Thursday, June 29, 2006

10 flagrant grammar mistakes that make you look stupid

In general, we can slip up in a verbal conversation and get away with it. A colleague may be thinking, "Did she just say irregardless?," but the words flow on, and our worst transgressions are carried away and with luck, forgotten.

That's not the case with written communications.
A number of these are taught in journalism classes and put on job tests. But even I'm guilty of making a few of these mistakes, especially #10. And if you think the article is short, take a look at the comments.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Radio Trivia

This morning on 99.3 KJOY ("Light rock and less talk!") host Rob Kacey mentioned that Superman Returns was premiering today and promised two tickets to the movie (along with the complete third season of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman on DVD) to the first caller who could answer the following question: Which Cheers alum appeared in 1978's Superman: The Movie?

Although I wasn't the first to call in, I was the first to answer correctly (the first two callers guessed Ted Danson and Woody Harrelson), winning myself not only the prizes, but the chance to hear my voice on the radio in an unprepared way (wasn't impressed). I refrained from geekily-informing him that John also appeared in Superman II in a similar capacity.

When I picked up the prizes, I noticed on the free passes the following restrictions.

Good Only:

  • at Stockton, Turlock or Modesto, Sonora, Jackson
    (OK, that rules out any IMAX showings. And what's with the 'or' placed after Turlock? Are they indicating they'd prefer you use the passes in Stockton or Turlock and not the others?)
  • Monday-Thursday
    (OK, no Friday-Sunday showings. No big deal, it opens on Wednesday and I'd planned on seeing it on Thursday)
  • Beginning July 10, 2006
    (OK, so ... wait, what?! I have to wait 12 days to use these passes?!)
  • Weekends & Holidays Excluded
    (Um, weekends have already been excluded. So this limitation only means I can't use the passes on Labor Day ... September 4!
  • Ticket must be redeemed while the film is still playing (Gee, thanks! I guess that rules out September 5!)
I guess until July 10 I'll be watching my DVDs of Lois & Clark: The Complete Third Season (Hubba-hubba).

Oh, there's one free admission ticket in the DVD box. It has a $10.50 maximum value (which is the regular cost of a ticket at the Dublin theater).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Superman II

Still prepping for Superman Returns, I rewatched Superman II and here's a brief list of things I noticed:

  • One of the French terrorists is Harry Potter's horrible uncle
  • John Ratzenberger is a NASA mission control operator
  • Kal-El's mother says that 'scientists created' The Phantom Zone
  • When disguised as Clark Kent, he uses his heat vision without removing his glasses
For more interesting notes on this film, check out this Wikipedia entry's sections on Controversy and cult status and Trivia, which includes descriptions of alternate scenes.

macCompanion July 2006 review

  • EyeTV 250
    Last month I reviewed Elgato's EyeTV EZ, a low-cost analog TV tuner that allows you to watch and record TV on your Mac. Its shortcoming was that it made your Mac do all the hard work of encoding the incoming video signal, putting a hit on your processor and requiring a dual G5 or Core Duo processor for the best quality recordings. The EyeTV 250 takes nearly everything that's great about the EZ and improves on its main deficiency by using a built-in hardware decoder.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Superman's identity crisis
Los Angeles Times

Will the first and most elemental of superheroes be able to reassert himself as the paragon of the form, the hero that every other elastic-wrapped champion of justice can only yearn to be? Or will he be perceived as merely one more franchise along the entertainment superhighway? Or worse yet, will he come off as too simple, too old-school, even too corny for today's hero-savvy crowd?
Gerard Jones, author of Men of Tomorrow, Killing Monsters, and a number of Green Lantern comic books, wrote this thoughtful piece. I'm not really old enough to contend for some of his conclusions ...
That very corniness, of course, was half the secret to Superman's big-screen triumph in 1978. After a decade and a half of disastrous war, murdered and disgraced presidents, crime, inflation, drugs, cultural upheavals — in short, maybe the longest stretch of relentlessly nerve-shredding experiences in our history — Americans were overjoyed to allow an impossibly perfect hero to swoop from the neglected shelves of childhood memory and snatch us briefly from resignation.
I watched the Expanded Edition of the 1978 film recently and realized I had either forgotten or never noticed a few things:
  • Jor-El is said to have discovered The Phantom Zone himself
  • Martha Kent's middle name is Clark
  • After Kal-El creates the Fortress of Solitude, Jor-El tutors him for 12 years "traveling through time and space"
  • The plane that Superman saves is Air Force One
  • Krypton has a 28-hour day
  • John Ratzenberger is a nuclear missile control technician
  • Unlike most of the movie, the dam scene now looks quite fake

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Schools pulling the plug on Macs

For nearly two decades, Anne Peach has taught graphic arts at a Catonsville high school using Apple Macintosh computers, knowing her students would use that system in the working world.

But the Apple logo has given way to the waving Windows icon in Baltimore County schools' graphic design and multimedia computer labs, and Peach is furious.
The main reason previously stated for replacing Macintosh computers in schools with Windows PCs was that students needed to learn on computers they would be using in the workplace. Now they're saying:
Students and staff can share information efficiently if everyone uses compatible equipment. "All of this can happen only if we're all on the same operating platform."
Oh, sure. Apparently the world is not sharing information via the Internet using different operating systems (Windows 95, 98, Me, XP; MacOS 9, OS X, Linux, etc.)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Chris Isaak is returning to Stockton for his first hometown concert in six years and Megan put together a special section for Recordnet. It includes:

  • The feature story for Timeout
  • A photo gallery of Chris at his home in San Francisco
  • Audio of his entire interview
  • Related stories dating back to his past Stockton performances
  • Links to his official site and MySpace page

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Alcatraz photos

I've posted a gallery page of photos Megan took during our tour of Alcatraz Island on Saturday, June 10. Now run by the national park service, "The Rock" was home to a former federal prison, military fortification, lighthouse, and a 1969-1972 Native American occupation.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hiding in Plain Sight, Google Seeks More Power
New York Times

On the banks of the windswept Columbia River, Google is working on a secret weapon in its quest to dominate the next generation of Internet computing. But it is hard to keep a secret when it is a computing center as big as two football fields, with twin cooling plants protruding four stories into the sky.
Ah, The Dalles. Forever to be described as "80 miles east of Portland."

Mathematical references abound on The Simpsons
Science News

Although nobody would call The Simpsons a science show, the writing staff boasts an impressive array of former mathematicians, scientists, and computer scientists. Over the years, they have injected their brand of geeky humor into the show.


Hmm, does this image look familiar?

Oh, right...

Hasbro Introduces Transformers Classics Line

This fall, Hasbro will pay a special tribute to the rich history captured in the saga that is More Than Meets The Eye with the Transformers Classics line of figures.

Each character in the Classics line will have a more detailed face and body, resulting in a more comparable appearance to the character seen on the original TV show and animated movie.
Sounds great. So why does the new "Classics" Megatron look even less like the TV show and animated movie than the original toy?

Bush's Broadband Goal In Doubt

President Bush's goal of universal broadband access for all Americans by 2007 appears to be in doubt, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. Between 42-48 percent of online Americans subscribe to a broadband service, according to two surveys.

The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time

Even the worst products deserve recognition (or deprecation). So as we put together our list of World Class winners for 2006, we decided also to spotlight the 25 worst tech products that have been released since PC World began publishing nearly a quarter-century ago.
I really only disagree with one item on the list (and it's not made by Apple).

Fat sitcom husbands

... several shows pair extremely attractive women, who are often clad in plunging tops and tight jeans suitable for a Maxim photo spread, with TV husbands who are not only not studly, but downright fat.
I don't know why it took me a year-and-a-half to find this article (maybe because I read Slate that often) but I've been wondering about this for a few years and King of Queens and Grouded for Life were the most prominent mismatches I had noticed.

I recently did a domain name search for, just to see if it was available (which it is) and was given a list of "Similar Available Domain Names"

The following similar names are available:
What do you think? Should I grab while it's available or would I be better suited to

New World Record Established for Most People Dressed as Smurfs

290 people from across the U.S. established the first world record for "Most People Dressed as Smurfs" during San Francisco's famous Bay to Breakers foot race.

What was the Old World Record?

In Our Post-PC Era, Apple's Device Model Beats the PC Way
The Wall Street Journal

Critics attack the iPod and iTunes as 'closed' and 'proprietary,' because the songs Apple sells at its iTunes Music Store play only on iPods, and iPods can't play songs purchased from other music stores. But both the iPod and iTunes handle the two most common open audio formats, MP3 and WAV, and the most common open video format, MP4. They work well even if you never buy a song from Apple. And iTunes and the iPod work on Windows computers, not just Macs. So how is that closed?
It's amazing that this needs to be pointed out to people, but the Microsoft misinformation campaign is succeeding in convincing people that if you use iTunes or an iPod that all your music is locked in. Only music and videos purchased from the iTunes Music Store are locked from full and fair use (even free downloads). Competing digital music services are not Mac-compatible, so their claims of being 'open' are ridiculous. The music service that is truly 'open' is eMusic.

Superman Returns - First Listen

Most of the raw material present in [John] Williams' original oeuvre (the Fanfare, the Love Theme, the Krypton Theme, the Kent Family Theme) is preserved here and it is with great anticipation and pride that SoundtrackNet presents an exclusive first listen to the official motion picture score release of John Ottman's Superman Returns.

Perfect Strangers, Hooked on a Can Can and

If you remember the television series "Perfect Strangers," you will probably find this compilation of clips (set to "Hooked on a Can Can") fun.

1987 Marvel Comics Parade Float

Willard Scott is the least embarrassing thing about this 1987 video of Captain America, Wolverine, Dr. Strange, Power Man (and Robocop?!) battling Dr. Doom, Magneto, Enchantress, The White Queen and The Hulk. All this is on a parade float playing music from "Back to the Future."

LEGO™ Batman

Lego's new branded collection of play sets and characters uses the Batman 'property.' To promote it, they've made some fun wallpapers, Flash-based comics, and movies. The movie(s) are computer-generated, rather than stop-motion. And the mini figurines have better character designs than some of the big-budget films.

PSYOP Creates Visual Haiku for MTV HD

It has been said that "God is in the details." That sentiment is strikingly rendered in a series of new station identification spots for MTV HD, co-directed by Psyop's Marco Spier and Marie Hyon.

Sacramento & Co.

I appeared on Sacramento & Co. with my co-worker Lisa Cooperman twice in the last two months to promote The Haggin Museum's Age of Armor and Birthday Party family festivals. Thanks to the EyeTV 250 I'm reviewing for macCompanion, I was able to create QuickTime movies of these 5- and 8-minute clips (respectively).

May 12 - Age of Armor (22.6MB)
June 9 - Birthday Party (33.3MB)