Monday, July 07, 2008

Sporadic Geek Update (7/7/08)

Inspired by Professor Nokes' "Morning Medieval Miscellany," I bring you the Sporadic Geek Update. Since the arrival of my lovely twin daughters, it has been next to impossible to post on this blog regularly. For that, I apologize. Between the all-consuming endeavor that is newborn fatherhood, researching a series of posts about film criticism (which I intend to begin this week), and hosting a weekly podcast, I have struggled to find time to write. I fully intend to find a way to better balance my time and provide you with my thoughts on popular culture on a regular basis.

Excuses having been given, let's check out today's Sporadic Geek Update:

  • Gizmondo gives us a look at what the future of television might look like, if it is left up to AT&T.

  • I am always interested in what people think that the future of television will be. Will it be fully interactive? Will it be the internet? Will it be on-demand only? Or will there be a channel devoted entirely to pilots with the rest of television being demand only? Will it be subscription or ad based? Streaming? What role will the Xbox, and similar devices, play? What about cell phones? All of these are interesting questions and the Gizmondo article looks at a couple of the questions. Interestingly, AT&T seems to be downplaying the role the Xbox will play, in favor of their partnership with Apple and the iPhone. It makes sense that AT&T would downplay the white ueberbox, but I think that the future of television might look a little more like Xbox's plex than AT&T's U-verse.

  • Speaking of the Plex, Xbox's new name for their Xbox Media Center, Gizmondo has a great piece highlighting some of the updates to the service.

  • I am a big fan of Xbox's Marketplace, and the ability of the Xbox to communicate with my Media Center powered PC, and updates like this demonstrate why. When Apple started promoting their Apple TV, I kept wondering what people were so excited about. It wasn't as if I couldn't do all that and more with my 360 and Media Center PC. If I own an iTunes show, I can watch it wirelessly on my TV, but I can also record TV programs, play video games, and play movies from other sources. Not everybody has a PC and an Xbox, and the combination is more expensive than Apple TV, but one doesn't need an Xbox to take advantage of Media Center. Having an Xbox just makes Media Center better. I actually can't wait for further integration of the two technologies. Currently, Microsoft has deals with a number of film studios and TV studios for content, but I'd like more of it to be available. For example, it was cool that I was able to watch the pilot of Middleman a week before the show came out, but I'd like more material like this on the box.

  • Remember the Commodore 64? Me too. Ever think you could have a C64 LAN party? Me either. I was wrong. It appears that someone is geeky, and tech savvy, enough to do just that. Now if only I can find my C64 in storage and 12 of my close friends.

  • The Chicago Tribune's RedEye has an online polling contest for "The Greatest Superhero of All-Time." Cast your vote if you'd like to see your favorite last beyond the first round of voting. I'd hate to see Wonder Woman lose to Spawn or The Shadow lose to The Thing, so go now and vote the same way I did. My votes below in bold.
    No. 1 Superman vs. No. 8 Mr. Fantastic
    No. 4 Capt. America vs. No. 5 Capt. Marvel
    No. 3 The Thing vs. No. 6 The Shadow
    No. 2 Wonder Woman vs. No. 7 Spawn

    No. 1 Batman vs. No. 8 The Spirit
    No. 4 Thor vs. No. 5 Buffy The Vamp. Slayer
    No. 3 Silver Surfer vs. No. 6 Popeye
    No. 2 The Flash vs. No. 7 Flash Gordon

    No. 1 Spider-Man vs. No. 8 Phoenix
    No. 4 Black Panther vs. No. 5 Punisher
    No. 3 Green Lantern vs. No. 6 Green Arrow
    No. 2 Iron Man vs. No. 7 Elektra

    No. 1 Wolverine vs. No. 8 Sub-Mariner
    No. 4 Hellboy vs. No. 5 Daredevil
    No. 3 Hulk vs. No. 6 Aquaman
    No. 2 Catwoman vs. No. 7 Kitty Pryde

    I found it hard to decide in a couple of the pairings. Both The Flash (Jay Garrick) and Flash Gordon are two of my favorite heroes. I voted Flash Gordon in the end since the poll seemed to be implying the Barry Allen or Wally West Flash. I like them both, but I love Flash Gordon. The Green Lantern/Green Arrow battle was also a tough one for me. They are two of my all-time favorite characters. But when forced to choose between the two, I go with Hal Jordan by a nose. Two of the categories featured heartbreaking results to date (at least heartbreaking for me). Spawn is beating Wonder Woman...WTH?! (That's a polite version of WT_) And Black Panther is getting shellacked by the Punisher. For me, there is no contest. Black Panther is much cooler than that psychopathic anti-hero. Notice I wrote anti-hero? The Punisher is a freakin' Spider-Man villain!

  • When are Americans going to wake up and realize, like the Japanese already know, how awesome the PSP is?

  • My favorite PSP discussion moment comes from when my wife and I were watching INSIDE MAN in the theater. There's a scene where Clive Owen approaches a kid playing a Grand Theft Auto rip off on his PSP. Spike Lee uses it as an opportunity to comment on how video games are negatively affecting culture.

    When the scene first started, I thought Spike was going to have the kid using his PSP's wireless capability to communicate what was happening inside the bank with Denzel Washington's character. You see...the PSP could have done exactly that. It's an amazingly powerful wireless device. While I still held this illusion, I was impressed with Spike (more than normal) and was about to praise the tech-geekdom of the movie. Sadly, my bubble was burst when the scene was used for social commentary instead of narrative tension--imagine the kid shifting quickly to the violent video game to hide the fact that he's telling the cops what's going on--in all too typical Hollywood fashion.

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