Stands for Big Missing Picture

Didn't realize that .bmp files, which most websites seem to use for their photos, don't show up in the Mac version of IE. I think I realized this once before, when browsing my own website from my Mac, but I always forget. Must be because sites don't want their pictures easily copied and used on other sites, but it's kind of a pain. When I save pictures on my Windows PC, many are in BMP format. If I don't bother converting them into JPGs then Mac browsers just see a bunch of empty spaces on my site.

Downloadable surround sound

This is pretty cool. You can download a Dolby Digital or DTS file to your computer, burn it to a CD-R as an audio CD, and play it in surround sound on your home theater. Of course, you need a surround sound set-up in your home. II'll give it a try tonight.

Ah! There it is!

Who says electronic equipment doesn't need breaking in. After a week of usage and endless tinkering, and after I finally got my DVD player back from the shop with the upgrade to a progressive scan processor, the picture on my new TV is now finally officially gorgeous. It's a combination of things--feeding it a pristing progressive 480p signal from my Proceed's new PVP card, and the sharp, bright picture from the TV's three 7" CRTs. No more scan lines, bold and beautiful colors with neutral skin tones, a smooth and soft film-like picture as opposed to the harsh video-like picture of most televisions.
What's more, my DVD player can take any video signal from my receiver and de-interlace it before feeding it to my TV as 480p. The TV has the ability to de-interlace as well, but my DVD player does a much better job of doing so. I could sit here and watch movies on it all day (which is pretty much what I've been doing most evenings this weekend).
Any day now I should get my receiver back with its upgraded DSP circuitry and support for higher resolution audio. Can't wait. It may be enough to warrant purchasing an SACD player. Some people buy a house and then decide what room they might use to put a home theater. If/when I start house-hunting, I'll be the first person to look for a house that will fit around my home theater, because the next major upgrade to my home theater is a perfectly symmetrical rectangular room with harder floors and walls with particular reflective qualities.
Yes, I know, I shouldn't derive so much pleasure from material goods, but the quest for audio/video perfection is no different for me than a runner's quest for the perfect race, or a photographer's yearning for that perfect shot. You're never done, and you're having fun the whole way through.
It's time to revive movie night. I have a schedule in mind already. And a format, adopted from Flicks at Stanford. Every movie night begins with a short, and then the main feature. And relevant food, if possible.

Chinese editing style

Watching What Time is it There, the most recent movie by Tsai Ming Liang, and got to wondering why it is that so many directors from the Taiwan New Wave use such long takes without cutting while the Average American film can't go more than a few seconds without jumping to a new shot; it can't just be the influence of MTV and the fact that so many American directors got their start directing commercials...or can it? Maybe the American movie industry got its hands on so many toys and big budgets early on and fell in love with them and their endless possibilities, or maybe the Chinese camera eye is simply more patient, less intrusive; this might be seen as a very Chinese New Wave type of blog, with long, uninterrupted sentences, continuous flowing thoughts.
Tsai Ming Liang films also don't really have much action or even a soundtrack, which, along with the motionless camera shots, give the viewer a sense of quiet.

Shimano XTR 2003

MTB fans everywhere await the new Shimano XTR components with bated breath. This will be the third generation of these legendary top-of-the-line MTB component set.
Two things catch my eye. The new disc brakes weigh only 557 grams in front. That's not much more than the XTR V-brakes at 484 grams. The new XTR disc brakes are reputed to be the best disc brakes on the market, with significantly more stopping power. This probably is the end of linear pull on MTB bikes. I'll need to upgrade!
Also, the shifters have taken a page from the road bike world and reduced shifting down to one lever. To move from one chainring to the other, you flick the brake lever up or down. Same for the rear derailleur. It's a pretty radical shift (pun intended) and will surely draw a lot of polarized opinion.
Other than that, there are the requisite weight savings almost across the board. Can't wait to test some of this stuff out.