If you just know enough Autodesk Maya to be dangerous, pick up Eric Keller's new book Mastering Autodesk Maya 2011, and take it to the next level. In this book, Keller offers professional-level Maya instruction, exploring topics such as modeling, texturing, animation, visual effects and other high-level techniques for film, television, games and so on. Included are pages of scenarios and examples from some of the leading professionals in the industry so that the reader can master the entire CG production pipeline. The book also covers the very latest Maya tools and features, including Dynamics, Maya Muscle, Stereo Cameras, rendering with mental ray and others.
Silicon solutions provider Marvell recently rolled out its new ARMADA 628 processor, which the firm bills as the world's first 1.5GHz tri-core application processor, delivering dual-stream 1080p 3-D video and graphics for smartphones and tablets. The ARMADA 628 incorporates a full SoC design with three high-performance, ARM-compliant CPU cores. The tri-core design, with its two high-performance symmetric multiprocessing cores and a third core optimized for ultra low power “is analogous to a hybrid muscle car”, says Marvell. The ARMADA 628 can perform like a racecar engine on demand, but it relies on the frugal third core for routine user tasks and system management. In real-world terms, this enables the ARMADA 628 to play more than ten hours of full 1080p HD video or 140 hours of music on a single charge while still providing 3GHz of raw computational horsepower. Marvell also says that the ARMADA 628 is the first mobile CPU to provide high-speed USB 3.0 connectivity.
Adeptol's new Text Extraction application is designed to extract text from documents in more than 150 file formats, which then can be processed by content aggregation tools and used for storing, publishing, archiving or searching. Adeptol's Java-based software mines text at up to 15,000 words per second and can be deployed on Linux, Solaris or Microsoft Windows. Some of the more than 150 file formats include Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org and PDF. The software's output can be exported to a text file or text stream, which can be saved into a database or passed on to other applications. Developers also can leverage Text Extraction to build text extraction capabilities directly into their applications.
Knocking down remaining barriers created by incompatible operating systems is the mission of Paragon Software Group and its upgraded Paragon NTFS and HFS 8.1 for Linux Combo Professional. Paragon calls the application suite “the industry's highest-performance kernel driver for NTFS and HFS+ filesystems with advanced read and write operations for all types of files”. Tested on Linux kernels up to 2.6.33, Paragon NTFS and HFS for Linux demonstrates read and write performance similar to Linux native Ext3FS with up to 80MB/sec read/write speed. Version 8.1 offers innovations, such as a 40% performance gain on NTFS filesystems, support for compressed NTFS files, full read/write support for HFS+ and HFSX, and creation and repair of HFS+ volumes. Paragon also says that its NTFS driver is more robust than native Microsoft's own. Personal and commercial editions are available.
Timesys Corporation is calling on Linux application developers to test-drive Web Factory, a new and free cloud-based application that gives platform and application developers an easy-to-use tool for building Linux applications. The Web Factory application combines the Linux kernel, toolchain, debugger, the TimeStorm Eclipse-based IDE and how-to documentation to provide a complete embedded Linux build system. Everything is included that developers need to test and evaluate a processor without having to set up host build environments and before finalizing hardware selection. An easy-to-use wizard guides them through each step. Developers also do not need to spend time learning each free BSP/SDK provided by board vendors while testing boards. Key processor architectures including ARM, MIPS, Nios II, Power Architecture, SuperH and x86 are supported. Users can upgrade to Timesys's Desktop Factory subscription anytime if they need live, expert Linux support or advanced features and in-depth customization on a selected platform.
The startup Dovie, Inc., has come into existence to give you one thing: dovie.tv—an enterprise-grade on-line video platform with built-in HTML5-ready players, Flash-free playlist embeds, analytics and advertising. The SaaS platform, says Dovie, offers a video control cloud with enough power to launch an on-line TV show, channel or network from a desktop computer, and it is simple and affordable enough for almost anyone to use. That power is complemented by the platform's tools that focus on making on-line video management and monetization accessible to everyone from mom-and-pop shops, to mid-market entrepreneurs, to enterprise-level professionals. Dovie also comes plugged in to major ad networks and ready-to-run CPM-optimized pre-roll video spots. Commercial content is welcome and doesn't require video producers to relinquish any rights to use the system.
The new PC maker, Recompute, is now offering Linux-based, OS-free and Windows-based desktop computers that offer a fresh approach to sustainability during the entire product life cycle. The company's approach is based on an intensive study exploring the most sustainable way to produce, use and dispose of PCs. Surprisingly, Recompute cases are manufactured of (recyclable and renewable) corrugated cardboard and treated only with nontoxic glues and flame retardant. To avoid the waste of electronic components that the user doesn't need, only memory, power supply and a hard drive come standard, while the eight USB ports allow the user to accessorize as needed. The design philosophy further allows for easy dismantling and sustainable local recycling, avoiding the typical fate of hard-to-handle e-waste from PCs: exporting it to poor countries where its processing does tremendous damage to people and the environment. Recompute states that its goal is to change how we deal with our dead computers and hopes that others will follow their lead. The effort makes you wonder why more Linux gurus aren't in charge.
Raising the next generation of creative geeks is serious business, and since Dr Spock never wrote the definitive guide to geek parenting, we're on our own. If Spock were alive, he might hand you David Erik Nelson's new book Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred: Seriously Geeky Stuff to Make with Your Kids. Snip is a book of geeky, do-it-yourself crafts and toys that one can make for $10 or less. It includes illustrated, step-by-step instructions for 24 projects, such as water-powered bottle rockets, an oversized joy buzzer that (safely) administers a 100-volt jolt, booming thunderdrums made from salvaged x-ray film, a cigar-box synthesizer, a powerful muzzleloader that shoots marshmallows, homemade board games and more. As the readers build, they learn the basics of carpentry, sewing, circuitry and soldering. No technical experience is required, and the projects won't break the bank.
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