Random Thoughts

January 31, 2008

Zatz Not Funny: Dave Dumps HD DVD

Filed under: Uncategorized — doctorfeelgood @ 10:50 am

hddvd-netflix.png

Yep, I’m putting my money where my mouth is – listing my HD DVD player on ebay and updating my Netflix account (above). Toshiba may have purchased a $2.7 million Super Bowl ad spot, but that’s the last gasp of a dead format.

In this next-gen optical disc battle, HD DVD “bought” consumers by selling hardware at a loss while the Blu-ray camp “bought” the studios. I’m not discounting or dismissing HD DVD’s technology, but we’ve reached the tipping point in terms of studio support and content. HD DVD could have the best hardware in the world, but without movies it’s not very useful. The quicker the HD DVD camp throws in the towel, the better for everyone.

Interestingly, I’m going back to sitting on the sidelines. I’m not sure I care enough to pay current Blu-ray player prices (unless I “accidentally” buy a PS3), given the HD content I can TiVo or rent via my Xbox 360. Not to mention, 480p DVDs are often good enough. In fact, if my Toshiba HD-A3 booted faster and was slimmer I would have kept it around as an upscaling DVD player.

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January 29, 2008

BoingBoing: MythBusters tackles “plane on a conveyor belt problem”

Filed under: Cool Stuff — doctorfeelgood @ 11:29 am
200801281104Last night I spoke to Adam Savage, co-host of MythBusters. He’s in Alaska, where current temperatures range between 0 to 30 degrees below zero. He just finished a test on “cabin fever” (he wouldn’t say how long he lasted before murdering his cabin mates and running out into the frozen wilderness wearning nothing but longjohns and a sleeping cap) and is now working on another episode up in the 49th state.

But the real reason I talked to him was to find out about the next episode of MythBusters (airing this Wednesday). It tackles the famous “plane on a conveyor belt problem,” that has pitted brother against brother and friend against friend for years.

To get to the bottom of the thought-problem, Adam and Jamie used a real plane, in this case a 400-lb ultralight, and a large conveyor belt. Did the plane take off? You’ll have to wait until Wednesday to find out, but Adam said even the pilot guessed wrong.

Link

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January 28, 2008

Southern racists adopt "Canadian” as a euphemism for “black”

Filed under: Uncategorized — doctorfeelgood @ 8:09 am

The Canadian National Post looks on with mild horror as American linguists report on the growing trend in the American south to use “Canadian” as a masking euphemism for black people, so that white racists can say socially inappropriate things without tipping listeners off about the cancer in their souls.

Last August, a blogger in Cincinnati going by the name CincyBlurg reported that a black friend from the southeastern U.S. had recently discovered that she was being called a Canadian. “She told me a story of when she was working in a shop in the South and she overheard some of her customers complaining that they were always waited on by a Canadian at that place. She didn’t understand what they were talking about and assumed they must be talking about someone else,” the blogger wrote.

“After this happened several times with different patrons, she mentioned it to one of her co-workers. He told her that ‘Canadian’ was the new derogatory term that racist Southerners were using to describe persons they would have previously referred to [with the N-word.]”

A similar case in Kansas City was reported last year on a Listserv, or electronic mailing list, used by linguistics experts. A University of Kansas linguist said that a waitress friend reported that “fellow workers used to use a name for inner-city families that were known to not leave a tip: Canadians. ‘Hey, we have a table of Canadians…. They’re all yours.’ ”

Link

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This is for me: iVideosongs Teaches You How To Be A Real Guitar Hero

Filed under: Cool Stuff — doctorfeelgood @ 8:02 am

ivideo-logo.pngFor any aspiring guitarists out there, here is a site for you. iVideosongs is launching at DEMO today after two years in the making. It offers video tutorials on how to play guitar from world-class instructors, musicians and sidemen. You won’t find instruction videos from Slash here (yet), but there are guitar videos from Graham Nash, John Oates, and Alex Lifeson (the guitarist from Rush). This site seems to be aimed squarely at the aging Baby Boomer male who still wans to play guitar. And there are a lot of those. But, actually, anyone can learn from the videos, which are quite good. The videos are large and clearly show closeups of exactly what you need to do.

The startup was founded in 2006, and has raised $3 million in angel funding. It’s spent the past two years licensing rights to song libraries from all the major music publishers. The site offers some free tutorial videos, but most cost $5 (for instructor videos) or $10 (for artist videos). Compare this to $35 to $40 an hour for guitar lessons.

ivideosongs-5.pngThat’s the beauty of the Internet: you can be taught by the best instructors at a fraction of what they would charge you for a one-on-one session. With each download, you get one song, broken up into bite-sized chapters for learning a song’s intro, verse, chorus, bridge, and outro. Artist videos also include interiews where they talk about their influences, guitar-picking history, and inspiration for a particular song. The site is launching with a catalog of 50 songs, plus 25 free tutorials. By the end of the year, it hopes to have 1,000 different songs. Instructions for how to play the drums and keyboard are available as well.

Here are some more screen shots:

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January 12, 2008

Foreboding ads featuring the World Trade Center

Filed under: Uncategorized — doctorfeelgood @ 8:57 am

Picture 5-51

Copyranter has been collecting old print advertisements that feature the World Trade Center.

Left: Pakistan International Airlines, 1979. Center: Asbestos Corporation Limited, 1981. Right: World Trade Center, circa 1984.

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McDonald’s UK CEO: kids are fat because of video games

Filed under: Uncategorized — doctorfeelgood @ 8:48 am

Steve Easterbrook, the CEO of McDonald’s UK, says that video games cause obesity — not his nutritionally void, heavily sweetened, processed junk that’s voraciously marketed to kids:


But he made special mention of the popularity of games – and said they have reduced the amount of time young people spend outdoors “burning off energy”…

“Then there’s a lifestyle element: there’s fewer green spaces and kids are sat home playing computer games on the TV when in the past they’d have been burning off energy outside.”

Link

(via Raph Koster)

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