Thursday, March 8, 2012

COMPUTERS- Performance-Capture

"‘Heavy Rain’ video game creator David Cage innovates with high-tech ‘Kara’ performance" by Associated Press, Washington Post 3/8/2012

The future of performance-capture technology is right around the corner, and its name just might be “Kara.”

David Cage of video game developer Quantic Dream unveiled a new way to simultaneously capture and digitize an actor’s performance — including voice, face and body — during a presentation Wednesday at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The innovation came in the form of a 7-minute non-interactive demonstration titled “Kara.”

In the footage, which Cage said could be entirely run on a PlayStation 3, actress Valorie Curry portrays an android named Kara who gains self-awareness as she’s being assembled by a squad of robotic arms. The virtual Kara emotively speaks in English, French and German, as well as sings in Japanese, as she converses with an operator who is heard but never seen.

“I think the most interesting future feature in the next-gen platforms should be meaningful content,” said Cage. “Yes, technology is great and is going to be better and better, and we’ll have more power until you won’t be able to tell the difference between reality and virtual, but what are you going to use this technology for and what do you have to say?”

Cage, who wrote and directed the 2010 thriller game “Heavy Rain,” noted that “Kara” is a demo, not Quantic Dream’s next project. He said the new technology from the French studio could be used for full performance capture, a technique where all aspects of a portrayal are recorded at once, rather than the common practice of separately capturing them.

Unlike the methods used to capture actors’ performances in “Avatar,” Cage said the performance capture technology developed by Quantic Dream used about 90 sensors placed on an actor’s face instead of a small camera mounted in front of the actor’s noggin. It’s also faster, less expensive and requires quiet because the audio and movement are captured together.


Friday, March 2, 2012

INTERNET - Google's New Privacy Policy

"Google's New Privacy Policy: Invasive, Innovative or Both?" PBS Newshour 3/1/2012


JEFFREY BROWN (Newshour): And we turn to a big change for one of the tech industry's giants in the debate over online privacy.

In recent weeks, Google has been alerting its more than one billion users around the world that, beginning today, the company is consolidating some 60 privacy policies of its different services into one and more closely coordinating those services into one large database.

Here's part of how the company explains it.

WOMAN: So, instead of over 60 policies for different Google products and features, we're introducing just one, with fewer words, simpler explanations and less legal goop to wade through. That means that when you use Google, from Gmail and search, to YouTube and calendar, you can count on one simplified policy that explains our privacy commitment to you.

JEFFREY BROWN: Google says the move will also allow it to better serve customers by pulling together personalized information across a variety of different sites.

COMMENT: As an IT Technician and internet user this is what I see.

First, the personal data IS collected by Google servers, so consolidating the data from all the servers makes no difference.

Second, I run Firefox browser with an Add-Blocker add-on, I can CHOOSE block any add, including Google adds. There are 3rd-party add-block utilities for your system and IE.

Then there are utilities like SUPERAntiSpyware that includes the option to remove Adware.Tracking Cookies.

You cannot protect people who leave the back door unlocked from getting robbed, the same applies to people who use the internet WITHOUT paying close attention to privacy issues involved.