Archive for May, 2010

May 22 2010

Its Pac-Man 30th anniversary and its still going strong

Published by Vincent Versace under Uncategorized

22 May, 2010

It has been 30 years since Namco launched Pac-Man. It is one of the earliest computer games to be launched and yet it is still doing extremely well today.

The game which has very limited chomping circle has undergone many remakes with about 50 versions that have been launched.

The company has licensed about 294,000 arcade editions of the original with the funky rock song “Pac-Man” going gold in March 1982. It also went on sell 2.5 million copies.
At the time of the launch of Pac-Man there weren’t many arcade games available with the demand for new and creative games far outstripping supply. Before the launch of the game, Namco was a small Tokyo based company offering rocking-horse rides at departmental stores.

In 1979 a young designer at Namco Toru Iwatani was asked to make a different kind of a game suing pastel colours that would appeal to the ladies. Iwatani called his team’s creation as Puckman. Realizing that American users would probably replace the P with an F it was renamed as Pac-Man.

At the time of the launch the company didn’t think that the game would be big hit. But it went to become the worldwide phenomenon that it is today. Atari had acquired the licenses to Namco games in 1978 decided to move on its Pac-Man license in late 1981.

Today, Namco is today one of the most recognizable video games in the US and according to the Guinness World Records 2010, majority of Americans can identify the yellow sphere ahead of Nintendo’s Mario.

The simplicity of the game has been the winner and has ensured its sustainability. The game didn’t need a manual to understand it. And that was the reason for its survival. Also the rules of the game were simple, the player has to navigate the maze, eat the dots and avoid the ghosts. The game also managed to draw a lot of female players as compared to other games this one did not involve shooting.

No responses yet

May 20 2010

Genetic Pioneer Trumpets Birth of First Artificial Life

Published by Vincent Versace under Uncategorized

Katie  Drummond By Katie Drummond

(May 20) — The controversial American scientist who a decade ago developed a remarkable shortcut in mapping the human genome says he’s now produced the first version of synthetic life.

“Synthia,” as Dr. Craig Venter and his research team at the J. Craig Venter Institute have dubbed it, is actually a stripped-down bacterium that’s been outfitted with a man-made genome. The creation cost around $30 million.

“This is the first synthetic cell that’s been made, and we call it synthetic because the cell is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, made with four bottles of chemicals on a chemical synthesizer, starting with information in a computer,” Venter said of his work, which is described in the journal Science this week. “This is the first self-replicating species that we have had on the planet whose parent is a computer.”

Dr. J. Craig Venter has announced groundbreaking progress in the  creation of artificial life.

David S. Holloway, Getty Images
Dr. J. Craig Venter has rocked the scientific world by claiming he has produced a cell that is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, a development that could pave the way for custom-made vaccines.

Venter’s breakthrough could open up an entirely new realm of synthetic science, allowing researchers to create custom-made vaccines, eco-friendly biofuels and other beneficial microbes. In other words, make and shape cells to do human bidding.

Venter and company created a genome that’s around 1 million base pairs long (by comparison, a human genome is around 3 billion base pairs long). The code they inserted into the DNA includes the researchers’ names, along with poetry, quotes and an e-mail address — so that anyone who decodes the genome can let the team know.

The process to create the cell was a lengthy one: Venter has been working on the initiative for more than three years. Some experts anticipate that in the future, cell creation will be streamlined and simplified.

“I hope the day comes when making genomes is something everyone can do,” Pamela Silver, a systems biologist at Harvard Medical School, told Live Science.

Venter’s team says it’s already collaborating with major companies, including Big Pharma and oil and gas firms, on ambitious plans for the future of synthetic biology.

Still, there are kinks to work out. Right now, the synthetic bacterium is able to reproduce, but several of its genes don’t yet work properly.

And others in the field aren’t so sure that Venter is using the best approach.

“He has not created life, only mimicked it,” Dr. David Baltimore, a Caltech geneticist, told The New York Times.

While the genome was artificial, the bacterium wasn’t — making it a ready host to turn on the genome, grow and reproduce like a natural cell. Although the genome’s synthetic nature is new, transferring a genome into a host cell has been possible for more than 20 years.

And regular genetic engineering is already making rapid strides in biofuel and vaccine production, among other pursuits. Venter’s approach, while remarkable, will take years to catch up.

No responses yet

May 19 2010

Free onOne Webinar with Vincent Versace May 24 11:00 AM Pacific Time

home-uniBokeh: The Science of Focus and the Art of Blur with Vincent Versace
In this 1 hour live webinar Vincent will join us to discuss the importance of the qualities of how a lens blurs and how focus is overrated in photography. With new software like FocalPoint, it’s now possible to realistically replicate the quality of lens blur, or Bokeh, after the fact, and he’ll take us through when and where photographers deploy blur and how to achieve the desired results.  With your DSLR camera it’s now possible to create the look of a Hollywood Glamour shot that previously required an 8 x 10 view camera. Vincent will show you how.

Register here

No responses yet

May 17 2010

Combat Camera Group Training

Published by Mickey Strand under Uncategorized

Day one with Combat Camera Group Pacific #CCG on board Naval Air Station North Island.

I wonder if they enjoyed the demos and lessons that Vincent and I ran them through today.
Its always great to bring these lessons to students let alone some old and new shipmates…

Lets see how there homework looks tomorrow morning.

I really enjoy working with my old unit one more time. Getting onto the Base and back into the building brought back loads of great memories, of working along side some of the finest photographers I have ever know. I hope that there present leaders feel the same some day.

aka The Chief

No responses yet

May 10 2010

APA ALERT! Do you have images with Corbis? Did you sign the Corbis Copyright Assignment Affirmation Declaration? If so, you may have invalid copyright registrations


May 10, 2010


Last week, Judge Loretta A. Preska of the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, issued a summary judgment in the case Muench Photography Inc, v. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company and R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company (09-CV-2669).  In the case, Muench Photography Inc. (MPI) claimed that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company (HMH) and R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company (Donnelley) “engaged in the unauthorized and impermissible use” of MPI images.  The defendants, HMH and Donnelley, moved to dismiss the complaint arguing that the photographs at issue were not properly registered with the U.S. Copyright office.  The defendant’s motion was GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.


MPI licenses photographs for Marc and David Muench.  Between March of 2001 and December 2006 MPI through its agent Corbis, sold limited licenses to HMH.  MPI claims HMH exceeded the number of licenses granted that caused unauthorized reproductions of the images.  This constituted copyright infringement in the eyes of MPI.  By printing the textbooks where the images were used, MPI claims Donnelley is also guilty of violating MPI’s copyright.

At question is the process of copyright registration for the majority of these images.  MPI had a copyright registration agreement with Corbis granting legal title in selected images digitized by Corbis and included in the Corbis digital collection “solely for the purpose of copyright registration.”  After registration Corbis agreed to “promptly reassign legal title to Marc and David Muench with respect to (their) registered original film images.”

The Corbis procedure of acquiring signed Copyright Assignment Affirmation Declaration documents from photographers that allowed them to make compilation registrations rested upon the questionable and legally unsubstantiated foundation of a single letter from the Copyright Office’s Chief of Examining, Nanette Petruzzelli.  The Petruzzelli letter stated that the Copyright Office considers the procedure instituted by Corbis to be valid whereby Corbis is the author of the compilation by an acceptable transfer statement of the photographers and interpreted the claim to extend to the individual photographers.  The letter also stated that the Copyright Office preferred, but did not require, the registration application to contain the names of all of the photographers on continuation sheets.  The process was compared to the process to register magazines and other serial works, which do not require the listing of individual contributor names.

The unsupported written statements made by Petruzzelli seemed to legitimatize the questionable procedure of Corbis.  If fact, it ineffectually “registered” an unknown large number of images that has resulted in a significant increase in vulnerability for photographers that have used this system through Corbis.

The court has determined in its summary judgment that the Corbis Compilation registration is only valid as a compilation.  The creators of the images, in this case MPI, do not have a valid registration for all of their individual images in the compilation.  The process Corbis used in registering the compilation does not list the names of the individual creators (photographers).  Because of that, the images are only registered for the compilation and not the photographer.  20 of the approximately 180 MPI images were previously registered as unpublished by the Muench brothers.  The summary judgment DENIED the defendant’s claim on those images.

The Corbis copyright registrations were the subject of an APA advocacy investigation in 2003-2005.  APA questioned the Chief Examiner of the Visual Arts section at the Copyright Office along with General Counsel, David Carson, on the validity of the Corbis registrations.  The practice was continued, putting at risk hundreds of thousands of images in APA’s opinion.

This emphasizes the importance of registering ones own images.

What You Need To Do

If you have images with Corbis and signed a Corbis Copyright Assignment Affirmation Declaration you should immediately identify which of your images Corbis accepted and begin the process of properly registering those images.  They are at risk of infringement.

Professional photographers need to register all of their marketable images themselves.  You should not depend on an agency doing it for you.

For more information view these links:

The complete Court Order for summary judgment:

John Harrington Blog, Photo Business News & Forum:

Attorney Ed Greenberg and Photographer Jack Reznicki Blog, The Copyright Zone:

One response so far

May 06 2010

Vincent Versace Will Be Sowing Every Black and White Conversion technique Know to Man Webinar

Vincent Versace Header

Vincent Versace

Join Nik Software
in an exclusive webinar presented
by famed fine art photographer
Vincent Versace

May 13th at 10:00 am, PST

Register Today

Hosted by Nik Software, follow along with Vincent as he shows you how to make Black & White images that not only rivals Silver Gelatin images but surpasses them. Learn why you should not use every conversion approach and when you really should!

Vincent will show you how to transform a RGB file to black and white replicating the physics of how it would have been recorded if actually shot on black and white film without ever leaving the RGB color space.

No responses yet