Friday, June 30, 2006

Superman Returns in IMAX 3-D

You'd think that with all the improvements in special effects technology and the fact that Superman Returns has around 20 minutes of 3-D in it (but only if you see it at an IMAX), the movie would easily surpass the previous incarnations of Superman. Well, you'd be wrong.

The movie lacks something the original Superman movie with Christopher Reeve had. It just doesn't feel fresh. Rather than re-invent the Man of Steel like they did with the Dark Knight in Batman Begins, they just update him a little. Even the plot is a little stale: it's very similar to the plot of Superman I.

The movie is also too long. By the time the climax is reached, there is easily another 20 minutes...and it seems to drag.

And lets talk about Kevin Spacey. He's a brilliant actor...but his Lex Luther doesn't come anywhere close to Gene Hackman's. Brandon Routh does a great job as Superman...and he so convincingly imitates Christopher Reeve that it is a little eerie at times.

That's not to say it is a bad movie. I didn't hate it. I didn't find at as good as Superman I, but I thought it was better than Superman II.

Finally, there is the 3-D stuff. The 3-D stuff didn't really add anything to the movie. In fact, I found it a little distracting. If the entire movie had been 3-D, it would have been cool...or even one 20 minute block of 3-D. But instead, the 3-D is interspersed throughout the film for about 5 minutes at a time. It comes across as a gimmick. And that's really sad, considering I love IMAX 3-D.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

More on Sex Offenders

There is a news report on the KTUL website saying that 97 percent of Tulsa is off limits to sex offenders due to laws that say offenders cannot live near parks and schools, etc. I don't really cherish the idea of a sex offender living nearby, but it seems a little restrictive.

I think people should be less concerned about sex offenders and more concerned about violent criminals (the two are not mutually exclusive). Where's the website that shows where the violent criminals live? That's what I really want to see.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Dieting Makes No Sense

I don't understand this. For the past several weeks, I've been denying my self pop and trying to eat healthier. I didn't lose squat. So this week, I really fell off the wagon and drank copious amounts of pop, and I had a large chocolate shake from Burger King (the only thing I'll eat there). When I weighed this morning, I'd lost 3 pounds. Go figure.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Condom Poppers

Okay, this one goes into the WTF File. A friend of mine found these unusual fireworks at the local fireworks stand. They're called Condom Poppers. I think they're like those champagne poppers. However, I suspect there may be little condoms in it, instead of streaming paper. Get this! There are phrases on the side of each popper like: So Many Girls So "Little" Condoms, Can't Get Enough of a "Small" Thing, For "Small" Emergencies Only, and Tight is Good "Tightwad" Dangerous.

BlockParty 1.0 Released

I just finished uploading BlockParty 1.0 to The champaigne cork is out (okay, it's really a can of beer).

If you have an iPod or MP3 player, you might want to check it out.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Why Cats Suck

I have three cats. And they all suck. If they're not coughing up hairballs, it's something else.

Yesterday as I was leaving for work, I realized the litter box needed changing, but since I was running late, I thought it could wait.

Well, one of the cats--I'm pretty sure I know which one--decided the leave me a reminder to change the litter box. That's catspeak for "he pissed all over the bed". Vindictive little bastard!

I knew I was going to be up for a late-night work implementation at 1:00am, so I'd planned to come home a little early and take a nap. That did not happen. Instead, I spent the evening steam cleaning the bed and washing sheets.

Monday, June 19, 2006

BlockParty Application

I'm a little excited about this. I'm working on an open source Java application called BlockParty. I hope to have it available at SourceForge soon.

Basically, it will let you record a "block" of SHOUTcast-compatible internet streaming music. It will produce MP3 files, which can be uploaded to any iPod or MP3-compatible music player.

I got interested in writing the program when I found another project on SourceForge called Streamripper. All the other programs I've evaluated try to break the songs up into separate tracks with varying degrees of success. Streamripper has this capability too, but it's the only one I've found that will also record until a certain file size or time limit has been reached. BlockParty will use Streamripper in the background, but it will have some other features too.

So far the application is coming along nicely. I estimated I will be done with the first version sometime within the next 2 weeks.

Friday, June 16, 2006

My iPod

I have a love/hate relationship with my 5G iPod, the one with video. I love that it's compact and goes anywhere, can hold several days worth of songs, can show videos when I'm on a plane or in the car, it's relativily easy to use, and the video looks great! But there are some glaring problems (some of which seem easy to fix) with it, too:

1) It's too hard to get movies onto the iPod. Granted, Apple doesn't advertise you can watch movies on it, but since it is a video player, it's sorta implied. Wrong. The Apple Music Store doesn't have movies. Sure, you can buy TV shows from the Apple Music Store, but at $2 a show, an entire season usually costs more than a DVD box set. Which means you must convert the movies yourself, and it's slow and requires you to find third-party software.

2) The Apple Music Store has the option of blending songs together at the breaks, rather than leave a second or two gap between songs. The makes a playlist seem more like a radio broadcast. Yet, the iPod doesn't have this feature. It's probably one of the most requested features on the forums I've seen.

3) When I create a playlist, sometimes I'd like to shuffle it, sometimes not. Unfortunately, the iPod seems to only have a global shuffle setting and it's a pain to navigate to it and turn it on/off.

4) The scroll wheel sensitivity needs to be adjustable. It's aggravating when you highlight something and raise your finger to hit the selector button only to have the selection move as your lift your finger.

I wish Apple and Sirius would team up and build an iPod that could receive Sirius satellite radio transmissions. Now that would be awesome.

Overall, I'd rate myself mostly satified with my iPod, but I don't think it comes close to living up to the hype.