Entries Tagged as 'Entertainment'

Time Warner Cable’s Navigator Slow as Molasses

twc So last night, Time Warner decided to roll out their long-awaited Navigator. It’s supposed to be some great thing that TWC is providing, but so far the only thing I can tell tonight is that it’s extraordinarily buggy with some major headaches.

First, they’re literally beta testing this in the field because instead of having some new firmware that is backwards compatible, they send out a phone call the previous day saying that the mailer they sent out should have the information about what’s going on. For the most part, all I can tell is that they make it easier for you to accidentally purchase premium channels, it’s prettier interface from the original guide, and the actual interface is even clunkier.

Let me put it this way. Before with digital cable, or any HD channel for that matter, it would auto-detect the resolution of your television before the channel came through. It was slow, but it wasn’t terrible. With the Navigator “upgrade”, it will first go to the lowest resolution of the channel (usually 480i), then convert. So it’s like changing the channel twice. Each of these channel changes are around a 2 second delay wait versus probably about half second before, so if you’re flipping through the television channel, it D-R-A-G-S.

It was so slow, that when I was scrolling through my favorites and saw something I wanted to go back to I decided not to go to that show because by the time I rolled through my twenty-five favorites, that segment of that show would be over already.

In my personal opinion, it basically seems like either the testing that was done didn’t produce the slower results, or some manager somewhere thought that having slower results would be better for the overall television experience (I’m not sure why this would be since the television is literally dark while the channel is feeding through). Either way, sounds like bad product management.

If anything? Give me a way to roll-back to my set-top box’s old firmware. Believe me. I’ll have a better cable television experience instead of this junk. Because if I continue on this type of channel surfing, then I’ll probably get frustrated enough to just put it down and read a book or play my PS3. At the very least, the interfaces for either don’t come with a lag time that makes me want to throw a controller.

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Movie Review: L – Change the World

L-changetheworld If you’re a fan of Death Note as I am, then you’ll know that recently there was a third movie speaking towards L’s short life after Kira. And that would be the movie, L – Change the World.

I have to say that it was very fortunate that I happened to be in San Francisco, the day that they were going to premier the DVD screening at New People World. I picked up a copy of the movie and got a free screener pass along with a “L” button. Depending on what you’re looking for, you might want the US version of this DVD set. Either way, I have to say that it was actually pretty good.

I happen to like the Death Note writing a bit better, so the plot of the spin-off was a little more hokey. But overall, it does fill in some of the blanks that the anime itself doesn’t on why the character L actually had successors and where they came from. In fact, there was definitely a nice touch where it overlaps at the beginning with the timeline of the Kira case, in which if you’ve never seen the previous movies, I would definitely recommend watching them in order, watching the anime, or reading the manga before watching this film. It would explain a lot of things such as the naming of Near.

Overall, this movie was anti-climatic when it comes to the end, and I wasn’t surprised but sort of disappointed that you didn’t get to follow L to the very end. It’s kind of like one of those westerns where the hero rides into the sunset and leaves the entire thing open and you’re going… wait a second… where’s the rest of it?

I’m glad to own the series although I can’t say whether or not the screening would have been better since I didn’t have a chance to go even though I had the tickets. One last thing. If you have an issue with seeing people spit, or pus or something like that, I would probably avoid this movie. It’s not often, but seeing that the film plot is about a virus weapon that is a hundred times the potential of Ebola, it’s not exactly void of death throes. Wait a second… have I wandered upon the next series? Death Note – Death Throes? One could only imagine…

Why Fearmongering Solves Nothing

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Argh. I can’t stand it. While I agree that environments effect a child’s raising, I truly don’t buy into the entire “it takes a village” scenario. It all starts, and ends with the parents and how much responsibility they’re willing to pick up in teaching the ways of the world to the child. So when I read about video games under attack, especially ones that are as light-hearted and humorous as Fat Princess, I just have to say something.

First off, for the kids. Eating a piece of cake will not make you fat. I don’t care who’s telling you that but if you’re going to trust me over your parents (which I don’t even want to know why I would be more authoritative in your family than your folks), cake doesn’t make you fat. Not exercising and eating too much will make you fat. Yes, the truth hurts, but portion control is key along with a healthy lifestyle. If your parents haven’t taught you that, then there you go. Voila, a lesson of life.

Next, for those that are afraid of games that will wreak havoc in their young children’s lives. Have you taken a look at television these days? Rated “M” is not the same Rated “M” a decade ago. In fact, there are several cable shows that I’ve heard on prime time use foul language. Are you to banish that from young ears for sake of corrupting innocence? Hate to break it to you, but every single one has been corrupted at an early age. There’s always some potty mouth at school that let’s your kids in on the excitingly forbidden. The question is more of how you deal with it. If your children live in a sandbox all of their lives along with you fearing everything, then they’ll grow up to …. guess what: fear everything. And there’s so much more to the world than some video game or movie. Will you always cower under the threat that nuclear war might ensue? Or that a meteor might strike the earth? Maybe Yellowstone might erupt?

The fact is, it’s YOUR responsibility in molding your kids, not the rest of the world. If you were supreme ruler of Earth, then I would probably say otherwise, but you’re not, I’m not, and we probably won’t ever be seeing one of those. So, quit shirking your responsibilities as a parent and get with it. Insults in life are a daily occurrence whether or not you like to deal with it. Same with staying healthy and not eating too much cake, just as dessert isn’t always on the menu. It’s how you manage to teach this to your children instead of passing off to people like Titan Studios. They’re in the business of entertainment, while you’re in the business of raising your kids to be be a part of society.

Review: Cold Stone Cupcakes

coldstone_cupcakes I have to say that Cold Stone Creamery has hit on something big. Like seriously needs to go into their repertoire quick.

Currently, they’re promoting a $9.99USD limited time special for six ice cream cupcakes. From left to right, we have Sweet Cream, Cake Batter Delux, and Double Chocolate Devotion.

The technical of these cupcakes are actually pretty simple. It’s a chocolate shell, where the cake goes on the bottom, the ice cream above it, and then topped with frosting and some type of topping. But it truly is something that has a lot of weight on hot sunny afternoons and with the current cupcake craze around the United States, it’s bound to do well.

  • Sweet Cream: yellow cake, fudge & sweet cream ice cream, white frosting, milk and white chocolate curl.
  • Cake Batter Delux: red velvet cake, fudge & cake batter ice cream, pink frosting, rainbow sprinkles.
  • Double Chocolate Devotion: devil’s food cake, fudge & chocolate ice cream, white frosting, Oreo cookie.

Truly pick your poison. If regular cupcakes at bakeries can sell for $3USD a piece, then these things are tremendously under-valued and under-priced. In all truthfulness, I could actually seeing paying up to $5USD for a custom cupcake. Think about it. Most of the ingredients are already set up, so that you can already have shells with cake ready to go, pick your own ice cream, frosting, and topping. It’s a lovely move from a business perspective, and turns long hot summer days into something wonderful.

What’s even better is that there is also the possibility of say hot fudge for colder weather. There’s definitely a lot of maneuvering room for the product manager that is in charge of this one. Currently? You pay about $1.70USD per cupcake, and from what I saw they usually make about two batches a day since they sell out in about half day. I don’t think it’s caught on yet how awesome these things are, but believe me… anyone that touches these will not stop at one.

iTunes Saturday

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Free Movie Brought To You By Roku

Roku.com-The Little Black Box That Streams Thousands of Films! Roku is now bringing you five dollars in credit if you register your Roku box within the month of July and spend the credit before September 30. I personally think that’s pretty neat, although my issue with my Roku box isn’t so much of the content as much as the interface could use a little work. The Amazon interface is a bit better than Netflix, since I’d love to be able to browse, add, and delete to my queue.

Outside of that, this promotion is brilliant since it gives people a chance to try out the $99 box and get a little something extra. They would actually go a bit further if they actually provided this to those early adopters too, as a gift. Just a thought.

In any case, the below is the email that was sent out to those on the mailing list and the Facebook page:

Wanted to let everyone know about an exciting promotion we’re running in the month of July with our partner, Amazon Video On Demand. July is free movie month!

Roku is pleased to bring you a great deal: a $5 credit towards any purchase or rental on Amazon Video On Demand.

In order to receive your credit, you must register your Roku player on Amazon during the month of July. You’ll have until September 30 to use the credit before it expires.

Don’t have a Roku player yet? No worries! If you buy one now, you’ll receive it in July, just in time to get your free movie rental from Amazon Video On Demand on behalf of Roku.

If you already have your Roku player or expect to receive it soon simply register it now with Amazon Video On Demand and you’ll receive a $5 credit to watch anything you want—from a new release movie to an episode of your favorite TV show.

In order to receive your credit, you must register your Roku player to Amazon during the month of July. You’ll have until September 30 to use it before it expires.

How to register your Roku player

Visit the Amazon Video On Demand page (URL below) to register your Roku player. Follow the simple four-step process using the screenshots they’ve provided.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/video/ontv/rokusteps/ref=atv_roku_register

Register your Roku player today!

Amazon Video On Demand offers more than 40,000 Hollywood hits, classic movies and your favorite TV shows—including hundreds in HD—that you can start watching instantly on your Roku player on any TV.

Enjoy!

Your friends at Roku

A bit of wishful thinking but I’m just waiting for Roku to support Hulu and we’ll be all set.

Winston-Salem’s Wrong Assumptions About Their New Stadium

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Image by Mr. Jincks via Flickr

Interestingly enough, I have recently just became a resident of Winston-Salem. And for the last however many years I’ve been here, I’ve been a resident of Greensboro. Well, it seems that to justify the new baseball stadium for the Winston-Salem Dash, they’ve used the Grasshopper Stadium as an anchor point even though there are some significant flaws in the argument.

Here are my thoughts on it based off of some of the things that were said on The Business Report off WFDD:

  • Grasshopper Stadium has done well for Greensboro. I agree here, but you have to also realize that UNC-Greensboro, Greensboro College, A&T and I might be missing some others, all converge on downtown Greensboro. The fact is that you have several major schools with students looking for things to do, and within walking distance. I will go as far as to say that some of the students at these respective schools only go to the games on Thirsty Thursdays because of… well, you don’t need me to explain it but it’s not because of baseball.

    I’ll also go as far as to say that the look-and-feel of the two downtowns are extremely different. Greensboro has Center City Park, which is another privately owned venture and other sorts of things that have the entertainment seekers running around at night. I’ve never gotten the same feel for Winston-Salem’s downtown which is very much more business oriented and has that sort of look and feel. Greensboro has always felt like an infant San Francisco, while Winston-Salem was an infant Chicago. Two very distinct paths which cannot be thrown into the same basket because the population size is somewhat similar.

  • The money is similar for the same seating. Yet, a big difference is how it’s funded. Grasshopper Stadium was all private money. About fifteen million was from the Bryan Foundation and the rest was raised through private means. Winston-Salem’s funding is between the tax payers and Billy Prim’s financing. When you have skin in the game, it makes it a different scenario.
  • Greensboro backed the stadium. Somehow, I’d like to say that if Greensboro’s taxes were up for grabs for Grasshopper Stadium, we would have a different story here. Everyone is always happy to partake in the festivities that someone else’s coin pays for. But when your coin is paying for someone else’s fun? It’s not always a loving situation. Greensboro’s City Council knew that and stepped away from it right at the beginning. I’m not at liberty to speak of the actions by Winston-Salem’s Council since I don’t know the local politics here. Needless to say? Obviously there are a lot of grumblings.

I will say that a huge mistake by a lot of people is not only looking at the situation, but comparing stadiums of larger sizes to this one. With a AAA team, Grasshopper Stadium is actually the closest comparison in cost, physical location and size. But the one big part that’s missing are the points above. It’s like trying to compare people from LA to NYC. Two distinctly different cities, with different cultures, and trying to figure out why the Dodgers don’t play like the Yankees. Something is just a little bit off there.

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Movie Review: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I finally had the chance to watch this movie off of Netflixicon streaming in HD, and I have to say…

What the heck was I thinking in waiting so long??

This movie is absolutely fantastic and one of those that really don’t give away the ending until probably closer to the end. Which I appreciate since there are too many predictable movies out there. Jim Carrey plays Joel, whom is having his memory erased because his girlfriend had her memory erased of him. While he’s in the middle of this process, he realizes that he doesn’t want to lose her and tries frantically to save any memory of her.

What was absolutely great with this movie, and I made the connection here with Adam Sandler in Reign Over Me, is that it really seems that the comedic actors have a lot of depth when it comes to acting abilities. Even Jamie Fox, whom has had a multitude of serious roles has shown that while they all started in comedy, they can play serious parts extremely well and that there is more to it than one-sided acting.

The movie itself was fantastic and I urge anyone that likes drama to watch it, especially if they have Roku box. If you don’t have one, I would seriously advise you to look into getting one since it increases your Netflix account without any further cost outside the initial $99USD. In any case? Watch the movie. Yar.

Netflix Customer Service Wows Me Again


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What can I say. Netflixicon continues to wow me with their automated customer service. Now, granted, this could be because I’ve been with them since … well, forever. In any case, it never ceases to amaze me that they just send me extra movies, or gifts (in the form of refunds) because of something that they mishandled or just think that it’s taking too long for the turn-around. In fact, I think this is the first time that their customer service has sent me an extra DVD due to the fact that it would take a bit for it to get here.

Don’t ask me why, but it makes me happy to support a company that actually thinks about the fact that I’m not made of money, and there are little things you can do that can make a person happy with your service. This is one of them. Definitely will have to take a page from their customer service book and apply it in my own accounting software business.

Restaurant Review: Oriental Cafe

orientalcafe I have to admit that I have yet to try all of the food yet. Only been there twice, and both times I insisted on Japanese since that’s what I usually crave since it’s a bit more difficult to get good Japanese food in the South unless you’re a big fan of hibachi. But I have to admit, I found a new favorite place for my tummy.

And what the tummy wants, the tummy gets. To a degree. In any case, the decor on the inside was fabulous, and well done. Something that you’d never would have known from the outside decor due to the fact that it’s in a strip mall. From a cuisine perspective, you’re probably looking at a decent valued meal unless you go ballistic and order several of the ten dollar rolls. They serve Thai, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine and all of the waitresses are extremely friendly. I actually had a chance to meet the owner at one of my NAAAP meetings and found that we actually knew a mutual friend. In either case, the food was great, the value is good, and you really can’t get anything better than this around the Winston-Salem area. At least not to my knowledge.

There are definitely other reviews out there so don’t take my word for it. But I can tell you that both my wife and I have found a new restaurant that we adore. Oh, and one other thing since the Triad restaurants always have incredible crazy wait times during the Friday and Saturday dinner crowds. You don’t have to wait here. It’s one of those diamonds in the rough that people haven’t discovered yet. Nestled in the shadow of the Hanes Mall across from Allegacy credit union, this place is definitely an asian foodie’s choice.