Monday, April 30, 2007

The Bell Tolls for Microsoft

Sorry I missed the last couple of posts. I went to Orange and White on Friday, and that was fun. I'd share more pictures from it, except that I think my date would kill me for that, so I'll hold off on that. Then last night was her performance in the Texas Latin Dance spring show (which was stellar, by the way), so I couldn't post then either. I'm back in action now though, with chills running up my spine from reading Paul Graham's latest essay. His basic premise is that Microsoft dead, and what's funny is that he's right. I've been saying for a while when people asked me why I didn't want to work for Microsoft that they've been going downhill for a long time now and they lost that zest they started out with. Graham takes it much further arguing the harsh effects of Google's rise to glory, the movement of the desktop to the web, and Apple's resurrection have laid Microsoft to waste. I'm going to argue one more cause: letting their own weight pacify themselves. They've become so entranced with churning out upgrades for their software that they haven't innovated in an explosive way in a long time. If they don't do something drastic, it honestly is only a matter of time before Windows crashes and burns, which is obviously their bread and butter. Their best second bet is the Xbox 360, which is doing alright right now and I think has potential, but unless they start investing in fresh ideas without corrupting them, they're going to fall under their own weight very soon. I don't know how I feel about declaring them dead quite yet - I'd probably say fatally ill instead. Even worse, instead of competing with Apple products or trying to 1up them in another arena, they just scoff at their efforts. Yeah, the iPhone is no big deal; it's not like everyone pissed their pants when they saw it and forgot what the letters C, E, and S meant when used together (confused?) and didn't care what Microsoft had to say. Though all these pundits are lashing out against the iPhone, I can tell you right now that it won't flop despite the issues most techies sees. It will only succeed like the iPod has if Apple plays their cards right, which is very likely, and so it's definitely a threat to be taken seriously. Well, Microsoft, you had a good run. Maybe Ray Ozzie will turn the company around? Nah, doubt it.

Remember that big brew-ha-ha about Internet radio getting screwed by Congress? Well, a couple of Democrats are proposing a reversal of that, along with a slight compromise, to the applause of the Internet radio community and Clear Channel among others. Wow, I guess mass mobilization really works!

Apple has now told its iTunes providers that it will be offering DRM-free music and videos next month, and the authoring software was available to whoever wanted it. I didn't know about the video thing before, especially not that EMI wasn't planning a price increase for it. I wonder if they'd then allow you to retroactively remove the protection from your older music video purchases? It's unlikely, but it'd be neat.

eWeek has a really great slideshow of what you shouldn't do if you don't want your computer's and data's security to be compromised. It's simple, short, and covers a ridiculous amount of security violations, so it's a must-see if you're not already cautious about this sort of stuff.

Computerworld has a good editorial about why eBooks will fail, and I think I agree with them. I've been optimistic about this technology for a while now, but it hasn't taken off in the least, and the prices of eBooks really aren't nearly as cheap as I was expecting. I don't think trust technology enough yet to burn their paper-backed books for these things (especially since they're still not cheap).

Have you heard of Vudu? I actually hadn't either until today, when Gizmodo put up some pictures of it in action. It competes with products like the Apple TV that strive to stream your computer's media content into your living room except that it also allows you to buy movies for download directly onto it at an extraordinarily fast rate because of its torrent-like model of pre-seeding content and then sharing it across a distributed network (i.e. peer-to-peer distribution). If they put DVR in this box, as well, it may just take over the world. Let's wait and see what happens.

I wanted to make quick note of two more things. A bunch of Aussies came up with a site called Fatsecret to help people lose weight with a free, ASP empowered website drawing heavily on the commnity aspect. It needs an exercise area, but otherwise awesome (I personally used Nutrisystem to lose weight, so I always love these kinds of sites). Lifehacker has some neat USB thumbdrive tips, like how to sync your data or how to put together a PC repair kit.

Once again, the box office made little sense with Disturbia staying on top with under $10 million. The films that came out though were received poorly by critics. It doesn't matter though, Spider-man 3 will come out this weekend and easily pass the $50 million mark (though my personal estimate is beyond $100 million). I wonder if I'll have time to see it.

I salivate at any Dark Knight news, so I thought it was interesting that they had a fire on set delay things a bit. Also, if you're in the Chicago area, you may want to try their open casting call so you can be in the movie. I wish they'd film a scene in Austin!

AICN got their first review of Transformers, and it's obviously from a huge fan. Still though, fans are usually the harshest, and he loved this movie (he wrote a review that rivals most short stories), so now I'm more optimistic about Michael Bay doing a good film for once.

It looks like Quentin Tarantino is remaking a Hong Kong martial arts movie called Come Drink With Me before he starts work on Inglorious Bastards, which I think is kind of an odd project for him since he usually does homages, not remakes. Still, I obviously loved what he did in Kill Bill so I'm infinitely intrigued with this project.

All I have for you now are trailers, most of which are great. The first is the red-band trailer for a comedy called Superbad, and I can't recall the last time I laughed so much in a trailer. I think that the premise can give rise to a wildly hilarious movie, and I look forward to seeing if it ends up being that funny. Yahoo Movies has a strange trailer for the horror movie Captivity, featuring hottie Elisha Cuthbert, but it doesn't really explain much or why it's "controversial".

The trailer for Brad Bird's next movie, Ratatouille, is cute and clever. I think it could be a fun movie, but I don't see it comparing with how great The Incredibles was as an animated feature. The last trailer is for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and it's much more amazing than I had imagined it would be. I didn't see the first one and now I really want to see this one. I did watch the cartoon when I was little, but this movie seems to stray from what I remember the series as being in a very interesting direction.

Now for some Monday Madness:

1. Currently, what television commercial is your least favorite?
I don't watch live television barely at all, so no idea.
2. And which commercial is your most favorite?
See #1.
3. Of the sitcoms that are on during "prime time" how many do you watch on a regular basis? Please share.
Just "The Office" if that counts as a sitcom?
4. Is there a television series that you enjoy watching that is ending this season?
Veronica Mars =( I don't think it's official yet, but the ratings aren't looking too good. Oh Kristen Bell, how I will miss your witty, smartass humor.
5. Is there any type of program you'd like to see more of on television?
Not really. I think that the great stuff on television right now is mixed pretty well between different genres.
6. Is there any type of program you'd like to see less of on television?
Yeah, reality shows.
7. Is there a series that is no longer aired that you wish would come back?
Freaks and Geeks!
8. Do you watch re-runs of anything on television?
When I'm in Houston: Seinfeld, Friends, Family Guy, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Futurama.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tsk Tsk, OU

No, this time it's not about the Sooners. It's the other OU. That's right, Ohio University: you're on notice. They decided to ban all P2P activity on their network. This may sound reasonable, but note that it also encompasses legal P2P, as in for buying stuff from BitTorrent. It's a freaking university, since when did it become the RIAA's stooge? What happened to the rights and freedoms of your students? The solution to helping stop piracy is not to hit it with a gigantic mallet, despite popular belief nowadays. I don't know what pisses me off, the fact that a place of education and supposed open-mindedness is doing this, or that the RIAA so readily exploits college students, who are already dirt poor and obviously can't usually afford the appropriate legal advice. I much prefer the idea of ads in P2P clients like Limewire that would gain you legal copies of the music you were trying to pirate. Now there's a positive solution, and I think we're screwed if we don't explore more of those. If more universities follow this policy, it could spell doom for further research into the legit uses of such technologies and for students to make use of it, and that would truly be the travesty. Still, I don't think that'll happen, because P2P is too big already to be squashed like that.

YouTube is looking to start making itself more worthwhile to Google: they're going to try ads after certain videos this summer. I imagine that they'll start this out with content professionally produced by companies (television networks, movie studios, etc) and then propagate to more premium contributors if that works. Should be interesting to see how the community reacts.

Once again, Steve Jobs is insisting that they will not turn to the subscription-based model despite rumors and pressure from the industry. I actually agree with him that people would prefer to own their music, but he often does stuff like this to throw us off the scent (like for the iPhone). If you look at their profit margins, they'd likely be able to afford a subscription-based model, but the problem is that I presume it would mean doing away with the current pay-to-own model, which would suck. Unless they could get them to work side-by-side, I'd prefer them to not allow subscriptions, either.

Do you hate calling tech support? Well, then you may sympathize with this phone call recorded by a firm researching people's opinions on tech support. This call was to HP, and I humorously (or sadly) enough had almost an exact scenario a couple of weeks ago when my Internet was acting up. I literally dealt with them for 30 minutes, largely because I was being redirected in loops to people who couldn't solve my problem and kept asking me for the same information. Do companies not realize that people are getting pissed off about this? People remember bad tech support, and tend to talk about it with friends. Outsourcing really doesn't work for this stuff either.

People are starting to see a recent Google facelift adding news hits to searches, as well. You can see shots of this here.

Doesn't that look cool? I think it should be the future of keys. It's dubbed Keyport and would hold several keys in that one rectangular box there. Plus, it may include RFID capabilities and alarm remote functionality, as well as a flashlight. How nify would all that be? I hate dealing with my keychain, especially since two of my keys look the damn same!

Jack Valenti, creator of the MPAA, has passed away at the ripe age of 85. Yeah, he was definitely pretty old, and a lot of people definitely don't like the MPAA, but he definitely did a huge thing to help the film industry in creating the MPAA. It may not be perfect, but I don't think it was a flawed idea. Anyway, I'm sure his name will live on forever for his political fame and status in entertainment.

Quentin Tarantino spoke to a British magazine about the financial failure of Grindhouse but that he's still proud of it. Apprently, he'll tack on 30 minutes to his movie, Death Proof, for its individual release in the UK, and that version will also be shown at Cannes. I feel ashamed that I've heard all these great things and still haven't seen it! I just don't want go alone for it. Anyone want to come with, this weekend?

Lastly, I just think it's funny that Lucy Liu has subjected herself to the lead role in a vampire movie, one named Rise: Blood Hunter no less. Honestly, what was she thinking?

Now for the 3x Thursday meme:

What are your 3 favorite types of music? Why?
Rock/Alternative, Hip Hop, and Salsa. I just love the energy in Hip Hop, Salsa is ridiculously fun to dance to, and Rock/Alternative is great when you're just chilling out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Free Apple TV and iPhone Updates

Before I get started here, I wanted to make one more comment on yesterday's main topic (the Jobs vs. Gates thing). I finished watching Pirates of Silicon Valley today and I realized that I neglected to point out the irony in how people perceive these two guys. Bill Gates is seen as evil and Steve Jobs as a hero, when in reality it's Gates who's the awesome philanthropist and Jobs who's often just a jerk (the illegitimate child, the anecdote of not hiring the virgin job applicant, etc). Just goes to show, being judgmental is often the wrong way to go. Anyway, the most interesting topic for today was honestly just that Apple is planning on releasing free software updates for the Apple TV and for the iPhone after its release. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is the first time they've done something like this. These aren't just firmware updates or bug patches or something, they're actual feature add-ons. I'm curious as to why they decided to do this. Is it because of Internet chatter that both products were lacking? Is it just a new trend within the company? Or did they always know that they wouldn't have enough time to squeeze out the software they wanted? Anyway, I don't really have anything bad to say about it, I think it's a great idea. I'd rather have to get an update for a product then get a rushed, crappy version.

Another thing from Cuppertino: Apple is working on a deal with Gracenote (a byproduct of a huge "illegal" lyrical database from back in the day) to distribute lyrics with iTunes music. Yahoo Music actually recently brokered a similar deal, but I didn't comment on it because I figure that no one cares about Yahoo Music (sorry, Yahoo, the truth hurts). Could this mean that iPods would start showing lyrics, as well? Would iTunes retroactively fetch lyrics for you? This shall be interesting.

Samsung is projecting that Solid State Drives (SSD) won't overtake conventional hard disk drives anytime soon in pricing. Even its latest price drop makes it 5 times as expensive, but I think people will still be willing to pay a premium when they start to realize that iPods break so easily partially because they're backed by a dinky hard disk drive, which is subject to shock damage quite readily as opposed to the durability of Flash memory.

Google has offered code improvements to the popular open source database MySQL completely free of charge, and now the company is considering additions, which is impressive since they've been closed off about it in recent years. Still, when Google is giving you free code, I think you should probably take it.

I want to talk about a couple of fun products here. The first is a portable grill, which is largely useless but still cool. I guess if you live in an apartment and can't grill on your patio then this may actually make sense. Regardless, it looks damn cool. Also, at the risk of looking like a boozehound, I just think that this booze belt is too cool. So now you can take Jager, Tequila, and shot glasses with you to all your Saturday night party excursions and be the object of all the ladies' desires (for alcohol, that is; not for you).

Lastly, Nissan is working on a car that would cost under $3000, which I think is an awesome idea. What a great thing for low-income families and college students who really need a car (for cities like Houston and San Antonio and such) but can't afford even a decent used car. I think this race to build cheaper cars is a great idea, and will help take back some of the used car market for them.

Grindhouse appears to be on hold for the UK while the Weinsteins figure out how to best sell it to British audiences. The movie bombing stateside was a huge shock, and I'm sure that now they're just scrambling to make back at least their budget. I still have no idea what went wrong, unless it was just the length of the movie and its inside-joke campiness value.

We have strong rumors that Eric Roberts, of "Heroes" fame, was cast as the mob boss villain this time around in The Dark Knight. Not much else to say about that, but he really is a good actor who is just not appreciated much.

AICN got another 28 Weeks Later review, and it sounds like it's a worthwhile watch. It's no 28 Days Later, but sounds better than the average horror flick.

Lastly, we have a final one-sheet for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which I think is a bit early. The movie doesn't come out until mid-June, do we need the final poster right now? Anyway, it looks very much in the style of the previous movie posters, so it's pretty good, but nothing especially amazing (unlike the trailer, which was badass as I had remarked last night).

Now for a Wednesday Mind Hump:

Today's topic isn't very useable, so we'll just do some word association:

Grits (oatmeal)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

World's Most Powerful Computer Mogul

I got my address for my place this summer and looked into the place a little, and it looks awesome (it's in Downtown Seattle!). Amazon really takes care of its interns; we even get maid service! Anyway, sorry to have missed so many posts. Things have finally calmed down a bit for me. I wanted to talk a bit about a couple of videos I checked out on Vodpod and really liked. The first is an episode of the BBC show "World's Most Powerful," where a really annoying host compares the most powerful men/women in various fields. The information in the video is worth enduring the host for though, because it's a great synopsis of the rise of Apple and of Microsoft. An even more thorough look is Pirates of Silicon Valley, which is a mix between a documentary and a re-enactment of various events from the early years of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The acting isn't especially good, but the accuracy of the information is hauntingly accurate, despite being exaggerated at times. The main point is that anyone who doesn't think that the world would be a totally different place without these men is a lunatic. Someone else may have come along and done what they did, but it wouldn't have been the same. These two men did amazing things, and they're definitely one of my idols. You can say what you want about the cult of Apple or the evils of Microsoft, but there's no doubt that these men embody the heart of the beginnings of modern-day computing, despite their many weakpoints. Yes, Steve Jobs really is quite temperamental, but Bill Gates isn't quite as weasly as they portray him (though he isn't very charismatic, either). It's really fascinating how different they are, and how totally polar their succeses were. Steve Jobs enjoyed huge success as this hero figure, especially given that he popularized the personal computer, while Bill Gates is really just known as this incredibly talented businessman more than a visionary. What you get out of these videos is this drive within them (I know, the second one really exaggerates this) that has become more common nowadays (at least among people I've known). What's important to understand is that they became passionate about something where there was literally nothing there to be excited about and created something out of it. It's easy to believe in Jesus if you shake his hand after you see him crucified, and it's easy to get excited about computers once you see what they can do. Anyway, the videos are fun to watch if you're bored or need a break from whatever you may be working on. By the way, they concluded the most powerful mogul to be Bill Gates, but I don't know if I'd be able to decide because Steve Jobs has a lot of power over telling people what they want whereas Bill Gates just has ridiculous market share.

What's the difference between all these majors related to computers? I love this rundown of the six major ones, and it's fairly accurate. I do think it almost makes it sound like you can get software engineering without computer science. On the contrary, I think that the former just grows out of the latter. The reason that the top recruits in software engineering come from the top 10 CS schools is because these companies want people who know their stuff really well and love to think, not people who can just code. I'd feel really weird to get paid to program without having taken a course like Automata Theory, even though I wouldn't use that knowledge on a day-to-day basis, necessarily.

Google has rolled out a very interesting new service called Web History that logs all your web surfing habits so that you never forget what you did online that day way back when. Obviously, they're not going to give this information away, but I still see a major privacy issue. If their system is compromised, or your information is subpoenaed (no idea if that would be possible, but with all this Patriot Act crap I wouldn't be surprised), would it be possible? I think that the Search History thing is intrusive enough. How many people really want this kind of history to be logged?

A couple of one-liners: a new site is letting you buy your friends drinks over the phone. So if you're going to have to miss your friend's big 21st bash, just send him a gift card in the amount of a free drink over the phone and let the good times roll. I think it's a pretty fun idea. The other one is this site that lets you fill out PDF forms online. Very cool and useful; I've been wanting something like this for a very long time.

I know it's not technical, but I just have to remark at how freaky and ridiculous this AIDS poster is. We already have flyers around campus that literally say "FACE AIDS", which I think is funny because I definitely don't want AIDS on my face, but this is bad in a more serious way. It's kind of graphic in the sex positions it shows, and I think the turn of events is rather drastic. Maybe I'm just crazy, I just don't like this poster. I think there are better ways to communicate the importance of safe sex, like the fact that you can't test for certain STDs, which is really scary.

I just feel like talking about trailers, so that's what I'm going to do. AICN is raving about the movie Once, and I like the trailer. It definitely sounds like a heartfelt romance, which is a nice change of pace from so many contrived romance movies. I'm definitely a softie, but I hate movies that try to force you into feeling something for the main characters as so many romance movies tend to do.

You'll probably have more fun watching the trailer for The Bourne Ultimatum, but I don't know that it'll necessarily be a good movie. Still, I did like the first two a lot as action flicks, so if they really are stopping the series here, which would make sense, then maybe they really did put effort into making it worthwhile rather than just making it a cash cow.

I don't think there are words in this language to explain the awesomeness that is the trailer for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. These Harry Potter trailers never cease to amaze me, and I love how it ends with the line from the first one-sheet. I'm not even a Harry Potter fan and I can't wait to see this movie! I love how this series gets darker and darker, I really do.

Now for a Tuesday Twosome:

1. Mail-in rebates: A pain to deal with or worth the wait to get money back?
Worth the wait =P You can't argue with an Indian person about saving money: they're always going try to do it.
2. Warranties: Take a chance without them or a must have when buying high-priced items?
I usually just take a chance. Probably not smart, but I don't buy expensive stuff very often anyway, and I usually make well-educated choices.
3. Product knowledge: Research before you buy or rely on salesperson?
As I hinted at in #2, I always do extensive research. I don't spend money unless something is worth it to me.
4. Word of mouth: Base purchases on what your friends say or disregard because you know what you are doing?
I wouldn't say I base it off what they say, but I definitely take my friends' opinions highly because I respect most of my close friends highly.
5. New Versions: Must buy the latest version right away or wait for a while?
I usually tend to wait a while, but free upgrades I do immediately (like for Firefox and Gaim and such).

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Time, Come Back!

Yeah, once again, I just can't do a post. I have to get up in 6 hours if I want to work out tomorrow, so I'm going to need all the sleep time I can get. I managed to finish the project, I hope I do well on it. Other interesting things have been happening in my personal life, and I'm just going to have to hope and pray that it works itself out. If it doesn't, you'll probably notice a more somber tone in my posts for a while. I know I don't usual push religious stuff on this blog, but I just wanted to note that I really do think that sometimes we are just powerless to accept God's plan, as totally ludicrous as that sounds to most of you, I'm sure. Sorry, I just had to say it.

Bethany had a wine and cheese party on Saturday night; that was fun. Here are a few non-incriminating pictures from that:

The initial spread was great, and only got better.

The queen had a ridiculously red outfit.

We just liked the beer glass.

It really didn't take long to degrade into this.

I wish I could share a couple of others, but I know that those people would be pissed if I did, so I won't. I should be back tomorrow night; no homework due for a couple days after tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Great Debate Returns: Women in CS

I know I promised an early post tonight, but I ended up getting caught up in other stuff. I'm sure you'll learn to forgive me in time. Anyway, I talked about this way back when, but it's definitely worth bringing up again. One of the biggest things in CS right now, across the nation, is the concern that not enough women are entering Computer Science nowadays. I think people totally underestimate this problem as a natural imbalance. Without a diversity of perspectives in this field, it will suffer greatly. When everyone in a discipline is like-minded, there's no one to break the mold and do great things or change the way we see the world. The less women we have the less chances we have of finding a brilliant female perspective that instigates something really cool. That's why programs like Girlstart are so important; we risk losing innovation that could spur other advances. So what's with girls nowadays? I think the biggest thing, honestly, is the whole nerd stigma. The dot-com bust and outsourcing are still over-inflated, popular concerns, but that affects men just as much as women. In reality, I think that there's this fear of being a code monkey, and people don't realize that there's so much more to this field than that, and so many more possibilities. Not only that, but the stuff you can create with computers can become so revolutionary without requiring a lot of money; it's incredible. Anyway, it's a very male-dominated field, and that can be intimidated. The fear of being like the stereotypical programmer can be debilitating, but I think programs across the nation are working hard at that. Unfortunately, I do not buy UTCS's commitment to this. Yeah, they do eagerly support WICS's projects, but are they actively trying to correct these stigmas? The solution isn't to make it easier to get in, it's to make it easier to get passionate about computing, and then everything else will just fall in place. Without that desire, getting into the program is meaningless, because you won't stay.

I've missed a ridiculous amount of news. Let's start with the Google stuff: it's confirmed that Google is, in fact, developing a Powerpoint clone for their own online office suite (so far, just documents and spreadsheets). They acquired Tonic to expedite this process, but I have no idea what their existing product(s) look like, so we'll just have to wait for a good old-fashioned Google beta release to learn more. Oh, and rumors are back about Taiwanese manufacturers getting orders for Google Phones, but I don't take this as a reliable source. I should try to tap connections at TI to see if that part of the story has any validity.

Remember my link yesterday to Better Gmail, the sweet Firefox add-on? I've been using it since then and it's so freaking cool. Anyway, Lifehacker put up a video to show you a little more of how to be efficient with Gmail, as well as more add-ons. Better Gmail is still the best one though. And remember, always use https in your URL to access Gmail.

Here's something fun: a bunch of pictures of nerd tattoos. I'm surprised that there were so many video game references and so few references to Star Wars (none to Lord of the Rings). I would've preferred more coding ones (how about showing the Oracle machine from reduction proofs or something?). Anyway, for some reason, I liked this one best (no, not because it's a female butt, I know at least one person with a much better ass ;):

I think this is pretty funny, too: Microsoft only sold 244 legal copies of Vista in China in the first two weeks of its release. That doesn't near cover the millions they spent on advertising there, and it's all because of how ridiculous the infamous black market is there. I wonder what would happen if Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) totally disabled illegitimate copies of Vista? Would sales go up in China, or would they not upgrade, or would they all get Linux?

The IRS is applying pressure to have online auction sites disclose the identities of its users so that their incomes from such sales can be accounted for. Aside from the obvious privacy concerns, this really will hurt the little guys who won't get many users if they have to disclose that kind of information. This will create a monopoly for the big boys, namely, eBay. Is it really worth the extra tax money to do that? I'd like to see some hard facts on this before they move forward with such action.

No doubt in an effort to be hip and trendy, you'll soon be able to purchase episodes of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report through Xbox Live. No word on how much it will cost, but I wonder how much money this will yield. If it can only be watched via an Xbox, then that's still kind of flawed and won't help them much. Am I understanding it correctly? Please correct me if these downloads from Xbox Live can be transferred to your PC, I just never heard of such a think.

Last thing for techie news: Will Ferrel and Adam McKay have teamed up again, but this time to create a site called Funny or Die. I think the title is dumb, but the bare bones site is actually based on a good idea: only keep videos that people like. Only videos with a certain amount of votes stay on the site, and the rest go into a graveyard of videos that must be voted up intensely to return. That landlord video is really hilarious, by the way, so be sure to click through (NSFW warning though).

We have news of production beginning on a couple of films. The new Indiana Jones flick will apparently start filming on June 16, and it looks like The Dark Knight started a couple of days ago. We know this because we have photographic evidence of the bank that will apparently be robbed by the Joker. I never say this, but it really does sounds more and more like this movie will be a wet dream for lots of Batman fanatics.

Yahoo Movies has a trailer for Balls of Furym featuring Christopher Walken and Maggie Q, but I didn't laugh once during the whole thing. It looks like they're relying too much on low brow humor, and it just kind of runs in the wrong direction with an otherwise humorous premise. Too bad, I really love Christopher Walken usually, but he's made bad choices in films more recently.

They also have a clip from 28 Weeks Later, and it's genuinely a bit scary, so be forewarned. I really do hope that this movie follows the footsteps of its predecessor to be more than the standard surprise-scare horror movie.

Now, for a Wednesday Mind Hump:

1. What do you do when you need a time out from all of your daily worries and activities?
Besides checking e-mail and webcomics, I think of when I'll next see a certain someone who makes me feel happy no matter what.

2. What celebrity needs to take a time out in the corner for naughty behavior?
Probably Tom Cruise, but he already gets enough ridicule so I'm not really sure. Never gave much thought to this.

3. What do you wish you could spend more time doing?
Besides spending it with a certain someone? Probably practicing guitar. I feel like I've been losing the talent I once had. I still have that zeal, just not enough time to invest in it anymore.

Oh, and don't expect a post tomorrow night. I'll try, but it's not likely.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Lights Camera Apple

I have to get some Scheme written before I go to bed, so I'll make this post short and sweet. Today was that Lights Camera Apple event at NAB I had mentioned just a couple of weeks ago, and you can get the full recap over here. However, I doubt that many of you will need to, or want to, read through all that. The meat of the presentation was the release of Final Cut Studio 2, and Gizmodo has slightly more detailed impressions of that. It sounds like a solid, professional-grade application, but it will set you back $1300 (ranges from $500 to $700 for an upgrade, though). I think this begs the question: how do they determine this pricing model? I really am curious, to be honest. It seems like an exorbitant amount of money for just some code in a box. Is it because it requires a price that high to recoup their costs and profit for production on a newer version because of how few buyers they'll have for this kind of software? Is it just a status symbol (like how people will buy name-brand things rather than knock-offs based on its price rather than its quality)? Do they feel that this software just has the capabilities to generate the revenues to warrant such a purchase? Or is it simple supply and demand at work? I'm banking on it being the last item, but in any case, it sounds like it's pretty cool. Though I'm sure I'll never get to use it, I look forward to finding out what Ars Technica says.

One more tidbit about Apple: a recently filed patent application seems to imply the development of another Apple TV that would be like a media hub connecting all your home theater devices together. I hope that they have more up their sleeves than that to follow up a product that critics don't seem to find much value in.

If you're a Gmail user, you'll really get a kick out of this Firefox extension. Usually, I write off Gmail-oriented Firefox extensions as being superfluous, but this one is actually really awesome. Not only does it make it easier to identify labels and attachments, but it does cute stuff like warning you if it looks like you forgot to attach a file you promised. If you're on Firefox, it wouldn't hurt to give it a try. If you're not, then something is wrong with you. Seriously.

CBS has penned a deal to distribute some content on Joost, AOL, and MSN. By the way, Joost has not given us any invites yet, so don't ask me for one. I'll be sure to say in a post when we do get invites. Anyway, CBS is doing a really great job by diversifying its digital distribution efforts so well. They really are experimenting to see what their audiences want, and I like that.

Apparently, Microsoft has been developing a cross platform web client for better, easier media viewing online called Silverlight. It sounds nifty, but his explanation is too level. We need to actually see something.

If you want to see some fun computer rigs, you should check this out. I like the key-removing one best:

I'm getting real sleepy, so we'll keep the movie news short here. Entertainment Weekly is spreading rumors that Sam Raimi may direct The Hobbit, which would rule out a Spider-man 4 happening anytime soon. I think we could all live with that if the former ended up being good.

It looks like the title of the next Indiana Jones flick may be Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods. I personally think that it sounds really stupid and will strike a cord with conservative religious types, so I wonder if that will have any impact on the final title.

I hadn't heard of Atonement, featuring Keira Knightly, until now, but it looks like quite an awesome movie. The trailer is here and it looks like a WWII drama/romance. I know, sounds like a lot of other movies, but the style in the trailer is quite promising, to be honest.

Lastly, we have new pictures from Ocean's 13.

Now for some Monday Madness:

1. Who do you think is cuter, the host of Survivor, or the host of Amazing Race?
Um, ok so obviously this question came from a girl.
2. Have you seen any movies in a theater recently?
The last one I saw was 300, and I really liked it.
3. Do you read manga?
Nope, though I tried before. Nothing wrong with it, I just never got into it.
4. For people living in the US: Have you ever traveled outside of the state you were born in? For people living outside of the US: Have you ever traveled outside of your country?
Yes, I have. To New York, Washington, Arizona, D.C., and Florida. Outside the US: India.
5. Do you have a Yahoo! 360 page?
6. How many blogs/online diaries do you have total?
One =)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Scrap the Internet?

I'm so sorry to have missed so many posts, everyone. I'll admit right now that I'm not going to be able to keep up with a 6 day a week schedule until my summer starts, but this blog is far from dead. I just have something greater than this blog in my life, so I've just been re-balancing out my life, so obviously this will take a lower priority. I'll make up for it with some pictures. We played Broomball on Thursday night, followed by IHOP, and that was fun:

Friday was ACM Big Event (big bbq thing at Eastwood Park), and I got to mount Jack. It was everything I thought it would be, and more:

Last night, we saw Kung Fu Mahjong at Bethany's, and she made some awesome stir fry:

Ok, everyone happy? See, I have just been busy. Back to the real stuff now: the Interweb. It sounds pretty nutso to just scrap the Internet, but there's actually more to it than that. It doesn't take a genius to realize that the Internet has serious issues because everyone is afraid of spam, hackers, viruses, identity theft, etc. What's the solution? Researchers believe that it's to start fresh with a new protocol, and Vinton Cerf (credited with the invention of TCP/IP) agrees, as well. The fact of the matter is that the Internet was just a DARPA experiment that enjoyed a ridiculous amount of unexpected commercial success when it was really meant to be a trusted network of sorts. Not only does the current architecture stifle performance, but it burdens everyone to invest so much in security that it causes further complications and slowdowns, and we're pushing it past its original intention. To stay with the status quo would be like establishing a country's constitution and saying that it can never be amended. Change will take time, and be difficult, but I think it's important to recognize the need to explore solutions.

Bloomberg has an interesting little blurb about Google: that Google is looking for "crazy ideas." Obviously, they're taking that out of context in the headline. What their director of corporate development says is still important though: it's the crazy ideas that bring the most success. I think we often get so lost in being comfortable that we forget how crazy risks can yield great things for us and for others. It's always fun when business concepts transfer so nicely to our personal lives. A lot of startups do fail, but I think many of them just kind of have middle-of-the-way ideas. If you're not bringing something really fresh that fulfills a need, why should anyone care?

The rumors about Apple have returned: now they're apparently going to turn to a subscription-based model for iTunes. It's hard to swallow that, especially given that the per-song model is working so well for them, but I don't think that Apple's denials should ever be taken especially seriously. I wonder if a two-tiered approach would work to have both per-song and subscription? Probably not, I guess, but my simple mind just figures that that'd please everyone, whether or not it's feasible.

One more thing about Apple: they've been crippling the Apple TV's HD capabilities. I know, sounds crazy, huh? But Engadget hacked it up and managed to get it to play HD content quite well on the weak hardware it's packing, it's just not available right out of the box. Is Apple just being a video snob about supporting other formats? Were there royalty issues? The world may never know.

Here's a one-liner: Google Earth has added hiking trails. I think that's awesome because in this modern day of coffee shops and MMORPGs, people forget that many places have great things to do outdoors (including Austin).

One more one-liner: this is an interesting little read about how European P2P users are getting found out. It's quite a sneaky, almost scary approach. I personally find it a little ridiculous.

I'm going to keep the movie news brief. The box office shocked me again this week when Disturbia took the top spot at $23 million. I guess all those preteen girls in love with Shia Labeouf came out in herds because it made Perfect Stranger open in 4th place! To add insult to injury, Grind House dropped to the bottom with less than $5 million. Ouch. Meanwhile, 300 passed the $200 million mark, and people continue to quote it way too much. No, this is not, in fact, Sparta. Just deal with it.

The ShoWest trailer for Hairspray actually turned me off from seeing the movie anymore. It has a pretty good cast (including Christopher Walken), but I just have no desire whatsoever to see it.

Yahoo Movies also got a clip from Rush Hour 3, but it's not very impressive either, to be honest. Is this supposed to entice us into anticipating the movie? Because if so, they need to fire their marketing staff.

I like the new poster for 28 Weeks Later, though still no idea how this movie will be. It could go either way, in my opinion.

And now, for some Unconscious Mutterings:

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Freeze :: Mr. Freeze

  2. Naturally :: Blonde

  3. Painting :: That painter from The Simpsons

  4. Merits :: Honor

  5. Ironic :: Dramatic

  6. Survival :: of the Fittest

  7. Cow :: Beef

  8. Anchor :: Man

  9. Sisters :: Brothers

  10. 70 :: 80s

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Just Say "No" Pretext

I'd like to get to bed in the next 30 minutes so that maybe my mind can wrap itself around the 15-Puzzle tomorrow. Clearly, however IDA* is supposed to work here is lost on me (drop me a line if you have tips). I don't know if anyone will get my topic, but I meant it to plan on the old campaigns to get kids to say no to drugs. No? No takers? Hey, it's been a long Tuesday! Anyway, the MPAA and RIAA are fighting to amend a bill in California that strengthens federal regulations again pretexting, or lying to obtain information about someone, from phone records to all kinds of personal information, including stuff vital to your identity and your financial records. I know we're not in California, but this is still an important topic. What you have to wonder now is how many piracy cases have been won by these guys through information obtained by dishonesty. Even if it wasn't illegal at the time, I'd still call that pretty despicable. It's not like you're lying to catch a killer or a child molester or anything like that, but rather you're lying to appease your own greed. They should be forced to go through lawful channels to honestly get the information they need, otherwise they kind of get an unfair advantage. Not only that, but if their amendment is tacked on there it would give any copyright holder complete access to all your information since they could say they're Jesus Christ or something and that'd be ok, even if it's something like your Social Security number. Doesn't this scare anyone else? Maybe if they narrow their amendment a bit, it would be something we can reasonably debate because they could argue that there's certain information that they may have a right to get to much like an undercover cop would (not that I agree with that logic, but just playing devil's advocate), but they should not get a free pass to our identities. Again, it's California, not national, but that doesn't mean that this shouldn't be a concern because it just means that we're already vulnerable in the other 49 states. Kind of creepy, no?

Apple has now sold 100 million iPods in 5 and a half years, which is right up there with the PS2 and Walkman. It's a pretty big feat, and it makes you wonder when the iPod will lose steam. This streak can't possibly last forever, so what will be the nail in the coffin? I guess it'll stop being a hot item when their new generations become expensive and/or burdensome in features. It just seems like every iteration of any product has more junk you can do with it, and people eventually get tired of that. Or maybe people will get tired of having to replace the whole damn thing when the battery or hard drive fails. Maybe they should just quit while they're ahead and design an insulin pump instead. I must say, that's kind of an interesting concept. What if Apple stopped being selfish (no, product [Red] doesn't count as being altruistic, sorry) and tried putting its powers to good to help with a product that benefits the good of humanity, like a better insulin pump? Who knows, maybe Steve Jobs will eventually grow the heart Bill Gates has.

We have an actual insider rumor regarding the next Zune, or rather several small bits of information. There's to be a new Zune and a Flash Zune, both with the doubleshot design, video functionality, and WiFi capabilities. If the price is right, Microsoft could end up giving the Nano a run for its money. It's not that special, after all. It's just a cutesy, expensive iPod.

Back to Apple real quick: their first Apple TV television spot is out, and it's slightly less creative than what I would've expected. It's very literal, which is nice, but does it really make anyone want an Apple TV? It's like they're saying, "Yes, we now have a product that will let you watch movies on your television! Isn't that stellar?!"

Wired interviewed Eric Schmidt about Google and the whole "Internet operating system" gossip that has gone around for the past several months, and I like his thoughts on everything. He sounds very genuine. I like that referring to server-based computing has having information "stored in the clouds" has now become technical jargon; it sounds like something a tech blogger inadvertently invented.

One-liner: there's an awesome list of online converters here. Some of them are random and kind of useless, but there's a lot of awesome ones, like for PDFs and images.

If the visual effects in Grindhouse look cool to you, you'll enjoy this article on the pre-viz process. A lot goes into making the film so clean and yet so vintage grainy at the same time, so it's fun to see concept art become reality and how.

The UK trailer for Live Free or Die Hard (again, it's called Die Hard 4.0 there like is in every freaking country except here) is a lot better than ours in that it actually tells you what the premise is. Obviously, I have to criticize that premise as being totally far-fetched because it makes it sound way too easy to bring down the country's technological infrastructure. Granted, things like RSA encryption can technically be compromised, but that doesn't mean that all Hell breaks lose all at once. With action movies though, suspended disbelief is a necessity, so I'll forgive them.

Lastly, basically the same team that brought you Da Vinci Code (including Tom Hanks) is coming back together again for Angels and Demons, that other Dan Brown book that every other person has read. I can't say much because I haven't read it myself, but it sounds like they just want another cash cow, in my opinion. Let's hope the movie quality doesn't suffer (I personally enjoyed Da Vinci Code, actually).

I'm going to do Ten on Tuesday this week:

10 Highschool Memories
10. The pep rallies that never got anyone pepped up, just happy get out of class.
9. Going to Bellaire Broiler Burger for awesome milkshakes.
8. Being in a ton of clubs, most of which did nothing.
7. Worrying about AP exams and college like constantly!
6. Stupid crushes.
5. Playing guitar nearly every night.
4. Being accused of cheating and burned at the stake for it.
3. Sleeping about 5 hours a night.
2. Prom sucking, like hardcore.
1. GRADUATING! Thank God it's over!

Monday, April 09, 2007

DRM Ranting, Yet Again

So every time I see a rant about DRM that gets popular, I have to join the choir. It's just in my nature with a topic as huge as this. Mark Shuttleworth, of Ubuntu fame, has a little editorial on his blog about how ridiculous DRM is and why it doesn't work. I think he makes his points quite eloquently. I don't know how these people don't understand that these DRM techniques that they've come up with are stupid. That's right, you people (the copyright mongers, I mean, not you, my readers ;) are idiots. Offline keys aren't tricky for someone who knows what they're doing (not me, unfortunately) to break, streaming content can easily be hacked to be saved (remember the glory days of ASF Recorder?), and once one person cracks your system it'll be on Digg and Slashdot and tons of other nerd sites and the technology is then compromised beyond saving. These cracks appear all the freaking time, by the way. You know your system is bad when people have to exploit loopholes to get what they want (like burning CDs in iTunes and then ripping them to extract the mp3s from the AAC encoding), because that means that your customers are not satisfied with your product. It's much like how we have all these IM alternatives to AIM/MSN etc, and how browser alternatives sprouted from discontent with IE. Rebellion is natural, and it's only a matter of time before backlash to DRM catches up with everyone. That's why Microsoft is so bent on telling everyone about how they're striking this deal with EMI and other labels as well to sell DRM-free music. They see the danger, and they're being smart. Will others follow suit?

I've got quite a bit of humor to share this Monday. I'm a sucker for these lists of ridiculous things we see technology do in movies and TV shows that make no sense, so here's one of 27 things that computers can do in movies. It's really freaking funny, because it's so true. I think my favorite is the "upload virus" one; it reminds me of Office Space. Almost as funny is a clever write-up this guy did comparing the Doom difficulty levels with his relationship with his SO. Anyone who was a loser as a child and played Doom a lot will likely roll over laughing, basking in the nostalgia; the rest of you, I think, will at least chuckle. This last one should just be called "What were they thinking?"

After a drawn-out, furtive legal battle with AOL, Gaim has managed to stay around by changing its name to Pidgin. I don't think they have a version out yet with this new name (I couldn't find one), but I'm sure it's soon to come. It sounds like AOL is being pretty childish with how they've been dealing with the situation. I think they're just jealous that a bunch of guys with a little too much free time can best their paid programmers.

One-liner: if you're browsing a video site and you want to download the content, you should try this web application. I'm sure the legality of it is very questionable, but it's a nifty little hack.

The box office this weekend was really, really shocking. First of all, the top two movies were two old family films: Blades of Glory ($23 million) and Meet the Robinsons ($17 million), but more importantly was the fact that Grindhouse came in 4th places (behind Are We Done Yet?, even) at a measly $12 million as compared with its over $67 million budget. Everyone is talking about this, but I personally believe that it was a combination of it being Easter weekend (can't really take the family out to see horror and destruction), it being such a niche film (you have to know something about it before going in the theater), and being really freaking long. I was always concerned about it being over 3 hours long. The Weinstein brothers are now considering splitting up the movies for a re-release in a few weeks, and will definitely be doing that internationally. I feel bad for them: it had great buzz, many good reviews, and two directors who usually don't fail to boot, but it totally flopped on them, and now they're a little shaken up. I hope they get somewhere near making back their budget (oh, and tack on another $30 million for advertising that apparently didn't work).

The only other movie news is a nifty Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer poster. I think it makes them look a little bit too touched up though.

No new Monday Madness, so let's try Manic Monday:

What flavor of ice cream best describes your personality?
That's tough. I guess I'll go with Moo-llennium Crunch, because I'm exciting and delicious and full of lots of random good stuff, I guess. *shrugs* Kind of a weird question to answer about one's self =P

If your life was a weather vane, which direction would it be pointing right now?
Probably towards my bed, because I'm sure more sleep would be to my benefit. Oh well, some things (very few, mind you) are better than sleep! =)

What is one field or profession that you have never pursued, but that you think you would most likely have been quite good at?
Besides computer science, probably musician. It'd be interesting to be a classical guitarist/guitar teacher.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Joost is Nifty

I'm back in Houston for the weekend, though I definitely miss Austin now. Still, it'll be nice to see my brother and sister-in-law tomorrow night; I'm sure they have an awesome BBQ planned. Anyway, I mentioned a service called Joost a couple of weeks ago that intended to bring TV to the PC in the way many of us have been drooling for: on demand, easy-to-use, and free. I signed up for the beta and I got in (I'm sure everyone did, no big whoop). I was pessimistic because I saw a bad review on Digg, but didn't want to read it before I looked into the program myself, and now I can't find that review. Anyway, I really like it. A lot of people seem to be trashing it, but I'm not sure why since it's still just in beta. So the service has a number of channels (the only ones you're likely to recognize are National Geographic, MTV, and Comedy Central), and you can just browse through them by name or by a channel catalog that has them listed by genre. What's strange is that not everything on the channel catalog is on the channel listing, which is confusing. Also, I'm not convinced that the way they choose to show the programs for a channel is the most efficient way (it's an expandable, vertical list). So it's really not as intuitive as one would hope, right now. However, I think it's still a promising interface in a lot of ways. I love the transparency, the auto-hiding, the ability to navigate shows and channels on the fly from the control panel at the bottom, the way you can turn it off ("suspend") and open it again to right where you left of, and when you don't choose a show to play next it'll be smart and show you what it thinks you'd like. However, a playlist would be more helpful. And they need more programming. I know, now I sound like I hate it, but I honestly think it has a lot of promise. It was a fairly consistent stream, it was nice quality, and I found myself being entertaining by totally random shows. It's fun, it really is. I think it can really go places, it just needs more mainstream support and a UI cleanup, which will happen right now during beta. I love the concept, and I love what they've done with it. They're starting something new here (yes, I don't count Democracy, it's really only useful for video podcasts and relies a lot on you setting stuff up right), and in a big way. I look forward to it improving in the months to come, and eventually going public.

Google has launched a couple of things. One is a free 411 service that's completely automated. I'm not sure how they're paying for it, but in any case, I never use 411. Searching online is a lot quicker and easier. The other thing they released was "My" Google Maps, where you can add markers and lines and stuff to Google Maps and save them, as in if you wanted to draw out directions or a route or something. This is similar to Quikmaps, but much less buggy and much easier to share since it's from Google itself rather than being a Google hack. I'm sure it'll become very useful for tourism and history classes and such.

I love finding out about quirky geek products, so I had to plug this list of fun Easter goodies. The only thing I had seen before was the Nabaztag bunny during an episode of, which I thought was overpriced then and I still do. My favorite is definitely the killer bunny slippers. They should really include the Holy Grenade of Antioch with your purchase, though.

I like mentioning hard drive horror stories as I find them in hopes that my readers become more educated over time and become part of that minority of people that keep progressive backups of their data. It's like saving your money: it's almost a necessity, but it seems like no one does it. Anyway, the story is at the Consumerist and is about a Mac user whose corrupted hard drive wasn't able to be restored by Apple, but they wouldn't give him back his hard drive as part of their policy, so he couldn't even try himself to recover the lost data. PC users shouldn't count themselves fortunate though because recovering the data on your own still is dumb luck a lot of times.

Here's a one-liner: if you use Firefox then you may want to try out FullerScreen to see more of your browser.

All I have for you guys in movie news are trailers. George Lucas is promising us a teaser trailer for Indiana Jones 4 by this Thanksgiving Day Weekend, which seems like it so far away (because it is). I'm sure it'll give us virtually nothing from the movie, too, but Indiana Jones is so awesome that any news is exciting news on that front.

Yahoo Movies has the absolute final trailer for Spider-man 3, which has one new scene, at most. Again, I'm hoping for the best but expecting the worst from this movie. The hokey lines in the trailer just take away from the charm that made me fall in love with the series when I was a kid, so I hope that the trailer is not indicative of the quality of the movie. Yahoo Movies also has a trailer for Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween, and I'm personally curious to see what he comes up with the backstory for Jason. If anyone is in a position to remake a horror classic, it's probably Rob Zombie.

Lastly, I thought I'd mention the trailer for Good Luck Chuck because it's the most ill-conceived plot I've heard in a long time. Its only saving grace is having Her Hotness, Jessica Alba, co-starring. Get this: Chuck is a guy with whom women sleep with to have good luck in finding a husband, and now that he's fallen in love he can't have sex with her lest she fall for another man. [sarcasm] Yeah, this story is totally sensible, and it's real humorous. Let's give them an Academy Award here. [/sarcasm] The movie Shallow Hal comes ti mind, because I just hated the premise so much, and then I saw it and hated it more.

Now for Friday's Feast:

When you travel, which mode of transportation do you prefer?

Flying. Driving is stressful, a bus is uncomfortable and long, and there aren't any trains around here.

Have you ever met a blogging friend in person?

Someone who I first met only through blogging? Nope.

When was the last time you were really, really tired?

Today, when I got into Houston. The drive felt so long; I'm not looking forward to having to do it again in less than two days, but I am looking forward to seeing a certain someone on Sunday.

Main Course
If you could have dinner with any one fictional character from a book or movie, who would it be?

Probably Jules from Pulp Fiction. He was so just so entertaining!

Fill in the blank: One day, I hope to see _______________.

I know it's corny, but "my dreams come true." Isn't that what we all hope for? I have a lot of aspirations, and I definitely do want to follow through on them.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Television Should Be On Demand

Something interesting has been brewing in the world of television: young adults are actually responding to television shows being on iTunes. The shows that are at the top of the Neilsen ratings (which I personally don't put much faith in since it's merely a survey) don't match what's at the top in iTunes. What we're seeing here is that the audiences for these shows don't want to mold their schedule around weekly time slots and prefer to just watch their television programming on demand by purchasing it on iTunes. Of course, this doesn't even count the rampant piracy from people who use YouTube alternatives to get their boob tube fix. I firmly believe that a huge change is brewing for these television networks. I wonder how long it is before they realize that Neilsen ratings aren't going to cut it anymore. How many more shows have to become huge successes on DVD and iTunes past their cancellations and induce cult followings before they realize that the current model is inherently flawed and wasteful. They would make so much more money if they gave people more choice for how and when they watch their television. The Internet is a great medium to do that, and yet it seems quite available for more options and programming and such, especially with devices like the Apple TV and Windows Media Center machines becoming more well-known. I personally believe that IP TV will catch on before long, and it will be the nail in the coffin of broadcast television as we know it today. Let's see how things develop though, because that's a rather bold statement.

It turns out that the 3 week increase in Daylight Savings Time was completely useless, as was predicted beforehand. Actually, it did accomplish one thing: pissing off a lot of programmers who had to write patches so that server clocks and device clocks would adjust appropriately. I wonder how much time congressmen waste on this crap.

Have you ever thought about what makes a logo appealing to you? I actually hadn't until I read this article, and it's amazingly true. I didn't realize how unimportant color should be for a logo but scalability is huge. Plus, of course, it must be memorable. One of the comments pointed out that uniqueness can be important, and I'd agree with that as well.

It looks like airplanes are getting outfitted for WiFi now thanks to a company called AirCell that purchased a radio frequency from the FCC on which to broadcast Internet access and will provide it to consumers at no more than $10 a day. Sounds like a good price considering how expensive the equipment and frequency is, but I have no idea why they're restricting VoIP on it.

There's a new Mac Pro on the market with 8 freaking cores. You could take over a small country with that kind of power. Ok, maybe not, but at $2500 it's obviously focused more towards research and server usage (and nerds even more hard core than me).

I know that I posted about a similar list a few months ago, but here's another list of the top tech flops. I like that they remembered Microsoft Bob and Internet currency, but they totally forgot about that stupid audio format that Sony had invented for their Walkmans. I'm honestly amazed that Sony manages to stay in business with all the missteps they've had in the past decade.

Nearly all the movie news I have to day is related to Grind House, what with its release being this weekend at all. Too bad I probably won't get to see it this weekend though! Anyway, if you're confused as to its origins, IGN has a list of some great movies to look into to understand the inspiration. Yahoo Movies picked up another clip from the film, and actually has some cast interviews as well that I didn't notice before. Rose McGowan looks like she's really going to stand out in this film. In fact, she already stands out on the new cover of Rolling Stone with Rosario Dawson. That's probably the raciest cover they've had in a good while, in my opinion. Rose McGowan hasn't been in many good movies (probably why Tarantino picked her), but I love Rosario Dawson as an actress, for some reason.

The only other thing is that a sequel to Spider-man 3 may not be out of the question as previously assumed. It turns out that Kirsten Dunst and Toby Maguire could both be reeled in with a worthwhile storyline, so I hope that Sam Raimi will chose to revisit the series in a couple of years if they can bang out a good script. There is plenty of material in the series, after all.

Now for a Wednesday Mind Hump:

Name your favorite citrus fruits and your favorite dishes, drinks, desserts, etc. using citrus.
I guess I really like oranges and limes. Oranges are just so sweet and awesome, and limes go great in Coronas. Nothing is better in the summer for relaxing than laying outside, poolside, drinking a Corona that has a lime soaking in it. As far as favorite drinks: Tequila Sunrises are good as are Screwdrivers. I'm sorry, but plain old orange juice is just boring. Desert wise, I'm not really sure? Chiffon is pretty good stuff.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bit Torrent Brings in Ads

I logged in today to Blogger only to discover that yesterday's post was my first, and last, evil one:

Click to enlarge
Oh well, it was bound to happen eventually (click on it if you can't read it)! There was so little news today that I actually did another sweep to see if I could procure more, but to no avail. That's probably a good thing, I need to get some more sleep tonight. Anyway, I figure I'd talk a bit about BitTorrent's pilot program to attach ads to programming for G4. I tried downloading one of these programs and it turns out that the videos that are currently ad-supported from G4 are quite short and I wouldn't pay for anyway, so I don't see how this is indicative of what they'll do for more worthwhile programs. Oh, I downloaded an Attack of the Show about digital cameras and it was really dumb. Come on G4, you used to be respectable. Anyway, I think that since they can't force you to watch the ad(s) it will be hard to sell to their content providers. However, I personally watched the game ad for this video because I like watching video game footage, so I think it may be more effective on tech geeks for tech-related programming than that would suggest.

In an extremely interesting move, Facebook has released the instrumental code they use to build a lot of stuff on their site. Apparently, it incorporates Java, Python, Ruby, and PHP, among other things. For the first time in God knows how long, I have to pat Facebook on the back here. I think every time a developer gives away his code a nerd angel gets its wings. Anyway, this is actually pretty much a compiler of sorts in that it takes a definition file and uses it to generate code for you. I'd play around with it more if I didn't already have two programming projects to worry about (one being a super calculator parser and the other being Conway's Game of Life using mad polymorphism).

How cool are those pillows? They're one of several pillows on the market that will play your digital music for you when you feel like literally lazing around and listening to music. Oh how I miss the days when I'd literally just lay on my bed and listen to music. I know of a certain someone, who I hope is reading this, who could probably benefit from one of these.

Speaking of music, you can read more from Steve Jobs's press conference with EMI over here. They talk a little more about DRM and iTunes and such, but it is quite a bit lengthier than what was summarized in the article cited yesterday.

One-liner: if you're like me and hate channel surfing, you should check out one of these television listing sites. I used to use, but maybe I'll switch to AOL Television now. It actually feels much better.

Wouldn't it be awesome if your computer could organize your photos for you? There's research actually being done in just this area that analyzes pictures and tags them based on a very smart algorithm, which also learns more as it gets more experienced. Very cool idea here, but I warn you that the article I cited is very lengthy.

IGN dug up one of the trailers to be featured within Grind House called Thanksgiving from Eli Roth. I thought the explicit warning was just fluff for the first half of the trailer, and then things got nuts. The trailer is awesomely campy, but also very VERY explicit and it actually made me cringe more than once, so be forewarned. They also have an interview with Michael Parks, who I loved in Kill Bill despite how small his part was, and it sounds like he almost reprises it in Grind House.

Meanwhile, Yahoo Movies has the trailer for Live Free or Die Hard in HD. I liked the trailer, but I really think that they're trying to push this patriotism too hard in the domestic trailers whereas I believe the movie will just be straight up action. I could be wrong, maybe there is some huge underlying theme that relates to the U.S. title, but that'd make it corny. It's amazing how Bruce Willis doesn't look like he's past 50, but he is.

Lastly, some quad posters for Spider-man 3 have sprung online for those who are interested.

Now for a Tuesday Twosome:

1. What two things are necessary for you to respect someone?
That they are respectful to me and that they are loyal to friends/family.

2. What two things do you think people respect you for?
I'd hope for my dedication to practically everything I vest myself in, and my willingness to help when I can. Maybe that's a little optimistic though? It's kind of hard question to answer without sounding like a jerk =P

3. Who are two people you respect the most and why?
Currently living? Probably my father and my brother. My father because he always put his family first in his life and has made a lot of sacrifices for us. My brother because I almost feel like he's paved the path for me for how to get what you want in this country since our parents' have struggled with that without an American education and he had more issues than I did dealing with living under Indian societal rules within an American society, if that makes any sense. Anyway, I guess I'm just impressed that he turned out the way he did because I know he faced very different challenges from what I've faced.

4. What two things can cause you to lose respect for someone?
I suppose turning your back on friends/family or purposefully treating a woman badly.

5. Is respect important to you? Why or why not?
Yeah, because I kind of think it's what makes the world go round besides love and trust. I think the business world often operates a lot on mutual respect, but that's just my simple-minded view of things.