Category Archives: tech

Another Benefit from the Internet Age

Clearly there are nearly countless benefits from the internet and the vast and myriad  ways we have to spread information these days, but there is one in particular I want to look at briefly in this post.

I have been a cord cutter (someone without cable television service) for several years. All of my video entertainment arrives on disc or by way of a streaming service. For the last couple of weeks I have been watching various film noirs on the HULU plus service. Some were good, some were not, but the general mood and atmosphere I am marinating in will be helpful in crafting my SF/Noir novel.

I think all of the films I have been watching on HULU are ones that fell into the public domain when the original rights holders opted to not extend their copyrights. Just a few years ago that would have cast these unprofitable properties into the trash bin of entertainment history, subject only to the occasional late night broadcast as part of a station’s ‘Movie ’til Dawn.’ (And not even that as the infomercial killed that.)

Now, thanks to streaming and the status of public domain, these films are available to new audiences. (I particularly liked The Red House. Both a noir and a snap shot of rural living in the mid 40s.)

Many more public domain movies are available on Youtube and sites such as Public Domain Movies.com. True more than 9/10s of these are truly terribly movies, but one usually pans through a lot of mud to find a single nugget.

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Quick Impression Apple TV

I have been a fan of streaming over traditional cable for sometime. (The last time I had cable TV was 2012 for a few weeks.) I prefer the control streaming and discs give me over what and when I watch. This week because my sweetie-wife and I didn’t want to delay in out Game of Thrones fix I picked up an Apple TV and subscribe to HBO Now.

The Verdict?

I heartily approve of the Apple TV. The onyl thing that would improve it would be the addition of Amazon Prime streaming, otherwise I have found no flaws and had no complaints.

It’s easy to set up. Easy to use, and I have a ton of options. This is working out so much better than my previous streaming device – an Xbox 360. Integrating with iMac and other Apple devices is just a bonus, but it’s really nice being able to stream my iTunes content to my living. Watching Doctor Who has just gotten loads easier.

 

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Warning Educational Materials ahead

So Sunday I was tooling youtube and other video hosting sights, looking for interesting films and such to watch. (No, not porn. Get your mind out of the gutter.) I ended up searching for a World War II training film I had caught part of during a TCM Memorial Day Marathon. (I did find it, it’s called Resisting Enemy Interrogation. It’s got a cool story as German Interrogators try by hook and by crook get information from 5 down airmen.)

However, while looking for that video I found several others that were very interesting. One on flak (anti-aircraft fire) how it works and how to evade it, and a Sad Sack cartoon on the importance of maintaining you weapon properly. The most informative video I found though was one on the basics of small arms and how they work. I have friends who collect guns, and I remember shooting rifles as a boy with my father, however nothing has every made the mechanics of modern firearms as easy to understand as this WWII training film. I present it here for your education or enjoyment. (It is about 40 minutes long.)

 

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Thoughts on Gun Control

The horrid events a few weeks ago in Aurora Co have revived discussions on gun control, both nationally and among family and friends. Since I have never been shy about sharing my opinions I see no reason to be a wall flower on this subject.
There are numerous and serious problems in trying to solve this problem by some implementation of gun control. First off the focus is all wrong way around, looking at the tool and not the user. In an unproduced screenplay I authored quite a few years ago I had a line that I think is applicable.
“You mortals always fear the wrong things. You fear the bomb but not the soul that would use it.” Continue reading Thoughts on Gun Control

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Another General Posting

The frequent eye strain headaches have made the desire to sit and compose blog posts rather rare of late. After spending 8 hours at the computer for my day job I am disinclined to spend much more at home. Even bumping up the font only helps so much. However on Wednesday I had my annual eye exam, discovered that the axis of my astigmatism had shifted quite a bit. So while my visual acuity is about the same, I still require new lens. They have been ordered, 7-10 days which is like something from the last century, and when I get them I should be back to my old happy self.

Having just finished the Book of Job, I’m about halfway through my reading of the Old Testament. God has finished making he transition to a spirit above and encompassing the world, quite a change from the wrestling guy in Genesis or the dude who appeared, wrapped in smoke and flame like a Balrog, above magic boxes. I’m not sure if I will finish this read, it has been sucking up a lot of my time and I really shouldn’t waste too much.

Today, 5/25/12, the Dragon spacecraft docked with the International Space station, opening a new era for spaceflight. Space X is going where only governments have gone before, and while I cheer this achievement should we consider where other corporations might go if given the chance? Is this is herald of a bright off-world future or the sign that the cyberpunks might have been right?

Paging Dr. McCoy, your hypo is ready.  Speaking as someone who despises the needle, I can’t even watch one on the movie screen, I truly cheer this invention.

The three day weekend is nearly upon us. I have plans, but hardly anything extravagant. Sadly I will not be going to BayCon this year. It was a choice between BayCon and WorldCon and in that contest WorldCon always wins. So tonight will be D&D, where I am a player. We’re in the middle of a fight, outnumber and fighting under hampered conditions. So far the gamemaster has been holding back, but we’ll see if this is the last game for my Arabic Paladin, Alladin. Tomorrow and Sunday will be board and card gaming with friends and my sweetie-wife, must resist buying the Game of Thrones board game, and on Monday I will be going toDisneyland. Sadly by myself, my dear friend who was going to go is under the weather health wise and that has caused quite a bit of financial stress. I already had paid for my ticket, so alone I go. I shall have fun in his honor.

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Thoughts on owing a NOOK

It’s been a couple of weeks since I purchased a NOOK, in part with early birthday funds from my sweetie-wife, and here are my early thoughts.

I bought a NOOK tablet because I wanted an e-reader with a wider range of capability than what I was getting from my ezreader pro, but I felt I didn’t need to the full functionality of the more expensive iPad, and I think I made the right call.

I downloaded a few public domain texts, transferred ebooks from my Adobe ereader software, moved a few personal files, and subscribed the SF magazines ANALOG and ASIMOV’s as tests for the tablet. I can happily report that in all these tests the NOOK performed quite well and the reading experience was easy and comfortable. The most vexing issues dealt with personal files and learning how to transfer them so they were accessible, once that was achieve they worked fine.

I had missed having subscription to SF magazine, but I detest the way the physical magazine piled up and I was generally loath to throw them out. Having an e-subscription is the perfect solution for me and it was quite pleasurable to be reading new SF authors and shorts. (Though I admit reading some of those stories makes me wonder what’s going on in short story writing these days. I mean, shouldn’t a story be about something?)

The battery life seems quite serviceable, and while the net surfing on it is less that optimal, I did not buy it as a net device, thought it will serve in a pinch.

 

Over all this has been a pretty good purchase and a nice birthday gift.

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