Tuesday, June 29, 2010

R2-X2 (Red TEN!)

Sitting at my desk at work on a goddamn conference call. Extraordinarily BORING. And i believe that this has very little to do with my actual job. Although its kind of cool to be in on the decisions being made on software that before a couple months ago did not exist. Usually when a company 'upgrades' their software some one comes in and just trains you on it, right? But i get to be witness to the detailed un-awesomness that is picking apart a web-based program/database that will eventually be used by thousands of people.

but I digest.

What i was going to write about here was the A-W-E-S-O-M-E astromech droid that i bought last night at the Wally-World. (Also, expect some tweets and maybe a blog post about how the new yellow and green color palate that my WalMart is getting as part of its renovation makes me want to jab my eyes out with a titanium spork.)

From Empty Lighter

(Note to self: quit getting distracted, you're on a godalmightyboringconferencecallbytheway)

So, I was sent on a late night run to the WalMart for an undisclosed reason, and after taking care of that which needed attention I somehow found myself staring at the limited number of Star Wars toys that were awaiting the arrival of their newest cousins due in August (including the $35 Boba Fett helmet that my wife has promised me for my birthday this year).

"the Star Wars BOBA FETT HELMET allows children to pretend to be their favorite bounty hunter." -not to mention the parents who have wanted a Boba Fett helmet since nineteen-fucking-eighty.

So, there's not much on the shelf, and pickin's are extremely slim. But hey, whats that? laying over on the side, almost in the whatever-toy-is-to-the-left-of-the-star-wars-toys, is this little guy:

From Empty Lighter

Say hi R2!
Basically, I'm sort of allowed to buy myself an action figure under 2 sets of circumstance: 1) if Dylan is with me, he gets one too. 2) If he isn't with me, I have to remember to get him something later. He's not that into SW figures, so maybe I'll get him a Transformer later in the week. I figure, hey I'm here by myself (for once) and no one really needs to know that I'm adding to my slow growing collection of obscure astromechs. I think he's pretty cool. Although until about an hour ago i didn't realize WHO's droid it was. The uncredited X-Wing fighter, Red Ten, Theron Nett. I was secretly hoping for Porkins. But apparently he had an R5 series astromech, and I've never liked the design of those. meh.

According to Wookipedia:
"The call-sign was used by the Rebel Alliance's Theron Nett when he flew during the Battle of Yavin. R2-X2 was Red Ten's on-board astromech droid unit during the Battle of Yavin. Nett was killed in the assault against the Death Star"

This is the pilot who was blown away while escorting Red Leader through the Trench. According to some sites, he is also the guy in the Death Star meeting who complained about the opening being only 2 meters. After which of course, Luke Skywalker had to go off about how he killed rats back home (2 meter rats? ~6.5 feet long??) Still, I haven't found the exact confirmation I need. Several websites are a little confused as to who's who, and who is played by who.

Since Red Ten is uncredited in the movie... and I can't find any confirmed pictures of Mauy Chaykin. (unless this is a misspelling of Maury Chaykin who is a tremendous actor... Nero Wolf?)... I'm going to go with what we have.


OK, this post kind of languished a bit when my conference call got WAY off topic and I bolted. Now its day two...

Basically, this new R2 gets added to my (small) droid collection which also features R2-B1 (One of the droids who died valiantly trying to fix Amidala's cruiser during her escape from Naboo near the beginning of Episode I), as well as an R4-G9. My collection is tiny compared to others... No R2-D2, I just realized. Thinking of adding the R2-KT droid to a collection that will go to my daughter when she is old enough to not put action figures in her mouth, but we'll see :)

In the mean time, I've told Dylan that he can get his own R2 unit, so i might scrounge around tah interwebs to find one suitable. He should definitely have an R2-D2, and perhaps one or two others?

Any one have their own personal favorite Astromech Droid?

Sent through GMAIL, w00t!!

re: And who wants a PINK astromech droid?

I have a whole post about Atsromech Droids almost ready to go, but for now whet your whistle on this:
posted from GMAIL, w00t!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dirty Rooms?

There is a file on one of our company servers called "LIST OF DIRTY ROOMS"
Which prompts me to ask: How dirty are they?

Posted from GMAIL, w00t!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

DRM is Incompatible With Modern Life (a short essay)

According to Wikipedia, DRM is defined as:
"Digital rights management (DRM) is a generic term for access control technologies that can be used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals to impose limitations on the usage of digital content and devices."

PC Mag Encyclopedia defines as:
"(Digital Rights Management) A system for authorizing the viewing or playback of copyrighted material on a user's computer or digital music player."

Two very distinct views of what DRM is, and how it is used. The Wikipedia editors seem to have negative bias against it, since it's a way to 'impose limitations' (also noted on the current page: This article's Criticism or Controversy section(s) may mean the article does not present a neutral point of view). But really, if you do a search for DRM you will probably find more negative articles than positive ones. In fact, doing a quick Google search reveals a page of either definitions, articles on why its bad and why it should be abolished, or questions asking what it is in the first place. Not to mention about a thousand sites telling you how to REMOVE DRM.

So, going with the PC Mag version of the definition "A system for authorizing viewing or playback" we have to assume that its a GOOD thing Right? Since it's obviously all about LETTING you get to content, and listen to/view it legally. DRM authorizes use. Which must mean that it's nearly impossible for content creators and copyright holders to release material without it. Right?

Not so fast. (TV's) Wil Wheaton has a blog post here. Check it out real quick, and see why DRM is hampering a paying customer. I'll wait while you read his post and then his semi-short article for Techland with more details. Go ahead...

OK? Did you learn anything? Paying customer, trying to do the 'right' thing and pay for access to content (which is broadcast in the UK for free - pretty sure - , and which is later rebroadcast in the US on BBCA). He did everything right. BUT, since just about everything on iTunes is DRM'd [EDIT: I believe that the MP3s on iTunes are no longer DRM'd, but don't quote me, I buy full functional MP3s from AMAZON and other sites. plus i am decidedly NOT an Apple fanboy :) ](and pretty much incompatible with anything Microsoft {XBox})[EDIT 6/26 11:17am; Just realized that I actually WROTE that. It's not exactly true. Thankfully the interoperability problems of the last ~20years is eroding fast, mostly because of the cloud. The cloud doesn't care if you use Windows, MAC OS, Linux Flavors, Android, Palm's WEB OS, or a comodore64! Unfortunatly, DRM does care. Some will only let you view/use/listen to your purchased content on a single device, or any registered device.]. The limitations of DRM make it so that young Wil cannot enjoy his legally purchased content in the manner he wishes.

So, what possible USE is that to anyone? None. This is MY opinion, granted, but it seems as though these content creators are trying to create artificial scarcity in a market that is dominated by infinite goods. Make sense? maybe not right out of the box, but read a few articles at Techdirt and you'll soon see what i mean. The economics of entertainment, content, advertising, and really, all things digital, are changing. Most of the legacy companies in these areas are desperately hanging onto business models that are becoming increasingly obsolete.

The actual economics of the situation are probably an issue for a different day. Point being, DRM is a hindrance on the consumer. It is NOT an enabler, its a restriction. Punishing paying customers (like Wil) is not good business, and will just lead to more instances of piracy. DRM obviously doesn't work, since all kinds of people are 'pirating' the content Wil is trying to view anyway. Shouldn't the fact that he actually paid for it give him the ability to view it where/when/HOW he wants? No, he is restricted because he is a paying customer.

Another HUGE problem is the laws in the US. Basically, you are legally able to make personal copies of media (DVD, CD etc) for personal use. ie: Say you ride a train every day for 45 minutes to get to work, and you like to catch up on your TV shows or movies while you commute. You can legally rip a DVD to your laptop or iPod or whatever and watch the content on that device. Unfortunately, it is illegal to circumvent any kind of "technical protection measures" -as defined by the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). Which means, if there is any kind of DRM or copy protection on the disc that you legally purchased, you cannot exercise your legal right to copy that disc in any way. Why is this? to prevent...

wait for it...


So, does it work? Obviously not. Since DRM has been around for a LONG time, and people are illegally sharing files left right and center all over the world. But, it is pretty much impossible to get realistic 'piracy' stats.

The RIAA and MPAA have been putting out bogus and assumed statistics for years, claiming billions upon billions of lost dollars per year in illegal downloads of movies and music. So, part of the combined **AA's plan(s) to end piracy was to sue thousands of customers over the last few years, another part was 'education,' and yet a 3rd part has been DRM. Have any of these been successful? Well, that's in the eye of the beholder.

GOOD NEWS is, it looks like DRM may be going the way of the dodo.

Recent reports put DRM on a downward spiral that essentially began in the mainstream with Amazon's digital music download service which went DRM-free out of the gate (although it's video streaming service and Kindle devices are still crippled with DRM, even though it seems easy enough to illegally get around). Even Apple, which is notorious for being controlling, has managed to get it's iTunes music un-DRM'd.

now, if we can just get movies, TV and books to go down the same path... which is beginning in some sectors.

The future is a beautiful place!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nerd Stuff (part 1)

Nerdcore roundup for this week (month?)

Trying to spend a little time each day Geeking out, usually to no avail. I spent maybe 45 minutes on the computer this week sorting through pictures and albums with Picasa for Linux the other night. Was interrupted by the wife, who couldn't sleep. And then the baby woke up to be fed, and I lost track and went to bed after wards. Noticed 2 days later that Picasa was still running (meaning that I hadn't been back to the PC in 2 days!).

Later in the week, I found a long enough VGA cable and strung it from the computer TARDIS [for some reason smaller on the inside] over to the TV. Problem is, the video card thinks that the VGA should be monitor 1 (0, sorry Linux-ites), and that DVI should be secondary. Who's brilliant fucking idea was that? In order to make the PC monitor PRIME, and TV Second I need to:

1) Find my DVI to VGA adapter
2) Attach said adapter to the VGA cable from the TV to the DVI out on the card
3) get yet another friggin VGA cable [from the garage] and
4) pull the DVI cable out of its route through the TARDIS and replace with VGA cable from #3.

[EDIT 6/23: DONE, wasn't nearly as involved as I made it out to be]

I'm lazy though so it could be a while.

I also figured out how to set up the wireless keyboard/mouse transceiver so that I can sit more than 4 feet from the TV. Haha! it's a little hard to surf the net from 12 feet away, even with a 37" monitor. But GAMES... are awesome :) Took a little searching through archived files, but I found "On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode I." Which i did not get to play... YET (this year)! perhaps by Wed or Thurs night I'll be able to stay up past the rest of the family's bed time.

But then I have 3 awesome choices for gaming: 1) OTRSPOD (thanks Penny Arcade!)
2) Red Steel 2 (on loan from that one Video Game rental-mail-out thing that's not in any way associated with Netflix)
3) D&D Online [which I haven't checked out on the BIG screen yet :( ]

So, I beat the PA game almost 2 years ago. RS2 is pretty awesome and involved, and D&D can be a little boring and INVOLVED (but still awesome).

There's so much else (or "so much other stuff" as my son would say) to do!! too much goddamn it! I have TV to watch (Friggin Leverage just started up again and my DVR is holding 2 episodes for me), movies, BOOKS and a bunch of other stuff. Grh.


So, with all of this NEW content bearing down on me, how did I spend my Father's Day off? on the couch, with the kids, watching Star Wars Episodes I-III. seriously. the 3 worst movies (OK not really) ever made. Although the lightsaber battles were awesome, and Yoda makes a better Gummy Bear than a Soldier, and I can't stop thinking "Why doesn't someone just bitch-slap Anakin and say 'quit yer whining!'" Yup, almost 12 hours of being savagely beaten by George Lucas. There are a couple of things that came up and that I will probably create a whole new post for (ie: Amidala escaping from Naboo put Sideous in a serious panty-crunch, but somehow played directly into his evil plans?)

OK, will update later. Right now need to get myself home and eat some SOUP.

"...There are man made objects on the moon,
put there by a member of a species that only
60 years before had just invented the airplane."

-Sheldon Cooper

"The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet."
- William Gibson

Unicorn: The Meat Missing from my Diet

Gotta go get me some Unicorn before they aren't allowed to sell it anymore.

@Thinkgeek Officially our best-ever cease and desist

Seriously folks, can we CEASE with the Cease and Desist letters now? If the National Pork Board has nothing better to do that start a Streisand Effect for... oh, i see...

Here's the plan guys:

1) Send ThinkGeek a C&D for using the line "Unicorn - the New White Meat" 2) by lunchtime it will be a HUGE internet phenomenon and
3) Get TON's of publicity just like Barbara Streisand that one time and
4) ?????
5) Profit!

I don't know. That's the only thing I can possibly come up with as to WHY the pork people would think there would be consumer confusion between Pork and Unicorns. they don't look the same, or TASTE the same (and the later doesn't exist).

What's REALLY awesome about this is the SPEED at which almost all nerd/geek sites INSTANTLY picked this up and how it flew across Twitter like a raging Pegasus (ooooh, Pegasus Burgers! nice,).

Can't put a price on publicity. CNN is a little slow and will probably have something on it next week :)

Happy Birthday to the King, baby

I was unaware of this, but it's Bruce's birthday today. Hail to the King baby.


Sent from my G1, far from home.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

House of the STFU!!

Co-Worker: singing House of the Rising Sun

Me: annoyed, Who sings that song?

Co-Worker: The Animals


"...There are man made objects on the moon, put there by a member of a species that only 60 years before had just invented the airplane."

-Sheldon Cooper

The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet.
 - William Gibson