The End Is But The Beginning

April 17, 2011

All right folks.  It’s with heavy heart that I must say this: I have decided that the time has come to end this magical ride on my Mackintosh Fun Time blog.  I guess some of you who are old-school TV fanatics may have picked up on this from the title I used, which is an episode title of the old TV series that turned into a Harrison Ford movie, “The Fugitive”.

But the reality is, I have burned out, and it’s not fun anymore to blog about the Apple stuff I love.  Given the old adage, when it’s no longer fun to do something, you might as well stop doing it.

And the worst part of it is, my iPhone’s Sleep/Wake switch decided it was going to stop working about a week or two ago, and I’ve had to adapt ever since.  I even got myself a new Nintendo 3DS this past week, which put all of this into a sharp, focused perspective for me.  Recently, I have found joy in things I never found much joy in before, and that in and of itself was a stark reminder to me that what I was doing here was no longer fun, or giving me any joy at all.  So, I’ll see you all later.

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Stu’s Show Background & Predictions

March 22, 2011

Tomorrow will be an event that I will be covering using my blog as the one place you can see a roundup of everything that is discussed (and not just the DVD news!) for the very first time.  I believe that I have spoken in the past about how much I really enjoy the Internet radio station Shokus Internet Radio, which is a radio station mainly aimed at baby boomers, but sometimes will have topics that interest me, the old soul that I am (because though I will be turning 25 this Friday, I have interests in classic cartoons and old game shows that seriously carbon date me, though everyone else seems to have the same interests).

And I have not spoken very much of Stu’s Show, and I am very remorseful that I haven’t mentioned it sooner, because it’s one of the best Internet radio shows out there right now, and it’s been about 4-5 years running now, and the format is essentially the same every week: Some incredibly interesting (or not, depends on the week really) Hollywood guest comes on the show to talk about any or all of these things, depending upon the guests in question: 1) The television industry, classic, modern, or both; 2) the movie industry, classic, modern, or both; or 3) the animation industry, whether it be classic, modern, 0r b0th.

This week’s guest is Jerry Beck, DVD supervisor extraordinaire and world-renowned cartoon expert, whom Stu Shostak, the host of Stu’s Show, has dubbed “The King of All Things Cartoons”, which he really is!  This time, it’s his first 2011 appearance, and the last time he was on the show, Jerry mentioned some major DVD news *might* be coming down the pike with this appearance.

Which is why, the week of my birthday, I am planning to blow things sky-high in terms of how I cover this event.  I’ve been live-tweeting the event before at my Twitter page (twitter.com/bjwanlund), but never have I done it quite like this.  This time, I’ve come up with a new name for what I’m doing, as well as a new hashtag to signify my live coverage of Jerry Beck’s appearances on Stu’s Show.

The new name (and resulting hashtag) I’m calling the Live Tweety (#LiveTweety).  Why this name?  Well, #1, it’s a spectacularly awful Looney Tunes pun, and #2, it meshes perfectly with the whole cartoon theme of the shows when Jerry Beck is on.  The other thing that I will do to cover this event is to create a nice write-up on here that rounds up all the topics that are covered on the show, and with my thoughts on the matter with my unique perspective as a cartoon fanatic.  I will be doing this for all the international members on the Golden Age Cartoons (or GAC for short) Forums who cannot stay up for the entirety of Stu’s Show in their home countries due to time zone differences.

So, with all this background, I have a few predictions, because any Apple blogger worth his or her salt understands the inevitable prediction posts before Apple’s events, usually filled with bizarro crackpot theories.  This time, however, I’m doing a prediction post before the next appearance by Jerry Beck on Stu’s Show.  There are a few candidates for Most Likely To Be Released, but I will basically put every one of the below predictions in the following categories: Warner Home Video, Disney, Shout! Factory, and Everyone Else.

Warner Home Video:

  • The Censored Eleven.  It’s been teased out, mentioned forever and a day, and we’ll finally see a release this year, and it WILL be a mainstream release, censorship issues notwithstanding.
  • Looney Tunes on Blu-Ray.  It’s about time, for one.  However, I am going to go out on a very creaky and unstable limb here and say that the Looney Tunes on Blu-Ray discs WILL be collector-centered, and I have a reason why.  I believe that each of the 6 previous Looney Tunes Golden Collections will each be re-released on a single Blu-Ray Disc (as opposed to four standard-definition DVDs), and Warner Brothers will pull what Disney has been pulling for the last few Blu-Ray releases (i.e. Pinocchio and Bambi) and create an incredibly unique experience for watching these old Looney Tunes cartoons that nobody, not even an old-school movie theater, is going to even be able to THINK of matching.  The LT LiveView technology will be a unique experience that will evoke many different memories, and show just how each generation grew up on these same cartoons, from the original generation who grew up watching these cartoons in a movie theatre, to the next generation who grew up watching these very same cartoons on an old black-&-white television, to the next generation that watched these cartoons in color, and then the generation that (like me) watched the Looney Tunes on Nickelodeon and then on Cartoon Network (before CN decided that LT wasn’t a good idea to be promoting ahead of their new “Cartoon Cartoons”).  The LiveView experience will evoke all of these experiences and more, and that is my guess as to how Looney Tunes will finally be put onto Blu-Ray.
  • Tex Avery.  Another DVD/Blu-Ray boxed set that has been an oh so very long time coming, the only official boxed set of his cartoons released in his home country, the United States of America, thus far has been the much-maligned Tex Avery’s Droopy: The Complete Collection DVD boxed set released a number of years ago, and is among my very favorite boxed sets ever.  Even with the odd issues that set had, I loved it, but then again, I am quite biased towards my main man Droopy.  I loved watching Droopy and Dripple on Tom & Jerry Kids, I even loved watching the old Droopy cartoons whenever they came on the TV machine, and I loved Droopy so much that I even put him in my first ever Gmail address as a tribute.  My first email address I ever made in Gmail was BJDroopyWanlund, so you can understand my excitement at the Droopy boxed set being announced, and I’m still waiting for the Tex boxed set, even all these many years later.  Heck, I’d even double-dip the Droopys to have a Complete Tex Avery set that covered BOTH his Warner Brothers AND his MGM stints, but I’m completely nuts in that regard.
  • This one should be quite obvious to those who follow the GAC Forums, as I mentioned above.  We will be getting a status update on another much-maligned release, Looney Tunes Super Stars: Road-Runner and Wile E. Coyote – Supergenius Hijinks.  It was SUPPOSED to come out in May (May 24, to be exact), but WHV for whatever reason delayed the release of this till the fall.  I’m personally guessing they still had some idea that they could save this turkey of a release by putting Zip-N-Snort in instead of a Larriva Road Runner cartoon, which are MUCH hated amongst LT fanatics.  My other guess is that they cancelled the release, given the advent of what I mentioned above.
  • My final Warner Home Video prediction is straight from the nuthouse: A rerelease, at long last, of the Golden Age of Looney Tunes laserdisc collections so that the people still clinging to their laserdiscs can now watch these same collections on their computer or whatever.

Disney:

  • Given Disney’s propensity for not letting Jerry Beck do much of anything for them, I don’t have much hope of seeing any release news from them, but I do have a few releases I’m hoping for particularly:
  • 1.  A new series of Walt Disney Treasures releases with Leonard Maltin‘s expert guidance.
  • 2.  A release of Song of the South on DVD at long last (maybe we should’ve gotten Julia Sugarbaker to talk them into it?)
  • 3.  A rerelease of the Saludos Amigos-Three Caballeros laserdisc with ALL of its bonus features intact (subsequent rereleases haven’t had every single feature from the laserdisc release, more like one or two at the most)

Shout! Factory:

  • More cartoon DVDs, that much is for sure!
  • Possibly we could get a cartoon DVD from the humble host of the program, Stu Shostak himself.  If you’ve seen the promo Shout! Factory did for the Dennis The Menace live-action series DVD, you will notice that the clips shown on the promo are absolutely pristine-looking!  They look eerily like they could have been made in today’s day and time, with the black-&-white (which was a technical limitation in the days when this series was on the air) as more of a stylistic choice than a technical limitation.

Everyone Else:

  • Again not expecting too much, maybe news of a new Thunderbean Animation release, and maybe news of more import that I might not be thinking of, but this is not one where I will be making many predictions.

iPad 2 Possibilities and An Update

February 27, 2011

Before I get into the meat of this post, I have an announcement to make: If you are friends with me on Facebook, or are following me on Twitter, you will now get notifications in your respective feeds on those sites thanks to the WordPress Publicize feature, which came at just the right time for this blogger.  Can’t wait to do more blogging now!

So, the meat of this post will be the iPad 2… a mythical device, but not for much longer.  Wednesday will bring us those glorious details of the next iPad, but I’ve been trying to make sense of the rumors and misinformation floating around the blogosphere, and am coming up empty.

First, the obvious one: The thinness.  I was unsure of this one at first, but now that I think of it, (and now that I have an iPad-sized pocket on my relatively new ScotteVest I got for Christmas), the thinness of the new device, especially if the rumors are true of a thinner iPad, will probably prove to be easier to take in the long run.  Plus, the thinner iPad might have an easier time coming into and out of said pocket, but since I have no iPad 1 to test this theory, I dunno.

Second, the cameras.  I’m really not sure why everybody and their brother is screaming about how they *need* cameras on the iPad. With the iPad’s current form factor, a 10-inch tablet, there is absolutely no way that cameras would work on the iPad (especially rear-facing cameras).  However, if the iPad were to have a somewhat smaller brother that sacrificed none of the screen resolution of the iPad 10-inch, then I think that makes sense.  Also, I would like to see that Apple learned their lesson from using less-than-ideal cameras on the iPod touch 4 to completely blow out the camera resolution on the iPad 2, especially if it could take exceptionally good photos as well as take some majorly good videos.  And can we please have an LED flash?  Thanks!

Third, the internals.  Everybody and their brother screams about specifications (“specs” for short), but really, all I care about is how those internals combine to create a special experience for all iPad 2 owners.  Hopefully they include a few features that have been implemented in the iPhone 4, but not the iPad as yet, such as the gyroscope and the dual-band 3G chips from Qualcomm found in the Verizon iPhone 4.

Finally, the price tag.  The text of Apple’s invitation to Wednesday’s event was pretty much an open invitation to speculate wildly: “Come see what 2011 will be the year of.”  This week is GDC (Game Developers Conference) in San Francisco, and then Apple has their event this week.  Uncanny timing, Apple.  But I digress.  I personally think 2011 will be the year of the cloud, the year of the cheaper iPads, and the year of iPhones being free on contract starting with the iPhone 5.  But what price should the iPad 2 come in at?  Apple has started to make serious inroads into business and education markets with the iPad, but those inroads could very easily be magnified by a power of 10 by making the iPad $200-$300 cheaper.  Yes, their price targets were extremely aggressive the last time around, but they could do better.  They priced a great many e-reading-curious customers out of the market in my opinion, and the Kindle is actually a better deal if you just buy Kindle stuff off Amazon.


Hiatus Over (For Now)

February 27, 2011

Yes, I’m still here, and have found my time to be increasingly limited for things like this as of recently.  I’m actually currently on Spring Break from school for the rest of this week, so that might make getting back into the habit of posting a bit easier.

My main reason for coming out of hiding, however, is to comment on a couple of iPad-related items that have popped up recently.

First, there will be an iPad 2 press event on Wednesday, March 2nd (what would have been my maternal grandmother’s 86th birthday), and I may do a wrap-up post, or maybe not.  It all depends on whether I’ll be doing any traveling or not, or whether I’ll be stuck at home, possibly having to hear two lawyers going at it to try to convince me of some nutjob’s innocence or guilt.

Secondly, I’ve been looking for any reason at all to mention my very favourite Disney travel book publisher, PassPorter Travel Press, in a post. I don’t remember if I threw it into an off-topic post or not, but I digress.  The timing for my (temporary) return could not have been more perfect for this.  PassPorter is holding a contest right now that I think is way cool. DISCLAIMER: I only am mentioning it here because some of us don’t have iPads yet (your humble blogger included), and it is NOT in any way my trying to help my chances of getting that prize (I think it’ll only get less likely I’ll win if I mention it).  The prize in question is an Apple iPad loaded with all the PassPorter eBooks, as well as eBook versions of all of the PassPorter guidebooks, including Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, and Disney Cruise Line!  More details can be found here.

NOTE: I think a Passporter message board membership is required, so if you haven’t had any knowledge of these wonderful guidebooks before, you can register for the Concierge Desk, but it is very much in beta, with the typical minor problems of any beta release of anything.

So, hope you guys have had fun in my absence (and not made TOO much of a mess!! ;)), and hopefully I’ll get to talk to you soon!


Update

February 1, 2011

Big update today!

First, I have made major updates to how categories are working.  I no longer have a truckload of categories, as only Apple and Off-Topic remain (and Uncategorized is always there in WordPress-hosted blogs).

Secondly, I made a decision retroactively to start using tags on my posts.  This will allow my posts to be more easily findable on Google searches, although I do not have any intention on making a screencast to show you how it would work right now.

Thirdly, I have also removed any posts older than December 2010, as well as any “update” or “no post” posts.  This will allow for me to work on building posts without worrying about older posts and comments, as well as a more streamlined blog for you to read.

Fourth, I will give you guys a What I Use post tonight, as I feel that there have been major enough changes made to my workflow as a result of the Mac App Store being available over the last few weeks to warrant a new What I Use post.

Fifth, as of tomorrow, posts will start back up again on a regular basis, mainly because I actually freed up some time after going from 15 hours to 12 hours as a result of dropping a class that, while I liked the professor (Mac user, surprisingly), I found that the class was going to fall by the wayside and I had to withdraw from that class.


Hiatus Over (For Now Anyway)

January 30, 2011

Okay, after much consideration and thought, I have made a decision on how to do this Mac blog.  What I am going to do from here on in is just take whatever topic I want whenever the mood strikes me, which is much more relaxed than having to come up with a topic that is in strict, confined boundaries.  So, either Apple or Off-Topic will be the categories, and Apple will probably be the category of each day’s blog entry more often than not.


Airport Security’s Gaping Weakness To Homeland Security

December 22, 2010

As I am trying to catch up on blog posts I missed because of strange travel coincidences, such as plane delays, and many more bizarre circumstances, I’m going to be posting a bazillion posts here, and while I don’t like doing it that way, it has to happen that way.

Airport security has only gotten worse since that awful day nearly 10 years ago.  Before 9/11, the pilots were more accessible, the flights were less difficult, and the airport security was fairly lax.  While the airport security has been significantly beefed up since September 11, 2001, the country really hasn’t gotten any safer.  All the rigamarole that flyers have to go through just to get thru security these days, from taking off our shoes to taking our laptops out of their bags to scan them separately, is only voodoo, and doesn’t make our country any safer in the process.

In order to explain how unsafe our country really is from outside threats, I’m going to use an example that Leo Laporte uses on his syndicated radio show, The Tech Guy, a lot.  Leo says that keeping yourself safe on the Internet is all down to the user’s behavior (i.e. not clicking links in emails), and you aren’t any safer if you use the same behavior over and over again, but you have an antivirus or other security program installed on your computer.

To carry thru this example in terms of airport security, the security programs that are installed on the airport security computer are the rituals that flyers are forced to go through, and these rituals differ from airport to airport, according to the nice lady I spoke with at the Asheville airport.  The behavior (i.e. the clicking links in the emails) of the TSA is the creation of new rituals after an attack or a foiled attack, such as the liquids rule that so many people unknowingly violate when they bring no travel-sized shampoos or tubes of toothpaste when they go to the airport.

This activity cannot go on for much longer without more people like me speaking out about how unsafe we really are from outside threats.  To the TSA and to everyone else: Please fix this issue, and by fixing this issue, you make America much safer than it ever was pre- or post- 9/11.