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January 21, 2007

Done: Shell Wildlife Photographer Of The Year

Filed under: England,Software — stephane @ 3:23 am

Since I had a flight to Paris in the middle of the afternoon, I stopped by the National History Museum to spend some time at the Shell Wildlife Photographer Of The Year. Really wonderful exhibition displayed with backlight. I was really impressed by the pictures from the junior categories, or more exactly the equipment used to take some pictures. Having someone under 10 using a hi-end DSLR with a 300mm f/2.8 lens itself worth $5,000 makes you think for a minute…

Warning: Don’t go there on saturday, the museum was filled with kids due to the Dino exhibition. Only a couple of people actually decided to brought their kid aged something 6-month to 2 year to the Shell exhibition and it was really annoying to have only a couple of kids screaming around during the exhibition. It really ruins the whole silence generated by photos that make you speechless.

January 19, 2007

Storm + passengers threatening cabin crew = big delay

Filed under: Joost — stephane @ 10:26 pm

I was scheduled to leave to London from Amsterdam at 16:15 with EasyJet. Storm got in the way and delayed a certain numbers of flights..mine was delayed till 17:00, no biggies…except that at 17:30 it was still showing ‘Delayed 17:00’ with no indication of gate number. It changed a few minutes to ‘Delayed 19:00’.

19:00 was more about the boarding time. After sitting for a good 15min on the plane with nothing happening, the captain gave a message sort of “Apologies, but the Schiphol airport authorities ask you to go out of the plane. Please take your belonging and ensure you leave nothing behind”. No explanation.

When I got out of the plane on top of the stairs, I noticed (note that you could miss them) a row of about 20 policemen, fully armed with bullet proofs vest and machine guns waiting at the end of the stairs. Shortly after passing them, they jumped on a guy behind me, face against the ground, totally immobilized. His mate was taken promptly to the police bus too.

I noticed those guys while waiting at the security screening and was thinking they were the perfect idiots.

Turned out that they apparently threaten the crew after sitting on the plane and show a knife. (or so was it reported – meaning the security screening was super-efficient)

After the incident, we were told that the police would have to search the plane for any devices or anything suspicious, so it would take something from 30 to 90 minutes.. which bring us to boarding time of 22:00. We were of course not authorized to go back to the airport shopping centre area but confined somewhere else.

Around 22:00 we were brought back to the boarding area where nothing happened..after 30min, we were informed that…well the crew was not there, but was still at the police station writing their statements for the report.

We finally left Schiphol around 23:30.

I crashed at the hotel in London at about 01:30AM.

I wonder if those idiots will be banned from flying the rest of their life and be fined severely. EasyJet itself probably lost 2 flights rotation because of this incident.

January 17, 2007

Breakfast in style

Filed under: Joost — stephane @ 12:58 am

For the switch to the Joost™ identity, web/ops/network team stayed all night ensuring a smooth switch early morning. It was decided a couple of days earlier to have breakfast in style during this time. So everybody in the Leiden office was fiddling around 6AM, watching networks activity on a projector and having BBC news on the background. I decided to bring 2-dozen of homemade (thin!) crêpes, strawberries and warm chocolate sauce aromatized with rum and vanilla as well as Champagne to top it of. It vanished quickly. Nice breakfast :-)

We had a few nasty glitches on the website that were tracked and solved in the evening. (a reminder of how nasty stupid little things can get in the way). Congrats to all.

January 16, 2007

Joost It Now ! (was: The Venice Project)

Filed under: Joost — stephane @ 7:16 am

It’s official The Venice Project is now Joost™.

You can learn more a bit everywhere

Credits where due, Leo was the first to use ‘Joost it now’ some time ago (no he’s not the one who got the name :))

January 13, 2007

Sleeper Cell and Showtime territory licensing

Filed under: General,Joost — stephane @ 9:44 pm

I recently discovered Sleeper Cell, where the season 2 apparently started last month in the US. I was curious to get more information on it so naively searched for ‘Sleeper Cell’ on Google and went to the first link which goes to the Sleeper Cell section of the Showtime website and was greeted with:

We at Showtime Online express our apologies; however, these pages are intended for access only from within the United States.

The whole Showtime website is simply not accessible from outside the US.

Now excuse me, but from a pure marketing and branding perspective, this is not exactly brilliant.

I could see the whole page using the cached version from Google though. mmm… Should Showtime sue Google for providing access to top secret classified information about the cast of Sleeper Cell ?

mm… oh..wait..there’s this paragraph on the page WATCH PART 1 ONLINE NOW Stream the first part of Sleeper Cell: American Terror. Go Now! . A bit of Google magic and I find the cached page where I can see the video streaming for season 2.

The experience is not worth spending 2 minutes though. While they had obviously good material to work with since they are producing it, the transcoding is not great, colors are washed out and the Showtime logo bug on the bottom right is too big, too opaque and too much to the left, this ruins a large part of the image.

Showtime, would you mind putting Sleeper Cell on the The Venice Project, that would be way better.

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