My Dinner With Roku

For about a month now, Elvira and I have been using the Roku to watch movies and TV shows from our Netflix account. In that time, we’ve only had two minor incidents where the quality dropped, and even then, it wasn’t a horrible experience, just a little pixelation and a few stuttered frames. Barely worth mentioning. The only drawback is the options for selecting content. Roku currently has only 2 channels to offer, Netflix and Amazon On Demand.

Netflix streaming comes free with your monthly subscription, so there’s no extra cost there. The downside is, you have to wait for the content you want to be on DVD, and even then it’s sort of a crap shoot as to weather or not it’ll be streaming. Some studios are on top of things and release streaming rights along side DVD releases, other studios are just sitting on content they could be streaming, picking up revenue dollars by making deals with Netflix but instead, they’d rather pout over the odd instance of piracy that is taking imaginary dollars out of their hypothetical pockets. But that’s neither here not there. Those studios will either get with the 21st century or die. And from the fan standpoint, waiting a few more months until movies or TV shows are released isn’t that big a deal, unless you absolutely need to watch the new episode of Weeds or Lost. But that’s where Amazon On Demand come sin.

We haven’t tried this channel yet, because Amazon decided to set their streaming service up so that you buy each movie or episode a la cart. The prices aren’t bad but I don’t want to have to buy a TV show every time I sit down to watch it. That can get pricey. Hopefully, Amazon will offer a monthly subscription like Netflix does and that will solve the issue.

Now, all Roku needs to do is add a Hulu channel and a You Tube channel and we’ll be set. If they add bundled subscriptions to other ocntent as well, say HBO or Showtime or Comedy central directly, then they could easily replace cable and network TV. Which would suit me just fine, since there’s no commercials on Roku.

Fiddling With Code While the Matrix Burns

You may have heard that the Singularity is coming. Or maybe not. Either way, you should know that several people, some of them even smart, are all about the idea that humanity is on the verge of some unfathomable technological breakthrough, probably involving Artificial Intelligence, nano machines or both, that will irrevocably alter the path human history takes. There may be cake involved.

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A Hand in Our Future

Obama’s Speech – This right here is the point of it all:

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

If you’re looking for a difference between Democrats and Republicans, this is it: the Republican party does not think we are better than this. These last eight years? That was on purpose.  The GOP doesn’t think Americans are worthy of Universal Health care, a 21st century infrastructure or any of the other qualities that mark a modern democracy.

The GOP would rather sell off our economy, piece by piece, just to pad the bank accounts of their friends. They want to privatize as much of the government as possible, so that you and me can’t have a say in the future shape of our country. They’d rule us like Medivil Prince’s if they could.

Some of them genuinely think humans as a species aren’t worthy of such liberties, that we were born into a state of ignorance and depredation that should persist, because it is a voodoo curse. Others just think they’re better than the rest of us and so should have more of everything.

Never forget: the Republican Party likes the results of the Bush Administration so much, that they nominated McCain to perform his third term.

And that’s why I’m voting for Obama. Because I disagree. I think we can and will be better.

Dr. Horrible

If you haven’t already, go and watch Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. It’s Awesome!

Update 7/20 to elaborate– per the comment by Jason on John Roger’s blog: Indeed.

This in a nutshell is what Annakin Skywalker’s fall should have looked like. Annakin should have been the geeky Jedi kid with cool ideas about how to make bigger, better lightsabers and force-powered exoskeltons who was in love with a girl but didn’t know how to tell her and his jelousy over a rival (Obiwan) drives him mad until he accidentally kills her. And that’s how he becomes evil.

But this is why Joss Whedon is now King of the Geeks instead of George Lucus. Joss can tell a good story that as a tengent, sums up the crux of someone elses universe, in a musical tragicomedy. Bravo!

It’s Mars, Jim, But Not As We Know It

Over at io9, theres an interesting discussion as to why most movies about going to Mars turn out to be either boring as all get out, or a tedious rehashing of pulp sci-fi tropes from eons past. I made the observation in comments there that boiled down the answer to two basic concepts: 1) doing Mars realistically is boring. and 2) this leads to ancient alien artifacts and time travel, which dumps us into pulp hell. The caveat being that, unless your source material was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and you just go for it, naked sword fights and all, it’s going to blow.

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