Awesome - Shogun Warriors!

I had these as a kid... in fact, until recently these were hanging around in my garage. I gave them to my nephew instead of ebay. Toys want to be played with.

The Office, Complete Season 4 - complements of Hulu

Lets see if this works...

I happen to have a beta invite for Hulu. Nowhere on Hulu do I find any restriction on being able to put up a complete season for sharing.

The test of time will be how long this stays up!

Thanks Hulu!

Episode 1


Episode 2


Episode 3


Episode 4


Episode 5


Episode 6


Episode 7


Episode 8


Apple iTunes

Who killed the Electric Car

Merry Christmas!

I found this on Google... It's a great movie.

Time to leave the country

I don't know about you, but I'm really starting to get nervous.

Was the election fixed?

I just found this and I have to tell you that I'm closer to moving away from this country than I ever have been.



How is this even possible to get through the system...

No...

Check that. The system is peopled with idiots who can't check email.

er... What I meant to say is that "I for one, welcome our new blood-soaked overlords."

When does this come out?

I don't know where this came from, but I think this is getting added into the schedule to see whenever I find out where it's playing.

Web 2.0 Bubble? What Bubble?

There is a lot of talk about web 2.0 being just another bubble.

I lived through the first internet bubble. I lost a ton of money and learned a lot of lessons. There are some very scary similarities to the dot com years in what is going on right now. This video does seem to capture the situation very well. Pat on the back to the producer - No, you really are not "too old" to make it big.



Added new link to replacement video.

Atlanta water down to the dregs... (yuck)

Unless you have been ignoring the news for a while or are outside the southern regions, you are probably familiar with the shortage of water that Atlanta is going through.

A friend of mine sent me a link to a story that underscores exactly how bad things are in regards to the dry spell that Atlanta has been going through and I have to tell you friends, this does not bode well.

The article mentions that we are now reaching the point where Lake Lanier is so low that we'll have to start drinking the "dregs" of the lake bottom. If you don't know what dregs are... it's where the stuff that dies off in a lake settles after it stops floating around. It's the part of a lake where the bacteria is much higher and the water requires a lot more filtering to be considered safe for consumption.

I've been stocking up on a few bottles of water to keep the house tided over if this dry spell goes past the point to bad to worse, but I'm beginning to think that the situation probably won't stop at "worse." In fact, I thinking that unless we get some new rainfall soon, the greater Atlanta area needs to look for a new place to find it's water supply from now on.

I should probably be ashamed that after reading the article, all I could think of was this scene from the original Star Trek series:

A very real zombie threat

Ok, so in the post where president bush was mentioning Zombies, I didn't really think that it was a real threat. Apparently I should take these things more seriously. In this article at Cracked.com, there is a detailed threat level for real zombie attacks.

I'm going to go hide in the basement.

If only I could find the Zombie survival guide that I have laying around somewhere.

Mmmmmm... Brains.

Halo on Tuesday

Just some fun video in advance.





I'm looking forward to Halo, and trying to put a little fun back in my life.

More NBC v Apple nonsense

It's time for episode 2 of "The Honeymooners" featuring Jobs and Zucker.

Since our last episode Steve has left for work, having a big meeting coming up on Wednesday that he just can't miss. The kids have momentarily tired of the game of Mortgage collapse and are anxiously awaiting the presents that dad will be announcing at his event in the morning.

With Steve gone for the day, NBC has a great idea. She'll just rewrite the rules and set things straight. Of course, her really good friend (and lesbian lover) "Amazon" has come over and is standing right inside the door holding a bag of groceries. Amazon has a big smile on her face and seems pretty happy that she's been invited over.

(Announcement from HBC via press release)


NBC: "Kids... Now that Steve has gone, I think it's time we go over how things will be working with all your favorite shows from now on."

"Instead of that nasty Apple iTunes, we'll be watching the shows you know and love through Amazon Unbox... Yay!!!"

Joey Consumer: "Uh... What?

NBC: "Yes, that's right, Mom's new friend 'Amazon' will be the way to get 'Heroes', 'The Office' and all the new favorite shows you'll learn about, Drama Encore, Chuck and The Biggest Loser! Aren't you happy!!!"

Joey Consumer: "I think I'm watching 'the biggest loser' right now."

"Isn't Amazon Unbox the service that doesn't work on my iPod?"

"Isn't it the service that got universally bad reviews and tramples my rights?"

"I feel like I'm getting shafted"

NBC: "Don't be silly..."

"I've made sure that this transition will be as painless as possible for me... er I mean, you..."

"Amazon Unbox is great! It works with all kinds of media players, iPods are a thing of the past, you really need a Zune, there are dozens of tens of thousands of them in the marketplace, and of course, Amazon also works on Creative Zen, they practically invented the portable media player."

"Just think how cool it will be to stand out from all your friends with the new Brown Zune! - The Screen is bigger you know...:"


Joey Consumer: "So My current shows that I purchased from you will play on the Zunezen thingy?"

NBC: "Oh yes, you'll just have to re-purchase them, but the shows do work on the players"

"And the best part is that you can use the new shows on up to two computers and two whole media players!"

"Great huh!"

Joey Consumer: "did you say, 're-purchase?'"

"Dude... I got five computers with iTunes and I can add the shows to as many iPods as I want. Plus, I can share the shows with my Girlfriend's computer even if she is signed in under her account so that we don't have to buy the same shows twice. It's really easy!"

NBC: "Well, that's the problem see... You need to be a little more responsible with what you are doing. Sharing the videos you paid 2.00 each for with a couple friends is really not appropriate. That's something you can only do with DVDs. If your girlfriend wants to watch she really should buy her own copy."

Joey Consumer: "Don't you give these shows away for free to anyone with an antenna or basic cable service?"

"Also... You didn't answer me on the re-purchase question"

NBC: "Yes, but you have a computer and are probably going to steal the show and give it away for free to your friends, I can't allow that"

Joey Consumer: "What planet are you from? I was paying you money for DRM protected iTunes shows. I've never done that before. You realize that I'm not rich and the idea of giving you money has never been a part of my vocabulary, right?"

"Do you know what 'Looking a gift horse in the mouth' means?"

NBC: "Listen kid, this really is a better deal, I don't want to have to tell you again. You'll like it or you'll do without."

"I work really hard to get these shows made and I spend tons of money trying to get you interested in them. It's not like I can just put these things up one some mythical TV Land where you just tell me what you want by paying for it."

"This is hard work and I'm sure that you are probably not mature enough to understand why it's just not good business to give you what you want... It should really be about what I think you need. I'm sure that you'll agree."

Amazon: (standing somewhat awkwardly in the doorway) "Hey, don't forget that Amazon Unbox works with your Tivo! and the shows are available the day after they air"

Joey Consumer: "So I can buy the show and watch it on my Tivo instead of telling my Tivo to record it for free?"

Amazon: (still standing somewhat awkwardly in the doorway) "That's right... Awesome huh!"

Joey Consumer: "Can you even do math?"

"I want to show you something, It's called a 'torrent'... Us kids invented it after some ass-hats at the record companies got in the way of a product called 'Napster'. It decentralizes the transfer of files so that no one source can easily be prosecuted for the distribution of pirated material. It's widely used to distribute TV programs at High Def quality minutes after they air."

Zucker stammers, Bezos stands awkwardly and the camera fades out...

That concludes episode 2. Stay tuned for the next episode, "The beat goes on"

Hey guess what... You can get some insight into the next episode by contacting the executives at NBC

Who really gets hurt by the NBC and Apple spat?

NBC and Apple are having a lovers spat right now. Since I'm an avid Apple fan and a new found NBC programming fan, I really feel like the child with two fighting parents.

Both Apple and NBC have had some things to say and like the bad parents they are, they chose to air this out where us kids could hear.

I've translated the communications below as I think they actually come across to me and I've also placed links to the articles themselves so that you can see how this dialog happened in real life. Since our show needs a good name, I'll call it "The Honeymooners"

The Honeymooners, episode 1

Scene: a middle-America home, the kids "Joey" and "Susie" are playing the new "mortgage collapse" game from Milton Bradley in the living room. Their Parents, Mr Jobs and Ms Zucker are in the bedroom in the middle of an argument.

The kids don't yet know that anything is wrong. We start with the camera in the bedroom:


NBC: "I bring in almost half the money that comes in this household, I'm the best thing you got. You are going to start doing things my way if you want any of this action any longer. And those brat kids of yours who think they can have anything they want on those damn iPods... You need to put a stop to that right now mister."

Apple: "You mean little Joey and Susie consumer? If I take away their iPod privileges, they'll run away from home. I'm not going to do that to them. Think about it. they are just now starting to like you again, don't you remember how they watched so much of 'The Office' that they begged you to make more. Give them a chance, they are good kids. This can work out."

NBC: "Listen, I already told you. You do it my way or I'm leaving when our lease is up."

Apple: "What are you doing, don't open the door, the kids will hear..."

The door swings open and NBC steps out into the hallway within earshot of the children. (NY Times.) The kids are startled by the noise, but don't pay much attention, they are focused on their game.

NBC: "I don't care if the children do hear me, you do not treat me that way!"

"Oh and one more thing... All those great shows that your kids like to watch, I'm cutting them off when I move out in December."

(Apple, who almost never says a word in front of the children, steps in and booms loud enough for everyone to hear)

Apple: "You started this... But I'm going to be the one to finish it."

You are so full of yourself. I just can't believe this. It's like I'm living in some zucker fantasy-land. Did you say that you make almost half the money around here... try 'almost a third'."

"First off, you greedy bitch, I've never been with another network that has asked for as much as you are right now. Do you really think that I'll let you take that much of the kids allowance just to watch TV? The tooth fairy only leaves them a quarter, and you want $4.99 for each show!? - What kind of bastard do you think I am?"

"Let's not wait until December... Pack your shit and get the hell out right now."

"Oh, and I'm keeping the kids."

"This didn't have to be this way you know"

NBC: (under bated breath): "Don't you make me look bad in front of the kids - you just sit there and take your medicine!"

(NBC through Bloomberg)

Apple: (Smiles and thinks, "You started it bitch")

NBC: "No you dit-nt!"

"I'm not asking for anything i don't deserve, the kids won't have to pay that much. But they have to behave and do exactly what I want them to or else. Do you even know what they are putting on those iPods? Pirated shows... You need to stop that crap right now. Nothing without DRM should play, period."

"For that matter, isn't it about time you started paying me a royalty for those iPods anyway!" "I am the prettiest girl in the room and that means that I should get what I want"

Apple: (thinking: "WTF? go sit on a Zune, you crazy bitch")

NBC: "Listen, I don't need you anyway. I'm hanging out with Amazon and my new friend Hulu.com where all the cool kids are going to go. We are just going to flip a switch and suddenly funnel all Youtube and iTunes visitors right through our front door. You are so screwed."

"Oh, and if you think I'm moving before December, you have another thing coming! We made a deal mister and you are not going to break it."

"What do you have to say to that!"


For now that is all we have to share in this episode. I'm sure that there will be more. I'm sure that episode 2 will hit sooner rather than later.


Now that the silliness is over, let me tell you how I really feel:

For the record, I stopped watching television until just this last season and only got back into it via iTunes and specifically with NBC series like Heroes and The Office - Both of which I would not have tried had I not been able to buy through iTunes.

There are lots of you (including the ass-hats at NBC) who think that I should be just as likely to watch these shows on NBC.com for free, but you aren't even close to being right. I made the choice to buy Heroes from iTunes after knowing that I could get it for free from NBC.com.

Let me repeat that... I chose to spend $43.00 for a show that I knew I could have gotten for FREE, on TV through the cable channels or could have easily
found on a bittorrent client.


Why would I do that?

Simply put, it was because I liked how easy the experience was at the iTunes store. "Push button, get content, Try new content, push button again." No crappy NBC browser design, no non-skippable commercials, No "small video" NBC branded interface.

Buying the shows from iTunes allowed me to get the video experience that I wanted - iPod download, iTV capable, watch full screen, no commercials on my computer. ITunes also allowed me to have it without breaking any laws, good news for a law abiding citizen.

And even though the prices that I paid could be considered prohibitive, the iTunes store is really as "about me" as any retail experience can be. In contrast, the NBC video experience, even if it is free, is really about a bunch of guys in suits sitting around saying "It's all about our content, we'll get those sheep to show up and do what we want!"

Oh well.

Looks like I'll start learning how to use Bit Torrent as suggested by iLounge.

-Don

That's where it all went!

That bright, shiny future that we were promised. The flying cars and jetpacks, the domed cities and personal robots.

Check out Paleo-Future, an awesome site and a great way to waste time if you have some to spare.

I have to admit. I like the flying cars much better as memories than things to avoid on the way to work.

What do Facebook users invest in?

While playing around in Facebook, I've found a neat tab on the stock application that I have added to my profile. It turns out that you can get a list of what all people who have added the app have chosen as their stock picks.

Of course, there is no indicatin of ownership, watching or short/long position, but the names alone are interesting to know.

Here is an image of the list of "most popular stocks":



I wouldn't use this as any kind of sound investment advice, but since Facebook users are supposed to reflect a slightly more affluent user base you might make this a short list to review.

Heck, they got AAPL right ;-)

Prosumers

I think this video is likely spot on.

What Quest?

I've not written a lick about cleaning up any aspect of my life in a while.

My taxes this year sit undone after filing an extension. My house is filled with packed boxes from a move. My list of things I "need to do" is larger than the list of things I've done by so much I can't even fathom the tasks at hand. People have shot horses that are in the kind of shape that I'm in.

To wrap is all up, I work more now than I ever have - Somewhere near 16 hours a day every single day of the work week and a good 6 hours a day on the weekends.

While on the first real day off I've taken in months, this weekend I read a blurb about quests:

"It is not a quest if it does not take your life to accomplish."

It was then that I realized that my quest to simplify my life is over and a new one had taken it's place.

Work is taking my life.

Work must apparently be my quest.

This is pretty effed up.

...

..

.

Haiku 2

Look out, Speeding train!
It is heading right for you!
Sad you won't listen :-(

I'm moving

If this video is an indication, The movie "Idiocracy" is closer to real life than I thought. I have to be honest, I think it's time to flee the country.



In the event that you have not seen Idiocracy, here is the introduction video that pretty much explains what is happening in the above video.


The world is becoming a very scary place.

Music Widget?

As children, we watch educational programs on how business works and learn that making "Widgets" is what you will do as a job when you are an adult.

I didn't think they were serious.

I thought that "Widget" was just some placeholder name for another product, like "cars" or "ice cream" or even my dream job making comic books or movies. But alas, the joke is on me. Essentially, I actually do make widgets for a living.

The strangeness of saying this is really kind of funny what you think of it. In fact, I think some of those old business shows used the name "Don" as in, "Don has to sell four widgets today. If Don sells five widgets instead of four, how much more profit will he have?"*

All laughs aside, and because I know that some of you who stop by to read this little blog also sell widgets for a living, I wanted to share this with you.

I found this album on iTunes named "Widget" by the Reverburritos. If you like surf instrumentals, this one will surely make your day. Click here to visit the iTunes store for a listen, it's actually really, really good.

UPDATE: I had to add this. Just too funny. Proves my point to a "T"




-Don

* You really need more information to answer this.

One more March Stock Madness

A couple weeks ago I posted on Stock Madness from Motley Fool.

It's a bit late to be of real use, but there is another bracket going on at CNBC.

One thing that makes it less valuable is that all the analysis seems to be done on air as opposed to online, but fun none the less.

Happiness :-)

I found this video interesting.

It's a presentation to a group of Google employees about finding happiness.

Enjoy.

7.5 Minutes of Spiderman 3

I'm so looking forward to this movie.



By the way. If you are not an investor in Marvel (MVL). Now is a good time to consider it. They are moving from small stakes to big stakes and the potential can be huge. While they license Spiderman to Sony, next year, Iron Man and others are going to be produced solely by Marvel. This means that their upside will be much, much bigger. But with great reward, comes great risk - They will also stand to lose much more if a film tanks.

Additionally, as with any good superhero story there is a possibility that there are evil forces around (aka in this story as "lawsuits") There is a lot of focus right now about who owns some of the mission critical IP Marvel or another company. If it turns out to be that Marvel does not own this... well, let's just say that would be bad.

If we get past this rough patch, it's going to be a very smooth ride up. (knock on Wood) While Superman is a DC character and not owned by Marvel, his old tv tagline of "Up, up and away" is probably a good indication of where this could go.

Marvel and the Ah Alli Group also just announced a new theme park in Dubai (the new Hollywood in terms of the cool place to have a destination park) This opens up a whole new set of possibilities in terms of income as well. Personally, I'm looking for a lot of new revenue potential coming on from new ventures like this and the new film investments that will go straight to the bottom line.

-Don

The Zune Flopped?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on the Zune. Mentioning that I thought it has "flopped" My post was picked up by a couple Zune forums and web sites that seem to think that I was calling the race a bit too early. After careful consideration, I don't think I was. I still believe that my statement that the Zune "flopped" is accurate.

I didn't write that post to dog Microsoft or to blast the Zune. I wrote it because I believe that the Zune launch should have been much more powerful a force to deal with than it was. Think about it - there was massive groundswell and hype that surrounded the launch, it felt like you were waiting for an Apple product when you read about it. There was so much publicity that the Zune should have skyrocketed out of the gate.

Instead, Microsoft blew almost every chance they had. Too bad, because from all I've seen and heard, the Zune is not a bad machine - It's just not a machine that will unseat the iPod in terms of marketshare dominance anytime soon.

Of course, I could be wrong. Microsoft could react with a great "round 2" and fix some problems and introduce killer features - I just don't think they will.

But what if they do?


To be fair to the guys in the Zune Forums, I'll spend some effort in making a list of things that in my opinion might allow to Zune to take some market share:

1. Make it smaller than the iPod... and "simpler" looking - Ditch any extra buttons and lose the metal-looking frame on the screen and "control circle" area. They make the machine look a bit more complex than it should. Simple is better. Simpls is less threatening.

2. Sell it in colors that appeal to teenage girls. Pinks, greens, blues... lose the brown.

3. Let me buy songs via wi-fi.

4. All music should behave in the same way. What is this that I hear about only being able to "squirt" some of your music, and is it true that you don't know which music is "Squirtable" until you try to "Squirt" it?. (And why is it called "Squirting" again?)

5. All music should be sold the same way. Trust me... .99 cents is way easier than .79 "points." Drop the multiple forms of payment - leave the Zune Pass for the "Plays for sure" devices and only sell by song. It works for Apple and it can work for you.

6. Tell the record labels that they will have to play ball... Not the other way around. Every time you bend to them, you make my life harder. One song price, one album price - more than that and I start to lose interest. You can always negotiate by asking them what it feels like to be Steve's bitch.

7. Build in the FM transmitter, don't worry about the receiver... We buy these devices to replace the radio, not to play it. I don't think you can use the "iPod" plugs that are available from the dealer in almost all new cars. (Yes - I know that Ford offers this, but the cars that matter are high end European luxury cars or Japanese econocars.)

8. Give away free noise-canceling in-ear headphones to all iPod owners you can find. Make sure the headphone cables are black. (think about it)

9. Build "Zune-pod" kiosks at every Starbucks. These will be wireless devices that offer to "squirt" music to any Zunes present. This will ease the feelings of lonely Zune-aholics and give them a place to congregate. To get to the new social, you have to go through the old social first.

10. Make the Zune work on a Mac. I don't think that you would have many sales here, but you need to take the war to the enemy.

The last time I wrote about the Zune, I got a few choice words thrown at me. I can't wait to hear what comes back this time ;-)

-Don

March Madness with Stocks

This time of year, everyone is mad for march madness, a gathering of many teams in a bracketed playoff that gets sports fans of all types excited about who is winning the games and the office pool.

While I'll probably not watch any of the action on the courts, I would like to point out a similar, but much more profitable version of march madness. Motley Fool has brought back their March Stock Madness. A couple of years ago, I really enjoyed this series of articles and got a lot of investment advice from reading the pairings of companies, as well as a bit of a smile when "my" companies won a bracket.

The game seems to change a bit every year they hold it, with this year having the "divisions" being labeled by investor (Buffet, etc.) Which is an interesting concept.

I still hold some of the stocks that I purchased during the first time that I read this series, and some of them are back again this year.

If you are a sports fan, I hope that you have fun with March Madness. I have to be honest though, Stock Madness has made me a bit more money and helped to get me into stocks in the first place. If you are teetering on the edge about investing, this might be a good place for you to start. I find the the good natured ribbing and back and forth really help to make the dry financial comparisons into a game that can be fun to follow.

300

I saw 300 this past Friday. Um... "Wow!!!".

Great movie, wonderful film making and a magnificent story. Easily as good as Sin City, which was also done in the comic book style. Here is a link to the trailer. It will tell you more about the movie than I can in words.

In case you have not heard about it, 300 is a story based on a comic book by Frank Miller, which is itself based on a the battle of Thermopylae where 300 brave spartan soldiers face down an army reported to have been anywhere from 100,000 to 1,000,000 men. A true feat of bravery, courage and a warrior's skills.

Though in truth, I do have my doubts that 300 men stood against the kinds of monsters that they faced in this film. There were so many creatively styled opponents that just watching the variety alone was overwhelming.

While a strictly historic view of the events would probably not involve monstrous and misshapen giants and twisted versions of elephants and rhinos trained for war, this more imaginary view adds them to great effect. In fact, the variety really helped the battle scenes feel unique at every turn.

The cinematic quality of these battle scenes is amazing and I found myself being drawn deeply into them. I suggest that you find a theater with a massive sound system if you truly want to experience the full effect of the film since there are several points where a booming bass hit adds intensity to these battles - the pressure of the booms that happen when the warriors slam opponents with their shields makes you feel as if you were the one getting pounded.

Of course, the movie is a bit on the bloody side, as you can see in this YouTube video that depicts a particularly gruesome battle scene:


Even with the gore and shocking images, this movie feels tastefully done. This is probably a result of the comic book style of the film, which in a funny way makes the ultra-violence feel much more like a video game than an over the top gore-fest.

Bottom line, This movie made me feel like a kid again and I'd recommend it over almost anything I've seen recently.

For a great look at this film, try viewing the "making of" video podcast on iTunes, It's free and well worth the time: Warner Bros. - The Making of "300" - The Making of "300"

Haiku

The ocean I gave
Water blue and bountiful
Now runs red with blood

-Me

Life is a beach.

You know, I don't spend enough time thinking about vacation and relaxation. These two photos are shots that I took while on vacation in the grenadines on a Windjammer barefoot cruise a couple years ago. The place that I believe is the most beautiful pace on earth.


The interesting thing about these pictures is the Yin and Yang aspect of the sand. One beach is white and pristine, the other black as pitch. Both are beautiful and are emblazoned in my memory when I close my eyes.

Free movies for presidents day!

To celebrate President's day I'm cluing you in to a little secret:

Movies are free... Not all of them of course, but enough of them to have some fun this Monday - and possibly a lot longer than that.

I've created this list of free Public Domain movies as a SpringWidgets RSS video widget. Just click on the little "TV" icons to play the video.

Have fun.


If you want to make one of these on your own, keep checking back. I'll put up a tutorial when I get the chance.

-Don

Sorry, It must be "Make fun of Microsoft" day.

Hillarious.


Welcome To The So-So - video powered by Metacafe

Official: Microsoft marketers on acid.

This site is apparently used to promote Vista.

When watching, I have flashbacks to college days and talking with people who really don't have a life plan and might pass out from too much drug use while they are in the middle of a sentence.

Not exactly what I needed to hear to convince me to buy Vista.

Just my two cents, but I think this was the conversation that went on at Microsoft that produced this:

Bill: Hey, can we get the "I'm a Mac guy" to promote Vista?

Marketer: I don't think so Bill.

Bill: Ok, how about we draw him and make him sound all stoned so that we look cool. It will really help us capture that "I have no money to buy Vista" market segment.

Marketer: Gosh, that's a really stupid idea Bill. But we can do it for you.

Bill: Thanks.

Marketer: I love getting paid money for this kind of stuff.

.....

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