brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell

22Apr/05Off

Nikon respond to RAW WB concerns: Digital Photography Review

There is a bit of a tizzy going around some of the blogs I frequent about the Nikon D2X. You see, Nikon has decided to encrypt some of the information in their NEF or "raw" format, so that you need to use their utilities or their SDK to get appropriate color correction of pictures from their applications. This shouldn't be a really big deal, because apparently they did a really poor job, and a couple of people have already reverse engineered the encryption. But there is a small problem: it's possible for Nikon to sue people who circumvent such a measure under the DMCA. It might not actually be a DMCA violation: after all, for it to be a violation of the DMCA there has to be some copyright of the underlying data, and it is hard to imagine that the white balance data is copyrightable. It's also pretty clear that the encryption of this white balance data doesn't actually serve any copy protection. This recalls some of the findings in the recent Lexmark cases, and should be struck down on a similar finding.

But they could definitely make life miserable for software developers in the mean time. They may not win, but they really don't have to prevail in court. They can just write checks until they do.

What is truly mystifying is why Nikon chooses to limit the functionality of their hardware. Why they choose to screw their customers. Why they choose to slow the adoption of their equipment. Nothing about this policy serves their customers in the slightest degree. Presumably they think they can make some money by licensing their SDK to developers. Hey, here's an idea: stay out of the software business, except to the extent that it allows you to make better cameras. Then, sell more cameras.

Dpreview.com (an excellent website by the way, highly recommended before any camera purchase) has an article which reproduces Nikon's response to this controversy.

Nikon respond to RAW WB concerns: Digital Photography Review

Through use of the Nikon Software Developer Kit, authorized developers can produce software by applying creative concepts to their implementation and adding capabilities to open Nikon's NEF file and use NEF's embedded Instructions and Nikon's Libraries. Nikon photographers reap benefits from independent developers' approaches, because it allows the photographer to open and process their NEF images.

So, tell me Nikon: how are your customers well served by denying motivated developers from developing software for your cameras? Just what does a developer need to do to become "authorized"? Do they need to demonstrate some really cool application? Insight into digital imaging? I suspect not. I suspect that the way they become authorized is by signing a licensing agreement and a check.

I'm a software developer, and I'm a consumer of digital products including cameras. The two are not disjoint things: I'm capable of operating in both spheres and I like products (indeed, seek out products) which enable me to operate in both spheres. Your design decisions make it very easy for me to select my next digital camera: hello Canon.

Nikon's press release ends with the incredibly condescending line:

Nikon continues to welcome dialogue with bona fide software developers.

Kiss my ass Nikon. I don't need your bone fides to develop software.

Canon: are you listening? Don't follow them down this path.

22Apr/05Off

Recipes and Encouragement

While I was on Julian's website, I noticed that he still hadn't mastered the fine art of meat loaf. I thought that he should check out Good Eats Meat Loaf for inspiration.

It's not a perfect recipe, but it's not bad. They use a mixture of ground chuck and ground sirloin to get the right amount of fat, and some crusty garlic croutons to balance it out. Getting precisely the right mix of bread to meat is essential to avoid making a doorstop. I like the spice mix generally, but you should consider using red onions (I like meat loaf mostly on the second day, in sandwhiches with slices of red onion on it, yum!). It never hurts to put strips of bacon on top either.

Curse my Weight Watchers diet.

Oh well, another thing to try is to use an even greater variety of meats. I like a 1/3 split of ground chuck, ground pork and ground veal for meatballs, although I'm mostly opposed to using veal, I sometimes succumb to it for dishes like this. I'm in good company, Emeril's Kicked Up Meat Loaf uses a similar meat mix.

Oh, and Julian, if you are listening to this, I liked the Chopin, keep up the recordings!

22Apr/05Off

Stadiums ala Google Maps…

Tom Duff generated a nice list of MLB ballparks via Google Maps, and I found that Julian made a similar list of hockey stadiums. If the NHL gets their act together and hockey is ever played again, this list might come in useful.

Filed under: Link of the Day 1 Comment
22Apr/05Off

Experimental Balloon Building

Another cool but relatively useless link from the Make Blog, a site entirely dedicated to Experimental Balloon Building. Become a modern day Montgolfier!

22Apr/05Off

Robot Dreams

Lem Fugitt has a nice robotics blog, and found my pictures of Robogames 2005. He nicely linked from his blog, so I thought I'd return the favor while tooting my own horn. His blog is cool too, wander around.

Robot Dreams