Cleared for Anime Midwest

Last year I went a bit overboard with cons, so this year I was planning to cycle back a bit. But this month, I’ve put in a lot of overtime work hours and it reminded me of how important it is to have fun events to unwind. So I’ve added Anime Midwest to the 2013 convention schedule.

I had a great time at Anime Midwest last year, and with the con making the move to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, the same hotel Anime Central uses, things promise to be even better! It should also be a nice warm up for Otakon a month later.

Now I better werk baby! Those cosplays and videos won’t make themselves!

YOU BETTER WERK!
YOU BETTER WERK!

Time Is Passing

This has been some week. Full of stress and at least two close calls. Just don’t know when the show here could be all over. Time is passing, no time to waste on regrets or being too timid. I’ve had a great time here on Earth and I’m very thankful to the God who made me and has shown me so much grace and mercy.

Genesis Of The Borg?

As I left work on Friday, I was thinking about all of the people who I see constantly talking on their mobile phones, or texting while walking. It seems that most people just cannot stand being alone, even for a few seconds. Having watched this for years now, I wondered about what would happen when people get their mobile phones implanted into their bodies and tied directly to their brains.

locutus of borg
We only seek to raise quality of life for all.

My first thought was that things would be a lot quieter when I was out for a walk. But then it occurred to me that the technology would probably allow one to carry on multiple conversations in a way that an external phone cannot. Then add social media like Facebook to the mix, and a person could be calmly walking down the street with a multitude of voices in their heads. How many voices do you need in your head before they become indistinguishable from your own thoughts?

This is probably how the Borg got started. It was all innocent enough at the beginning. No one needed to be alone anymore. It raised the level of life for all. But we all know what kind of ugliness can arise from internet connected mobs. With so many dark voices, speaking loudly, it’s no wonder the Borg went off the deep end. Perhaps they were searching for more virtuous voices to drown out the darkness. Who knows, but we do seem to be on a path to the Collective.

Coincidentally, I’ve just discovered a great discussion of this on the Trekcast Episode 85, a cool Star Trek podcast.

Viz Titles On Nook Grew Like A Motherfucker!

I always enjoy getting newsletters from Viz with news of their latest manga releases. As bookstore chains began to crumble into dust, Viz wasted little time making their titles available on most digital reading platforms.

VizOnNooK_Motherfucker
I guess Viz titles on the Nook are experiencing rapid growth.

I’ve wondered a bit how they were doing, so I was pleased to read that their titles were growing quite well on the Nook. In fact, they grew like a motherfucker! Yeah.

Salty language doesn’t bother me, but I just about fell out of my seat laughing. Now I wonder how long it will be before I get an email apologizing for that colorful language. LOL XD

Goodbye AT&T, Ta Ta iPhone, Hello Nexus 4!

Reminded of a certain phone company...
Reminded of a certain phone company…

One of my greatest annoyances dealing with AT&T has been their wonky web site. Well goodbye to all of that. This last week I’ve been looking for replacement options for my ancient iPhone 3GS. BTW Apple, it was a terrible idea to put iOS 6 on this phone. Because of that, my iPhone has been a slow daily annoyance.

I strongly considered getting a Samsung Galaxy S3 under contract because unlocked it’s just too freakin expensive. But just couldn’t pull the trigger on another 2 years with AT&T without looking at more options, or even waiting for the Galaxy S4 or rumored iPhone 5S/6.

But the sudden availability of the Nexus 4, yes Google is taking orders again, and the last straw with AT&T’s web site, pulled the trigger for me. I’ve placed an order for a 16GB Nexus 4 and plan to go with a T-Mobile prepaid plan. Not only that, I’m taking my wife’s 3GS over to T-Mobile as well. Both of our phones are well out of contract, so goodbye AT&T.

Join Me Luke And Together We Will Fix This Computer As Father And Son!

With the proliferation of Darth Vader memes across the web, I think the Dark Lord of the Sith is becoming something of an icon of fatherhood. I mean really, who hasn’t thought of their dad as the evil Darth Vader at one point or another. And I say that now that such a role has come upon my shoulders from time to time as a parent myself. But Darth was not always evil of course, and the guy was a very smart and capable Jedi back in the day. Naturally this is usually forgotten, not at all helped by a series of not so great prequels.

darth_vader_fatherhood_icon
Darth Vader, Icon of Fatherhood

It’s not all bad though. Tonight I had the pleasure of displaying my prowess as Lord of the Sith by helping my son extract a stripped screw from his laptop. He was in the process of upgrading the memory and somehow stripped the head of the screw to the access panel. All hope seemed lost as I tried various tools to get the stubbornly tight screw to turn.

In the end I called upon the Dark Side of the Force, abandoning finesse for some well placed torsional mayhem. I found a sharp pointed Philips head screw driver tip that I was able to fit into my power screw driver. I then pressed the sharp tip into the damaged screw and let her rip! I hoped that the pressure and vibration would loosen the screw and turn it.

It took a couple of attempts, but in the end that screw was no match for the power of the Dark Side. Luke, I AM YOUR FATHER!

Another Thank You To Martin Luther King Jr.

It isn’t very often that you get a chance to say “Thank you” to the historical figures who’ve touched your life. But this past weekend I had just such an opportunity. One of my wife’s closest friends is a relative of Juanita Abernathy, widow of Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. Ralph Abernathy who with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. started the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. with the Montgomery Bus Boycott. We had the opportunity of joining Mrs. Abernathy for a dinner in her honor ahead of her speaking at the MLK Day celebration at the Union League Club in Chicago.

The dinner was great, and Mrs. Abernathy remains an active and vibrant person. And the stories she told, particularly of the time they spent in Chicago, really drove home just how much of a struggle she and the others went through to secure the equality promised by the U.S. Constitution. She really reminded me of my mom a great deal. And that made me think even more about how much I owe her and the other leaders of the movement for the life I have today. My educational opportunities simply would not have been available in pre-Civll Rights America. And my marriage to the Chinese woman I fell in love with, would be illegal. So I owe a great debt to those who struggled before me.

Juanita Abernathy is the last living member of the core leadership of the Civil Rights movement. So it was an honor to speak with her and thank her personally for all that she did. And the closest I’ll ever get to thanking King personally on this side of eternity. Now it’s time to carry on the fight.

Dim Sum Gamer

The end of the holiday season will find my hard drive littered with a variety of new games, mostly bought via Steam. When I was younger, I could imagine spending hours, days, weeks, completing a new game. But those days are over. Now, I just don’t have the time with work and family. Of course that’s a good thing. After all  guys like me are usually expected to be living in their mom’s basement. I’ve been blessed with far more than I could have imagined when I left home all those years ago.

 

tasty_steam_ha_gow

So now, I am a dim sum gamer. As the cart of new, and often discounted older games, comes by my table, I am happy to just eat a small serving here and there. I know that most of my games are not going to be beaten. But I can still have fun with them nevertheless. That was the real epiphany for me. Getting older doesn’t mean I have to stop playing games. I just play and enjoy them differently than my kids do. In the end, it’s all good!

Childhood’s End

ChildhoodsEndNexus7
Childhood’s End was a great read on my Nexus 7!

I just finished reading the Science Fiction classic, Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke and right now I am overflowing with emotion. I’ve always been a Science Fiction fan and I suppose should have read this many years ago. But now, being older, and being a parent, this story has touched me on a far deeper and more primal level. Clarke maintains a growing sense of foreboding mixed with only the slightest wisps of hope throughout the story.

My own children have just started to leave home, so Clarke’s tale of human evolution and transformation resonates quite strongly with me. They are moving into a future I will be unable to enter. I’ve seen and read a lot of SF in my time and no one has told this kind of story better than Clarke. I’m sure I would not have appreciated its nuances as a teenager. With that in mind, I think it may be time to start rereading many of the books in my collection!

She Won’t Be Home For Christmas

Every parent knows it’s going to happen someday. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less of course. When I heard that my eldest daughter had decided to spend Christmas away from home, all of the air just went out of my balloons. I’m still feeling deflated, but I guess it’s just an unavoidable part of letting go. We’ve spent nearly two decades preparing her for this, so I guess we should be proud in a way. Still, the Christmas lights will be a little dimmer this year.

A Tale Of Two Screens: Nexus 4 Over iPhone 5

Like many iPhone users, I waited, and waited for the iPhone 5 to be revealed. Once the veil was lifted, the new iPhone looked to be the successor to my aging 3GS. But that new screen really bugged me. I had been hoping for something like the Samsung Galaxy SIII which has a gorgeous large screen but doesn’t result in a phone that’s too big for my tastes. Sadly, the new iPhone merely made the screen longer. I thought I might be able to stomach that until I went to an Apple store for some hands on time with the iPhone 5. I came away disappointed. This was not the screen I was looking for.

In comes the Google Nexus 4. This is the screen I was looking for and unlocked for less than half the cost of a similar iPhone 5 and less than an unlocked SIII to boot! I had a chance to play with a coworker’s Nexus 4 and it looks and feels pretty good. So I may be moving in that direction in the coming year. It seems silly perhaps to get ticked off by a screen, but I cannot help but wonder if this is another sign that Apple without Jobs is not the same company. Obviously, it cannot be, but would Jobs have approved the iPhone 5 as released? Who knows, but I’d like to think he would have been just as irked by the weird elongated screen as I am.

Turkey Week: And So It Begins

It sucks being sick over the weekend, but I’m back up and looking forward to the coming week. The big highlight will be the return of my daughter from college for the Thanksgiving holiday. She and my longest son had a spirited conversation over Skype last night. I wish I could have been more a part of that, but it’s never been easy communicating with her and patience is essential. I’m wondering how college has changed her. I know it changed me, mostly for the better where living with other people was concerned.

On the work front, a lot of people are taking this week off, so it should be pretty quiet. And by quiet, I mean boring…

Nexus 7 Android SDK USB Driver Download

It always feels like starting over when developing for a new device. If you’re developing apps on Windows for Android and using Google’s Nexus 7 tablet as your hardware test platform, you’ll need to download the USB driver from Asus. It is not currently included in the Android SDK so it has to be obtained from the Nexus 7 hardware OEM, in this case Asus.

nexus7 usb driver download from asus image

I found it there by searching on Nexus 7 on the Asus site. Click on the returned result and then select Android as the OS in the dropdown box. After downloading, open the zip archive and just follow the OEM USB Drivers installation procedure on the Android Developers site.

Papa John’s, Corporate Whining, and EVIL

On the morning after the reelection of President Obama, I had a breakfast meeting to go to at Valois, a popular Hyde Park restaurant. I wasn’t expecting anything more than the usual, so I was quite surprised to find that in celebration of the reelection of their most famous customer, they were giving everyone a free breakfast. Wow! What generosity! Now contrast that with the reaction of Papa John’s to the election results, reduced hours for employees to avoid paying for health care insurance, and whining about having to raise the prices of pizzas a few cents. Some other notable businesses have been expressing similar sentiments.

I’d say that’s a pretty evil way to do business. I’m more than willing to pay more for my pizza so that people can get the care they need, but I guess that’s just too much for billionaire CEOs to stomach. They’d rather punish their workers to express what is ultimately their personal disdain for President Obama largely because he is black. That’s some mean spirited, greedy, evil shit.

blueshifted rantings