Monday, July 07, 2014

MY CONVERGENCE DIARY




Photos from Convergence. 
 
Thursday:

12:30 Making Lanyards. Failed to make a lanyard, but no-one else was doing well, either, so we commiserated with each other. Met someone from Hennepin County Library who remembered me from Anime Detour.

2:00 Hung out at the free book room with M_ and B_.

3:00 Art Show.

5:00 Crafty Geek Meetup. I made a fairy crown. I'm not used to working with dried flowers, but it actually came out decent.

6:30 Burgers on the patio with M_ and B_.

8:30 Fractured Fairy Tales. Panel discussion of media that puts a twist on traditional tales. White As Snow sounds intriguing.

10:00 Just a Minute.   Speaking for one minute without hesitation, deviation or repetition is surprisingly hard. Panelists cheat, insult each other, and make stuff up. Their suffering is our amusement. Thank you, sirs and madams!

11:30 Nescaflowne. Hilarious fan dub of one of my favorite anime, Vision of Escaflowne. An ordinary girl from Japan must save the tiny kingdom of Folgeria's coffee recipe from the empire of Starbach. With giant robots!




Friday:

11:30 Lunch at TGI Friday's with M_, B_, and their friend.

12:30 Steampunk in the Details. Steampunks sharing their costume and prop tips. I'd love to try using liquid latex to give myself a clockwork cyborg look, but I'm too sensitive and would probably scratch it off. The lady who drew outlines on every piece of clothing to look like she stepped out of a drawing left me in awe.

2:00 One on One with Marina Sirtis. I'm actually not usually that into actor Q & A's but she is one funny lady. I forgot she was a villain on Gargoyles, I should watch that again. 

3:30 Dealers' Room. I told myself, no books or tchotckes, but they had a lot of clothes and jewelry, so that didn't work too well.

5:00 Dinner and Angry Orchard cider at TGI Fridays with L_ and T_.

7:00 Joseph Scrimshaw: Future Hole. This man is super-funny. I got to sit in the front row, and didn't even have to buy two drinks. Go follow him on Twitter.


8:00 Party Room crawl with L_ and T_. I drank out of test tubes and played pirate beer bong (it involves tiny cannons).

 
Saturday:

12:00 Lunch at Dairy Queen with M_, L_, T_, and T's friend from Crafty Geek,

1:00 Impromptu photo shoot. M_ was kind enough to take some pictures of me in front of a backdrop. Photoshop, here I come!

2:00 Geeks Read discussion of favorite urban fantasy titles. I don't read that many, so I talked about The Obsidian Mirror, since it's a faerie/time travel/dystopian future/steampunk book - something for everyone!

2:45 Steam Century Mystery: Secrets in the Asylum.  I didn't solve the mystery, but had fun role-playing, The Red Ribbon Society folks are good at the improv.


3:45 Ran into another librarian from Hennepin County at the House of Toast.

4:15 Theater Nippon showing of Tiger and Bunny. A promising anime, I like the idea of sponsored super-heroes, but it could fall into cliche if it's not careful. The character designs are more detailed than most new anime, which is nice. 


Thursday, July 03, 2014

THE WONDER OF MICROSOFT PAINT


The Wonder Of Microsoft Paint. - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Although I consider myself a Mac person, I'm not slavish about it. Microsoft does a few good things. Publisher is good, Excel is good, Word is good (although the latter's gotten bloated lately). I even have a Microsoft webcam (it doesn't require drivers and works with every program you throw at it).

But my favorite Microsoft is free - Paint. It's light and simple and just does what you need it to do, no frills. One of Apple's dumbest decisions was to get rid of MacPaint, although you can download a free app called Paintbrush that is similar. But, at work I can't install anything, so Paint is a real lifesaver when working on flyers or presentations. I even wrote this little ode to Paint in presentation form.

Do you guys have any little programs that don't get a lot of hype, but save your bacon?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

TOP TEN LIPSYNCH FOR YOUR LIFE SONGS FOR A DRAG KING EQUIVALENT OF RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE



 The Advocate has suggested that the greatest (i.e. only good) reality show ever, Rupaul's Drag Race, have a drag king contestant.  That's fine, but it would be much more entertaining to have a whole drag king competition. One of the best parts of Drag Race is seeing all the different types of queens compete: beauty queens, funny queens, conceptual queens, androgynous queens, scary queens, singing and dancing queens.

 I want to see punk kings, gangsta rap kings, cock-rocking metal kings, panty-dropping R & B kings, country kings, baggy-pants burlesque comic kings, and of course, Elvis.

I picked out some songs that make me think of different aspects of masculinity:  swaggering men, heartbroken men, lustful men, romantic men, philosophical men, and suicidally depressed men (interesting fact: I can think of dozens of songs by men about suicide, but only one female one: "Gloomy Sunday". What's up with that?)

  1. "That's Life" - Frank Sinatra
  2. "Mama Said Knock You Out - LL Cool J
  3. "Stand Tall" - Burton Cummings
  4. "Stroke" - Billy Squire
  5.  "Fade To Black"  - Metallica
  6.  "Love Is the Drug" - Roxy Music
  7.  "Take Me to the River" - Al Green
  8.  "Can't Help Falling in Love" -Elvis Presley
  9. . "My Prerogative" - Bobby Brown
  10.  "When Doves Fly" -Prince


Saturday, March 01, 2014

MY IPAD APPS, PART TWO

 

Part two of a two-part series. Part one is here.


Gaming

Although I'm on record as being more about game mechanics than visuals, some games are more fun if you can see the characters facial expressions and some are too complex to work well on a smaller device. I can play Chuzzle or Bejeweled Blitz fine on the iPod Touch, but Plants vs. Zombies is just more fun on the iPad. World of Goo is hard to do on a small devices as you end up pinching and zooming a lot.

I've been playing tabletop role-playing games for several years now (Current game: Interface Zero 2.0). I started old-school with pen and paper, but now I am almost fully digital thanks to the iPad. I still enjoy the feel of rolling real dice, although my co-gamer Rawen uses the Real Dice Roll app.

For my character sheet, I use a fill-able PDF and the PDF Reader app. I tried other PDF apps and none were as good, they were hard to move around in and blurry, PDF Reader has a nice folder organizing system (as a librarian, I do love organizing) and you can import from Dropbox, Google Drive, or from a URL. That makes it worth paying $2.99 for.

Most game books these days come offer a .pdf version as well as print, with the smaller indie ones being e-book only. I use iBooks for reading. The searching by keyword or page number is pretty fast and you can organize your books by collection. I like the virtual bookshelf, although it's too bad they got rid of the fake wood effect in iOS 7. I use Dropbox to transfer the the character sheets and game books from the computer to the iPad, which doubles as bonus storage. When you open a .pdf in Dropbox, iOS detects the format and offers you the option to open it with any app that can read .pdfs.

Having a camera in your device is also nice if we have to end our session in the middle of an epic battle, I can take a picture of everyone's location so that Game Master Jthbeaux can recreate it next time. And if I need to search the game forums for tips, the Internet is right there. Chrome is my browser of choice on mobile, it's light and fast.

Productivity

Yes, iPads are super-fun, but they can be useful for work too. For taking notes, I like to keep it simple, so I use Simplenote. Just text and URLs, that's all I need. I look at things like Evernote or Diigo and say, that's waaay too complicated for me. Simplenote is available as a web app too, so you have access to your notes wherever. Digital notes make it a lot easier for me to write conference reports or meeting minutes later, just copy and paste. I also use Simplenote for to-do lists, packing lists, movie/book/TV/music recommendations, etc. I am not the fastest typist in the world, but it's easier for me to type on the iPad than the iPod Touch.

For collaborative projects I use Google Drive. It's easy to make simple documents or spreadsheets like grant proposals or program budgets. I so rarely use more than 10% of Microsoft Word's bells and whistles anyway (and if I do, like making flyers, I tend to regret it.) Dropbox I tend to use more when I just need files for a presentation or outreach event, so I don't have to carry a bunch of paper (I have them on a flash drive too, 'cause I'm a belt-&-suspenders kind of gal).

I export my work schedule from our scheduling software and keep it in PDF Reader, along my bus schedules.

 


Video

Except for Vines and very short YouTube videos, I only watch video on the iPad when traveling. It did save me when I had to spend the night at the Detroit airport. If you want to watch a bunch of YouTube videos while on the plane, VideoCache makes it easy to download them, although it does stall occasionally, so I'd do it a little ahead of time. Of course, I have Netflix, Huluplus, and Amazon Instant Video, along with Crackle, MUBI, Google Play Movies, Vudu, and Crunchyroll, just to cover all the bases. Searching on the Blu-ray player is awkward, so I have my iPad by my side when watching TV so I can do all my searching in the relevant app. If I don't know which service has which movie or TV show, Can I Stream It? lets me check all of them at once. If it's not there, you can set a reminder for when the title is available.

Social Media

Most social media apps work the same on the iPod Touch, so I'm not gonna get into them. Rest assured, I spend my share of time on Twitter, Facebook, & Tumblr.

 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

JFRO'S BEST OF 2013 MIX






This was a pretty diverse year for my music listening, so I hope people enjoyed their New Year's mix CDs. For those who didn't get one (free by request), here's a mix of recent stuff (2012-2013).


This was a year where my taste actually matched the general public at a few points (Daft Punk, M.I.A., Janelle Monae). Shoegaze continued to be big, with new bands (Chatham Rise, A Place to Bury Strangers), a new album by the codifiers (My Bloody Valentine), and even an all-Japanese cover of Loveless. Speaking of covers, DJing in Johnny Urgh's 3-D House of Covers on the late, lamented Turntable.fm got me back into my weird covers obsession (SHONEN Knife, Melvins, Martha Wash). I hope to get back into it on Plug.dj

Stoner rock continued to be big (Windhand, Vista Chino, Dark Earth, Devil to Pay, Orange Goblin, The Quill, Nightstalker). I was glad to discover Red Desert, the Twin Cities' own contribution to the genre. I hope to see them live in 2014.

I now have Pandora access on my living room media system via both networked Blu-ray and Chromecast, but it just doesn't do it for me, I still prefer human-curated radio. Listening to internet radio has not been publicized as a big selling point for Apple TV, but I do it all the time. Mostly Radio K and Sanctuary Radio, but I also discovered Heavy Handed Radio via the Tunein app. Tunein has become my favorite radio app on the iPod Touch, it has the most stations and the least drop-outs.


Spotify has improved this year, allowing web access with no download, making the app more useful for non-subscribers, and eliminating listening limits for the free version. I'm still mostly using it to try out albums to see if they are worth buying, as I hate the commercials, but not enough to pay for it. I did make some playlists, which is always fun. Here's the Spotify version of Jfro's 2013 for Spotify fans. It's missing a few songs (Why no mbv, Spotify?)


I uploaded all my music to Google Music, since my 13,000 songs don't all fit on my iPod. It's also always nice to have another backup.






Track Listing:
 
  • M.I.A: "Y.A.L.A." 
  • Janelle Monae: "Q.U.E.E.N." 
  • Daft Punk: "Get Lucky"
  • Pomdexter: "Call Me a Hole" 
  • Zynic: "Dead End"
  • Diana: "Perpetual Surrender"
  • Windhand: "Orchard"
  • Vista Chino: "Dargona Dragona"
  • Dark Earth: "Time Warp"
  • Red Desert: "Slow Kill"
  • Devil To Pay: "Yes Master"
  • Orange Goblin: "Aquatic Fanatic"
  • Nightstalker: "Soma"
  • The Quill: "Freak Parade"
  • Tar: "Walking the King (Peel Session)"
  • Ted Leo: "Return to Crap Kingdom"
  • My Bloody Valentine: "Only Tomorrow"
  • A Place To Bury Strangers: "Leaving Tomorrow"
  • Chatham Rise: "Oncoming Daze"
  • SHONEN Knife: "When You Sleep"
  • Melvins: "Female Trouble"
  • Martha Wash: "Dream On"











Monday, January 13, 2014

ALL YOUR STREAMS ARE BELONG TO ME



So, Jthbeaux and I are now officially an all-streaming household.  Those Netflix discs were just sitting there for months lately, the evil Comcast finally turned off my cable entirely, the antenna doesn't get NBC, and the EyeTV just stopped working.

The Apple TV is working fine, but the first generation has only YouTube and Flickr as apps, so it's mostly an iTunes content delivery device. I thought I'd try something new, so I bought a Chromecast, since it was only $35. I have my iPad Mini by my side all the time, anyway. 

We decided to get Huluplus, since the Chromecast supports it and it's actually $2 less than the Netflix disc subscription, so a net savings. Finally, I can watch new shows on my schedule without the risk of the recording going wrong, and without a lot of space taken up on my hard drive. You do have annoying commercials, but the HD is great, and since I'm addicted to The Colbert Report and The Daily Show, it also saves me money not having to buy them from iTunes. Netflix also looks better than on my old Blu-ray player, and it's much easier to search for things using the mobile app. 

The main issue I have with Chromecast is that using the iPad Mini as a remote is not as smooth as my trusty Logitech Harmony remote, It could also use more apps, though it's still new, so I'm sure they will come. 

Then, my old Blu-ray player was getting wonky, but my parents were kind enough to get me a new Samsung for a present, It has Amazon Instant Video (I already had an Amazon Prime subscription for the sweet free 2-day shipping) in addition to to Netflix and Huluplus, not to mention many other apps, and the streaming interface is much better than my old one. I think I'll use it for most of my viewing, because I can use my universal remote. It also lets you cast from the Youtube mobile app, which is good because typing with the remote to search for a video is a pain. 

I still like my old AppleTV for streaming Internet radio, listening to my music, and sharing my photos. It's weird that neither the Chromecast or the Samsung have radio apps other than Pandora. It's also nice to have in case there's something exclusive to iTunes.

I'd still recommend Chromecast to someone who wants streaming on their TV but doesn't want to spend much.  I'll keep it to see if more music apps come along (Spotify would be good). 

For movie and TV shows not on streaming, we get a lot of them from the library anyway, so we'll keep doing that.  If I'm OK with waiting, Can I Stream It? will notify me when it's available. 


 


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

JFRO'S 2013



Format once again ripped off shamelessly from the Librarian in Black:

Books--10th of December, NW, Code Name Verity, The Night Circus, Eleanor & Park

Comics--Rachel Rising, Ooku, Genshiken Second Season

Magazine--The New Yorker

Movies (theater)--Pacific Rim, American Hustle, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Movies (DVD)--Tai Chi Zero, Dredd, Wreck-It Ralph, The FP, Upstream Color, The Sound of My Voice, Kiss of the Damned, Thale, A Band Called Death, Drug War, No, Byzantium 

TV Shows (streaming)-- Nikita, Lost Girl, Being Human (UK), Call the Midwife, Alphas, Continuum, Adventure Time

TV Shows (live)--Community, Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock, Mad Men, Almost Human, Agents of SHIELD

TV Shows (DVD)--Archer, Leverage, Justified, Homeland, The Walking Dead, Falling Skies, Enlightened, The Bletchley Circle, Orphan Black, Children's Hospital, Sons of Anarchy, Person of Interest, Nurse Jackie, Defiance

TV Shows (web) -- Burning Love, BAMF Girls Club, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, Tabletop

Items of Clothing--marled v-neck sweater, slouchy shirt, little black dress, John Fluevogs

Tabletop Games --Interface Zero, Takenoko

Computer Games -- Plants vs Zombies 2

Albums -- Windhand: Soma, Various Artists: Yellow Loveless, My Bloody Valentine: mbv, Melvins: Everybody Loves Sausages, Janelle Monae: The Electric Lady, Devil To Pay: Fate Is Your Muse, Wo Fat: The Black Code, Troubled Horse: Step Inside, Red Desert: Damned By Fate, A Place to Bury Strangers: Worship, Nightstalker: Dead Rock Commandos, Grand Magus: The Hunt, Jess and the Ancient Ones: Jess and the Ancient Ones, The Vaccines: Come of Age

Songs-- Zynic: "Dead End", Martha Wash: "Dream on", Diana: "Perpetual Surrender", Owl City: "When Can I See You Again", Ted Leo:"Return to Crap Kingdom", M.I.A.: "Y.A.L.A", Daft Punk: "Get Lucky", Adele: "Skyfall"

From the vault--Tar:1988-1995

Radio--Radio K, Sanctuary Radio

Web sites--TV Tropes, Good Show Sir,  Hyperbole and a Half  

Twitter Twerps--@SnarkeysMachine, @libraryyeti, @loather, @GreatDismal, @FakeLibStats, @robdelaney, @JosephScrimshaw

App-- Brushes, Photoshop Touch, Aviary, Colorsplash  

Devices -- iPad mini, Chromecast

Events--Anime Detour, Library Maker Fair, parent's 50th anniversary 

Concerts –Magnolias, The Melvins/Die Kreuzen/Negative Approach, Austra, Droids Attack/Tonnage, Blind Shake/STNNNG

Bar--Turf Club, Grumpy's, Triple Rock, Cause

Sweet relief -- getting rid of Comcast, getting reimbursed by my insurance

Treat -- Raspberry Explosion at Cosmo's, Popeye's Biscuits, dumplings at Evergreen

Boyfriend -- JSeux (10th anniversary!)