May 30, 2008

Indiana Jones and other interesting reads

Some interesting, and mostly fun, things have popped up in my browser today. Firstly, there's not one but a whole bunch of articles on the Hudson Valley of New York, where I live. Articles on the restaurants, a local B& B lighthouse, and even a whole section with more articles. I especially like the one about the haunted houses.

Stumbling around the 'net I saw a fisherman who bagged a rather large halibut (you have to see it to believe it, thankfully there's a few pictures). I also found a rather terse and heavy handed review of the new Indiana Jones movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. While I'm on that subject, let me just add my two cents worth. I saw the movie last Friday, and loved it. Should have posted some sort of review before this. Without giving anything away, it follows in the fine tradition of the other movies and doesn't let the franchise down at all. I'd say it's more in the tradition of Last Crusade, and maybe just a bit of Temple of Doom thrown in. I was hoping it would have more of a Raiders feeling, namely more serious and a bit more in the way of intelligent dialog, but wasn't terribly depressed that it didn't deliver on that. What it did serve up was good Indiana Jones fun that didn't disappoint. Catch it if you get a chance. And -- one more thing on Indy -- follow the previous link on the movie title to go to the official site, where there's tons of movie goodies.

Finally, here's a pretty insightful article on why you'll be rejoicing at $8 a gallon gasoline. What it will do and why it ultimately is a good thing. Read the article for all the details, but in my opinion it was very well thought out and provided lots of good economics-ripple effect reasoning behind what's going on now, and what will happen if prices and the trend continue. I think his statements about invention and research being bumped up dramatically are spot-on. People right now are only just beginning to alter their driving habits and think more ecologically. Will the current state of oil and the economy really push people to change things? Will it push venture capitalists, technology folks, or research labs to really come up with something new and end our dependence on oil? Could be, but push the price up to $8 and the answer is a resounding yes.

May 23, 2008

To Twitter or Not?

So, I've been thinking of doing more with this site and getting my Twitter on. There's lots of ways to do it --- from your PC, mobile phone, etc. So in the future you may see some micro-blog posts from me. You know, stuff like, "getting coffee", "watching a movie", "hiding from authorities". Stuff like that. For now I'm holding off because Twitter seems to be having it's share of problems, although they've recently ended their silence and started talking about their plans.

I'm starting to get back into digital photography, the nice weather and the exposure to sunshine and outdoor activities all but demands it. For now I'm holding steady with my Olympus C-740 UltraZoom, which I've had for a few years. Its' an awesome camera and produces fantastic shots
that it's 3.2 MP specs wouldn't necessarily suggest. I also have a Canon SD630, which is quite a bit faster than the Olympus, but alas, even at 6 MP, it doesn't produce as good shots as the Olympus. And that, my friends, just proves that this whole camera business isn't just about the megapixel count. But I disgress. For now I've been going through tutorials on the web to brush up on my skills, and found a few: irphotoschool, webphotoschool, and even some lessons from Olympus themselves. What I really want to get is a Digital SLR --I'm thinking either the Canon digital Rebel or the Nikon D40 -- but the $500 price tag has so far kept me away. And, speaking of cameras, here's what a $3,000 dollar camera can do -- namely get you chased by the secret service.

David Pogue from the New York Times recently stirred up a hornet's nest when he
questioned just how dangerous the internet was for children, and suggested that some parents were overprotective. And then, suddenly, hundreds of Times readers descended upon his post en masse to decry his opinion.

I'm currently rocking the Motorola Q smartphone, but looking forward to Google's Android OS later this year, as well as the next Palm OS. Researches at Nokia have put together a wish list and designed a PDA chameleon device. Could this be your next PDA or smartphone?

And, just in time to amuse you on Memorial Day weekend, here's someone who definitely knows how to party: David Lee Roth, former front man for Van Halen. Check out this video of him singing minus the background music. Hmmm... something's just not right there.

May 16, 2008

Indy reviews, new music and the flying man

The new Indiana Jones movie is about to be debut (May 22) yet some people are already giving it an early thumbs down. One bad sign: action figures will be available.

While I run out the remainder of my Verizon contract, I keep busy by looking around and trying to figure out which carrier I might go to next, that will have the best mix of coverage, price, and an inexpensive data plan. Apparently Sprint won't be on my list, since they're having such problems lately. Witness this story on Sprint's ups and downs.

Google Sites launches, allowing people to collaborate on web sites. Strangely enough, they're not calling it a Wiki.

FYI, here's a great blog that I've been going to every day: The Cheapskate. It's a must read, and one of my first stops in the morning when I start the browser (along with Woot, of course).

Microsoft drops Vista prices. Things must be getting quite tense there in Redmond, everybody bashing Vista and such. I've been running Vista on a brand new PC (thank you, Christmas) and I have to say I'm a bit underwhelmed. Although I do like the new graphical effects, really the only significant feature is the new tagging feature, where you can put labels, or tags, on documents, pictures and anything else on your hard drive. Then, you can search using those tags and instantly find what you need, without having to remember what folder you stored it in. That's a great feature and a fantastic timesaver. However, I don't see many improvements in the rest of the operating system. And it is slow, despite me increasing the RAM to 4 GB!

Recently I've been captivated by the funny T-shirts @ snorg.com. For some reason they appeal to my nostalgia, since they remind nme of some of the shirts of the 70s and 80s, but they also seem so expressive, unlike most of the conservative crap worn everyday. It looks like something Dr. Gregory House would wear, and my friends, that's just cool.

I've been trying to get more new music lately. Through some music sites I saw that the Nine Inch Nails album Ghosts could mostly be downloaded for free (well, the first 9 tracks anyway) . Check it out at http://ghosts.nin.com/main/order_options. Then, while I was still listening to that and trying to figure out whether I really like it or not (it is a bit strange) they released another new album, The Slip. That one's along the same lines as Ghosts, so if that's your style, you can grab a bunch of it for free.
I've also bought the new Asia album, Phoenix, which in a word is: awesome. There was also a launch celebration hosted by Amazon where they streamed a live concert of them on the album's release date, which was pretty cool. I had never attended a concert that way before, and found it kind of cool, but also a bit strange, watching it there on my computer. However, parking was much less of a hassle than usual.

And, in OH MY GOD ISN'T IT COOL news, check this out: the latest in flying man technology. I mean, check out this picture...doesn't that just say it all?



Flyin!

May 02, 2008

Evil Darth Hilary?

Things have gotten far too busy lately so I haven't found time to write. Ah, scratch that -- I haven't made time to write. Correcting that now.

Some things I've stumbled across in the time since I've last posted... a very interesting article about how there is no gas shortage, and the price is just a manipulation. In the end, the article ends up asking more questions than giving answers, but it does point out some interesting facts and makes me scratch my head and say "why?". Why the high gas prices if this story is true?

Since I'm a blogger I found this story about Engadget -vs- Gizmodo very interesting too. How scooping the competition has become a way of life and absolute obsession among the heads of both these sites. The fact is, most people do read both, so I think this may be mostly for naught. Personally I would concentrate on getting material the other person won't get, such as more detailed specs, secret info, etc. The story about the one guy having insomnia because he lost the scoop on the new big-screen television just doesn't make sense to me. Doesn't he realilze that the world would eventually, and sooner rather than later, learn about this TV on their own? Again, I'd concentrate on things the other guy wouldn't be able to get. The TV example is clearly something that wouldn't fall into that category, even if it was top-secret and behind a curtain. It was still a consumer electronic device about to be unveiled at a trade show, of all places. Sheesh.

Speaking of other things I've learned, Arthur C Clarke died. Yes, I know it was a while ago, but since I haven't written since it happened, this mention is deserved. I remember that his writing was some of the earliest science fiction I ever read, and still remains the finest. His collections of short stories, as well as novels, were the stuff that made me dream and in turn made me want to become a writer. Someday soon I need to start churning out my own short stories, but that's a topic for some other time. Interesting tidbit: one of Clarke's contemporaries, and the other sceience fiction writer whose work I read quite a bit of was Piers Anthony. Over the last couple of months I found Piers' web site and discovered his newsletter, which I began reading regularly. In one of the latest ones, he honors Clarke as a good person, who furthered the craft of science fiction writing, while simultaneously saying he didn't think he was that gifted of a writer. Each person has their opinion, I suppose.

Some Star Wars stuff to pass along: there's a new amateur movie coming out, about two Star Wars fans who cook up a plot to sneak into George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch. The punchline? Lucas has actually blessed the project and opened wide the doors to said ranch. Yep, the movie's being filmed right there, amidst all the force-inspired goodness. Why, it's every geek's dream come true, and should turn out to be a pretty cool movie.

The other Star Wars find: this political video about Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama (see below). I truly found this hilarious, although I'm not so sure that Hilary's the evil Empire's Darth Vader character. And Obama as Luke Skywalker? Ummm... I'll have to get back to you on that. Here's the video though. Pretty well done.






Finally, some news on what to drive and what to eat: maybe buy a BMW instead of a Prius, achieve better science through coffee and make sure you also drink green tea, because it's good for you.

You've been informed.