New at The History Project: The Measured Circle’s Star Wars Timeline (a long time ago and everything in between)

May 25, 2017

New at The History Project: The Measured Circle’s Star Wars Timeline (a long time ago and everything in between)

Today, May 25th 2017, is the 40th anniversary of the opening of the original Star Wars movie in the USA! May the Fortieth be with you!**

I remember seeing it in its first run (and no, that wasn’t the Kessel run) and it’s been part of pop culture ever since. There have been movies, TV shows, videogames, toys, music, books, parodies…an absolutely giant and diverse universe!

I’m excited to announce my latest The Measured Circle project, launching today!

The Measured Circle’s Star Wars Timeline (a long time ago and everything in between)

This is my third project at

The History Project

after

The Measured Circle’s King Kong Timeline (a short history of a tall ape)

and the original

The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip (TMCGTT)

More than ever, I could use your help with this one! Once you sign up for a free account with THP, you can contribute to open projects like mine. It’s subject to my moderation, but there are literally thousands of events which could be added to TMCSWT…and you can be part of it!

I’m also doing an Amazon Giveaway in honor of the 40th anniversary (this is separate from TMCSWT…you can enter just by following @TMCGTT on Twitter through Amazon’s free process):

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. More than 500 people have already entered at time of writing.

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!


My  other current Amazon Giveaways

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

the award-winning, highly-rated mystery by my sibling, Kris Calvin!

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/398897583537603c

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (to my knowledge, all that you’ll get is a notification when Kris publishes a new book in the Kindle store, although I don’t know that for sure…that’s all I’ve ever seen for authors I follow, I think. Kris is working on the second book in the Maren Kane mystery series.
Start:May 20, 2017 5:20 AM PDT
End:May 27, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Thanks to the hundreds of people who have entered my previous giveaways for a chance to win Kris’ book! I don’t benefit directly from Kris’ book, although we have had a lot of conversations about it. 🙂

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

** Thanks to Chris Dudley for this pun!

 

Geeky Good-byes 2017 #3

May 19, 2017

Geeky Good-byes 2017 #3

2016 was noted by many people for the number of celebrities we lost. I looked at reasons why that might have been true (and might continue to be true) in

2016: the Year the Stars Went Out?

while at the same time looking at previous history.

This year, I’m tracking it more closely in

2017 Geeky Good-byes

At the time of writing, I’ve made 70 entries just for 2017.

That page is really just a listing, without much narrative.

I’m taking this post to look at a few who really stand out to me. That isn’t to diminish anyone else: we geeks honor everyone who has every done a geek-friendly part or created a geek-friendly work.

Jack H. Harris

You don’t have to be in front of the camera to be a geek star. Jack Harris produced the original Blob…and returned to the property three more times. 4D Man, Equinox, and Dinosaurus! are three more low budget movies, but Harris also understood the genre well enough to be involved with two loving satires: John Landis’ Schlock and John Carpenter & Dan O’Bannon’s Dark Star…helping to launch truly significant careers.

Don Rickles

Boris Karloff, Peter Cushing…and Don Rickles? You might not think of the insult comic as being a geek icon, but his career is surprisingly geek-friendly. Certainly, Mr. Potato Head has become part of the Disney pantheon, but he was also a “regular” in the beach party movies (including one with martians), which often had a fantasy element (Eric Von Zipper, the recurring bad guy had supernatural powers). People also clearly liked to work with him, which meant he had guest spots on shows from The Munsters to I Dream of Jeannie to the original The Twilight Zone to Get Smart.

Tim Pigott-Smith

An award-winning actor, Tim Pigott-Smith had an unmistakable presence on screen. There was no question that he could make a scene and illuminate a movie, which led to him working with such famous filmmakers as Ray Harryhausen, Tim Burton, and the Wachowskis.

It stood out to me recently that at least four people who have appeared in Marvel movies/TV shows have died this year (Bill Paxton, Lola Albright, Lorna Gray, and Powers Boothe). That might be a surprise because it may seem like the Marvel Cinematic Universe is fairly recent, but Lorna Gray was in the 1944 Captain America sequel (which wasn’t very faithful to the material) and Lola Albright was in the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno TV series of The Hulk in the 1980s…and her episodes were on more than 35 years ago. DC has lost at least six: Francine York, Dick Gautier, Miguel Ferrer, John Hurt, Bruce Lansbury, and Powers Boothe (Boothe was Gideon Malick on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and voiced Lex Luthor,  Red Tornado, and Gorilla Grodd.

The geek community will remember their contributions: we never forget our own.


My current Amazon Giveaways

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

 * I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

 

Finding Bigfoot Festival in Willow Creek on Saturday: a watershed moment

April 29, 2017

Finding Bigfoot Festival in Willow Creek on Saturday: a watershed moment

Today, Saturday (4/29), there is a Bigfoot festival in Willow Creek, California.

That, in and of itself, isn’t new.

http://www.seecalifornia.com/festivals/big-foot-days-festival.html

After all, Willow Creek can be considered the Bigfoot capital of the world, and has been the epicenter (how Californian!) since the beginning of the modern era (back in 1958). About 25 miles (40 km) away is Bluff Creek, where the famous 1967 (making this the 50th anniversary year) Patterson-Gimlin movie, the one you’ve probably seen (where a Bigfoot walks away from the camera, swinging its ((widely believed to be her)) arms, and looking back) was filmed.

Today’s event, though, feels to me like it is going to be seen as a turning point…a marker along the road where Bigfoot crossed in front of your car.

My intuition is that it is going to be a great time, and that it will be two eras of Bigfooting coming together in siblingship.

From the early days (note that I’m talking about Bigfoot…a lot of you know that there were reports of hairy bipeds in North America for a very long time before the popularization of the term Bigfoot based on Jerry Crew’s October 1958 reports), Bob Gimlin will be there and they’ll show the movie. Also in Willow Creek will be Loren Coleman (@cryptoloren), the world’s leading cryptozoologist and Director of the International Cryptozoology Museum.

For the modern era (which is not to say that Loren Coleman hasn’t been very much a part of today’s Bigfooting), the cast of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot will be there…and are filming a special episode. It has been reported that this is the series finale for the popular show. Many people have enjoyed Finding Bigfoot for years, even if they weren’t Bigfoot “believers”. Animal Planet is even a sponsor of the event this year.

So, this event brings together the legacy and the present of Bigfooting. They are going to have fun events, including a Bigfoot calling contest. I’m sure I would do well in a contest like that: anybody who has been within a few sections of me at a San Francisco Giants game can attest to my ability to do loud, sustained, controlled, calls. 😉 It’s going to be very family friendly.

Past, present…what about the future?

That’s hard to say. It would surprise me if the Finding Bigfoot cast didn’t continue to be connecting with the community of Bigfooters in some way for many years. However, the idea of anyone doing a non-fiction TV series is becoming less tenable, as content consumption becomes increasingly personal. It will be possible to sustain an investigation into something with a rotating audience of 100 people, rather than needing a million to all watch at the same time. This isn’t really the right article for that speculation, though. 🙂

I seriously debated going today…the issue is that, even though I am in Northern California and so is this event, it would be about a six hour drive…one way. If I had been aware of it months ago, I might have taken days off work around it, so we could bring our dogs and make a trip of it. The Bigfoot Motel (which does say it has dog friendly rooms) is probably booked, so even if we did want to go today and stay overnight, it might be difficult. The event is free, by the way, and includes crowd events, like a parade. It’s just too far to go for twelve hours of driving (I could fly to Maine, where Loren’s museum is, in about the same amount of time).

I wish everybody there a wonderful time! I do think this will be a sort of “Woodstock” of Bigfooting, in the sense that people will talk about having been there decades later. I sincerely hope that Loren Coleman and Bob Gimlin continue to be able to attend future events and be involved for years themselves: I’m not suggesting that this is a farewell appearance, just that it is a coming together in what may be a unique way as the tide turns.

While I can’t be there, I am running an Amazon Giveaway for one of Loren Coleman’s books right now:

Cryptozoology A To Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature by Loren Coleman (at AmazonSmile*)

Note: this is the paperback. For some reason, I couldn’t make the Kindle book for this one public (like I could with some of my other giveaways). I really wanted this one to be public, because the whole goal is to promote Loren Coleman’s medical expense fund GoFundMe campaign. I’ve never met Loren personally, and we have no shared business interests, although we have had some correspondence. I’ve read Loren’s books for decades, and admire how the cryptozoologist/Fortean helps others, including being the Director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Maine (although in so many smaller ways, too). It’s sad to me that someone who has done so much is having trouble dealing with medical expense (due to multiple operations). That doesn’t stop Loren from going to the Bigfoot festival in Willow Creek, California today, but for people who have enjoyed and benefited from Loren’s work, the medical expenses fund is an opportunity to do a thank you. Literally over 300 people entered in about a day (the number now is well over 400), and they’ve all tweeted (as a requirement to entry) a link to the fund’s page. I do not ask people to endorse the fund or to ask other people to contribute (or for them to contribute themselves)…I’m just hoping to raise the profile so people who might want to contribute and don’t know about it get the word.

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
    • Tweet a message

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/303e4f5c496116a2

Start:Apr 27, 2017 9:45 AM PDT
End:May 4, 2017 11:59 PM PDT
While I have contributed myself, this seemed like a good way to help. Hopefully, there may also be a way to donate at the Finding Bigfoot Festival, although Loren himself has been low key about this…another thing I admire about him.
Have fun, everybody!

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

My other current Amazon Giveaway:

LAST DAY TO ENTER

I recently concluded a giveaway for

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

by my sibling, Kris Calvin

and there were ten winners. I’m doing a new one for the same book:

1 winner

Requirements for participation:

  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (you’ll be notified when future books are added to Amazon…I think that’s the only contact you get, although I’m not positive)

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/c2fb235f3cf97ced 

Start:Apr 24, 2017 6:06 AM PDT
End:Apr 29, 2017 11:59 PM PD

Happy 80th birthday, George Takei! Amazon Giveaway

April 20, 2017

Happy 80th birthday, George Takei! Amazon Giveaway

Happy birthday, George Takei!

George Takei born event at The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip (TMCGTT) at The History Project

While clearly, geeks got to first know him as Sulu on the original Star Trek, George Takei has been involved in so many of our favorite universes! From Batman to Godzilla to Star Wars to Irwin Allen to Jonny Quest, the combination of his charismatic screen presence and resonant baritone has made him a great fit for both live action and voice artistry.

Nowadays, I’m sure he has many fans who think of him first as a supporter of human rights.

A third group may simply see him as an embracer of social networking.

He is, of course, all of these things.

I had just one personal memorable experience with George Takei.

It was decades ago at a convention…I was in the back of the room, and I think we had been shown a clip from Star Trek III: the “Don’t call me tiny” scene.

I asked him (just as a member of the audience) if he’d like to play James Bond.

I was surprised a bit to see heads whirl around and hear laughter, as though that was a completely ridiculous question. It didn’t even occur to me at the time why people might have thought that.

George Takei, with his signature combination of being both suave and childlike, enthusiastically responded, “I would love to play James Bond!”

Nowadays, I think that might have been seen as a much more reasonable idea…I guess we might both just have been ahead of our time. 😉

In honor of George’s birthday, I’m giving away a Kindle version of his book,

Oh Myyy! – There Goes The Internet (Life, the Internet and Everything Book 1) (at AmazonSmile*)

1 winner

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0a55a7230ccfd4aa

Start:Apr 11, 2017 3:56 PM PDT
End:Apr 21, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

There will have been hundreds of entries by the time the giveaway closes tomorrow. My requirement for it is to follow @TMCGTT on Twitter, and there are geographical and age restrictions from Amazon:

  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Happy birthday, George Takei!

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

My other current Amazon Giveaways:

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

by my sibling, Kris Calvin

Ten winners

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/e39ec1bca3592757

Start:Apr 8, 2017 12:05 PM PDT
End:Apr 23, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

 Giveaway of a “Tim Curry” Frank-N-Furter collectible CelebriDuck in honor of Tim’s birthday!

CelebriDucks Rocky Horror Picture Show Dr Frank-N-Furter RUBBER DUCK Tim Curry (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*

1 winner

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/10d9d8f4121e9918

Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
18+ years of age (or legal age)
Tweet a message: “Happy birthday, @timothycurry! Tim Curry born April 19 1946 https://www.thehistoryproject.com/projects/view/1433/timeline?eventId=31535 https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/ #giveaway”

Start:Apr 11, 2017 3:56 PM PDT
End:Apr 21, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Happy birthday, Tim Curry! I’m doing an Amazon Giveaway in honor of Tim

April 19, 2017

Happy birthday, Tim Curry! I’m doing an Amazon Giveaway in honor of Tim

Tim Curry was born on April 19th, 1946! For more information, see

Tim Curry born event at TMCGTT at The History Project

I’m doing an Amazon Giveaway!

Giveaway of a “Tim Curry” Frank-N-Furter collectible CelebriDuck in honor of Tim’s birthday!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/10d9d8f4121e9918

CelebriDucks Rocky Horror Picture Show Dr Frank-N-Furter RUBBER DUCK Tim Curry (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*

Tim may certainly be best known in that role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (and the earlier stage show), but here are ten other, lesser-known Tim Curry things I’ve enjoyed:

  • Tim’s Charge It (YouTube video ) from his Fearless album
  • Tim in Me and My Girl live on stage
  • Tim on Saturday Night Live
  • Tim on Steven Spielberg’s TV series Earth 2 as Gaal (I thought he deserved an Emmy)
  • Tim as Dr. Frankenstein in a computer game (Through the Eyes of the Monster)
  • Tim in the recent Rocky Horror Picture Show live remake on Fox as The Criminologist: honestly, one of the strongest, bravest things I’ve ever seen
  • Tim (and others, including Alan Cumming) reading Dracula as an audiobook
  • Tim describing his singing style as “loud”
  • Tim’s shout-outs to his daughter as “Sunshine” in his music
  • Tim in the quieter role in The Shout

Happy birthday, Tim!

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

My other current Amazon Giveaways:

===

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

by my sibling, Kris Calvin

Ten winners

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/e39ec1bca3592757

Start:Apr 8, 2017 12:05 PM PDT
End:Apr 23, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Oh Myyy! – There Goes The Internet (Life, the Internet and Everything Book 1) (at AmazonSmile*)

by George Takei (in honor of the actor’s 80th birthday on April 20, 2017)

1 winner

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0a55a7230ccfd4aa

Start:Apr 11, 2017 3:56 PM PDT
End:Apr 21, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

My interview about (and IN) VR with Len Edgerly…and giveaways!

April 8, 2017

My interview about (and IN) VR with Len Edgerly…and giveaways!

It’s here…and the word “here” may soon have a new meaning. 🙂

I did an interview with popular podcaster Len Edgerly of

The Kindle Chronicles

about Virtual/Augmented Reality…and at my suggestion, we actually did the interview in VR.

Now, I’m not an expert on VR…I’m a consumer of it. This is different from when I started my

I Love My Kindle

blog back in August of 2009. In that case, I really could bring special expertise. I had been a manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore, and I was a techie from way back, so I had a special insight on electronic books (e-books).

In the case of what I call VAMM** (Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality), I’m coming at it from the point of view of an observer of and commenter on popular culture. I do think that there is a significant Amazon/book element coming to VAMM, and coming fairly soon.

However, in one of my other blogs,

The Measured Circle

I write about movies, TV shows, games (I also managed a brick-and-mortar gamestore), tech…a very wide array.

I think I’m pretty good at understanding pop culture. One year, I called eight of the last nine eliminations on American Idol in order, before any of them happened. My Oscar Prediction contest produces results which tend to be more than 90% accurate (and I do quite well myself). I called (not publicly) the successes of Jim Carrey (based on one interview on TV where he did “facial impressions”), Darryl Hannah (after seeing Bladerunner), Big Brother (before it aired one episode in the USA), and more.

Not that I’m always right…but I’m not always wrong, either, which is saying something. 😉

I’ve been on the Kindle Chronicles several times before and it’s always been a great experience. Len is a former professional journalist, and we shared an enthusiasm for the Kindle.

I noticed Len had been broadcasting in 360, and I knew he was at least dabbling in VAMM. So, a couple of months ago, I suggested that we actually do an interview in VAMM space.

I wasn’t sure at that point how we would do it, but I suggested using

vTime

One reason for that was that I knew you could record VAMM sessions there, which would mean that our audiences could see and hear us later.

Unfortunately, when the time came, that feature (vCast) had been taken offline for improvements.

That created some technical challenges. We both happened to be using Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge phones and the Samsung Gear VR headset (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). That has the built-in ability to take screenshots and record video…but not to record audio

We ended up each recording our audio separately, and then Len put them together. I had a good microphone, and tried a few apps before setting on the free version of

NowSmart

I played around with the settings, and found something I liked.

Apparently, sometimes while I was talking, I had my mouth too far away from the microphone…with the headset on, I wasn’t aware of that, but again, Len was able to boost the sound.

I loved doing the interview!

Avatar with a blue jacket sitting on a rock in a wilderness river

That’s a screenshot of my avatar sitting on a rock in a wilderness river…we were talking about how interacting in VAMM space compared to doing videocalls.

I should mention that my avatar is randomized: hair color, skin color, body type (including gender), and so on. I could have made an avatar that looked very much like me (in fact, I did that at one point), but my regular readers know that I don’t like to identify inherent characteristics…I like people to be known (online) for what they think and feel and how they express it.

My thought is that I’ll randomize a different appearance many times. That was a lot of work: I think it took perhaps half an hour. I can automate that process outside of vTime (by generating random numbers in a spreadsheet, although it would be great if they would just let people pick an entirely random avatar.

I think one error I made was making a choice in every category. I figured that “facial hair” would include a “none” choice, but I don’t think it did. That means my avatar has a hat and glasses, but I need to include a “no glasses” option (for example).

I’ll summarize some of my thoughts on what we discussed, but if you would like to listen (it’s audio only…no special equipment needed) to the whole thing (before or after), it’s here:

TKC 453: Bufo Calvin in Virtual Reality

I’d say the biggest takeaway is that I expect Amazon to get into VAMM significantly before the holidays at the end of this year.

Breaking it down more:

  • Prime Video: I would be shocked if this doesn’t happen…and perhaps by September. I spend more time in VAMM space watching videos (Hulu, Netflix, and others) than doing anything else. Amazon shouldn’t cede all that habit building lead to other services. When Amazon went years without making a profit, Jeff Bezos once said something like “Market share will never be cheaper than it is now”, and that’s the case for VAMM video market share, too
  • An experiences store: this seems pretty likely to me. “Experiences” is the term for VAMM apps. I think it probable that Amazon lets people get experiences through Amazon before the end of the year, but that can be a bit complicated. I would always rather have Amazon process my payments than anyone else…they already have all my info
  • VAMM book reading: I want, want, want this! 🙂 I showed Len a screenshot from the Chimera Reader VR app. It’s not a great way to read books at this point, and Amazon could do that. I wouldn’t say it’s likely, but I want to be at work and be able to read my Kindle books at lunch in a different environment with a virtual book that looks like a paperbook in my hands
  • Amazon VAMM hardware: probably not likely this year, but possible. They could make a headset (I think glasses would be a few years off for Amazon) that would be platform independent
  • Alexa in VAMM: yes! I definitely want to be able to see my calendar events, the weather from Alexa, pulled up by voice in VAMM. However, Alexa as a navigator would also be a big improvement. Getting stuff done in VAMM space, currently, is difficult. You can “eye gaze” to select things, and sometimes use voice input…but I want the latter in a lot more places. I want to be able to ask Alexa to start a specific experience and to do internet searches (I do use the Samsung VR internet browser, and it does voice input…but not as smoothly as Alexa)
  • Shopping in VR: I want a virtual Amazon store to buy things…and ideally, I’d like the option for it to be social, so I can ask other people questions and maybe have Amazon employees virtually present

Now, being in VAMM space wasn’t perfect, by any means. Len disappeared for me a few times…it seemed to me like I was able to be on consistently,  but it’s possible it looked to Len like I disappeared.

The other thing was that I couldn’t have any notes I could see…and I made two big mistakes. I’m usually good and careful about crediting people properly, but in this case, I gave the wrong title for a book and for a video series.

I want to try to make up for that for those two, even though they are properly linked on Len’s site.

What I’ve decided to do is Amazon giveaways.

The first one is for

The Fourth Transformation (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.

I mistakenly called it “The Fourth Revolution”…there is a popular book by that name, but it’s entirely different. I did identify “Scoble and Israel” as the authors.

I think this a well-written and insightful book by a couple of people with an excellent track record of predicting what will happen with technology as it relates to business. I’ve recommended it to people at my company: I think if you have a major consumer presence and aren’t starting to prepare for VAMM interactions in the next five years, you are missing an opportunity.

I made it a requirement of the giveaway that people follow one of the authors, Robert Scoble, on Amazon…and I’m giving away two (one for ILMK and one for The Measured Circle…or one for Scoble and one for Israel, however you want to see it). 😉

Here is the link for the giveaway:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/b079fbab9711319a

The second one is a VR specific comedy series, and I unfortunately really butchered the name (badly enough that I don’t want to repeat it here and mislead people).

The right name is

“Virtually Mike & Nora”

and they really understand what Virtual Reality means (while being funny at the same time). They completely (and intentionally uncomfortably) bring you into the experience. It is a bit racy…maybe “edgy” is better.

Since this is a video series which is part of your Hulu subscription, I needed to find something to giveaway.

I’ve decided to give the same VR headset I gave to a relative:

Blitzwolf VR Headset (at AmazonSmile*)

This is generic, simple headset…nothing fancy, but it did work for my relative. I can’t tell you for sure that you’ll be able to watch

Hulu VR

and therefore Virtually Mike & Nora, but it should be fun even if you can’t. 🙂 It’s going to depend on your phone.

To benefit that very creative duo, I’m requiring that you watch a short YouTube video (under two minutes) from them about the show before you enter.

I’m going to give away one of those, via random draw of the entries during the period.

Here is the link for the giveaway:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ab8bc9943c50e4f

Again, my apologies to both pairs of artists…hopefully, this will help discovery of both of these good works.

Finally, I am doing one more unrelated giveaway. I’m giving away ten Kindle versions of my sibling’s 4.6 out of 5-star (at time of writing, with over 100 customer reviews), triple Silver Falchion winning mystery

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I am requiring that people follow Kris Calvin on Amazon to enter…I want you to know when the second Maren Kane mystery is released, and other titles Kris may do.

Here is the link for the giveaway…feel free to share:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/e39ec1bca3592757

Thanks again to Len for taking the VAMM adventure with me for our interview (interVR?)!

Note: feel free to connect with me in vTime. I’m listed there as Bufo Calvin.

If you have any questions or thoughts about this, you can let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

**VAMMers is my term for people who use Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality: for more information, see Welcome, vammers! Our Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality coverage starts here

Videos in VR: Hulu vs. Netflix

April 7, 2017

Videos in VR: Hulu vs. Netflix

Welcome, VAMMers**!

There is a lot of talk about what might be the “killer app” that gets the average person to want to start using Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality.

Is it going to be a game? Well, in terms of Augmented Reality, Pokemon Go certainly introduced a lot of people to a phone-based version.

What about a headset?

Could it be social experiences, like vTime or AltSpaceVR? Sure, those are good. In fact, I was just interviewed in vTime for Len Edgerly’s popular

The Kindle Chronicles

podcast (the episode should be up tomorrow, Friday, April 7th).

However, I think that the first thing that may really popularize headsets is watching videos.

Yes, that’s right: Netflix and Hulu both have VR apps, and that’s what I do the most in VR.

I’m using the Samsung Gear VR headset (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) with a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

During lunch at work, I like to do “floor exercises” and watch a video (it’s how I watched Stranger Things, for the most part, and I’m now enjoying One Punch Man).

With my headset (and simple earbuds), I can easily watch a video on a giant screen…and put it where I want. If I need it directly on the ceiling, fine. If I want it a 45 degree angle so I can watch My Favorite Martian while doing crunches, great.

The screen is like a movie theatre screen in size…well, that can be adjustable, but much bigger than a big screen TV. The resolution seems fine. The sound is what you would expect through headphones.

So, as it often does, in comparing two software applications, it comes down to the content and the interface.

Looking at Hulu versus Netflix, it’s clear that one is innovating more than the other.

Netflix VR is surprisingly limited compared to Hulu VR. Not in terms of content: they both have the videos they would normally have.

However, that’s one of the first places there is a real differentiation. Hulu also has VR specific content…and not just “experiences” like swimming with bears (that’s a real one). They also have VR scripted content, which can be quite good.

When you first enter Hulu, you have a choice of “TV” (which includes movies) and “VR”.

The Netflix interface is very much like what you would see in the app on, say, a Fire TV (if you ignore the virtual room and just consider the screen).

On Netflix, you have two environments: the “living room” or the Void Theatre. The latter is what lets you position the screen: one thing about VR, the environment knows where your head actually is. You can’t just swipe a screen on to the ceiling, since it know where the ceiling is and is trying to keep you level. You have to go the Void first.

How do you get to the Void?

That’s something that really points out a weakness in many VR experiences: a lack of explanation. That’s not uncommon when a new medium is becoming popular. In this case, I had to look it up online. You look straight up at the ceiling, and when you are in the right spot, you tap the touchpad on the side of your headset.

Not intuitive.

Once you’ve done that, you get two significant new icons: travel mode and the ability to change the size of the screen.

I don’t find travel mode that useful…the screen tracks where you are looking and moves to stay in front of you, which would be great if it did that at a reasonable speed. Instead, it’s slow: it feels a bit like trying to take a three-month old puppy for a walk. 😉

Resizing the screen is nice.

That’s about it for Netflix.

On the other hand, Hulu has four main environments, and they also have sub-varieties. For example, their “Beach” environment can be day, night, sunset, storm, or “Day Night”.

The four choices at time of writing are

  • Modern Living Room
  • Movie Theater
  • The Void
  • The Beach

The screen also seems to be able to snap more quickly to a new orientation than Nelix does.

Perhaps most significantly, you can access Hulu from Oculus Rooms…which means that you can view a show with up to three other people, even if those people don’t have a Hulu account. Social video viewing is a thing (think of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and viewing parties…and Hulu does do some current TV season episodes): Hulu has it, and Netflix doesn’t.

In the current state of play, Hulu wins on the VR experience (you’ll have to judge the content yourself…I do watch both apps in VR).

What about

Amazon Video (Prime and otherwise) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

?

Nothing.

I can’t imagine that they won’t have some Prime Video presence in VR before the end of this year (announced by the holiday season). As Len and I discussed, and as I predicted in my I Love My Kindle blog, I expect Amazon to make a pretty big movie into VAMM space this year.

One last thing: there are many other video options in VR, especially if you use a browser (like Samsung’s VR internet browser). We’ve even started a site here at The Measured Circle:

You can eye gaze (or look and click) on some public domain videos there…and I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of watching the very old Captain Video in the very new VR. 🙂

In the next five years, I think some people will watch the majority of their video in VAMM space…and the majority of streaming video users will have done it at least once.

Have other questions or comments? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

** VAMMers is my term for people who use Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality: for more information, see Welcome, vammers! Our Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality coverage starts here

New! The Measured Circle’s King Kong timeline: a short history of a tall ape

March 20, 2017

New! The Measured Circle’s King Kong timeline: a short history of a tall ape

I’m pleased to announce The Measured Circle’s latest project:

The Measured Circle’s King Kong timeline: a short history of a tall ape

at The History Project!

Just as with

The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip

you can use it not only to get a perspective on TV shows, books, amusement park rides, television, and more about Skull Island’s most famous resident, but you can follow links to actually find the content!

For example, the listing for the original 1933 movie has links to find streaming options (it’s not legally free from the commercial streaming services in the USA at time of writing, based on JustWatch.com, but I also link to a search of public libraries…and your public library might even have an “e-Video” option).

However, if you have Amazon Prime, you can watch 1976’s parody Queen Kong at no additional cost, and if you have Netflix, you can watch their original animated series set in 2050.

Obviously, I can’t get you on an amusement park attraction, but I do link to their sites. 😉

I think I’ve hit the highlights, but it’s important to note that a lot more can be added. You can even help, by adding comments and material.

I plan to do a lot more linking eventually, find more images to add, do more people entries, and add more context items (not specifically King Kong, but things that affected it).

I hope you enjoy it! If you have comments or suggestions, feel free to let me know.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

Geeky Good-byes February 2017

March 17, 2017

Geeky Good-byes February 2017

2016 was noted by many people for the number of celebrities we lost. I looked at reasons why that might have been true (and might continue to be true) in

2016: the Year the Stars Went Out?

while at the same time looking at previous history.

This year, I’m tracking it more closely in

2017 Geeky Good-byes

At the time of writing, I’ve made 36 entries just for 2017, and 9 in February. Unfortunately, I may add more…we sometimes don’t hear about deaths right away.

That page is really just a listing, without much narrative.

I’m taking this post to look at a few who really stand out to me. That isn’t to diminish anyone else: we geeks honor everyone who has every done a geek-friendly part or created a geek-friendly work.

Richard Hatch

We salute you, Captain Apollo. Richard Hatch was nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal on the original Battlestar Galactica in 1978, and would later appear on the reboot about three decades later as Tom Zarek. Other appearances include Kung Fu, and he appeared as “Richard Hatch” on The Guild, demonstrating his friendliness to the community.

Bruce Lansbury

There would be a big hole in our television geek culture history without the producing talents of Bruce Lansbury. Starting in the 1960s with The Wild Wild West, continuing into the 1970s with Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and on into the 1980s with Knight Rider (and these are just a few of the best known ones), we were on a rollicking ride that was always fun while never lapsing into mockery.

Neil Fingleton

While his career and life were unfortunately short (dying at the age of 36), Neil Fingleton was recognized as the tallest man in the UK at 236 cm (7 feet 7 inches). Appearing in X-Men, The Avengers, Doctor Who, and Game of Thrones (as Mag the Mighty), geeks will be watching this former basketball player (an injury changed his career path from sports to acting) for decades to come.

We regret their passing (and those of the others on the Geeky Good-byes page), and thank them and those closest to them for their contributions to our lives and the lives of geeks to follow.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) 2017 – results

March 5, 2017

BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) 2017 – results

What an interesting Oscar year!

I am going to talk a bit about what happened at the end of the show, but let’s start with how the team did.

The year before we had scored a 90% overall, and that’s not atypical. This year, we were considerably below that at 77%.

While it’s up to other people to determine if something is an excuse or not, I think there was a clear contributing factor to the decline. At least, I can see the impact in my own success rate.

This really was a transition year in how the Academy voted. They had deliberately changed the rules in order to reform the voting process (in part, with the hope of seeing the results be more diverse).

I didn’t take that into account enough. I was still thinking about how the “old Academy” would vote, rather than revising that.

In resulted in some patterns not repeating.

There has typically been a correlation between Best Picture and Film Editing, for example, and that didn’t happen this year.

Best Picture, Directing, and Film Editing went to three different movies (Moonlight, La La Land, Hacksaw Ridge, respectively).

Like many people, I’m a bit surprised to be describing Suicide Squad as an Oscar-winning movie (even though, unlike many people, I did like it). I think the old Academy would likely have gone for the more mainstream movie (A Man Called Ove), and I’ve been pretty good at predicting those Maven categories in the past.

However, that doesn’t mean we did poorly. We called most of the categories, and the only Big Six category we missed was Best Picture:

Category Team Called it
Adapted Screenplay Moonlight 76% Yes
Anim Feature Zootopia 92% Yes
Cinematography La La Land 88% Yes
Directing La La Land 90% Yes
Foreign Film The Salesman 84% Yes
Lead Actor Affleck 92% Yes
Lead Actress Emma Stone 92% Yes
Live Short Sing 66% Yes
Original Screenplay Manchester by the Sea 80% Yes
Production Design La La Land 86% Yes
Score La La Land 90% Yes
Song City of Stars: La La Land 87% Yes
Supp Actor Ali 88% Yes
Supp Actress Davis 99% Yes
Visual Effects The Jungle Book 79% Yes
Anim Short Piper 66% No
BP Moonlight 67% No
Costume Fantastic Beasts 56% No
Doc Feature O.J.: Made in America 66% No
Doc Short The White Helmets 57% No
Film Editing Hacksaw Ridge 61% No
Makeup Suicide Squad 70% No
Sound Editing Arrival 62% No
Sound Mixing Hacksaw Ridge 70% No

The team hit 68% on the Big Six, 81% on the Incredibly Difficult Maven section, and that 77% overall.

Our top Overall scorer did get 90%…way to go! I will let individuals know how they did, and if you’d like your win noted by name in this blog, just let me know.

Thanks to everybody who played! My guess is that we’ll do better next year.

I used Google Forms this year…and that didn’t work well. It was a nice interface for people entering (although it could use more robust validation), but the underlying Google Sheet was set up in an inefficient way. I had to transpose the columns and rows and do quite a bit of work to get results, which is part of why this is a week later. 🙂

Now, let’s talk that Best Picture mix-up.

A quick summary:

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were set to announce the Best Picture. They had starred in Bonnie and Clyde roughly 40 years ago. Warren Beatty had been nominated for Best Picture (as a producer of that movie…he was also nominated for Best Picture other times).

They were handed the envelope containing the winner by the accountants (there are two) from Price Waterhouse Coopers.

They were given the wrong envelope.

They were given a back-up envelope for Best Actress (which had been won by Emma Stone for La La Land). There are two envelopes for each category, since people can come from two sides of the stage, as I understand it.

Warren Beatty opened the envelope. I’ve watched that repeatedly. It seems clear to me what happens.

He opens it, and sees that it says, “Emma Stone, La La Land”. He hesitates.

I think many viewers may not realize that the Producers’ names are on the Best Picture winning card. Remember, Warren Beatty has been nominated as a Producer of a Best Picture nominee.

He probably goes through this process: “Was Emma Stone one of the Producers of La La Land? She can’t have been the only Producer.”

He literally looks into the envelope again, apparently checking to see if there is another winners’ card.

Faye Dunaway appears to think he has been Seacresting it…dragging it out for dramatic effect. She says, “You’re impossible!” He hands her the card (and he has a smile on his face), and she loudly announces La La Land as the winner.

The Producers of La La Land go up…and even start going through their thank you speeches. I haven’t timed it, but I’m reasonably comfortable in saying there was at least thirty seconds from the time the “winner” was announced until a correction was made.

Eventually, a member of the Oscar broadcast team (not one of the accountants) comes on stage and explains what happened.

One of the Producers of La La Land magnanimously explains the error, even taking (snatching would not be inaccurate) the actual winning card and showing it to the audience.

I definitely feel sorry for both Moonlight and La La Land for the way this happened.

So, who is at fault?

I would say that there is no question that PWC deserves a huge piece of the blame (and arguably, really all of it).

Their system failed.

The two accountants are supposed to have all of the winners memorized. As soon as the wrong winner was announced, one of them (and the Stage Manager has backed this up) should have stopped it and explained…before the Producers got to the stage.

Obviously, the wrong envelope shouldn’t have been given…and one question for me on that (and I understand performance improvement) is why Emma Stone’s envelope was even still available. As soon as a category is announced, the duplicate card (I understand that the winner often keeps the card) should be removed from access. If they don’t want to destroy it because of its historical value, put it in a locked dropbox.

There was clearly a failure on the part of one of the accountants and to some extent, on both, but in my opinion, it wouldn’t have been too difficult to create a system that would have been robust enough to make that risk very small indeed.

Fortunately, they should be able to revamp the system to prevent this same type of error in the future.

I can’t blame Warren Beatty…even for handing Faye Dunaway the envelope. I don’t think he was intentionally setting her up, as Jimmy Kimmel (jokingly?) suggested. I can’t blame Faye Dunaway: there would have been a lot of energy at that point after the delay, and anybody could jump at the movie name they see.

Well, there you go! I thought it was a fascinating year, and while that error will dominate in many people’s memories, the (arguably successful) impact of the Academy’s changes will have a bigger effect in the future.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 


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