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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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:

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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.

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Apr 13 2010

The Best Online Resources Teaching Adobe Photoshop CS5

Excerpted from John Paul Caponigro’s blog.


Where can you learn about the new features in Adobe Photoshop CS5?

Here’s a list of some of the best resources online right now.

- Video Tour of Photoshop CS5 New Features at Adobe

- 41 Short Videos on CS5 at Adobe.

- 7 Videos on CS5 at Adobe

- 8 Videos on CS5 Extended at Adobe

- 16 Videos on CS5 at NAPP

- 4 Video Training Courses at Kelby Training

- 7 Videos at PhotoShop Cafe

- 20 new CS5 Features Detailed at NAPP.

- 5 Videos – Terry White’s Top 5 CS5 Features …

Combined, these resources offer over 85 online training videos!

Learn more in my Blog, Lessons, DVDs, Seminars, and Workshops.

Category: Uncategorized
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Mar 25 2010

Adobe to unveil Creative Suite 5 on April 1

Published by Vincent Versace under Uncategorized

Adobe has announced that it will launch Creative Suite 5 on April 12, 2010, Adobe provided a first look at the changes to the bundle of applications in the suite including, presumably, Photoshop CS5.

You can register now to watch the launch event, which is expected to run about 30 minutes.

The video below, recorded during a February 2010 presentation by Kevin Connor, Vice President of Imaging at Adobe, shows some of the photo-related features likely to make their debut in Photoshop CS5.

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Mar 23 2010

Adobe Releases Second Public Beta of Photoshop Lightroom 3

From Scott Kelb’s blog Photoshop Insider


Adobe has just released a 2nd public beta version of Lightroom 3 (called Public Beta 2), with some new features, enhancements, and tweaks based on your feedback from Public Beta 1.

Here’s a quick look at what’s new/changed/updated in Lightroom 3 Public Beta 2:

• There’s a significant overall all speed increase in the Library module, so you’ll find scrolling, viewing things in Loupe View, and just generally
• Lightroom 3 now supports the import of video shot with your DSLR, and it adds a icon in the corner so you can easily see which thumbnails are video. You can treat the video files like any other thumbnails (ranking and flagging them, zooming in to Loupe view, putting them in collections, etc.)
• It now display the time stamp so you can see the length of each video.
• If you click on the camera icon, it launches your default video player and plays the video.
• There’s a tweak to Publish Services for uploads, where you now have more control over file naming, and you can limit the file size (instead of just the quality).
• Three enhancements to the Import Window: (1) You can start importing faster because it no longer renders all the images in folder’s you’re not looking to import; (2)  There are more options in the compact version of the Import window, and (3) They’ve made the folder browsing a lot easier using something akin to “Solo Mode,” where you double-click a folder (that has subfolders inside it), and it just shows that one folder.

Man, was I psyched to see this one!!!! I tried it this past week, and not only does it work just great, but it is, hands-down, the fastest tethering I’ve ever used—the Raw images appear faster in Lightroom than I’ve ever seen!!! This alone would have sold me. (By the way; at this point it supports tethered shooting from most, but not all, of the latest DSLR cameras from Nikon and Canon).

They added a number of nice tweaks here, including:
• An inset feature that lets you inset your text from the edges of your document
• If you’re using a text watermark, you can add a drop shadow to your watermark and control the opacity, angle, offset and radius. (This is not currently available in the Windows version of Lightroom 3 beta 2)
The size of the watermark can be set proportionally or to fit or fill the image dimensions

• Enhanced Noise Reduction (the Luminance slider was grayed out in the first public beta, but it’s working now, and it’s really quite incredible).
• You can swap the cropping aspect ratio you can now just press X on your keyboard
• They added back in the choice of the original Post Crop Vignetting effect (By the way—yeech!)
• You now have the option to use a FULL traditional point curve version of Curves right in Lightroom (like the one in Photoshop).

• There’s a checkbox for Prepare Previews in Advance, so your slideshow renders all the images first, so it doesn’t choke half way through your presentation (why you would ever turn this checkbox off—I have no idea).
• You can now have watermarks on your images here as well (helpful, since more people will be sharing slideshows now).

• They added a “Rotate to fit” option and a “rotate cell” command to the new Custom Print Package layout tools (both good additions by the way).
• They raised the maximum print resolution to 720ppi

That’s a quick look at what’s new in LR3, Public Beta 2. Terry White did a great video touching on all the new enhancements and features over at his Create Suite Podcast, and if you’ve got a minute, I’d definitely check it out right here. To download the new free Lightroom 3, Public Beta 2, visit Adobe Labs (here’s that link).

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Mar 12 2010

Texas Removes Thomas Jefferson From Teaching Standard

Published by Vincent Versace under Uncategorized

By David Knowles
A musician and a novelist, David has covered politics for AOL for the past three years. His writing has appeared in such publications as USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

Widely regarded as one of the most important of all the founding fathers of the United States, Thomas Jefferson received a demotion of sorts Friday thanks to the Texas Board of Education.

The board voted to enact new teaching standards for history and social studies that will alter which material gets included in school textbooks. It decided to drop Jefferson from a world history section devoted to great political thinkers.

According to Texas Freedom Network, a group that opposes many of the changes put in place by the Board of Education, the original curriculum asked students to “explain the impact of Enlightenment ideas from John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Jefferson on political revolutions from 1750 to the present.”

The Texas Board of Education is dropping President Thomas Jefferson from a world history section devoted to great political thinkers.

That emphasis did not sit well with board member Cynthia Dunbar, who, during Friday’s meeting, explained the rationale for changing it. “The Enlightenment was not the only philosophy on which these revolutions were based,” Dunbar said.

The new standard, passed at the meeting in a 10-5 vote, now reads, “Explain the impact of the writings of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir William Blackstone.”

By dropping mention of revolution, and substituting figures such as Aquinas and Calvin for Jefferson, Texas Freedom Network argues, the board had chosen to embrace religious teachings over those of Jefferson, the man who coined the phrase “separation between church and state.”

According to USA Today, the board also voted to strike the word “democratic” from references to the U.S. form of government, replacing it with the term “constitutional republic.” Texas textbooks will contain references to “laws of nature and nature’s God” in passages that discuss major political ideas.

The board decided to use the words “free enterprise” when describing the U.S. economic system rather than words such as “capitalism,” “capitalist” and “free market,” which it deemed to have a negative connotation.

Serving 4.7 million students, Texas accounts for a large percentage of the textbook market, and the new standards may influence what is taught in the rest of the country.

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