November 2003 Archives

November 1, 2003

iChat is Annoying Me

When I quit iChat, I want to quit iChat. I do not want to be asked if I am sure (if I have an open chat window open). Even if the open chat window was with someone who is no longer online, you are still asked if you are sure you want to quit. Why, oh why, is there no preference to turn this off? If you want to send feedback to Apple on iChat, please do. If enough people complain, things usually get changed. I am back to using Fire. I only open iChat up if I want to use the A/V capabilities. I hope in a future version of iChat that there is a view chat log feature. This is something that is in Fire, and is nice to be contained inside the application. For now there are some nice alternatives for iChat, but that is not good enough for me. When I quit Fire, it quits. I like that feature.

My Polls Suck

Or, at least they did, so says Brandon. So, he is now in charge, from this day forth, of the polls for my site. If YOU think they suck then you need to email me with a better one.

Comment SPAM

There is nowhere that is safe from SPAM. I knew I would be getting comment SPAM in my blog sometime, it was just a question of when. Today was the day. Bastards. There is IP banning in the MT preferences, but people have gotten more proactive about comment spam. There is the MT-Blacklist plugin, which I will now be installing. Even Six Apart has blogged about comment SPAM. MT-Blacklist is installed, and is very nice. If you do not have this plugin installed, i suggest you install and configure it. Thanks to Jay Allen for a great addition to the MT community

iTunes ID3 Tags Follow Up

From BlogCritics:
posted by Iain: One thing that can dramatically change the time to write ID3 tags, is if there is a format change. ID3 v1 tags are or fixed length, so if you alter the data you only have to rewrite the tag. However, if you start adding additional info such as in V1.1 tags or V2.3 tags (not sure what itunes uses) - then the tag suddenly becomes longer. At this point instead of just rewriting the tag the program has to rewrite the whole file to disc - this takes more time. This may account for the difference in write times you are experiencing. I suspect that Itunes is converting the tags.
This is in response to my post about slow ID3 tag editing in iTunes. This clearly is the reason for it. I just checked it myself, I edited a MP3 with v 1.0 tag and added info that requires v 2.3 tags and it took much longer. Thanks Iain this answers my question.

November 7, 2003

Windows Media Player 9 for OS X

I heard about this a while ago, seems like ages now, but I guess it is finally here. Windows Media Player 9 for OS X. Odd thing is there is no mention of this on any of the Mac sites such as MacCentral. It is not on the MacTopia home page either. Strange. A friend of mine confirms that it does indeed play WMP 9 files. This rocks! Now I can watch that content that sites only put up in WMP 9 format. Thanks to Eric for the link.

November 9, 2003

Adobe CS Shortcomings

I recieved my copy of Adobe CS Standard this past tuesday. I payed for expedient shipping, and I sure did not get it, as I know others who got their boxes 3 to 4 business days before I got mine. I am just glad to finally have it, I am really looking forward to the new features in all the new apps (sans GoLive, I am a Dreamweaver type of person). PRINTED MANUAL? If you buy the new Adobe CS applications separately, you will get the printed manual in the box. If you get the Adobe CS Standard or Premium, you do not get printed manuals. You get a 92 page booklet that has 2 pages of "what's new" content, and a bunch of lessons such as "how to make a brochure." All I have to say is WTF? I guess Adobe thinks it would make the CS suite too expensive to include the manuals, yet they are available from the Adobe Store. This is total BS. There are reports on MacInTouch about the printed manuals. Some people called Adobe Customer Support about the lack of manuals, and they got the line that I just described. You see I like having the printed manuals. Apparently I am not the only one. Having a PDF manual is nice to be able to do a keyword search on, but for all intents and purposes, I would much rather read about things in a book, I burn out my retina enough as it is. Hey Adobe! You made a bad choice here. Why include the manuals in the single application boxes and not the entire suite? If I pay $1,229.00 for a suite of apps, I expect printed documentation, and not 2 pages of "what's new" and a stupid bunch of tutorials. I also like the tri-fold Quick Reference Card with all the tools, palette options, and keyboard shortcuts. I cannot see how printed materials are too expensive for someone like Adobe. Odd thing though, I got a different story when I called the Adobe Tech. line. I was also told the manuals ship with the single application boxes, but they were not yet available for purchase. Also they would cost $50 a piece. This is not true at all. They cost $30 a piece, and are available for purchase right now. They are also available in a Standard and Premium bundle for $49 and $59 respectively. I have half a notion to call back and hope I get a different tech. on the phone to see if I get a different answer, the correct answer. Other people have been told they can buy the manuals online, after all. I bought the books for the Adobe CS Standard, that cost $67.38 after all is said and done. Tack on another $10 if you get the Premium set, which adds the manual for GoLive CS and the Getting Started Guide for Acrobat 6. Talking about Acrobat, it has not had a printed manual, I don't think ever. I have bought Acrobat since 3.0 and it has never came with anything substantial in the printed form. And for that matter there is no manual installed in PDF form with Acrobat 6 Professional. Why not? I don't understand why Adobe does not use the Mac OS X Help architecture for its online help. Macromedia does. Many other developers do. Its nice to have everything in the Help Viewer app. Acrobat 6 help is in its own interface inside the app. Photoshop CS opens in a web page, same with Illustrator CS, and InDesign CS. I am willing to bet its the same thing for the GoLive CS help. I know from doing it myself that it takes little time to get your online help into the Help Viewer application when you already have it in HTML. This is because Help Viewer in a sense is a web browser. I do not understand why Adobe does not go the extra mile to put their online help into the Help Viewer. And then there is Acrobat, the odd ball. It has its own Help within the app. I wonder if the Adobe CS help is in the standard Windows Help UI. I have a lot of "why didn't they go the extra mile" questions for the Adobe CS suite of apps. More on that in a minute. Lets put things into perspective, and not just point the finger at Adobe. I also bought the Macromedia Studio MX 2004 suite for $1000, and all I got by means of printed documentation was the same type of 90 some pages of "what's new" and "how to" projects. Macromedia also sells the manuals in print on their site. Of course I am the type of person that buys the Macromedia API reference manuals as well, as I like writing extensions for Dreamweaver. Quark did the same thing. For Student Publications I ordered a lab pack 15 seat license of Quark 6 which came with no printed materials what so ever. I cannot find a manual for purchase on the Quark site. Quark 6 online help is in the Help Viewer, just like the Macromedia apps help files are. I am already disappointed in Adobe for not including printed manuals. This is not like them. But of course this is a growing trend that only irritates customers. I wonder why developers like Adobe, Quark, and Macromedia, etc, etc, don't seem to care. UPGRADE COST? Also, if you do the math on the upgrade you will be scratching your head. $169 a piece for the new Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign (the three apps in the Standard CS suite) is less then the upgrade cost of $550. CS INTEGRATION? These apps are supposed to be even more integrated as ever. First they need to be consistent, then they can be integrated. The new features in Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator are great and in some cases numerous, but I am not going to talk about them. I think Macworld did a great job of explaining the "best of" the new features. I might highlight some of my favorite new bells and whistles, but I am not going to go in-depth on anything. Adobe claims that the new Adobe CS is integrated more then ever. There are some glaring omissions IMO to this integrated package Adobe calls Creative Suite. Lets start with the New Document dialog. Photoshop and InDesign allows you to make custom document sizes. Which is nice, now you don't have to edit a text file to make a custom entry in the Preset drop down menu. But there is no such custom preset feature in ImageReady or in Illustrator. Why not? I am not seeing integration here. The Keyboard Presets editor in Photoshop is really nice. It allows you to change keys for the menus, tools, and even the palettes. You can also save out an HTML file of the shortcuts (although it tries to open this file in InDesign CS, I do not understand that). The HTML file that is exported is nice though. This Summerize feature is not in InDesign, Illustrator, or ImageReady. Illustrator will export a very poorly formatted text file. InDesign exports a better formatted text file. ImageReady has no such Keyboard Shortcut editor. At least ImageReady still allows you to select "Use System Shortcuts" so Command + H hides ImageReady. This is more than can be said for InDesign though, the Keyboard Shortcut editor in InDesign, which does not look changed from version 2.0, does not allow you to change the 'Hide InDesign' menu command. So there is no Command + H (to hide the app) in InDesign. Photoshop has the most robust Keyboard Shortcut editor in the suite, with distinct sections for Application Menus, Palette Menus, and Tools. InDesign will let you customize all but the tools, and of course the Hide command. Illustrator allows you to change Tools and Menu command keys, but not Palette Menu keys. ImageReady lacks a customizable keyboard shortcuts editor all together. How about it Adobe? How about the same UI for keyboard shortcut customization. The HTML page exported by Photoshop CS is very nice, it is a shame that you cannot export the same looking file from the entire CS suite. On a rather comical note, be sure to check out my poll on this subject :) More is yet to come... there are more things that annoy me, but I don't have time to finish this now.

Your 99c belong to the RIAA

Are your base, all belong to us. Yea. The RIAA.
Wasn't the Internet, this weightless kingdom of bits and bytes, supposed to make distribution costs just vanish? Apparently not.
Source: The Register

November 10, 2003

Matt Paprocki Joins BW

A good friend of mine who wrote for me years ago for The BG News is again writing for me, but for Breaking Windows this time. Matt reviews movies, DVDs, and video games. Be sure to check back for his latest, also be sure to check out his other writings. I am really happy to have Matt as a part of BW, please be sure to share your comments on his reviews! [Shameless Plug] If you would like to write for this site, please send me an email, ken [at] meancode [dot] com.

Phone Booth DVD Review

To those who might be wondering: Yes, this is an 81 minute film about a man inside a Phone Booth. Surprisingly, this is an outstanding 81 minute film about a man inside a Phone Booth. Sadly, the DVD doesn't add very much, but the film itself is strong enough on it's own to warrant a purchase. Young actor Colin Farrell stars as Stu Shepard, a publicist inside the overly crowded New York City. He is the perfect example of a person your supposed to hate. He is constantly throwing empty promises out to magazines, ripping off a young kid looking to get a break into the business with Farrell, cheating on his wife, etc. Finally, everything catches up with him. As he steps into the phone booth he uses to call the other woman (Toledo native Katie Holmes) in his life every day, a sniper (Keifer Sutherland in one of the most unique movie roles of all time) pins him down. The tables take an even larger turn for the worse when the sniper picks off a civilian drawing the police (headed by Forest Whitaker) and SWAT team to the area. The pacing of this brief experiment in psychological terror is relentless. Colin's character is set up in a matter of minutes and from here on out it's him and the lonely confines of a phone booth with a man who continuously breaks him down. He toys with him, sends him warning shots, and literally causes him to break down on national TV. There are no major twists in the story and the ending is on the disappointing side, but the tension Joel Schumacher creates is breathtaking. At a brisk 81 minutes (including the credits), there's no time for boredom to set in and the unique camera shots always keep things interesting. People who go in expecting action will be highly disappointed, but even these people will be drawn into this gripping thriller. The DVD comes with both a widescreen and full-screen version (on opposite sides of the disc). The full screen version is hardly watch able, cutting off the picture-in-picture segments, one of the more unique aspects of the movie, directly in half. The picture, regardless of which format you choose however, is gorgeous. Most of the film retains a dark feel, from Colin's suit to the city towering above him. Colors are faded for effect and it all works thanks to the quality of the print. There are very few instances where the compression of the video becomes a problem and even these are negligible. Much like the video, the sound is equally impressive. Both the English and French tracks support 5.1. For a movie that takes place mostly inside a phone booth and hardly any soundtrack to speak of, it's something to listen to. The opening minutes of the film feature countless people talking on cell-phones and their conversations, inaudible as they are, surround the viewer. You'll hear ambient noises throughout if your paying attention, but this is a movie where most of the sound is dialog. Your subwoofer won't get a workout, but most of the positional audio, when used, is great. Sadly, the rest of the disc is mediocre. The only features include a commentary by Schumacher and the theatrical trailer. Schumacher talks quite a bit about the conditions during the shoot and stays active throughout, but it's no replacement for a detailed documentary DVD fans are used to. This is a DVD that needs to reissued in a nice 2-disc set. By the time your done with this movie, your sure to check this one out again regardless of it's glaring lack of features. Whether it be to introduce someone else to it or simply catch Farrellís outstanding performance, this is disc that NEEDS to be on your shelf. This is an underrated gem that was sadly overlooked.

My Dead PC's Hard Drive

In our earlier episode we found out that my PC is dead. It took me a while since I have been so busy lately, but I finally got the data I needed off the HD of my PC. As I stated earlier Alienware will not backup data for you, even for a fee. I would have paid for it too, as it is a convenience. After all, the stuff I need is in my My Documents folder. I first though of going to Best Buy or some similar place to get my files resurrected. Then I thought, why not attach it to the IDE chain of the G4 at work. Then my dad had a much better, and less painful option. Put the IDE drive in a FireWire enclosure. This worked very well, as we have a number of full sized Firewire drives at work. Opening the OWC drive case and taking the existing drive out was pretty easy. Getting the drive closed again was a little more work. In little time I had all my important data that was on my PC's HD. Now it is time to send it in to Alienware, which I will be doing this week.

November 11, 2003

Magazine says it has topless photos of Jessica Lynch

"Leave it to (Hustler publisher) Larry Flynt to do something like this," said Paul Bogaards of Alfred Knopf, publisher of "I Am A Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story," which was released Tuesday.
Source: az Oh this is rich. And I do not see why people think that Larry Flynt would do anything less then this.

FCC allows using home number for cell phone

Consumers can move their home or office phone number to a wireless service starting on Nov. 24, the Federal Communications Commission ordered Monday. Wireline-to-cell-phone number portability will take effect in the nation's largest 100 markets the same day wireless-to-wireless portability kicks in, the FCC ruled.
Source: and CNN/Money It would have been nice to do this 5 months ago when I finally decided to ditch the land line phone and opt for a cell phone only. Of course I wonder when this service will be available in Bowling Green, Ohio! Still, it is nice that the FCC is doing this. I heard on Bob & Tom this morning that an estimated 5.2 Mil. people have gone wireless only, like me. I think it is a great thing. The only thing I regret is not having being able to fax from home. Oh well, there are always tradeoffs. The benefits of just having a cell phone surely out weigh this one drawback. I am really glad I went with Verizon Wireless. T-Mobile seems like the most advanced carrier this side of the pond, but from what I have seen with friends who have T-Mobile their service is rather splotchy. One thing I do not understand about Verizon Wireless though: they are by far the biggest of the cell phone carriers, but they do not have the best selection when it comes to smart phones, and phones with advanced features, such as bluetooth, etc.

Matrix Revolutions Review

No sequel can compare to the original 1999 masterpiece that is The Matrix. I don't want to spoil the ending of this well written piece of popular culture, so I am not going to go into any concrete details. Matrix Reloaded was a disappointment to some, and some people will not be happy with Revolutions for the simple reason that they did not like Reloaded. I was one of the few that enjoyed Reloaded, even though it was a bit thick on the philosophical parts. (If you really want to, check out Taking the Red Pill: Science, Philosophy and Religion in The Matrix, I found it a good read). If for nothing else people swarmed to see Revolutions for closure. We find out what happens to Neo and Trinity, and the rest of the gang. I guess that is why it made 209 Mil. in its international box office opening. That or people were actually looking forward to seeing it for the great movie it was. Revolutions tied up and answered a lot of loose ends left a fray from as far back as the original movie. It is nice to see the story come full circle so well on so many things. I think when you watch these 3 flicks back to back to back you will see what I mean. I watched The Matrix and Matrix Reloaded on DVD before I went to the theater to see Revolutions, didn't you? :-P I thought that Revolutions was cut a lot better then Reloaded. Reloaded had some scenes that went on forever, the pacing of Revolutions was better. The battle scenes and the machine city were very impressive. Very nice amination. Did you notice the heavy overtone of classical music in Revolutions? It was hardly there in The Matrix, and then was stronger in Reloaded, but Revolutions had massive amounts of very electric classical tracks (the Neo - Smith fight, for example). I don't think this is a bad thing, I think it is quite the opposite. While I liked hearing Rage, Prodigy, Rammstein, Rob Zombie etc, in the first flick, the original score is more powerful, especially considering the underlying concepts and philosophy of The Matrix trilogy. I think the popular soundtrack was used to get wider exposure, but look at what they did with the 3rd soundtrack. I would score Revolutions above Reloaded, but without the middle chapter, Revolutions does not make much sense. Revolutions is a very well done ending to a great story. But then I am just a geek that is infatuated with the world of The Matrix. If you did not get a chance to play the Enter The Matrix video game, then you should. You would have gotten much more out of Revolutions if you played through the video game. For one, it introduces the changed Oracle (for those who do not know, Gloria Foster died just after the shooting of Reloaded, so the story had to be modified a little, and a new actress had to be cast.) The video game did a great job of bringing The Animatrix and Reloaded together as well. Enter The Matrix fleshed everything out nicely for those of us that wanted more. It will be interesting to see if/when something compares to The Matrix experience. Three movies, The Animatrix anime and the Enter The Matrix video game are all tied together so well. It makes for a very fun experience. The only thing I was hoping for in Revolutions was big surprises. There were none. Everything was obvious, or it had already been implied by the first 2 movies. But nothing is perfect, and Revolutions was well worth the price of admission. Also posted at BlogCritics.

Did hackers expose N-Gage games?

Well that didn't tale long at all!
Mobile phone giant Nokia is investigating whether hackers managed to disable security that protects its N-Gage cell phone games. If various Web reports are true, someone has discovered a way for the games to be played on any cell phone that, like the N-Gage portable video game machine, uses the Symbian operating system. Symbian is an overwhelming favorite among handset makers that develop next-generation cell phones.
Source: C|NET

Tears of the Sun DVD Review

Trailers for a feature film are supposed to give potential viewers a general idea on what the movie will be about. In the case of "Tears of the Sun," it's full length trailer depicts non-stop violence much like the movie it is constantly compared to, "Black Hawk Down." Believe it when you are told that it is far from an all-out Bruce Willis action epic. This a slow paced, tension filled drama with a 20 minute battle tacked onto the closing moments. A team of Navy Seals (headed up by Bruce Willis) is sent into a war torn segment of Africa to retrieve a US doctor (Monica Bellucci) working at a missionary. An African militia is also making a bee-line to the area and the team must move quickly. When Dr. Hendricks refuses to leave those who are in her care, Lt. Waters (Willis) makes a conscious decision to turn back and try and get every able African out of the area. The film runs at just under 2 hours. During this time, viewers will be subjected to some brutal sequences depicting some savage murders unlike anything this reviewer has ever seen on film. Though not as gory as "Saving Private Ryan," watching 2 members of the militia douse a child in gasoline and then raise a lighter is gut wrenching. The film does more than enough to get it's point across, but it seems to drag on too long until the final spectacular showdown. Even then you'll find numerous military clichÈís that dumb down the entire movie. Each of the actors is more than adequate, but some of the writing is simply childish. This dual-layered DVD is presented in a brilliant widescreen presentation, marred only by a few tension filled nighttime sequences. Here, those hate-filled little compression squares rear their ugly head far more than is necessary. The daytime scenes are crisp and the colors, muted for effect, set the tone of the film from the start. Both 5.1 soundtracks (French and English) sound spectacular during the few fire-fights, but it's a shame there isn't more reliance on ambient effects. There are a few bird chirps strewn about, but it's hardly enough to immerse a viewer in the film. Feature wise, the disc performs admirably. There are 2 commentaries, one from the writer's view and one from the directors. There is also an "Africa Fact Track" that will give viewers info on the country during the film. 8 deleted scenes have been included and there's a short 15 minute documentary on the making of the film. The director, Antoine Fuqua, talks quite a bit on what he was trying to achieve with this film, but there's hardly enough time to present everything in 15 minutes. There are a bunch of trailers tacked on and the "Voices of Africa" features are interesting enough, letting African people who have lived through wartime speak about their experiences. There's enough on the disc to keep fans busy for a while, but the movie itself it a bit of a downer, especially after the action-packed trailer. If you go into this movie expecting a drama, you may find yourself hooked for the entire running time. Those of us who viewed the trailer and expected something else are bound to be disappointed.

November 12, 2003

Risks of Panther Access Changes

Last week (and in our Panther Special Report) we covered the change in Panther that lets any administrative user move, or even delete, important system-level files by simply authenticating (providing their admin account password) when trying to perform the action. What we didn't cover at the time is the fact that what is actually happening "behind the scenes" is that you are actually using the Unix sudo command -- a way to temporarily perform actions with root-level access -- to execute the desired action. Why this is important is that the sudo command has a built in timer: once you've authenticated, it provides you with that root-level access for five minutes (by default). So after you've first authenticated, subsequent actions -- even dangerous ones that could render OS X inoperable -- can be performed without requiring you to authenticate again. Obviously, this could result in a messy situation. However, at least you're aware that you've authenticated, so you know to be careful what you do for the next five minutes or so. The real danger of this "feature" -- as pointed out to us by Chris Breen, Macworld Magazine's 911 columnist -- is that when an admin-level user logs in, the act of logging in itself constitutes an authentication. In other words, for the first five minutes after logging in, you have root-level access and you probably aren't even aware of it. You can move or delete system-level files without being warned and without being prompted to authenticate -- it just works. After those first five minutes are up, you resume your normal level of access. As Chris pointed out, these first five minutes can be quite risky: "I've confirmed this by dragging my System folder to the Trash. And no, I couldn't get it out again without booting into Mac OS 9 and recovering it from the .Trashes file." We would add that sometimes people accidentally delete files -- using the command+delete keyboard combination in Mac OS X's column view sometimes makes it easy to delete an enclosing folder rather than the sub-folder you actually wanted to delete. In fact, Chris makes another good point about the risks of this situation: "Although some may argue that this is perfectly acceptable because you shouldn't be an Admin if you don't know what you're doing, bear in mind that any new Mac owner -- your aged Aunt who's upgrading from her trusty Performa -- is an Admin."
Source: MacFixIt This new "feature" is for convenience, but in the long run I do not see what its purpose is for. It does not safeguard people from deleting things they do not know are critical for the system to function. This was a bad choice, IMO, on Apple's part to include in Panther. The fact that you are blessed with root privs for 5 minutes after login is also unacceptable for the most part. I say for the most part because I myself know what root is. There is a small portion of the Mac OS X crowd who know, and understand what root is, and how to (not) use it. Being able to delete a file that is being belligerent is a nice "feature" but I do not think it should have been included in Panther for the reason Chris Breen described above. I know why a file will not delete when I tell it to, it is because I do not have the access privs. to delete it. There are usually reasons why I don't have privs. to delete it. The only reason I like this feature is because I know and understand why I am being asked for my admin password when I try and delete a file and I am prompted for this info. Most people do not. Also posted at BlogCritics.

November 13, 2003

Finding Nemo DVD Review

As I’m writing this, Finding Nemo is just behind “Spiderman” for the title of the fastest selling DVD of all time. Most likely, it will eclipse the superheroís epic within the next few days. Thankfully, this is certainly a disc that’s worthy of a space on everyoneís DVDshelf, but this is still a 2-disc set aimed at the kiddies so true film fanatics are left on the curb. Finding Nemo follows the story of Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks), an overprotective father (for good reason considering the films traumatic opening moments) of Nemo. When Nemo is taken by a diver, Marlin goes on a quest that could only happen in a Disney film. Along the way, viewers are introduced to countless memorable characters, the most prevalent being Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a fish with a serious short term memory problem. Any fan of Pixars other animated films will feel right at home here. The same sense of humor that permeated Toy Story and a Bugs Life is still present though the jokes are a bit spread out for the first hour compared to their previous films. With about 30 minutes to go, the movie really begins to pick up speed and the jokes really start to fly. It’s entertaining throughout, but nothing can match the final chapters. By far, this is the best looking CG film released yet. The water effects are impossible to describe, lighting is gorgeous, and once Australia is revealed for the finale you’ll swear it’s all real. This set provides a digital-to-digital transfer that is possibly even better than the previous Pixar discs. The colors are stunning in the reef and this a great way to show off a new TV. Even when the movie begins to take on a darker tone, you’ll never catch any grain or compression issues. The full frame version included on disc 2 has been reformatted so you don’t miss anything if you choose to watch the film in this manner, but the widescreen print seems much less crammed and of better overall quality. 5.1 EX is the order of the day, and the water creates some surreal moments. The bass during some of the crashing water segments is strong enough to impress even those with a weaker system and the rears are used generously throughout. Scenes occurring inside the aquarium really make viewers feel what it would be like to be inside a glass rectangle, filter sounds and all. As a 2-disc set, there’s a ton of stuff to do and play around with. Disc one is for the film buff with tons of behind the scene art, a slew of deleted scenes (none of which were finished sadly), a nice yet brief 28 minute making-of (which really shows how much work these guys do in a film like this.…everyone had to become certified divers before they could start working!), and a few easter eggs. The “virtual aquarium” feature is an interesting idea, but the execution is seriously lacking. Each of the discs contains a different one, but the video used is grainy and boring. Most don’t even feature fish! Disc 2 is all about the little ones. The “Fisharades” game, while a novel idea, seems to have no end. There’s a nice piece featuring Jean-Michael Casteau and characters from the film that teaches kids about the coral reefs. There’s some fantastic footage to be had here and it’s an interesting watch even for the older crowd. The short film “Knick Knack” is priceless, easily one of the best Pixar has ever made. Scary since it came out in the late 80’s. There’s an tour of the studios that teach kids the basics of the animation process which is quite informative if you’ve never seen this done before. There’s a ton more to explore on this disc and it will keeps kids busy for some time. Sadly, nearly all of the features reside on disc 2 and people looking for more hardcore information are left out. The introduction on disc 1 says they had an actual director take over the helm for the documentary, but there’s hardly enough here to show how these films really get made. I think any fan would love to see some of the more stressful moments: Making deadlines, screening footage, animation screw-ups, more “how can we do this segments,” etc. Also, though I’m not one to usually gripe about packaging, it’s very irrupting to have an advertisement stuck to the front of my DVD’s. Seriously, is the offer for Dole bananas going to have an effect on your purchasing decision? Yes, it does peel off easily, but it’s annoying nonetheless. If there’s one thing that shows through in each of Pixars films, it’s how much fun these guys have making these movies. They have created what seems like one of the most enjoyable places to work in the US and it really shows in the final product. Finding Nemo isn’t the best film they’ve put out in their relatively short time, but it’s right up there at the top. My only hope is that their next film gives older viewers more choices or more detailed information.

Text-Only Outlook Email

This is a great tip from the good folks at Tech TV. Using this Registry hack you can make Outlook never show HTML anymore! I guess this is an option in Outlook 2003, but this is a much cheaper.

Online Console Games

Online gaming is slowly creeping it's way into the mainstream console gaming arena. Services such as Microsoft's X-Box Live service offers up a ton of nifty features to keep games occupied and connect with freinds. The question that immediately arises from the hardcore gamers is whether or not this is the future of video games. Simply put, this NOT the future, and it could very well destroy game design as we know it. Aimed squarely at the video games target audience, the 18-24 demographic, the online console game experience is certainly garnering a following. This is the group of people who grew up playing games on the NES, Genesis, SNES, and more. Games such as Bomberman with it's 4-player support were quite unique and encouraged socilization between gamers. Gathering 4 freinds over for a marathon session was undeniably a blast, but online gaming completely misses the point. Oh sure, your chatting along with other people looking to complete a common goal, but the interaction simply isn't the same. You'll most likely never see the person your playing with/against neither will even know their name (in most cases). Worse yet, what will happen to the captivating one-player experiences that this entire medium was practically founded upon? Final Fantasy will be going online soon (included with the PS2's hard drive when it finall arrives), but I simply can't understand the appeal here. The series is soon to be on it's 11th entry and it's been fine for the entire time, why take away the experience from those gamers who enjoy playing the game for it's captivating story? While I have no doubt that the storyline will be just as good, but you'll have thousands (millions?) of gamers out there and it only takes one to ruin the entire game. Want another reason? What happens in 10 years when I want to relive the experience of Final Fantasy 12? Oh wait, I won't be able to. By then, the servers will be offline and that game disc will be entirely worthless. This has already happened to those Dreamcast fans who enjoyed playing Phantasy Star Online, Speed Devils Online, Ooga Booga, and Sega's entire line of outstanding sports titles. Yes, these people could've upgraded to a newer console and enjoy the newest sports games, but this brings us to cost. Taking X-Box Live for the example, it costs $50+ a year to subscribe, $50 for a new game, $40 for a cable/DSL connection, and possibly more depending on your service (routers, cables, etc.). That's not even including the $179 for the console itself! The PS2 service requires the adapter ($40) and games such as Everquest charge per month. Costs like this alienate the younger set (the second largest group of gamers) and is even prohibitive to the 18-24 group. I have no problem adding in an extra online multi-player mode to some games , but games that are based entriely online and ignore the single player experience all together are seriously irratating. Growing up on games like Contra and blasting away alien beings with a freind next to me is an experience that simply can't be duplicated with an online game. Developers need to take a step back and realize what it was that brought us to this point. It sure as hell wasn't playing a game with someone I can't see 5,000 miles away.

Internet Explorer to stomp pop-ups

Microsoft plans to add pop-up blocking features to Internet Explorer next year as part of its Service Pack 2 update for Windows XP, a move that would go far toward stamping out the Web advertisements.
Source: C|NET What? M$ u is listening to the outcry from every web surfer? I think they are doing this for two reasons: 1) Everyone else has done it, even Apple, so now it is time they get with the program (everybody is doing it, shouldn't we Bill?). and 2) Many people are moving to PC browsers that do not have the word "Explorer" in the name. This is not just a thing geeks do anymore either. 'Normal people' even use browsers that block browser popups. This, I am sure, does not settle well in M$'s stomach. My last word: Finally!

Sign the Comment Spam Manifesto

I am fed up with comment SPAM as much as anyone, and so it Adam Kalsey. I cannot stand it when it happens to my blog, or when I see it happened to someone else's blog.
Posting an email address in a public place is not an invitation for companies to send unsolicited advertisements. Hosting a public Web forum or Usenet server does not give companies permission or the moral right to advertise on it. And soliciting comments from the public on a weblog entry or other Web page does not mean that companies or individuals are invited to use it for their advertising purposes. Usenet news succumbed to spam long ago. Email was next. Now spammers have turned their attention to weblogs and comment forms. In order to increase search engine rankings you are posting advertisements to our Web pages. What you failed to understand is that bloggers are smarter, better connected, and more technologically savvy than the average email user. We control the medium that you are now attempting to exploit. You’ve picked a fight with us and it’s a fight you cannot win.
Source: Kalsey Consulting Group Comment SPAM, like all other flavors of SPAM, is evil. DIE DIE DIE. SIGN SIGN SIGN.
What you can do Sign the manifesto by linking to it, leaving a comment or sending a TrackBack ping. Get the word out and let spammers know that their days are numbered. Write tutorials on how to track down spammers and shut down their operations. I wrote about how to get spammer’s affiliate accounts terminated. Perhaps someone else could write up how to trace a domain back to their hosting company. Or how to use tools like dig to find someone’s ISP based on their IP address. Start a posse. People particularly good at tracking down spammers could volunteer to help others. If a blogger is spammed, the volunteers could track down the culprit and shut him down. Stopping comment spam in one corner of the web will be good for everyone.

Max Payne 2 Cheats

There is nothing like playing through a game with a nude female character, this time around as Mona Sax. This page has all the other cheats too, cheers! Now if I could only play the darn game, it is sitting on my desk waiting for my PC to come back!

November 14, 2003

Palm After Panther

I really wish that Palm would release a Panther fix for HotSync'ing. It is really annoying not being able to sync in Panther. Until then I have installed Jaguar on a FireWire drive. I installed Palm Desktop 4.1, then went to install the iSync Palm Conduit only to find out I did not have iSync installed. I download iSync, only to find out that I need iCal 1.5.1 installed first.... So now I finally have everything installed in Jaguar. Now it is time to install the things I wanted to install but could not because of Panther. Mainly ZLauncher and FileMaker Mobile. But before I do that I need to install the Tungsten T3 ROM update. The ROM update whipes the entire PDA, of course. Palm also says to format any SD cards too. So now I go and backup the stuff on my SD card. Oh, yea, I forgot to mention. I got rid of my T2 shortly after buying it and got a T3. I just could not resist. and fell to temptation. If you were not aware I am a spoiled little bitch, after all (at least that is what Jake keeps calling me). I have got to do something with that domain yet, I just have not had the time. The T3 ROM update went fine, I have not noticed much of a difference. And I must say that ZLauncher is one fine launcher. I used to use HandScape Pro, but it does not even support the resolution of the Tungsten, much less the T3. ZLauncher looks great on the T3.

Tungsten T3 Screen Protector

The Tungsten T3's screen is a wee bit bigger then the Tungsten T/T2 screen. Of course it is. So my T2 screen protectors will not work with it. And the T3 is so new, it is almost impossible to find screen protectors for it. I found some from this Hong Kong based company, and they are not cheap! I thought the package would have 3 screen protectors, after all it is $9 USD. Nope, you get one protector for $9 + $3 shipping. But it is important to have your screen protected. It just comes at a price. I have not seen any other T3 screen protectors out yet either. I am sure there will be other vendors, just not at the moment. I bought these things almost 2 weeks ago, and just got them this week. So I am sure other vendors have them by now.

What is the Meatrix?

This is a very well done Flash animation, and spoof on The Matrix. It has a very good point about Factory Farming. It is, without a doubt, some of the best activism I have seen in a while. Be sure to check it out.

November 15, 2003

Terminator 3 DVD Review

Without James Cameron at the helm, it's almost scary to think what could've become of the Terminator franchise. Terminator 3 is by no means the epic thrill ride with a keen eye for storytelling that T2 was, but it manages to be one of the single greatest all-out action flicks ever to come out of Hollywood. The DVD release leaves a bit to be desired (and is especially weak for a 2-disc set), but the film is what all true DVD fans need to show off their systems. John Connor (played by Nick Stahl) has ripped himself right out of society. He has no home, credit cards, bank accounts, family, and has become a complete washout. It is his hope that this will prevent any Terminators from tracking him down. It doesn't. The latest model Terminator (the gorgeous Kristanna Loken) is sent back through time not only to eliminate John, but everyone who later is at his side during the battle. This brings in Claire Danes, portraying a veterinarian who is quickly sucked into the melee during an emergency call late at night. Arnold is back as the quickly aging (appropriately enough) T-101 to help protect John and keep him alive for the quickly approaching Judgment Day. Very little is here to advance the Terminator storyline. From the opening moments, it's nearly non-stop action throughout the entire 100 minutes. Remember the trench/chase scene from the second film? Forget it. It has nothing on a car/crane chase sequence a half-hour into this one. There is a much heavier reliance on CGI in this edition, and when it works, it works. There are those scenes where it's painfully obvious, but for a movie filled with so many awe-inspiring shots, this is a small price to pay. A few surprises are given to keep the timeline moving, but until the shocking revelations at the end of this film, there's hardly anything that will stun fans of the series. Then again, this is obviously not the focus of this third edition either. It's all about entertaining the masses and in this regard, it's easily the best of the year. (**** out of *****) The picture here is incredible. With the exception of a few grainy nighttime sequences, the print is flawless. The colors along with the explosions are reference quality material, right along with sound. Gunfire is prominent as it comes from all sides, immersing any viewer into the action. Bass is deep and the action never drowns the dialogue out. Warner has finally ditched the annoying cardboard snapper case for this release (thankfully) and settled for the standard plastic. Disc one holds the film, a 5.1 mix in French and English, plus 2 separate commentary tracks. One is director Jonathan Mostow going solo meticulously explaining how much of this film was accomplished; the second features most of the films stars (including Arnold himself) along with Mostow. The trailers for the film and video game have also been included. Disc 2 is, as usual, contains all the features but there's not exactly a lot here to dive into. Arnold introduces this disc with a short 30 second clip explaining what your about to experience, but it sounds better than it is. There's the now standard (and quickly becoming redundant) "HBO First Look" which runs at a paltry 13 minutes. There's nothing here that will surprise anyone as it's all been seen before. There's a deleted scene called "Sgt. Candy" which was thankfully cut from the movie, but does give some insight as to how the T-101 came to be. The best part of the disc is the visual effects room which goes deep into the process and even allows you to fiddle with a few sequences, adding in/taking out smoke, changing the weapons used, etc. The rest of the disc includes a look behind the McFarlane toy line, a blooper reel, a VERY brief look at the costumes, and the making of the video game. (***) The more than satisfying ending sets up a 4th film and one that has potential to even out-action this one. Arnold (along with Mastow) prove they have the skills to keep this series going full force if they so choose. It wouldn't surprise this reviewer if this disc gets an even better edition somewhere down the line since there's bound to be more material out there (abandoned effects sequences, more deleted scenes?). As for the moment, you couldn't ask for a better popcorn flick with stunning sound and picture.

Viking Kittens

Gregg showed me this cool Flash amination a while ago, and damit now whenever I hear the Immigrant Song all I think about are these Viking Kittens.

November 16, 2003

Lacie Porshe 250 GB Hard Drive

porsche_hd_rt.jpgI cannot believe the price drop on Firewire drives. A few months back we bought 120 GB drives for work from OWC for, I think, $250. This 250 GB drive cost $290. But thats how these things work in the computer world. This is by far the smallest full sized Firewire enclosure I have seen. The (approximate) dimensions are 7.25 x 4.25 x 1.25. It is a lot smaller then the OWC drives we use at work. "Designed by the world-famous Porsche Design Agency GmbH." Yea, whatever, its a gray case. I can't get over the form factor though, it is very nice. It matches my PowerBook G4 too :-D. Now I have one place to store my MP3 collection! That is so nice. I can now schedule more things to be backed up, not to mention Apple System Restore (ASR) images of my main drive, and still have room to grow. I formatted it as 'MS DOS File System' with the Panther Disk Utility. I did this so I could hook it up to my PC or any PC that I want to, for that matter. The only problem with using this formatting is the fact that it does not like special characters like HFS+ does, and it seems to have some issues with some icons. Think how many MP3 files have quotation marks, or question marks in them! Thank god for A Better Finder Rename (which coincidentally just came out with a great beta for OS X) to replace all those characters in the file names. Otherwise that job would be very very long and boring. But back to the drive, this is the best looking Firewire drives I have seen, hands down.

MS DOS Format + Jaguar

I still boot into Jaguar (10.2.8) to sync my Tungsten T3 (which I am actually having problems doing again) and I noticed something: my Lacie Firewire drive does not show up. Indeed if I go into Disk Utility in Jaguar it is grayed out. It finds the drive but cannot mount the volume. It knows it is MS DOS File System, but thats about it. Major bummer! Why? I find that OS 9.2.2 mounts the drive just fine. Interesting. Not another thing that OS 9 can do, and OS X could not do! Shocking. I really don't see why Jaguar cannot mount this drive formatted as MS DOS, but there are a number of mysteries about OS X that I still do not understand. This really does not effect me as I am running Panther, but if I take this drive to say my dad's house, he needs to be running Panther (or OS 9, but who does that anyway) to be able to see the drive. I have a OWC firewire HD that I Formatted on a PC, and Jaguar can mount that drive just fine. So there is something different about the "MS DOS File System" formatting option in the Panther Disk Utility. I tried finding more info about this at the Macworld Forums, but found no solid answers. I will try to find out more info on this on other boards, like MacOSXHints Forum among other places.

Adobe CS Suite Manuals

As I stated earlier, the Adobe CS Suite does not come with the printed manuals. All you get are the PDF's of them. I find this a major drawback, and do not understand why Adobe has done this. I bought, not too long ago, the Adobe Design Collection, and it had the printed manuals included. the Adobe CS Suite costs the same (give or take $100) and you do not get the printed manuals. You can however buy the manuals from the Adobe Store. For the Standard CS Suite, they cost $49.99. Add $10 for the Premium Suite. With shipping etc, added it cost me $67.30. This was worth it. Even if I had to pay for the CS upgrade, I would be saying it is worth it. Having product manuals is like having health insurance. You hope you don't need it, but are really glad when you have to rely on it. I have already gone through the 'New Features' sections, and am really liking the new 3D transform tools in Illustrator CS. The amount of control over lighting is very nice. This feature in itself is enough to get the new Illustrator. Being able to do 3D text without using Maya, Lightwave, etc, is a really nice thing. While the CS manuals do come in PDF format, I burn my retina out enough as it is, I like having the printed manuals. (And no I don't want to get comb bound manuals that I can make myself). The books are a little smaller this time, but with all the new features in InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator, I like reading about all the new things from the source, and a lot of times this is better then paying $50 or so per app for a 3rd party book.

November 17, 2003

Mail server flaw opens Exchange to SPAM

Another M$ security issue? This is getting ridiculous.
Administrators of e-mail systems based on Microsoft's Exchange might have spammers using their servers to send unsolicited bulk e-mail under their noses, a consultant warned this week. Aaron Greenspan, a Harvard University junior and president ofconsulting company Think Computer, published a white paper Thursday detailing the problem, discovered when a client's server was found to be sending spam. Greenspan's research concluded that Exchange 5.5 and 2000 can be used by spammers to send anonymous e-mail. He says even though software Microsoft provides on its site certifies that the server is secure, it's not. "If the guest account is enabled (on Exchange 5.5 and 2000), even if your login fails, you can send mail, because the guest account is there as a catchall," he said. "Even if you think you've done everything (to secure the server), you are still open to spammers."
Source: C|NET

Why Computers Are Screwed Up

Andy Rooney always has good editorials. Here is one on computers and typewriters.
They make computers so you have to buy a new one whenever there's a full moon. If my Underwood (typewriter) had been a computer, I'd have had to buy a new one every time I needed a new ribbon because Bill Gates would have designed new ribbons so they didn't fit last year's typewriter.
Source: CBS News

Blogrolling got hacked?

It seems as tho Blogrolling got hacked. Everyone who has a blog roll using the service has had their roll(s) replaced with repetitive instances of "Laura's Blog." I am not even going to link to the site. This is pathetic. Now I have to recreate my blogroll. I know I won't remember all of them. Maybe I should just forgo the service all together and go back to the old way of writing the HTML myself for my links list. After today it makes me think I should.

Palm Problem in Panther Persists - Fixed

I am (now) a very happy camper. I just got off the phone with a level 2 tech. from Palm. They are now saying that Palm Desktop and HotSync will work in Panther. Earlier reports on MacFixIt stated otherwise. This tech. (Barbara D.) stated that just recently (last few days) Palm now officially supports Panther! First she had me update to the latest version of Stuffit, 8.0.1. Then she had me download this file from Aladdin's Tech site. Dropping the Palm Desktop 4.1 installer onto this applet fixes some permissions. I then installed PD 4.1 and tried to sync. No go. Then she asked if I have a Palm keyboard. Well yes I do. This is the root of my problems. Here is the lesson folks: You have to disable the keyboard, and do a soft reset, before you sync to a Mac. This problem does not exist on the PC. I was told that the Palm does not communicate fast enough with the Mac. Whatever that means, I do not care, because now I can sync, and I can do it in Panther! I am very happy with Palm Tech. support, but then I always have been.

Composing Myst's Musical World

I am eagerly waiting Uru, the 4th chapter in the Myst series that started many years ago as a Mac made, Mac only game. I have played through Myst, Riven, and Excile many times. Its not often you find a game so engaging and so much fun, and it does not have guns and wide spread maiming in it.
The Uru project absorbed Larkin for nearly three years. “The graphics are so incredible,” he says. “As you walk through the Uru environments, everything moves with you — in real-time, photo-realistic 3D.” Watching these scenes evolve provided continual inspiration to the composer. “I’m very visual,” says Larkin. “When I’d go through an area in the game, I could hear what music or ambient sounds should be introduced.”

November 18, 2003

Monty Python and the Holy Grail Collectors Edition DVD Review

Is there anything left that can be said about Monty Python and the Holy Grail that hasn't been said elsewhere? Even if your one of 20 or so people on this continent who have never actually sat down to see this laugh-riot of a movie, you still know it. The quotes are many, the fans insane, and it's effect on pop-culture is immeasurable. This is most likely what will be the definitive version of this film on DVD and the version to own for the die-hard fans of Python classic. Is there any need to delve deep into an explanation of this films story? It's doubtful. Let's leave it at this: King Arthur goes on his quest to retrieve the Holy Grail and find brave knights who will join his court in Camelot. That's pretty much it. Along the way, the story will take on indescribable twists and turns so bizarre you'll be completely baffled by their inclusion. The only problem is that you'll be laughing to hard to even try and think about them. In all honesty, this is easily one of the single greatest comedies of all time. British humor is something that not quite everyone will "get," and that's probably the only reason why this film doesn't have the large American audience of a Mel Brooks comedy (Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein). Still, those who do are literally engulfed by this films charm...and violence. Nothing beats the Black Knight sequence. Well, maybe the killer rabbit...or maybe the bridge scene...or the witch...or maybe the "bring out the dead" segment....though those credits have alot going for them... This Collector's Edition gift set comes in a glossy, thick cardboard case and is packed with some nice extras. The coolest feature is the 92 page screenplay which includes everything, even the credits (which are a must read since they do tend to go by pretty quickly on film). There's a ton of photo's (sadly in black & white) and the jokes are still priceless, even in print. A film senitype is also packed in depicting all 6 members of the Knights of the Round Table. Even the text on the back of this piece is hilarious offering a new senitype for each of the next 127,416 years...and a free tube of glue. The 2-disc set included is the same as the Special Edition issued earlier in 2003. There is far too much here to go over completely here, but rest assured you'll be playing around with this set for a ridiculous amount of time. First up is a great trip back to the original shoot locations with Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Fans go nuts at these locations and you can even purchase some coconuts to "ride a horse" through them! You can watch the film with a Japanese soundtrack with sub-titles reverted back into English (though no all is as it seems) or with subtitles "for people who don't like the film." This will play Shakespeareís "Hamlet" for the entire film in subtitle form. Why? Who cares, it's funny! There's a great commentary track which is almost funnier than the movie at times, a musical segment of the film animated completely in Lego's, a "many uses for the cocoanut" featured, behind the scenes photo's, 24 seconds of the film re-inserted, and who knows what else. Seriously, there's enough here to keep viewers busy for a day or more depending on how long you can hold back your laughter. The film has been completely remastered and it looks even better than it has previously. There is obviously some grain and compression issues, but for a film with a budget like this one, it's probably as good as it's going to get. The 5.1 sound remix is definitely powered by the center channel for the most part, but the soundtrack fills the room just like a 5.1 track should. If you prefer, you can always go with the standard mono just like it was back when the film was released. If anything is wrong with this set, it's the packaging itself. The hard cardboard packaging doesn't open very well and it could very easily crack or tear. Worse yet, both of the discs are stuffed onto one single peg. Scratches are going to be a problem with this set. With a retail price of $44.99, there really is no excuse for this. Warner remains the king of DVD gift sets with their huge boxes, full-size posters, discs contained in their standard cases, and the usual assortment of goodies. To be blunt and brief, this is the best version of one of the funniest movies all time on the best possible format. The set is packed with features (all of which are enjoyable), a beautiful senitype, a great script, and a masterful restoration job. With the exception of the packaging issues mentioned above, this is a must for any true fans of this classic. Say it with me: "Ni!"

Mickey Mouse Turns 75 Today

I've seen Steamboat Willie, have you?
He was a symbol of American pluck in his screen debut, "Steamboat Willie," on November 18, 1928. The film at New York's Colony Theatre showed an irreverent rodent who takes Captain Pete's steamboat on a joyride and woos Minnie Mouse by making music on the bodies of various farm animals.
Source: CNN

Charges against Martha Stewart Stand

Has this gone on long enough? I thought it said somewhere about a "speedy trial." But that does not happen in this day and age.
A federal judge on Tuesday refused to dismiss the two most serious criminal charges against Martha Stewart, the lifestyle trendsetter due to face a federal trial early next year.
Source: CNN Money

November 19, 2003

Odd iSight Behavior

Maybe odd is not the correct term. Once is odd, but three times? That is just strange. Dad brought home an iSight so we could talk, and see, each other in iChat. But at first I could not hear my dad's audio, just his video. After about 5 minutes I opened up System Preferences, because dad asked if there was a software update he should run, and so I opened System Preferences. It was not until I opened Software Update until I could hear dad. No Joke. We talked for about an hour or so, and then the audio dropped again. I opened Software Update, and the audio came back. Now I did not actually run software update, I just opened the prefPane. That was yesterday. Tonight we started a video chat and the same thing happened. I got no audio, though my dad could hear me fine. So the first thing I do is go to the Software Update window. Sure enough his audio kicks in. I do not understand this, but it happened 3 times. Weird man, weird!

November 20, 2003

iTunes ID3 Auto Naming

This is amazing! I do not know why it is not touted as a feature of iTunes. I do not know if this existed in earlier versions or not, but it is a very nice feature. I ripped a CSNY boot and of course I get "Track 1" etc, etc. I have the files in a playlist in iTunes 4, and am renaming them in the Finder, thanks to finding a track listing online. When I rename the file names, iTunes 4 makes the ID3 Name the same thing! I imagine you have to have the files open in a iTunes playlist for this to work. But man, what a time saver! You may have to double click on the track in iTunes, probably to refresh, but it works! Also, this little trick only works if the file started out life as "Track 1.mp3" etc, etc. If the file name is already named, and you rename it, there is not dynamic rename in iTunes. Now if the file name started as "Track 1.mp3" you can rename it as many times as you want, and iTunes will update the ID3 info. I only wish this worked on renaming files as well. But for what it is, it is a very cool feature.

The Farce That is the Global Gaming League

There's a new up-and-coming sports league soon to be making it's mark on the world. It's not the XFL, but it's video game equivalent. This is single handedly one of the most poorly executed ideas in the history of the industry. In it's simplest form, the "Global Gaming League" is a great idea. Gamers of all ages (well, those over 13 at least) compete in online games for prizes ranging from cash to brand new PC's. This brings us to the first major issue with this "league." Their website contains numerous references to "fame and fortune" and sponsors. Not only is the entire idea of becoming famous by playing Unreal Tournament a ludicrous assumption, but just imagine Nike deciding to sponsor someone and paying them to wear a pair of shoes. Then again, maybe they'll make an entire line of gaming accessories and competitors will be right up there with Allen Iverson on the next Super Bowl spot.....or not. Their dedication to their athletes (as they call them, more on that later) really goes far too. You not only have to supply your own copy of the game, but servers as well. Does the NBA require players to purchase basketballs and jersey's on their own? Now, I'm well aware this is an open upstart league and just about anyone may join, but not even the top players receive benefits. How can you not provide servers to monitor in-game action? This leaves the entire league wide open to rampant cheating. If you feel that you have been cheated upon, you can submit proof within 48 hours of the incident. Yeah, it will be really easy to prove that invincibility code was in effect. Anyone who's been online will tell you cheating is a problem becoming more rampant so I'm not sure what makes these guys think they can defeat it with an honor system. Screenshots or shots taken with a camera are recommended for record keeping which means that this league doesn't even have a pictorial record of their games. Can you imagine the watching Monday Night Football without reference footage of games long past? More issues involve game selection. As for right now, this entire league is for PC gamers only, easily the most expensive way to game right now. Unless I win one of those Alienware's their planning on giving away, I'm out. The majority of the games are first-person shooter or team based games. Sports games are slowly being leaked, but no information on them was available. It would be great to see some classic games added to the roster. True skill comes from taking on thousands of aliens in Space Invaders, not just knowing the maps in Quake. The most abominable thing this league is doing is calling it's participants "athletes." Look, if sitting in my basement playing a game of Halo is athletic, I wouldn't weigh 230 pounds. Yeah, I'm sure lugging a PC around isn't easy, but it's sure as hell not athletic competition. Pro wrestlers have fought for years to gain the status of athlete (and ask anyone who's ever done's NOT easy) and now a kid who sits in a chair flicking a mouse button is considered an athlete? Something is seriously wrong with this world. In all honesty, there are SOME things these guys have gotten right. The initial idea was in the right place and having the younger gamers have their parents sign a waiver stating they'll let them play ESRB "M" rated games is a nice touch. Yeah, it's probably there simply to protect them from any responsibility, but you have to give them credit for doing something to make parents take responsibility. These guys have their heart in the right place, but their execution is seriously lacking. NBC has decided to carry these guys briefly during the Gravity Games in small segments, but this is probably as far as they'll ever get. I really hope no one signs on to participate and actually expect to become some huge superstar. Their dreams would be shattered pretty quickly. Unless they get some more money involved, there's no chance for this to succeed and it all starts with dedicated servers. Once this happens (if it ever does of course) I'll take another look. Until then, good luck.

Palm Keyboard & The Mac

I recently wrote about this with regard to problems I was having sync'ing in Panther. As it turns out it has nothing to do with Panther, but it is important enough to devote a separate post to it.

If you use a Mac *cheers* and you have one of the many Palm Keyboards (I have the 1st party Thin Palm Keyboard) then you need to disable the keyboard before you can HotSync to your Mac. This problem does not exist in Windows. We are so lucky.

You need to remember to go into the Keyboard app (on your Palm) and un check "Enable Keyboard." Now HotSync is possible. This is annoying, because when I want to use my keyboard, I have to remember to enable it again.

The way I understand it, the Palm cannot talk to the Mac, and the Palm Keyboard at once, or simply it cannot talk to two I/O devices if one of those devices is a Mac.

What really chaps me is the fact that I spent many phone calls to Palm Tech. Support, well over 3 hours with Level 1 Tech's and none of them bothered to ask if I had a keyboard, they all knew I had a Mac, you key that in when you make the call. The last Level 1 tech. I talked to finally had me talk to a Level 2 tech. Barbara D. called me Monday morning (I had talked to the Level 1 tech. on Saturday) and within a half hour I was syncing (in Panther no less) because she quickly after trying to get me to sync with fail, asked me if I had a keyboard for my Palm.

I am not disrespecting Palm Tech. Support. Palm, like Apple, in my experience, have very very good technicians manning the phones. I find that it sometimes takes talking to a couple different techs. to get a clear or corroborating answer, but that is something that is not unique to any tech. support department I have dealt with.

For a number of days Palm was not supporting Panther, Barbara D. told me that just recently they officially support Panther, and the word had not gotten around to all the techs. yet. (When an OS is not supported, the techs. will not help you).

OK, I have gone off on a small tangent, but it was related :-P.

If this issue is readily discovered and fixed by a Level 2 tech. then I would think the Level 1 techs. should be made aware of it. That, and there should be a FAQ page about it on the PalmOne Support Site.

November 21, 2003

The Core DVD Review

I'm not usually one to use other people's descriptions in my reviews, but this is one time I can't help myself. This is "Armageddon going in the opposite direction." Not sure where I read that, but I can't think of a better way to describe "The Core." It's your typical summer sci-fier, lacking just a bit in a few key areas. The DVD though is one of the best sounding movies of the year. Look, this is sci-fi. Your either going to buy this films premise or your not. If you can accept the fact that the Earth's core has suddenly stopped rotating and in a matter of months the governments of the world combine to create a massive hulk of a ship to drill down and get it going again with nukes, then welcome home. Otherwise, your going to be groaning and rolling your eyes for the entire 2 hour running time. Unlike most movies in this genre, almost everything has an explanation, regardless of how absurd it may be. Your never out of the loop and the director (Jon Amiel) keeps things believable. The few scenes of mass destruction this film contains are far too brief and you just don't see enough to make this worthwhile to action fans. Worse yet, the special effects range from spectacular to abysmal, in no particular order. Things get pretty heavy at the end, but this is a disaster movie and it plows along expectedly. The actors (including Hilary Swank, Aaron Eckhart, and Stanley Tucci among others) chime in with solid performances but there's nothing the Academy will recognize. The DVD presents the film in a widescreen print (as it should be) and with the exception of the black levels not being very black, it's flawless. There's a gratuitous amount of red and orange in this film and it's all held together with no color bleeding at all. What really brings this movie alive is the sound. Presented in a basic 5.1 track, this one ousts most DTS tracks. The usage of the 2 rear channels is simply spectacular and the destruction sequences (no matter how brief they are) really put you in the middle of the action. The bird sequence early in the film really shows this off well. Just imagine Hitchcockís "The Birds" with a true 5.1 mix and you get the idea. The remainder of the disc is solid for a standard edition with the director's commentary, deleted scenes (with or without commentary), a brief 11 minute making-of, and a few trailers. Jon Amiel remains surprisingly quiet for his solo commentary, but you'll still learn more here than you will with the documentary. The deleted scenes are a perfect example of why things like this happen. Their inclusion would've slowed this one down to a crawl. One nicer note is the option to select right from the start if you'd like to view the included trailers instead of them being forced on you. There are only two different views for this movie: Either your going to buy into it or your not. If your with me, you'll find this to be an entertaining summer popcorn flick with the usual 70's disaster film clichÈís. If your a fan of the DVD experience however, this is definitely a great flick to have on your shelf regardless of what you may think of the movie. The features aren't spectacular, but the sound is mesmerizing. This is a movie that HAS to be re-released with a DTS track.

The Recruit DVD Review

Colin Farrell is quickly becoming a hot property. Ever since I picked up a used copy of "Tigerland" at a local store, I've been a fan. This kid can act, period. However, with a few more movies like "The Recruit" this could be a very short love affair. James Clayton (Farrell) is recruited by Walter Burke (played by Scarface favorite Al Pacino) to take a shot at becoming a member of the CIA. Once in, James falls for Layla (the super hot Bridget Moynahan) another recruit, but Burke knows something James doesn't. Everything Burke knows revolves around Layla. There's not a whole lot more that can be said without ruining this movie for someone who hasn't seen it. It takes a bunch of predicable twists, but the entire movie is simply too shallow to hold itself together in the end. This could've been a decent thriller. The entire first half of the movie revolves around the training of the recruits and is quite interesting (though somewhat far-fetched one would think). The second half turns into a muddled chase and the same line "nothing is as it seems" must be spoken 25 times. It's annoying, mostly predictable, filled with plot holes, and not entertaining in the least. Nothing is really accomplished until the final showdown between Pacino and Farrell making the rest of the movie seem completely worthless. The disc is presented in (and I quote) the directors original 1.77:1 aspect ratio which shows more of the film then was presented in theaters. Is it true? I have no idea. I don't see why the film wouldn't have been shown the same way in theaters. The video is flawless (carrying the THX-certified logo) with only minor spots of film grain. The sound is presented in standard 5.1 or the much deeper DTS 5.1 track. Until the final chapter and a brief car chase, there's not really alot here to show off the sound. If you have the option though, DTS is (as usual) the preferred way to go. Features are standard filler material. You'll get a commentary track from the director (Roger Donaldson) and Colin Farrell. I don't why Pacino isn't here since his character is possibly the most intriguing. A few deleted scenes have been included along with directors commentary (or without, your choice). Nothing here would've helped the story any or made it any easier to understand, they only would've made the film longer and harder to bear. The most interesting feature is an 11 minute behind the scenes look at the CIA training program with actual footage. It's a shame it isn't any longer as it had the potential to be better than the movie. There are plenty of other spy thrillers out there that do this genre justice. The Recruit is a boiled down attempt to try and capitalize on a fairly popular genre and sadly, it's a bad one. Had the DVD itself had some more redeeming features it could almost be recommended (if only for Moynahan), but the standard disc release is quickly becoming obsolete. Also note there's not even a liner card inside listing the chapters.

Game Cube for $80

Can you smell it in the air? No, not the turkey, the shopping! And as if we needed more of a reason for going to Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving, they are selling Game Cubes for $80, you get The Legend of Zelda Collector's Edition disc. This sweet disc includes: 1. Legend of Zelda (NES) 2. Adventures of Link: Legend of Zelda II (NES) 3. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64) 4. Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64) 5. Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GCN - Demo) 6. Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Movie 7. Legend of Zelda Retrospective Documentary There are other ways to get the disc, but its a sweet deal along side an $80 Game Cube. Thanks to Matt Paprocki for the link.

November 22, 2003

Accomplish By The End of The Year

1. List five things you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year. Get laid! Low bandwidth template for The BG News Final rollout of the Unigraphics Invoicing System Switch The BG News over to smoothly running OS X full time Finish the COMSTOR web site 2. List five people you've lost contact with that you'd like to hear from again. Jim Redfearn Jamie Simms Sherry Garret Bill Stewart Steve Reedy 3. List five things you'd like to learn how to do. I would love to learn how to whistle! Drive stick shift (better) Spanish, Japanese, French Sky diving Cocoa programming 4. List five things you'd do if you won the lottery (no limit). Invest at least half if not 2/3 Give a portion to the American Lung Association Pay off any debt I may have Get the latest Mac, and yes, even the latest PC Buy a vehicle with room, unlike my current one 5. List five things you do that help you relax. Like Neil, I too, blog to relax Playing video games, of any kind Draw - if I ever finish it, I will have a minor in drawing Play basketball Listen to music, or read news sites/papers

November 23, 2003

Full Screen Version Please

There are some things in life I will most likely never understand. One of these things has really come to light as of late. At a recent trip to the video store to pick up some used DVD's, I stood next to a woman purchasing the film Drumline. Now, all jokes about the film aside, the clerk informed the woman the only version they had in stock was widescreen. The woman went nuts. "Why would I want to watch a movie where all their heads are cut off?" Thankfully, I managed to contain myself and slowly removed my body from the counter, leaving with my widescreen copy of "Road to Perdition." Had I stayed, my immediate question would be: "Why in the blue hell did you buy a freakin' DVD player in the first place?" This is probably the same person who bought one of those RF modulators to hook her new $25 DVD player up to her 13' TV with a 35 foot coaxial cable. I'm not criticizing anyone's entertainment set-up, but it bewilders me why these people even own a DVD player in the first place. I'll openly admit that for YEARS I watched full screen movies. That VHS copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II was a goldmine for me in my younger days. I'll even go back now and watch it to give myself a laugh. When you begin to think about it, isn't it all obvious? Theater screens are rectangular and your TV's square, how else can the entire picture fit? Why do full screen movies have black bars on widescreen TV's? Hell, why do you think they make widescreen TV's in the first place? It's made even worse by movie companies. I remember walking into a local mass-electronics chain (Bust Buy or something like that) and there is a massive standee for the Indiana Jones box set. 600 copies, at least 500 of them are full screen. Maybe it all starts with the directors. Don't these people care that their movies are being butchered for the masses? My hopes increased with my recent purchase of the "Lion King." I couldn't find a full screen butcher job anywhere on the shelves. Happy, I left the store thinking Disney has finally done something right (and if they'd stop releasing unnecessary sequels to their classic films, I may change my outlook on them). I open up the case after tearing it in 7 different places thanks to those god-awful "security stickers" (that's a whole new topic) and begin to read some of the enclosed documentation. Their recommendation? Use the zoom player on your DVD player to get rid of those "black bars." AAHHH!!! It seems blatantly obvious to me that not even the companies stand to educate the consumer. Numerous websites exist to educate people, but will these people even bother to look ( is an excellent starting point)? Is there anyone else to blame? Studio's have been releasing VHS copies in full screen since the format began. Have you ever tried tracking down a widescreen copy of a film on VHS. It's like trying to find your car keys in the morning during a bad hangover. Something needs to be done and it needs to be done immediately. I can't stand watching people live their lives missing the finer points of Drumline. If anyone has suggestions, please, drop a line to your favorite movie company. Will they listen? Probably not, but you'll walk away from your keyboard knowing you've wasted 10 minutes of your life trying to make a difference. Oh, and if you still insist on watching your movies crammed, squished, panned, cut, packed, smashed, and butchered, my E-mail address is readily available.

Matt's Gaming Room

A picture is worth 1000 words right? I present to you "Gaming Nirvana."
This is a little on the tame side compared to these. Matt has a long way to go.

House passes anti-spam bill

Will this really work?
Measure would outlaw most unsolicited e-mail; Senate approval is expected. The House voted overwhelmingly Saturday for a bill to outlaw most Internet spam and create a "do not spam" registry for those who do not wish to receive unsolicited junk e-mail. Online marketers who flood e-mail in boxes with pornography and get-rich-quick schemes would face multimillion dollar fines and jail time under the measure. It passed by a vote of 392-5 at dawn Saturday, following an all-night session of the House that was largely devoted to a separate Medicare bill. The Senate unanimously passed a similar anti-spam bill last month, but it must assent to the House changes before the measure can become law. The Senate is expected to do so in the coming days. Anti-spam bills have died in Congress for six years while unsolicited commercial e-mail has grown from a nuisance to a plague that threatens to derail the Internet's most popular means of communication. .... It would outlaw spammers' attempts to cover their tracks by requiring marketers to identify themselves clearly and avoid misleading subject lines or return addresses. Pornographic messages would have to be clearly labeled as such to allow users to more easily filter them out. Violators would face millions of dollars in fines and up to five years in jail. The bill would not allow individuals to sue spammers.
Source: CNN Money Would you put your email address on a "Do Not SPAM" List? Or is this just creating a huge SPAM list for the FTC to exploit later in our lives? Vote now! The subject line thing is what really annoys the hell out of me. But how are they going to enforce this? And why protect spammers so we cannot sue them? I just do not understand how this would get enforced. If I get a SPAM email am I supposed to send it to the FTC? Its not hard at all to spoof an email, how many spammers employ tactics to spoof their IP, etc? Any ideas?

Paris Hilton's Steamy Home Movie

Reports have surfaced of a steamy sex video, featuring 22-year-old Hilton, which could soon be available on the Internet la Tommy and Pamela's infamous romp. Shot about three years ago, the tape features the then-barely legal celebutante getting X-rated with Shannen Doherty's on-again, off-again husband Rick Solomon, 33.
Source: Yahoo News Haven't you seen the SPAM for this? Well why pay when Consumption Junction has it for all the world to see? Now I shouldn't have to say this, but this is not fit for viewing at work (or if you are under the age of 18, for that matter)! Green Breans If you can't figure out where the link is, you are obviously not determined enough. You are a sick bastard, you know that? How could you? Why would you? Have you no shame? You are just like the rest of us, eager to watch. You know you are, don't deny it! MUA HA HA HA HA! Should we feel sorry for Paris? What has this done for her? What do people know of Paris? They know she is a model, and a party hearty celeb. This is only going to help her. She gets her name and photos on magazine covers and spreads all over the world. How is this going to hurt her?
I take as a given that Ms. Hilton's recent escapade, as noted at Fleshbot (not work safe) and elsewhere, does not represent any fundamental new ground for the young lady. When you devote your life to being watched: to being observed, the step that you take when finally allowing that observation to extend to your most intimate --- or at least, most explicit --- moments is not a particularly bold one. When put in the context of her past behavior, the act is different only in degree, not in kind. But observing Ms. Hilton (no, not observing her do that, but more generally) makes me wonder about a personality so in need of attention from others. She yearns for the spotlight; for the eyes of the world to focus on her for a moment, and, if possible, longer. She seeks notice wherever she can find it; basking in the radiance of strangers' gazes and thoughts. Where once, we can assume, she sought such attention a source of approval, a validation of her own worth, now, the notice itself has become the end. Positive or negative; embarrassing or flattering, whatever keeps her in the spotlight is by definition good.

Final Fantasy X-2 First Look

ffx2box.jpgI watched the video review over at IGN PS2, and they said not to get caught up in the "poppy" "bubble gummy" sugar coating, I will try not to. But that is a lot to ask. The opening CGI is as breathtaking as any of the CGIs from FFX. We get to see Yuna singing? Yep, She has gone from High Summoner to pop icon. Well, no, not really. We (that would be Rikku and Paine) are presented with their first fight, against "Yuna." We find out shortly after that it is really LaBlank using the Songstress Garment Grid. I like that we are thrown into a number of battles right off the bat. Needless to say, I am frothing at the mouth over the story of FFX-2. I really enjoyed the story line of FFX. I have been waiting to play this game since the extra movie from FFX International hit the internet. X-2 is already getting interesting, and I am only on the first mission. The battle system is a lot faster paced. It is still turn based, but is a little more real time, I do not know how to exactly describe it. I am not sure I like the new faster battles, it is different. You can hit enemies while they are attacking your party, that is nice. The Garment Grid thing is interesting, allowing Yuna to play Piane's Warrior role, for example. You can go to the Cabin portion of the Air Ship and go talk to a bar keep, named "barkeep" and buy/sell items. How convenient that is. Having the Air Ship at the beginning of the journey makes this game quite a bit different from FFX. It is no longer linear, there are a couple different things to accomplish at any given time. IGN was right when they said the music was lacking. The lead music directors for FFX moved on to FFXI and what we are given for music in FFX-2 is lucklaster. The Fanfare music, is not very Fanfare-ish. The overall music is more techno then in FFX. It will take a little getting used to. I bought the 4 disc soundtrack for FFX because I liked it so much, I do not think I will be paying to import this soundtrack. The vocal tracks in FFX-2 don't even compare to Suteki da ne (Isn't it Beautiful). The music is such a big part of the Final Fantasy experience, I think it is a shame they do not have the same director for FFX-2 as they did for FFX. The "platforming" elements consist of nothing more hitting the Circle button. If you do not do it fast enough you might drop into a chasm, or you might fall off balance and have to back up and try the jump again. Nothing revolutionary here, but it is a really nice breakup of the flat landscape. It adds more of a 3rd dimensional feel to the environments. I was hoping to get something for my FFX save file. I did all that could be done in FFX, including finding all the legendary weapons. I think a nice touch would have been to start FFX-2 with all the Albed Primers, if you took the time to locate all of them in FFX. Something like that, something for the people who did more then just play the game for 40 hrs. to beat the final boss. This game, like FFX, will most likely be my favorite game of the year. OK, I have to get back to playing, I have to go find Wakka in some cave now.

November 24, 2003

Mom Finds Out About Blog

Oh lord! Thanks Jake for the link. The Onion is so fun to read. We all need our satire in this age we live in.

The First Snow

Oh yay! Its the first snow of the year! I had to scrape snow and ice off of my car this morning. uggg.

Ad Campaign For New $20 Bill A Success

WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Department of the Treasury deemed the new multicolored $20 bill a raging success Monday, thanks to its $30 million advertising campaign. "Due to our print and TV ads, people across the nation are choosing our $20 bill when they need to exchange currency for goods and services within the United States and its territories," Secretary of the Treasury John Snow said. "We couldn't be happier. Americans agree that the Series 2004 U.S. currency is the legal tender for all debts, public and private." Due to high demand for the bill, the Treasury has already ordered second and third printings.
Source: The Onion Now, does anyone else see the need for such advertisements? I even noticed the dang thing plastered on the field of some NFL games (nice computer work guys, but when a player walks over it, it looks pretty shoddy). And that commercial with the guy throwin' the new $20 over his shoulder and across his arm like he is a Harlem Globetrotter. Whats up with that?

iPod'd Dirty Secret

I found this over at Neil's World. He got it from Dan's journal. Here is the great QuickTime movie that explains everything. Apple does [now] offer a $99 battery replacement plan, btw. I think my brother got one of the first 30 GB iPods off the line, his would not hold a charge. He sent it into Apple and he had a new (or fixed, I cannot remember) one rather shortly. I have friends who have the original 5 GB model, and have had no problems with it.

AppleCare now available for the iPod

Apple's highly recommended AppleCare premium warranty service is now available for the iPod. The plan is priced at US$59 for two years of protection. One caveat, however: "The AppleCare Protection Plan cannot be sold to consumers residing in Florida. 'Consumers' are persons who use their computers primarily for personal, family, or household purposes."
Source: MacFixIt Those darn Floridians! What were they thinking? Yea, that makes a lot of sense Apple.

iPod 'jack ins' happening more frequently

Wired News has a report on the practice of iPod 'jack ins,' where one user will plug their iPod headphones into the iPod of a passerby. "Sharing an iPod through its headphone jack is also a crude, low-tech version of what some predict is the real killer application of future iPods: transforming them into short-distance broadcasting devices by adding Bluetooth or similar radio technology, coupled with Rendezvous, an Apple-developed networking technology that allows devices to discover each other automatically."
Source: Wired Um.........OK!

Switch Plans, Keep Your Cellphone Number

Today is the day cellphone number portability goes into effect. You can take your current cellphone number with you if you transfer to a new service provider. You may even be able to add your traditional landline phone number to a wireless plan. Before you make the switch, there are a few things you need to do first. Watch today's show to learn all about cellphone number portability. Most carriers will not charge you to switch your number to their service. However, some carriers will charge a nominal monthly fee to cover the costs of enabling number portability, whether you switch your number or not.
Source: The Screen Savers I wrote about this earlier. It would have been nice if this had happened 6 months ago!!! ARRGGG! Oh well that is life.

Sexy Photo Printers for Christmas

The Screen Savers Lab did the homework so you can read the Cliff Notes. Check it out!

Jon Johansen Publishes iTunes hack

The Norwegian programmer who distributed the first widely used tool for cracking the copy protection technology found on DVDs has turned his attention to Apple Computer's iTunes. Late last week, programmer Jon Johansen posted a small program called QTFairUse to his Web site, with little in the way of instruction and even less explanation. But during the next few days, it became clear that the program served as a demonstration of how to evade, if not exactly break, the anticopying technology wrapped around the songs sold by Apple in its iTunes store. Johansen's software isn't for technology novices. In its current form, it requires several complicated steps to create a working program from source code, and it doesn't create a working song file that can be immediately or simply played from a digital music program like Winamp or Microsoft's Windows Media Player.
Source: C|NET & Slashdot & The Register & MacRumors Now, what I have read, is that QTFairUse does not work. But who knows. Try it for yourself!

& #64; and & #46;

What? You don't speak geek? OK. & #64; = @ & #46; = . (period) (space added after the & so it did not render the HTML) So from now on when you have to add a mailto link to a web page, use it! Email apps understand these codes, most spam bots don't.

I-Ninja Flash Game

This video game actually looks like it might add some new tricks to the standard platformer, but this Flash game is as addicting as the arcade classics it emulates.

Tables vs. Full CSS Integration

This is a great read that you should read. Thanks to Kurt Krejny for giving me the link. "Tables vs CSS: 15 points to consider when choosing between a traditional table web site and a CSS-P" has a number of very good points. My first experimentations with full on CSS-P have been with the blogs I have created, or helped create. Using CSS-P in this fashion can be a very frustrating experience. Especially when you find out that specific attributes are still not working across the major browsers. While I do not agree with all of it, I do agree with parts of this argument. I have found that I employ a mixture of the two technologies because that is what works in the most possible situations. The one large grain of salt here is the fact that they are trying to sell their product, but still, even with that, these 15 points are worth reading and thinking about.

November 25, 2003


I am heading off home, to dad's house. This may very well mean little to no updates here to BW. But then that has never stopped me before. After all, there will be a Cable connection. Have a happy Thanksgiving folks!

What's FTP?

Tech: It's simple. Just FTP your files up, create an article with links to those files and then hard-code the link to that article in the nav bar. Client: What's FTP?

More on QTFairUse

"The exploitation of iTunes vulnerabilities forces Apple to revisit their code -- this results in a challenge of how much developer time can Apple dedicate to patching security holes rather than enhancing features," Tim Deal, senior analyst with Technology Business Research, told MacCentral.
Source: MacCentral I sincerely hope that Apple thought about this fact when they decided to release iTunes for Windows. Apple had no comment on this. Apple still has done nothing about MyTunes, which is odd because the same flaw existed in the 4.0 Mac version and god very quickly updated to 4.01. I don't see why Apple has done nothing about MyTunes. One reason, the only reason I can think of is because MyTunes does not break DRM. But I would still think that Apple would have patched this already.

November 26, 2003

Safari Wish List 11/25/03

Here are the features I would like to see in an update to Safari. (Disregarding any changes I would like to see in WebCore.) This is also part two in an n part series. Please see part one for my previous wishes.
  1. Safari really likes it cache. It likes it a bit too much. You can select Empty Cache... from the Safari menu, but even doing that sometimes (a lot of times) does not work. I recommend using Safari Enhancer, it does a number of things, one of which is turn off cache entirely. You might not want to do that with a dial up connection, but who has that these days? (that was a joke) Even with cache disabled, it seems Safari still keeps cache too much. I really don't understand how it does that, with it disabled and all, but it does. Why does this cache thing bother me? Because I am a web designer. I need fresh copies of my pages. I think Safari loads pages so fast because of its affinity to cache. Let go. It will be OK!
  2. When Apple does something, they always add some twist to it to make it unique. This is by far one of the best things about Apple products. For Safari 1.0 it was the SnapBack feature. SnapBack is a very handy feature, and I use it a lot. It means I do not have to go through the History menu when all I want is the history of the current web site. SnapBack on Google results are also very cool. URL auto-complete is very handy feature. This is something that needs an Apple twist. What if when typing a URL, and it finds a site that is in your history, it automatically selects the the root domain first, and not some page that is deep in the site? I don't know about you, but I would really like that. Because I am always either arrowing to the root domain, or deleting from the URL field if the root domain is not in short reach.
  3. The Open Page With... Menu that is in the Debug Menu should not be a hidden feature. For those who do not know, the Open Page With... Menu shows all other installed web browsers. For me it is Internet Exploder, Mozilla, and Opera. This is a wonderful feature of Safari. It needs to be out in the open. I use it a lot, again, because I am a web designer. But, it is a worthwhile feature for anyone who comes across a web page that just does not work correctly in Safari.

Acronym Finder

Acronym Finder: Find out what over 325,000 acronyms & abbreviations stand for

PowerMac G5 Review

PowerMac G5 Review, by Rob Griffiths (

Hole found in MT CGI

Thanks to Jake for this link. A CGI script in the default MovableType install (mt-send-entry.cgi) can be exploited by spammers in the same way that old FormMail scripts could. Rename it, if you don't use it, or patch it. More info here. There has been no official word from Six Apart on this yet. I didn't even know this functionality existed within MT. I am going to have to look into this.

FFX-2 Creative Team Interview

Square Enix's first-ever direct sequel to a Final Fantasytitle has been received with an overwhelming positivity from IGN readers; and early indications from retailers seem to tell a similar story. Though the game was definitely met by its own share of apprehension leading up to its domestic debut, reactions ever since have been quite encouraging. In fact, it's one of our favorite overall games this season and a definite must-have for RPG owners. Because we're always on the hunt for more Final Fantasy, however, we jumped at the opportunity to indulge a rare shot at the Final Fantasy creative team and present some of our biggest questions regarding its latest sequel. Structured in a completely spoiler-free manner for those of you who haven't had the opportunity to play yet, the questions below were addressed to three of Final Fantasy X-2's heaviest hitters: Yoshinori Kitase (Producer), Motomu Toriyama (Director), and Tetsu Tsukamoto (Alternate Costume Designer). Enjoy! Source: IGN

November 27, 2003

Godzilla Double Feature DVD Review

As I sit here, stuffed full from a monster Thanksgiving meal, I feel it is only appropriate to review a couple of monster movies. Ok, the correlation between Godzilla and Thanksgiving isn't exactly obvious, but bear with me here. Anyway, these 2 films have been somewhat treated with the rightful respect they deserve with some issue that there is really is no excuse for. This 2-sided disc comes from the fine people over at Tri-Star, the same fine people who completely desecrated the Godzilla legend by letting the Dean Devlin giant iguana film through to production. These are the last 2 films from the "Heisei" series of Godzilla films which started back in 1985. Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla is arguably the weakest entry into the series, but the supposed final chapter of the series (which everyone knew was false) Godzilla vs. Destroyah, is a great entry that harkens back to the original 1954 monster classic.

Continue reading "Godzilla Double Feature DVD Review" »

November 28, 2003

X-Men 2 DVD Review

I'm a firm believer that the first X-Men surprised a lot of people. Not knowing much about the X-Men, I went in planning to be bored out of my mind. Needless to say I felt pretty ignorant by the time the credits rolled. By the time the necessary sequel made it's appearance, I was even more baffled since it was not only superior, but one great ride that can hold anyone's interest for the 2-hour running time. The film is a direct continuation of the original film, but it can still be followed by anyone who may not have indulged in the first. After an attack on the president by Nightcrawler, the already oppressive human society bears down on the mutants further. It immediately takes a sharp turn as the "Xavier School for the Gifted" is invaded on order by the president. Not only do the X-Men have to protect themselves, but disable an attack that could very well decide the fate of every human on Earth. Everything from the first movie has been crammed into this one, but it's of course bigger and much more fleshed out. It's pace is relentless, there's some spectacular scenes of tension, and the action is jaw dropping. The story does focus on Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) for the most part, but there's a nice cast of new characters as well, most notably Nightcrawler. The makeup used to create his look is uncanny and the film really helps develop his character for the proposed sequel. Also take note of the clues that drop hints at what new characters may be included. You may have to look a bit harder, but there's quite a few.

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The Weblog Review: 4.5 out of 5

My first thoughts on Breaking Windows was, as a computer weblog, was I the best person to write a review? It is described as 'A look at Microsoft Windows XP from a Mac user's perspective' and so, not being a techie or a Mac user, I wondered if it might be better to leave this review for someone else. Then I started to read and realised that I might actually be a good person to review it because I wouldn't get bogged down with the technicalities of the entries, and there actually looked like there'd be a fair bit in there that I'd actually understand too!

Continue reading "The Weblog Review: 4.5 out of 5" »

November 29, 2003


Introducing! Mary Beth Eastman is a geek gurl I met in college at The BG News. She finally decided to give up Blogger and go to Movable Type. And who better to host her blogs then an old college friend. MB loves Mountain Dew and rolling her own cigarettes with Zig Zag Tobacco. She has an eMac and can be considered dangerous with HTML :-P. Be sure and check out her Supafine! blog and her Geek Blog! On a related note, this is the 3rd Movable Type site I have put together, and I need to put Breaking Windows together similar to this one. Even the 210 West site install is loads better then my Breaking Windows site. Oh well, we learn. I am still working on tweaking MB's site, adding things here and there, but all in all it is a done deal. BTW, if you want a host for your Movable Type blog, I am a low cost host :-D.

November 30, 2003

Bowling Green defeats Toledo for MAC West

Twice on national television, two big wins at Doyt Perry Field. The N. Illinois win was big, but there is nothing as big as a win against the Toledo Rockets. Josh Harris had little trouble marching down the field on each possession to score. BG was down, but came back strong in the second half. Forcing 4th and 11 in the final minutes of the 4th quarter, the Falcon defense played just as well as the offense did. Thursday at 7:30 will be the MAC title game against Miami, (of Ohio) the Falcon's only MAC loss this season. This time they will be playing in BG, and Harris is 13-0 at home. The Falcons are now 10-2 and a NCAA best for Brandon, being a 1st year head coach. Bowling Green has a short week to prepare, and revenge is in the air. BG fumbled the ball 4 times in a 33-10 less to Miami earlier this season. Home field advantage is on our side this time. And you can be sure that I will be at the game this thursday.

Server CD-RW Drive is Dead

Major Bummer! We use the CD-RW on the server to archive the newspaper every week, not to mention the other publications, and Unigraphics files. I think one or two of the teeth on the disc that is used to retract the CD tray are broken. Because this is a File and Print server, I knew I would have to wait until a break when we could actually turn the machine off. This morning (this was originally written weeks ago) I get a call (I usually take Wednesday off to do other work) about both Production and Unigraphics having problems saving files. After I get into work I found out what happened. A University IT tech came over to replace the broken CD-RW. He just restarted the server. Not telling anyone. First, he could not shut it down because he did not know my admin password (ITS never asked, nor asked the best time to show up). Secondly, this ITS tech has to have some type of sensibility in the fact that this is a file server, I mean I noted that when I called to get the drive fixed. Thirdly, they brought a CD-ROM when I said I needed a CD-RW. Apparently they did not read the ticket i submitted. Sometimes I wonder who they hire over at ITS. Most of the people I have worked with at ITS have been on the ball, but not this time, thats for sure. Most all of Student Publications is still using OS 9. When a file server drops off the network, a lot of times it is required to restart the computer to be able to connect to the server again. So, besides the fact that a lot of people lost work, no one has listened to my "1st step of troubleshooting" speech. For those who do not know, that would be "Restart!" I called ITS, let them know we need a CD-RW, told them my admin password so they could actually shut the machine down this time, and told them they need to tell everyone in Student Publications before they shut the server down. To their credit, when they come to install the CD-RW, (I again was not in the office) they tell the one person about shutting down the server that will not let everyone else know. I am talking about the "Oh, OK" type person. So again I get angry phone calls, again I have to tell them to restart and that they lost what they were working on. And again it is (obviously) my fault. And there is nothing I can do at this point. Blaming ITS is like blaming a brick wall, and frankly, we have had our share of ITS snafus at Student Publications over the years. The reason they could not wait until a break in classes is because they need to send the bad CD-RW drive back to Apple so that BGSU does not have to pay for it. I did not learn about this fact until after the replacement CD-RW was installed. Had I known this at the get go, I would have them hold the ticket until Christmas break. After all I have other computers that have burners in them (and had been using another machine for about a month anyways). This is what I refer to as NO COMMUNICATION and is not uncommon, unfortunately. And in the age of email and cell phones, I cannot except no communication. On the bright side of this rant, we did get a CD-RW that was twice the speed of the original one we had. So in that respect it worked out very well. It was the path getting here that was a bit muddy. More times then not, that is how things work with ITS.

Grandma's New TV

I talked grandma into shopping at Wal-Mart today, mainly because they had a one day sale on the Game Cube (more on this later). Dad, myself and grandma had talked a little about getting her a new TV, but not really acted on it. Well there is nothing better then a good ol' Wal-Mart sale to get a new TV. The RCA that we wanted to get (the one I bought) was out of stock, so we got a Sanyo 27" flat tube set. The reason i am blogging about this is this one cool feature I have never seen on a TV before. You can set an Initial Channel. This is wonderful because my grandma watches CNN a lot. So every time she turns on the TV it is automatically tuned to CNN. What a great feature I have never seen before.

My New Game Cube

About 6 months ago I sold my Game Cube (GC) and Xbox, because I was not playing them. Now half a year later I should have never sold my GC, because I just bought another one. As I stated earlier, Wal-Mart (which my brother likes to refer to as the Nazi Regime) had a one day sale on Game Cubes on Black Friday. I could have gotten a used one at the local game store, but it would not have come with the Zelda Collectors Edition for $80. See folks, I still have not grown up, I still love video games. And this Zelda Collectors Edition disc has 4 great Zelda games all in one package. This is a little bit of nostalgia here, you get The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II, Ocarina of Time, and Majora's Mask. You also get a playable demo of wind waker, which has had me frothing at the mouth over the its cell shaded goodness. I am gonna have to get wind waker now, it looks beautiful! I remember playing Zelda I and II back in the day, but never played completely through Ocarina. And I have never even touched Majora's Mask, so this is a great disc, and it was free with the GC! So why did I get a GC again? For the games! I can't wait to play Viewtiful Joe, Rogue Squadron III, Zelda wind waker...

Internet Preferences in Panther

Where are Internet Preferences? Several users have noticed that the Internet Preferences pane in System Preferences no longer exists in Mac OS X 10.3. In order to set a different browser application, you will have to open Safari and go to the "General" pane in the application preferences. In order to set a different mail application, you will have to open Apple's and go to the same "General" pane in menu Mail > Preferences. Does this not sound like a Microsoft thing to do? I mean M$ had to add the ability to change the defaults in SP1 of XP. What if I want to use Mozilla for my default web browser? I have to open Safari to change that preference. What if I decide I want to use Mail Smith for Entourage for email? I have to go into Mail to change that preferences. These settings were in the correct spot in Jaguar, in the System Preferences. They need to return.

X vs. XP rebuts WinSuperSite

Last week Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows made some bold claims about Mac OS X and Longhorn, an upcoming version of Windows. The X vs. XP site, which claims to compare OS X and Windows XP in an unbiased manner, responds: "Perhaps Longhorn really is technically superior to Panther (with three more years to work on it, I sure hope it's superior), but it would take more to substantiate such a claim than to merely cite Longhorn's task-based file system."
Source: X vs. XP My favorite quote is "I sure hope it's superior" since Longhorn is 3 yrs. off, and we are using Panther today.

I just love ICQ SPAM

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I have never seen it so persistent, especially after I deny authorization twice. 229040368 can be blocked. I think I am going to start a list of these to block, and this is the first one. There are 4 or 5 I should have blocked at the time, but did not think about it.

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