Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

7/26/2019

2 Kooky Book Toys

Filed under: Art,Fun,The Infinite Library — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

That’s two digital book-related toys.

Oddly enough, I found these two “living infographics” via two totally different paths, but they both ended up at the same site; The Pudding, a “…digital publication that explains ideas debated in culture with visual essays”. It’s a cool site, really, with some great data visualizations. I’m going to share two of them that, obviously, relate to books.
First, there’s the Hipster Summer Reading List 2019. It’s really what it says it is; a very snooty, self-important reading list. The idea is that kids in school get Summer reading lists to help keep their little brains engaged over the break from actual school where all learning takes place. But, when we become adults, no one programs literature for us the same way any more. This interactive infographic helps you generate one for yourself. There are settings for relative obscurity and difficulty as well as a publication year slider. I’m sure they’re all “classics” in some sense or another, but they were all books I’d never ready, which, I suppose, is partly the point.
The other interactive infographic is a page of 11 years of top-selling book covers, arranged by visual similarity. It’s kind of fascinating to see the way genres group together around certain colors and stylistic choices. It makes sense, really, since they’re all competing for the same eyeballs that they’d all end up looking similar. A kind of natural selection of book cover design. Either way, a fascinating way to spend a few minutes.

In fact, I think they’re both pretty fascinating ways to spend a few minutes playing instead of working on a Friday.
So, enjoy!

 

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

6/21/2019

Star Wars Animals

Filed under: Art,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

The creatures are the best part.

Okay, maybe you disagree there, but one of the things I’ve always loved best about any science-fiction is the creatures. That’s true whether it’s the sandworms of Frank Herbert’s Dune novels, the low-rent costumed animals in the original Star Trek TV series, or the vast array of alien creatures in the Star Wars films. Now, I’m not a huge fan of all of the CGI revisions that Geore Lucas made to the original trilogy (ie Han shot first! And the original Death Star explosion was fine, thanks.), but I absolutely love the combination of practical effects and computer graphics that made all the creatures on all the planets come to life. Whether it was bantha or the rancor, the original trilogy had great and setting appropriate animals that made the Star Wars universe seem a little more real. And, whatever your feeling about Episodes I, II, and III, Industrial Light and Magic really earned their name with the beasties on Naboo, not to mention the other creatures that show up in the least likely places.
So, when I saw this video from the Star Wars Kids channel titled Every Creature in the Star Wars Movies, I had to share it with you. It’s literally less than five minutes and still manages to cover all 90 named alien animals in all the movies so far. Definitely worth a quick look on a Friday when you’re trying to avoid a bit of work.
Enjoy!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

3/29/2019

Making a Great Space Helmet

Filed under: Art,Fun,On Creativity — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

It’s harder than you think!

It’s no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I love science-fiction. I don’t know if it’s the escape of it, or the promise of a better tomorrow. Or maybe just the idea that we can engineer our way out of some of the troubles we have created for ourselves as a race. I know that I believe that the Universe is far too large for us to be the only intelligent life out there. It seems statistically improbable that we’re alone in the entire vastness of space. And, perhaps optimistically, I have to believe that if such beings exists, eventually we will at least find evidence of them, which most likely means traveling to distant worlds. Just how distant and by what methods require more math and physics than my poor, little brain is capable of dealing with, but I think that just makes it easier to believe it’s possible.
In any case, that belief draws me to science-fiction about space travel, whether it’s novels or movies. I have to admit, though, a good, realistic feeling space travel movie is really a joy. You may remember that I shared a short with you last year about this time called Prospect, about colonists on an alien world, mining some precious mineral. Well, that short got expanded into a longer feature that’s been the darling of several film festivals. And, this week, I’m just sharing an interview with the creators of Prospect, where they talk about the challenges of making a good prop spacesuit helmet. It’s actually quite an interesting interview, especially if you have any interest in making movies, science-fiction or making props. It’s not too long, either, which gives you plenty of opportunity to refresh your memory and re-watch Prospect so you can admire their handiwork.
Enjoy!

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words.

8/10/2018

Existential Frog

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

More strange, short movies for you.

I tend to think of movies with special effects as something relative new and modern, but that’s just not really true. I also have to admit that I think of color movies not being a “thing” until after The Wizard Of Oz, even though I know that’s not true either. I honestly don’t know when color started to be a regular thing in movies, but I know that “special effects” of one kind or another have been around almost as long as movies themselves. Of course, just like today, limited budgets had a direct effect on the amount and quality of special effects in a film. And, also, just like today, artists who are driven to express their creative vision find a way to get that vision made, regardless of the limitations. What’s more, the very best of those artists stretch the possibilities of what can be accomplished.
One of those artists is Segundo Chomón, a Spanish director and cinematographer who lived from 1871 to 1929 and pioneered some incredible effects, camera tricks and optical illusions in film. I found him recently via Boing Boing, who shared his deeply weird short film from 1908, titled “The Frog”. I can promise you that it is strange. What’s stranger is how modern the effects seem. What’s mind-boggling, to me at leas,t is that it was done 110 years ago! You can see a larger selection of his work at The Segundo de Chomón Collection at The Internet Archive. They’re definitely worth checking out.
And, they’re certainly better than whatever you were doing that led you to this website on a Friday!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

12/15/2017

Star Wars Day

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

While you read this, I’ll be seeing The Last Jedi, in 3D on IMAX.

But, since it’s Friday, I still want to share something great for you. Something fun. Still, I also want to keep with the theme of rubbing your noses in the fact that I’m seeing the newest Star Wars movie while you’re stuck reading my dumb blog. Luckily, Star Wars and George Lucas have been in the news a lot the past couple weeks, so I have plenty to steal, er, “share”.
Let’s start with an article at IO9 about the fans who made an alternate Star Wars trailer featuring the original concept art by Ralph McQuarrie. It’s some live-action as well as animation, but it’s five minutes and twenty-three seconds of awesome. It’s definitely worth a look!
Then, there’s the student film by George Lucas that launched so much of what became science-fiction cinema for the past 40 years. His film, Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB, would eventually become the feature film, renamed more simply THX 1138, which happens to be an awesome movie. The earlier, student film is only about 14 minutes long, so an easy film to sneak in at lunch. It’s a little retro at this point, but it still has a lot of the aesthetic that makes his later works great. Again, definitely worth a look!

Enjoy and if y’all are good, I may come back and share a review of The Last Jedi!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

3/27/2015

Independent SciFi Movies

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

I have two for you this week.

Yes, that’s right, two independent sci-fi movies. One is a short that you can watch in it’s entirety on your coffee break. The other is really just a trailer for the longer movie. Both come to us via IO9.com

First, I’ll give you the shorter of the two, but with the greater potential.  The movie is called “Dust” and it’s about a very unpleasant evolutionary explosion and the ramifications of that in a science-fictional future. …
Read More

5/16/2014

How It’s Made – 500mm lens

Filed under: Art,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

My wife calls the Discovery Science channel the “Lion King channel”, because when she needs me to be calm and entertained, this is what she puts this on, like a mother puts her toddler in front of the Lion King.

Sadly, she’s pretty much right.
How It’s Made is one of my favorite shows.  Whatever channel it’s on instantly becomes the “Lion King channel” for me.  Even boring stuff is fascinating when it’s being made by big, high-speed machinery.
So, today, while I’m…
Read More

1/27/2012

Hacker Typer

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:49 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

You ever wonder how hackers in the movies type code so fast?

Okay, maybe it’s just me, but when I see programmers cranking out code on a TV series or a movie, I always wonder how they’re typing so much so fast.  And, I’ll be honest, I wonder how accurate their code really is.  So, I’m sure most people don’t really care about all that, but just assume all computer people bang away on the keyboard to churn out code.  Hey, they probably don’t even notice what keys we hit at all!
Well, I’ve finally found out how Hollywood simulates what they think coding is like!  It’s a site called Hacker Typer!

You go, open up the application, which looks like an old-school terminal, and just start banging on the keyboard.  It literally does not matter what keys you hit!  And, the app does all the work, producing line after line of what looks like decent, usable code.  I actually have no idea if that code will do anything or not, but it looks good, and, in Hollywood, that’s all that matters.
So, what the heck, it’s Friday.  Go hit that site and pretend to be a hacker!


Powered by WordPress
Any links to sites selling any reviewed item, including but not limited to Amazon, may be affiliate links which will pay me some tiny bit of money if used to purchase the item, but this site does no paid reviews and all opinions are my own.