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iTunes Saturday

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Anime Review: Darkside Blues

An older anime, but definitely very interesting since Darkside comes from this mirror world where he’s been banished for eighteen years and comes to protect one of the last places on earth where it’s free: the Kabuki-cho district of Tokyo.
In this futuristic era, the Persona Century Corporation has taken over most of earth lead by these people whom watch from above in a satellite orbiting. Many are cyborgs, enhanced with armaments or have extremely fast movements. In this case, they are lead by one that only dons a golden mask whom is trying to quell the rebellious faction called Messiah whom is based in Kabuki-cho.
Darkside Blues is definitely one of those interesting movies, but you don’t understand half of what’s going on since you didn’t read the manga (which means, read the manga before you watch the movie). It ends with a closing scene that obviously is an opening for a sequel, but even that is hard to describe why it ended the way it did. Very strange, but captivating older anime film.

Sony Cybershot DSCW120

Was looking for a point-and-shoot digital camera that didn’t have a lot of issues with battery life. It seemed like Canon was the way to go for the most part, but it was difficult to find one that was rated well that had an optical viewfinder but under the $200 mark. Splendidly, the Cybershot DSCW120 popped up with decent reviews and was a Sony. But the big deal was the optical viewfinder, which would save battery a bit by not letting the LCD to draw power.
What I found is that this camera actually has a whole bunch of really great features. One of my favorites is that every picture I’ve taken yet has been clear. This probably is due to the Steadyshot stabilization. It’s probably from the built-in gyro and the electronic stabilization called Double Antiblur, but it’s one of the things that is missing from most cameras on the lower-end. And if you hand moves the slightest in the shot, then the picture ends up terrible.
The other great feature is the Smile shutter feature. You can set it up to automatically take pictures when it detects a smile. What’s interesting about this, is that this actually means that the camera itself can detect faces and smiling. Facial recognition by cameras isn’t something new, but it’s always been a more high-end feature. I haven’t had a chance to test the flash yet nor actually set it up for night shots but so far I am definitely impressed what the camera’s performance.
You can also set it to take pictures for display in 1080HD, and set up a slideshow directly from the camera if it’s plugged into the television with music and everything. You can also print from it, but I haven’t tested this feature yet so I don’t know how it works. Also, this camera uses nine different points for focusing instead of the five point focus system that most cameras use.
Overall, in the short time period I’ve had to play with this camera, I have to say that it’s definitely worth a little bit of extra for optical viewfinder and the features but it’s also a great camera for between the $150USD to $200USD price point.

iTunes Saturday

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Anime Review: Lady Death

In 2004, ADV films released Lady Death – The Motion Picture, based on the Lady Death from the comic book Evil Ernie by Eternity Comics. The premise is pretty interesting since Lady Death is the daughter of Lucifer where in life, her love was taken from her and she could not forgive her father (whom she did not know was the devil) for taking her loved one. For tricking her into hell, she vows to destroy her father.
It’s a conflict within the Gates of Hell, where an offspring of the the Prince of Darkness takes on the Prince on in an all out war in Hell. The overall movie itself is done in a very 1990s fashion which is surprising considering when it came out. Obviously the budget for this film was low too since there are a lot of cheesy lines and the voice acting is pretty terrible in my opinion. It’s almost like a B-rated film in animated form.
While the comic book art is actually pretty amazing, the animated form is a bit lacking. Not exactly my cup of tea, but if there are those that are fans of Lady Death then there might be some nostalgic value in this film.

Using .netrc for automated ftp

Sometimes there comes a need to actually automatically ftp things. But usually when you automatically ftp things, you have to enter in a password. The way around this is to use the .netrc file.
The .netrc file stores the machine name, the login, and the password for the ftp. This allows you to set up ftp actions without having to mess with the interactive parts and do everything else directly from a shell script.
Not exactly something that you’d want to always do for everything, but now and again behind a firewalled network, isn’t a bad idea for automated backups. Even if your passwords change constantly through a time seeded hardware device, you can set it up so that everything is still running from a shell script and the only thing you would have to do is type in the password. Beats doing things manually, eh?

Weave

weave-logo.jpg In an age where there are multiple devices, and multiple Internet connections, it’s tough to sync up all of your devices at all times. And truthfully, there shouldn’t be a need for sync your devices every single time.
What Weave does is very similar to the now discontinued Google Browser Sync. Given a database area to store preferences, passwords, history, bookmarks, and other customizations, you can basically load whatever browser preferences are to any device. Currently, this is a closed beta service that will be hosted by Mozilla and if it works out, it’ll definitely be a great replacement for browser services.

Prizm

prismLogo400.png The beauty of Prizm is that it’s basically something that a lot of applications have been doing but on a bigger scale.
Prizm from Mozilla Labs, used to be called Webrunner, which basically was to take web based applications and make them desktop applications. This means that any sort of web application such as Google Gmail, or Mint, or anything else would basically be viewed as a desktop application without the web browser interface.
As the web and regular desktop applications start blurring the lines that separate them, we’ll start to see a lot more interactive desktop applications. Strangely enough, Microsoft might have been ahead of its time when it brought Active Desktop and merged it into their operating system. But regardless, what’s beautiful about Prizm is that it’s not proprietary and thus while similar to Adobe Air and Microsoft Silverlight, it’s open source.

Setting up no password ssh keys

One of the more interesting things that you can do with ssh is set up public and private keys and make it so that transactions between systems require no passwords. The bad thing about this is the obvious. If one of your systems inside get compromised, then your internal network is compromised without any work necessary.
The good thing though is that you can then set up automatic transfers through shell scripts or perl scripts. Either way, it’s definitely has its useful sides too. While this howto is for a Debian installation, it’s really no different at all when it comes to configurations.

As we shift social classes


Crude oil prices keep flirting $140USD and gas prices are now close to averaging around $4.00USD a gallon. As nothing is being done of any significance on the national level to regulate their resource, the only talk there is comes from the White House on drilling in ANWR. But as with anything, if you allow people to take advantage of the system, then it only takes one bad apple to abuse the loophole.
But in doing some straight mathematics, we find that while traveling is a fixed necessity (you have to take your kids to school, go to work, or buy groceries), the lower on the societal totempole you are, the harder hit you have to take.
Let’s first make some assumptions. If we assume that the vehicle gets on average about 25 miles to the gallon, and that you drive about 300 miles a week. If that 300 miles takes up about 12 gallons (an average full-sized car given the circumstances) then that also means that every week you’re spending $4.00USD times 12 gallons. That would equate to $60USD a week. Given that there are fifty-two weeks in a year, $60 x 52 is $3120.00USD.
Now this estimate is probably a bit low, but let’s just use that number for now. If you’re a NC teacher with a Bachelor’s degree and certified in teaching with one year of experience, the salary is approximately $30,000USD. That means that even before taxes, you spend more than 10% of your income for gas. If that’s not ridiculous, I don’t know what is.
As you shift this fixed necessity above or below that salary scale, then you can see that it definitely impacts a lot more people a lot faster. You either have to make cuts in other necessities or find a job that pays better. Even cost-of-living increases can’t adjust quickly enough to rising gas prices. Thus, the social class shifts. Everyone takes a step downward and feels the pressure involved from these price hikes while the rich just keep talking about how we need to go drilling domestically. I’m not saying that wouldn’t help. I’m saying without regulation, who’s to say that we’re not going just delay the inevitable of greedy corporate executives looking to line their pockets with the most profitable quarters year after year on the backs of everyone else that do not make seven figures in compensation?
The rich get richer, as the gap grows between the top and the middle. As everyone starts taking the heat more seriously as it starts effecting their pocketbooks, you have to wonder when people will finally backlash and say, “No more.”
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