Tag Archives: movies

Apple TV Moves to Rental Model, Drops Price to $99

Apple TV

DISCLAIMER: I thought the first Apple TV was relatively useless.

Today, Apple announced significant changes to Apple TV at the press event held in San Francisco (which, by the way, was streamed LIVE for the world to watch). The new Apple TV, available by the beginning of October, comes in at 1/4 the size of the original. It’s smaller than a sandwich. You can use a Tupperware container as your carrying case now – provided you’ve cleaned it first.

But there are tastier details to sink your teeth into!

There’s no media to keep track of anymore (through klutzy synching processes and whatnot) – everything will stream live into the tiny slice of digital heaven through either a network cable or WiFi (802.11n). As someone who hates storing media, this change is most welcomed. There’s a reason I use and love both Pandora and Rhapsody for my music, and why I’ve taken to Hulu for available TV show viewing. And on that note…

Once you’ve set up your new Apple TV, you’ll be able to “choose from the largest online selection of HD movies to rent, including first run movies for just $4.99, and the largest online selection of HD TV show episodes to rent from ABC, ABC Family, Fox, Disney Channel and BBC America for just 99 cents.” That’s quite a competitive price for legally-attainable media in conjunction with a convenient interface and service. Not sure I’ll take advantage of this part of the Apple TV, though; I’m not into à la carte media consumption.

Netflix subscribers (like myself) have access to the entire streaming library of Netflix videos. If the video is in your instant queue, you’re just a few clicks away from watching it with Apple TV. You can also view streaming media from YouTube and Flickr – plus watch your favorite podcasts (like a certain someone’s) and access streaming media and images on the computers in your home.

Job(s) well done.

Oh, did I remember to tell you that the price of this sophomore effort has also been cut by 66%! That brings the Apple TV price point to US$99 – a great impulse buy for gadget geeks and mediaphiles. I’ll buy one, pick up a few extra HDMI and power cables, then tote a single unit around the house with me.

While I never considered purchasing the original Apple TV (not once), I can’t wait for this to ship (available in about four weeks to consumers in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany and Australia).

Am I alone with being impressed?

Do You Appreciate Your Technology?

Gordon asked on Geeks recently: “What do you consider to be this most ignored item of technology?” He talks about how we often take for granted the items we have around us… our gaming consoles, our computers and even our navigation systems. He’s right, you know. Most of us use these items without really thinking about them or appreciating them.

We want the newest technologies. We want things that are better, faster and newer than what we have. But do we stop and think about what we have? Do you appreciate the fact that science has evolved enough to even allow the design and implementation of that smartphone you cannot live without? Do you ever think about those people whose brains are so much more advanced than mine (and perhaps yours) that they can come up with things like this to make our lives easier and more fun?

What piece of technology do you think is the most ignored? What one item do you believe we all tend to overlook – despite the fact that we likely use it every day?

Don’t overlook the hot new software and app deals we have for you on our download site.

How Does iTunes Work on the iPad?

Imagine being stuck in an airport for hours on end. You’re bored out of your mind, and feeling as though you could flip out at any second. Now imagine having the iPad with you, just waiting for you to connect to iTunes. It takes one tap of a finger to connect to the iTunes store via a wireless connection.

Once you connect to iTunes, you know what to do from there. You can browse through music, podcasts, telelvision shows and movies to purchase. Grab that new album you’ve been dying to listen to, plug your headphones in, and rock out. There are millions of songs available – and thousands of movies and videos.

If you are a student and could use some extra knowledge (who couldn’t?), you can connect to iTunes U. There you will find lectures, lessons, audiobooks and even podcasts – all coming from universities and museums.

You can quickly transfer your existing iTunes library from another device to your iPad and from your iPad to the other machines. No matter where you go (or what device you have with you) you won’t have to leave your media at home.

How to View Media on the iPad

We spend a lot of time working with photos as we edit, resize and upload them to various websites. Photos are easier to work with on the iPad than many other devices due to the size of the screen. You can scroll through your entire collection with the touch of a finger. If you want to view all of the photos in an album within Photos, you can “pinch” it to open. You read that right… you can PINCH your iPad! You can also create a slideshow within the application, and choose music from your library as a background. Quickly import your photos from a Mac or Windows machine using iTunes, and have them organized for you in one place.

We also spend a lot of time watching television shows, movies, podcasts and music videos. I’d have to say I probably spend at least half of every day playing some type of video to listen to as I work. I like the way this type of content is organized and accessed using the iPad. When you tap the “Videos” button, all of your media will be displayed in neat lists to help you find what you’re looking for. You can watch movies in wide-screen, or double-tap to watch them on the full screen.

The large screen on the iPad will be a plus for me when watching movies or videos, as well as when I’m working with pictures. You’ve seen my glasses. I need all the help I can get, and the screen real estate should make a big difference.

Where to Get Blu-ray DVD Movies for Cheap

The Amazon Movies & TV Team is offering several special sales in the month of March. First is a Blu-ray sale with over 300 Blu-ray as Low as $13.99 while supplies last. This is a great opportunity for you to build your Blu-ray library from their selection of titles – including Iron Man, Transformers and Wall-E.

Next is a chance for you to save up to $60 off James Bond on Blu-ray while supplies last.
Finally, they have their Big DVD Sale with hundreds of DVDs as Low as $6.49 while supplies last.

There are further pre-order bargains on Quantum of Solace [Blu-ray], Slumdog Millionaire [Blu-ray] and Bolt [Blu-ray]. Also explore Amazon’s huge selection of over 1,500 Blu-ray titles, with everyday savings up to 40%.

Now all I need is a Blu-ray player!

MPAA 13, Piracy 0: Three More Allegedly Illicit Sites Sued

The Motion Picture Association of America has been working hard since 2007 to bring movie piracy to a halt. Wednesday, the MPAA filed suits against three more allegedly illicit movie web sites. This brings their total number of lawsuits to 13; though somewhat of a piecemeal approach, they have been successful in combating underground trade and winning by settlement or default judgment. Even though they have been successful, illegal downloading is even more prevalent than before.

There are other ways of getting a movie, people. Here’s a few:

  • Hulu.com – One of the best services to watch movies and television right on your computer. It’s legal, and it’s free. You can subscribe to shows and get email alerts when a new episode is posted.
  • Fancast.com – Their byline – “Watch full TV shows and Movies FREE online!” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
  • Joost.com – Wow, another FREE AND LEGAL place to watch movies and TV shows. This has a social feel to it, where you can get recommendations from others on what to watch.
  • Major TV Network sitesNBC, ABC, CBS, USA, FOX… you get the idea. They have their exclusive shows you can watch right online just like the other websites.

Let me make one thing very clear – movie piracy is a CRIME, and it is punishable by law.

On Monday, President Bush signed legislation creating a new cabinet position, the Copyright Czar. This office will be charged to create, implement and enforce plans to combat piracy and reports directly to the president. In addition, the MPAA is already lobbying President-Elect Obama to embrace Internet filtering that will automatically detect and remove copyright infringing content. Internet filtering is being embraced worldwide and it will not be long before these filters are in place throughout the Internet. What does this mean? A much higher chance of getting caught red-handed. Not fair, you say? A copyright infringement lawsuit is no walk in the park – more like your worst nightmare. Because of current US laws protecting copyright owners, you could face incarceration and hefty fines if found guilty.

What about fair use? Well, this is the criteria for “fair use” – you determine how you are using the works of others:

  • Is the new use of a commercial nature?
  • Did the new work harm the market of the original work?
  • Is the new work a parody?
  • How much content of the original was used?

Basically, if you are uploading a copy of a movie or other copyrighted work to the Internet as a torrent or onto a P2P or file-sharing network, you are infringing on copyrighted content. Piracy is a big reason that legitimate consumers pay higher prices for the same product. Do you still think that is fair?

What are your thoughts about fair use of copyrighted content? If you are copying movies, why?

Top Five Butt-Kicking Female Hotties

Geek!This is Chris Christman’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Hot females in pop culture aren’t hard to find. Finding one who could beat the crap out of anyone who gets in there way? Harder to find. Finding one who can beat the crap out of anyone and isn’t a two-dimensional cardboard cut-out of a character? Even harder. That’s why I’ve come to bring you a list of the top five butt-kicking females. There are a few rules to the list:

  • They have to come from some facet of pop culture… be it comics, movies, books, or TV.
  • The characters themselves must also have some depth to them. They must kick butt, and be interesting.
  • They have to be considered hot by a marginal part of the population.

And, without further ado, here are the Top Five Most Butt-Kicking Hotties.

  1. Chun-Li – The Street Fighter Series What a way to start. Chun-Li is one of the first females I remember ever seeing in a fighting game as a child. She was also the first female character I was proud to play as. People who hadn’t played the game much would laugh, but they wouldn’t laugh long. Hit ’em with a little Spinning Bird Kick or throw the Hyakuretsu Kyaku at them, and they soon realize that they just lost to a chick. A hot chick. A hot asian chick. Need I say more?
  2. Felicia Hardy AKA Black Cat – Spider-Man Comics Like many great characters, she evolved over the years to become more sympathetic. She started out as a simple cat burglar, but she evolved into a character simply after Spider-Mans affection and was more of a hero really. However, one thing was always the same from the start of the character up till now: she was freaking hot. Skintight black costume, well-endowed, sultry, and seductive as hell.
  3. Uma Thurman – Kill Bill Uma Thurman can either look really hot or just awkward. Quentin Tarantino manages to make her kick some major ass and look damn good while doing it. Once she gets into that Bruce Lee jumpsuit, you know two things. One, she is about to kick some ass. Two, she is going to look that damn good for the rest of the movie. And there is just something about a woman on a warpath that is just so alluring.
  4. Milla Jovovich – The Fifth Element For a lot of guys, their idea of a hot woman is usually the same as their idea of a voluptuous woman. It usually involves big boobs and sometimes a big butt. Milla Jovovich tore that idea apart when she appeared in The Fifth Element. No man can resist her when she shows up in the outfit consisting of a few white straps. She is small, slender, and sexy as all hell. Plus, if you had any doubt in your mind about falling in love with her at first, as soon as she turns on that adorable charm, you are in. Then she starts beating the hell out of people. And not just in a, “Hey suck my fist!” kind of beating. I’m talking lethal, tactical, planned out assaults on groups of people who, by just looking at them, shouldn’t even have to worry about her. What else is there to say? “Multipass.”
  5. Devon Aoki – Sin City Ah, little Miho. Deadly little Miho. As far as looks go, Devon Aoki has it all. She has that foreign appeal. She is small and cuddly. She has a perfect face. She is in great shape. Devon Aoki is so freaking hot and irresistible. And those little pout-y lips just top everything off. And that’s all without mentioning her skills in that movie. She is a trained assassin. She doesn’t need to speak. She controls every situation without uttering a single word. Before you even know you’ve entered a fight, she has already made sure that you have lost. She can kill a man with any assortment of weapons, and you can guarantee she will look damn-good doing it. She is the force behind the Girls of Old Town. Sure, Rosario Dawson’s Gail was the leader, and she played an important role, but take another look at the movie. Devon Aoki is the only woman who manages to keep everything together despite everything that is going on. She takes out the crooked cops. She saves Dwight. Twice. She is the kind of person you know you can depend on, no matter the situation. She’s one of the deadliest women on film and she is too damn hot.

So there you have it. The five hottest, most badass females. The list ran the full spectrum of pop culture, from video games and comics to movies. I’m sure I’ve left a few of your personal favorites off the list, and I’m sure some of the ones on my list aren’t ones you necessarily agree with. So let me know what you think in the comments below. If you disagree, let me know what your top five is. Thanks for reading!

Top Five Movie Scenes

Geek!This is OmniDragon’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Mike Singletary, former Linebacker for the Chicago Bears who was captain of the defense when they went 15-1 in their Super Bowl winning season in 1985, used to watch a certain movie scene before each game. He would put Patton in the VCR and watch the beginning where George C. Scott talks to the Third Army about war and what being a warrior is all about. Singletary would then strap on his helmet and take his position upon the field of battle with the full intention of ripping the enemy limb from limb. And that’s exactly what he did. There are a few movies out there that I would put into the VCR, DVD player, or the computer just so I could watch a particular scene that really gets me going.

  1. Heat: In this one, Al Pacino plays Vincent, a homicide detective who spends more time chasing down bad guys than he does paying attention to his family. Robert DeNiro plays Neil, the bad guy who’s on the verge of retiring from a life of crime if he can just pull off this one last score. Well, Vincent has just arrived at his house, late as usual. He goes upstairs to find that his wife is getting all dressed up for a night on the town without him. So, he calls up his cop buddies and has them trail Neil in a helicopter until Vincent can catch up to him and pull him over. He invites him to have a cup of coffee, Neil accepts, and they have a nice little chat in the diner, good guy to bad guy.
  2. True Romance: Clarence Worely (Christian Slater) and Alabama (Patricia Arquette) are on the run after Clarence killed Alabama’s pimp ex-boyfriend and stole a half a million dollars worth of cocaine. They get married, go visit Clarence’s dad (Dennis Hopper), and then go to Los Angeles so they can sell the drugs, make a bundle of money, and live happily ever after. The day after they left for L.A., the mobster who hired the pimp to sell the drugs in the first place (Christopher Walken) shows up at Dennis Hopper’s place looking for Clarence and his “girlfriend”. As soon as he answers the door, Clarence’s dad gets punched in the face and knocked out cold. He wakes up sitting in a chair with Christopher Walken standing across from him, ready for the interrogation. This is where we get to find out just what kind of father Dennis Hopper’s character really is. I love this scene. And to have it be Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper makes it nothing short of a classic.
  3. Lord Of The Rings – The Two Towers: This is an epic movie. But after having seen it a hundred times, sometimes I just can’t wait for that part where the elves show up at the castle, ready for war. And, then of course, the battle for Helm’s Deep. If you haven’t seen the extended DVD version of this film, I highly recommend it. Without which you will never know what happens to all those orcs who retreat into the forest attempting to flee from battle.
  4. Tombstone: Kurt Russel really outdid himself in this one. Most of the time, I’ll actually watch it all the way through, though it’s mostly just background noise up until the nighttime scene at the train station. Ike Clanton and Stillwell thought they were going to get the drop on Wyatt and his brother. Little did they know, Wyatt and his friends were already there. Wyatt, McMasters, Texas Jack Vermillion, Turkey “Creek” Jack Johnson, and Doc Holiday. Wyatt kills Stillwell and then has Ike down on his knees crying and begging for his life. He tells Ike what’s what, the scene breaks, and then all hell breaks loose. I get chills every time, though I think my liking of this part mostly stems from everything that follows, all the way to where Jhonny Ringo gets killed.
  5. Scent Of A Woman: Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell) comes from a working class home in Oregon and currently attends an all boys prep school in New Hampshire on a Young American’s merit scholarship. Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (Al Pacino) is a retired, disabled veteran from the U.S. Marine Corp. He embarrassingly lost his eyesight while practicing a grenade juggling act in the military. The Colonel needs someone to look after him over the weekend while his normal caretakers go on a family trip to Albany, NY. Charlie reluctantly takes the job and he and the Colonel spend the weekend in New York City. Charlie has been stewing over an incident that took place before they left for New York. He and another student were implicated in witnessing a prank played on the Headmaster by other students. When the weekend is over, Charlie and George are called to a hearing so they can name the perpetrators involved in the incident. George has his rich father backing him up. Poor Charlie has nobody…until the Colonel shows up and gives a speech about life and about what “leaders should be made of” that ends in a roar of applause from the spectating crowd. Al Pacino won an Oscar for his performance in this film. Again, I get goosebumps every time.

Honorable mention in this category includes the speech given at the end of The American President by Michael Douglas, near the end of Strange Days when the riot starts, at the end of The Game when Sean Penn says happy birthday to his brother. That one actually brought a tear to my eye. Sean Penn is a genius. One more. The part in What Planet Are You From where Annette Benning sings High Hopes. That was beautiful.

Well, how about you? Are there any movies that you would watch just so you could see that one particular scene? Leave me a comment. I’d be interested in hearing what you have to say about this.

Movies that Don't tell the Tech Truth

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I don’t mind when a movie has something “Tech” in it, as long as it’s realistic, or even remotely so. There have been times in movies, though, where you just have to hang your head as a Geek and wonder what Hollywood was thinking.

Bwana mentioned being bothered by the movie Jurassic Park, during the scene where the girl uses a Unix system. After this video was posted, I received a follow up email to explain that scene. The file system you saw on screen in that scene is called “3d navigator” and was developed by Silicon Graphics (SGI) for their version of unix. You can see a Screenshot here.

SC_Thor has to cringe when watching Swordfish. Build a virus out of legos? What are you talking about? Ohhh. I feel the need to go play with something the guys can’t see while they continue talking!

Wirelesspacket doesn’t mind Hackers so much. At least it’s realistic in the sense it COULD be that way in the future. However, he feels that the movie Takedown was more realistic.

Clear and Present Danger just wasn’t right at all. There’s a part where someone is trying to delete files on a computer from the Command Line, and the directory is longer than it should be. How hard is C:??

And now, for my invention! Look… I built my own virus out of Legos! Now all I need to do is send it to the Mother Ship. I’m such a genius.

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