Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Regal Guest Response System Offered in 114 Theatres

Regal Entertainment Group theatres participating in the Guest Response System invite selected patrons to carry a paging device with them into the auditorium. One patron may participate for each of the theatre’s auditoriums and for each movie showtime. The Guest Response device is a hand-held pager with four buttons. Each button alerts local management of a different problem such as: sound, picture, piracy or other disturbance. When the patron pushes a button, a message goes to a pager worn by a manager which tells them the nature of the concern, and in which auditorium.
I SO want to be a movie narc. Check out the list of participating theatres to see if one's near you (there are five in the Portland area). The HACIENDA CROSSINGS STADIUM 20 in Dublin is one we visit pretty regularly, although the IMAX crowds there are usually quite well-behaved.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Mo. man burns books as act of protest

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tom Wayne has amassed thousands of books in a warehouse during the 10 years he has run his used book store, Prospero's Books.

But when he wanted to thin out the collection, he found he couldn't even give away books to libraries or thrift shops; they said they were full.
In the future world of Fahrenheit 451, no one was allowed to have books because the government burned them. But in the true world of 2007, books are being burned simply because no one is reading them.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Nation's Springfields vie for 'Simpsons Movie' premiere

"The Simpsons," the television cartoon satire that inspired cult-like loyalty among millions of viewers worldwide over its 18 years, is set in a never clearly defined but incredibly dysfunctional place called Springfield. That has led to a raging debate about which of the more than 30 U.S. towns named Springfield is the model.
Wow, there's a real Shelbyville, Ill., not far off from the real Springfield, Ill. But what about North Haverbrook?

China's Tech Generation Finds a New Chairman to Venerate

Since the passing of Chairman Mao Zedong, a new chairman has come to represent the aims and aspirations of millions of Chinese youth -- the chairman of Microsoft, Bill Gates.
This is a very surreal story. And this quote is maybe the most surreal of all:
"Bill Gates deserves to win the Nobel Peace Prize," said the Chinese propaganda officer.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Could Linkin Park, Green Day, Nine Inch Nails Be The Next U2?

Everyone's heard the saying A&R guys have been kicking around for decades to describe the hottest up-and-comers: "the next Beatles." While this title has been liberally conferred upon many acts since the Beatles' prime, no artist has really been as big a hit or had as profound an influence on pop culture as the Fab Four. But U2 have come pretty damn close.

So forget the Beatles — we're more interested in who's poised to become the next U2. Here are some notable candidates.
I've never liked the oft-asked question 'Is so-and-so the next so-and-so?' Why can't the former just be themselves? Why does the latter need to be replaced? The more accurate question that headlines this interesting story is: "Are some of today's rockers modeling themselves after Bono's band of Irish lads?" There are certainly worse people to emulate.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

10 Biggest Apple Rumors (that never came true)

With Apple rumors getting spread further around than ever (and regular coverage from national news media), it’s important to remember that many (most?) tend to be either completely untrue or so premature they never come true. So here’s a look back at 10 of the worst offenders.
This is my latest feature-length post for The Apple Blog. I wrote it before I left for Chicago and it published this week.

HOWEVER... I did not give them numbers. The list was never intended to be in any kind of ranking order; they're not even in the order I wrote them.

After reading some comments, I would agree that the PowerBook G5 should have been on the list. I considered it a more realistic expectation and hadn't truly examined the depth of the rumors of its existence. I also smiled when I read "Dugg for pleasantly surprising me by putting the whole list on one page."

Will the third time be the charm with Disney's Muppet revival project?

Jim Hill walks us through the recent history of the Muppet Holding Company / Muppet Studios LLC. Which has blown through a trio of seasoned Disney VPs in the past three years. So now the question is: Does Lylle Breier really have what it takes to restore Jim Henson's once-beloved set of characters to their former glory?
I've seen the Muppets sporadically over the last few years (I wasn't aware of the French language show, though) and wondered exactly what was going on (Pizza Hut commercials?). Thanks to another inside dish from Jim Hill, more fully understand the behind-the-scenes politics.

If you've seen Spider-Man 3, you will probably find this interview interesting. I think it explains why the film was a little more crammed than it should've been. But even with all the new characters and villains, I don't think it suffered as much as the Batman franchise from packing in too much: starting with Batman Returns (3 villains), continuing the trend with Batman Forever (2 villains, 1 sidekick) and ultimately wrecking with Batman and Robin (3 villains, 2 sidekicks)
Talking (Spider) Sense with 'Spider-Man 3' Director Sam Raimi

Primarily, it was a story that featured the Sandman. It was really about Peter, Mary Jane, Harry and that new character. When we were done, Avi Arad, my partner and president of Marvel at the time, came to me and said "Sam, you're not paying attention to the fans enough. You need to think about them. You've made two movies now with your favorite villains and now you're about to make another one with your favorite villains. The fans love Venom. He is the fan-favorite. All Spider-Man readers love Venom. Even though you came from '70s Spider-Man, this is what the kids are thinking about. Please incorporate Venom. Listen to the fans now."
As much as I like the story of the black suit and Venom, I don't think he should've altered things based on Arad's perception of fan desires.

Chicago & Internet Access

I'm currently attending the American Association of Museums Annual Meeting in Chicago. Internet access from the conference costs $10 per day. Internet access from the hotel I'm staying at costs $13 per day. This is why I haven't been online since Friday evening. I'm writing this from a cafe one block from the hotel that offers free wireless access.

So to recap: the two places that require a payment of hundreds of dollars to attend ask for an additional fee for Internet access. The one place that you don't have to pay a single cent to is giving it away for free. Hmmm.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Electric Co. Spider-Man

See, this is the Spider-Man I got to enjoy watching as a kid. And nowadays people are complaining about Spider-Man 3 being not so great?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Family Guy steals from The Simpsons

I was aware of certain similarities, but I had no idea there was this much blatant stealing.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Lame Show: Episode 16

Best. Episode. Ever.

OK, maybe I shouldn't oversell it, but I think this one was a ton of fun to record and hopefully will be just as fun to listen to. Ray joined Noah and I for what seemed like two hours, but somehow ended up shorter than the previous episode.

Three Tickets to Lame

Ray returns to the podcast after releasing his new album, Jessica and the Silver Eclipse. He, Noah and Eddie discuss Digg's HD DVD processing key debacle and the departure of PC Magazine's Editor over an Apple story before getting the juicy topic of Summer Movie Season 2007, where Eddie's comic book knowledge is summoned.

Only one thing is nominated to the Lame List, but Noah calls it "the best nomination I've ever heard in my life."

Picks of the Week include Pidgin & Adium, the Wii's Super Paper Mario, and Wil Wheaton's blog at TV Squad.

The truly burning questions are asked: Are Top Ten lists written by lazy authors? Can Galactus be easily explained? Should Wes Bentley's acting result in a ticket rebate? When isn't the Caddyshack theme funny?
Episode 16.m4a (55:51)

The Lame Show on iTunes

Friday, May 04, 2007

Stockton's 'Top Chef' at Asparagus Festival

Stockton chef Michael Midgley, a contestant on the second season of Bravo's Top Chef, appeared at the celebrity kitchen of Stockton's annual Asparagus Festival. I didn't get any good pictures, but I did record some video with our digital camera.

Here's the setup to this particular clip. While on the show, he had a wisdom tooth show up that needed to get pulled out. So the producers took him to a dentist in the Los Angeles area (which he had to pay for). So how cushy must that Los Angeles dentist visit have been?

100_0413.MOV (2:04, 13.1MB)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Better photos of Late Night in San Francisco

Megan's phone takes better pictures than mine (which is fitting, really) so here's a few:

This was taken just after we were given our tickets and moved from the standby line to the ticket-holder line.

We were warned by the staff to put away cell phones or we would be ejected. Megan managed to snap this one image right after we sat down. Note the screens at the right and left where we got to watch the prerecorded segments.

Megan took this one after the show was over and we no longer had any lines to wait in.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Why new iPods aren’t quite as good as old iPods

By adding new features to the iPod over time (notes, photos, videos, etc.), Apple has given owners of previous models plenty of reasons to lust after the latest and greatest models. But Apple hasn’t just been adding features to the iPod, it’s also been taking some away. I own a fifth generation (5G) iPod, and compared to my original second generation (2G) iPod, there’s a lot missing nowadays.
This is my third feature-length article for The Apple Blog for April. I'm a little late posting it here because it published while we were in San Francisco. If it seems familiar, it's because it's basically an extended version of this old post from November 28, 2005. I struggled with the headline and don't think it accurately reflects the article (but it's attention-grabbing). And the comments are always, um, fun...

macCompanion May 2007 reviews

I had a couple of (relatively boring) hardware reviews in the latest edition of macCompanion:

Impact 3.5in SATA HDD Enclosure

Most modern Macs use SATA hard drives, which provide tremendous data transfer speed over regular ATA drives. But if you pull that drive out of your computer, it can be difficult to find a compatible enclosure to put it in. RadTech’s Impact line is one such enclosure, but there are some caveats.
TruePower AC Adapter
The AC Adapters that Apple shipped with its G4 PowerBooks and white iBooks are stylish, useful and (generally) superior. But what about when they break down? A replacement adapter from Apple costs $80. Or what if you just want to have an extra adapter – one for your home and one for your work. FastMac has stepped up to meet those situations with its TruePower AC Adapter.

Us on Conan O'Brien in San Francisco

The arrow shows where we were sitting on Monday's show -- the back row of the first balcony. I'm just to the left raising my arms and Megan is on my left (your right). If you click on the image, you can watch a brief QuickTime movie with arm-raising action!

Although we seem very far away from the view of the camera, we really had excellent seats and a great view of both the stage and a screen.