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Happy July 4
First of all, please join HPDZ in celebrating of the founding of a great country rooted in a novel and enduring concept of democracy and personal liberty. Happy Birthday, America!
Nova Fractal Gallery
The main news of the month is the expanded Nova Fractal gallery. This is a very old and well-known formula that gives a fractal with a rich structure that is surprisingly underexplored.
A few images were published on the site a couple of years ago, and there's been a plan for making an animation based on this fractal, but other projects have taken priority. I decided to spend a few hours last weekend exploring this fractal again, and I made a small gallery of some things I thought looked good. These are all 1000x500 or 1200x800 high-resolution images with aggressive anti-aliasing (up to 10x10 supersampling in some images!).
The Nova fractal is derived from a modification of Newton's method, which is an iterative method for finding numerical solutions to equations. Newton's method yields a very pretty fractal, but it has no new structures or new shapes at higher magnifications, so there's nothing to zoom into. A slight modification to Newton's method gives the Nova family of fractals that is richer in new structures and much more visually interesting.
Home Page Update
I decided the HPDZ.NET home page is too sparse, so it's now expanded greatly to serve as a better overview of the site content. Mostly this is motivated by my foray into Google AdWords.
My web presence provider provided a $50 credit for AdWords, and I finally got around to setting up an account. It has made a huge impact on the volume of traffic to the site--nearly double the number of users, page visits, and total hits, with more than double the previous all-time monthly download bandwidth.
The newsletter subscription list has increased by about 20% as well! Welcome to all the new subscribers!
Pity I'm not making any money off this....at least not yet.
A new animation is being rendered. It zooms into some very intricate structures in the eastern cusp of the Mandelbrot set. This is going to be a really nice project in high-definition (1080x720) with 3x3 anti-aliasing. Frame interpolation is being used to generate 7200 video frames from approximately 170 master images that are each about 2700x1800 pixels.
This is a sample image, video frame 5400. Click on the preview for a full-size 1080x720 image. The final video, of course, will use a different colorizing scheme. This simple RGB-White palette is just for preview.
The software has been calculating for about 25 days on the quad-core system, and it will take another 20-30 days to complete the initial data rendering. It's hard to know how long the colorizing will take, since each new animation seems to present new challenges, but this one ought to work well with one of the existing colorizing methods. If all goes well, the final production should be completed sometime in early August.
U-Verse and Fiber Optic Internet
I have upgraded to AT&T U-Verse with fiber optic DSL. The main benefit of this from the perspective of the web site is that the file upload speed is radically faster, about 5X. That means that uploading revisions of some older video files is now much less unpleasant. I've updated all the old smaller MP4 files to support FastStart, and many older videos have been re-encoded at much higher bit rates.
Re-Encoding Old Videos
I've re-encoded a number of older videos at much higher bit rates than seemed practical several years ago. These days, high-speed internet connections are more common than they were even a few years ago, and 200 MB downloads are no problem for many people who are willing to wait a little while.
This also serves as a great opportunity to remind everyone about some of these older videos, many of which are still very impressive visually and acoustically.
One of my favorite sources of music for the videos has been Sony's Cinescore program. Sadly, they discontinued it at the end of 2009. It still works, but there's no new music and no more support for it. They say something bigger and better is coming. We'll see.
The favicon for the website has never been right. I have finally fixed it.