 10.5 will erase everything on your phone before installing the new iOS 5 Gold Master (9A334).

Check for Updates and download iTunes 10.5, then install it.

Disable 3G and wi-fi, so no additional data is captured to the phone between your backup’s execution and the actual device reformat.

Do a wired sync of your iPhone or iPad to iTunes 10.5.

Backup!

Do a Transfer Purchases to be safe, too. The idea with iOS5 is that you get on the iCloud, so theoretically it won’t matter, but as I said.. play safe.

Follow the install path.

Enjoy!

You will need to re-enter all stored passwords (reasonable security measure). You have all of this easily accessible, right?

Finally, the one key configuration to check out is what email address is associated with your iMessages account. You can find it in the settings for the app, in the settings app. (get it?)

October 1, 2011
by admin
Comments Off on Autostereoscopic 3D Games On Your Toshiba Qosmio F750 F755 or F775

Autostereoscopic 3D Games On Your Toshiba Qosmio F750 F755 or F775

You bought the Toshiba Qosmio F750 to be the first on your block to play your favourite game in true, glasses-free 3D. Only after a few hours of frustration did you discover that Toshiba offers no way for you to use the autostereoscopic display for much more than Blu Ray discs.

With these 3 easy steps, you will have a full-screen 1920×1080 stereoscopic display for your 3D games and applications:

iZ3D stereoscopic drivers

Download: www.iz3d.com

Install.

If the iZ3D Control Panel doesn’t appear automatically, go to:

Start Menu > All Programs > iZ3D Driver and click on that.

When the panel appears, go to:

Simple > Status & Methods

First drop-down: Side by Side (trial)

Second drop-down: Left/Right

Click Apply

NOTE: Use Shift-F1 to bring up the hotkeys for the 3D setup page that appears when you start any 3D application. Use Shift-* (on the num pad) to hide the setup kit. iZ3D has plenty of game profiles, as well. Spend lots of time fine tuning your video and you will be well rewarded.

Kevin Cox’s Screen Mode Changer

Downoad: coxcoppes.nl/screenmodechanger/

Install it. Sorry, I forget exactly how the process goes, but when you press F12, you will see a bar across the screen with a red box around one of the four icons. Use the mouse to select the icon on the second from the left.

(The first is 2D, the second is white-box 3D with a black-box white-3D on the right)

So, it’s the second one we want.

One of these asks you to update to the latest Direct X drivers and may require a reboot. Go with the flow.

nVidia Video Drivers

For some reason, Toshiba cannot get it together to release the latest versions of drivers for their equipments’ OEM hardware. This has been going on, back into the 1990’s, so I am not surprised. The solution, now, is to grab nVidia’s BETA drivers.

Download: www.nvidia.com/Download/Find.aspx?lang=en-us

Install it. I used 285.38 at the time I wrote this and it works great. Hopefully your experience will be the same.

Enjoy!

September 24, 2011
by admin
Comments Off on You can buy the Toshiba Qosmio glasses-free stereoscopic 3D laptop now!

You can buy the Toshiba Qosmio glasses-free stereoscopic 3D laptop now!

Note: If you found this by searching for a review of the Toshiba Qosmio glasses-free display F750, F770 or F775 laptop, you’re in luck – I actually own and use one! This is not another of the endless “coming soon” copy and paste reviews you’ve been sifting through.

UPDATE: I now have posted instructions on how to solve the Qosmio’s key problem using third party software. Please visit my page here:

www.sibbet.com/index.php/2011/10/01/autostereoscopic-games-on-your-toshiba-qosmio-f750/

Only by pressuring the General Manager of the downtown Future Shop did I manage to convince them to let me buy the one demo unit on display. Being the stereoscopic 3D enthusiast that I am, the Toshiba Qosmio F750 (Canadian version) represents to me the holy grail! Why?

It is the first laptop to go on sale with a glasses-free 3D stereoscopic display!

Yes, that’s right. No shutter glasses. No polarized glasses. No glasses at all, unless you happen to wear prescription ones.. or sunglasses I suppose.

Let’s get to the point.

First question: What’s it like?

At first, it seemed a bit complicated and not particularly easy to watch. Fortunately, by the end of the most recent round of driver updating and fiddling, the effect became much cleaner. The laptop uses the webcam to track where your face is, which dynamically adjusts the image so you don’t have to lock your head in one place to see it. I think that the updated software runs faster than the older version that comes with it, out of the box, because the tracking improved significantly after updated. The four people who looked at it so far were impressed that yes, there is a real stereoscopic image on the screen and the tracking works very well.

Second question: Why shouldn’t I buy one?

As of September 24th, 2011, the “Stereoscopic 3D” panel in the nVidia drivers ONLY shows up when I have connected the laptop to an external 3D monitor! Yes, that’s right! The 3D movies play just fine, but for some reason that I have been unable to discern, the autostereoscopic display is not recognized by nVidia as a valid 3D device. So, essentially, it’s a $1899 video player.

I still have confidence that the functionality will become available, this kind of thing is something I am used to after 30+ years of nerdliness. You buy the bleeding edge, sometimes that blood is your own!

Once I have learned more, I will report back! Until then, if you purchased a Toshiba Qosmio with an autostereoscopic, 3D glasses-free display (can’t we get a better name for this?) or have more questions and information, please contact me!

September 20, 2011
by admin
Comments Off on Westjet 737 takes off @ YVR in stereoscopic 3D

Westjet 737 takes off @ YVR in stereoscopic 3D

This is my first test output of a SBS video with source material from my Sony HDR-TD10 stereoscopic 3D camcorder.

You will need to go Full Screen to see it properly. If you don’t have a stereoscopic TV, there are cross-eye and anaglyph options available by pressing the red “3D” button on the YouTube page for the video, then selecting your viewing method.

More to come soon!

September 19, 2011
by admin
Comments Off on How To Decode Sony HDR-TD10 Stereoscopic 3D Video Clips

How To Decode Sony HDR-TD10 Stereoscopic 3D Video Clips

I bought Sony’s first stereoscopic camcorder, the Sony HDR-TD10, on the day it arrived in Canada. After experiencing Panasonic’s weak “adapter” offering, Fuji’s grainy video with the W3 and the limited scope of GoPro’s 3D capabilities, I was looking very much forward to a high quality recording device.

As I stated in a previous review, the camera has been amazing. I take it everywhere with me, barely touching my 2D cameras anymore.

Unfortunately, it has had one major fault, to date: no way to edit the footage in a PC, in stereoscopic form.

Fortunately, a fellow named Peter Wimmer, of Austria, has developed some amazing utilities that the device manufacturers should be ashamed of for not offering, themselves!

He wrote a utility called MVC to AVI Converter, which separates the left and right eye channels into discrete files.

The best part of this tiny application is that it’s essentially drag-and-drop! Here’s all you do:

  1. Open MVC to AVI Converter
  2. Drag your selected video clips from Explorer into the empty box under the word “Files:’, in the application’s window
  3. Files > Start Conversion

Yep, it’s that easy. Once complete, you will see two AVI files, with either -l or -r appended to each filename, located in the same folder as the source file.

The files you get out will be much, much larger your source material, as the converter, by default, produces uncompressed output. For my purposes, this is ideal, as it limits quality loss. If you don’t have scads of huge hard drives around, you can go to the File > Settings menu and select one of your installed encoders from the appropriate tab.

Keep in mind that the Sony HDR-TD10 produces 1080i (interlaced) video. To avoid losing image continuity between the left and right channels when you are working with your files, I recommend waiting  until the final render stage to remove the interlacing, if you plan to.

To adjust the convergence of the two streams, grab StereoMovie Maker, a freeware tool developed by Masuji Suto and David Sykes. It’s a bit old, but does a great job.

Finally, he mentions that you need to install FFDShow for audio support. I must have installed it previously, as the sound was just fine.

The Sony files have 5.1 surround encoded audio! If you want to down mix to stereo at this point, the software has an option for that. For me, I figure if you are going 3D video, convert the audio to 2D?

Visit the 3DTV.at website and grab the MVC to AVI Converter today and save yourself countless hours of headaches trying to do it yourself! At 19 euros for private use an 49 euros for a commercial license, it’s a great deal. Peter deserves every penny.

September 13, 2011
by admin
Comments Off on Stereo displays: passive, active or neither?

Stereo displays: passive, active or neither?

Stereoscopic 3D for home has been surrounded in controversy, since this first active shutter displays started to appear. Now, as the winter holiday season approaches, there are two types to choose between! I compare my Sony 55HX800 and LG 55LW5600, to help you choose which best suits your needs. Or, you can wait for the third option, which will probably become mainstream in 2012.

The Sony solution: Active shutter glasses

When I purchased my first 3D TV, the Sony 55HX800 with shutter glasses (active) was the most attractive option. It has a beautiful picture and solid 3D presentation. On the downside, the user interface is typical Sony — the menu to adjust convergence blocks half of the screen, so good luck using it with any accuracy when you can’t see what you want to adjust! It’s also not granular enough for fine tuning adjustments.

The glasses are good, but require batteries and have no option for USB charging. Fortunately, the batteries last a long time (claim is 100 hours which my experience says is not unreasonable). Keeping your head straight is important for the best view.

My Sony 3D video camera plays well with it too, offering a proprietary 1080i60 feed that the TV plays natively to produce a fantastically clear image.

The LG Alternative: Passive, polarized glasses

So far, the combination of bad press and lack of content for the stereoscopic industry has slowed down adoption of the new format.

LG takes a very “low tech” approach of putting a thin film over the screen, which let’s the viewer use polarized glasses (exactly the same as what you get in the theatre, so keep the ones you get, don’t give them back!).

I have both screens, sitting side by side, connected to the same nVidia video card.

Wearing the glasses is much easier than the shutters. That said, the first time I used the TV for a long period, I felt very ill. That never happened with the Sony, though it also doesn’t happen anymore with the LG. I attribute some of this, in all cases, with tuning. It takes a while to get the image looking good.

There are some downsides:

1. When you turn on 3D, you will immediately see that the film makes the screen look interlaced, resulting in a diminished resolution. When you put the glasses on, this goes away, but the image quality is not as sharp as the Sony.

2. LG also forces you into a zoomed screen (probably ~10%). You can adjust this in the nVidia display panel, but it doesn’t work quite right. So, it’s good for videos and games where you can bring in UI elements from the edges, but you’re in a tough spot for desktop applications, etc.

3. I noticed that if I sit too close, areas of the screen that are not directly in my focus look like I am not wearing the glasses. Essentially, you need to move your head vertically, depending on where you want to look. In other words, you cannot “look up” at something, you must raise your whole head. As you move further back, this effect disappears.

The big win of the LG is that it produces an image that has a more intense stereo effect.

I turned up the stereoscopic effect to 100%, in the nVidia drivers, and tried a few different 3D sources: games, movies, 2D->3D still images. For reference: with the Sony, I found 30% to be about the maximum level I am comfortable with.

The LG’s 3D was, for lack of a less used word, stunning. The image quality may not be on par with the Sony, but the stereoscopic effect is more like watching a theatrical release.

Conclusion

For computer use, the Sony 55HX800 is a fantastic display. The text is crisp and the colour reproduction is solid. It’s definitely a great device for content development.

For content consumption, the LG 55LW5600 takes the cake. Easy to use glasses and a more spectacular stereoscopic effect override the detail and colour issues of the LG. You’re getting it for the 3D, anyhow!

Epilogue

While passive and active displays duke it out for your holiday shopping dollars, the next wave is showing up in the trade show circuit.

This wave is, of course, the holy grail of stereovision: glasses-free 3D.

I’ve seen a few displays up close, too. Stereoscopic display without the glasses is pretty cool, but the lens technology I have seen creates a very obvious interlacing effect. I cannot see how this will look good for computer desktop display, but it takes us one step closer to fully immersive experience.

May 27, 2011
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Sony HDR-TD10 3D Camcorder

Since picking up the first of the Sony HDR-TD10 3D Camcorders to land in Vancouver, BC, I have carried it with me everywhere.

A few weeks into ownership and I feel it’s time for a review!

The only specs you need to know are: 64GB internal storage, SD-card slot for me. The rest is standard fare Sony camcorder, that happens to have 2 lenses.

Recording 3D Video

When I first started using the camera, I felt that I was quite often struggling with far too much parallax (the difference in angle between the two eyes). There is a manual “3D depth” override on the front of the camera, but I found it limiting and also impossible to discern within the camera’s viewfinder.

I soon discovered a parallax “button” that (sometimes?) appeared on the right side of the display (looks like two circles side-by-side above the word RESET, in a box). Pressing this before each shot helped, but was not the perfect answer.

Only after a week of fiddling did I discover a small button that appears in the bottom right corner. It leads to an “Intelligent Auto” page, which I sent to “On.” Now, my live shooting looks much better in 3D. This Auto feature even automatically switches to a macro mode, which is hugely useful – as typically I find that I must stand much further away when filming than with a 2D camera.

Playback

The easiest way to review your recordings is via HMDI. I connected the camera to my Sony 55HX800 3D television, which worked beautifully for displaying the clips at their full resolution and speed. I have no idea how well it works on a non-Sony screen, though.

Once again, parallax is only adjustable in large increments, so fine tuning your convergence point and 3D depth for the best view is next to impossible. When I get it right during the recording process, it is nothing short of stunning.

If you are anything more than a casual videographer, you will want to edit your clips on a computer.

So far, I do not see a way to play the raw clips in 3D, after they are copied onto the computer. Playback with any software results in a 2D image. Even the software that comes with the Sony camcorder has no facility for displaying them stereoscopically!

The solution is in your video editing software. Adobe Premiere CS5 includes the ability to pair stereo clips. When you set up the project, select your render resolution at 1080p24, 720p60 or 720p30 and select left/right or top/bottom HALF for the 3D type. Be sure that your interlacing is turned off.

When editing, everything will look 2D, but the final render will show as the two images, placed as you set in your project settings.

Sony’s Vegas 10 has a built in tool for correcting vertical and horizontal alignment of the two frames. It’s an “effect” that you add to the clips and not obviously stated anywhere.

Whichever you use – the final output will lack the resolution and/or frame rate of your source recordings, but if done right, still produces a fine clip for upload to YouTube or home viewing.

Recommendation

I tried the Panasonic “3D-adapter” camera: It was horrific.

I recorded video with my Fuji W3: Decent, but automatically stops after a short period of time.

GoPro 3D camera kit: Highest resolution, small lenses, not good for point-and-shoot.

Sony: Great resolution and picture quality, nice lenses, lots of storage and easy to use.

If you want to jump into the world of 3D video, the Sony HDR-TD10 is the way to go.

March 20, 2011
by admin
Comments Off on Alice in Wonderland 3D

Alice in Wonderland 3D

When I purchased my Sony 55HX800 3D Television, it included a special offer for three free Blu Ray movies: Bolt, Resident Evil: Afterlife, and Alice in Wonderland.

This is a great idea! It’s hard enough to find stereoscopic Blu-Ray movies right now, and the ones that are available are commanding $30-$40 prices! How any publisher thinks this is a reasonable amount for linear media is way beyond me. For $10 more, I can get Kinect games that have so much more replay-ability than any movie. I am so thankful for alternative sources of 3D content!

Alice in Wonderland is the first Blu Ray disc that I have played on this system. Until my freebies arrived, the Sony player that came with the Sony 55HX800 stat in the corner, collecting dust. Even when the discs finally arrived, its location stayed the same for one more day – while I acquired an HDMI cable. Unless I start buying more Blu Ray discs, these “free” movies have essentially cost me $10 each. (Yes, it’s possible to get a cheaper cable)

Overall, the 3D experience is enjoyable. The animation has obviously been rendered stereoscopically, with numerous gimmick shots to show off the technology. Unfortunately, this movie suffers from the same problem as most others: image ghosting in dark scenes.

The biggest “problem” I see in this movie is that the live action footage of human actors composited into the scenes — it appears to all be originally 2D. When sitting a good 2m or so back, the illusion is passable. Stand at arms length in front of the TV, and the illusion is quickly broken. Look at the edge between live and animated to really see the distinction.

Another side effect of the added detail that comes out of stereoscopic images is that makeup issues become very obvious. Try not to look at Crispin Glover’s face prosthetic.. the latex has definitely not been powdered enough!

Speaking of shiny, either the player or the TV must be doing some post processing to interpolate frames and give that plastic, glossy highlights look. I’ll need to do some settings manipulation and see what I can get out of that… it really makes a mess of Resident Evil: Afterlife (next time!)

For free, it’s awesome. For $40, forget it.. maybe $20? If you are a fan of this movie, it is definitely worth seeing in 3D… but it’s not the best of the three.