ME HUGO, YOU JANE! JANE DOCUMENTARY – ONE OF THE YEAR’S BEST!!!

“It’s Hugo and Jane…we were just blessed to work with these incredible artists…A lot of people lived extraordinary lives…few people can talk about them, and even fewer can have had every great moment filmed by one of the greatest cinematographers of all time”

– Brett Morgen, director 

“People said my fame was due to my legs. It was so stupid —it didn’t bother me. It was really very useful because by this time I was needing to raise money myself, so I made use of it.” – Jane Goodall Photo courtesy of National Geographic.

Article by Marcus Siu

In 1960, Louis Leakey, the famed Kenyan paleoanthropologist who suggested the study of existing great apes could provide indications of the behavior of early hominids, including humans, was searching for a chimpanzee researcher.  Instead of assigning a male with a scientific primatologist background where men dominated the field at the time, Leakey assigned a 26-year-old woman named Jane Goodall, who had no college degree, scientific or formal training, which is what he was exactly looking for.

Though Goodall may have seemed “unqualified” in the field, she was extremely passionate about animals ever since the age of ten and has always dreamed about living in Africa.  In addition, It probably didn’t hurt her chances with Leakey that she was also an attractive blonde with very nice legs and was his personal secretary at the time.  Not to mention, Mrs. Leakey probably wanted her out of the office anyway.

On her initial assignment, Goodall was sent to Gombe Stream National Park, a remote area of northwest Tanzania, to document and study primate behavior.  There she learned to acquire the patience to sit and wait in the fields for weeks before even seeing any type of regular chimpanzee activity.  Through her perseverance, she was finally able to blend in and gain the trust and acceptance from the chimpanzees as one of them.  After this was established, a cameraman from National Geographic was sent in to help document the progress.

As Goodall observed the chimps, they no longer cared that she was present among their company and is mainly ignored as though she was one of them.  This gave her an “in” to be able to observe the similarities between chimps and humans.  She slowly discovers that they are highly intelligent and social creatures, much like humans. To watch the behavior of these chimps documented on film from Goodall’s point of view for the first time is a revelation.  It’s almost as jaw dropping like watching the first man walk on the moon.

This documentary film is not just about Goodall’s early explorations and groundbreaking field work, but also about her intimate relationship with the chimpanzees, as well as the unanticipated love story with cameraman Hugo van Lawick, a perfectionist in his craft, who would later become celebrated as one of the greatest wildlife photographers and cinematographers of all time.

Photo courtesy of National Geographic.

 “When Hugo was making that film, it was not like making a film today”, Goodall reflects, “…it was the old Bolex camera, and it was celluloid, and you had to put a black bag over your head, and you had to thread through all these sprockets and through the gate and close the gate, make sure there wasn’t a hair in the gate…it was difficult.”

Lawick was shooting as a one-man crew and the equipment was so much heavier (tripods, camera, three cases for the lenses) as compared to today.   He was carrying a ton of equipment through the jungles of Africa.  “There were only four or five stops of latitude back then, so to get an exposure on a chimpanzee in a dark forest made it a near impossible task back then.  “It was nearly impossible to find a single frame that was overexposed, underexposed or out of focus,” Morgen says.

As for the film editing, it was quite an arduous task putting together 140 hours of unseen perfectly preserved 16mm archival footage with no sound into a structure into something cohesive for Morgen. His film editor had divided the stock and identified over 140 chimps, even though the film was primarily about four of them.

Morgen originally conceived the film to be a “cinematic opera” focusing on the music by Philip Glass without a narrator.  However, that idea was thrown out after interviewing Goodall and realizing how intimate her stories were.  It became mandatory to put Goodall’s story into the documentary.

The completed film was shaped and formed like an epic narrative romance as you get to see both Hugo and Jane fall in love on film.  As it turned out after reviewing the final cut for the first time, you realize it was not so much a love story between Goodall and Lawick, but a love story between Goodall and Lawick with their prospective professions.

“Love is between a woman and her work and a man and his work”, Morgan states. “Most people have this romantic idea that the most important relationship in life is with your partner, your lover, your spouse, but for a lot of driven people, their primary relationship is with their work.  I started to see that Jane and Hugo’s ultimate breakup was not a tragedy because they both pursued their passions.”

Photo courtesy of National Geographic.

After living and observing chimpanzees with their newborns, there is no denying that Jane Goodall became a much better parent raising her child. Photo courtesy of National Geographic.

“With our filter of film making today…there was an opportunity of something immersive to allow the audience to be on the journey with Jane” Morgen reflects.  “Some of the advancing of color grading and in sound design that weren’t available 50 years ago helped us to bring us that experience.” In addition, multi-channel jungle sounds from actual stock footage recorded in Gombe was matched the archival footage.  It took about 2 ½ years to finish the sound editing process, along with mixing it to Philip Glass’s brilliant and inspirational original score.

Though there have been a myriad of films over the last few decades made about the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, but this may be the definitive, intimate, and immersive document of Jane’s legacy brought to life.

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IPAD OR IPHONE AT CAPACITY?  GET A KINGSTON BOLT TO TRANSFER YOUR MEDIA IN A FLASH…

DT Bolt Duo Twitter Ad_Bolt_blackset

Article by Marcus Siu

At the last Pepcom’s MobileFocus, Kingston was on hand in San Francisco showing off their latest product, the Kingston Bolt.  This is truly a lifesaver for those who are near capacity on their iPhone’s or iPad’s due to taking lots of photos or videos.

Especially if you have a 16GB iPhone, one of the most frustrating things is the fact you have only a limited amount of storage space for your device and can run out of room fairly quickly. Depending on how many apps and how often you like to take photos and videos, you may find yourself forced to delete much of your media from the phone itself.

How frustrating is it when the only way to free up space is by deleting many of your old photos and videos from your iPhone without being able to transfer them onto your hard drive or storage, just so you can free up space to shoot new photos and videos?

The Kingston Bolt has solved this problem.  Think of it as extra storage or extension for your iPhone.

DT Bolt Duo

If your iPhone or iPod ran out of storage, you can attach this flash device and continue to take more photos and videos from your iPhone…or you can just transfer your iPhone’s media onto the drive and free up your capacity.  Whichever you prefer.  The choice is yours.

https://www.kingstongo.com/us/usb/datatraveler-bolt-duo-flash-drive-for-iphone

The Kingston bolt attaches via the lightning port of your phone and through the use of it’s app, allows you to transfer photos and videos from your phone onto the Kingston Bolt.  From there, you can keep the photos as backup on the Bolt and/or load them onto your computer.

In addition, the app allows you to immediately free up your phone by deleting the photos and videos after transferring of data onto the Bolt.  What’s great is you can do this without even launching the app once you immediately plug it in to your device.  Once the Bolt is attached, it automatically opens the app for you.  Then it shows the capacity of both the device and the bolt.  The options on the menu are transfer photos to the bolt drive, capture photos directly onto your bolt drive, and view photos and videos on your bolt drive.

The transfer function allows you to choose all photos and videos, all photos, all videos, your favorite photos and/or videos, or select photos and/or videos.  It shows you how much storage is in each of the options.

Once selected it allows you to keep or delete the original items from your device.

Personally, I wouldn’t delete anything off my iPhone until I know I safely transferred everything from the Bolt to my computer, just to be safe.

Once I do that, then I would then go ahead and run the transfer another time and ensure that everything was transferred correctly, and then delete the media from the phone or tablet.

It comes in a well-protected rubber case attached to a key ring that can go along with your key chain or whatever you prefer to attach it to.

It comes in three sizes: 32GB ($59.99 MFSL), 64GB ($89.99 MFSL), and 128GB ($119.99 MFSL).

DT Bolt Duo Packaging

$59.99 list price

Here is their press release

2017 Flash Press Release
Kingston Digital Releases Lightning USB for Apple iPhone, iPad

Fountain Valley, CA – August 30, 2017 – Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, announced today its first dual interface USB with Lightning® connector, DataTraveler® Bolt™ Duo for Apple®1 iPhone®1 and iPad®1. It is designed specifically to free up space on Apple devices with limited memory.

With no option for expandable storage on iPhones and iPads, Bolt is perfect to free up device space. Its intuitive app is simple to use and the capacities allow for storing up to 8,000 photos (32GB), 16,000 photos (64GB) and 32,000 photos (128GB). Photos and videos can be taken directly on Bolt and its slim form factor, protective rubber case and keyring makes it conveniently portable.

“Users capture more memories every day so it’s only a matter of time before their iPhone fills up. Bolt is a great device to back up and free up storage space on iPhones or iPads.” said Andrew Ewing, Senior Manager Consumer Business, Kingston and HyperX. “It functions like a Flash drive for iPhone. Users simply plug it in, download the Bolt app2 and then back up to their camera roll. No more deciding which photos or videos to keep and which to delete when the dreaded “storage full” notification pops up.”

DataTraveler Bolt Duo is available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities and is backed by a two-year warranty, free live technical support and legendary Kingston reliability. For more information visit www.kingstongo.com/bolt.

DataTraveler Bolt Duo Features and Specifications:

  • More pictures:Never miss a moment, snap more pictures with Bolt.
  • Easy to use app2:Too many complex apps out there. Bolt app is super easy to use.
  • Free up space:Transfer your memories and make space for new ones.
  • No need to wait:In a hurry? Shoot new pictures/videos and save directly to Bolt.
  • Portable:Easy to take with you using the included accessory.
  • Simple back up:Back up all those priceless photos, especially those selfies!
  • Made for iPhone®:Designed to be used with iPhones & iPads, lays flat when plugged in.
  • Multiple devices:Have more than one iPhone or work on both an iPad and iPhone? No worries, Bolt has you covered.
  • Capacities:32GB, 64GB, 128GB
  • Warranty:2-year warranty with free technical support

 

DataTraveler Bolt Duo
Part Number Capacity
C-USB3L-SR32G-EN 32GB DataTraveler Bolt Duo
C-USB3L-SR64G-EN 64GB DataTraveler Bolt Duo
C-USB3L-SR128-EN 128GB DataTraveler Bolt Duo

1Apple, iPad, iPhone, and Lightning are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
2Works with iOS 9.0+

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OCULUS ANNOUNCES NEW STANDALONE HEADSET ‘VENUES’ AT OCULUS CONNECT: THE PATH TO A BILLION PEOPLE IN VR

Article by Marcus Siu

SAN JOSE, CA, OCTOBER 11, 2017 – At its fourth developer conference in San Jose, Oculus announced its newest and most affordable VR headset, called Oculus.  The standalone device will ship in early 2018 starting at $199.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced this to the crowd of 2,900, where he announced new hardware, software, and content that will bring even more people into VR and expand the ways we work, play, and—of course—connect.

Zuckerberg hopes this will bring VR to the masses.  Hopefully, a path to a billion people.

“If we’re going to get a billion people in virtual reality”, Zuckerberg remarked, “we have to keep working on both affordability and quality, but we also have to find the sweet spot in the middle that high quality affordable experience that doesn’t tether you to a PC.”

This certainly keeps the price of experiencing VR down to a minimum, as with the Oculus Rift, a super exclusive high end computer is needed, and that can certainly run up to a few thousand dollars on depending on how much power is needed.

Also no longer will you be need to snap an expensive phone for the Samsung GearVR inside it…which doesn’t even have motion tracking in it anyway.

Oculus also showcased updates to its Santa Cruz prototype, including new positionally tracked controllers with six degrees of freedom that bring the power of Rift and Touch to the standalone category.

The company offered a sneak peek into Oculus Venues, a new experience coming next year that lets people watch live concerts, sports, and movie premieres with thousands of other people around the world.

 

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ORACLE INTRODUCES REVOLUTIONARY AUTONOMOUS DATABASE – BENCHMARKS TESTS BLOWS AWAY AWS CLOUD

Larry Ellison introduces the Oracle Autonomous Database at the Oracle OpenWorld opening Keynote. Photo by Marcus Siu

Article and photos by Marcus Siu

SAN FRANCISCO, OCTOBER 1, 2017 – Larry Ellison, Oracle Executive Chairman and CTO, introduced the Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud at the Opening Keynote at the Moscone Center in San Francisco Sunday night to a packed audience at the four day OpenWorld Conference.

“Now, I don’t use the word revolutionary new technology every year here at Oracle OpenWorld. We don’t — you know, because there aren’t that many revolutionary new technologies. But this one is. “, Ellison quoted to the packed auditorium.

“This is a big deal by the way. No one else does this,” said Ellison. “This is the most important thing we’ve done in a long, long time.”

With the help of machine learning, the Autonomous Data Cloud also helps eliminate the need for human labor for any types of patches, system downtime, or any type of maintenance typically needed when something goes awry.

With no need for human labor, you get no human error.

This means Oracle can keep the planned or unplanned downtime to less than 30 minutes a year; something that Amazon cannot handle since theirs is a manual system, relying on human intervention all the time for patches and downtime, even though they guarantee themselves being up 99.95% reliability.  However, if you read section 61 on their contract, the calculation does not take into consideration any kind of downtime, which is quite misleading to the Amazon consumer.

Oracle has no exclusions for downtime and offers a 99.995% reliability.

The Oracle Autonomous Database also comes with the Highly Automated Cyber Security, which were developed together and designed to prevent data theft, which companies such as Equifax could have definitely benefited from before they compromised their customers.

“Amazon is five to eight times more expensive running the identical workload than the Oracle Autonomous Database.” Photo by Marcus Siu

Ellison compared six demos of benchmark test results showing how much time and money is saved through by using Oracle.  Comparing Oracle against Amazon Web Services, the results were staggering.  In each of the tests, you it would save between 5 to 9 times.

Oracle used two sets of tests: Oracle on Oracle cloud versus Oracle on the Amazon cloud, with the second test being  Oracle on the Oracle cloud vs Redshift on the Amazon cloud.

“These are real customer workloads…these are not Oracle went out and made up the most ridiculous demos to make Amazon look bad they could come up with,” remarked Ellison. “These are data sets that we actually used for stress testing, and performance testing, and validating our database.”

In the last benchmark demo, Ellison gave Amazon, which was using Redshift, a 42 second head start and showed how quickly Oracle surpassed them and finished.  Oracle finished in 38 seconds costing two cents.  AWS finally finished at 244 seconds, which is well over six times slower than Oracle.

With Amazon currently having the prominent lead in the cloud business over the last few years, it looks like Oracle should be able to compete and surpass it fairly quickly, just like they did and proved in their last demo.  It is obvious through these tests that it is technically superior.

The real challenge for Oracle right now is they need to find customers who are actually willing to pay a lot less for higher performance, higher availability, along with lower labor costs with automated security patching, disaster recovery for their product.

Maybe that will change when the Oracle 18c rolls out in when the real clouds come in the wintery months of December.

Ellison regarding Amazon: “They are one of the biggest Oracle users on the planet Earth…and every year, that number in green goes up.” Photo by Marcus Siu

 

https://www.oracle.com/openworld/on-demand.html?bcid=5595329007001

 

Here is the official press release from Oracle.

Press Release

Oracle Unveils World’s First Autonomous Database Cloud

Also Introduces Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud that has Demonstrated Performance of 10x Faster at Half the Cost of Amazon

Oracle OpenWorld, San Francisco, Calif.—Oct 2, 2017


At Oracle OpenWorld 2017, Oracle Chairman of the Board and CTO Larry Ellison unveiled his vision for the world’s first autonomous database cloud. Powered by Oracle Database 18c, the next generation of the industry-leading database, Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud uses ground-breaking machine learning to enable automation that eliminates human labor, human error and manual tuning, to enable unprecedented availability, high performance and security at a much lower cost.

“This is the most important thing we’ve done in a long, long time,” said Ellison. “The automation does everything. We can guarantee availability of 99.995 percent, less than 30 minutes of planned or unplanned downtime.”

The Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud eliminates the human labor associated with tuning, patching, updating and maintaining the database and includes the following capabilities:

  • Self-Driving: Provides continuous adaptive performance tuning based on machine learning. Automatically upgrades and patches itself while running. Automatically applies security updates while running to protect against cyberattacks.
  • Self-Scaling: Instantly resizes compute and storage without downtime. Cost savings are multiplied because Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud consumes less compute and storage than Amazon, with lower manual administration costs.
  • Self-Repairing: Provides automated protection from downtime. SLA guarantees 99.995 percent reliability and availability, which reduces costly planned and unplanned downtime to less than 30-minutes per year.

The Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud handles many different workload styles, including transactions, mixed workloads, data warehouses, graph analytics, departmental applications, document stores and IoT. The first Autonomous Database Cloud offering, for data warehouse workloads, is planned to be available in calendar year 2017.

Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud

Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud is a next-generation cloud service built on the self-driving Oracle Autonomous Database technology using machine learning to deliver unprecedented performance, reliability and ease of deployment for data warehouses. As an autonomous cloud service, it eliminates error-prone manual management tasks and frees up DBA resources, which can now be applied to implementing more strategic business projects.

“Every organization is trying to leverage the overwhelming amount of data generated in our digital economy,” said Carl Olofson, research vice president, IDC. “With a history of established leadership in the database software market segment, it is no surprise that Oracle is pioneering a next-generation data management platform. Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud is designed to deliver industry-leading database technology performance with unmatched flexibility, enterprise scale and simplicity. The intent is to ensure that businesses get more value from their data and modernize how data is managed.”

Highlights of the Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud include:

  • Simplicity: Unlike traditional cloud services with complex, manual configurations that require a database expert to specify data distribution keys and sort keys, build indexes, reorganize data or adjust compression, Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud is a simple “load and go” service. Users specify tables, load data and then run their workloads in a matter of seconds—no manual tuning is needed.
  • Industry-Leading Performance: Unlike traditional cloud services, which use generic compute shapes for database cloud services, Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud is built on the high-performance Oracle Exadata platform. Performance is further enhanced by fully-integrated machine learning algorithms which drive automatic caching, adaptive indexing and advanced compression.
  • Instant Elasticity: Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud allocates new data warehouses of any size in seconds and scales compute and storage resources independently of one another with no downtime. Elasticity enables customers to pay for exactly the resources that the database workloads require as they grow and shrink.

Oracle Database 18c

Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud is powered by the next generation of the world’s #1 database, Oracle Database 18c. Oracle Database 18c delivers breakthrough automation capabilities, as well as greatly enhanced OLTP, analytics and consolidation technologies.

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3D HIGH RESOLUTION AUDIO WITH 360 DEGREE SOUND PUTS SOUNDBARS TO A NEW LEVEL

Innovative Beamforming Speaker Revolutionizes Gaming, VR, Home Theater, and Music Audio Experiences

Comhear Inc., a San Diego-based audio technology company, announced today the launch of its Kickstarter campaign for YARRA 3DX™, an industry-first 3D-audio sound bar. Powered by the company’s industry-disruptive MyBeam™ technology, YARRA 3DX provides immersive 360-degree sound without the use of headphones or multiple speakers, delivering a first of-its-kind audio experience for home entertainment, gaming, VR and music reproduction.

Yarra3dx
The campaign kicks off at 12:00 p.m. PT on Tuesday, September 12 and ends on Friday, October 27, 2017. Funds will be used to bring the company’s working prototypes to production-ready status. Early backers of the Kickstarter campaign can secure multiple YARRA 3DX units. Each YARRA 3DX comes with an accompanying subwoofer, setup and control app download instructions, as well as several high-resolution music albums*, starting at $299, or 50 percent off the retail price of $599.

YARRA 3DX is Comhear’s first consumer product and is designed to provide high fidelity sound reproduction for gaming, music, home theater, VR/AR, and teleconferencing. The groundbreaking beamforming technology that makes YARRA 3DX possible — MyBeam™ — was developed in conjunction with researchers at University of California San Diego (UCSD) and has already won several awards this year including the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Innovation Award and an “Alfie” from the LA Audio Show (LAAS) for superior technological achievement.

“YARRA 3DX replaces traditional multi-speaker home theater setups for movie viewing, gaming, and music listening,” said Gerry Chastelet, CEO of Comhear. “It’s also a great alternative to headphones, allowing for a fully immersive, yet shared audio experience. The positive reactions to product demonstrations are very encouraging. We are confident YARRA 3DX, powered by our disruptive MyBeam technology, will transform the way people listen and engage with audio.”

The YARRA 3DX system features high-res audio specifications, localization controls for multiple users (up to three), classic stereo mode for larger groups, analog/digital inputs, and powered subwoofer. The 360° spatial 3D-audio technology used in YARRA 3DX has also been installed by Comhear in Great America’s, “Mass Effect: New Earth, A 4D Holographic Journey” attraction in California. The Comhear MyBeam™ technology pairs with the world’s largest UltraHD 3D screen to completely immerse guests in the popular “Mass Effect” video game developed by Electronic Arts’ franchise BioWare. 3DLive and Halo are also collaborators.

Offering both wired and wireless connectivity, analog and digital inputs (USB and HDMI), YARRA 3DX can be used individually or as part of a home entertainment network. YARRA 3DX is small, simple, elegantly designed, and available in either silver or black. The YARRA 3DX app allows users to control settings and sound parameters including localization, near and far field settings, music, game and movie modes, and firmware updates.

To learn more about the YARRA 3DX campaign and to back the project, visit:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/yarra3dx/910346110

The manufactured product will begin shipping in the first quarter of 2018.

*Albums produced by AIX Records.

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COOL PRODUCTS FOR THE SUMMER FROM THE PEPCOM SHOW – SPOTLIGHT ON THE ESPIN eBIKE

Josh Lam, creator of Espin eBikes, from San Francisco, displaying one of the models at the Pepcom Digital Experience Show.                                                                                                 Photo by Marcus Siu.

Article and photo by Marcus Siu

As population growth of Metropolitan cities such as the San Francisco Bay Area continue to surge to in record numbers, so are the ever increasing number of commuters, which translates to grid lock congestion on the streets of San Francisco.  With the ridership of public transportation service systems, such as the transit system and buses at maximum full capacity, what is the average commuter to do?

One possible solution was provided at the Pepcom Digital Experience show in San Francisco, where Josh Lam, co-founder of Espin bikes, was displaying his eBike line.

For those commuters who do not need to use the freeway, the Espin electric bike may be the perfect alternative solution to get around town.  It uses no gas, is parking friendly, and is able to zip through the streets where cars cannot.

These bikes, excuse the pun, are “geared” more towards the commuters in mind.

The Espin pedal assist bike contains a 350 watt motor, which starts the motor going immediately once pedaling.  It has a battery capacity of 25 miles per charge (20-40 mile range), which takes about 4-5 hours to charge.  Weighing in at about 47 pounds compared to 60-70 for conventional electric bikes, it goes up to a maximum 28 miles per hour, which means it technically doesn’t need a license since it is not classified as a vehicle, like electric scooters are.

There are five levels of power on the motor.  Zero means manual power or using your feet to pedal (i.e. The “Fred Flintstone” method) and Five meaning that you will most likely be going up a very steep hill.  It can go up San Francisco’s steepest hill, which is about a 32% grade.

The well concealed lithium-ion batteries are made by Panasonic, who also supplies Tesla’s electric vehicles.  They charge up to 500 times and last between two and four years.  You can buy additional batteries when needed.  The balloon tires were targeted for commuters or just people who need to run errands, like shopping for groceries.  The “sporty” Espin were targeted for more of the sports enthusiast, who like heads down cycling.

It comes with an odometer and a rack that can hold up to 55 pounds.

 

For many commuters who ride a traditional bike to work, they are dripping sweat upon arrival.  With electric bikes, you don’t have to struggle up and climb up a hill using your pedals.  You can cruise in electric mode with no sweat, if you prefer.  You also don’t need to shower immediately after arriving to work.  That saves time, as well.

According to Lam, the company was named after a famous Norwegian Fairy Tale character after “Espen Askeladden”, who was a favorite of Lam’s wife, Yina’s, as she was growing up during her childhood days in Norway.  Espen used creative tactics to conquer battles, always prevailing in the end and typically is able to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to problems they encounter, which is why they identified with the name.   It is also a play on words as “E-spin” means electric spin.

From what I understand from electric bike owners is that after owning an electric bike for awhile, they find it difficult to going back to the push and grind of the pedals on the traditional bike.  It’s all about the enjoyment of the ride now.  It becomes even more recreational than ever before but without expending as much energy.

However, for “authentic” bicyclists, who still prefer to pushing the medal to the pedal; its still an option, if they want to ride it that way.

List price: $1888.00

http://www.espinbikes.com

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LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE AT DOLBY CINEMA: THE MOST IMMERSIVE MOVIE GOING EXPERIENCE YET…

Dolby_AMC. Courtesy of Dolby Laboratories.

Article by Marcus Siu

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JULY 31, 2017:  Forty years ago, a little film called “Star Wars” opened up at about 40 theaters nationwide. The film’s distributor, 20th Century Fox had no idea if the movie was going to make any money for them.  Even creator George Lucas was thinking  it would be a flop.  Of course, as everyone knows, it would become a world phenomenon and become the highest grossing movie franchise of all time.

Part of its success had to be because of the fact that it was the first Dolby Surround film ever released.  It heightened the senses of the “movie going experience” with sound and it changed the way that audiences experienced going to movies thanks to Dolby Laboratories.

Ironically, at the time of its opening, of the 40 theaters that played Star Wars during its opening week, only three were equipped with Dolby sound systems.  However, that quickly changed, after the huge demand for “Star Wars” skyrocketed in popularity and the number of theaters increased to over 1,000.  Theaters jumped aboard to upgrade to Dolby Sound systems for their theaters so they could play “Star Wars”.

In addition, some of the high end theaters were equipped to play the film in 70mm and 6-track Dolby Stereo.  This was the ultimate presentation to showcase “Star Wars”.  This was the major reason why the lines went around the block two hours ahead of showtime and Dolby instantly became a household name.

Suddenly movie audiences (and movie theater owners) now realized that sound was as critical and just as important as the screen.  It made the Death Star, light sabers, laser blasts and even Darth Vader’s voice and nasal packages seem incredibly real and lifelike.  This added a new dimension to the sound and credibility to the story.

Now, nearly forty years later, Dolby Laboratories announced in early of 2015 that they were partnering in the U.S. with AMC Theaters to provide a new premium format called Dolby Cinema, which includes their award-winning technologies Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Their objective is to make movie going the total cinema experience by combining a powerful image and sound technologies with inspired cinema design to make every visit a completely captivating cinematic event.

Dolby Cinema Signature Entrance and Audio Video Pathway. Photo courtesy of Dolby Laboratories.

And by George, after my recent trip to a Dolby Cinema in the Bay Area, I am happy to report that they have succeeded with high honors.  Cinema does not get any better than this and sight and sound has never “felt” better.  It’s as though they have achieved yet another important milestone level of cinema going, just like they did back in 1977.

By far, even in its infancy, Dolby Cinema is the the most ultimate immersive movie going experience for your box-office movies, or any movies for that matter. Audiences will be transported to a new conscious level and will certainly have a greater appreciation for filmmakers, especially for sound designers after experiencing Dolby Cinema, even if it’s not the very latest “Star Wars” movie.

Dolby Cinema opens even more senses for audiences than ever before that have never been experienced in a darkened theater.

For those who haven’t heard about Dolby Vision; it is state-of-the-art authoring and playback imaging technology that enables the cinema to bring the story alive onscreen, using laser projectors, which was awarded an engineering excellence award from the Hollywood Post Alliance, equipped with Dolby Atmos, which moves audio around the cinema, even overhead, with amazing richness and depth transporting moviegoers with the most realistic sound around them and above them. These projectors create the darkest darks and the brightest whites, with a 1,000,000 to 1 contrast ratio.

Which basically means the best presentation of sight and sound possible for your feature presentation…with or without popcorn.

I was enamored by the larger screen which has never looked more brighter and colorful, with trillions of colors from Dolby’s state of the art projector, along with the sound field from the soundtrack moving all around the auditorium, including from the ceiling which adds so much more depth and realism.

Also, your own reserved luxury chair is also part of the Dolby Cinema experience and is sort of part of the ride.  For the most part, the plush recliner allows you to relax with the option of sitting upright or laying part way or all the way back.  During other times when the action gets going, I would recommend holding on to your high powered pulsating recliner seats…and to get ready to rumble!!!  Think of it as like “the force”.

Not since Star Wars, which Dolby brought to life through sound processing, opening new senses of sound, have I experienced a cinematic breakthrough like this.   Whether it’s “La La Land”, “Wonder Woman”, “Baby Driver” or “Dunkirk”, Dolby Cinema has set the new standard for the ultimate movie going experience.

I still wonder how the AMC Theaters manage to soundproof the theater so that the rest of the regular house theaters outside don’t hear the high decibels coming from the Dolby Cinema theater.  The design of the auditorium is also state of the art.

Nowadays, with the trend of other competing movie theaters offering premium format options for just a few dollars more than your regular movie ticket price, you get upgraded features (larger screens and better sound), along with more comfortable seats.  They are clearly more superior to their “regular” theaters, but they are no match when compared to the state of the art, Dolby Cinema.

After you experience Dolby Cinema, you will be moved in more ways than one…and there is no going back…at least not in this galaxy.

 

 

Currently, there are 75 Dolby Cinemas located throughout the U.S. and 105 globally.  There are more than 325 Dolby Cinema sites installed or committed to across the globe.

Here is a listing of titles that have been pre-selected as Dolby Cinema titles:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Dunkirk, July 21, 2017
Focus Features, Atomic Blonde, July 28, 2017
Columbia Pictures/MRC, The Dark Tower, August 4, 2017
New Line Cinema, Annabelle: Creation, August 11, 2017
Warner Bros. Pictures, Happy Family, August 24, 2017 (Germany)
New Line Cinema, IT, September 8, 2017
Warner Bros. Pictures/Village Roadshow Pictures/LEGO System A/S, The LEGO® NINJAGO Movie, September 22, 2017
Twentieth Century Fox, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, September 22, 2017
Columbia Pictures, Flatliners, September 29, 2017
Columbia Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures/Alcon Entertainment, Blade Runner 2049, October 6, 2017
Columbia Pictures, Granite Mountain Hotshots, October 20, 2017
Warner Bros. Pictures, Justice League, November 17, 2017
Focus Features, Darkest Hour, November 22, 2017
Columbia Pictures, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, December 20, 2017
Warner Bros. Pictures, Horse Soldiers, January 19, 2018

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INTERSOLAR AND EES NORTH AMERICA SEE STRONG OPENING IN SAN FRANCISCO

Ravi Manghani, Director of Energy, Storage/GTM Research, addresses the crowd at Intersolar at Moscone West. Photo by Marcus Siu

SAN FRANCISCO, JULY 12, 2017 – Intersolar and ees North America, the solar and energy storage industries’ premier events dedicated to the North American market, today welcomed speakers, visitors and exhibitors to its tenth year in San Francisco. Over the course of the next three days, approximately 18,000 visitors from across the world will see the latest solar and energy storage innovations from more than 500 companies during the Intersolar and ees North America exhibitions. The co-located conferences, which began Monday, will feature in-depth commentary from more than 220 speakers, and provide expert insights into the challenges and opportunities facing the solar and storage industries.

With over 2 GW of new solar capacity installed in the first quarter of 2017 alone, the U.S. solar industry is continuing its record of strong growth. GTM Research forecasts an impressive 12.6 GW of new PV to be built by the end of the year. In front of a packed house of solar industry professionals, policymakers, and financiers, the speakers at this year’s keynote session detailed how to maintain this growth, and the importance of storage in bringing more renewable energy online.

Building on the energy in the room, Martin Keller, director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), discussed the importance of continued innovation in the solar sector. “We can grow the amount of solar currently online by linking new materials with new manufacturing technologies. We can get to 80 percent renewables in the US and we can continue to drive innovation.”

“The thing about our energy grid is that it is not only energy inefficient but it is financially inefficient,” said 2017 Champion of Change honoree Richard L. Kauffman. “There are ample opportunities for utilities to earn shared savings from improving efficiency, and solar and storage can help utilities realize its promise.”

San Francisco, CA – July 10 , 2017: Intersolar North America 2017. © Solar Promotion International GmbH

Throughout each keynote, speakers not only reflected on the advancements of the solar and energy storage industries over the past year, but also highlighted the tremendous amount of work yet to be done to fuel a clean energy future for all. In speaking of the recent wins for the solar industry in California, Bernadette del Chiaro, the executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA), described the strides the industry has made since the first Intersolar North America.

“It’s pretty amazing if you think about how much the solar industry has grown and changed in California over the past 10 years,” del Chiaro said. “Now, energy storage is basically at the same point as solar was 10 years ago, with a couple of initiatives to make energy as affordable and accessible for the emergence of PV market.”

Declining technology costs are one of the factors driving the market’s growth—with a 75 percent reduction in cost in the past decade, more price reductions are expected. The innovation and dedication that have reduced costs throughout the solar and energy storage industries are now shaping the way that policy makers consider energy efficiency programs and sustainability roadmaps for our American future.

Bernadette Del Chiaro, Executive Director of CALSEIA at the press conference at Moscone West. Photo by Marcus Siu.

“Each year, Intersolar and ees North America showcase the emerging technologies and latest trends impacting the growth of the solar and energy storage industries,” said Florian Wessendorf, and Daniel Strowitzki, Managing Directors of Intersolar North America, in a joint statement. “2017 is no exception, with a new solar finance conference track and an expanded energy storage exhibition hall giving attendees the inside scoop on these popular and rapidly evolving sectors. We know that the conversations that happen in our conference sessions and on the exhibition floor form the backbone of solar policy and technology development across the United States.”

“Intersolar is the place to be,” said Elena Lucas, keynote speaker, co-founder and director at UtilityAPI. “This is where you can network and meet the people who have the ideas to reduce soft costs of solar, customer acquisition costs.”

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AWE 2017 AUGMENTED WORLD EXPO – SUPERPOWERS TO CHANGE THE WORLD

Article and photos by Marcus Siu

Founder and Executive Producer, Ori Inbar at AWE2017. Photo by Marcus Siu.

SANTA CLARA, JUNE 2, 2017 – When the first Augmented World Expo happened in 2010, founder and CEO of AWE, Ori Inbar predicted that in ten years ”everyone will be using AR with experience reality in a more meaningful way”. Ten years would make it the year, 2020.

As we get closer to 2020 and look at how far AWE has gone as the 8th annual AWE comes to an end yesterday, we may have to call Inbar a visionary. He called the shot, and with another two years left, he may be right. Even Digi-Capital just published an article stating that mobile AR will top a billion users and be a $60 billion dollar industry by 2021, so there is conclusive evidence that others will agree with him.

AWE is the largest AR+VR conference and expo in the world and currently has 10,000 attendees. In addition to conferences in the U.S., they also make their presence in Asia and Europe. This year, they have utilized much more space compared to previous years, filling up the 100,000 square feet expo floor at the Santa Clara Convention Center. In addition, as well as seeing the attendance numbers drastically increasing exponentially, AWE will be promoting their conferences in even more countries around the world.

For this years’ show, there were 5000 professionals from startups, corporations and investors. It was a truly international affair, as many professionals came from everywhere around the globe. There were also over 300 speakers, and well over 200 exhibitors.

Mixed Reality and 3D experiences from Microsoft at the AWE Playground. Photo by Marcus Siu.

Part of that is due to the fact that many Fortune 500 companies realized that AR+VR is the latest platform of tomorrow. Many major mainstream companies include Walmart, Lowe’s, NASA, Shazam, Technicolor, Audi and Bosch, in which many are making their very first appearance at AWE.

Many of the high profile technology companies are also making their mark in a flashier way, such as Microsoft and Google, as well as the usual AR & VR startup companies, such as ODG, DAQRI, Kopin, Meta and Wikitude. Inbar points out that the media is focusing more on the Fortune 1000 companies becoming the fastest sector of this technology, but that they should really focus on the upstarts that are going to make a mark on the industry.

ODG continues to dazzle the AWE attendees with its demos for the R-8 and R-9 smart glasses. Photo by Marcus Siu.

Meta’s demo had the longest lines on the floor and ultimately took an Auggie Award for Best in Show AR. Photo by Marcus Siu.

The AWE Playground was a nice new addition this year. It featured many immersive and interactive demos. Though I didn’t have time to visit each demo, I did get a chance to try out a few, including PuttView’s AR Golf Practice, Epson + DJI + Edgybees new drone based AR gaming platform, and a group VR experience with Globacore’s Free Roam VR “The Yolodeck” which I absolutely loved. I was also impressed with Quantum Capture’s Virtual Humans who can 3D scan a real person, such as Ori Inbar or Guillermo Del Toro, and make him as real as can be in the VR world.

Globacore’s Free Roam VR “The Yolodeck” at the VR Playground. Photo by Marcus Siu.

Ori Inbar at the Auggie Awards at AWE2017. Photo by Marcus Siu.

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NVIDIA’S GPU 2017: A.I. – ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS HERE AND THE ROBOTS ARE MAKING GOALS…

CEO Jensen Huang of Nvidia addresses the crowd at the GPU2017 conference at the San Jose Convention Center. Photo by Marcus Siu.

Article and photos by Marcus Siu

SAN JOSE, MAY 10, 2017 – The grandiose trailer starts off with a female voice narrator as she introduces herself as a “visionary”, “healer”, “protector”, “helper”, “navigator”, creator”, “teacher”, “learner” and even the composer of the powerful orchestral soundtrack. She is “A.I.”.

From the intro, the crowd knew from the very beginning that CEO and founder Jensen Huang’s keynote at NVIDIA’s GPU 2017 conference was not only going to be very special, but groundbreaking and mind bending with a glimpse of the not to distant future of Artificial Intelligence.

A.I. was the dominating theme this year at the conference. There were 600 talks in which 300 of them were about Artificial Intelligence.

This year, the rise of GPU computing is reflected by the number of GTC attendees. It’s attendance has increased threefold in the last five years, to 7,000 attendees. There was an 11X increase in GPU developers over the same time to more than 500,000 today, and downloads of NVIDIA’s CUDA drivers and SDK’s exceeded one million a year ago. This year, Nvidia has taken GTC globally. All the top 15 technology companies are here, as well as the top 10 car companies.

Huang started off his keynote showing the charts of Moore’s Law over the last 30 years, citing that advanced micro processing, with the assistance of Dennard’s law of scaling, utilizing more transistors with a reduced voltage, allowed microprocessor performance by a million times. But now both are at the end of the roads, as once 50% per year in increased performance is now just 10% per year, which is why they created a domain specific accelerator that complements the CPU, as well as creating CUDA, which many believe is Moore’s Law Squared; a speedup over the natural processor performance.

CEO Jensen Huang of Nvidia shows the virtual showroom for the latest hybrid car with four avatar onlookers gazing at the detail. Photo by Marcus Siu.

The first demo featured Project Holodeck; a photorealistic VR, combining a shared experience for four avatars from around the world, featuring Huang’s “hyper-car-making friend” Christian from Sweden. Christian was showcasing the new company 1.9-million-dollar hybrid car that he just designed, made of carbon fiber with three electric motors, direct drive and no gears with a combustion engine that has 1,200 horsepower, 680 horsepower of electric drive… and that can run from 0 to 250 in 20 seconds. Huang asked Christian to go into the interior of the car and grab the steering wheel. When he obliged, instead of his hands going right through it like we are so accustomed in today’s VR world, Christian’s hands settled right on top of it, obeying the laws of physics.

All the inventory parts are shown in mid air as CEO Jensen Huang of Nvidia looks on. Photo by Marcus Siu.

When Huang asks to see all the parts of the car, we see them each in every piece scattered in mid-air with thousands of parts floating and then reassembling itself back to its original form.

In the era of machine learning, GPU computing has entered a new era where machine learning has come about; Amazon’s “if you like this, you’ll like this” is an example of machine learning. Software writes software and algorithms write algorithms; thanks to deep learning, powerful GPU’s, with the tremendous amounts of data being generated. Unsupervised learning fills the missing parts of the data where computers automate programs.

A demo compared a pair of simulated Mercedes SLK350’s and a landscape with trees and clouds, one which used deep learning for Ray Tracing and one that didn’t. It was night and day and the Ray Tracing just takes seconds for the encoders to render.

Without Deep Learning shows how much noise there is compared to Deep Learning. Photo by Marcus Siu.

Nvidia’s Research Group has deeply committed itself with A.I. There are 1,300 Deep Learning startups that gets advice and technology and Marketing help from Nvidia, and sometimes even funding. Later in the afternoon on the day of the keynote, $1.5 million was handed out to six companies at the Inception Awards. Even at Huang’s alma mater, Stanford University, the most popular course is not Home Economics, but “Intro to Machine Learning”, which is taken from all majors across campus.

Co founders Jensen Huang and Chris Malachowsky congratulates recipients at The Inception Awards in San Jose, California. Photo by Marcus Siu

Nvidia’s biggest news was the announcement of their next level of computer projects, which turned out to cost about $3 billion R&D project, called the Tesla Volta V100. This new architecture was built from the ground up for deep learning, both for training and inferencing.

The company surpassed Microsoft’s ResNet, Baidu’s Deep Speech 2, and even Google’s NMT. It’s made on TSMC’s 12nm FFN, has 5,120 CUDA cores and 120 TeraFLOPs and Tensor Core processors.

Though it’s mainly for A.I., it does unbelievable graphics as shown on the Japanese sci-fi fantasy, “Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV” by Square Enix, which was featured as a demo during the keynote. Photographic style transfer also uses deep learning, with deep learning from one style and applying it to another in a matter of seconds.

Huang announced that you’ll be able to find Volta in just about everywhere; in the cloud, data center with a Volta the DGX-1 supercomputer, and in a personal DGX station.

CEO Jensen Huang introduces The Volta. Photo by Marcus Siu

A.I. will soon be revolutionizing transportation. Huang points out that we need to find a way automate so we can keep up with the “Amazon Effect”.

“Everything that moves someday will be augmented by autonomy. We’re enjoying the Amazon Effect. As we buy things, don’t forget we used to go to the store to pick up things but now we expect things to come to us. The number of truck drivers, transportation professionals can’t possibly keep up…”.

“Our environment would be better without parked cars… There are 800 million parking spots in America for only 250 million cars. That’s why we’ve created NVIDIA Drive, a full stack that will deliver full autonomy for cars.”

We now have more than 200 developers using DRIVE PX. This is a 50 percent increase in the past quarter alone. NVIDIA Drive can be used for mapping, as a co-pilot and as your guardian angel, so even when the car isn’t driving you, it should be watching out for you. For mapping and driving, a video that shows how a car makes an HD map and localizes itself within it. This shows how a car scans, detects road features, constructs an HD road map and then locates itself. Huang shows on a video how, even though the test pilot is behind the steering wheel, it cuts to the guardian angel, which tells driver not to proceed because there’s a car coming across the intersecting road running through a red light.

In addition to autonomous cars, Huang mentioned that some of their partners are working on autonomous planes and ships.

Nvidia’s announced Toyota, one of the largest companies in the world, has selected them for its self-driving vehicles. The two engineering teams are working to create their fully autonomous car and put it on the road in the next few years. Toyota chose Nvidia’s Drive PX platform for their self driving cars.

CEO Jensen Huang of Nvidia announces a new partnership with Toyota, who selects Nvidia’s Drive PX for their autonomous cars. Photo by Marcus Siu

In addition, Xavier DLA, which is the module that goes inside the Drive PX will be open sourced, making Nvidia’s best technology available for everyone. “Our goal is proliferation,” Huang stated.

Huang also discussed robots.

“The robot is the ultimate version of artificial intelligence. It’s going to revolutionize a whole slew of new industries from manufacturing to health care. We know that robotic surgery is able to perform surgeries that we simply can’t imagine. In the future, we’re going to have cybernetics. We’re going to have robots that are connected to parts of our body. We’re going to have tiny robots that’s going to take care of various tasks.”

“Robots, unfortunately, are incredibly hard to do… It has to sense the world… it has to learn from it and and plan and take action, but it has to interact with the world. With a self driving car, a specific objective is collision avoidance. In a case of robot collision detection is essential – your goal is to connect, your goal is to collide…how you collide is very difficult to do…”.

The first robot demo showed, Ada, the robot, at the Berkeley A.I. Laboratory who learned how to play hockey. The robot was trained to shoot an orange plastic puck into a small net repeatedly using reinforcement learning. It is learning in the real world.

“Hockey is not too bad… what if we wanted a robot to do open a door, lift a car, or cooperate with a doctor to do surgery?” “There is no way we can have it learn this way repeatedly in the physical world.”

That is why an alternate universe has to obey the law of physics if you choose, be visually photo realistic that looks like the world, and has to have the ability to learn inside this alternative universe. The one gap with the real world is it needs to operate…and we would need it train it at warp speed – it needs to move faster.

Project Issac was created in a virtual environment as a robot simulator for this reason. It’s named after two Isaacs – named for physics pioneer Isaac Newton and Isaac Asimov, the science-fiction author. Isaac has the input of environmental robots, you can put virtual sensors, actuators, effectors of the robot and it’s connected to the OpenAI Gym.

“If you’re going to train robots using A.I., they’re going to have to do a lot of work to do their tasks. Robots can learn effectively in this virtual environment and you can take what they’ve learned… and you can take this robot and put it in the real world.” With Project Isaac, the first alternate reality virtual robot simulator. makes it possible for robots to learn inside this virtual world and will hopefully bring the future of artificial intelligence and robotics to the real world.”

The Isaac Robot simulator where the virtual robots learn before being put into the physical world. Photo by Marcus Siu.

Whether it’s Ada shooting shooting hockey pucks into a net or Isaac getting a sixty foot putt on a golf course. For Nvidia’s latest architecture, it’s a score!!!

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