iOS 8 and iPhone 4s

Despite all the doom and gloom over the prospect of installing iOS 8 on an iPhone 4S, the installation was painless and successful. Started at 12pm pdt, the initial OTA download of iOS 8 took about 90 minutes and the actual verification and installation about 40 minutes on a 32gb iPhone 4s with 6gb of free space. While animations are not as smooth as with iOS 7.1.2, they aren’t chunky enough to be a major distractions and load times are only slightly degraded. If past history is any indication, Apple will tweak the performance of the OS in future updates.

As to whether the update is “worth it” is personal preference. Battery life will be a huge determinant as to the foture of iOS 8 on the 4s.

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Strange Days

Year: 1995
Genre: Science Fiction
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juilette Lewis, Tom Sizemore
Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Strange Days is set in Los Angeles the last days of 1999 and tells the story of an ex-cop named Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes). After Nero is driven out of the LAPD, he becomes a dealer and addict of memory encoded data-discs whose daily fix requires reliving past memories of his relationship with his musician ex-girlfriend (Juilette Lewis).

Angeles Bassett and Rapph FiennesNero receives a data-disc in which a murderer records the sadistic murder of a prostitute while wearing the gear to record the memories. He receives future data-discs and the subsequent investigation draws Nero, his ex-girlfriend (Lewis), a former LAPD colleague (Tom Sizemore), and his best friend (Angela Bassett) into a conspiracy which threatens to cause further racial tension and rioting in a city that is already on the brink of anarchy.

While the movie has traditionally been compared to Blade Runner, it offers it’s dystopian vision using different tools. The story telling is more linear and a bit less esoteric once the concept of memory encoding is understood. Music is an active part of the story telling, the violence is more pervasive and forward, and the action is faster and more direct. In essence, it’s grittiness over style in telling it’s tale.

Strange Days still plays well despite it being an almost 20 year old Science Fiction film. There are not many science fiction movies that are seemingly current (in-movie dates aside) after such a long period of time. Even the music is still a viable part of the movie, which is remarkable given the 1995 music scene. Acting and direction are all top-notch, although Lewis goes a bit heavy on both the nudity and ditziness.

Strange Days is currently streaming on Netflix.

Featured and inline images: 20th Century Fox
Movies Science Fiction Watch

Blade Runner -Deckard Revisited

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the film, “Blade Runner” is a Science Fiction film produced in 1982. It was directed by Ridley Scott and stars Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Ruter Hauer, Edward James Olmos, and Darryl Hannah among others. The film is considered by many to be one of the greatest achievements in Science Fiction cinema and is often classified as either necessary viewing or a cult phenomena (depending on who you ask).

Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford)“Blade Runner” went through an unusual development process both pre- and post-initial theatrical release. Poor test screenings and studio demands led to an initial release of the film which didn’t match Ridley Scott’s vision. In addition to Scott’s later edits removing and restoring bits of the film to more closely match his desires, different censorship expectations and requirements added to the number of available versions. The Wikipedia article lists seven different versions which all feature different elements, plot details, and overall running length. Part of the uniqueness (and charm) of “Blade Runner” is that each version is different in subtle or significant ways from the others, and the variations of the different films can lead viewers to make different conclusions about both the central characters and overall plot line. The variation makes the various editions of the film particularly suitable for repeat reviewing in order to compare and contrast conclusions about plot, character development, and motives

A recent post on robertebert.com does a terrific job at shifting the debate from the standard “is/isn’t Deckard a replicant” to “is/isn’t Deckard the villain.” While there is certainly interesting things to be seen in the the supporting arguments used to define Deckard as the actual villain, the comments of the post are as or perhaps more interesting as they provide proof of the fact that people are still genuinely interested and passionate about their opinions of a 32 year old movie.

May the debate last another 30 years.

Featured and Post Images: Warner Bros.
Movies Science Fiction Watch

#GamerGate and Misogyny

There has always been a contentious relationship between elements of the “core/traditional” online gaming community and females involved in various elements of the gaming industry. Bioware/Hepler addresses some of the fundamental issues that contribute to harassing behavior (false sense of entitlement, anonymity) against game designers, but the sad fact is that both the scale and diversity of harassment targets has grown.

Bustle’s take on #GamerGate is one of the most concise explanations of the entire saga. The article (and scandal itself) illustrates how “gamer privilege” has shifted from being primarily interested in determining game content and play style to the overall in-game and meta- gender roles.

Chris Tognotti (@ctognotti) summarizes this sad affair succinctly:

It isn’t about journalistic integrity, not really. This is just good old fashioned misogyinst bile, any way you slice it. And as somebody who used to play a whole lot of video games, and now play regularly, I wish I didn’t now feel so filthy by association.

Featured Image: TedX Talks

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All About Slugs (Not the Slimy Kind)

As this WordPress.com article details, keeping post slugs on target and concise helps search engines properly index site posts. And that can’t be anything but a good thing.

The Daily Post

When we start writing a new post, WordPress automatically creates a URL for the post using our blog’s address, the date, and post title. Great, now you don’t have to worry about your post’s URL, right? All taken care of.

Not quite. You don’t need to lose sleep over your post URLs, but paying some attention to the post slug — the bit of the URL after the address and date — can have a nice traffic payoff.

“I’m still not sure what a slug is!”

The slug is the bit of your post’s (or page’s) URL that describes what that specific post is about. Here’s the URL of this post, with the slug in bold:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/post-slugs/

If I’d used the URL that WordPress auto-generated for me based on the post title, the slug would have been:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/all-about-slugs-not-the-slimy-kind/

They both get the job done, but one…

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