Product Review: The Google Chromecast

I love my Google Chromecast. It’s light weight, cheap, simple to use and is very transportable. I’ve tried many bulky pieces of equipment to enhance my home theater experience such as a Roku, Google TV, and Apple TV. For all the extra features those products could provide, and the extra costs they had to have them, Google Chromecast is the only that has given me exactly what I needed. Sometimes less is more; this is one of those cases.

One thing the other products failed to appreciate is how much of my time is based on my laptop, and how readily available it (or my iphone) is. I don’t need a second computer to run my TV. My laptop has everything I need so making the main media hub makes sense. No additional keyboards or remotes needed.

Chromecast uses your wifi network and its built-in HDMI jack to create a media bridge between your computer and your TV. Once connected you will need to download the Chromecast extension for your chrome browser. Once it place you’ll have the ability connect your browser (and everything on it) to your screen. If you want to play movies then all you need to do is drag your movie file into Chrome and the browser will play it as well. If you want to share your desktop with your screen just use the Beta screen casting option – which is still a bit hit or miss.

I don’t need more and I am happy to pay less. (Chromecast is 66% less than most alternatives in the market today.) If you haven’t taken the leap to get one I suggest you do, or make sure it is on your christmas list 🙂

The Know Nothing Party. The past finds a home when you aren’t looking.

I was watching Gangs of New York and some of the anti-equality debate in the movie sounded familiar. So, I started looking things up – as I love to do.

It’s funny how every generation has a group composed of those that are sure others are less equal to them, and believe their way of life is threatened, in this case occurring over 100 years ago.

The “Know Nothing” party was a political group created for the those that feared change. The differences they found to mark their divide were the “native” vs. the “non native” (AKA fresh of the boat irish vs. those born here) and the divisions of Christianity each gang chose as their own.

Check out the write up on the Know-Nothing party here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_Nothing, http://history1800s.about.com/od/immigration/a/knownothing01.htm), or on your own. Utterly amazing how little somethings change.

Hate and inequality seems to always find a way to influence those who think they are protecting tradition.

I guess a question to ask is, will your party, group, or even your name make its way onto that page for your kid’s kids to read 50 years from now so they can say, “wow, how stupid were they?!”

 

The Know Nothing Party. The past finds a home when you aren't looking.

I was watching Gangs of New York and some of the anti-equality debate sounded familiar. So, I started looking things up as I love to do.

It’s funny how every generation has a group of their own that are composed of those that are sure others are less equal to them, and their way of life is threatened. What I found even more interesting was  what was threatening the lives of the political parties of our past, more than 100 years ago.

The “Know Nothing” party was political group created for the those that feared change, and was wiling to kill to keep those unlike themselves out of their towns in the late 1800’s. The differences they found to mark their divide were the “native” vs. the “non native” (AKA fresh of the boat irish vs. those born here) and the divisions of Christianity each gang chose as their own.

Check out the write up on the Know-Nothing party here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_Nothing, http://history1800s.about.com/od/immigration/a/knownothing01.htm), or on your own. Utterly amazing how little somethings change.

Hate and inequality seems to always find a way to sneak its head into the eyes of those thinking they are prototecting tradition.

I guess a question to ask is, will your party, group, or even your name make its way onto that page for your kid’s kids to read 50 years from now so they can say, “wow, how stupid were they?!”

 

Some more good documentries

Art & Copy
Art & Copy

Art & Copy

The moment I saw the previews for this movie I wanted to see it. In your face PR and Marketing that stands up in the face of have-to’s and mediocrity. You will not watch this movie an feel uninspired, especially if you have an idea or two bouncing around in your head.


Crips & Bloods
Crips & Bloods

Crips and Bloods

An etymological look at the notorious gangs formed in LA known as the Bloods and Crips. It was interesting to see the movie’s point of view on how slavery, civil rights and unrest and racism slowly and with little stabs at this south LA community created resentment and hate the bubbled up into an uncontrollable burst of violence. It was also interesting to see the physiological introspection and consciousness that the gangsters in this movie possessed. They are able to self reflect even with a low education, low income and low social awareness communities which makes for an interesting view. Honestly they made some pretty good points about the one-sided nature of history related to south LA and gangs. Another interesting moment is how 3 boys described how they wanted to be in the Boy Scouts of America and were not allowed because they were black and how it turned out to be the 3 creators of what ended up being the seed to what grew into the Bloods and Crips and LA gangs as we know it in its stead. Yes, this movie is pretty one-sided from the view point of the gangster as a victim but walking through the history I would be pretty pissed too.


Afghan Star
Afghan Star

Afghan Star

Pretty maddening Movie. This movie tracks the stars of the new show Afghan Star (An Afghan rip-off of American idol) after Afghanistan had recently softened its stance on singing, TV and entertainment being banned from the country. The maddening part is watching people praise their new found freedom and love for the ability to finally express themselves as being “an empty house finally filled in their soul” and then having to watch those same people shake their head in disgust when a woman on the show decides to dance on TV to express her joy and passion for music. Watch this movie and step back and think how often are we so short-sided with freedom, vs real freedom. (Bloods and Crips also has a — when is freedom freedom aspect to it as well in a very different way).


Helvetica
Helvetica

Helvetica

Okay, when I saw this movie I was really intrigued so I was looking forward to watching it. For one, how much can a movie dive into one font? Secondly, these people are passionate about design. In all honesty it was kind of long and it got old halfway through but the first half was full of info and good tidbits on design, business and how a font can be so influential and have such history. To be honest I never finished it.

Boxee

Boxee
Boxee

Isaac just demoed a great peice of software for the mac or PC called Boxee. Boxee is loaded on your computer and plays online video from hundreds of sources including videos from your local hard drive, hulu, youtube, and digg. Simply hook your computer up to your TV and watch these shows and click through options and menus with your remote. Best of all its an open source project so downloading is free and you are able to improve the product or add your own video modukes as you please.

Since Boxee allows you to login to your favorite social networks you can see what friends are watching while you watch and more. The bads: since it’s open source and downloaded software when a web site  that boxee pulls from is changed those interfaces in Boxee fail as well until you download a newer build. Its a great tool and relly merges computer with tv experience, definitly a project that has been needed for a long time and meant for the open soure community.

See more about what Boxee can do below:

Oh Good, it’s the Downfall of Watchmen


Downfall
Downfall

Downfall (with eng subtitles)

This movie was pretty long but all in all I would say it was a good movie. It provoked a new found interest into WWI and the fact the the movie focused all of its attention to the last week or so that Hitler was in power from the perspective of those in the bunker with him in Berlin was interesting. The german guy who played hitler was very convincing and intense and it was eai to watch how faithfully those around him followed him to the end. Without giving to much away the end was almost sureal with the way each officer valued thier lifes and how much tinnel vision fell upon the camp. It was worth seeing and a nice mix of docu/drama.


Watchmen
Watchmen

Watchmen

At first glance I can see many people finding this movie a bit campy at times and unnessacarily perverse or gory. For those that give it a chance and take the movie in has a whole, not only as a parody but a desertation on the human condition, they will get hours of pleasure afterwards in debate and conversation with friends.  The movie is set in a aletrnate unniverse where Nixon has been re-elected 8 times vietnam was won and vigilatism became an acceptable government backed measure against war and crime; those vigilantis dawned costumes to protect thier identity. No charatcter has any super powers except for one, Dr. Manhatten. The author does an excelent job at poken fun at man kind at thier unnessacary need for right an wrong. Each character eggegertated a principle of man kind. I feel like one could write a paper on this movie a hundred times over…..My brief character anylization would be The comedian realized that anyone who thought there was a right and wrong was fooling themselves and he acted on what he as a human fealt like doing with no restriction, Royjcak was idealistic to his core and could not comprimise becuase of those ideals weather it was life or death, Teh Night Own was a man who stood on the side lines, Vic thought he knew what was best for humanity and in some ways was right but was to logical to find the passion in life, and to me dr manahatten was Christ or god where he had all the power in the world but never actually did anything when he was needed all looked to him for answers and used him to fight wars he was an impotent giant in was…..like I said one could go for hours on chatacters and the ploty etc but this is a blog post and not a paper so I’ll stop there but there is depth in this movie that can get you thinking if youlet it.

Good
Good

Good

Two Nazi German movies in 1 week. Makes you think a bit about where we hav been as a people. Like Downfall Good depicted a not so tipical depcition of nazi germany. Set in the periphrelas of the WW II era Good gave a glimpse into how basic life was in Nazi Germany. How friends were seperated and a crazy leader reshaped the country and its people through power, elitism, seperation, persuasion, and propeganda. Its easy to say how could anyone do this when it comes to Nazi’sm, whats harder to do is truly try to undertsnad how regular people came to the conclusions they did.  The main character was a depiction of how every single comprimise on the smallest of levels can , althought not always, lead to one loss of relatity or belifs. I think the movie tended to jump around a bit to much and didnt flow as much as I would have liked. I personally didnt like the main charcters voice and over timidness, but it may have been impotant too show how his like of passion or ability to be concered with events unfolding led to his life being decided for him and being inndiferent doesnt neecesarily make you good.

Oh Good, it's the Downfall of Watchmen


Downfall
Downfall

Downfall (with eng subtitles)

This movie was pretty long but all in all I would say it was a good movie. It provoked a new found interest into WWI and the fact the the movie focused all of its attention to the last week or so that Hitler was in power from the perspective of those in the bunker with him in Berlin was interesting. The german guy who played hitler was very convincing and intense and it was eai to watch how faithfully those around him followed him to the end. Without giving to much away the end was almost sureal with the way each officer valued thier lifes and how much tinnel vision fell upon the camp. It was worth seeing and a nice mix of docu/drama.


Watchmen
Watchmen

Watchmen

At first glance I can see many people finding this movie a bit campy at times and unnessacarily perverse or gory. For those that give it a chance and take the movie in has a whole, not only as a parody but a desertation on the human condition, they will get hours of pleasure afterwards in debate and conversation with friends.  The movie is set in a aletrnate unniverse where Nixon has been re-elected 8 times vietnam was won and vigilatism became an acceptable government backed measure against war and crime; those vigilantis dawned costumes to protect thier identity. No charatcter has any super powers except for one, Dr. Manhatten. The author does an excelent job at poken fun at man kind at thier unnessacary need for right an wrong. Each character eggegertated a principle of man kind. I feel like one could write a paper on this movie a hundred times over…..My brief character anylization would be The comedian realized that anyone who thought there was a right and wrong was fooling themselves and he acted on what he as a human fealt like doing with no restriction, Royjcak was idealistic to his core and could not comprimise becuase of those ideals weather it was life or death, Teh Night Own was a man who stood on the side lines, Vic thought he knew what was best for humanity and in some ways was right but was to logical to find the passion in life, and to me dr manahatten was Christ or god where he had all the power in the world but never actually did anything when he was needed all looked to him for answers and used him to fight wars he was an impotent giant in was…..like I said one could go for hours on chatacters and the ploty etc but this is a blog post and not a paper so I’ll stop there but there is depth in this movie that can get you thinking if youlet it.

Good
Good

Good

Two Nazi German movies in 1 week. Makes you think a bit about where we hav been as a people. Like Downfall Good depicted a not so tipical depcition of nazi germany. Set in the periphrelas of the WW II era Good gave a glimpse into how basic life was in Nazi Germany. How friends were seperated and a crazy leader reshaped the country and its people through power, elitism, seperation, persuasion, and propeganda. Its easy to say how could anyone do this when it comes to Nazi’sm, whats harder to do is truly try to undertsnad how regular people came to the conclusions they did.  The main character was a depiction of how every single comprimise on the smallest of levels can , althought not always, lead to one loss of relatity or belifs. I think the movie tended to jump around a bit to much and didnt flow as much as I would have liked. I personally didnt like the main charcters voice and over timidness, but it may have been impotant too show how his like of passion or ability to be concered with events unfolding led to his life being decided for him and being inndiferent doesnt neecesarily make you good.

Gehry Up

Gehry Sketch
Gehry Sketch

Sketches of Frank Gehry (2005)

Just saw a pretty cool documentry called Sketches of Frank Gehry. Frank gehry is and artist/ architect that is probably most known for his Disney concert hall or the the  Guggenheim in Spain. The docuemntry exposes a man who cares nothing fro conformity and captures the essance of entrepenuership. He quits his job as an architect as as he puts it “he has nnever been hapier”

Check out a trailer here or more on imdb here

Frank Gehry
Frank Gehry
Guggenheim
Guggenheim
Disney
Disney

Go Up and Transform your Hangover

Up
Up

UP

Fantastic movie. It reminded me of one of my first novels I read as a child, James and the Giant Peach. I am very fond of movies that take a side story, or a backdrop to the story and make those peripherals rife in fantasy. The rest of the aspects of the movie are very true to life, in this case a fatherless boy and a scard old man. This movie was funny but didn’t create a comic relief character that pulled the audience to far from the story for a cheap laugh.  It was full of great life messages, a few tear-jerkers, and a glimmer of insipration here and there. The movie did an awesome job with “shorts”, where a life time of information was passed on to the viewer gracefully and memorably in very little time. I saw the  3D version and I think it gave a new dimension to movie (no pun intended). It’s not a game changer but it is much like not seeing 20/20 and then getting a pair of glasses. I may be crazy but I could have sworn something wasn’t quite right as a certain select few scenes made my eyes cross for a second.


The Hangover

The Hangover

Yes this movie is funny, that’s its goal, no doubt about it. Unfortunately, I think I was a victim of over hype by my friends. In my opinion it’s your responsibility as a friend to decrease expectation and allow the person you are describing the movie to be pleasantly suprsed not unfortunatly disapointed. One of my firends described it well, ‘its almost like the whole movie was built up for the credits at the end’ – you’ll see what he means. So, my advice, see it for a good luagh but dont go in there expecting to much if you want to get the most out of it. — Or just watch it drunk.

Transformers II
Transformers II

Transformers II Rise of the Fallen

I had a bad feeling going into this movie that I was not going to like it. Being that I loved transformers as a kid I had to give it a shot in a theater with all the bells and whists since its a CGI, and action pact film. As I stated above I’m happy I went in withte attitude so I wasnt upset walking out but much of the story was forced, and fairly cheesy. It was 2 1/2 hours so it was fairly long, it didnt have to be as there was allot of superflous scenes inthe move that didnt give the viewer any benifit at seeing. It is a kids movie even though it isnt rated as such and I dont know if I’m just getting or bt the vulgarity in it was few and far between but intense and unessecary when it would peek its head. There was conserviatism undertones and I feel like Michael Bay must be a stonch republican they way somethings were laid out. BUT the action was cool and the fighting scenes got me at the edge of my seat. I hate to nit-pick but I found myself lost form time to time when the robots would battle one another.  It was confising to see who was hitting who at times as the robots facad weresn’t clearly distinct from one another; a little more color would have helped.