Showing posts from 2007

Tis the season

And Akshun J is pretty dang busy. Ridiculously busy, actually. Thus, the blog is a little slow right now. But don't worry! I'll fire off a few posts in December, and I'll be back on the blogroll come January.

Please Stand By

Remember that line from the Outer Limits? I was not a fan of the 60's series, but Showtime did it up right in the 90's with great writing and underpaid Canadian actresses that were willing to go topless. Yes, I'm just a tad intoxicated. But drunk or sober, I swear there's nothing better than scifi and boobies. For me, it began with Elvira on KHJ Channel-9 Sunday afternoons in Los Angeles in the 80's. Movie Macabre had two hours of campy sci-fi and horror, interspersed with comedy bits starring "The Hostess with the Most-ess." Observe her appearance on the Tonight Show, with a really young Jay Leno filling in for Johnny Carson. What was the point of this blog? I forget. Anyways, The New Outer Limits (on Showtime and later on SCIFI) is being released on DVD, slowly but surely. Netflix has got it, as well as Amazon if you want to purchase. This was the most cutting edge sci-fi on TV for about eight years. No sh*t. It tackled social issues head-on


In this corner, the challenger, weighing in at 105lbs and standing 5'2" in his Cuban heels, the front-man for The Family, The New Power Generation, and The Revolution, the only man to take an unpronouceable symbol as his stage name, the man who only wants your extra time and your uh uh uh uh uh kiss, PRINCE Rogers Nelson! And in this corner, wielding multiple high-capacity servers with more internet bandwidth than they know what to do with, the Swedish torrent-website that publicly flipped the bird to the collective American entertainment industry, with a litigation record of 5-0, the reigning heavyweight champion of filesharing, THE PIRATE BAY! DING! DING! "Continuing an aggressive campaign to defend his copyrights, pop star Prince is preparing to file lawsuits in three countries--including the United States--against The Pirate Bay, CNET has learned." I love both Prince AND The Pirate Bay, so this is particularly fascinating for me to watch. My first impu

Broadcatching on the cheap

As an avid TV-show broadcatcher who doesn't own a single actual television, I'm always looking to tighten up the process. I use an old PC as my server ($20 from SWAP for a 600Mhz Compaq with 384MB of RAM) and a light version of Linux to keep things snappy and responsive. Therein lies my problem. The most popular broadcatching software is not exactly made for old hardware. Azureus is an awesome swiss army knife of a program, but on my old server it's a HOG! After about 4 or 5 weeks of continuous use, RAM and swap memory run out and Azureus actually comes close to crashing the whole system. So, this evening I began my hunt for a low-resource alternative. I ended up with a two-program solution. The first is TED, the torrent episode downloader . Unlike most RSS readers, it is specifically designed for broadcatching TV shows. Written in Java, it's cross-platform, easy to use, and feature-rich. TED grabs the torrents as they become available, and then hands them of

So, the gPhone is really an ANDROID

I think it's a smart strategy. Instead of releasing a single, branded gPhone, the plan seems to be to get mobile carriers to release phones that run Google's Android platform . That's seriously clever. You end up with hundreds of gPhones, and an open platform for developers to create neat applications . Apparently Sprint/Nextel and T-Mobile have already signed up . AT&T has been iPhoned, so count them out. That leaves Verizon. I have a love-hate relationship with the "Can you hear me now?" company. On the one hand, they have phenomenal customer service, they usually have the latest and greatest phones, and I can actually understand my bill. But on the flipside, they are ridiculously expensive and their phones are all locked down with the same proprietary " Brew " software. I doubt Verizon will sign on to the Open Handset Alliance , but if they do, the ENTIRE game will change.

The PC or MAC debate has moved to a whole new level

Please, please, please watch this. If for no other reason than it's really funny to watch white people with no rhythm try to rap. I laughed out loud.

A SERIOUSLY geeky moment

I'm a stealthy uber-geek. Stealthy because you don't know I'm a geek until I confess to it. And uber because.... well, I'm fun, social, good-looking, and chicks dig me. Find me another geek with all those qualities. So, anyway, I'm all alone on Halloween and I decide to do what any self-respecting uber-geek would do on a night like this. I logged on to and watched a live, original horror movie. Uh, correction. A live, original horror movie WITH a geeky chat room. And do you know what? It was really fun! I mean, the movie was absolutely rotten. So bad, it was funny. And that was the beauty of the experience. If you've ever watched Mystery Science Theater 3000 , then you know what I'm talking about. I think I might do it again sometime. For those horror fans whose tastes extend beyond Halloween (or Dia De Los Muertos on 11/1), run on over to There's some good stuff going on over there.

I'm back at home...

And it's cold. Boo.


UM: Reloaded will be on hiatus for a week. I'll be out of town, and my internet connection will be limited. So, dear readers, have fun with the new gadgets on the page and I'll see you all in a week!

More changes

This place is starting to feel like a real live tech blog. I got my tech chick to the right, my updated headlines below her, and I'm feelin' pretty good about it... That Webb Alert tech video is pretty sweet, actually. Very much in line with topics I cover. Check it out.

Music You're Not Listening To: The Brand New Heavies

Somewhere in the middle of high school, I decided to expand my musical horizons beyond hip-hop. One of the first groups that captured my attention was The Brand New Heavies . Although technically classified as Acid Jazz (huh?!), they are an electrifying soul ensemble, with vocals by the incomparable N'Dea Davenport (on and off through the years). I rediscovered them last night on . I thought they had disappeared in the mid-90's, but now I find that they've done a PILE of albums since them. Man, I've got some downloading to do...

Page changes!

I've changed the layout of the blog a bit. Gone is the weather vid-cast. I thought it was cool, but not really keeping with the theme of the blog. And Wxman thinks Accuweather is crap. Now I've got my favorite headlines on the right including Richmond , Curlykid , and my new favorite, the SciFi RanterGirl . I also laid out the widgets a little better. For your reading pleasure, I present UM: Reloaded version 2.1.

Somebody's giving them booze!

Or so you'd think after watching the movie industry attack anyone who shows even the grainiest of bootlegs. Their latest target is the online video sites. It's all a game of Whack-a-Mole to them as the MPAA smacks one , and another pops up. Such is the ferocity of their assaults, you'd think they were starving in the streets. Somehow, I don't think so. In fact, I think they've had a record summer . To the tune of $4.1 Billion. I can't freaking believe it! They raise ticket prices, produce a record number of crappy movies with astronomical budgets, have a banner year in revenue and profit, and try to tear anyone who touches their content to shreds. The slimy bastards are having a non-stop drunken orgy and we're footing the bill. Reminds me a scene from Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas . It's hilarious that Youtube has it. I post it because it's appropriate, and to thumb my nose in their general direction. "I was in the middle of a f*c

High Def commercials?!

As I don't have a TV, I don't get to see many commercials. Even when I'm at Wxman's house watching the season finales of 4400 and Dead Zone, we still fast forward through all the commercials. However, after the shows, we were watching the Eagles/Redskins game, and I finally saw one. An HD commercial. A television commercial in high definition. The industry is WAILING about piracy, but they're springing for 30 fricking seconds of 1080i of a gecko walking around talking about............whatever. All I've got are crocodile tears for these fools.

Apple is biting the hand that feeds it

Apple cuts us off "So, it's finally happened. Unhappy with other media players being better than iTunes, Apple have apparently decided to stop them from working with the new range of iPods.Who does this affect?This affects Linux users - there's no iTunes for Linux, so popular Linux iPod management tools like gtkpod and Rhythmbox will not work with the new range of iPods.Windows users who just plain don't like iTunes and perfer an alternative like Winamp, Ephpod or many of the other iPod management applications out there." ipodminusitunes: Apple cuts us off Blogged with Flock

I love it when a girl gets messy!

"BUFFALO, New York (AP) -- When it comes to wolfing wings, Sonya Thomas is a whiz. The 105-pound competitive eater who goes by name "The Black Widow" bested a dozen beefy rivals Saturday night, scarfing 173 wings in 12 minutes to win the wing-eating contest at the National Buffalo Wing Festival."That's 5.17 pounds of wings," said Brian Kahle, spokesman for the annual Labor Day weekend event in the city where Buffalo wings were born. Thomas, 40, of Alexandria, Virginia, also held the festival's previous record of 161 wings in 12 minutes, set in 2004. "She's the crowd favorite," Kahle said. "It was 12 huge guys and her." Thomas has set numerous records in competitive eating events, including 37 hot dogs in 12 minutes; 35 bratwursts in 10 minutes; 11 pounds of cheesecake in 9 minutes; 44 lobsters in 12 minutes; and 250 Tater Tots in 5 minutes." CNN REMOVED THE ORIGINAL PHOTO. THAT SUCKS! I think it's the string of sa

Apple takes one on the chin

Yeah, I know it's old news . But it still brings a smile to my face. NBC decided to pick up their toys and leave Apple's playground. Very Cartman and Southpark-ish. Embedded Video People are speculating which party was more injured by the deal. Well, the last time I checked, NBC still has television as a distribution channel. And Apple doesn't produce a lick of content on it's own. But then again, I think they both suck for continuously giving consumers the shaft. Blogged with Flock

Are Mac users smug and arrogant?

As someone who's been called "smug and arrogant" to his face by a former employer, I can certainly identify.  But, I hesitate to use the phrase for Mac owners.  I think the term "blissfully ignorant" better describes Jobs' cult.  And some of them are my best friends!  My own sister owns a Mac!  Observe the Mac-dude below.  Arrogant?  Or wide-eyed and misguided.  You decide... » Are Mac users smug and arrogant? | The Apple Core | Blogged with Flock

Stocks & Humor meet the video-blog!

As I get more and more into stock trading, I realize how much I actually don't know. About the companies, and about the mechanics and legality of trading. So, over the last year or so, I've immersed myself in stock and finance stuff. Marketplace Money , The Motley Fool and Money Magazine have been just a few of my resources. Then I found Wallstrip , "where stock culture meets pop culture." Good humor and good information. Give it a spin and let me know what you think. Blogged with Flock

Why Libertarians Should Celebrate Free Software

I often find myself identifying with the libertarian end of the political spectrum.  Especially as I get older and more "dug in" in the family & kids sense of that phrase.  As an open-source/free software addict, I often find myself in debates with my conservative-minded friends about whether or not open-source equals communism or some wacky erosion of capitalism or democracy.  The article below sums up the concepts pretty well.  It's from the CATO institute, I believe.  A modern-day bastion of libertarianism.  Read on... "There's no reason that free software should make libertarians uneasy. To the contrary, it is precisely the kind of decentralized, voluntary cooperation that libertarians should be holding up as an alternative to the coercive power of the state. Free software is produced by volunteers donating their time, without a government program in sight. If that's not a libertarian success story, I don't know what is." Why Libertarians Sho


GOOD COPY BAD COPY - a documentary about the current state of copyright and culture I've been meaning to post this for a while. It's a documentary about the collision between today's infinitely available digital media via the internet and the old-school politics of copyrights and intellectual property championed by the RIAA and MPAA. And the film is from Denmark, which is hardly surprising. The Danes and the Swedes are waaay progressive with copyright law. And weed-smoking. And prostitution. I'm KIDDING! The documentary is very well-done, informative, and surprisingly funny. Give it a watch and let me know what you think.  Did I mention that almost all of the examples in the documentary are hip-hop?  Oh yeah! Blogged with Flock

Private or public?

That's the question that Marketplace Money asks Andy Taylor, CEO of Enterprise Rent-A-Car . Every year, there were rumors that Enterprise would go public, but it never happened. And in this interview , Andy talks about the value of staying private. In a nutshell, you have no reactionary shareholders to contend with. Sure there are downsides to not being publicly traded, but Enterprise gets to do some things that other companies just can't get away with. Enterprise is HUGE now, and has changed from the old "value-driven" company that I grew up with. But I still think they're cool. And I'm sort of glad that I can't buy they're stock...

Google has a phone?!

That's the rumor. And I hope it will put the iPhone in it's belly . Here's the Wired article , and a link to a blog entry with some details : "Other tidbits that I'm trying to recall based on questions I've recieved from readers: It's a modified Linux kernel There is integrated GPS and GoogleMaps (there were other things, I'll probably update this list once my memory is jogged by conversation during the show)" And the GPhone is a cool-ass name... UPDATE: Laptop Logic has a brief article which brings all of the rumors together and pieces together what may (or may not) be in store for the cell phone market in the next few months. The key words here are open, cheap, and Google. I'll be first in line!

Artists you're not listening to: El P

aka El Producto, aka Jaime Meline (his real name). He's the front-man for my new favorite record label, Def Jux . But first, let me provide some background... Around the 4th of July of this year, my wife and I were visiting our good friends, Richmond and Wxman (actually it was a Richmond-sponsored bloggerfest ). We were walking back to their house from the fireworks show, when one of the local " wiggas " drove by with their stereo system pumping out the deafening beats of........whoever was currently rapping on KISS FM . Richmond, knowing that I am a hip-hop aficionado, asked me who the artist was. I was at a loss. I had zero idea about who was currently popular, with the exception of those videos and songs that loop every few minutes at my Big Box store (and I have learned to tune those out). I haven't listened to the radio in five years. So, how can I call myself a hip-hop expert if I'm not up-to-date on current events? Hip-hop currently dominates th

I'm VUZED!!!

At this point, I'm ready to tell Joost what I really think of them. Linux is in the midst of a renaissance amongst geeks, and a revolution within the mainstream of computer users. But Joost thinks it's okay to ignore us. (For those of you just tuning in, Joost allows you to watch full-screen TV shows on your computer. As long as you run Windows XP or Vista.) So, until I see a linux client, I'm done blogging about them. On to the alternatives: Vuze is the most promising. This is the Azureus bittorrent client with a makeover. Well, it's really a tightly integrated Firefox web browser grafted onto the bittorrent client. Or at least that's what it looks like to me. I'm running version for linux. All the Java and Flash slows the program down, even on my desktop (AMD dual-core 4400+ X2 64 with 2 GB RAM). But it's still usable, just a bit sluggish. The interface is slick and easy to use. The innards are still accessible for geeks. And it se

I just popped a Mint

A Linux Mint, that is! Ordinarily, I would have a "non-geek disclaimer" for a post like this, but this time, I invite my non-geek readers (if I actually have any) to read on. My premise is simple. Choice is a good thing. For the consumer, and for the economy as a whole. So why do 90% of all computers run Windows? Is that choice? Not really. And I'm not a Microsoft-hater. Seriously, I'm not. Bill Gates, in my opinion, is a genius and an innovator. But, his company took some wrong turns with their company values. In any case, 20 years of an operating system monopoly has given us Windows Vista as the high water-mark of Microsoft software development. Here's what the editor of PC Magazine (a noted Windows fanatic) recently said about Vista : "I could go on and on about the lack of drivers, the bizarre wake-up rituals, the strange and nonreproducible system quirks, and more. But I won't bore you with the details. The upshot is that even after nine

In-flight elites

First of all, I was drunk. That's the only way I fly. Don't know when it started, but it's pretty much mandatory at this point. So, perhaps this fact colors the story a bit. Second, I hate the way that airline classify passengers. 1st class. Perks. Air-miles preferred. Elite. Admiral club. What, in the name of all that is holy, is going on with airlines?! I paid a crapload of money, and I even have a stupid miles card, but I'm just *coach*. Thus, I have to sit b*tch in row 47 for a 4 hour flight to the west coast. And some slob who paid even more money gets to sit up front, sip a free fruity-ass cocktail in their marginally roomier seat, and have somebody take their coat. I'm going to go on-record by saying there is something fundamentally flawed with this concept. As a retail manager, I pride myself on the fact that I treat all of my passengers the same (like kings) whether they spend $10 or $10k. But the airlines don't see it that way, and this

On hiatus...Again

For two weeks this time. Company travel, personal travel, f*cking around... All that. I leave you with a youtube. The Transformers, redubbed by a fan. He spices things up with some real-world dialog in a classic episode, The Return of Optimus Prime. So, the new leader of the Autobots (Rodimus Prime. Yeah, I know. Give me a break, I was 12.) brings the old leader (Optimus) back to life so his wisdom and leadership can save them from a plague. That's when the funny starts. You see, no time has passed for Optimus, so he needs to ..... get back up to speed on current events. And he curses a lot. This is clearly rated R, but watch it for a few laughs. It's the Transformers for a more mature audience. Giggity.

The open-source iPhone killer will be here soon

The Neo is coming for you, iPhone. It's a Daywalker of sorts. All of your strengths (touch-screen, intuitive UI, app integration), but none of your weaknesses (no 3rd party apps, cell phone vendor lock-in). Perhaps the Neo should have been called the Blade .

Th Cult of Jobs (Tongue firmly in cheek)

Macs, macbooks, Apple TV's, iPhones, and all different types of iPods STINK! And I hate 'em! (For all those paying attention, that was a terribly clever Chappelle Show reference to Clayton Biggsby, the black White Supremist. ) I am an open source enthusiast. Not a fanatic or a purist, just an enthusiast. For example, I use Linux Mint instead of Ubuntu . Most casual readers of my blog will have no idea of the distinction, but suffice to say, it means I am solutions and results-oriented rather than being obsessed with the open source "cause" . Five years ago, I ditched Windows because I realized at some point that it was keeping me from doing what *I* wanted with *my* computer. I never looked back. But over time, many friends urged me to give "Mac" a try. "It's Unix under the hood", they would say. "It's linux with a makeover." "They support open source." Yadda yadda. So, I decided to give Apple a closer look.

A cheese rant

Disclaimer: This is not in any way a tech-related post. So, I had a bad supermarket experience a little while ago. I went with a list and things should have gone smoothly. In fact, they did not. At least 11 things went wrong, and I'll share the biggest issue with you. First let's air Wisconsin's dirty laundry. The cheese in this state sucks. And THEY ARE KNOWN AS THE CHEESE "F*CKING" STATE! Why does the cheese suck? Two reasons. 1. Although most Wisconsiners are strong in their European heritages (German, Irish, Danish, etc.) they seem to have forgotten their ancestors' cheese-making secrets. They are obsessed with making duplicates of their fathers' cheeses, but much like an aging Xerox machine, the copies are all wonky compared to the originals. Havarti, Gouda, Edam, Brie, Irish cheddar, Goat's milk, you name it, Wisconsin's got a sh*tty version of it. They all taste like bland, dirty water. 2. Wisconsiners have, in fact, contributed so

Music you're not listening to #2 - I'm on a ROLL!

DJ Dieselboy . He does an offshoot of techno called Drum 'n Bass. I call it "fight music." Good for the workouts, although I'm sure it would be entertaining to whoop someone's ass while listening to it. I should not be drinking in the middle of the day. I've heard it enhances violent tendencies. A real f*cking DJ with real f*cking vinyl. That's what I'm talking about. A true B-boy. I think I curse more when I drink... Below is a link to similar tunes. I actually hate that there's only a "similar tunes" thing at Sometimes I don't want similar, I want actual. And I subscribe to those f*ckers! Maybe I need to convert to Rhapsody . They are more expensive, but I can stream anything I want instead of rolling the dice. I love, but damn. They're killin' me, Smalls .

Everybody was Lap-Dancing!

Well, at least that's what my buddy Curlykid was doing a while back in Vegas. She apparently took some lap-dance lessons from the pros. She wrote an article about it. Want read it ? Here's a pic to give you an idea. Too bad there's no video... That's a move I've never seen before. And it doesn't look much like a lap-dance. Maybe this is what happens in the high-class strip clubs... :-) Giggity !

The right idea...

Fairtilizer is a site I recently stumbled upon. Apparently, their goal is to unite artists with listeners, given the new internet landscape. It seems interesting, but apparently I need an invite... Hmmm... What is Fairtilizer? Fairtilizer is an online community for people who care about music. Our community combined with our unique tech tools defines a new generation of music media. A kind of media at the crossroads of music recommendation, music distribution and music services for labels and artists. Traditional music media (tv, radio, print) are losing credibility. Young people are now discovering new music through mp3 blogs, p2p and word of mouth . No matter how many ways people have to find new music these days, what they really need is a trusted filter . No matter how many ways artists and labels have to promote new material, what they really need is a DIY amplifier . And because we believe the album format

So much stuff, so little time...

It's my birthday and I have the day off! That's a first in 12 freakin years!!! And it was just luck of the draw. Weeeeird. Even stranger is that I have NOTHING to do as everyone else (wife, friends) is working today. Bummer. Let's me catch up on the blogging, I guess...

Artists you aren't listening to - #1

So, as internet radio gasps for air, I would like to entice you into realm of online digital music with a few offerings. Much like Tivo did for TV, internet radio has completely changed the way music fans listen to their tunes. I can't imagine going back to FM. Not in a million years. And before you say anything, yes, these choices are clearly influenced by my own musical tastes. I do have broad tastes, but there are places even I will not go. The fun part is that I *stumbled* across all of these artists. Once you open your mind to new stuff that hasn't been fabricated by radio payola, there's a LOT of stuff to listen to. Disclaimer done. #1 - Jennifer Charles . This chick sounds like she's a crooner from waaaay back. Her current band is Elysian Fields, although she's collaborated with a TON of people. I ran across some of her indie hip-hop compilations, but her band is closer to eclectic rock. I really dig her. #2 - Dan the Automator . You've proba

Reprieve... For now

So, at the 11th hour, it would appear that internet radio may yet survive. Apparently some of the larger companies, plus the CRB and Sound Exchange (the Sopranos of the RIAA) all got together in front of a congressional subcommittee. The committee was less than impressed with the rate hike proposal. Their message to both parties, "work it out amongst yourselves or we'll legislate it." Clearly their words struck fear into the hearts of everyone present. Sound Exchange agreed to hold off on breaking kneecaps as long as broadcasters were in legitimate negotiations with them. Internet broadcasters rushed to the bargaining table pushing for a compromise deal that will have them paying out a percentage of their revenue. That way, both large and small companies will have room to breathe. We'll see... Check out this article to bring you up to date on the fast-developing issue. "On Monday, the music won’t die. But those involved in this fascinating issue should

It ain't over...

Till the fat senator sings. Or so it would seem in the struggle for net radio to survive. Quick article updates. One about the ongoing industry "talks" , and the other is a primer to the whole freakin' mess. Check 'em out and tell me what you think. Today is Saturday, 7/14 and is still online and streaming. George Michael is crooning about "Calling You". Ah, the 90's. My college years. Man, I'm getting old...

The death of internet radio

A moment of silence if you please. On Sunday, July 15th, the Copyright Royalty Board's new rates for internet broadcasters will go into effect . And hundreds of streaming radio stations will pass quietly into the night. The impact will largely impact smaller broadcasters who were barely breaking even in terms of revenue vs expenses before. But now, they will essentially be paying more out to the record companies than they are taking in from ad revenue. This article from the good folks over at P2Pnet gets at the heart of the issue. Here are some quotes to give you some background: "On March 2, 2007 the CRB hiked Net radio royalty rates, and not by a few points. They’ll rocket up by between 300% and 1,200%." The rate hike was then postponed in court while a group of broadcasters appealed the decision. On July 15th, the rate hike goes into effect even while the appeal is still on-going. "At the request of the Recording Industry Association of America, the CRB ig