July 2014

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Thu 7/31/14 8:45am # | tweet this

Sharknado

Syfy had their premiere of Sharknado 2 yesterday. Jennifer and I had never watched the first one, and we were not particularly planning to watch this one either until we learned about the Syfy Sync app and it's Hue Light integration.

So yesterday evening after dinner we installed the Syfy Sync app to an iPad and tried it out with the first Sharknado movie on Netflix.

The Hue light integration was very nice. Whenever the Sharks were about to strike, the room would go red, and when lighting struck on the tv, the room lights would flicker, that sortof thing. Quite cool actually. I pretty much want Hue light integration with every show now.

Anyway, Sharknado the first movie was quite cute, I thought it was as bad as it was supposed to be but was surprised that it was sincere and earnest for the most part.

Sharknado 2 on the other hand, while entertaining, was much more opportunistic and probably much too self-aware of itself.

There's a great bit in the opening where the main characters are on a plane and the plane is flown by the actor who played Ted Stryker from the 70s Airplane movies.

In a similiar vein, the Taxi driver on the show was Judd Hirsch from the TV show: Taxi.

While those two cameos were great, others were not so great. There were probably a half dozen segments of Al Roker and Matt Lauer, from the Today Show, that were just terrible. There were also several segments with Kelly Rippa, the Weather channel and some local NYC weather people that did nothing at all to move the plot along. There were also a lot of cameos by 50+ year old actors in general, which is kindof weird when you take into account that the show was ostensibly targeting the social media set.

While Sharknado 2 was a bit of a disappointment, I did enjoy Sharknado 1. The Hue light sync on both was great, and I look forward to them hopefully doing more Hue sync movies in the future.

Drawing above was done on the 8" Dell Tablet while on the couch.

I want to hear your



Wed 7/30/14 4:28pm # | tweet this

Rocket

Getting excited for Guardians of the Galaxy this weekend. Going to see it on Saturday, so hopefully I can avoid spoilers on Friday.

I want to hear your



Sun 7/27/14 4:56pm # | tweet this

Everything is Awesome!

Friday we watched the Lego Movie. It was a cute kids movie, basically the plot from the Matrix for the Elementary set.

Batman was in the movie more than I expected, but was entertaining.

There's great voice talent with Morgan Freeman and Liam Neeson.

You'll pretty much have the show's "Everything is Awesome" song stuck in your head for the rest of your life too.

Worth seeing on DVD.

Above sketch was done in Manga Studio on the 8" Dell Venue Pro. The downside to using Manga Studio on an 8" tablet is once you account for all the tool palettes you end up with a 4" or so square to draw in. Despite that, it's still entertaining enough to draw with on the couch, if not use for very serious work.

I want to hear your



Fri 7/25/14 9:17am # | tweet this

Vector Lines in Manga Studio

I just played around with the vector line tools in Manga Studio this morning. Wow. What a paradigm shift. Totally different than what I'm used to from Illustrator.

Way way cool.

I'm really enjoying this program the more I get into it.

I want to hear your





Thu 7/24/14 11:50am # | tweet this

Antman

Yesterday at SDCC they released an Antman Movie Poster. Despite the movie's director problems, I'm still looking forward to it and thought the poster looked cool.

This morning I played around making an Antman drawing and doing some simple animated Gifs with it.

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Wed 7/23/14 7:53pm # | tweet this

Arrow



Just a quick arrow sketch I did while playing around with my 8" Windows Tablet.

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Wed 7/23/14 3:13pm # | tweet this

It's Batman Day

It appears to be Batman's birthday (75th anniversary) today. In anycase there are a lot of Batman sketches in my Twitter today as social media in certain circles is making it an internet holiday of sorts.

I want to hear your





Mon 7/21/14 1:52pm # | tweet this

Someone I follow on twitter tweeted:

Why do people try to make Inbox Zero sound like a major achievement? It's deleting things. A trained pigeon can do it.

That struck me as funny, and a great Start-Up idea, so I whipped up the above identity in 15 minutes as a reply.

I want to hear your



Mon 7/21/14 8:55am # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing




The Great Fragmentation: We Are All Weirdos Now
source: TechCrunch

While it may be harder to advertise to people in one giant ad, and while people may be able to find others online that share their niche interest. My guess is, the broadstrokes of most people's day to day are still more similar than not. Everyone is still looking at the sky, just instead of the moon, everyone is picking their own star as the focus of their attention.


How to Avoid Work: A 1949 Guide to Doing What You Love
source: Brain Pickings

In every business, art, trade or profession, there are four major jobs to be done:

  • Creative ó inventing, discovering, or developing new ideas
  • Administrative ó making plans and policies for the conduct and supervision of the entire business or project
  • Executive ó directing the work of others in actually carrying out plans and policies in one or more departments or sections
  • Line ó performing some individual routine task involving no responsibility for the work of others

Underground Toys Announce New DoctorWho Exclusives for Walgreens
source: Walgreens

First they got Marvel Legends, now they are doing Doctor Who. Walgreens looks like they've hired a hardcore geek for their toy buyer.





Are We Coming to the End of SEO?
source: Mashable

It's already over, social killed it a while ago.


How to Measure Things without a Ruler
source: Instructables

I often look at the floor tiles in a store as they are generally 12" square. But using a dollar bill (6" long), as mentioned in this post, seems like a good idea.

Opening Scene For Batman: Assault On Arkham - Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movie, TV News
source: Bleeding Cool.

Nice, they've got the proper JLU Amanda Waller in this and Kevin Conroy doing Batman's voice.

Fuut Desk Foot Rest
source: Likecool


Microsoft looking to end bugs in software by monitoring developers
source: BetaNews

The idea is to track eye movements and other mental and physical characteristics of the developers, in order to spot when their alertness levels drop or they are struggling with a task -- which is when errors are most likely to creep into their work.
That's not technology that will be misused, not at all.

I want to hear your



Sat 7/19/14 6:51pm # | tweet this

Tap it

Picked up a Philips Hue Tap today. Really neat device for controlling your Hue light bulbs. It has 4 buttons -- the 3 obvious ones, and then the whole outer shell acts as a 4th. It has no battery. It is kinetically powered, meaning the button tap alone powers the wireless signal of the device.

While our phones have been working fine to control the lights. This is even a faster way, and brings back some of the "light switch" convenience you lose when you switch to Hue.

The most useful aspect, however, will be the next time we have guests stay the night, they will be able to turn on and off their lights alot easier. And it's also super easy now to turn all the lights on or all the lights off in one quick press.

I want to hear your



Sat 7/19/14 2:53pm # | tweet this

Nova

Found and picked up a Nova action figure from the Guardians of the Galaxy wave at Meijer today. They finally have an endcap set-up for the movie. Also saw all the others figures in the set for the first time at retail too.

A big improvement over this more limited articulation Ultimate Spider-man wave Nova figure I picked up a year or two ago.

Above, Nova with the Injustice Video Game version of Green Lantern.

The Nova Corps, are essentially Marvel's analogues to the Green Lantern Corps.

Nice figure.

I want to hear your



Fri 7/18/14 4:19pm # | tweet this

G'Day Mate

The figure on the right is a Marvel Spider-man Villain: Boomerang. I picked him up several months ago, but finally got around to taking him out of his package today.

The figure on the right is an older figure, Captain Boomerang (Jr.), from the DC Uninverse.

Both are pretty C List characters (I'm not even sure if Captain Boomerang Jr. still exists in New 52 Continuity.)

I think I have Captain Boomerang Sr. but I didn't find him in the first box I looked in, so Jr for the comparison it is.

In anycase it's really just an excuse to play with a light tent I picked up on Amazon this week. Previous to this, I've always just used large pieces of colored paper.

Hooray for infinite sweeps and light tents.

As to Boomerang. He's a nice straightforward figure. It's always nice to pick-up a character in 6" that hasn't been made before.

I want to hear your



Mon 7/14/14 4:22pm # | tweet this

World Cup Over

I've never been one to watch sports regularly, but Jenn and I watched a lot of World Cup games over the past month. I sortof got into it a little.

I haven't got so into it that I know much about the stats or that sort of thing. But I did enjoy watching the games regularly.

I'll miss that routine now that it's over.

Four more years right?

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Mon 7/14/14 3:22pm # | tweet this

Earth 2

I got The New 52/Earth 2 Flash and Green Lantern in the mail this weekend. I've only read the first 5 or so issues of this series so far. I've been meaning to catch up on it though.

As alternate Earth versions of the Classic Golden Age versions go, they are fine enough characters from what I've seen so far.

As action figures, it's a little mixed. DC Collectables have been making some really nice figures lately, unfortunately, these are exceptions.

As soon as I took the Lantern out of his box, his left leg spontaneously popped off. Plus the figure has an intense noxious vinyl smell that goes well beyond the normal-- "new figure smell". Beyond those quality issues, Green Lantern is a fine enough sculpt and representation of the character's costume.

The Flash has a tiny head. And while the helmet may be an accurate representation of the comic character, it looks even more ridiculous in 3D than it does in print. But at least his legs appear to be staying on.

Here is a shot of the Classic Golden Age Alan Scott Green Lantern and his New 52/Earth 2 update. I'm still a fan of the the original costume design myself. I know people have different opinions of the red shirt, but the cape is cool.

Here is a shot of the Classic Golden Age Jay Garrick Flash and his New 52/Earth 2 update. It's a more straightforward update than the GL one, but nothing really makes that helmet work.

Despite the griping, I'm glad that DCC made the figures. I'm always up for adding New GLs and Flashs to my figure shelf. Next month the Earth 2 Hawkgirl comes out. I like her updated look, she might be the only other Earth 2 figure I plan to get in the near future.

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Sun 7/13/14 12:10pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing




Hospitals hope to predict illness by analyzing your spending habits
source: The Verge

Creepy use of consumer big data.




Dubai to Create the World's First Climate-Controlled City
source: i09

Dubai looks like they are building the city from Logan's Run.




Christopher Nolan on the 'bleak future' of movies and why theaters will save us
source: Blastr

"The theaters of the future will be bigger and more beautiful than ever before. They will employ expensive presentation formats that cannot be accessed or reproduced in the home (such as, ironically, film prints). And they will still enjoy exclusivity, as studios relearn the tremendous economic value of the staggered release of their products," Nolan continues. "The projects that most obviously lend themselves to such distinctions are spectacles. But if history is any guide, all genres, all budgets will follow."
Most of the above would necessitate a rise in ticket prices.

Theaters have to decide who they want to serve. A single person might be willing to pay $15 or $20 for a movie ticket. A family of 4 will not pay $20 each ($80) for the same film. A Couple may not be willing to drop $30 to $40 in one go either.

If theaters can get by on just customers that are single, higher prices might work for them. But if they want Couples and Families as customers, higher prices won't.

And relative to other available forms of entertainment, theaters are already too expensive for many families.

WiFi
source: Neatorama



Google Maps Update Lets You Measure Distance
source: Techcrunch

Very cool, I used this feature to measure the distances of several of my favorite walking routes.



3D Train Studio
source: BetaNews






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Sun 7/13/14 12:10pm # | tweet this

Specialization is for Insects

Modern working life steers hard toward specialization. With every expert in the world connected via the internet, why wouldn't you want to go to the most specialized expert for any given topic or task?

The larger the organization, the more sense it makes to specialize each individual within it.

Sometimes you can use technology to systematize or simplify a process to the point that the most general worker within the organization can perform a task. Even in that case you'll usually see the best people at the now generalized task assigned it over and over again-- specialization even in environments of extreme simplification and generalization. All things otherwise being similiar, nuance still comes into play.

Olympic sprinters are all fast, the measurable difference between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place runners are trivial, in most cases. But in an event, like a race where the subtly of their capabilities is prized, small differences in skill matter.

In situations where small differences don't matter however, it makes no difference if the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place runner is tasked.

I want to hear your



Fri 7/11/14 12:30pm # | tweet this

The Knights of Sidonia

Last week I watched the "Netflix Original Anime" Knights of Sidonia. It's twelve 20ish minute episodes of Mecha anime. I'm not a big anime fan overall, but I did really like Robotech as a kid, and Knights of Sidonia is similar and cut from the same cloth as Macross in a lot of ways.

So if you have fond memories of Macross, and have a Netflix account, I'd recommend checking this series out.

(Oh and if you prefer your anime dubbed like I do, make sure you change the audio track to English in the Netflix's menu's little wordballoon icon.)

Good Stuff.

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Thu 7/10/14 3:57pm # | tweet this

Something

Something, something, something, something, something something, something, something, something.

Something, something, something.

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Thu 7/10/14 10:44am # | tweet this

Microsoft CEO readies big shakeup, drops devices and services focus
source: The Verge

That unique strategy is a Microsoft thatís focused on mobile and cloud...
They have Ninety-something percent of the the Desktop OS market, but they want to be mobile and cloud? That's like Heinz deciding that ketchup is good and all but what they want to make is chocolate syrup.

Microsoft should be creating the best desktop OS possible. There is no uphill marketing battle on that at all. If Microsoft says they have a new version of their OS, everyone will give it a look/try, everyone. If Microsoft says they have a new phone OS or cloud service, not as many people will give them a look, because that is not how people see Microsoft.

Why doesn't my desktop PC/lapbook communicate seamlessly with my XBox One? Why aren't those two products a joy to use together? My Laptop and Xbox One, devices I already have, don't work that well together-- why would I add a Microsoft Phone to that mix, when so much work on the devices they make that I already like still needs to be done?

The Cloud services are great and all, but Google Services work on every platform. Why would I switch to Microsoft Cloud services which are haphazard in their coverage of multiple platforms? Microsoft has gotten better at putting Office/OneNote/Skype on multiple platforms, but to compete with Google's "free" services they've had to give all that software away for free to get market share. Google can do that, because Google is an advertising company, they don't intend to make money on their services directly, but Microsoft is not an advertising company, they are a software/services/hardware company (and honestly hardware is their least strongest suit even after years of the XBox/Keyboards/Mice and others).

Microsoft wants growth. They want more profits. Our system is set up to drive them that way. Microsoft's Ninety-Something percent market share in desktop OS should be a safe long term investment. But there is no market for a safe long term investment. Microsoft should hunker down and just be the Coca Cola of desktop OSes and solidify that market for the next 100 years, but instead they are chasing Mobile and Cloud services, the growth darlings of the moment. But I guess that's what the market demands.

I want to hear your



Mon 7/07/14 11:34am # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing




The 10 Most Important Work Skills In 2020
source: MakeUseOf

Generic but interesting.

BDReader displays comics by panel...sometimes
source: Betanews

Interesting. It works well if the comic is a fairly standard grid with white space between panels.

Bob Bergen Mimics Mel Blanc's Porky Pig
source: Youtube

"Job Security"


Knights of Sidonia
source: Superpunch

Netflix Original Anime, make sure you change the audio track to English in the little wordballon icon, been enjoying the series so far, we're on episode 6.

Google Founders Talk About Ending the 40-Hour Work Week
source: Mashable

He acknowledged, however, that people need "things to do" and "need to feel like you're needed," desires that are fulfilled through labor. One solution he offered: reduce the work week and perhaps split one full-time job into multiple part-time jobs.

"You just reduce work time," Page said. "Most people, if I ask them, 'Would you like an extra week of vacation?' They raise their hands, 100% of the people. 'Two weeks vacation, or a four-day work week?' Everyone will raise their hand. Most people like working, but they'd also like to have more time with their family or to pursue their own interests. So that would be one way to deal with the problem, is if you had a coordinated way to just reduce the workweek. And then, if you add slightly less employment, you can adjust and people will still have jobs."


Interesting, yet awkward at times conversation. Page has medical issues regarding speech, but even with that taken into account, his quote above had an interesting and kindof weird tone to it.

I want to hear your



Sun 7/06/14 7:12pm # | tweet this

Snowpiercer

We caught a matinee of Snowpiercer today. For the most part I liked it. I have some quibbles with the ending, but nothing worth posting about since they'd be spoilerish.

Chris Evans is great in the movie though. You won't think "Steve Rogers/Captain America" at all in this role.

It was worth the matinee price, but you'd be ok eventually picking it up at Redbox or on Netflix too.

I want to hear your



Sat 7/05/14 10:05am # | tweet this

Suburban Explosions

They made huge fireworks legal in Michigan this year. The kind you normally see a city fireworks show, you can now buy and launch from your backyard and driveway. And boy did people in my neighboorhood launch mass quantities of massive fireworks.

For several hours, our otherwise quiet little suburban subdivision was a warzone of explosions.

I'm all for fireworks, but people really should have the good sense to go find a large empty field to launch them in. I saw several of these monsters explode at ground level in my neighbor's backyards, yet they kept on going.

Thankfully we've had a lot of rain recently and the whole city didn't burn down. I hope they change the laws for next year before an event like last night combines with the dry conditions of heatwave in some year to come.

The cat also wasn't a fan and hid under the couch and table a good portion of the night.

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Sat 7/05/14 9:32am # | tweet this

Happy Coincidences

I was happy to discover that the vertical stand I 3D printed back in December for my Work Macbook, also fits my new Acer Chromebook perfectly.

I want to hear your



Fri 7/04/14 8:27pm # | tweet this

Deer

Can you find the deer in the above picture?

It's been great this year how much time they've been spending in our backyard.

I want to hear your



Fri 7/04/14 8:24pm # | tweet this

World Cup

We've continued to enjoy the World Cup games this past week. The USA vs Belgium game was especially intense. insert Tim Howard meme here.

The ESPN app has been great for watching these on Tablet and AppleTV too.

Good Stuff and a couple more weeks to go.

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Fri 7/04/14 8:13pm # | tweet this

Grand Haven

Jennifer and I took a drive out to Grand Haven Thursday and took a walk out to the lighthouse. It was an absolutely beautiful day in the low mid 70s with clear skies and a light breeze.

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Fri 7/04/14 8:09pm # | tweet this

Flash and Constantine

I had the great fortune of having access to a Cosmic Treadmill this past week and I got to see the pilots for The Flash and Constantine.

I enjoyed both shows.

The Flash is very similar in feel to Arrow. If you like or hate that show, you'll probably feel the same about The Flash. The Flash is a lighter show with more superpowers though, sortof the good parts of Smallville combined with Arrow if that helps. Easter eggs and call backs and foreshadowing for Comic fans abound. I think it will easily grab the same fanbase as Arrow and do well for CW.

Constantine is a little more of a gamble. Constantine had a stronger pilot. Whereas, Flash's pilot although good felt a little rushed at times, almost like they wanted to get a whole 1st season's worth of set-up done and out of the way so that they could get straight to a "second season" hitting-their-stride-vibe, Constantine takes a more traditional easing you into it approach with a point of view character that get's thrown into an established world and has to feel her way around to understand the rules.

Yeah, I said "her" above. Constantine is not the point of view character for his own show. Constantine is really more the Han Solo character, he gets the world, has been operating in it for a good long while. Liv Aberdeen is the audience's Luke Skywalker-like POV character, strange powers and thrown into a world she didn't really know existed. I like this approach.

Whereas The Flash has the traditional lead hero + scooby gang cast construction. Constantine looks like it will have a more the on the road mission to mission motif.

Audiences who have watched Arrow, will instantly get how The Flash show works. Constantine will probably appeal more to people who like the CW Supernatural show's format. How Supernatural's format plays on a larger Network like NBC, we'll have to wait and see I suppose.

Comic fans though should enjoy adding both shows to their weekly viewing schedules, and be prepared to have very active DVRs next fall.

I want to hear your



Fri 7/04/14 7:46pm # | tweet this

New Chromebook

This past week I picked up a Chromebook. I got a really good deal on an Acer 11.6" Chromebook (2GB 16GB). So far I've really been enjoying it.

It's not a device that should be your main computer unless your needs are crazy minimal but if you want to run the Chrome Browser on the go with a keyboard, these are delightful devices.

Besides a Chrome browser that is pretty much an identical to the one you'd use on windows, so far I've also been pleased that it:

  • Connects to HDMI and can use your TV as a second monitor or as a primary monitor mirror. the Chromebook makes an excellent media box, and can play MP4 files from USB stick directly to the TV full screen with ease

  • Has excellent battery life. I've easily gotten the advertised 8+ hours of battery life so far.

  • Has a fair number of apps in the Chrome App Store to handle most basic computing tasks (CBZ reader, Torrents, Sketchbook app and decesent photoediting.)

  • Multiple and Guest log-ins. If you have a Google Account, you're already readay to log in to it. If you are a chrome browser user, all your bookmarks, settings and apps follow over instantly too. And if you look up something on the Chromebook, it's easy to open Chrome on your Android phone and continue with the same page as well.

Again, it's not a replacement for a full computer. It's not Windows compatible, but as a streamlined secondary computer, it's quite nice. (And I do enjoy the direct access to the file system over the hoops you generally need to jump thru to access the file system on Android or iOS)

Oh, and as you can see above, it came in a box, that's our cat's favorite feature so far.

I want to hear your



Fri 7/04/14 4:21pm # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing



X-wing and Tie-fighter art
source: Super Punch

Really nice.

Office Hammock Chair
source: Instructables






Happy 42nd birthday, Leap Second! - Boing Boing
source:

Since 1972, a total of 25 seconds have been added -- thatís to say, the Earth has slowed down 25 seconds compared to atomic time since then.
Do you know what this means? Twenty-Five seconds of my life did not actually happen.

Shane, Please Stop
source: Neatorama

Funny stuff.





I want to hear your



Fri 7/04/14 11:26am # | tweet this

Jenn gets great everyday shots

Above is a picture Jennifer took of her Pebble Watch to show it running a WorldCup Score watchface.

I love the controlled limited color (skin, blue and black), the framing, focus and the fact you see my GL ring blurred in the background of her shot too.

Jennifer always gets these wonderfully composed everyday cellphone pictures effortlessly.

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Tue 7/01/14 11:56am # | tweet this

Let's Go Surfing




Barefoot Friendly Bike Pedals
source: Instructables

Probably not for a real bike, but an interesting idea for a stationary bike.


Fenix Web Server - Static Web Servers for the Desktop
source: Webappers

Very nice. Useful.



Full Employment
source: New Escapologist


It'sHard to Get Off the Couch When You're Unemployed
source:FiveThirtyEight



Weird headline, but interesting article based on new US Time Survey data.



The Pitchforks Are Coming-- For Us Plutocrats
source: POLITICO Magazine

No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didnít eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. Itís not if, itís when.







Surprise! 'Community' Saved, Returning for a Sixth Season ... on Yahoo
source: Mashable

Interesting. Looks like the future may be "Not enough ratings for network, but plenty of ratings for streaming".



It's a Trap!
source: Neatorama



What's on your mind? on Vimeo
source: Vimeo

Great short on the potential falseness of Facebook.

I want to hear your


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