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Movie Review: The Brave One

To tell you the truth, I’m not a huge Jodie Foster fan. She has that pretty dry look in all of her films, and it just doesn’t really play well for me. Kind of like in “lock down” as one of the people in the film says about her character.
In any case, this film is pretty straight forward. In Central Park, Erica Bain (Foster) and her fiancee are out with their dog when they get jumped by a gang and beaten and left for dead. Her fiancee doesn’t make it but Bain pulls through.
Traumatized and entirely thrown off on it, she becomes a completely different person. After finding out that the police can’t really do anything about it, she turns to the underground and becomes a vigilante.
Now the entire movie is pretty much centered on her vigilance and how she copes with her loss. But I have to say that I was not exactly pleased with the ending. And I’ll leave it at that. If you’re just looking for a little crime thriller and don’t have high hopes, then I’d probably take a stab at The Brave One. Otherwise, I can think of all sorts of other television and movie series that I’d rather be watching.

Google’s SearchWiki puts the human in search

google_sm.gif Google has released a new part of iGoogle that basically allows you to customize your own search results. These results are then stored inside your Google account and brought up later on on those particular search terms.
There are two things going on here outside of the obvious with SearchWiki. If you discount the fact that it basically customizes your search, and you’re not able to turn it off, there’s one of two things going on. First, it gives Google an advantage of human filtering. While it’s not going to effect the current public searches at this moment, there’s nothing that says that it wouldn’t later on. If you think about it, the human filtering machine is the last step before algorithmic. You can only get so far with mathematics these days, and by context, human beings can filter spam or irrelevant search results much better than a computer after the bulk of the work is done. It’s what another company that we all know should have done with their tool in my opinion.
The second that this does, is that it gives creates a interactive search experience. I know that’s not something that most people care about nor is it something that is particularly useful for everyone. But it does give you an idea from an informational standpoint on how people try to game the system.
Truthfully, if these results ever show up in the actual searches or have some sort of weight, I wouldn’t be surprised. It also would give an opportunity for people to game the system just as SEO has become such a large part of the Internet market. From a business perspective, there are many good things that can come of this particular tool for Google.
Now if only, you could turn it off…

I just don’t get Magibon

Someone tell me what the heck I’m missing here. Apparently there’s some “attraction” by some Japanese to this girl on Youtube, and she’s become some sort of Internet celebrity. As far as I can tell, she stares blankly into the camera for thirty or forty seconds and speaks in what most have said is elementary Japanese along with some singing in a few videos. At least so it seems since I didn’t want to spend any more time wasted on watching it.
I have to say, she’s a very cute girl and she’s got that total anime feel about her. But the videos are so pointless in that it’s just smiling and making the “V” sign that many Asians make in photos and video. Maybe it’s just me, but I just don’t get it.

Why legal prosecution of computer crimes require superior computer forensics

It’s really unfortunate when you read stories like this. Julie Amero, a substitute teacher in the Connecticut area, has been battling the state on a porn pop-up case that landed her four felony pornography convictions in early 2007.
A team of pro-bono computer forensic experts examined a ghost image of the hard drive and found numerous errors in the prosecution’s case which lead to overturning of the trial and it went to a new trial last June. Amero plead guilty to a misdemeanor of disorderly conduct, paid a fine and is moving on with her life.
Unfortunately for this particular situation, I think that Threat Level reported on the spot. The prosecution’s technical expertise was flawed in many cases and the testimonial didn’t jive with the evidence given by what the forensic evidence provided by the hard drive. Even giving up her state teaching credentials is asking too much of someone that didn’t actually click the pop-up links from malware judging by the analysis report of the ghost image given by the defense’s technical experts.
I assume that the prosecution wouldn’t let the charges drop even due to this overwhelming evidence due to the fact that four years down the line, they had already committed to many resources that it a dropped case would have looked bad. While I’m no legal expert, I believe that the misdemeanor was a justification of internal politics that happens in all stages of corporate and government alike.
A copy of the report by the forensics team can be found here.

CITI bailout make WAMU seem so wrong

citi.gif How this came to be, I have no clue, but it seems that another bank has been bailed out. Citibank [C] has been given the green light to have the U.S. taxpayers take on the burden of their misgivings. And as a shareholder of Washington Mutual [WAMU], I have to say that it’s pretty plain to me that there is something seriously wrong with this picture.
Here’s the thing. So far, JPMorgan [JPM] has been able to capitalize on two different things. Bear Stearns was one of them, and Washington Mutual as the other. Yet, of all the largest banks, Washington Mutual is the only one that was taken out as fast as possible before the bailout vote. Why? That makes absolutely no sense and sounds a lot like some sort of corruption if you ask me.
The more companies are getting bailed out, the more it seems wrong that the bank with the largest deposits holdings had its entire assets liquidated and seized and auctioned off by some trigger-happy regulator. I’d be curious if that regulator is connected to JPM at all, but that’s a whole other story in itself.
If there is any failure of government, I would imagine there be two here within the bailout plan. First is bailing out companies that fail. If they’re so bad, then let it go. The second is that after bailing out all of these failed businesses, they actually still took out WAMU. After AIG’s huge sales party and asking for a second “bailout” after the party took to news. And it was granted?
Smells awfully suspicious if you ask me. The fact that these every other large financial entity surrounding the toxic loans have since been pushed through mergers or bailed out. Don’t get me wrong, I was and still am a shareholder of Washington Mutual. I do hope that the employees whom have lost their 401ks and shareholders do file a suit. I may be biased, but there is no reasoning why the Fed can pick and choose at will whom to save and whom not to at their whim. In my mind, it’s an all or nothing package since the American taxpayer is in the end, fronting this enormous bill regardless of whether or not we would want it.

iTunes Saturday

Apple iTunes

Movie Review: Leatherheads

There are two reasons I loved this particular movie. First was the fact that the comedy was extremely witty and very much similar to the era of the 1920s and 1930s. The really quick thinking, fast talking type humor was just one-two punches of laughter that were strung together. With Clooney directing it, as well as starring in it, it was actually pretty fun to watch both the film and the extras of which I usually never watch.
The second was the fact that it was filmed right here in the Triad. Not all of it, but there are major scenes in Winston-Salem, and Greensboro. The last scene was actually filmed at the War Memorial Stadium which made it all the more special to me since I’ve actually been there and know that there was not a set produced to create that and instead they used an actual stadium from that era.
The film itself is about professional football before it became popular and how one man pretty much changed the entire playing field because he brought a star player from college football. Before then, professionals was a joke and couldn’t even keep enough people in the stands while college football had a whole bunch of football fans. Funny how that works, doesn’t it.
Leatherheads was not only great comedy, but it was also a lot of improv acting and different in the sense that the filming was even imitating the style from that time period. I fully recommend watching this film if you haven’t seen it.

Journalist Bailout Program

logo-typepad.gif I found that SixApart indeed has a sense of humor when playing upon the whole “bailout” things going on with our economy.
What’s even more interesting is that they understand that finally, mainstream journalists are finally seeing the light of day, when it comes to social mediums. Many of them have finally signed on to Twitter, or Tumblr, or even Friendfeed for some. But none of them are taking the plunge into writing for writing and perhaps making some money on it. And that’s where they come in with the TypePad Journalist Bailout Program.
If you’ve got some mainstream media credentials, you get a TypePad Pro account for free, you’ll get promoted on Blogs.com, and you get enrolled in the SixApart Advertising program (affiliate programs anyone?)
They know that you love to write. But someone’s got to put food on the table. That someone is you. Now, perhaps you won’t make anything, but any bit of pennies is still more than empty pockets, right? So get your butts down to TypePad. This limited offer will end soon.

British Airways “Terminal 5” commercial disturbing

I have to say that just recently I saw this commercial multiple times, and it frankly just disturbs me. The entire thing is shot with soothing music, and underwater creatures that just swim around until you find out they’re swimming inside an airport. The end of the commercial, you find that it’s actually Heathrow in London, but you don’t really understand what it’s about but you do know that British Airways is behind the commercial itself.
The idea of the marketing was to create a calm, soothing feel for Terminal 5, but in my opinion, any marketing that needs explanation is bad marketing. Here’s my entire issue with this commercial.
First, you never want to associate “underwater” with “airplane”. Ever. It’s not only a bad omen, but it just gives the wrong vibe. I mean, the immediate thought when I first realized this was an airline that was pushing this was… uhh… why would I fly you, now that I keep thinking about the ocean and a plane? That’s a scary thought and not one that you’d want your customers to associate themselves with.
The next is that there was never clear concept of what exactly they were talking about. Okay, so at the end, I see all this imagery of water inside Terminal 5 at Heathrow and I heard some pretty music. But the issue is that you don’t really understand that Terminal 5 is a new terminal at Heathrow nor do you realize that it’s pretty much entirely for BA. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s just not clear.
I don’t really care for the commercial. It’s very artistic and well executed, but from a marketing perspective, it just doesn’t deliver the message that it intends.

Review: Nokia n810 Wimax Internet Tablet

I got this lovely little thing a last week, and have had to chance to play with it enough to get a good feel for it. Here, you’ll see all of the fun things it comes with. Retailing around $493USD, but if you shop around you can find it cheaper like here at Amazon.
For those that are in a frantic frothy state, the pictures of the unboxing are after the review. For the rest, this little weighs 1.6 pounds and has a 4.1 inch screen. No different from the original n810 except for the fact that there’s been a 2.5Ghz radio shoved into it to support Wimax. Everything else is the same.
The beauty of this little guy is that from my perspective, it does way more than your usual Asus EEE or Dell Mini9s. This is due to the fact that although a 9inch LCD does beat out a 4.1 inch screen, this comes with a keyboard. Thus, it allows me to access things that are otherwise somewhat annoying from a device like an iPhone. It also gives me access due to the fact that the entire maemo OS is a derivative of linux and that gives me a lot more power to tweak and change the way this works.
So far, the connectivity and application support for this device is fantastic. Compiling anything for this device is as easy as compiling any application for ARM devices, as long as you’ve done a little bit of development work. Most of the interface type applications are done in GTK+ so no problems there either.
Also, there’s a GPS integrated inside and I have to say that the satellite acquisition is a little slower than your usual GPS devices, but this actually does work very well with both the Wayfinder GPS application and the open source ones. Bluetooth syncs seem to work just fine and both streaming audio and regular audio/video plays well as long as you have enough ram. One thing that it could do with more of is actual ram. 128MB and the option to push for another 128MB in virtual is kind of piddly.
Overall, this is a great portable device with impressive battery life and the ability for me to keep in touch with some of things going on with work that I would not be able to do on a phone but still keep the portability. It’s basically better than a netbook on a smaller scale and about the same price and Wimax thrown in. I’ll be curious if someone will figure out a way to tether this to a laptop to run Wimax at some point, but it’s not a high priority for me right now.
In any case, the only thing right now I’d love to do is to not have to go into CLI to actually optimize the memory. Probably at some point will have to do that since the GUI only offers so much in saving space on internal RAM, but that’s just part of the openness of linux.
So for those of you looking for the pictures of the unboxing? Here you go. Go nuts and drool to your heart’s content.

Nokia n810 wimax Nokia n810 wimax Nokia n810 wimax Nokia n810 wimax
Nokia n810 wimax Nokia n810 wimax Nokia n810 wimax Nokia n810 wimax