7
Jul
2008

chinese segwaysI love the Olympics, and controversy or not, there is nothing I can do about where they are being held, and I don’t see how my watching them will hurt, so… watch I shall.

All that aside, I know this picture to the right has been circulating for ages (about a week), but I only got around to it today… and it cracks me up.  For those who have missed it, this is a practice session of the anti-terrorist team the Chinese are prepping to protect the Olympics.

Yes… they are riding Segways.

Yes… they look about as ridiculous as all get out.

I’m puzzled by two things with this entire concept.  First off, I thought you had to use your hands to control it, but it appears these are i2 models (I had to look that up) and you may be able to steer them by shifting your weight.  Of course, my second thought is… what happens if the person they are chasing happens to go up some stairs?  Yeah, yeah, they can jump off them, but it still makes me laugh.  “Curses!  Foiled by stairs!  We’ll get you next time!”

Hopefully these guys won’t be called into action, but if they are, I have a feeling they are counting on the terrorists laughing themselves into submission.

6
Jul
2008
Written by  |  under General Rants  |  3 Comments

securityI’m trying to get ready for my trip to Seattle for Summer Mash Seattle, and I have to say this is a huge pain in the behind.

This is the first time I have flown since September of 2004, which means it is also the first time I have been on a plane since the tighter restrictions on liquids.  It also means it’s my first experience with having to pay for checked luggage.

So, I am in a bit of a pickle.  Do I try to cram everything in to a bag they will allow me to carry on, or pay the $15 for a checked bag?

I personally find the checked bag fee beyond silly, but that’s airlines for you.  As for the security measures of no more than 3 oz of a liquid, that’s also a bit of a pain when it comes to aerosol deodorants. I can manage the tooth paste, but I really hate roll on sticks, but I may just have to suffer.

It is difficult to believe how silly this has all gotten.  It’s almost as if they would prefer no one flies anywhere, but then you hear how the airlines are suffering financially with the rising cost of fuel, and they need more passangers.  I do realize the checked bag fee is to help off set fuel, but it still seems silly to me.  What makes this all even more of a headache is that I’m in Seattle for less than 48 hours, and I’m going through all of this!  Ugh!  All I can say is that I hope to see a lot of people at the event, so if you are near Seattle and don’t have a ticket yet, get on it!  Make these headaches worth it!

5
Jul
2008

cubesApple is all over the blogosphere again, and again it is for the craziness of Apple fans more than the company themselves.

It seems that on Friday, July 4th people were spotted lining up outside the Apple flagship store on 5th avenue in New York City.  Why were they lining up?  Because they wanted to be in line the iPhone 3G release next Friday.

Normally this is where I would go off about obsessive Apple fans, but as time has passed, it is appearing to be more and more like a publicity stunt by some group with the website, WaitingForApples.com.  The site goes on about how they’re going to be green with recycling, and having organiaclly grown food brought to them, all while trying to set a world’s record for waiting in line to buy a product.

What disturbs me is that they have a baby with them.  Yes, you read that right, a baby.  Hopefully it is being taken somewhere else the majority of the time, and perhaps was only in line for Friday, I don’t know, but a baby being anywhere around this stupidity makes me nervous.

So, all well and good, perhaps it is just a publicity stunt, every one will shake their heads, laugh and move on with their lives.  That is until a site like AppleInsider decides to list why they feel people would be justified in standing in line for a week for the new iPhone.

…there exists more of a clear incentive to be first in line at the New York City flagship outlet. With customers required to activate iPhone in-store rather than simply walk out with their purchases, the time spent processing each customer is estimated to take at least 10 minutes — a process that will slow the line down considerably versus the original launch, in which many customers could buy their handsets and leave in just a fraction of the time.

iphone 3gYes, 10 minutes of activation will slow down the line, but isn’t standing in line, inside a store, for one day, better than waiting outside for a week?  Or you could do some radical things like come back later in the day, maybe the next morning, how about the following week?  I know, now I’m just talking crazy talk!  Also, unlike last year, there is going to be plenty of supply, no one will be running out, so why not wait a day or two to get it?

Then there is the situation with the pricing.  If you are just starting up a contract, the iPhone 3G will run you $199 for 8GB and $299 for 16GB with the purchase of a two year contract.  However, if you bought an iPhone gen 1, at most you have burned through 1 year of your 2 year contract.  If you upgrade now, you are looking at $399 for the 8GB and $499 for the 16GB, and this will also make you extend your contract.

Look, I know a lot of people who had never gotten into gadgets before jumped into this one, as evidenced by people screaming for Apple to give a refund after a price drop, but I can just about guarentee you that the iPhone will get a major update once a year.  It’s what Apple does with the iPods every year, and this is considered part of the iPod family, so get used to it.  My suggestion?  Skip a generation each time.  That will put you right back at being able to upgrade with your contract expering.  The only major change for you this time will be the 3G fuctions, pretty much everything else will happen in your firmware update that is due out July 11th.

In short… calm down… it’s a gadget.  No need to make babies wait a week in line, no need to scare people they have to be there early to avoid lines and there certainly is no need to pay $399 – $499.  Deep breaths, folks… deep breaths.

4
Jul
2008
Written by  |  under Movies, Toys  |  3 Comments

r2sThe other day, my UPS man was asking me about the 32 different R2-D2 figures that sit on the power strip above my desk at work. Yes, I have 32 of them up there, only two of them are actually “R2-D2″, the rest are various R2s, R3s, R4s and R5 units. The majority of them appeared in the Star Wars movies, usually in the background of scenes.  A couple of them are EU (Expanded Universe) units, such as the red, white and blue one in the picture here, but most of them come from the movies.

So, I got to thinking about my love of R2, and while I don’t go as far as some others out there, it does run pretty deep back to my childhood.  There was just something about him and his pluckiness (okay, someone please shoot me for using the word “pluckiness”), but he was Luke’s steadfast companion, and the idea of a computer that just rolls around with you?  Sweet!

As I grew out of childhood, I just thought the concept of these background characters were fascinating, and something that helped breath more life into the Star Wars universe.  Sure, they all looked similar, but you knew there was only one “R2-D2″, none of the rest displayed the personality he did.  The majority of them were just work-a-day droids, toiling away at making the universe that much more livable.

r4-g9It is fairly obvious I am not the only one who loves the little guys as back in July of 2003, during production of Revenge of the Sith, fan club members (yes, I was a member at the time so I could watch the production web cams) were allowed to vote on the color scheme of a new droid, R4-G9.  We didn’t know much about what sort of role he would play, just that he was connected to Obi-Wan Kenobi, and we were allowed to vote on what color we wanted him to be.  As I remember it, we had four choices, but it was obvious from the get-go that copper was the only real choice, the others were all a bit odd.

Yes, it is another one of my odd little quirks: I love fictional droids from a series of movies.  Oh well, there certainly could be worse things about me, like I could be 36 and still playing video games on a regular basis… Oh bugger…

3
Jul
2008

vlogAges ago I talked about the possibility of me working on some video blogs (vlogs), but it ended up never happening until this week.

The original project ended up never happening, but I ended up doing one episode for Mashable’s new video series, Mashable Conversations, a few weeks ago.  After a few false starts, this has now morphed into a daily video cast co-hosted by Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins and myself.

Our first episode went up on July 2nd, and features Mark and I discussing the current blogosphere thoughts on Digg, followed by an interview with guitarist Ryan Newell from the band Sister Hazel about his involvement with iVideoSongs.  Most episodes will follow the format of Mark and I discussing a topic of the day, followed up with an interview with someone from the web 2.0 space.

The second episode is out now where Mark and I discuss domain name changes (well… only Mark was on the video for that part as I messed up my recording) with Rob Johnson of EventVue, and then followed up with a discussion of what his company is about.  (I liked the concept a lot… as I said numerous times on and off cam)

There is a definite learning curve to being on cam when the only person you see is yourself, and you have to ask yourself questions such as, “Have I nodded enough?”,  “Why am I smirking?”, “I shouldn’t have had those beans for lunch…”.  I think I’m getting more comfortable with each recording session, and since I have several more weeks of episodes to do under the current promotion, hopefully it will get better with each one.

I’ve embedded the first episode below for you all to check out, feel free to give me comments and feedback on it!  Just try not to rip me apart…

2
Jul
2008

***MAJOR SPOILERS***

Continue Reading ->

1
Jul
2008
Written by  |  under Movies, TV  |  1 Comment

don s davisDon S. Davis was another one of those actors that you would see in a television show or movie and go, “Oh, look, it’s that guy!”  He sadly passed away on June 29th, 2008 of a massive heart attack.

According to IMDB, his first part was on Joanie Loves Chachi, and he worked steadily after that, racking up 135 credits.  The first time I vividly remember him was as Major Garland Briggs on Twin Peaks, then he appeared as Captain William Scully (Dana Scully’s father) on X-Files and of course the 160 episodes of Stargate SG-1 where he played Major General George Hammond.  I often joked with my parents that I thought he had gone out and bought his own Air Force uniform, and that’s how he kept getting cast as officers.

I wasn’t even aware until I was writing this that he was also an artist working with paintings, sculptures, carvings and more.  You can see his work on his gallery site.

He may seem an odd choice for me to write up, considering I usually stick to people like George Carlin and Stan Winston, but I think actors like Mr. Davis never get the credit they are due.  They are never the big flashy ones that you see on the covers of magazines in the check out aisle.  They aren’t taking home the enermous pay checks that equal the GDP of some small countries.  They are the actors who go to work every day to a set for long tedious hours because it’s a job they love.  He was a character actor, and he always brought a lot of color to the project he was working on.

I, for one, will miss him.  R.I.P. Mr. Davis.