HDR gives digital prints the brush-off

The paint brush-effect is achieved by taking several different shots, with large exposure differences, of the same scene

Giving digital prints the brush-off

Long before the advent of photography, painters tried to capture the real… then along came photography and it didn’t make painting redundant because, as any art history freak will tell you, paintings have “texture” — hence the trend towards reproducing photos on canvas today.

Digital photography is a great recent development, but it comes at a cost — digital prints have even less texture than their film counterparts. Now, a new software technology, called HDR (high dynamic range), has come to the rescue. One of its stunning results is reproduced above. HDR-processed images resemble hyper-real paintings and are achieved by taking several different shots, with large exposure differences, of the same scene. The software then calculates the full dynamic range to produce an often jewel-like final image.

The image above is of Lady Bay in Australia. It was taken by Adelaide photographer Chris Potter — view it, and others like it, on the sxc.hu photographic website. Flickr has some evocative images, too.

Ye olde mail

A staffer at a major international IT vendor was recently asked by a journalist to send a photo of himself. “Sure, I can do that,” the vendor employee replied. When no JPG or zip file photo of said techie arrived in his in-box, the scribe thought more important matters must be being attended to and that he might have to ask the techie again. But he didn’t have to after all — an envelope-enclosed passport photo of the techie appeared in the next day’s snail-mail drop. Oh, the wonders of technology!

Death-dealing Telecom

You’d think a telecommunications company, much of whose business is concerned with talk, would have developed some verbal sensitivity over the many decades of its existence, wouldn’t you? This seems not to be the case with Telecom.

Listening to National Radio last week, this E-taler heard tell of a distressed woman who had recently lost her mother. She was tying up all the details that inevitably follow a death, including closing down her mother’s Telecom account. This ended up causing her much unexpected distress, as, according to the radio story, she had to deal with a “22-year-old [silent expletive]” call centre man who demanded a copy of the death certificate no less before closing the account.

Surely, a letter would have done — particularly given the intimate details contained in death certificates?

What’s in a name?

Long ago, British Telecom became BT and then, more recently, separated off its wholesale arm under the amusing name OpenReach.

No, you’re right. It’s not that amusing. It’s kind of, well, dull really. Open, yeah we get that. Reach ... well, it’s a bit of a stretch as a network term.

So, what should Telecom New Zealand call its new wholesale division? It no doubt has an army of marketing folk poring over dictionaries and thesauruses, looking for the perfect name, but perhaps it should look to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The accountancy firm paid a fortune, in June 2002, to name its consultancy business “Monday”. By October 2002, the division had been sold off to IBM — for US$4 billion — and the name “Monday” was returned to its rightful place at the start of the working week.

Suggestions, polite ones if possible, to etales@computerworld.co.nz.

…a lot, it seems

Alcatel and Lucent, the recently mega-merged telco equipment-maker, has come up with its new name for itself. The clash of American and French cultures has produced some sparks in its time but not here. The new company will be called Alcatel Lucent.

It could have been so different. Why were Alca-tent and Luca-tel so readily dismissed?

Admittedly, they both sound like those alky-pops sold to giggly teens, but still … Alca-tent has such a nice ring to it.

But, then again, there have been a lot of naming disasters: the Chevy that “won’t go” in Greece — that’s what it means in the Greek language; the Pajero that means something very rude in Spanish and Exxon, as in the oil company, which means something rude in Eskimo, apparently. What’s in a name? An awful lot, it seems.

Parking mad

Full marks for innovation but none for honesty to the man who dreamed up the latest internet scam — the sale of used parking tickets.

Online news site Ananova reports that drivers in Belgium have the option of buying what the owner of online exchange, Marc Van der Vyver, sees as a sort of modern-day stamp collecting equivalent. Our man says he’s not doing anything illegal and his site is just a “meeting place for collectors of parking tickets”.

However, the local authorities, who are being presented with the tickets as a means of avoiding paying fines, don’t agree.

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