Geeking out on Scam School in San Francisco

As most geeks are, I am a fan of podcasts.  I listen to them, I have done a few of my own, and I have co-hosted a few.  Podcasting, especially video podcasting, is quickly becoming the next “TV”.  [ Revision 3 ] has gone along way in making that a reality, and they go beyond the “newsy” type of podcast that you would find normally, and are actually creating some quality shows.

One of these is [ Scam School ], of which I am a HUGE fan. Scam School star [ Brian Brushwood ] who was recently interviewed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  Scam School teaches its viewers how they can do really cool bar tricks in an effort to get free beer, or break the ice with people you want to meet.  Brian really makes the show, he is very lively, fun and just an all around kick ass guy.

scam-school-logo

A couple of weeks ago, March 28, 2009, we met up with [ Tom Merritt ] from another of our favorite podcasts [ "Buzz Out Loud" ].  Tom’s wife Eileen does the video editing for Scam School, and is probably the coolest lady you will ever meet online.  While we were talking she asked us to come up and do a shoot with Brian.  Well, as you can imagine, I about freaked out right then and there, but was able to keep my composure and say “Uh.. sure, that would be awesome”.

So the next Friday, we road tripped our way up to San Francisco and found ourselves at the [ SF Brewery ].  Aside from having one of the best micro brewed Porter’s I have had in awhile, the atmosphere was awesome. Eileen stopped by and told us to just chill out for awhile while they set up, and we got to meet to Brian which was WAY cool, and of course it was instantly on twitter, and much to my surprise about 5 minutes later this tweet came back from @shwood :

picture-1

Well, of course, we’re geeks.  We don’t put socks on in the morning without putting it on twitter.  About an hour later, and 3 beers (to calm me down) we were sitting at a table with bright lights and cameras, and Brian with a deck of cards.  I specifically requested no fire, but kind of regret that now, although they said that was never in the plan. It was a fantastic experience though and I can not stress enough, not only how cool Brian was, but all the Revision 3 people were so awesome.  They knew we were fans, so they did more then just the normal shoot and we got to see a few super cool card tricks that Brian does.

Of course after wards I had to have my picture taken with Brian and Eileen :

brianandme

eileenandme

I can’t thank Revision 3, Eileen and Brian enough, for giving this geek an experience that I will remember forever.

Our show will be released tomorrow… so make sure you download it www.revision3.com/scamschool/ , and let us know what you think in the comments.

Also , follow these people on Twitter :

Brian : twitter.com/shwood
Eileen: twitter.com/bigepaz
Tom : twitter.com/acedtect

Us

Stephen : twitter.com/darthweef
Allen : twitter.com/allen099
Aric : twitter.com/phatemokid

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Follow the Geeks on Twitter

We geeks, have been working on getting our act together and puttingmore and more content here on For The Love of Geeks, and you can certainly expect new content, a new look, and a new era of geek love swarming the interwebs from the hub here. More on that later.

twitter

All of us geeks, Nick, Allen, John, and Myself are twitter addicts, but now we will have a central place to twitter geek stuff from, as well as feed our blog posts too. So keep an eye on the For the Love of Geeks Twitter page : http://www.twitter.com/FtLoG.

Also, check our individual twitter pages for loads of laughs and info.

Stephen : twitter.com/darthweef
Nick : twitter.com/niczak
Allen : twitter.com/allen099
John : twitter.com/theREALdvorak

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Happy 1234567890 day!

That’s right kids, today is 1234567890 day.  Why, you ask?  Certainly you jest… Certainly you know what [ Unix Time ]  is …. Certainly you have heard of the Unix EPOCH!!!!

Ok.. well, time to fill in those of you who are confused. Here is some help from Wiki:

Unix time, or POSIX time, is a system for describing points in time, defined as the number of seconds elapsed since midnight Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) of January 1, 1970, not counting leap seconds.

Example: 1234553739 (2009-02-13 19:35:39Z)

unix time

So, Friday, Feb 13 at exactly 3:31:30 PM (PST), Unix time will equal ’1234567890′.

OK.. so to the geek community.. what does it all mean?  It means it is time to party!!!! Oh yeah! So where do you need to be to experience this in all it’s geekiness?

Los Angeles geeks will be at [ Henry O's ] .  226 Standard Street , El Segundo, CA 90245

The Main fun will be in San Francisco at

Friday, Feb 13 at exactly 2:31 (1 hr early for some drinks)
The 21st Amendment
563 Second Street
San Francisco
http://www.21st-amendment.com

Find more information at [ 1234567890day.com ]

Got a local event in your area that you want to let us know about.. throw it in the comments and we will update this post with that information.

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Canon PowerShot SD790 IS Review

After doing a poll on both twitter and friendfeed in which I asked what brand of point-and-shoot digital camera people would buy at around the $200 price point, I learned that a profound number of people use/love/recommend Canon products. I went ahead and picked up the 10MP Canon PowerShot SD790 IS for a mere $179. Add a couple 4GB SDHC cards, an extra battery, an extended warranty and I was off and running!

This Camera is hands down one of the most impressive and surprising devices I have picked up in a long time. The form factor is great and with the 3″ PureColor LCD screen reviewing photos and video is a snap. The SD790 has a very intuitive interface and a great deal of very hand menu options. I could go on and on about this little device but I will let the PowerShot speak for itself. Below is both a photo gallery I put together on Flickr as well as a video I shot and uploaded to Youtube. (Note: The video is also available in high-res on Flickr, just click any of the thumbnails below to view the entire set)

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* If you visit the youtube or flickr page you can view the video in high resolution.

According to the manual the battery should take slightly over 2 hours to charge completely. I clocked it at 1hour, 48minutes. At the time of writing this review I have shot roughly 150 photos and recorded almost 10 minutes of audio/video (850MB) and much to my surprise the battery is still 2/3 full. I have not charged it since I opened the box, needless to say the extra battery was probably overkill.

Syncing on the Mac is as simple as plugging the PowerShot in and iPhoto takes care of all the rest. With my Windows box the sync process was also seamless. Windows XP knew exactly what it was and what it needed to do. **NOTE: I did NOT install ANY of the software prior to sync’ing the camera, not even a driver. XP had it all natively. Pops right up in explorer and I can manage easily from there.

All-in-all I really couldn’t have asked for a better camera for the money. With 10MP, built-in image stabilization and audio/video capture quality like this I am highly recommending this camera to anyone who is looking for an affordable point-and-shoot.

Nicholas

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Top 5 2009 Geek Predictions

In no particular order :

1. [ Watchman ] movie will be pushed back and will end up being a Christmas blockbuster instead of the summer blockbuster starter they were hoping for. Thanks Fox for taking something beautiful and trying to crap all over it.  Just one more, in a long list of reasons to despise you as a company.

2. Nothing excitingly new will come from this years, and Apple’s last, MacWorld.  By the end of the year, Steve Jobs will have stepped down as CEO and will fill an emeritus roll of some sort.

Apple MacWorld

3. [ Twitter ] will be overrun by malware, spam, and hackers making the service useless and a thing of the past.  We have already seen the start of this, and unfortunately the twitter API is full of security holes, and the twitter dev seems to have reactionary view of security instead of a precautionary view.  Since Twitter is finally starting to make it stamp in histories timeline of the internet, it will draw far too much exposure from unwanted forces.

twitter_fail_whale

4. Net Neutrality will finally get the political backing that it needs to become an actual reality, and yet somehow, the US gov’t will still think that they have the ability or the right to control content on the intertubes.

netneu

5. [ Wolverine ] will kick so much ass, that it will make us forget, at least for a little while, how pissed we are that [ Watchman ] still hasn’t been released.

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From the desk of Awesome : Lego Diorama of the Battle of Hoth

First of all.. WOW!  This is by far, the most awesome item ever covered from the desk of Awesome.

lego-hoth

What you are looking at is a 5 foot by 10 foot lego recreation of the battle at Hoth, from Empire Strikes Back. Created by the extremely taleneted  [ Mark Borlase’s ], the entire display consists of nearly 60,000 pieces and has cool features such as 50 real lights and a remote controlled mechanism that deploys troops from the AT-ATs. The entire creation took over 4 years in the making and consumed about $3000 (that’s a lot of white bricks!). This creation won the recent Star Wars building challenge and was featured in the official LEGO Magazine.  Mark, you are AMAZING, and seeing this makes me teary..

Here are a couple of pics from the Mark’s flickr page, but there are a ton of SUPER cool pics, so go look at them : [ Mark's Flickr Page ]

hoth-base-legoThe interior of the hoth base, complete with the Millenium Falcon, and X-Wing hanger.

lego-at-at-attackingThe seriously awesome outside of this includes a snow speeder that is in process of taking out an AT-AT.

side-view-lego-hoth-mountainAnother amazing aspect of this creation is the side view of the mountain that has windows into the medical bay, the command center, and even the hallway that Han strolls down…

Any lego creation is pretty cool, and something of this magnitude is especially amazing, BUT, what makes this truly awesome is the amount of detail all the way down to the footprints in the snow that Luke leaves in the snow running toward the base.  (seen in the first pic).

Mark, you are AWESOME!

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Review : The Force Unleashed

On September 16, “The Force Unleashed” was unleashed upon us and wow, this game is amazing.  The storyline is epic, and the game play is awesome.  After the jump, we will discuss in more detail.

First let’s deal with the story.  For me, this story is better then any of the prequels, and far superior to the Clone Wars movie from this summer.  You are code named “StarKiller” but your given name is Galen Marek, a young sith who is trained secretly by Darth Vader, who discovered you during the Jedi purge that occurs immediately following Revenge of the Sith.  After killing your father, Vader takes you and the story jumps about 13 or 14 years into the future where Vader is now using you to be his secret assassin with the goal of enhancing your force skills to the point where you can help him kill the Emperor and take over the galaxy.  I won’t go into any more then that at this point, since I don’t want to spoil anything.

The voice acting is considerably better then the Clone Wars movie provided and it really feels cinematic in quality.  The cut scenes are fantastic and are engaging enough that watching them over and over doesn’t get annoying.

The game play is ultimately what makes this game made of pure win.  First off, you begin the game playing the prologue of the story as Darth Vader on the planet Kashyyyk, the Wookie home world, and you are hunting a Jedi that is hiding out there.  You battle Wookies, and have a collection of Storm Troopers with you that you can feel completely comfortable killing as well.  In fact, you get a pretty cool, and funny, achievement for doing so.  I am going to say that this level alone, makes the game worthwhile.  Playing as Darth Vader is just every geeks dream come true.

The Force Unleashed completely re-imagines the scope and scale of the Force by taking advantage of new technologies, Digital Molecular Matter (DMM), by Pixelux Entertainment, and euphoria by NaturalMotion Ltd. Paired with the powerful Havok Physics™ system, these new technologies create an amazingly realistic feel to the game play. DMM incorporates the physical properties of anything in the environment so that everything reacts exactly like it should – wood breaks like wood, glass shatters like glass, and people who get picked up react like people would thanks to a revolutionary behavioral-simulation engine, euphoria enables interactive characters to move, act and even think like actual human beings, adapting their behavior on the fly and resulting in a different reaction every time.

It really does bring a whole new dimension to this type of game. The end sequences when fighting “Boss” type enemies (at-at’s, and other Jedi) are pretty cool, and have a cut-scene feel to them while allowing you to interact at the same time.

Finally, the concept as whole is epic.  The scope of what this game attempts is impressive, and even though it is being billed as the most expensive video game ever, it is completely worth it.  It is a bit violent so I would not recommend it for the under 13 age group.

What I like most about this game is that it did what none of the prequels could do.  It made me excited to be back in the Star Wars universe, and reminded me of everything good about the Star Wars franchise.

Are you excited for this game? Have you started playing, if so, what do you think? Let me know in comments.

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The Clone Wars, Epic Saga or Epic Fail?

On August 15th, Lucasfilm will unleash the seventh big screen Star Wars movie, this time in cartoon form.  Star Wars is quite possibly the most well-known and loved Science Fiction franchise of all time.  Just about any 30-something has a story about the first time they saw Star Wars in the theater, and can recount the confusion of seeing Episode 5 scroll across the screen when Empire Strikes Back played for the first time, and the absolute thrill every teenager got when they first saw Leia in her Jabba’s Palace outfit.

Then came the spring of 1999.  After years of anticipation, and having waited in line for ten hours for tickets we got to see the back story for the three most beloved sci fi movies in history, and they sucked!  I refuse to go into a rant about the prequels, but I think the first movie should have been edited down to this :

This was the only good part of the first movie.

Now, three years after the Revenge of the Sith, which I will admit had redeeming qualities to it, we are again forced to wonder if another attempt by George Lucas is worth our 11 dollars.

I have heard positive and negative things about this movie. One huge positive is the artwork. This will be a cartoon, but the images that have been leaked online are crazy and certainly have more of an anime flair to them. Here are a few :

Obi Wan looking awesome with his saber. Oh yeah, come and get some.

I am not sure if this is just a concept peice or an actual scene from the movie, but WOW. The artist that did this is amazing.

Here is [ Asajj Ventress ].  I am a fan of this character, and actually enjoyed her role in the Clone Wars TV series.  I liked that she considered herself a Sith, even though she was “untrained”.   I really hope her role stays strong in this film, and again the artwork is phenomenal.

Ok, so I am pretty sure we can all agree that one thing Skywalker Ranch excels at is creating amazing visuals, but plots seem to be an issue these days, and unfortunately, I think this will be the case in the upcoming movie.  Here is the “official” plot synopsis.

The Clone Wars takes place between Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The eponymous Clone Wars rage between the Confederacy of Independent Systems and the Galactic Republic. When Jabba the Hutt’s son, Rotta the Hutt, is taken by a group of renegades, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi depart in search of answers: where is the Hutt’s son, and who is controlling this mysterious renegade group? Yoda sends Ahsoka Tano along as Anakin’s apprentice. Count Dooku will unleash his minions, including Asajj Ventress and General Grievous, to cause havoc for the Republic and to make a three way war between the Galactic Republic, the Confederacy of Independent Systems and the Hutt’s.

OK.  First of all, Rotta the Hutt… really?!? Rotta the Hutt?  Does anyone else out there remember Lumpy?  Chewbacca’s kid from the infamous Star Wars Christmas Special.  Haven’t we learned our lesson about creating random family members for the Star Wars universe? I am also trying to imagine a distraught Jabba wondering where he son his and thumbing through family photos to give to Anakin to help find little Rotta. Oh, and seriously does any one else really want to think about two Hutts mating and creating a child in the first place? Ugh.

Next, since when does Anakin get an apprentice?  He is not a master and still an apprentice himself in the third movie.  Granted, I am sure they will address this in the movie, but why add this into an established character history.

The final issue that I have with this movie is the lack of Ewen McGregor and Hayden Christensen.  As much as I hate Hayden Christensen’s portrayal of Anakin, we all must face the fact that he is Anakin now, so how are you just going to get two different actors to play the MAIN characters.  If this were a straight to DVD, or TV movie, I would not care as much, but this is a feature film, get the original actors or don’t do the freaking movie.

This movie is meant to be the precursor to a TV series, which will no doubt see a change in the voices of all the characters, which for a TV series, I am not too concerned about that, but ultimately I just think that this movie should have been a prime time special on the channel that will be airing the TV series and that’s all.  Aside from the visual elements, I just don’t see anything about this movie being worthy of big screen play, or 11 dollars of my hard earned money.

In the end, I wish I could love Star Wars as much as I did in the Spring of 1999, before seeing episode I.  The anticipation of that movie, the idea of new Star Wars content and the thought that a whole new generation of Star Wars fans being created just doesn’t exist with this movie.  It seems an after-thought and in my opinion will be the final insult to what I considered to be a defining story in my childhood.

So let me know what you think, will you see the movie?  Are you looking forward to it like you did the originals?  Leave a comment.

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New Trek movie poster… woot!

As initially irritated as I was to see that there was going to be a prequel Star Trek movie made… the press that has been coming through the interwebs have successfully gotten me more and more excited for its release.

Now the Trek movie poster has found its way online …. Awesome!

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Rockband will be even better .. next week.

The first 3rd party instruments for Rock Band are going to be available for purchase starting  June 22nd. [ Mad Catz ] was given official approval from Harmonix to become the officially licensed 3rd party manufacturer of instrument controllers for Rock Band, and it looks like their wired Bass controller for the Xbox 360 is the first out of the gate.

The wired bass will be available on June 22, for the Xbox 360, and will be priced at $69.99.  The bass will include the Mad Catz dual-strummer which is basically a split strum bar that allows the player to use to fingers to strum up and down simultaneously, which should help to get some of the faster solo sections down better.

Complete list of features for the bass:

  • Licensed Fender Precision bass styling
  • Custom finishes for enhanced realism
  • Comfortable thumb rest
  • Whammy effect via volume knob
  • Split strum bar for fast finger action
  • Oversized tuning keys
  • Durable plastic construction
  • Wired USB connectivity

A wireless version for the Xbox 360 is expected to be released on Spetember 15th and feature all of the same functionality of the wired version but will have a “Blond Maple finish” compared to the white finish of the wired version.

Mad Catz also offers a wired mic, that integrates the controller buttons as well, and for me, this is huge.  Having to use a separate controller to navigate during game play was always a little annoying, especially if you are singing and playing an instrument at the same time.  Apparently this is already available for the Xbox 360, but shipments are still forthcoming. The street price for this gem is $59.99.

Here are the mic features:

  • Built-in controller – easy navigation through all in game menus
  • High quality soft-touch finish
  • High profile pop / wind screen
  • Convenient lock/unlock button
  • Wired USB connection

The Rockband guitar has always kind of annoyed me, so much so that I actually went out and bought the wireless Gibson guitar to use for Rockband instead of the official one.  However, if you are looking for a more unique guitar to use in your band, Mad Catz has that solution too.

Fender has officially licensed this guitar and it is a replica of the Telecaster, and looks pretty awesome.  So far, this is only available to Xbox 360 users, and will come at a price of $79.99 and it is wired.  Hopefully a wireless version will be avialable soon, but nothing official has been said about that.

Guitar feature list:

  • Licensed Fender Telecaster styling
  • Perfectly scaled with high detail
  • Built for speed – new, improved strum bar and quick response fret buttons
  • Programmable strum
  • Telecaster Bridge Plate used for Whammy
  • Smooth Hot-Rod Red finish

Finally, the best for last.

Mad Catz has created two different drum kits that truly make Rockband a better experience.  The first is a portable drum kit.  It will be available on the 15th of July, and will run $49.99.

It touts a small form factor, and quiet pads and will allow you to take your band on the road much easier then you currently can.  I am very excited about this, as my nephews constantly have me loading up the band kit in my car to go over to their house to play.  The portable kit also features foam tipped drum sticks to assist with the noise dampening.

A little more exciting is the actual Premium Wired drum kit.  The kit is based on authentic electronic drum kits, and has an added high hat, with a usable foot pedal, and a crash cymbal.  The drum heads can be adjusted up and down and swiveled.

The drums will be available on August 15th and will be a on the higher end price wise at $149.99.

This set of equipment is a very very solid addition to the Rockband game, and may even make it less worthwhile to move over to Guitar Hero : World Tour, since these additions address a lot of the upgrades that GH4 is touting.

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