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Friday, October 03, 2003
The torrent opens
I'd been hearing rumblings here and there about BitTorrent, which I naively assumed was just another Kazaa knockoff, a place for file sharers to retreat to now that the RIAA heat was hitting those places that have become popular places to get songs for free.
I was completely wrong. I needed to find something really fast and out of desperation and curiosity, I snagged a copy of BitTorrent. I couldn't understand why it wasn't working. Why wasn't the thing installing? Where was the colorful console that told you how to find stuff? It turns out that BitTorrent works in the background and everything you share is all Web-based. But when I saw the sheer number of sites that have popped up offering Bit Torrent files in such a short time, I was blown away. And when I saw how easy it was to find complete episodes (some that haven't even aired or hit theaters yet) of popular TV shows and movies, I was overwhelmed.
Remember the first time you figured out how to use Napster (back in its heyday) and realized, in a very hard-to-grasp way, how this was going to change everything? And then it did? I felt that way about Bit Torrent last night, standing on the precipice, staring at a sea of movies, TV shows, entire albums, readily available. The program works in a slightly different, but ingenious way, than other peer-to-peer programs. Instead of waiting for an entire file to be hosted somewhere, the file sharing can happen both ways, while it's being downloaded by the client.
In other words, say I'm pulling down last night's episode of ER. I may have only downloaded two or three megs of a 500 megabyte file, but already, those two or three megs are being sent elsewhere, to other people just starting their download of the same file. You're sharing the file, sending it out, before you even have it yourself. Instead of relying on a handful of people who have the entire 500 meg file available to distribute, you're getting it from people who are still in the middle of their downloads. It makes things much more likely to be available ("seeds" are what they call the number of outlets out there sharing these files), and the files themselves download much more quickly. The more you have of it to share, the faster you're pulling it down.
It's scary. It made me feel weird and apprehensive. Of course, as Penny Arcade has pointed out, it could be just the solution for companies trying to get huge files (movie trailers, game demos) out there to a mass audience without frying their own servers. But let's be honest. That's not what most people are going to use it for.
It's going to do to movies and TV shows online what Napster and Kazaa did to online music. Another set of wars are about to begin.
Thursday, October 02, 2003
Movies this week...
Out of Time: The arrival of a new Denzel Washington movie used to signal a time of joy and peace in the world. No matter how bad the movie was, you knew you were going to get a solid Denzel performance, and even if he wasn't going to get to kiss Julia Roberts, looking at Denzel for an hour and a half still isn't a bad deal, even if you're a guy. He's just that cool. But then he started making movies that not only failed to capture people's imaginations -- they just seemed like roles for him to coast on. John Q.? Come on, man. Okay, fine, maybe I didn't see Training Day which was supposed to be pretty bad-ass, but even with that Oscar, the roles just kind of seem to be blending together. This one looks like a Fargo-meets-Out of Site character study, but with all the coolness ripped out. And sorry, but I'm just not all about Eva Mendes. I'm just not. Somewhere, somehow, Denzel lost the magic. My guess is that Julia Roberts sucked it out of him. Stupid vampires.
Princess Blade: This movie is supposed to have some bad-ass fighting, but the trailer I saw looked a little... how to put this delicately... suck ass. While I am fully in favor of anime-lookin' girls who weird swords in a pursuit of ass that must be kicked, the preview looked really cheap and not very convincing. Nevertheless, I have a screener tape and I will be checking it out, so maybe all my talk of ass -- kicked, sucked, or whatever -- will be for naught.
School of Rock: I loved it, and you probably will too. I saw it with an incredibly enthusiastic audience (it helps when Jack Black is actually in the theater when you watch it), but even if that hadn't been the case, I still think this would have been a lot of fun and it's simply the best peformance of Jack Black's career. If you like him even a little bit, or even if he tends to annoy you, you'll probably still like this movie. Try not to think about Sister Act when you watch it.
DVD: Nothing specific planned, but I totally didn't get to watch Scarface last week, so that's still on the agenda. Oh, and The Lion King, which I need to hurry up and get to for a review next week. And Run, Ronnie, Run is still sitting on my DVD player, unwatched. Someone figure out a way to warp space and time so I can do all that this weekend, okay?
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Please don't hurt the fishies
Parents: Don't let your kids flush their fish. They won't survive. If a turd can't survive the debilitating effects of sewage treatment, neither will Gimpy the Guppy.
Instead, to get rid of a fish, simply eat it slowly in front of your kids, as demonstrated in the film A Fish Called Wanda.
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
The XL Blog is posted at mysterious times
New XL Blog column. I just saw it right after that last post, sorry. Go get your disembodied caricature'd Omie head action.
Laptop: Back in Daddy's arms
I know you've all been wondering and worried, just absolutely edge-of-your-seat curious about what ended up happening to good old 5005-S504, my beloved blue Toshiba laptop.
The laptop is home. Or rather, here with me at work. I went to pick it up today after what I hope is its last extended stay at Austin Ribbon & Computer (ARC like a mutha to those in da know), where the 'top was poked, prodded, ripped apart and reassembled, Six Million Dollar Man-style, in hopes that it would work as well as it did when I bought it a year and a half ago, the wonderful days when typing on a slab of metal and plastic not sitting on a desk was a novelty to me.
The tech, whom I have nothin' but love for, had to swap out the video card, which I'd suspected had been the problem from the beginning and had said so, but I wasn't going to harp on it because I didn't want him coming to my work and telling me how my movie reviews were bullshit and that back in college I actually gave the crappy Sharon Stone movie Sliver a 9 out of 10 when I reviewed it for the local paper. I didn't want that information to get out there. So, two system boards and a video card later, the laptop is supposedly working (I haven't taken it out to check, but I have confidence in Tech Man: Fixer of The Broken), especially after he told me he ran the DVD player for most of the morning, using the movie I left in the machine, Animal House as a test disc.
Omar: Hey, I was just calling to check on my laptop.
Tech Man: Fixer of The Broken: Oh yeah, well we got the part in and I just swapped it out and right now I'm watching Animal House and things seem to be working all right. Thanks for leaving that in there, by the way.
Omar: No problem.
TM:FoTB: It's on the toga scene.
TM:FoTB: I had forgotten how funny this movie is.
Omar: Glad you're enjoying it.
The reason I was so worried about getting my laptop back on time is that Smallville returns tomorrow night and I use the laptop to write my recaps. Making sure the laptop was up and running in preparation was a little bit like making sure all the toilets in the house are in good working order before inviting over my bullimic friend.
So it's the worst ragweed day of the year and I have a hangover? I love you, Austin. Let's never be apart.
Monday, September 29, 2003
I was drunk when i wroteit
Dude, y'all, people... why are people so mean? Like hardcore mean with a bat up da ass all, "Booga booga, look at me with my power." I hate people sometimes.
Patty makes me laugh. We were sitting together at the awards and we just got drunker and drunker and more and more obnoxious, and I'm sure the people sitting around us were just like, "Let's never nominate any Latinos ever again. I don't care how talented Rita Moreno is, it's just Not. Worth. It."
Seriously, we were obnoxious. I felt so sorry for the peopel in the row in front of us and the peopel in the row behind us because we were hooting and hollering, and making fun of the girl who stood on the left aisle just being a complete and total drama geek with the scarf and the "I LOVE YOU! YOU ROCK!" and we were completely agog. But not too agog to drink all the white wine in the building and scarf down a big thick piece of chocolate cake and to get misty eyed with the fired Austin Lyric Opera guy got up and gave the most hilarious, unpretentious cry-in-your-$3-plastic-wine-cup speech that we were one of only four rows to give a standing ovation to. Oh, what you're too good to give a standing ovation to the man who put opera on the map in Austin? What did you ever do? You performed Shakespeare in the summer heat? You did Greek tragedy in your see-through dainties? Fuck that shit! Opera, man. I don't even like opera and I love the guy who gave that badass opera speech. He rocked like Thor.
We saw Ladee Leroy, but we didn't get to talk to her, although we did run into Lipman and he was totally cool. We saw him out in the hall, on our way out, using the patented "Staggered Exit Plan" that you reserve for 4-hour long awards shows.
Dude, seriously, dude, I need to drink some water and eat some wheat bread and... god, we shouldn't have had drinks at the Dog & Duck before. I'm just... the room is all woooooo and i'll probably end up deleting this whoole thign tomorrow. I wonder what's in the frigdge.
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