Thursday, February 26, 2009

Greener Gadgets Design Competition

Some ingenious green gadgets hopefully coming soon to a store near you. My favorite is the solar powered miniblinds that light the room after dark based on the charge collected before dark.... Definitely worth a look.

Monday, February 23, 2009

2009 Academy Award Speeches | /Film

In case you missed any of the speeches--/Film has posted them.

I Am Going to Buy A Lottery Ticket Now

Wow, for the first time ever in my life, my Oscar predictions were 100% accurate! I can't believe I skipped out on my friend's Oscar Party/Pool!

Full results from Variety.

My predictions:

  • Best Picture: Slumdog Millionare
  • Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
  • Best Actor: Prop 8 backlash gives this award to Sean Penn over Mickey Rourke
  • Best Actress: Kate Winslet
  • Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger. That's a gimme.
  • Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz

I didn't originally prognosticate the nominees for these categories, but the winners seem so straightforward, and I may need the bonus points when some of my major category predictions fall short.
  • Best Animated feature: Wall*E
  • Best Documentary: Man on Wire
  • Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Vid of Week 2009-02-23: Sporanos Swearing Summary

From Director Victor Solomon, a compilation of every curse uttered on the history of The Sopranos. In case it is not obvious, this content is not suitable for work. The video is strangely hypnotic and poetic, in my opinion.

the sopranos, uncensored. from victor solomon on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Refurb iPhone 3Gs for $99

Hurry up! AppleInsider | AT&T again offering iPhones for $99

10 Secret iPhone Powers-PC Magazine

At least 4 of these were new to me, and one is saving me on my wireless bill! 10 Secret iPhone Powers - Apple iPhone by PC Magazine

Films Most Anticipated/Most Likely to Bomb in 2009

OK, so it's already late February, so I'm slow with these lists. None of the 2009 releases thus far would have been on it, so it doesn't much matter. Here goes.
  1. Watchmen--The best graphic novel ever I hope will be insane!
  2. Avatar-James Cameron's return to the multiplex should be a blast.
  3. Shutter Island reunites DiCaprio and Scorcese. Awesome.
  4. Inglourious Basterds-Tarantino!
  5. Star Trek. I trust JJ Abrams with my life at this point.
  6. X-Men Origins: Wolverine: -I am a fan of Jackman and the character. Trailers are promising, though too revealing.
  7. The period crime drama Public Enemies from Michael Mann, starring Christian Bale and Johnny Depp. Niiice.
  8. Brothers Bloom, the sophomore effort from Brick director Rian Johnson. Should be cool.
  9. Sherlock Holmes--Guy Ritchie directs the re-emergent Robert Downey Jr. plus Rachel McAdams and Jude Law
  10. The Road-Excellent Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men) book, cast includes Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce and Robert Duvall. Sounds like it should be awesome, but it's release was postponed from last November, which isn't such a good sign. I almost put this on the bombs list....
Bonus List: Most likely to Bomb in 2009
  1. Up, the latest from Pixar. No anthropomorphication seems like a departure for them. Their first bomb?
  2. If you heard that Spike Jonze was making a movie with Forest Whitaker and James Gandolfini, would you think that it was the children's classic Where the Wild Things Are? I love this book and am frightened that they will ruin it. Production stills look really strange.
  3. Wes Anderson wears out his quirky welcome with Fantastic Mr. Fox, a Roald Dahl adaptation. Although, having Blanchett and Clooney in the film could save this one.

Explaining Lost Time Travel

Interesting article on Lost (yes, a week old) from an unexpected source--Popular Mechanics

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dollhouse First Impressions

In case you missed it, Joss Whedon's new series "Dollhouse" debuted last week. It takes place in current or near future, where this shadowy organization wipes clean the personalities of people and imprints them with another personality for "engagements."

It does seem promising, but for fans of Whedon's other whimsy-infused work (Angel, Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog) it may come across as more serious--JJ Abrams type show. It will be interesting to see whether he'll continue playing this one straight like an Alias or a Lost. I have to tell you, I never really liked the comic elements of his shows--it generally seemed forced. For example, "Mal" on Firefly seemed to be this great leader and a bit of a buffoon at the same time. It bothered me. I liked that touch in Dr. Horrible, though, but that was primarily a comedic production.

Though I loved the first episode, I'm curious about Dollhouse because it seems like we're going to have a hard time rooting for the main character, since we never really get to know her because she only is shown to us with an imprinted personality. The first episode did allude to her having memories return to her and the show may end up employing flashbacks. Regardless, I love the concept. I love the idea of rooting for her, and rooting against her handlers, but maybe rooting for her handlers in some cases. Should prove interesting.

2009 Oscar Predictions

As tired as this is, what self-respecting film geek wouldn't offer their Oscar predictions?

My predictions:

  • Best Picture: Slumdog Millionare
  • Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
  • Best Actor: Prop 8 backlash gives this award to Sean Penn over Mickey Rourke
  • Best Actress: Kate Winslet
  • Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger. That's a gimme.
  • Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz

I didn't originally prognosticate the nominees for these categories, but the winners seem so straightforward, and I may need the bonus points when some of my major category predictions fall short.
  • Best Animated feature: Wall*E
  • Best Documentary: Man on Wire
  • Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Last year I was 75% accurate. The actress categories killed me. I predict that if I do worse again, it will be because of those categories again. I think that I can do better this year.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Onion to Sony--BLEEP You!

If you hate Sony and love cursing, watch this video. I love the Onion.

Vid of Week: 2009-02-16: VoiceDial on iPhone

This application works pretty well for me, though it is prone to errors occasionally.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tweetie & Twhirl: Twawesome!

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have gotten into Twitter recently. Well, if you have much experience with Twitter, you know that there are countless twitter clients available for little to no cost. They mostly are designed for specific purpose--to experience twitter from your Mac/PC/Linux computer, smartphone, tweet your GPS coordinates, tweet photos or what article/webpage/song you are listening to at that moment. There are also twitter tools like Tweetchat that renders public tweets into a chatroom format, TweetStats that tells you (or shares) how you use Twitter, or Twitter Search that enables you to learn about twitter and leverage the twitterverse based on your needs.

I am writing about my two favorite Twitter clients, Tweetie for iPhone and Twhirl (multiplatform).

Tweetie (pictured at right) is an iPhone application ($2.99 in the app store) that enables reading and posting of tweets. It has a handful of cool features that distinguish it from some of the other iPhone applications that I tried. First, it supports the standard twitter funcions--public timeline, current trends, search, profile editing, favorites, etc. It also supports multiple Twitter accounts simultaneously, which was important to me. It also supports posting your GPS location, which is not important to me, but definitely cool. Plus, it has a very intuitive interface, and has yet to crash on me. Every other smartphone app that I have tried for the blackberry or iPhone did not support this full range of features. The Blackberry applications in particular tended to be buggy--they either crashed frequently or had frequent failures when trying to execute certain functions.

Twhirl (free) is an Adobe Air-based desktop client, which means that it will work on Mac or Windows. In addition to Twitter, it supports connections to other microblogging services, including Friendfeed and Seesmic. It supports cross-posting to other sites like Facebook and Linkedin as well. It also features multiple accounts and posting to twitpic, searching public feeds, and much more. The user interface is relatively simple and very clean and performance is much better than another Adobe Air-based and quite popular Twitter client, Tweetdeck. My second monitor is now completely covered with Twhirl twitter feeds. Love it!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It's Here! The First Inglourious Basterds Teaser Trailer

Bonus video of the week...

Yes, I spelled that right.

I cannot wait to see this new Tarantino flick.

Protect and Power iPhone

This is a cool battery and iPhone case rolled into one. Veeery nice. Even in Purple. If you were even remotely considering the original Mophie Juice Pack for $99, the $79.95 "air" update should be a no-brainer--smaller form factor, equivalent battery performance, better iPhone protection.

OK, that was a weak alliteration in the headline. I am capable of better.

Google Introduces GMail Location in Signature

Wow, these Google developers are really going to town lately on GMail. I recently wrote about merging contacts and multiple inboxes, and now Gmail has a new optional "Location in Signature" feature which automatically appends your location as a signature to your emails. Not as useful as the last two items, but pretty cool nonetheless.

I wonder if this is part of some internal push at Google to build up GMail. Regardless, I promise this isn't going to turn into a blog about Gmail.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Merging Contacts in Gmail

If you read my post on Gmail multiple inboxes last week, you know that I am a big fan. Still, Gmail is not perfect. Google is partially addressing by biggest complaint about Gmail. Duplicate contacts. Via CNET

Monday, February 9, 2009

Kindle 2 Doesn't Light My Fire

Amazon announced the update to the kindle, dubbed the 'kindle 2'.

Slightly faster page turns, more memory, electronic vice reader, sleeker design, same ginourmous price tag ($360!).

Amazon, at $200 you would have had me at hello, $250 I would have seriously considered it. With no significant improvements from my point of view (where's the web browser? MP3 player? color screen?), I'll wait, thank you very much.

Vid of Week 2009-02-09: Ode To Meep

I miss the Muppet Show.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Apple's Next Frontier

Not AppleTV, but a full-bore Apple Television. Wow. Via AppleInsider

GMail & Multiple Inboxes

Holy cow. Google's GMail was already the best web mail client, and now they just leaped ahead exponentially. There is absolutely no reason to use another webmail provider, in my opinion.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fan of Obama and Lost?

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't watched last night's episode, don't click here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Amazon’s Kindle 2 Imminent

After agonizing over whether to get an iPhone 3G, it looks like I will not necessarily need to go through the same process over the purchase of a Kindle. The Kindle 2.0 is coming next week. according to the New York Times. The only question is what will be different? I expect usability/ergonomic and performance enhancements, and hopefully cost.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Slap Shot Remake?

Sacrilege! (Variety)

The Case for an iPhone

Well, I took the plunge and bought an iPhone after much (too much) deliberation. I decided not to wait for the inevitable 64GB iPhone or whatever the next generation might bring, and I have not been disappointed. The deciding factor for me was when I realized that I probably only actively listen to about 5-10GB of my music collection with any regularity. We'll see if that holds true.

The first order of business of course was getting a case to protect my investment. I had trouble deciding whether to get a hard or soft one. Why compromise? I settled on the hard and soft SwitchEasy RebelSerpent and I think that it's pretty dang cool. It has a perfect fit, gives great access to the iPhone controls, and feels great in my hand. I found it on iPod Lounge, which is my de facto source for iPod accessory recommendations. This case and another from SwitchEasy were their #1 and #2 ranked cases, so I figured I couldn't go wrong.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Bowl 2009 Ads

Still trying to figure out which Superbowl ad I like the best. Maybe the Coke Zero "Mean Troy" or the "Denny's: Thugs" ad. Both had a great blend of nostalgia and humor. I also loved the "NBC: LMAO" and of course the trailers for Up and Star Trek. Transformers 2? Not so much. I definitely did NOT like the cast of Heroes hamming it up. What do you think?

Vid of Week 2009-02-02 Trek vs. Wars

This is perhaps the funniest Star Wars/Star Trek mashup I have ever seen. Thanks to /Film for featuring it. Be sure to take a look at /Film, as they also have some nice related links and commentary.