New Year: New Look: Old News

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Samsung's New 102 Inch Plasma TV
Yes, I know, I'm guilty of not keeping this site as up to date as I'd like, so I hope that with a new look (featuring one of my favourite photos from 2005) that will change. Better still, the site's never looked this good in Firefox. New look aside, a new year doesn't necessarily mean much new to report, so here's a look at some of 2005's new treats, from podcasts to 102" Plasmas, audio books to MacBooks, and just some other stuff I think you might enjoy. Please let me know what you think of the redesign by leaving a comment.

The new way to read books
Books, Books, Everywhere
There hasn't been a "Year of the book" since they finished the library in Alexandria, but 2005 might as well be one as far as I'm concerned. Thanks largely to Dan and a free offer at Audible, I really was surprised at how much I enjoyed listening to these. Ender's Game and A Confederacy of Dunces were particular standouts, the former passing the time en route to Europe and the latter en route from Greece to the UK. Not all the books I read were audio, however. I also went through all of Dan Brown's books, particularly enjoying the illustrated Robert Langdon novels, several Micheal Crichton books (which were equally delightful) starting with Air Frame, and a few others like Star of the Sea. And many, many, more - I probably could have filled my backpack with all the books I read last year. Which is what makes an invention like Sony's new eBook so appealing. The only drawback to all these new digital media gadgets is that the companies expect to sell digital media at the same price as their non-digital predecessors. You can't expect consumers to pay the same price (or more!) when we know that, in the case of books, there is no printing cost, paper cost, shipping cost, etc involved. This goes for music and video too (ahem, Apple). Speaking of Apple, and books for that matter, I've decided my next computer/laptop purchase will be Apple's MacBook Pro- it runs on an Intel dual-core processor (I expect multi-processor chips will finally win). I imagine I'll be able to boot it with Windows and OS X for whatever I may want to run.

Creative's Zen Vision:M
And Then There Were Gadgets
While I was away for a good part of last year, gadget makers didn't seem as phased as I imagined they might be without me personally financing them. Take a look at this "Fly" pen-puter for kids, for example. Draw a piano on a piece of paper and then tap the notes and play/record/multitrack a song, just as an example. I bought Mariah one for Christmas, but I'm not sure who's been playing with it more. Or if you were one of the 14 million people that got a new iPod over the holidays, you may want to swing by this site of cool things to do with it. Or if you'd prefer to avoid the bandwagons, maybe check out the new Creative Zen Vision:M. I'm probably not the only one unimpressed with the iPod's lack of support for other video formats and iTunes' lack of conversion ability, after all. Then again, who wants to watch video on a little screen like that anyway - especially when you can watch on this ridiculously awesome 102" Samsung Plasma. Though I think I'd sooner spend the $100,000 on a projector and theatre seating - and lots of popcorn.

Mmmm, consume you I will!
Let's All Go To The Lobby
Speaking of movies, there were a few exceptional movies last year, but I think that next year is more exciting. I don't need to tell you I loved the final chapter of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. And both King Kong and The Chronicles of Narnia held up under scrutiny, if you can overlook exceedingly long movie runtimes and spotty child acting. But the highlight for me, aside from Star Wars, was the release of some of my favourite shows on to DVD. The Simpsons Season 6 is inside-outside (of the disc) classics, and Season 7 is not far behind. These are the two best seasons the show has had to date. And of course we're up to season 6 in Seinfeld as well, though season 5 has my all time favourite episode - The Marine Biologist. Not to mention Family Guy Season 4 and others. The girls in Greece somehow (hypnosis?) got me hooked on Desperate Housewives, too, which isn't relevant, but I feel I need to confess.

Canada's Most Intiguing Band Indeed
Music, Sweet Music
There were some excellent new bands last year that I really got into, but the latest development for me is podcasts. I've finally gotten around to it and I have a few podcasts to recommend. Wait, what's a podcast, you ask? Well, it's basically a show that someone puts together (like a radio show broadcast) that you can skip past boring parts, songs you don't like, and still get to experience some new music or audio. And you don't need an iPod to do it, contrary to popular belief, you can actually tune in with just a PC or any portable MP3 player. My favourite two, for the moment are CBC Radio 3, chock full of new Candian music, and the Ricky Gervais Show, Ricky being a hilarious British guy (creator/star of The Office and Extras) and the show being a talkshow. I must be getting old. But of course, you know I'm going to list some music I've just gotten into last year, so without further hoopla: Andrew Bird (mellow rocker), The Decemberists (mariner-sounding rock folk), Kaiser Chiefs (tasty as Franz Ferdinand, only half the popularity), Beulah (listen to Yoko first), Sigur Ros (Radiohead play Iceland), Arcade Fire (OK, so that was 2004, still... Canada plays rock), and a bunch of others (Dean gets lazy).

And so there you have 2005. Now I'm off to start working on the 2006 collection. Wish me luck!


Dave Shishkoff said...

Hey - completely unrelated, but how did you get the 'Read More' cut happening..???

Looks good to me, btw. =)

Dean said...

Yeah, that's neat stuff, eh? It's all about div's (well, actually span's) and CSS. I'll send you some code...

Anonymous said...

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