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Movie Review: The Incredible Hulk

I must say that Marvel Studios has just been pumping out the great movies based on their comic book heroes and it really shows.
With a whole bunch of great CG and story lines, they’ve actually made this version of Incredible Hulk a sight to be held. Of course, there is no comparison when it comes to the earlier version of Hulk by director Ang Lee, which turned an comic book hero into a drama that bored you to tears (I’ll confess that I actually fell asleep a couple times trying to watch that one).
Fortunately, Bruce Banner (Norton) and Betty (Tyler) will have none of it in this. There’s a little schnitzzle in the nizzle, but nothing too crazy. I think Iron Man probably had a little more gratuitous stuff that was non-needed. But in any case, this particular one is just action packed. And right when you think it’s going to be the end sequence, it goes on with a battle that rages for a good long while. And that’s just the bonus. Well, maybe not even that. Don’t forget to watch it completely to the end (no need to wait for end of credits, it’s before that) where there’s also a … well, you’ll see what I mean.
Overall, this movie totally blew me away. It was absolutely awesome and was totally in line with the movies that Marvel Studios is known for. I really can’t wait for 2011. Don’t worry if you don’t understand it. You’ll understand soon enough.

Mozilla Minefield runs circles around competition

Minefield001.jpg When I first read this, I had totally bypassed the entire ArsTechnica article over a month ago.
But finally getting a little time to actually test it out, I can tell you that I’ve basically taken to putting my “butt to the grindstone” and replaced BonEcho with Minefield. It’s not the smartest move, but I’ve always been a big alpha/beta tester even on production machines.
Currently, I can tell you that TraceMonkey (which is the re-engineered Javascript engine) is super fast. We’re talking like Ferrari versus a Pinto. The bad thing? Because it’s an alpha, most of the plugins are not supported on it yet. The only one seems to be DownloadStatus Bar from the list of many that I use. Which really stinks. Oh well, that’s the price you pay for first adopting things.
In any case, if you haven’t tried it, I suggest you do. It seriously makes my Safari look … old. Lucky for Safari, I usually run multiple browsers concurrently anyways. In any case. Go check out the new build. And strap on some safety belts because you’re going to get blown away.

Feds opened their mouth: Dow down again

dowdown.jpg As I’ve said before, Wall Street keeps looking for a safety net, and the Federal Reserve just can’t seem to understand that they’re the ones behind it all.
Seriously. QUIT CUTTING RATES. You’re really not helping matters. Take a look at the historical trend for the past year. If the feds say they’ll cut rates, the Dow drops. Why? Because analysts already predicted the move and thus it jumped previous to the announcement. Having been an investor since high school, I have to say that this is the one trend that you could practically bet on. Short now, and buy it back when feds say something. Anything.
I mean seriously, I wish someone would actually go and look at it. I bet hedge fund managers are just laughing until their brains come out their noses from the fact that no one can see this happening. In reality, the issue is that government really doesn’t let any plan settle in for a soak period. Due to that fact, usually emergency plans fail because they haven’t been tried for a long enough period.
Either way, the Dow Jones is down 74 points today. If this keeps going on, maybe I should turn in my degree in the technical field and buy a crystal ball and retire as a psychic. It seems to work for some people.

Updated: More statistics that supports why North Carolina won’t might swing blue

nc2004election.jpg While I’ve already gone over this once before, it doesn’t hurt to point out some more mathematics based on pure statistics and trends.
First, electoral votes are based which counties go where. As far as presidential candidacies goes, it’s always based on electoral votes, not popularity so the amount of new voters doesn’t actually effect your overall statistics, if your overall was already strong in the places where the new voters wouldn’t swing around anyways.
If you take a look at CNN’s presidential election of 2004, you can see that North Carolina’s votes determine the true turnout of how this state is set up. If you take all of the white counties (which would be neutral counties where the contest was pretty even), and turned them all blue, you still would be in the minority when it came to taking the state. On top of this pretty obvious position, even if you were to add all of the urban counties in that did not vote blue before, you still wouldn’t have enough to take majority.
Unfortunately, that also means that to swing this state at all, you would need to be campaigning in small, rural counties that have historically in the past few decades bled red.
Based on pure statistics and historical trend, the likelihood of North Carolina being even considered a swing state is an unlikely one. Which makes me wonder how accurate the polls are elsewhere since all it took was sitting down and understanding how the state was broken down and how the voting process works. No wonder right wingers claim that mainstream media slants left. I personally still watch CNN, but this bit does degrade my trust in them a bit.
Update: I’m told that electoral votes are based on popular votes. Well I’ll be damned. If that’s the case, then I really don’t see what the big whoopie is about people being against electoral votes. Unless the elector doesn’t vote with popular vote. I still don’t believe NC will swing, but the probability becomes a lot larger from a mathematical stand point. The place where it fails is the historical trend data pulls it to the red still from a predictability factor.

Codeweavers Crossover for MacOSX and Linux free today only

codeweavers_logo.jpg I wouldn’t expect anyone that isn’t familiar with linux, to even understand what the open source package called wine is, but basically the long and short of it is that it’s a way to run windows applications without having Windows itself.
The open source version can run some things, and the commercial version usually can handle a lot more applications because of certain tweaks they implement. From games to pretty advanced applications on MacOSX and Linux.
In any case, apparently due to some goals set by the CEO that were met, they’ve decided that today there will be free licenses for everyone! (one license per user).
So if you don’t have a copy of this, or you’re just looking for something to run applications and you don’t own Parallels or the like or just want to try it out, go and get yourself a copy and a serial. Having used Codeweavers and Transgaming versions of wine in the past, I can say that you can only be surprised how many things are supported without having actual Windows around.

Why doesn’t Facebook include a Flickr integration?

facebook.jpg flickr_logo_gamma.gif.v59899.14.gif While I love Facebook, there are some things that I have against the new design. Funny how a lot of people dislike the new design, but I actually find it a lot easier to use.
But no matter. The issue here is more of the Photos section. What bugs me is that while it’s great that they set up a new section, there are many of us that have used older and more established photo sites such as Flickr. Since I update my Flickr Pro account all the time, there’s not really a point for me to go and do the same in FB. So why doesn’t FB create an integral section that can either download via the Flickr API automatically, or have a tool that can integrate your Flickr account directly in?
From a person that has thousands of photos, I really don’t want to go and download and re-upload all of those, not to mention the hundreds of photographs that I upload to Flickr over the course of a year. There’s got to be an easier way to do these things, and yet there isn’t a tool that brings the two together in a seamless way. Not even the bookmarklet, Flickr2Facebook does the job correctly (since it’s not really made for browsers like Safari without a little hacking).
Very annoying. Devil is in the details, know what I mean?
For now, I’ll just deal with the fact that I can’t integrate my photographs. Facebook itself doesn’t have an API for direct integration without application use. In case you were wondering. So this would probably require FB themselves to actually write it in to make it a more viable solution.
Until then? No pictures for me on FB. Blech.

iTunes Saturday

Apple iTunes Apple iTunes Apple iTunes Apple iTunes

Movie Review: Street Kings

Street Kings is an interesting cop movie that’s actually been done over and over again. It’s been a while since this plot has been revisited so when I saw the movie, it was actually pretty good.
Basically, the premise is that Tom Ludlow (Reeves) is this alcoholic cop that basically can’t live with himself because his wife was killed. So he goes on insane streaks to “clean up the streets” regardless of law. His captain, Wander (Whitaker) basically cleans up after him and takes care of the paper work trail. But needless to say, he starts to find out that there is something fishy going on in the department when internal affairs starts snooping around.
Overall, this was basically a dirty cop type movie and what happens when a police officer doesn’t abide by the same laws that he enforces. The questioning of if there is justice when it’s righteous versus the laws that allow some bad guys to get away has always been one of those story arcs that is featured in movies and books. Overall, Street Kings was a great action flick and definitely worth your time to at least watch once. Personally, I’d probably put it in the same league as Assault on Precinct 13.

Starbucks going Gold

starbucksgold.jpg Check it out. It’s secret news from Brad Stevens, Starbucks Customer Relations head honcho.
Apparently they’ve had some good success with the Starbucks Rewards so they’re creating another level to it, calling it the Starbucks Gold program. For an annual fee of $25USD, you’ll get:

  • 10% off most purchases in participating U.S. Starbucks stores
  • A free drink when you purchase your Starbucks Gold Card in a Starbucks store
  • The option to pay for purchases any way you like
  • A special Gold Card that identifies you as a member of this group

This basically means that to break even on this program, you have to spend at least $250USD a year on Starbucks. At about $4USD a drink, that’s 62.5 drinks a year, which equates to a little over five drinks a month. Not bad. So if you’re a serious coffee drinker and have a latte more than once a week, this program will definitely save you a bit in the long run. I assume that you still get all those free flavors and such, but I don’t know for sure. And don’t bother asking your barista. They probably don’t even know about this yet.
Why would I say such a thing? Brad said so. So wait until next month. When we’re all privy to the new program. You know what they say… employees are always the last to know.

Democrats using directory assistance robocalls in North Carolina

directoryassistance.jpg Received a rather annoying robocall from Congressman Brad Miller (District 13 – NC) shilling for Obama. First, it was annoying because of two things. The first is that I know Brad Miller, and I actually like the guy, but this tactic was just pathetic and it interrupted my work since they called a “business” line.
But the second even peeved me off even more. The number that was calling came from Directory Assistance. Oh yes. (919) 555-1252. Now whether or not this was a spoofed number or not, whomever approved this should not only be fired, but thrown in jail.
Why? Well, for one. As a business, I shouldn’t be getting political calls since you interrupt my work for your speech? Call my house. If you bust up my work business, I should have the opportunity to charge you my hourly rate for screwing up my workflow. The second is that if you use directory assistance, then that’s just false advertising. Political calls shouldn’t be coming from here, and if you’re spoofing the caller ID, then you’re actually committing a crime. Interruption of business, is a big huge no-no.
Either way? Very disappointed that Miller’s staff allowed this to even happen. For shame, for shame.