Scubasteveisapigbutheismine
staff:

Tumblr Tuesday: Tournament of Books Edition
The Morning NewsIt’s March Madness, when book fans everywhere pit last year’s greatest literary works against each other in a terrifying death tournament. This year marks the tenth anniversary of The Morning News’s literary bracketology-as-bloodsport, and four of your favorite Tumblr writers are acting as judges. Who are these writers? These writers include… 
Jami “Attaboy” AttenbergNOLA travel writer, dog photographer, and documentarian of meals, Brooklynite Jami Attenberg is a whirlwind of greatness.
Roxane “Just One N” GayThe monarch of movies, the czarina of Channing Tatum, the queen of cherry tomatoes. Three books forthcoming, including one based on her Tumblr posts.
John “Darn It” DarnielleYou might know him as the lead singer & songwriter of the Mountain Goats, but he’s also a novelist and he blogs a lot about heavy metal, boxing, comics, and literature in translation.John “The Fightin’ Nerd” GreenApparently he’s the author of “It’s The Stars’ Fault” or something? Shrug.
Photo via The Morning News

staff:

Tumblr Tuesday: Tournament of Books Edition

The Morning News
It’s March Madness, when book fans everywhere pit last year’s greatest literary works against each other in a terrifying death tournament. This year marks the tenth anniversary of The Morning News’s literary bracketology-as-bloodsport, and four of your favorite Tumblr writers are acting as judges. Who are these writers? These writers include… 

Jami “Attaboy” Attenberg
NOLA travel writer, dog photographer, and documentarian of meals, Brooklynite Jami Attenberg is a whirlwind of greatness.

Roxane “Just One N” Gay
The monarch of movies, the czarina of Channing Tatum, the queen of cherry tomatoes. Three books forthcoming, including one based on her Tumblr posts.

John “Darn It” Darnielle
You might know him as the lead singer & songwriter of the Mountain Goats, but he’s also a novelist and he blogs a lot about heavy metal, boxing, comics, and literature in translation.

John “The Fightin’ Nerd” Green
Apparently he’s the author of “It’s The Stars’ Fault” or something? Shrug.

Photo via The Morning News

manbartlett:

New wall going up in the studio. Left a note to future Man cuz I’m a nerd like that.

manbartlett:

New wall going up in the studio. Left a note to future Man cuz I’m a nerd like that.

trecreative:

Skate Film of the Day - Jason Park, Forever My Home by Brett Novak


Brett always brings a creative flair and beauty to his technical skate films. Always good to see him putting out new pieces like this one. Keep it up man!

-S

manbartlett:

engineering:

Who doesn’t love animated GIFs?
Believe it or not, support for GIFs at Tumblr was a happy accident! When Tumblr put together the code for handling JPEGs, support and GIFs (and PNGs) happened to also work using the same code. Perhaps even more surprising is that the tools used to handle GIFs at Tumblr hadn’t changed much from those early days. 
The image above is an original from sukme that could not be posted to Tumblr last June. It also would have failed if he’d tried last Sunday. If you click-through to the original post, you will see a muddy, reduced-saturation mess. All this because our resizer couldn’t handle the original. 
I’ve got ninety-nine problems and the GIF is one
There is a lot of misinformation about GIF limits on Tumblr, so let me set the record straight: We don’t count colors or frames or pixels. We only count bytes and seconds. Every image that comes in is scaled to a number of smaller sizes and the smaller your image is, the fewer resizes need to happen, which means less time. 
We had two core failure modes in our prior resizer: Some images would take as much as several minutes to convert. This was not directly attributable to color, dimensions, or frame count, but a mysterious mix of all of them. Some images would balloon in size (600KB at 400x400, 27MB at 250x250).
The unpredictability of these failures made our GIF limits feel arbitrary and terrible to the end users. Some have gone so far as to threaten monkey kicks. I don’t want to get kicked by a monkey, so we started working hard late last year to fix it. 
A proposed solution
Some of you may have seen this post where the performance of our current converter was compared with a new “mystery” converter. The mystery converter was roughly 1000x faster on the “slapping” GIF and happened to look great, but had quality problems on other images. Those were more fully explored in here a couple of days later.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the mystery converter is gifsicle.
Getting a better handle on it
To get an unbiased test set, I took a random sample of roughly 90K GIFs that Tumblr users tried to upload, not limiting the corpus only to those that succeeded. These were tested against the current converter, resizing down to the next size we produce. Each resize is given up to 20 seconds to complete in our application, but all resizes must complete in 30 seconds. All resizes must be under 1MB or we will convert the first frame to JPEG and call it a day. 
2.6% of my 90K GIFs took longer than 20 seconds to resize. This is an underestimation of how many GIFs would be rejected for time because this is only one of several resizes required. A whopping 17.1% of all GIFs were over 1MB. Even if we bump up to 2MB, the rejection rate is 2.75%. The converter was making over 25% of all resizes larger than the higher-resolution originals! The total rejection rate for my sample set was 4.46% of all original GIFs uploaded. 
Using gifsicle is so much faster that our CPU rejection rate drops to 0.00 on my test set. Also, just under 99% of all images were smaller when resized than they were at their original resolution. The size rejection rate was a much lower 0.59%.
Gifsicle problems
As compelling as the performance of gifsicle is, the quality problems are too much to ignore. We played around with the code a bit, but eventually we just got in touch with the author, Dr. Eddie Kohler. The specifics are in this post, but the short version is that Eddie was able to improve quality by adding some more advanced resampling methods as well as palette expansion for small-palette images. This increased our size rejection rate to 0.68% while still keeping us well under our CPU budget. 
Proving it
Image processing is all about choices. How do you resample? Do you sharpen? Where in the workflow is gamma correction applied, if at all? The list goes on and on. 
As you can imagine from the performance differences, our previous converter and gifsicle take very different approaches to GIF resizing. The output images look different. Sometimes it is slight, sometimes it is significant, but there is no way we could put out a converter that messes up your images, even if it messes them up quickly. 
We set up a qualitative study. The goal was simply to prove that we weren’t doing worse than our old converter, not necessarily that we were doing better. This study was opened up to all Tumblr employees, as well as some “randomly selected” outsiders (my friends and family). Participants were presented with one of two questions:
1.) Given an original and 1 resize, decide whether it is ok, unacceptable, or completely broken.
2.) Given an original and 2 resizes (randomly choses which was left and which was right, sometimes they were identical), choose the better image or say there is no difference.
The results were everything I could have hoped for. The “acceptable” test showed that users found gifsicle better at producing acceptable results (87% vs. 84%), but not by a statistically relevant amount (p=0.086) and that gifsicle produced fewer broken GIFs (0.71% vs. 1.38%), but again not enough to say it is definitively better (p=0.106). The “better” test found users preferring gifsicle 37% of the time, the prior converter only 16% of the time, but users also preferred one identical image over the other 27% of the time. Again, it is hard to say that gifsicle is better, but it is clear that it is no worse.
Putting it all together
The development and testing described above took from late October until the beginning of March. Packaging, deployment, and integration took only a couple of weeks!
We aren’t done. There is work underway exploring how we handle JPEGs and PNGs. There are a slew of features that we can go after. This was a big step, a necessary step, but not the end for sure. 
We are a community, it takes a village, there’s no “i” in GIF
This project couldn’t have happened without the excellent work of Eddie Kohler in creating, maintaining, and enhancing gifsicle. Tumblr’s Site Reliability Engineering group packaged and helped deploy gifsicle onto hundreds and hundreds of machines in our datacenter. Tumblr’s Security Team vetted the code, both by inspection and by attacking it to make sure we stay safe. This was all for the awesome Tumblr creators, but I have to mention qilme/sukme (same dude, two blogs), reallivingartist, and especially gnumblr for their help in understanding and ultimately attacking this monstrous problem.

Epic

manbartlett:

engineering:

Who doesn’t love animated GIFs?

Believe it or not, support for GIFs at Tumblr was a happy accident! When Tumblr put together the code for handling JPEGs, support and GIFs (and PNGs) happened to also work using the same code. Perhaps even more surprising is that the tools used to handle GIFs at Tumblr hadn’t changed much from those early days. 

The image above is an original from sukme that could not be posted to Tumblr last June. It also would have failed if he’d tried last Sunday. If you click-through to the original post, you will see a muddy, reduced-saturation mess. All this because our resizer couldn’t handle the original. 

I’ve got ninety-nine problems and the GIF is one

There is a lot of misinformation about GIF limits on Tumblr, so let me set the record straight: We don’t count colors or frames or pixels. We only count bytes and seconds. Every image that comes in is scaled to a number of smaller sizes and the smaller your image is, the fewer resizes need to happen, which means less time. 

We had two core failure modes in our prior resizer: Some images would take as much as several minutes to convert. This was not directly attributable to color, dimensions, or frame count, but a mysterious mix of all of them. Some images would balloon in size (600KB at 400x400, 27MB at 250x250).

The unpredictability of these failures made our GIF limits feel arbitrary and terrible to the end users. Some have gone so far as to threaten monkey kicks. I don’t want to get kicked by a monkey, so we started working hard late last year to fix it. 

A proposed solution

Some of you may have seen this post where the performance of our current converter was compared with a new “mystery” converter. The mystery converter was roughly 1000x faster on the “slapping” GIF and happened to look great, but had quality problems on other images. Those were more fully explored in here a couple of days later.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the mystery converter is gifsicle.

Getting a better handle on it

To get an unbiased test set, I took a random sample of roughly 90K GIFs that Tumblr users tried to upload, not limiting the corpus only to those that succeeded. These were tested against the current converter, resizing down to the next size we produce. Each resize is given up to 20 seconds to complete in our application, but all resizes must complete in 30 seconds. All resizes must be under 1MB or we will convert the first frame to JPEG and call it a day. 

2.6% of my 90K GIFs took longer than 20 seconds to resize. This is an underestimation of how many GIFs would be rejected for time because this is only one of several resizes required. A whopping 17.1% of all GIFs were over 1MB. Even if we bump up to 2MB, the rejection rate is 2.75%. The converter was making over 25% of all resizes larger than the higher-resolution originals! The total rejection rate for my sample set was 4.46% of all original GIFs uploaded. 

Using gifsicle is so much faster that our CPU rejection rate drops to 0.00 on my test set. Also, just under 99% of all images were smaller when resized than they were at their original resolution. The size rejection rate was a much lower 0.59%.

Gifsicle problems

As compelling as the performance of gifsicle is, the quality problems are too much to ignore. We played around with the code a bit, but eventually we just got in touch with the author, Dr. Eddie Kohler. The specifics are in this post, but the short version is that Eddie was able to improve quality by adding some more advanced resampling methods as well as palette expansion for small-palette images. This increased our size rejection rate to 0.68% while still keeping us well under our CPU budget. 

Proving it

Image processing is all about choices. How do you resample? Do you sharpen? Where in the workflow is gamma correction applied, if at all? The list goes on and on. 

As you can imagine from the performance differences, our previous converter and gifsicle take very different approaches to GIF resizing. The output images look different. Sometimes it is slight, sometimes it is significant, but there is no way we could put out a converter that messes up your images, even if it messes them up quickly. 

We set up a qualitative study. The goal was simply to prove that we weren’t doing worse than our old converter, not necessarily that we were doing better. This study was opened up to all Tumblr employees, as well as some “randomly selected” outsiders (my friends and family). Participants were presented with one of two questions:

1.) Given an original and 1 resize, decide whether it is ok, unacceptable, or completely broken.

2.) Given an original and 2 resizes (randomly choses which was left and which was right, sometimes they were identical), choose the better image or say there is no difference.

The results were everything I could have hoped for. The “acceptable” test showed that users found gifsicle better at producing acceptable results (87% vs. 84%), but not by a statistically relevant amount (p=0.086) and that gifsicle produced fewer broken GIFs (0.71% vs. 1.38%), but again not enough to say it is definitively better (p=0.106). The “better” test found users preferring gifsicle 37% of the time, the prior converter only 16% of the time, but users also preferred one identical image over the other 27% of the time. Again, it is hard to say that gifsicle is better, but it is clear that it is no worse.

Putting it all together

The development and testing described above took from late October until the beginning of March. Packaging, deployment, and integration took only a couple of weeks!

We aren’t done. There is work underway exploring how we handle JPEGs and PNGs. There are a slew of features that we can go after. This was a big step, a necessary step, but not the end for sure. 

We are a community, it takes a village, there’s no “i” in GIF

This project couldn’t have happened without the excellent work of Eddie Kohler in creating, maintaining, and enhancing gifsicle. Tumblr’s Site Reliability Engineering group packaged and helped deploy gifsicle onto hundreds and hundreds of machines in our datacenter. Tumblr’s Security Team vetted the code, both by inspection and by attacking it to make sure we stay safe. This was all for the awesome Tumblr creators, but I have to mention qilme/sukme (same dude, two blogs), reallivingartist, and especially gnumblr for their help in understanding and ultimately attacking this monstrous problem.

Epic

populationgo:

image

Previously in Green Lantern: New GuardiansFollowing “Lights Out,” the face of the Green Lantern Corps has been changed. In a desperate attempt to refill the Emotional Reservoir behind the Source Wall, Kyle Rayner, the White Lantern, seemingly sacrificed himself. And it worked. With the…

merrybrides:

image

They may be rich, but they’re so heavenly your guests will go back for seconds, so be sure to make a double batch. Make the tart shells ahead and fill them just before the party.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup jarred hazelnut spread
  • 24 Flaky Tartlet Shells (See below)
  • Garnishes: sweetened…

merrybrides:

image

They may be rich, but they’re so heavenly your guests will go back for seconds, so be sure to make a double batch. Make the tart shells ahead and fill them just before the party.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup jarred hazelnut spread
  • 24 Flaky Tartlet Shells (See below)
  • Garnishes: sweetened…

actorswithactionfigures:

Alternative “propaganda style” CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER posters.

Considering that this MARVEL sequel is a political thriller, these posters are very appropriate. 

Source: Marvel UK

Getting my opening weekend tickets ~circa April 4th~ this week :)

Hub Readying New “Transformers” Animated Series

populationgo:

image

The Hub Network is apparently prepping  a new Transformers animated series set to premiere sometime in early 2015.

The show will follow the conclusion of Transformers: Prime and will blend 3D characters with hand-drawn environments.

Read More —>

hitrecordjoe:

CALLING ALL MUSICIANS & ARRANGERS!

Come work on the song "I Love Happy Endings" that was started by iamemma. You can contribute instruments of all kinds or write an arrangement for the community to work off of.

==

MUSICIANS: Play along w/ THIS SONG. We’re looking for any and all instruments, including Woodwinds, Horns, Strings, Guitar, Bass, and Drums.

ARRANGERS: Write an arrangement for an ensemble of any of the instruments above. Or, download stems contributed to the collab and create an arrangement.