4 Articles

For ‘The Record’ – Stop Calling!

Sunday comics, in my opinion, are the best part of the entire newspaper. The highlight of my Sunday is coming home from church, going to the local coffee shop, and reading the Sunday Comics over a cup of coffee.

Paying the news stand price stopped making sense so I purchased a Sunday subscription to a New Jersey Newspaper called ‘The Record’ at a special promotional discount. What joy, getting the comics for less, every week! When the promotion expired I didn’t bother to renew and was satisfied letting the subscription lapse.

That was over three years ago and the joy is long gone. I’m still receiving annoying telemarketer calls from The Record Newspaper to re-subscribe despite numerous requests and emphatic assurances that I have moved and no longer with to subscribe. Please, stop calling me.

Microsoft Takes No-IP Down

As an occasional user of No-IP it shocked and outraged me to see Microsoft using court action to circumvent the services of another company without first pursuing the matter through non-legal channels.  As a network administrator I understand the reasoning behind Microsoft’s actions but according to No-IP it was forcefully done without warning. Slashdot has some interesting comments explaining the legality of the action but the general sentiment is against Microsoft.

While everyone is so focused on the consolidation of computing resources in the cloud I think this should be a reminder of what one (perhaps misplaced) court action can do to an entire company and section of the internet community.

Opinions About What Makes Sci-Fi Great

What makes for a great science fiction movie? Is it futuristic technology, exotic alien places, hypothetical situations based on advances in technology, a story that explores what the future could become?

It was an overcast and rainy Saturday with nothing much to focus on doing except tend to the house.  For background noise and casual viewing I watched Star Trek Into Darkness followed by  Close Encounters of the Third Kind as I went about my day.

When Star Trek Into Darkness was in theaters I didn’t catch my interest because the previous Star Trek (2009) movie was so disappointing. There were no expectations that Star Trek Into Darkness would be any better than the previous movie so I waited for it to come out on rental and when NetFlix announced it was available for instant viewing the bar was low enough and I decided to view it.

The entire Star Trek Into Darkness movie was an action drama that explored a different time line in the Star Trek universe and focused on character relationships while being wrapped up in future sci-fi technology. It was less science fiction and more action adventure designed to make a box office hit that would appeal to a wider audience. I’m not a huge trekkie but it was like building a car and forgetting to put the tires on – it may look and feel like a car but it can’t go anywhere.

The movie did start with a controversial situation about the prime directive and is adhering to it more important that one person’s life but the focus was less on the prime directive and society and more focused on Kirk and Spock’s relationship and ‘feelings’ towards each other. This seemed to set the tone for the entire movie which was nothing more than a display about how each character felt toward the situation at hand. For a sci-fi movie that focused so much on feelings had a real ho-hum attitude afterwards.

With a Saturday not yet half finished and more chores to do I queued up Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s a movie that I remember watching several times throughout my childhood. At the time I didn’t fully understanding some of the sub-plots about the conflict in Rory’s family or the government attempt to keep the encounters a secret so it was interesting to watch again after so many years. Despite being over 30 years old with some inconsistent editing, weak character development, and slow plot development while having  no real focus on sci-fi technology , future societies, etc it did capture the most important aspect of science fiction – exploration.

The sense of exploration, the drive to find out what’s out there, is the driving force behind a good science fiction movie. I think that is why Star Trek Into Darkness was so disappointing because Star Trek the Next Generation, Star Trek Voyager, and even Star Trek Enterprise were some of my favorite stories in the Star Trek series.

As a society are we so emotionless that we have to go to a movie to watch someone else face there feelings and deal with there emotional situations to be entertained?

In my opinion there is nothing wrong with a sci-fi movie that explores the consequences and emotional situations that arise in pursuit of exploration but I want to end the movie with a sense of ‘Wow, that was interesting, wouldn’t it be so cool if <insert amazing place> existed!’ or ‘That’s so interesting, just imagine how <insert new technology> could transform society’.

To end a movie with the impression that I primarily watched characters go from one dramatic situation to the next is saddening. I don’t need to go to the movies for that, all I have to do is be a Dad and live my life to experience more than enough drama!

A sense of exploration, what could be out there, out in the world, space, cyber-space, and how it might transform society as we know it, now that’s something to think about… if you ask me.

What makes science fiction great for you?




Opinions On Net Neutrality

This will be short because it’s simple.

Comcast, I pay you for an internet connection, capacity on your network. As your customer I do  not want you choosing which bits are prioritized.

If you aren’t familiar with the whole net neutrality issue please watch this short video and make your opinion heard.