Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Twitter Account

I started a new twitter account called:

1 OR 2 WORD REVIEW


It's purpose?

... to give 1 or 2 word movie reviews on Twitter.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Movie Review: Terminator Salvation

Sorry to post so many movie reviews, but the holidays are my best chance to catch up on movies I missed at the theater and to actually go to the theater with my wife and family willingly.

If you like the Terminator series of movies, you'll enjoy this installment. It seems to almost erase the timeline of the third movie Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines and start fresh. It also seems to abandon anything that happened in the Sarah Conner Chronicles that aired on Fox.

The movie relies heavily on the audience knowing the plots of Terminator I & II - it also helps if you got to see the Terminator Experience at Universal Studios.

Terminator: Salvation starts with a convicted murderer being put to death and promised a new life.

We then fast forward to the year 2018, when he revives in a post apocalyptic world.

With a new lease on life, he tries to make sense of his new confusing surroundings.

He befriends Kyle Reese as a teenager. Kyle Reese is John Conner's father.

He finds out that his purpose in life wasn't to be terminated as a murderer - instead he is to continue a murderous life as a terminator - Model T-001.






The centerpiece of this movie is suppose to be Christian Bale - as in Batman: Dark Knight his "tough guy voice" is almost laughable - it's hard to understand as he slurs and spits words. I enjoyed this movie, but haven't liked Bale since American Psycho.

I'd give Terminator: Salvation an 8 out of 10.

Sam Worthington is good in this movie. He seems to be the next big star as he was in Terminator: Salvation, Avatar, and plays the lead in the upcoming Clash Of The Titans remake.




Note: there's a fairly well kept secret about the ending of this movie that will be sure to delight you if you're a fan of the original series.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Movie Reviews: Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakuel/ Avatar

One of my holiday traditions is to catch up on a few movies ...

My son has been pretty excited to see two movies: Avatar and Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakuel.

We went to see Alvin and the Chipmunks II on Thursday night.

I rather enjoyed the first installment of the live action translation to the classic animated series of cartoons. It was a well done homage.

This second installment however was lacking the same wittiness and seemed sort of rushed.


I'd give it a 6 out of 10 rating.

General plot:

Alvin, Simon and Theodore (the chipmunks) now famous performing pop stars end up being "chipmunk-sat" by caretaker Dave's 25 year old nephew. The chipmunks take some time out to go to school. On their first day, they find out that the principal, a closet chipmunk groupie, wants the chipmunks to represent the school in a district talent show. Alvin and his two brothers unexpectedly meet their match when a trio of female singing chipmunks known as The Chipettes show up to compete against them.

Next up is Avatar ...

I didn't really have high hopes for this movie, it didn't really look all that appealing beyond the visuals to me. I had an idea that it would be yet another "environmental statement" type movie - turns out, I was right. Avatar lacked uniqueness in plot and instead tried to gloss over the borrowed themes with astounding visuals.

The plot of Avatar:

A paraplegic war veteran, is brought to another planet, Pandora, to acquaint himself with the inhabitants called the Na'vi. The 12 foot tall Na'vi have a unique brain which allows the transfer of thoughts (and actions) using a process called "Avatar". This unique ability has allowed scientists from Earth to grow human/Na'vi counterparts that are genetically linked.

Upon arrival, the soldier finds that "the Avatar project" is mostly about corporate greed. The intention of the program is to supplant or exterminate the "Na'vi" in order to mine for a precious metal - ironically called unobtanium. The soldier gains the trust of the natives of Pandora - only to find himself metaphorically - a puppet. A real bond is made with the Na'vi as they think humans are finally making an effort to understand them. He finds out that understanding the natives is understanding the corrupt nature of the human heart.


I read a short review of this movie that said it was a live action Ferngully. I agree. This plot has been used so many times and seems rather abused by Hollywood as of late.

I'd rate Avatar 5 out of 10.

Avatar ranks as the most expensive movie ever made with budget estimates at upwards of $460 million. That means the movie will have to make nearly a billion dollars just to recoup costs - something very few movies ever do.

Also know that - although this film is being promoted to children via McDonald's Happy Meal toys - there is every curse word in the book in the film - including roughly a dozen times the Lord's name is taken in vain.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Semi-Official End To Jackwhispers

Last night, I officially moved to this site to FIXYOURTHINKING.COM for my domain ... I've been hesitant because it meant losing a lot of search engine traffic that is engrained with jackwhispers.com and jackwhispers.blogspot.com

Everything should still register if someone types in jackwhispers.blogspot.com.

This was a hard decision because 1000's of people read the telephone law recording reference here each month.

I just hope it will make it back into the searches soon.

For the past year two years, if I've created a link on DIGG or to send to Macsurfer - I've been using FIXYOURTHINKING.COM.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Review: District 9


I finally got around to seeing the movie District 9 last night. I liked it a lot. I don't know if it deserves a spot in my top 100 ranking or not, but it was very enter- taining. It's symbolism on racial issues and the greed of large megacorporations is very well done. The special effects are also perfect - something that is an awesome achievement for such a low budget movie. Most of the the movie is filmed like Cloverfield - from a first person perspective. I would highly recommend seeing it when it comes to video on December 22, 2009.

The basic plot of the movie is:

In 1982, an enormous alien spaceship stops above Johannesburg, South Africa - seemingly stranded. After waiting weeks for any communication from the ship, an exploratory team cuts into the hovering ship and discovers a group of one million unhealthy and leaderless members of an insect-like alien race. The aliens are given asylum on Earth. The alien camp turns into a run down, poverty and violence stricken area. After demands from the people to stop their spread, the aliens are confined to a government camp inside Johannesburg, called District 9. The camp soon turns into a slum that resembles a third world outer city ghetto.

Approximately 25 years later, a private military contractor named Multinational United (MNU) is placed in charge of policing and relocating the growing alien population to District 10, a new camp about 150 miles away. MNU hires a likable and nerdy figurehead that can "show the people" how civilized the operation of the "eviction and transplantation" of the aliens transpires.

Very worried about the operation going smoothly, this leader finds himself in opposition to the military commander and the executives in charge of MNU. He also experiences first hand how the aliens have been unfairly ostracized and mistreated.

______________________________


From the previews, this movie seemed like it was going to have a very high "gross factor". It ends up that a lot of the people blown up are done so in a comical way - in pure Peter Jackson (executive producer) form. I also enjoyed the subtle ghetto references - in particular - the aliens trading some of their weapons for sex with humans. <- No it's not as graphic as it sounds.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gaga goo goo: I thought the song Poker Face was saying "Cutie pie, Cutie pie"

I was using up some of my end of the year free credits at the Amazon MP3 store today ... I decided to download Lady Gaga's song Poker Face.

Once I heard it for the first time through my headphones - I heard what it was she was actually saying. So I googled for the lyrics and confirmed she was saying something entirely different. I've been going around singing this song in my head for a while now - singing the wrong lyrics - I still like my version better.

Original:

can't read my, can't read my
no, he can't read my poker face


What I thought she was singing:

Cutie pie, Cutie pie
no, can't read my poker face

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Change Blindness ...



This is an experiment to see if participants can recognize sudden dramatic change. By this experiment 75% can not.

This reminds me of my favorite episode of LA LAW ... Harry Hamlin playing the role of attorney Michael Kuzak is cross examining a witness who claims to have seen his client (a black man who was allegedly wearing dark clothes) in a dark alley for a few seconds - committing a murder. He questions the eyewitness [paraphrased from memory]

Facing the witness:

Kuzak: "So I want to confirm, you are telling this court that you could identify my client, a black man, wearing dark clothes, in a dimly lit alley?"

Witness: "Yes."

Still facing the witness - pacing in front of her on purpose, purposely playing with his tie:

Kuzak: "How long have you been on the witness stand today?"

Witness: "I'm not sure I understand."

Attorney Kuzak stops in front of the witness, leans over the stand, purposely tucking his tie into his jacket.

Kuzak: "How long have you been here testifying today?"

Witness: "30 minutes maybe?"

Kuzak starts talking as he turns his back to the witness:

Kuzak: "You've gotten a good look at me? Would you say I'm an attractive man?"

Opposing attorney: "Relevance, your honor?"

Supreme Court Judge: "Mr. Kuzak, this court requires strict adherence to procedure, we aren't here for legal games or lolly gagging."

Kuzak turns around as the judge is speaking, agreeing to the admonishment.

Kuzak turns his back to the witness again.

Kuzak says to Witness: "What color of tie am I wearing?"

Witness: "I don't know."

Kuzak: "Can you give me a guess, a pattern, a polka dot?"

Witness: "Red striped."

Kuzak turns around (LA Law victory music cues in the background). Kuzak's tie is solid blue.

Kuzak: "This witness claims to have seen me for 30 minutes or more, yet can't even tell a single detail about my tie. It seems she can give specific details about a two or three second encounter from a 20 foot or more vantage point about a black man, wearing dark clothes, in a dimly lit alley?"

(LA Law victory music is very loud.)

Next scene shows Kuzak, in his final series appearance, and his client walking out of the court shaking hands; smiling.

____________________________________


One thing this should teach us is to always be observant. If you happen to be in a bank or a convenience store that may be silently robbed or if you see unusual behavior - you can't imagine how small details you give to police can lead to an arrest. It's amazing in the video, that these people didn't notice the change. It's amazing in the scenario I mentioned that the witness didn't notice the detail that was the same - even though it was being flaunted on purpose for her to notice right in front of her face.

* video via Daring Fireball

Monday, December 14, 2009

FREE Energy - at least it looks good.



* via ENGADGET

This is a good video ... playing on the fact that they've been called a hoax by every well known scientist in the world.

Other stories on STEORN:

Steorn FREE energy device powered by an iMac?

The Very Phishy Wishy Washy Parallel Between OLPC & The Tablet Formerly Known As "The Crunchpad"

For those of you that follow this site ... you're aware that I've had my reservations about the One Laptop Per Child program from its inception.



This article remains one of the most viewed on FixYourThinking:

I Hate Children And Their Little Laptops Too!


In this piece, I indicated that the OLPC laptops are really nothing more than a light ponzi scheme and that the $100 price tag most likely is a penny, a dime, or a dollar too much.

The goal of the OLPC program, headed by Nick Negroponte, is to distribute 1 BILLION laptops to children. Just a penny shaved is $10 Million dollars to pocket if the program was to reach it's one billion distribution target.

Over the weekend, a twitter post from Tom Reestman, got me thinking ...



Just an opinion, but I think Mike Arrington was planning some sort of similar boondoggle as the OLPC program with his "CrunchPad" and most likely FusionGarage caught on.

Wikipedia's entry on TechCrunch:

TechCrunch is a blog company that profiles startup companies, products and websites. It was founded by Michael Arrington in 2005. The blog's first post was on June 11, 2005.


Just a hunch, but I'd bet that Arrington was lining up deals with publishers to line his own pockets. Arrington wanted publishers to subsidize the Crunchpad and for FusionGarage to manufacture the hardware and shave a few dollars here and there for a volumetric profit - a la the OLPC program.

What Arrington didn't realize however is that he's not dealing with unwitting, non sensical spending government entities - he's dealing with businesses that are cut throat and solely focused on their bottom line - businesses that will toss you out on a technicality at any point they can. After all, if you are getting a cut, you are an expense. In the "game of OLPC" and pitching it to governments around the world there's also a lot of goodwill recognition. In private enterprise, few people could care about what goodwill you have or if you want to change the world - something Arrington promised with his internet tablet and the magazine and newspaper publishing empires.

See this previous story ...

Base Your Business On How Your Partner Looks ..."

Also of interest ...

From MacRumors:

A small startup company called Pixel Qi recently announced that they will start production of the first batch of their new LCD screens shortly. These new screens promise low power, easy readability in direct sunlight as well support for full color and are expected to ship in quantity in Q1 2010. Regarding the screen's benefits:

Pixel Qi has been closely followed in the industry as it was founded by One Laptop Per Child's (OLPC) former Chief Technology Officer Mary Lou Jepsen.


This technology was developed (most likely) under the OLPC project - PixelQi is a "for profit" company. So, OLPC served as a great "free research and development firm" for this new display.

DIGG

Monday, December 07, 2009

Base Your Business On How Your Partner Looks ...

I'm not too sure how many of you are interested in the CrunchPad saga - where Mike Arrington - the universally despised editor @ TechCrunch threatened to shake up the world with a $200 internet tablet that was better than an iPhone or a laptop BUT ...

Here's the details in short:

From VentureBeat:

"The computer, named the Crunchpad, was scheduled to ship in time for Black Friday / Cyber Monday shoppers two weeks ago. It would have been a great tale of how a journalist proved his own claims for the new rules of entrepreneurialism.

But at the last minute, Arrington posted a claim that the production contractor, Fusion Garage — a 12 person company set up in Silicon Valley in February — had told him without warning that they and their investors had decided to sell the product themselves. Arrington would be pushed aside into a marketing / evangelism role."


Well, here's a picture of the guy that made the presentation about the "soon to ship" tablet renamed JooJoo:


Picture from ENGADGET


Sorry to be shallow ... but if you look like that - WE ARE NOT DOING ANY BUSINESS TOGETHER!

A business partnership is like a marriage and my wife is a fox!

AT&T releases "Mark The Spot App" : You can't say they aren't at least appearing to try

AT&T just released "AT&T Mark the Spot" , a FREE iPhone application that allows users to alert the company to problems with its wireless network. The application takes advantage of the iPhone's GPS receiver to pinpoint the user's location and allows them to submit reports on a number of network issues, including dropped calls, failed calls, coverage holes, data service failures, and voice quality issues.

You can download it here
(Will open iTunes)


You can't say they aren't at least appearing to try.