1. Elvira coming to ThisTV.

    jake on 2010.08.20 at 05:21 pm

    Elvira in repose.The crazy thing about the return of Elvira, Mistress of The Dark to the small screen is that it’s taking place on ThisTV. Crazy because all us people who don’t have cable still have a chance to watch. I was too young in the 80’s to appreciate her sense of humor and the campy horror movies she shared. I’m excited to check out the show.

    Update: Missed the first show this weekend because I was out of town. But here’s another article delving into Elvira’s history. (via BoingBoing)

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    Posted in: Television

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  2. Firefly cameo on Castle.

    jake on 2009.10.27 at 12:57 pm

    Castle Logo

    Don’t miss last night’s Castle. Along with the Halloween humor there is a glorious reference to Firefly in the first few minutes.

    Makes me consider “space cowboy” for next year.

    Castle on Hulu

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    Posted in: Holiday · Television

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  3. A "Horrible" Halloween (Constructing Dr. Horrible)

    jake on 2008.11.11 at 06:28 pm

    Dr. Horrible PosterOrganizing a costume this year was a bit of a chore. Especially when the best idea presented was given to me two weeks before Halloween… And a week before a costume party in Salem. However Dr. Horrible was too good to pass up. I relished in the stress of putting the costume together.

    The majority of components were fairly easy to procure online. The only issue was expediting the shipping from so many vendors. Getting everything by Friday made it worth the extra cost. The following is exact pieces.

    The most difficult part was the lab coat. The only (relatively) close Halloween costume out there was a bust, no one had it in stock. After falling short on some custom costume web sites I tried Ebay. Paul Pape Designs was auctioning a good quality replica. It fit perfectly and really brought the look together. They shipped it overnight and can’t be thanked enough.

    Next year hopefully an idea will formulate well before the holiday. But even if I can’t decide I’ll always have the great Dr. Horrible to come back to.

    Posted in: Art · Holiday · Television · Web

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  4. Netflix Now Streaming to Macs (beta)

    brian on 2008.11.02 at 07:00 pm

    Good news for Mac users who are Netflix subscribers, or thinking about becoming one. After over a year of PC-only Windows Media-based “Watch Instantly” video streaming from Netflix, they have now put streaming to Macs and Windows via Silverlight 2.0 into public beta.

    Of course, I signed up for the beta instantly and tried it out right away. Here’s what I found.

    I selected the first episode of season six of CSI: Miami, “Dangerous Son” to watch on my Mac mini*, which is connected to our 26” HDTV via DVI-to-HDMI. I chose CSI: Miami because of its use of fast, vivid imagry. The color saturation is artificially inflated like no show I’ve ever seen. The style of cinematography is full of fast cuts and fancy, whiz-bang transitions. The sound moves from quiet dialog to loud sound effects and lots of thumping music.

    The results were mixed. The color came through as strong as it does when we watch it in HD. The audio was good, not amazing, but plenty good for streaming. However, the fast moving video was not good. This is always the challenge to test video with because it stresses the encoding (it’s very hard to compress fast moving imagery) and the playback hardware (hard to compress means more data per second needs to be processed to keep up with the motion).

    Most of the video, that didn’t exhibit fast pans, or speeding objects, looked good. It did not look as good as an iTunes SD TV download, which is the standard I would compare any online video to, (as it is excellent) but it was good enough. However, watching an hour or more of video that had a lot of action would not be enjoyable.

    I left this feed back in the comments of their announcement blog post, because I couldn’t find an official beta feedback option. I look forward to seeing if the video improves.

    The only other video I can compare this too that was powered by Silverlight was the Olympics. I watched the two hour men’s mountain bike race from Beijing, which also exhibited some fast panning. I believe that quality was a little higher, though it’s been two months since I watched it, so my memory may not be perfect. But I’m sure I would have remembered a speed issue.

    Comparable to Sliverlight is Flash streaming video, which powers I have not watched action-packed video on Hulu, but I have watched a couple episodes of Saturday Night Live, and I also believed it’s video quality was a bit better. I basically forgot I was watching Internet video. I don’t forget that when I watch quality Flash video from places like YouTube.

    I still think Netflix has work to do, but I’m encouraged at what they’ve produced thus far. Besides, I get to watch it for free with my $11/month account. I can’t be too critical.

    • For reference, here are my Mac mini specs: 1.83 Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, Safari 3.1.2, Silverlight plug 2.0, OS X 10.5.5, Comcast cable connection tested at 18.4 Mbps (! – I pay for six! That may be burst speed, not sustained, but still impressive. I’m still investigating, but probably due to their DOCSIS 3.0 network upgrade.)

    [All the comparison video I mention above was watched on the same setup, full-screen.]

    Posted in: Media · Movies · Television · Web

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  5. The Next Level: Director's Cut (Soccer)

    jake on 2008.07.31 at 12:10 pm

    Should I have said fútbol?

    Brian pointed out this Nike commercial while I was visiting Boston to attend Podcamp. Yesterday he found The Director’s Cut online.

    Set in first person perspective, we are the player, rising through the ranks, working hard, winning the big game. Cheers Guy Ritchie.

    Screen shot: You can't win like that.

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    Posted in: Sports · Television

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  6. MacGyver Movie

    jake on 2008.05.09 at 02:36 pm

    MacGyver Title From Opening There are many pieces of entertainment that can be construed as guilty pleasures. MacGyver was a popular tv show in the late eighties and the latter seasons have not aged well. This has caused some pop culture negativity. When you say MacGyver in public you can receive two basic responses. Some point out his pseudo mullet and laugh. Others get silly grins and reference Swiss Army Knives and Duct Tape.

    Starting on my birthday I began acquiring the full season DVDs. And as I work my way through season 6 I can stand proud and exclaim the awesomeness of MacGyver. There is no guilt.

    Gizmodo recently mentioned that the show’s creator, Lee David Zlotoff, is interested in crating a big budget movie of the property. Hopefully if this is greenlit it will do the classic justice. Yeah, I just called this show a classic.


    Posted in: Movies · Television

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  7. A bit of nostalgia: HBO's Intro from the eighties.

    jake on 2008.03.25 at 02:03 pm

    When I was growing up and couldn’t afford “instant video cassettes” there was always the VCR and movies on HBO. It enabled my brother and I to watch Spaceballs every day for months. For years there was the familiar orchestrated intro panning over a city.

    The following video is a behind the scenes look into how the intro was created. Enjoy the terrible 80’s music contrasting the original orchestra.

    Originally discovered at goldenfiddle.

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    Posted in: Art · Cool Info · Television

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  8. Two Weeks of Comcast HD TiVo Service: Complete or Total Disaster?

    brian on 2008.02.12 at 02:41 am

    What follows is the story of our first two weeks with the brand new, Comcast HD TiVo service. The merges the Comcast HD cable settop box with the DVR recording capabilities of TiVo software.TiVo logo

    The experience, while having so much potential for a quality product at a fair price, has been nothing short of disastrous. Read on to find out how.
    Comcast logo

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    Posted in: Technology · Television

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  9. MythBusters: Plane on a conveyor belt

    jake on 2008.01.31 at 06:34 pm

    MythTern t-shirt MythBusters tackled a myth last night that has become an Internet phenomenon. Adam and Jaime explored what happens when a plane tries to take off from a conveyor belt (the result appears below to prevent spoilers). In a pure show of geekery Jason Kottke liveblogged the show.

    Over the last few years people have been arguing back and forth on this issue. Occasionally you find a scientist weighing in but usually it’s us arm-chair scientists trying to debate. Good thing we have the MythBusters to handle this problem.

    Spoilers: As usual Adam and Jaime attempt the experiment scaled down. With a remote control plane and Adam on his Segway the duo achieve flight. Patience waned until they replicate the result with a single-person plane and Jaime’s truck.


    Adam and Jaime explain afterward the simple error many make is thinking the wheels have something to do with the plane’s propulsion. The engine is actually using air to provide movement and the wheels roll freely.

    Meanwhile the debate continues on at Jason’s site.

    Posted in: Science · Television

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  10. (not) A boring rant

    brian on 2007.09.03 at 05:07 pm

    The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: A boring rant Look at the management team at NBC Universal. Look at the GE board of directors. Do these people scare the living shit out of you? They sure scare the hell out of me. They’re all buffed and polished and about a hundred and fourteen years old. They look like cadavers who’ve been done up by the world’s best funeral home makeup artist.”

    Fake Steve Jobs has really hit the nail on the head with this post. I’ve been meaning to write something about the NBC and Universal iTunes breakups since first hearing the news last week that NBC was pulling (or iTunes was ceasing sale of) NBCs television shows from iTunes.

    First of all, think it’s a coincidence that NBC and Universal (same company, essentially) both have taken big shots at iTunes recently? First Universal decides to start selling DRM-free music, like Steve Jobs had suggested, but not through Apple. Second, NBC says “let us jack up our prices or we’ll walk” when it comes to iTunes negotiations; Apple replies “don’t let the door of the world’s leading digital entertainment store hit you on the way out.”

    What’s going on here is the beginning of the end: The networks and record labels have finally begun to see the writing on the wall. They’re dinosaurs looking to the skies and wishing away that incoming meteor. But it won’t change things. They are mostly middlemen. And the middlemen in the entertainment realm are quickly being replaced by the network – the Internet. Apple’s the tip of the iceberg of said Internet. The Wal-Mart of internet digital media retail, with 70% of the market in a strangle hold (a funny comparison considering Wal-Mart is actually in the digital media retail space, as well) These distributors want to have Apple’s dominant position, so they’re trying to play hard ball. But they can’t beat Apple because they simply don’t understand internet distribution. Apple does, and they’re willing to share. The studios shouldn’t reinvent the wheel – just use Apple (and Apple’s competitors) for digital distribution, and spend your time doing whatever else you guys do.

    We’ll continue to see media distributors attempting to fight Apple, tooth and nail, because it’s the only way to stave off their irrelevancy. But any injunction they come to will only be temporary. Apple will win, and thankfully for once, consumers will win because for the first time, consumers have a say: if you don’t give us the media we want, in the way we want it, we’ll go elsewhere to get it the way we want it, when we want it, and you won’t get a dime. We have BitTorrent. iTunes is currently the only seriously good alternative to BitTorrent.

    Free advice to the middlemen: stave off your irrelevance a little longer by flexing your editorial muscle and find really good material to sell – not the mind-melting junk you’ve spit out for years. And then sell it where and when the consumer wants at a reasonable price. Apple knows what consumers want and iTunes is a grand step in the right direction. Once all DRM is dropped (the vast majority of consumers won’t need piracy if they’re given a good product at a good price) we’ll be in the promised land of digital media commerce.

    Otherwise, you’re just fast-tracking yourself to a slow and painful demise.

    You need your customers more than they need you.

    Posted in: Apple · Media · Movies · Music · Television · Web

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  11. The News According to ABC

    brian on 2007.01.09 at 09:02 pm

    Today’s Top 3 News Stories according to ABC World News Tonight.

    An iPhone

    Clearly this is just as important.

    Posted in: Apple · Technology · Television

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  12. Mac and TiVo Users Rejoice: You're Screwed!

    brian on 2007.01.09 at 02:26 am

    Tivo to Go ImageThe biggest insult to Mac users who are also TiVo users wasn’t that we’ve gone without TiVoToGo software while Windows users had it for free. Nope.

    The biggest insult (beside the $800 price tag plus additional subscription charges for a Series III which is simply insulting to any human being) is that TiVo has released MacTivoToGo today… but it costs $99. And is still free for PC users.

    Dear TiVO, drop dead. I’m not buying a Series III, I’m not buying MTTG (which wouldn’t even work on a Series III) and perhaps the only other money you’ll ever get out of me is a trickle of the coin I drop into my Comcast subscription.

    It’s a damn shame. TiVO should be a much a better company. They should compare to Apple: make awesome products and have an awesome community supporting you. But their business practices are downright unethical.

    It’s no wonder you’re always on the verge of going out of business: you have no idea what you’re doing. You’re floundering about like a fish out of water. I’ll no longer shed a tear if you go bankrupt. Hopefully an intelligent company will hire your designers and programmers. Or, God willing, someone will snap up your company, hand out pink slips to your whole business team, and keep your brand, selling your wonderful and innovative products at reasonable prices.

    Posted in: Media · Technology · Television

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  13. HD in Concert (Madonna)

    brian on 2006.12.30 at 04:48 am

    NBC’s Universal HD channel showed a Madonna concert tonight, and I came away very impressed (apparently, it showed on NBC proper on 22 Nov, and actually happened at Wembley Arena, London, in early August.). I should preface review this with the fact that I am not a Madonna fan. I’m more likely to change the station than to listen to a Madonna song if it were to come on the radio. In fact, it would be odd that I would even be listening to a station that would carry Madonna in the first place. But I’ve always respected her as a performer.

    Read on for my extended, somewhat unlikely and possibly surprising review…

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    Posted in: Music · Television

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  14. Steve Irwin Killed In Accident

    jake on 2006.09.04 at 07:24 pm

    It is difficult to imagine the shock of a beloved celebrity’s death. Even if that celebrity is Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter. Someone who works with dangerous animals and is harms way regularly. But that shock still hits you hard. And because of my forthcoming trip to Australia/(possibly)New Zealand this has hit me fairly hard. Now I could be paying my respects at his zoo instead of simply exploring and hoping to catch a glimpse of Steve or his family.

    Irwin was killed by a stingray while filming today. Compared to the beasts he usually completes with this could only be described as a freak accident.

    “Something happened with this animal that made it rear and he was at the wrong position at the wrong time and if it hit him anywhere else we would not be talking about a fatality.”
    Terri and kids rush home

    I wish his wife and two children all the best.

    Posted in: Television · Travel

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  15. CurrentTV

    brian on 2006.07.22 at 03:50 am

    Al Gore is everywhere these days. One of his current positions is as founder of CurrentTV, a cable video channel found on many digital cable systems and a website.

    I watched it for the first time for about a half-hour last night, and I must say that I was impressed. It gave the feel of a collection of really well-done video blogs.

    In August 2005 we launched a TV network with content created by, for and with an 18-34 year-old audience. Our unique programming shows young adults what’s going on in their world, in their voice and from their perspective. With a substantial portion of the network’s content provided by our viewers, we’re the first TV network in history whose programming is supplied and selected in part by the very audience who watches it. Current is available in 29 million cable and satellite TV homes.

    Their on screen motion graphics were something to behold. All the edginess of MTV graphics, without out all the tackiness (OK, that’s a little bit of a shot at MTV, some of their stuff is well done. But I like Current’s better) is also something that’s visually impressive, but it could use a little clarity. In general, though, an impressive display all around.

    Something to be aware of.

    Hey, maybe they should hire Amanda Cogdon for some lighter side stuff. Nothing says video blog better than the face of the movement herself… and she’s in need of a West Coast job…

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Television · Web

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  16. Futurama back from the dead (false)

    brian on 2006.03.20 at 01:36 am

    Futurama is the latest cult-followed, but axed in its prime adult cartoon, that has risen from the grave, a la Family Guy.

    Rumor has it 26 new episodes are in the works.

    UPDATE Apparently, the voice-actor cited above jumped the gun, and in fact was wrong. Suppose it was too good to be true.

    Posted in: Television

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  17. Link Dump; Curve Ball, $ 10 Color, Cheap Fireflies, Magdalene Sisters

    jake on 2006.03.02 at 05:12 pm

    Well today is another birthday for me. I am now a whopping twenty-seven years old. I’ve discovered two new famous-ish people to add to the list of people who share my birthday.

    Here are the people I didn’t know…

    • Bryce Dallas HowardBryce Dallas Howard – Not only is she cute, but she’s going to play Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man 3. I guess I’ll have to start watching all her movies or something. One time this crazy lady at the store claimed I looked like Bryce’s dad, Ron Howard. I’m not sure what that lady was smoking.
    • Daniel Craig – Oh great, now I have to stick up for the new James Bond every keeps making fun of. Well maybe not that much…
    • Lou Reed – Co-founder of Velvet Underground
    • Tom Wolfe – Author of The Bonfire of the Vanities
    • John Irving – Author of The Cider House Rules
    • Heather McComb – Actress from a bunch of different random things. Also married to Dawson. He’s actually a few days older and originally from a neighboring town. And has a couple indirect connections with me.

    And the ones I already knew…

    And finally some random tidbits I wanted to share.

    Update: Added some more birthday people…

    Posted in: Movies · Recent Events · Science · Television

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  18. HD comes home

    brian on 2006.01.26 at 09:17 pm

    A few weeks ago I used my corporate discount to purchase a Panasonic LCD HDTV. It’s quite nice. But only today did I get my HD cable box form Comcast.

    I’ve been playing with it all afternoon. This evening, when my lovely fiancé arrived home, we tuned into a The Who concert on INHD. To quote Amanda…

    You can the spit and sweat flying off him!

    Yup. That about summarized HD for us. People look as sickening as they do in real life. The companies sell HD by saying it’s like looking out a window. It’s not that clear, but it’s damn nice.

    I personally have been infatuated with the 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound. That’s hot. Finally get to give my Yamaha Digital Receiver a work out. It’s great when a plan comes together…

    Lastly, I still have a SD TiVo. I’ll post again with all my wirings to set that up to use it to the best of its abilities.

    It wasn’t until today that I realized I’d be buying TiVo’s Series 3 HD DVR when it comes out… hopefully it’ll be just long enough for me to save up all my loose change… this is all slowly bleeding me poor.

    Posted in: Technology · Television

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  19. Family Guy, Bathroom privacy, Tim Tom Short, Jon Stewart, How cancer spreads, Ann Coulter at UConn

    jake on 2005.12.08 at 04:11 pm

    Oh baby I have a lot of tabs…

    • How to watch your new Family Guy DVD – Latest DVD for Family Guy has uncensored audio for some episodes.
    • Camera in School Bathroom (from Digg) – Interesting comments over on Digg. Though many are fairly judgemental. The story doesn’t reference location of the camera. It was placed in the bathroom to prevent vandalism supposedly. I can imagine a bunch of places a camera could be put in a boys bathroom in my old high school where you wouldn’t see the users in compromising positions. However, the student should not be suspended and the camera should have been divulged. Students knowing about it would also provide prevention.
    • Tim Tom (from Screenhead) – A wonderful little animated short making the rounds.
    • Jon Stewart Named NSCAA Honorary All-America (from gawker) – Holy crap! Jon Stewart used to play soccer (football) in college?

    Jon Stewart playing soccer many years ago.Before Stewart launched his highly successful comedic career, he played intercollegiate soccer at the College of William and Mary. As a member of The Tribe’s team from 1981 to 1983, he scored 10 goals and was credited with 12 assists for a total of 32 career points. As a senior, he scored William and Mary’s lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Connecticut which helped propel The Tribe to the ECAC title and the school’s second appearance in the NCAA tournament.

    • Scientists discover how cancer spreads (from Digg) – According to some of the comments on Digg it’s “old news.” Either way, it’s one of those things everyone should know about.
    • Coulter’s UConn Invitation Opposed (from Wonkette) – Hooray, students from my alma mater waste a lot of money and don’t actually do anything productive. Who cares if we can have a discussion, lets just scream at her till she goes away!

    Posted in: Television · Science · Politics

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  20. Firefly and Scrubs link dump

    jake on 2005.11.11 at 02:01 pm

    Just a couple quick links before I go out to lunch.

    Posted in: Television

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  21. Guns Germs and Steel

    brian on 2005.07.16 at 02:40 am

    If I make another PBS post, I may have to start a new category. I really enjoy watching PBS specials, but I get so hot and cold with it. It seems every other month they put on a bunch of shows I want to see… and then the next month it’s all British masterpiece mysteries… ugh.

    I tend to be more interested in their science, anthropology and nature shows. Some good travel and cooking shows, but I don’t TiVO those, just watch them if they’re on.

    Anyhow I enjoyed Jared Diamond’s Guns Germs and Steel. The first of the three episodes is showing this week. Here’s a snippet:

    Based on Jared Diamond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name, Guns, Germs and Steel traces humanity’s journey over the last 13,000 years – from the dawn of farming at the end of the last Ice Age to the realities of life in the twenty-first century.

    Inspired by a question put to him on the island of Papua New Guinea more than thirty years ago, Diamond embarks on a world-wide quest to understand the roots of global inequality.

    • Why were Europeans the ones to conquer so much of our planet?
    • Why didn’t the Chinese, or the Inca, become masters of the globe instead?
    • Why did cities first evolve in the Middle East?
    • Why did farming never emerge in Australia?
    • And why are the tropics now the capital of global poverty?

    Go forth and view.

    Posted in: Media · Science · Television

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  22. To Serve Man

    jake on 2005.05.31 at 03:44 pm

    Let’s try this again shall we? The post last night for Revenge of the Sith posted but ecto spit back some errors I couldn’t work out before having to get some sleep.

    To Serve Man

    There is an episode of The Twilight Zone —based on a short story—where aliens come to Earth and trick us into trusting them. Coincidentaly it was released on March 2nd, which happens to be my birthday. Not the same year of course.

    Mr. Chambers! Don’t get on that ship! The rest of the book, “To Serve Man”, it’s… it’s a cookbook!

    I’m not sure if it’s just a coincidense but that is what the Billboard Liberation Front put on their protest of McDonald’s corporation.

    From: Boing Boing

    Posted in: Recent Events · Television

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  23. Missing links from this week

    brian on 2005.05.27 at 11:25 am

    Here are two links I’ve been meaning to blog for the past few days.

    The World’s wind can produce more energy than humans currently consume.

    Researchers at Stanford Univ. have done an exhaustive yet conservative estimate of the world’s potential in wind power. The conclusion: we can get more than we need, if we just tap the resource.

    The map, compiled by researchers at Stanford University, shows wind speeds at more than 8,000 sites around the world. The researchers found that at least 13 percent of those sites experience winds fast enough to power a modern wind turbine. If turbines were set up in all these regions, they would generate 72 terawatts of electricity, according to the researchers.

    That’s more than five times the world’s energy needs, which was roughly 14 terawatts in 2002, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

    Gimme the Geospacial Web!

    Tagging and “folksonomy” are huge right now, an explosion of meta data, tagging things in Flickr, Technorati, But what if we extended this idea to provide information about meatspace, the real world? GEOurl is one example of this now, but things could become much more rich.

    ‘Tag the world’ is sentiment of Mike Liebhold, writing on the O’Reilly Network. Let’s describe our world. Let’s have things like WiFi be contextually aware, that is to say, they contain information about where they are, for those who are nearby. Things like Google Maps are just barely scratching the surface of what Mike is proposing. Combine GPS, WLAN, RFID, mapping servers, GIS info, and embed them in everything. The cyber spills out and becomes real in the physical space. Have a look for yourself.

    …we can see the beginning shapes of a true geospatial web, inhabited by spatially tagged hypermedia as well as digital map geodata. Google Maps is just one more layer among all the invisible cartographic attributes and user annotations on every centimeter of a place and attached to every physical thing, visible and useful, in context, on low-cost, easy-to-use mobile devices. In a recent email, Nat Torkington, organizer of the upcoming Where 2.0 conference, said it this way: “Everything is somewhere. Whether you’re talking about assets, people, phone calls, pets, earthquakes, fire sales, bank robberies, or famous gravestones, they all have a location attached. And everything we touch in our lives, from groceries to digital photos, could have a location. From these locations we could learn a lot more about ourselves and build new economies.”

    Posted in: Science · Technology · Television · Web

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  24. F*ck Comcast.

    jake on 2005.03.20 at 11:09 pm

    I’ve really got stop swearing on here. It didn’t bother me quite as much when we were discussing politics all the time, but when it’s Television and it doesn’t involve something to make you cry, it’s a little harder to rationalize.

    I brought this up before when the merger happened, I’ve never been a fan of G4. Never. I thought, hey, maybe I’ll give them a chance now that they own a bunch of shows I like.

    So far all they’ve proven is that the only reason they bought TechTV to begin with was because their channel sucked and they wanted a quick way to increase their viewers. Now they have killed off all programming involving technology and intelligence.

    So long G4. Not like I watched you to begin with, but you haven’t done a single thing to promote me watching you now either. Oh yeah, Resident Evil 4 is a fun game. You should give it a try if you own a GameCube.

    Posted in: Technology · Television

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  25. Stewart on Blogging and Josh Gannon

    brian on 2005.02.19 at 10:45 pm

    1. Watch Jon Stewart on Blogging
    2. Laugh ass off.

    Posted in: Humor · Media · Politics · Television · Web

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  26. Too many tabs

    jake on 2005.02.09 at 02:23 pm

    I really need to restart my machine after downloading all those updates at work… So before I do that I thought I’d throw out a bunch of tabs that don’t require they’re own post.

    • Lampoon’s ‘Blackball’ Tests Film Release Standards – in an interesting move they are releasing the DVD of the movie 4 days after it hits theaters. We’re almost to ““Instant cassettes”:” Naturally it makes more sense to buy a DVD of a movie for $15 when it costs $10 a ticket at the theater. Movie studios don’t necessarily need to do this. But they defintely need to evaluate their practices. With all the previews and commercials… God… it drives me batty…
    • Chris Noth returning to ‘L&O’ fold – Sweet, I always was a fan of Detective Logan. Even if it is on a sister show it’s nice to see an old character come back.
    • Secure wireless email on Mac OS X – If you like your email secure it’s a nice extension to Brian’s Tutorial
    • Boy’s drive steers attention – Man this kid is determined. I probably would have just cried if my parents took away my video games when I was 4. From: joystiq

    Posted in: Humor · Movies · Television

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  27. Wrestle Control of your TV

    brian on 2004.12.02 at 01:48 am

    "If this thing didn't run Windows, I'd be all over it in a second": . Seriously, Linux DVR hackers... get to work. This is the only thing that can save us from the corporations coming together and ruling what we watch on TV... so long as "Alienware": can stay up and independent, and someone can put _anything_ but Windows Media Center.

    And while they're out there... mind as well enable some open formats (MPEG4 etc) and toss that Intel chip for something that runs cooler... but I'd deal with the first two of the three as a first step...

    Posted in: Media · Technology · Television

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  28. Livestrong Bike on American Chopper

    jake on 2004.10.05 at 12:08 am

    In related news to our most popular post tonight on the Discovery Channel they have a second part to the American Chopper guys working on a Lance Armstrong Bike. And if you miss it at 10 o'clock tonight there is a list of when they're re-airing it.

    Posted in: Sports · Television

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  29. Alias in hiding

    brian on 2004.09.11 at 02:15 am

    If you, like me, love the ABC show Alias, then you were probably wondering when it's fourth season would be starting up. Well, it won't be on again this year. The start of the fourth season will air in January 2005, and will have no reruns. Much the way some cable shows have been aired, for example, The Sopranos. Apparently, since much of Alias is shot on location, it's easier to get them all taped first, then air them.

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  30. Return to the Titanic

    brian on 2004.06.12 at 09:31 pm

    I'm lucky enough today to catch National Geographic's Return to the Titanic. I say that, because I actually know Dr. Robert Ballard, the guy who discovered the Titanic's final resting spot. He's a very friendly gentlemen, and a customer of my family's hardware store in Old Lyme, CT. We're lucky enough that he decided to set up shop at the Mystic Aquarium, not far from my hometown. Dr. Ballard has started the Institute for Exploration at the Mystic Aquarium, which is a whole new wing at the aquarium. Wonderful to visit if you're in the area. Dr. Ballard also started The JASON Project, an educational organization started n 1989 after Ballard received thousands of letters from school children wanting to know how he discovered the RMS Titanic. It is headquartered in Needham, MA.

    I think his work and my own dovetail nicely, and maybe one day our pathes may cross. Apple imaging, scientific and web technology are a perfect compliment to his work, and I hope one day I'll get to discuss that with him the next time we meet. Hey, if the institute needs a tech guy, or two web developers, I can name two quick. If you're out there, drop us a line!

    Posted in: Science · Television

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  31. Epson builds 40" OLED Television

    jake on 2004.05.19 at 01:07 pm

    Sieko Epson OLED TelevisionMaybe I should make a category just for stuff about OLEDs. Epson demoes a 40" display, the largest thus far. Originally I read that the process for producing an OLED display was not as complecx as a LCD, clean rooms are less necessary. So the price would be less, but now they're saying it'll be comperable to an LCD. Great, the one thing I wish I could have is better, in theory, to current technology, but still costs $10,000 at Best Buy. Ugh.

    From: Gizmodo

    Update: Right after I finished this I noticed Engadget also had a post about this TV. It also includes a couple more links to information.

    Posted in: Technology · Television

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  32. Colonial House

    brian on 2004.05.18 at 03:17 am

    Hey, so I'm late to the game, but I watched my first episode of Colonial House on PBS tonight. Basically, its a reality series done right. And by saying I'm late to the game, I mean I didn't see an episode of Frontier House, Manor House, nor 1900s House. I heard of Frontier House, and that it was well done.

    Basically, if you haven't put two and two together, Colonial House is a bunch of present day Americans and Brits who volunteer to "go back in time" and try to be a colony in the new world. The eight-episode series was filmed over a five-month period in 2003 on an isolated stretch of the Maine coast. Everything is old (except for the boom cameras and mics, I suppose), from the tools, to the rules (including mandatory religion, which is funny because some left England because they didn't agree with the mandatory religion, among other reasons), to the salt-preserved food. There are even natives, who trade maize for flour, and bring a gift of fresh killed muskrat. Surprisingly, the pilgrims really enjoyed it. Even if they had to gut and skin it themselves. Of course, that's the point: they took two weeks of 1628 school at Plimouth Plantation where they learned the ways of the pilgrims, and how to fend for themselves.

    Terribly interesting. Of course, "check your local listings" but in general its shown mini-series like: May 17, 18, 24, 25, 2004
    8-10pm on PBS. For Boston locals, our wonderful GBH is showing it also at 10pm-12am.

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  33. My comments about NBC and Tivo

    jake on 2004.05.07 at 12:37 pm

    4 Friends looking around door.I'm curious about this post over at Boing Boing. It sounds very crazy conpiracy to me. While it is possible that it could be NBC trying to mess with Tivo, or NBC trying to boost ratings, this has been like that for weeks for me on Cox communications. I only have a VCR to record my programs with, but I've been noticing the weird time slots for months, so it's not like they did it just for the finale of Friends last night. OR am I just special to have seen this before? My 2¢.

    Posted in: Rant · Television

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  34. Tab clean-up

    jake on 2004.05.02 at 03:28 am

  35. Posted in: Apple · Photography · Technology · Television

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  36. NECN Replies, With Class.

    brian on 2004.04.16 at 03:51 pm

    Well it's nice to see that a smaller network will reply, and quite quickly, to a concerned viewer. I received a note from their Station Manager shortly after emailing them the aforementioned rant.

    In the interests of equal time, their reply is below (formatting in context).

    Dear Brian, thanks for writing us. I am the News Director of NECN and have been for the past twelve years. I can assure you that Comcast's partial ownership of NECN has had no influence on our news coverage. Whenever we need to cover something regarding Comcast, we always reveal our ownership. It was not subtle but right up front before the piece aired. If you read the Boston Globe's article on the front page of their Business Page, you will find that they covered this story very similarly to our report. Indeed, we talked to an analyst from Forrester Research about the significant concerns of our industry regarding advertiser support for VOD. As to Satellite, yes, it can respond two say but limitations on bandwith make VOD impractical or impossible. You will not find VOD as a service on DBS anytime in the coming years. As to Giant Glass, I could not agree with you more. In fact, we are working with them on a new ad because we get so much feedback from viewers like you.  So, I want you to know that NECN will continue to adhere to our values of depth, context and quality.  We will not chase every car crash and fire as so many other local outlets do. We will take the time to tell stories well.  I'm sorry to hear you will not continue to watch NECN. I sincerely hope you find an alternative outlet that better serves your interests. With all best regards. Charles Kravetz, VP of News and Station Manager.

    My reply was as such (definitions added for the blog only, emphasis for formatting only, as well):

    Dear Charles,

    I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to address my concerns.

    {Quote}Whenever we need to cover something regarding Comcast, we always reveal our ownership. It was not subtle but right up front before the piece aired.{End Quote}

    Correct, you did reveal it, but it was in passing, and not as up front as most stations do, when talking about their owners. In your case, the anchor read the disclaimer right inline in a sentence, "...Comcast, an owner of NECN, is introducing..." as opposed to, say, ABC's coverage of the Disney/Eisner episodes, where someone like Peter Jennings would introduce the piece. Pause (which I think is key, to set it apart from the rest of the introduction), and right before the video rolled, would say "Let it be noted that Disney is the parent company of ABC." Then the video would roll. In my opinion, your disclaimer was not obvious enough. In situations like these, which are becoming increasingly too common (NBC reporting on GE, CNN on anything Turner related, CBS on Viacom... my head is beginning to hurt), I think the disclaimers need to be very, very clear. It's murky waters to report on one's owners (how can one be unbiased, or disclose bad news about their owner? Would you report if VOD was shorting out people's TV sets?)

    {Quote}You will not find VOD as a service on DBS anytime in the coming years {End Quote}

    Personally, I don't see Comcast VOD as news-worthy. Perhaps the overall movement by media providers, cable and satellite to provide their customers with more control over their TV watching, that might be worth a story.

    This is what makes this whole story so murky to come from a Comcast subsidiary: What your report failed to mention, is that, no, VOD isn't coming to satellite soon, but DirectTV will basically give you a digital TiVO for a couple dollars a month extra, and then you can record, pause live tv, do anything, to any network, at anytime, and even store it as long as you want, without DirectTV or Hughes telling you which of the limited stations you can do this on. (same with other satellite providers)

    That's sounds a lot more flexible to me than VOD controlled by Comcast. But all your story said was "you won't find this on Satellite" which is true, but totally misleading. And then consider the source: a news network owned by, surprise! Comcast! So even if your parent didn't know you were airing this piece (and of course, they did, since you interviewed someone from there), to the viewers who realize the relationship, and know the full story, it looks fishy. TiVO is becoming a cultural phenomenon, and like Google, is become part of America's vocabulary. To not mention satellite's adoption of it, which is a direct answer to VOD, is not fair. Sounds like an ad for cable. Especially when Comcast advertises "You won't find NECN on Satellite." That's my problem with this story.

    In summary, if I were in your position, I wouldn't put my network into the position of reporting on its parent company, unless, like in the ABC situation, there's something big going on, that another network would also report.

    {Quote}As to Giant Glass, I could not agree with you more.{End Quote}

    This may single handedly win me back.


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  37. Comcast Takes NECN Down the Tubes

    brian on 2004.04.16 at 02:43 pm

    Since moving to Boston, I have watched NECN for my morning news. When their owner was bought by Comcast, I was leery. I decided to keep watching until something happened to confirm my suspicions. That happened today. Below is my letter to NECN saying goodbye.

    I just finished watching your story on Comcast On-Demand. I am really, really disappointed. This isn't journalism, it's a flipping info-mercial for your owner. Your disclaimer at the beginning of the story was subtle to say the least. I had to use my TiVo to go back and see if it was even there. You even bashed on satellite providers, ("Their customers can't feedback, since the connection is one way" -- which isn't true, you have a phoneline connection to your provider) just like an actual Comcast advertisement. It's really sickening. You've lost all journalistic integrity, in my opinion.

    The only reason I watched NECN is because it's generally unhyped local news, plus I'm originally from Connecticut, so it's nice hear something about the rest of New England on top of the three murders in Boston today. Well, since your transfer to ownership by Comcast, my opinion is sliding. Basically, I was afraid of their influence on the content (that's THE reason I don't watch the CN8 channel), but until today, I found their influence minimal. Now it's gone too far, and I suppose its time to find a new local news source. Preferably one without Giant Glass commercials which make me scream and change the channel each time I see them. Someone should tell them their annoying commercials are sticking in potential customer minds, but when I needed glass work, I purposely *avoided* them, since they've made my mornings nearly unbearable with their "jingle."

    One last criticism, I hate that your show is taped and looped till noon. It should be live and change through the morning. But I guess that won't bother me anymore.

    One more lost viewer,


    Brookline, MA

    If you too are a disgruntled and now former viewer of NECN, they can be reached at

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  38. Interview with spokesman of G4 tv about merger

    jake on 2004.04.15 at 01:21 am

    This pretty much solidifies my fears about the merger. David Shane spends most of the interview proclaiming the greatness of G4 and how the new merged channel will revolve around video games. My brothers agree with me that G4 is pretty crappy channel. Last time I watched it there was a couple decent shows and a bunch of hosts who looked like they walked in off the street. And while I enjoy X-Play on TechTV, devoting a whole channel to games and reducing the general technology shows is a bad idea. If things go down the way this guy is talking, they might lose one of their "44 million" viewers.

    I hope I'm wrong and the channel takes the best of both and creates something new and great. This geek is keeping his fingers crossed.

    Posted in: Technology · Television

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  39. The Donald's Reality: A Hoax

    brian on 2004.04.10 at 02:26 am

    NBCs and Donald Trump's The Apprentice is fixed. At least according to this first hand account of the down stairs neighbor of Brooklyn brownstone seen in the renting episode. Apparently the renter had already agreed to one rent, but had to appear on the show and fake taking the place at a higher one. Sad, but that's par for course the Donald. A hoax.

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  40. The Worst Kind of Propaganda

    brian on 2004.02.27 at 03:45 am

    Bush Backs New Terrorism TV Series.

    ...government agencies have rallied their resources and support behind the vision of DHS--The Series, including President G. W. Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, who both endorse and contribute sound bites to the introductions of the series."

    When asked to elaborate on Bush and Ridge's involvement, show representatives told E! Online, "They love it. They think it is fantastic,"

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Television

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  41. Pulling closed captioning on various programming

    jake on 2004.02.17 at 12:15 pm

    I came across an interesting post about a bunch of shows losing closed captioning. I'm not sure what to make of it, I found it first at Boing Boing, which led me to a post at Neil Gaiman's blog. This pointed out an article and the list of actual shows "censored."

    Of course everyone is chiming in with opinions. So far I've seen a bunch of stuff about the lack of programming containing witchcraft material. But it goes a lot further that that. And mostly it doesn't make sense.

    It's based on five people who don't know each other and didn't have any collaboration, probably they were asked to take an overly simplified survey.

    We have found the identity of one of the panelists. This individual tells us that he never knew he was on such a panel and that his views would be used for censorship. No panel was convened. The five panelists were contacted individually and separately.

    Along with the witchcraft shows, a bunch of cartoons, including The Simpsons and Scooby Doo were flagged, and a lot of sports programming. Mostly live telecasts of events. Which is going to go over well in bars where you can't hear the audio.

    The big thing I noticed was the discrepancies... some shows that were flagged while similar ones were not. The writers pointing out witchraft mentioned that Sabrina is being blocked. But only " Sabrina, The Animated Series" is mentioned. So syndicated versions of the live action (yes I know they were closed captioned in the past) are still going to be able to taint our youth. ;)

    But beyond that smaller problem I have trouble believing this one... A show that is still being cc'd is Amazing Animal Videos, a show where you watch family pets and the occasional wild animal do something stupid on camera.

    See some amazing videos of animals of every shape and size misbehaving and acting out of character. With interviews explaining the stories behind the footage.

    While two other programs, Emergency Vets and K9 to 5 are not being cc'd. This is odd when you consider the comment that was made to the The National Association of the Deaf

    The National Association of the Deaf says the government used to caption these shows but abruptly changed course, deciding that the shows don't fit the required definition of "educational, news or informational" programming.

    Am I wrong in thinking that closed captioning programs should be covered by the Disability Act? I'm not sure where all this is going, but censoring any show, regardless of content, should not happen.

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  42. The Debate and the Shake-up

    brian on 2004.01.30 at 03:38 am

    I was just watching the TiVo and its recording of the South Carolina Democratic Presidential Debate. Two things of note: One, wow, Sharpton really sounded like a serious candidate tonight. He definitely "won." However, if he was really serious about winning the race, he'd campaign to an additional 86% of the populace.

    Two, John Edwards definitely went up to Dean right after the debate, and I read his lips, and they said "Call Me." Dean shook his head, knowingly. If Dean had to pair up with anyone, as 1st or 2nd string, I think Edwards would be the best pairing. I can deal with Edwards, as he seems genuine (of course, they train you to do that in Law School). But I don't think he has enough experience in leading, well, anything. One term in Congress doesn't prove as much as, say, 11 years of balanced budgets on your record as Governor. Edwards would make a charismatic number two, though.

    As for the shake up, an interesting piece of thought on the state of the campaign. 625,000+ donating Americans aren't dead yet. especially with, oh, 92% of the delegates up for grabs. My opinion is that the Governor just needs to win the war of attrition, and I think he's the only one with the staying power to do so. Clinton took a lot more shit than Dean has. He made it through, and with a lot less conviction on his part, and enthusiasm on the part of his supporters.

    If Kerry's elected, he'll be ripped apart by Bush. He's the perfect punching bag (a wish-washy Massachusetts-elitist-liberal, who voted with the President, and as the winds blew!) The Republicans purposely said they wanted Dean to compete against as reverse-psychology. And its working. In reality, if Dean was the nominee, people would see he's not some whacko, have to actually look at his records and his stances on the issues. Once they see that he's what America needs the most right now, he'd run Bush through the ringer. I'd pay big bucks for even a bleacher seat for that debate. Dean would flatten him (with that afore mentioned ringer). God forbid we have an intelligent President.

    To recap: Dean can stand up to Bush, Kerry is a disaster waiting to happen. He won't even need buddy Michael Dukakis' tank helmet. He'll do it with his own hair-helmet. Look at the issues, and vote your hopes, not your fears. Think it through!!

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  43. Feedback on CNN's NH Primary Coverage

    brian on 2004.01.28 at 03:04 am


    To the point: wow, Bob Novak is a moron. Dean, dead? Well, gee, wasn't it two weeks ago that Kerry was dead? Yeah, you guys are brilliant. How about less "commentary" and "analysis," which are really "biased opinion" (Novak, as a hard-core conservative sounds like he's writing Dean's epitaph since he's scared of him, and wants to convince Dems to defeat their strongest fighter. That way he'll continue to get tips from inside the White House so he can out more CIA operatives and endanger their lives and those of the Americans they work for. All while upping Novak's personal standing and perhaps wealth. )


    How about some more news? The candidates in their own words, not sound bites? How about investigating their claims, reporting facts? How did you guys let Bush off the hook for going AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard, but even tonight keep playing the Dean Scream? Is this Fair and Balanced? In the Fox News sense, absolutely. The "scream" is not pertinent. It's not news. You're skipping things that actually matter to Americans, and cramming junk down their throats.

    I'm happy for myself, since you're junk news reporting during the primaries turned me on to CSPAN. However, since most people don't even know what CSPAN is, I am scared for the future of America that only knows its news through your distorted lens. You've lost this viewer. And I tell all my friends.

    Brian Christiansen

    Brookline, MA

    [weblog note: I sent this right before posting it here. I don't feel like annotating it, in typical weblog style. It's likely all things you've seen before.]

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Television

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  44. Fox News Sues Franken

    brian on 2003.08.17 at 11:30 am

    You can’t even name your own book in this country anymore. Fox News Channel is suing Al Franken over the title of his new book, “Lies and the Lying Liars that Tell Them, A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.”

    FNC uses “Fair and Balanced” as a tagline of theirs. Of course, anyone who’s ever watched FNC knows that this is the funniest tagline they could have chosen. The claim the title plus the layout of the cover (resembling one by Bill O’Reilly, one of their commentators) will some how mislead the public in to somehow thinking this trumpeter of all things conservative has suddenly endorsed the ideas of one of the most liberal minds on the national scene.

    Of course, that’s hogwash. And you know, we should really step up and protect corporations like FNC from individual citizens like Franken. (see Daily Show, 6mb QT video clip)

    Posted in: Politics · Television

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  45. Monk

    brian on 2003.08.16 at 01:17 am

    If you're not familiar with Adrian Monk, you should really tune in. Quite enjoyable.

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  46. Tobacco firm courting celebrities toward brand

    jake on 2003.08.08 at 06:17 pm

    Freedom Tobacco is making an attempt to push its new cigarettes with adult celebrities. If you are to believe the study(1) recently concluded, this is a side step to advertising to a young audience.

    I can see where activists have a problem with this. If the study's results are accurate then teens watching celebrities smoke onscreen will emulate them. And what are you most likely to smoke if you learn from a celebrity. Whatever they're having.

    Posted in: Movies · Politics · Television

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  47. MTV does Spider Man

    jake on 2003.07.10 at 04:59 pm

    Tomorrow night is the premiere of a new Spider-Man cartoon on MTV. I guess I better set my VCR since I'll be out. It looks to be done in 3D with cell shading. The video they have on the web site looks a little rough around the edges. It looks more like I'm watching a video game versus a real cartoon. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt since I'm such a big fan of all things Spidey.

    One of the interesting things is the cast. What seem to be the main three characters, voiceovers consist of, Peter (Neil Patrick Harris,) MJ (Lisa Loeb,) Harry (Ian Ziering.) And apparently Peter and MJ are already dating, no build up of their relationship. Some plot modifications in general I guess.

    I'll just keep my fingers crossed. July 11th, 10:00pm EST.

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  48. FCC does it anyway

    brian on 2003.06.03 at 01:30 am

    Today, as expected, the FCC went ahead with its changes to media conglomeration rules, against bipartisan objection. Now it's up to the Congress to do something, as this is the American public's only recourse.

    Washington Post's Story.

    Dan Gilmor's Take.

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Television

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  49. The Big Ten (media)

    brian on 2003.05.30 at 03:12 pm

    Not a post about collegiate sports, this is all about the media. Ten major corporations control a huge amount of what you see daily.

    This is along the lines of They Rule and a post from about a week ago, here.

    Posted in: Politics · Technology · Television

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  50. Conan in Clay

    brian on 2003.05.13 at 08:00 pm

    NBC's late, late night show hosted by Conan O'Brien will air a rerun this Thursday, but not in the typical sense. The show will be a 100% claymation recreation of an October 2002 show. I'll be tuning in.

    Posted in: Television

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  51. Ren & Stimpy Coming Back

    jake on 2003.04.30 at 06:47 pm

    TNN has three animation shows coming on June 26th. One of which is Ren & Stimpy. It is geared more towards adults, which most of the original audience now are.

    The page has a little blurb and a promo mpeg.

    Posted in: Television

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  52. Mr. Rogers has died.

    jake on 2003.02.27 at 01:36 pm

    Mr. RogersWell before I post some random stuff, I thought it more fitting to start with a sort of tribute. Fred Rogers passed away early this morning. I was a bit confused by the radio this morning. On a local station, they re-ran an interview they had with him a while back. And I came in during the middle of it. so I had no idea it was commemorating his death.

    It's a terrible thing, I imagine my future kids will watch reruns of him when they're young.

    He died of stomach cancer at age 74.


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