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Latest Activity on my other Blogs

Mylenium’s Error Code Database

Mylenium’s Stuff

Mylenium’s Health Stuff

Myleniums Gesundheitskram

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Fuck-Up 970

It’s interesting which manipulative influences the Internet can have if you don’t look at the lie behind the lie and read the wrong articles. Yepp, I’m talking about nVidias slightly insane marketing SNAFU with wrong specs on their GTX 970 card and I’m writing this because as usual some post on the Adobe forums set me off.

Undeniably, someone lied or, as they like to call it today, “miscommunicated” something – internally between departments and to the end users. Now that’s not uncommon, as nVidia have a history of bending the truth so it fits their marketing, but hey, shit happens everywhere else, too. From Apple being less than exact about their iPhone memory specs to intel not telling you about dysfunctional PCI and SATA controllers or TPM modules, there have been many examples in the past. You had forgotten those, have you?

And that’s where it get’s interesting. As a user, do you actually have a choice or should you be concerned? The phrase used by the person posting on the forum was, direct quote,…:

…would like to have it perform as it should.

…which of course is the most ridiculous thing you can ever say. Since there never was a GTX 970 actually working to the initial design specs, how can you even draw a comparison and know what you are missing? That’s like saying you want to buy a car that was only shown as a design study and never actually built, just because you got it in your head that it could be your dream car. In fact if someone hadn’t caught nVidia in the act during some very deep and nerdy testing, we would not even know that there is something afoot. And that ultimately is the point: Even if you bought this “defective” card, its performance would outstrip your previous model’s performance by at least a noticeable margin, if not an order of magnitude and in the end you couldn’t care less if ins some secret lab it was designed to be a different beast. You’d just accept it because you wouldn’t know any better. As Cypher so wonderfully says in The Matrix: “Ignorance is bliss.”

The other part of the whole affair is of course that in order to benefit from such performance, whatever tools you use have to support it. In the specific case the discussion revolved around Element 3D, which of course can be demanding especially when using raytracing features, motion blur or DOF, but, and that is again my point, it’s not a game engine and doesn’t even pretend to do everything in realtime. Yes, you can wait for those frames to render even on a beefy system! Conversely, you do not even know how the internal shaders and other code work. Just having more cores available must not necessarily accelerate things, if the internal logic is not parallelized. As a plagued After Effects user suffering its single-threadedness in many areas you should know better! Use a single pre-comp as a texture in Element 3D and your whole performance goes up in smoke and beyond the simple requirement for sufficient memory to store your models and textures it may not make any difference at all if you were to render the scene on my aging GTX 580 vs. the GTX 970. And finally – if you really were that obsessed about performance, you could just have gotten over it and bought a GTX 980. Just saying….

So to reiterate my point: The user wound himself up over a non-issue, or as I called it, fell into “fictional quantum computing” mode, looking for something that may not even exist. Even hypothetically there would be at best nanosecond differences in frame rates if those M.I.A. 8 extra cores were functional and that last half Gigabyte of VRAM running at full speed – strictly speaking for content creation apps, not games. All this based on a mis- or non-understanding of some of the underlying technical aspects, which ultimately is getting near a point: As with all performance considerations, look at all sides. Think about what you actually need as opposed to “would be nice”. There is no point in getting an expensive “heating brick” (aka your graphics card) just for some extruded text just as stuffing your system with lots of RAM and fast SSDs does not magically resolve all cache and rendering issues you may have.

That doesn’t change the fact that nVidia cheated and suckered their customers into buying something different than was promised, but that’s an entirely separate matter and by all means should only bother game afficionados that cringe when their stuff doesn’t run with all bells on in 4k at 60 FPS. Funnily now that people return their 970s all over the place they could become so cheap, it might be a good opportunity to get one on the dime and it would be plenty good for the next three years…

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Messy Heisenberg

How thoroughly After Effects is messed up these days unfortunately came to light once more over the weekend when I was suggesting my Heisenberg’s Delight project as a solution to someone looking for a way to highlight words in large texts. Yepp, sadly it’s broken in current CC versions of After Effects because the expression loop does not evaluate correctly. I think I know why, but I haven’t yet figured out a good way to fix it and bypassing the failing JavaScript part without ending up having to write a complex nested regular expression. I’ll give this some thought when I have time, but just so you know and don’t end up wondering forever why it may not work on your end. If you still have an older version of the program installed, the code works fine up to CS6, so you can do everything there, bake the results to keyframes and import it into the newer version. The whole affair makes me rather grumpy, since I now will have to triple and quadruple check my stuff. *argh*

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Goodbye PDI!

For the last two days there has been a slight outcry over the immediately beginning closing down of a part of Dreamworks Animation known as PDI (Pacific Data Images) a long time. On a quite general level I do not particularly care, but the interesting anecdote here is that I considered Antz always the better movie about ants compared to Pixar‘s A Bug’s Life. Otherwise the downfall of this subsidiary isn’t really surprising – Dreamworks‘ movies have been very hit and miss and out of every five only one was actually good while the rest was superfluous garbage like those awful Shrek and Madagascar sequels. They had it coming for them a long time, if you get my meaning. You can only produce so many box office bombs before it affects your business. Which of course begs the question why companies even still bother to produce so many mediocre movies. Even looking back at many Pixar movies I find myself wondering “How could I ever…?”. I guess back then part of the fascination was the technical side, after all. We all marveled at the achievements and envied the technical resources like custom developed tools or that big render farm when at home we barely could render a few reflective spheres and were forgiving the lameness of the stories. These days the ever same puppet eyes and storylines thin as the melting snow cover in spring are more annoying than enjoyable…

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Wavin’ and (Mis-)Behavin’

It’s one of those weeks where working the Adobe forums is literally so dull and frustrating, I can barely hold on to myself. Almost miraculous that I’m not barking at everyone. The far below par quality of Adobe‘s support certainly doesn’t make things easier on the forums, too. *argh* Speaking of frustrations, I realize more and more how foolish I was spending my money on Cinema 4D those last few years. I’m helping out once more an ex-colleague of mine with some old inherited projects and have dusted off Lightwave. It feels like I never left and oh my, does zapping around in Layout feel a lot better than in that other program. Granted, it’s the same old odd program and those parts are very recognizable, but strangely enough those oddities seem straightforward once you accept that they are as they are. There’s a rough, but charming honesty about it – the program never even pretends it can do some things, so you don’t end up running in circles, trying to find solutions that may or may not exist like in Cinema or modo even. If nothing else, I think this directness and simplicity is what is missing in most software today. Everything is overly complicated. Well, but I’m getting nostalgic…

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Dear WordPress,

Could you please stop messing with your interface? I really hate how you are moving menus around and I have to go looking for my daily used options in a new place every other week. It’s bad enough that you are trying to dump your shitty sky-blue nightmare of a new post editor as an “improved posting experience” on me every time I delete my cookies and I have to look at your ugly log-out screen when I’m done posting, but there is really no need to make things more complicated by squeezing everything in a single menu and placing that menu in such an idiotic manner that it obscures other options. Remember: We are the people that help you attract traffic. The people that make sure you can place your ads and you cash in on them. The people that pay for options and thus pay you. So why is it that you are trying to give us a hard time? Thanks for listening!

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Maxon, you will get Mail!

Ah, it seems I go through this roughly every 5 years. Yepp, I just wrote my cancellation letter for my MSA and thus my on/off love-hate relationship with Cinema 4D will once more come to a close, at least for a while.

As I wrote a week ago, the financial burden is one thing, but aside from my professional exploits when I still had a job, my use of the program has been on the decline for the last year just like my use of After Effects. I realize more and more that I want to spend my time on other stuff instead of putting up with tedious workarounds even for simple things like trying to figure out the correct order in the Object Manager just so the little diva correctly updates the scene. The frustrations and unnecessary time spent far outweigh the advantages and it’s just not fun anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some interesting things and the geek in me has always enjoyed doing weird stuff like creating plants with MoGraph or toying around with some plug-ins, but at the same time so many other things are left hanging in the balance and hinder my productivity. Ironically, many of the people that were part of my drive toward Cinema because I needed to collaborate with them are now equally fed-up with Maxon‘s policies on updates or pricing, so I suppose me not being part of the user base won’t be that big an issue for them, either…

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