What are you up to for the next month? Just hanging out? Playing Carnival Games on the Wii? Well, better make it count, buddy.

A U.S. spy satellite has lost power and will be plunging to earth sometime at the end of February through March. Even more awesome: It could contain hazardous materials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down! So it could be on top of your damn head! It weighs 20,000 pounds and is the size of a small bus, so ouch, right?

We heard it from a guy who heard it from another guy who basically speculated from comments made by two other guys that, surprise surprise, NBC and iTunes are on the road to reconciliation. Ok, so it isn’t really a surprise– the odds are really good that as long as there is NBC and iTunes, they’ll eventually end up together. There’s been some posturing in their past, but really, both have way more to gain together than apart.


You say you didn’t pre-order a MacBook Air? No problem! The Boy Genius Report says that Apple Stores already have them in the stock rooms (cleverly disguised as stacks of interoffice mail, no doubt), and they will be going on sale this Wednesday. The Apple Geniuses just need to get their bearings with the new laptops and all should be set.

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Last night, an anonymous tipster pointed to this Austin Heap webpage that purportedly reveals the iPhone’s secret Application SDK key. Another tipster, also anonymous, then pointed to iPhone “Elite” developer Zibri’s blog, that shows the same key. So what does this mean? Since all iPhone applications must be properly signed for iTunes to process them and for the iPhone to load them, this key suggests that hackers are closer to creating compliant IPA application bundles for home-brew iTunes distribution. With the proper key, developers can create and distribute applications that load through iTunes without Apple’s blessing.

 

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The LEGO brick turns 50 at exactly 1:58 p.m. today, January 28, 2008 and Gizmodo has made a handy timeline of the milestones leading up to this day for all to see. It’s quite interesting and you should look at it.

Ya know, there are 62 lego bricks for every person on the planet. That’s awesome beyond awesome. Now this doesn’t account for those that have been eaten by dogs, little brothers, or vacuum cleaners, but still, pretty awe-inspiring.

(Source: vfxhack.com) Here’s a dirty little secret of CGI. VFX artists and supes depend on a limited bag of tricks to pull off even the most complex of shots. In fact these techniques are used so much you don’t have to look very to find them in nearly every TV show, feature film, commercial, youTube video or school fund-raiser slides show with eye-shot. If it makes you feel any better, you can call these war-horses an homage but thing about clichés is, that that they work. Heck even I am far from beyond the judicious use of these VFX canards. So at the risk of getting my membership at the Magic Castle of Visual Effects revoked for revealing secrets to all you muggles out there, I present to you some of most overused techniques in the biz.

(Source: Variety.com)         As the Screen Actors Guild readies its first-ever awards to stuntpersons, some have found irony in recognizing a community at the exact moment when CGI advances seem destined to render that community irrelevant — or at best secondary — to creating thrilling action on film.

If you express such views to stunt performers, get ready to be brained by a (breakaway) chair and hoisted up on wires in front of a bluescreen. They’ll tell you nothing could be further from the truth. According to Jane Austin, president of the Stuntwomen’s Assn., “CGI has opened up a ton of work for us. We have more work than ever, and we’re able to do bigger and better things.” Stuntmen’s Assn. topliner Steve Kelso concurs. “It’s made our industry so much safer, and made for better movies.”

How do you make a 30-foot robot/semi-truck appear lifelike? What about a creature with tentacles for a face? Those were some of the challenges for the visual-effects teams at San Francisco-based Industrial Light & Magic. CNET News.com’s Kara Tsuboi talks with the designers behind Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End about some of the hurdles involved in creating special effects for an increasingly sophisticated moviegoing public.

Video Interview: www.news.com

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