Diary of a Network Geek

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

8/16/2019

Augmented Reality Pets

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

Not all uses for technology are recommended.

Look, I love technology and all the incredible things it can do for us, but even I know that too much reliance on some of it can really be a problem. The potential of augmented reality is pretty awesome, but, like anything, it can go awry. And, I’m sure you’re wondering what that has to do with my regular Fun Stuff on Friday post, right? Well, this week I have a free, short film for you about the upside, and potential downside, of augmented virtual reality “pets” titled Strange Beasts. And, yes, it is fiction, but it’s pretty good especially for being a short. I won’t spoil it by revealing too much, but definitely go check it out.
What else are you going to do to waste time on a break on Friday?

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

6/14/2019

Starship Troopers Bugs Explained

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

I love Starship Troopers, the movie!

I’ve read plenty of science fiction, including a lot of the classics. And, yes, I have read Robert Heinlein’s book, Starship Troopers, and, yes, I did actually enjoy it, even with it’s absolutely not ironic depiction of militarism and authoritarianism. But, honestly, the Paul Verhoeven movie is genius. Taken at face value, it’s a gorgeous, low-budget, sci-fi, military action movie. At that level, it’s fun and huge and really kind of great. But, there’s a deeper level that makes it even better, in my opinion. A saterization of our hyper-patriotic propaganda that recent political trends have weaponized make this movie even better. It’s great.
But, it’s also a pretty detailed exercise in world-building and goes beyond even what Heinlein managed in his book. Granted, I think the “arachnids” are more metaphorical than they are realistic aliens. They’re certainly at least fairly consistent in their depiction. But, don’t believe me, instead, take a look at this video from Offworld titled The Science of Starship Troopers’ Space Bugs. Actual scientists take a close, critical look at these creations. And it takes nothing at all away from my enjoyment of the movie! Nothing!
It’s also a fun way to waste about 30 minutes of your Friday. So, there’s that.
Enjoy!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

8/24/2018

Sci-Fi Shorts

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:12 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I can’t get enough short sci-fi movies.

Seriously.
I mean, I know I’ve posted links to short science-fiction videos before, but I really think short, lower-budget film has come into its own lately. Oddly, I think it’s the opposite of what’s happened with the publishing industry, where short-stories have become less and less profitable, and therefore less interesting to writers. But, these days, with the low cost of hardware, video capture and editing tools, as well as distribution methods, independent creators are, thankfully, more and more willing to take risks on pretty experimental films. The intersection of sci-fi and fantasy creative ideas with very inexpensive and easy-to-use special effects tools can make for really interesting and fun short films.
And, today, I have several really great ones for you from IO9.com, in a post titled 10 Excellent New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Shorts You Need to Check Out. Really, the title says everything, but, if you follow that link, you’ll get everything from interstellar lawyers to samurai zombies to technology gone a little bit wrong.
All of which are totally worth seeing, especially if you’re bored enough to be reading this blog on a Friday!
Enjoy!

This post originally appeared on 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!

6/8/2018

Free Film Noir

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I’ve mentioned Open Culture before, but they’re a great resource.

This week, I’m thinking about movies. Dark movies with rough “heroes” that smoke too much and chase after femme fatales in stories that have grim endings. Yes, I’m talking about “film noir”. The best kind of old movies, in my opinion. The peak of the film noir movement was in the 1940’s and 50’s, but there are certainly examples of great film noir that reach well into the 60’s and even more modern times. I think I identify with the hard-luck heroes from these movies, who are worn down by life and are always scrambling for enough money to get by. That’s why I was thrilled to see that Open Culture has a collection of 60 free film noir movies that I could share with my faithful readers.
There are some I know and some I don’t know there, but there’s also the classic D.O.A. and He Walked By Night, which are well known to fans of the genre. Even if you don’t recognize all the films there will be plenty of stars who you WILL recognize, and there are a lot of movies here to check out.

Besides, they’re free and it’s Friday, so take a look and feel free to leave comments about your favorites!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

4/20/2018

Hyperlight

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 Waxing Crescent

A short film about a classic sci-fi problem.

It’s another Friday, and, as usual, my poor, little brain has been cooked pretty well this week. If you’re feeling the same way, we’re both in luck because I have the perfect 20 minute distraction from your week. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this very well done science-fiction short takes a fresh look at a classic paradox. The production values are high, as are the stakes. It’s thoroughly engaging and doesn’t talk down to the hard-core, old-school fans of science-fiction. If that sounds like a great way to take a break today, check out Hyperlight by Nguyen-Anh Nguyen on Vimeo via IO9.com.

And, hopefully, you’ll come back next week for something else cool for your Friday afternoon!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

3/30/2018

Prospect

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:20 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

A brilliant sci-fi short film.

You all know how I love free stuff and that I love science-fiction. This is both. And, it’s a film which debuted just recently at South by Southwest in Austin. It’s about prospectors on an alien planet, though exactly what they’re prospecting for is somewhat questionable. The risks they’re taking, however, are not questionable. Like all good science-fiction, Prospect explains nothing and just jumps right in and immerses you in the world the filmmakers have created.
It’s fun, definitely worth checking out and, frankly, if you’re reading my blog on a Friday, you don’t have anything better to do anyway.

 

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words by J K Hoffman.

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.

7/28/2017

“Good Business”

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 Waxing Crescent

I love science fiction film.

Or videos. Or books. Pretty much anything science fiction related is worth a look from me.
Once upon a time, I wanted to be a science fiction author. Not just a writer, but an author, which, to me, implies publication. I wanted to scifi’s answer to Ernest Hemingway. Instead, I became a professional computer geek and a consumer of science fiction in all its forms. Well, you win some and you lose some. At least I have that business degree to fall back on, right?

Anyway, that’s enough about my broken dreams for a Friday. How about a look at a scifi short, instead? That’s what I have for you this week, readers, via Boing Boing it’s a short titled Good Business, about an arms deal in the future that, frankly, goes about the way I sort of suspect every arms deal goes or has gone ever. But this one’s with aliens and pretty good special effects. And, it’s only about five minutes long, so you can sneak it in on a Friday while you’re pretending to work.

Have a great weekend and follow your dreams!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

5/20/2016

Science Fiction Short Films

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 Waxing Gibbous

Also, they’re free.

In 2015, Sploid, a sub-site of Gizmodo, had a short film festival. Just to be clear, that’s a festival of short films. There were 21 films, many of which include some actors you may recognize. All the films were creative and, frankly, pretty amazing.
And, let’s face it, it’s Friday and you’re reading this blog, which means you weren’t doing any actual work anyway, so you might as well head over to YouTube and watch all of them. They are, after all, short films, so it won’t take too terribly long.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you this week, because I’ve been a bit sick and didn’t have a chance to get anything better together.
But, I think this will be good enough.
Enjoy, and I’ll see you back here next week!

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words.

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