Sunday, July 22, 2007


Broken radio streams...

It used to be that I could pull in a few streaming radio stations using http:, mms:, or udp: using VideoLan client. Apparently this is possible no more, and those streams are broken. (I get an error message that streams aren't available.) I found that some of these stations now use a flash based client. Which to say the least is... ...Meh. Still I suppose it's better than buzzing or lightning static throughout the late night talk program I listen to.

If anyone knows how to figure out what stream those flash based interfaces are tapping into and route it through VLC instead of flash (which causes FireFox to memory leak quite a bit), it'd be greatly appreciated. (Don't tell anyone I tried using Flare to reverse engineer a .swf, but there wasn't much pointing to anything obvious in the ActionScript.) Until then, I might have to resort to something cheesy such as use the flash on another machine, but then stream onto my LAN with VLC so I can use VLC. (Sounds silly, but should be quite possible.)

I also suspect this non-working situation might have something to do with some legal streaming-radio retardedness here in the U.S. (My European streams seem to be ok.) Still, it needs a workaround...

Monday, July 09, 2007


Transformers: A movie by nerds for nerds...

Hate to use the ol' slashdot tagline for the new Transformers flick, but it rings true.

Anyhow here's my take on it:
1. Well written. Has it's moments of comedy, some drama, and of course sci-fi. But really first and foremost it's a non-stop keep it banging action flick. Great summer film.
2. Not for the little kids. Written at a PG-13 humor level, so although gradeschoolers could watch it they might not get some of it. Rather it's target is the fans of the original G1 Transformers. Rather it's for the preteen and up crowd.
3. Big advert placement. Kudos for the General (as in General Motors) for showing off their whole linup in Autobot, Decepticon, and regular vehicular form. It was hard not to notice it as a billboard, being the badging closeup shots, the dealership spot, etc. A little bit too hard I may say. (But at least their cars are actually good now, so the extra plug might bring back the folks that walked away from their 1980s turds.) Even the Grumman and General dynamics non-civvie brands of GM played a big role.
4. Deviates from the comic book and/or TV storylines, but the characters are close and the storyline fits well. (Something about controlling the robotic race's entire means of reproduction, more or less.)
5. How it plays out? You actually get to see that Optimus is a badass (rather than only trust that past events placed him in the leadership role.) Bumblebee is not a pussy as he was in the cartoon, but actually cool this time around. (There's an even humorous take on him saying "No, I don't think so!" to his cartoon/comicbook form when we first see him.) Humans are also shown to be insect-like to them (litterally, we're squishy compared to the robotic film stars). Our insect-likeness also leaves Negatron with a serious grudge when he comes about from his confined torpor. (He was pretty much concious during the whole thing, but paralyzed.) Also I think Soundwave's new name should be scrappy. He's still cunning - no doubt about that, but unlike the cold calculating character in the cartoon he's clumsy and makes many mistakes - rather he's like a fidgety caffiene addict in robot form.

I'll try not to put anymore spoilers than that, since the movie was pretty good for what it is...
Also if your local theater is anything like the one here, bring earplugs... Or you could wait for the DVD.

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