* Posts by kokoro

10 posts • joined 31 Aug 2011

Why are all the visual special effects studios going bust?

kokoro

Re: Only some are going bust...

It is a two-faced business. While western studios crash or complain about being able to profit, they simultaneously will offshore as much as they can destroying local talent and industries. Where this thing, the Guangdong Animation Village (http://www.tqglobal.com/?p=506) gets off the ground, it for example will be a city itself of 55,000 people outside of the mega city of Guangzhao. So there is a tonne of talent in countries like China and India and perhaps going are the days where it was one legal license of Maya for 150 operators sleeping in dorms.

Thing is cities like Sydney love running festivals like Vivid and other design related events and claiming rightfully so to be globally creative. At the same time the government removes all subsidies so the games industry, if you can still call it that, is now almost on life support and local firms offshore as much as they can. If the industry was smart it would stop trying to undercut and destroy itself and each other and form a cartel like tradies, lawyers and doctors have done to hold up prices against greedy corporates.

At the same time colleges compete to churn out vocational 3 year degrees at $60k a pop that often barely leave enough skill to get a foot in the door except for the naturals who number about 1 in 12. I focus hard on cultivating the left and right brains of my students. They have to be uber-geek of Reg standards who are prepared to eat sleep and breathe it and be highly skilled at very complex and constantly evolving tools, while at the same time being creative and not losing that under a lot of ego and financial pressure. They also these days need to be diversified and cross-disciplinary and may work in design, broadcast, prototyping, arch vis, interactive etc. That's the glam biz of the vfx industry.

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kokoro

Just to note that all the hardware is out there and easy to acquire at the consumer level compared to when I started out in the vfx industry in 1996 and it was $80k for an SGI and Alias. Things shifted to Windows and pretty soon the small handful of training facilities became every uni and college and lots of bright eyed 20 somethings, usually pfys who want a cool looking career. Thus, as the hardware became cheaper, so too increased the volume of graduates who will undercut themselves and each other to death to stay contracted. Thing is, as Simon pointed out, being really good at this stuff is bloody hard work, never gets any easier or more secure but there are still enough desperate operators and new grads out there to make it an employer's market.

What wasn't raised at all in the article is offshoring. Often this is a total mess and makes for disaster, but like everything in 21c neoliberal capitalism, price rules as does trashy content and tonnes of it and the lower the price, the better delusion you're getting ahead as a studio. so there are increasingly less roles in most wealthier countries because part of staying competitive means packing as much off to India, China, Eastern Europe etc as you can. Further, local companies undercut each other to get gigs and my experience has been that daily freelance rates shrank 1996-2003 and have either dropped further if you are junior or stayed about the same for seniors. Recent funny moment... Animal Logic educator's night here in Sydney. Bunch of school careers advisers are genuinely morally shocked to be told full time roles and job security do not exist and did not know where to put themselves, especially after signing all the nda's to even get in the door.

From my perspective, I'd rather teach 3d and vfx and write curriculum and choose bits of freelance to fill remaining holes while watching my college, rather than use its students, contract the website to asia. I basically make the same money, have a third the stress and don't have to deal with total utter job insecurity and the raving eccentricity, intrigue and backstabbing along with the personality disordered egos that are not hard to find in all roles and levels in this game. Everyone dreams of starting their own production company. Many who did years ago have enough experience to stay in business but make the same money and do the same stuff. Marry, start a family?... lol! Most studios collapse and the bigger ones swallow or get swallowed, endlessly because they have to compete to get the gig. Just look at Adobe and venture capitalists beating it out to own The Foundry recently. It could just have easily collapsed and been swallowed by Autodesk. This flows on to the animators who love it so much that they subliminally accept those at the top taking the biggest cuts just to pay the rent.

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OwnCloud: Fiddly but secure host-from-home sync 'n' share

kokoro

Been running OwnCloud for a year on VPS. Really like it a lot, uploading big files is stable and 6 to 7 is a big improvement.

2 criticisms:

+ It is a 100mb upload of umm what exactly and it keeps getting bloatier in a way that gives Joomla a run for its money. Everytime you create a new user there's a mb's of useless bloat sample docs created.

+ You can't easily use it as a faux CDN because it creates special links to files and likes to open a page on a shared link. I wanted to use it to manage a lot of audio files into a website that can load into a flash-based mp3 player and it simply won't play despite a lot of link hacks tried. They need to fix this as stuff like rackspace cdn just works and a link is a link.

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Crucial MX100 256GB SSD: Cut-throat competition in flash land

kokoro

Re: I am amazed.

I'd like to like these drives, but I bought a M500 480gb that took ages to recognise in bios and then windows refused to install to it in a brand new mobile workstation. Sent it back, confirmed faulty, they sent a replacement, same issue and 5 wasted weeks later I'm using a 1tb Samsung evo now and it was fine from the go. Not confident to touch crucial again after this tho obviously a bad batch.

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Winner of Google's most wired Australian town award is...North Sydney?

kokoro

Well, there's way better eating options, healthy competition in food prices and no less dead than the financial end of the cbd after hours. Just don't expect a party on a saturday night as my recent school reunion was a marker of.

But hell, Google were not reviewing my workplace when they were measuring internet bandwidth and connectivity! And dwindling? Didn't Coke just move in to their deformed wedge in recent times?

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Vodafone drops 178k customers in 6 months

kokoro
Thumb Down

yeah, more needed

i recently left vodafone for a few reasons after shifting over from 3...

they just seriously do not seem to have it together yet. eg...

- a prepaid pocket wifi brand new in an area just finished with the 'upgrade' could not do more than 10kb/sec downloads. no knowledge of the issue at customer service and after 5 days of this for overseas visiting clients and still no clue I just took the thing back.

- with my own paid monthly i switched from 3 and they did give me an awesome deal after 6 years 'loyalty' (well stupidity after they forced a manual network upgrade on my blackberry that stopped me being able to manually roam on telstra so i could no longer make stable calls at home).

- once i switched they were still sending me crap in the post around switching offers and are still emailing me this stuff 2 months after i left them. on switching the reception was just the same as 3 so they gave me 2 months half price. then they upped that to another 6 months half price and then later someone told me that only 1 tower was left to update some 15km away from where i live in october so i bailed. their website still suggests a heap of work to be done in my area, but no one seems to be able to give any clear answer on what that may be and every store or phone person says something different.

so switched to virgin which is basically optarse without the price and crap marketing and the experience is so hugely better. vodafone's customer service was actually really really good for me (apart from a $700 final bill error) but they really seem bogged down in their archaic old service and billing systems, network that has improved but has miles and miles to go and seemingly no internal communication or clear idea where things are going. So really, they're all crap but at least i didn't have to switch to the arrogance of telstra. I was told the focus at voda is now on customer retention with delays to network improvements. They need to get a wiggle on

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Dell uncloaks trio of muscular mobile workstations

kokoro
WTF?

yeah lenovo...

agreed, completely over the 1080 high screen meme. developers take note...

those of us who make entertainment/vfx content actually buy high end mobile workstations to make content on them on the go, not just watch it. if that's all we wanted to do, there's plenty of cheap options for much less. doubly crap is that resolution can't even fit all the UI side content in maya or even a full page word doc.

so i'm glad we've got over the shiny screen rubbish phase at the pro level (cept apple of course), now can we have 1920x1280 back please. sticking with my W500 on the move until then.

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Vodafone swaps in new VHA boss, denies sellout rumours

kokoro
Mushroom

Hmmmm if they hadn't absorbed 3 into vodafail and started moves to dump the roaming deal with telstra it might be a different story... not to mention the awful marketing campaigns focusing on people with unaturally wide mouths. i will switch simply because the sites for the supposed new masts in my area are really just the same locations so the same poor reception across several frequencies. Optus is just as crap so alas, hate em anyway, telstra, who have deluded themselves to think it is cause people actually like them, it is going to have to be.

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Telstra's branding plans leaked to El Reg

kokoro
Big Brother

Is there any substance in this massive PR swamp? Nup, so it's business as usual at telstra then and the usual mutual lovein with the local incestuous ad industry.

Last year everyone hated us and we just figured it out so we decided to pretend to offer customer service and now let's thicken the narcissism and myopia by paying millions to tell the public they love us. We believe it, its easier that way. Simpler to love an empty cardboard box really.

Orwell cause its doubleplusgood

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Accenture and Telstra open cloud lab

kokoro
WTF?

and...

...isn't the point of cloud that you can do it anywhere globally? so like what's the point of paying the telstra domination tax for the usual massively overpriced local hosting solutions? i guess as usual they gotta offer something to all the stupid local businesses that are prepared to do business with them.

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