Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Tech You to School: Microsoft Antivirus Suite

If you didn't know, this should be some exciting news for most of you that use a Windows PC.
Recently, Microsoft announced that it is slowly moving away from expensive paid software to free web based applications (better known as webapps in the geek community).Next year, Microsoft will make available Microsoft Office online for free (much like Google Documents).

Well, yesterday, this became more evident beginning with Microsoft releasing a new Antivirus suite... that's FREE. That's right, free. This is not one of those half put together pieces of crap that usually floats around the internet. It's a full strength suite that covers ALL security areas such as web fraud, spyware protection, malware protection and of course, virus protection. Also, it updates itself automatically so you don't have to ever worry about it being up to date. It works on XP, Vista and Windows 7 machines, and judging by what I've read, is one of the best options out there for computer security. I suggest everyone go and download it.

I guess M$oft is really taking notice of the little fruit that is growing to be a big fruit (and I'm not talking about Grimey) and competition is really making Bill Gates uncomfortable. Long live capitalism...! When there's free stuff involved that is...


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Food Flags

I saw this on Serious Eats, and I couldn't NOT share with you guys here. An advertising agency promoting the Sydney International Food Festival recreated a bunch of flags depicted by the foods of each country. It is super cool, and now I'm a little hungry. My favorite is the colorful Brazil flag above, but I also love their depiction of the South Korean and Greek flags too. Check all of the flags out here.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Tech You To School: Buying a TV

So I get asked this question pretty often... "Dude, can you help me choose a TV?"
And this is what I usually tell them... "Shut yo face before I end your..."
Actually, I don't say that. The first question I usually ask is, "You want LCD or Plasma?"
They usually reply, "Which one's better?" and so here begins my advice.

It depends on what you plan on using it for. The short answer is that if you want a TV with very low maintenance, go with a LCD. If you want the best picture quality and don't mind paying a little attention to upkeeping your TV, go with a Plasma. But, if that was the answer I got, I'd be a little dissatisfied, so I'll give you the long answer, in hopes that you'll be able to make an educated consumer choice.

LCD's are very easy to plug in and watch. LCD's aren't plagued by the many issues that Plasmas have. You don't have to worry about burn in, which happens when you leave something static on your screen for too long (ie. a game scoreboard, the little logo at the bottom of some tv channels). So if you plan on watching nothing but Sportscenter on ESPN, LCD is probably the way to go. Also, you don't have to worry about the glare from a bright room with a LCD, which is something that Plasma owners have to deal with. Additionally, the general rule is that if you're looking for a TV under 42", you want to go with a LCD. There's not too many Plasmas you can purchase that is under that size. For all this low maintenance though, you're gonna lose out on picture quality. With LCD's, colors usually don't "pop" off the screen and with fast movie motions like explosions or car chases, you're gonna get pixelation.

Plasma TVs are everything opposite of LCD's. Yes, you do have to worry about burn in, BUT if you properly break in your TV for about the first 250 hours or so, this becomes a nonexistent issue. Breaking in a TV entails lowering all the brightness and color settings to low and avoiding content that has any type of static images. This means no black bar DVD's, no SportsCenter, no History Channel (damn that big yellow H at the bottom right!), etc.. And I'll tell you this much, those first 250 hours are a pain in the butt. 250 hours are more or less 24 hours of looping a DVD for 11 days straight. (Yea, I did it.)

Also, with plasmas, you have to be conscious of where you're placing the TV. If your TV is facing the opposite of a bright window, forget watching TV in the daytime. The sunlight will be all in your face and it'll just not be very pretty. But once you figure these things out, man oh man, that picture is sweet. Colors are vivid, HD content is super crisp and clear... it's great. Plasmas inch for inch are usually about a 1/4 cheaper than LCD's too.

The brands you want to stick with are as follows:
LCD: LG, Samsung, Vizio, Westinghouse
Plasma: Panasonic, Panasonic, Panasonic... and Pioneer (best in class). If you have that kind of money, in which case... hook a brotha up!

Size wise, I always recommend buy the biggest you can afford. An average TV has a life span of 6-10 years depending on how well you keep it. You have to think of it as an investment. The last thing you want is to move and find that the TV you have is too small for your living room and now you're squinting to watch that tiny 32" screen from 20ft away. The general math though is, for every foot of distance you are sitting from your TV, you want 7" of viewing space. So 5 feet from your tv? You want 36". 8 Feet? 42" 10 feet? 50". You get the idea. Happy TV watching!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Disney Princesses, Marvel-ized

Last month Disney announced that it bought Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion, causing somewhat of a stir in the entertainment business. I mean, $4 billion is A LOT of money, recession or not. But not only that, a lot of folks wondered if Marvel properties would be getting the Disney treatment, with Disney stepping in and "ruining" the beloved comic book heroes. Only time will tell just what Disney will do with its new purchase, but in the meantime, an illustrator named Jeffrey Thomas reimagined some of Disney's most noted characters as what they might look like if they were to receive the Marvel treatment. The results are dark, creepy, and ingenious. Amazing! He did this way before the deal even happened, but it's so interesting to see what our lovely Disney princess heroines look like when they are gritty, grim, and gangsta. (holla alliteration!) Check out these incredible drawings, and peruse through the rest of his artwork at his blog here.


Friday, September 18, 2009

NY Fashion Week Recap!

Ok, so the madness that is NY Fashion Week is almost over, and cause I've been so swamped at work and preoccupied with other stuff (new TV! GLEE! The Office!) I have not been as into it as I normally would. In my opinion, the BEST place to check out all of the runway shows and coverage of the week is NY Mag, which literally dedicates themselves to the week, and teams up with the girls over at Go Fug Yourself for commentary and such. I love ittttt. If you are into fashion and need something to kill time, head over for just the remedy.

Snap judgment: LOVE Vera Wang's fall line (yes, some of the pieces are frumpy...), and meh about Marc by Marc Jacobs minus a couple of cute pieces.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kanye West on The Jay Leno Show

In a recent post, Jen wrote an open letter to Kanye West, calling him out on being a total douchebag at the VMA's. Well, soon after stealing the mic and sharing his opinions during what was supposed to be Taylor Swift's moment, Kanye popped a CAPS LOCK blog post at Taylor Swift, APOLOGIZING IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE THAT'S HOW 'YE DOES IT! I guess after he calmed down, Kanye replace the CAPS LOCK post with something a bit more sincere: I feel like Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents when he messed up everything and Robert DeNiro asked him to leave…That was Taylor’s moment and I had no right in any way to take it from her. I am truly sorry.

Originally slated to appear alongside Jay-Z and Rihanna as the musical act for The Jay Leno Show, Kanye actually sat down with Jay Leno to discuss the VMA incident:

I love how Kanye came out on stage very apprehensively, and not the usual "I AM THE BEST" swagger like he usually does. So just seeing that in him (you know, besides him being on the verge of tears after Jay Leno asked him about his mom - which btw, Jay Leno deserves an Emmy for asking, because 'Ye is cuhraaaazy) made me believe that Kanye is sincerely sorry.

Alright, let's move on, folks.


Monday, September 14, 2009

US Open 2009: Federer FTW, Serena .. Not So Much

In this past weekend, we've seen probably one of the coolest points ever, by the always cool and seemingly effortless Roger Federer. As mentioned in a past post, I have a huuge crush on him, and this clip just shows why Roger Federer is AMAZING:

In other US Open news, if you haven't seen the video about what got Serena Williams disqualified, then you're a total newb:


An Open Letter to Kanye West

Dear Kanye,

Oh what can be said that hasn't already been said before? You need to learn to shut up. I'm actually a huge fan of your work. Your Late Registration and Graduation albums are one of my favorite albums of all time, I like reading your blog (the use of all-caps aside), and most of the time I am just amused by your 'holier than thou' attitude and antics. But, uh. Stealing the spotlight away from a 19 year old girl on what was supposed to be her shining moment? Not cool, dude. I think it's fine you think that you're the coolest thing since sliced bread and that everything you deem worthy is also the coolest thing since, you. I too have my strong opinions and I too like to express them whenever I see fit. But I think there is a difference between me telling my friends why I think Britney is the greatest entertainer (haters to the left please) or why objectively speaking, Robert Pattinson is hot sex on a stick, and me standing up in front of millions of people to assert that Beyonce made the greatest video EVER, in the middle of Taylor's freakin acceptance speech. How old are you again??

I mean, this really isn't the first time you've done this. You throw a temper tantrum everytime you don't win something you believe you should have: rushing the stage and ranting about how Touch the Sky should've won Best Video at the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards, walking out after losing Best New Artist at the AMAs in 2004. And yeah, those things were just as terrible and as much talked about, but something about taking the spotlight away from an ecstatic Taylor, who was in the middle of thanking her fans for taking a chance on country music was.. just brutal. THANKS for making the entire audience feel super awkward, and yeah, you deserve the 0 wins and the booing you received the entire night. Oh, and I'm sure Beyonce was beyond thrilled that you pulled the most dickheaded move in defense of her name. So... no, I don't really care that you apologized to Taylor and her mom, or that you blogged about how sorry you are in all caps (BTW, THIS GETS ANNOYING REALLY FAST).

Congrats Kanye, you are the frontrunner for Douchebag of the Year. While the whole thing is unfortunate and could have been completely avoidable, I am glad it happened for 2 reasons. 1: I heart Taylor Swift and am glad more people are now on Team Taylor (and you know what Kanye? Her video is damn good and yeah, I voted for it), and 2: it gave Beyonce to be the classiest lady ever by giving back Taylor her moment to shine during her speech. I am gonna end on that note. Watch and learn, Kanye, watch and learn.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tech Geek 101: Onyx

Today, we have a guest post from our Technology expert friend Andy. He'll be contributing weekly articles on all things tech related, so enjoy!

Ok… so everyone knows that Mac’s are more stable, virus free, and fun to use than a PC (or so says the Apple commercials) and while this is true, it’s still a good idea to do some housekeeping so your shiny new $3000 Facebooking machine runs top notch.

An easy, and more importantly, FREE option is to download a program called Onyx.

This is one of the top downloaded apps that basically does everything to keep the inner cockles of your machine tidy. A host of actions, such as repairing permissions, verifying your disk and clearing caches can be done with a couple button clicks (you can ignore all of what I just said in the last sentence if you really don’t care). Basically, when you run the program, all you have to do is click 'ok,' enter your password, click on the automation tab, make sure everything is checked, and hit 'run.' You’ll probably notice an improvement right away. Give it a go about once a month and you’re set!


US Open 2009: Hell Yeah!

I'm going through US Open withdrawal already. Sure, it's not over yet .. but there really is a big difference in seeing it on tv and being in the stadium. Being at a game is an interesting/awesome feeling. Hearing a crowd's collective sigh of relief and screams of joy is really contagious.

Anyway, here's my recap of my US Open experience for this year (warning, kind of lengthy with crappy iPhone photos):

I went to the day session on Labor Day, which enabled me to see the Robin Soderling vs Nikolay Davydenko, catch the end of the epic Melanie Oudin vs Nadia Petrova, and of course, see my tennis crush Roger Federer beat out Tommy Robredo.

The Soderling vs. Davydenko match seemed to be even, mind you, Davydenko had a thigh injury, which later forced him to retire the match. And sadly, I was able to catch only the last winning point for the Oudin vs Petrova match, but freaking-A, the energy in Arthur Ashe Stadium was tremendous when Oudin won O_O And I was happy to see Federer (in red!) vs Robredo .. but the game wasn't exciting to see.

Yesterday was my 2nd and last US Open session (insert sadface), which was for the night session. The stadium was PACKED, and by the time I got to my seat, the Oudin vs Wozniacki match was already in play. Unfortunately, Oudin was beat, but Wozniacki did her best to humble it up, even though her court-side interviewer was being a total douche bag.

The Federer vs Soderling game started off slow .. but boy, did it pick up. I went from being disappointed that Federer would have yet another easy win .. to seeing a pretty great match. Tie-breakers are nail-biters, fosho, but I was glad to see Federer triumph end the end. Yes, he always seems to win, but there's no denying that he can play some tennis. And he was looking mighty fine, decked out in all black :D

As for celebrity sightings, there were actually quite a few over the two days that I went. Nicole Kidman and her husband Keith Urban were spotted at the Federer vs Robredo match, as was Gavin Rossdale. At the Oudin vs Wozniacki game, it was awesome to see Alec Baldwin showing his support. And the Federer vs Soderling match had the likes of Kate Hudson, Anna Wintour, and yet again, Gavin Rossdale. Oh, and some Jets football dude.

Overall, my US Open experience for this year was pretty positive. I got to see my tennis crush Federer play on both days, and caught some pretty solid games. Totally got sunburnt during the day session, and was thankful that my friend told me to bring a hoodie to the night session (it was freezing!).

Sure, the Federer vs Soderling match was nothing like the Nadal vs Monfils game from the previous night, but at least security was tight and Federer didn't get attacked by a enamored fan like Nadal did. No idea what I am talking about? Check out the hilarious clip:

Here's to an awesome end to the US Open (finals will be on this coming Sunday!), and another year till I get to go again!


Friday, September 4, 2009

Coming Soon: Fantastic Mr. Fox

One of the many people I admire is Wes Anderson. A good majority of my favorite films have been helmed by the man, and I have nothing but love for his quirky style.

Add on my childhood favorite author, Roald Dahl, and you get Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Here's the trailer:

Here's a short behind-the-scenes clip:

Fantastic Mr. Fox will be out in theaters on November 25, 2009.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fall TV Returns!

While I HATE HATE HATE the fact that summer is pretty much over, I am super excited that the sucktacular summer TV season is also coming to a close. Move over America's Got Talent and the countless other mind numbing shows networks have shoved down our throats for the past 2 months. The Office! Gossip Girl! Fringe!! I AM SO EXCITED. Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello put together this nifty guide for the season premieres for all your shows. Get your remotes out and your DVRs ready!

Ok, so I'll see you guys in December when all the shows go on hiatus again! Bye!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Top Wikipedia Articles

My two best friends at work are Google and Wikipedia. Such a wealth of information lies at your fingertips, whether I'm using it for actual work (20% of the time) or to fulfill my personal inquiries (80% of the time). Honestly, this is my favorite article on Wiki: pet skunks. They like to be talked to! How freakin cute!!!!

Anyways, Wiki recently released their 50 most viewed articles of 2009, and the results are somewhat predictable, but also interesting. The Beatles still remain a pop culture force to be reckoned with, coming in at #2 with over 111,000 hits a day, and Micheal Jackson, another cultural icon was #3 with over 70,000 hits per day. The rest of the 50 pretty much sums up trendy topics of this last year- Slumdog Millionaire (#15), Swine Flu (#29), Megan Fox (#31), Robert Pattinson (#41- I probably contributed a lot to this one...). But I LOOOOVE the fact that people are still looking up Adolf Hitler (#17), Sex (#21), and my favorite on the list: Vagina (#36). Hahaha!


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

When Awesomeness Happens: Battle of the Andys and Wills

Will Arnett (Arrested Development) + Andy Roddick (cuute) vs Will Ferrell (Anchorman!) + Andy Murray (accent!):