May 2004 Archives



May 1, 2004

Pepsi-iTunes promo produces weak redemption numbers

An Apple representative said Wednesday that only about 5 million free songs have been given away through the Pepsi-iTunes promotion -- a lot less than the 100 million songs that could have been redeemed. "We had hoped the redemptions would have been higher," Katie Cotton, Apple's vice president of worldwide corporate communications, told CNET News.com. Consumers with winning bottle cap codes have until Friday to redeem them. Source: C|Net News.com & MacMinute I have heard that it was the fault of Pepsi on this one. I heard a joke that "If Apple had Pespi in charge of its Apple Stores they would have G3's on the shelves." And I can say that we did not get the Pepsi bottles with the iTunes caps until halfway through the give away here at BGSU. I also noticed that other places like Miejer and gas stations did not have the iTunes caps until at least halfway through the give away as well. I also know a lot of people who just threw away the winning bottle caps. Of course a lot of people are not going to redeem the caps. But the fact that Pepsi did not get out of the gate on time sure didn't help one bit.

ecto 1.1.1 released

I haven't updated ecto in a while now, mainly because the small updates have not meant much to me. This one, however has a bunch of new features that I have not seen yet. There is a new Insert Hyperlink window, although I do not actually know when this was added. I still like the "old way" of inserting a URL, but the new way is good if you do not have the URL on the Clipboard. Changes in 1.1 & 1.1.1: - Metal texture can be set again. - Fixed a bug that could crash ecto when modifying accounts. - Preliminary support for Atom - Improved console (allows saving, clearing, emailing, and searching text). - Improved handling of sending pings. - Faster loading of iPhoto images. - del.icio.us network tasks now show in the status window. - Content of entries is now checked for invisible control characters before posting. This will prevent rare post failures. - Improved notification email process. - HTML tags are stripped from notification emails. - Windows are by default Aqua. Texture can be set via the preferences dialog. - Fixed bug where deleting a ping or email address would remove all copies of the same string. - iTunes script returns title of song currently playing if iTunes is playing radio or a stream. - Fixed broken drag and drop of text on notification email list. It now also accepts text files. The text should be a list of names and email addresses. Each name and email address should be tab-separated and it should end with a return. - Improved drag and drop. - Other fixes and improvements.

Happy Birthday to Me (2004)

This past Saturday (the 24th) I turned 26. The payoff for 25 was a major cut in car insurance payments, too bad I will see nothing like that this year. This weekend I went back home to Navarre even though I was as tired as I was. I am finding that working 2nd shift and then trying to have a normal weekend is hard to accomplish. For my birthday dinner my Dad suggested Cici's Pizza, a new pizza joint that recently opened in Massillon. That sounds good to me! Cici's is a chain, although I have never heard of them. I highly recommend it though. It cost $5 and some change for this LONG buffet of different pizzas, a couple kinds of pasta, salad, and they even had desserts. Good stuff. Anyway... Grandma made an angel food cake, (my favorite) I opened my loot and then we ate cake :) I got a bunch of great gifts this year, thanks to all! From my Aunt Lois I got 3 books. Commercial Photoshop with Bert Monroy, Dreamweaver MX 2004 Magic, and Don't Make Me Think. All are great books. Bert Monroy is on The Screen Savers a lot, and he always has great tips. I have had these books on my Amazon Wish List for a while now. I have all of the Dreamweaver Magic series books, and they are great. I would recommend them all without even looking at the projects they have. The MX 2004 version of the book has some great new projects I can't wait to try out. Don't Make Me Think is thus far a great book. I am about 50 pages into it, and it is nice to read a web usability book that is not by Jacob Nielsen. I read Designing Web Usability years ago and while it is a great book, it is a thick read. On the other hand Don't Make Me Think is a very light read. I cannot wait to finish this book so I can give it a full review. From my step brother Max I got a car charger for my cell phone. I have actually already used it this week. From my grandma and step mom Melody I got a Wahl Designer wet/dry pair of hair clippers. Melody who is a beautician tells me this is a lot nicer then the one she uses at work, so she is jealous. From my Dad I got a bunch more mobile accessories. Dad got me a travel charger, which is great because I no longer need to unplug my standard charger when I go somewhere for the weekend. He also got me an extended battery which was sorely needed. Thanks everyone for such a great 26th birthday! Now a birthday isn't complete without buying something for yourself. I bought a digital video camera. Why? Who knows, just for the fun of it. More on my new dv cam later.

Man sells ex's Wedding Dress for $$3,850.00 on eBay

Matt sent me this last week, before the auction was over. When I first looked it was up for $640. The seller even had no reserve, which was a very risky move! His story, and his great sense of humor are great, you should go read the description plus his comments he added at the end. He even modeled the dress himself, making it even funnier.

May 2, 2004

Head of State

It sure is nice having a Road Runner DVR. Although I am thinking of getting rid of it since I will be starting back to college. We shall see. Head of State was a great movie. I should have seen it in the theater. Great writing by Chris Rock, great acting by Bernie Mac, very funny characters, it was just a very funny movie all around. I can't find one thing to complain about. You should see it.

My DVD Player is Dead

ruh row! My CyberHome CH-300 died last week. A lot of my friends and family have bought this DVD player on my recommendation. It seems as though mine has lasted the longest though, as others have had theirs die as well, some even have bought two that have died. Well, count me in on that, the drive is less then $50, and I do not really want to spend much money on an expensive DVD player. It was a great DVD player while it lasted - almost a year. Of course, maybe there is a reason I have never heard of CyberHome before. Its such a small drive though! grrrr. I think the power supply burnt out. I hear a very high pitched whine coming from player. I am just glad I did not put a lot of money into the it. Oh well.

SideTrack Update Adds Features; Better Interface

SideTrack is a replacement mouse driver for your iBook or PowerBook. The hardware used on Mac portables is the same as in PC portables, and this software takes advantage of this fact. I started using SideTrack in October 2003, and it has gone through three betas since then. This beta, beta 0.8 is a major update to this killer little utility. The main reason I use SideTrack is so I can tap and get a right-click on my trackpad. I also use it for vertical and horizontal scrolling. What is new is corner hot spots. I now have Exposé settings set to three of the corners of my trackpad. The other major update in this release is different acceleration modes for the mouse. There are three choices: MacOS X trackpad acceleration (standard) MacOS X mouse acceleration (faster) Redmond switcher acceleration (fastest) Redmond, ha ha. That doesn't mean Windows now does it? I really apreciate this new setting, and I prefer the mouse acceleration curve, or the "faster" setting. Back when I used OS 9 I would install the Kensington MouseWorks driver to accelerate the mouse in OS 9. MouseWorks in OS X does not affect the acceleration like it did in OS 9, but SideTrack does the job quite nicely. I said it before, and I will say it again, this utility will be worth paying for once it is finally released mainly for the right-click tap ability alone. It is so nice not having to use my Control key all the time. (When the heck will Apple realize that two mouse buttons need to be used in their portables?) Here are some screenshots from this release. The first time you launch SideTrack you have to calibrate your trackpad.
sidetrack_calibrate.gif
These are the four tabs. The previous release had no tabs. The options are broken up better, not to mention there are more controls in this release.
sidetrack_trackpad.gif sidetrack_scrolling.gif sidetrack_corners.gif sidetrack_advanced.gif

Monster Legacy DVD Box set review

Wow. Kudos right off the start to Universal for this outstanding box set. Not only do comsumers get 14 (!) seperate classic Universal monster movies, but three incredibly cool busts of the featured creatures. What more could any DVD fan want? Each of the monsters films (Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Dracula) are housed in their own seperate cases. Frankenstein and Dracula get 5 movies a piece with Wolfman fans getting treated to 4. Each set is housed on 2 discs, one with graphics on top, the other double sided. Note the packaging shows each disc with artwork on the top. The Wolfman set is contained on the back of the box, the others on the side. A clear plastic lets owners look at the individual DVD's when they are in the box.

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Clearview DVD player lawsuit

There is soon to be a new DVD player on the market, sold at Wal-mart and a possibly a few other locations. This "fabulous" item (note: sarcasm) will censor out the parts of the film deemed inapropriate by the player/company. Whether it be muting certain seuqences or simply skipping an entire sequence, this DVD player has the ability to make Pulp Fiction viewable to a 5 year old. Though the announcement is a bit old, some new facts have been brought out and a lawsuit has followed. This story by CNN has more details [link].

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8 discs for a home theater

You've got the HDTV, you've got the proper DVD player, now it's time for sound. Lots and lots of loud sound. Having the proper sound system can truly make home movies the cinematic event they are in the theater. In fact, with a truly powerful system, you'll never have to leave the house again. These 8 discs prove this point better than any others on the market. (Note: Most of these discs are the DTS versions. The 5.1 tracks on these discs are also excellent if your unable to play the DTS track, but you'll lose some of the impact the bass produces and take a minor loss of clarity. Minor issue that most people won't even be able to notice.)

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Wedding Dress/Gown Guy Doll

You can't own the wedding dress, but you could own the doll! Too funny. Someone has made a doll, "Complete with Black tee-Shirt, Tattoos and Boots!!!" Check out the eBay auction.

May 3, 2004

Chased by Dinosaurs DVD review

The Discovery Channel created a huge hit with their Walking With Dinosaurs series. Since it's debut a few years back, they have created a franchise out of it with features like Walking with Prehistoric Beasts, Caveman, and a short DVD exclusive entitled Allosaurus. All of these have been exceptional releases and the latest in the series was co-produced with the BBC. Chased by Dinosaurs is a step down from all the previous entries, but is still a quality piece and well worth checking out for fans of the series. Chased by Dinosaurs features Nigel Marvin who goes back in time to the age of dinosaurs. In a Crocodile Hunter like quest, he sets off searching for specific creatures and shows them to the viewers. All the creatures are CG generated, save for a few close ups. The disc is split into 5 episodes, 3 which take place under the sea, couting down the most viscous predators the water has ever seen. Each episode runs around a half hour long.

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1 YR. Free XBOX Nation Magazine

I do not know how long this deal is good for, but sign up as a member of xbox.net and get a free 1 yr. subscription to XBOX Nation and/or Computer Gaming World. Thanks to Matt for the link.

May 4, 2004

Spring 2004 BG News in the bag

Ahh it is always a great day when the semesters paper is done! Tonight (well Monday night) was the last day of publishing for the Spring 2004 Semester. This means two or three weeks till we start publishing again! This does mean however that I do not need to be in the newsroom till midnight for the foreseeable future. Summer Semester is only published once a week so they are not on deadline like they are during the semester. This is great news for me, because I will again enjoy getting home from work before midnight. Ohh, Mike, you need some help. HE HE, just kidding.

Former Disney director says Jobs could fix company

Dissident Walt Disney shareholder and former director Stanley Gold said Monday that Steve Jobs would be on his short list of people who could fix the troubled company. "If I had a list, Steve Jobs would be on a short list of people who could fix this company," Gold said in response to a question from the San Francisco Business Times following his presentation at a meeting of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in Fort Worth, Texas. "Disney's biggest problem is attracting creative talent," Gold said, describing the media giant as being "bankrupt of creative people." Source: San Francisco Business Times Well Jobs sells sugar water these days, why not helping Disney?

Onimusha 3 Review

Onimusha started life as a PS One game. Eventually, the game progressed onto the PS2 and became an oustanding addition to Capcoms survival horror line. The sequel continued the storyline and fight against the evil Nobunaga. The supposed final game in the Onimusha trilogy began life as PS2 game from the start and became an epic that rivals even the the best movies in Hollywood. As with all good vs. evil stories, the demon overlord Nobunaga once again tries to take over the world with his demon horde, but ancient Japan just wasn't enough. Thanks to his right hand man, he now has the ability to send his troops through time into the present day. Where else to send them but France? The entire scenic city is overrun by the time the game begins and were introduced to Jaquce Blanc (voiced at times and played by Jean Reno) who gets immediately sucked into the story. Samanouske returns from the previous game and ends up in present day France while Jaquce gets sent back to ancient Japan. If you have played either of the previous games, you'll feel right at home here. The basic combat remains the same and puzzles remain close to the predeccesor. New combos have been added and the critical hits are spectacular. If your lost as to how to perform any of these manuevers, training zones are available at any save point (which are numerous and always placed within reason from difficult areas). New to the game are cloaks which are found at various points during the game. These give the characters various strengths such as regenerating life, faster soul absorbition, and other powers to make the game easier. With the time travel aspects firmly in place, it becomes neccesary to solve puzzles across time. Something that may be accesible in one era may not be available in other. Pieces are sent through time at warps (usually next to save points) with with your "tengu" named Ako, a mildly annoying fairy creature who actually plays a large role in the game and storyline. You'll need to think about what items are needed where and know when to send things over. It's an ingenious twist that really pulls the time travel aspect together. This is a much more action oriented entry to the series, even with the puzzles. Towards the end, you'll find segments of the game that resemble the Dynasty Warrior series from Koei. You'll be in the midst of a huge war zone, battling along other troops and sapping souls at a rate never before seen in the series. Other scenes have another character battling alongside you, slaughtering the evil forces intelligently. They'll occasionaly get in your way and prevent you from moving, but you can push them slowly if your really stuck. As with any time travel storyline, there are obvious problems that make little sense (there are actually 2 Samanouske's), but ingoring these minor problems doesn't hinder the entire picture. Returning characters from previous games are back to try and stop you in your tracks. Fans of the series will be pleased with the new additions to the roster as well. Throughout the adventure, you'll control more than just the two main characters. You'll take control of Jacques fiance', Michelle, and take on the demons with some gunplay. This causes some control problems as targeting is mostly automatic and she never seems to be aiming where you want her too. Still, the segements are short compared to the rest of the game and getting through them isn't overly difficult. Otherwise, the controls are tight and pulling off the super-cool 10 hit combos will be instantaneous with practice. If your a fanboy looking to make a point about the PS2's graphical prowess, you've got your game right here. This is the most impressive, gorgeous, and single greatest looking game to ever appear the console. The pre-rendered backgrounds have been ditched in favor of fully polygonal backdrops that simply must be viewed in motion to be appreciated. The camera is a minor problem only in a few minor segments of the game and does remain stationary for the most part. The infamous "jaggy" graphics that the PS2 is so famous for are certainly a part of the game, but hardly detract from the sightseeing this game provides. Even with the polygonal backgrounds, the character models look just as sharp as they did before. It's a technological feat on every level. Famous Paris landmarks appear throughout the game and modeled with no detail left out. Notre Dame proves to be a key location and you can almost say you visited even if you've never stepped foot inside. Even better are the game cinematics. The opening CG is jaw-dropping and light-years ahead of anything you'll see in a theater. Most of the cinematics during play use the games graphics engine and are stunning. The animation here makes it look like the characters are actually acting throughout. Games like this prove there is no need for another generation of game consoles next year. Likewise, the sound is explosive and just as awesome. The Pro-Logic II support is outstanding and this is the best I've ever heard the format used. It's been a long time since I've said this, but the sound effects are just unbelieveable. The lifelike sounds of gunfire, swat teams moving in (all around the player with the proper equipment), and swords clashing are just flawless. Voice acting is only so-so and unlike the previous games, there is no option for Japanese language. Stranger still, Jean Reno delivers all of his French lines, but someone else does his english talking (Ako has the power to make everyone speak the same language). Can't forget to mention the epic soundtrack either which all recored by an orchestra. The entire experience will sap about 12 hours of your life the first time around. It could easily be done in about 8 with a guide, maybe sooner. The difficulty level is extremely low, mostly due to the addition of the cloaks. Simply finding an open area and standing still will let you regain life. All the med kits you need will be readily available for the big boss fights. Beating the game unlocks tons of neat stuff including a sort of "deleted scene." You'll play through a short segment of the game as a 4th character which adds a bit to the story. Added difficulty levels, alternate costumes, making of features, and new weapons all become available as you play through the game more than once. There is a real nice shooting gallery-type mini game as well. Oh, did I mention multiple endings (make sure to watch after the credits)? Die-hard fans may be dissapointed by the easier difficulty level (I died twice through the entire game and that was within the first two hours), but this could very well be attributed to the near perfect camera as much as it can be blamed on the cloaks. This is the only real detractor the game has, but same may feel it's highly repetive just like beat-em-ups of the past. Those of us who grew up throwing the same four hit combo to the same enemy time and time again will have no problem relating here. This is an epic trilogy, the video game equivalent to the Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. An entire series is rarely this solid and the 3rd game should never be the best in the series. Here, it happens. The combination of flawless graphics, intense good and evil storytelling, along with the already classic gameplay of the first two games makes this a must play and early contender for game of the year.

May 6, 2004

I won a 15 GB iPod

I entered a drawing for an iPod mini a week ago at the Student Union. I won a 15 GB iPod, they could not get a mini. Oh darn. I never win stuff like this. I can't remember winning anything as valuable as a 15 GB iPod. Killer! People want me to give it to them, or sell it to them. NOOOO! I won it it is mine. True, I do have 2 iPods now (MUA HA HA HA) and they ain't gonna be sold. Well unless someone wants to give me close to face value. What should I name my new, smaller iPod? iPod 2.0 or iPod Jr?

DVD Demystified

Get the FAQS ma'am! DVD Demystified is a great site, and I found it has a ton of useful (or useless, depending) info on the plus and the minus formats, etc.

My PowerBook Battery is Stuck

Knock on wood *knocks on wood* this 1 Ghz TiBook has not had the problems that my first TiBook did.

Of course I found out that my battery was stuck right when I needed to pop in a fresh battery. Always happens then.

I just had my first problem with my TiBook, and I did not have to send it to Apple. Thanks to Tom Folk at ITS. Its so great having an authorized hardware guy on campus.

The latch that slides open got out of whack, in such technical jargon. The top case had to be removed (ohh the bad memories) but the battery was ejecting in not time thanks to Tom.

May 8, 2004

Apple: 99 cent music price tag staying

Apple Computer dismissed rumors Friday of rising single-song prices at its iTunes online music store, saying that it planned to maintain the price tag of 99 cents per song. Reiterating comments made by Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs last week, an Apple spokeswoman said the company is maintaining its single price tag for individual songs. The comment came in response to an article in the New York Post reporting the likelihood of higher prices as a result of new contracts with record labels. As earlier reported, some full-album prices have already begun to climb on the service. Source: C|Net News.com Thats great! I just wish it was $9.99 for all albums as Steve said at launch. I am also getting tired of seeing "Partial Album" and "By Song Only." I see no reason why 8 out of 10 songs are online for some albums. And why do I have to buy "Just Push Play" (Aerosmith) By Song Only (costing $11.88)? I bought "Honkin' on Bobo" (Aerosmith) when it was released, and could not buy the album. I had to buy the seperate songs to get it. I had more then enough Pepsi bottle caps so it was worth it. Now "Honkin' on Bobo" can be bought for $11.88 - not $9.99 Mr. Jobs.

Beverly Hills Cop Trilogy DVD Review

Eddie Murphy is one actor who just can't catch a break anymore. His last decent movie was Nutty Proffesor, but ruined it with a horrible sequel. Life was terrible along with childish kiddie fair Daddy Day Care. Thankfully we have the DVD format which lets us relive his prime, including the Beverly Hills Cop series. This DVD box set includes all 3 movies in the series (each disc is also available seperately). All are only available only in widescreen, with BHC 1 and 3 being presented in 1.85:1 with the first sequel presented in 2.35:1. Each disc also features Dolby 5.1 sound, the first 2 being remixed, the third used it from the start. Dolby surround tracks are featured on all the discs as well. On to the movies.... Beverly Hills Cop is a classic in the buddy genre, a perfect blend of action and comedy. Eddie Murphy is outstanding as Detroit cop Axl Foley, drawn to Beverly Hills after a murder of his best friend. There he meets up with with two of Beverly Hills best cops, played by Judge Reinhold and John Ashton. Eddie Murphy is perfect for the role, having a blast BS'ing his way though the town to the source of the crime. Reinhold and Ashton just can't keep up with Murphy's tactics and it all blends flawlessly to make this one a true classic. (***** out of *****)

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Twister DVD DTS Edition Review

Twister still ranks high as far as summer movies go. This one drew huge crowds and the money this one raked in is disgusting, much like Jan De Bonts other actionfest, Speed. Did it deserve it? Probably. This is a great popcorn action flick and an outstanding disc to boot. Bill Paxton stars as a storm chaser along with his extranged wife played by Helen Hunt. Their goal is to get a look inside a tornado with the newly developed machine called "Dorothy." It sends up hundereds of tiny little receptors that capture all the data about the twister and send it back to their computers. Of course, there is a rival group with better equipment out to do the same thing. It's an intense ride that has them not only battling the elements, but trying to save thier jobs as well. This is not a movie you should expect to go into expecting a deep plot. The romantic storyline is really unnecessary and only serves to give a little bit of backstory to the characters, setting it up for the disaster to come. This one is all about insane action and spectacular effects that still hold up. Some of the sequences are just ridiculous, but as far as braindead action movies go, this is a classic. (**** out of *****)

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Bruce Almighty DVD Review

Jim Carrey is certainly not one of my favorite actors. In fact, I almost hate him. A small number of his movies have entertained me, but his over the top antics are just too much to bear for me, but Bruce Almighty is different. This is a great light comedy that caused a bit of a stir in the religious community (as everything seems to do), but can easily be enjoyed by the entire family (except for a few choice words). Jim Carrey plays Bruce Nolan, a nearly 40 year old news reporter who's life is way out of whack. Nothing goes right....until he gets ticked off at God, played by Morgan Freeman. God decides to take a vacation and gives Nolan his powers since to see if he can handle it any better. As any mere human would, Bruce screws everything up (including his relationship with Jennifer Aniston) and it becomes his job to fix everything he made wrong. This film reunites Carrey with director Tom Shadyac, the same guy who gave Carrey his big start in Ace Ventura. This one is a bit more toned down and doesn't feature Carrey going crazy like he normally does. Well, at least not as much. The writers here have succeded in creating a great comedy for the first hour, but faltered near the end. The movie takes a deep turn that seems completely out of place and it really throws the entire package off. However, you'll still cry while laughing at some of the segments and in that, it succeeds. (*** out of *****)

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May 9, 2004

IN DEPTH: iTunes 4.5

Just what it says, iTunes 4.5 in depth!

Serene Japanese Computer Messages

Here are some actual error messages seen on computer screens in Japan, where some are written in haiku. Aren't these better than "your computer has performed an illegal operation"? I found this and do not know if it is true, but it sure is funny.
The Web site you seek cannot be located, but countless more exist. Chaos reigns within. Reflect, repent, and reboot. Order shall return. Program aborting: Close all that you have worked on. You ask far too much. Windows NT crashed. I am the Blue Screen of Death. No one hears your screams. Yesterday it worked. Today it is not working. Windows is like that. Your file was so big. It might have been very useful. But now it is gone. Stay the patient course. Of little worth is your ire. The network is down. A crash reduces your expensive computer to a simple stone. Three things are certain: Death, taxes and lost data. Guess which has occurred? You step in the stream, but the water has moved on. This page is not here. Out of memory. We wish to hold the whole sky, But we never will. Having been erased, The document you're seeking must now be re-keyboarded. Serious error. All shortcuts have disappeared. Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

May 10, 2004

Sony unveils long-awaited HDD music player in Japan

Two and a half years after Apple Computer Inc. launched its iPod and began to steal thunder from Sony Corp., which had ruled the portable music market since the Walkman appeared in the 1980s, the Tokyo company unveiled the first hard-disk drive based music player to bear its name on Monday. The Vaio Pocket VGF-AP1 has a 20GB hard disk drive and a 2.2-inch color LCD (liquid crystal display) screen with 320 pixel by 256 pixel resolution (just over QVGA). In addition to acting as the main user interface, the screen displays track information when songs are being played and displays, if available, album art. Source: MacCentral

May 11, 2004

Man Accused Of Badly Beating Baby For Breaking PlayStation 2

6:37 p.m. EDT May 6, 2004 - A Lake Worth man is charged with aggravated child abuse after he took his 21-month-old stepson to a local hospital limp and unconscious. The boy also has a blood clot in his brain. Cedrick Ferguson, 26, admitted to beating his stepson with a belt earlier this week. Police said Ferguson told them the boy broke his PlayStation 2 video game system, prompting the beating. Sgt. Dan Boland, of the Lake Worth Police Department, said the boy had bruises across his body. But Ferguson denied striking him in the head, Boland said. Source: MSNBC This is very sad. I only hope that this is not blamed on video games. We all know that "it's always the video games fault" is the boiler plate of today's media. This is a case of "he would have done it anyway" which, happens to be my response to all the "it's always the video games fault" comments I read.

Skeletor The Cat

Oh the things you can find on the Internet when you are bored. Thanks to Matt for pointing out this gem, Skeletor The Cat.

G4-TechTV

Looks like Comcast has made its plans for the G4 / Tech TV merger public via, G4TechTV.com. The FAQ page list the shows that will be surviving the merger. Call For Help seems to have received the axe. No word is given if the casts will remain the same. Source: Slashdot That is a shame about Call For Help, many more people need Call for Help then The Screen Savers, but that is just my opinion. TechLive is also missing in the list of the FAQ page, that was one of my favorites of the network. Another shame.

Managing Multiple Projects, Objectives and Deadlines

Monday Paul and I went to this SkillPath workshop: Managing Multiple Projects, Objectives and Deadlines. It is even worth 0.6 credit hours! It was a full day workshop, and I learned a lot. I bought some of the books they had for sale, they were at a big discount, so what the hell. If I ever get through them I might just review them here. Now we just have to see if we can put to use what we learned. We have a lot of things to accomplish this summer, and only three months to do it in! Originally my boss suggested that I go to this, mainly due to the fact that my responsibilities here have escalated in the past semester, and he wants me to learn how to handle things better. And so do I! I showed the pamphlet about the workshop to Paul and he wanted to go. Our instructor was great! His name is Robert Wangen and he has his own training and consulting business. I would highly recommend this workshop to anyone who works on multiple projects at once, and who doesn't do that? Not only was this workshop beneficial to my work here at Student Publications, but ironically it is helpful to my own business, imagine that! I am glad I took the day off to go.

May 12, 2004

Make Sheets Speedy in Mac OS X

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSWindowResizeTime 0.001 Put that in the Terminal. Do you hate how long "sheets" take to show up? Are you running OS X on an "old" G4? This hint rocks, Rob IM'd me tonight and told me about it, and I love it. You can read the full hint at MacOSXHints.com. Oh and do you want to irritate the piss out of someone? Use this instead: defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSWindowResizeTime 5.0 This would be good for April Fools Day, he he.

Apple wins iTunes interface patent

Apple Computer has won a patent for the interface of its iTunes music software, underscoring the growing importance of the multimedia business for the company. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued Apple a patent for its media player software interface on May 4, along with several other features of the company's high-profile products. Other parts of the iTunes software, including the ability to stream songs over a network to another copy of the program, had been the subject of earlier patents. Source: C|Net News.com

Upgrading Baseview Software

The first step of the transition ot InDesign and OS X has come to pass. Today we got our upgrade package of Baseview software. Baseview makes software for newspapers, we use Baseview software for editorial, production, and advertising. We are upgrading editorial and production this summer. Upgrading advertising would cost too much, as we would also need to get new computers to be able to run Mac OS X. Last summer we got new eMacs and a dual 2 Ghz G5 for production and editorial. This summer we are upgrading the software, Baseview and Adobe being the two components of that. We are also doing a cross-grade from Quark Xtentions to InDesign plugins. There are two plugins we use- DragIn and CopyTools. I have never used these before, but as I saw in Chicago these plugins look and act like their Quark counterparts DragX and QTools. We also use a MS Word like text editor called NewsEdit Pro that works with InDesign (in the same way that InCopy CS works with InDesign, well sorta). We use a Xtension called ClassFlow to flow our classifieds. Baseview have not ported this to InDesign yet (Grrrr) so we will still need to do the classifieds in Quark 4 and OS 9 somehow. This is something that we need to figure out how to handle until we get a native InDesign version of ClassFlow. Hurry up Baseview! WireManager is the last application we use in the daily production of the newspaper. WireManager grabs the AP news from the satellite rack down the hall, through a serial connection of all things! Currently the computer WireManager runs on is a PowerMac 7100/66. I remember when those computers were blazing fast! Thanks to the University's Desktop Replacement Program, I can replace that 7100/66 with an iMac that can handle OS X. I need the OS X version of WireManager because of our move to InDesign (I was hoping we could just use our OS 9 version of WireManager, but alas, things are never that easy). We have 20 seats ordered of Adobe Creative Suite, which is for BG News, Obsidian, Gavel, Miscellany, Unigraphics, and Production. It sure will be nice having CS everything at all desks. When that arrives I will get to have fun learning how to use the new Baseview plugins for InDesign. Then also comes creating InDesign templates, styles, and libraries out of all our Quark templates, styles, and libraries. Thats a lot of work! Paul and I get to tackle that job soon.

May 13, 2004

More RAM for the Toledo City Paper

TCP.gifThe file/print/backup server had 128 MB of RAM. Thats not enough for Retrospect to run well. They are running ASIP (AppleShare IP) on OS 9 so 128 MB is not horrible, but for a file/print/backup server it is not enough. I added 1 GB of RAM today and it took little time to see improvements across the board. They have a DDS-4 tape backup that is all messed up. I keep getting error 206 in Retrospect, dirty heads. After talking to Lacie tech support they suggest an company that does out of warranty repairs. It would cost a lot though, half the cost of the drive bought new. Their advertising department use a Zip drive to do daily and weekly backups. As much as I do not like Iomega (because of the "click of death") we are going to do the same for editorial. Getting a Zip drive and a pack of Zip disks is a lot less then getting the tape backup drive repaired. Also TCP's requirements do not require backing up gigs of data. They do not even back up 1 GB of data. So a Zip 750 will be enough for them now, and allow them a lot of room to grow. The next task is to get a workable font solution. Right now there is no way to mirror all needed fonts on all workstations. There is Extensis Suitcase Server, but that costs $1000. They already own Extensis Suitcase Desktop Edition for all workstations though. After some thought, it will be cheaper to use Retrospect to mirror a master font folder to all the clients. Also having Retrospect on all clients will allow for backing up workstation files, something they are not doing. I found Retrospect Workgroup (good for 20 clients and 1 server) for a great price at MacMall (much better then buying from Dantz). And since we are buying everything else from MacMall, its easier then finding the absolute lowest price from a no name store. I am now going to use Retrospect at Student Publications to blast out a master font folder for Unigraphics, Production, and all the other publications. We already use Retrospect Workgroup at Student Publications, I just never thought of using it this way. I must say this was not something I thought of, but something that came out of brainstorming at the TCP office. It was a happy little revelation.

Links Side Blog Works! Finally!

Thanks again to Andy Baio for his RSS feed template, my RSS feed for my Links Side Blog now works. I don't plan on making an archive for that blog any time soon, but I may get to it someday. Who knows.

Upgrading to Movable Type 3.0

If this site goes down or does not get updated later today it is because I am updating to MovableType 3.0. You have been forewarned.

Movable Type 3.0 Installed

That was quick and very easy. MT 3 is now running. (The version number in the footer is static) After I am done working today I will write up a full report. All in all it took me less then 10 minutes start to finish to complete the upgrade. The new admin UI is killer! I have to add the code to the comments for the new authentication that MT 3 uses. Until then you will not see your comment until I approve it. GOOD BYE COMMENT SPAM!

May 15, 2004

Terminator Special Edition DVD Review

Just imagine this: You've just finished making Piranha 2, a pretty abysmal sequel to the Roger Corman cult classic. You lay down one night soon after and you have a visionĂ–a vision that has you imagining a giant metal man walking through a pillar of fire. Then you get $6 million dollars from a major studio to turn it into a movie. That film just happened to be James Cameron's sci-fi classic The Terminator, a film that completely changed time travel and Schwarzenegger cyborg action films forever. Kyle Reese (played by Michael Biehn) is sent back in time as is the T-101, a human/cyborg combo killing machine (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Their goals are completely opposite. One is attempting to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) while the other is trying to protect her and save the future of mankind. It's a violent game of cat and mouse throughout the entire running time.

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Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius DVD Review

Made for a paltry $25 million, Jimmy Neutron was tossed into theaters up against Monsters Inc., Pixars 3rd CG film. Even up against the immense competion, Neutron still hauled in about $80 million dollars and that says alot. This is a fantastic animated film for kids and countless refrences to other films will surely have the adult audience in tears. Oh, and the DVD? One of the best on the market for showcasing your system. Jimmy Neutron heads off into space (yes, space) with his dog Goddard and his best friend Carl. He launches a toaster which he has managed to turn into a reconaisance sattalite. Eventually, an alien race gets a hold of the invention and after seeing a picture of some parents, decide to sacrifice the parents of Jimmy's hometown Retroville. The kids take to the skies in Neutrons inventions to try and get them back. This is a briskly paced (less than 80 minutes excising the credits which I do recommened watching for a minute or two) action-adventure for kids. Though it makes almost no sense and is entirely implausible (how exactly do they breath in space?), this is any kids true fantasy world. Some of the jokes are of course somewhat immature, but die-hard movie fans will have a blast with in-jokes from Star Wars to the Night of the Living Dead. Though not up to par with other CG films along the lines of Toy Story, this is an excellent alternative when that movie finally runs out of steam with your kids. (**** out of *****)

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Bad Boys II DVD Review

I can't imagine what it's like to make a movie with Jerry Bruckheimer, Don Simpson, and Michael Bay. These guys know one thing: How to make things blow up. Bad Boys was a huge hit for the crew back in 1995 and here we are in 2003 with a long time in coming sequel. Though far from the quality of the original, there's still enough here to recommend for people who like things blowing up and a car chase that rivals anything else ever put on film. Martin Lawrence and Will Smith return, playing 2 Miami cops, this time to catch a violent ecstacy dealer smuggling the substance in the most unusual way imaginable. Countless sub-plots are tossed in, one involving Will Smith and Lawrences sister and yet another dealing with Lawrnces emotional issues. It all leads to an explosive finale in Cuba for the final showdown. There is very little story here. Most of the character interaction only serves to extend the running time way over the 2 hour mark. The superb action sequences are a sight to behold (including the stunning car chase mentioned above), but the minute storyline surrounding them doesn't make them anymore intersting like it should. Smith and Lawrence are gut-busting hilarious, but the language used here is asinine. Not that it's offending, but it's mostly used as an attempt to increase the comedy factor. That's not good writing. Also, some of the CG effects used in the action scenes are painfully obvious. Still, this is a sequel that does what it's supposed to do: Make everything louder, bigger, and crazier. In that, is succeeds. (*** out of *****)

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Stupid Energy Saver

I did something pretty stupid at work yesterday. I setup a temporary file server so I could format our file server and install Panther Server on it. Everything worked on the new temp file server. It was a long day, I went home. I did not get much sleep, an hr. or so. Paul calls me at 7 AM "I can't see the temp file server in the Chooser." And there it hit me, like a brick. I bet the energy saver preferences are set to go to sleep. I cannot believe I forgot to check that! Easy, I can walk Paul through this on the phone. One small problem, Paul (for some odd reason) does not have a key for room 202. "OK, I'll be in, give me 5." One or maybe two hrs. of sleep, I drive into work. Sure enough, energy saver was set to turn on after 3 hrs. and even spin down the hard drive. Man did I feel stupid. I was home by 8 AM and slept until the interviews I was conducting later yesterday.

May 17, 2004

Movable Type 3 SHOULD Cost Money

Movable Type 3 has been out for a day now. And a lot of people have had time to weigh in with their opinions. Six Apart has been beaten black and blue for this new pricing scheme. It irritates me how many people are crying fowl about this. Six Apart is not the Evil Empire, they are not the RIAA, they aren't even Microsoft! They are a software developer who cares about customers, they even listen to their customers. This is more then can be said for most software developers. Lets look at a few facts: 1. MT 3 has a free version that is unsupported (just like before) 2. TypePad offers unlimited blogs and authors (and you don't have to pay for hosting on top of that) 3. MT 3 is NOT a feature release, although does include improvements 4. Six Apart has drastically changed the licensing restrictions (that was the most gripped about problem with MT) Did I mention it is free? Six Apart is just like most other software developers. They are in the business of making money. So get off their back for charging for Movable Type! I couldn't agree more with Timothy Appnel's "Movable Type 3.0 and Eating" article. He makes a few great points, and is worth reading. It would be nice to see more articles defending instead of defying Six Apart. But why do people want code (i.e. MT) free of charge? Easy. They have absolutely no clue as to how much work it actually took to make that code usable, much less elegant. I was one of the few who donated after I started using Movable Type on multiple sites. You did know you can donate right? It is referred to "donationware" for a reason (Don't say this too loud, but donating to a freeware or open source based project actually helps the project move forward, or maybe thats just how I think). For donating you get a discount on MT 3 Personal License. Way back when I donated I was told I would get a full credit on the 3.0 version. I donated $60 and today got $65 in credit, because they give you an extra $5 on the second $20 donation. This means I payed $4.95 for the Personal License. So Six Apart not only held up their end of the deal, they gave me a $5 bonus in credit and I didn't even ask for it. I also own a commercial license for MT for my business site. I payed $150 for that. During a great IM conversation with Anil Dash today I find out that that $150 I payed is good for $150 off a Developer License of MT 3. With an introductory price of $199.95 that means I will have to pay $49.99 for the upgrade for commercial use of 3.0. In a day and age of price gouging even on upgrades, thats a heck of a nice upgrade policy (as is the discount for donations). Donating and paying for free software is great. You should give it a try. And for what its worth, Movable Type is more then worth paying for. Sure it is a blogging tool, but if you can code, you can make it into a really nice CMS with little work. Next Up: My first experiences setting up Movable Type 3, TypeKey, and the new centralized features that Six Apart offers its Movable Type users.

Last Samurai DVD Review

The Last Samurai has been critized by some for its lack of historical accuracy. While I can certainly understand why this would be an issue for some people, it never really makes the claim at any point to be a true story. It's a movie BASED in history, plain and simple, and an incredible one at that. Tom Cruise plays a Civil War veteran named Nathan Algren. He is under severe stress, emotional problems, and has a tendancy to indulge in a bit too much alchohol. His problems stem from recurring images in his mind due a slaghter of American Indians he took part in. He is then invited to Japan to train their new modern army and also eliminate the samurai who are refusing to change with the times. Trapped and captured by the samurai during a battle, Algren slowly begins his tranformation into their lifestyle and agrees to help them defeat the new Japanese army, even if it means certain death.

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May 18, 2004

A week after fee hike, BGSU buys president new house

Bowling Green, Ohio - Bowling Green State University's foundation is spending $1.1 million on land that includes a new house for the school's president. The foundation board voted Friday to buy a 5.74-acre parcel that includes a four-bedroom house with a pool for $750,000, and an adjacent 13.36-acre undeveloped lot for $350,000. School President Stanley Ribeau is expected to move into the house next year. The purchases came a week after the school announced it would raise tuition and fees 9 percent for next year and cut $4 million out of the personnel budget by eliminating vacant positions. "There is never a good time for a project such as this," said George Mylander, the foundation's chairman. "There will never be enough money. In the long run, this will be a true asset to the university." Ribeau moved out of the present president's residence in November 2002 so the school could develop an extensive renovation plan. Doug Smith, president of the foundation and the university's vice president of advancement, said that proved to be too costly. Source: The Plain Dealer Too costly? No kidding! And who is Stanley Ribeau? Its Sidney Ribeau. The U. always seems to spend money on our prez at the most inopportune time. This is yet another great example, right after a 9% tuition hike.

Childless couple told to try sex

A German couple who went to a fertility clinic after eight years of marriage have found out why they are still childless - they weren't having sex. The University Clinic of Lubek said they had never heard of a case like it after examining the couple who went to see them last month for fertility tests. Doctors subjected them to a series of examinations and found they were both apparently fertile, and should have had no trouble conceiving. A clinic spokesman said: "When we asked them how often they had had sex, they looked blank, and said: "What do you mean?". "We are not talking retarded people here, but a couple who were brought up in a religious environment who were simply unaware, after eight years of marriage, of the physical requirements necessary to procreate." The 30-year-old wife and her 36-year-old husband are now being given sex therapy lessons while the university clinic undertakes a study to try to find out if there are more couples with a similar lack of sex education. Source: Ananova Thanks Matt for the link. I am totally speechless here.

Chinese PC maker Founder to install iTunes on all PCs

Apple Computer Inc. on Tuesday announced that Founder, a major supplier of personal computers to the Chinese market, will pre-install the Windows version of Apple's iTunes software on all of its PCs beginning next month. With iTunes installed, users of Founder PCs will be able to copy music from their own audio CDs, create playlists, share the music of Local Area Networks (LANs) using Rendezvous, and listen to that music on the iPod, Apple's popular digital music player. Source: MacCentral

Microsoft wins delay in Eolas appeal

Microsoft has been granted an extension of its May 17 deadline to file an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Eolas patent case. In August, the University of California and its Eolas spin-off won a $521 million judgment against Microsoft for infringement on the patent, which describes how Web browsers handle plug-in applications. Source: C|Net News.com Be sure to read my other posts about Eolas if you do not know the back story by now.

Phishing scam reports skyrocket in April

Reports of a type of online crime known as "phishing" surged by almost 200 percent in April, according to figures from a computer security industry group. The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) received reports of more than 1,100 unique phishing campaigns in April, a 178 percent increase from the previous month, according to figures shared with the IDG News Service. The reports represent a significant increase in phishing scams, which capture personal information from Internet users with a combination of unsolicited commercial ("spam") e-mail messages and Web sites designed to look like legitimate online businesses, said Dan Maier, director of product marketing at Tumbleweed Inc. and an APWG spokesman. Source: MacCentral
I have been meaning to mention this here. I have been getting a TON of phishing emails lately. I got 3 PayPal ones today! Not so much for the eBay (only a couple), but I have been getting Amazon ones now. That is new. I would say I have been averaging 10 phishing emails a week. The Amazon phishing ones do not pass my SPAM filter, but the PayPal and eBay ones cut right through POPFile. So those people doing the Amazon phishing - you are not doing a good job! These phishing SPAMS are not going to go away until people STOP FILLING IN THE BLANKS. If everyone would tell someone about these phishing SPAMS then maybe this would stop. But I do not see that happen. People will still get fooled, for some reason or another. This phishing happens for the same reason that normal SPAM happens. If one out of one 100, 1,000, 10,000 is successful, they are a success. Is SMTP Authentication the answer to all these SPAM related problems? I don't like playing the pessimist but I don't think SMTP Authentication will curb SPAM one bit. Now, I would love to see some kind of authentication or certificate system for email. I say this because we see how spammers get through even the smartest spam filters in the world. I have heard of spammers defeating Six Apart's TypeKey comment authentication system already. I have high hopes for a new standard secure email protocol. I am just not seeing a breakthrough yet to be optimistic about it yet. Please people, will you all tell your mother, brother, father, grandma, girlfriend, boyfriend, dog, whatever to be careful with "phishing" SPAM. They may have heard it all before, but it does not hurt to hear it again. And hopefully the more they hear it, the more they will think about telling others.

May 19, 2004

Johnson K's 13 in perfect effort

ATLANTA (AP) -- Randy Johnson had pretty much done it all -- Cy Young Awards, a no-hitter, strikeout records, a World Series championship. Only one thing was missing in his brilliant career, that rarest of pitching feats. At the ripe ol' age of 40, the Big Unit took care of that, too. Source: ESPN I am not a huge baseball fan, but that was a great game - to see highlights from. I told you I wasn't a huge baseball fan. What a exclamation point for Randy Johnson, and he isn't done yet!

Tony Randall dead at 84

(CNN) -- Tony Randall, the Emmy Award-winning actor who made the role of fussy neatnik Felix Unger his own in TV's "The Odd Couple," has died. Randall was 84. The actor died in his sleep Monday evening at NYU Medical Center in New York, according to a statement from his publicist, Springer Associates. The cause of death was "complications from a prolonged illness," the statement said. Source: CNN

Wednesday reckoning day for porn spammers

E-mail users in the U.S. who have resigned themselves to being shocked by eye-popping pornographic messages in their inboxes can expect some relief Wednesday, when federal legislation governing sexually explicit unsolicited commercial ("spam") e-mail takes effect.

In April, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) adopted the rule, part of the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act, which requires spam containing sexually oriented material to contain the label "SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT" in the subject line. The FTC likened the requirement to putting an electronic "brown paper wrapper" around raunchy spam. Spammers who ignore the law risk fines, the FTC said.

The rule is designed to protect e-mail recipients from graphic and unsolicited sexual images. The labels make it easier to spot and filter out such messages before they land in a recipient's in-box. In addition to the label, explicit spam must include a valid postal address for the sender, the FTC said....

The final rule, which goes into effect Wednesday, reflects feedback from the public on the label, which was originally supposed to read "SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT-CONTENT," but later shortened to allow more of the e-mail subject line to be readable, the FTC said.

Yes, please, reading the subject "13 yr. old Lolita" is very important. Give me a break.

Source: MacCentral


My grandmother is even been desensitized to prOn SPAM now. Although hearing her tell me about the first time she opened a porno SPAM was pretty funny. Poor grandma, she didn't know what she was getting into. No words of warning are enough for the unexacting grandparent.

When will this happen? I am not holding my breath. The sooner the better! Besides, do you realize how many alternates to "SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT" will be used? Lets take some guesses, shall we.

"SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT"

"S3XUALLY-3XPLICIT"

"SEXU@LLY-EXPLICIT"

"SEXUALLY-EXPL!C!T"

"S.E.X.U.A.L.L.Y.-E.X.P.L.I.C.I.T"

"S_E_X_U_A_L_L_Y_-_E_X_P_L_I_C_I_T"

"S E X U A L L Y - E X P L I C I T"

"S    EXUA  LLY-E  XPL   ICI  T"

"SEXUA  LLY-EX   PLICIT         df97s"

"!!SEXUALLY!!EXPLICIT!!"

"S[E]XUALLY-EXPLI[C]IT"

"SEXUA;;Y-EXPLICIT"

"SEXUALLY-EXPLI©IT"

"SéXUåLLY-EXPLICIT"

"SEXUALLY-EXPL1C1T

"Sexual:Explicit" (I got one of these today)

"SEXUALLY EXPLICIT" (I got one of these today)

See, they are not going to conform to a standard. I will add a few of these to SpamAssasin, and watch what all variations come through the pipe. I am very happy to see a few of my SPAMS even using this already. "Happy" and "SPAM" in one sentance, ugg!

Enter the Dragon Special Edition DVD Review

Bruce Lee is probably one of those people who will never be forgotten. His legacy is simple invicible, staying alive in movies like this. Enter the Dragon is the epitome of martial arts movies, a genre bogged down by so many cheap low budget knock offs that it's downright disgusting. Here is the pinnacle on DVD yet again, this time in a 2-disc form for the first time. Han, a rich, mysterious man invites a group of the worlds best fighters to his island to compete in a tournament. Here, he trains hundereds of students in the martial arts and completes some rather shaky buisness deals involving illegal drugs. Bruce Lee gets caught up not only in the tournament, but has been hired by the British government to figure out exactly what Han is doing on the island.

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May 20, 2004

Apple creates new iPod and Macintosh divisions

Apple has reorganized its corporate structure into new iPod and Macintosh divisions. The iPod division will be led by Apple Senior Vice President Hardware Engineering, Jon Rubenstein, while Apple's Macintosh efforts will be led by Executive Vice President Worldwide Sales and Operations Tim Cook. Tim Bucher, who heads Mac system development, will head up the Mac's hardware engineering, according to a Reuters report. Source: MacCentral Rubenstein in charge of the iPod division? Huh?

Mac OS X Trojan Technique: Beware Geeks Bearing Gifts

By now, assuming you pay any attention to the Macintosh media in between your weekly doses of TidBITS, you've undoubtedly heard of the hubbub brewing around the announcement last Thursday of the first Trojan horse to target Mac OS X. The news came from Intego, the developers of a variety of security software, including the anti-virus program VirusBarrier, which Intego updated to detect hypothetical malicious software using this new technique. Should we laud Intego's integrity in alerting the Macintosh community to this possible pestilence, or should we revile the company for a self-serving PR move that has the potential to cause untold headaches for the entire Macintosh world? I'll reveal my hand here - if Intego wants to do public service announcements, they shouldn't use a press release to submit their findings, and they should stop selling a product that stands to benefit directly from both the increased paranoia they've caused and a potential plague of copycat Trojans.... Needless to say, the press release was immediately covered by a variety of news sites (I've included a selection of links below; it's amusing to compare them, and be sure to see the hilarious Joy of Tech cartoon at the end). As usual, that means a few sites confirmed the story, investigated the technical claims, and queried security experts, whereas many others merely reprinted or pointed to Intego's press release. The massive coverage instantly generated a ton of confusion and misunderstandings. Many people thought Mac OS X was immune from such malevolent code (false, and the proof-of-concept works equally well in Mac OS 9), which led to the conclusion that Intego was promulgating a hoax (equally false). Other misapprehensions that quickly resulted were that this was a virus (false, Trojans don't self-replicate) and that it was in some way related to Apple's success in the music world (inane, and at best a non-sequitur). Intego itself generated other confusions, such as the implication that what was being identified was an actual Trojan horse (false) rather than just a method by which a Trojan horse could be created. Intego is also culpable for classic FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) tactics by advertising that the same technique could be used with GIF and JPEG files, and QuickTime movies (true, but irrelevant)... Then there's this section: [of the press release] "Due to the use of this technique, users can no longer safely double-click MP3 files in Mac OS X. This same technique could be used with JPEG and GIF files, though no such cases of infected graphic files have yet been seen." That's classic FUD aimed at scaring less-sophisticated users into believing that they cannot so much as double-click an MP3, JPEG, or GIF file without risking untold digital horrors. Unless, that is, they're running Intego's VirusBarrier. Source: TidBITS
It amazes me how many people, Mac and Windows users, get brainwashed by Intego. They are by far the worst supplier of FUD the Mac Community has ever known. I have thought this for a while, and it is nice to see Adam Engst feels the same way. If you read through the Intego press release, you will find an all knew meaning to the term FUD. Or just read Adam's breakdown of the press release, it is far more informative. Has the proof-of-concept MP3 "trojan" become a serious threat in the wilds of the real world? Will it become a threat any time soon? I have my doubts. But now that MP3Concept is so publicized it will either be copied or no one will use the technique since it is so well known by now. See Mac OS X MP3 Trojan horse threat overhyped, says Sophos. Now Sophos is a anti-virus vendor I have come to trust and respect. Don't believe all you read folks. Oh, and the hubbub about that IE and Safari vulnerability, thats pretty lame too. That "flaw" has been around for some time now. I don't see it as a flaw either. You can read my comments on that issue on my blog if you like. Intego did the right thing, they just went about it all wrong. Another great article by Adam Angst.

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas: How does it play?

Good ol' Grand Theft Auto. If there's one thing you do right, it's tick people off. Whether it be ignorant government types or Haitians, rest assured you'll manage to set somebody off. Well glorious video game, soon you will grace us with yet another sequel, the 5th in the series. E3 brought us a swirling array of stories on this latest sequel, each one making me feel even worse for humanity and the gaming industry in general. The big part of this sequel was where it took place. For the record, it's San Andreas California. Is this really such a big deal? Does it really matter WHERE you kill people? My question is, how does it play? New "innovations" let you join gangs for some team based play (real innovative unless you haven't played one of the 50 other squad based games on the market), rob houses (different from robbing the gun store in the third iteration how?), and the new AI gives all the people in the game's world a supposed "brain." This is what EA Sports shoved down our throats in the 16-bit era with all their sports games and I never noticed a difference. My question is, how does it play? The new graphics engine has new lighting effects, new character models, and cars taken from the early 90's, the era the game is set in. Looking at screen shots (granted their early), I see no difference. The same blocky polygonal models that filled the first two 3-D entries are back. They are simply are wearing different clothes. My question is, how does it play? See, no one seems to care how it plays. Why? Because most people who play video games today are stupid. Yeah, I said stupid. Read the line again if you want. They walk into a video/gaming store, scan the shelves, look for a "M" rating, and walk out satisfied. $50 later, their having a blast blowing peoples heads off, capping grandma with a sniper rifle, and beating down a hooker for cash. Millions of people will pre-order for no apparent reason. What, do you think their will be a shortage or something? No, Rockstar knows the title alone will make you plunk down the cash the same way you bought an X-Box to the play the same exact games you already have on your PS2. Does the violence bother me? No, not at all. I love blood in my games, but only when they play decently. Does GTA have some decent gameplay? Sure. Does it get old and infuriating thanks to a horrific targeting system? Definitely. Does anyone seem to care if the targeting system has been worked on? Guess not. Does anyone care to know if the controls for the vehicles have been improved? Guess not. Does it need to be? Definitely. See, the art of making a video game play well has been completely lost. Ok, actually, it's still alive and well, but no one buys these types of games. Did you buy Beyond Good and Evil last year? Will you give a second look to Metal Slug 3 when it hits the X-Box in a month or so? Of course not. Why? Probably either: A: You've never heard of it or.... B: You've seen the graphics and "they'z l00kz l1k3 At@R1...WTF?" Why is it? Metal Slug is the epitome of great gameplay. Developed over the course of many years, Metal Slug 3 is arguably the best of the long running series. It has killing, blood, and non-stop action. Do you care? Yeah? Really? Oh, by the way, it's 2-D which means no polygons. What? Now you don't care? These games are only for the hardcore gamers now. The group who knows exactly what it takes to make a game enjoyable and fun. The rest of you are idiots, plunking down cash for various games with the names Madden and Grand Theft Auto. Am I telling you what you should like? No, oh god no. Everyone has their tastes and that's completely understandable. My argument is that you no longer look past the big budget ads, hype, and graphics. Maybe, just maybe, if someone sat your mainstream butt down for 5 minutes with a multi-player game of Metal Slug, you'd change your mind. Of course, your too busy cappin' yo' hoes to be bothered with things like this.

Mail.app spam filter Explained

Many myths have emerged about Mail's junk mail filter. No, it's not an extremely complex set of rules, no it doesn't look for keywords, and no, it doesn't use white magic. To truly understand what makes it so much better than the competition, we'll have to take a closer look at the recognition engine and the technologies it relies on to do its work. It may sound a bit complex at first, but things will begin to make sense as we work through the mechanics. Source: Mac Dev Center I have long wanted to know how Mail's spam filter worked. I personally have seen much better results using SpamSieve and POPFile. I have used both heavily, either for myself or for my clients.

Vaseline Man Can't Slip Cops

Meet Robert Chamberlain. The 44-year-old Virginia man was arrested earlier this month and charged with felony criminal mischief for damaging a Motel 6 room in upstate New York. But Chamberlain, who has spent time on the pipe, wasn't breaking windows or throwing the television off the balcony. He was nabbed for slathering Vaseline on every single thing in Room 205--mattresses, pillows, sheets, furniture, carpeting, blankets, the TV, etc. Source: The Smoking Gun

EA Sports Almost gets Bigger

Electronic Arts recently stirred up the game industry with an attempt to buy out the NFL Players Association. The rumored deal had EA putting up $1 billion (yes, one BILLION dollars) to have exclusive rights to the the NFLPA in all of their video games for 4 years. I honestly don't think gamers realize how close we came to the end of football video games as we know them today. Every year we are bombarded with football games. EA Sports has always some competition, though this era has proved EA is really the dominant force. None of the other franchises has come close to matching the Madden NFL series, not even Sega who's radically improved ESPN series has been beaten solidly on every console. EA obviously didn't think this was enough and tried for the monopoly. What does the NFLPA liscense mean? Well, play a college football video game and you'll quickly get the idea. No player names, likenesses, or pictures. The NFL logos and team names would not have been included in the deal, but you'd be stuck with a field of players with only numbers on their back. "QB #7" would lead the league. Does EA think that their not big enough? They finally came to a mega-deal with Microsoft to put their games on the X-Box Live service, though many believe this is only because MS decided to scrap their sports lineup for the year. They have destroyed Sega's excellent sports franchise, arguably more innovative than any of EA's recent products. They threw Sega from the Gamecube due to the abysmal sales, Nintendo won't even try to counter, and Sony has canned their franchises as well (though this was admittedly a quality issue). What more could they possibly need? Beyond the fact that it's scary to think a game company actually can afford ONE BILLION DOLLARS, they still want more. They want every single gamer to have a copy of Madden in their house. Good buisness? In theory, sure. Good for the industry? Hell no. I don't like Madden. EA has hardly evolved their franchise this entire generation while Sega is fighting tooth and nail yet no one cares. EA's grip is just that big. Had this deal had gone through, what choice would gamers have had? Like playing games like NFL Blitz, ESPN Football, NFL Fever, or NFL Gameday with the real NFL players? EA didn't care. At this point, two of those fanchises won't even exist this year, mostly due to EA Sports. Don't think it would make a difference to the majority? Think again. EA actually felt the brunt of their own tactics a few years back with the first N64 release of Madden. They failed to secure the NFL liscense (not the NFLPA, but the NFL itself: again, no logos, team names, etc.) while Acclaim and their lackluster Quarterback Club franchise did. Sales were nearly 2 to 1 in favor of Acclaim. Let us all be thankful the NFL was smart enough to see it in the proper light. The monopoly attempt has been crushed and gamers WILL have a choice this year. The choices are few since 2 of the first party titles will not be produced, but the battle lines will be drawn while EA and Sega battle it out practically one-on-one. This will be a superb sales battle, though the pressure is still obviously in Segas court.

Adobe Version Cue does not work

It is recommended that you backup your projects and reinstall Version Cue from the CD that came with the Creative Suite.

Click Continue to start the backup process.

I have, twice now.

I do not think anyone can get Version Cue to work. I got this above message after I:

Tried turning on Version Cue
Got a message that said it would not start up, told to look at the log file
Was asked, and accepted the offer for it to fix itself.

I hear it is a problem with using Tomcat. At least that is the only thing I can find on the multitude of boards I searched.

Lets look at that log file shall we (look in the extended entry)

Oh my, what? Error writing plist file? That couldn't be a file permission error could it?

I am trying one more time then giving up. It would be nice to have Version Cue to work for the different publications here. We will see.

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Microsoft starts selling Office for Mac

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May 21, 2004

Blizzard offers OS X-native Diablo II installer

When Blizzard Entertainment released Diablo II in June, 2001, Mac OS 9 and earlier were still the dominant operating systems on the Mac platform. Three years later, much has changed: Now Mac OS X is dominant. To better address today's gamers' needs, Blizzard has just released a fully Mac OS X-native Diablo II installer. What's more, a Mac OS X-native version of the installer for another popular Blizzard game, StarCraft, is in development. Source: MacCentral Why is it that Blizzard is the only game house that (now) releases both Mac and Windows versions of their games? That is such a quality that needs to be replicated. I know, I know, the Mac gaming market is very small. BLAH to that. Blizzard does it right. As a side note, I agree with the posters to the MacCentral board, Blizzard games last a long time. I go back and play Blizzard games more than any other console or computer game. I still cannot beat Diablo II on the hardest setting, and I have played it since it came out in 2001. I know, I know, thats lame.

AudioLunchbox indie music service adds 100 new labels

AudioLunchbox.com, a music download service that features independent artists and labels, announced Wednesday that it has added 100 new labels and plans to have 250,000 additional tracks online by mid-July. The service features higher music downloads encoded at higher bitrates than is available at the iTunes Music Store, available in the user's choice of either MP3 or Ogg Vorbis formats. Source: MacCentral I wrote about AudioLunchbox a little while ago, and the site has improved a bunch since then. If you have not, you should check them out.

Napster goes live in UK, iTunes still pending

Roxio Inc. announced on Thursday that its Napster online music download service has gone live in the UK, well ahead of a promise the company made in March to launch the service before the end of summer. Apple, meanwhile, continues to make plans for a European launch of its rival iTunes Music Store service, though the company is reluctant to offer a firm release date. Source: MacCentral Yet again, even though apple announces or ships something first, someone else delivers first. I will be interested what Neil will have to say about this. Wow, like clockwork, Neil has his take. Come on Apple, you announced UK support a long time ago, where is it?

Mac OS X vulnerability allows execution of malicious code

In what is being described as a "highly critical" vulnerability, security firm Secunia on Monday issued an advisory to all Mac OS X users that surf the Web with Microsoft's Internet Explorer or Apple's Safari Web browsers... The result of the vulnerability, which has been confirmed using Safari 1.2.1 (v125.1) and Internet Explorer 5.2, is that it is "possible to place arbitrary files in a known location, including script files, on a user's system if the Safari browser has been configured to ("Open "safe" files after download") (default behavior) by asking a user to download a ".dmg" (disk image) file." Source: MacCentral
Um, yea. This "flaw" has been known for a while now folks. Apple should have fixed this in February. Why didn't they? Good question. New information found here. Many other related links are found at that article. Basically you should get More Internet, something I have installed already. More Internet is a fix for the flaw, but Apple needs to patch the Terminal vulnerability. This is not, by the way, the first time a security hole has been found to gain access to the Terminal with more privileges then you should have. This one just has not been fixed yet. There is an AppleScript inside the Help Viewer package that is the root of this vulnerability. This is the first OS X vulnerability I am worried about. But there is a temporary fix, and I hope Apple makes an "official" patch soon. "rm -rf" cannot be used because the string command will not accept spaces. At least it has not been figured out yet. Two examples of what can be done with this vulnerability: The first uses a meta refresh to cause you to download and mount a .dmg file. The second uses this technique to launch an executable in the mounted volume. This could be used by AOL and other vermin to automatically install a "Free Trial of..." from a pop-up. That is nasty.

Using Office 2004

For about the last two months, I've been using Mac Office 2004 on a Power Mac G5. I swapped out my fourth grader's Windows Media Center PC for an iMac so she could use the software, too. I am generally impressed with the power and performance of Mac Office 2004, which, like its predecessor, I would say offers many advantages over Office for Windows. For businesses users, I would consider the new "Compatibility Reports" feature to be one of the most important enhancements. The tool checks documents for compatibility with older Mac and Windows versions of Office. Considering that interoperability rates as one of IT decision makers top priorities, the feature could help salve concerns about Mac Office compatibility with its Windows cousin. Even without the feature, I find the new Office to produce documents that are more compatible with older Windows versions. The Compatibility Reports feature is access through a toolbar icon called "Toolbox," which also leads to "Scrapbook," "Reference Tools" and "Project Center," which are new or enhanced features. Source: Microsoft Monitor

Apple patches vulnerability in Safari

Apple Computer Inc. issued an update on Friday to fix a reported security hole in its Safari Web Browser. The venerability, which was classified as "Extremely Critical" by security firm Secunia, allowed the execution of malicious code on the users computer. "Apple takes security very seriously and works quickly to address potential threats as we learn of them -- in this case, before there was any actual risk to our customers," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, in a statement. "While no operating system can be completely immune from all security issues, Mac OS X's UNIX-based architecture has so far turned out to be much better than most." The vulnerability, which has been confirmed using Safari 1.2.1 (v125.1) and Internet Explorer 5.2, made it "possible to place arbitrary files in a known location, including script files, on a user's system if the Safari browser has been configured to ("Open "safe" files after download") (default behavior) by asking a user to download a ".dmg" (disk image) file," according to Secunia's advisory. Source: MacCentral
I stick my tong out at all those people that says Apple does not act fast for security updates. Those who run OS X, and actually use the Software Update feature, know that Apple release security updates when they are needed. I prefer the "when needed" philosophy over the "once a month" approach that Windows has been using lately (with the exception of the holiday season, of course).

Last Call for 'Call For Help'

Today was the last episode of "Call For Help" on TechTV. Leo says G4 is shopping the show, so it might be reborn someday. I did not watch the show for 6 yrs. but I have watched it on and off for a few years now. CFH was a great show, and I am sure it will be missed, missed by the people who actually knew it existed. I know I learned tips and tricks here and there from the show. There are some farewells from the cast and crew, as well as a photo gallery. The last show was great, and Leo's outfit was the best part!

May 22, 2004

Moore's 'Fahrenheit 9/11' wins Cannes award

CANNES, France (AP) -- U.S. filmmaker Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," a scathing indictment of White House actions after the September 11 attacks, won the top prize Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival. "Fahrenheit 9/11" was the first documentary to win Cannes' prestigious Palme d'Or since Jacques Cousteau's "The Silent World" in 1956. "What have you done? I'm completely overwhelmed by this. Merci," Moore said after getting a standing ovation from the Cannes crowd. Source: CNN I was hoping Moore would win. But, all I want to do is be able to SEE it. Thanks Michael Eisner! Moron. The Weinsteins might privately buy it, but when can I see it?

California town for sale on eBay finally sold

BRIDGEVILLE, California (AP) -- This tiny Northern California town, which sparked an ill-fated eBay bidding war nearly two years ago, has finally been sold -- this time for real. A Southern California financial adviser is the proud new owner of what he called an "absolutely gorgeous" 32.8-hectare (82-acre) piece of land among the redwoods, about 435 kilometers (270 miles) northwest of San Francisco and 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Pacific Ocean. Source: CNN

Woman jailed for Net baby sale

LONDON, England (AP) -- A British woman has pleaded guilty to selling her unborn baby to two couples over the Internet and arranging for a third to buy it as well. Moira Greenslade, 33, from Keighley in northern England, got $4,500 after agreeing to give up her child to the couples she contacted though a surrogacy Web site. Greenslade pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court to three charges of obtaining money by deception and three offenses under the Adoption Act. She was sentenced to two years in prison. Source: CNN

Your buddy list is full (Updated)

aim_error.gif
Today I started adding real names to AIM user names, mainly because its getting to the point where I cannot remember the IRL counterparts to those on my Buddy List. Address Book really makes this easy, it sure is a nice feature. I really do not understand this error I got: Could not add name to your buddy list. Your buddy list is full. I was going to associate a name in my Address Book to his listing in iChat. When I clicked "OK" to confirm the name change in iChat, I got this above error message. That user name fell off my iChat list, so I opened up another AIM clone. He was in fact still in my buddy list. The next time I opened iChat his name was back. So my Buddy List is apparently not full. Has anyone else seen this error? UPDATED I got this same iChat error when adding a NEW name to my Buddy List. In the example above I was just editing an existing name. So I tried adding this new name to my buddy list in Adium, and I got a similar, but much more informative, error message. It seems I do in fact have too many people on my Buddy List. I have 99 contacts in my Buddy List. I did not know there was such a threshold. But wait...there's more! I have collected over the years 3 AIM accounts. I have my old old old one, I have one I use for business work, and I have my mac.com AIM name. So with the help of an IM clone that allows me multiple logins, such as Trillian or Adium, I am set. But whats with the 99 buddy limit? Why should I have to prune? I know people that have more buddies in their list then me, so I do not understand this limit. Is it just for the clones (iChat, Adium, Fire, etc, etc)? I am thinking it might be because of the clones because they use an open source library which is based on an older version of the IM protocols. Just a hunch.

The Accidental Video Game Porn Archive

Only Matt would look for things like this, the The Accidental Video Game Porn Archive. Thanks for the link Matt.

May 23, 2004

Phishing scourge prompts calls for change

The sentencing this week of a Texas man was a notable victory for the U.S. government in its fight against a form of online fraud known as "phishing." However, a recent surge in such scams highlights the need for more than customer education, with some computer security experts calling for major changes in the way sensitive information is exchanged online. Zachary Keith Hill, 20, was sentenced Tuesday to 46 months in prison after pleading guilty to defrauding America Online Inc. (AOL) and PayPal customers with a sophisticated online phishing con, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said. Source: MacCentral
That was a long article, even for MacCentral, but a good read, especially if you are unfamiliar with phishing. I am not sure that putting these people in jail are the answer, as this nation's jails are overcrowded as it is. I would much rather see the DOJ have obscene fines and actually enforce them. The DOJ also needs a higher convict-through rate though.

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The Haunting DTS DVD review

Based off not only a book but a 1963 movie regarded as a classic, Jan De Bont's "The Haunting" has alot to live up to. Both the book and original movie are held in high regard so the advent of computer special effects should take this story to new heights. Then again, the man who gave us Speed 2 could completely blow it and make one of the most awful movies in recent years. Yeah, that's more like it.

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House of the Dead DVD review

First rule of movie making: Don't make your movie based off a video game. Ask anyone who has had the pleasure of sitting through such cinematic classics like Double Dragon, Super Mario Bros, or Street Fighter, and sure enough you'll get a large majority with the same response. "That was 2 hours of my life I'll never have back." Enter Uwe Boll's "House of the Dead."

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Pogue looks at Office 2004 for Macintosh

In his "State of the Art" column for The New York Times, David Pogue looks at Microsoft Office 2004, which was officially released for the Macintosh yesterday. Pogue sums up his article by saying, "...Microsoft's Mac team appears to be reaching the same point of feature saturation as its Windows counterpart. Once a program does everything anybody could ever ask of it, adding more features is just icing on the icing." Source: The New York Times

Finally a Mac security hole (A Recap)

If you missed out on the recent Mac security holes, you can find a fairly good, consolidated recap of the entire mess here. Apple has patched the Safari/Help Viewer/Mac OS X (they have not really been clear on this one) and this article gets into the guts of the issue, it has to do with something called LaunchServices. There are a lot of links to read if you so desire, or you can just get the gist of the many different problems (its not just one) by reading this report. There are a few things you can do if you are feeling terribly paranoid, you can use RCDefaultApp, Little Snitch, and Paranoid Android. I realize there is a security risk here, but at what point does this all become irrelevant? Its just like that MP3Concept trojan, if you are going to use it for malicious means, why publish the blueprint? It still is nice to have a community that helps others patch holes even faster then Apple can stop the bleeding. I am glad for the knowledge shared in the Mac community, even if some of it comes over as FUD at times. And as usual, the folks who post at Slashdot have a great sense of humor: I've got to hand it to Apple... "help:runscript=..." No double-decode, unicode obfuscation, or CMD.EXE parms. Even the exploits are user-friendly! The Joy of Tech comic is pretty funny too!

May 24, 2004

Maurice Clarett timeline

May 24 - The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals formally rules against Clarett. The ruling means Clarett will not be eligible for a supplemental draft and will have to wait for the 2005 draft to enter the NFL. Source: The Mercury News Give it up man! Its a shame that Williams has been caught in the cross-hair.

May 26, 2004

Underworld Unrated DVD Review

The term "double dip" will certainly instill fear in any DVD collector. For those who are unsure of what the term refers to, let me briefly explain. Underworld was released on DVD in January in a single disc edition. Now, a mere five months have passed and we are now "treated" to a two disc unrated edition. Tri-Star has "double dipped" the disc and can now possibly sucker in fans of the film to buy this new edition. Sometimes a double dip can be a good thing, especially when an outdated disc is improved greatly. Sadly, that's not the case with Underworld. There is a war brewing that humans have been unaware of for hundreds of years. Beneath the city streets, werewolves (called Lycans) and vampires have been fighting, but with the possible resurrection of the werewolf leader Lucian at hand, things begin to pick up. Kate Beckinsale stars as Selene, a vampire who has the simple mission of destroying every last werewolf still alive. But, when the war begins and she falls for a human who was recently bitten by a Lycan, things get even more out of control. The war escalates into a spectacle of action, fight sequences, and gun fights.

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Microsoft Web Site Hacked

By Vitaliy Earlier today Microsofts website got defaced by OutLaw Group, Microsoft already took down the defaced page but you can still see it in Googles cache. I am surprised that this was not (yet) posted on all the news websites, so let me share it with you. Source: Urban Whore Vitaliy sent this to me, so sure I'll post it! Great web site name, by the way.

NHL Hitz Pro X-Box review

Midway has done a fantastic job with their arcade-style hockey franchise, upgrading it every year with outstanding results. This year, the game has been re-worked extensively adding full 5-on-5 gameplay with a full set of NHL rules. This is a scary thought to those who enjoyed the fast paced, rule free gameplay the series is famous for. Never fear since Midway has appealed to every possible crowd and making what is, quite possibly, the best hockey game of all time. NHL Hitz Pro is jammed with various modes, so many that it very well may take a few days to try them all out. First is the season mode, the usual 82 game NHL season. You can play through this with multiple players, having someone take control of every team in the league. Create-a-player, trades, free agents, salary caps, and loads of stat tracking are available. The franchise mode is a bit different than what most people may think. Instead of taking your team through multiple seasons, you'll create an entirely new team and take them onto the ice against other fantasy teams. You'll earn power-ups to make your team play better by completing pre-determined tasks assigned to you before the game gets underway. Win enough games and you'll roll right into the NHL. Then you can play an entire season with your new team. If the controls bother you, take a shot at the excellent training mode that features Scotty Bowman and some other NHL stars (in video form) teaching you about the game. If the actual ice isn't your style, try street hockey, roller blades and all. Sadly, you can only select from 2 teams in this mode, but slapping a ball into a telephone booth is still fun. You can also check out some DVD style extras as well. Every aspect of the game can be edited to your liking. Not a big of fan of penalties? Turn 'em off. Think that goalie is just TOO good? Tone down his A.I. Don't like the opposing team poke checking you? Turn it down. There is very little in the game that can't be edited to your liking. Shockingly, turning down the speed a notch and turning on the rules gives you a simply superb game of real hockey with only the checking being a bit over the top. It's far more appealing than any of EA's recent efforts. The smooth analog controls give the precision you need to pull of some spectacular moves. Excellent dekes, stick checks, shot blocks, and checks are all available when needed. You can also control were your shot goes into the net, but if this is too complicated, make it automatic. It's in the options menu. On the ice, you'll be treated to some superb visuals and animation. The fine details are numerous from the water bottle that can be knocked off the net to the great scoreboard displays. Cinemas occur after every stoppage a play, something this generation of consoles has done so well. A lot of the animation is new so watching a guy get blasted through the glass has never looked more painful. Oh, and for HDTV owners, the entire package runs in progressive scan. Of course, I can't forget the fully polygonal crowd who will do the wave when you pause. They look great during the cinematics as well. They do cause a bit of a hit in the framerate and it causes you some grief, turn them off. It's all in the options. Tim Kitzrow is back this year for some play-by-play along with color commentator Harry Teinowitz. Their pre-game commentary is by far the funniest in the industry and the in game comments are great too. The arena music that plays is fully customizable which means that yes, your custom soundtracks can blare over the PA system during the game. Though it doesn't say so on the box, rest assured the entire game runs in full 5.1 Dolby Surround thanks to the X-Box. You simply haven't lived until you've heard organ music in full-on surround sound. Of course, if you don't like any of this, turn it off in the options menu. I don't know if there is a group of people out there who won't simply fall in love with this game. Anything about the game you don't like can simply be changed. Midway wasted nothing and pulled out all the stops to create the ultimate game of hockey. The only things missing are a full franchise mode and some type of season for that really cool game of roller hockey. This is a must own game and one that will age extremely well. Note: If you want online play, head over to the PS2. No online for the big black box.

Saving Private Ryan D-Day Anniversary DVD Review

Saving Private Ryan is one of the few films you can watch multiple times, never losing the impact it had the first time around. Today marks the 60th anniversary of D-Day and to commemorate the occasion, we get a new release of the Spielberg classic. This new 2-disc set isn't the most spectacular DVD release of all time, but the audio and video presentation is some of the best on the market. This disc is also available in a box set featuring two other documentaries. Captain Tom Miller, played by Tom Hanks, leads his troop through the brutal D-Day invasion. As they make their way up the beach onto to calmer ground, Miller receives special orders to go into enemy territory to retrieve James Ryan (Matt Damon) who's three brothers have been killed in combat. Little do they know it's all for publicity. Not only must Miller keep up the spirits of his troops who are against the rescue mission, but fend off countless enemy bombardments on their way to try and get the Private back home. This is, almost without any doubt, the greatest war movie ever made. This is not an action film, but a drama with some of the most horrific battle sequences ever put on film. Within the first ten minutes you'll see a man drown, watch a soldier look for his arm that has been blown off, and blood filled water soak the beach. None of the violence is glorified as the stunning washed out color tones don't allow for it. Amazingly, the best sequence in the film is not an action scene, but a moment when Miller and Ryan sit down in a war torn town. Here, Damon shows why this is his best performance as he recollects an incident with his brothers. Though he laughs telling the story, it's actually quite heart wrenching as you know deep down he's not sure why he was the only one left. This is a film that has no dull moments, never seems to drag on, and ends up being one of the best movies of all time. (***** out of *****) Saving Private Ryan is presented in 1.85:1 widecreen. This is a bit sharper than the previous release and some of the unnecessary grain has been cleared up. Still, this is meant to look like old war footage (and make is seem like your right there on the beach with them) so it's not perfect, but it should never really look any better than this. Black levels are superb and the almost monotone color scale simply looks great in high definition. There are no noticeable compression problems or scratches on the print. This is the way the movie was meant to be seen. (*****) This disc is available in two different sound formats, a standard 5.1 release and the version reviewed here, the glorious DTS surround version which is available only in the 3-disc box set. This is a booming soundtrack, one that features surround speaker usage and bass unlike any other disc on the market. Compared to the first release, this disc features better separation in the front channels and easier to understand voices thanks to better overall clarity. Sound wise, this disc ranks right up there with "The Haunting" as a home theater fanatics dream disc. Also note there is a 2.0 surround track included as well, but it of course doesn't come anywhere near the explosive DTS track. (*****) Packaged as a 2-disc set (made to look like an ammo box), this set has a bevy of special features, though slightly limited. There is no commentary track and Spielberg is famous for saying he won't do them. Still, there is no reason why some of the actors could not have been brought together for a commentary. Every feature resides on disc two and is split into eight separate sections. This is basically one long documentary chronicling the making of the film and the history behind it simply split up to make it seem like a lot more. First up is a brief two and a half minute intro by Spielberg who talks about his own history of war films and his father's experiences in the war. Second is Looking into the Past which looks at the research the famed director did before shooting the film. Next up is Miller and His Platoon, roughly an eight minute look at the characters and the roles they play. Boot Camp looks at the training the actors went through to prepare for their roles and has Captain Dale Dye go over why this is so important. Next on the menu is a making of featurette that runs about 22 minutes. It covers most aspects of the production with some excellent behind the scenes footage. Going down one notch on the menu brings you to Recreating Omaha Beach, an 18 minute look at how the epic opening scene was created and also some interviews with veterans who took part in the event. One of the last features is Creating Music and Sound which not only interviews John Williams, but shows him behind the scenes conducting his orchestra. Also featured is Gary Rydstrom who was the sound editor who talks about what Spielberg wanted. Finally we come to Parting Thoughts, a brief four minute short that has Spielberg, Hanks, and some other cast members talking about the film. (****) If you have yet to add this film to your collection, this is the version that should be on your shelf. As mentioned before, you can also purchase this set in a box set that features two extra hour and a half documentaries on separately encased discs. One is entitled Price for Peace which covers the war from Pearl Harbor to the US occupation of Japan. It is presented in widescreen and features a surprising 5.1 surround track. Tom Hanks hosts the second documentary entitled Shooting War which looks at the photographers who captured the war on film. These two documentaries are also available separately. Crammed in between all of these discs is a booklet that has information about the film and the events that inspired it. This is the best way to own the movie, but if the extra discs don't excite you, the stand alone 2-disc set will serve its purpose just fine.

Continue reading "Saving Private Ryan D-Day Anniversary DVD Review" »

May 27, 2004

Spanky the clown arrested on porn charges

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Spanky, a clown with the renowned Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, has been arrested on charges stemming from a child pornography investigation, law enforcement officials said Tuesday. Spanky, whose real name is Thomas Allen Riccio, 23, of Jacksonville, Florida, made an initial state court appearance Monday in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where he was traveling with the circus, the officials said. He faces 10 counts of third degree sexual exploitation of a minor. Source: CNN Thanks to Matt for the link.

Cool Flash Animations

I am researching Flash animations. I have covered the usual bases, Happy Tree Friends, Homestar Runner, and the SIGGRAPH conference. I am looking for some nice Flash, I am talking Doorsteps caliber (or close). This includes Flash games, they count I guess. I want to thank Jake and Neil in advance, as I know they have many posts about cool Flash stuff. Oh and no, this is not a homework assignment I need to finish. I did the assignment already because it was due the 23rd. Our professor, Bonnie Mitchell, has put together a web site based on our research. You can check it out here. The class is History of Animation, but my focus was on the years 2000 to 2004, which happens to consist of a lot of Flash and Computer Animation. Thanks everyone!

GTA "Bomb Scare" Leads to Jail Time

The Florida Union-Times today reported on one Grand Theft Auto player whose experience with the game led to fairly serious consequences. Anthony S. Jones, a 27 year-old Jacksonville resident, was at home playing the game with a child he when called a co-worker at the Cross Creek Barbeque Restaurant. At one point, while on the call, he apparently told the child, "There's a bomb in the building. There's a bomb in the building. Everyone needs to get out!" Jones has explained that he was referring to the game, but the words were taken very seriously by his co-worker, whose night manager notified police. The restaurant was evacuated and searched for explosives, though none were found... Source: IGN PS2 Talk about opening your mouth before you think! What a moron.

May 28, 2004

Metal Slug 3 X-Box Review

SNK's Neo Geo home and arcade console will gracefully leave gamers this July with the release of Samurai Shodown V Special, a sequel to my personal favorite game of all time. The latest game in the series and final game to ever appear on the console will run gamers over $350. That's three hundred and fifty dollars. One game....$350. This is why itís just awesome to get ports like this on cheaper and much more affordable consoles, stuff normal mainstream gamers can afford. Metal Slug 3 is widely regarded as the best of the series, and though I'm not sure I completely agree with that, it's still one of the greatest action games ever conceived. Shame the port has some issues that keep from complete greatness. Metal Slug is an ADD patient's dream. Golden rule: If you go a minute without something blowing up, youíre doing something wrong. This is the ultimate twitch video game allowing you select from 4 separate characters (though all with the same abilities) and blast your way through five levels of absolute mayhem (with or without friend). Along the way you'll fight giant crabs, aliens, enemy soldiers, machines that fill up the screen, and zombies all in glorious 2-D. No need to worry about an inconsistent camera here. The game's title comes from various machines you can enter into during the gameplay. From submarines to planes (a few exclusive to this port), you'll pilot it all. Oh, you may also come across an elephant or ostrich with guns attached to it. Yeah, it's goofy, but the sense of humor programmed into this one is uncanny. Power-ups come in various forms and are usually received from rescued hostages. You'll get a nice variety of weapons from rapid-fire machine guns, shotguns, and flamethrowers. There are plenty of other extras as well, such as gold and food. Eat too much and you'll not only slow down, but also become grossly overweight in the process. It can be frustrating, but when it's this funny, you probably won't care. Though you'll certainly hear plenty of people talking about how this one looks outdated, these people simply can't appreciate the work that goes into something like this. An entire review could easily be written simply about the stunning variety and small details crammed into this one. By far the best looking animation is when you turn into a zombie (by getting puked on of course). Press the bomb button and watch your player regurgitate and entire bodies worth of blood. The animation rivals the best 3-D games can offer, only here every single frame was drawn by hand. Though you'll only have a few opportunities, try and take it slow through a few segments and just watch everything that goes on in one screen and then you'll understand why this is such a lost art. Sadly (though it certainly wasn't expected), the game doesn't run in progressive scan for HDTV owners. The music here is superb, remixed from the original Neo Geo tracks and a few new ones tossed in as well. The classic Metal Slug theme is alive and well, coming through gloriously thanks to the added digital power of the 'Box. The explosions could rip a sub-woofer apart and the hilarious cries of dying enemies are priceless. All the sound effects are crystal clear so you'll experience every single blast from your gun in full. There are a few extras to add life to your purchase, though not too much to keep inside the console for an extended period. A few extra modes including a cool mass attack on the good guys is a blast since you play from the enemies perspective. There's also an innovative take on the "overweight" problem mentioned before. Youíre in a race to garble down food to become the fattest player of the group. Also, one you've completed them, each level can be tackled individually. The game is, of course, not perfect. The difficulty level will overwhelm many players, especially those unaccustomed to 2-D gameplay. Nearly all the slowdown from the Neo Geo rendition has been removed meaning your reaction times need to be super sharp. Those more used to the series will probably find this one a bit easier, though due to a design issue, still harder than the original. Continuing means you go all the way back to the start of the stage.....ALL the way back. I'm not a total expert, but I'm pretty sure this game features the longest final level of any video game ever created. Running through it without stopping will take at least 20-25 minutes at best. Imagine dying at the final screen only to be sent back to the starting line. It's utterly infuriating and though it was probably a change made to extend the life of the game, it comes off as an annoyance (and certainly not a small one). The arcade game let you pick up right were you died so a change is probably better for the home market, but sending the player even halfway back would be at least be acceptable. The X-Box Live component is pretty much wasted here with only scoreboard support. Nope, you have no chance of playing through the game with some kid in Brazil online. The only other minor issues involve the control. The X-Box doesn't exactly have the greatest D-pad in the world so you may make a few unintended moves once in a while. Also, while it's a series trademark, not being able to shoot diagonally is annoying. Oh, and would it kill someone to toss in some auto-fire support? I'm getting carpal tunnel twenty years earlier than intended. Metal Slug is, for all intents and purposes, the ultimate action-shooter. The entire series is pretty much flawless. Though there are some issues here, this is a great introduction to the beloved series and you'll lose almost nothing in the port (and at only a quarter of the price). I see little reason why they couldn't have included some of the other games in the series on this disc (including the most recent 5th sequel) since there has to be plenty of room left. Hopefully, SNK Playmore has even bigger plans for these games and may be released at a later date. Until then, kiddies, prepare for a very harsh history lesson about a time when games were simpler and a whole lot more enjoyable to just about anyone.

River City Ransom GBA Review

River City Ransom is undoubtedly one of the most under appreciated video games of all time. Premiering on the NES, this classic Techno's beat-em-up was revolutionary for its time, adding RPG-like elements to what could have been yet another clone of Double Dragon. Now an entirely new generation of gamers has a chance to experience the game in a new form and on a new console. It's not without faults, but this is a great way to experience this cult favorite.

Continue reading "River City Ransom GBA Review" »

May 29, 2004

Re-thinking Objectivity

In his March 6 press conference, in which he laid out his reasons for the coming war, President Bush mentioned al Qaeda or the attacks of September 11 fourteen times in fifty-two minutes. No one challenged him on it, despite the fact that the CIA had questioned the Iraq-al Qaeda connection, and that there has never been solid evidence marshaled to support the idea that Iraq was involved in the attacks of 9/11... Source: Columbia Journalism Review Thanks to AmyJo sending this to me, it was a great read. If you have the time, this is a long piece, be sure to check it out.

Getting Support for Office 2004

You can get support in many ways. By phone, email, newsgroup, etc. I thought it would be handy to get support by email. I figured it would be faster to get support this way. I was wrong. In the time writing this I got the answer I needed at the Microsoft Newsgroups page. I want to say thanks for such a great community. I will be using it the future if I need to - it has been bookmarked. Before I got the answer, I was looking on the Microsoft Mac Support site to get support. This is how I faired: First you have to sign up for a stupid Passport account. Fine. Second you have to choose your product. In the list there is no entry for Entourage or for Office 2004 for Mac. Am I surprised at this? Not one bit. There is a choice for Office. I choose Office. Then they list all the components of Office. Do you think Entourage is in this list? Of course not. There is Office in this list again, so I choose Office again. Next to get free email support you need to provide a valid License. No problem, I got 3 of em (Office 2004 allows you to install on 3 computers). Here is a problem though. The form field to enter my license code WILL NOT EXEPT my license, my number is more characters then is allowed in this field. I am sorry but that is the last straw. What the heck! What kind of web site usability is this? It is obvious to me that this page is not equipped to give support for Mac products. It is too late (in the day) to call for support, and once I call that uses up my one free incident by phone. All I want to know is if I found a bug or not. I don't have anything very pressing, and it is not a work threatening thing, its just really friggin' annoying. Let me explain this annoyance. Well the first annoyance is that I cannot enter my product serial number in order to get email support. How lame is that? In Entourage 2004, just like in all other versions of Entourage or Outlook for Mac, you can go to View > Internet Headers. I do this once in a while, but most times I like to see the nice looking GUI that says the From, Date, To and Subject. Once in Entourage 2004 I selected to View Internet Headers. Now every time I open an message in a new window, I always see the Internet Headers at the top of the message, not the nice GUI that tells me the From, Date, To, and Subject. If I wish to see this information given to me in a easy to read fashion, I have to always use the menu command or keyboard shortcut to hide Internet Headers. I think this is a bug, it did not happen in Entourage v. X, or Entourage 2001 that I can remember. I will try calling tomorrow, or next week. All I want to know is if this is a bug. UPDATE: it is not a bug, it is a check box in the View section of the Preferences. I cannot remember if I turned the preference on or not. When I first opened Entourage I did a lot of tinkering so it might well have been me checking that check box. "Show Internet Headers" needs to be unchecked. Done. I have since posted to the Newsgroups that they provide, and do not require a Password login, by the way. I will follow up once I get ahold of Microsoft about this issue, whenever that may be (no longer needed). I am also working on a review of Entourage 2004. It has some great new features, and one killer new feature. Its nice enough that I have switched back to Entourage from Mail. I should have that review posted this weekend.

May 30, 2004

A Saddam Souvenir

President Bush keeps the former dictator's pistol at arm's reach (TIME). Wonderful!

Weinsteins buy 'Fahrenheit' film

Miramax founders acquired rights to distribute Michael Moore's controversial movie from Disney. LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Moore's controversial documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" moved a step closer to U.S. theaters on Friday as Miramax film studio founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein personally bought rights to the picture from Walt Disney Co.... After more than three weeks of talks, the Weinsteins bought rights to the film for costs to date, estimated at about $6 million, and will arrange for theatrical and home video distribution, both sides said in a statement issued on Friday.... Source: CNN Money Yay! We get to see what our Government, um, I mean Disney didn't want us to see. Some people might think that Moore is a kook who is only out to give Americans a bad name. I am not too sure its Moore thats doing the giving here. His books and documentaries may look a little extreme, but I am willing to take a Moore film or book with a grain of salt rather then get white washed by media and Government, those players who tell us exactly what we need to hear. I can't wait to own a copy of Fahrenheit 9/11 on DVD. I will be one of the first in line. You know what they say, "There is no such thing as bad publicity." Thats the reason right there that Michael Moore's stuff sells. Well that and curiosity killed the cat. The Weinsteins did a good thing, especially since Fahrenheit got the nod at Cannes.

May 31, 2004

Disaster Report PS2 Review

Survival horror has proved to be a major innovation for game makers. It's an ingenious mix that has worked so well for companies like Capcom that a countless copycat games have slammed the market. But, what happens when you remove the "horror" from a game like this and just make it about survival? Welcome to the wholly original Disaster Report on the PS2. The game puts players in control of Keith Helm, an inspiring news reporter heading to Stiver Island for work on their newspaper. Stiver Island is unique in that it was entirely man-made. Even the ground that you walk on was supplied by the government. While Keith was heading into the mainland, a massive earthquake struck leaving him stranded on a suspension bridge that could fall at any moment. That's exactly where your start the beginnings of a six-hour adventure. Completely stranded without any food or water, you must traverse across the bridge, onto the mainland, and hopefully figure out a way to get rescued. Along the way you'll learn plenty about the doomed island and uncover a nice plot that surrounds the disaster. Disaster Report firmly separates itself from other games in numerous ways. You will never handle a real weapon, you never fight, and you only meet people a few times in the game. It's all about figuring out a way to get off the island and possibly helping another character with the same quest as well. Water is extremely important, so carrying a fresh supply is critical. Below his health bar is a "thirst gauge." Let it go down too far and not only will Keith slowdown, but also his health will deteriorate as well. Everything is stored in your backpack for quick access and finding a new pack generally means you can carry more items. Saving the game means finding a source of water, whether it is a sink or a fountain in a park. Here you can fill your water bottles, drink, or just save and move on. These are always placed in convenient locations, almost always before a challenging segment. Your backpack will almost always be full with items and creating some primitive ones can be a necessity. For instance, you can create a makeshift torch using lighter fluid, gauze, and a crowbar. Also scattered about are items used for protection like gloves and construction helmets. These are worn on your character until you remove them. The game doesn't suffer from one major flaw, just a lot of small ones. First and most obviously are the graphics. Though I'm not sure, this one looks like it started development on the Nintendo 64 and crept it's way over to the PS2. Massive slowdown brings an already slow moving game to a near halt, everything has a washed out, colorless look, and some of the special effects (like fire) are laughable in this generation. There are some nice touches like the characters clothes tearing as the game moves on, but these are minor compared to the problems this game suffers from in this department. Likewise, the sound is pretty bad too. The voiced dialogue is just hilarious, bringing a campy feel to a game that's trying to be real and serious. Some of the sound effects are simply annoying, especially the rain effect about halfway through the game. Music is sparse (for effect) and only kicks in late in the adventure to accentuate some of the action sequences. The aesthetics are not the only segment of the game with trouble. Keith has to be the thirstiest man on the planet. I have never dealt with anyone who needs to drink this much water. Some items you can pick up prove to be worthless (like the water filter system) since you never need them. Unsure, you'll carry them with you the entire game wasting precious backpack space (repeat: don't keep the water filtration system). A few segments of this one are downright unfair, including a "Tomb Raider" style escape from the subway system. This section is so difficult, be prepared to take a lot of falls into a firey death caused by a fallen tanker truck. As a final mistake, the designers have included multiple compasses to find as a sort of mini-game that will help determine which ending youíll receive. No matter how great some of them are (check out the R-Type one), it just seems completely out of place in a game like this. As mentioned before, the game only lasts about 6 (maybe less) hours which is pretty short. However, there are a few branching paths that add an entirely new dimension to the game and make it worth playing through again. These segments introduce new characters, challenges, and may very well give you an extra ending out of the five available. Disaster Report is not a game for everybody. It's very slow moving and will take a lot of patience. There is almost no action except for a brief segment in a mall very late in the game and the only real enemy are falling buildings. However, if youíre sick of killing the undead with a wild array of weaponry, this one is well worth a look.

Request a Return Receipt

These instructions are written for Entourage, but they would work for any email client that does not have the feature built into the GUI. I never knew it was that easy!

Disney Cartoon Sequels Could Damage Pixar

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - In a private meeting this week with a leading Wall Street analyst, Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner confirmed earlier company statements that the studio has several sequels in the works to the blockbuster films Pixar has created for the company. While analyst Jessica Reif Cohen of Merrill Lynch apparently regards that as a positive for Disney, she cautions that such sequels could have an "adverse impact" on Pixar, which called off contract extension talks with Disney in January, ending a partnership that resulted in such hits as "Toy Story," "Finding Nemo" and "Monsters, Inc." Source: Yahoo! News Would someone just bitch slap Eisner. And then do it again, and again, and again until he wakes up from his dream, and realizes how many enemies he has made! I can see it now Toy Story 9, joy! And can you imagine just how horrible they would look compared to the Pixar work? Have you been to SaveDisney.org yet? You should go - there is a great poll running right now about your favorite Disney villain.



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