November 28, 2009 by Ryan Livingston · Comments Off
I don’t know much about the inner workings of operating systems. Benchmarks? Kernals? Threads? Hamsters? They all sound like crap you’d find at a crime scene.
What I do know is doodads… and along with the enhanced stability, W7 promised great things. SO, did it deliver? I’m only going over a few things (my key neats and not so’s) since the list seems to grow every time I click something.
Let’s begin at Start! Read more
October 7, 2008 by Ryan Livingston · Comments Off
Aw Mel… what the hell?!
I’d heard rumors that G4 would be airing an animated version of Spaceballs. Then one day while flipping the channels I came across it. Rather, blindsided by it.
July 20, 2008 by Ryan Livingston · Comments Off
Hype… things get hyped up… a lot. Just look at sliced bread… it’s the paradigm standard we hold everything to. “Is such and such better than it?” Yet by itself nothing to look at.
What does this have anything to do with The Dark Knight? Absolutely nothing. However when a film like this comes about, you’d like to start off a review with something more profound than OH MY FREAKIN GOD THIS IS 120 PROOF AWESOMENESS SAUCE!!!!111oneoneone…
May 2, 2007 by Ryan Livingston · Comments Off
Despite the name, Random Disorder is a band that has got it’s act together. Read more
June 9, 2006 by Ryan Livingston · Comments Off
So you say you like videocasts and podcasts. Chances are, then, you’re using currently using iTunes. A good choice, yes. It’s got a built in mp3 player (ie its Raison Dâ€™Ãªtre) and the nify capability to download more mp3s. It also has, in recent months, been able to download as the lastest Daily Show and Lost episodes (for a price). And sure, it has a bevy of free podcasts and vidcasts to search though.
Sounds like a dream. Except for one thing… it’s clunky! Sometime having the world at your fingertips can be a bad thing. Everyone and their dog can add their podcast to iTunes and as a result you go into the search and theres thousands of dead or dying listings.
Instant Media (you remember Instant Media, this is a review about Instant Media) is a much nicer and sleeker program when it comes to this sort of thing.
The interface is easy to use. Videocasts and Audiocasts are easily marked, and within each a nice navigation side bar with a more detailed subject list than iTunes as well as the number of casts that are in each category).
As for the content, the folks at IM are a bit more picky when it comes to who gets to use their system to broadcast. Despite this, IM has more featured Videocasts now than iTunes. The audiocasts are building, but at least you can sift though them easier. Most of these you can get at iTunes too, but there are some exclusives to IM… which depending on your tastes can be a good or bad thing.
The listed content is also all free, which is a good thing (especially if you’ve ever clicked buy in iTunes by mistake).
And, unlike iTunes, if your favorite casts aren’t listed, IM has an add feed function where you provide the RSS URL of whatever it is you’re currently watching. The feed for NWOt radio is http://www.newworldotter.com/radio/wp-rss2.php by the way.
Now for a bit of the techno-babble. Once subscribed to your media, IM has a wide array of things to fiddle with. You can set filters to allow or exclude content by keywords; set how often you want to grab new stuff; and set how long you want your downloads to hang around before deletion. You can of course, opt to save the shows to other folders once downloaded.
The download engine is a bit torrent system which makes downloading much quicker. That is to say, instead of d/l just from the originating website, you also get from other users.
Another 1-up on iTunes is the news aggregator. You can subscribe to the headlines of all sorts of news organizations. The only drawback to this is the Add RSS function doesn’t work here, so you’re limited to the (so far) 57 news agencies listed.
IM has a versitile media player cabable of HD and can run the gamut of codecs and formats. It also includes the capability to index your mp3 collection, but that’s meh. It doesn’t keep any of the statistics or meta data that iTunes boasts. Nor can you get more music on a whim.
On to some downsides. When browsing the listings, there is no way to see info on individual episodes; you’ll have to subscribe first and this can lead to a lot of unwanted downloads. There is also no built-in method to get your downloads to your iPod or other miscellaneous devices.
All in all though, I say keep the iTunes for your music, but use Instant Media for everything else. Unless you’re on a Mac… they’re still working on that.
April 7, 2006 by Ryan Livingston · Comments Off
It’s really hard to remember that Ozzy Osbourne has been doing music for close to 40 years. Yet, it’s never surprising when an Ozzy tribute album crops up. What is surprising is when it’s Ozzy doing a tribute album â€“ to his contemporaries. Not his modern contemporaries, but his legendary contemporaries, like the Beatles.
Thats’ what Ozzy Under Cover is â€“ a tribute to his influences and equals. Some you can easily see like King Crimson, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Joe Walsh, Rolling Stones, Cream,and Mountain â€“ you know the raucous weirdos. It takes a stretch imagining covers of The Beatles, Lennon solo, Buffalo Springfield, Eric Burdon, Mott the Hoople and the Moody Blues.
Notable tracks include In My Life (the Beatles) â€“ by far the best track of the album. There’s definitively feeling in Ozzy’s trademark rasp and it sounds more like a confession than a cover.
Sunshine of Your Love by Cream sounds as if it were written for Ozzy, and its obvious that this was a key influence on the Wizard.
The Moody Blue’s Go Now was a nice surprise, because not even the Moody Blues does it anymore. Though, oddly enough it was that type of blues rock that Ozzy started with (before Black Sabbath was Black Sabbath), so maybe this is more of a tribute to the musical path he never went down. Still, this is one of the better tracks from the album.
On the other hand, some tracks like All the Young Dudes (Mott the Hoople) and Buffalo Springfield’s For What its Worth (‘There’s something happenin’ here, and it ain’t exactly clear…’) are meh. The first sounded flat and phoned in, the latter is a protest song and not even in the same town as Ozzy’s alley.
Still, a pretty decent endeavor overall.
A respectable 4.9 out of 6 on the arbitrary NWOt scale. Points were deducted for the couple of meh tracks. If they were gone then it could be a 6 just for In My Life and Lennon’s Working Class Hero alone. But hey, 11 out 13 tracks aint bad.
Conspicuous by it’s absence, by the way, is the often existence-denied cover of the Bee Gee’s Stayin Alive (not even as a hidden track) – although I’m sure everyone has it downloaded somewhere.
Headphonability â€“ none of the tracks are â€œheavyâ€ and will blow out your eardrums. However, this is Ozzy we’re talking about, and he’s as high pitched as ever.
Travelicity â€“ Not road music! Maybe you can add Rocky Mountain Way or Fire to a compilation or something.
Replayability â€“ This isn’t the type of thing I’d stick in the CD player and forget about. Break it up into various disks and playlists and it’ll be appreciated longer.
Apparently there’s a Dual Disk version out there with video, but my mishugena music club sent me the album only!
March 9, 2006 by KaiserBlitzkrieg · Comments Off
A New Nicholas Cage?
I’ve seen a good number of Nicholas Cage’s films in my day, most left me wondering exactly who in their right mind would cough up 10 cents to produce those stinkers. There were exceptions, of course; “Con Air” comes to mind, as does “Gone in 60 Seconds” but most were just crap. So when “Lord of War” started getting hyped all over creation, I was curious, but not curiuos enough to waste time at the theater. I rented it the other day and was, well, pleasantly surprized. I can think of few other actors who could play the leading role as well as Cage did. Maybe Johnny Depp and Sidney Greenstreet being a ouple of that handful of exceptions. This leads to the title question are we witnessing a new Nicholas Cage? A Cage with more refined acting skills, or, like France, is there worse yet to come?
The story is simple: Nicholas Cage is an Americanized Ukrainian that goes out of his families resteraunt business and into imports and exports…of arms and munitions. No, Cage doesn’t stop at your mere AK-47/RPG/M-60. No Russian tanks, heicopters and pretty much anything else you can use to slaughter your neighbor and eat his kids can be found at his traveling emporium. Ethan Hawk is the federal agent whose sole mission in life is to run all over the planet trying to nail Cage for arms running. Throw in a coke snorting brother, a couple of Ukrainian parents for comic relief, a wife and a kid, the entire third world (including Russia), a few well known dictators, regional conflicts, and enough conventional weapons to slow even me down and you’re staring “Lord of War” dead in the eye.
Ratings and Rantings
Nicholas Cage has definitely prefected his dry, somewhat sardonic sense of humor for this role and considering the tone and flow of the movie, it jives more than the Bee Gees. However, whether this is good or bad, there is an underlying message to this film. It’s fairly obvious in several of the speeches Ethen Hawk gives and many of the events which take place throughout the film. Personally, I think the movie could have stood alone without getting preachy, but nonetheless, it does make for a good story and a relatively good message.
the first half of the film is basically Cage’s eary days getting started funding massacres and meeting/marrying his wife. For the most part this part of the movie is light hearted, and semi-Thompsonesque. But the secod half of the film shifts gears and starts down the preachy road of being poignent. This is a road I usually dislike this road and where it leads, but for this film I’m willing not to dock it too many points mainly because it makes it without sacraficing the entire film. the only other real downer of the film is the part which show Cage at home with his family. These aren’t particularly bad scenes, however they’re the equivalent of driving at around 140MPH then suddenly and abruptly slamming on the breaks and applying the e-break. They tend to be very slow and sort of screw up the overall rythm of the film.
Anyhow, the movie is well worth the time in front of the tube, so I’m going to give it a 4 1/2 out of a possible 6, 1 1/2 points docked for the reasons mentioned.
March 8, 2006 by KaiserBlitzkrieg · Comments Off
The Constant Gardner: Or Convoluted Plots and Non-sequential Story Lines Aren’t Just For Quentin Tarantino Anymore!
By Ray Macula
Not Something To Watch On A Mixture Of Alcohol And Pain Relievers
No, No. I know what you’re thinking, but no I was completely sober when I watched it. Promise. However, I thought I’d put up that title as a general warning to you, my target audience, as the plot is about as convoluted as Howard Dean is nutty and story jumps around about as much as a Tarrintino film. Because of the sheer mental exercize it gives you as you attempt to piece together just what in the HELL is going on, I’m going to leave my description short and sweet…well, short anyway.
Some British Diplomat Guy (BDG) falls in love with and marries some British Lefty Activist Girl (BLAG) than gets transferred to Africa and she tags along. After a whole lot of seemingly high school drama b.s. and what appears to be tremendous infidelity on her part, she apparently dies from torture, rape, and murder, in that order, out in the middle of nowhere…I think it was in that order…
Anyways, instead of just figuring that she was an unfaithful bitch and got what she deserved at the hands of some outback thugs, he starts noticing that there are some serious weird things going on, most of which point to extreme cover up. And thus begins his journey into a very bizarr and highly thought provoking movie.
Ratings and Rantings
This movie is very intelligently done, and about as orthodox as a black white supremacist. As I’ve mentioned, how many time now? the story jumps around alot. It starts off just before the murder, then back tracks a little, then goes to body identification, then back tracks to the start. That’s the first 20 minutes. This is pretty much goes on all movie long, several times going back to the murder.
The plot doesn’t just have a twist, it has a highway of twists, turns and loops that resembles the California highway system. The whole time you get to sit there, take in the new information, and attempt to process it into soem sort of coherent plot. The out come wasn’t what I expected, but it did flow well, and although there are those who will not be happy with the ending, it does make sense.
On the NWOt Rating Scale it gets a 6 out of 6
November 28, 2005 by KaiserBlitzkrieg · Comments Off
Born into a minor faction of divided Mongol tribes, Temujin would rise to become emperor of half the world and leader of a united Mongol aristocracy. How’d he do it? decimation of peoples and lands, yes, but also through the careful and good choices in appointing military leaders and goverment officials.
Although he does tend to blow over the many varied battles that range anwhere from Mongolia to China all the way through the Middle East to European Russia, De Hartog does an exemplery job of chonicling the life and time of the Great Khan. He doesn’t alone simply harp on the battles and mass executions which followed a Mongol conquest, either. He devotes an entire chapter to the governmental and day to day runnings of the conquered lands. Also he give a detailed account of how Genghis Khan’s opponents ran their empires and the struggles that helped bring them to their knees. Aside from his tendency to blow through battles, the other only real complaint is that he just sort of ends the book in an awkward place.
all in all, though the book made for excellent and exciting reading 6 out of 6
October 4, 2005 by Ryan Livingston · Comments Off
Travel back in time to 2002: A bold new show premiered on FOX. After only 13 out-of-order episodes (the pilot show last), the plug was pulled. The show was Firefly.
Three years later â€“ redemption. Universal bought the rights after record DVD preorder numbers and gave the showâ€™s creator, Joss Whedon, the greenlight to make a Firefly movie. And here we are â€“ Serenity.
In the distant future, the human race spread to a new solar system. The Alliance (boo hiss) waged war to control it all. They won and the Browncoats (independence fighters) were crushed.
Enter Captain Mal Reynolds, a former Browncoat (only in the sense that the browncoats dispanded), and leader of a band of space pirates. All they want to do is live their livesâ€¦ at the expense of the Alliance, of course.
Enter Simon Tam, and his dingy sister River, fugitives from the Alliance who get mixed up with Reynoldâ€™s dealings. Heâ€™s a doctor, sheâ€™s a weapon with a secret.
Fans of Firefly already know that this is an awesome movie, even before any filming took place. Why? Because Firely was awesome, both in writing and concept. However, weâ€™ll get to a Browcoats review later.
Let me speak to the uninitiated for a momentâ€¦
Thereâ€™s ample exposition for anyone to get into this movie. The characters one by one are developed in such a way that this can be considered a stand alone movie. The plot too becomes apparent early on (or so youâ€™d think). The twist comes later on.
Now, this is Whedonâ€™s movie directing debut, but you wouldnâ€™t think it. Serenity is spectacularly shot and choreographed. Action/sci-fi fans will be dazzled by Riverâ€™s â€œBallet-Fuâ€ and the ultra-realistic ship battles. Cerebral/sci-fi fans will love the always present witty and natural banter between the characters; as well as the twisty-turny storyline.
Non sci-fi fans will take to all that above, because even though it is a Space Opera â€“ itâ€™s not full of technobabble geared at comiccon regulars.
Now to any Browncoats who didnâ€™t see it by now (all one of you): it is indeed awesome; a lot of questions are answered; bring tissuesâ€¦ thatâ€™s all Iâ€™m saying.
Serenity is a very real movie for being an escapist flick. Joss Whedon is a prodigy that Hollywood is beginning to ebrace, and thatâ€™s a good thing. I recommend Serenity to all. I give it 6 out of 6 engine compressor coils.
But donâ€™t take my word on it, check out the NY Times:
Scene for scene, “Serenity” is more engaging and certainly better written and acted than any of Mr. Lucas’s recent screen entertainments. Mr. Whedon isn’t aiming to conquer the pop-culture universe with a branded mythology; he just wants us to hitch a ride to a galaxy far, far away and have a good time.
- MANOHLA DARGIS