Saturday, June 21, 2008

06.21.08: Last Five Movies I Watched on NetFlix.

I signed up for NetFlix a few months ago, primarily out of frustration with free tv and movie sites linking to slow-loading foreign video servers which don't even work half the time, and torrents that never finish downloading. It's totally worth $8.99 a month to have HD quality video available on demand. The NetFlix "Watch Instantly" selection leaves a little to be desired, but it's improving. Here are the last five movies from my Instant Queue, and my thoughts on each.

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
1) Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

I'm kind of surprised at how little attention this movie received when it was in theaters. The plot revolves around two brothers' botched jewel store robbery, with the story being told in that out of order film noir kinda way. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei, and that old guy from Big Fish are all phenomenal. I could have done without the sex scene with Philip Seymour Hoffman, but that's OK.

Tromeo and Juliet
2) Tromeo & Juliet

I've thoroughly enjoyed every Troma film I've seen. In fact, three out of the next five movies in my Instant Queue are from Troma: Redneck Zombies and Toxic Avenger parts 1 and 2. Tromeo & Juliet was up to par with some of their other films. My only complaints are that there was more gratuitous nudity than there was blood and guts, and the movie's description claims it's a "punk" remake, but aside from a couple piercings and tattoos, there's not really that much "punk" to it. Still, it's a good amount of campy, and the blood and guts that did make it in is great.

Cannibal: The Musical
3) Cannibal: The Musical

A musical comedy, or "musedy" if you will, from the guys behind South Park. I was pleasantly surprised at how funny it was. I would have expected the comedy to be a bit more crude considering the creators, but instead it was just good ol' fashioned slapstick. The story, which the movie's intro claims to be based on real events, is that of Alfred Packer, a horse-loving guide who leads a group of miners to Colorado in search of gold. Along the way, there's some cannibalism, and some humorous encounters with "Indians." Highly recommended. And don't worry, it's not really all that much of a musical.

Severed: Forest of the Dead
4) Severed: Forest of the Dead

I gave this movie one star only because there was a decent amount of head-chopping gore. The plot was ridiculous, the acting was not-so-hot, there were more zombies than logically possible, and the whole thing was waaay too long. To sum it all up in 15 seconds: Sap from an evil corporation's genetically modified trees causes some lumberjacks to turn into zombies, they eat some other lumberjacks and some hippie environmentalists, and the evil corporation leaves them all to die. I don't recommend seeing this, unless ... actually, there's no reason to see this, ever.

The King of Kong
5) The King of Kong

I missed this when it was in theaters (I seem to recall a stomach flu being responsible), so I was excited to see it on the NetFlix "New Arrivals" list. Five words: Billy Mitchell is a prick. This video game documentary tells the story of everyman Steve Wiebe and his quest to beat Mitchell's world record Donkey Kong score. Without spoiling the outcome, Wiebe becomes a certifiable master of the game, but Mitchell and his homoerotic gamer nerd lackeys just won't have it. Even if you don't particularly like video games, I strongly recommend this one. If you do like video games, particularly those of the arcade variety, I really strongly recommend it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

06.17.08: My Top Ten FireFox Add-ons.

In celebration of FireFox 3 Download Day, here's a countdown of the top ten FF add-ons I love most:

10) FoxyTunes
Do you listen to Music while surfing the Web?

FoxyTunes lets you control almost any media player and find lyrics, covers, videos, bios and much more with a click right from your browser.

As someone who has 15 different programs open at any given time, this kind of add-on saves me a lot of Alt-Tabs.

9) Domain Details
Displays Server Type, IP/Location Flag, and links to Whois Reports

I frequently use this one to find information on companies via the Web, particularly those who abuse animals, using Whois look-up. It's surprising how much you can find out from a domain registry...

Create free disposable email addresses and paste them directly in forms. This helps to protect you from spam mails and could be useful when subscribing to forums or newsletters.

If you've ever used services like spambox or dodgit, this is for you.

7) FireFTP
FireFTP is a free, secure, cross-platform FTP client for Mozilla Firefox which provides easy and intuitive access to FTP servers.

If you need to FTP, why not do it right in your browser?

6) Simple Mail
Mail client (POP3/IMAP/SMTP) for Firefox.

I've started using this in place of ThunderBird.

5) FireShot
FireShot is a Firefox extension that creates screenshots of web pages.
Unlike other extensions, this plugin provides a set of editing and annotation tools, which let users quickly modify captures and insert text and graphical annotations. Such functionality will be especially useful for web designers, testers and content reviewers.
It's possible to choose whether entire web page or only visible part of this page should be captured.
Screenshots can be uploaded to server, saved to disk (PNG, GIF, JPEG, BMP), copied to clipboard, e-mailed and sent to external editor for further processing.

No more copy and pasting screenshots into an image editor and cropping out all the stuff you don't want.

4) GSpace
This extension allows you to use your Gmail Space (4.1 GB and growing) for file storage. It acts as an online drive, so you can upload files from your hard drive and access them from every Internet capable system.

What else are you going to use 4 gigs for?

3) IE Tab
IE Tab - an extension from Taiwan, features: Embedding Internet Explorer in tabs of Mozilla/Firefox.

This one's really useful for sites like NetFlix that, for some silly reason, require that other browser.

2) Adblock Plus
Ever been annoyed by all those ads and banners on the internet that often take longer to download than everything else on the page? Install Adblock Plus now and get rid of them.

It's amazing how different the internet is without banner ads!

1) Web Developer
Adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools.

The most valuable tool for anyone who ever works on Web sites.

Kudos to the developers of each of these add-ons for making them FF 3 compatible so quickly!

Firefox 3 Download Day 2008