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When most folks think of Pixar, they think of Pixar the animation studio, which is correct, but Pixar's roots are really as a technology company, and one of the backbones of the animation and special effects industry is their well-respected software Pixar RenderMan. In this in-depth interview with Chris Ford of Pixar, we discuss their state-of-the-art in rendering technology. For years serious digital artists, animators, special effects houses, and filmmakers have depended upon RenderMan. If you have ever wondered how those incredible special effects are created, this interview is for you! Recorded at the Siggraph/ACM Conference in San Diego, California, in August 2007 by Harris Fogel. Posted 12/20/2007 (23:55)

There are a few things you should never do, and for digital folks, top of the list is to never, ever, ever use labels on your CDs or DVDs. Enter DYMO, which just brought out the DYMO DiscPainter, a dedicated disc printer. While we are discussing DYMO, we should mention their DYMO Desktop Mailing Solutions, a unique combination label printer and U.S. Post Office approved USB scale.

Harris Fogel, Posted 12/20/2007

Anyone who has ever had to cart cameras and accessories on a day trip, a pro shoot, or a cross-country vacation knows that a good case can't be underestimated. And instead of making our lives simpler, the shift to digital photography has only increased the need for a good case, one that protects and serves, so that your equipment is ready when you are. The LowePro Vertex 200 AW and SlingShot 200 AW are new camera cases that are worthy of a careful look.

Harris Fogel, Posted 12/20/2007

There are few things as infuriating as the high-tech protective plastic packaging that encases many of today's products. And since some of the products we discuss are victims of this overdone packing, what better product to review than one designed to safely open them? Meet your liberator, the Open It!

Harris Fogel & Nancy Burlan, Posted 12/20/2007

While Blue Raven is a new name to the Mac community, it has been around for 23 years yet only recently entered the retail space. The first product of theirs that we looked at was a competent iPod battery replacement kit, but this review is concerned with their iPod audio system, the Blue Raven Maestro 1070.

Harris Fogel, Posted 12/20/2007

When most folks think of motion capture, they think of models wearing spandex suits covered with little sensors which are picked up by sensors in specially built rooms, and which can then be tracked and later have a "skin" applied. The problem with this approach is that it is both expensive and finicky. In this interview with Andrew Tschesnok of Organic Motion, we discuss their state-of-the-art approach to motion capture. By using multiple video cameras, they are able to create accurate motion captures, with a fraction of the post production work of other technologies. Recorded at the Siggraph/ACM Conference in San Diego, California, in August 2007 by Harris Fogel. Posted 12/20/2007 (7:37)

Apple's switch to Intel processors is great for performance, price, and feature set. And if you have ever tried to work with a MacBook or MacBook Pro on your lap, you know that the laptop can also double as a pizza oven, making your lap the beneficiary of all that heat. Heck, my MacBook Pro runs so hot at times I'm going to start using it to press my shirts! Fortunately, the folks at LapWorks don't want to get burned either, and their Laptop Desk Futura took the heat off!

Harris Fogel, Posted 12/20/2007

A couple of years ago XtremeMac entered the Mac platform with a vengeance, entire lines of iPod accessories, earphones, and cases, all carefully designed, and marketed. Last year they showed a new audio system, the Tango, but it was in short supply. Luckily not only is it now easily available, it might be one of the best bargains on the block.

Harris Fogel, Posted 12/20/2007

Every year we sit down with Jason Brynford Jones, also known as "Chinny" of Softimage to talk about the status of the 3D software industry, new releases and improvements in Softimage XSI 6.5 3D software. With legions of devoted fans, Chinny is always a great read on where we stand in the industry, as well we are in terms supplying talent to ever hungry studios eager for 3D animators. Recorded at the Siggraph/ACM Conference in San Diego, California, in August 2007 by Harris Fogel. Posted 12/20/2007 (21:41)

Last year, we highlighted Delkin Device's eFilm Express Card 34 compact flash adapter for ExpressCard Slots as a must-have accessory for anyone with a MacBook Pro and a digital camera that takes Compact Flash cards, Delkin Devices, Kingston, Ridata, and others now make ultra high-speed memory cards, which can download data in a hurry, provided that you have a high-speed way to transfer that data. Delkin Devices' new FireWire 800/400 UDMA CompactFlash Reader-39 is a great solution. Once you've created your masterpieces in digital data, the big concern is how to archive it and on what media. Here is a quick lesson in the basic differences between some optical media choices available including the Delkin Devices Archival Gold Media and Verbatim's UltraLife Archival Gold media.

Harris Fogel, Posted 12/20/2007

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