July 21, 2011

Do not order DVDs from CINEstrike! Films, 5 Minutes To Live, or Sam McAbee

CINEstrike! Films, what was once 5 Minutes to Live, has ripped me off in the worst way possible: one in which if I had done research, I would never have been ripped off. I ordered movies almost two months ago and can get no response. According to several complaint sites the owner is Sam McAbee: LinkedIn, Georgia State University 1994-1997, Facebook, MySpace. The web sites are: http://cinestrike.com/, http://www.5minutestolive.com, and (according to LinkedIn) http://5mtl.com. According to a BBB complaint, the CINEstrike! phone number and "address" is (404) 805-7456, PO Box 941484, Atlanta, GA 31141-0484. According to another site: 1-678-896-3330. Here are links to some complaints:

List of online articles by Sam McAbee:

Back in 2007 when it was 5minutestolive.com, I ordered Arrebato, Figures in a Landscape, and The Killing of Satan. I'd found the films in 2005 during a bout of unemployment and vowed to return. What a god damn shame that this guy offered something so intriguing that I remembered two years later, and yet he appears to be a serial thief. Ah, regrets.

posted by sstrader at 11:05 PM in Cinema | permalink

July 19, 2011

The Quantum Thief; Hannu Rajaniemi

Highly recommended heist/detective novel dressed in post-human scifi garb. Our hero gets busted out of a dilemma prison by a warrior from the Oort cloud in order to retrieve a valuable object that a previous version of him had hidden on one of the walking cities on Mars where people use life time as currency before they are harvested by the Resurrection Men to become Quiets, human/machine hybrids that sustain the city and terraform the planet. Not for the technologically squeamish. This was a completely show-don't-tell novel that, despite the maelstrom of undefined terms, provided thrilling action next to thoughtful drama. Another great recommendation from the io9 book club. Moving on to The City and The City next.

See the Wikipedia entry for more details plus keep their articles on characters and terms used for a reference while reading. [ updated 22 Mar 2015 ] The terms page has been deleted, but has thoughtfully been archived by Karan Gill here.

Continue reading "The Quantum Thief; Hannu Rajaniemi"
posted by sstrader at 12:23 AM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | tagged finland, io9, posthuman, the windup girl | permalink

July 11, 2011

Evolution and history

Finished reading Brooke Gladstone's graphic novel (graphic essay?) The Influencing Machine. In one section, she surveys the various ideas about how our tools change us. Early humans may have begun walking upright after using tools because tools required their hands to be available. This pairs with the fact that predictions of the Internet dumbing us down or isolating us have been, so far, completely wrong. And since 2004, reading books has increased. Ultimately, BG feels that we are evolving to be more adapted to high data stimulation. (She also takes a nice dig at Apple: Any company that offers cool devices--but bans applications that might offend some users--stand in the way of evolution. Worrying about offending people drags us back to the lowest common denominator.)

Watched X-Men: First Class [ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ] on Friday (sadly missing Run Lola Run at the midnight movie, yet still staying out till 3 AM). In it, the first group of mutants--Magneto and Xavier, et al.--are integral in both causing and resolving the Cuban missile crisis. When evolution is discussed, it's presented in terms of its binary opposites replacement (H. sapiens v. Neanderthals) and modification (quadrupedal to upright) respectively. Media fear mongers are Magneto; Brooke Gladstone is Xavier.

I haven't and probably won't see the last Transformers. The second one was enough pain for one lifetime. However, I was intrigued that it and X-M:FC share a main theme of hidden history: Transformers using the moon landing as a focal point. This is an unlikely example of screenwriter cross-pollination.

posted by sstrader at 7:06 PM in Cinema , Culture & Society | permalink

July 1, 2011

Recent code project

Back in the middle of may, the web host that I use for Java projects--Lunarpages--dropped one of my sites because it was getting more hits than was permitted on a shared server. Their proposed solution was for me to purchase a dedicated server, trading an $8/month service for a $100/month one. I was kindof irritated that there was no inbetween, but you get what you pay for. Their business model was probably always to force the more active sites onto expensive servers contracts. I was lucky that I had the means to relatively quickly re-host, but others are probably more limited in their choices.

That killed a few weeks of productivity setting things up and tweaking and monitoring the new server. Once finished, I got back on my current Android project: an application that will let you create applications on the phone. For the past two weeks have had my head buried in code. This week, I got the basic script interpreter written and have it plugged into the application/module/control object framework. Still a lot to go, but as with any good project it has many areas to keep me interested.

posted by sstrader at 7:33 PM in Programming , Where was I? | tagged android, radiowave | permalink