Friday, December 27, 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Sunday, May 5, 2013
What an inapt title. As if Fred Phelps ever attained any semblance of a state of grace from which he might have fallen into the pit he continues to dig for himself. For the most part I’m prepared to brush this off as a not-entirely-welcome look at the Phelps cult, not interesting or insightful enough to merit as much attention as it requires. However, I’m going to recommend this picture to one particular group: those people who feel that rights and privileges freely granted to heterosexuals should be denied to non-heterosexuals. If that’s you, watch this movie closely. You may not be as hateful as Fred, but some of his spirit lives inside you. See if desperate
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Friday, April 19, 2013
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Monday, April 15, 2013
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Monday, February 25, 2013
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
So the issue wasn’t data loss. The issue was the hard drive itself. The problem required a trip to the Apple Store (not exactly right next door), where the computer had to stay for three days. As down times go, that honestly wasn’t too bad. It was actually sort of nice to have an excuse to take a break from connectedness for a little while.
Plus the Apple “Geniuses” were nice to the verge of customer service overkill. One even told me that the company’s in-house code name for the computer I bought is the Ultimate. That made me wonder what their name is for the model with a few extras I didn’t get. Best not to know. I’d hate to think about people unwittingly using a computer known as the John Holmes.
My problem with all this (aside from this being the fourth hard drive crash in less than two years) was that in days gone past I could have tackled the repair at home. If the hardware was seriously torched (and in this case it may have been), then off to the store it would go. As I’d had it only a month or so, it was still under warranty. But at least I could have tried running some diagnostics and attempted to fix it myself before swapping in an expensive replacement part.
But in this brave new world that doesn’t happen. Because I needed to be able to boot from an external system disc so I could go to work on the internal hard drive. And do new Macs come with a CD system disc? They do not. Of course there’s a certain logic to that, as the new Macs don’t have disc drives. But I have an external drive that I use mostly to watch DVDs on the computer. So if I’d had a disc, I could at least have given it a try.
Another option would have been to use a Firewire connection to link the problem child up to an older, functioning computer that I happened to have downstairs. But Apple in its wisdom decided I didn’t need a Firewire port in my new machine.
Here then is the deal: in Apple’s imagineered vision, we’re all going to live in the cloud. We’ll store all our data in the cloud, connect to our peripherals via the cloud, watch movies from the cloud, do everything we do entirely from the fabulous world of the net-connected cloud. For the full effect, read that last sentence aloud while standing on your tiptoes, flapping your arms like a happy little bluebird and employing your most sarcastic tone.
In Apple’s defense, the cloud works great. Until it doesn’t. It provides us with all kinds of new possibilities. But if we rely exclusively on our net connections, we lose a measure of autonomy (not to mention opening our lives up to scrutiny by hackers at the government, corporate and freelance levels). At the very least, we appear to have surrendered the ability to opt in or out at our discretion.
So if Apple is going to watch over us like we’re a mass of ignorant children, then the corporation is going to have to make a bigger commitment to being a better parent. A few more geniuses in the design and assembly stages might save employing fewer at the customer service end. Just a thought.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
Friday, January 25, 2013
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
The one childhood fascination that stuck with me was writing. Of course this infatuation evolved a bit over the years. Thanks to my love of novels and short stories, I originally saw myself as an author of fiction. I first set foot on that path at 16 when I got a short story published in a small press anthology.
And then nothing. Though I’ve written fiction off and on for the last three decades, I’ve published none of it. Until now.
A couple of days ago, 8sails Press published a novella I first drafted several years ago and recently managed to edit and compose for Kindle distribution. Writing it was great entertainment. I even had fun designing the cover. So I hope readers will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it.
The official description: Sarah Upton and her parents are headed to the small fishing village of Innsmouth for a funeral. Before journey’s end, she’ll learn more than she ever wanted to know about her family, her heritage and the darker corners of the earth.
Fans of the work of H.P. Lovecraft will recognize a name or two in there. My story is a modern re-thinking of Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” Though the novella contains a few references to the original story, you can enjoy it fully even if you’re unfamiliar with the source.
Thanks to an agreement with Amazon, this title is available only for the Kindle. In exchange for this restriction, the retailer is providing some marketing assistance. If you don’t actually have a Kindle device, fear not. Amazon makes Kindle apps available for free for a range of computers, tablets and smart phones.
And yes, the company also makes me charge for it. However, the price is an affordable 99 cents. My royalty is 35 cents per copy, so if you buy the book and don’t like it, I’ll personally refund the 35 cents you gave me and you can go out and buy yourself a nothing.
If you’re not inclined to mess with the whole Kindle thing, you can still read the first few pages on Amazon.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Monday, January 14, 2013
A cadre of loathsome strangers are trapped in a bar in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by a handful of flesh-eating monsters. This seems more like an excuse for some frat boy filmmaker wannabes to hang out with Henry Rollins and Judah Friedlander than a serious attempt to make a movie. Wish I’d skipped it
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Saturday, January 5, 2013
The one I missed: adding 1000 new pages to the site. I figured with all the Survival Guide uploading at the start of the year that I might stand a chance of making it. Though that contributed an even 400 new pages, I still finished the year at 909 (including blog entries). Still, that’s an average of more than four per working day. Not too bad.
My other goal was to shoot more than 10,000 pictures, a mark I managed to clear with 80 to spare. The next big 8sails College project is going to be a photography text, and I need to replace the examples of other photographers’ work that I used to use in class with self-created demonstrations that could be uploaded to the web without violating copyright laws. My collaborator and I still have a ways to go, but we’re off to a good start.
Right before Christmas I also wrote the site’s 4000th movie review. When I hit 3000, I took a look back at what I’d reviewed. That was easier then than it is now, because back then I had a database of all the reviews allowing me to count the number of horror movies, comedies, dramas and so on. The database bit the dust in a hard drive crash, and I haven’t cared enough about it to rebuild the thing. So the view from 4000 is only “wow, that’s a lot of movies.”
Other than work on The Photographer’s Sketchbook, I haven’t set any goals for 2013. I’m going to let the year go wherever it takes me.