Friday, April 9, 2010

Round Up Friday

Week's been busy at work - more tickets to resolve but with Friday finally at my doorstep and me finally at my keyboard for leisure a few things still knocking around my head and I have a glass of Glenfiddich to finish.

Quotes of the Week
 "...and the score is no tardis, no screwdriver, and two minutes to spare. WHO DA MAN? Oh... I'm not saying that again..." - Doctor Who (Matt Smith), The Eleventh Hour

"Hello. I'm the Doctor. Basically... Run." - Doctor Who (Matt Smith), The Eleventh Hour

Pligg Installation
So I'm installing a Pligg instance for a friend as a favor and my initial impressions of Pligg's dev group is "Wow and I thought I was a noob".  I ran into a problem regarding user registration on the instance and after reinstalling twice (on their suggestion in the forums) with no success and reading the forums over and over again I'm pretty shocked at how some group could constantly pass the buck on this critical function on their CMS package.  For that the dev/support group of Pligg gets a "FUCKYOU" from me.  Oh and Pligg please stop telling me to do things twice in  your "readme" setup file. Fuck you. Fuck you.

Gaming Rig Back Up And Running - Almost
After my Windows 7 gaming computer video card blew an on board capacitor, an E bay purchase and trip to Bureau En Gros later she's up and running again with a little more video graphics kick and a lot more hard drive space to boot.  I ended up replacing that busted NVIDIA 7600GT AGP card with an ATI HD3650 AGP card and replacing a previously busted 120 GB SATA drive with a 500 GB WD Blue Caviar drive.

The extra drive space was to support my growing habit of purchasing Steam games.  Unfortunately moving my Steam folder was a little bit of a work out getting most of my previously installed games to work under a new video card.  Manage to get most of my favorites back up except for Trine and Vampire - The Masquerade: Bloodlines.  More forum trolling to come.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cowboy Bebop - The Perfect Sessions

This is the full 26 episodes that make up the complete series of Adult Swim cult anime hit "Cowboy Bebop" by ShinichirĊ Watanabe.
It's 2072.  Humanity is spread out throughout the solar system and traverse the great distances of space via hyperspace gates.  Criminals are on the make but hot on their tails are "cowboys" - slang term for the future day bounty hunters.

Living from bounty to bounty, the crew of the "Bebop", a converted fishing starship, sail the dark reaches of space on the make and running from their dark pasts.  The crew is lead by Jet Black a former interplanetary police officer who partners with Spike Speigel (a former member of a Yakazu-like space mob), and Faye Valentine (a former card shark and gambling addict).  They are also accompanied by Radical Ed, a child prodigy net-hacker and Ein, a Welsh-Corgi who escaped from an illegal animal testing program.  This motley crew of unlikely heroes take on the worst space criminals hoping to bring them back alive for the prize bounty on their heads.  As the series progresses we learn the bits of the Bebop crew's past that have brought them together and eventually see each of our heroes make peace with their troubled lives.

The story of Cowboy Bebop is told in a mix of genres that pay homage to westerns, classic pulp fiction detective stories, and samurai films all to the key of blues skillfully performed by the Japanese group, The Seatbelts.  Fans of Josh Whedon's short lived cult television show, Firefly, will probably see the speculated influences Cowboy Bebop has on their beloved show.  Later space cowboy.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Created My First Screen-Saver


I came across this video clip this evening and was intrigued by the effort this person put into creating this simulated display of apparently the control screen of Doctor Who's Tardis.  His intention was to create a screen-saver from this video and so he links wide screen and normal screen versions of the screen-saver for Windows at the end of this video clip.  Well, I got to thinking how would I do the same for Mac. 

So after some quick searches I found http://iscreensaver.com/downloads.shtml which is a freeware toolkit to take any video source and build a screen saver from it for both Mac and Windows.  Now all I had to do was record the video stream from YouTube and trim out the dialogue from the beginning and end of the stream.

For that I first found http://www.getmiro.com/download/for-osx/ which is a freeware stream recorder.  I simply copied the HD stream embed tag from YouTube and copied the source URL as the target stream for Miro.  I then used Quicktime (for Mac) to crop the MP4 video Miro created from the YouTube stream.

After entering the trimmed video clip as the base of my screen saver project I adjusted some options and punched the "build for Mac" button and poof, my Tardis console screen-saver.  The freeware version of iScreensaver toolkit, of course, puts a "built on iScreensaver" tag but it's actually not too intrusive and fair game for the quality it allows you to produce with it.  I was perhaps thinking later on to create a few more screen savers for some non-profit interest groups I'm involved with and maybe a Torchwood themed one.  Write me for more details if you want to create your own screen saver.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

RedLetterMedia Releases Attack of the Clones Review


The very disturbed mind who brought you the 7 part Star Wars : Phantom Menace review is back today with the 9 part review of Star Wars : Attack of the Clones.  I have just finished part 1 and can tell this alone has made the Attack of the Clones existence well worth it - well almost.  Watch part 1 above and look for the other eight parts on YouTube under RedLetterMedia's subscription channel.

Thankyou, apolicebox

So after an evening visit with some friends over tequila tasting I decided to do some late night trolling of Google videos for the premiere episode of Doctor Who Season 5 where Matt Smith would be taking over as the iconic lead role.  Many thanks to apolicebox, who had posted the episode successfully and allowed me to watch "The Eleventh Hour" with in half a day of it's BBC-1 release.

By the time I watched episode 1 the forums and blogs had pretty much the whole plot posted in prose, images, and video clips.  The general consensus was that people can now relax.  Matt Smith's first trip in the Tardis was well received after speculations that the show would lose the magic brought by former head writer of the show, Russel T. Davies, and the 4 year performance of David Tennant as the lead role.

What did I think?  I agreed with the consensus.  The episode had a good entertaining story but kept simple since the main focus of the story was the events which lead the Doctor and his new companion, Amy Pond (played by Karen Gillian) to team up. 

***SPOILER ALERT***

The Doctor crashes the Tardis to earth in North England after energies of his regeneration set the Tardis's control room on fire.  The opening sequence of the new Doctor hanging for dear life out side of the out of control Tardis was comical but set the stage for the rest of the show.

He crashes into the backyard of a 12 year old girl, Amelia Pond, who has a mysterious crack in her bedroom wall where she claims a voice whispers to her "Prisoner Zero has escaped".  Still suffering from the shock of his regeneration, the Doctor investigates her bedroom wall to find the crack is an opening to dimensional prison where one of its detained has just escaped.  The Doctor closes the crack but before realizing the mysterious Prisoner Zero has escaped into Amelia's home he is drawn away to tend to his dying Tardis.  The Doctor takes off in his Tardis promising Amelia to return in five minutes.

Of course true to his reckless habit of making mistimed promises, 12 years and 4 psychologists later the Doctor returns to a 24 year old Amy Pond, Amelia grown up.  She is a working kiss-o-gram living in the same house the Doctor meets her in her childhood.  After some culture shock that comes from meeting a time traveler (again) the Doctor and Amy are now faced with the episode's plot line to find Prisoner Zero that has been living in her home for 12 years or Earth will be incinerated by Prisoner Zero's wardens.

The Doctor saves the day predictably with out his Tardis and his trusty sonic screwdriver and just in time to see his brand new regenerated Tardis.  The Doctor takes off again and (again) in true Timelord fashion returns to Amy 2 years later with an offer to accompany him on his further adventures on the eve of her wedding.

The opening episode was almost a throwback to the show's previous "change-overs" but in my opinion did a better job of keeping fans new and old interested in an episode of introductions.  It also doesn't waste time introducing 2 series arcs which was hinted as the cause of the time crack which started the whole mess, and an out of place reference to the Doctor's later time line crossing paths with Amy's aunt's earlier life.  I just keep wondering, though, how the writers manage to keep saving the world on Christian holidays, stealing runaway brides, and saving red heads from dull and boring lives exciting.

The new episode of Doctor Who Series 5 can be found for us North Americans on the usual clip video venues or if you have good cable just wait a week for it to appear on BBC America.