August 2010 Archives

One of my graduate students told me about this film, Children of the Stars, which is about Chinese children with autism. I'd love to see it, but there's no distribution in the USA yet for their DVD:

One of my friends asked me about my experience publishing a DVD with CreateSpace and Amazon.

createspace-logo-csp.gifCreateSpace is a company that allows you to publish your own DVDs, CDs, and books. They were bought out by Amazon and so Amazon can also handle the distribution of your materials. The royalty rates are quite generous, especially comparison to mainstream publishing and distribution companies.

I have two films distributed through them: Bethel: Community and Schizoprehnia in Northern Japan and A Japanese Funeral

I personally think that CreateSpace is a harbinger of the future for publishing independent documentary and ethnographic films. It used to be that you needed a publishing house for DVDs because of the complexity of the production process. But now with Apple's Final Cut Studio, it is easy to author a DVD entirely by yourself and produce a master disc suitable for reproduction.

After the jump, I'll go into the steps that I took to master A Japanese Funeral.

Spending the last month writing has resulted in my carpal tunnel syndrome flaring up again. Now I have it in both wrists. Typing, mousing, and now driving are painful.

I now have braces on both my hands, which truly sucks.

I just ordered a new ergonomic mouse, we'll see if that helps. I may try switching keyboards as well.

The good news is that MacSpeech Dictate which used to be really bad has improved over the last few versions. It now has correction and learning capabilities, which makes it actually usable. I am using with my Sampson Go Mic, which is a huge improvement over the cheap headsets that I've used previously.

I am now using speech recognition for my e-mail correspondence. Unfortunately, Dictate is still not quite fast or accurate enough for writing academic text. But maybe after some more training it will get better or, I will get laryngitis.

Well.... I lamed out and decided to get an iPhone 4 after all.  The iPad is tempting but too expensive and JCR's comments about not using his iPad as much after getting his iPhone4 seemed to resonate with my gut feeling of what I would end up doing with it.   If the iPad had a front-facing video camera for Skype and SD-card support, I'd reconsider but methinks that Steve J. is keeping the video-camera for the iPad 2.0 -- and likely will never get an SD-card or USB jack since Steve likes to keep it proprietary.


I thought seriously about getting an Android-based phone, but in the end lamed out on those too. They don't seem to have any must-have advantages over the iPhone. One thing that would have swayed me is free tethering, but it seems that all of the 'droids that have tethering also have it as an extra option, just like the iPhone. And though you can root them and add a hack to tether, I could also jailbreak and do it on my iPhone if I was that inclined.

So I lamed out and got an iPhone. I drove up to my "nearest" Apple store, which is in West Hartford.  They were clean out of stock (and judging from the inside of the Apple Store, I think Apple is entirely quitting the computer business and selling only iPhones and iPads).

I walked across the mall and went to a Radio Shack. I knew that as the unsexiest store in the Mall, it had the best chance of actually having stock of the iPhone and I was right.

So I'm now the proud (?) owner of an iPhone 4 -- 32 gig.

Thanks everyone for the comments!

My contract for my original iPhone 3G is up and I'm in the market for a new smartphone. I'm currently kind of pissed at Apple because the iOS 4.0 update really crippled my iPhone 3G, rendering it impossibly slow. This is the kind of crud that Microsoft used to pull (Vista, anyone?) and I'm kind of getting sick of the closed environment that iOS represents.

Nonetheless, the iPhone 4 is a huge temptation, as is the couldn't-be-worse-named iPad.  One consideration is that I almost never do voice calls -- maybe 15 minutes a month, tops. So there, the iPad's data-only plan is good. But it's way too large. If I could get the iPad data plan with the iPhone form factor.... (and no, an iPod Touch wouldn't work since it doesn't have mobile data, which I need).

Anyway, so I guess I'm really forced into a smartphone. Any thoughts gentle readers on the Droid X and Evo 4G?  New Haven isn't a Wimax/4g city so the Evo's greatest feature is worthless here.

Found a useful infographic online:






Any and all thoughts welcome.

Jason -- what are you running these days?

I was browsing the web for Japanese funeral sites when I came across this Youtube video made by a foreigner (he sounds British) who went to a Japanese funeral:

It's interesting to compare his experiences with mine in a Japanese Funeral. In particular, he really focuses in on the funeral donation which is a common at Japanese funerals, but rarer in most Western traditions. I didn't include the donation table in my film, which I now regret. Maybe a future cut will include this.

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