Instead of writing about every single product that might or might not ever ship, The Wirecutter gives us their list of the things they like at CES 2015.

The items we picked are a mixture of things: those that we feel people will find useful or need in their daily lives, a few whimsical picks that we think will make life more enjoyable, and the things we suspect—but can’t definitely know until we test—might be our new favorites in their given categories. That’s it.

I will try the Sling TV as soon as it’s available. The ChargeAll’s ChargeTech looks good if it actually ships.

January 9, 2015

2014 in Movies

January 7, 2015 at 10:00pm • Zero comments

I didn’t start off the year wanting to watch more movies than any other year since I started keeping track of my movie watching in 2001, but apparently there isn’t a whole lot of anything good on television, so it just sort of happened.

Since I had gotten a box set of all the Bond films for xmas, I did start the year with a plan to watch them, which is 23 right there. I also wound up watching all of the Alien movies which merged into the Predator franchise and, after threatening for years, I finally watched all of the Fast and the Furious films, and the man with no name trilogy. I also enjoyed the Dark Knight trilogy, the Indiana Jones trilogy, and Memento had to be watched twice…once in the original format and a second time in chronological order.

So, which was the best new movie seen in 2014? Well, I don’t believe in such things because, unless they are very similar subject matters, they shouldn’t be compared. Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down are basically the same so they could be compared to each other fairly, but you can’t really compare The Maltese Falcon to Casablanca. And in no circumstance should either of the former be compared to either of the latter.

However, I will say that of the new movies I saw in 2014, the two where the expectation going in was completely blown away by the actual movie were Snowpiercer and Coherence.

Continue reading ‘2014 in Movies’ . . .

The NY Times, having finally given up on the Knicks, asked its readers to suggest better basketball for their Knicks beat reporter:

So the Sports department’s editors feel it is only merciful to give our Knicks beat writer, Scott Cacciola, a break from such woeful basketball. He deserves to see the game played at a higher level. For the next month or so, we would like to point him to some good, quality basketball, wherever it may be. Any suggestions?

Why only a month or so? It’s going to take years to fix this mess.

January 7, 2015

Max Temkin lists the essential 42 TNG episodes to watch for people who have never seen this great series:

The silver lining here is that TNG is a show designed for syndication — each episode is a self-contained story, and it’s okay to skip around. My episode guide below is designed to get you through the bumpy early seasons to see what TNG looks like when it becomes more than the sum of its parts — a great ensemble, world-class writing, and science fiction that is unparalleled today.

It’s been a while since I watched TNG with any real purpose, but I think I’ll be watching these episodes shortly, maybe with some tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

January 2, 2015

Poynter brings us its year-end list of media corrections. It includes this gem from Slate:

This post originally quoted photographer Tom Sanders as saying it takes him five years to get on the dance floor. It takes him five beers.

This is what happens when you dictate stories using Siri, although it has improved a bit in Iowa State.

Correction: it has improved a bit in iOS 8.

December 22, 2014

At over four pounds, the largest white truffle ever found was auctioned last week for $50,000 ($61,250 including auction fees).

“The reason why truffles have gotten so cheap all of a sudden is because they dropped all the import taxes,” another man said, turning to his wife, as Balestra breezed the pedestal past the next table.

“I wish I could take a picture of the smell,” the wife said, her eyes closed.

What do you make, and how many people do you invite, to use up a truffle of that size?

December 9, 2014

Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ has surpassed 2,147,483,648 views, which is the highest number that YouTube’s system can currently count to. The Washington Post does an excellent job of explaining why:

This is sort of complicated, so we won’t get into it too deep. But basically, YouTube codes its view count as a signed 32-bit integer, which means (a) it stores numbers as a string of 32 0s and 1s, with one of those slots reserved for determining if it’s a positive or negative number, (b) it can only count up to 2^(32-1), or 2,147,483,648, and (c) if it reaches that point, instead of counting to the next positive number, it will switch into negative integers. In terms of YouTube’s display, that would probably mean showing a view count of -2,147,483,647, which of course makes no sense.

The obvious question is why they decided to use a signed rather than an unsigned integer, but I assume it was needed for other calculation throughout the YouTube system — negative numbers would be useful when removing views due to bots, etc. for monetary purposes.

YouTube has upgraded the counter to a 64-bit signed int, which has a maximum value of 9,223,372,036,854,775,807. Why they didn’t go with a 128-bit signed int is beyond me.

December 3, 2014

Shawn Christopher spent his honeymoon in NYC, and the room he rented via Airbnb also came with a key to the exclusive Gramercy Park. He used his mobile phone and Google’s PhotoSphere to post pictures from inside the park to Google Maps.

“When I found out where I was, I thought, ‘This has to be captured,’ ” said Shawn Christopher, a computer programmer and former Army sergeant from the Pittsburgh area who visited in May while on his honeymoon. “The Internet is all about sharing knowledge, especially these secret, hidden things.”

It’s a park. It looks like most of the other ones, just a bit cleaner and emptier.

December 2, 2014

Slate’s correction: “Update: There Are Not Any Bags of Puke on the Moon”.

Suckow’s answer was backed up by Alan Needell of the Air and Space Museum and a lunar researcher Needell contacted named Ulrich Lotzmann. Lotzmann checked the Biomedical Results as well and came to the same conclusion: No astronauts ever vomited during a mission that landed on the moon, so any emesis bags that were left there were empty.

Glad that got cleared up.

November 28, 2014

Right after Odell Beckham Jr.’s amazing catch last Sunday night, Twitter started mentioning a photographer that could be seen in the background missing the catch. Andrew Mills, the photographer, responded on Monday:

As the ball left his hand, I switched cameras to the 70-200 hanging over my right shoulder and immediately swung to the center of the field, hunting for the intended receiver, but I couldn’t find one. I swung back toward the bench and spotted Beckham blazing down the sideline right at me, ball in the air.

This is the “Oh, no” point.

I am tracking him, and Beckham is closing fast. Too fast. And I am too close. Way too close. And there’s nothing I can do.

Sometimes, all the skill, talent, and experience mean nothing without a little bit of luck.

November 26, 2014