Sunday, January 19, 2014

New CDs
 Neil Watson - Move!  Winnipeg saxophonist.
 Germ - Grief.  A project by Australian Tim Yatras.
Untimely Demise - Systematic Eradication.  A band from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with the drummer from Winnipeg.
Amber Epp - Inside Out.  Jazz singer from Winnipeg.
Artists in Healthcare Manitoba.  Artists include Ron Halldorson, Lois Gillespie, Tim Cummings, Aaron Shorr, Kris Ulrich and Keith Price, among others.

New books in the collection.
Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel by Max Blumenthal.

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit.

Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M. Gates.

From the TED blog, 100 Websites You Should Know and Use (updated!)


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Concerts 2013

01 15 January - Gojira w/ Devin Townsend - Garrick Theatre
02 9 February - Mark Stallard - Joe Black's
03 17 February - Enslaved/Pallbearer/Ancient VVisdom - The Zoo
04 1 March - Marduk/ Moonspell / Inquisition / The Foreshadowing
05 28 March - Soilwork w/ Jeff Loomis, Blackguard, Wretched and Destiny Potato - Park Theatre
06 29 March - Mark Stallard - Joe Black's
07 31 March - Amber Epp - Park Theatre
08 10 April - Billy Bragg - Garrick Theatre
09 12 April - Chantal Kreviaziuk - WECC
10 4 May - Mark Stallard - Loft Gastropub
11 31 May - Primus - Burton Cummings Theatre
12 17 June - Rudresh Mahanthappa - WECC
13 3 July - Counting Crows/ The Wallflowers - Concert Hall
14 13 July - Winnipeg Folk Festival
15 16 July - CD Release Farewell 274 - Franco Manitoban Cultural Centre
16 18 July - KISS - MTS Centre
17 22 July - Megadeth - MTS Centre
18 9 August - Loreena McKennitt - Concert Hall
19 12 August - Paul McCartney - Investors Group Field
20 18 August - Wintersun/Fleshgod Apocalypse/Arsis/Starkill - Park Theatre
21 14 September - It's All In The Mind - Loft Gastropub
22 14 October - Joe Satriani - Burton Cummings Theatre
23 22 October - Ian Anderson - Concert Hall
24 8 November - Destroyer - Park Theatre
25 17 November - Bryn Roberts - WECC
26 2 December - High On Fire - WECC

Skipped shows:
23 Feburary - Rik Emmmet and the WSO - Concert Hall
9 March - Anat Cohen - Berney Theatre
20 April - Bill Charplap Trio - Berney Theatre
19 September - Iron & Wine - Pantages Theatre
7 November - Matthew Good - Burton Cummings Theatre

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Television not the same since the end of Breaking Bad

I was a late comer to Breaking Bad.  After reading about how Bryan Cranston was winning award after award, I decided to finally check out the show.  I started with Season 1, episode 1, and within no time, I was hooked.  Never before had I seen a show with so much tension and unpredictability.

Thankfully, the show has ended rather than linger on and on too long, like many other shows have done, like Lost and X-Files.

Nothing has appeared on my radar, however, to replace the excitement.  We're into Season 3 of another show that I was nuts about, Homeland, but it's off to a slow start and I do hope that they also have a plan to end it rather than keep it going indefinitely, so long as the ratings are decent.

The Walking Dead is now into it's fourth season and it's beginning to lose some of its appeal.  It's becoming too familiar with not a lot new.  Please make this the last year.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D looked like another attempt to capitalize on the super-hero craze that, particularly with the success of Marvel's super-hero movies.   After a few episodes, the media is reporting that they are attracting fewer viewers with each episode.  The writing is hum drum.  When you're dealing with super-hero characters, they tend to shine better in one-off movies than in weekly shows where you know there's minimal risk and endings that are predictable.

Hostages is about a surgeon who was selected to operate on the President.  Her family is taken hostage by a group of well-organized operatives in an attempt to have her botch the operation and kill the President.  The President's own Chief of Staff is on in it, but he also reports to higher powers.  This might work as a one season show, but I am already thinking of dropping it.

Dropped recently that I used to follow are Burn Notice and The Glades. 

Probably the two best new shows that I have seen recently, however are The Americans and House of Cards.  Set in the Reagan era, The Americans is about a couple of Soviet spies who move the U.S. and start a family in order to blend in as a typical couple.  An FBI agent moves in across the street and they become friends with him and his wife, all the while, this is the couple that the agent is also pursuing without realizing that he's after his neighbors.  It's a serial and it's an engrossing thrill ride.  The show is on the cable network FX.

House of Cards is a addictive serial, full of political conspiracy and manoeuvrings that at times seem like they could be realistic.  Kevin Spacey is bound to win awards that Bryan Cranston used to win as lead actor.  It's a Netflix series and while season 1 has ended, it's far better than anything on major network television. 

It's been said recently that television is now the stronger medium for quality drama, overtaking the film industry.  I tend to agree.  What's even more interesting is that the best dramas are from smaller networks, rather than the ones that have the history and big budgets.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tiger Woods vs. Jack Nicklaus

World Wide Wins - Tiger 88, Jack 79.
PGA Tour Wins- Tiger 77, Jack 73.
European Tour Wins- Tiger 8, Jack 0.
Player of the Year- Tiger 10, Jack 5.
PGA Tour Money Titles- Tiger 9, Jack 8.
Vardon Trophy Scoring Titles- Tiger 8, Jack 0!
Most Wins per Season Titles- Tiger 11, Jack 5.
Most Wins in a Season - Tiger 9, Jack 7.
Most Consecutive Cuts Made in a Row- Tiger 142, Jack 109.
Missed Cuts- Tiger 10, Jack 88
Career Scoring Avg- Tiger 68.75, Jack 70.28 (Thru age 36 for Both)
Major Championships- Tiger 14 of 60, Jack 18 of 112 (thru age 49 only)
World Golf Championships- Tiger 18 of 45. Jack Nothing Comparable at all.
And Tiger Woods has done all of this by Spotting Jack Nicklaus THIRTEEN YEARS!
It Took Jack 453 Professional Tournamets to Win 73 Times. A 16.1% Winning %.
It Took Tiger 271 Professional Tournaments to Win 74 Times. A 27.4% Winning %.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Display problems - Philips 42PF9631D37

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Biggest reasons for Windows 8 failing in the marke

Here's an online comment from "Nategator," in response to the article Understanding Windows 8′s lackluster launch and Microsoft’s cryptic sales figures by Sebastian Anthony on the Extreme Tech website.

Biggest reasons for Windows 8 failing in the market:

1. Pushing a touch-based OS interface down desktop user's throats.
It was absolutely asinine that Microsoft both got rid of the familiar (Start button, deskop view) and pushed massive innovations (tile system, corner access) at the same time. At the very least, they should have made the ability to go straight to the desktop with a start button an optional feature. Better yet, make it adaptive. If Windows 8 detects a touchscreen, start with the tiles. If Windows 8 just detects a mouse and keyboard, start with the traditional desktop view. If they would have done this minor step they would have avoided 95% of the criticism (the other 5% largely focused on the App Store -- see #3) and made the new Start option a desirable feature rather than a reason not to buy/upgrade.

2. The tiles/Metro is ugly and poorly designed.
It's pretty much a rip off of the Xbox tile system, which is largely panned by users because it ends up hiding the content they want behind advertisements and side features Microsoft is pushing. What people tend to want is symmetric columns and rows that can be easily customized -- a la MS's own deskop, Android, and Apple.

3. Poor relationship management with key partners.
It's telling that HP, Acer, Steam, and Blizzard have all publicly went out and panned Microsoft's Windows strategy before launch. Each company was directly threatened by Microsoft making moves to become a direct competitor instead of a trusted partner. And as the carcasses of Netscape and WordPerfect testify, when Microsoft goes after your revenue they do not play fair. Plus, these are key partners trashing Microsoft's strategy. HP sells the most PCs, Acer used to be dominant in laptops/netbooks, Steam sells the most PC games, and Blizzard sells the most beloved PC exclusive franchises. Now all of them are looking seriously at Linux (or its fork, Android) and pushing the GPU companies to start developing drivers.

4. Continued failure to understand the touch market.
People like touch as secondary devices. But it is yet to be seen whether they really want to ditch the keyboard and mouse system for a less efficient touch system. There are big drawbacks with touch. fingerprints, oil, scratches, and dirt build up on the monitor. Touch is less accurate than the mouse and keyboard. Touch creates more input errors than the mouse and keyboard. All of these have the potential to decrease productivity.
In addition, you should not have the same touch OS for both a tablet and a desktop/laptop. With the tablet you are interfacing downwards and with the PC you are interfacing perpendicular. Motions that feel comfortable with the tablet can feel strange with the PC.
No matter how many corporate touts try to clog up the comments they cannot escape the reality. Windows 8 is looking more like Vista (or worse) and less like Windows 7/XP. And if the gaming pubs open up a Linux front Microsoft may be in serious trouble.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lost your Windows discs?

Here's a link to an excellent blog article written by Ed Bott, for the Ed Bott Report, on ZDNet.

Lost your Windows discs? How to get replacement media, legally

Did your most recent Windows PC purchase come with a set of reinstallation media?

Maybe it did, maybe it didn't. As I noted in my coverage of Microsoft's lawsuit against UK retail giant Comet, big PC makers—the so-called royalty OEMs—are required to include a recovery solution as part of their installation of Windows. But the details of those recovery systems vary by manufacturer, so there's no one-size-fits-all set of instructions.

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