Tag Archives: Entertainment

Jupiter Broadcasting Gives Away a Popcorn Hour

Jupiter Broadcasting, the group of guys behind the Linux Computer Action Show, CastaBlasta and a range of other great internet entertainment announced a few months ago that they were giving away a Popcorn Hour media player to one lucky YouTube subscriber.

They announced the winner on Friday:

And that lucky winner was…Me! I’m super excited about this great prize for several reasons.

Currently, we consume our movies and television shows on my wife’s Macbook. This is a pretty great setup, but it can become a little uncomfortable at times. With the Popcorn Hour, we can now watch all of our media on the TV in our room. And I do mean ALL of our media:

  • MPEG1/2/4
  • MP3
  • AVI
  • ASF
  • WMV
  • MOV
  • H.264
  • XviD
  • AAC
  • WAV
  • JPEG
  • and more

We don’t own an HDTV, but this is thing is capable of pumping out 1080p signal. This will be great when we want to watch something over at my dad’s (he owns a GIANT Sony Bravia HDTV). Whereas previously we would have had to resample an AVI video and burn it to a DVD to experience it at my dad’s house, now I can throw a hard drive in the Popcorn Hour and lug it on down to his house.

I can’t wait to review this unit, and really get down in the trenches with its functionality.

So, thanks Bryan and Chris, you guys completely rock!

Do You Need To Change The World?

I’ve been listening to two stellar podcasts lately: Planetary Radio and Are We Alone? Each time I listen to these shows, the scientist inside of me is rekindled, and I feel like society is taking a turn for the better because of the science happening on this planet and elsewhere in the universe.

After listening to Planetary Radio, I got to thinking (dangerous, I know) about what I am doing, and how it’s far from changing the world. I write this blog, work part-time as a web developer and write fiction in my spare time. Aside from being a father and a husband, is there anything that makes an impact on other people?

So here is the question: do you need to change the world in order to make a difference and stay happy?
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Audio in Modern Computing

With all the focus today on creating modern and more interactive interfaces with the computing platforms we use on a daily basis, it seems to me that we are focusing mostly on the senses of touch and sight, and neglecting the roll that sound could play in the way we use our computing devices.

I realize that most devices are targeted to work with a large variety of consumers, thus allowing someone to use a PC without needing to be able to experience audio-specific cues, but I have to wonder what sort of new ideas could come out of modern interface design if developers were allowed to use audio in a more functional manner.

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Software Spotlight: RadicalCodex

RadicalCodex 1.0

RadicalCodex 1.0

There has been a lot of controversy lately about the viability of commercial, closed source applications running on Linux as a platform. The purists believe that all closed source applications are inherently evil, and should not be allowed to run on Linux, as it spoils the world of freedom. The other side of the coin are the people thinking about the future of Linux as a viable platform for even our grandparents to use.

I subscribe to the latter point of view. I’d like to point out one amazingly awesome piece of closed source commercial software for Linux.

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Entertainment: Audio Books – Sherlock Holmes

Today is a scheduled Entertainment blog day. Instead of just droning on about how I love this show or that, I’m going to change pace a bit.

Over the past year or so, I have been reading physical books as well as listening to audio books while in my car. This allows me to get through my vast “to read” library, as well as using the otherwise idle time in my car to full advantage. I’ve read quite a few books this way over the past year:

As you can plainly see, I have been using my time wisely while driving. Though most sessions are a few minutes here, a few minutes there, I am able to get through a few books in short order. This is a freedom I would never be allowed if I were to have to sit and read a physical book.

One thing that I love most about audio books is when an audio book is properly executed by a great actor. Throughout the 4 novels and 56 short stories, the same reader did an admirable job at all the voices and characters that were involved. The characters of Holmes & Watson are completely believable in their mannerisms, and it is apparent that the reader did in fact do his homework and practiced a good bit to bring such a polished narrative to my ears.

The four novels and fifty-six short stories that I heard are considered the “canon” of the Holmes adventures, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself.

This massive set of adventures is truly some of the most remarkable writing I have had the pleasure to know. I am completely astounded that these works fell under my radar for so long, and only wished that I had encountered them earlier in life.

A description of Sherlock Holmes is surely not needed to anyone on the planet who enjoys novels, or even the radio and television adaptations of said novels. It is readily apparent to me that there have been so many derivative characters made from this one person, that it seems the crime novel genre has been seeded by these early works.

The only thing wrong with reading these is that I now have an even higher standard when looking for a good detective novel for listening on a long trip. There is so much drivel out there, and I’ve come across far too many audio books that I’ve listened to the first CD of, and completely abandoned it after hearing the poor writing style of the author.

I know I’ve become a snob about such things, but writing is hard. In writing my own novels, I know that it takes a lot of work, research, and dedication to produce something that is not entirely meaningless. I’m sure it’s hard to not pander to the lower intellects out there, but true writers have been doing it for years, and I see no reason to stoop to the level of the “average” American.

All diatribes aside, if you have a chance to read or listen to the vast collection of the Sherlock Holmes saga, I think you should take that chance, and you surely will not regret it. Possibly the best fiction that I have had the pleasure to know in my entire life.

Next, I will be turning my attentions to yet another set of classics:

Though I have read these in the past, it has been a very long time. I think I will enjoy these as much as anything else I have read in recent times. Expect reviews of each in the future.

Changes

I’ve decided to make a few changes about how I am presenting posts here on this blog. As it stands now, everything is just pretty much random, without any kind of schedule. This definitely feels sloppy to me.

So, I’m going to be changing things up with the content to try to get myself into the writing mood in a new way. I’ve already been chugging along with the 60 Days, 60(+) Posts initiative, and will be reaching that point a bit earlier than expected. I want to see how many posts I can do in 60 days, and the easiest way to do that, in my opinion, is to do a different category post for each day of the week.

Right now, I’m featuring a Project Vision of the iGoverness idea. I have 6 or 7 other project ideas that will span 3 or 4 posts of about 1000 words each when they are featured. This is by far the largest category that I will be writing in.

Also, I have been writing quite a few Entertainment articles lately. I am messing with a bit of re-categorization with these posts, so that I can better present my opinions of the TV Shows, Movies and Video Games.

And finally, I have been doing Software Spotlights on the software that I use on a daily basis. I have quite a few more of these, as I use Windows, Mac OS X and Linux every day, and each has its own program set. Expect to see a large number of posts in this category.

So, I am toying with, and implementing a new release structure based on the days of the week:

  • Monday – Project Visions
  • Tuesday – Software Spotlight
  • Wednesday – Project Visions
  • Thursday – Entertainment: TV Shows
  • Friday – Project Visions
  • Saturday – Software Spotlight
  • Sunday – Entertainment: Movies

This is just a tentative schedule at this point, but one that I hope to stick to for a long time coming. Because of the sheer size of the Project Visions category, it will be featured 3 times a week.

The Entertainment: Movies category will be done on Sunday, as almost weekly we are treated to dinner and a movie by my father and stepmother. I would like to make this a mainstay, as we do see a lot of movies in our day-to-day life.

This accounts for one post a day, which should be a fine pace. Any other posts will be done in the mean time, and I fully expect to have 2 posts a day almost regularly.

So, with this restructuring in mind, I will be posting the third installment of the iGoverness idea today, and the fourth on Monday. I invite you to weigh in on this idea, and let me know what you think.