Monthly Archives: March 2013

Quasi-Review: How Google Glass Could be Awesome-er

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google-glass2-b910424100ec7c2fc4b6efd0f280d51613e864db-s6-c10Google Glass is a ubiquitous, head-mounted computer that Google is currently developing. The “Explorer Edition” will soon be available to a select group of people based on their responses to the prompt “If I had Glass…” for $1,500. A consumer version of the product will likely be released by the end of 2013/beginning of 2014 for even less.

Screen Shot 2013-03-30 at 10.19.12 AMWhen you put on Google Glass, you don’t immediately see a screen – you have to focus on the top right area of your view, and suddenly the small box materializes. This is undoubtedly to make it unobtrusive. (Or perhaps Google is trying to adopt some of Apple’s minimalism.) However, I feel that this extra step – looking up and refocusing to see the screen is unnecessary. This kind of technology should be fully integrated into users’ views. Its uses are also relatively limited for what it is. Yes, it can complete the majority of tasks smartphones can: web search, weather, taking photos, etc. But it could do so much more. Continue reading

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Review: BBC Radio 4/Radio 4 Extra Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere

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The cast of Neverwhere acknowledges the show’s creator. From left to right: Benedict Cumberbatch (Islington), David Harewood (the Marquis de Carabas), Natalie Dormer (Door), Dirk Maggs (dramatizer), James McAvoy (Richard), David Schofield (Mr. Vandemar) and Anthony Head (Mr. Croup).

My interest was piqued a while back when Neil Gaiman mentioned on his blog a radio drama called Neverwhere, based on the eponymous novel. After doing some research (thank you, Wikipedia), I discovered that this was in fact the third incarnation of Gaiman’s Neverwhere saga, the first being a TV mini-series composed of six half-hour episodes. Intrigued, I decided to listen to the radio show. About a minute in, all I heard was a cacophony of noises and voices and couldn’t tell what was happening at all, never having listened to a proper radio series before. Thus I deduced that the series was meant for people who had already read the book, and set about procuring a copy at once (thank you, Amazon Kindle). Upon finishing the novel (which was fantastic, by the way) I returned to the radio series. Even as someone unused to relying purely on my sense of hearing when being told a story, it was a gratifying experience. I was glad to have read the book beforehand, because on the rare occasion that I felt overwhelmed in the wash of sound, I had a sense of what was going on nonetheless. However, this confusion only occurred only a few times, and usually lasted a maximum of twenty seconds. I do not think that the series would have been any less enjoyable had I not read the book beforehand.

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Very collected indeed.

And it most definitely was enjoyable. Hearing the voices of people I’ve seen in movies or on television shows was rather strange and quite cool, because sometimes it’s hard to believe how much voice can affect character. For example, take Anthony Head as the sadistic logophile Mr. Croup. When I first heard his voice, I most definitely would not have been able to tell it was Anthony Head’s, nor would I have connected it to the voice of the calm, collected Rupert Giles from Buffy.

Actually, many of the actors in Neverwhere have some amount of neek cred… Continue reading

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Doctor Who Series 7.5 – An Abundance of Trailers

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BBC’s Doctor Who will be returning on March 30th. All fans of the show have had this date marked on their calendars for months now, but BBC has continued to release media teasing the upcoming season (half-season, really). The trailer for Series 7.5 has been out for a while now. In case you haven’t seen it, here it is:

This one is very focused on Clara Oswald. She is Doctor’s new companion, introduced in “Asylum of the Daleks” and again in the Christmas special “The Snowmen.” In both she is the same woman…but from two different times.

On March 16th, another trailer for the season was released via BBC’s YouTube channel, titled “New Series 7 Launch Trailer 2013.”

This one seems to be more “scary finale”-themed…because if the Doctor is afraid, then you should be too. Plus it’s got that bass-y sound from Inception that has taken the place of music in trailers these days… Continue reading

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March 26th is a Joyful Anniversary for Neeks

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Today is the anniversary of two great happenings in neekly history. Brace yourselves.

Leonard-leonard-nimoy-17314437-1280-800Happy birthday, Leonard Nimoy!

Yes, the man who played Mr. Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series and Spock Prime in Star Trek (2009) was born on this very day in 1931. That makes today his eighty-second birthday. Live long and prosper, Mister Nimoy!

The following is a series of pictures of Nimoy throughout his life…set to the song “Highly Illogical,” found on the campy CD “Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space.” I thought it a fitting tribute.

Happy birthday, Doctor Who reboot!

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Technically Season 28 of Doctor Who, Season 1 of the 2005 relaunch with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Billie Piper as his companion, Rose Tyler, marked the resurrection of the formerly-popular TV series. At first low-budget and even cheesier than Season 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and that’s saying something), Doctor Who has evolved into a well-written, well-acted, well-made work. Steven Moffat has done a terrific job making the show accessible to just about everybody, while also appealing to long-time viewers.

Ah, nostalgia. Live long and prosper, Leonard Nimoy. And Allons-y, Doctor! May Season 7.5 be as good as its first half.

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First Ender’s Game Movie Poster Released via Yahoo! Movies and Ender’s Game Tumblr

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Harrison Ford plays Graff. Despite the fact that the colonel is supposed to be rather disgustingly overweight, I think Ford can pull it off.

Harrison Ford intimidates Ender as Hyrum Graff. Despite the fact that the colonel is supposed to be rather disgustingly overweight, I think Ford can pull it off.

At noon today, after fans had been chewing on several rather mundane photos of Battle School from Summit for a while now, Yahoo! Movies released the first ever Ender’s Game movie poster. The poster can also be found at the official Ender’s Game Tumblr. What the poster brings that the previous photos didn’t is our first look at the Battle Room. Now, if you haven’t read the book, the Battle Room was written as a large, closed, cubic room with zero gravity in which the students at Battle School played a tactically challenging game very similar to laser

Hailee Steinfeld as Petra Arkanian chats with Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggin in the cafeteria. I'm appreciating the S.H.I.E.L.D.-esque scoreboard in the background.

Hailee Steinfeld as Petra chats with Asa Butterfield as Ender in the cafeteria. I’m appreciating the S.H.I.E.L.D.-esque scoreboard in the background.

tag. Except, you know, while floating around. The writers evidently thought that was too mundane, making the room spherical and transparent. Even though I feel some remorse over losing another aspect of the book, the final product looks pretty awesome. But if they screw up any scenes within the Room itself, no amount of movie magic can save them from the wrath of the rabid fans.

In the poster you can see Continue reading

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Tiny Implant in Interstitial Tissue Sends Blood Test Information to Smartphone

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This tiny device constantly monitors the composition of a patient’s blood and sends the information via radio waves and/or Bluetooth to your smartphone and your doctor. The device is surgically inserted, using a needle, into the interstitial tissue (don’t worry, I didn’t know what it was, either). The patient wears a patch over the implant which contains its batteries, receiving signals from the implant and sending them to the receiver. According to Dr. Giovanni de Micheli, director of the Integrated Systems Laboratory at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), the device is able to detect five compounds in the blood which can shed vital information on a patient’s current health. The implant can supposedly predict heart attacks hours in advance, monitor glucose levels in diabetics, and detect cholesterol, among other uses. Micheli hopes to have a commercial model ready within several years, but in the meantime researchers hope to begin testing the device on patients in intensive care.

What does all that boil down to? A modern-day tricorder may be just around the corner.

Here’s an interview with Dr. Micheli and Dr. Sandro Carrara about the implant:

Source 1, Source 2

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Star Trek: Into Darkness – International Trailer and Extended Version Released

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On the 21st, Paramount released the Star Trek: Into Darkness international trailer.

250px-BadRobotLOGONEWThen, this morning, J.J. Abrams’ production company’s twitter feed linked to an extended version of the trailer. It’s only several seconds longer than the first – the two are nearly identical. The only difference is that the “extended” one has slightly longer establishing shots with labels telling the viewer which city they are seeing. Therefore, I will cover both trailers in one review.

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Look at those lovely lens flares…

What to expect from the movie itself so far: explosions, awesome futuristic cities (that aerial shot of Starfleet HQ over nighttime San Fran looks amazing), plus a very Star Wars-y moment in which Kirk flies a ship that is the spitting image of the Millennium Falcon through a very narrow rift/air duct in what may be a space station. Abrams seems to have pulled back somewhat on the lens flares – they only seem to crop up in every other shot, as opposed to every…single…one. He did get a lot of flak for his overuse of the technique in the 2009 adaptation, even admitting himself that they were “overdone, in some places.” Ya think, J.J.? Also, I’m getting a noticeable Khan/Gary Mitchell vibe from Benedict Cumberbatch’s character, the so-called “John Harrison.” Namely: “ ‘I am better.’ ‘At what?’ ‘At everything.’ ” Way to toot your own horn there, Kahn/Gary Mitchell/Garth of Izar/whoever the heck John Harrison is.

Allons-y…let’s get into a full-on dissection of this trailer. Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, William Shatner!

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Never to be accused of under-acting, Shatner gives it all he’s got.

This is the first post of the hopefully wildly popular new blog known as NeekTopia. I’ve had this idea in the works for a while. Today is Launch Day because it is a most auspicious day in neekly news: it’s William Shatner’s birthday, and is not-so-coincidentally also International Talk Like William Shatner Day! Co-established by Maurice LaMarche (voice actor most known for his television work on Pinky and the Brain – the spinoff from AnimaniacsFuturama, and The Simpsons) and Doug VanHorn primarily through Facebook, this holiday gives you the right to…putrandompausesinto…yourspeech…sometimes…inthe…middleofwords…and…masheverythinginbetweeninto…anin…comprehensiblemess.

Here is LaMarche’s vlog announcing his creation of the holiday. He also gives tips on how to maximize Shatnerization.

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