Mad Man

Popculture Panopticon

my personal Bronx Cheer to human culture.

Cuz sharing is caring.
Mad Man
gren99

my diigo library: http://www.diigo.com/user/gren99

(I’m really just testing windows live writer 2011…)


UltraTek Flipper USB plug can't be stopped -- Engadget
Mad Man
gren99
http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/14/ultratek-flipper-usb-plug-cant-be-stopped/

farmville has been out since 2 am tod...
Mad Man
gren99
farmville has been out since 2 am today. zynga is testing my patience today.

hey, look....skynet finally released ...
Mad Man
gren99
hey, look....skynet finally released a mouse: http://ow.ly/TsWi -- judgement day is coming!

sigh. when in doubt, ping.fm it is...
Mad Man
gren99
sigh. when in doubt, ping.fm it is...

sigh. it seems like regardless of whi...
Mad Man
gren99
sigh. it seems like regardless of which twitter suite i try, i keep coming back to hootsuite. i shouldn't even bother with the others.

if guy fawkes were alive today, he'd be ...
Mad Man
gren99
if guy fawkes were alive today, he'd be worshiping at the altar of glenn beck. rememberthefifthofnovember

yup, rivera has decided to make it inter...
Mad Man
gren99
yup, rivera has decided to make it interesting.

time for yankees to bring out the hammer...
Mad Man
gren99
time for yankees to bring out the hammer of god.

not much noise in the bank. when you can...
Mad Man
gren99
not much noise in the bank. when you can repeatedly hear 'lets go yankees' throughout the game...well, that's sad.

or not.
Mad Man
gren99
or not.

time for a-rod to kill yet another rally...
Mad Man
gren99
time for a-rod to kill yet another rally by flying out weakly.

mercy. oregon is just destroying USC atm...
Mad Man
gren99
mercy. oregon is just destroying USC atm. go ducks.

urgh.
Mad Man
gren99
just read this little tidbit:

http://ping.fm/I9wUW

...and yes, it makes me feel a bit queasy. 'the third man' is one of my all time favorite movies and because of it's setting in the immediate post-war vienna one would think it's all but remake proof, but alas...

the cynic in me started clicking off stuff they could do to just plain wreck the movie right out of the gate, such as:

1. film it in color. the use of black and white in this movie was simply some of the most impressively atmospheric movie making, ever.

2. film it in B&W. yeah, lets try for the 'we're trying to be true to the original' angle. problem is, i just don't think you can even film a black and white movie on current B&W stock to resemble stuff done in the '50s. the closest any recent movie has come (imo) was the coen brothers 'the man who wasn't there'. some movies (like soderbergh's 'the good german' just looked like a cheaply shot TV episode because of the B&W stock used.

3. change the ending to hollywoodize it. the last scene of the original is one of those great indelible cinematic moments. they'll get someone like kate beckinsale to play the female lead and that'll insure it'll have to be changed...

4. change the setting altogether. an easy way out of a lot of things would be to balderdash the original story into a new setting, like what they did with that (utterly awful) manchurian candidate remake. so instead of postwar vienna, it's now post-war baghdad...joy.

5. leo isn't orson welles and he really has nothing to gain by doing this. he's a fine actor in his own right and i doubt such a remake will enhance his career. the same could go for tobey maguire, but, frankly, i don't think much of him as it is right now. he probably can't sink much lower.

so, yeah, color me unimpressed with the continued creative bankruptcy by hollywood studios for even contemplating this sort of nonsense.

just finished playing the 4th episode of...
Mad Man
gren99
just finished playing the 4th episode of 'tales of monkey island'. it's just plain astonishingly great.

#viscousgiraffe, what is best in life? t...
Mad Man
gren99
#viscousgiraffe, what is best in life? to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!

a cataclysmic earthquake, I'd accept wit...
Mad Man
gren99
a cataclysmic earthquake, I'd accept with some despair. but no, you sent us viscousgiraffe! good god, sir, was that fair?

first of a three-part prequel movie to a...
Mad Man
gren99
first of a three-part prequel movie to assassin's creed II: http://ow.ly/wXla

this is @allyson13 in a few years: http:...
Mad Man
gren99
this is @allyson13 in a few years: http://ping.fm/ES7pP

Death Trap!
Mad Man
gren99
i'm not a terribly huge fan of the 'batman - the brave and the bold' cartoon on the CN (what was the point of casting dietrich bader to do a kevin conroy impression as batman? why not just cast the man...but i digress...), but last night musical episode 'mayhem of the music meister!' (with neil patrick harris as the titular villain) was pretty much one of the best pieces of television i've seen in a good long time.

the songs were a sort of 'broadway through the ages' selection and all very well done. the story itself had an awesome payoff (imo.)

well worth the 20 mins or so.

the windows media center in win7 is as j...
Mad Man
gren99
the windows media center in win7 is as jaw-droppingly awesome as creative labs driver support is awful.

welp, i've survived my windows 7 install...
Mad Man
gren99
welp, i've survived my windows 7 install (i think.)

I, for one, welcome our new (old?) AT&T overlords.
Mad Man
gren99
it's a AT&T+iPhone world and we're just living in it:

http://ping.fm/GUw8l

(and naturally, twitter is on the fritz again.)

so...now google wants to open up their o...
Mad Man
gren99
so...now google wants to open up their own internet music store. 'google everywhere' is starting to be a invasive, imo.

The B&N nook ebook reader: the good, bad and superfluous stuff (so far.)
Mad Man
gren99
after months of rumors and whatnot, barnes & noble released their new ebook reader, the nook, today. an obvious competitor to the kindle ebook device that amazon has been selling for more than a year now, the nook (imo) marks the point where ebook reader will slowly but surely transition away from novelty gadgets and towards becoming a mainstay media delivery platform.

now, i don't have a review copy or any such thing, but i'm simply basing what i'm about to say pretty much based on initial reviews and the press release B&N put out, so i really can't vouch for the veracity of all this in the long run, but anyway...here are some of my views on the nook:

the good:

1. it does pretty much all the major things the kindle does. this might not seem like much, but when you see a lot of market segments where a popular item or device emerges and a competitor crash-carts a half-assed response...well...just look at all the iphone 'competitors' out there. getting much of this 'right' out of the box (imo) is a very important point. e-ink, font resizing, bookmarking, (and syncing said bookmarks across your phone and device), alway-there-wireless -- it's all there and that's a good thing.

2. it looks good. some people are hung up on aesthetics, no doubt about that. and frankly, there was no denying that the first gen kindle was laughably ugly. the nook looks pretty smooth and polished (if remarkably similar to the kindle 2.)

3. pdf support. yeah, the kindle 2 can kinda-sorta do this and obviously the (much more expensive) kindle DX can do this natively, but having proper pdf support should please a great many of its users, imo.

4. being able to lend out books to other users. this kinda takes one of the biggest gripes people beholden to dead tree editions are espousing: you can lend out your hardcopy book. i'm very curious how this feature will work and how effective it will be. i hope they make it easy to just e-mail a friend a book rather than resort to having to 'squirt' a book to another nearby user like the first two generation zunes could do with mp3s. that would be sorta tragic - but going by what i've been reading it does seem to be more like an e-mail system. hooray for that!

5. the nook is android-based. goggles android is starting to kind of emerge as a pretty credible phone/PDA platform as of recently and to me, the use of android vis-a-vis amazon's java-based solution has a lot of upside. i think that in the long run, it could have more legs in terms of extendibility and addition of new features -- especially in a short timeframe. amazon has been kinda been slow to extend and improve the kindle OS, but who knows, that might change soon.

6. it's from barnes & noble -- which means you can probably go to one of their brick and mortar stores soon and 'test drive' a nook and see if you like it. that's actually a pretty nice feature, really, especially versus the kindle which you either bought on blind faith, word of mouth or based on a chance encounter with another user.

the bad:

1. well, it is from barnes & noble. B&N is a company/e-tailer i just haven't had much joy interacting with. their service and shopping experience in both the e-tailing and physical environment has been at times kinda disastrous for me -- and to be honest, i think there is a reason that amazon is who and what they are now and B&N isn't. this might be a extremely subjective point to make, but y'know...screw me once, shame on me. screw me twice, shame on you. screw me three times -- well, time to not bother with my patronage.

2. no text-to-speech. this i find to be an utterly puzzling omission. i can't really see how B&N could claim that they omitted it in order to mollify the ever-anxious book publishers, since all they would have had to have done is follow amazons lead and allow for it to be selectively enabled. there's a pretty vocal community of ebook readers who really look for this feature and it includes a lot of seeing impaired individuals. why effectively tell them to go elsewhere when you really don't have to?

3. the battery life. 10 days the web site says (with the wireless off, naturally.) in general, i tend to shave about 20% off of such given figures to arrive at a number that more realistically represents what a reasonably varied kind of usage might yield. with that in mind 8-10 days of use is just downright terrible compared to the kindle. mine can handily get in excess of 20 days per charge and i've gotten 30 on several occasions. part of this most likely due to the LCD screen for the UI, which can't be efficient, power wise.

4. the name. nook makes kindle sound positively enlightened (heh.) imo.

the superfluous:

1. that energy-guzzling LCD touch screen. i know it's kinda wrong to not praise this, since it's practically the devices signature feature, but nevertheless, here i am. i don't really consider this to be a bad feature, but as the heading says -- a superfluous one. adding a LCD screen to browse book covers in the store in blazing color really isn't a terribly efficient or effective new feature -- it just looks 'cool'. for that you trade off the (rather useless) physical keyboard of the kindle and decimate it's battery life. is it a fair trade? i actually think it is. but if the LCD screen is the reason you decide to go for a nook rather than a kindle, you're pretty much just looking to score style points, imo.

as an aside, though, i do think the whole touch screen aspect is an exciting and important new feature (and one amazon would be wise to look to replicate.) that said, i can't say i'm overly fond of the whole 'one-on-top-of-the-other dual screen' arrangement. ideally, what would rock my world would be some sort of dual-layer display where the LCD-based UI-type functions could be overlayed over the e-ink screen (used for reading) when needed. this would allow the reading area to be bigger and the UI to be colorful, shiny and whiz-bang enough so people could show off their latest gadget to their friends and feel an inch taller or some such dross. well, maybe someday.

2. the SD card slot. i know this issue kinda gets a lot of hemming and hawing from kindle users (the K1 one had such a slot; the K2 and DX don't), but to be honest, i find it much ado about nothing. the whole 'use for making backups' argument to me is pretty moot since you can just plug it into a USB port and it'll register as a drive on your PC. backup to whichever location you see fit and be happy.

if you can fill up the 1-2 gigs of storage space on a kindle or nook with actual reading material before the device becomes completely obsolete -- well, my hat would be off to you. i've had mine for 6 months, have 60+ titles on it and haven't even broken 100 megs yet. so having the removable card never struck me as all that important. now, if you a lot of technical books with extensive illustrations, this might be a different story. it could also be a good way to segregate books based on a specific subject matter for some, so i could kinda see where something more purpose-built like the DX could have benefited from this, but overall for most users it really just winds up being a 'nice to have' feature.

3. the lack of an internet browser. the kindle has one, the nook seems to not have one. i'm not terribly happy about this since there have been quite a few times where i've had to surf out to the web to look something up while reading, but i guess B&N was less enthusiastic about this feature.

it does make me wonder if the nook has the integration with a dictionary the same way the kindle has. on my kindle, if i come across a word i don't know, i can just scroll down to it and the definition of said word is displayed down in the footer area (definitions are from the OED, so it's actually quite comprehensive.) not having something similar in the nook would be a major minus for me personally.

in conclusion: who is the winner?

in a sentence or less: we, the consumers.

the nook, imo, the right kind of device for the market -- in some areas, it definitely raises the bar from where amazon had set it. this should inevitably result in amazon having to raise their game in response. when that sort of stuff happens, customers usually are able to reap the benefits, so color me excited.

(prediction: amazon will roll out a kindle 3 sometime next spring and prices for these devices will fall to around $200.)

I really should go to bed.
Mad Man
gren99
i doubt i'll be posting this much in one day ever again.

but that said...

if, like me, you listened to lars brownworth's podcast about 12 byzantine rulers (http://ping.fm/Fg3nl), you might be interested in his latest endeavor, a podcast about norman history:

http://ping.fm/6M0Ur

personally, i thought the byzantine rulers podcast was one of the best things i've ever heard on the internet, so i'm excited by this.

carl sagan, richard feynman, neil degras...
Mad Man
gren99
carl sagan, richard feynman, neil degrasse tyson and bill nye auto-tuned: http://ow.ly/vnNP

King of the 'Castle'.
Mad Man
gren99
so, after another fun episode of 'castle', i'm kinda wondering just why i like this show so much.

now, it could be that it has some pretty sharp writing (there even are some star trek alums on the staff...hmmm...).

it could be that thecast is exceedingly good looking without that becoming a turn-off.

it could be that nathan fillion...well, i'll stop right there. nathan fillion should be a good enough excuse for almost anything.

but what i've kinda boiled it down to is this:

the show is fun and entertaining.

and 'fun' and especially 'entertaining' have been almost a dirty word in tv dramas for the last 20 years (please don't cite 'ally mcbeal' -- i watched it. at times it was neither funny nor entertaining.)

the whole show feels almost like a throwback to shows like 'the rockford files', 'magnum, pi' and (to a lesser degree) 'simon & simon'. the mysteries presented are not terribly complex or deep ('CSI' this is not), but the byplay is sharp, the banter witty and the characters are sharp.

even a sub-par episode will still ought not make you feel like you've just wasted 50 mins of your life (yay for tivo!), which is just not something i can say about more 'weighty' fare like, say, 'lost'.

sometimes it's great to have a fun little tv show that you can watch at the end of the day, kinda let it wash over you come out at the other end of it with a smile.

good television is always welcome, but truly entertaining TV -- well, that's worth treasuring.

it's feeling like a angels-phillies worl...
Mad Man
gren99
it's feeling like a angels-phillies world series. just another sign that the universe hates me...

...and that would be replacing the keybo...
Mad Man
gren99
...and that would be replacing the keyboard with a battery-guzzling touchscreen LCD. here's a link: http://ow.ly/vm5o

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