Eras End

"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Monday, August 17, 2015

Lego Hyrule Castle

Check out the video below for a look at a large scale (unofficial) Lego Hyrule Castle from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess that took two years to build. In the video master builder Joseph Zawarda talks about his creation. For more details about the build click here. For pics of his other Lego Legend of Zelda builds click here.

Nerd HQ San Diego Comic-Con Panels

One of the fun things (at least for those that can't attend) about the San Diego Comic Con is the panels. However, while sometimes the actors and what not embrace the whole experience, most stay in "sales pitch" mode. As a result, 5th annual Nerd HQ results in much better panels as the more intimate setting (only a few hundred people in the room) along with panelists who are volunteering their time rather then completing some marketing obligation The highlights this year, besides the always entertaining Nathan Fillion and Joss Whedon, include the cast of Doctor Who, cast of The Maze Runner, Once Upon a Time, Stephen Amell (Arrow), cast of Mr. Robot and a whole bunch more. If you want to pick and choose which videos to watch, click here.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

The Jon Stewart Era Ends on The Daily Show

It is a true end of an era as Jon Stewart signed off of The Daily Show for the last time on Thursday. Stewart led the charge of speaking truth to power, using actual footage, facts and evidence to point out the bullshit that politicians and businesses sell everyday. It is something that the 24 hour news networks and your local news is supposed to be doing but stopped doing a long time ago when they learned more money could just be made by feeding into fear and hate. Its a sad day for those of us that want a little humor with the facts of the day and now instead just have the usual nonsense spin machines to go to (nevermind the tragically that real news only comes from something like The Daily Show and not supposed actual reporters who only seem to be reading from their emails or twitter nowadays).

The final episode, to no surprise, was full of class and a fitting sign off as most of the previous correspondents (the talent in that room when they were done...) all appeared before Stephen Colbert gave a heartfelt speech showing his appreciation of what Jon Stewart had done for him and the others over the years. The next, fortunately brief, segment was some of Stewart's targets giving him a send off, and then this was followed by a walk through the backstage offices to the set as Jon essentially said goodbye to everyone he worked with each day. The last segment was him warning the audience to always remains viligent for the bullshit and to call it out when they see it before he got his own moment of Zen with a mini concert by his favorite singer Bruce Springsteen. Few shows get the final episode nailed right but Stewart has 2,581 episodes of practice and he nailed it to no ones surprise. His legacy established, he will be missed and all I can say is good luck to those that try to fill the mighty large hole he is leaving in his wake.

While not available for embedding, you can watch the final episode here.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Upgrading to Windows 10: Information Worth Checking Out

As of Wednesday, Windows 10 has started to roll out for free to anyone with an authenticated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8. The roll-out will occur in waves so when you can get your free copy might be from now to weeks from now. There are ways to get it early (link below) but really you might as well just wait for it to happen as Microsoft is still bug hunting. For many the question is "should I upgrade, even for free". The short answer is yes. The long answer is still yes but it can' wait. The key reason is those (mostly minor) bugs. If you don't have the patience for inexplicable problems, give it a few months. Also if your current computer that might get upgraded is critical for say work or other important tasks also wait just in case. If you are using an older version of Windows, say XP etc then chances are you have a really old computer. Upgrading will cost you money ($120 for Home, $200 for Pro) so you might as well just wait until you are ready to buy a new computer. Below are links to key bits of information and tips for Windows 10.

- Key improvements overview - If on the fence, hit the link to see if some of the Win10 improvements are worth it.

- Ten New Things in Win10 - A look at a few of the new features of the OS.

- Win10 Privacy Settings: A run through of the different tweaks you can make to adjust your privacy in the OS.

- Up Now Instead of Waiting on Push - A walk through to get Windows 10 now rather than waiting for whenever Microsoft decides it is your turn.

- Five settings to check: Just some basic settings to setup to your preferences.

- More Tweaks: More suggestions to tweak preferences on Win10.

- Customize Win10 Start Menu - Run though on how to tweak the look, size and contents of the Start Menu

- Cortana Overview - Run through on type of questions can ask Cortana, which is Microsoft's version of Siri and Google Voice.

- Change your default browser: Its not as easy as it used to be, partly for security and partly cause MS would prefer you used their new Edge browser (which is getting rave reviews).

- Stream XBox One to your Windows 10 PC: This assumes you have very good network at your location (may not work well with wi-fi) as it is data intensive (through your router, the info doesn't go through your service provider).

- Disable Bing Search in Start Menu: If you don't want Cortana to provide results from the web along with local computer files, it might be worth cutting this off.

- Replacement Start Menu programs do work: If you just prefer the Windows 7 Start Menu, programs like Classic Start and Win8 (now Win10) still work.

- Delete old builds to free up disk space: After the update this might be useful if you have a computer with limited disk space.

- Best Win10 keyboard shortcuts - I almost never bother with keyboard shortcuts (even though they are useful). For those that do, hit the link.

- Disable sharing wi-fi passwords - In theory this is a good idea as makes it easy for friends and family to join your home wi-fi network. In practice though its best for you to retain complete control on who does join so I recommend cutting this off.

- Cut off sharing Windows 10 Updates: This is actually a good idea for getting people updates even faster but in practice most of us can't keep this own due to ISPs doing bandwidth caps. If your service provider charges by data usage definitely cut this off. As an aside, the tiers program are a complete lie designed to generate profit while costing the ISPs virtually nothing so don't let them or the politicians fool you on its necessity.

- Clean Install Windows 10: Instructions if you want to upgrade and completely install Win10 from scratch.

- Do Not Install The Windows DVD Player: Win10 does not come with a built in DVD player. Which is good because Windows Media Player and Apple's Quicktime both suck. But so does MS charging $15 for an app when you can buy an even better player for free. Instead of that crap, get VLC for free. If you are determined to spend some money, just donate to VLC.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Why Chuck Jones Was Such A Great Artist

From Every Frame a Painting here is a great analysis of what made Chuck Jones' Looney Cartoons stand the test of time despite many of them being nearly 75 years old. If you are a film fan I highly recommend checking out their YouTube channel for a fantastic look at the film making process and how ingenuity and often small choices make for memorable scenes and films. If you like their work you can also support the creator Tony Zhou at Patreon.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Batman v Superman Comic-Con Trailer

Saturday at the San Diego Comic Con 2015, WB premiered the new trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It looks like the movie is going to directly confront one of the biggest complaints from the first movie - Superman's indirect responsibility for killing what looks like a few million people when a significant section of Metropolis (which in the movie verse is across the river from Gotham). But if pay attention to newspaper articles and the like, it seems the death toll somehow only numbers in the hundreds so I suspect some comic book logic kung fu is used to minimize the damage. For me the real concern is that the movie is making the mistake that now two Spider-Man movies made by wasting precious screen time trying to set up too many other movies in the process. Amazing Spider-Man was so crammed that the resulting noise took down what should have been a good movie but the cramming resulting in rushing important character building moments (Green Goblin, Electro's motivations just not making any sense, death of Gwen Stacy that could have waited for the 3rd movie, etc.). This trailer feels like that. I hope I am wrong.