Sunday, May 29, 2005

Will Apple switch the Mac platform to Intel processors?

There's been a lot of speculation in the press (and on blogs, and on press-like blogs) about this subject this week. This guy's got the best analysis on the matter, in my opinion.

Star Wars

After having had a positive experience with "Star Wars: Episode III" on Friday night, I decided to spend the weekend with episodes I & II to see if they really were as bad as I'd thought.

"Episode I" is not a bad movie. Actually, it's a respectable, lighthearted adventure that does a fine job kicking off the prequel trilogy. The storyline that George Lucas chose to go with for the prequels was not what I was expecting, and Episode I has its share of problems, but my re-evaluation yielded positive results. On a five star scale (on which I'd give each of the movies in the original Star Wars trilogy 5 stars), I would give Episode I between 2.5 and 3 stars. And since Episode III restored a lot of good will toward George Lucas, let's call it an even 3.

"Episode II" is more complicated. While I own the DVD, I'd only seen the movie in its entirety once- back at the Ziegfeld in 2002. And after about 10 minutes of watching Episode II this weekend, it all came back to me- this was the movie that turned me bitter and caused me to hate George Lucas.
Is Episode II as bad as I remembered? Not quite. But there is clearly something very wrong with the movie. It's as though George Lucas forgot what Star Wars was all about when he wrote the script. There are elements of romance, mystery, politics, adventure, intrigue... but those elements are strewn about ineffectively.
I watched all of the deleted scenes, which feature commentary from George Lucas, as well as the film's producer and editor. Listening to their explanations for why the scenes were cut, it's easy to see that the movie itself lacked a coherent storyline, theme, and tone. Their comments for why the scenes were cut- too long and droning, not providing enough actual plot movement, yadda yadda- apply to most of the scenes in the movie itself, not just those that were cut. And you can tell that they probably know it, too.
Episode II is, basically, a mess.
Now that the prequel trilogy is complete, it's easier for me to see the purpose of each individual movie, and to judge each on its ability to do its job. Episode I's job was to kick off a new round of Star Wars, and set things in motion. It succeeded, though it was most certainly not the movie I was hoping for.
Episode II needed to showcase the growing love between Anakin and Padme, and to illustrate the manner in which Palpatine orchestrates the formation of his empire. And, it needed to lay the groundwork for how Anakin would come to feel betrayed by his friends and loved ones in the film to come.
Episode II does not do any of these things elegantly. They're mostly there in the technical sense, but the very human story that forms the backdrop of the whole trilogy just doesn't click.
Failure? Not completely. I'd give this movie 2 out of 5 stars, and now I remember why I hated it so much. I was so freaked out by the fundamental inability of Episode II to advance the trilogy in any meaningful way that I could see nothing but a train wreck coming up for the third and final installment.
Amazingly, George Lucas was able to regain control- using the force, no doubt- and steer the prequel trilogy home safely.

Friday, May 27, 2005

YEAH!

Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith

The force was with George Lucas this time. "Episode III" was a real "Star Wars" movie. Not perfect by a long shot, but man, what a pleasant surprise.

In all seriousness, my life just got better, because "Episode III" revived "Star Wars" for me.

I've got a lot to think about. The first two prequels made me feel hatred and betrayal. Now, finally, surprisingly, contrary to all of my consternation, bitterness, and anger for George Lucas... redemption.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Super cool idea

I've never tried it, and don't know much about it, but this sounds like a great idea.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Channeling Howard Beale in the Mac vs. PC debate

A recent Mac convert speaks.

Bam.

PC load letter??!!!

The hardest part of most projects is the final stretch, and it's no different with producing DVDs. Except with a DVD, the final stretch is the labeling process...

Open Word, create the label, select the printer, choose manual feed, hit Print, get the pre-printed label sheet, prepare to stick it into the manual tray- oop, looks like the printer already printed the label on standard 8.5x11 paper from the regular tray, even though I'd selected manual feed.

So, open the 8.5x11 tray, put in my pre-printed label sheet, close the tray, throw out the useless label that was printed on regular paper, return to my desk, hit Print again, return to the printer... now it's prompting me to put a sheet into the manual tray!

Open the 8.5x11 tray, take out the single label sheet, put it in the manual tray, watch it get sucked into the printer... Success.

I can edit a video and author a DVD no problem, but it's the labeling step that throws me for a loop.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Nine Inch Nails video

Or rather, my vision for a video for Love is Not Enough:

"Dirty Cop (or Dirty World?)"

Darkness. A chain-smoking alcoholic cop pays a fistful of visit to a drug dealer informant in the heart of LA gangland. Then pockets a fistful of cash as he lets a rival gang move a truckload of blow into a warehouse. Finally, sniffling, our hero stares out at the first hint of morning sunrise as he clenches a fistful of tawdry hair and then stiffens in the front seat of his Chevy.

Don't look at me funny- listen to the song, and that's what comes!

New music

Renewal is the word that comes to mind when I think about the music I've been listening to lately. The Dave Matthews Band, Nine Inch Nails, and Weezer- big-time blasts from my high school past- all have new albums out.

And they're all good.

But NIN's With Teeth is what I've been listening to most. Particularly Every Day Is Exactly the Same, All the Love In the World, and of course, The Hand That Feeds. Great album, and one of the first album's I've heard that sounds like it's been influenced by Radiohead's "Kid A" (unfortunately, no Radiohead on iTunes).

My favorite song on Weezer's Make Believe is Perfect Situation.

And while I don't have enough experience with Dave Matthews' Stand Up to be able to pick favorites beyond the single American Baby, I think that's okay, because it's a great song.

And if "Revenge of the Sith" is as good as most people say it is, 2005 will have earned its place as a watershed year.

Renewal (and revival) indeed!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Stupid, stupid, stupid

That's how I feel about how our country has been handling foreign affairs. Policy itself has become very difficult for me to take sides on since 9/11- I've gone from being completely anti-Bush/anti-war, to thinking that maybe the administration's bold, aggressive policy could work, then back to thinking that we're being led by a bunch of lying militants...

The situation is complex. I don't think there's an easy answer to what our policy should be, and it will take a lot of time and distance to be able to judge the merits of what we've done.

But boy, we've been very stupid about how we've presented ourselves to the world. Specific policy aside, our government has done very little to explain ourselves to the world. The most memorable "statements" we've made have been with bombs and photographs of ourselves desecrating our enemies. On top of that, we sprinkle empty rhetoric about "freedom".

A lot of people say "so what". A lot of people claim that an American who cares about what the world thinks of America is somehow anti-American. I've thought about this for a while- maybe things are so simple that we're all just out for our own interests, and when we get hit hard, we need to put our heads down in determination and push forward with all of the toughness we can muster and not give a Goddamn shit about what anyone else thinks.

But that's stupid. Not caring about the world is anti-American. America is what it is because it symbolizes hope for the world, not rebellion against it.

I'm pissed off at the Bush Administration right now, but not because of my feelings about the war. Come on, guys- if we're the "good guys", it shouldn't be that tough to explain ourselves to the world and get them on our side.

Foreign policy is more complicated than ever. But it shouldn't be difficult for America to remain a respected country in the world. We were attacked and we had all of our friends standing beside us. How we've managed to screw that up and diminish our credibility in the world is the result of just being stupid.

Chris Pirillo

Chris Pirillo is a professional tech geek who used to host a show on TechTV.

He's got a blog and a weekly radio show (aka podcast).

Here's the perfect example of Chris at his best.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Donald Trump is right

Twin Towers II

Monday, May 16, 2005

Mashups

I've been spending some time exploring the world of podcasting. There, I said it. I'm not quite sure why, but podcasting definitely seems to be even geekier than blogging.

Maybe it's because Adam Curry plays such a prominent role in the world of podcasting, while blogging has no such 80's mascot. (He actually seems pretty cool- I'm just taking a cheap shot.)

One of the quirky aspects of podcasting is that it has provided a fertile distribution ground for mashups. Here are two of the most interesting mashups I've encountered over the past few weeks:

The Ghost That Feeds
We Will Rock Beverly Hills

Friday, May 13, 2005

By popular request

Snowtow.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Rebuild the Twin Towers

In addition to computers and airplanes, I've always been fascinated by tall buildings. I have a particular affinity for the Empire State Building- my father worked there for a while, and it was on its observation deck that I first expressed my interest in the young woman who eventually became my wife.

While the ESB is my favorite building- and probably the single most personally iconic image in my life- the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center have always been a close second. The relationship between the WTC and the ESB in my imagination was always one of carefully balanced opposites. ESB: lone, elegant, pointy, midtown, old fashioned, everlasting. WTC: pair, simple, flat, downtown, modern...

It was the balance between the WTC and the ESB, and all of the contradictions that comprised it, that defined the tall building aspect of New York City for me.

In the aftermath of September 11, there have been a number of proposals for what to put in its place. In my opinion, every proposal that does not center around rebuilding the essence of the original Twin Towers is misguided. Clearly, the followup to the WTC needs to have a heart and soul that few construction projects start out with- and I don't think it will be difficult for New Yorkers to apply their heart and soul to the memorial aspects of the rebuilt site.

But the only way to fully memorialize the spirit of the people and the chunk of history that was destroyed that day is to rebuild that chunk with determination and confidence. To do anything else would not be an honest and full application of the ideals that we as Americans and New Yorkers claim to have been attacked for having- fearless optimism, ambition, inclusion, and bravery.

It is important to state an obvious fact: the World Trade Center was destroyed by our enemies. It didn't collapse by accident and it wasn't brought down because New Yorkers didn't like it. If we are to show ourselves, the world, and our enemies how much we loved what they took from us, we cannot replace it with something that is fundamentally different.

We certainly wouldn't dream of creating alternate versions of the loved ones who died that day.

The focus-grouped, over-rationalized, cowardly, and ultimately infeasible (can you believe it?!) vision that has been slowly unfolding at Ground Zero has finally stalled. Now is the time for people who believe that the Twin Towers should be more or less rebuilt to speak out.

This site represents a vision for the future of Ground Zero that I strongly support and urge all people to look into.

I'm not sure what official channels exist for furthering this cause, but I will pass them along as soon as I find out. I feel very strongly about this matter. To avoid rebuilding the World Trade Center as it was would be hiding from not only the truth of September 11 and all of its pain- it would be denying the full strength of our love, resilience, and hope.

You may need a diaper for this one (I did)

Check this out.

Make sure you can hear the audio.

Thanks, Trevor.

Monday, May 09, 2005

BBC lays out some of Microsoft's biggest challenges

Here.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Microsoft does something incredible

CEO Steve Ballmer reversed course from a previously-set Microsoft policy and determined that Microsoft would support Washington-state legislation that prohibits companies from using sexual orientation as a basis for not hiring someone.

Steve's e-mail to all of Microsoft on the company's about-face is posted here.

I think it's incredible that Microsoft has changed their mind on this issue, and that they did so primarily because of the massive backlash they encountered from plain old people- many of whom are bloggers.

Robert Scoble, a tech geek that Microsoft hired a while back as an official blogger, played a huge role.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Hold on tight

for some Kelsey Grammer slapstick.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Tiger's iChat AV small print

Tried to done one of those cool looking iChat AV multi-person video chats tonight, and couldn't. Turns out there's some small print involved.

From Apple's iChat Help:

"To join a multiperson video conference, you need any G5 computer, or a 1 GHz single processor G4, or a dual processor 800 MHz G4, and a broadband connection to the Internet."

"To support hosting a multiperson video conference, you need a Dual 1 GHz G4 or a Dual 2 GHz G5. In addition, you need an Internet connection that supports a minimum download bandwidth of 384 Kbps (128 Kbps per participant), and a minimum upload bandwidth of 1000 Kbps (300 Kbps per participant)."

Tiger

I installed Tiger yesterday, and I'm almost at the point where feel confident in the integrity of my system.

I had a pretty solid thing going with 10.3.9, and Tiger threw a few monkey wrenches into things.

But about 24 hours after my install install (archive and install), I'm almost 100% back to where was before in terms of feeling like I have a handle on my system. And now that system is Tiger, which is quite cool.

More details to come.