1601 Blog January 2016

January 2016

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Sun 1/24/16 9:20pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

The WELL: Bruce Sterling & Jon Lebkowsky: State of the World 2016
source: well

Via email from Alex Tarkowski: The landscape of the Internet Counterrevolution is indeed quite bleak. Do you see any reason to still see hope regarding the positive, transformative power of the internet? Is there anything thatís a counterbalance to trolls, cyberwarfare, surveillance and corporate domination?
*It's not all bleak. The Internet had a pretty good run as major technologies go. It had and still has plenty of transformative power, it's just than no form of technical power can be entirely "positive" or permanently "positive." I would rank Internet with major advents like electrification, national highways, mass production, aviation and so on. They're important but they're not the be-all and end-all.
*If you were to ask, "is there a reason to still see hope in the positive, transformative power of electrification," well, it would just sound odd. "Hope?" What about? It's a fact on the ground.
*Very few of us want to give up our light switches, but the coal plants that fire up those electrical nets are very dangerous. Nuclear power, no picnic either. But it's not that electricity is bleak of hopeless. Change continues, there is LED, solar, wind, smart thermostats, giant Elon Musk batteries in the basement, all kinds of activity in electrification. The only change is one of historical experience; we're used to electricity now, and we don't demand utopia from it.

A California police department decides how dangerous you are using this software
source: mashable

Beware uses a patent-pending, web-search algorithm to scan massive amounts of commercial data and presents it as actionable intelligence, complete with threat scores in an easy-to-read headline format-all within seconds of an initial query.
I wonder if I'll be able to get my threat score on my Credit Card Bill like I do my FICO score?

How driverless cars will change cities - YouTube
source: youtube

Way too optimistic.

53 men and 9 women own as much wealth as half the world's population, Oxfam says
source: mashable

People are ok with this because they can't process large numbers.

I want to hear your

Sun 1/24/16 4:26pm # | tweet this

Random Non-Sequiters

When digital doesn't matter any more

Watched a Bruce Sterling speech, they are always entertaining. In anycase he's got a point at the end where he suggests digital internet stuff will be old fashioned and uninteresting in 15 years.

His precedent examples for this are: Electrification, General Electric, and General Motors. I think there is a lot to his line of thought.

If you read up on history, electrification was an exciting time, but you don't give a thought much to your wall outlets and light switches now.

The age of appliances were equally exciting and now a lot of them have been condensed down into a smartphone, or are just cheap utilitarian made overseas somewhere or other devices we don't think twice about.

Cars used to be a big cultural thing too, and now an entire generation is largely trying to figure out how to get rid of them, or have less of them. Uber everywhere, live and work downtown, that sort of thing instead.

None of these things go away, they just kindof fade into the background hum of everyday life. I think Sterling's 15 year runway for digital is actually generous. I think the end started a couple years ago and I think in 10 years a lot of this digital/internet disruption we will have completely moved beyond as any kind of everyday interest thing. But we'll see.

I want to hear your

Fri 1/15/16 10:03am # | tweet this

Random Non-Sequiters

Self Driving Cars

The idea of Self Driving Cars is interesting. They truly would be culture changing on a level beyond the smartphone by an order of magnitude. I don't think they are likely to have much impact for twenty years or more though. They are like AI. AI is always around the corner. AI has been around the corner for 40 years. Driving Cars will be like that. Always 10 years away. They sure ain't coming to Michigan or the northern states that get snow anytime soon. And they aren't going to work well in a mixed environment of human and AI drivers either.


Many of the much ballyhoo'd Millennial generation are in their early thirties now. Some in their mid to late 30s are also regressively joining the "Millennial Generation" to stay younger. "Adulting" seems to be the current buzzword of this generational cohort. Even in their 30s there is a strong cultural avoidance of being an adult, so for those things like paying the mortgage, buying a new washer and dryer, or doing their taxes, they apply the word "adulting" as if they are just taking a temporary deviation from what otherwise is still their "youth".

2016 Presidential Race

The 2016 political season, which I think started 3 years ago, is beyond tired. Bernie on the Democratic side is interesting. The Republican establishment, the party of really rich people that want to get even richer, is just comical in how insane they are to pander to and scoop up the votes of the illogical God and Guns, undereducated and proud of it, bitter white people vote. Fortunately this election is pretty contained to a handful of cable new channels that hardly anyone is watching anyway.

I want to hear your

Wed 1/13/16 11:14am # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing

Why You Never Need to Put Your Apple TV (or Other Modern Devices) to Sleep
source: howtogeek

I've never worried much about power use/cost. More interested in wear and tear on the device if it's always on?

GTP Toys
source: galactictradingpost

Deathstar hallway panels. Pricey, but nice.

Google adds Reminders feature to Calendar apps | The Verge
source: theverge

About time. Nice it's in App. Will be more useful when it's on the web too.

Paramount and Hasbro are making an '80s toy cinematic universe | The Verge
source: theverge

A massive, cross-property film universe, where the characters from the G.I. Joe series will collide with heroes and villains from four whole other brands: Micronauts, Visionaries, M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand), and ROM the Space Knight.
Visionaries? Noone wants a Visionaries movie.

How to Make Cool Shelves - All
source: instructables

I want to hear your

Sat 1/09/16 11:28am # | tweet this

Skyrim Dovahkiin

I actually haven't played Skyrim, Jennifer has though, so I've watched a fair amount of it. Jennifer's Dovahkiin was a Female Khajiit, but I'm guessing that they won't make one of those. So human male Dovahkiin it is.

He's a nice figure and decent 6" scale. Not heroic scaled though. Since I watched Jenn play a Khajiit ( a humanoid cat race) I'm not sure how big the Dovahkiin would be if you chose the race of human.

He works ok though with the old Toybiz/Marvle Toys Conan. I'll assume that Conan would be bigger than the Dovahkiin, since he's Conan.

The big bad in the photo is Wrarri, the Devourer of Souls from the Legendary Conan 2 pack. Not quite a Daedric Warrior, the other figure in the Skyrim wave. But close enough, at least until the Daedric Warrior seriously gets clearanced down in price.

Fantasy isn't really my genre of choice. But it's fun to buy something a little different than superheroes every now and then.

Nice figures. Hopefully these lines like Skyrim are working out for Funko, as I'd like them to continue making these short waves of 6" figures for various properties.

I want to hear your

Sun 1/03/16 5:41pm # | tweet this

iZombie Liv Moore

Picked up the iZombie figure for cheap at Toys R Us. Nice action figure.

I've seen almost all the 1st season, but unfortunately haven't watched the 2nd yet. I plan to catch up on the second when it's available for streaming.

Liv Moore is actually a 7" action figure, but because the actress is short, she works as a 6" figure fairly well.

iZombie was co-created by Mike Allred. Madman, an older Legendary Heroes figure on the right, is Allred's creator owned Superhero character.

Constantine, recently canceled from NBC and fresh off a guest stint on CW's Arrow, and iZombie are both DC Comics/Vertigo properties. They'd make for a nice team-up I think.

I want to hear your

Sun 1/03/16 1:49pm # | tweet this

Most certainly not licensed troopers

An article on a toy blog I follow brought this awesome collection of figures to my attention. Six Star Wars figures for $16. That's $2.67 a figure. Six inch figures, in perfect scale with the 6" Star Wars Black action figure line.

So do you get Star Wars black quality for 10% of the price? No. But they aren't bad. The articulation is limited but not awful. They have head, shoulder, elbow, leg, knee and some angle articulation. The plastic is ok, most of the joints were tight except a looser arm on a couple. For $2.67 at figure though, these are an Army builder's dream.

The only downside, the 3 Clone Troopers, if those would have been all standard Storm Troopers instead, I probably would have bought 2 or 3 sets. Not that thee are anything wrong with the Clone Troopers, I just haven't been buying many prequel figures, so they aren't as useful to me as the original trilogy figures.

Here's all the figures pulled out of the baggies they came in. Each figure, except for the Imperial Guard, came with both a long and short blaster. I've chosen the the short blasters for these pictures, since they work better with the figures limited elbow articulation.

Here's an Imperial Guard standing behind "real" figures of the Emperor and Vader. The Imperial Guard has zero articulation. But that's ok, they mostly just stand there anyway. The Imperial Guard does not come with his staff, so he's shown here with one of the long guns that each of the other troopers came with. It's tempting to get another package of these just for another Imperial Guard.

Next up, a "real" Sandtrooper on the left and the knockoff Sandtrooper? Dirtytrooper? on the right. Still a nice figure for the money, even if he needs to report to the Trooper showers.

Next up, on the left, either their attempt at a Shadowtrooper or a week attempt at a Tie Fighter Pilot. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and go with Shadow Trooper. On the right a "real" Stormtrooper for comparison.

Here's the Shadowtrooper behind Vader. With a "real" Stormtrooper on the right. Like the Imperial Guard, it'd be tempting to get a second pakc of these for another Shadow Trooper too.

Oh prequel Clone Troopers, if only you were Stormtroopers instead. You're cool, but I'm much less likely to use you for future pics, since I have so few other prequel figures.

In anycase, a really fun set of figures to kick off the new year! For some pictures of another figure of questionable licensing checkout my review of Movie Hawkeye.

I want to hear your

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