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Random Tales of Total Geekery

Archive for May, 2007

the ebook revolution

Posted by Q on May 31, 2007

..yeah, the same one that’s been coming for so long, but not quite arriving all the same.

Traditionally, ebooks have a lot going against them. Bookworms & readers tend to be a conventional lot. The printed book industry has an insidious agenda of minting fresh pine-smelling books which befuddle the brain and makes it addicted. Plus, there is that whole curling-with-a-good-book notion. Personally, i dunno anyone who does that and does not have back pain. And then, there is this whole subsidiary industry of dried roses and misc nice smelly flowers which subsists within the pages of a good old fashioned book.

But, the single biggest reason why we do not have a surge for ebooks, is that no geek ever made a napster or a kazaa for ebooks. Yeah, conventional p2p/torrent/edonkey networks do carry a lot of good stuff, but you’d rarely find the newest bestseller released on a network as you’d probably find a movie or a music album. And that’s just because scanning & proofing a book takes a hell of a time compared to ripping a CD or DVD. Plus, the whole process is manual. Hence, you do not have as many ebook release groups as you have warez groups.

So, here is a convenience guide on the road to become an ebook devouring monstah’. the only thing you need is an appetite for destruction (& Guns n’ Roses, ofcourse).

First, the search. Unlike the times bygone, where intrepid explorers and googling experts like me had to trawl through many a virtual sever, drudging through mindless chit-chat and sometimes foreign languages to get the directory of the choicest delicacies, the ebook searching principle these days is ridiculously easy.

First up, lets assume you are a Ground Zero internet user and you love Jeffrey Archer (which a depressingly high number of people i’ve known are). All you need to key in is “Jeffrey Archer ebook Rapidshare“. You can change the last part of the string to megaupload, depositfiles, filefactory etc in case you wanna get some other stuff.

Going  up from zero, lets assume you know a fair bit about the internet and wish to find out some more avenues for finding out stuff. Let’s say, you love comics and the rapidshare (or any other file deposit site) just doesnt work out for you (long waiting times, banned by the admin or whatever). So, now you ‘re trying to find good stuff, the index search way. All you do is key in  something like  “parent directory” cbr OR cbz “Comics” -html -htm -download -links and voila! you have a directory ready to rip ! 

Ofcourse, a smarter surfer would realise that putting in a bit more of filters might narrow down the search to even more relevant web-pages. The most common one which is use is “-xxx”, “-porn”, “-torrent” etc. An even smarter surfer would realise that changing the extensions to a more desirable one. like say..avi, would give him/her some more coveted stuff 😉 provided  he/she has the bandwidth for d/l’ing it.

Directory search, however exciting would never lead to anything on a sustained basis, unless you are a fiendishly intelligent folk like me. So, lets go on up on the ladder of knowledge and get into IRC, or to be more specific mIRC. these internet chat programmes provide the perfect setting for getting books on your desktop on a daily basis without any hassles. With one month of dedicated logging in to a specific (or as many as you want) channel(s); you could build up a sizable book collection that will be the envy of all the dogs in the neighborhood. Alternatively, you could scan Packetnews.com for IRC ebook channels.  I’d most certainly recommend ebooksdrop homepage for the n00b, who wants to get around in IRC. The only problem is that IRC still remains a slightly non-friendly to non-tech-friendly souls. So, just hang in there for a while, before you start getting anything good.

Now, i am not an expert at this, and thats because i do not get/afford a shell account from my service provider, but A.B.E.B (Alt. Binaries.Ebook) group is the holy grail, if you ever need to proclaim yourself as the knight of the realm. To get a feel of the 90-100 TB of stuff that Usenet makes available to you, just visit this search link and see for yourself. The humungous content available at this site just pales away in front of the grand pappy of networks, called Usenet. Only the geekest of the geek (and the ones willing to spend upward of €10 per month) can enter this place. To  make a long quest short, you need a Usenet news client to get releases (NZB or otherwise) and untar/unrar/unzip  them and make a hefty dent in the storage capability of your hard drive. There are very few people who i know personally, who are comfortable working with either ABEB or ABB (Alt. Binaries. Books) and the small number represent the real release groups out there. The one’s who scan books which we so comfortably read and download and make available on our ridiculous storage places like rapidshare 😉

So, it goes, the whole circle of the ebook revolution. One thing is certain. Unless you dumb down the technology, there is no way it would prosper. So, while the whole trend of rapidshare catches on, even to the smallest of small users, the whole ebook industry stays in stasis. It’s only after ebooks would be as ubiquitous as the mp3’s or movies on your hard drive, that we can move on from paper to random electrons obeying our will.

 

 

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Posted in eBooks, Secrets of the Web | 6 Comments »

That TV thing

Posted by Q on May 25, 2007

The Best TV shows inevitably have an awesome theme music to begin things with. While one of the more publically famous ones is the Rembrandts version of I’ll be there for you, for the eponymous F*R*I*E*N*D*S, I’m not quite as mad about that series as the rest of the planet. So here’s my own version of the best TV shows and their intros; something that i’ve always wished to do, but never quite had the time for 😀 But since, Time and Energy are no constraints, now that all my energies are solely devoted to pass the time, here’s my list:

Now the shows which were considered to be a part of the showdown were

American Dad

Bewitched

Birdman

CSI

Doctor Who

Entourage

Family Guy

Fawlty Towers

Firefly

Futurama

Greys Anatomy

Heroes

House MD

Hyperdrive

Lost

M*A*S*H

Nip/Tuck

Southpark

Tales of the Gold Monkey

The IT Crowd

The Simpsons

Two And A Half Men

Veronica Mars

 


Now i am a fan of most of the above, excepting the crappy Nip/Tuck, the irritating Hyperdrive, the aptly named Birdbrain..i mean man, and it-sucks-’cause-morons-watch-it CSI & Lost. Though i got nothing against theme music, so they got shortlisted (hehe…dreaded MBA jargon).

Anyway, the idea was to find out the absolute best intro music, the one which fits the theme of the show, which wears the look and feel of its characters and the overall storyline. So, without much further ado, the final 5 nominees are:

  1. Doctor Who
  2. House MD
  3. Tales Of The Gold Monkey
  4. The IT Crowd
  5. Two And A Half Men

And here go the final ranks…

5. HOUSE MD

You’d think a TV show about a misanthropic, frequently leching-at-the-boss’s assets, cynical doctor would not last more than a Pilot episode in the politically correct environment of US broadcasting. Ah! You’re just so wrong!!

Gregory House, MD, the Moden Day medical Sherlock Holmes, who lives at Apartment 221B kicks ass! With his pithy one-liners, cynical, mistrustful eyes & the 3-day stubble, House comes across as the ante-hero who everyone would like. And with a medical drama to run, what do you expect the soundtrack to be ?

Teardrop by Massive Attack provides an oh-so-perfect intro; the music is soothing, intriguing and almost in perfect harmony with a cute little twister in the end, which shakes you up for the ride ahead.

Turn up the volume a bit…thats better 😉

4. TWO AND A HALF MEN

Ok! I am a Charlie Sheen fan but i haven’t seen Hot Shots yet. This show pisses a lot of people off. It makes fun of women, the primary character is an MCP who alwatys gets his way and it has a bitchy ex-wife, control-freak mother, psychotic & clingy ex-lover, hen-pecked husand (Charlie’s brother) stereotypes to the last type. So, what makes this show tick ?

Charlie. Love him or despise him, he essays the role of the commitment-phobic, sleeping-with-multiple-sexy-women-every-weekend Charlie Harper with marvelous ease. He is funny, laidback and fits into the role outrageously well. The situations are mostly about making fun of Alan (Jon Cryer), educating Jake (his nephew), fending off Rose (his psychotic one-time lover whom he slept with once) and miscellaneous beautiful women who parade in and out of the beach house in Malibu. The best scenes are, though, the ones in which Charlie faces of with his devil of a Mother (Barbara Holland); my favourite joke goes like

~Charlie’s mom asks him to host a party for her in his beach house & now Charlie has to convince her not to make him do so~

Charlie: Party? in this house ?? who gives a party in this house. It’s so big and its near the beach…who gives a party at a house like this 😀 😀 😀

He obviously loses the argument. Anyway, so the theme is Men! and oh boy!! what a theme!! So totally Male 😀 Drunken, shoddy, manly Men. Listen to this one…

3. TALES OF THE GOLD MONKEY

Is there an adventurer within you ? Did you like totally dig Indiana Jones action or are a fan of Haggard’s Africa Tales. ’cause if you do, then there is no possible way you’d not enjoy the Tales Of The Gold Monkey. If ever you were enthralled by Talespin, well then, just fasten your seatbelt, ’cause there is just so so much comfort inside a Grumman G-21 bi-plane.

The series is about the hidden treasure of a Golden Monkey. There are explorers, emperors and armies, spies and espionage..and even a Louis’s drinking bar for brawls and secret meetings. Throw in the time period of 1939’s..and you’ve got the cockpit view!

So, what would the sound be like? Ah! Mike Post has the answer for ya. A bit of the Military drumrolls, a dash of that trumpety adventure and a string base accompaniment…and you have the sound that heralds adventure, fun and glory!


2. DOCTOR WHO

You mean you’ve never heard of Doctor Who ? I mean, where’ve you been living in…Spain ??

The Eponymous Brit Sci-Fi series, Doctor Who, needs no introduction to the true sci-fi fan (I am not talking about you, you impostor). With nearly 180 broadcast episodes, a dedicated TV series (Torchwood) running along the main one just for satisying the urges of the true fan; a sci-fi pedigree which is right up there alongwith the Analog Magazine, Astounding SF and Russell Davies at the helm; you have a whole universe of Doctor Who waiting to be discovered.

And with characters like the Daleks, Cybermen, The face of Bo, Timelords, Tardis & of course The Doctor, how can it get any more exciting ? Great Drama, good humour, awesome stories; this is one TV series you never should grow up without. And if you have, you have truly missed watching meaninful, exciting tellly. Heroes, Lost..all these are mere footnotes when compared the humungous footage that Doctor Who has.

The theme of a Guiness-record holder programme has a huge burden to carry, It must resonate the pure tension, adrenaline and drama of the series. And what a theme it is…Just look at the pure sci-fi’ness of the whole thing – You feel like free-falling in a time hole. There is your hint of danger, and the omniscient universe behind your whole being ..and then there is the tardis and the doctor! As the Doctor says, “brilliant stuff!!”

And by the way, don’t worry about the three Oods at the end of the clip. They’s mostly harmless..just that they inhabit a rock which moves in an orbit around a black hole. mundane.



1. THE IT CROWD

And so we come to the last one. The Best. The most absolutest kick-ass TV theme ever. Words fail me as i contemplate the sheer ingenuity of the whole setup. the awesomely awesome way in which te whole thing has been put. It’s not just the music, its the whole deal. But first, a look at the TV series

The IT Crowd is a Brit mini-TV series comprising of 6 episodes which was produced by Talkback Thames and shown on BBC Channel 4. It deals with the working of the IT department of a large Brit company which in the words of its owner Denholm Reynholm “employes attractive people who do very little work and all engage in adulterous relationships.

The icing on the cake is the uber-uber geeky geeks who inhabit the basement of this company. Their office is a clutter of cult geek memoribilia like Commodre 64’s, posters of the flying spaghetti monster, T-shirts reading RTFM (i mean, RTFM..awesome man), Douglas Adams and even a friendly Goth overdosing on Cradle of Filth in a locked room. If you can even begin to understand the socio-cultural geek references liberally sprayed through the series, you could call yourself a geek and no-one could ever sue you for misrepresentation.

Now, the music. they have it done perfectly to the last detail. every little bit, starting from the 80s arcade music to the cute little linus kernel panicking at the end of the 30 second shot; it’s geek all the way. This brings it to the top of my list..after all, you can take the man out of geeks, but you can never ever take the geek out of the man!


That’ll be all for me this time. Long post. But i enjoyed doing every single bit 🙂

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