Monday, April 30, 2007

10 Movie Plotlines You Need to Boycott

  1. My car was stolen, but my baby was in the back seat!
  2. You mean you -- can see the future??
  3. A rag-tag bunch of underprivileged college students turn themselves into a successful sports team.
  4. There is this haunted house . . .
  5. Robots have enslaved humankind, sigh.
  6. Yes, it is same exact movie you just saw, just with Steve Carell this time.
  7. People are getting kicked in slow motion with generic alternative rock music playing in the background.
  8. A rag-tag bunch of neighborhood kids turn themselves into a successful sports team.
  9. There is this movie starring Diane Keaton . . .
  10. Sure martial arts is boring now, but now everyone can fly!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Freshly Cut: Albums of the Month

(April 2007)
  1. Albert Hammond Jr. - "Yours to Keep"
  2. Modest Mouse - "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank"
  3. David Gray - "Shine: The Best of the Early Years"
  4. Andrew Bird - "Armchair Apocrypha"
  5. Cold War Kids - "Robbers and Cowards"

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

PVR Heaven - SnapStream BeyondTV 4.6 Review

I bought SnapStream's BeyondTV 4 in December 2006 for $39.99 and I couldn't be happier with my purchase. This is the best software I'm come across in the last few years because it always seems to be a few steps ahead of me.

Generally, BeyondTV is a software application that lets you to watch television, pause, rewind, find, and record any TV shows you want in full DVD quality. The software is very customizable and offers plenty of support (with very good forums).

The software comes complete with a lifetime subscription to an electronic program guide (EPG), which is synced to my local cable provider. It also lets you log in online when you're away from home and schedule shows to watch remotely (always comes in handy when I'm going to miss a Nuggets game). The guide does a wonderful job of working around conflicts (i.e., when I have two shows I want to record at the same time). It will often record a re-airing of a show in the middle of the night. And it does all of the recording in the background and out of the way, with hardly any noticeable impact in the responsiveness of my computer.

And unlike TiVo or similar products, you pay no monthly fees nor are you stuck with fixed recording capacity because you can always add storage to your computer. I currently use an external hard drive that's 160GB, which gives me approximately 60 hours of recording time at medium quality. This is more than enough for me, but what's nice is that if I need more room, I can plug in a bigger hard drive and/or lower the quality of the recording, so this system grows with me.

Keep in mind that BeyondTV is just software. Although my purchase of the software came with a free remote from FireFly which lets me control BeyondTV and other applications when watching TV in bed, I should make clear that BeyondTV does not come with hardware that lets you get a TV signal into your computer. This might seem like a limitation, but is actually the software's greatest strength. It is compatible with many different manufacturer's TV tuner cards, of which Happauge's are industry-leading.

I bought Happauge's WinTV PVR 150 two years ago for $49.99 and I am still amazed with its feature set and quality of recording, especially for such a low price. Just yesterday, I decided to upgrade to an updated "hybrid" card called Happauge WinTV HVR 1600. This hybrid recorder lets me watch and record normal TV over a cable, satellite, or antenna signal, but also lets me watch over the air HDTV.

I intended to just remove the old TV tuner card, but I decided to keep both of them in my computer at the same time and see what happened. And what do you know, with hardly any setup at all, BeyondTV recognized both tuners and now lets me record two shows at once! Apparently BeyondTV supports an infinite number of TV tuners.

Amazingly, I can watch a previously recorded TV show and also record two shows simultaneously with virtually no system lag. This is truly an amazing combination of products here and I couldn't be happier with how effortless the setup was.

Is there anything this software can't do? I'm in PVR heaven here.

Monday, April 23, 2007

10 Fast Food Slogans That Natuarally Lend Themselves to Filthy Innuendo

  1. Do What Tastes Right (Wendy's)
  2. If It Doesn't Get All Over The Place, It Doesn't Belong in Your Face (Carl's Jr.)
  3. Eat Fresh (Subway)
  4. Where's the Beef (Wendy's)
  5. Finger Lickin' Good (KFC)
  6. Wake Up With The King (Burger King)
  7. The Real Enchilada (Don Pablo's)
  8. Think Outside the Bun (Taco Bell)
  9. What You Crave (White Castle)
  10. You're Going To Get Your Wish. Go Fish (Long John Silver's)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

10 Fashion Accessories I Can Definitely Pull Off

  1. Harness double-shoulder gun holster
  2. Fitted Jedi robe with an iPod Shuffle clipped to it
  3. A tinted aviator-style monacle
  4. Adamantium pocket watch
  5. Pompous t-shirt that says, "Yea, I've heard of that band, too"
  6. Albino contact lenses
  7. Suspenders
  8. Leather portfolio embroidered with the Decepticons logo
  9. Puma on a leash
  10. Permanent over-the-shoulder harmonica holder

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Imus-tonished by CNN . . .

Irrelevant radioshow host Don Imus referred to the Rutgers women's basketball team, predominantly black, as "nappy-headed hos." It's amazing that as bad as Imus' comment was, I'm more furious at CNN for its gutless reporting. Here is their breaking news headline: "NBC is suspending its broadcast of the syndicated 'Imus in the Morning' radio program for two weeks starting Monday April 16 after host Don Imus made comments criticized as racist."

Hey, CNN, have some gumption and say that the comments WERE racist, not simply that they were criticized as racist. How much more cowardly and passive can you get? I can only imagine what CNN's reporting would look like for other major moments in American history:

Mr. Scott criticizes as racist the United States Supreme Court's ruling that the Declaration of Independence's pronouncement that "all men are created equal," did not apply to "the enslaved African race . . . [who] formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration. . . ."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

UC Berkeley and DMCA Scare Tactics

I received an absolutely infuriating e-mail today from Jonathan Poullard, the Dean of Students at UC Berkeley. I've never met Mr. Poullard nor honestly have I ever heard of him until today. But he's proven himself to be a complete baboon's ass by sending a downright incendiary e-mail, reproduced in full for your enjoyment. Can you guess why I'm pissed off?


Dear Student,

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), copying and sharing copyrighted materials without permission is illegal. As you may know, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and some other copyright owners and groups have recently stepped up their efforts to curb illegal filesharing on the Internet. This academic year, the University has received a much larger volume of complaints about peer-to-peer file sharing under the DMCA. In addition, the RIAA is sending "early settlement" letters to colleges around the country as part of their new anti-theft campaign announced in January (see press release at This is an opportune time to remind you of relevant policies and practices at UC Berkeley.

DMCA "take-down" notices

Federal law requires that the University take action when it is notified that someone on its network is distributing copyrighted materials without permission. Whether you are aware of the violation or not, if UC Berkeley’s DMCA agent receives a "takedown notice" alleging that your computer is distributing copyrighted material without permission, the University follows established policy enforcement procedures, see:

Early Settlement Letters

The University of California has agreed to forward "early settlement" letters to students on the campus network that the RIAA alleges have shared copyrighted material illegally. The University will send a cover letter along with the RIAA early settlement letter to the student's email address, as well as his/her current and permanent addresses. Unless served with a proper subpoena, UC Berkeley will NOT release the name of the user to the content owner or RIAA upon receipt of a DMCA notice or early settlement letter.

By forwarding the early settlement letters, the University of California has made no determination that students have engaged in copyright infringement or that they should enter into an early settlement with the copyright holder. It is solely the student's personal decision whether to avail him or herself of the "early settlement" procedure.

Legal downloading

UC Berkeley supports and encourages the legal downloading of music, movies, and software. Residential and Student Service Programs provides extensive education for incoming students about the potential legal and policy enforcement consequences of illegal filesharing. To find out more about these campus programs, please visit and

To comply with the law and to protect yourself from possible litigation, we strongly encourage you to remove illegally-obtained copyrighted material from your computer, and to stop downloading copyrighted material illegally if you do so now. We will continue our vigorous education efforts in this area, but ultimately the choice is yours. Please take advantage of the information on the websites listed in this letter.


Jonathan Poullard
Dean of Students

Shelton Waggener
Associate Vice-Chancellor and
Chief Information Officer

So let me get this straight. Have I just been accused of something or not?

Mr. Poullard decided to send each and every student this same exact e-mail and yet insinuates time and time again that I'm personally doing something wrong. Why is it that at some points in the e-mail, Poullard uses the neutral third-person--". . . early settlement letter to the student's email address, as well as his/her current and permanent addresses."--but then out of nowhere strongly encourages me personally to remove all illegal content on my machine? Oh and how nice of them to tell me that they strongly encourage ME to stop downloading illegal content "if [I] do so now."

Read the last paragraph again and tell me this doesn't call for a beatdown situation.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Freshly Cut: Albums of the Month

(March 2007)
  1. Soundgarden - Rarities & B-Sides
  2. Black Snake Moan - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  3. Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden, I Miss Everyone
  4. Donovan - Troubadour, The Definitive Collection, 1964-1976
  5. The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

10 Amazing Soundgarden Tracks Not Called "Black Hole Sun"

  1. Blind Dogs
  2. Blow Up The Outside World
  3. Overfloater
  4. Tigher and Tighter
  5. Holy Water
  6. Burden in My Hand
  7. The 4th of July
  8. The Day I Tried to Live
  9. Spoonman
  10. Fell on Black Days