Archives For Rants

If you use Atlas.ti software, be careful when upgrading! Version 6 is not backward compatible.

I really like Atlas.ti for qualitative analysis, but I pretty annoyed by my recent experience. I have a license which includes upgrades, and a few weeks ago received a message that I should upgrade from version 5.5 to version 6. The new features looked great (including direct PDF import and interface improvements) so I loaded the new version. I didn’t discover until after I had installed that the new version uses a new file format and could not save files in the v.5 format. The lab I’m in specifically chose Atlas.ti for its collaboration features, but if you share your files with others, they must be using the same version of the software.

When I tried to find out if there was something I was missing, I discovered that Atlas.ti has published the v.6 software upgrade, but has not yet upgraded the manual. I guess we’re supposed to intuit what all the new icons mean and how to use the completely new features.

I have uninstalled v.6 and gone back to using v.5.

All Blah Game

Matthew Bietz —  July 11, 2007 — Leave a comment

We watched the MLB All-Star game last night. Ugh. It’s like watching a little league game where the coach is trying to make sure everybody gets to play, but without the cute kids. I like home runs as much as the next guy, but I’m still more impressed by good defense. But the whole selection process means the great defensive players (like Kahlil Greene) don’t have a chance of getting in. And, once again, the NL lost.

But what really made me groan was the broadcast itself. The commentary focused more on steroids and team politics than what was transpiring on the field. When they did happen to mention the game itself, it was all batters all the time. The commentators didn’t seem to know much of anything about the players that they hadn’t read in their online profiles, and the statistics they threw out were as banal as they come (and usually the same ones that were shown at the bottom of the screen).

Of course, Fox supported this broadcasting triumph with its best technical team. I think it was the first time the guys in the trailer had been to a baseball game, let alone filmed one. They came back late from commercials and special features, so that they missed pitches and plays. They were doing close-ups when they should have had wide shots (and vice versa). They did in-game interviews with the managers, who were too distracted by the game to say anything worth listening to. And what baseball game would be complete without a guy in a kayak, whose sole contribution to the evening was accidentally dropping his dog in the water. I think top honors, however, are awarded for showing a personality profile for a player who had already been pulled out of the game.

It made me miss Matt & Mud.


Matthew Bietz —  April 22, 2007 — Leave a comment

We just got back from seeing C.R.A.Z.Y. as part of the FilmOut San Diego film festival. It’s a great movie. Coming of age/coming out story, a theme that has been done and done and overdone (and is the staple of every gay film festival ever). But this one is fresh, well acted, well directed, and all-around good. It’s won huge numbers of awards and gotten great reviews. It’s from Quebec. And in French.

You should go see it. Unless you live in the US. Then you probably can’t.

You see, this is another one of those wonderful moments when copyright law bites art in the ass. This was a pretty low budget film (about $7 million). But it’s got all kinds of great music (Patsy Cline, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Elvis, The Cure, etc.). It’s such great music that the music rights cost over CDN$600,000. And that doesn’t include distribution rights in the United States.

And so, the only way this film shows in the US is by getting “festival rights” for the music. Basically, the movie can only be shown at non-profit film festivals, and for a limited time.

I’m with Lawrence Lessig (and many others) on this one: I’m all for artists being able to get paid when other people use their work. But nobody is served by licensing costs and copyright restrictions that are so onerous that the movie never gets seen.