Google “Plus Your World” Is Not As Offensive As Everyone Thinks

January 26th, 2012 at 10:58 am (Uncategorized)

Here is a good article mirroring the collapse of AOL with Google.

The AOL of the 90s is a universally recognized symbol for what the internet should not be, and how the web will always be better and more innovative than what one company can provide. AOL’s demise came at the hands of the open web and search engines like Google, which made it easy to find content without the heavy hand of one company’s portal. Now, after 13 years of growth, the Google portal looks nearly as much like AOL as it does the search engine that helped displace AOL—and that’s a bad thing.

I don’t have a problem with the new Google Search “Plus Your World”. For one, you can turn it off is you don’t want personal results. Two, if you are signed into Google and have a Google Plus account, then I would agree with Google that in some cases results within my circles are more relevant to some blog by some guy.

I just don’t understand the backlash of those crying foul. If you are not logged in or do not have a Google account then you won’t see these personal results. Clearly, if you have a Google Plus account you think it is relevant and why shouldn’t it be included within search results?

And above all, you can switch to both types of searches. Or you can log out. Or you can remove your Google account and still use Google search. Maybe I don’t see it but I’m not offended in the least bit.

However, I do agree with this article. Google needs to focus on building great products instead of just acquiring, gutting and shuttering existing products.

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Force Origin Comic: Dawn of the Jedi

January 25th, 2012 at 12:30 pm (Uncategorized)

There is a cool new Star Wars comic coming out next month published by Dark Horse. Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi is set in the earliest days of the Jedi Order before the polarization of the light and dark sides of the Force.

It began with the mysterious pyramid ships–the Tho Yor–scattered to the eight corners of the galaxy, and ended with the establishment of an Order that would change the universe forever.

Here’s your first look at the Star Wars of 25,000 years ago–before there were lightsabers, when the ties to the Force were new, and before the Jedi spread out into the galaxy.

Which sounds pretty damn cool. The material set around the Knights of the Old Republic era has always been my favorite part of the universe to read. If you’re a Star Wars fan you will like some of the other comics and books set around that time. This comic is going much further back and it basically sounds like a origins story. If you’re jaded by the prequels or sick of hearing about Skywalker/Vader than going this far back should protect you from all of that.

I should mention that another miniseries which is a continuation of the finished Knights of the Old Republic has started this month. Knights of the Old Republic – War is set after the final issue of the last series and carries the protagonist into the Madalorian Wars. If you were a fan of the first video game then you should go ahead and pick up the trade paper backs of the previous serious and start getting into this one. Again, being set in a time period far away from the tainted movies allows you to geek out to Star Wars without all the ridiculousness that George Lucas invoked with the prequels.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic—War is an upcoming comic book miniseries from Dark Horse Comics written by John Jackson Miller. Set shortly after the final issue of Miller’s previous Knights of the Old Republic series, War will follow Zayne Carrick as he gets drafted into the Mandalorian Wars. The first issue was released on January 11, 2012.

This is also a good opportunity to mention The 4th Wall, a great Montreal comic store if you are just interested in getting new comics. They have a great service called ComicPull that allows you to see all the new single issue comics that are about to come out and lets you create a custom list of what you want. You can then have them shipped to you or pick them up at one of their two stores in the area when they are available.

Take it from someone who was never a regular at a comic store this online feature is very handy. Dark Horse, for one, is not known for hitting release dates on time. Also, I find comic stores cluttered and sometimes unhelpful. Besides, I hate knowing that I want something and then having to look for it only to find out it’s not in stock or they don’t even receive it to begin with.

So this is a great service. It makes life a lot easier. (Plus they are right down the street from me).

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Get Pics To Your Cell From Your New BFF, NASA’s Opportunity Mars Rover.

January 17th, 2012 at 1:03 pm (Uncategorized)

This might be the coolest thing your smart phone has ever been capable of. With a new app from NASA you can get receive images from the Mars rovers latest downlink as soon as they become available.

The Mars Images app fetches images from the NASA Opportunity rover’s latest downlink as soon as they’re available. On Mars since 2004, Opportunity has far exceeded its planned mission life and is still making groundbreaking discoveries, such as the recent unambiguous evidence that water once flowed on Mars.

The app is available on both Android and iOS. It also contains the older photos from the rover’s archive. And soon it will have archives from the now defunct Spirit rover and once the Mars Science Laboratory hits ground we will begin to get those photos as well.

I’ve always been excited about the rovers and the images taken from the ground on Mars. This is a new and fresh way for regular people to get excited about these missions as well. Keep it up NASA, this is the sort of thing that is needed to spark excitement and interest for space travel.

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High Definition Star Trek: The Next Generation.

January 16th, 2012 at 12:53 pm (Uncategorized)

I have to admit I’m really looking forward to this. Thankfully they are not just up-converting the original video tapes and going back to the negatives and digitizing them to 1080p. It really looks nice.

The result is stunning — the difference between the standard definition tape and the new edit is enormous, with more natural color reproduction along with the added detail you’d expect. It’s especially significant in the effects — these were filmed using models, rather than digitally created, so the intricate work of the modelmakers really comes to the fore. The loyalty to the original series is evident, even down to retaining the now outdated 4:3 aspect ratio.

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