A Multi-Genre Fan Outlet by a Multi-Genre Fan Geek

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Geek Chic in Music City – PodCamp Nashville

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Geeks. Hundreds of geeks. Little glowing apples littered the landscape, and plaid loafers were all but required. I’m beginning to really enjoy these gatherings of the Greater Nashville Geeks. This is my second “unconference,” each lending something special to take away. Everyone enjoys panels and seminars in a different way, with a variety of deliveries really speaking to them. For me, it’s content-heavy, tutorial lectures that really strikes my fancy. I want to see pages of code, demos of active media editing and any other true “meat and potatoes” that the speaker can bring to the table. Because of that, a couple panels that I was fortunate enough to catch really stood out.

d[-.-]b o O (Technologic by Daft Punk)

The Ultimate WordPress Experience by Mitch Canter. Mitch Canter - Studio NashvegasThis was the first mini-seminar that I caught during PodCamp Nashville 2011, and it kicked the party off with a bang. It was exactly what I wanted. I came to PCN11 looking for ways to improve the look, feel and design of my personal site. I came to PCN11 looking for heavy, beginner-to-expert content. I came to PCN11 looking to find the pulse on designers around to community. Mitch delivered. Mitch was a great speaker with an equally engaging subject, and he really covered all of the bases from how to begin, what’s new and trending now and how to implement all of it. As an added bonus, he openly welcomed all who would come to pick his brain at the event, or later through a plethora of social outlets. To be honest, you would have to truly put effort into avoiding Mr. Canter’s help with all of the ways he made it clear he was available and how to reach out. After being privileged to learn from Mitch during PCN11, I cannot wait to catch every event he hosts going forward!

d[-.-]b o O (We Used to Vacation by Cold War Kids)

Jake Jorgovan - Rabbit Hole CreativeThere’s something to be said for someone who can field every single question thrown at him or her. During his presentation on How to Effectively Utilize YouTube, Jake Jorgovan flaunted this skill. A lot of presenters are good at what they do. A lot are good at public speaking. However, not many are flawless in their subject matter. Jake really seemed impossible to stump when asked everything from YouTube Terms of Use questions to how to substitute in auto-fill music using the new YouTube editor, and even a curve-ball about the pros and cons of Vimeo versus YouTube. I also saw more than one technological guffaw during PCN11, not many of which could really be blamed on the presenter. Jake’s presentation fell victim as well, suffering from trying to siphon bandwidth off of the over-tasked wireless network attempting to host every smartphone, tablet, laptop and portable gaming device in the 37201 ZIP code. But in life, as in panels, it’s not how far you fall but how high you bounce back up. Jake shrugged off the missed opportunity to show a video demonstration he had prepared and took the session to a Q&A segment. Not only is this gutsy with such a knowledgeable crowd, but he had quite a lot of sand left in the top-half of the hourglass. Nonetheless, he finished with one of my favourite panels of the event. Kudos to Jake for great preparation, and great resolve despite the misfortune.

d[-.-]b o O (Rebels of the Sacred Heart by Flogging Molly)

All around, PCN11 was a great experience. You can expect an overhaul on the good ol’ site (read as: you can expect this blog to become a site that also happens to have a blog, along with other content!) If you’d like to expand your knowledge as well, you can find Mitch Canter on Twitter as @studionashvegas or on his business website: Studio Nashvegas. You can also find Jake Jorgovan on Twitter as @JakeJorgovan or on his business website: Rabbit Hole Creative. PodCamp Nashville also has their own spiffy website. Check it out for examples of sessions you may see in the future if you decide to attend, and make sure to check out the sponsors’ pages so they can keep it free in the future! Lastly, a special thanks to my partner-in-crime during the day of solid geekery: Kasey Lawrence. Kasey can be stalked on Twitter through @pumilio and you can get his impressions of PCN11 through his blog: OpenKase. Thanks for the read, everyone! Remember to comment, like, share and subscribe! Cheers!

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On the Road Again

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Flight to Charlotte. Flight to Detroit. Ride to Toledo, and here we are. I came up here to help my girlfriend make the drive back to Nashville with her new car, so of course Mother Nature decides to go all winter madness on Kentucky and Tennessee. This should be a fun trip…

d[-.-]b o O (Black Sheep by Metric)

I have a few more sketches in the book. Really, my main concern is being able to draw the characters quickly. I know that if it takes me two hours to finish one character completely, a full strip will take all day! I definitely need to get quicker before I get any real traction in this whole hobby. Luckily, the speed has been coming as I get more familiar with the tools. That, and I am getting closer to what I like the sketches to look like. Not perfect by a large margin, but it’s still fun to practice!

d[-.-]b o O (Paranoid Android by Radiohead)

Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. New Year’s? Almost killed us all. It was definitely grandiose, and I’m glad the party went like it did! But, for the sheer sake of my stomach, never again, Power Hour. Never again. Although, New Year’s Eve morning and afternoon, before the party craziness, it was all about preparation. Preparation for what, you may ask? Oh, none other than the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE! Let’s just say that in the event of an outbreak, we now know that my weapon of choice is a .357 magnum revolver. Cheers, folks!


CR-48 Status: Pending Approval

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**UPDATE** Are you trying to track your CR-48 shipment? I’m trying to help here! In that post, there’s a section on getting more info on your potential ChromeOS netbook! Good luck to you! 😀

Back to con operations. As we fly toward our next event, it’s time to get back into the heavy work of planning a full-fledged, multi-thousand person convention. MTAC Goes to 11 will be the eleventh running of Middle Tennessee Anime Convention, and it will be my first year on legitimate staff for this particular event. I’ve volunteered for a few years now, and I’ve been on staff for Geek Media Expo (MTAC Organization’s other onset) in the past. For those of you who have never given fandom conventions the time of day, you’re really limiting yourself. I’ll write more about conventions and their glory later on, but those will be for other days. For now, just know that conventions are about seventeen thousand times better than you’d expect them to be and meetings to gear up for them are a sign of great things to come!

d[-.-]b o O (Beating Hearts Baby by Head Automatica)

Slightly MTAC-related, I put in my application for a CR-48 beta with Google! For those that aren’t aware, CR-48 is a beta for a ChromeOS netbook that Google is busy accepting applicants for and seeding devices out to. On top of my natural Google-geek fascination with the ChromeOS netbook idea, these would be crazy helpful for the convention! In particular, I can’t imagine the difference a fleet of ChromeOS netbooks would make for con PR trips! So, needless to say, I’m excited to hear back about that program. Here’s hoping MTAC gets a few test devices!

d[-.-]b o O (Supermassive Black Hole by Muse)

Are you using Chrome as your primary browser? Have you discovered the Chrome Web Store for web-applications? If you have the opportunity, give Sketchout a try! Very good demonstration of the potential that full web-app clients have. Let me know what you think! Have a good Saturday, everyone!


Friday: A Baristo’s Half-Day with a Dash of Quantum Physics

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Ah, Friday. Even though I have a little work on Friday, I still think they’re my favourite day of the week. The early call to work makes sure I’m up-and-going at a productive time, but the short ending time keeps the morale up in lieu of the daily drudge. On top of that, cutting out of work at noon gives me the bonus of a nigh full week day to either get important, responsible activities handled or contribute absolutely nothing to legitimate society and focus my time on the quibbles of the post-apocalyptic Mojave Wasteland. Further than that, the cherry on top is the lack of that drag-down “Gaaaaaaah….it’s almost Monday” feeling. Yep, Friday is fantastic. As such, I’m going to sip on my delicious coffee and relax a bit. If you prefer the audio tour, feel free to throw on some headphones and follow the links inside the appropriately emoticon-laden bumps.

d[-.-]b o O (Throwing Fire by Ronald Jenkees)

Have you ever tried frothing almond milk? It’s was more of an experiment spurred by my girlfriend rather than an attempt to appear more bourgeois than I truly am, but it turned out pretty delicious! Lately I’ve taken to drinking quite a bit of coffee, and I know what you’re thinking. “Does your vision insurance cover plastic frame glasses? How far exactly is the nearest H&M from you?” Well, yes. And, I think there’s an H&M in Cincinnati. Honestly, though, it was to cut down on my daily 5-Hour Energy expenses. Trust me. They work, but they are crazy expensive if you’re popping them daily. Instead of crying over my wallet, I discovered that work provides free coffee! A win for working class to be sure! Sadly, the coffee’s pretty drab. I enjoy it, but I’ve decided to do a little brewing with my luxurious half-day Friday. As a result, I sit before you with a great coffee, an ear for unique guitar licks and an interesting news story from 2010.

d[-.-]b o O (L’Via L’Viaquez by The Mars Volta)

Wait, teleportation exits? My spell-checked does not agree, good sir! This all started last night on a chilly walk with a couple of my friends back to our car after the end of a football game we went to together. Being a lazy dolt, I remarked something along the lines of, “Man, if only we could teleport.” (Because, clearly, if we could teleport the limitations of this miraculous super-power would be to get to our primitive, fossil-fuel vehicles which would then take over the bulk of the journey!) It was just a cheap joke, but then my compatriot answered back saying that “it” did exist. “It” being teleportation, and my friend being a fool, or so I thought. He went on to tell how he was reading through Esquire (a frequent hobby of his lately; his goal being to better shape himself as a “modern gentleman”) and he stumbled across a recap of the year issue. He went on to tell me how a university had previously been able to “teleport” information over a short distance and the article was a clip on how a different university had essentially raised the bar by finishing the same task over a much longer distance. Crazy, right? Apparently not.

Esquire’s Best of 2010

On top of that short read, here’s something from the university itself. (Or, the English version of their site, to be more specific.)

University of Science and Technology of China – Long Range Quantum Teleportation

I was wrong, clearly. The hard-working quantum physicists of USTC raised the bar. (They raised it to ten miles, to be accurate.) In this case, it’s pretty cool to be wrong.

d[-.-]b o O (I’m Not Alone (Dead Mau5 Remix) by Dead Mau5)

Okay, so that last one diverted entirely from my guitar-heavy theme. Everyone can use a little electronica dance! Enjoy your Fridays, folks!


Still Testing the Waters

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This blog is still in an awkward stage. It lacks direction, and that was bothering me for a large while. Up until now.

I’m going to treat this space as a drop box for my mind. Thoughts-o’-the-day, delicious reviews, faux-pro photos (read as: totally amateur pics) or even just what ear worm is wriggling about during the day. I’m going to give this project some legs by focusing on short-burst, frequent posts via WordPress for Android.

So, expect a bit more going forward. For now, though: good night!


Android Fandom Frenemies

 

Exploded Android

Exploded Android - Courtesy of AndroidGuys.com

 

Trench warfare is becoming a bad tactic.

It works well when it’s “Us versus Them.” It works poorly when “Us” starts getting split up. Now “Us” is really “Us sub-set n=[1,2,3…]” as limit n approaches infinity.

I hate when Steve Jobs is right. He recently made the reversal argument that “open versus closed” was more aptly defined as “fragmented versus integrated.” I’m believing him more and more daily. To be as clear as I can before I continue, I disagree with Apple’s strict business model and strategy, but this post is not about that. It’s the other side of the coin that spawned this one. Android fanboys.

I am one. I’m definitely passionate about Android. However, I feel like the “community” is moving away from what I originally loved about it. The platform, the devices, the carriers: they’re all wonderful. I’m on board with everything that is happening on the professional side of creating, supporting and saturating-the-market-with Android. My issues are growing faster than (or equivocally to, as it seems) the speed at which new devices and platforms are launching. Each new set breeds a cult-ish crew of followers. That group hating another more than Bram Stoker hates Stephanie Meyer. On top of that, the groups think it’s galvanizing to see factions created within the “community.” Seriously, the paradox breaks wide open at this point. Just re-read that asinine statement. “On top of that, the groups think it’s galvanizing to see factions created within the ‘community’.” Half of those words don’t even know each other. I’ll explain.

Sense. TouchWiz. Vanilla. MotoBlur. (Okay, well not really MotoBlur.) Three (or four) isn’t so bad, right? Okay, well, then we delve into the bowels of each of these ridiculous allegiances. Take Sense from the manufacturer HTC for an example. Regular Sense UI (Soon to be deemed Sense Lite/Light), “Espresso” (of which I disagree with the moniker itself. Espresso was the name of ONE device during pre-release testing. It was in no way tied to a software overlay.), and the quickly approaching, all-inclusive, full-bodied Sense (sans the “UI”). HTC integrates many heavily used, convenient features in their Sense-flavoured offerings. You may sync all of your friends’ pictures linked to their contacts pulling from Facebook just with a simple login. If you open the native Dialer application, you can jump to any contact in the address book with a quick hammering, T9 style across the numerics. Need a quick, powerful calendar? The Sense-driven calendar widget pulls your agenda from Facebook, Gmail, Google Apps, Microsoft Exchange, and just about anything else you could synchronize with a working calendar function. Despite all of this, if you like Sense, you are the ugliest devil from the deepest bowel of the most torturous prison-Hell you can imagine because oft-hated “bloatware” like HTC Peep rides the coattails into your pocket. How dare HTC do anything! Damn them! Curses!! Oh, wait. There are so many other great things they are offering.

HTC software haters aren’t the only guilty parties. TouchWiz (semi-affectionately donned “Twiz”) gets its fair share of condescension. Why? TouchWiz really doesn’t add anything, but it also doesn’t take much away. So, what gives? Why all the malcontent? Oh, right! I remember! Because mistakes are unforgivable and you will be reminded of them for all eternity, Samsung. Scratch that. Not reminded of. Persecuted for. Because the Samsung Behold II (inversely second only to the Motorola Backflip in Android popularity) was not updated, Samsung will always be scarred. Samsung came out stating that the Behold II would get a boost to a more advanced Android version, but they later discovered something: that would be a waste of pretty much any resource you could imagine. The device was poorly received and underpowered. It didn’t have a user base worth appeasing fiscally, and the Behold II lacked most of the hardware to get any real results from an improved operating system. Samsung thus scrapped Operation OTA and ever since has been a wireless pariah. Sadly, what’s worse is that’s not even the atrocity! Samsung Behold II owners have the right as consumers to be upset about miscommunication from their chosen supplier! They truly do. If they desire to stick with Samsung after these events is definitely a point of ponder, but it really wasn’t that group that gave Samsung-entity that much guff. Pretty much any other pundit in the Android core found for themselves that it was their right as “open source proponents” to furiously mash their keyboards in unison. “HATE. HATE, SHAMSHUNG! YOU FAIL!” What gives you the right? Your super-best-friend once thought about upgrading to a Samsung Behold II? Nice try. So, now that you have this uber-hate for Samsung completely disregard anything they do. 4″ Super-AMOLED with a 1GHz Hummingbird processor running Twiz-bolstered Android Open-Source Project (AOSP) 2.1 with a ridiculously nice camera and undeniably gorgeous chassis? Or, if the Galaxy S isn’t your speed, maybe you’d prefer to try the Tab? The first major tablet release since the Apple iPad. A unique, good-on-the-GO 7″ display. A familiar, attractive body type lined with all the fun specs you’d expect from a 2010 tablet device. However, all for naught. Trash. Trash because of their disregard for the Behold II.

The Vanilliacs are the worst. In fact, the Vanilla fans tend to make up for the heavy-handed majority of both the anti-Sense and die-Samsung-die platform. “Vanilla” is pretty much the tweet-street slang for the unadulterated, Google-stamp-of-approval-bearing release of Android on any device. In the Vanilla-lovers’ eyes, if it didn’t crawl directly into this world from Mountain View and Mountain View only, it’s a demon-spawn and might as well be wearing a black turtleneck and whining about Flash. These are the same kids who despise cover songs and insist that the book is better than the movie. No, that other band didn’t work hard to add their own flavour. That director and cast defiled all that was good in the book to put out their own depiction of a story that they loved just as much as (probably more than) you. Hence their long-term, very costly investment into the “travesty” project. So, by all means, please complain about “bloatware” and superfluous add-ons from other manufacturers. Meanwhile, let me ask you. How often do you use Google Shopper, Translate, Earth, Maps, Sky Map, Gmail, Voice, Listen, Search, Voice Search, Goggles, Talk, blah blah blah? You use some of them, right? Yeah, so do I. Do I use all of them? Not a chance. Do you? Not a chance. But, it’s not “bloatware” because it can be un-installed. That’s the rule! Oh, and in case you were unaware, we make all the rules because we pay our hard-earned cash for this Android greatness! Oh…you do, too? You do? But, surely Sense and Twiz devices are without cost…! They aren’t? You get to have your own opinion? Nuh-uh! Google didn’t release a beta saying you get an opinion so know your place and keep quiet!

This is the paragraph where I have to be fair. If I’m going to go to bat for TouchWiz and Sense users, I suppose I should pose a fair argument against those who can’t stand Vanilla. To be honest, there aren’t many who really proclaim that they can’t stand Vanilla. Because it’s perfect? Hardly. It does half of the basic operative things that Sense and TouchWiz devices offer out of the box the majority of the time. Because Sense/TouchWiz users were almost always stock Android first. We love the projects, and we want them to grow. Stock Android brings wonderful things to the table! It oftentimes has features that are brand new, and it has a track record of receiving great updates in a far more timely manner! Papa Google supports stock more directly than anything else, but if it wasn’t part of the grand plan for manufacturers to add their spins then it wouldn’t be open! That’s a very, very large point of the entire project! Why do we have to aggressively attack every other Android user that doesn’t fall into the same sub-set as we do? Seriously. Take a pill labeled “chill” and relax. Variety is the spice of life, so stop being so crazy narrow-minded. You can buy what you want to buy, however so can everyone else! If you’re asked for your opinion, then that’s a great opportunity to come out and give it. On the other hand, when someone says “Oh, man, I just got my hands on this #GalaxyS! I really love it!” Or, maybe they update their status to “…is posting from Facebook for Android with her new myTouch4G! It’s amazing! So, so fast!” For the geeks: “Tweeting from terminal on my Nexus. KING OF PHONES! #android” You. Are. NOT. ENEMIES. Why would you reply with something like “ugh so ugly I hateeeeeee it” to them? On a very basic, human level that’s awful. It’s rude and quite honestly without redeeming value. You are truly taking away from the amazing grounds we’ve all worked to build.

Android is number one. Android has the largest market share. Android has the most satisfied users. Android has the cheapest plans, the fastest speeds, the most expansive coverage. Android tethers. Android broadcasts. Android chats. Android devs. Android torrents. Android plays well with Flash. Android tweets. Android updates. Android is open. And, Android is powerful because it accepts all-comers. Manufacturers, developers, users, carriers. If you will have Android, it will have you. Stop tearing it apart because you’re an elitist douche.

If there was one thing I wish Android didn’t do, it would be this. Android does nearly everything, but Android doesn’t need friendly-fire.