Star Wars Fan Films

I spend a lot of time watching these. These are films created by fans and some are good and some are not so good. I enjoy them all. There are even awards given out by Atomfilms and Lucasfilms.

I always like to take into consideration how much time and effort is spent to do these and with very little to no real payback.

Of course, there are guidelines for making these types of films. announced that for 2007 they will be “expanding their guidelines to take in more types of movies than before.”[1] The contest imposes a time limit on entries—for the inaugural contest, it was 30 minutes, but this was lowered to 15 for the 2003–2005 contests. For 2006, the time limit was lowered again to 10 minutes. Entries must not contain nudity, excessive swearing, explicit sexual themes or graphic violence. In addition, no unlicensed copyrighted material may be used in the entries, with the exception of a small collection of approved sound effects. For 2006, the contest rules were revised to prohibit contributions by union members. In 2008, the contest has expanded to include mashups with footage from the Star Wars films.[2]

Here are some of my favorites so far…

A Clone Apart.

The I.M.P.S Material is absolutely fantastic! This link joins two Chapters together. I do not believe the 3rd Chapter has been released yet. I could be wrong on that.

You could literally spend hours of your life following all of the fan film links in YouTube. These are simply amazing. Check them out.

Drive by News: Xbox Rumours

Nice article over at Thurrott.

Sounds like we’ll be getting a choice for the next hardware installment of xBox.

One version will be an xBox with increased hardware. No worries on that one.

However, the second option — maybe not so much.

I’m not too excited about anything cloud based for the simple reason that if you live in a area with crappy internet, you’ll have issues trying to play games that you paid for. To me, that is crap.


Reporting on Non-Existing Consumer Products

The one thing I absolutely love about Apple is that they don’t announce something that they don’t have. You might not be able to buy it for a few months until production ramps up and they gauge how many units they can sell, but they’ve presented a REAL item.

Having said that, Stanford University is working on/developing a new type of battery storage. It is not ready to be purchased — hell, it may not even work on the scale they think it will so my question is — why report it?

There is plenty of “pie in the sky” in the article. It could do this…It might mean this…

There is even a COULD in the article’s title “Liquid metal battery could lower cost of storing renewable energy.” …and if your Grandmother had wheels she’d be a wagon.

The Origins of the RPG Programming Language

We use RPG where I work as part of the warehouse software platform. I was talking to my friend Chuck the other day and he gave me a great story about the origins of RPG. I’ll try to summarize…

Somewhere in the 1970s…

IBM had created three new computer systems called System 32, System 34, and System 36. The bigger numbers had more hardware as you might expect. The idea was to pitch these new computers to businesses and of course, sell as many of them as possible. IBM had a great sales team and as luck would have it, they sold a ton of these new machines.

During the rollout of these new machines it was quickly discovered that there wasn’t enough memory to run the existing customer programs and IBM went into panic mode. They did not want to issue any refunds. They turned to the software team and gave them a challenge to somehow, someway…figure out how the new computers could run the old existing software. They essentially locked this team in a closet.

From this crisis, RPG was born. It was very small and because it ran in a continuous loop it was a perfect solution.

RPG is still in use today on our IBM AS/400.

Is it a great language? Hell No.

But it works.

EU is a Big Fat Bully Who Wants Your Lunch Money

I equate the European Union (EU) to the bully at school that beats kids up and takes their lunch money.

Follow the Google link below for the latest bullying tactic.

They have fined Apple, Google, and Microsoft just to name a few. The reasoning is pretty weak and they just seem to be using their bullying tactics to extort money from the wealthy American companies. I’m pretty sure they care more about the revenue stream than protecting the rights of the downtrodden.

The EU declares war on American companies pretty much the same way that the small country did in the movie “The Mouse That Roared.” The whole premise of the movie was that if this small country could declare war on the United States and lose — the United States would pay them reparations which would boost their economy. My guess is that the officials in the EU have seen that movie and have taken it to the next level.

Engadget has a pretty good article giving you the background on the latest round with Google. The whole idea that Google is a bad guy for trying to get you to use its content is counterintuitive. Of course Google wants you to use its services. In case you missed it, that is how they make money. Taking that money from Google is how the EU makes money.

Getting out of the EU is probably the best thing Great Britain ever did. No-one wants to be associated with a bully when you want to make friends.

I think it would be awesome if the United States sued the EU for extortion.

They are a criminal organization that deserves NO less.

Update: 07.23.2018 – This little snippet from Engadget is extremely telling…

Google reportedly offered to make changes to its Android policies in August 2017, not long after it received an EU antitrust penalty for its product search practices. Although Google didn’t dive into specifics, it had offered to “loosen restrictions” in Android contracts and had considered distributing its apps in “two different ways.”

The EU wasn’t having it, according to the sources. Officials reportedly said only that a settlement was “no longer an option,” and that Google’s offer was “too little too late.” It couldn’t even mention the possibility of paying a fine as part of an agreement — regulators had effectively locked in their course of action.

Drums, Drums, and More Drums

I’ve switched to a Yamaha electronic drum set for practicing but I do plan on breaking this set out sometime soon.

There is no substitute for acoustic.

Update: 7.24.2018 – I’ve set the drums backup again right next to the electronic Yamaha kit. The drums are made by Pacific Drums and Percussion which is actually a division of DW (Drum Works).

Data Port Lock Down in 3..2..1

Apple. You brilliant bastard.

Let’s see you get around that one GrayKey.

Yes. I have written about this before. It just keeps getting better. Apple initially reduced the time that the data port could be active without a passcode to about a week. In iOS 12, the port was locked down after an hour. In the latest Beta (version 4), well…it is off unless you unlock it with a passcode which is what GrayKey can produce if only it had access to the data port…which it now — does not.

<insert hysterical laughter here>

iPhone Wish Feature

What I want is simple. If you call me and you are not in my contact list — your call should either be dropped or sent directly to voicemail. No ringing. I should have control over that function in settings and it should be ON by default.

If you are truly trying to get in touch with me then a voicemail message will confirm that and I can add you to my contacts list.

This isn’t rocket science and the amount of telemarketing calls has sky rocketed in the past couple of years.

It has become so bad that people no longer want to answer their phones and just prefer text messages and IMs.

Telemarketing is ruining healthy communication.

Yeah, I said it.

Jailed for not unlocking Phones

– It started out as a civil rights battle in a Tampa courtroom, and now a cell phone password might be a defendant’s key to freedom.

A judge threw William Montanez behind bars for failing to unlock his phones Thursday, which wasn’t how Montanez or his attorney expected their day in court to end.

“Basically, my client has been denied his liberty today without due process,” said attorney Patrick Leduc.

This guy has balls. Big. Huge. Balls. He is right, of course. The court has no reason to look at the man’s personal property outside of the case at hand. They are over-reaching, at the least. I’m sure lawyers out there will say the opposite but fonk them shizznods.

I don’t think I would have told them I forgot it. I would have told them simply, “No. You may not have the passcode to my phone(s). The reason? They don’t belong to you. They are personal property. Mine — and they are not yours therefore, you may not fonking have them. In fact, I may go so far as to say YOU are stealing. You know — since you took something that doesn’t belong to you.”

Disclaimer: I am not qualified to dispense legal advise but…I should be.

iPhone Survives 1000 ft Drop

via Apple Insider

According to WHO TV in Iowa the woman, Sarvinder Naberhaus, assumed the phone was gone, but upon landing she tried the Find My iPhone feature in an attempt to locate it. It didn’t work the first time, but before going to buy a new phone, she tried once more.

That second try, it turned out, was successful. After following the trail for a while, Naberhaus spotted the phone in tall grass in a residential neighborhood, without a scratch, while displaying a notification about an upcoming meeting.

“I literally went into shock,” said the second passenger Donna Johnson. “‘I asked this is this for real? Is that the same phone?'” and I said ‘this is a miracle phone, you can’t drop a phone 1000 feet and have it still work!'”

Naberhouse, the author of multiple books, told the TV station that incident is proof that “God has a sense of humor.”

I’m not sure about the last sentence. I would chalk this up to great engineering which actually, could have been influenced by the almighty.

Vacation – Part 2

This will be a 4 part event. I’ve already taken a solid week off last month. This month, I’ll take another week and then a week in August and then September before we head into “peak” season.

This is the first year that I’ve taken the vacation I’ve been given. I usually have so much going on that I don’t really get to take the time.

I am grateful for it. I have a boss who likes to see his employees take some time away to refresh the batteries.

I am really torn between writing music or writing short stories. Music may win this time. I have some song ideas I’d like to explore and write.

Man Charged in Stabbing…has NO arms

Sad but true from Reuters

(Reuters) – A 46-year-old homeless man with no arms was arrested in Miami Beach, Florida, for stabbing another man with a pair of scissors using his feet, police said on Wednesday.

Florida native Jonathan Crenshaw stabbed a 22-year-old Chicago man twice with the scissors before running away, according to the Miami Beach Police Department report on Crenshaw’s early Tuesday arrest.

I really don’t know who is at fault but I’ll probably side with the homeless guy with no arms.

AI is Starting to Get Uncomfortable

Alibaba has an AI that they claim has passed the Turing test. However, they are using it for writing ad copy.

The Chinese-language tool is reportedly able generate copy that can be “promotional, functional, fun, poetic or heartwarming” with a single button click, and will be used on mainly Alibaba’s version of Amazon in China, Tmall and Taobao. There’s no word if it’s being developed for other languages just yet.

Unfortunately, I could see the real life Terminator shizz play out while I am still around. I was hoping to avoid it altogether. People do not pay attention or learn from movies, books, or history.

Oh Yeah! Another Power Outage!

This is super cool. Well, since it is currently 92 degrees maybe cool is the wrong word.

Power went off around 11:00 am. Projected time of repair is 2:30 pm.

Makes for an interesting start to the week.

My guess is that a power transformer exploded (heat related) but it could just as easily be a stupid motherfonker who hit a stupid motherfonking telephone pole. Telephone poles, in and of themselves, is a funny term because we don’t use landlines anymore.

Update: 3:47 pm“They” do not anticipate power restoration until the early evening hours. Some gizmo or “do-dad’ broke. It’s technical.

Updated: 7.16.2018Added a cool photo I took in extremely low light conditions.