Put that Father's Day barbecue on hold... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Meh-crosoft. The big news in technology is that Microsoft will be making a major announcement tomorrow... probably some kind of tablet... and nobody cares! Tablets have been done. So unless they've got a tablet with a 3-D holographic display and free unlimited satellite internet connectivity, stop wasting our time! You want to really impress me? I'm still waiting for my flying car. Why not announce that shit tomorrow?
But noooooo... odds are we get yet another tablet. Which probably won't be as good as an iPad anyway. Yawn.
• Glass According to the Seattle PI Blog, The Space Needle is getting "glass window box" upgrades. As if it wasn't already scary enough...
The glass window boxes at Chicago's Willis Tower, known as "The Ledge," were enough to make me nearly wet myself. And they were on a building. These are going to be on a frickin' tower. Guess it's still not as bad as The Grand Canyon Skywalk though.
• Holes The movie Prometheus was a beautiful disaster that looked stunning (especial in IMAX 3D) but, unfortunately, had so many story problems that I had a hard time enjoying it. Red Letter Media has encapsulated many of those problems in an amusing, SPOILER-FILLED, chat...
If you haven't listened to the amazing "Mr. Plinkett Reviews" of such films as the Star Wars prequels, and various Star Trek films, and other flicks like Avatar and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull... you're really missing out. Yes, they're meant to be funny, but the insight Red Letter Media has into the art of filmmaking is brilliant.
• Nowalla So much for Gowalla's promises of being able to download your check-in data and stamp collection from their now-dead service... Gowalla.com is down and the domain doesn't even resolve any more. So glad that I spent huge chunks of my time adding spot data, correcting spot errors, and spending my money buying custom stamps. But, hey, they got bought out by Facebook and got paid... so screw all the people who helped build their service! You'd think they'd AT LEAST allow you to import your check-ins and stamps into Facebook or something.
And... I'm prematurely out of bullets. I'd be embarrassed, but I hear it happens to every guy from time to time.
Well whadda ya know, it's an EASTER edition of Bullet Sunday!
• Like! Bad Monkey is now on Facebook. Heaven help us all...
If you want to see the mayhem for yourself, here you go...
• Kubrick! The holy grail for Stanley Kubrick fans (outside his movies, obviously) is a copy of a book called Full Metal Jacket Diary by Matthew Modine, who was an actor in the film. The reason it's such a big deal is twofold...
Just looking at the few amazing behind-the-scenes photos on the official website should have any Kubrick fan dying to own it...
Jayne, errrr I mean Animal Mother never looked so badass as when getting light metered!
But... to do the iPad app right is going to cost a lot of money. $20,000 money. In order to fund the project, Rackoff has put it up on Kickstarter so people can donate to get the work done. Anybody chipping in $5 or more will get a 'special thanks" credit on the app's credits page. If you've got money to burn, there are bigger rewards for bigger pledges. If you're a Kubrick fan... or a Matthew Modine fan... or a Full Metal Jacket fan... or just a movie fan... head over to Kickstarter so we can get this funded!
• Blows! Microsoft has been (rightfully) bragging about crossing the 350 million license milestone for Windows 7 in only 18 months. Except... I can't help but wonder how much of the rapid adoption rate is thanks to its predecessor, Windows Vista, being such a steaming pile of shit. Even with the Service Packs (mostly) fixing all the crap that made me want to take a flamethrower to my PC, I maintain that everybody who purchased a Vista license should have gotten Windows 7 as a free upgrade. Because anybody forced to suffer through Vista after updowngrading from the (relatively) painless Windows XP experience deserves to be compensated. Instead, we were forced to add billions of dollars to Microsoft's bank account to get out of a shitty OS that was never ready for release in the first place (after SIX YEARS of development). Any doubts I had about being an Apple Whore were eradicated by the release of Windows Fucking Vista and subsequently having to pay for Windows 7. I long for the day I never have to use Windows again.
• Bunny! If you celebrate the holiday, hope it's a happy one for you!
Annnd... time to start hauling all this crap back into my bedroom. Spring cleaning blows.
Ask any web developer what the worst part of their job is, and they're almost certain to answer "writing hacks so pages display properly in Microsoft Internet Explorer." For years, Microsoft had a pile-of-shit browser that failed to render standard HTML properly. This means that every time you come up with a new design, you have to do a bunch of freaky shit... hacks, work-arounds, bug traps, etc... specific to Microsoft so that people using their crappy browser could view your web pages.
In recent years, Microsoft has gotten more proficient at making their dumbass browsers work better with web standards, but there are so many people using older versions of their bullshit software that it's still a problem even to this day (which is why Microsoft is begging people to upgrade).
Eventually, web designers built up a library of hacks that they could pop into designs that would handle all the Microsoft dumbassery. It wasn't an elegant solution, but it works. It works so well that I don't even think about it any more.
I never, ever thought that I would run across something that would be worse than the days I spent pulling my hair out at 2:00am trying to get a web page to display in Microsoft Internet Explorer.
I was wrong.
Welcome to Apple's iBooks...
When they first released iBooks, a lot of people were relieved to know that Apple had decided to use the existing ePub standard for their file format. This meant that the bazillion eBooks out there that were already in ePub format would work just fine in iBooks.
BECAUSE APPLE HAS SO HOPELESSLY FUCKED UP THE WAY ePUB DOCUMENTS ARE RENDERED THAT I FIND MYSELF LONGING FOR THE "GOOD OLD DAYS" OF DICKING AROUND WITH MICROSOFT INTERNET EXPLORER CODE!
I am not joking. Apple iBooks has so much incomprehensible shit going on that they should aspire to be Microsoft. In fact, Apple's iBooks team of 2011 could take lessons from the Microsoft Internet Explorer team of 2001 on how to comply with internet standards.
I have just spent SEVEN HOURS trying to get an ePub document to render properly in iBooks. And I'm still not there yet. I'm getting closer, but thanks to the totally fucked up way that iBooks dicks around with text when the "Full Justification" setting is on, I've still got a ways to go.
Apparently Apple has some magical document called iBookstore Asset Guide that is supposed to help, but the only way you can get it is to become a publishing partner with Apple. Yes, you read that right, in order to force Apple's piece-of-shit software to comply with OPEN STANDARDS, you have to get some kind of "secret document" not available to the general public.
It sure would be nice if Apple got the same kind of hatred-fueled uproar that Microsoft gets when they fuck up. Maybe then Apple would start listening to people, just like Microsoft was forced to.
In the meanwhile... fuck you, Apple. I thought I was done with this kind of hackery bullshit.
After the sheer awesomeness of my Saturday, I did the best I could to get through Bullet Sunday.
• She's a Wonder. And so the most perfect woman on earth, Elizabeth Hurley, has been tapped for a role in David E. Kelly's Wonder Woman project. Apparently she'll be playing Wonder Woman's far more beautiful and classy arch-nemesis, Veronica Cale. I, of course, think she would be perfect as Wonder Woman herself, hard as it will be for anyone to fill Linda Carter's red boots. She was Wonder Woman. Even with Elizabeth Hurley, I have to say I am still very, very nervous about the show. If David E. Kelly can resist the urge to add his stupid-ass Allie McBeal craziness to the mix, it might have a chance...
• Pretty Cool. Gotta hand it to Miley Cyrus, she handled her guest-hosting on Saturday Night Live like a champ last night. She not only managed to get in a few digs on Lindsay Lohan, but spent a lot of time poking fun at herself as well. Of course, what every SNL fan was waiting for was seeing if she would make an appearance on Vanessa Bayer's ongoing "Miley Cyrus Show" skit. Surprisingly, she did... as Justin Bieber!
I was secretly hoping that Billy Ray Cyrus would make an appearance as himself here, but Jason Sudeikis did his usual hysterical impersonation. A couple sketches fell flat for me (The Sound of Music, really?)... but overall it was a pretty funny episode and Miley did a great job. I still miss Hannah Montana.
• Upgrade. Microsoft has an entire website devoted to killing off their piece of shit web browser, Internet Explorer 6...
Their suggestion is to have you upgrade to Internet Explorer 8.
If I may be so bold, a suggestion: bypass Internet Explorer 8 and upgrade directly to an even better browser...
Or, don't stop upgrading there... get rid of Windows and step up to Macintosh! It's so much nicer up here!
• Downgrade. Meeee-ow! My review of the latest "upgrade" to Twitter for iPhone...
Developers always seem to play the victim by saying things like "Well, nobody wants to pay for apps anymore, so we use ads. SOMEBODY has to pay, so cut us a break!" — And that's a very good point... except you can't expect people to be happy when the app's functionality is impaired by the ads. Either find a way to insert ads in a way that's not going to shit all over your app, or just charge for the damn thing.
• Go for the Gold. One last thing before I go... this morning I discovered Rold Gold "Everything Bagel" Pretzels. Deeeelicious. They kind of reminds me of Chex Mix, but more subtle and without the fishy Worcestershire sauce to mess things up. Still really good flavor though. This is a great find because it's really tough to find the Snyders of Hanover flavors I like around here...
And there's Bullet Sunday for you. Until next week... stay classy, blogosphere.
At 2:30am I ended up playing chauffeur to the hospital ER. While I was waiting, I saw a guy walk in holding one of his fingers that had gotten cut off. Holy crap. I could so not work the reception desk at an ER. I do not do well when people show up holding body parts. Or The bubonic plague.
• Debloggered. I've been noticing for quite a while now the long, slow, steady decline in blogging. It's a little depressing, but I didn't know how depressing until I was bored in the hospital waiting room and decided to edit my feed reader. It turns out twenty-eight of my feeds ended up getting deleted because they haven't been updated in over six months. Twenty-eight! I can't be sure, but I probably deleted close to that many a year ago. A few of the deleted bloggers I keep in touch with via Twitter or Facebook, so I guess that's okay. But there are others who apparently dropped off the face of the earth. A few left with a sad "this is my last entry" post, whereas others just... stopped.
A classic example is an expatriate who decided to move to Korea for a year so he could experience life in another country before getting his PhD. I found his blog during my third trip to Korea when I was Googling for... something... and kept reading because he was an interesting guy living an interesting life who had similar thoughts and hobbies (comic books!) to mine. Eventually he fell in love with a Korean girl, got married, ended up staying in Korea five years, got accepted at a school back in the USA, moved into a new apartment here with his wife, and then the entries just... stopped. It's so strange to have been a part of somebody's life for years and then =BLAM!= you have no idea what happened to them or how they're doing. I ended up doing some Google-stalking, found the guy on Twitter, then sent a request... but since I never commented on his blog, he doesn't know me and will probably ignore it.
It's the same story for a few other blogs I once followed. You get caught up in somebody's life, feel like you know them, then one day they're gone and you're left wondering. Now, granted, it's not like a blogger owes anybody anything. If they decide that blogging is no longer something they want to do, then that's all there is to it. But, even so, it's a little bit cruel. And a little bit curious. I wonder how many people would notice (or even care) if tomorrow I just... stopped?
• Fosterized. Last summer a song called Pumped Up Kicks by an unknown band called "Foster The People" was creeping through the blogosphere, infecting people wherever it landed. The song was contagious in a way that's truly rare... slamming through a catchy beat and even catchier nonsense lyrics that still haunt me months later. The odd thing being that the band was practically invisible, and finding any new material past their one song was nigh impossible. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that not only did they finally release a video for Pumped Up Kicks, they also unleashed an EP with three songs on iTunes (including Houdini, which has become permanently implanted in my head). Apparently an album is on the way. I'm hoping it sucks, because I don't know how I will be able to function with more than three awesome Foster The People songs constantly looping through my head...
• Branded. And so Russell Brand hosted Saturday Night Live last night. Compared to most recent episodes, it wasn't bad. But with the exception of Brand's monologue, Jay Pharoah's flawless Eminem impersonation, and a faux ad-spot for an offensively British movie called Don' You Go Rounin' Roun to Re Ro, it just wasn't that funny to me. By the time we got to the heinous A Spot of Tea sketch, I wanted to impale myself on my remote just to end the suffering. Surely even the people involved can't think this crap is in any way funny? Here's hoping Miley Cyrus manages to somehow have a good show in two weeks despite all evidence pointing to doom. Wow. If Hannah Montana can't make for a good episode of SNL they might as well hang it up.
• Weathered. Well, poop...
• Microsofnokia. Nokia, once the final word in mobile phones, has been sliding into irrelevance for years. First Blackberry skewered them in the business market. Then iPhone and Android served them their head in the personal smartphone market. In every way that matters Nokia was dying a slow death, never to be heard of again.
And then... Stephen Elop, a former Microsof employee (and Microsoft's eight largest shareholder), became CEO of Nokia. After a brutally honest critique of Nokia's complete lack of ability to compete in the market, Elop announced that Nokia was dumping pretty much everything and hitching its wagon to the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 train. It was spectacularly brilliant and evil. For all intents and purposes, Nokia was now a hardware division of Microsoft. For which Microsoft paid nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero dollars. When I first mentioned this, people called me a wingnut Microsoft-hating conspiracy theorist. And now another former Microsoft employee of sixteen years, Chris Weber, has just been installed as CEO of Nokia USA.
Get out your tinfoil hat!
I'd congratulate Microsoft for dropping to an entirely new level of evil, but I don't think this is going to make much difference. All they've done is ensure that what few manufacturers were making Windows Phone 7 handsets will now be embracing Android 100%. Good thing Microsoft has a lot of money, because that's about the only thing that's keeping them in the smartphone game. Alas, the same can't be said for Nokia. Since Microsoft has no financial interest in the company, they also have no risk. If this massive gamble doesn't pay off, Nokia is done for.
And let's not fool ourselves here, Nokia is done for.
UPDATE: Or billions. Whatever... this doesn't end well.
And on that sad note, I suppose I should try to get some work done before this weekend is over.
If only I could wake up...
"You're not dying... you just can't think of anything better to do."
— Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller's Day Off
I've had cheese pizza for dinner three times in the past week. It's not that I'm particularly craving cheese pizza, I just can't think of anything better to eat. Well, I can, but flying to Amsterdam for a cheese sandwich or jetting off to Rome for Fettucine Alfredo seems a bit excessive. Oh well, pizza and bullets it is then. Welcome to a Very Special NEW YEAR Edition of Bullet Sunday!
• NEW CHANNELS! I relented and purchased an expanded cable television package because my sister got me hooked on The Big C which you can only get on the Showtime Channel. Unfortunately, The Big C was just the beginning. Now I'm hooked on Dexter again... PLUS Boardwalk Empire on HBO. What an amazing show that is. I've always liked Steve Buscemi's acting, but damn...
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The other actors in Boardwalk Empire are great too ( ZOMG! Erik Weiner?)... along with the writing, the directing, the production values, and everything else associated with the show. I guess with Martin Scorsese involved I shouldn't be surprised, but damn...
• NEW HOTNESS! Well, okay, Summer Glau is not exactly "new," having appeared as "River Tam" in fan-favorite Joss Whedon awesomeness Firefly. And then she did a smattering of guest appearances in television shows meant to appeal to a sci-fi geek's wet dreams, including The 4400 and Dollhouse... along with playing a FRICKIN' TERMINATOR in the sweet Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles...
And now she's moving into comic book geek territory by taking a role on The Cape, a super-hero series debuting on the 9th...
I can only guess that her next role will be as Wonder Woman, because that's about the only thing in the genre left for her to play! Hopefully her new show will be worth a crap, and not some lame knock-off of a lame show like Heroes.
• NEW AWESOME! As a huge, huge fan of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, the movie I am most looking forward to this year is... PAUL! The movie looks entertaining as hell and, since it's Frost & Pegg, you know it's going to be funny. AND THE CAST! It's got Kristin Wigg, Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, AND SIGOURNEY WEAVER IN IT! I can't for the life of me understand why the buzz on this film isn't bigger than it is...
• NEW SHIT? Last year Steve Ballmer took the stage of the annual Consumer Electronics Show to show off Microsoft's revolutionary new tablet version of Windows 7 to be released on an upcoming "slate" hardware device.
THIS year Steve Ballmer will be taking the stage of the annual Consumer Electronics Show to show off Microsoft's revolutionary new tablet version of Windows 7 to be released on an upcoming "tablet" hardware device.
See, "slate" was the old shit. "Slates" ended up sucking ass and nobody bought them because "slates" don't have the power necessary to run a resource-sucking pile of shit like Windows. But then Apple unveiled the "iPad" which everybody made fun of because it sounded like "maxi pad" (or whatever). Everybody in the industry also made fun of iPad because it wasn't a "real" computer at all but just a "big phone that can't make calls" or perhaps a "grossly underpowered computer that can't do anything."
But then Apple had the last laugh (as usual) because iPad went on to sell a bajillion units.
So now Microsoft is recycling the same fucked-up bullshit that nobody wanted the first time around and pretending it's new because apparently, thanks to Apple, everybody came to their senses and decided they want a tablet computer all along. Microsoft was just ahead of its time last year, and THIS year will be totally different!
Except that's not what happened at all. People didn't all of a sudden embrace tablet computer... they embraced the iPad which, as everybody in the industry was so quick to point out, IS NOT A COMPUTER. Sure it has some computer functionality, but it's more an "appliance" that becomes different electronic devices as opposed to a traditional computer. The fact that it's NOT A COMPUTER is what makes it so compelling. People who need a computer aren't going to be satisfied with a stripped down, crippled, slow tablet device. It's people who are looking for something simple and functional who are the iPad's target customer, and Apple understood this.
Microsoft (as usual) is playing catch-up and doing it all wrong. Again. I'm sure after the "tablet" fails just like the "slate" failed, Balmer will be standing on the stage in 2012 with the "new" Microsoft "pad" device running the tablet edition of Windows 7 because THAT'S what the problem was... it was the NAME that sabotaged the previous two attempts!
That same name that everybody made fun of when Apple unleashed it last year.
Oh how I loathe Microsoft. They have access to unlimited money and unlimited technology, but there's nobody there with any kind of vision to make any use of it. I'M STILL WAITING FOR MY FLYING CAR, STEVE BALMER, YOU DEMENTED FOOL!!
• NEW OUTLOOK! I promise myself that I will be 50% less critical of Microsoft this year, because I know everybody it tired of
That will be really fucking easy to do, because this year Microsoft will be 50% less relevant to the computer industry, the mobile phone industry, and the electronic industry in general, just like they were last year (KIN PHONES FOR EVERYBODY!).
The only place Microsoft is holding any ground is with their Xbox 360 video game console. You know, their SIX YEAR OLD ENTERTAINMENT TECHNOLOGY?!? Of course, six years in electronics years is like SIXTY years in human years, so heaven only knows how long that gravy train is going to last. Hopefully they've got an
Of course, it's not inconceivable that Apple won't come out with iPlay (or whatever) and swipe the gaming market as well. Thanks to iPod Touch, iPhone, and now iPad, they've pretty much sewn up the portable gaming market already. What's one more area of global domination to Steve Jobs?
• NEW INSIGHT! Well, not really. Despite Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back being two of my most favorite movies of all time, I found the "prequels" to be massive piles of shit. Not only were they boring as hell, but they barely made any sense. When I initially wrote my thoughts on Revenge of the Sith after it was released, I ranked it as "okay" even though I fully admitted it sucked. Probably because compared to The Phantom Mencace and Attack of the Clones it was utter genius. I was so desperate to like Star Wars again that ranking it "okay" was more of a cry for help than any acknowledgement of cinematic greatness...
This got me roundly despised by many of my fellow Star Wars fans who thought Revenge of the Sith was the best thing ever. Not that I can blame them... if you've been eating nothing but vomit and fond memories for decades, a plate of moldy bread is going to feel like dinner at the Ritz.
Now that time has passed, perspective has only managed to take the bloom off the rose. Or, in the case of Mr. Plinkett, to shred the rose into pieces, cover it in raw sewage, then fart on it as you toss it into a nuclear explosion. His biting, scathing analysis is horrifyingly accurate. He not only addresses all the problems I had with the film* but expands upon them with some insight I hadn't considered.
If you're okay with lots of profanity and a shocking lack of taste and morals masquerading as a movie review, then this is something you must see.
And there you have it. The first Bullet Sunday of a new year. Let's hope I survive the week to do a second one.
*Well, one thing he DOESN'T address is the bullshit about "midichlorian count" being an indicator as to how powerful somebody is with The Force. If a massive number of midichlorians determines your strength, how can Darth Vader be so fucking powerful when he lost both legs and both arms? That's an ass-load of midichlorians to lose. And can somebody who has low midichlorians inject a bunch of them and instantly become a Jed Master? ARRRGH! Like everything else in the prequels, this shit doesn't make any fucking sense!
If you're viewing this site in Internet Explorer 8 it might appear messed up. Or so I've been told by a half-dozen people.
Needless to say, I may die of un-shock. Microsoft has been screwing up the internet for a decade so why should they stop now? Oh well, from what I can tell everything looks fine in Safari, and Firefox, and Opera, and even my frickin' iPhone... so I guess it's something IE-specific. Yet again. I jumbled a few things around that I though might be suspect, but won't have time to thoroughly check into the problem until next week.
In the meanwhile, I guess my blog will just have to look like crap in the latest Internet Explorer fiasco...
A lot of people are asking themselves why in the hell Microsoft cant make a standards-compliant browser after seven revisions. Web standards, after all, ensure that everybody sees the internet the same way. At this point I think it's safe to assume that it's not because Microsoft can't make a standards-compliant browser... they just don't want to make a standards-compliant browser. They just don't give a shit, and are once again using their massive market share to dictate that everybody look at the internet the Microsoft Way.
This is rather obvious when running the Web Standards Project Acid 3 Test, which has been out for over a year. Internet Explorer 8 returns a score of 20 out of 100. EPIC FAIL...
Apple's Safari browser passes just fine...
EVEN MY FRICKIN' iPHONE CAN GET A SCORE OF 97...
I mean, seriously, what does it say for Microsoft when a PHONE is better capable of surfing the internet than their browser? And it's never going to stop. Microsoft will continue to screw over web developers just because they can. Internet Explorer is the de-facto browser for bajillions of Windows users, which means more hacks, work-arounds, and kludges (not to mention untold hours of frustration) for anybody who wants their web pages to be seen properly by a huge chunk of people.
And don't even get me started on how Microsoft wants MS Word to dictate how we view email.
I need a cookie.