Posts tagged KimberlyFDR

Opinion: iPhone and AT&T vs Verizon

Cartoon Credit: Phil Johnson and IT Underworld

The iPhone has come to Verizon! Rejoice! Celebrate! Line up for hours in advance! Wait, what? Where are the crowds? Well, it seems like there weren’t any. Reports have shown that the iPhone’s availability on the Verizon network didn’t illicit the same screaming crowds as other Apple releases have. Perhaps this is because current Verizon customers already pre-ordered? Or maybe people just weren’t too jazzed up over the release. I can’t believe that, but it’s possible.

For myself, I have not bought into the iPhone family. In fact, I haven’t bought into any smart phone line. The one thing that prevented me for even considering the iPhone was its reliance on the AT&T network. Aside from the fact that many users have complained about dropped calls and bad service, I would get no service at all in my area. So, last time I was looking at cellphones, I couldn’t put the iPhone on the list. Instead, as the next best thing, I take my iTouch everywhere. All the features of an iPhone except the phone! Which, considering the non-functionality of that feature on the actual iPhone, the two aren’t so different after all. Now, with the AT&T roadblock out the way, I find myself wondering if I’ll make the switch to Verizon. Well, first I want to get some user feedback. If it’s actually going to have the same problems or potentially be worse than its previous incarnation, then I’ll just say no thanks.

So how about yourself? Have you bought into the iPhone family? Were you waiting for it to cut ties with the faulty AT&T? Or are you not interested even now? I have an iTouch, so I have apps, and I have a separate phone that actually makes calls and texts, unlike some smartphones, so I’m in no hurry to join the iPhone crowd. Ask me again in a few months, though. You never know what Apple might come up with next.

Writing Inspiration: Reynolds Price

Earlier this week, I received the news that my writing mentor Reynolds Price, an esteemed writer of Southern fiction, passed away at the age of 77. At present, I’m still stunned and heartbroken, but his presence will continue to be felt throughout the years.

Mr. Price was the reason I started writing and he was a constant touchstone throughout college. My first interaction with him culminated in a personal correspondence when he invited me to a reading and from that point on I was a frequent member of the audience when he did readings. (I actually carried a picture of that event around in my wallet for many years until it faded out.) Reynolds was a voice of not only the South, but the world at large. His religious interpretations became one of my favorite components of his literary career and he was definitely responsible for me combining my Creative Writing minor with a Religion minor.

For the past few years, I hadn’t been able to see him as much because of scheduling conflicts, but he never left my mind. My bookshelf is filled with his works, I began his first fan webpage while back in college and I still maintain it, and every time I sit down at the keyboard it’s his voice that’s in the back of my mind. May you all find a writing inspiration as great as Reynolds Price. The world is a darker place with the loss of this great man.

Being A Thrifty (Book) Nerd

The holidays have passed us by and now our thoughts turn to “whoa, that’s a lot of bills I have to pay!” Being a nerd doesn’t make it any easier because we constantly have more and more things that we don’t just want, but need. Top among that list is books and our push to read often sends our costs up. However, there are many free avenues that we can explore to get our reading fix!

Library: This should be at the top of everyone’s list, but many times it is not. I’ve heard from many fellow nerds who rush out to buy the latest book just to read it once and then cast it aside. Instead, head out to your local library where you can read both the latest best-sellers and long-forgotten classics for free. It’s the power of your library card. And with the integration of most library systems today, anything that your local library does not have can be ordered from surrounding libraries, so you’ll never miss out.

E-Books: If you simply do a search for “free e-books” on the web you’ll turn up many sites that provide books for free, from classics to modern fiction. Project Gutenberg was the first to embark on the free e-book trend and many have followed, including Google, Amazon, and Many Books. Whether you have an e-reader or not, there are free e-books out there waiting for you. Visit to Books First blog you will get the all type books information.

Book Swaps: This is the avenue I tend to turn to most often because of my success rate in acquiring books. If you are one of those individuals who has a pile of books taking up space, book swaps are a great way to not only get rid of them, but turn them into new reads. The two I frequent the most are BookMooch and PaperbackSwap. From these two sites I’ve managed to get the latest books, as well as many books from my wishlist that have been out of print for a while. We can all benefit from the exchange of literature. [Additionally, the PaperbackSwap site is partnered with SwapaCD and SwapaDVD, so you can apply the same principle to CDs and DVDs.]

There are definitely more areas to explore for free books and I encourage you to seek them out. Some publishers send out review copies in exchange for a review written on their site or your blog. Other avenues include free audiobooks so that you can listen on the go. And the list goes on. So, the next time you’re wondering if you have to sacrifice your reading habit for the holiday bills, remember that being a thrifty book nerd is never a bad thing.

Code Relaxation

Image Credit: Piled Higher and Deeper (PhD)

In my job, I handle very many aspects of coding; from HTML to CSS to PHP. I was once asked by a coworker why I enjoy coding so much and I explained that in many aspects it relaxes me. I’ve told friends the same thing and they often look at me perplexed. But it’s still very much true.

I didn’t get fully online until I went to college. In my local community, we were so limited in resources that we fell far behind in computer technology. However, in college I was exposed to the world wide web. And almost instantly I wanted to learn how everyone made those cool websites. So, in what made perfect sense to me, I looked at the source code and did hands-on learning to see what each piece of code meant and could do. All the books in the world written on the subject cannot compare, for me, to actually diving in and doing it myself. I learned HTML that way, as well as XML and CSS, and lately PHP. I fail at first, growing frustrated when the code doesn’t react the way I want it to, but eventually I can unlock its secrets and the world opens up in glorious technicolor. That is why I do it.

I feel like you can understand coding better when you do it by hand. The number of helper programs around are abundant, but they do not allow for a deeper understanding of what you’re actually doing when you build. There is a bigger accomplishment when you’ve built an entire site with your own two hands. And by doing so, you understand how things work and can manipulate the different aspects to suit your needs. It’s a zone of happiness that I get into, and indeed relaxation, too.

Hey, some people have yoga.

It’s A Kane Christmas!

This past week has been a non-stop ride of fan fun and it’s all thanks to Christian Kane. I was able to spend two glorious days seeing both him and the entire band of Kane during events they played in North Carolina. Let me tell you, I’ve been a happy fangirl.

I have been a fan of Kane for a long, long time. Yes, I’m proud to call myself a Kaniac. I even reviewed Christian Kane’s musical career for Fandomania during my Fan Music series this past summer.  So, needless to say, I like the man as a singer just as much as an actor. And when I saw him at Con-Con (the official Leverage con) in March of this year, I reiterated the fact that he needed to bring the band to North Carolina when he tours. Signs did not point to that ever happening, so I was resolved to the fact that I may only get to see Kane live when I travel to Portland. Oh, but things can change very quickly and if you keep your ear to the ground you can participate in the most wondrous things!

The way I found out that Kane was playing at the Saturday Winterfest in Raleigh, which is literally right down the road from me, was a happy accident while reading friends-of-friends entries on Livejournal one night because I had some extra time on my hands. This is the power of social media. It was definitely meant to be, since that’s how I learned that the band was swinging through Raleigh for the event, as well as playing other venues during the week!

The entire day spent with my fellow Kaniacs at Winterfest was magical. I got to hang out with some wonderful ladies and make some new friends in the process. Also, proving that Kaniacs are hard-core, we braved unseasonably cold temperatures, snowfall, freezing rain, sleet, and hail while standing outside for two, three, four hours in length just to see Kane play a short performance. Fans drove in from many states just to see them live. We’re fans, it’s what we do. And we were rewarded for our efforts by a great performance by a great band.

And so began the first leg of my two-part Kane experience, since just two days later I’d find myself traveling two hours down to Charlotte so that I could celebrate Christian Kane’s CD release of “The House Rules” with not only my fellow Kaniacs again, but also the band itself. Plus, we got the CD in our hot little hands at the gig, so it was a win-win for all involved. While seemingly warmer than the Saturday performance, the cellar location for the acoustic performance was still a bit chilled. But the band warmed us up with lively songs and great conversation. And we got a warmer meet-and-greet with Kane.

So, if you’re a Kaniac, be sure to call your radio stations to get them to play “The House Rules.” I’ve been doing it! And if you’re not yet a Kaniac, check out Christian Kane’s CD. There are songs on there bound to fill a variety of moods, so there’s always something worth listening to. And be sure to catch Christian Kane in his role of Eliot Spencer on the hit show Leverage when it returns this Sunday on TNT.

Opinion: Black Friday

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales have come and gone for 2010. For the first time in my life, I was actually near actual stores on the day after Thanksgiving, so I could take part in the event. Usually I’m at my parents’ house, which is two hours away from any stores, but this year we celebrated the holiday at my house; nearer civilization. And what did I learn from my first Black Friday? I realized that I’m an online shopper.

On Thanksgiving day, long before the over-eager shoppers were waiting out in the cold for their first shot at deals, Amazon was already putting up their sales. I snagged a number of DVDs from my wishlist for a fraction of the cost and didn’t have to move from my chair. When I attempted to acquire deals at actual stores the next day, I was totally out of luck. Black Friday was a bust.

However, you can combine your online shopping with store sales, since many retailers mirror their Black Friday deals through their online stores. Why wait out in the dark at midnight when you can simply click your mouse at the stroke of twelve? I know that’s what I’ll be doing next year!

So how about you? Do you love the thrill of the deal hunt and absolutely must be waiting at the store overnight? Or do you prefer to do your shopping online from the comfort of your home?

Loving The Anti-Hero

ShadowHawk Property Of Image Comics and Jim Valentino

Recently I attend the NC Comicon (for a review of that con, see my Fandomania article). While there, I attended a panel led by Jim Valentino of Image Comics. Among other things that were discussed, he mentioned a new-to-me comic character that I have got to check out! That character would be ShadowHawk and was described as ‘what Batman would be if he wasn’t a pansy who kept letting the bad guys, namely Joker, get away.’ Finally! Someone who understands me!

I grew up on Batman. I have never missed a movie and I’ve even sat through some of the not-so-good animations. One thing I’ve always been frustrated over was Batman’s continual morals that never lets him kill those that deserve to be killed, else he be no better than the criminals who run the streets. Yeah, well, I disagree with that theory. That may be why my favorite vigilante anti-hero in the Batman universe is Jason Todd aka Red Hood. He has his own morals, along the lines of ‘those that deserve to die will die.’ He’s also the rejected middle child of the Batman family, so he has his own set of problems to deal with.

But until this past weekend I had never even heard of ShadowHawk. In my defense, my exposure to comics was always limited to the big two of Marvel and DC, so I’ve just recently been trying harder to branch into all the other presses. That’s why I like attending comic conventions, since the independent market abounds there. And the characters I’m drawn to are often the anti-heroes. Magneto, Rorshach, Wolverine, and Jason Todd are just a few that have filled my shelves over the years. Their sanity might be a little shaky, but their determination is never questioned. Morals are all well and good, but sometimes bad guys just need some killing. I’m hoping ShadowHawk can join my long line of comic loves.

Neil deGrasse Tyson On My Television

Neil deGrasse Tyson, noted astrophysicist and always deemed my favorite, has once again invaded our television screens as an actor on a beloved television series. Fans may know Tyson from his work on Nova ScienceNow or his numerous books that bring astrophysics to the masses. Casual viewers or readers may know him better as ‘The Man Who Demoted Pluto.’ Yes, third graders everywhere are cursing his name because they have to relearn the planetary jingle.

Despite the fact that it’s been four years since the IAU agreed with Tyson and demoted Pluto to dwarf planet status, the entertainment industry is still using it to their advantage. Tyson first took a turn as an actor on the Stargate: Atlantis episode “Brain Storm” where he played…Neil deGrasse Tyson. He became the subject of taunting by Dr. Rodney McKay over his role in the planet’s demotion, but managed to get a few good jibes in himself.

Rodney McKay: Hey, at least I didn’t declassify Pluto from planet status. Way to make all the little kids cry, Neil. That make you feel like a big man? (SGA, Episode 5.16, “Brain Storm”)

And now, two years later, he’s back again. This time, he’s on the hit comedy Big Bang Theory, favorite of nerds everywhere, and he’s playing…Neil deGrasse Tyson. Hey, when you’re iconic, you can be your own character! He is still defending himself as not being the sole person responsible for Pluto’s demotion, but Dr. Sheldon Cooper will have none of that.

Sheldon Cooper: I’m quite familiar with Dr. Tyson. He’s responsible for the demotion of Pluto from planetary status. I liked Pluto. Ergo, I do not like you. (BBT, Episode 4.7, “The Apology Insufficiency”)

Poor Dr. Tyson, he just can’t win. But if the television writers want to ride this joke out for however long they deem it funny, I’m happy to see Tyson return time and again. Until then, I’ll be over here geeking out over my favorite astrophysicist.

Photo Credit: Chris Cassidy, NOVA science NOW

Opinion Piece: Tech Support

Image from

This comic touches on many very true elements of tech support. When I had to deal with my ISP’s tech support staff last month, I was brought to frustration and near-anger multiple times. While I’m sure there are individuals who are honestly lost when it comes to their computer, whose tech support call can be ended by a simple suggestion of “reboot your system”, there are surely more of us who understand the inner-workings of our systems.

I design and program systems for a living, so I understand how to get into the back-end and fiddle. Rest assured that if I’ve resorted to calling tech support, I’ve exhausted all my options. Telling me to “restart your computer, then find your Start menu” is not only belittling my intelligence, but wasting my time. Go off the script and listen to what I’m telling you! This is what I’ve tried, we’re at this point now, go from there.

Ah, if only there were indeed a secret password that we could use to bypass all the tiresome steps and go straight to someone who knows what they’re doing. Until then, geeks everywhere will continue to try to solve their own problems before resorting to the non-supportive tech support.

TRON: Evolution Voice Actors Announced

In preparation for the new TRON: Legacy movie coming in December, Disney Interactive Studios will be releasing a third-person video game named TRON: Evolution. The game, which combines elements of RPG and racing to allow for both single and multi-player options, will bridge the storyline between the original movie and the new one.

Heading the voice cast for Evolution will be original TRON actor Bruce Boxleitner along with television star Olivia Wilde (House). Joining them will be a number of familiar names from our television screens. Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) will voice Gibson, John Glover (Smallville) voices Abraxas, Nolan North (Port Charles/General Hospital) will voice Behemoth/Sentries/Blaze, and Terrence A. Carson (Living Single) voices Calchas. You can see a small video of the voice cast here. This will be the second voice acting role for Ackles, who garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews for his role of Red Hood/Jason Todd in the recent Batman release Under the Red Hood.

Are you excited for the new TRON movie? Will you be heading out to your nearest gaming store to pick up TRON: Evolution? I know I’m looking forward to hearing more from my favorite voice actors and am very interested to see how Ackles’ second venture out goes.

Photo Credit: Disney Interactive Studios

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