Apple

HTC Droid Incredible: First Impressions

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I’ve been meaning to post updates on this handy device, but have been unusually busy getting up to speed at a new job. More on that another time.

The Breakdown

  • Performance – With a 1 ghz Snapdragon CPU and 288 MB RAM, response time is quite snappy. Verizon’s 3G network is reasonably reliable, averaging 1 mbps downloads when tested at home.
  • Camera – Since I upgraded from a humble Blackberry Pearl, have taken many more snapshots using the excellent 8 megapixel camera on the Incredible. It’s easy to use and the flash works well, though have read reports that IPhone camera is still better…so what.
  • Usability – Android interface is really well-designed. Took me less than a day to feel comfortable. Having five screens allows you to set up lots of apps for quick navigation.
  • Form factor – Very light and easy to hold. Occasionally gets a little warm stuck in my pocket, a reboot helps.
  • Video and sound – Very bright and large 3.2 inch display easy on the eyes. But sometimes hard to view in direct sunlight. Sound quality beat out my Ipod Touch, Blackberry Pearl and CD Player in testing, it’s become my primary playing device in the car.
  • Apps – Pretty good selection, including techie and music-related apps. Google Sky Maps is an Android-only special, and caused my sister to literally snatch my Droid away to gaze at the night sky!

Gripes

  • Seems like Yahoo Mail isn’t supported through a Wifi connection, which is annoying since I still haven’t made the full leap to GMail.
  • Accessories are still not widely available. Not a lot of protection until custom cases finally hit the market.
  • Android App Market is pretty good, but still playing catch-up to the IPhone App Store. We’re getting there, last quarter Android devices collectively outsold the IPhone globally.
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Assessing cloud computing for digital media shops

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One of my recent IT consulting clients is a digital media shop that operates a local 60-node rendering farm. Based on their available bandwidth, scale, and, most importantly, established workflows and style, this client is not interested in exploring an external cloud solution at this time. Fast and stable access to rendering farm resources from desktop workstations is absolutely critical for their ongoing projects, and the trade-offs involved with a cloud provider are not favorable. Most likely, comparable new media and effects studios of this size will come to a similar conclusion.

However, larger studios such as DreamWorks are already beginning to assign additional work to specialized compute clouds, in this case developed by the state of New Mexico. As graphics and rendering-specialized clouds emerge onto the commercial market, a key question is once again determining the relative strategic value of IT infrastructure to the business. Certainly, in the case of a digital/3D studio, the primary source of competitive value resides in the creative capabilities of designers, upon whose completed projects the studio builds it reputation upon. Tangible assets from graphics software to Mac workstations, network switches and SAN’s are generic and easily replaced. But the utilization of the technical infrastructure, encompassing a workflow from importing raw media to editing and rendering files, and managing IT resources such as render node availability, storage space, security, and backups, are also critical components of this business and therefore not likely candidates to be fully sourced externally.

As the cloud computing market matures and delivers more customized solutions, the 3D/render space should get very interesting. New and specialized processor offerings from vendors such as AMD and Intel will also make the choice between local and cloud-based render farms more challenging.