Podcast: Flashpoint Comics – Pilot Episode

In this pilot episode of Flashpoint Comics, TJ and I discuss the upcoming comic movies, TJ’s start in comics and more.

Download: Flashpoint Comics Podcast

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Google Plus Custom URL

Today I was updated a Google Plus page for a social media account I manage. Earlier this year, Google Plus rolled out their new custom (vanity) url for social media platform. As I proceeded with the process, I noticed Google would not allow me to use the URL name associated with the social media account. In order to set the url, I had to add extra characters which takes away from the purpose of having a custom url. Why would I want to add a number “1″ or “2″ to my custom domain name. It kind of defeats the purpose. Now they did say that part of the problem was that there were other accounts with the same name but this is not entirely true.

So now my big problem is solving this problem. A few searches online didn’t reveal anything so I’ll keep digging and hope to find a solution soon. In the meantime, I’ll just have to stick to my mutant binary code url.

Dome Collapses In Minnesota

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Wow. This is amazing. Look at the amount of snow that did not fall through in the bend towards the middle of the stadium.

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Wikileaks

This is a very touchy subject and one I would like to sort of stay clear from an opinion.  I see a lot in this.  Freedom of the open internet and speech vs. national security for a number of nations.  Got it. What I would like to do is highlight these online posts that I’ve read over the last day or so. 

Amazon | We all know that Amazon has since removed Wikileaks from their servers.  According to Amazon, the reason for removal is this:

“For example, our terms of service state that ‘you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content… that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity.’ It’s clear that WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content.”

 Well, Techcrunch has reported that they are now selling an Kindle ebook with all the cables in it.  Um, now you’re making money off the same service you just disabled.  And they are being blasted for it too with 55 pages of comments!  Wow.

And then there is this video by Next Media Animation with their take on the whole situation. 

Gotta love Techcrunch.

The there is the ethics part from Talking Philosphy.  Here are few thoughts from them:

One argument in favor of the leak is the classic Gadfly Argument (named in honor of Socrates because of his claim to the role of the gadfly to the city of Athens). The gist of the argument is that the people in government need to be watched and criticized so as to decrease the likelihood that they will conduct and conceal misdeeds in shadows and silence.

A second obvious argument is based on the assumption that in a democracy the citizens have a moral right to know what the folks in the government are doing in their name. This right can be based on the idea that the citizens are collectively responsible for the actions of their government and hence have a right (and need) to know what is actually going on.

My ethical principle regarding leaks is based mainly on the principle of utility: a leak is morally justified when it will bring about more happiness for humanity and wrong when it will bring about more unhappiness.  

 Finally there is The Buzz Machine.  I saved this one for last because it packs some punch.  

I can use Visa and Mastercard to pay for porn and support anti-abortion fanatics, Prop 8 homophobic bigots, and the Ku Klux Klan. But I can’t use them or PayPal to support Wikileaks, transparency, the First Amendment, and true government reform.

 The Wikileaks has definitely caused a rift among the world.  The outcome can be even more dangerous.  

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From Ubuntu to XP

What a nightmare I had this weekend trying to convert back to XP on a hard install of Ubuntu.  The fix was easy at the end of the day but not the fix I necessarily wanted.  It was a last resort.  A lot of lessons learned from the experience that much is for certain.  I’m prepping a write up now.  After a day and a half, it would have been extremely helpful to have this on Saturday.  Ah well, it’s done now. Customer is happy.

Why Buy Hulu Plus?

Until today, Hulu Plus didn’t have much value (unless you had a mobile device and little time). That has since changed. One of the problems that I have seen is that Hulu’s limitation is to the computer. I am fortunate enough to have a big TV sized monitor so it’s not a problem. In today’s world, bigger moniters are becoming the norm so the size of the monitor is the problem. The problem is that you have to sit at the computer and watch it. I know people that want to watch it in bed or on the couch. While internet TV may change that (think Google TV or Apple TV or Vizio), we are a ways from that becoming more mainstream as it is just coming to market. The solution is in the PS3.

 

According to a story on DLS, Hulu Plus will now be invite-free whereas before, you had to be invited (duh, right?). To me, that isn’t the story. You know I like to look beyond the surface and I see the story in Hulu Plus‘s availability on the PS3. PS3‘s are hooked up to TV’s. Now, Hulu Plus is on your TV. *small firecracker pop* I’m sure that the XBox 360 and Wii are sure to follow. In today’s world, those are becoming common since games are big. Now, at $9.99 a month, this has some real value to it. To be clear, Hulu Plus provided other benefits such as HD streaming, usage on other devices (iPad and iPhone), and more episodes than the free version but come on, you still had to, for the most part, watch it on your computer. Now, you can watch it on your TV. On the couch. Or in the bed (depending on where you put your games). *swish*

**One negative…there are still ads in both versions. For $9.99, I would like to see ads removed but it’s a small price to pay for convenience and freedom of watching TV when you want to watch it.

Itunes 10–The Ping Review

Today, I installed iTunes 10. The new iTunes comes with a new logo, a new way to handle album art (I am ocd about my album art and tags) and a social network. Surprise! Ok, maybe not. It’s called Ping. Well, it is time to see what this thing is all about.

From what I have read so far, it allows you to connect with your friends and follow people. I am sure this is something that they have managed to squeeze out from the now defunct LaLa (which was great by the way). You can find Ping right under the Store heading. What is pretty cool about Ping is the ability to follow artists. If you look at Twitter, it is one of those components that really helped Twitter take off. The ability to see and hear what your favorite artists and celebs are doing. This was really a brilliant approach by Apple due to the simple fact that iTunes is the one place everyone goes to for digital purchases. With this new feature, now everyone will flock to iTunes to distribute their music thereby driving up revenue for Apple. This could be a really big thing.

In setting up your user profile, I would like to see Apple expand the genre selections to more than 3. I am a guy that truly enjoys more than one genre and this really limits me. Not only does it limit me, it limits opportunities for Apple. I’m sure they know this though. I understand as most people will generally only like 1-2 genres anyway but still, this should not be that difficult. Of course, I do not know the algorithm that it uses to send suggestions to you.

Next, the really allow you the opportunity to set up your profile up front. You do not have to find and hunt settings to edit what you would like and not like to show. I am sure that this was learned from Facebook’s recent problems. Next, you can allow all to follow, approve followers, or have no followers. I’ll do all. That’s it! I’m done. I am immediately given a number of artists to follow based on their recommendations which are no where nearly tied to the genres I selected. Weird.

One thing. There is some controversy surrounding Facebook Connect and Apple. You can read it here. A flaw in this whole system is that inviting or finding people is not the easiest. You have to do it all via email and it seems very manual. I hope that Apple works out this situation so that we can use Facebook Connect or Twitter to continue to build relationships with people we follow already. It only makes sense.

Ping will not do much for me or people that follow me since I do not purchase music through iTunes. Truth be told, I have not made one purchase since it has been in existence. Without the ability for people to see a history of what I am or have listened to, I will bore people. If or when Ping integrates LastFM type features, they will have a winner. I think we will see that in the future. Once Apple continues to work out and reengineer LaLa’s technology into their own, we will see LaLa’s features show up in iTunes.

For now, Ping is boring. Until there is more functionality added other than having to buy music, then it will be useless. I do not honestly care about what other people are buying. I would like to see what people are listening to. Maybe that’s just me. Either way, Ping as it stands now, is whack.

Twitter Psychology

Now this is interesting.  PsyBlog posted this story behind the psychology of Twitter and the people that tweet.  Those of interest to me are:

3. Most tweets are babble

While not academic research, some insight into what people are talking about on Twitter comes from an analytics company who categorised 2,000 tweets collected over one week. They fell into six categories (similar percentages were found by Java et al., 2007):

  1. Pointless babble: 41%
  2. Conversational: 38%
  3. Pass-along value: 9%
  4. Self-promotion: 6%
  5. Spam: 4%
  6. News: 4%

5. Men are Twitter leaders

Some suggestions of sex differences come from Heil & Piskorski (2009). They found that there were slightly more women than men on Twitter (55% women), but that, on average, men had 15% more followers than women, with men twice as likely to follow another man as they were a woman, and women 25% more likely to follow men. Both men and women, however, were found to tweet at the same rate.

6. 20 per cent are ‘informers’, 80 per cent are ‘meformers’

After examining 350 messages collected from Twitter, Naaman (2010) found two different types of user:

  • Informers: 20% shared information and replied to other users
  • Meformers: 80% mostly sent out information about themselves.

Informers tended to have larger social networks, perhaps because they passed on more interesting things and weren’t talking about themselves all the time.

10. Twitter is less social and more informational

Support for the idea that Twitter is more informational and less social than other social networks comes from Johnson and Yang (2009) who found that people treat other Twitter users primarily as interesting information sources.
In this study people also gained the most gratification from information they had found through Twitter. The social aspect of it, however, participants didn’t find particularly gratifying, despite a positive expectation.

In summation, Twitter is an informational less social site about pointless babble lead by men with women followers.  All that said, you can follow me on twiiter @kbinge

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Hulu Plus

I have ditched cable. I have no subscription and watch what I want online. If I want to watch a movie, I could either dial up the Kennith B. Inge Digital Media Network to watch or power up the PS3, Wii, or XBox 360 for Netflix. Truth is, I don’t even have a Netflix subscription but hey, the option is there. I could, in theory, open up a browser in the PS3 or Wii and watch Hulu on my tv. So why in the world would I pay $10 bucks for Hulu Plus. Based on what I read over at Lifehacker, I would not.

Upgrading to this new service requires many other hardware updates to your TV’s (Samsung modals) and Blu-Ray players (also Samsung). Each device has to be current within the last 6 months. If you have a PS3, then you have to pay for Playstation Plus ($49.99 annually). That is around $4.17 cents a month.  Throw in the monthly price of the new tv, paid in full or not, and the Hulu Plus subscription rate rises.  True you have a newer TV and additional features through the PS3 but you really will not end up saving money until maybe the second year.  Even then, you will end up with a monthly combined bill of around $15 bucks.  Add in Netflix, and it rises.

Now, I need to point out that with Hulu Plus, you can go completely mobile.  Meaning that with the service, you can watch Hulu on the iPad or iPhone or any other mobile device that supports apps.  This is a benefit of the service that is an added plus if you travel alot.  This way, you don’t have to miss any shows or wait until you get home.  

Are you better off without cable?  That is up to you.  For me, if I dump cable, then I need to see the added benefits.  Hulu Free is good enough as it is.  Unless they lock the service down completely and go to a total paywall, why bother.

Lupe Fiasco Uses Social Media to Push Label

Wow.  Lupe Fiasco turns to Twitter and fans to push the release of Lasers, his laters project.  This is how to use the power of the people to your advantage.  I’m watching this one. 

Dear Atlantic Records,

The fans have been waiting for the release for Lupe Fiasco’s album “Lasers” for over a good year now. Since when it was originally announced finished last summer, there has still yet to be a release date announced. It has even been stated by Lupe Fiasco the artist himself, that the album is in fact completed. Enough is enough, we demand that you stop playing around and give us the album that we have been highly anticipating since the release of The Cool.


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