The Geektastics » Internet Things A safe space to geek out! Wed, 19 Mar 2014 03:33:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ambitious But Rubbish: Episode 2×04 /2014/03/04/ambitious-but-rubbish-episode-2x04/ /2014/03/04/ambitious-but-rubbish-episode-2x04/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 07:01:11 +0000 /?p=5305 ABR Logo

On this episode of Top Gear . . . Richard checks his suspension, Jeremy does magic, and James gets something in his eye.

Image: BBC

Image: BBC


James reviews the Caterham 620R and the Caterham 160

Caterham 620R


  • £50,000
  • 310 horsepower
  • 545 Kg (better power/weight ratio than a Bugatti Veyron)
  • 0-60 in 2.8 seconds
  • 1:22.3 (w)


Caterham 160


  • £17,000
  • 80 horsepower
  • 3 cylinder turbo charged Suzuki engine
  • Super skinny tires
  • Top speed 100
  • 50 miles to the gallon
  • 1:45.5 (w)

James also drove the Caterham AeroSeven (Concept)



  • Corvette museum sinkhole
  • Texas motorway gantry sign prank
  • Jeremy gets a wax figure in Madame Tussuad’s
  • Porsche GT3 catching on fire, Richard just bought one and Jeremy got him GT3 branded “driving gloves” (oven mitts) – Jeremy attaches pizzas to Richard and heats them with a blowtorch


Review Film

Jeremy reviews the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante


  • Built by Touring, a company that built custom coaches
  • 440 horsepower 4.4 L Masarati V8
  • Carbon Fiber/Aluminum body
  • Top speed – 181 mph


Star in a Reasonably Priced Car

Jack Whitehall – never driven before, 1:54.5


Review Film

Richard reviews the Mercedes G-Wagen 6×6 in United Arab Emirates


  • £370,000
  • Originally built for Australian army
  • 37 inch wheels
  • Weighs 3 3/4 tons
  • 5 1/2 L 536 horsepower AMG Twin Turbo V8
  • 560 lb feet of torque
  • 0-60 in under 6 seconds
  • Two fuel tanks – switch between tanks using an overhead switch
  • Pulled by police because the officer wanted to check out the car
  • Can ford a meter of water
  • Empty Quarter – 50 C, dunes 800 feet high
  • Power split 30-40-30 across the axles
  • 5 locking diffs (each switchable independently)
  • Overhead switches to deflate and inflate tires for off-road needs


Kris Signature

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Ambitious But Rubbish: Episode 21×03 /2014/02/25/ambitious-but-rubbish-21x03/ /2014/02/25/ambitious-but-rubbish-21x03/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 07:01:22 +0000 /?p=5276 ABR Logo

On this episode of Top Gear . . . Jeremy dies of radiation poisoning, Richard eats his sun visor, and James kills a bird.

Photo: BBC

Photo: BBC


Jeremy reviewed Denmark’s first car, the Zenvo STI.


  • 1086 horsepower
  • 6.2 L V8 supercharged AND turbocharged
  • 233 mph
  • No traction control in Sport or Race mode
  • £800,000
  • Lap Time: 1:29.9 (w)



  • Porshe 918 Hybrid – Richard will be reviewing it later in the season and predicts it will beat the MacLaren Hybrid’s lap time
  • Floods in Britain
  • Lamborghini is replacing the Gallardo with the Haracán
  • Government fixing the speed limit at 60 mph to reduce Nitrogen Oxide production



Prove that a 1 L 3 Cylinder car can be fun to drive

Richard – Ford Fiesta (with ecoboost engine)

Jeremy – VW Up!

James – Dacia Sandero


The Events

Drive From Hell

Drive 750 miles from the Livadia Palace in the Crimean Peninsula to the northwest border of Ukraine and Belarus

The guys keep them selves busy with instructional audio tapes.

Jeremy – Teach Yourself Ukrainian

Richard – Learn to Play the Blues Harp

James –  Magic for Beginners


Fuel Race

Run out of fuel on the road from Kiev to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone before entering the radiation contaminated area

Jeremy – Ran out of fuel just past the reactor

  • Increased weight with rocks
  • Maximum revs
  • Turned on all electrical extras
  • Opened hatch and driver’s door to increase drag

Richard – Ran out of fuel outside of Chernobyl

  • Sealed gaps with duct tape to prevent radioactive dust from entering the car
  • Zig zagged to increase milage (pulled over by Ukrainian police)
  • Alternated between breaking and accelerating

James – Ran out of fuel after leaving Chernobyl

  • Let 30% of air out of tires to increase rolling resistance
  • Maximum revs
  • Disabled engine management system


Star in the Reasonably Priced Car

James Blunt – 1:49.4 (fw)


Kris Signature

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Ambitious But Rubbish: Episode 21×01 /2014/02/11/ambitious-but-rubbish-episode-21x01/ /2014/02/11/ambitious-but-rubbish-episode-21x01/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 07:01:26 +0000 /?p=5194 ABR Logo

On this episode of Top Gear . . . Jeremy nearly hits a pheasant, Richard wears a mustache, and James squishes some Spam.

TG 21.1

Photo: BBC


Prove “Hot Hatchbacks” from the 80s and 90s are superior to current models

The Cars:

Jeremy – Volkswagon Golf Mk2 GTI

James – Ford Fiesta XR2i

Richard – Vauxhall Nova SRi

The Events:

Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb

Time set by – not The Stig – The Stig’s teenage cousin in Seat Ibiza SC -40.5 sec

Jeremy – 47.4 sec

James – 50.4 sec

Richard – 46.4 sec

Car Wrapping

Jeremy – Neon orange, wrapped his keys to the roof

Richard – Gray and white urban camouflage

James – Christmas wrapping paper

Supermarket Sweep

1 second added for every pound of damage

James – 1:02 – 1:05 (3 pounds of damage)

Jeremy – 28:06 (too high to count)

Richard – 1:08 – 2:12 (68 pounds of damage)

Nostalgia Tricks
  • Lap of your own car (climbing from one window to the other over the roof with the car moving)
  • Tray slides
  • Musical chairs (switching seats in the car)
  • Couch surfing
  • Roof surfing
  • Drag race


Top Gear PD High Speed Chase (complete with mustaches)

Richard – 8 seconds

Jeremy – 14:22:00

James – 14:21:00

The News:

  • BMW 3 Cylinder Hybrid
  • Plans to fine drivers who throw litter from their cars
  • New rules for the Formula 1 Testing
  • New 450 brake horsepower Lexus
  • New Mercedes S Class with thermal camera
  • Michael Shumaker’s accident


Star in the Reasonably Priced Car

Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey”, Monuments Men) 1:50.1 (w)


Kris Signature

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Serial Experiments Lain: Super Crossover Post Special! /2013/07/29/serial-experiments-lain-super-crossover-post-special/ /2013/07/29/serial-experiments-lain-super-crossover-post-special/#comments Mon, 29 Jul 2013 18:04:20 +0000 /?p=4532 Today we’re bringing you a new Geektastics Crossover post between E’s Anime Reviews and Internet Things!

Together, Kris and Erica bring you a new Geektastics special: Drunk reviews!

Warning: This post is very long and full of spoilers. Read at your own risk!

Kris:  for our first review we are watching ‘Serial Experiments Lain’ it’s a bit of a sad start as the director Ryutaro Nakamura passed away on July 24th of complications from cancer.

Erica: I remember watching this for the first time in high school at your house. One of my first, I think. So in truth, it’s kind of your fault I’m an anime nerd…

Kris: I think this was one of my first as far as series go, I was always into Akira and the Ghost in the shell series (we should SO do one of those!!) also today we are drinking Redd’s Apple Ale, and Franzia Pink something something, cause we are broke and would rather drink that than the black box we had last week.

Erica: It’s a blush wine. Anyway, back to the anime. This show is so trippy. Lots of swirling colors, monotonous noises, and if I recall correctly, there is some drug usage later on.

Kris: I love her bear stuff, (hat, and PJs is what always stood out to me). The animation style in this is amazing, it’s not your normal over the top BIG eyed Kawaii anime that you normally find even in more adult shows, (think Sailor Moon, DBZ and whatnot), it’s more of a realistic style, and honestly I think it’s one of the best drawn series that I have ever seen.

Erica: The animation style of this and BoogiePop Phantom are extremely similar… Are they by the same guy?

Kris: quick googlefoo says that you are wrong!!! Heheh.. but you are right in their similarities.

Erica: Whaa? I never said they were the same, I asked if they were. Whatevs, episode one is over. Honestly, I have the hardest time following what the heck is going on in this series… Still cool though.

Kris: it’s easy, kids die in really tragic ways, girl (Lain) get’s sucked into the interwebs (The Wired) and she can see their ghosts, that to me pushes what I truly love about this series, it’s VERY Cyberpunk which as you know I is one of my true loves.

Erica: Yeah, it’s just hard to tell what’s real, what’s a hallucination, or is it all in the wired? It’s awesome, just confusing. Lots of jumping around and lost time.

Kris: do they ever explain when she becomes a DJ? Or why she’s suddenly famous? Because it goes from Lain in high school to Lain the DJ between the episode break.

Erica: I thought it wasn’t really her? Or a look-alike or something? Also, now she can type really fast in what I can only assume is meant to be code. Pretty good for someone that only just started using a computer for kids.

Kris: ah, the NAVI, I honestly think would be an amazing OS (breaking into my expertise now) that could have been made. Good voice control and a decent AI, all plugged into a full world AI powered interned called The Wired, the nerd in be get’s all excited about this but the Cyber punk in me knows that this is a BAD idea, still an awesome concept though.

Erica: God, this show is so trippy… Just now we had a creepy guy in the shadows, weird ghost-like things, and messed up faces. Hey, new computer!

Kris: at some point her room becomes so over run with electronics, it’s like my wet dream, and these systems are amazing, Desktops, phone, Tablet all synced to one system, I wish I had systems that could do that. Any way back to the show, I’ll probably split off more but whatever.

Erica: Uh-oh, there’s a guy with a light saber (?!) and a blood river! Oh wait, it’s a laser sight on a gun. No Lain, don’t go up to him!

Kris: Christ this girl is going to need counseling, I think this is the 3rd person to either kill themselves or be killed in front of her. End of episode 2. Also THANKS Funimation for making your stuff super loud and the show super quiet, you’re going to blow out my speakers!! There’s a special place in hell for youtube videos that freeze!!

Erica: It’s ok, we figured out the secret! You have to wave your hand at the screen to make it go. Damn, Lain is traumatized now. Don’t her parents or sister disappear at this point?

Kris: I think so, but I think it’s more she gets fully sucked into The Wired. It almost sounds like internet addiction, but alas she actually becomes fully emerged into The Wired, MATRIX STYLE! Only less psycho robots or cool leather trench coats and gimp suits

Erica: Voices in her head! Hey, her parents are back. And her doodles are moving. She’s starting to lose her grip on reality. Also, her “friends” are jerks.

Kris: so I’m getting out of this (remember it’s been 13 years since I’ve seen this) the kids are killing them selves to go to the wired, and Lain is the only one that realizes that you don’t actually have to go that far.

Erica: I think so. Someone just said “dying feels so good”. Seems like Lain is starting to connect to the wired more. And she has a thingy someone gave her. Some kind of computer part…

Kris: it’s a Phsyce, apparently. Bunch of nerd kids acting like nerds, remind you of someone??

Erica: Nah, not at all :P . Once again, Lain’s alter-ego is making trouble for her. And these kids seem waaaaay to young to be going to clubs. And now there are men in black. It’s crazy how quickly Lain becomes a tech master. End of episode three.

Kris: I guess I still don’t understand why she’s naked at the end credits.

Erica: My guess is because she’s trying to cut down on static electricity. You know, because clothing causes a lot of static. And she’s lying in a pile of cables.

Kris: ah I just thought it was because the Japanese are screwed up in the head. Any way, episode 4, Lain is starting to be pulled further into The Wired, and dad seems a bit worried. I guess it would be a pretty short series if she didn’t


Kris: well she has no eyes, and a stuffed puppy!

Erica: Ok, yeah, that’s pretty scary. Lain’s personality is changing. She’s acting different at school, speaking and acting more like the other girls in class. But her friend can tell there’s something different. What’s her name again? Arisu?

Kris: the one that told her it was all her fault that the guy killed himself? I think so? This is where her room starts turning into my dream place, basically a Cyberpunk server room.

Erica: Damn, how many hard drives does she have now? Things are starting to get more confusing, now Lain’s appearing to people in the real world? And a guy’s stuck in low-res minecraft.

Kris: WTF? Imaginary gun? I think I forgot how confusing this show is.

Erica: I am either too sober or not sober enough to understand this anime.

Kris: her family must be rich, or she’s a klepto cause she has more systems than I can count, I guess she’s building a cluster. Ok this is where this show starts getting weird, yes it was weird before but this is where it goes to WTF!

Erica: And we’re only four episodes in! Nine to go…

Kris: episode 5 now!, and we have found God!

Erica: He’s a voice inside Lain’s head! Man, Lain’s sister is cold. She just walked out on a guy after sex without saying anything, and now she’s just walked away from a car accident. Is that a doll?

Kris: uhhh, yes?

Erica: Is her desk chair speaking to her? I’m so lost…

Kris: no, it’s a tiki mask, or something,

Erica: Well, that makes much more sense.

Kris: yeah not at all! So from now in I think every time we see Lain we are in the wired? Maybe? I think?

Erica: I have no idea. Maybe her subconscious is trapped in the wired and that’s why she’s having conversations with her toys and a floating version of her mother?

Kris: now what’s up with sister? Is she starting to get sucked in because Lain is in? Also next week on drunken anime reviews: ACID!!!

Erica: Her coffee is speaking to her. And no acid. It would just make the anime weirder…

Kris: don’t think that’s possible. End of episode 5! I’m so lost!!!

Erica: Last line was “Who is it today?” I’m confused…

Kris: Episode six. Also Lunchtime.

Erica: Mmm, pizza. I really don’t like these girls in Lain’s class. They’re so judgmental. Wait, Lain is appearing in the sky. Is she god now?

Kris: I’m pretty sure this is supposed to be Allen Turing, could be wrong though.

Erica: When did this become a psychic experiment?

Kris:, website printed on a gauge in her coolant system, very strange!

Erica: On to episode 7! Seems like Lain is becoming more and more like a master of the wired. Think she’ll surpass god?

Kris: Can someone surpass god? She is slowly starting to hate the “real world” I feel like this is what happens to all of the suicides. They would rather fully immerse in the wired than live in the real world.

Erica: But how can they connect to the wired when they’re dead? Hey, the men in black are taking Lain!

Kris: That’s just it.. you can’t, but in your head you feel like being in the wired is the only way you can live.

Erica: I wonder if that’s how people addicted to World of Warcraft feel? Now Lain is helping the men in black, a guy who I can only assume is their boss… But who are the knights? I’m confused. Are they knights or not?

Kris: I’m assuming it’s more a Knights of the Templar thing, not Knights in shining armor, but possibly the creators of The Wired, or some internal Police force?

Erica: Now the men in black dude is raising some interesting questions. Are her parents her real parents? Is her sister real? Maybe Lain isn’t who she thinks she is…

Kris: Was she bore into the Wired? Does Lain actually exist? WTF are we watching??!! It’s honestly a wonder that this show didn’t entirely turn me from anime when we were kids, it’s pretty messed up. end of episode 6

Erica: Episode 7. For being halfway through the series, we’re pretty lost. I think 90’s anime had a tendency to be really heavy-handed with metaphors and psychology…

Kris: I think it’s more this one is just really REALLY weird. Besides the Milk dream from ‘Akira’ I don’t know of another one that has affected me like this one has.

Erica: Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some messed up anime, but 90’s anime likes to go way off and talk philosophically about life and where they’re supposed to be in life. I haven’t had enough to drink for this yet…

Kris: THIS PART!! THE HEADLESS MOUTHS!!! As a 16 year old this gave me nightmares!

Erica: Everybody’s staring! What did she say to make everyone think she’s a peeping tom? I hate this jumping around, I have no idea what’s going on right now.

Kris: I thin Lain has no idea either so don’t feel bad! Ohhh that’s what she did, ewww!!

Erica: Looks like she’s traveling the wired while she’s sleeping? And there’s another version of herself? And that version is spying on her classmates? This is getting very convoluted…

Kris: wait, I think I have it figured out.. the guy that wrote this was on a lot of drugs!

Erica: Of course! It’s so simple! End of 8, by the way.

Kris: you think it’ll ever make sense? I don’t! I think the first line of the theme song sums up how I feel right now! “And you don’t seem to understand”

Erica: No, I don’t understand! Lain has been replaced? There are still 4 episodes; maybe it’ll all make sense soon?

Kris: it’s the grey in the Freddie Kruger sweater!

Lain Alien

Erica: Why are we getting a history lesson on the Roswell incident and the Manhattan project? And Native American narcotics… What does this have to do with Lain and the wired? I don’t know, this is getting really hard to follow.

Kris: I think it’s always been hard to follow. I’ve been half paying attention, and I know I’ve been drinking, but I don’t think I remember this being this weird!

Erica: I swear I watched the whole thing not too long ago, but I am so lost right now. I think the whole point is that you’re not supposed to know what’s real and what’s the wired.

Kris: END OF EPISODE 9!!  I still have no clue. 4 to go and maybe I’ll get it

Erica: I think the last episode was supposed to reveal something important… But with all the random information about Roswell and things like that, I didn’t catch it. And now she’s meeting god, who is really freaking creepy.

Kris: Finally a small explanation! It’s starting to show that Lain her self might be part of the wired, and not a real human after all.

Erica: I guess the men in black are going to arrest the Knights now… or kill them, apparently. Lain has a wire clipped to her lip, doesn’t that hurt?

Kris: end of episode 10, things are starting to get explained a bit better now, we are starting to learn the origins of lain herself.

Erica: Episode 11. By now, Lain is pretty much inhuman. She’s almost entirely consumed by the wired. Is this a recap episode?

Kris: If this entire episode is a crazy rock ‘n’ roll recap of the series that I just watched I’m going to be really pissed!

Erica: Does a series as short as this really need a recap episode? With how confused we are… maybe.

Kris: it didn’t help though; the recap was as convoluted as the rest of the series! Also Lain is now fully integrated in, almost as if she is her own computer, tabs and stickies all up on her face! And talking to GOD!?

Erica: God just told her she’s software. Poor Lain. Hey, it’s that chick that killed herself in the first episode! And the guy from the club. Looks like they’re on opposite sides when it comes to suicide, which is odd considering they both killed themselves.

Kris: um end of episode 11.  There was a bit of explanation, I still have not one clue! 2 left, come on Lain help me out!

Erica: I’m confused, Lain already altered the past once, now she has to do it again? And as an alien? Alliteration! Time for episode 12.

Kris: I bet if you watch this backwards you find out that Paul has been dead all along!

Erica: Well, someone’s not dead anyway. The men in black aren’t too happy. And one of them is convulsing? What the hell? And he’s dead. Well ok then.

Kris: so Arisu is going crazy because she is the only one who can remember everything, honestly I feel like I would be the same, if I became the only one who could remember things happening then I would wonder if I was just making them all up!

Erica: Lain just told Arisu that she’s a program designed to break down the barrier between the wired and the real world. And god is back. I don’t like him, he’s creepy.

Kris: God looks like a weird emo kid, not exactly what I thought the creator would look like, but I digress. Lain’s room is awesome now; she is fully integrated into the wired, seeing as though she is the main program that runs it. Okay, shit just got weird; like I guess weirder that it had before! End of episode 12. One to go, you have lots of ‘splainin’ to do Lain!

Erica: Last episode. Hopefully there’s some sort of grand finale that ties this all together… How does slapping someone make them bleed? I think Arisu’s finally lost it.

Kris: so I guess Lain just did a hard reset! What did I just send the last 5 hours watching!

Erica: So final thoughts: This is a really weird series. I’m not entirely sure what happened. I guess Lain was always a program written by “god”, given a body to… what? Experience human life? Change the course of humanity? Break down the barriers between the wired and the real world? But she never really did any of that, she just reset the world and everything went back to normal, like she was never there. I don’t know, I think there was supposed to be some big, overreaching theme that I’m just not getting.

Kris: I learned a few things from watching this show; I was much smarter as a teen when I felt like I actually got it, Yoshitoshi ABe is as an amazing artist, and Franzia boxes leak (especially when you have white carpet!). This Anime is very strange, I didn’t hate it, I will never hate it, it’s stuck in my memories as good as it was 13 years ago when I saw it for the first time.

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Sony vs Microsoft (or Who Will Win My Money this Christmas) /2013/06/11/sony-vs-microsoft-or-who-will-win-my-money-this-christmas/ /2013/06/11/sony-vs-microsoft-or-who-will-win-my-money-this-christmas/#comments Tue, 11 Jun 2013 06:01:03 +0000 /?p=4202 Like most gamers, I spent my Monday watching the two major console builders show off the newest games for their latest platforms at the e3 conference. Between Microsoft and Sony, there was plenty of eye candy for gamers, as well as some interesting revelations.

Xbox one

I’ll start with Microsoft and their new unit, the Xbox One. This console has a lot of problems and most of them seem to punish the Xbox fanbase. The newest version has an always on Kinect unit that is required for the console to even function. It can be used for voice control and motion control of the Xbox, but honestly I feel like that’s just a gimmick.  If I have the controller for the unit in my hand, I’m going to be using that and not swiping at the air like an idiot. My second issue with the Kinect unit is its scary ability to take random videos and pictures of your den or bedroom and upload them to the cloud for the world to see or Microsoft to collect; they haven’t really been forth coming with that bit and while they mentioned vague “software shut off” options, I like my privacy enough not to risk it.

The other elephant in the room at the Microsoft reveal was the Xbox’s need for an permanent internet connection. That’s not just for multiplayer gaming or watching Netflix – this thing checks in once every 24 hours and if you are not connected, you lose the ability to play ANYTHING until it can call home.  That to me is a BIG NO! I’m sorry I bought your game and I spent your inflated prices to play, but I expect to be able to even if, say, my internet is out or I live on an oil rig, or I’m deployed to Afghanistan and my Xbox one is the only thing keeping me sane. This also makes it possible for Microsoft to enact some really selfish rules on your gaming habits.

For a quick explanation, the current model of gaming is pretty easy. Joe buys a game new at $60, takes it home, and plays it. When he’s done, he has a variety of choices: he can keep it forever and replay it when he wants to, he can trade it in at his local game store, sell it on Craigslist or to some one he knows, or he can give it to a friend. But Microsoft’s new model is not so open. When Joe buys his $60 game, takes it home, and pops it into his new Xbox One, the first thing this does is installs it to the system ala a real computer.  Then he can play (so long as he has an internet connection). If he finishes the game and wants his buddy to play it, he can’t just hand the disc over to his friend.  He has to register the game with Microsoft and his friend has to pay a fee to play the game, not to mention be on his friends list for at least 30 days. Or he can trade the game to a registered game store. Both of these can only be done once. All of these things make me really very hesitant to dig in and buy the Xbox One.

PlayStation 4

On Sony’s side, however, things seem much less scary. Firstly, there is NO DRM on the PS4 (meaning you can trade games freely), and no required internet connection. If you want to play Watch Dogs while at your remote cabin, then go for it.  They won’t know or care, and the PlayStation EYE is an optional accessory that will in no way take random videos of you picking your nose on your couch (good for those who are worried about privacy). This console is on my radar in a big way and, while I was previously an Xbox user, I will probably convert to PlayStation in November, when the PS4 is released.

Screen shot of PS4 promises from their e3 announcement.

Screen shot of PS4 promises from their e3 announcement.

From what I saw from e3, tech savvy adult gamers will not buy what Microsoft is selling in the Xbox One.  In an age when privacy and ease of use are kings, the only gamers willing to deal with the constrictions of the new Xbox will be teenagers who don’t know any better and just want whatever console will play the latest Call of Duty.  The best advice I can offer is to do your research when choosing a new console.  Twenty minutes of internet reading can save you a lot of money and headaches, especially concerning privacy issues and hidden costs/restrictions.

President and CEO of SCEA looking rather smug as he announces no DRM or constant internet for the PS4.

President and CEO of SCEA looking rather smug as he announces no DRM or constant internet for the PS4.



Kris Signature

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Tech Review: Canon Rebel T3i /2013/05/14/canon-t3i-camera-review/ /2013/05/14/canon-t3i-camera-review/#comments Tue, 14 May 2013 06:01:30 +0000 /?p=3871 x280T3i55-o_frontsize

So I lost my job and decided that the best way to spend my severance money was on a camera. After an exhaustive search of consumer reports and they guy at Mike’s Camera, I settled on the T3i for several reasons.

  •  First off, I’ve never really been an avid photographer – I’ve forgotten my point and shoot at home for more than one vacation – but everybody who has been unfortunate enough to view what I’ve taken all say I’m “pretty good.” So ,I went with the camera that was “pretty good”.  It’s by no means a pro series camera, but it gets the job done and done well.
  •  Nextly the price, all together my kit was a bit more than $1000 bucks but with that, I got the T3i body, Canon EF-S 18-135mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS lens, 2 batteries for the camera, HDMI cable that I’ll probably never use, UV filter and a 16GB SD memory card. So with all that, I would say it’s not too bad.
  •  Lastly, accessories: there are many, many, MANY things that you can get to bring this camera up to snuff and allow it to grow with you as you grow as a photobug. From over 300 different lenses ranging from super close up macro lenses, to all out telephoto zoom lenses that will let you pick out a bug on a windshield across the street. So far for my collection, I’ve picked up another lens Canon EF 75-300mm 1:4-5.6 telephoto zoom, Lowepro Fastpack 100 Backpack, Flash diffuser, and a set of Polaroid filters, and, coming to me as I write this, is a new strap (we’ll get in to that later) and battery grip.



  •  This camera is so much better than I thought it was when I bought it. The pictures come out amazing, crisp clean, everything that I could have asked for.
  • The picture quality – for a consumer quality entry level DSLR this thing has an 18MP sensor! That’s like 16 more than my point and shoot!
  • It’s fairly light weight and can comfortably be carried around all day given the correct strap (again I’ll get into that in a minute).
  • The battery life is awesome; I’ve shot all day at the zoo taking hundreds of photos and not even cracked the shell on the charge.
  • It’s easy to use and understand.  I’ve never really used a good SLR camera and never had a DSLR before but all the settings are straight forward and up front.
  • It’s comfortable; it sits in your hand very nicely, the grips feel natural even for someone with long fingers, such as myself.



  •  THE STRAP! To put it kindly, this thing sucks! 2 hours into a 6 hour carry, it was gouging my neck so bad I kept checking for blood. It’s too short, and by that I mean by about 6-8 inches, the safe way to carry a camera of this size is slung over you shoulder with it coming to rest under your opposing arm, reach over grab with your main hand and call it happy, but if you carry this thing like that, you are forced to crane your neck and look like a tool, so you are forced to carry over on shoulder and lead it to the possibility of slipping off if you start walking to briskly (at a normal pace).
  • The flash – I’ve never taken a photo with this flash that wasn’t washed out or had hard shadows. Even when using this as a supporting light source to say THE SUN, hard shadows, the only way to really elevate this is by either procuring an electronic adjustable and aim-able flash for around $250-$400 bucks, or a flash diffuser, which softens the light coming off of the built-in flash unit and lessens the hard shadows.


So, this camera is a great buy if you are just coming into the world of digital photography.  It is easy enough to use for a true beginner, but will grow with you as your skills improve.


My niece, Piper. Piper! Regal Zed Zed is the fattest. The view of Golden from Lookout Mountain Neighbor dog Spot Ben at Garden of the Gods Cheeky giraffe is cheeky Elephant House (Denver Zoo) Goose in water (Denver Zoo) Two Monkeys (Denver Zoo) Happiest Lion Evar (Denver Zoo) Pikes Peak (view from Garden of the Gods) Sarah Darby is mad at this lens.


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May the Fourth Be With You! /2013/05/04/may-the-fourth-be-with-you/ /2013/05/04/may-the-fourth-be-with-you/#comments Sat, 04 May 2013 07:00:28 +0000 /?p=3798 IMG_0915

I have a confession to make, I don’t actually like Star Wars … I freaking love it. From the first time I saw it when I was 9, I was in awe. The lore of the Jedi just grabbed me and sucked me in, everything in the Star Wars universe was what my nine year old brain thought was magic. Darth Vader was my hero, growing up I always had to play him when we played Star Wars in the neighborhood which was fine with all the other kids as they wanted to be Luke and Han Solo, but not me! I could wield a tree branch light saber with the best of them. then started my collection, I have A LOT of grey and black around the house. from my prized Lego Tie Fighter Advanced, to my stand up full sized Vader cut out. Anybody who’s been to my apartment knows he has a hat for every occasion.


Star Wars means to me what I feel like it means to a lot of kids in my generation, it’s a huge part of our identity, it’s what may of us think when we think of our first movie. watching those old (episodes 4-6) movies will always bring me back to being 9 years old, sitting in the basement of my dad’s house in the dark watching Darth Vader force choke some peon for talking back. With the recent accusition by Disney of Lucas Arts, I can only hope that they treat my beloved franchise as well as they have Marvel. I need this from you Disney, please for nerds and geeks everywhere please don’t kidify Star Wars, the last three movies were let’s be honest, not great, please let the next 3 make me 9 years old again.



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P.S. Han shot first!

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Contains Spoilers: Doctor Who Episode 7.7 /2013/04/03/contains-spoilers-doctor-who-episode-7-7/ /2013/04/03/contains-spoilers-doctor-who-episode-7-7/#comments Wed, 03 Apr 2013 06:01:25 +0000 /?p=3603 Doctor Who CS

This post contains spoilers about “Doctor Who” Episode 7.7.  If you don’t want to be spoiled, DO NOT read on!


7.7Episode 7.7: The Bells of St. John


Directed by Colm McCarthy

Written by Steven Moffat


A young man warns the internet about a dangerous Wifi connection that is causing people to disappear.  At the end of his video, we learn that he also used the connection and he has disappeared as well.  In 1207, the Doctor receives a phone call from Clara, living in present day London and nannying for a small family.  She thinks the number connects her to a tech help line and hopes to get instructions on connecting to the Wifi.  When she types the wrong password for the home Wifi, she uses the ominous and dangerous connection.  She and the Doctor must do battle with the unnamed company as they attempt to suck the souls from the human race into their giant information cloud for “the Client”.

I thought they did an excellent job of introducing Clara to the audience in “Asylum of the Daleks” and “The Snowmen”.  She already felt like she meshed well with the Doctor, and even though she doesn’t know about their history yet, he does, and I could tell he already felt a connection to her.  So far, she seems like the smartest and most logical of the companions and I think she’s going to challenge the Doctor in a way he hasn’t been before.  I’m anxious to see how their relationship develops.  As a techie, it was cool to see “evil Wifi” used as a villain and I was surprised at how realistic they portrayed computer usage.  I did wonder how they would attack a person if their computer happened to not have a webcam, though.  The newest Who monster, the Spoonheads, are super creepy!

This episode had a lot of great call backs, including the boy Clara nannies for and his book, written by Amelia Williams (which you’ll be able to buy from rbooks on Thursday, April 4th)!  I really liked how he was on Chapter 10 and she told him he would love Chapter 11 and that it would make him cry.  She also creates a mnemonic for the family’s Wifi password (“Run you clever boy and remember”) that refers to her last words to the Doctor as Dalek Oswin and Clara Oswin Oswald.  This phrase also appears on the Doctor’s painting when he was a monk in 1207.  In another link to previous Oswin episodes, the Spoonheads are actually working for the Great Intelligence – the secret identity of the ominously titled Client.  The fez makes a reappearance!  And did you all notice the 4th Doctor-style scarf hanging in the hallway?  I’m wondering if it is just an homage or if it’s a clue about the upcoming 50th anniversary episode.


Mysteries to solve this season:

Who is “the woman in the shop” who gave Clara the Doctor’s number?

What is the significance of Summer Falls by Amelia Pond?

How does Clara become a dalek?


Line of the night:  ”Because it’s a surprisingly accurate description!” – The Doctor in response to Clara asking why he refers to the TARDIS as a mobile phone.

Doctor FliesOswin Twitter



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My Life in Computers /2013/02/27/my-life-in-computers/ /2013/02/27/my-life-in-computers/#comments Wed, 27 Feb 2013 07:01:04 +0000 /?p=3311 Hi, I’m Kris and I’m a geek.  I see nothing wrong with being a geek.  In fact I love every second of becoming overly excited about technology, or the +200 to Agility epic ring that just dropped in my WoW [World of Warcraft] raid (yes, I play a hunter and yes, I squeaked when it dropped, ask my raid mates).  I’ve built gaming machines, I’ve put full computer systems in cars, but mostly I spend my days programming, and learning. And that’s where this blog starts.

One of my earliest memories was my dad bringing home our first computer.  It was a custom built Intel i386 with something in the neighborhood of 4Mb of ram and a 10meg hard drive – TOP OF THE LINE! She ran MSDoS (I can’t remember the version) and Microsoft Windows 3.1 from a boot loader. This is where I fell in love. I started by changing the color scheme (eggplant). And then I found BASIC.

There were pre-programmed in games, my favorite being Gorilla. Another player and I (usually my sister) used angles and velocity to hit our opponents with exploding bananas. Super simple stuff, but there were words that came up before the program. They didn’t make any sense, but I had to know what they did. I read the entire program, and I started changing it – 10 is now 20, simple things. Soon, I figured out that if I changed certain things, only the left gorilla would be accurate, or no matter what I put in it would always hit on the first shot (Kirsten, if you read this; I’m sorry!).


Gorilla screenshot

I was hooked. I started leaning everything I could, watching TV shows about computers, taking books from the library at school, and just sitting and experimenting with this machine that my dad had brought home. After a few years we bought a new one – a Windows 95 Pentium II. Now, this was a step up! It had a 1 gig hard drive and there was no way I was ever going to fill that, right? RIGHT! We also got this amazing thing called the “internet”, AOL to be exact. I was enthralled, suddenly I had this HUGE resource of information I could learn anything. I joined UseNet groups for computers and was just reading and teaching myself whatever I could. Soon, my dad upgraded this machine to Windows 98 and then Windows 98SE.




When I was old enough to want my own computer, I begged and begged, and finally I was told that if I built it my self it would be bought for me. My father and I went down to my local computer shop and we picked out the parts – PIII, 512Mb of ram, a gaming video card and a sound card. All of the parts were brought home and I sat at my kitchen table and built it out.  In all, it was two days of work. I installed Windows ME. I hated it. My brand new computer seemed to run slower than my dads 4 year old one. I asked my geek friends at school. I had installed a bad operating system. Microsoft was going the way of the dodo. They told me about Linux.

Linux: OMG!


Some people have told me they don’t think a fat penguin really embodies the grace of Linux, which just tells me they have never seen an angry penguin charging at them in excess of 100mph. They’d be a lot more careful about what they say if they had.

 - Linus Torvalds, Linux creator

This new OS was where it was at. It was free, I could do what I wanted to with it, it was free, it looked amazing, ran fast, did I mention … it was free! I started with SUSE Pro and Gnome 2. I could make it do what ever I wanted, build websites for class, play on the Internet, play games (mostly Quake II), and I finally had a system that I could learn the back end of. That first year, I probably had to rebuild my computer 2 dozen times because I broke something in my OS that I couldn’t fix.

Through the years, I would bounce from SUSE to RedHat and back around, on desktops, a few laptops, and finally servers in actual work functions. In fact, until I started at my current job, I hadn’t actually used a Windows machine in about 8 years, and completely missed XP and Vista, but I suppose that I didn’t miss anything there.

Then we come to my current obsession… Apple. I avoided it like the plague because the quality of the desktop hardware didn’t warrant the price. Then, one day I realized that every time I updated my laptop I had to go back and fix something that had broken or rebuild drivers that no longer worked, so I started doing research. Unlike the standard desktops, Apple laptops have top of the line hardware and OSX is built on a UNIX background, which means I can do all of my scripting for work. So, now I have a MacBook Pro in addition to my PC gaming computer, as well as a Mac Pro desktop for experimenting. And honestly I can’t really live without them. I use them every day.

For people interested in computers, the best thing I can suggest is to get in there and play around. Classes and certification tests are great for your resume, but you’ll learn the most from experimenting, and especially screwing up.  Start out with Ubuntu if you want to start working with Linux.  There are plenty of open source forums that can help you out if you get stuck!  Sites like Newegg are great for building a custom computer from the ground up – which is easier than you probably think, and definitely cheaper than buying ready made.


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And She Still Married Me … /2013/02/14/and-she-still-married-me/ /2013/02/14/and-she-still-married-me/#comments Thu, 14 Feb 2013 07:30:23 +0000 /?p=3158 A lot of my stories end with me saying, “…and she still married me.”  Now that I think of it, I’m damn lucky I haven’t died of malnutrition by now, because if Tab hadn’t married me, I’d be eating this kind of stuff on a regular basis:

Junk Food

My grocery shopping from the last time Tab went out of town


The first time Tab and I hung out, we went cosmic bowling with a bunch of people from Gunther Toody’s.  Tab doesn’t bowl, so she sat in the back in the smoking/eating area while the rest of us rolled gutter balls under rave lights and insanely loud music.  I smoked at the time, and I figured that having a cigarette was a great, low key way of talking to her.  After each of my turns, I sat next to her and smoked a cigarette.  I think we played about five games, which equaled about 2 1/2 packs of cigarettes in four hours.  Needless to say, I was pretty sick by the time I got home.  But I didn’t care, because I spent the night hanging out with an awesome girl.

We went bowling on our first date, too.  (I know, I know … you’d think I’d have learned my lesson.)  It was a double date, and since my friend Andy was driving, he got to choose the activity.  We headed to Andy’s parents’ house afterwards and decided to spend the evening watching “Simpsons” episodes.  Our first kiss happened to coincide with the moment when Homer discovers that he can get pork chops in the middle of the night while visiting his brother, Herb.  I actually stopped in the middle of the kiss to say, “Mmmm … pork chops” along with Homer.

Pork Chops


And she still married me, guys.



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