October 2013

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Sun 10/27/13 7:24pm # | tweet this



The Forever People

Saturday I got a chance to see friend David Phifer's short film: The Forever People at the Wealthy Theatre's Thriller Chiller Halloween Film Festival.

I've known Dave was working on this short for awhile now. And back when he started, I saw some footage that I was impressed by, but in going into see the 10 minute short, I actually avoided watching his trailer first. So although I knew at a high level what some of the mythos behind the film was, I actually didn't have a very defined picture of what made it into Dave's short.

I'm glad I skipped the trailer and just saw the film cold. (now don't get me wrong, after the film, I watched the trailer, and it's a great trailer, but I'm just really happy that I got to watch the whole thing and be surprised at how it unfolded.)

I really don't want to talk much about the film, because it is a short and I don't want to give anything away. But I do want to say it's cool. I enjoyed it, and I hope to see more on it in the future. Seriously, Dave's pulled off a neat thing and if you like genre type stuff and if you do get a chance do keep an eye out for it at your local film festivals. Dave has it showing in a bunch. It's good stuff!

The Forever People Facebook Page.

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Sun 10/27/13 1:30pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing




This Isn't Living, Dammit!a
source: Neatorama


Warner Bros. Consumer Products enters into first-of-its-kind global partnership with Schleich for DC Comics figurines
source: Action Figure Insider

They are the company that makes all those loose Animal and rubber non-articulated Smurf figurines. Weird.

Mobile 3D Printing: Envisioning a Future of On-Location Part Fabrication
source: SolidSmack.com

3D printing in a trunk of a car. LOL.



Murphy Pet Bed
source: Neatorama

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Sun 10/27/13 10:33am # | tweet this

Galaxy Gear Smartwatch

I finally had an opportunity to play with a Galaxy Gear Smartwatch in a Best Buy yesterday. Interesting device.

I thought it felt snappy and responsive. It wasn't as bulky as I thought it would be. It's a very noticeable, yet tasteful watch.

I already have a Pebble, which I've been very happy with, and even though the Gear is a similar yet different device, I don't feel quite compelled, because of my existing ownership of the Pebble to get a Gear -- Not for $350 anyway. However, maybe at $150 I'd entertain the idea of getting the Gear too, just to play with and compare to the Pebble.

If dropping the camera from the Gear were to help Samsung get the price down a bit, I'd encourage them to do that.

Neat device, but I'll hold off for now. Watch the price, and look for how Google answers this device in their own line-up or at least see what V2 of the Gear looks like.

I want to hear your



Sat 10/26/13 11:42am # | tweet this

A sense of things at the moment

No particular order-- stream of conscience, more or less. I do these every so often on my blog.

Social Media

Twitter and Facebook. These two services and to a lesser extent, Google Plus, continue to hold a fair amount of my day to day attention, in a pre-internet channel surfing sort of passive time wasting sort of way. I do find that the people I'd probably want to hear more from post less on average now than the people who I probably hear too much about who do post a lot though. There really doesn't seem to have been much new in the space over the past year or more. It's a useful utinlity but less the vector for new discovery that I far to often nostalgically look back on it as.

Kickstarter type projects continue to be an interesting change. Peer to Peer funding on a mass scale. While many aren't successful, almost daily, various projects bubble up to the various news sites and get funded. It does seem that developing a following of people who are willing to chip in a few bucks to your project is a potential new way to go the freelance, startup, indie creator route. Getting fame by giving something away for a good long while, or thru a large corporate project does seem to be somewhat of a prerequiste for taking this track though. But the Kickstarter culture (like Girl Scout cookie selling for grown-ups) does seem to be here to stay now.

The Web

I've pretty much normalized on Newsblur over the defunct Google Reader as my gateway to the web of news, entertainment and information. Lately, I've been using Flipboard far less as well(although I think that has more to do with them severely shrinking the number of articles they pipe into their major categories over the course of a day.) If I'm too busy to check in with Newsblur RSS feeds during the day then I do flip a bit through Flipboard as sort of a Nightly News highlight reel of what happened during the day, but RSS/Newsblur is still the way to deep dive and keep my fingers on the pulse of various topics.

Thingiverse's new item feed has become a new favorite of mine. I'll delve deeper into that in the Devices section of this post.

The Media

Media has while everywhere has been mostly blah. The big mass reach properties of late seem to have been Breaking Bad and Walking Dead. Breaking Bad has always looked too dark and depressing for me, and just not something I want to relax with. I'm sure it's wonderfully crafted, but it's just not something I want to pump into my head right now.

Walking Dead has always been dark. I watched the first couple seasons, but let the entire last season pile up on my DVR unwatched. I'll probably have to sadly delete it soon enough just to free up some space. Walking Dead was interesting for awhile, the post apocalyptic landscape can be a fun place to visit, like camping, but like camping it's nice to come back to civilization after awhile too. Episode after episode of ratcheting up the gore, hopelessness and despair, well like I mentioned above, it's just not the way I want to unwind right now.

A show I have been enjoying is Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fun stuff so far. Doesn't take itself too seriously, but isn't campy either and the way it ties into the Marvel movies it really gives you that same larger universe feel that the comics did as a kid.

It's been a dry few months for movies, not a lot I've been to see. Jennifer and I saw Gravity a couple weeks back, and that was enjoyable. Enders Game, Thor, and even the next Hunger Games all in November look to end that drought however.

Cable News proved itself to be completely worthless during the recent Government Shutdown fiasco. There are stories online of a Comcast basic channels plus HBO bundle that starts to seem more interesting as access to the News networks has always been one of the things I've wanted to keep cable for. But they are just so bad now that even watching the Daily Show and Colbert desperately try to parody what is now beneath parody, makes me sad.

Devices

Haven't done too much with the Chromecast, but it's a neat device. Apple TV wins out most of the time for me, but if you're not in the Apple ecosystem with other devices, Chromecast is still a nifty little unit that has been a marketplace surprise to me. At this point, go Chromecast on the lower end, or AppleTV on the higher (yet still cheap) end. If you have one of the others like Roku, I'm sure it's working just fine for you, but the market goes to Google and Apple for the foreseeable future.

The big new device I'm playing with is a Solidoodle 3 3D printer. It certainly deserves a more detailed post all it's own on my blog soon, and I'll get to that as soon as I pause tinkering with it. It's definitely a hobbiest device at the moment though, so unless you're into the Maker type movement, it's not ready for primetime consumer use yet. But if you squint, it's close, and it's really neat to be able to print little plastic things right out of "thin air".

Interestingly, my smartphone and tablets have made paper printing a really rare occurrence. Really rare. I very infrequently, if ever print much of anything for home use at all. Most information is just easier to carry with me on the phone, and at home rather than have something printed for reference, things are just a Googling or Google Doc away. But 3D printing looks like it might have a different niche. I've printed some various gadget stands, toys, and I'm printing some Halloween cookie cutters as I write this. As it currently is, it's like having a little on-demand dollar store on your desk.

As mentioned above, becasue of the 3D printer, I'm hooked on following Thingiverse's new item rss feed. It's like like browsing on Amazon, but without having to spend much money. (The amount of plastic used in most items is really trivial.). I've already downloaded far more things then I'd ever actually, likely print.

Games

A week or so ago I spent several days watching Jenn play the PS3 game Beyond Two Souls starring Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe. They really star in it (Very convincing #D renderings of them with their voices at least). It's really acted. It's much more like a choose your own adventure tv season than a game. It's pretty fantastic. Jenn is pretty close to the end right now and as his her custom, she tends to put off finishing a game, but I'm looking forward to seeing how the whole thing wraps up when she picks it up again. I don't know that this is the sort of thing I would play myself, but I do look forward to whatever game maker Quantum Dream might be making next and hopefully it's something I can watch Jennifer play.

Still haven't done much with the Ouya, but I did read that it will be in all Target's this Christmas. Fantastic technology. It just needs a killer app/game.

Weather

Unlike most of the year, the fall has been cool and damp so far. Been outside very little the last couple weeks.

Comics and Fandom

There hasn't been much to hold my interest in the world of comics of late. DC, my preferred superhero sect has been of no interest to me since last year's New 52 reboot. I check in on some stories about the characters from time to time and read a page here or there, but mostly... DC has no joy or fun in it and doesn't really seem to get it's own characters. Maybe new younger DC fans disagree, but DC is meh to me.

Of course comics and fandom aren't just all superheroes. Marvel is killing it in movies and TV at the moment. I picked up the beautiful looking (although I have yet to read it) Battling Boy by Paul Pope and there's interesting stuff happening in various nooks and crannies of the medium.

Fandom feels very much like a mainstream thing, akin to Sports now. Sometimes, that's actually a little weird.

People, Careers and Jobs

Not sure I have too much on this topic at the moment. But I did read a really well done post on "The 40 hour work week" recently.

The real reason for the forty-hour workweek

The ultimate tool for corporations to sustain a culture of this sort is to develop the 40-hour workweek as the normal lifestyle. Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. This arrangement makes us naturally more inclined to spend heavily on entertainment and conveniences because our free time is so scarce.

I've only been back at work for a few days, but already Iím noticing that the more wholesome activities are quickly dropping out of my life: walking, exercising, reading, meditating, and extra writing.

The one conspicuous similarity between these activities is that they cost little or no money, but they take time.

Suddenly I have a lot more money and a lot less time, which means I have a lot more in common with the typical working North American than I did a few months ago. While I was abroad I wouldn't have thought twice about spending the day wandering through a national park or reading my book on the beach for a few hours. Now that kind of stuff feels like itís out of the question. Doing either one would take most of one of my precious weekend days!

The last thing I want to do when I get home from work is exercise. It's also the last thing I want to do after dinner or before bed or as soon as I wake, and thatís really all the time I have on a weekday.

This seems like a problem with a simple answer: work less so Iíd have more free time. I've already proven to myself that I can live a fulfilling lifestyle with less than I make right now. Unfortunately, this is close to impossible in my industry, and most others. You work 40-plus hours or you work zero. My clients and contractors are all firmly entrenched in the standard-workday culture, so it isn't practical to ask them not to ask anything of me after 1pm, even if I could convince my employer not to.

Give the above article a read in it's entirety.

I want to hear your



Sat 10/26/13 9:15am # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing





Themed Printables: Wonder Woman
source: DC Comics

Nice coloring sheets.


vanilla wafer recipe
source: Instructables


Wolverine Half Mask
source: Neatorama




Bob Harras On DC Relationships: "We Don't Want Any Of Our Characters Rushing Into Stable Relationships" - Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors
source: Bleedingcool

Far better to have every protagonist in all 50 of their books be exactly the same sort of conflicted loner late 20 something early 30 something anti-hero in a doomed relationship. Really, while they are at it, I think they should just put a bat symbol on every character's chest and be done with it. Why have books with any other character except Batman at all? Think about it. It makes perfect sense.~

The Future Of Storytelling Is About To Get Wild
source: Readwrite

Thanks to technological advances like augmented reality and the Internet of Things, projects like Google's Ingress are beginning to suggest that we should treat the actual world as another platform. We expect to see stories increasingly connected to physical spaces, from MMO games played out across a city to live action events to retail experiences.
Interesting article, even if some of the examples are a little frightening. Probably all of these examples will come to fruition in the next few years. Some of them will probably be quite popular.
Stories Come Out Of The Screen, Into The Physical World

Characters Will Become Connections

Stories Will Unfold From Different Vantage Points

Stories Will Be Told 24/7

Storytelling Goes Bottom-Up

Stories Will Make The World A Better Place

Videos Will Offer One-Click Storefronts

Passive Or Active ExperienceóIt'll Be Your Choice
Ingress is an interesting example. I've been fairly involved in the game aspect of Ingress, but I haven't paid too much attention to it's surrounding stories. Part of that is a result of how they've designed the game. So far ignoring their narrative doesn't really translate into any game play disadvantage. But it would be interesting for an Ingress type of game that was more closely tied to a short weekly narrative video. Where following the story actually helped you in the game in some way.

NYCC 2013: Mattel DC Comics Multiverse Batman and Superman Movies Wave
source: ActionFigurePics.com

Great looking figures. Too bad they went with a 4" scale.



Jug o' lanterns
source: Instructables

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Sat 10/12/13 6:25pm # | tweet this

Grand Rapids Comic Con

We went to the Grand Rapids Comic Con this morning. It was in the same Home School building as the fall and spring Toy Shows were.

It was a nice community sized con that had a city sized attendence.



Serious attendance. The picture below doesn't even do the two hour line justice. By 2:30pm they were turning people away. Which is just a little crazy for such a small venue con.

There's definetly and large enough audience in Grand Rapids to support a con now. This was like a JAFAX+ level of attendance crammed into one small gymnasium and 10 or so tiny classrooms.





There was at least one Stormtrooper in attendance which is always my barometer for a proper geek gathering.

There was also a fully functional whoorp wiz beep R2D2 in attence and a second nameless stainless steel Astro mech as well.

I would expect that if the con showrunners can find a larger venue next year, they likely will because there was a lot of interest in this show.

There was a lot of local talent, like Corrine Roberts (a friend of Comfort and Adam's, booth pic below) at the show. As well as several toy booths, plenty of back issues, and even a full sized Speed Racer Mach 5 (below). There were several rooms with panels/seminars as well, although nothing we stayed for. (A couple looked interesting, but we opted not to hang around and wait for them.)

Jenn and I didn't spend a lot of time at the show, and there wasn't much shopping-wise that I was on the hunt for. But I did manage to pick up the completely random David Hasselhoff Knight Rider Action Figure (at the top of the post). He's actually in really good scale with 6" DC Classics figures. Who would have known such a thing even existed? Sure it has some paint wear. But I'm always up for an obscure action figure find, and for $8 how can you say no to an action figure of Michael Knight, a man who doesn't exist, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law."

In any case. A nice little early Saturday diversion and worth the $5 admission fee. I'm very interested to see if they expand it to a larger venue next year.

I want to hear your



Sun 10/06/13 3:24pm # | tweet this

Chip Kidd: Go, A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design

I bought this book on Amazon and read it this weekend. Beautiful book and wonderfully accessible introduction to Graphic Design.

I bought this hardcover for $12, Currently it's about $10 on Amazon

Great for adults, but if you have a child with an interest in design of any kind, I recommend picking this up.

I want to hear your



Sun 10/06/13 3:21pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing



Make your own Cheez-it crackers!

Looks pretty simple.

SIMILO teaser on Vimeo

Trailer looks like an interesting sci-fi concept. Warning NSFW.


Come Try Out Slashdot's New Design (In Beta)
source: Slashdot

Wow, if this goes thru, it's basically the death of Slashdot. Bummer.

Happy Birthday (and RIP) to Disney World's Best Ride Ever

Horizons was a really cool attraction.

How The Economic Machine Works
source: swissmiss

30min animated. Really, Really Good.






An Open Letter To Young Freelancers
source: Thrillbent

Good Stuff.




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