Saturday, July 31, 2010

Random Things: July Laziness edition

Firefox 4.0 Beta Quick review: Been trying it out since it came out a month ago, and for a beta the browser is looking pretty good. It's still fast, still has all the sexy customizable options, and more importantly it's added some new toys. Probably the most important addition has been the 'App tab', which allows the user to organize their tabs by making certain ones smaller and harder to close accidentally. This is great for stuff like Gmail or any streaming music sites you want playing while you procrastinate work on the web.

So the unorganized web surfers can rejoice, since Firefox 4.0 will organize your clutter for you. Gotta love laziness.

The downside is that since it's a beta, some stuff will be funky, especially anything that uses Flash. Not that Flash really was awesome anyways, but it's more prone to crashing if you try to full-screen a streaming Flash-based video from any website like Youtube. It doesn't happen enough to be an annoyance, but it's still a nagging worry.

God I hate Flash. But that's another story for another day.

Random YouTube video of the month: Freddie Wong has my dream job: making as many awesome and funny YouTube videos as he can. Flower Warfare (embedded above) is my favorite so far, though his hilarious Jedi A-holes short comes pretty close. While he's somewhat hindered by a lack of good actors and writers, he more than makes up for it with his visual creativity and solid cinematography.

Yea, that's right. I'm talking about cinematography in a YouTube video. No matter who you are, all of his videos are great fun, so go check them out.

Pandora: Yea, I'm like a couple years late to the party. So sue me. Now that I've recently gotten a HTC Hero, I've finally gotten a reason to dive into the depths of Pandora. I'm especially loving the way that it connects flawlessly with the Android app on my phone, and of course I'm also loving the superb music selection. Plus it's free. Sweeeeet.

It isn't all hugs and kisses though. After a few days of Pandora killing my battery life and my data plan though, I'm convinced that streaming media apps on any mobile smartphone are extremely overrated. It's long as you're near a power plug and have already ponied up the cash for that expensive unlimited data plan And don't even get me started on how slow streaming video is without 4G.

So to all you ancient, annoying, and horrible FM radio stations; you can live for another day. On the flip side, using Pandora at home has allowed me to seriously test out the App tab on my Firefox 4.0 beta browser. WHAT. DID WE COME FULL CIRCLE? WHATISTHISIDON'TEVE-

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Privacy and the digital future

The digitized future. As a term it's rather innocuous, but as a concept it carries some strong negative connotations in our current culture. In the film Minority Report, there's a scene (embedded above) where Tom Cruise walks into a Gap and is 'recognized' by the billboard, which then goes on to greet him and recommend some products based on his past shopping history. I'm taking the scene a bit out of context, but it's impossible to escape the fact that in that scene and throughout the movie, the integration of technology with normal life is more frightening than awe-inspiring.