Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wired into Me: 2009 Movie Guide

I was thinking about putting together a list of my most anticipated films of 2009, but Wired more or less read my mind. I hope that Where the Wild Things Are defies expectations and turns out to be great--that was one of my favorite books as a kid and I would love to take my kid to see it. I agree with most of Wired's rankings, except compared to them, I am less enthusiastic about Transformers 2, Harry Potter, and Coraline, and more enthusiastic about Inglourious Basterds and Fanboys.

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

South Park making long-awaited Blu-ray debut in March - Engadget HD

Engadget is reporting that South Park is coming out on Blu Ray. Seriously? That show is all about low resolution and low brow humor. I love it, but come on. Seriously? Apparently, Engadget disagrees on the low-resolution part.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ode to Antiheroes

I have finally caught up with The Shield (7th & Final Season) and Dexter (3rd Season). Here are my impressions.

Dexter--The first two seasons of Dexter were incredible. Where shows like The Shield and The Sopranos had antiheroes who also had a warmer side when it came to family, Dexter the serial killer didn't really have a warmer side, and yet you still somehow always rooted for him. The first two seasons of Dexter played incredibly well, with intricate season-long story arcs that had insanely intense climaxes. Season 3 didn't live up to that standard, though. I still love the show, but the series-long arc was so implausible and the show fell into my biggest pet peeve in dramatic television--often the characters had to do something out of character in order to move the plot forward. That drives me crazy! Still, some of the moments shared between series star Michael C. Hall and Jimmy Smits were insanely great. So, overall a series well worth watching and a season that was good but not as good as its predecessors.

The Shield--The final season of this landmark show did not disappoint. The main protagonist is such an amazing antihero. Every season, heck almost every show, included some impossibly desperate situation for its dirty cop protagonist Vic Mackey (played brilliantly by Michael Chiklis), and yet he always managed to leverage his way out of the jam he and his team were in. In the final season, does the tangle of lies and deceptions finally catch up with Mackey and his crew? I won't give any spoilers, but this show did not disappoint. The last five minutes was perfectly played out, incredibly with barely any spoken dialog from Chiklis. David Chase could have taken some script notes from Shawn Ryan (creator of The Shield) when drafting the final season of the Sopranos. Those last three Shield episodes were amongst the most intensely suspenseful that I have ever witnessed from a TV series.

Next on my antihero playlist-- Weeds. I have never watched an episode, but I'm itching to start. As a fan of Chiklis, I'm also wondering if I should look into catching him with hair in The Commish. Either or both of those series will take a while to watch especially with Lost starting next month, so don't go looking for my impressions anytime soon.

I have seen 101 of these films

SUPPOSEDLY if you've seen over 85 films, you have no life. Mark the ones you've seen. There are 239 films on this list. Copy this list, go to your own blog/facebook/myspace account, paste this as a note. Then, put x's next to the films you've seen, add them up, change the header adding your number, and click post at the bottom. Have fun.

(X) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(X) Grease
(X) Pirates of the Caribbean
() Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest
() Boondock Saints
(x) Fight Club
() Starsky and Hutch
() Neverending Story
(X) Blazing Saddles
(X) Airplane
Total: 6

(x) The Princess Bride
() Anchorman
(x) Napoleon Dynamite
() Labyrinth
() Saw
() Saw II
(X) White Noise
(X) White Oleander
() Anger Management
(x) 50 First Dates
(x) The Princess Diaries
() The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Total so far:12

(x) Scream
() Scream 2
() Scream 3
() Scary Movie
() Scary Movie 2
() Scary Movie 3
() Scary Movie 4
(X) American Pie
() American Pie 2
() American Wedding
() American Pie Band Camp
Total so far: 14

(X) Harry Potter 1
(X) Harry Potter 2
(X) Harry Potter 3
() Harry Potter 4
() Resident Evil 1
() Resident Evil 2
(x) The Wedding Singer
() Little Black Book
() The Village
() Lilo & Stitch
Total so far: 18

() Finding Nemo
() Finding Neverland
(X) Signs
() The Grinch
() Texas Chainsaw Massacre
() Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
() White Chicks
() Butterfly Effect
() 13 Going on 30
(X) I, Robot
(X) Robots
Total so far: 21

(X) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
() Universal Soldier
() Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
(X) Along Came Polly
(X) Deep Impact
() KingPin
() Never Been Kissed
(x) Meet The Parents
(x) Meet the Fockers
() Eight Crazy Nights
() Joe Dirt
() KING KONG
Total so far: 26

() A Cinderella Story
(X) The Terminal
() The Lizzie McGuire Movie
() Passport to Paris
() Dumb & Dumber
() Dumber & Dumberer
() Final Destination
() Final Destination 2
() Final Destination 3
(x) Halloween
(X) The Ring
() The Ring 2
() Surviving X-MAS
() Flubber
Total so far: 29

() Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
() Practical Magic
(x) Chicago
() Ghost Ship
() From Hell
() Hellboy
() Secret Window
() I Am Sam
(x) The Whole Nine Yards
() The Whole Ten Yards
Total so far: 31

(X) The Day After Tomorrow
() Child's Play
() Seed of Chucky
() Bride of Chucky
() Ten Things I Hate About You
() Just Married
() Gothika
(x) Nightmare on Elm Street
(x) Sixteen Candles
() Remember the Titans
() Coach Carter
() The Grudge
() The Grudge 2
(x) The Mask
() Son Of The Mask
Total so far: 35

(X) Bad Boys
() Bad Boys 2
() Joy Ride
() Lucky Number Slevin
(x) Ocean's Eleven
(x) Ocean's Twelve
(X) Bourne Identity
(X) Bourne Supremecy
(X) Lone Star
() Bedazzled
(X) Predator I
(X) Predator II
() The Fog
() Ice Age
() Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
() Curious George
Ttal so far: 43

(X) Independence Day
(x) Cujo
(X) A Bronx Tale
() Darkness Falls
(x) Christine
(x) ET
(x) Children of the Corn
() My Bosses Daughter
(x) Maid in Manhattan
(X) War of the Worlds
(X) Rush Hour
() Rush Hour 2
Total so far: 51

() Best Bet
() How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
() She's All That
() Calendar Girls
(X) Sideways
(X) Mars Attacks
() Event Horizon
() Ever After
(x) Wizard of Oz
(x) Forrest Gump
(X) Big Trouble in Little China
(X) The Terminator
(X) The Terminator 2
(X) The Terminator 3
Total so far: 59

(x) X-Men
(x) X-2
(x) X-3
(X) Spider-Man
(x) Spider-Man 2
() Sky High
() Jeepers Creepers
() Jeepers Creepers 2
(X) Catch Me If You Can
(x) The Little Mermaid
() Freaky Friday – ORGINAL VERSION
() Reign of Fire
() The Skulls
(x) Cruel Intentions
() Cruel Intentions 2
() The Hot Chick
(X) Shrek
(x) Shrek 2
Total so far: 69

(X) Swimfan
() Miracle on 34th street – ORGINAL VERSION, BLACK AND WHITE
() Old School
(x) The Notebook
() K-Pax
() Krippendorf's Tribe
() A Walk to Remember
() Ice Castles
() Boogeyman
(x) The 40-year-old Virgin
Total so far: 72

(X) Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
(X) Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
(X) Lord of the Rings Return Of the King
(x) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(x) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(x) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Total so far: 78

() Baseketball
() Hostel
(X) Waiting for Guffman
() House of 1000 Corpses
() Devils Rejects
() Elf
(X) Highlander
() Mothman Prophecies
(x) American History X
() Three
Total so Far: 77

() The Jacket
() Kung Fu Hustle
() Shaolin Soccer
() Night Watch
(X) Monsters Inc.
(x) Titanic
(X) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
(X) Shaun Of the Dead
() Willard
Total so far: 81

() High Tension
() Club Dread
(X) Hulk
() Dawn Of the Dead
(X) Hook
() Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
(X) 28 days later
() Orgazmo
() Phantasm
(X) Waterworld
Total so far: 85

(X) Kill Bill vol 1
(X) Kill Bill vol 2
()Mortal Kombat
() Wolf Creek
() Kingdom of Heaven
() the Hills Have Eyes – ORIGINAL VERSION
() I Spit on Your Grave aka the Day of the Woman
() The Last House on the Left
(X) Re-Animator
() Army of Darkness
Total so far: 88

(x) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
(x) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
(x) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(x) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(x) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(x) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
() Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
() Ewoks The Battle For Endor
Total so far: 94

(x) The Matrix
(X) The Matrix Reloaded
(X) The Matrix Revolutions
() Animatrix
() Evil Dead
() Evil Dead 2
(x) Team America: World Police
(x) Red Dragon
(x Silence of the Lambs
(x) Hannibal
Total so far: 101

Vid of Week 2008-12-22: A Cappella Star Wars

John Williams without instruments.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Best Scene Ever from The Shield

I'm playing catch up with "The Shield" on my Tivo. No, I don't have Tivo guilt. Anyway, last night I watched the second to last episode. It turns out that the penultimate episode contained the ultimate scene from the series. I haven't watched the finale yet, but it will be hard to top this scene. The Shield better win loads of emmys this year on the strength of this scene alone. And it's not just Michael Chiklis as Vic Mackey. CCH Pounder, Jay Karnes, and Laurie Holden are also brilliant. Take a look.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Technologizer: Apple Patentmania & Frenemies

I instantly subscribed to Technologizer, a blog I had never heard of before as soon as I read Apple Patentmania: 31 Years of Big Ideas. I then proceeded to read this excellent article about Frenemies. Wow! Great articles guys. I look forward to more.

Vid of Week 2008-12-15: YouTube Documentary Trailer on YouTube

Could be an interesting film.



Thanks to SpoutBlog for the heads up.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

TiVo's Netflix HD is Live?

TiVo/Netflix HD is finally here. Strange, though, the TiVo website is still saying coming soon and I haven't seen it on my player yet--I'm not sure whether I've gotten the most recent software updates. Assuming that Electronista isn't jumping the gun, I'll post something with my impressions ASAP.

Vid of Week 2008-12-08: Prop 8

Hysterical video from Funny or Die, with a lot of well know actors participating. You'll fall off your chair with laughter.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Animation the Most Competitive Oscar Category?

Earlier this year, there was discussion that Wall-E should be a serious contender for Best Picture, not just Best Animated Feature, for which it was assumed that it would win easily. Now, it looks like Wall-E is not even a lock to win the animation category.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

HD Streaming Matures in 2009

It looks like HD streaming will be here in 2009, at least from Amazon via TiVo and Netflix via Samsung Blu-Ray players. Hopefully, the announced TiVo/Netflix download service will include HD, since I have my eye on a streaming-deficient Panasonic Blu-Ray player.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

BC Will Stop Offering New Students E-Mail Accounts

When I was in college, I had to scratch and claw for an email account. Now, it looks like colleges are going to stop offering them altogether! Man, i feel old.

Article from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Vid of Week 2008-11-24: Groovy Dancing Girl

I know, off topic, but this video is infectious.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My New Favorite Thing

Got back to from a trip last night and remembered that there had been evening construction on my typical route home. I got in my car, but it was 11:05 PM. The decision had to be made quickly--take the much longer route or risk a frustrating traffic jam? I would have had to wait 7 minutes to learn whether traffic would be a problem. I considered sitting in the parking lot and waiting for the report. Even a 7 minute delay would be better than getting stuck, right?

And then I remembered--Traffic.com offers traffic reports via text message. Just text your city code (PHL for Philadelphia in my case) to 87232, and back comes an instant report within seconds. Awesome!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

RIP Crichton

RIP Michael Crichton. You were a brilliant storyteller, though not such a great climatologist. Seriously, comparing environmentalistic hype to Y2K, while laughing off the possibility of drastically dropping housing prices (which has since come true)? My friend Dave sums up his thoughts (which mirror mine) and articulates them better than I have. Oh, and the New York Times had something to say about him as well.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Vid of Week 2008-10-20: Ad for Google's iPhone Killer

I think that Google has a long way to go to outsell the iPhone, but this is a great looking first step. Love the keyboard! Now if I could only get one and not use T-Mobile.....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Apple Notebooks Expected

Apple's "Spotlight Turns to Notebooks" event is today at 1:00 PM EST. I'm thinking that they will release their first sub-$1,000 notebook. Not that that is a revolutionary prediction.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Vid of Week 2008-10-13: My Hero on TED

My Hero talks on TED about Lost and much more.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Vid of Week 2008-10-06: Amazing Fan-Created Light Saber Duel

So this video is more than a year old. It is new to me. The best Star Wars fan video I have ever seen, filmed in a tortilla factory no less. Be sure to check out the making of video to hear about that tidbit and more..

Sunday, October 5, 2008

LG Blu Ray/Netflix Player

It's finally being listed on Amazon. And for the strangely arbitrary price of $388.82.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Rest in Peace Paul Newman, Actor



and another...

Rest in Peace Paul Newman, Philanthropist

Burn After Reading Impressions

It's No Country for Old Men, but I thoroughly enjoyed Burn After Reading, the latest from Joel and Ethan Coen. I laughed a lot and enjoyed the intricately woven spy-comedy story. Pitt and McDormand were standouts in particular, but the film also featured great performances from Clooney, Malkovich, Simmons, and Swinton. I encourage you to check it out.

Vid of Week 2008-09-29: Register to Vote!

Be sure to register to vote!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fringe or Mainstream?

JJ Abrams is my hero. Lost is my favorite show, probably ever in my life. Alias was great for most of its run. As such, I expected to love his new show on Fox, Fringe. Where The X-Files dealt with the supernatural and paranormal, Fringe aspires to deal with fringe science.

What I love about Lost (and loved about Alias) is the deep mythology of the show. Each episode has a story arc, each season has a story arc, and the entire run of the show has a story arc. Not so with Fringe. After the first episode I already more or less know how the pieces will fall together in the end. The second episode played more like a procedural crime show like CSI or Law and Order than The X-Files or Lost, except with second rate characters, plots, and writing. It was formulaic and not engaging at all. Why should I care about an episode where at any point the borderline insane 'fringe scientist' can invent some ultra advanced method to, say, allow one person to read anothers mind, or enable them to recreate the last images they ever saw? It means that no crime is unsolvable. ZZZZ

So far I have endured two episodes. The third aired last night and sits waiting on my TiVo. Because it is JJ, I will give it one more shot. After that, on to bigger and better things. If I change my mind, I will post a follow-up.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Get Out and Vote!

Off topic, I know.... I am encouraging everyone to register & vote. Visit http://VoteForChange.com for registration, absentee & early vote info. Pass it along.

Goodbye HBO

I ordered up HBO in the heyday of The Sopranos and The Wire. They kept me subscribed through Sex and the City, Six Feet Under and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Now, only Entourage is left. Not enough to keep me subscribing. True Blood was the last great hope. I do like the show so far, but not enough to keep subscribing. HBO--you have until the series finale of Entourage to wow me with True Blood or something else. It seems like HBO senses this as a trend, with premieres of two new series this weekend--Little Britain USA, and The Life & Times of Tim. Premiering November 9 is a third new series, Summer Heights High. I'll give all of the new shows a test drive of course, but I suspect that the days of "groundbreaking, critically acclaimed, smash hits" original programming may be over for HBO, with competition from AMC, FX, and other upstart networks.

Incidentally, many of the links to the defunct shows are to the complete DVD sets for sale on Amazon, some newly released. Christmas/Chanukkah is coming up!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Vid of Week 2008-09-15: The International Trailer

Clive Owen and Naomi Watts in a thriller? I can't wait....

Friday, September 12, 2008

LG BD300 Blu Ray Netflix Player is Released! Whoops!

A couple of months ago, LG and Netflix announced the BD300, a Blu-Ray 2.0 Player that also streams content from Netflix. Well, it was momentarily listed on Amazon and then taken down (link broken as of posting date). Officially, LG says next month, but I'll keep checking that Amazon link eagerly anticipating its return.

Pandora versus Genius versus... Zune?

Wired is reporting that Microsoft will be releasing a music recommendation feature on September 16 that outshines Genius, though there is no mention of Pandora in the article. The approach that Microsoft is taking seems to be more robust in that it incorporates the artists, albums, and fans of that song into one recommendation algorithm. Of course, this could all be a marketing-driven smoke and mirrors show--the proof will be in the pudding. I'll eagerly be watching the accuracy ratings of Pandora vs. Apple/Genius vs. Microsoft/Zune in the coming weeks and months. For now, I prefer Pandora.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pandora versus Genius

Pandora is a great service that uses the Music Genome Project to essentially create a dynamic radio station for you based on songs and artists that you select. iTunes decided to try the same thing with its Genius feature in iTunes 8.0 and new iPods. As a big fan of Pandora and iTunes, I decided to take Genius for a test drive and compare it to Pandora.

Genius will allow you to select a song from your library and do two things--create a playlist of similar songs and suggest new songs to purchase from the store. Pandora does not have access to your music library, but it does allow you to include multiple artists/songs in your stations to refine the selections that it makes for you.

So how smart is Genius? I selected the Zero 7 song "In the Waiting Line" which, if you are not familiar, is a very mellow electronica tune with a sultry female vocalist. Genius' suggested a playlist from my library that included Tone Loc's "Wild Thing", Fatboy Slim's "Wonderful Night", and Eric Prydz "Call on Me," all of which, while heavy on electronic instrumentals, are decidedly not mellow and none feature female vocalists. Genius did suggest some Bjork songs, but none of those were mellow either! At this point, Genius didn't seem that smart. On the other hand, it was limited to the contents of my iTunes library, which (as you can surmise by the tracks that I just listed) is not all that expansive. *** note to readers--please forget the songs that I just listed and do not use them against me in any way. I admit that my music library is lame. I was trying to illustrate a point.*** Anyway, even if I had a huge collection, it would pale in comparison to the songs that Pandora and iTunes have in their libraries.

A fairer comparison between Genius and Pandora would be to compare their suggestions based on their expansive libraries, not my piddling one. So I selected the same Zero 7 song "In the Waiting Line" to seed a Pandora station and to get iTunes Store recommendations.

Genius suggested 15 songs that I should buy from the iTunes Store, including "Lebanese Blonde" from Thievery Corporation, "Glory Box" from Portishead, "Teardrop" from Massive Attack, and "Such Great Heights" from Iron and Wine. Strangely, Genius also suggested another song called "Such Great Heights" from The Postal Service. The first few recommendations were spot on, but then the closeness of the styles of the songs declined considerably.

Pandora played for me "Don't Panic" by Coldplay, "I Know" by G Spliff, "Dirty Laundry" by Bitter:Sweet, "Final Home" by DJ Crush, and "My Friend" by Groove Armada. All of these tracks match the style of the Zero 7 tune pretty closely. Also, instead of just 15 songs, this Pandora "station" will play indefinitely and adjust itself on how I rate the songs that have been played and other artists/albums I add to the station.

In case you are not familiar with any or all of these songs, essentially the quality of the recommendations between Pandora and iTunes Genius are close, but personally I preferred the Pandora selections. Genius having two songs with the same title where one isn't a cover of the other is suspect to me. And actually, neither song was such a great match to the song that seeded the recommendation to begin with.

Overall, I think that Genius is cool to create interesting (albeit sometimes strange) playlists, and it has the benefit of being embedded on the newest iPods, but I'll keep Pandora, thank you very much. I encourage you to try the same test yourself!

Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Scientific American Podcast

Tom Friedman's New Book--Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Scientific American Podcast

I love the quote, "Change your leaders, not your light bulbs."

Posted using ShareThis

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Brothers Bloom

I am jazzed for this film. Why? Because it is the follow-up from Rian Johnson, the writer-director of my favorite film from 2005, Brick. My crush on Rachel Weisz has nothing to do with it....

Impressions on Yesterday's Apple Event


Well, Wired was wrong about an iTunes subscription service. Kevin Rose was shockingly accurate, down to a mockup of the new iTunes 8.0 user interface and Genius feature. Though I like the new Genius feature in iTunes, I don't really care about it on my iPod as long as I can save my iTunes-generated playlists to my iPod which I can do with my existing iPod. I myself was holding out for an iPod Touch with more capacity and GPS, which did not come about. The "funnest iPod ever" iPod Touch 2G just doesn't grab me enough to compel me to give up my iPod Classic. If my iPod dies, I'll go out and buy one of these. Otherwise, maybe next time.

I was excited by the addition of HD content to the iTunes Store. May make an Apple TV more interesting in the future...

Does anyone else think that Apple should scale back these ultra-hyped events in the future? There's only so many times Steve Jobs can trot out on stage to tout marginal updates before it starts to get stale, right? Right? Am I right people? Hello?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Apple Surprise Coming Tomorrow. Wired Says...

Wired thinks that iTunes will be offering a subscription service. Could be. I'm betting on new devices (nano and touch) plus the holy grail for me--HD downloads....

Vid of Week 2008-09-08: Comedy Duo

Abbott and Costello? I wish. Cheech and Chong? Not quite as high. No, its Seinfeld/Gates!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

TiVo Resurgence

Just one reason and another why we shouldn't count TiVo out yet. The DirectTV TiVo in the first link is coming soon, the supercharged TiVo XL in the second link is already available.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

PC World - 10 Amazing Google Earth Add-Ons

I love Google Earth. And this is why.

The Story of Google Chrome

Google New Web Browser (now in beta) is pretty awesome, except that it doesn't work on a Mac yet. Read the story of how it was developed, by noted comic book writer/artist Scott McCloud.

The Baddest Baldies

Being an aspiring cue ball bad boy myself, I had a special fondness for this list of 17 Baddest Baldies from Entertainment Weekly.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Vid of Week 2008-09-01: Origin of Darth Maul

Very well produced back story on Darth Maul. 90% fighting, so what's to complain about?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Game for Men

Speaking of games, this one is a classic. 1 minute of hilarity.

Fantastic Contraption

I am addicted to this game. If you solve level 12 or higher, post a link to your solution in the comments. It's driving me crazy!

Monday, August 25, 2008

EW Action 25

Another cool list from EW. After reading the list, it makes you wonder what would happen if you put Arnold, Mel, Bruce Willis, and Chow Yun Fat together in a movie (with a Keanu Reeves cameo) directed by James Cameron. How cool would that be?

Vid of Week 2008-08-25: The Blackberry Helmet

Erik Steele:

A recent survey in Great Britain found that one in 10 Britons had suffered some kind of injury from walking into something while they "texted. Unless Brits are a lot klutzier than the rest of us, millions of Americans are probably getting injured the same way.




(thanks to Erik Steele of the Bangor Daily News for the quote and The Forrester Blog for alerting me to the article and the video)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

EWs Best Sci Fi of the Last 25 Years

Entertainment Weekly lists its Sci-Fi 25: The best Sci Fi since 1983. What makes me geekier--the fact that I have seen everything on the list except one or the fact that I moved that one item to the top of my Netflix queue?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites - Apps and Services - Reviews by PC Magazine

Usually, I find that lists like this are terrible. They either contain obvious choices or sites of little interest, a.k.a., filler. Not this one. Check it out.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm Not Video Crazy

YouTube was having some kind of problem. I was in the habit of posting my 'videos of the week' from youtube and then marking them as draft and postdating them for V.O.W. selections. However, recently I have had trouble posting from YouTube. Like, I post and nothing happens. apparently youTube kept my requests and processed them all at once. Hence the onslought. Sorry. I'll leave them up in case people are interested.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Vid of Week 2008-08-18: Minority Report Technology Today, For Cheap!

This guy Johnny Lee is brilliant. #1 Geekazoid in my mind. Check out this video of his Wii Remote hack, and if you like what you see, take a look at his other equally impressive Wii Hacks and other cool projects.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm Burning, Yearning, for Burn After Reading

I just saw the trailer for Burn After Reading, the latest from the Coen Brothers. It looks awesome! I can't wait for September 12!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Broadband Caps & Internet Video At Odds (duh?)

Scary Article from Gizmodo. Especially for me--downloadable HD content is the foundation of my geeky paradise. Giz Explains: How Broadband Usage Caps Will Kill Internet Video

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Latest on Amazon vs. iTunes

Ars Technica posted an interesting article on the battle for market share in the digital download areana here. Particularly interesting are the thoughts on DRM and the flexible pricing models. Personally, I prefer Amazon for the selection and, more importantly, the lack of DRM.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

CertifiedMail is Marketing BS

An anonymous poster recently responded to my posts on Goodmail. He/She wrote

What is it about CertifiedEmail that upsets you so much? The way it makes it impossible for a sender to spoof identity? Or maybe you are upset that there finally accountability for senders who blast messages to inboxes uncontrollably? Consider for a moment that Goodmail is probably the most exclusive email program going today, and its users have to adhere to extremely low complaint thresholds. So while marketers and others are sharing some of their email-generated profits with the ISPs (read: offsetting the high costs of email infrastructure that YOU the recipient pay for), Goodmail is making the internet a much better place.

Rather than carry on a conversation in the comments section, I thought that I'd post my response as a new blog post.

I reject the assumptions in the commentors' question. Giving the practice a pretty name like Goodmail or CertifiedMail doesn't make it good, and who is doing the certifying anyway? Along the same vein, "Adhering to low compliant thresholds" is a meaningless statement. Goodmail may not allow deposed princes from Uganda looking to tranfer millions into your bank account through their system, but the email that they traffick in is still unwanted. Across the board people don't generally take the time flagging email as spam, so high "compliance" whatever that means is just a load of PR spin. I also take issue with your statement "offsetting the high costs of email infrastructure that YOU the recipient pay for". There are plenty of free email providers that don't use services like Goodmail. Rhetoric is cheap. There should be other ways developed to prevent email spoofing and inbox blasting.

So despite the fact that I reject your assumptions, I will still try to answer your direct question. However, read the articles hyperlinked in my last post on the topic, they articulate it better than I. Here's the short version: there are two things about Goodmail and its ilk that I don't like:
  1. Assuming that all Spam is bad, ISPs are complicit in filling my inbox with unwanted content. Yahoo, AOL etc tell me that they provide SPAM filters, yet they selectively disable them for certain parties.
  2. If you believe that spam is a legitimate form of marketing (I do not), allowing some paying customers to have access to my inbox over and above other is a blatant violation of net neutrality. SPAM should have the same barriers to access for all purveyors. Should a legitimate small business owner not be able to send out a catalog over postal mail because they can't pay the fees that LL Bean pays?
This hypothetical on Slashdot sums it up:
If I could ask one serious question of anyone who was defending pay-per-email, or sitting on the fence about it, this would be it: Suppose you sent an extremely urgent e-mail to your doctor or your lawyer, who for the sake of argument you're not able to reach by phone. The recipient's ISP owner happens to see the message before the user retrieves it, and realizes how urgently you need to get it through. So he moves it to the recipient's "spam" folder, and then calls you up and says: pay me $1,000 to move it to the recipient's inbox, or they'll never see it.
Read the full article for the rest of his argument.

Bottom line. Spam sucks and I wish we didn't have to deal with it. But getting rid of most of it at the expense of net neutrality or legitimate email being blocked or delays is simply unacceptable.

Sorry if I babbled a bit here. I feel pretty passionately about this, and I wrote this off the cuff while trying to get back to my day job.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Stephen King's N

This looks pretty cool. As good as Dr. Horrible? I doubt it. So far episode 1 looks primising. Pretty freaky, as you'd expect from King.



Vid of Week 2008-08-04: Puppy Vs. Robot

This is kinda funny.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Gates vs. Jobs: THE GAME

Thanks to the folks at Current. Sound effects and graphics are funny. Game not so fun.



YouTube - tapdawg's Channel

This guy posted video of the Lost panel at Comic Con 2008. Cool stuff.

July Was CG Month!

Hooray for me! July was officially my most prolific month in the brief history of this blog. My series of film podcast reviews were concentrated there, so it makes sense.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

LG & Netflix Get it Right?

Remember yesterday when I was excited about this Panasonic Blu Ray Player? Well, LG just trumped Panasonic-their newly announced Blue Ray player that also streams Netflix to the TV. It's about time--they announced their partnership in January. Will it do HD streaming one day? Here's hoping!

Film Podcast Reviews Summary

So here is a summary of all of my film podcast reviews. Listed below are the podcasts and my original ratings. Plus I calculated two fields:

  • Weighted was derived from the fact that the content is more important to me than the production. The formula here was (3*Content+Production)/10. The list is sorted by this column, as this weighted score best reflects what I cared about. Your results may vary.
  • Time weighted was derived from the fact that my time is valuable. In many cases I'd rather listen to a halfway decent podcast that is 5 minutes long than a pretty good one that is 120 minutes long. The formula here is not as scientific—Weighted score/Length*100. This isn't as accurate a measure so I didn't sort by it, but it can be used as a rough guide. The five minute podcasts Left Field Cinema and Film Gang scored inordinately high even though they weren't my favorite podcasts. So, use that information how you choose.


FPR #


Length (min)

Production

Content

Weighted

Time Weighted

XIII

The Treatment

30

10

10

10.0

33.3

VI

Left Field Cinema

5

8

9

8.8

175.0

X

Kermode

30

8

9

8.8

29.2

I

Filmspotting

60

7

9

8.5

14.2

XII

Filmically Perfect

30

4

9

7.8

25.8

VIII

Film Gang

5

6

8

7.5

150.0

II

The Business

60

10

6

7.0

11.7

V

Cinebanter

60

4

7

6.3

10.4

IV

Fat Guys at the Movies

60

6

6

6.0

10.0

IX

Movies You Should See

60

6

6

6.0

10.0

XI

Cinemablend

60

4

6

5.5

9.2

VII

Cinemaslave

75

6

5

5.3

7.0

III

/Filmcast

60

2

4

3.5

5.8


So did I leave out your favorite podcast? Let me know, I'd be happy to listen to more, though my ipod is now filled to the brim with everything I have discovered in the process of listening to all of these productions.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Excitement Over E-Ink

Paul Reynolds at the Consumer Reports Electronics Blog just posted a brief synopsis on why we should be paying more attention to e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle. Interesting read.

My Next DVD Player

Drooling over this.

Film Podcast Review XIII: The Treatment

The Treatment (weekly, 30 minutes) is unique compared to the other podcasts that I have reviewed in that it is an interview rather than a lecture or conversational format. It is another podcast from KCRW (home of the previously reviewed podcast The Business) hosted by film critic Elvis Mitchell. Mitchell has been doing this program for 12 years, well before the advent of podcasting. His guests are filmmakers: producers, writers, and directors. Christopher Nolan, Jon Favreau, David Mamet, Andrew Stanton, and Anthony Minghella have all made appearances this year.

I debated with myself whether I should include The Treatment in this series of film podcast reviews. Perhaps it is unfair to compare the mostly amateur productions to a professionally produced radio program with A-List guests. I chose to include it simply because it is competing for space on my iPod "Film Podcasts" playlist. Plus, I have already included podcasts from NPR already, so excluding it wouldn't be fair. I think that the real reason that I hesitated was because The Treatment was just so much better than everything else that I have heard so far.

This podcast is a home run. Mitchell is a brilliant interviewer--these programs come across as a conversation with the guests rather than a Q&A. Rather than the typical "so how did you get Brad Pitt to agree to do this film?"--he really dives deeply into the guests' inspirations, thematic tendencies, motivations, and of course their films. I was riveted from minute 1 of the first podcast I heard and stayed in my car to hear the end rather than wait for my next drive to hear the rest. Since then I have listened to several more back to back with always the same result. Mitchell is obviously highly intelligent and knowledgeable about film. That makes him good. What makes him great is that he is a master of the art of an interview. He is soft-spoken, but not boring. He is smart, but doesn't feel the need to show you how smart he is. He clearly sets his guests at ease and let's them take center stage. Brilliant.

Plus, at under 30 minutes, I was never bored. The perfect podcast. A++ Go get this one.

Content 10/10
Production 10/10

What a perfect way to wrap up my film podcast reviews! Look for a summary in the next couple of days!

Update on Dad

Dating back to this January post, I know that you were all on the edge of your seats. Dad ended up getting an iPhone 3G. Not fair, I declare! The 3G wasn't announced until much later, and Dad didn't want to leave Verizon!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Carlin gets last laugh on death

Carlin gets last laugh on death from CNN.

IMDB Exposes a Listless AFI

Great post courtesy of Dave at E-Gear. In case you are wondering, here's the IMDB list. A differing opinion on the mob mentality of the IMDB list is here.

Devolution of the Fight Scene

Interesting article from Slate. Don't skip the series of you tube clips, including scenes with Bruce Li, Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis, Robert De Niro, Keanu Reeves, and more. Well constructed thesis.

Goodmail is Badmail

I am still steaming about Goodmail. Since my post yesterday, I have been reading more about the practice of email providers accepting payments to ensure delivery of spam, and the folks at Slashdot made me even angrier by further heightening my awareness and the implications of this practice here and here. This is an issue that deserves more outrage IMHO. Like, as in, write your congressman outrage. As in, complain to your email provider if they use Goodmail or another 'service' outrage. And tell your friends that use Comcast/Verizon/AOL/Hotmail/Yahoo that this is going on outrage. Slashdot is saying that Microsoft doesn't subscribe to Goodmail because they have their own similar service in place. ARRRGH!! By the way, this isn't a spam issue alone, this is a net neutrality issue. Here's why. At this point, I THINK that Google doesn't do this, but I would prefer to find some direct confirmation first before trumpeting gmail any further. So far, they seem like the best bet on this issue.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Best TV of The Summer


is not where you'd expect it. Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog comes from Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Serenity/Firefly. It is a superhero musical comedy that stars Nathan Fillion (a longtime Whedon collaborator) and Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother). All of that is compelling enough, but what is even more compelling is that the show is not on any of the major networks or cable, it is on iTunes. Not only is Dr. Horrible an awesome show that you should run out and download, it may revolutionize content distribution. I have watched all three acts twice each already, I can't wait for the sequel, and will buy the DVD the day that it comes out. Trust me, you will enjoy it. Plus, by downloading it, you too can be at the forefront of history!

Too Much Spam?

If you can't beat them, join them? Now the email providers are participating in spamming you via a "service" from a company called Goodmail that pays email providers to have their messages pass through spam filters and directly into your inbox. Just one more reason to get Google's GMAIL. Infuriating.

"...Yahoo is participating in the system and Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and Time Warner Cable have agreed to participate, although not all of them have activated the service. This represents at least two-thirds of e-mail traffic in the United States. Microsoft and Google are the big hold outs."
I recommend changing your email provider from the offending companies ASAP.

Read the full article

Hey Excel Nerds!

Wired Magazine recently put a shout out to this website which dubs itself "pop culture for people in cubicles"

Hilarious.

song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes


song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes

Vid of Week 2008 -07-28: Star Wars Shortened

This was my favorite video of the ones mentioned in the Wired article that I wrote about last week.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Film Podcast Review XII: Filmically Perfect

Filmically Perfect is a production of WYSO-FM, a public radio station near Dayton, OH. and is hosted by Niki Dakota, George Willeman, and J. Todd Anderson. The program is produced weekly and is about 30 minutes long.

On their website, they state

Many years ago, J. Todd Anderson (filmmaker, storyboard artist and bon-vivant) and Geo. Willeman (film archivist, writer, producer, and actor-of-sorts) came up with their Rules for The Perfect Movie. Four simple but defining rules. Thus was born Their List of Perfect Movies!
Although I would not have thought of this before listening to the podcast, one thing that struck me as obvious as soon as I started to listen was that these co-hosts were older. Not old, per se, but I realized that almost everything that I listened to up to this point was hosted by 20 or 30-somethings with little life experience under their belt. From their voices to their insightful thoughts about the films that they are discussing, it was clear that Filmically Perfect had more to offer than their inexperienced cohorts on other film-based podcasts. Only as the podcast went on did I realize that Anderson and Willeman are actually experienced cinematic professionals. Some of the insights that they share on the production of the films that they discuss are amazing! Dakota, incidentally, plays more of the facilitator role in this production, but she does offer some interesting insights as well.

I should say that the 'old' comment does not imply that these guys are boring. Though their podcasts does on very rare occasion stray into the SNL-parody of NPR territory of hosts on thorazine, they are humorous people, though their humor tends to be on the goofy side and rely often on the use of puns.

My only real problem with this podcast was the production quality. The sound levels on each of the hosts vary widely. With Willeman calling in(?) the sound quality on his voice is noticeably worse than for the other two. On a couple of occasions, the other two (in the studio?) interrupt him and he doesn't realize it and continues along, drowned out by the others. The other side effect of the practice of calling in was that the sound levels varied widely. I listened to several episodes of this podcast at my desk, in my car, and in a grocery store. I had to vary the volume levels widely from middle range to pegged at the top, even within the same episode at the same location. It was very strange, and especially because this is a professional radio production!

Still, if you can stand the sound issues, this one is a winner.

Content: 9/10
Production 4/10

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Almost Lost a Lost Letter

If you are not a fan of Lost, skip this message. This message was flagged by Yahoo's sucky mail spam filter, and I just noticed it:

ATTENTION ALL RECRUITS
DHARMA HEAD OF RECRUITING TO ATTEND LAUNCH

Octagon Global Recruiting, on behalf of the Dharma Initiative, is pleased to announce that Dharma's Head of Recruiting, Mr. Hans Van Eeghen, has confirmed his availability for the launch of our latest recruiting drive at Comic-Con 2008.

"My colleagues at Octagon Global Recruiting assure me that Comic-con hosts some of the brightest minds in the country," said Mr. Van Eeghen. "As Head of Recruiting it is my intention to personally assess the very best of this talent in the hope that they may join us."

The Dharma Initiative will be conducting eligibility assessments at Booth 3529 at Comic-Con, San Diego between July 24th - 27th.

If you are attending Comic-Con and would like to submit your name for a randomly selected drawing to secure one of ten (10) pre-release appointments with one of our recruiting officers, please click here.

The volunteer eligibility assessment will be available online from July 28th for a limited time at www.dharmawantsyou.com

The Dharma Initiative hopes you will spread the word. Invite your friends to join the team at www.octagonglobalrecruiting.com

If you can't view the images in this email please click here

Monday, July 21, 2008

Best Star Wars Parodies


The Wired article is called Best Star Wars Remakes, but it is more like a list of parodies/love notes paying homage to Star Wars. My all time favorite 'Hardware Wars' (pictured) is on the list, and I look forward to watching the ones that I haven't seen.

Film Podcast Review XI: CinemaBlend

Rafe Telsh, Margaret Williams and "Sometimes" Tim Kennard host Cinemablend, weekly hour long podcast talking about the latest releases and box office numbers.

This review will now benefit/suffer from the fact that it is eleventh in my series--I can't help but compare it to the others that I have listened to and reviewed. Content-wise this podcast is pretty good, but never really offered too many insightful ideas about their topics aside from what I have heard on other podcasts. They did have discussions about movie news which is different--a "Fiends" movie in the works? Can you believe Hellboy made $35M? Still, I am more interested in the films themselves than the Hollywood gossip. But if this is your cup of tea, then this may be a positive for you. Also, as I have said before, I always like to see a woman as a part of a movies podcast as most of the ones that I have heard are hosted solely by men.

Cinemablend is sort of a weak mashup of my previously reviewed Kermode and Cinebanter podcasts. It is like Kermode in that it has multiple hosts, but one host is clearly in charge--Rafe Telsh, in this case does 80-90% of the talking. Unfortunately, he doesn't have same level of charisma, wit, or insightfulness of Kermode. The podcast is like Cinebanter in that it is refreshing to hear a balanced view. Unfortunately, because Telsh dominates the airtime, the voices of the co-hosts are rarely heard. When they are heard, it is usually to mildly agree or disagree with the primary host or make a snarky comment. Not too many fireworks here. Essentially, if their idea is to have them engaged in a dialog a la Cinebanter, they come up short because one host dominates. If they are trying to replicate Kermode's podcast, where one host is meant to be dominant, they come up short there as well. Kermode is lightning in a bottle for 30 minutes, where Telsh is interesting enough, but can't sustain my interest for an hour. Plus, his co-hosts do little to prod him and stir things up like Kermode's brilliant co-host, Simon Mayo.

I was also disappointed in the production quality of this podcast. The microphone quality of the three hosts is different, making for uneven listening. There were plenty of instances of my personal pet peeve--popping p's. Also, from a production standpoint, some strange things happen. For example, in one episode, Margaret clearly leaves the 'studio' for a couple of minutes. Seriously? If the cohost can't stand to be a part of the show, why should I?

I do have to credit CinemaBlend for turing me on to Burn Notice, which I recently started watching on USA. Great show.

Production: 4/10
Content: 6/10