April 2004 Archives

April 1, 2004

The Magic Supersecret Binary T-Shirt

Thanks to Brian for the heads up on this! Go to ThinkGeek and order 10$ of caffeinated goodness (or whatever) and get a free Magic Supersecret Binary T-Shirt! Offer good on April Fools Day only. I ordered mine! Brian tells me the shirt says something like "I bought something on Think Geek on April Fools days and all I got was this losy t-shirt." Nice.

Fun Stuff on April Fools

Is Google for real? Are they going to offer 1 GB of file storage for email, free no less? Plausible, sure, probable? Not likely. Is Apple going to release an triple processor G5? Rob did a great job on this one, we talked about it last night. Is Apple going to release a Dual 3 Ghz G6? This just in: Apple and IBM announce enterprise servers featuring Mac OS X Server. And for a far out job check out this very unique job posting at Google. Is Apple going to release a G5 mini (in 5 colors)? Talk about a LAN party rig! Now only if we could get current games on the Mac in a timely fashion. There are exceptions to this of course, thanks Blizzard and Epic. For those of you lucky enough to have a subscription to MacAddict (I have been a subscriber since its birth) you know that the annual April edition has wonderful April Fools pranks in it. This years was no slacker either. There are some great pranks in there! If you do not subscribe, you are to late for their annual prank fest feature, but this month's issue still has other great stuff in it, as always. Oh, and The BG News even has a funny Op. Ed. piece "The day the daily newspaper died" that you just have to read. And yes, we had people call.

Apple should not be granted patent for iPod UI

ZDNet's Matt Loney believes that Apple should not be allowed to succeed in patenting the iPod user interface. "Few could deny that the iPod is a superb example of industrial engineering, or that the user interface is one of the coolest around, or, indeed, that the accompanying iTunes service may yet prove to be the one that makes the music industry recognise it can mix with the Internet after all," writes Loney. "But I have yet to see anything in the iPod interface that I have not seen before elsewhere. If this patent is granted, it will simply serve to show what a car-wreck the US patents system has become, and should serve as a warning to governments elsewhere." Source: ZDNet UK

Performing Eudora Pro Surgury

I just keep impressing people here at the office. Everyone at the office uses Eudora Pro 4.2 on OS 9. I used to use Eudora Pro, but have since moved on to Entourage and now Apple Mail. I wish our office would change to Entourage because that program is easier to organize mail (everyone here leaves ALL their mail in their Inbox). My boss got an email with a resume in it, it is in RTF format (MS Word RTF to be specific). He opened and could read the email, but could not open the attached RTF file. This is because it was doing this really weird thing that OS 9 used to do with QuickTime (which is used for translation) would display the RTF as a slideshow style QuickTime movie. I have seen this before. Its a black movie box with white text. Except with a RTF document, you have a lot of RTF commands and code before the text. Not only could we not read this RTF file, we could not close the message, or delete it for that matter, without it taking the entire system down, no three finger solute worked here. Luckily I have used Eudora Pro enough in the past to know how to handle this. How you ask? Get out my trusty Swiss Army Knife - BBEdit. In the Eudora Folder there is a Mail Folder. In here is the 48 MB Inbox file that holds most of my bosses email. All I had to do was open this in BBEdit and delete this email that had this RTF file. Eudora use carriage returns to differentiate individual emails. I wish Apple Mail worked like that. Maybe just because I know how fix it. Upon opening Eudora Pro you are warned that Eudora has to recompile the database, it does, and you are good to go. The only problem is that there are a lot of emails that were previously deleted that show up again, and all email is set to a ? for its read status. But, my boss could send and receive again. Mission Accomplished. Oh and that RTF, it was in the Attachments Folder where I knew it was. It even opened up in Word when double clicked. Imagine that. That read-a-text-file-as-movie thing is really weird.

'Buffalo Spammer' found guilty of forgery

A New York state man who sent out millions of spam e-mails faces up to seven years in prison after he was found guilty of identity theft and forgery charges, the state attorney general's office said Thursday. Howard Carmack, known as the "Buffalo Spammer," was found guilty by a Buffalo jury on 14 counts of identity theft and forgery, a spokesman for New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said. Carmack sent out 825 million bulk e-mail messages using stolen identities and forged addresses, the state charged. Source: C|Net News.com You know what I say, fry the spammers! No no, putting them in jail is just fine in my book.

April 2, 2004

Google says "Gmail" is no joke, but lunar jobs are

SAN FRANCISCO, April 1 (Reuters) - It's not like Internet search service Google can't laugh at itself, but when an April Fool's joke got out of hand on Thursday, a real business plan was rumored to be a Web hoax -- and that was no laughing matter... Google's free e-mail service called Gmail, which will offer significantly more storage than Yahoo or MSN, "is not a hoax," said Jonathan Rosenberg, Google's vice president of products. Source: Forbes Its not like CNN and every other credible news outlet to run something like this if it is a hoax, and it was all up on the 31st. I just cant see a GB. I did earlier today sign up for more information, just for the hell of it. I wonder what will come of it.

April 5, 2004

Stupid Windows Adware

This is something that I have (thankfully) never seen myself. A client of mine called me up asking why a specific word was linked on his entire site. That work was "real estate." I did not make it a link, and it was not a link on my PC or my Mac. I went to the site, and sure enough that word was not underlined. Clicking this link took my client to a ad sponsored page, obviously to do with real estate. Some adware had actually linked that keyword. Amazing, I did not know they could do that. But it is Internet Exploder and I am not surprised with what adware can do anymore. I told my client to download Spybot Search & Destroy and run it weekly. My guess is Spybot took care of it. Folks, this is yet another reason I do not use my PC for production.

Is $50 too much for a video game?

If you think that $50 is too much to pay for a video game, check out this eBay auction for Kizuna Encounter EURO - Neo Geo AES. It is apparently the 5th confirmed copy in the world! Thanks to Matt Paprocki for the link. Matt sent me this link on the 3rd telling me that it would sell, and indeed, it has. Well it has a winning bidder at least. From Matt:
Actually, it sold for $12,500 after a minor off-auction bidding war. Here’s the thread that started it.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) DVD Review

Matt recently reviewed the original. I'm sure every single die-hard fan of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre groaned loudly when they heard their 1974 "classic" was about to get the Hollywood treatment. Having not even seen the original, I still groaned. What's the purpose of remaking it when you could very easily produce another sequel? Well, here it is in 2-disc special edition glory from New Line.....and regardless of your thoughts or feelings, this is a must own set. Come on, do you really need a sypnosis? It's a teen-slasher flick. A group of kids (supposedly from 1973) all wearing clothes from the GAP they bought yesterday pick up a hitchiker. After blowing a hole in her head (in the movies only truly gruesome segment), the teens head into town to report the suicide. Well, this is the typical horror movie styled town and the kids get caught up in a sick game of cat and mouse. In this version, they are the mice, the cat weighs 300 pounds, and carries a chainsaw. This is hardly a great movie. It's hardly a scary movie. Hell, it's not even much of a massacre. It's bland and it doesn't even try to appease fans of the original. The documentary style feel (the only real saving grace of the original in my opinion) is gone which is enough to bury the entire movie. Anyone who gets scared by anything in this movie has obviously never seen a horror film within the past 20 years. The only saving grace is R. Lee Ermey who adlibs almost his entire role. Now onto the good stuff. This 2-dsic set (also available as a single disc, standard edition) is unreal. Presented in it's original ratio of 1:85:1, this movie is gorgeous. Dare I even say it's one of the best looking DVD's ever? Yes. This is going up against Pixar's digital stuff and Star Wars: Episode 2 which was shot entirely with digital cameras. Grain is completely missing, skin tones are miraculous, and the nightime sequences are flawless. This will be a hard disc to top for quite some time. As if the picture wasn't good enough, audio fanatics get treated to an obscenely good DTS ES 6.1 track. A 5.1 EX track is also available. The rear speakers get a stunning workout, the LFE channel couldn't get any deeper, and dialouge is crystal clear. This is by far one of the most immersive tracks I've heard this year and will undeniably keep that acclaim until years end. Of course, there is a reason why 2-discs are inside this case. The features on disc one include 3 seperate commentary tracks, each one focusing on a different aspect of production. Disc two is where the real meat of the set lies. Viewers get treated to a nice selection deleted scenes with commentary as to why they were cut. There's nothing spectacular here, but the cuts the MPAA forced them to make are weak to say the least. There's a 20 minute look at Ed Gein, the man who "inspired" the movie. It also looks at other films that follow in the same path including "Psycho." There's some screen tests, trailers, art galleries, and a music video as well. That's still not it though. The real heart of the disc is the 70+ minute behind the scenes making of feature. Though it does fall pray to the usual "actors kissing up to other actors" formula, it's an otherwise perfect look at the filming process. What's amusing is that early on they take cameras to a 30th anniversary showing of the original film. There's not a single person in that crowd who was looking forward to the remake. At the end of documentary, they grab some random people who had just walked out of the remake and everyone of them praises it. Come on guys, we all know your showing the only 4 people who actually njoyed it. How about a follow up with those who had seen the original? Still, this is a great look at the making of this movie and it's even presented in widescreen with 5.1 audio. Can't ask for much more that this. Or can you? Crammed into the verticaly unfolding case are "crime scene photos." As cheesy and unidentifiable as they are, their still better than the so called "metal faceplate." It's a piece of metal with the DVD cover art on it. That's it. It's doesn't attach to the front or anything. I'm completely baffled by what it is exactly that I'm supposed to do with it. Regardless of how much you dislike the movie, the filmmakers for "ruining the legend," or the wooden acting, if your a DVD fan you know you have to have this disc. Not even counting the great special features, this is a set worth owning for it's picture and sound quality alone. However, if you think that a "metal faceplate" is a mega cool bonus, then mayeb this set isn't for you.

Panic Room 3 disc DVD set review

Panic Room is a great, tension filled, somewhat action oriented movie from David Fincher, probably most famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) for Alien 3. Sony has just released a 3-disc feature packed set to make up for the intial featureless Superbit disc. While the debate could be brought up as to whether or not this movie is actually worthy enough for a set like this, there's no denying this is one of the most comprehensive looks at the art of filmaking ever put together. Panic Room follows Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) and her diabetic daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) as they settle into a new house. A specific room of this new residence is obviously the focal point of the film. When their house is invaded by 3 thugs (led by Forest Whittaker), the mother and daughter combo rush off into the panic room and lock themselves inside. Problem here is that the entire reason the criminals broke into the house lies within the panic room. What follows is a great story of two groupos of people trying to outwit each other and make it out with their lives. What makes Panic Room so unique is it's intense camera work and undeniable style. Very little light ever makes it's way into the film and the camera moves which are done traditionally as well as CG. Jodie Foster puts on a great performace, looking truly terrified throughout the entire running time. It's not perfect as it can be a bit slow, but there's no way the tension build up can be ignored. The first disc of this set features the movie (duh) and 3 seperate commentary tracks. The video on this disc is actually better than Sony's overhyped "Superbit" release. Grain is kept to an absolute minimum and the black levels (completely neccesary to the film) couldn't be much stronger. This really makes their entire Superbit line looks like a joke. The only thing missing is the DTS track, but the 5.1 mix included here is only marginally weaker. Most people won't even notice a difference. Disc 2 is laid out wonderfully. Each of the 3 discs feature outstanding menus with a CG replica of the house and a camera that takes you room-to-room depending on what you've selected. Pre-production takes you through the testing of the lighting, prep, storyboards, multi-angle storyboard versus final segments (with commentary), and more stuff you'd never even think you'd need to do to make a movie. Prduction includes a roughly hour long documentary on the actual shoot and a look at some of the makeup effects. Surprises include the fact that the entire house was built on a sound stage (inlcuding the street outside and next-door- apartment complex) for $6 million and something as simple as a cell phone was created using CG. Disc three continues the run through production and looks at some specific sequences and breaks them down piece by piece. Thanks to some text, you'll know how many frames per second the scene was filmed in, what type of camera was used, and what type of film stock. Even though I had no clue about what half of it meant, it's still fascinating. Another section leads viewers through each special effect sequence, some of which are hard to even imagine being a special effect. 21 shots in total are covered. Sound design and the films soundtrack are also covered extensively. This is one of the most complete and comprehensive DVD sets ever produced, even coming close to the massive Lord of the Rings 4-disc mega sets. If anything is wrong here, it's the packaging. The front simply says "Panic Room" in bold, red lettering on a black background. No picture, only Jodie Foster gets credit, and I can't imagine anyone picking this set up out of curiosity. The back doesn't even list a plot or storyline, only special features. Inside, things don't get much better. The 3 discs are housed seperately on plastic holders bound together by thin plastic strips. I don't see these lasting very long. Also, it too much to ask for a booklet or something? Obviously, this release will only appeal to 3 sets of people: Those deeply interested in filmmaking, die hard DVD fanatics, and those who dearly love the movie. I can't see it creating new fans thanks to the horrific cover art and those who are curious will be just fine with the single disc Superbit release. This set however will defintely be on "best of" lists by the end of the year, that much can be guaranteed. Thanks to it's outstanding look inside the process, better quality picture, and flawless menu system. This is a must buy for DVD fans.

Running Man DVD Review

Talk about your timely releases. With reality TV at it's peak (and hopefully it's downfall soon enough), we get the 1987 Arnold favorite "Running Man" on special edition DVD. Artisan went all out for this release, much like they do almost all of their releases. Though the special features are questionable, the new print and remixed sound make for a more than worthy purchase. The government has completely taken over in 2019. Everything is censored. Everything except the most popular show on TV of course. The Running Man is the futuristic equivalent of Survivor, taken to the extreme. Criminals have a chance at getting pardoned if they can survive for the duration of the game, but to do so, they must avoid the stalkers. These guys will do all they can to make sure the contestants/hardend criminals have no chance at making it out alive. Of course, Arnold gets caught up in the mess for a crime he didn't commit and must not only survive the game, but prove his innocence as well. This is one of those movies where half of your brain is in shock that your actually watching this, while the other half just goes right along for the ride. It's almost a B-movie in it's execution, but you can't help but be enthralled by it's goofiness. With Richard Dawson as the shows host, Jesse Ventura as a stalker, and a big fat guy wearing a diaper with Christmas lights attached to himself trying to kill Arnold, how can you go wrong? It's not going down as a classic, but you'll surely walk away with some fond memories after watching this one. Artisan has went all out to remater this one. This 2-disc set offers the widescreen version on disc 1 and those who are too stubborn to change get full screen on disc 2. The print is outstanding, only dropping a notch during sequences of extreme color. The print has a hard time with bright reds (which the movie has alot of), but every scratch and other imperfection has been completely taken care of. Even thought the video is impressive, the sound slaughters it. Remixed in both 5.1 EX and the unbelievable 6.1DTS-ES, this is the greatest sounding 80's movie I've ever heard. There's always seems to be SOMETHING going on in the rear channels for the entire running time. It's the most immersive soundfield imaginable. If you ever wondered what it would be like to be in a game show audience, well, here's the perfect way to find out. The special features included here are bordeline stupid, but at least there's something. The 2 commentary tracks are the highlight and feature Tim Zinnemann with Paul Glaser on track 1. Commentary 2 features the executive producer Rob Cohen going solo. The other extras are spread across the 2 discs. The first 25 minute documentary is a look at the government in a post 9/11 world. It covers the patriot act and features various people speaking about how they are completely taking over our lives. It comes off as a paranoia piece and has very little to do with the movie itself. Censorship was never the movies main focus. Disc 2 takes a look at reality TV and how it has affected our culture. The 23 minute spot features various Survivor players, Real World producers, etc while they. talk about how it became such a phenomenon and even offer some behind the scenes facts. A few parallels are drawn to the Running Man, but it still offers no insight into the movie itself. The only other feature is a "Meet the Stalkers" text based menu which offers up various facts on the movies funniest chracters. There are no documentaries of any type on how the film was made and that's a huge dissapointment. Also, this most likely would've been a single disc release but the inclusion of the pathetic full screen version was obviously too much for one disc. Note that no commentaries are available for the full screen version. This is a classic flick for those who are able to just sit back, relax, and have a great time with their movies. It's got Arnold in his prime doing what he does best, a great backstory, and lots of people getting killed. How can you go wrong? Hopefully, we'll eventually get treated to a DVD that actually covers the movie extensively and not just boring filler material.

April 6, 2004

Iconfactory releases 'Matrix Rebooted' icons

To celebrate the North American DVD release of "The Matrix Revolutions," Iconfactory artist Dave Brasgalla has released "Matrix Rebooted," an extraordinary free Mac OS X icon collection based on the sci-fi movie trilogy. The set contains over 90 individual icons that can be used as a complete system replacement set for Macs. Dave has also posted two matching desktop pics. In related news, public voting for the People's Choice Award for Pixelpalooza 2004 has officially begun. The Iconfactory invites you to visit each of the three category pages (OS X, CandyBar and Classic) and rate your preference for each entry. People's Choice voting runs from today until Noon ET April 13 and the winners will be announced along side of the Grand Prize and Runner up winners selected by this year's judges on April 21 Source: MacMinute These are some nice icons! If you use CandyBar you can replace all your system icons with these. Check them out (you can even download them for Windows).

Final Countdown DVD Review

Ever watch a movie and can't understand why it isn't more well known? Well, such is the case with Final Countdown, an outstanding time travel film from 1980 that will most likely never get its due credit. The new Blue Underground release will certainly grab a few new fans thanks to the great presentation and cool cover art (in this limited edition reviewed here at least), but never to the extent I wish it would. Imagine your in command of a US nuclear aircraft carrier. While on a routine mission, you run into a strange storm and suddenly your back in 1941. December 6th, 1941 to be precise. When your finally aware of what exactly happened, what do you do? Do you change the course of history and knock down the approaching Japanese fleet that is heading for Pearl Harbor? Can you let one of the biggest US disasters of all time actually take place when you have all the power to stop it? What happens if you do interfere? It's this very same issue that fills most of the movie and one that makes for gripping entertainment. This is, by far, one of my favorite 80's movies. For a low budget movie, you'd hardly ever know it sans a few minor shots. The entire movie was filmed on the actual U.S.S. Nimitz, almost all of the plane footage was shot for the film, and the performances are strong enough to make the entire experience believable. This is a must-see 100 minute experience, especially on this new release. Blue Undergound has released some real cult-like movies in the past, each of them fully restored to pristine condition. This new print, taken from the original negative, is a sight to behold. The colors are strong, grain is noticable on some of the outdoor sequences, and black levels remain solid. Color bleeding is a minor problem during a few segments, but you'll never be able to tell this movie was made in 1980 thanks to this transfer. Sound has likewise been reworked in both DTS ES and 5.1 EX. Though not as strong as the picture, the sound certainly has some high points. The rear speakers get a workout, but the LFE channel is a bit dull. Voices also have a scratchy quality to them, but are still clear enough to hear every important segment. Dolby 2.0 is also avialble for nostalgia freaks. This movie has been released in 3 seperate edtions. There is a standard widescreen single disc edition, a single disc fullscreen edition (yuck), and the limited edition 2-disc set with a holographic-type cover. The 2-disc set is limited to only 100,000. Each of these releases has a feature commentary with the director of photography, trailers, and TV spots. The 2-disc set includes an exclusive second disc with a nice 15 minute interview Lloyd Kaufman (co-owner of Troma pictures) who was the associate producer. He really gives alot of info in the short clip and it's even in anamorphic widescreen. The other major feature is the 30 minute look at the Jolly Rogers squadron. These guys dive deep into the realism of the film and rip on others like Top Gun. Again, it's anamorphic widescreen. The other minor features include a slew of various photos. Press kits, lobby cards, behnd the scenes photos, and still shots are all included. The Kirk Douglas bio is fairly useless and the DVD-ROM only text feature is a nice look into the filming of the dogfights from the pilots POV. Even with all this, it's very thin for a 2-disc set, but fans of the film will obviouly pay the few extra dollars for the complete package (and super cool cover). Hopefully with this release, more people will take notice of a great film. If the sci-fi premise bothers you, know that the only real sci-fi segments are the time travel sequences. Nothing else here streches the believeability. With the exception of the full screen edtion (for obvious reasons), either of the releases are a great purchase.

New Tires for My Car

Joy! Car expenses! But hey, I am not going to complain about the price for these tires. $200 for 4 all weather 40,000 mile tires. The last set of tires did well, of course my car is 11 yrs. old and just got to 75,000 miles earlier this year.

April 7, 2004

Evaluating Wireless Security Needs: The Three L's

Here is a great article by Adam Engst posted in this week's TidBITS that you should check out. Crackers, worms, viruses, zombies, trojans... it seems as though the promise of constant access and instantaneous communication through networking has been twisted in such a way that people are afraid in ways that few expected back in less-connected days. In large part because of co-authoring The Wireless Networking Starter Kit with Glenn Fleishman, many of the interviews I do end up working their way around to security, which I find somewhat depressing. For me, wireless networking is all about breaking down barriers - physical barriers - and I'm more interested in sharing connectivity than erecting virtual barriers. Nonetheless, there are very real situations in which security - often serious security - is called for, and in trying to help people decide if they need it, I've come up with what I call the three L's of security: Likelihood, Liability, and Lost Opportunity. This article will help you think about security in general and wireless security in particular; to learn more about how to address wireless security concerns, Glenn and I wrote four chapters on the topic in The Wireless Networking Starter Kit, Second Edition, available in both paper and electronic form....

Matrix Revolutions DVD Review

The Matrix: A 6-hour movie trilogy, none of which I've ever understood. Well, I did somewhat grasp the concept and the fist film did seem fairly understandable, but each of the sequels lost me. In all honesty, I didn't even try to understand them. I simply sat back, enjoyed the ride, spectacular effects, and stunnng action each film brought to the table. Revolutions picks up immediately after Reloaded and wastes no time getting started. Neo takes on a dangerous task he know he must complete, the people brace for an epic battle at the docks, and agent Smith is still trying to completely take over. The final hour of this film is enough to appease even those lost as far as the storyline goes. It's epic and jaw-dropping throughout. The 3rd and final film of the trilogy is nearly all action. Mere words cannot express the visceral thrill and staggering amount of special effects crammed into this unbelievable finale. The pace is relentless and the payoff is unlike anythign else ever put onto a screen. This is one of the most visually exciting films ever and one that blends perfectly with DVD technology. Picture quality here keeps everything together, something so important to the film. With the exception of digital grain, this is a flawless print. The bright colors never saturate the screen, black levels are outstanding, and every minute detail is apparent. The CG shots are rarely obvious, something that most likely a testament to the quality of the special effects than the DVD master. The sound is actually a bit of a dissapointment. The rear channels are used in nearly every scene, but your subwoofer may have some trouble. The LFE channel is all over the place. In places where it should be loud, it's not, and in scenes where it should hardly be noticeable, it nearly reaches the cut off level. Still, the action sequences are reference quality even with this issue. Any DVD fan knows we'll be getting a massive box set of these movies loaded with special features when the time finally arrives. This is most likely why a commentary track is absent from disc one. Disc 2 houses everything else. The white rabbit feature that has been present on the previous films is again here, appearing to branch viewers to other segments. The main featurette runs about 30 minutes and goes over every aspect of the production, but does focus on CG a bit too much. The CG Evolution menu goes over various effects shots and how they were completed and touches on minatures as well. There's a look at the final battle with Smith and Neo, a nice Matrix timeline that helps explain the story to idiots like me, and more storyboards, concept art, and all that fun stuff. There's also a 10-minute look at the Matrix online video game which is just blatant product placement. Though it seems to be the un-cool thing to do, I love this series. Their style and groundbreaking effects will likely never be matched by anyone else. The DVD is a nice production, but it's hard to recommend when everyone knows there is going to be a huge box set eventually. The features are mostly there simply to appease fans and give them something else to watch. It's not perfect, but it's not meant to be either. Note: Best Buy is exclusively offering a PC/MAC CD-ROM with some extra stuff on it. It's a rectangular disc with a short bonus documentary, bios, stills, screensavers, wallpapers, and other useless stuff. It's nothing worth tracking down if you don't have a location near you. Everything in the documentary is covered on the DVD.

FWD: Re: Emails of eBay members [meancode.com@domainsbyproxy.com]

Importance: Normal X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2462.0000 X-Virus-Scanned: Norton X-Nonspam: Statistical 55% Hello: We are offering an email database which allows to contact eBay members (both sellers and shoppers). These are individuals that buy and sell items on the eBay auction. Please notice that 90% of eBay customers are also customers of PayPal. This database will be perfect for selling your products/services, because we are providing you unique prospects who purchase and sell more than anybody else! The data contains 408,000 records, which include personal email addresses only. The records cover ALL categories listed on eBay. The database will be delivered to you in any format of your choice (Excel, ASCII, CSV, etc.). By default it is provided in a 4.4MB TXT file. The data was collected in the period of last 2 months and will be updated quarterly. The price we are asking is $360. To place the order please fill out the form: http://www.gmthost.com/ebay.php To contact me please email to info@gmthost.com (THIS EMAIL ONLY! DO NOT 'REPLY'). Please notice that we also maintain a list of eGold sellers. Best, Tom Theroux (yasuhiro@wongfaye.com) This one got through POPFile... And yes, the X headers were inside the mail body. My eBay name is meancode.com, so they seem to have the names and email addresses. Now how many stupid people are going to buy this list? Its not as if I do not get enough SPAM posing as PayPal emails, how fun, now I will get even more! The sad part here is people are too easily fooled by these scams. As a side note, the payment page is not running SSL. Also, it is safe to say that I will not be looking to GMT Time Host to be hosting any of my sites.

April 8, 2004

Web group recommends DOM Level 3

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), of which Apple is a member, has released the Document Object Model Level 3 Core and Load and Save specifications as a W3C Recommendations. The specifications reflect cross-industry agreement on a standard API (applications programming interface) for manipulating documents and data through a programming language (such as Java). A W3C Recommendation indicates that a specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, and has been reviewed by the W3C Membership, who favor its adoption by the industry. Since the inception of the DOM Activity in 1997, over 20 organizations -- including Apple -- have contributed to the evolution of 10 DOM standards. Source: MacMinute Great. Now even more browsers will be out of date!

Mike Metzger's Blog added to blogroll

Mike Metzger, a photog at The News, has been added to my blogroll. He posts some funny stuff, some of which I am going to have to repost here, it is just too funny. He has been complaining that I don't post enough lately, well guess what Mike, I have been way busier then normal lately. So deal with it. :p For example I am now learning myself SPSS so we can run stats on a reader survey. Fun. I would do this in my favorite app (FileMaker Pro) but then I would have to make the reports as well, not fun. At least SPSS has a tutorial. Someone else is going to be making the SPSS reports but I just know I am going to be asked how this or that works, you know how that is. Anywho, be sure to check out Mike's blog.


Ever since I read that Sports Illustrated article about their workflow, and went to the ACDSee web site, I have been hit with 3 SPAM emails. The latest is a newsletter, that I am subscribed to now. Is this a coincidence? I think not! But how are they harvesting my email address? I didn't fill anything out on their site. This last ACDSee email I got looks like an actual newsletter that someone would sign up for. The first two just looked like junk mail trying to sell the product to me. People should be shot for doing this. No, scratch that, the people who buy stuff from SPAM who make it a valuable marketing tool should be shot. Why shoot the messenger when you can go strait to the source. Maybe Sir William's crazy idea to buy stamps to send email would work. But then probably not since we all know that SPAM is a cost effective marketing trend. Bastards.

Can you pass the third grade?

Fun Flash of the day: Can you pass the third grade? I failed, and am too busy to look the ones up that I missed. Thanks to Kevin for this email.

2-Year-Old Runs Cash Register at Eatery

I found this on Matt Sussman's blog and had to post (I added him to my blogroll, so check his site out). NEW IBERIA, La. - Formosa Gardens restaurant has an unusual worker manning the cash register: 2-year-old Gordon Tan. "He can do the credit card machine too," said his mother, Tiffany Lei, who owns the restaurant with Gordon's father, Jason Tan. It was a busy day in January at the restaurant when Gordon first climbed up onto a chair, took customers' tickets, rang up totals on the register, took the cash, then counted out their change — correctly, Lei said. Earlier that month, he had celebrated his second birthday. Gordon's father said the toddler can tell credit cards from debit cards. He swipes them and enters the four-digit code to complete the sale... Source: Yahoo! News

April 10, 2004

Super Mario Bros. DVD review

From a die hard videogamers point of view, it's really hard to ignore how miserably this film disregards the source material. The only things that are even remotely close to the video game series are the characters names. The rest is all completely improvised and not for the better. Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi (John Leguizamo) discover an entrance to a parallel universe and head in to save Luigi's brand new (within the hour) girlfreind. This world has humans which have evolved from dinosaurs. The only highlight is Dennis Hopper playing the role of King Koopa, the evil ruler of this dimension. This high budget flop has some nice set designs and special effects, but the rest of the experience is flat. Super Mario Bros. is presented in it's orignal 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This is a surprisingly good print with great, bright color and black levels. The sparks that seem to fly in almost every frame are spectacular to watch. The sound is only available in basic Dolby Surround and is active, but a full 5.1 track really could've made this movie a better ride. Special features are completely absent, even excising the standard trailer. This budget release will probably be the best all 3 of the films fans will likely get. The great look of the film will be great for those looking to show off some high definition capabilities, but that's the only reason to have this disc in your collection. Shame the movie couldn't replicate the classic Super Mario Bros. Super Show and have Lou Albano in a cameo.

April 11, 2004

War of the Worlds DVD review

Ask any sci-fi movie fan and they'll likely tell you that 1953's film adaption of the "War of the Worlds" is one of the best movies the genre has ever seen. The dazzling effects, classic 50's style performances, and a great tale is only the beginning. Though the time has been shifted to the 1950's instead of the late 1800's as in H.G. Wells original tale, it hardly effects the film and is in someways an improvement. Aliens from a Mars, desperate for a new home, send in their martian death machines impervious to any of our "ancient" weaponary (including the A-bomb). Great minatures are demolished as the aliens begin taking hold of the Earth. All seems hopeless as the military begins to back off and retreat. Gene Curry is excellent in his lead role, seemingly truly terrified running solo through the streets of Los Angeles. As classic as this film is, it stands a severe dissapointment this film has been transferred so shoddily to the DVD format. The print used is admittidly clear (so clear you can see the wires suspending the ships more than once), but ludicrous amounts of film grain and compression artifacts ruin everything. The color is far too bright and tends to bleed on occasion. Thanks to some research, I've actually found that the laserdisc release from about 10 years ago has a cleaner and more serviceable print. The sound is available only mono. It's clear and void of any hissing, but this movie deserves better. Rumors are abound that Steven Spielberg will be remaking this movie for release sometime in 2006. One can wsih for a new disc, packed with not only a restored print and sound, but some special features features as well. The orignal trailer does not qualify as "special" anymore. This is a disc for only those who have worn out their VHS version.

Deep Rising DVD review

Deep Rising is by far one of the most entertaining creature features Hollywood has pumped out in years. The obscene amount of gore, super hot Famke Janssen, Treat Williams' best performance of all time, and a great creature design is only the beginning. Taking place almost entirely on a humungous cruise ship, this all out action/sci-fier is cetainly derivative of countless other movies, but none of them do it any better. The tentacles of the massive beast take out literally hundereds (if not thousands) of people before the credits roll, all to feed the mass of flesh which has ripped it's way into the center of the ship. A must for either action or sci-fi fans. The DVD presents the film as it should, a gorgeous widescreen print with few (if any) flaws. The only real problem is that the crystal clear picture makes the low budget CGI that permiates most of the film even more obvious. Black levels are solid and only some minor color bleeding mar an otherwise perfect print. As if the picture wasn't enough, the 5.1 mix included here is simply unheard of. Since the monster can pretty much go anywhere aboard the liner, viewers (well, listeners in this case) are treated to some stunning surround usage. The LFE channel gets a workout thanks to the insane amount of gunfire and explosions. I've put this disc in many a time simply to hear it. Very few standard 5.1 mixes are better than the one included here. As is the norm for a underappreciated sci-fi movie, the disc is barren, minus a few trailers. Any home theater enthusiast should still have this disc in their collections, even if they hate the movie. The picture and sound quality combined with what is bound to be a cult classic horror flick make this a worthy disc to any collection.

The Relic DVD review

A thoroughly enjoyable monster-on-the-loose gore flick, The Relic bombed at the box office in 1997 barely making half of its $60 million dollar budget. It's a crying shame too. Though slow to start, once the creature effects kick in, this is a great ride. Heads fly as the gruesome creature devours sections of peoples brains trapped inside the Chicage Museum of Natural History. The performances are decent and the story gives alot of insight into the characters. Having seen the movie on full screen VHS many years ago (my first and only viewing up until now), I eagerly anticipated popping this disc into my player. Presented in 2.35:1, this widecsreen transfer is a complete disaster, a supreme dissapointment. I remember the movie being dark, but there are at least 10 minutes of this film that are completely black. Faces are obscured by the darkness, performances are lost, and the few brief looks at the title creature are masked by blackness. The 5.1 sound is a mild step up, but only kicks in for the final few chapters during the creatures big rampage. Dolby Surround is also available. As a bare bones disc, the only special feature is the theatrical trailer. Thanks to the abysmal box office return, it's highly unlikely we'll ever get a full fledged special edition. I can only wish for a new release with a restored print that is actually viewable. Definitely a disc for only die hard fans of the film.

The Program DVD review

It's a shame, but The Program is more well known for the infamous "highway turkey" scene than anything else. This scene supposedly caused some idiot kids to repeat the stunt and get themselves killed in the process. Well, it has been excised from this version as well, but it never really did add anything to the film in the first place. This is still a solid, mildly amusing college football flick with and ending that makes little sense (so do they win the Bowl game or not?). There is some great character development and a few segments are laugh out loud funny, but it's still a shame the DVD format didn't invite the studio to ressurect the sequence. The video is presented is the orignal 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio. The print is very soft and filled with scratches and compression artifacts are annoying. Colors remain strong and the actual football sequences look great however. The sound is presented in a nice, immersive 5.1 mix. Though most of the movie is dialouge based and powered by the center channel, the football sequences are great. You'll feel every hit and the immersion of being in front of 50,000 people is here. As a bargain basement disc, you'll get what you pay for. Extras are completely absent. The theatrical trailer hasn't even been included. It has recently been packaged with Con Air, but it can still be found individually for about $6. There's always a chance we'll see an updated edition with a better print and maybe a few features, but for $6 you can't go wrong.

April 12, 2004

Stampede to get free clothes at party leaves 21 dead

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Twenty-one people have been killed in India in a stampede as people rushed to receive gifts of free clothing to mark a politician's birthday. Local authorities at Lucknow in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh said the politician, Lalji Tandon, a member of Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's BJP party, was giving out saris, a traditional Indian dress, as part of the birthday celebration on Monday. The victims were killed, local authorities said, when the crowd estimated to be more than 5,000 rushed forward to receive their gifts. Source: CNN

April 13, 2004

FDA approves human brain implant devices

BOSTON -- For years, futurists have dreamed of machines that can read minds, then act on instructions as they are thought. Now, human trials are set to begin on a brain-computer interface involving implants. Cyberkinetics Inc. of Foxboro, Mass., has received Food and Drug Administration approval to begin a clinical trial in which four-square-millimeter chips will be placed beneath the skulls of paralyzed patients. If successful, the chips could allow patients to command a computer to act - merely by thinking about the instructions they wish to send... Source: AP Biz Wire Sign me up!

Lawmaker moves to block Google's Gmail

SAN FRANCISCO, California (Reuters) -- A California state senator on Monday said she was drafting legislation to block Google Inc.'s free e-mail service "Gmail" because it would place advertising in personal messages after searching them for key words. "We think it's an absolute invasion of privacy. It's like having a massive billboard in the middle of your home," Sen. Liz Figueroa, a Democrat from Fremont, California, said in a telephone interview.... Source: CNN I am guessing this lady has never used Yahoo! or MSN web-mail before. The thought of this proposed legislation is dumbfounded. It already happens all over the place. I think this is pathetic and cannot wait for Gmail to launch.

Schwarzenegger Comes to Swimmer's Aid

A swimmer off the coast of Maui is probably alive because of Arnold Schwarzenegger. "Access Hollywood" says Governor Schwarzenegger was in the water swimming toward his wife, Maria Shriver, when he passed by a man who was having trouble swimming and breathing. Schwarzenegger asked if he was OK and the guy said "no." So Schwarzenegger grabbed a boogie board. And, here's where all that weight training helped: While he was treading 20-foot deep water, he picked the man up, put him on the board and swam with him to shore... Source: MSN Entertainment & Chuck's away message

King Kong (1976) DVD review

I'm not very sure if you can screw up a remake worse than Dino De Laurentiis did King Kong. Not only were the special effects a complete disaster, even for 1976 (though in one of the most stunning moments ever, they won an Oscar), the campy feel destroyed the soul of the 1933 classic. A oil comany (led by Charles Grodin) picks up Kong and brings him back to New York for publicity purposes. In a shocking moment to audiences worldwide, Kong escapes and ends up on top of the World Trade Center. The acting (especially Grodin) is abysmal and the only saving grace is Jessica Lange for obvious purposes. A very early DVD release, King Kong offers little in the way of anything DVD worthy. The widescreen print (2.35:1) is filled with scratches, compression problems, and color bleeding. It's fairly clear, but all this does is make the already painful effects look even worse. The new 5.1 mix is hardly worth the time. The early jungle sequences have some nice ambient sounds, but the final showdown on the top of the Towers is absent of any surround speaker usage. Not even the subwoofer is challenged. Sub-par print + even more dissapointing sound = Bad disc. The only "feature" is the theatrical trailer. I'm sure for such an over-hyped movie there's something out there on the making of the film. Production problems were countless during filming and it's a shame their not covered on the disc. Hopefully Peter Jacksons upcoming remake will promt Paramount to release a nice set chronicling the troubles of this film, but until then, this is a disc better off staying on the store shelves at any price.

April 14, 2004

Apple responds to Trojan Horse Advisory

Apple Computer Inc. responded on Friday to an advisory issued by security software-maker Intego on Thursday. Apple said they were aware of the issue outlined by Intego and that they were investigating. While one security analyst doesn't feel this is a very big deal, he does note that this incident gives absolute proof of the vulnerability. "We are aware of the potential issue identified by Intego and are working proactively to investigate it," said Apple in a statement given to MacCentral. "While no operating system can be completely secure from all threats, Apple has an excellent track record of identifying and rapidly correcting potential vulnerabilities." In the advisory issued yesterday, Intego said a Trojan horse called MP3Concept (MP3Virus.Gen), exploits a weakness in Mac OS X where applications can appear to be other types of files, according to the company. The release of the Trojan Horse, which has been classified by some as more of a proof-of-concept rather than a real Trojan Horse, may be the result of Apple's own success in marketing its operating system. As Mac OS X becomes more popular in the market, virus writers will receive more notoriety for exposing vulnerabilities... Source: MacCentral So lets see, application files (usually .app) can parade around with different file extensions I guess. This is a shame, and should be fixed in a (near) future update for OS X. At least I hope so. It is also important that this is proof of concept, and was not a virus out in the wild. IMO this was stupid to do this, as now Mac users are keen to this "trick," Also, I would venture to say that most Mac users are more weary of viruses then PC users just because we know (most of us) about the many many viruses on the PC. So we have one trojan on the Mac platform, the first I can remember, verses how many viruses on Windows? I am plenty happy about that ratio. And this Mac virus didn't even "hit." I hope Apple fixes this soon, it would look good for OS X.

Today's the Day

I am starting a new category today, it is called College. You can guess what it is all about. So why am I starting a College part of the site? Because Today's the Day(tm) (blatent Monster.com rip off). No I did not get a job, but I am a college student again. I haven't been a college student since 2002, and I have not been a productive one (class wise) since 2001. In 2002 I was suspended for one year. I "served" my suspension by getting a Non Student Letter of Appointment (which I might add gets signed by the U. President). I could have gone back to college earlier, but I simply did not feel like it. I feel like it now. So today I met with Bonnie Mitchell, my advisor and computer art professor, set up a meeting with Diana Carpenter from the College of Arts & Sciences, reapplied to BGSU, and enrolled in classes this summer and fall. After I talk to Candy (the secretary) in the School of Art to get into my computer art classes, I will be taking 9 credit hrs. this summer, and another 9 this fall. 9 credit hrs. a semester is enough for me, I do not want to do full time by any means. But if I do not do at least 9 credit hrs. a semester it will take forever to finish. I am psyched in an odd weird way. More on this later!

The Master Plan

I will elaborate on how I got to this point in my college career later, when I have more sleep. For now just go with the flow if you don't know me personally. Today Bonnie Mitchell and I put together a plan to graduate in 2 yrs. I hope that happens, but if it doesn't I am not gonna go crazy. I mean I graduated high school in 1997 and I am not itching to get the heck out of college. If I take 9 credit hrs. for 6 semesters (that includes summer semesters too) I should be able to graduate in May of 2006. I can handle 9 credit hrs. a semester. I get started on this plan this summer. I have left classes that normally freshman take, not people with 73 credit hrs. under their belt. I sorta did things backwards. I took a ton of my computer art classes first. Oh well. This summer I start with Intro to Geology and Intro to Ethnic Studies. Now don't laugh (well OK, laugh) I have had major problems with general education classes in the past. The reason I got suspended for a year is because of gen. ed. classes. I am also taking three one credit hr. art classes this summer. This was to get up to 9 credit hrs,. that and all gen. ed. and no art makes Kenny a bored boy. Summer Session 1 is coming up soon. I can't wait.

Microsoft warns of a score of security holes

Microsoft released on Tuesday fixes that cover at least 20 Windows flaws, several of which could make versions of the operating system vulnerable to new worms or viruses. At least six of the flaws could make the OS susceptible to programs similar to the MSBlast worm and its variants, which have infected more than 8 million computers since last August. Another flaw affects a common file used by Internet Explorer, Outlook and Outlook Express and opens the way for the type of virus that executes when PC users click a specially crafted Web link. Source: C|Net News.com Isn't it wonderful living in the Windows world?

Maryland lawmakers pass antispam legislation

Maryland lawmakers passed new antispam legislation late Monday night, marking the first state to draft its own antispam laws since the federal Can-Spam Act was enacted. The legislation, which still awaits the signature of Maryland's governor, would make spamming a criminal offense, with penalties that could include up to 10 years of jail time, asset forfeiture and fines up to $25,000. Source: C|Net News.com More states need to do the same!

April 15, 2004

Apple Profit Up on iPod, Notebook Sales

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Computer Inc. (NasdaqNM:AAPL - news) on Wednesday posted much stronger-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue on heavy sales of its iPod digital music players and notebook computers, pushing its shares up nearly 10 percent in after-hours trade. For the first time, Apple sold more iPods in a quarter than it did its signature Macintosh (news - web sites) computers, and sales of the trendy gadgets even topped levels seen in the preceding holiday sales-fueled December quarter. Executives said on a conference call that the company expected to face tight supplies of the successful iPod mini through the June quarter, but would be able to meet demand for the original, white iPods, which store more songs. "Apple shipped more iPods this quarter than they did during the Christmas quarter, which is pretty telling," said analyst Shannon Cross of Cross Research. She had expected Apple to sell 600,000 iPods in the quarter; Apple shipped 807,000... Source: Yahoo! News Go Apple!

FTC: Porn spam must be labeled

Pornographic spam will have to contain a warning in the subject line so Internet users can easily filter it out, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday. Starting May 19, sexually explicit e-mail will have to bear a label reading " Sexually-Explicit:" and the messages themselves will not be allowed to contain graphic material, the FTC said. Source: C|Net News.com

Stiff spam penalties urged

Spammers convicted under a recently enacted national antispam law could face stiff sentences under newly finalized government recommendations. The United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) said Tuesday that it sent Congress sentencing guidelines for the Can-Spam Act, short for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing. Among the newly minted guidelines are added penalties for people convicted of sending spam using someone else's computer without permission or obscuring the message's real origin. Source: C|Net News.com I say cut off their fingers...if it works for The Mob it could work for SPAM.

Mac OS X MP3 Trojan horse threat overhyped, says Sophos

Virus researchers at Sophos have reassured customers that a recently publicised Mac OS X Trojan horse does not pose a threat. Mac/Amphimix-A (also known as MAC.Amphimix, MacOS/Amphimix, MP3Concept or MP3Virus.gen) is a Macintosh program which is also a properly-formed MP3 file. When the program is launched it displays a dialog box to say "Yep, this is an application. (So what is your iTunes playing now?)". The program then tries to load the Amphimix file into the iTunes player as an MP3 music file. The MP3 component of the file contains a track called "Wild Laugh", a four second burst of manic laughter. Mac/Amphimix-A first appeared as a 'proof-of-concept' on the internet (even though the concept of Mac programs under disguise is not a new one), and was widely reported by the media as a "new form of Mac OS X virus". But it is neither specific to Mac OS X, nor is it a virus. Source: Sophos

Introducing The Bug-Lite

I would like to introduce Bug-Lite.com. It is another blog I am hosting for cheap. Blatant Marketing: I can host your blog cheap, just email me, ken [at] meancode [dot] com. Mike's best post thus far has got to be his interesting information about M & M's - you just have to read it! Mike was using Xanga, and I didn't even have to convince him, he said it himself, "Xanga Sucks!"

Report: Real seeks musical duet with Apple

RealNetworks Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rob Glaser has urged Apple Computer Inc.'s CEO Steve Jobs to partner its digital music businesses against rival Microsoft Corp., according to a report published Thursday in The New York Times online edition. In an e-mail sent April 9, Glaser offered to create a "tactical alliance" with Jobs and Apple, the report said, citing the message that was obtained by The New York Times "from a person close to Apple." Should Apple, in Cupertino, Calif., and RealNetworks, in Seattle, Wash., be unable to reach an accord, RealNetworks may turn to Microsoft to pursue "very interesting opportunities," the report quoted Glaser as writing. Source: MacCentral I really do not know what to think of this. It would be great for Apple and Real to make a deal, but it seems odd, a very odd match. But hell, if Apple and HP can partner and make HP branded iPods, who knows what is possible.

April 16, 2004

I bought an Xbox (Again)

This is funny, on so many levels. I sold my Xbox a year ago. To be honest the market for Xbox games at the time was rather stagnent. So I sold it and got a cell phone. I got rid of my land line phone. That was one of the best decisions I have made in recent years. Now that Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow and Ninja Gaiden is out, not to mention some other nice exclusives, I am in need of an Xbox again. So I am now playing both Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow and Ninja Gaiden. I am to the 5th mission in SC: PT and having fun playing the online version of the game. I am not too far in Ninja Gaiden, that game is HARD. Its fun, just hard. So now you could say I am a true game addict. I am not an insane game addict, that role is reserved for Matt Paprocki. But I will admit that I have the following: Playstation 2 Game Cube (w/ GameBoy Player) Game Boy Advance SP Xbox But like I said, this is not anywhere close to this.

'Call for Help' Gets Pirillo Back

It is so nice to have Chris Pirillo back hosting Call for Help. Why is Leo not there? I don't care! I always liked the show better when Chris was hosting it. The pace is faster, no Leo rambling. Chris is a little fast for Roger, but he bounces off off of Cat well. It is a refreshing change, and frankly I hope it lasts. It is great having a younger host on Call for Help. There was a show or two when Cat and Roger hosted, that is ALWAYS bad, and this time was no exception. Then all of a sudden Pirillo is back after pretty much one year. The show is funny again, it has a host that is knowledgeable, young, and is not boring or irritating in front of the camera. Thank you Chris! Its like a Call for Help revival. Has anyone noticed that The Screen Savers has not lost a step at all without Leo? It sure has not, I would say its a little snappier too. Kudos and I hope that TechTV does not get torn apart by G4.

Clear index.dat files manually in Windows XP

So you think you know to to cover your history when browsing using Windows? This is a killer tip about the index.dat file. I sure didn't know this, killer tip! From TechTV: Even if you regularly clear your Internet History, Temp files, and cookies to keep ordinary snoops at bay, you're overlooking a very important detail: index.dat files. These hidden files contain information about your IE surfing history and your Outlook activity. On tonight's 'Savers, I'll tell you a simple way to uncover and clear 'em out manually. Microsoft claims index.dat files cache webpages you visit to help speed up the loading time in Internet Explorer. A lot of folks disagree, and there are a few conspiracy theories floating around about what index.dat files are really for. I'm not really worried because I know an easy way to get rid of them.

The Apprentice Finale

Who would have though a stogy old gazillionare could perform so well on a show. I didn't catch any of the episodes of The Apprentice, but I did keep up on who was fired, etc. Thankfully the finale started out with a great overview. I think Bill chose Chicago because he was so frantic at the golf tournament. I wait with baited breath for season 2.

April 17, 2004

Bring Back Chris Pirillo

Chris Pirillo just sent this to me. It is an online petition from our favorite online petition site. So go sign the petition! Thanks for the link Chris.

April 18, 2004

Valenti, Others discuss piracy concerns

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Keeping to a promise he made in the heat of last year's heated battle over promotional "screener" videos, Hollywood's top lobbyist, Jack Valenti, met Monday in Los Angeles with a broad cross section of the film community to discuss the piracy concerns that led his group to institute the controversial ban on screeners "It's the meeting that should have been held before they ever announced the screener policy," said Jean Prewitt, president and CEO of the American Film Marketing Assn. (AFMA), the trade association that represents the independent film and television industry worldwide. She, like a number of the other participants, called the meeting "very informative." Source: AOL News That's a spin in piracy. Seems to me the real story is video rentals are up, box office receipts are up... Valenti and his crew are always crying how piracy is going to destroy their business and then you hear about 2003 being a record year for ticket receipts.

April 19, 2004

It's getting hot up here

It is hot here. Its been 70 degrees for almost a week. Now for some of you 70 might not be hot, but in North Western Ohio, that is hot. We have not had a day yet this year to wear shorts until this last week. Its great. Monday it is supposed to be 80 out. I actually had to turn on the AC and the overhead fans. Just watch, it will snow within a week. Saturday my buddy and I went up to Grand Rapids, and you all thought I didn't move from in front of my monitor. So there :P

Apple Updates Pro Apps, Introduces Motion at NAB

Apple updates Final Cut Pro with HD Apple on Sunday introduced Final Cut Pro HD, a new version of its video editing software that supports the DVCPRO HD format. The new version of Final Cut Pro works using FireWire without requiring any additional hardware. Final Cut Pro HD is available as a free upgrade to registered Final Cut Pro 4 users and is available for retail purchase for US$999. Final Cut Pro HD can play back up to four streams of native DVCPRO HD video itself; adding an Xserve RAID into the mix, you can work with up to 10 streams in preview quality. "Digital Cinema Desktop" is a new feature that allows SD and HD monitoring on an Apple Cinema Display. Also included is LiveType 1.2, Compressor 1.2 and Cinema Tools. Apple introduces Motion During a Sunday press event at NAB 2004 in Las Vegas, Apple introduced Motion, a new motion graphics design package that provides animation of text, graphics and video, instant previewing of multiple filters and particle effects, and "Behaviors" -- natural movement of type and graphics with effects like gravity and wind, without depending on keyframes. Motion is available for US$299. Motion uses procedural animation to create the natural simulations Apple refers to as "Behaviors." You can define interaction between objects like attraction and repulsion, leading to the creation of complex or simple effects with relatively little work involved. Motion also sports a Keyframe Editor if you need to plot precise parameter values at specific frames. Apple announces DVD Studio Pro 3 In a special event at NAB 2004 on Sunday, Apple announced DVD Studio Pro 3, the latest major revision to the company's professional DVD authoring application for Mac OS X. New to this release are Alpha Transitions, a new Graphical View, DTS 5.1 audio support and the inclusion of Compressor 1.2, Apple's digital media encoding and compression tool. DVD Studio Pro 3 is designed to provide a professional digital video professionals with DVD layout and design capabilities. The software features more than 30 pro transitions that can be used to blend between menus, slides in slideshows and stills in tracks. The new Alpha Transitions, which use QuickTime-based movies; users can build their own Alpha Transitions using Apple's just-announced Motion or Adobe After Effects as well. Apple offers Shake 3.5 At a special event at this week's NAB 2004, Apple on Sunday introduced Shake 3.5, a new version of its compositing and special effects tool for cinema and video. The new version of Shake features new shape-based morphing and warping capabilities that rely on spline tools, improves Rendezvous networking and more. It's available now as a paid upgrade for Shake 3 users. Shake 3.5's Shake Qmaster network render manager has been improved in this version; the Rendezvous-enabled system can handle distributed rendering tasks for both Shake and Alias' Maya 3D rendering and animation software. Support for 16-bit RGB and 10-bit YUV QuickTime formats has been added also. Apple intros Xsan storage area network system At a special event at this week's NAB 2004, Apple introduced Xsan, a Storage Area Network (SAN) file system priced at US$999 per system. The new file system is aimed at users in video and other businesses looking for high-speed access to centralized, shared data where even conventional Local Area Networks (LANs) might still be too slow. Xsan is a 64-bit cluster file system designed to work with Mac OS X. It provides multiple computers with concurrent file-level read/write access to shared volumes over Fibre Channel, and it's certified to work with Apple's pro applications. Up to 64 users can simultaneously access a single storage volume using Xsan. Features include metadata controller failover, Fibre Channel multipathing, file-level locking, bandwidth reservation, and flexible volume management. Source: MacCentral
I am not going to be doing any HD cam work in the near future, but this new Motion app looks pretty cool. I have used DVD Studio Pro since version 1, and that update also looks pretty nice as well. What I was confused about when I heard about FCP HD, I thought it was going to be a (another) split of FCP. I mean we have Final Cut Express now - don't even get me started with that. FCP HD is really FCP 4.5, and it is a free upgrade too. I am glad it is free, seeing as FCP 4 just came out not too long ago. As if the Adobe and Apple relationship has been strained (C|Net News.com) in the recent past, I am sure this heats things up even more. It will be interesting to see what all Motion can do that After Effects cannot. I think Motion is an After Effects killer. It works hand in hand within a FCP and DVD SP timeline. All these Pro Apple apps (lets not forget Logic and Shake here) work hand in hand. Sure, After Effects is a tried and true post app, but Motion is integrated into the FCP workflow. Adobe killed Premiere for Mac, is this foreshadowing to things to come? I don't think After Effects will go the way of Premiere so soon, after all does Motion do 3D? Nope, but it does have a particle system, and it does work with some AE plugins, and it works with Photoshop. That is enough to use Motion most of the time. Motion is $300, After Effects is $700 or $1000 for the full application. This is why I think people will start using Motion, it costs $300, less then half the cost of the Standard version of After Effects. (After Effects 6.5, just out at NAB, does work on OS X). I used to use Premiere, it was good. I then found Media 100 and liked it, even got professional training in it. Once Final Cut Pro came out it did not take me long to realize how much better it was to M100. I am obviously not the only person to make this realization, and I am sure people will start noticing this same thing about Motion for most of their AE needs. I have not tried Motion yet, but from what I read, it looks like it does quite a bit of AE like stuff. Apple and Adobe are facing off head to head like never before.

April 21, 2004

Jay Maynard's TRON costume

Do you think you are a nerd? You ain't got nothin' on this guy. Thanks for the link goes out to Matt Paprocki.

Adbusters Subscription

You can't tell if I have been busy can you? Its the end of April and I have not posted about all the great loot I got for Christmas! Last week I got my first issue of Adbusters, and today I got my second (dont know why so soon together) that my cousin Seth got me for Christmas. This magazine rules! Thanks Seth. (I finally got the subscription)

April 22, 2004

Grand jury indicts Jackson

SANTA BARBARA, California (CNN) -- A grand jury investigating allegations that pop star Michael Jackson molested a 12-year-old boy indicted him Wednesday. The charges in the indictment were not immediately known. His attorneys said he would plead not guilty at his arraignment April 30 in Santa Barbara Superior Court. No trial date has been set. Source: CNN

Study: Chocolate, BBQ addiction may be real

Leading addiction experts worked on the report. WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- People who say they are addicted to chocolate or pizza may not be exaggerating, U.S.-based scientists said Tuesday. A brain scan study of normal, hungry people showed their brains lit up when they saw and smelled their favorite foods in much the same way as the brains of cocaine addicts when they think about their next snort. Source: CNN MMmmmm BBQ....

Report: Flaw could shut down Internet traffic

(CNN) -- Major companies and government agencies are scrambling to ensure they are not vulnerable to an Internet flaw that would allow attacks that could disrupt all communication. The Department of Homeland Security issued a Technical Cyber Security Alert Tuesday, warning that "sustained attacks" on routers between networks could lead to a "denial-of-service condition that could affect a large segment of the Internet community." Source: CNN According to an interview tonight on TSS from a security expert, this is a non issue. The routers have been patched by the time this story broke, according to him (I don't remember his name, and I already deleted the episode off of my DVR).

Fire 1.0 Released

The Fire team is pleased to announce the availability of Fire 1.0... the culmination of 14 months of development effort. Please note that we now have a different download for 10.1 and for 10.2 and later. Please download the appropriate disk image depending on which OS you are using. A big thank you goes out to everyone involved in this release: Alan, Graham, Nick, Mark, Manuel, Alessandro, Lasse, Jan, Daisuke, and everyone who sent in fixes and reported bugs with our beta releases. Download it now! I really like Fire, and it is great to see it hit such a huge milestone in its life. Direct Connect over the AIM proticol still does not work correctly. I also notice (still in 1.0) that when some people IM me, I do not see it at all. But since I have friends and clients that use Y!, ICQ, MSN, and AIM, I could not live without Fire. It would not be fun having ALL those clients open at once. I use iChat about 20% of the time, and Fire the other 80%. The one thing that I like about Fire, other then the fact that it is a great multi-IM client, is that it starts up and connects a lot faster then iChat.

April 23, 2004

Master and Commander 2-DVD review

Ten Academy Award nominations is alot for any movie. Whether or not it deserved that many could certainly be debated, but Master and Commander is still decent entertainment. Plus, as far as a home theater film, they don't come much better. Oh, and it has cannons too....lots of cannons. Master and Commander tells the story of the HMS Surprise and it's humungous crew. Their mission on the waters sends them out to capture the Acheron, a French boat headed off to potentially start a war. As expected as a viewer, things don't quite go as planned and the more advanced French boat hands them a beating. Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) is determined to complete his given task and pursues the boat against the will of his crew. This is the furthest thing from an all out action movie I've seen in some time. Don't be taken by the trailers. It's still a great movie, but there is far too much padding and unneccesary development. Take about a half hour off the running time and you've got a near perfect movie. Granted, I know nothing of the acuracy of the film (I've never even ridden a paddle boat at a theme park), but it looks real to these eyes. The final action sequence is also confusing as it's nearly impossible to tell who is actually killing whom, but hey, it's got cannons......lots of cannons. M & C is available in 3 DVD seperate editons. There is a standard single disc edition in both full screen (ack!) and widescreen. Also available for a ludicrous price of $29.99 or $34.99 depending on where you shop (more on that later) is a 2-disc "Collectors Edition," packed with features. The movie, print, and sound is presumed to be the same quality on all 3. Reviewed here is the 2-disc. Presented in a very wide 2.40:1 aspect ratio, this movie is gorgeous. The print starts off very dark to set a claustrophobic mood and the contrast with the bright skin tones is awe-inspiring. A few of the foggier sequences have noticeable grain, but this could also be the effect of the fog. It's very hard to tell. The sequences shot on the Galapogos islands are spectacular in their beauty and the DVD captures everything with fine detail. Now, I think I may have mention cannons a few times. Simply put, their a home theater fanatics dream weapon. This movie proves it with the best sound field I've heard all year in either DTS or DD 5.1. The LFE channel literally sounds like it's exploding right along with the cannons and oh, those glorious water effects. Even duruning non-action sequences, rest assured you'll hear water hitting the boat, people walking on the floors above, and thunder roaring in the background from every angle. You can even track the movement of those wonderful cannonballs by just listening. Simply put, if your hearing to this movie through a set of TV speakers, your not really hearing this movie. Now....about that price point: I have no idea how Fox can logically get away selling a measly 2-disc set for an outrageous $34.99. The Lord of the Ring 4-disc sets hardly sell for that price. Hell, I bought the plexi-glass encased Schindlers List gift set this weekend for only $27.99. That comes with a senitype, 40+ hardbound page book, soundtrack, and more things that have slipped my mind. There's not even a cool case to go along with M&C. The only notable inclusion is a 28-page book full of purty pictures. Granted, this set is packed with special features. Sadly, I'm going to do something that I don't normally do because I'm not feeling all that well. The following is IGN's overview of the features. I'm just not up to typing this much right now: "The only thing that keeps this from scoring a ten for extras is the lack of a commentary track. I must admit I'm surprised, because we get so much insight in the extras, you'd think director Peter Weir would lend his voice for the commentary track. Starting on disc two is a 70 minute documentary The Hundred Days, which details many aspects of the shoot, from pre-production to post-production. It's a genuine, in-depth documentary, not EPK fluff. Shot in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen video with two-channel audio, it's a great guide through the work done on this film, from building the mock up to training the crew to live like sailors. In The Wake Of O'Brian is a 21-minute featurettes hosted by Weir, since O'Brian died in 2000, discussing the adaptation work of the novels. Cinematic Phasmids is a 30 minute featurettes, the first of three, on the effects of the film. This was quite insightful, as they showed how many scenes were shot without using CG. All of these segments are in 1.85:1 video as well. Sound Design is a 20-minute featurette on capturing the sounds of the movie, and proves rather comical as we watch these Hollywood sound men out in an open field in snowy Michigan firing off Civil War-era cannons to record the sound. There's also an Interactive Cannon Demonstration, which lets the viewer listen to the cannon firing recordings from different locations. The last featurettes is the HBO First Look, which is the most redundant and fluffy of the featurettes. There are a total of six scenes running a whopping 24 minutes, presented in widescreen but boxed in on all four sides on my TV. All of these were slower scenes that would have really dragged the movie down, so they were wisely jettisoned. There are three Multi-Angle Studies showing the filming of three scenes from a variety of angles, including one from the director's perspective. The Split-Screen Vignette lets the viewer access all the cameras at once via split screen. Finally, there are four Still Galleries, including concept art, Naval art and technical drawings, and a selection of trailers for the film." There you have it. You decide if it's worth $30+ or not. The single disc should please enough people with it's incredible display of video and sound. The movie itself is strong enough as well. Oh, and if you love this movie and don't have a home theater yet, you now have a reason. Note: Best Buy includes an exclusive 3rd disc that features a nearly 30 minute documentary on the movie. Not great, but it's a nice touch and a better documentary than the HBO First Look.

April 25, 2004

Don't Update to AirPort 3.4

Out of all the people I have talked to, only one said that the new AirPort 3.4 software did NOT degrade their signal strength. My dad installed it, and had to revert back to 3.3.1, which is not a fun thing to do. So if you have not installed version 3.4 yet, don't. If you have and want to get good signal strength back, check out xlr8yourmac's guide to restoring version 3.3.1.

Mailman auctions deliveries on Internet

BERLIN, Germany (AP) -- A German postal worker admitted auctioning packages over the Internet after a search of his apartment turned up a hoard of missing deliveries, police said Thursday. The 37-year-old letter carrier, whose identity was not released, started keeping packages and offering their contents on online auction site eBay last summer, police said. In all, more than 100 went missing, and police estimated the value at $23,700. While the German post office noticed that packages frequently went missing on his route, it was unable to prove what was happening until there was a complaint from a musician whose awaited clarinet mouthpiece never showed. After the package failed to arrive, he found an identical item on eBay -- offered by the postman, from the western town of Gelsenkirchen. He bought it, but also informed police. Police found the missing mouthpiece at the apartment of the postman's girlfriend and then searched his flat -- turning up piles of missing packages. Source: CNN

Google's chastity belt too tight

PartsExpress.com proudly touts itself as the Net's No. 1 source for audio, video and speaker components--but online shoppers who rely on an optional feature in the Google search engine to block porn sites would never know it. By an accident of spelling, the domain name of the Ohio electronics retailer includes an unfortunate string of letters, "sex," which is enough to block the Web site from Google's filtered results. PartsExpress.com is not alone. A CNET News.com investigation shows that Google's SafeSearch filter technology incorrectly blocks many innocuous Web sites based solely on strings of letters such as "sex," "girls" or "porn" embedded in their domain names. Source: C|Net News.com Who is Google really going to save by excluding keywords in their search algorithms? I am glad spoiled + little + bitch are all OK for Google. Of course I still need to do something with the site, but thats besides the point.

April 27, 2004

Olsen Twins Don't Got Game

The tween twosome are, like, totally mad at Acclaim Entertainment, which has allegedly done a slipshod job of developing and marketing a line of videogames featuring the adventures of the young millionaire duo. According to a lawsuit filed last week in Los Angeles and posted online by celebrityjustice.com, Acclaim has "blatantly abandoned the Mary-Kate and Ashley line and has taken the franchise of the Mary-Kate and Ashley brand in videogames and has now run it into the ground." Source: Yahoo News Thanks to Matt Paprocki for the link, and as he put it "Did anyone honestly expect a decent game??"

Wrestlemania 20 DVD review

For those who may be unaware, Wrestlemania is THE event for professional wrestling. Much like the World Series to baseball or the Super Bowl to the NFL, each year every fan waits with anticipation for Vince McMahons big one. With the WWE continually improving their DVD product, this years event gets the presentation it deserves with the usual array of picture problems that bog down all of their discs. This years event was a mixed bag of good and bad, though certainly not the "greatest ever" as their marketing department would lead you to believe. Brock Lesnar vs. Bill Goldberg will undoubtedly end up being one of the worst matches in the history of the event. Still, the crowd was on fire for the majority of the event and the final triple threat match was an outstanding piece of athletism all around. A dozen matches span 2 discs with a running time of over 4 hours and a 3rd disc packs in some great features. Video quality, simply put, is dissapointing. The compression problems are far too noticeable and distracting to be ignored. Every one of the WWE pay-per-view event DVD's suffer from this issue and it really needs to be taken care of soon. It is better than some of their earlier discs, but there is no excuse for so many little flickering blocks making their way into the picture. The colors are bright and it does look better than the original broadcast, but the issues are impossible to ignore. The sound gets a full blown true 5.1 presentation this year unlike the faux 5.1 used in previous years. Pre-match graphics swirl all around the sound field in spectacular fashion. The immersion of thousands of fans packed into Madison Square Garden has never been better either. All of the commentary is front loaded (of course), but there are some great echo effects from the ring and stadium speakers. Kudos to the WWE for a great live event presentation. Extras begin on disc 2 and continue on the way to a packed disc 3. Things start with 2 WWE Confidential featurettes (which sadly has been cancelled as of this week) looking at the Rock & Sock Connection and the Press Confrence for the event. There are a bunch of pre and post match comments from various superstars and a "Byte This" segment with Eddie Gurrero. There are various TV promos that bombarded viewers during the weeks leading up to the event and an extra match featuring the Dudley Boyz taking on Lance Storm with Val Venis from Sunday Night Heat. Disc 3 has two 40+ minute features that aired on Spike TV and UPN the week of the event. "The Mania of Wrestlemania" is an outstanding look at the behind the scenes drama that took place before Wrestlemania 19, narrated by Jesse Ventura. Deleted scenes that were cut to fit it into the TV time are also included. They are just as good as the rest of the feature. The second featurette is the "10 Greatest Matches." Though the list is certainly up for debate (ALOT of debate), it's a great look back at the history of the event. Ric Flair hosts the show and pumps up his match that took place at WM XX. Also included is a Wrestlemania gallery that not only features still phots, but complete results and facts from all the previous events. The final extra is a trivia game with a stack of questions. Whether your right or wrong, you'll get a short clip of a WWE superstar telling you whether your right or wrong. Should you be wrong, they won't tell you the correct answer so you'll have to wait until it comes around again. As a final note, credit must be given for the excellent packaging this set resides in. The 3 discs are housed on hard plastic inside an extremely sturdy cardboard casing. When fully outstretched, the 3rd disc is actually upside down (oddly enough), but the insides feature a collage with a timeline of the previous Wrestlemanias. It's gorgeous to look at and the already flashy cover looks even better with thi detail. There are curretly 5 Wrestlemanias on DVD, starting with WM 15. Should they find a way to improve the video quality, it's time to have all 20 on DVD. This is exactly how these events should be presented, from the packaging to the extras. The only thing keeping this from a perfect score is that infuriating video problem. Regardless, this is a disc any self respecting wrestling fan needs to have in their collection.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 1 DVD review

At age 7, it caught me: Ninja Turtle mania. Mere words cannot express my love at that age for these comic book creations. For countless years at Halloween (and other days I deemed neccesary), I'd don the home-made-by-mom costume of Donatello and kick some major ass.....well, thin air actually. But that's beside the point. Now their on DVD in animated form and my life couldn't be better (or sadder if you stop to think how overjoyed I am about a nearly 15 year old cartoon being on DVD....and still remembering the lines). This set contains all 5 episodes of season 1. Yeah, only 5 episodes. But, Artisan has been kind enough to toss on 4 extra episodes that never made it to the airwaves when the show finally met its demise in the mid 90's. So, that brings us to a total of 9 episodes (roughly 3 hours of glorious entertainment) forever preserved digitally. The first 5 episodes deal with the origins of the turtles, the beginnings of Shredder and Krang's "relationship," and the beginnings of other various characters who would become the centerpiece of the series. The extra 4 episodes are better off forgotten, one including the mutated amoeba known as the "Globfather" (yeah, Globfather). The single DVD package is housed inside a cardboard slipcase featuring embossed artwork. Each episode is presented in full frame and is surprisngly clear. Compression problems will be evident on high end set-ups, but everyone else should have little trouble. The only scratches occur on the animation cells themselves and are really bad in a few episodes. It's hilarious to see a fingerprint suddenly appear and then dissapear. The newer (unaired) episodes look a bit better than the older ones, but only in the area of the colors which are a bit brighter. This is most likely due to the tone of the episodes than the DVD itself. The sound is basic Dolby 2 channel stereo and is hardly better than any VHS version. Come on, you KNOW you loved TMNT II. Vanilla Ice prancing around a stage proclaiming "Ninja Rap!" is too much for anyone not to enjoy. Though the cartoon never quite reached those cinematic highs, anyone who grew up with this classic series should immediately pick up this disc. Here's hoping season 2 is not far behind.

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8 DVD's for a new HDTV

So, you decided to plunk down the cash and become an early adopter of HDTV. You also dropped a bit more cash for a progressive scan DVD player. Well, in order to make your purchase seem like it was worth a 3rd mortage, your going to need some discs to show off what that TV can do. Rest assured that not all discs are created equal. These remain the best of the best and probably will stay that way until HD-DVD finally becomes a reality. Make sure to nab these 8 discs when you head out for that new HDTV. In no particular order.... 1. A Bugs Life: All of Pixars discs feature digital-to-digital transfers (right from the computer to the disc..no time for film degradation), from Monsters Inc. to Toy Story. Still, none of them look as good as Bugs Life. The colors here are superb and city sequence about a half hour in is mesmerizing. There are little to no compression problems and the clarity of the picture is stunning. In fact, this is the best looking disc I've ever seen. This disc can be purchased as a single disc or a packed 2-disc set for an added price. Either way, your eyes will never be happier. 2. Star Wars, Episode 2: Regardless of how you feel about George Lucas at this point, you have to admit his DVD's rock. Again, a direct digital tranfser (the first and still the only time it's been done for a live-action movie) that is a pure showcase disc. The corny love sequences are made better by the flawless print which showcases every grain of grass in immaculate detail. The gorgeous CGI vistas look even better thanks to the video quality and your TV will get a major workout when this disc is in place. 3. Texas Chainsaw Massacare (2003): Where did this one come from? This is a very dark movie that has simply incredible contrasts. Up close, you can see every pore on the dimly lit actors faces. From a distance, the rock solid black levels hold together and the flesh tones have never looked better. The complete lack of any grain even when you set the brightness a bit higher on your set is an amazing achievement unlike any other disc on the market. Again, there are 2 seperate editions, a single and 2-disc set. Both feature the same print that must be seen to be fully appreciated. 4. Ice Age: Though never reaching a Pixar level of popularity, this Dreamworks CG flick easily reaches their level of DVD quality. Snow is simply a must on HD. This movie has alot of it. You can almost count the fur on the Mammoths hide and the snowflakes on the ground. I'm not 100% positive if they followed Dinsey's lead with a digital tranfser, but I would be stunned if they didn't. There isn't as much color in this one as say Finding Nemo, but that disc suffers from some severe compression problems. This one doesn't. 5. Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers: Though I'm pretty sure Return of the King will end up surpassing this one, you can't go wrong with this disc for now. Gollum looks even more incredible here than he did in theaters. If anything goes wrong here it's that the extreme clarity of the disc makes some of the special effect shots way too obvious. Some of the sweeping battle sequences are obviously CGI which probably wouldn't be noticeable on a lesser disc. 6. The Wizard of Oz: I know, I know. "But it's from 1939!" Yeah, well it looks like it came out last year. Though the opening sequences in Kansas are a bit grainy, once Dorothy lands in Oz, this miraculous remaster kicks into high gear. You've never seen a yellow brick road this yellow. The only real problem here is that the movie is in the academy ratio of 1.33:1. You'll either have to stretch it or live with the black bars on the side if you bought a widescreen TV (and chances are that you did). Minor issue that hardly detracts from one of the meticulous remasters of all time. 7. Alien: Again, an older movie that looks like it came out last year. I'm referring here to the recent re-release of the film in the Quadrilogy (and available seperately as a 2-disc set), not the ancient "Alien Legacy" set. Though the print was more than serviceable in that box set, this one simply destroys it. Not only have all the scratches and spots been removed, the color has been tweaked and made a bit brighter. Blood doesn't get much redder than this. Those long dark corridors look even lonelier now and it really does add to the film. 8. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms: This 50's classic is here not only because it's one of the greatest 50's movies of all time, but because every HDTV DVD collection needs a black-and-white movie. I was torn between this and "Them," the classic 50's giant ant movie, but the nod goes here (just barely). Ray Harryhausen created an outstanding creature for this film and all the details of his model show through. Grain is always a problem in movies lacking color and this is no exception, but it hardly detracts from this great new print. The contrast level is perfect here and that can end up being a major issue if it's not done right. There are certainly plenty of discs out there that can show off your purchase. Don't think only 8 of them are worthy. These are some of the discs I put in all the time simply to stare in awe. Browsing the shelves will certainly bring up more and I can also recommened the Toy Story series, Terminator 2 (Artisans latest re-release) and Walking with Dinosaurs off the top of my head.

League of Their Own 2-disc DVD review

This is the second time A League of Their Own has been brought out on DVD. The first issue was a bare bones bargain basement disc, abysmal picture and all. This new release fixes every issue of that disc and adds in a second disc of features, but there's still something missing. A League of Their Own tells the true story of the professional womens baseball league of the 1940's. It follows through the entire first season, from the initial idea to the final "World Series" game. It focuses mostly on 2 sisters (Geena Davis and Lori Petty) who are drafted onto the same team, the Rockford Peaches (coached by a drunken Tom Hanks). There is a little bit of everything from drama, player troubles, and a lot of comedy. It's a great movie that well deserved to pass the $100 million dollar mark at the box office. The movie does have some problems. 2 hours is a stretch for any comedy (though the original cut was over 4 hours accoring to the DVD!) and the ending of the final game is not only predictable, but highly cliched as well. Even with these minor issues, these are really the only problems. John Lovitz has a small but hilarious role, Tom Hanks is outstanding as usual, and haveing the actual original players have a few segments is a great touch. Disc 1 of this 2-disc set is a flipper. A 2.35:1 widescreen version of the film lies on side A and a horribly cropped pan & scam version lies on side B. The first few minutes of this movie are disturbing. Scratches, grain, and annoying flicker make it seem like this is the same print used on the original release. Things pick up after this however. The colors are superb and most of the issues from the opening moments have been conquered. A few scratches are noticeable, but it's hardly detracting. The back of the case says the film includes a Dolby 4.0 soundtrack. I didn't find it. There are no other options in the menu and it came up on my receiver as the odd Dolby 3.1. There is absolutely no rear speaker usage to be found at any point during the movie. The stadium annoucer sounds like he may be echoing into the rears, but he's not. Regardless, the sound is clear and crisp, just don't demo this movie to your close friends. A comentary is also available featuring the director Penny Marshall and some cast members. The second disc houses the usual array of special features including a great 50+ minute documentary on the film. It's split into 9 "innings" and goes through just about every aspect of the production. There are interviews with some of the cast and behind the scenes the people, but don't look for either Tom Hanks or Madonna. Guess they were too important for the feature. 15 deleted scenes have also been included. Their quality is just a notch above 14-year old VHS tape, but their inclusion is nice. There is an extra sequence with John Lovitz on a train that is a must see. Each scene also has an introduction with the director (these are selectable). Still, if the original cut was 4 hours, there has to be more. Madonna's "This Used to be My Playground" video is the final feature. Now, I'm not only stunned, but downright appalled there is nothing on this disc featuring the orignal players. There is some mention of them during the documentary, but that is it. I know for a fact that a few of them are still living and there is no excuse NOT to give them some time to speak. A commentary track would've been a special treat. This reminds of the recently released "Radio" DVD that gives nothing to the man who inspired the film. It's a shame that a studio can't give some time to the people who pretty much filled their $100 million pocket books. Regardless, this a worthy disc for fans of the film, but anyone looking for some actual facts will be seriously dissapointed. This is classic early 90's film that should be long remembered but I can't rest peacfully until the women get their due. Columbia/Tri-Star also needs to be a bit more careful about their specs on the back of the case.

April 29, 2004

Fun Optical Illusion

Kevin sent this fun optical illusion to me. Thanks Kev! Just stare at the image (not the thumbnail!) and notice it "animate," pretty cool stuff. The image is not animated. Your eyes are making it move. To test this, stare at one spot for a couple seconds and everything will stop moving. Or look at the black center of each circle and it will stop moving. But move your eyes to the next black center and the previous will move after you take your eyes away from it The popup is 1024x768 for those of you will smaller monitors.

Operation Take One For The Country

I saw this over at Jake's blog, and just had to repost. From the home page: Mission Statement: To discretely provide US troops shipping out overseas with the most sensually pleasing departure possible. About US: 'Operation Take One For The Country' (abbreviated OTOFTC) is a movement of like-minded women (women predominantly as of right now) who have covertly organized into groups to frequent eating and drinking establishments near armed service bases where troops are preparing to ship out overseas, and take one for the country, so to speak. We are a virtual organization and have no official headquarters or charter. We believe US service men and women deserve our support and we are willing to make caring choices about making them happy.

April 30, 2004

Freelance For The Toledo City Paper

TCP.gifYesterday and today I have spent about a 12 hrs. working at the Toledo City Paper (it is a weekly paper). My boss (thanks!) at The BG News gave my name to the publisher of the TCP, and the rest is history. This is the first time I have gone into and had to assess a network (that was not on campus). It was actually fun and I found that I have a pretty good grasp on discovering the strengths and weaknesses in the network and in the workflow. After all my campus related experience, it is nice to see how "the real world" does things. The art director had a list of issues to tackle, so this made my job a little "easier." I like lists. Its fun to cross stuff off when you are done. The reason I went back today was because I did not finish all the work I thought I did yesterday before leaving, oops! No biggie, I knew how to fix the problem (that I made) before I drove up to Toledo. Its nice to know that my knowledge of Mac networks + print publishing workflow might get me a job some day. For now I am rather happy being a network geek for hire.

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