Twitter Boot Camp?!!

Yes, that’s right, kids, if “how to type meaningless crap in under 140 characters” is something you’re having trouble figuring out, O’Reilly is running a Twitter Boot Camp. For the low-low price of $399, you too can be “trained” on things that are essentially covered in the help pages of what has to be the simplest and yet most inane product ever devised on the web (and let’s be honest, that’s saying a LOT).
What’s more, there’s the option of UPGRADING to the boot camp plus a “talk twitter dinner” with Tim O’Reilly, for $1500. Now, meaning no disrespect to Tim, because he’s a fine human being and he keeps robo-signing my quarterly royalty checks, but …. SERIOUSLY!?! $1100 extra to “talk about Twitter” with Tim over dinner? For fucks sake, that dinner better be cooked personally by Mario Batali at that price, and include full-GFE with someone cute, because that’s just insane.
You can go to the O’Reilly Open Source conference (or, frankly, almost any conference O’Reilly runs) and sit down at the same table as Tim at lunch and eat a meal with him, and I’m sure he’d happily discuss Twitter, or Perl, or web 2.0, or whatever other topic you brought up, because that’s the kind of guy he is. He loves to chat about tech issues. There’s nobody so hard up to talk to Tim that they need to pay $1100 to do it, when Tim does it for free all the time. 🙂
It truly is a world gone mad, I tell you…..

This Has All Happened Before, It Will All Happen Again

Um, yeah, if you haven’t actually watched the finale for BSG, crawl out of your cave and go watch it now….
Last night, I had some friends over (Mark, who doesn’t have a blog with an entry dated within two years of today, and Damion) to watch the series finale. We had some snacks (including an awesome cake), and D played a perfect hostess, allowing us to keep our geek on without having to worry too much about racing out into the kitchen for drink refills.
Overall, I though it was good – a fitting end to the series. I had to lower Damion’s expectations early (telling him I’d read an interview with Ron Moore that the whole “Daniel” thing was a throwaway line he used which suddenly sprang into an Internet-fueled life of its own, so that he shouldn’t expect any great Daniel-related revelations). About the only complaints I had were:

  • I wish we knew for certain what the frak was up with “New Kara”, and what she was
  • I’m not a HUGE fan of “Head Six” and Head Gaius” having such a central role in guiding humanity’s fate
  • Most importantly, I understand the reasons for the capstone ending, to show that definitively “this is our earth”, but I think I would have been happy with the original ending (which was clearly the helicopter shot of the Old Man talking to Roslin’s grave). Something just struck me as “off” about the ending….

I guess it’s interesting that “god”, or who/whatever, was basically explicitly communicating with Gaius over all those years when he questioned his own sanity.
The high points?

  • Old-School Cylons are way more bad-ass than the flimsy modern ones. When they were assaulting the Big G, one or two shots would take down a modern unit, but the old ones…. man they just kept shrugging that shit off.
  • There was just a great shot of a red-stripe holding an old-school Cylon in its hand and executing it, during the assault, that made all three of us spontaneously crack up
  • A nice touching callback to Stu Phillips’ original score from 1978, made during the journey of the (mostly) unmanned fleet ships into the Sun.
  • I love how Galen simply doesn’t care about the future of humanity, or the Cylons. He discovered the bitch who blew his wife out an airlock, and he’s going to snap her neck right then and there, be-damned the consequences… it was totally in-character. I’d actually forgotten about that whole plot line when they mentioned the “knowing everything about one another” aspect of the data-dump… it wasn’t until Tory kept hounding them about “forgiveness for secret sins past” that I was like “oh yeah, she’s so dead… will it be before or after the data-dump is done?”

It’ll be interesting to see “The Plan” when it comes out…. but I’m not sure about “Caprica”… I’ll certainly give it a watch, but it just doesn’t seem to be as “gripping” as BSG was. Part of me wishes “The Plan” had come out already, and that “Caprica” had not been greenlit. Just end it here, without milking the franchise to the point of pain (something BSG-showrunner Ron Moore has constantly complained about when it comes to the Trek franchise).
I do know it’ll be really tough for another show to fill the void BSG has left in my television viewing habits…

Sears Tower To Be Renamed (No Really!)

So apparently “Willis Insurance” (who I have never heard of before) is moving into the Sears Tower, has acquired naming rights, and expects everyone henceforth to call it “Willis Tower” (story).
Yeah, ummm, good luck with that, chumps. Hope you didn’t pay too much for the naming rights, cuz I really don’t see too many Chicagoans actually changing how they refer to it….

iTunes Library Management (and Heirarchical Storage)

Dear Lazyweb….
I have a huge iTunes music library (about 65GB worth). Right now, that all sits on my laptop, gets backed up when I back up my library, etc., etc. At any given time, I’m really probably only “immediately interested” in, maybe, 10% of that.
I’ve got a NAS in my basement. In my perfect world, there would be some software I could run which would keep my NAS as my “main repository” but give me the option of dragging stuff from my NAS into my “currently deployed” iTunes library. This would free up space on my laptop, make my backups faster, and just be overall easier to deal with.
If I had a “spare” Mac running, with space available, I could use SuperSync to shuffle tunes (and their meta-data) between the two systems, but I don’t see any easy way to do that just with some spare NAS-space.
Anyone done this before and have some pointers?

Building The Millennium Falcon

A couple years ago, I built the Lego Star Destroyer, and took some pictures along the way. While that was interesting and all, it was nowhere near as creative as this guy who decided to make a movie out of the construction of his big-ass Millennium Falcon Lego creation. He took the opportunity to make a 10-minute stop-motion film completely with construction workers, stormtrooper attacks, cleaning crews, you name it. The level of detail in this little flick is amazing, and I sat mesmerized watching it….
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=3494026&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1
Building the LEGO Millennium Falcon from Gizmodo on Vimeo.

An Awesome Night

Last night, when I should have been at the Blue Man Group show, I was passed out sick in bed at the Bellagio. My boss went to the show without me (can’t say that I can blame him).

What’s interesting though, is what I missed out on last night. Before the Blue Men come on stage, they “warm up” the audience by introducing visiting celebrities, dignitaries, etc., on an LED scroller-board, ask them to stand up, tell the crowd what they’re famous for, ask the audience to applaud for them, or scream their name, or whatever. And then at the end the “last” person is just a nobody. The board says something like “SOANDSO IS JUST A NORMAL PERSON. EVERYONE SAY ‘WE LOVE YOU SOANDSO'”.

Last night, while I was not in the theatre, I was the “normal person”…. they rattled off my name, asked me to stand up (I never asked my boss if he stood up in my place), etc., etc….

My boss showed me pictures he took, and I was sad. I had missed something that would have been really funny-cool.

Tonight though…. I got something far….. FAR cooler.

I got to be on-stage with Penn and Teller. More importantly, I got to participate in a trick I have always wanted to participate in – The Magic Bullet trick.

The principle of the magic bullet trick: There is a yellow line down the center of the stage which NONE SHALL PASS. On one side of the stage is Penn, with a .357 Magnum revolver with a laser sight. On the other side is Teller, with an identical weapon. Two audience members are called up, on either side of the stage. They specifically ask for people “who know guns”. Each volunteer selects a bullet at random from a bullet purse. You then sign the head of the bullet with distinctive markings. The volunteers also draw a distinctive picture on the shell casing (both in your choice of Sharpie colors). The volunteer then is invited to inspect the weapon, and verify that it is what it appears in all respects to be… a badass Colt Python with a laser scope. The volunteer then, seeing his autographed shell-casing go into the cylinder, pushes the bullet into the cylinder, and observes the closing of the cylinder. Penn (and Teller) both at this point are holding the weapon away from their bodies and in plain sight the entire time. Two pieces of plate glass are also inspected by the volunteers to ensure that there are no pyro devices attached, and that it is real glass.

The guns are placed in holders on stage (again, in full view) while they go suit up into body-armor. The volunteers are shuffled offstage while this happens. They then proceed to come out, aim the weapons at each other through the glass, and fire the weapons at each other. They then turn to the audience to show, in their teeth, bullets they have “caught”. The volunteers are called up on stage to take the bullet out of the opposite side’s mouth, and confirm that it has their initials on it. They then return to “their” magician, and remove the shell-casing from “their” magician’s sidearm, and confirm that the shell-casing is the one they signed. The bullet is inspected for striations from the barrel. Both the bullet and the casing are inspected for evidence of having been fired. The volunteer also inspects the glass to confirm that the hole goes all the way through the glass (which does not shatter but just has a big-ass hole in it)

I’ve seen this trick done by Penn and Teller a dozen times in various forums (live, TV, etc.). I’ve watched it on television and from the third row. And every time I’ve come away with the same feeling – it HAS to be a pair of plants. The only way I could see that it works would be to have the volunteers be in on the gag, signing the other’s initials on the bullet, or something like that.

But now I know… it can’t be dependent on a plant, because yours truly now has in his possession, one used bullet and shell-casing, plucked from Teller’s teeth (well, technically spit into my open hand, but the principle is the same).

My latest theory would be that there is some sort of MASSIVE misdirection that enables each of them to:
(more after the break, in case you’re squeamish about magic-trick reveals)

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