Archive for the ‘media’ Category

New toys: Flip Mino and the G1

December 14, 2008
My Mino

A picture of my Flip Mino, taken with my G1

So I got two new toys recently, one as a birthday present, the other as an early Christmas present. The first is a Flip Mino, a tiny handheld camcorder. Priced at $179.99, these are great little video recorders for those who wouldn’t use one enough to warrant buying something more expensive.  I had already been looking at the Flip Ultra cameras, and then Flip released the Mino and the Mino HD. I took a chance on the Mino, and now that I’ve had it for a few weeks, I think I made the right decision. One of the nicest things about the camera is the simplicity – and this is coming from someone who usually prefers lots of little settings and likes to read instruction manuals. But basic works here; it makes using the device hassle free and fun to use. The picture is great, and you can record about an hour of video on the internal drive. The battery life is great, and recharges with a simple USB connection. Also, the video is saved as simple MPEG (in .avi extension), there is no unneccessary conversion process to get your video. Lastly, what really sold me, to be truthful, was the option to design your own cover if you buy it from the Flip store online. You can upload your own image, use their designs, or tweak some patterns. It makes it fun, and the printing quality of the finished product is fantastic. I had it in my hand five days after ordering it, including a weekend, so don’t worry about it taking a long time, either. (more…)


Presto Magix

March 24, 2008

presto Anyone else used to play with these when they were younger? I don’t know what initially caused me to remember these, but I was pleasantly surprised to see you could still pick up a few of these on Ebay. I went through these things like crack when I was a kid; you could always find them at the drugstore or some place like that, and an enormous number of hours were spent scratching these things off. I’ve picked up several lately, but I can’t resist the urge to open them and use them. They are totally worth it, though, still just as fun as they used to be. I don’t know why they stopped making these – it would be great if you could still pick up stuff like this outside of auctions. They had other variations, like Letraset, and later on these evolved into Colorforms, but Colorforms just didn’t do the same for me (you know, those ones you could stick and lift, a sort of re-usable version of Presto Magix). I’ve read you can actually make them now, with a transparency sheet through your printer, but I’ve yet to try it. It seems like it has to be possible, though. Anyway, the above sets are what I got this week.

I’d like to check out this empty book please …

February 20, 2008

As a follow-up to my previous post about the Kindle, here is an intersting article from  Apparently Amazon is claiming libraries who loan out Kindles with content on it are violating the terms of service agreement.  Loaning out empy e-readers are fine, but with things to read already in them … shame on you!

Rethinking Kindle

February 19, 2008

The Kindle20 years ago we were told printed books were on the way out. 10 years ago we were told the same thing again. And when Amazon announced the Kindle would be their entrance into hardware, the very same warning began emerging again. However, on the way home all 3 bookstores I passed appeared to still be open for business. Believe it or not, I am a big believer in power of the Web and digital information changing our physical landscape … just not when it comes to the imminent demise of the print industry. It simply isn’t going to happen anytime soon, not until something drastic happens (for example, some kind of environmental demands). There are all sorts of reasons I believe this, but the most basic one goes back to Marx: we like to touch and hold things, especially things we own. Needless to say, when Amazon announced their next big thing, I was of the “so what” opinion.  But after some thinking, I’ll admit that maybe – maybe – Amazon’s Kindle will indeed change publishing. Just not the way they hope it will.

Good thing, bad thing: episode 1

January 25, 2008

Good thing:  Twin Peaks DVD Box Set – The Definitive Gold Box Edition

Twin Peaks DVDAbout once every other year, during the middle of winter, I would find (or make) a nice 3 day weekend during which I would stock up on doughnuts and coffee, perhaps invite over a close friend or two, and begin my Twin Peaks marathon.  Of course, this involved dusting off VHS tapes, hoping the tapes still worked, and trying not to be too disappointed at the quality.  By and large, this ritual was the main reason I even still own a VCR.  A few years back the first season was finally released on DVD, and while it was a beautiful box set, it became evident that the rest of the series would still be a long while off, so I sold them.  But now the days of “tracking” and shotty, warbled VHS audio are long gone (at least for watching Twin Peaks). 

NBC: We Put the Cock in Peacock

January 16, 2008

After my internet connection going buggy on me earlier, I decided to visit DSLReports and check things out (a great site, by the way, for all kinds of troubleshooting and related things to your Internet connectivity, often loads better than your ISP support).  Browsing through their news headlines, which always pays a close eye on communications, I found a funny news item.  It has to do with NBC Universal recently issuing a letter to the FCC, not asking but demanding ISPs be forced to use filter-technology, in order to (supposedly) ease bandwidth and prevent copyright infringements through – you guessed it – the magic word, file-sharing. 

Thief, Sinner, Downloader

January 1, 2008

The RIAA has reached a new low in their efforts to blame P2P file-sharing for their declining profits. Recently, they have made the argument that it is illegal to copy a CD you have purchased to your own computer (a summary of the events can be found in this Washington Post article, and numerous other places). It really makes me wonder when, if ever, will they realize they are not going to succeed in their attempts to invade privacy, prevent technological growth, and assume the role of dictator over the price, use, and distribution of music.

Radiohead’s In Rainbows

December 23, 2007

In Rainbows
In Rainbows

A few years ago, shortly after Amnesiac had been released and digested, I asked a friend of mine what he thought the next album would be like, and he said “I don’t know, but it will be important.” It was funny, but true. Somehow, Radiohead has managed to keep that assessment accurate again, and they’ve pulled off a feat that very few musicians pull off anymore: they keep making good albums.