Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another Teaser...

...because what may be my first epic work of 2011 really is coming in a few days. Just need to polish it a bit.

Edit on 3/31: It's definitely happening tomorrow, and may (finally and at last) qualify me for that peculiar type of Internet immortality which seems to be spreading like black mold in a damp house. Keep watching this blog space.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Coming this Friday...

A very special post. Incredibly special. In fact, you may want a snack and a soda afterwards.

Watch this space.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hard Bandwidth Caps? Kill That Noise Before It Spreads

You've heard the short version: AT&T is trying to kill the Internet. Standard DSL gets 150GB downstream, U-Verse users get 250GB, and you're charged an extra $10 for every 50 GB you go over As usual, the claim is to limit the alleged "bandwidth hogs" (although they don't give any hard data about their claims that the "average user" won't go over their limits, or what even qualifies as an average user these days) but it's obviously a blunt anti-competitive maneuver to kneecap the growth of Netflix Instant, Hulu Plus, Amazon VOD, and whatever else will help you give up cable TV (an industry AT&T is hip deep in thanks to U-Verse, and thus has a vested interest in maintaining some version of the status quo).

As Gigom (via the Laptop blog, in my case) helpfully points out, these limits let you watch three hours of hi-def video from Netflix (or whoever) a day...if you don't plan on doing anything else online. Ever. Think about how much TV you'd bother to watch if cable imposed those limits on itself. Somebody in the near future is going to make a mint by setting up a "Netflix friendly" ISP. Maybe Netflix itself is going to have to do it.

The collateral damage for this move is pretty much every broadband-based innovation that's popped up in the past five (maybe ten) years. Backing up your hard drive online, or any of those other nifty cloud-based computing gadgets? Sorry, gotta roll that back. High quality Skype video chat with loved ones halfway around the world? You'll have to plan that out like you were going to have to walk every mile yourself. And that if that 3GB Windows 7 service pack didn't terrify you before, now you've really got something to cry about.

Time Warner users very narrowly dodged a pretty nasty looking bandwidth cap in 2009. They claimed it was because the consumers didn't understand, while I claim we understood it a bit too well. The long and the short of it is that if they thought they could get away with it, they'd try it again, especially with online on-demand services siphoning off their core business. The guts of the whole argument against this is that along with a number of other big-gorilla ISPs, AT&T is charging you through the nose for a service they don't exactly trust you to use, even if you're using perfectly legal services that they just don't happen to like. It's time to make them aware that yes, you have been paying attention, and it's time to stop fighting the future.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Sadly (Is that really the word we're using? Why yes it is!), Sheen's Korner ended after four episodes (including the deleted one that gave us the wonders of the Magic Tray), but not before we got one more snap of what I'm terming Adventures in Unfortunate Freeze Frames.

You'd think a professional actor would use better lighting (or at least comb his hair before hitting the record button), since this one frozen moment disturbingly makes him look like a stoned street person, but Sheen's in uncharted waters at the moment anyway. In the meantime, here' Well, it makes as much sense as anything else today.

And now that we've all had a good laugh, time to get serious for a moment: Six Ways You Can Help Earthquake and Tsunami Victims in Japan. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone, or follow one of the other links in the linked article. Make the real type of winning happen. God knows a lot of people in Japan need it right now.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Francis E. Dec: The Charles Gnarlington Rosetta Stone?

For those of you looking for the secret of Charlie Sheen's Magic Tray, humor me for a moment: Sheen's free-verse slam poetry invective is starting to sound very familiar. Is
he coming dangerously close to the infamous rants of paranoid schizophrenic Francis E. Dec? Listen and decide for yourself, as Dec's words are read with admirable gusto by radio personality Boyd Britton.

(Caution: If you've never been exposed to Dec, be advised that the text contains very liberal use of the N-word and other incredibly offensive words and phrases. Click play at your own risk.)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Live From Sherman Oaks: Winning. DUH!

A LATE NIGHT EXTRA: I've been following with slack-jawed wonder the disintegration of Charlie Sheen, once and (probably) future star of Two and a Half Men (or as I call it, "Holy Crap, Where'd I Put The Remote?"), so it was with great anticipation and trepidation that I stuck my nose into what he's threatening to turn into a nightly webcast, Sheen's Korner. (Oh, I could embed the whole thing for you, but I want you to come back.)

What sums it up for me--both the webcast and and the way Sheen is perceived by most people these days--was a "segment" he called Magic Tray, when he reached behind his desk and pulled out a typing paper tray full About once a minute throughout the show, Sheen and his team of hangers-on shouted "Winning. DUH!" like they were going to have the t-shirts in the stores tomorrow. So what does winning (DUH!) look like? Gaze deeply into the Magic Tray, children...

Now and Laters! Jawbreakers! Marlboros! Twizzlers! (Or Red Vines, if you're gonna be a jerk about it.) Not pictured: hookers and blow, of course. The blow would fit in the tray easily. The hookers would not. And if they did, you would not want any of the Twizzlers they were sitting on.

That bottle to the right of the mike? That's Tiger's Blood. No really, that's what he called it. G'nite everybody! Trolls beware...

(Edit on 3/7/11: Lucky that I didn't embed Charlie's first webcast, since he pulled it down sometime after webcast #2 went up. Thanks to my screengrab foresight, this may be the only place where you can see the awesomeness of the Magic Tray. And that's what you call winning. Duh.)