Soukie's Place

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Amadeus movie poster

Can I see the film that won all the awards, please?

I believe there exists an ideal length for a given book, song or movie. That does not mean that the same theme cannot be recreated in a more minimalist or expansive way but then it is a different work. Take Annie Hall as an example of a film which feels just right at an hour and a half.

Successful authors often produce more complex and expansive works as their skills grow. But the success can also inflate the egos, and then the length grows as any output seems suddenly worthy of preservation. The results are Metallica’s St. Anger full of endless yet uninspired songs, the Harry Potter series which even some fans admit does not need to be 40% longerWhen I saw the Order of the Phoenix in a bookstore I thought it was a ‘cumulative’ edition. When I realized the mistake, I decided to wait until Rowling edits the heptalogy to be shorter than War and Peace. than the Bible, and extended versions of movies. The popular culture, and especially Hollywood, is influenced by the dogma that bigger is better.

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‘Secure Internet’ a Naïve Oxymoron

The Internet is used by billions of people daily, for everything from instant messaging to on-line banking. Millions of dollars are transferred everyday so you would expect high security for these kinds of transactions. On-line banking sites and stores abound with images of locks and words like “Secure & Safe”. But to the surprise of many, the Internet is very insecure.

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Journal Is a Silver Bullet

A woman writing in a journal

A journal is an intimate and useful companion

Keeping a journal has different connotations for different people. It could be old-fashioned and noble for one, practical and analytical for another, or stupid and pretentious for the next person. I used to be that next person.

What good is there in recapping the events of the day, laboriously putting down the details of all that transpired? I think the answer to this remains “not much.” But that is also not the best way of doing it. If you only wanted a record of what happened, a miniature camera could do a better job.

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The Eye and HDR Photography

Photo of hills at a lake

Gallery of images with high dynamic range

Sight is easily the most important sense we have, and not quite easily fooled with imitations. Although ‘3D’ seems to be all the rage nowadaysWas this article first published when intended I could not have this reference. But I am going to leave James Cameron’s new landmark film alone, and get a closer look at HDR photography with examples taken by Steven Richards — happy birthday, man!, even if we turn a blind eye to the stereoscopic nature of vision, the other eye still packs enough powers to put TVs and pictures to shame.

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Hello HTML5, Goodbye Flash

The history of the World Wide Web is very recent, so the web standards are changing. Unfortunately, the changes do not happen as fast as might be expected from such a new medium.

Before discussing html 5, it will be useful to clarify the terminology. Give me one minute, and I promise the sentence “html is a language for writing www pages that are transferred using http over the Internet” will make sense if it has not. The middle section will tell you an interesting tidbit or two about the less-known areas of the Internet in as much time, and the last section will finally explain why html 5 is a good thing.

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A Walk Through the Changes

Soukie’s Place turned one year old on September the 17th. But as Harrison Ford beautifully ad-libbed in Raiders of the Lost Ark: “It’s not the years … it’s the mileage.” Join me for a brief look at what has changed, and a lamentation on the decline of media. Continues » 

Art on iPhone

Painting of a dancer

Gallery of iPhone ‘art’ apps

Smartphones opened limitless possibilities of throwing your free time out of the window. These range from push-y ‘sync’ of your business email, to games with names evocative of hours of sophisticated fun, such as iPeePeeNo, I am not making this up.. But are there more creative uses too?

As the title indicates, the answer is yes. Join me for a look at some interesting artistic tools available for the iPhone. (Of course, you can find similar applications for other platforms too.) Continues » 

Cultural Differences

Starting an article with a disclaimer is bound to discourage the readers but I want to avoid it being misinterpreted. (Which might happen anyway.) My opinions are, of course, subjective, the observations cannot be applied in general, and a light-hearted (rather than a sociologically-scientific) frame of mind is recommended.

I am going to discuss the cultures I know: Czech and American. Now here is the first problem: While you can pretend that the 10 million Czechs living in the area of roughly the size of South Carolina share a common culture, with the 300 million Americans of different ethnicities and origins living across an area 40 times larger than the whole United Kingdom, there is not much to define one culture apart from the language and TV programs. Continues » 

Typography and CSS

Detail of this page

Examples of css

One would assume that computers advance every human endeavor. Consider the art of typography and layout: Computers and internet have changed these completely. But in many ways, not for the better. In the hands of a professional, the results of using quality digitized fonts and desktop publishing can be excellent. But large quantities of text that surround us (e-mail, web pages, flyers, restaurant menus) are less fortunate. Continues » 

O Canada!

Canadian flag with a Czech passport

When commenting on the new visa requirement for Czech citizens, Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said: “It’s not a pleasant thing to do, but it’s absolutely necessary to protect the integrity of our immigration system and our laws.”

Kenney’s comment was related to some 3,000 asylum claims filed by Roma minority members from the Czech Republic which lead Canada to introduce the visa restriction effective of July 14, 2009. I will go on to argue that the Canadian immigration system is broken, and therefore should not be “protected,” as Mr Kenney claims, but changed. Continues »