June 9th, 2014


1983 -1 = AMC Fail

So... American Movie Classics (AMC) has a new series Halt and Catch on Fire about cloning an IBM Personal Computer in 1983. Alas it started last Sunday, and lacking a TV guide in the hospital, I missed it and watched a very entertaining Cutthroat Kitchen with the judges as contestants.

But I'm home, have better control of a TV, plus a newspaper. Alas II, they weren't rebroadcasting the first episode at all or at least any convenient time I could find. And the second episode was at 10pm tonight. Not to worry, it's 2pm and ON TO THE INTERNET.

Back when a friend of ours was one of the talking heads in the show Big History on History 2 Channel, we got an HDMI cable and the History Channel app for the Kindle Fire HD and were in business on our TV.

Alas III, although the AMC website promises full episodes, they wouldn't play on Silk on the Kindle Fire HD. No problem, check for an AMC app. Success!

Alas IV, app fail. Oh sure, the free app installed and it promised viewing full episodes. But the one option loaded the AMC page on Silk -- and we already knew that it didn't work. The option marked video? It hung.

Partly this was my mistake -- I usually go through the reviews, which would've told me that it wouldn't play full episodes. That video option? Apparently just plays clips... if it worked. Lulled by how well the History Channel app worked. I deleted the useless AMC app.

And I left a 1-star review for the app on Amazon.

I'll fire up the Asus Windows 7 machine and see if that works later.

Meanwhile, saw episode 2, which was pretty interesting. I've always thought they should do a movie of The Soul of a New Machine, but it's equally dated and involves mainframes -- PCs are likely more accessible to a wider audience.

We'll see...

Dr. Phil

HBO 6 -- Avatar

Sixth session: Avatar
It's funny how the movies I've seen in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber have had some connection with current news, my hospital stay and the whole hyperbaric oxygen chamber thing. This movies opens with Jake's voiceover talking about his stint in a VA hospital and that they could fix his spine, but with the economy they didn't have the money. Huh. And then the whole lifting malfunctioning legs (my left foot) in and out of the chamber for the actual avatar experience.

And the whole thing is about chambers -- the hypersleep, the avatar growing tanks and the avatar transmission tanks.

Or maybe the whole story is not about Jake or the Na'vi or the evil corporation. No, it's all about those pulsing white floating ehwa seeds -- they're everywhere and their presence projects destiny.

It's a bit limited to see Avatar on a 24" or so HDTV, through the curved top of a thick acrylic tubes -- but it's way loads better than chopped up and shown on TV. We're not there with portable 3D technology, which is where Avatar truly shines. Still, even here the world construction is stunning. To call it CGI is possibly a mistake, as we tend to use CGI to describe creature inserts and action scenes. But vast chunks of this movie exist only after being rendered frame by frame on the computers. The tech looks real, it looks used, it looks integrated into the workflow. You can complain about James Cameron on any number of levels, but damn the man can cook.

Hometree is collapsing and The People are distraut. The company thinks they've won. Tomorrow they'll get their asses handed to them. (grin)


Beautiful drive home, about 78°F, even through clouds of lovely pulsating floating ehwa seeds... uh, no, they're damned allergy inducing cottonwoods. I did take the Nikon D100 with me, and took a couple of pictures.

There was a patient leaving when I got in and another started after I did. The early afternoon could conceivably get crowded. My uncontrollable left foot kept falling over in the chamber. Turned out the foam riser to keep the heels off the bed was pit in the wrong way with the leg grooves down. We won't do that again. (grin)

Dr. Phil