Tag Archives: gadgets

Make Your PS3 Work Overtime

Gaming, Tech

Have you hooked up your PS3 to your computer via Windows Media Player and discovered that some (or most) of your videos won’t play? It’s baffling how one AVI will play yet another isn’t recognized due to some encoding used on the video.

I’ll let you in on a secret: From Boing Boing Gadgets I learned of PS3 Media Server, an open source, free, multi-encoding app that will make virtually any video play on the PS3. I swear to god, it was a one click set up from the download (there are minor tweaks you can do when you dive into the FAQ section – me being on a single core processor). I loaded it, it found the PS3, and it meshed without effort. The info page boasts basic XBox360 support too, but I haven’t tried it yet.

So far, the only file format I found it can’t process is a flat DVD ISO file. It doesn’t process larger files smoothly due to my single core processor (it would either make the screen flicker or would stall out the video as it played) but you can adjust the compression to allow for that but don’t expect TV quality video.

You may thank me with kisses.

Birthday Comes Early

Distractions, iPhone, Personal Bits

Trends, my friends.

In the past SharkBoy has greeted the anniversary of the first day of existence with fun gadgets that fill up our empty relationship (holy crap I am so kidding…):

One year I got a PSP and a marriage proposal.

Last year was the iPhone (amen) and a Wii (bless me).

This year? A 50″ plasma TV. Okay I am paying for half but it’s a welcome purchase/gift none the less. Xbox will not be disappointing.

I guess next year will be our own satellite if we were to keep with/outdo the electronics theme.

Tonight, while going off to BestBuy to buy it bestly, we stopped in at Funland to check to see if they were really closing on Friday night, my actual birthday. Nope. They were closing this evening. Thankfully we took the time to check. We chatted with the change guy (He was actually smoking inside at the booth – what were they going to do? Shut him down?) and then pushed my way through the small crowd to the back where the ancient games were kept. SharkBoy was a bit skeeved at the lighting and a few sketchy patrons but was reverent with my memories.

VR Helmet Ted

VR Helmet Ted

Ghosts of my past. The arcade was full of hyper active Asian kids playing Dance Dance Revolution at speeds that made me physically frightened for the integrity of their ankles. I really wish the iPhone did video. Really not much different than when I use to go there – just using a different appendage to slap the buttons.

The one game we decided to play “stole” $2 from us.

Bye Funland! I’ll think of you often when I see dead technology.

Now we wait for the delivery truck. I am so going to get a catheter for Sunday!

Devil May Care

Celebs and Media, Distractions

Devil May Care CoverMy review for the Mini Book Expo

Devil May Care
Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Flemming
* Hardcover: 304 pages
* Publisher: Doubleday (May 28, 2008)
* ISBN-10: 0385524285
* ISBN-13: 978-0385524285

Shipping sponsored by RandomHouse.ca

I’m not a big fan of authors taking over a franchise after the death of the original author and have regarded books like this as “authorized fan fiction”, not unlike the pornographic fanfic you discover on the web. I usually find these types of novels are soulless copies of the originals. The essence of the series the author cultivated throughout his career was always somehow missing when handed over to a young buck, much like several Issac Asimov 3 Laws of Robotics books. The ideas are there, but there’s no “life”. However, after reading DMC, I find that Faulks has created a story that is very much like an Andy Warhol print: not the original but important and to be revered just as much.

The Ian Flemming Foundation decided to release a new novel on the 100th birthday of Flemming and choose Faulks, a popular British writer to do it. Set in 1967, just after Flemming’s last (posthumous) book Octopussy, DMC has every element a great Bond story should have: a curvaceous, mysterious woman, Bond jetting off to exotic locales, car chases, a colourful screw-loose villain with a sadistic, quirky henchman and (out-turned pinky to bottom lip here, people) a world domination plot. In lieu of an arsenal of gadgets (which Bond claims to not like using), Faulks pulls one giant ‘gadget’ out of the history books which I won’t spoil, but yet made me geekily excited when I realized what it was. Faulks’ story is set mostly in the Middle East, late 60s where he manages to draw parallels to current issues with an air of foreboding which surprisingly made it extremely readable.

The book isn’t without it’s quirks: Faulks seems to pepper in too many “gourmet dining” scenes for my liking to establish that Bond runs with the rich and cultured. Several instances in the book has our hero eating while spying: Bond meets Scarlett Papava and has a late supper in Paris with her; Bond eats a lot of room service eggs while waiting for appointments; Bond dines in a Tehran cafe with his Middle Eastern contact; Bond eats cheese in Moscow. Every chapter has a few pages devoted to what the characters are eating or drinking which becomes distracting after a while. If this was a metaphor or a theme, it was lost on me – refueling? The music of life? Food seen as information stimuli? Faulks does detail the clothing and outfits of the late 60’s, but without designer label name dropping, which I thought would have placed more emphasis on the character’s rich lifestyles.

What Faulks lacks in setting, he makes up in action. His scenes of conflict are extremely well orchestrated and visual. He writes with such specialized detail that I had no doubt in believing what he was offering in way of guns, machinery or fighting technique. Faulks sets Bond’s initial contact with the villainous Dr Gorner in a tennis match so wrought with skill and minutiae that I may never look at another game the same way. His fight scenes are so clearly controlled, it’s cinematic (hint hint, Hollywood!).

Which brings me to the villain, Dr Julius Gorner, a rich pharmaceutical genius, hellbent on destroying all things English. Like every Bond villain, Gorner has one physical flaw: a deformed “monkeys paw” of a hand, which he embarrassingly covers with a white glove. It’s obvious that Faulks made Gorner a nod to Dr No: the original Dr No was named Dr Julius No; Dr No lost his hands in an attempt to send a message to other criminal rivals, where Dr Gorner cuts the tongues out of his insubordinates as a message to other informants; Gorner tortures Bond in a “cigar tube” escape attempt, much like Dr No does with Bond in air shafts. The similarities were a bit too close to Dr No, so much so that I found myself reading Gorner’s conversations in my head with the same clipped way Joseph Wiseman delivered his lines in the movie. Yet Gorner stands out on his own as satisfying as any Flemming creation when his hubris is served up to him at the hands of Bond.

If you’re like myself, a mild Bond fan (read 2 books, seen most of the movies, some twice) then you’ll enjoy DMC. If you’re anything less, you may not get the culture. But I am sure you’ll enjoy the ride! I would recommend Devil May Care to anyone looking for a little action in their summer reading.

One For Rick Mercer


Exterior, day. Long shot of a ferry boat in Toronto Harbour.

We see two gentlemen looking over a laptop out in the open deck of the ferry. The one with the laptop is an awkward looking, 30-something guy, his over-the-shoulder friend is silent yet looks inquisitively at his friend’s screen. “Also Sprach Zarathustra” starts to play.

Laptop guy: You have to wait for the last moment before placing your bid.

He hits ENTER on his keyboard. An error sound “DONK!” is heard. “UPLOADING” flashes across the screen and a loading bar graphic creeps slowly along the top window.

Laptop Guy: Come on…! Come on!!

He fiddles with the laptop broadband aerial. Time is running out! Suddenly “Also Sprach Zarathustra” stops abruptly when we hear:

Handsome Laptop Guy: Alright!! Playoff tickets!

Medium shot through the crowd. Background extras clear the way to reveal Handsome Laptop Guy sitting with Hot Lady, across from Awkward Laptop Guy – an almost mirror image. Except, of course, they’re attractive.

Handsome Laptop Guy notices Awkward Laptop Guy. Handsome Laptop Guy waves and says:

Handsome Laptop Guy: Hey!

Awkward Laptop Guy pauses. His eye twitches. He rises and approaches the couple. POV shot from Handsome Laptop Guy’s seat – upshot of Awkward Guy looking right into camera: his face red with frustration.

Medium side shot of Awkward Guy bringing his laptop down upon Handsome Guy’s head. Brains and blood everywhere. Hot Lady screams and the crowd scatters as Awkward continues to bludgeon the man with his laptop with inadequate connectivity.

Awkward Laptop Guy: Damn you! Think you’re so smart with your fucking gadgets that work and shit! Die! I should have killed you back at the airport! My life is ruined because of you!

Rogers logo crawl.