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Tue 7/31/07 9:24pm #
Just finished the Babylon 5 Lost Tales DVD. Eh... I hate to say it, but this wasn't worth it. First it's only 72 minutes long. Which is short for $18. Second problem, there are never more than 3 people on screen at any one time. It's claustrophobic for a space drama. It's also very talky. If you're familiar with JMS, then you know that JMS being talky is not always a good thing. This is talky and it's not a good thing.
Basically, this is equivalent to a community theater revival play set against bad blue screen. It is however disconnected enough from any sense of Babylon 5 continuity that it really doesn't effect the over-all Babylon 5 or Crusade arc, so it's not tanking the franchise or anything.
It's too bad because the concept is good, but they should have had more action or at least something more to it that anchored it to Babylon 5 continuity. These two little short pieces could have been done in any universe really. There's nothing very B5 about it, other than it represents B5 at it's talkiest. Blah.
Tue 7/31/07 7:46pm #
Babylon 5 Lost Tales
I picked-up Babylon 5: The Lost Tales DVD on the way home from work today. I'm going to go watch it right now....
Tues 7/31/07 4:25pm #
How to fold a shirt fast...
Ford teams with Microsoft to deliver Blue Car Crashes of Death
Paula Zahn will sign off of CNN next week. Can CNN put on an even worse show? Probably.
Sun 7/29/07 4:38pm #
I have internet on my cellphone and can check my email from that. It's also possible to look up small chunks of information on that device. There's also an internet coffee shop down the block that I can get on the internet with my PDA. And then of course there's still internet available all weekend in my cube at work, so I might pop in there for a bit later.
My laptop has been pretty fussy with it's wireless card for a long while now, so unfortunately that's not going to work. I've been putting off getting a new laptop, because I really want to get one of the Asus $199 sub-laptops.
Asus $199 laptop and thoughts on mobile and desktop computing
There are some other computing features that are nice in a mobile unit: movie/video playback, music/podcast playback, note jotting, document/list recall/reference, address books, calendaring, and photo viewing. My experience has been, that for me, these activities work best on a PDA form factor and I've been very happy with how my Dell Axim has been handling those functions for the last few years.
There are two things that I would like to be able to do in a mobile unit that I haven't seen a good device for yet however. Those two thinks are: Comic book reading and google map viewing/long form web reading. I would love to have a thin color tablet screen that wasn't as bulky and slow to turn on as today's tablet PC's to do those two activities.
No matter how good the software, city maps are very difficult to use on a playing-card-screen sized PDA. And laptops just aren't very practical to use on the road or in a parking lot somewhere.
Comic Books and long-form web/document viewing are also not very practical on a PDA sized screen and the bulky/slowness of a laptop or current tablet PC aren't very suited to curling up on the couch or in bed to enjoy those media format on those platforms either.
With mobile discussed, I'm going to turn the attention of this rambling post to the desktop. What's the desktop good for? For me, honestly, pretty much only a few things: graphic design work (vector, raster, and layout), serious web browsing\internet, serious office application use, video editing\disc creation, server apps, file storage\serving, and web\internet development. You can do a lot of these things on nicer larger laptop, or even a smaller laptop if that's what you have, but all of these activities are much more practical\economical on desktop hooked to one or more large screen monitors.
What doesn't interest me much on PDAs, Laptops, Tablets or Desktops (PLTD)? Glad you asked:
What doesn't work (on PLTD)#1: Watching movies I really want to see. The PDA is actually pretty good for watching TV shows, and passable for killing time with a minor flick while away from home. But for a movie I really want to get into, the TV in the living room is the way to go for that. I do use a desktop for this, but it's an old box with a media focused install of linux, so while this technically is desktop activity, for all practical purposes what really works is a set-top box solution, I've just cobled together a more homebrew solution that mimics an AppleTV type device.
What doesn't work (on PLTD) #2: Games. I'm not a big gamer, but for the gaming I do, I find gaming is much easier with a console game system hooked to a big TV. It's rare that I play small games that work well on cells, pdas, or portable gaming systems, I get that some people like those, but generally I find that on a mobile device, I'm much more likely to watch a TV Show or check some internet news when I have a few idle moments.
What doesn't work (on PLTD)#3: Listening to Music. Although I love Pandora streaming internet music on my desktop, an iPod and a speaker dock is probably the best way to store and play music in general right now.
Comics and Wizard World
This would be my fourth year in a row attending. I'm not sure there is enough new stuff going on, with Marvel or DC or if it's been long enough for me from the last con to make this year's convention worth it to me. If you've never been to Wizard World Chicago, I do recommend it. It really is something if you've never been to a comic convention of that size. However, it may just make sense for me to take a break from it this year.
How the Internet has changed
I also think, a lot of the community sites, are only communities in the sense that the city that someone in a US suburb lives in is also technically a community, which is to say, they aren't really communities at all. Most of those communities are really just places that have the occasional flash mob centered on a certain happening.
Most of the sites I come across seem to have populations of 10 active members or 1,000 or more active members, with very little in between. I'm sure there are plenty out there with closed member lists of 100 to 150 but unless you know someone already in one, you probably aren't going to stumble upon and discover them.
Basically, the internet writ large like society writ large is barreling toward being largely just as impersonal.
People and Time
The friends you meet post-school in most cases are going to change much more frequently as workplaces change and personal family dynamics change. These new friendships are going to also tend to be more limited in scope, as people you'll meet tend to focus on building their careers and family-households, and maintaining those earlier family/school/college formed relationships when they are in their mid-twenties to late fifties.
There's an incredible amount of tunnel vision that sets in during the above time in the United States, and it's the majority of people's life time too, if you want a lot of real friends, as mentioned above, you are going to need to get in those tunnels early before those tunel visions set.
It's good to have people to share with, to spend time with and to enjoy the company of. It's also nice to know that there are people that "have your back" if things go bad. That's probably the number one thing I see as people's attachment to family over friends, although I have seen the rare occasion where the family/friend dynamic is synchronized well, I would argue that is not the majority situation. The classic family "has your back" idiom only works when everyone in the family agrees to that concept of family first, and it also only works when everyone has the same concept of who is family. There's nothing magical about the family concept itself though. All relationships, outside of the obligations enforced by law, are ultimately only as strong as their participants agree that they are. Believing anything else is self-delusion.
The point is, find people that share your beliefs on how to treat other people that you enjoy doing things with. From what I've seen, those are the relationships that work.
Since an open blog doesn't discriminate against who reads your posts and what they might do with the information in that post, and since you don't know how those irrational fear-motivated people are likely to react to what you say, or what they are likely do with your general thoughts applied to your own not-general personal situation, the blog format really doesn't work well for discussing workplaces in the USA. The one on one lunch or dinner format does work very well for workplace discussion and I do like to speak as openly as possible in that forum on the topic.
That's your happiness range. It is probably not as wide a range, at least on the top end, as you would like, but there probably is still a lot of room in the top half of that range. No amount of money, stuff and or type of relationship is going to fundamentally change that natural happiness range and the irony is the more you try to push beyond the top end of your natural happiness range the more likely you are to end up in the bottom of it.
Whatever you do to try and alter the range, like water, that range is going to seek it's own level. Best to just roll with whatever your range is and stop fighting it's boundries. Do the little things that tend to put you in the upper level of your range, practice letting go of the rest.
Find balance. If someone pushes the envelope, their body and mind is going to just normalize back to standard eventually anyway. It's less stressful to enjoy less, more, but I don't think stress should be eliminated altogether. Besides the point that without medication it can't be eliminated, it's part of that balance. Good can't be, without bad. Both should be managed.
I like the maxim: "Things should be as kept as simple as possible but not simpler."
How simple people can function and still stay in that upper part of that happiness range consistently is going to vary. It may be that a person gets dealt a wack happiness range, or that outside forces bombard them with overwhelming bad situations outside their control, but more likely than not, there is a positive part of that natural range that can be worked within that will require no change to their outside environment at all, if that natural happiness is sought and becomes part of ones self awareness.
Sun 7/29/07 4:30pm #
Let's Go Surfing
Iron man first Silver/movie suit detailed photos at SDCC. Looks good. 'course all special effects and models look pretty good these days. Iron Man has a pretty crappy origin story, so I'll be pretty suprized if they can turn it into something. But this suit looks neat.
New SDCC first look at The Incredible Hulk. Better than last time.
Mezco is making Heroes action figures. Cool idea, but Mezco doen't normally make their figures in scale with DC Direct or Marvel legends, so that's kindof a bummer. Maybe they will get the scale right, one can hope.
WizKids is going to make Heroes Heroclix, now that is very cool...Save the cheerleader. Win the game?
Mattels DC Superheroes Line has 6" Red Tornado, Orion, Etrigan the Demon, Penquinn, Metamorpho and Catwoman. All these characters look very good, but all of these have been done fairly recently so it's a mixed deal. Metamorpho looks to be the real stand-out figure.
Kids WB Animated Spectacular Spider-man SDCC preview video. Looks good but it's also focussed on High School age Spider-man. Eh....
Don't know how long this SDCC Iron Man Footage is going to be up but it looks very very good... they could still screw up the movie, but the Stark stuff and the Flying Gold and Red Suit..... Sweet!
Kevin Smith will write and Direct one of the Heroes Origins Episodes. Snootchie bootchies!
Watchman Website. Not much there at the moment. Another story claims Watchman will aim for an R rating. That would be cool, but will WB let them get away with it? I mean that would kill off the idea of Watchman Happy Meal Toys.
Julius Marx whose site is impossible easily link to individual aricles has info on DC Direct: Killing Joke: Batman and Hawaiian Shirt Two Pack. Smallville Series II - May 08 - Clark Kent, Green Arrow, Arthur (Aquaman), Impulse, Cyborg, Bizzaro. Mattel The Batman: Will have Hawkman, Superman, Hal Jordan GL, Martian Manhunter, Flash are all coming.
A "Reality" Desktop?
Reality Desktop - video powered by Metacafe
Fri 7/27/07 9:25am #
New Toys outta SDCC to go on the List
SDCC DC Direct
Marvel Has Alot going on.
Thur 2/26/07 7:22pm #
Just heard Didio on G4TV's Live ComicCon Special say that with issue 26 Countdown's title will be changed to "Countdown to Final Crisis"
Didn't we just have an Infinite Crisis?
Crisis level mini's every year and a half now... My keyboard does not allow me to describe how stupid this sounds and how uninterested in this I am, and I'm a DC fan.
Tue 7/24/07 12:51pm #
Sarcastic Gamer: Microsoft Surface Computing
Sarcastic Gamer Wii Fit Board
Tues 7/24/07 12:16am #
Former person from my work, who moved to California who was just on a Scott Baio VH1 Reality TV Show. Look for the backless shirt and the red boa. Um yeah, that's random.
I'm not a watcher of these shows. Another co-worker tipped me off to this and I caught the rerun tonight. Work people, enjoy. Everyone else. Nothing to see here, move along.
Mon 7/23/07 8:07pm #
» Absolutely fantastic video from Matt Parker and Trey Stone of South Park fame.
Mon 7/23/07 4:37pm #
» Picked Up the Indy Legends (Legendary Heroes) two packs a couple days ago, pictures below.
I'm not terribly familiar with these characters, Conan I know from the films, but not being a Sword and Sorcery type I haven't ever really followed the comics.
Body Bags, is a duo I'm not familiar with at all, I've picked this up completely based on the character designs and in support of this new line. I do hope the singles show up soon.
As mentioned earlier, I found these at Meijer.
Also pictured are some Dollar Store Wrestling figures I picked up that I think make great generic thugs. I'll have to get around to repainting the thugs at somepoint.
On with the pics....
Close-up of the Conan Packaging. It is well done with nice shelf presence. Also fits in well with the earlier Marvel Legends.
Sun 7/7/05 12:05am #
Body Bags 2pk and Conan 2pk.
Here's My Toy Report from my forum:
Saturday night 11:35pm:
Meijer, Rivertown - Found one Indy Legends "Body Bags" 2 Pk. No more left.
Meijer, Jenison - Picked up the Indy Legends "Conan" 2 Pk. (2) Conan's were left on the top shelf, end of the aisle. (1) Body Bag was also on the top shelf above the Transformers at the front of the Action Figure Aisle.
Meijer, 54th St. - Nothing new seen.
They look very nice, I'll have more pictures up on my blog by Monday.
Sat 7/21/07 9:13pm #
There's a new New Frontier Animated DVD screenshot up too
Sat 7/21/07 1:55pm #
Let's Go Surfing
» Fragrant Pencil Leads. Sweet!
» Freeware Portable Onscreen Keyboard for Windows. Great idea for Media boxes.
» 30 World Skylines. Nice.
» Battery operated Zombie (a post specifically made for Jeff).
» Picard Song
Fri 7/20/07 12:56am #
» Had the day off today. It was nice to sleep-in and break-up the week.
» Could just be the summer months and the general lack of new stuff on the nets as people and companies deal with vacations and what not, but I haven't seen a terrible amount of stuff that "I just need to blog about."
Here's some random things that I have been interested in lately that I'm not blogging to much about:
Xubuntu Linux- A lighter version of Ubuntu Linux that works well on older machines. You really have to marvel at the quality of OS and applications that are available as free opensource right now.
Asus' $199 Laptop- Still no idea where this will be available... but I'm looking forward to the smaller form factor as much as the price.
Action Figures- I've got a lot of these now ;) Really there hasn't been much happening on this front. Summer is typically a slow time for toys, but there isn't alot on the horizon that I'm really looking forward too. DC Direct looks like alot of repeat characters over most of the next year. Hasbro Marvel Legends haven't really been turning over that fast in the stores in my area. What's the wave slate now for this line? 2 a year? Hard to sustain the collector mentality with that few waves. Mattel DC, some interesting things but these haven't been flying off the shelf, the new characters disappear and then the pegs stagnate with Batman and Superman figures.
Design- There's alot of good design out there right now. In some ways decent design seems to really be a commodity now. Not that that is a bad thing.
Comics- Still buying more than I can keep up with reading... I'm so far behind right now it's crazy... but really it's no biggy, the net news on comics is so repetitious and the companies hit the reset buttons on these books so fast now that it really doesn't matter if you're not that current.
TV- Lots of really good TV out there, too much to keep up with. This fall looks ready to explode with some really god programs too.
Pandora- I'm not a big music guy, but I'm really digging Pandora.
TV News- Really hard to watch, it's all so tabloid. The first 10 minutes of Daily Show is pretty good still, but it loses its luster with their correspondents and the news show parodies in the second half of the show. The networks, CNN, and MSNBC are parodies of themselves already... Daily Show seems stuck with being able to do little more than run a clip and say "Can you believe that?" That's not a critique on the Daily Show, I have no idea how you parody a parody either. Bill Moyers Journal on PBS is pretty goood right now though, so that's an hour a day that's decent. If anyone out there has found a good video or audio podcast of the news leave me a link in the comments.
Let's Go Surfing
» MPX, a Linux software running on Ubuntu that makes possible alot of Microsoft's Surface computing tricks. This tech is going to do wonders for Heroclix someday.
» Nice Web Surfing Chair, but I think you could build something similiar for far less than $4,300.
» Nice alternative to mounting a flatscreen on the wall.
Mon 7/16/07 11:05am #
Ron Paul at Google. Interesting talk. I can't say that I agree with all these ideas, but the consistency is an interesting thing to see in a politician.
Sun 7/15/07 4:29pm #
Hooray! Just got back to my place and I looked over into the corner of the room and the router was no longer blinking that blinky blink it does when it has no connection! Internet is back! Turned on the TV. Cable is back! All is connected once more to the world.
Sat 7/14/07 4:10pm #
Internet is still down. I'm going through internet wlthdrawl now. At the moment I'm getting a quick fix surfing on my pda at a coffee shop. Yay for gadgets .
Fri 7/13/07 10:46am #
Battlestar Galactica Razor preview, looks good:
Mon 7/9/07 10:58pm #
Simpsons Theme played on Two Guitars.
Mon 7/9/07 10:03pm #
I was up at the mall after work today and decided to stop into the Cingular/AT&T store and play with the iPhone. They had one on a tether. Anyway I picked it up and it's just a beautifully well done piece of equipment. Nice weight and feel. The touchscreen and the "pinch" controls are every bit as slick as they look on the videos. The unit I played with was connected to the internet via the store's Wi-Fi. The web browser was very fast and responsive on Wi-Fi. The few pages I looked at, looked very good. The zooming on the page with the pinch worked very well, but there still is a certain impracticality in browsing the web on something that small. Still it's very very good screen.
I don't see myself getting one for awhile though, even though I think it would be a very good device for most people.
I already have a Pocket PC. The two things I use the most on my Pocket PC are the media player (for videos) and the Notes application.
iPhone I'm sure does a good job at playing videos, although I imagine it probably doesn't play as many formats as "The Core Pocket Media Player" on my Pocket PC does, which means either buying everything from the iTunes store or alot of converting. I also really like scribbling notes with my stylus: grocery lists, todos, measurements for trips to the hardware store, book titles, you name it. I'm always scribbling something into my Pocket PC.
If you want a nice music player and a very nice mobile web browser, the iPhone looks top notch, and the touch screen on it is without compare. But all it's spectacular features aren't worth it to me, at it's current cost, to replace the devices I already have. And I think that I would miss the lack of a stylus to scribble notes with too.
The iPhone is an incredible paradigm shift. If I didn't have alot of the toys I do have it would be tempting. But I'll wait until it's a little cheaper and a little more open for extra applications. (And you never know, the competition might come up with something pretty neat too.)
Do swing by an Apple or AT&T store and play with one. They are very neat.
Mon 7/9/07 8:55pm #
Looks like DC comics are trying a ham handed coporate attempt at creating a YouTube for web comics. Zuda Comics. Sounds like the basics are, you create original content with your characters and ideas for free (no Batman or Spider-man or anything either, it's got to be all original). Then, if your comic is popular, DC will take most of the rights to it and make alot of money off of it for their corporate parent company Warner Bros.
Sun 7/8/07 12:27pm #
» A fan storyboard treatment of James Cameron's Spider-man script.
» David Pogue's iPhone, the Musical... um, yeah.
» Coloring Shazam with Steve Haymaker. I so want one of those Wacom Screen Tablets now.... more videos.
Sat 7/7/07 1:12pm #
» Cellphone embedable sized 20" projectors are coming, that's going to be neat.
» Want an incredibly simple, yet nice looking online todo list? Try tadalist.com. Does one simple thing, let's you keep simple todo lists online.
» This is an interesting optical illusion. Play the video, stare at it for a couple minutes and then look away. (BTW: this is not one of those videos that has something jump out at you or anything (I promise)... it really is just a geometric pattern that you have to stare at, then look away to a wall or a picture on your desk.)
» Interesting side by side comparisons of Disney reused animation.
» Here's what I must imagine is a stay at home mom or dad with alot of time on their hands:
Thur 7/5/07 6:31am #
» 2008 Summer Movie List taken from The Beat. Personally I don't think the market
can support a major geek movie every other week... but we'll see.
» iPhone parody ad. (Watch this if you are sick of the iPhone hype.) Good Stuff, but if you are at work, put on your headphones first.
Tue 7/3/07 2:35pm #
» I read a little bit in Wikipedia's entry on Attention Economy. Alot of their examples (while probably mainstream) are pretty out there. But these two points I found interesting:
Traditional media advertisers follow a model that suggests consumers go through a linear process called AIDA - Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. Attention is therefore a crucial and the first stage in the process of converting non-consumers.
A market-based approach to controlling externalities was outlined ... Careful assignment of rights and sets of rules for the initial allocation of rights. Once this is achieved a market mechanism can theoretically manage externality problems.
Tue 7/3/07 6:27am #
» Take a look at some news video of the the 7-11 "Kwik-E-Mart" below. Also read a little more and see still pictures at TechEBlog.
Related: Here's friend Jeff on the Simpson's Couch display at the movie theater last night.
» I haven't looked at all of these yet, but these Free Fold-up Paper Miniature models look cool.
Mon 7/2/07 11:02pm #
» So... I just got in from Transformers. That's pretty much as Michael Bayish a Michael Bay movie as you are ever going to see. One could call it Bay-a-riffic.
I saw one reviewer call this "ET with giant robot battles", I'd call it "Small Soldiers with giant robot battles".
The Transformers in motion look really good, and the first half of the movie is actually pretty good. The second half however goes into Bay-overdrive. You are going to have to suspend a tremendous amount of plot disbelief to stick with the second half, but the second half of the film is also where the cartoon nostalgia is going to kick in, so if that's your thing, the second half is for you.
I'm glad I saw it in the theater and if you are going to see it, do see it in the theater (I think there are parts of this movie that will be very difficult to make out on the small screen.) If you like Transformers the cartoon, go see. If you are the parents of 10 to 16 year old boys, go see. But if you were on the fence about seeing this, I'm not going to offer anything here to push you over it, go with your gut.
Do you have a review of Transformers on your blog? Post a link in the comments!
Mon 7/02/07 1:06pm #
» Disco Storm Trooper... this is fantastic....
Mon 7/2/07 12:52pm #
» Went to the park for lunch, it's 72Ί outside. Sunny and clear sky. Had a Little Ceasar pizza, good conversation and got to watch a pack of 6 squirrels chasing each other. Good Times.
» Pandigital Wireless Bluetooth enabled Picture Frames. Neat, and not outrageously priced for this sort of thing either. 6" for $119.99, 15" for $299.99 and several sizes/prices in between.
Mon 7/2/07 8:25am #
Friend Jeff over at Kneelbefore Blog has a precedent for the "Electra Reveal". Take a look at his write-up on Fantastic Four #357
Sun 7/1/07 11:18pm #
» Transformers Tomorrow!!! (Monday).
Sun 7/1/07 10:22pm #
Sun 7/1/07 9:15pm #
I haven't really been able to sit down for the 45 min or so a post that it normally takes to collect and post a blog update lately.
What I have done is automate the blog a little more so that it will be easier for me to make more frequent smaller posts. We'll see how this goes.
Sun 7/1/07 9:00pm #
This is a test Post
Sunday July 1, 2007 8:49:31 PM #
» Scary Youtube short: The Hauntening...
» New York Times editor, David Pogue's amusing and informative review of the iPhone.
Let's Go Surfing
» Computer Animated, almost lego-like, animated Batman Short.
» Punctuation Mark Bookends for your bookshelf.
» Newsarama brief interview with Daniel Acuna who's from Spain.
» T-Mobile has a Wi-Fi at Home Hotspot strategy. When at home, your cellphone will switch to using Wi-Fi instead of Cell. They give unlimited calling when you are switched over to Wi-Fi. Cool Idea.
» Neat Lego Aircraft Carrier.
» Nintendo embraces Indy game development with WiiWare.
» Megan Fox - Transformers more that meets the eye.