Dec. 17th, 2007 02:26 pm
longwing: (Mad)
The Dark Knight trailer is out.

There's also a 7 minute prologue (rumored to not be in the actual theatrical film) which shows the "origin" of the joker. Well, not really. It shows the Joker robbing a bank. Somewhat of an origin, as it's what propels him into the criminal spotlight. It's terrific, and I hope the rest of the film features the same gritty illlogic. I had a lot of doubts about this new joker's portrayal, the prologue wiped them out.

Sadly, I have no link for the prologue. In the infinite wisdom reserved for film studios, it's only available as an attachment to the IMAX version of I Am Legend.

I'm probably going to see I Am Legend, as it's supposedly a not-crappy movie, and I'm a Will Smith fanboy. (He lost a lot of traction with I Robot, I'm hoping this will earn it back.) That said, IMAX only? The heck? Not to mention putting meaningful film content as a rider on ANOTHER FREAKING FILM. You guys on crack?

You can find bootlegs of course, but linking them is meaningless as they're constantly in flux. I had good luck with Google Video.

EDIT: Credit where credit's due, grocked from [profile] gmskarka
longwing: (Mad)
So, the justice department investigation into warrantless domestic spying by the NSA has been dropped. The reason? The NSA will not grant the justice department clearance to investigate the NSA.

Stop. Think about that for a moment. The NSA is suspected of a Constitutional Violation, and apparently, they are responsible for deciding weather they will be investigated. Which beyond being completely circular, means that the NSA can do whatever they want as long as they never authorize anyone with the clearance to investigate.

I just... Can't the legislature see that... Screw it, civil rights are available from 9 to midnight at the cheapest Internet Cafe I can find.
longwing: (Default)
(Via Macdweeb.com)
Announcing the Geek Comedy Tour 3000, an absolutely free comedy show featuring some of the best comics DC has to offer with a chance to win door prizes including $25 in cash, free video games, tickets to the DC Improv, a Playstation Portable and assorted nerd swag.

When: Friday, April 28th, 2006, 8 PM

Topaz Hotel, 1733 N St. NW, Washington, D.C. , just off Dupont Circle
and accessible via the Metro's red line. Head over and follow the signs
down to the lounge. (directions can also be found at http://www.topazhotel.com)

Why: Because you actually know which Star Trek films were the really good ones.

Admission: Free

Food and snacks: Full bar one floor up.

Actually being chosen close to first for a sports team: Priceless

Brought to you by the letters A, W and P.
For more information, call 703-920-2281 or e-mail barylick@gwu.edu.
Bring as many people as you want and it should be a really good show.
"The Geek Comedy Tour 3000: Comedy that KNOWS Han shot first."

I'm plotting on going, as it's only a short walk from my work. If anyone else is interested, I can probably bamboozle convince my family to assist with return transportation. I'm going to head there after work, with a short segue for some dinner.
longwing: (Default)
I will repost what was sent to me, verbatim:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Air Force One Subject of Internet Hoax
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2006 07:10:07 -0500
From: Ted Bridis <ap@telecom-digest.org>p
Organization: TELECOM Digest
Newsgroups: comp.dcom.telecom

By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer

A startling Internet video that shows someone spraying graffiti on
President Bush's jet looked so authentic that the Air Force wasn't
immediately certain whether the plane had been targeted.

It was all a hoax. No one actually sprayed the slogan "Still Free" on
the cowling of Air Force One.

The pranksters responsible for the grainy, two-minute Web video -
employed by a New York fashion company - revealed Friday how they
pulled it off: a rented 747 in California painted to look almost
exactly like Air Force One.

"I wanted to do something culturally significant, wanted to create a
real pop-culture moment," said Marc Ecko of Marc Ecko
Enterprises. "It's this completely irreverent, over-the-top thing that
could really never happen: this five-dollar can of paint putting a
pimple on this Goliath."

The video shows hooded graffiti artists climbing barbed-wire fences
and sneaking past guards with dogs to approach the jumbo jet. They
spray-paint a slogan associated with free expression.

After the video began circulating on the Web on Tuesday, the Air Force
checked to see whether the plane had been vandalized.

"We're looking at it, too," said Lt. Col. Bruce Alexander, a spokesman
for the Air Mobility Command's 89th Airlift Wing, which operates Air
Force One. "It looks very real."

Alexander later confirmed that no such spray-painting had occurred.

Ecko acknowledged Friday that his company had rented a 747 cargo jet
at San Bernardino's airport and covertly painted one side to look like
Air Force One. Employees signed secrecy agreements and worked inside a
giant hangar until the night the video was made. Ecko declined to say
how much the stunt cost.

"It's not cheap," he said. "You have to be rich."

On the Net:

Hoax video: http://www.stillfree.com
Air Force One: http://public.andrews.amc.af.mil

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.


This. This disappointed me. I suppose I should've expected this, something this ballsy really was out of character for Marc Ecko. I wanted to believe that the guy had stood up for something, that he'd parlayed his fame for a more noble purpose. As flawed as the message was, I wanted to believe that a pop icon had actually done something.

Even cynics hope every now and again. It's what keeps us cynical. If it weren't for stunts like this, we'd build up an unhealthy faith in humanity.

...Gods and I FELL for it!

.... Buh?

Apr. 19th, 2006 12:30 pm
longwing: (Default)
Look, I don't actually like Marc Ecko, mostly because he's got both an entrepreneurial and mean streak in him...

But still. Today, today he gets props. Mad props.

I mean holy crap, that's just... Insane.
longwing: (Default)
Ever since the advent of OS X, Apple seems to be caught in a twin spiral of Success and Change. New computer designs, iPods, iTunes, you name it. In the eyes of the market, it's like the Mac can do no wrong. Their stock skyrockets as the company we once knew seems to constantly shift. Since well before this new revolution, one thing has been true: Apple sees itself as a hardware company, not a software company. A pity, as anyone who's toyed with OS X can attest to Apple's skill at building an Operating System.

Apple's skill with an OS was born from necessity, it's not like the Mac could run anything else, so they had to build a modern OS to stay competitive. Even as recent as the G4 and the G5, their computers have utilized a fundamentally different architecture from a PC. Then along comes OS X, and suddenly the Mac has an x86 style OS running on a Motorola style processor. In recent months, the Macintosh developer community has been scrambling to keep up with one of Apple's latest innovations: The shift to Intel CPU's. This was (to total dorks anyways) a really big deal. Since their inception, Macintosh computers have used Motorola processors.

Stop and think about that for a moment. The latest Macintosh computers aren't actually Macs at all. They're Intel architecture systems running a Unix OS. Granted, they're extraordinarily well designed, but behind the curtain, they're rather similar to a PC with a mandatory shift away from windows...


The moment Apple ditched the aging Motorola CPUs, there were rumblings amongst the hacker and developer communities. Intel CPUs meant Intel program calls, making it hypothetically possible to run PC style OSes on Mac hardware. Anyone who's seen a Titanium brand laptop has wanted one, but most of us don't want to ditch Windows for it's far more incompatible competitor. Whine though we do about the evils of Microsoft, we want all our software to run out of the box. The call went out: A challenge, get XP to run on a Mac... Scary thought right? It gets worse.

The challenge took several months to address, but eventually a collaborative pair of hackers came up with the solution to the various technical problems and posted their findings. It was now possible (through massive hacking) to get XP running on your Mac...

"Fine" you say, "but hackers are always doing weird stuff to their computers, it's not like this is practical, it's not like it's official. Well... it wasn't official, until yesterday. Tuesday, April 4th, Apple started a public beta of their Bootcamp software, a bootloader which allows a user to install Windows on an Intel Mac. Intel Mac users will now be able to Dual-Boot to Windows or OS X.

Macs are now Windows machines. It's a beta. It's unstable. It's imperfect. But it points to the intentions of Apple. There's no denying it, they intend to make Windows available on the Mac. Within hours of the announcement, their stock shot up by $10 per share. As I've said before, in the eyes of business, Apple can do no wrong. I, on the other hand, have my doubts about this plan. Long before the conversion of Macs to Intel architectures, there was a great deal of success in porting OS X to Intel computers, installing it on various brands of laptop and PC. (Picture a Dell running OS X, it's still ugly, but at least it's not as ugly as it was before.) Yet Apple responded to this by threatening lawsuits to any who made the info publicly available.

As I've said, Apple sees itself as a hardware company. OS X exists to sell Macs, not the other way around. The prospect of their superior OS getting ported to non-Mac hardware scared the heck out of them, and they responded as any corporation would: With an opening salvo of lawyers. From the perspective of hardware, the dual-boot makes a Mac far more desirable, and it is thus greeted as a great idea by Apple.

But what about OS X? What about those of us who were finally looking at a competitor to the Windows monopoly? What about our dreams of dual booting PCs?

I guess we'll just have to keep on hacking.
longwing: (Default)
If the folks at Neoseeker are to be believed, then IBM is making a transition to the Linux desktop for their internal computing network. The change is being announced by the lead of IBM's German branch, and it isn't clear whether the company as a whole will be making the switch, or just Germany. (Most likely, it's being used as a pilot program.) If the program expands to include all of IBM, we may be looking at the beginning of the end for the traditional Windows corporate world.

Honestly, I'm surprised at Gates. I've always argued that (although I loathe the man) he has a head for business. If anything, this is precisely what's wrong with windows; it's a better business than it is an OS. So why is Microsoft so dead-paralyzed against making the switch to Linux? There have been rumors in the past of Microsoft agents and employees looking to purchase variants of the Linux kernel, and/or proprietary versions of the Linux core. Is it simply a case of not being able to establish copyright? More likely, it's a question of keeping windows products extremely proprietary. The only reason anyone runs windows in a modern environment is to keep access to those programs which will run on no other OS. Microsoft knows this, and they'll fight kicking and screaming to stop people from migrating to a truly open and cross-compatible computing platform.

It bears pointing out that the Linux version being used is based on the Fedora Core, and therefor licensed through RedHat Inc., thus it's not as if IBM is going to a completely cost-free model here. Nonetheless, it's a step in a very right direction.
longwing: (Grin)
As we all know, the United States is a place of many laws. Some of them are even enforced. One of the most frustrating unevenly enforced laws is the speed limit. From a pragmatic perspective, the speed limit on any given road is 10 miles over the actual posted limit, but even that is unevenly enforced. Some cars are pulled over for going only a few miles above the limit, others are ignored while doing 90 in a 65 zone. We've all thought that there must be a way to draw attention to this hypocrisy, well someone finally had the courage to actually put something together.

In what the creators call an unprecedented act of Civil Obedience, I give you: A Meditation on the Speed Limit

I've thought of doing this so many times it's frightening. The story's been picked up by a number of major news outlets, they've been on NPR, NBC, and ABC news shows. Apparently, they've struck a chord, a thought we've all had, that the speed-limit system is flawed.
longwing: (Default)
A Japanese team has successfully constructed a working three dimensional imager which runs by super-heating air into plasma. Images and poorly machine-translated article here.

Unlike other three dimensional imaging systems, this device doesn't trick the eye into seeing 3D, but instead actually renders the image in real space. Obviously, the system still has dozens of flaws, monochrome, low res, and the "tiny explosions" which accompany every screen-refresh. Still, some pretty amazing work.
longwing: (Grin)
I was surprised. Honestly surprised. In this day and age, saying "that's unacceptable" to anyone in the Bush Administration usually earns a reaction of mild amusement... Possibly snickering, if their position is even remotely close to strong. Well not this time. George C. Deutsch, the guy I griped about earlier? The one who was trying to get NASA to teach creationism? The one who deliberately gaged a NASA scientist's access to the media, so that he couldn't report on the overwhelming evidence of global warming? That guy?

He resigned.

Which is a very polite way of saying that he was fired. Turns out, he lied on his resume. He claimed a collage degree that he didn't possess. His resignation comes shortly before NASA plans to review it's policies regarding the distribution of information to the public. Reporters and bloggers involved with the case warn that he's only a bit player in a larger game, but NASA is none the less sending a very clear message with this "Resignation", and that message is music to my ears.
longwing: (Default)
This will be old news by the time anyone reads it. (Unfortunately for me, but fortunate because this information needs to be spread.) Hey kids, want to learn about science from NASA? TOO BAD! NASA can't talk about global warming or the Big Bang, the president said so.

Next up, fun with leaches and bloodletting.
longwing: (Default)
Yoinked from [livejournal.com profile] celebdu, I'd like to pass on a heartening piece about the future of our nation. Specifically, about the attitudes of those who will be arguing our laws in the courts. Turns out that not everyone thinks that illegal surveillance is... well... legal. As reported by [livejournal.com profile] insomnia, "Alberto Gonzales spoke before law students at Georgetown today, justifying illegal, unauthorized surveillance of US citizens, but during the course of his speech the students in class did something pretty ballsy and brave. They got up from their seats and turned their backs to him."
longwing: (Default)
I won't be here on Monday, so you all get two (basically useless) posts today instead. Thanks to the queuing system inside Semagic, I've been able to post one entry per weekday for the entire month thus far. It's no NaNoWriMo, but I consider it a challenge none the less. After a fashion, this is a test for converting some or all of my LJ into a blog. As Eric Burns once put it, the best thing you can do for a blog is to show up on time, every single day. That can be a rather epic requirement, though it might not seem so to the casual observer. Coming up with something to post, something relevant, cleaver, and actually engaging, every single day? Tall order.

Heck, this post doesn't even technically meet my goals.

I suppose I could wax quixotic about blogging, and whether there's even a point to posting any of my stuff in another format. The real challenge with blogging is to actually make news, rather than regurgitate old information. I do that on occasion, but for the most part I only reiterate the interesting information of others. In the end, I haven't yet bothered because I require no validation for my writing. I post to LJ as much for links-aggregation as for people reading it. If it's good enough to bookmark, I back it up online.

Hmm, I'd finish this thought, but we're heading for the airport in a minute (literally) and my boss will kill me long before airport security if I don't shut this thing down.

Read ya all Tuesday.
longwing: (Default)
Some artists in Berlin put together an extremely odd art project, they combined a portable battery with a computer projector and a Mac Mini. They then crammed all of it into a suitcase and bolted industrial suction cups to the back. The project, dubbed "parasite" was then slapped onto the side of a Berlin subway car, where it projected strange and unusual images on the tunnel walls while the train was in motion. The projector threw up images of fish and sharks, root systems, fireflies, and other odd objects. The images make it appear as though the train is moving through some otherworldly environment.

More behind cut )
longwing: (Grin)
The gauntlet is down. The gauntlet is down. I have a love/hate relationship with Penny Arcade. They piss off Harlan Ellison with their puerile antics, and I hate them. They piss of Jack Thomson with their equally brilliant sense of irony, and I love them.

The story? Jack Thomson, Florida Lawyer and Anti-Video game advocate, offered the video game industry a proposal: Publish his violent video game which targets the game industry as victims, and he'd donate $10,000 to charity. The insinuation was simple, if you think violent games don't make their players more likely to kill, then make yourselves the victims. He thought he was calling the industry's bluff.

A few days later, a modding group released his video game as a modification for GTA: San Andreas. Jack then went back on his word, saying that the original press release was "Satire" and insinuating that the game industry simply didn't grasp the subtlety. Needless to say, no donation was made.

Until Penny Arcade made the donation for him, to the charity his challenge designated, IN HIS NAME.

Take it like a man Jack, take it like a man.
longwing: (Default)
Quality is crap: The native res is 320x240, not unwatchable, but not DivX either. In a window on a PC, it will look okay, but don't expect to throw this up full screen without being annoyed at the quality.

You don't need a video iPod: Buy an episode and you can watch it in Quicktime.

DRM: There's some digital rights management in it, of course. It can't be converted to other formats, it can't be burned to DVD or VCD. It CAN be copied, not sure if it can be migrated between computers though.

Cost: Season one is available from Amazon as a DVD for $40, and from iTunes for $36 (as a bundle). For the DVD quality, Amazon wins hands down.

Availability: Season 2 can't be acquired legally, so if you really want to know what's going on on the Island, this may be the best way to catch up.

End Assessment: Missing a few episodes and want to know what's going on? $2 a week ain't that bad.

Well Fuck

Oct. 14th, 2005 01:55 pm
longwing: (Human)
Schwarzenegger, bless his heart, has signed a law banning the sale of violent video games to minors. As of now, selling a violent game in California to someone under the age of 18 is punishable by a $1000 fine. I'll ignore the obvious jibes from the gaming media about the Terminator terminating violence, because this isn't really about Schwarzenegger. Keep in mind that this bill passed the House and Senate of California with an overwhelming majority, Democrats, Republicans, the Governor, there is no good guy here. Obviously, this is an issue that hits really close to home for me, so bare with me while I hash out all my observations and conclusions regarding this development. I'll try to keep things concise, but I may wind up rambling, so be patient.

Right, the rest is behind a cut, because it's long and annoying. )
longwing: (Default)
Apple released their new iPod yesterday. Significant upgrades? It finally comes in black, and it finally stores and plays video.

That's right, Video.

This becomes more significant when you consider Apple's contacts in big industry. They've already secured several deals for releasing video through the Apple Music store. The one that people reading this will care about? LOST is available for $2 per episode.

...LOST is available for $2 per Episode.

Two single-line-for-emphasis's in a single post, can you feel my smug conviction between the lines of text? Yes, yes I believe you can. In truth though, I'm a little torn about the announcement. On the one hand, Apple is pretty much the only thing keeping Peer to Peer software from being banned. On the other hand, Apple is becoming synonymous with the online media revolution, and I wonder if we're not just trading one set of middle men for another. How long before Apple starts jacking up prices? How long before they start inserting advertisements between media? In the middle of media? After all, there's no one to stop them, no real competition.

In a way, I just described the evolution of television. In the beginning, you paid for the service, and that was that. Then they got sponsors, and then advertisements, and then adverts in the middle of the show. Now, television has become totally unwatchable. This sparked the success of TiVo, as thousands ran screaming from the adds to a service which promised to let you skip past them... and now TiVo is adding advertisements while you're fastforwarding/rewinding. Apple's effective monopoly on legal digital distribution worries me. Sure there are competitors, Napster, etc., but these other companies hold just enough market share to prevent claims of Monopoly. Apple's in the sweet spot, wildly successful, but not totally successful. Is this stuff really a step forward, or a step back?

The wild technological west which was first opened up by Napster is getting settled a might faster than expected. Pretty soon my open digital range will be crisscrossed with barbed wire.
longwing: (Default)
I'll be showing the show, but I don't know for sure what I'll be showing it on. I swear, every time I fix something in this frelling projector, two more things break. Provided I can repair the lamp ballast, and provided it doesn't ark like crazy during use, we'll be good to go. Otherwise, my PC monitor will play tiny hires television for the night.

I want this car. I mean, who wouldn't? Someone who's never had to parallel park? Someone who's never had to gas up at a three dollar pump? Someone who's never had to entertain board friends while driving? Sadly, it's a concept, and will never see the light of day. I just hope that companies will start catering to my market: The pragmatic city driver. We want maneuverability, not horsepower. We want mileage, not acceleration. We want a car with a parallel park mode... Oh do we ever want a car with a parallel park mode.

Dark Matter, the concept never really sat well with me. A source of mass and gravitation which we couldn't detect, but makes up more than half the matter in the universe? Thanks to this article, I now know why it bugged me. Dark Matter is the new Aether, a substance which exists to justify discrepancies in scientific theory. (Light is a wave which travels through a vacuum, waves can't travel through nothing, so they must be traveling through Aether... That makes it one of the most common substances in existence, and totally undetectable through scientific means.) And now, just like Aether, Dark Matter is bunk.

More Science:
Quantum Physics in 49 Minutes. Show respect while the geeks represent.

Blogging Predicted by 19th Century Russian Prince He wrote Sci-Fi in his spare time, and presumed that text could be sent over telegraph wires with greater speed than it was in his day. He concluded that a network of automatic telegraphs would be created to connect distant households, and that houses would start to release weekly journals of their activities, health, philosophy, and other writings... Sound familiar?

Happy birthday Bro.


longwing: (Default)

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