Saturday, June 26, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

DVD Kiosk at Safeway

So I saw one of these DVD rental vending machines at a Safeway here in Winnipeg the other day. I have to assume its fairly new to Winnipeg though they've been in Calgary since 2007, according to an article I googled.

Anyways, they appear to be operated by a company called, who were recently acquired by a company called NCR, who are going to rebrand them as Blockbuster kiosks.. and presumably raise the price if my experience with blockbuster in the past is any indication, though that's just my own personal speculation. Still, seems like a decent price, under $2.. though I have no idea what actual movie rental stores charge as I haven't rented a movie in years. If I really want to see a movie I either see it in the theatre, buy it used, or buy it new, depending on how interested I am in it.

I like weird vending machines, it is the source of my constant bitterness and resentment towards the country of Japan for its vending machine have status.. but its good to see some new ones show up in Winnipeg. I was almost tempted to rent something until I realised I'm sadly not on holidays for another couple weeks. Almost got me there, Safeway. so close.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kobo ereader/Google Android Pad

Chapters/Indigo began selling an e-ink based reader a while back. I'm mildly interested in it, but I dunno. Frankly, I'm waiting for google android based web-pads with flash to become available. Screw the ipod. Anyways, the nice thing about that is that Chapters/Indigo have released a version of their ereader for google android, so.. bonus. Granted I use mobipocket on an old pocket PC currently so whatever. I can't wait for the android based devices to come out of china. Screw the iPad. Stupid piece of junk doesn't even do flash.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Today I say something nice about Winnipeg Transit

So I noticed Winnipeg Transit decided to extend the 38 route down templeton towards the Garden City Wal-Mart. While its not my preferred option of increasing the amount of Leila buses, it is a good idea to better service that area of the city and I applaud Transit for finally finding a way to do it. Like I've said before, I don't particularly LIKE or prefer wal-mart per se, but many people do and its logical for transit service to service demand.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I'm not saying Brazillians are the only ones who do this, nor that its really that bad, I'm just saying it makes me laugh whenever they do :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Roger (E)bert (R)etry (F)ail

Roger Ebert claims video games cannot be art. He's clearly wrong. He followed it up with this twitter comment:
"Find me a person who would value any video game above "Huckleberry Finn," and I'll show you a fool.
via his iphone (an act which in itself already sort of invalidates everything he said) I respect Roger Ebert because he's a great movie reviewer. Even if I disagree with him, I respect his opinion enough because he's knowledgeable. He can still influence whether I see a movie just by why he doesn't like the movie. Or why he likes it. That said, Ebert knows nothing about video games, and even though I'm not a hardcore gamer, if I had to eliminate Huckleberry Finn from my life or the experience of playing Super Mario Bros 3 for the first to 9000th time, I'd eliminate the former. To Ebert's mind that makes me a fool. Sorry if I'm Canadian and I don't really feel much nostalgia for some trouble making orphan having adventures along the Mississippi. Maybe you have to be as old as Ebert to appreciate it more. I don't know. To me, Super Mario Bros 3 is a masterpiece that I'd visit again and again. Not to mention the fact the whole game is a stage show.

I wonder what Ebert will think of Scott Pilgrim vs the world, a movie based on a comicbook heavily inspired and influenced by video games. Will his brain explode? Will he pull an Armand White and despise it for no valid reason whatsoever? Or does the fact that its on celluloid mean it has transcended the realm of video games and comicbooks and ascended to true art. If true art is defined by pretentiousness, then maybe he has a point.

I think ultimately Roger Ebert is just so pissed off at the fact that 99% of video games made into movies have been so poorly made that he's just lashing out at the genre like its their fault somehow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How targetted ads work

I just bought a top of the line Lenovo computer within the last month. So obviously, I'm in the market for more lenovo thinkpads because thats what I keep seeing in various advertisements that seem targeted towards me. Obviously I thought I would be happy with just the one.. but go figure, I must be in the market for more.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I hate the Genie awards

I do, I seriously do. They have never rewarded anyone or anything I've ever been interested in. The most Canadian movie out this summer won't be eligible for a genie award, despite being SET in Toronto, starring a Canadian actor, being filmed on location in Toronto, being based on a comicbook created by a Torontonian, because its actually going to be entertaining. So no Genie for you. Oh, the director and the financing are not Canadian. Oh No! That's all. That's why the Canadian film industry is an inbred fucked up worthless waste of money that most Canadians don't give a fuck about. Fucking insular common sense deprived morons.

As someone whose read the comics and seen the trailers for the movie, I'm pretty excited. Looks like something I'll enjoy. Now, the GAME is something altogether even more impressive. In the style of River City Ransom, the game features Scott Pilgrim and his band Sex-Bob-Omb double dragonning their way through Toronto collecting Canadian currency from the enemies they defeat in full 16 bit retro style glory. The only sad thing is it won't be available on the Nintendo Wii, where I would think it would best fit. That said, looks fucking killer.

Anyways, heres the theatrical movie trailer.

The world is changing, and the Canadian establishment is falling further and further into irrelevancy in an inter-connected world. God, I hope a DMCA type set of laws helps us keep the status quo! (That last bit was sarcasm, subtle I know)

Should be the sleeper hit of the Summer. Hopefully holds me over for good comicbook movies until Green Lantern in 2011.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

USB Audio Adapters in Linux

Hey look, a technical/Linux related blog post! I haven't done one of these in a while!

Some time back I hastily left my laptop while still wearing my headphones to go to the bathroom, and subsequently broke the headphone jack on my laptop. Now, fortunately I was able to eventually buy a replacement used daughter card for my Lenovo Thinkpad SL400 for $50 and install it myself, thanks to Lenovo's excellent online video tutorials and technicians handbook, but before finding the daughter card for that price (others were selling it for around $100) I discovered USB Audio Adapters. I knew they existed in the periphery of my memory, but I always assumed they did not work in Linux for whatever reason. Still, they were relatively cheap so I bought a couple.
The cheapest one was this "5.1CH USB 2.0 3D Audio Sound Card Adapter Headphone/MIC" on ebay that was .99 cents + .50 cents shipping. I bought two because a Windows running friend was having trouble running Skype and figured this could do the trick (it did, Skype recognized it right away and requested to use it) .. it arrived pretty quickly too. Sound quality is reasonable. Serviceable. Unless you're an audiophile you're not going to complain. Got the job done, anyways. I'll paste the dmesg for those who like that sort of thing:
usb 7-2: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 3
usb 7-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
input: USB AUDIO as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.1/usb7/7-2/7-2:1.3/input/input14
generic-usb 0003:1130:F211.0002: input,hidraw0: USB HID v1.10 Device [USB AUDIO ] on usb-0000:00:1d.1-2/input3
input: USB AUDIO as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.1/usb7/7-2/7-2:1.4/input/input15
generic-usb 0003:1130:F211.0003: input,hidraw1: USB HID v1.10 Device [USB AUDIO ] on usb-0000:00:1d.1-2/input4
one thing I forgot to mention is this has a little light inside it that lights up when powered. If you like to know your USB sound card is working by showing you a light, then great. But it might annoy some people. Plus its orange, and thats not the favourite colour of most people. Still, for $1.50 its pretty good. Better at least than no sound.

here's a screenshot of audio card output selection in Ubuntu Lucid.

The other one I purchased is a Logitech A-5572A (according to its label), which I got for about $10.00 including shipping. I like it cause it has a cable so it sticks out a bit from the laptop and seems less likely to break for no reason. Using dmesg in Ubuntu Lucid shows the following:
usb 7-2: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 2
usb 7-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
usbcore: registered new interface driver hiddev
usbcore: registered new interface driver snd-usb-audio
input: SCEA Inc. Logitech USB Headset as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.1
generic-usb 0003:046D:0A0B.0001: input,hidraw0: USB HID v1.10 Device [SCEA Inc. Logitech USB Headset ] on usb-0000:00:1d.1-2/input3
usbcore: registered new interface driver usbhid
usbhid: v2.6:USB HID core driver
Ubuntu shows it in sound preferences, select audio output as logitech, and voila. Works beautifully.

I also realized internal HDMI Audio worked with no issues as selected on this laptop and used that occasionally as well.

That said, I just bought a T510 with switchable graphics so its all moot. Bought a Displayport to HDMI adapter from DealExtreme we'll see how that works. Hopefully the T510 can withstand the punishment I give laptops better than the SL400. I miss the keyboard style of a true thinkpad as well, though the keyboard on this one was useable. That's neither here nor there though. The main thing is USB sound works pretty good in Linux, or at least in Ubuntu Lucid, so hurray!

Saturday, June 05, 2010



oh wait, wrong link. here's the right link.

Copy(not too b)right


Industry Minister Tony Clement says cracking down on people who break “digital locks” on DVDs and video games brings Canada in line with many countries, despite criticism from Internet experts.

Yes, we must all fall in line with other countries. I mean, if the United States jumps off of a bridge, we better jump off that same bridge.

Clement says Ottawa’s new copyright legislation is neutral on the issue of digital locks and it’s up to the creators of CDs and DVDs to issue them.

Neutral, huh? Making it illegal to break digital locks for any reason is neutral? WOW.
Imagine if you're an auto manufacturer and you sell a car with a digital ignition system. Now imagine you lose your digital key.. and to replace it you have to buy a whole new car.. This is the type of environment "Creative" industries like the video game industry want Canada to have. You can never resell what you buy. You have to buy it over and over, and it will cost the same as the old non-replaceable media we have today. It will never find its way into the public domain, and as a result will never actually live up to the true purpose of copyright, to promote and temporarily give a monopoly on works in order to encourage the creation of new works. Patents at least expire within a reasonable time frame.

Clement, taking questions on the bill today in Toronto, says the legislation will also allow Canadians quicker access to new technologies once they hit the market.

REALLY? REALLY? We're going to get the latest iPhones that much faster because DRM is forced on the general populace? This is the level of intelligence and discourse the conservative government has? Somehow I doubt not having DRM kept us from getting the iPad at the same time as the USA. And even if it had, I'd rather not have it.

The bill, tabled Wednesday, would allow companies to seek damages between $100 and $5,000 from people who break digital locks to copy material like video games, films and music.

because copying that legally purchased DVD and using DRM to view it on your iphone is depriving someone of money that they should get from you by forcing you to pay over and over again for what they sell. This is what those encouraging a copyright welfare state truly believe.

The wide-ranging bill affects consumers’ relationship with DVDs, CDs, MP3 players and even their Internet service providers.

yes, it turns it into an abusive relationship.

It would be the first overhaul of the act protecting copyrighted property since 1997.
wow, 13 years since the last overhaul of copyright. Good god, People were still wearing Doc Martins in 1997 and listening to the Spice Girls.

Thank God the Conservative government is out there criminalizing people for irrelevant things. Not like we haven't got ACTUAL criminals out there to deal with, no we have to create new laws to create new criminals. Because you can't squeeze extortion money out of a kid who steals a car, but you can sue and fine someone exorbitant amounts for getting past broken DRM to play a legally purchased video game. Not like our judicial system isn't backed up already. Oh wait, it is.

You know what, I'd rather EA didn't come here to open up business in Toronto for government photo ops. None of their games are worth playing anyways.