February 2010 - Posts



The Gorillaz long awaited new album Plastic Beach is set to come out on March 6th, but Damon Albarn has already leaked one of the tracks on YouTube.

Superfast Jellyfish is another song with a really catchy good-mood chorus with De La Soul rapping the verse, much like Feel Good, Inc. from the Demon Days Album that was released in 2005. Gruff Rhys from the band Super Furry Animals sings the chorus.

Check it out!


Posted Saturday, February 27, 2010 5:55 PM by cstanton | 1 comment(s)
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Tokyo has been growing very quickly and the construction of new skyscrapers has been posing a problem for the NHK broadcasting company because their 333 meter high Tokyo Tower just isn't tall enough to give complete broadcasting coverage.

Their solution has been set to build a tower nearly twice the high of the Tokyo Tower. The Tokyo Sky Tree was started back in 2008 and the foundation was finally set in April of 2009 to start building it up towards the sky. The monster skyscraper, when completed, will be 634.00 m (2,080 ft) tall and will be the tallest artificial structure in Japan, and the second tallest artificial structure in the world, next to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Here is a time lapse video of the Construction from March of 2009 up until February 21st, 2010

Posted Friday, February 26, 2010 1:32 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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One of the worst attempts at content control was made when YouTube removed Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" for copyright infringement.



It is unclear when exactly they had removed the video, but the Neowin blog discovered it in the wee hours of this morning (Wednesday, 2/24).
The hilarious 80's music video became popular again when video pranksters started using it in the middle of other videos that people actually want to watch.

The video had gotten over 30 MILLION hits and according to cnet news, one of the co-authors of the song was complaining about how he hadn't made a cent off of the video's renewed popularity.

All in all I think it's just a terribly futile attempt at content control and I'm fairly confident that the jerks just set us all up for a new wave of Rick Roll videos. I mean, real Rick Rollers know the game and they're gonna play it. Don't tell me you're too blind to see.

Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010 11:55 AM by cstanton | with no comments
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I've watched a lot of prank videos, and it seems like different parts of the world have their own style because I guess different cultures find different things funny. The one thing that we can all appreciate though is a good laugh at someone else's expense!


These are some great pranks from all different parts of the world (I've tried to order them from mild to hardcore):
BRAZIL:



AMERICA:



GERMANY:



ITALY:



JAPAN:


I hope that you enjoy, I say that the Gold Medal goes to Japan!
Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010 12:46 AM by cstanton | with no comments
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The future is coming. Electronic music is picking up speed and the instruments are following right along.


The Misa Digital Guitar is not only awesome looking, but allows the user to control each note with the press and drag of a finger. The creator of the Misa Digital Guitar wants to make sure that it is known that it is in no way to be compared to its acoustic or even electric relatives, as he says that "Those are different instruments, for different art forms, for different music."

The creator's thinking when making the guitar stressed that in digital music, every aspect of the sound must be controllable while being performed. With the Misa Digital Guitar, the effects are controlled with the same hand that creates the sound. Moving you fingertips across the 8.5" LCD screen allows the user to control all of the synthesizer parameters. The left hand roams across the 144 keys on the guitar-like neck to determine which notes are played. Each of the 24 frets is 6 keys across, emulating a normal guitar's neck.

The Misa Digital Guitar is clearly not like any other guitar. It runs on a 500MHz AMD Geode CPU and runs Gentoo Linux. The Linux firmware code is open source, allowing users to modify it. That opens up a lot of options for the programmers out there.

It will be available in black and white, and the price isn't available yet, but should be soon.

Posted Tuesday, February 23, 2010 11:34 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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A 67 year old Vietnam Veteran named Thomas "Slick" Bruso, or Epic Beard Man, and a younger thuggy looking guy got into an argument on an Oakland transit bus that resulted in "Viet Nam Tom" delivering a brutal ass kicking.



According to Bruso, the argument started over the younger man overhearing him talking to his friend about a pair of Stacy Adams shoes that he was going to get his "boy" to shine. He says that he used the term "boy" to refer to his friend, not as a racial slur. The younger man took a lot of offense thinking that Bruso was being a racist, and threatened him multiple times. After a minute of word slinging, the black man walks up to Bruso and hits him with a really weak left. Bruso sprung to his feet and unloaded on the assailant's face.

The video was reportedly shot on Feb. 16th by a passenger that was friends with the guy that got beat up.

During the second video, which explains the bus brawl, Bruso loses a lot of his credibility. He claims that the man showed him a knife, that the police informed him that he was a murderer out on parole, and that the girl stole his bag that was on the bus. None of that nonsense is true! The guy is clearly awake after the fight, and the video definitely doesn't show her stealing his bag.
Digging deeper into Bruso's past, you find that he is, in fact, pretty nuts. He managed to get himself tased at an Oakland A's game in August 2009 and that was caught on video as well.

Here is the interview of the guy that got beat up, it starts at 5:20, and he definitely isn't a murderer.

I am sort of leaning towards thinking that Epic Beard Man is actually just crazy. He may have actually meant what he said in a racist way. I really don't know. He definitely isn't a hero. Just an old badass man that isn't scared of anybody.
Posted Tuesday, February 23, 2010 1:03 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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Most people are pretty careful with their SSN because they know that if the wrong person gets it, all kinds of bad things can happen. What kind of bad things? Here is a list of 

1) CREDIT IDENTITY THEFT

The most common form of identity theft, since all that is required is a social security number and maybe some sitting and waiting for the postman, is credit identity theft. This is when a thief gets a hold of one's social security number and applies for credit cards and loans in one's name.

All it really takes for a person to open a credit card in another name is another person's social security information. With that they can fill out applications online, or if they're really committed they can dig through your mail for pre-approved credit offers and fill out the forms with a different address. Since the bill is going to a different address, it may take months before the calls from unpaid creditors come in and alert the person of the issue. Then the battle is with the collection agency, and they're not usually very lenient with things like that. The struggle can take a lot of time and may never even be resolved.

An easy way to find out if there are bogus credit accounts in your name is to get a credit report. I got a free credit report at freecreditreport.com, which is NOT free if you don't cancel within the trial period. Everything appeared to be normal at first, and the I saw a 4th credit card account with Chase which I had no recollection of opening. The account had my middle initial wrong, but I was surprised to find that the address was correct. The account balance was zero so I wasn't and am not very worried, as all I had to do was give Chase a call and cancel the account. I am lucky. I now use LifeLock, it costs money but it does a lot for identity theft protection and sends me my credit reports when they are updated.

2) EMPLOYMENT IDENTIY THEFT

Another really awful thing that someone can do with just your social security is obtain employment. This can cause huge issues with the IRS. Imagine if you worked hard all year and expected to get a return at tax time. Instead you got nothing, and were told that your return was kept in order to pay income taxes on a separate employment. That would be awful, right?

Illegal immigrants often have trouble finding employment without social security numbers, so sometimes identity theft comes in handy. Also, people that work as private contractors and do not have their income taxes taken out of their paychecks benefit by working under someone else's social security number.

The first few questions that springs to mind is "How is that even possible? Wouldn't the checks be in the person's name that matched the SSN? Isn't it required that you have an ID?" A lot of these manipulative thieves get their employers to cash the checks for them. The bank that issues the check will usually cash it without an ID too. If the thief is in possession of your wallet, then they very well may have your ID, in which case most tellers don't even care if it matches. Worse comes to worst for the thief and they have to pay a visit to a local sleazy liquor store that cashes checks for a fee.

3) MEDICAL IDENTITY THEFT

Medical identity theft is a growing crime as well. All that is required to access someone's health insurance is knowledge of their provider, their date of birth and their social security number. Knowledge of their provider can be found by looking through their mail, or with a little patience and a few calls to popular insurance providers like Aetna, AIG, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, State Farm, etc. Some colleges provide health insurance plans through certain companies, FSU does Aetna so if I were to steal a college student's SSN I could probably get their health insurance too, in which case it would be possible to get prescriptions and treatments in their name. This can be one of the most costly forms of identity theft and one of the most difficult to detect. Lets be honest, who goes over their health insurance claims if they haven't been to the doctor?

What is the best way of preventing these things from happening to you? To have someone that is looking out for you of course!

LifeLock is a great way to protect yourself from identity theft. LifeLock takes several measures to make sure that its members' identities stay safe. LifeLock members are notified any time that their identity is used to apply for credit and other services. Members are notified whenever any change of address is requested for their info. Also, LifeLock helps to remove its members from pre-approved credit card lists so that the risk of having a pre-approved credit card application stolen is cut. On top of the preventative measures, if LifeLock somehow screws up and doesn't provide you with information that could have prevented an attack on your identity, they will pay up to 1 million dollars to cover your losses.

The new LifeLock Command Center is the upgraded form of service that they offer. With that, one can see whether or not their info is showing up with any payday loans, if sex offenders are fraudulently using their address, if any file sharing networks or websites are selling their information, and whether or not any court dates are associated with their names and dates of birth.

Keep your identity safe. Make sure that you don't have any valuable mail laying around and make sure that you keep your social security card somewhere safe in your house, not in your wallet.
Posted Tuesday, February 23, 2010 9:52 AM by cstanton | 4 comment(s)
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Record Tripping is an experimental game where you control time, wind, and random objects' rotations with your mouse wheel. You can go backwards and forwards and click to slow down time to complete goals. The scenes are beautiful and the gameplay is addictive.

It features a pretty awesome soundtrack, and your own actions add a twist to the audio. The soundtrack includes 2 songs by the Gorillaz, and 1 song each by Beck, Death Cab For Cutie, and Spoon. Not only that, but Lewis Carrol's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is being read in the background.

The game goes through 5 addicting chapters, with three levels of difficulty in each chapter. Each chapter is timed, and its pretty hard to complete all three difficulties, which I guess is why the third is labeled "hard." It's not necessary to complete each of the challenges to proceed, it's really just for your online score and a place in the rankings.












Posted Thursday, February 11, 2010 4:22 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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If you are a college student that needs to turn something in online and your professor only accepts .doc files, or if you're trying to create a presentation for work but don't have PowerPoint at home, then OpenOffice.org is your solution.

OpenOffice.org allows a download of their suite of programs that allow you to create text documents, presentations, spreadsheets, databases, and posters all compatible with the Microsoft Office suite that is so commonly found. Now Microsoft Office is great, but the (minimum) $150 pricetag is a little intense and my wallet wouldn't like that very much. Also, versions of Microsoft Office in different languages can cost even more! OpenOffice.org offers over 110 different languages. OpenOffice.org offers FOR FREE their suite which includes WRITER, IMPRESS, CALC, BASE, and DRAW. These programs are the free versions of MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, and Publisher respectively.

OpenOffice.org even includes a graphic equation component called MATH that allows you to create equations that actually look like equations! This component can be used standalone or can be incorporated with the other programs in the suite. It is most commonly used in text documents, but you can plug in the graphic equations in IMPRESS and CALC too.

I am very surprised I haven't heard about this until now, since the program has been released since the turn of the millennium. It was released in an effort by Sun Microsystems to reduce the monster market share of Microsoft Office. The OpenOffice.org project is primarily sponsored by Oracle Corporation
(initially by Sun Microsystems). Other major corporate contributors
include Novell, RedHat, RedFlag CH2000, IBM, Google and others.

There is no reason that anyone should spend the money on Microsoft Office since OpenOffice is completely free. I haven't noticed any lost features. This is NOT a freeware like GIMP is to PhotoShop. This is MUCH better.

Here are some screenshots:

WRITER


IMPRESS


HERE IS THE LINK TO DOWNLOAD

Posted Thursday, February 11, 2010 4:01 PM by cstanton | 2 comment(s)
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"Death, the one appointment we all must keep, for which no time is set." - Charlie Chan



Awww, he's screwed.


Posted Tuesday, February 9, 2010 2:05 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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Andrew Bell is an avid Google Android user and a pretty cool artist, though his work is a little... demented? I don't know. Wren and Stimpy-esque? Either way, he's paired up with some friends at Google and has done a really good job of bringing Google's little Android mascot to life in a mini Android collectibles series!



The series is labeled as series 1, so you can assume that there will be more to follow. I wouldn't be surprised to see some extremely rare Android figures either. Regardless, in the first series there will be 12 different Android designs that come in random boxes of 16. If you're looking into buying wholesale cases of the 16 packs, then contact DKE Toys. That's probably the best way to ensure that you get all of the different designs because some are rarer than others.

Each one of the Androids stands a whopping 3" tall and features a rotating head and arms.

Here are some of the designs for series 1!

This one's name is Hi- Voltage. Ratio: 1/8


Darknet. Ratio 1/8


This one is Reactor. He glows in the dark. Ratio 1/16. Needless to say, he's my favorite.


And this is CopperBot... and the regular little green guy.





They will be available on February 10th, the first batch being sold online. The pricing is $7.25/box with discounts on boxes of 16. The little guys are pretty cool and may prove to be a valuable collectible item. Don't miss investing in Google this time around! No, I'm kidding, but they are pretty cool. I'd like a couple.




Posted Friday, February 5, 2010 12:38 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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Masamichi Hayashi, the president of the marine education establishment kyg-lab, is a determined teacher and has dedicated hours and hours of his time to teaching children how fish move and their habits. Seriously, how fish move. And whats better than showing them a video of a real fish? Letting them see a fake robotic fish in action!!!

 

Hayashi has made over 100 sea creature robots. What's more impressive is that he's a self-taught roboticist and he creates most of these sea creatures out of random trash like plastic bottles, Styrofoam, tarps, old clothing, and windshield wiper motors. He is able to give the robots pretty realistic movement since he has spent his studies in marine science.


The picture above is a Coelacanth with a diver.

He's made robots of all kinds of sea creatures. Here's a video showing some of them: 

His masterpiece is a 5 foot long coelacanth robot that weighs 105 pounds and cost $22,000 to build. Sounds a little bit more expensive than trash and windshield wiper motors to me, but whatever. Way cooler than a car, right? Check 'im out.

 

Posted Wednesday, February 3, 2010 2:49 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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If you've ever been to Hollywood Boulevard you've seen them in all of their caped glory, probably holding a child's hand, in a group of overly-excited foreign tourists, or in the midst of a group of flirty girls. They're not your ordinary "save the day" lot, but they still get up every morning and hit the streets to bring smiles to peoples' faces.

I'm talking about the Superheros of Tinseltown; The actors that somehow decided that dressing up like superheros and posing for tips was the way to make it. The documentary "Confessions Of A Superhero" is an in-depth look at who the men and women behind the masks are and how they got there.

The Hulk, Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman are the stars of this lovely documentary. Batman struggles with his extreme anger and rough past, Wonder Woman was a small-town homecoming queen with her head in the clouds, the Hulk is an aspiring actor that sold his super-nintendo just to get to L.A., and Superman's psyche is fixated purely on the last son of Krypton. 

High resolution still-frame photography interjected between scenes lends a hand to reinforce how real each of these characters is. The shots are beautiful and capture who the characters really are. The footage shown further elaborates so that at the end you really feel like you know them.

 

 

 

Some of the reviews I read on sites that favor mainstream movies said that the people in the movie were boring, but I found them to be the very opposite. Rottentomatoes.com rated Confessions Of A Superhero a full 100% on the Tomatometer.

Each one of the characters is extremely remarkable at times and extremely unremarkable or pathetic at others. I'd like to go into details and voice my opinions, but I'd rather that people not have the movie spoiled for them. That's what this movie does though: you'll leave it with an opinion.

The movie is on Netflix Watch Instantly, so anyone with a Netflix account should really check it out. It's really interesting to see the different forces that moved these characters to become superhero impersonators on the streets of Hollywood.

The film has a website that provides a little bit of info on the makers of the documentary and the characters and has some clips from the film along with some of the photographs.  TheRealSuperhero.com

Just remember that there's always a tomorrow, and that you can always make something out of nothing.

 

Posted Tuesday, February 2, 2010 1:50 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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The supergroup thing has seemed to work throughout the last decade, so its probably never going to stop. And I'm glad. Because Danger Mouse and The Shins lead singer and songwriter are collaborating to form Broken Bells.

Danger Mouse, real name Brian Joseph Burton, is one of my favorite producers and artists. Danger Mouse first got recognition for producing the "Grey Album" which took the vocals of Jay-Z's "Black Album" and mixed it with The Beatles' "White Album."

 Then he worked with another great band the Gorillaz to release their 2005 "Demon Days" album. He's produced a couple other bands' albums including Beck's album "Modern Guilt" in 2008.

BUT NOW, Danger Mouse and James Russel Mercer, the lead singer and songwriter of The Shins, have formed the group Broken Bells. The album "The High Road" is awesome, I cheated and downloaded the leak with BitTorrent.The album will be released on March 9th of 2010.

Check out the single The High Road

Posted Monday, February 1, 2010 4:11 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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If you are old school like me and still run XP Professional, not XP Media Center, or Vista, or any of that newfangled nonsense, then you might have an issue in getting your Xbox 360 to recognize your computer, even if you have Windows Media Player 11 and the media server is up and running.

I am really not the most technical guy, but I know my way around a computer and I have a basic understanding of networking. I tried everything. At first my computer wasn't even recognizing my Xbox, then after a little tinkering I got my computer to see that my Xbox was there, but my Xbox wouldn't recognize my computer on the network. That's when I did a google search and I started noticing that a billion other people had the same problem as me.

Instead of figuring out a much more complicated solution to the problem, I decided that I would give this program TVersity a go. There are two different versions, the free version and the Pro version. Here's the weird thing though: the Pro version is free! That's right, TVersity trusts its "customers" so much that they allow you to download the Pro version of the program absolutely free, let you try it out and see what you think about it, and then if you feel like its worth it they ask you to pay $30 for it. If their policy changes at all and license keys are enacted, they will e-mail you one immediately. That's trust!

TVersity will stream to a number of devices including but not limited to the Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, and the iPod Touch. TVersity sets up a media server that is easily recognized by any of those devices, you simply go to your console's video library and BAM there's the server. You can upload any folder from your computer to the media server and the Xbox or other device will be able to play any media out of the folder. What's great is it will recognize pretty much any codec. I haven't had a single formatting problem with any video. You can do all of this with the absolutely guiltless FREE version of the program.

With the Pro version, you will be able to subscribe to a variety of online channels with premium content. Here is a full list of content that you will be able to subscribe to with the Pro version. Hulu, NFL, NBC, South Park, all kinds of great stuff. The Pro version is a little pricey, but in my opinion definitely worth it. It lets you stream any kind of media to your TV, and on top of that it even allows you to stream videos that you would only be able to see on the internet to your TV without a hardwired set up.

This program saved me a lot of time and headache tinkering with network settings and whatnot. I would advise it to anyone that has any problems getting their Xbox, or other console, to recognize their computer on the network. It's an all-around great program.

Posted Monday, February 1, 2010 1:55 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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