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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Birthday Thoughts & Updates

March 25, 2011

Today is finally here!  It’s my 25th birthday today, the 25th of March, 2011.  25 doesn’t feel all that different than 24, and hopefully  successive birthdays will feel about the same way.

Also, you might notice that I took the donation page down. Long story short is that I got notified of some things on that page that did not come out the way that I had intended, so for that I am very sorry and will endeavour to wait to talk about such things as site operations, et al. until they have been more fully vetted.

One thing that, while it hasn’t come up for much, warrants discussion.  I do not intend for things to come out sounding ugly and/or vindictive, and if they do, then I’m sorry.  However, I’d much rather be honest with what I say any day of the week, including my birthday.  I’m still going to stick to my personal policy of no corrections UNLESS I’ve made a severe factual boo-boo, which doesn’t happen all that often, especially since I don’t report news much at all.

I will say things that may come out negative or vindictive or that may sound ugly, but I assure you that I don’t normally do that, and usually the party on the receiving end of my blog posts criticizing them very much deserve it.

Case in point, MLB.com.  They had the stones to charge $30 for those who would want both MLB.com At Bat 2011 apps for iPhone AND for iPad.  That is really distasteful, and my hope is that MLB.com will at least see the light if nothing else.  There really is no excuse for that kind of tomfoolery (except money talks), and I definitely won’t be buying both apps, and I probably won’t buy any of the apps, and will wait till after the season is over and the MLB.com At Bat 11 apps are both free, to send a loud and clear message to MLB.com that double-charging your iOS users is absolutely out of the question. Only $10 or less apps can get away with that, but please, don’t charge $15 per app twice.  Not cool at all.


Stu’s Show Wrap-Up for Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March 23, 2011

Yes folks, tonight’s appearance on Stu’s Show by Jerry Beck is over.  But don’t despair, if you want to listen after the fact, it’ll be available on stusshow.com as a free download after a couple of weeks.  However, if you want all the news and discussions summarized, you’ve come to the right place.

Discussion OTHER Than DVDs:

  • Jerry Beck ASIFA-Hollywood vice presidency
  • Cartoon Dump on Monday for the LA area
  • The late Elizabeth Taylor’s animation connections
    • Maggie’s first word on The Simpsons
  • Animated movie discussion
    • Mars Needs Moms (bomb)
      • both Jerry & Stu thanked the maker for Disney pulling the plug on the planned Yellow Submarine remake as a result
    • Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland
      • Jerry saw it, Stu has never been a fan of Burton
    • What’s coming out this year:
      • Stu goes on an anti-CGI rant
      • Kung Fu Panda 2
      • Cars 2
      • Puss ‘n Boots
      • Hoodwinked 2
      • Happy Feet 2
      • Smurfs
      • Alvin 3
      • Hong Kong Phooey
      • Jonny Quest
      • Rango
      • Rio
      • Winnie-the-Pooh
    • Rango
      • Jerry is meh on it, especially when it becomes a Western parody
    • Gnomeo & Juliet
    • Yogi Bear discussion
      • Jerry called the film a “baby film”
  • “Looney Tunes Show” discussion (includes other Looney Tunes TV shows)
    • Disappointment (oh boy)
    • “Nobody at Cartoon Network cares” re remastered LT DVD prints being on Cartoon Network
  • Rumors and Innuendos
    • Yogi Bear 2?
      • Still a rumour
    • Huckleberry Hound?
      • Still a rumour
    • Bugs Bunny CGI film?
      • Still a rumour
      • Picket signs would be a possibility
    • CGI Top Cat feature?
      • Holy crap, there’s going to be a new HAND DRAWN Top Cat feature coming out in Mexico, and translated into English too, wonderful!
  • AntennaTV & Totally Tooned In discussion
    • Jerry Beck was involved with Totally Tooned In back in 1999
    • Totally Tooned In NEVER aired in the USA before AntennaTV picked up the rights
  • Betty Boop discussion
    • An appeals judge ruled against the Fleischer family in their dispute over the ownership of the Betty Boop character
    • Home video rights to Betty Boop films owned by Lionsgate; rather complicated and sordid tale
  • Mighty Mouse
    • CBS Consumer Products are pushing Mighty Mouse for the 70th anniversary of Mighty Mouse in 2012 (!!).
    • All Mighty Mouse cartoons are now known to be in existence!!

DVD News From Warner Brothers / Warner Archive Collection:

  • Roadrunner set is NOT cancelled, just delayed
    • Why has it been delayed? Jerry guesses that there’ll be a big batch of animation coming out on DVD later on in the year, so it’d fit right in to that timeframe
  • LT on Blu-Ray later this year as well
  • Censored 11: No new news, except for the Censored 11 coming out on Blu-Ray ONLY, no DVD release at all…
  • Jerry did mention that he was working on forthcoming Warner Archive animation releases (possibly H-B, Popeye, LT, MGM, etc.) with George Feltenstein
  • Complete Bosko set incoming (possibly via Warner Archives), still in planning stages
  • Tom & Jerry Golden Collection IS coming! BRAND NEW restorations, mostly original titles, etc.  Unreal news, and I am real, REAL excited for this one.  I’m praying for a release at the end of the year for this one
  • Tom & Jerry Gene Deitch Collection – Possibly through Warner Archives.
  • No Ruff & Reddy for the Warner Archives yet, mainly due to music licensing rights (one of my sorest sticking points ever).

DVD News From Disney

  • Nothing, nada, zip, zilch, and zero.  Pretty normal at this point.

DVD News From Shout! Factory:

  • This was announced earlier today prior to the broadcast, but Shout! Factory and the creator of Jem and the Holograms FINALLY confirmed that Jem and the Holograms WILL be coming to DVD, all the details we know of currently are over at TVShowsOnDVD.com.

DVD News From Everyone Else:

  • There is some movement on the topic of Columbia Cartoons on DVD, but it is not Shout! Factory.
  • No news on Woody Woodpecker on DVD

 

Final thoughts:

Whoa, crazy heady stuff this time on the Stu’s Show front.  Jerry being announced as working with the Warner Archives on future animation releases was huge, along with the  unofficial announcement (hopefully an official one follows shortly) of the Tom & Jerry Golden Collection, WITH restored prints, made for one heck of a nice time listening.  Even if we didn’t get much, we will be getting much more by the end of the year, which Jerry characterized as an animation “explosion” of releases.  So, overall it was a good show, fairly talky for the first hour and fairly newsy the second, but that’s how it goes on Stu’s Show appearances by Mr. Beck.

 


5 Simple Rules For Practicing Good Journalism While Blogging

March 21, 2011

You may remember that on Friday I talked about linkbaiting, and how I found that to be journalistically reprehensible.

I am very much a stickler for at least sticking to the hard and fast rules of old school journalism in an age where that old school journalistic ethic of a Walter Cronkite is very rare indeed.

So, since blogging is the future of journalism, here’s five simple rules to practice good journalism while blogging.  Much as people hate list posts such as this, I find it to make my job somewhat easier if I have to make a list post once a week or so.

  1. Check Your Sources.  Bloggers often do not factcheck whatsoever (and yes, I admit to being guilty of that from time to time).  Once in a while forgetting to factcheck is fine, but bloggers who don’t factcheck all the time (*cough* Gizmodo *cough*) are reprehensible in my eyes.  Heck, journalistic outfits who don’t check their facts that often and have to post “corrections” because of that (*cough* Consumer Reports & New York Times *cough*) are just as reprehensible, if not more so.
  2. Know Of Which You Speak.  Please, don’t talk about ANY new hot consumer product or other similar device if you don’t have one in your possession.  Going hands-on with a product and talking about those hands-on experiences are so, so much better than just blathering on about a product.  I have made it a point to not talk about the iPad at all except when I’m mentioning what platforms a product works on that I mention.  Why?  Because I don’t have one, that’s why.  I don’t believe in talking about things without getting your hands dirty on those products.
  3. Speak Honestly To Your Readers.  I also don’t believe in quid pro quod (meaning “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”), which is a nice sophisticated way of saying that someone’s reviews were bought by whoever sent them that product.  I have made it a personal policy of mine not to plug or even so much as mention a product if I don’t absolutely love it.  It makes the recommendations I make that much more special, and really puts the onus on the product purveyor to really impress me with how their product works.
  4. Don’t Post Regularly If You Can’t Be Certain Of The Rightness Of Your Facts.  This one is one I’ve been practicing more recently.  Posting regularly is great if you want to be like any number of other blogs out there, but if you can’t be certain that your facts are absolutely correct, then don’t post them!  I’ve seen so many blogs that break this rule, and then have to post “corrections”, and really, I’ve way, WAY more than had enough.
  5. Have fun!  Yes, I know this is supposed to be a rule for whatever you’re doing in the blogosphere, but so many people just burn out for whatever reason, and blogging is supposed to be fun, and not something that you get tired of and burn out on after a while.

Pay Walls vs. Instapaper: Why I Believe The New York Times Paywalled Themselves To Irrelevance

March 18, 2011

Being a old-fashioned blogger, I find linkbaiting to be truly distasteful and journalistically unethical.

That being said, the New York Times just made themselves irrelevant by putting up a paywall.  The maximum the Times is charging is $40/month, well out of the price range of many broke college students who wish to scour the web for current events (most of them for a class).

Paywalls are a losing proposition.  The New York Times THEMSELVES even admitted that several years ago.  Other companies who put up such paywalls include the Wall Street Journal and other News Corp publications as well as the well-known-for-being-scientifically-biased Consumers Union, publishers of Consumer Reports magazine, who have been well known for putting distasteful and journalistically unethical pieces into the pages of their magazine over the last several years.

But is there an alternative to the constant putting up and taking down of paywalls?  In the words of Sarah Palin (though I do not agree with her politics whatsoever), “You betcha!”

This service is called Instapaper, and it was created by Marco Arment.  Instapaper is most well-known for its iOS application that takes anything that you want to “Read Later” on the Web and brings it down to your iOS device, whether it’s an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.  What I think is so great about Instapaper is that you just register for the Instapaper service, place a little bookmarklet called “Read Later” into your Web browser and then you just hit that on any page containing an article (including the article page for this very blog entry), and that’s it.

The Instapaper app is only $5, and if you already have it, you don’t ever have to pay for it again.

So, $5 one time vs. $40/month… who wins? Instapaper, of course!  It makes total financial sense, not just for broke college students, but also for anyone questioning why one needs paywalls that make no sense once compared to Instapaper.


The Possibility of Apple TV Shows (Again)

March 17, 2011

Okay, things are FINALLY clearing up with schoolwork (and just in time too, as my 25th birthday is just 8 days away!!!), and so I have something I’d like to talk about with all of you.

TipB.com, which is an iOS blog mainly (though they cover other Apple products other than iOS devices), asked the question: “Should Apple get into the production end of TV shows?”

My answer to this is a resounding yes.  Apple has this incredible new data center near where I live here in North Carolina, in a town called Maiden, where they need the jobs oh so very badly.  So I want really, really badly for Apple to really revamp iTunes and MobileMe to take advantage of this incredible opportunity for growth.

But what about TV shows?  Apple has a pretty large variety of TV shows already, but would people like Apple to do it?  Let’s face it folks, Apple has so many different departments within the structure of their company, each run as an independent entity.  It only makes sense that Apple gets to either hire TV people, or buy out a TV production company for the rights to not only every show that company has ever done, but also any catalog shows that company has picked up, and hopefully turn that company into something that Apple can and should be proud of.

Take Fremantle Media, as just a single example.  Fremantle Media has a somewhat powerful position, as the owners of the shows American Idol, The Price Is Right, Let’s Make A Deal, among many, many others in the Goodson-Todman library stacked to the gills with classic game shows such as Press Your Luck, Family Feud, Match Game, Trivia Trap, and many, many others along these same lines.

So what if, instead of just getting in on the production side of TV themselves, they can buy a production company like Fremantle Media and have instant access to a vast library of TV shows, all of which they can use in their promotional material incident-free.

Apple would be very, very smart to move to this model, especially since Fremantle Media has become quite famous for holding out on selling its vast catalog of TV shows on iTunes, but they are giving iTunes “special bonus content” from its biggest hit currently, American Idol.  Maybe soon it will all become irrelevant, much like my criticism of Food Network for not getting onto iTunes in the first place.


iPad 2 Event Wrap-Up

March 2, 2011

Yep, today was the day of iPad 2.  And 2011 will be the year of iPad 2 as well.  So, let’s go over all the highlights.

Steve Jobs was onstage!!  Yep, he didn’t want to miss this one.

Random House is now on the iBookStore.  Yes, Virginia (and all my PassPorter buddies), that means books from The Da Vinci Code to The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest (and the remainder of the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson, huzzah) are now available to buy and/or download from the iBookStore!!  Hip hip HOORAY!!

Then came the main event: iPad 2.  It is NOT a spec-bump, as a few of us bloggers were quick to say.  It is NOT a first-gen iPad with marginal improvements, again as us bloggers were pretty quick to say.  The 1st-gen iPad will hereafter be called the iPad Prime.

There’s a new processor in it, called the Apple A5, which is a dual-core processor, meaning a 2x faster CPU and 9x faster graphics, with the same low power as the A4 seen in the iPad Prime.  It’s got front- and rear-facing cameras (ehh), BUT the front-facing camera CAN do FaceTime HD in 720p, so I guess that’d work out okay, but until I get my dirty paws on one at the Apple Store, I cannot make a judgement on the cameras.

It’s 33% thinner than the iPad Prime (will fit nicely into my Scottevest I am guessing).  Also, the iPad 2 is 0.2 pounds lighter than the iPad Prime.  Surprisingly, the iPad 2 comes in not one, but two colors: Black as well as (!!) white.

Both colors will be shipping from day one (also very surprising).  There will be 3G models for both AT&T and Verizon from day one (nice job Apple), and the battery life is unchanged from its 10-hour lifespan on the iPad Prime.  Same price points (AAAARGH), at $499/599/699 for the Wi-Fi only models and $529/629/729 for the Wi-Fi + 3G models, and the iPad 2 launches March 11th here in the States, with 26 more countries getting it on the 25th (which is my birthday… and I don’t get the presents this time. sad face).

But, that wasn’t all the new products Apple decided to announce today.

First, they announced an HDMI mirrored video out adaptor for $39.  My guess is that if you have a Mac Pro and a Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro HDMI capture card (only $200 at the Apple Store!), you will be able to screencast your app demonstration, and then be able to place it up online.  Maybe my friends at PassPorter were waiting for exactly that sort of thing to put out an iPad app??  I at least know the hosts of iPad Today on the TWiT network, Leo Laporte and Sarah Lane, will be thrilled, as they’ve had to focus cameras onto iPads and show their hands demoing the iPad apps that they feature!

Second, they announced a Smart Cover that will work with the iPad 2.  It’ll wake up your iPad when you remove the cover, you can set up your Smart Cover however you like, and when you want to stop playing with the iPad 2, you can put the Smart Cover back on.  However, full disclosure for the accident-prone: this thing DOES have magnets in it to keep it all fastened together, so it might be smart to keep this thing away from your hard drive.

Third, they talked about and demoed iOS 4.3, which not only includes features like this and this, but also faster Safari browsing, using your mute/rotation lock switch how YOU choose, Home Sharing, Photo Booth for iPad (uhh… I don’t even use it on my Mac, that’s how excited I am about it on the iPad), and more, available for download March 11th.

Finally, Steve Jobs brought two software engineers up onstage to raise the bar even higher for iPad apps.  First, they showed off iMovie for iPad, which WILL be a universal update (thank goodness), and showcased all that iMovie for iPad can do.  Second, they showed off (IMO one of the coolest apps) Garageband for iPad.  You can make music on the iPad version with touch-based instruments, as well as plug in your own instruments.  Me likey.  Both the iMovie universal update and Garageband for iPad will launch March 11th, so March 11th should be a red letter day for a number of you US Apple fanatics out there.

So, the iPad 2.  I’m impressed with what I saw.  How about you?