Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man




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5/29/2010


‘FlashForward’ series finale one of the worst in TV history

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 9:16 pm

From the New York Daily News: ‘FlashForward’ series finale is one of the worst in TV history

From the article by David Hinckley, a great friend to radio as well as television: “That would be the finale of ‘FlashForward,’ which finished its season and its life on ABC Thursday with a collage of events that made less sense than my 12th grade calculus class, Lindsay Lohan’s behavior and 270-pound men in Speedos.”

Just watched it. Brannon Braga. ‘Nuff said.

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‘Easy Rider’ actor Dennis Hopper dies

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 2:19 pm

From CNN: ‘Easy Rider’ actor Dennis Hopper dies

From the article: “Dennis Hopper, the one-time Hollywood enfant terrible who portrayed such indelible characters as ‘Easy Rider’s’ biker Billy, ‘Blue Velvet’s’ huffing villain Frank Booth and ‘Hoosiers'’ forlorn Shooter Flatch, died of prostate cancer Saturday morning at his home in Venice, California, his wife said. He was 74.”

After having recently mourned the death of the TV series 24, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Mr. Hopper’s villainous character Victor Drazen was killed by Jack Bauer in the very first season of the series.

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Creators Must Move Beyond Suing the Audience

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 1:34 am

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation: Creators Must Move Beyond Suing the Audience

This commentary from the EFF explains what content providers are up against, and how the lawyers are the only ones profiting from the virtual blackmail in the proffered “settlements.” From the article: “This much should be abundantly clear by now: creators must move beyond suing the audience. File-sharers are characterized as shallow thieves, when in reality they’re just fans who are using one of the most efficient technologies for distribution ever invented to explore creative works in the most convenient way possible. The majority of these fans would like to live in a world where there’s an efficient, effective, modern framework for compensating the creators. That framework will be built through innovation and experimentation — not litigation.”

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5/26/2010


Art Linkletter, TV Host, Dies at 97

Filed under: Old-Time Radio, Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 4:42 pm

From The New York Times: Art Linkletter, TV Host, Dies at 97

From the article: “Art Linkletter, whose ‘People Are Funny’ and ‘House Party’ shows entertained millions of TV viewers in the 1950s and ’60s with the funny side of ordinary folks and who remained active as a writer and speaker through his ninth decade, died Wednesday. He was 97.”

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5/24/2010


What (or rather who) killed 24

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 6:33 pm
The death of Jack Bauer
Unfortunately, in this case I have no one to blame but myself…here Jack is killed attempting to fight off a helicopter filled with bad guys from 24: The Game.

As many of my friends know, I was a great fan of the television series 24, even putting up with much of the nonsense dished out by the writers over the years. But this year, I have to admit, I am rather glad 24 has ended. So let me give a very brief obituary and lay some considerable blame for the death of a once-proud and now embarrassing television program.

I distinctly remember watching the first episode many years ago…I had heard about the “real-time” conceit, and remember thinking that the show would either be very good, or very stupid. I watched the first episode in real-time (something I haven’t always done), and at the 1:00 am stroke realized I was, quite literally, sitting on the edge of my chair. No other television program has, before or since, done that to me. I looked at my wife, and said something intelligent, like, “Wow.”

That first season kept me spell-bound, even while allowing me to realize how the writers worked. This has been consistent over every season, good or bad…come up with an idea to kick-start the season about six episodes long, then flounder along for the next twelve episodes putting up straw men to knock over until finally coming up with the endgame, which would run four or five episodes. I have complained in this space before that it would have made a lot more sense to actually come up with the plot for the entire season before writing the first word, but that seems to have been consistently too much for the writing staff. (Before you say “It’s impossible to come up with an entire day before writing,” let me briefly mention the series of books available at your local bookstore which do exactly that. I’ve only read one, and that was…an ok read while not spectacular, but these books show it actually is possible for even journeyman writers to devise a plot that unfolds within the course of a twenty-four hour day. So why can’t the ridiculously-paid writing staff of 24?)
(more…)

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Sites caught sharing secret data with advertisers, report says

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 7:57 am

From Ars Technica via CNN: Sites caught sharing secret data with advertisers, report says

From the article: “A report in the Wall Street Journal indicates that Facebook, along with MySpace, Digg and a handful of other social-networking sites, have been sharing users’ personal data with advertisers without users’ knowledge or consent.”

Actually, a more in-depth article on the Ars Technica website explains that, other than Facebook, this isn’t as big a problem as the WSJ suggests. Still, it’s part-and-parcel of the issues we face on the Net…and the way we are giving up our privacy to advertisers.

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5/22/2010


Short Video of Eddie Carroll as Jack Benny

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 7:26 pm

Over the past week I’ve been forced by unpleasant and uncomfortable circumstances to think a great deal about Eddie Carroll…don’t misunderstand me, remembering Eddie isn’t distressing at all, in fact it has been the one bright spot in an otherwise unfortunate and frankly unnecessary sequence of events.

During this introspection it occurred to me that many of you were not able to see Eddie (yes, we were on a first-name basis…he told me at our first correspondence that being called Mr. Carroll made him think he had to fill out a form) perform one of his best-known roles, that of Jack Benny. I am reluctant to call him an “impressionist,” since that doesn’t really do his performance justice; those of us who were lucky enough to attend a performance would become completely lost having Jack return for a while. Yes, it was that powerful.
(more…)

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5/20/2010


Giganews Lawyer Says Steal This Film Is An Illegal Download

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 11:44 am

From TorrentFreak: Giganews Lawyer Says Steal This Film Is An Illegal Download

While this website takes a definitive stance on the copyright debate and as such has a distinct bias to its articles, they have called this one dead-on; suggesting that downloading Steal This Film, a film given away freely by the producers, is somehow a copyright violation is completely ludicrous, and Giganews should be ashamed of itself for suggesting anything of the sort. Honestly, anyone with a Giganews account should close it and go somewhere less draconian and more knowledgable for their USENET access. If you do, let them know why.

Warning: there is profanity (the “F-bomb”) in one of the pieces of correspondence quoted in the article. Of course, there is likely to be profanity in the comments section almost anywhere - but I wanted to give you a heads-up anyway.

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5/16/2010


World’s Largest Social Network - The Open Web

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 1:52 pm

From The New York Times: World’s Largest Social Network - The Open Web

An interesting opt-ed on why Facebook is a bad idea, and explains better than I can why we have chosen not to participate. From the article: “Susan Herring, professor of information science at Indiana University, sees it this way: ‘What the statistics point to is a rise in Facebook, a decline in blogging, and before that, a decline in personal Web pages.’ The trend is clear, she said — Facebook is displacing these other forms of online publication.”

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5/14/2010


Google Admits to Inadvertent Data-Collecting

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 9:02 pm

From The New York Times: Google Admits to Inadvertent Data-Collecting

“Inadvertent” they say. Bull-pucky; Google’s entire business model is based upon violating as much of your privacy as possible, with or without your permission, and selling the personal information about you to advertisers and others. The idea there was some piece of data they collected “accidentally,” or didn’t use, is hog-wash.

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5/11/2010


More Antivirus Software Woes…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 5:04 pm

You know, it’s getting to the point where anti-virus software is causing more problems than the viruses they protect us from…

My latest problem is with Avira AntiVir Personal. Yes, we all know their update nag advertising window is a pain in the rear end and relatively difficult for non-geeks to stop from appearing at every update, but there’s another “gotcha” in their defaults you really should know about before the next update. It seems the default when a system restart is required is to throw up a dialog box every two minutes to remind you to restart!

Seriously, what brain-damaged drone throught that was a good idea? Talk about becoming annoying really quickly…my computer is currently processing a video file (takes about eight hours to do a two-pass on these files), so I absolutely do not want to restart now, yet the d*mned thing just keeps popping up! It automatically updated, and then began this every-two-minutes nag to coerce me into restarting now, regardless of what my computer is doing at the time!

Gets worse…as I was typing this post into Wordpress a few moments ago, the dialog popped up and accepted a keystroke as “Restart Now” and began the process! I had to cancel out of it on a Windows level to keep from losing my work!

This is completely unacceptable, even in a free software package. To fix it if you are, like me, foolish enough to stick with this package a little while longer:

  • Enter Configure AntiVir. Right-clicking on the tray icon is probably the simplest way, although you can also Start AntiVir and select “Configuration” from the “Extras” menu.

  • Expert Mode Click the “Expert Mode” checkbox. Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through it.

  • Update:Product Update. Expand the “+” next to Update in the left pane, and select “Product Update.” Change the selection from the default, “Download and install product updates automatically” to “Download product updates. If a restart is necessary, install the update after the system restarts otherwise install it immediately.” This should be the default!!!

  • Update:Restart Settings. Change this from “Reminder message for ‘Restart’ all - 120″ to “Query whether computer should be restarted.” Instead of nagging you every two minutes, this will ask you once if it should restart now, and if you say no, will simply wait until you do. This should be the default, too!!! I mean seriously, what person would want to be annoyed every two minutes while working on something?

  • Apply the Settings. Click the “Apply” button, then close the window. Done.

With these changes, at least theoretically, Avira might be a tad less bothersome. But I swear, if any of you know of a good, free antivirus software, one that not only is efficient at protecting you from the nasties but one that doesn’t turn into a nasty itself because the programmers are so filled with hubris as to think they know what you should be doing with your computer when, please let me know. PCTools has become a resource-hog on my wife’s laptop, AVG has become so slow and bloated as to be completely worthless on any but the fastest machines, and now Avira is stepping hard on my last nerve, so I need something else, fast!

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5/10/2010


MPAA Successfully Kills TVs Record Button

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 7:42 am

From ZeroPaid: MPAA Successfully Kills TVs Record Button

While this site clearly has a position to push (and the articles are generally filled with typos and grammatical errors), it’s still important to read this, since legitimate outlets don’t seem to be covering it; the FCC is granting a, “limited waiver of the prohibition on disabling audio-visual outputs.” Basically, the long-dead “Broadcast Flag” has reared its ugly head once again.

Of course, this won’t bother the pirates, who watch movies from grainy camcorder copies…it will only interfere with your ability to time-shift content. And while the scope appears to be narrow at the moment, we all know it will gradually expand.

It’s a shame the regulators of so many things in this country have forsaken the consumers and so heavily shifted to supporting the industries they are obliged to reign in.

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5/6/2010


CBC host Budd says firing felt like drowning

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 8:29 pm

From The Star: CBC host Budd says firing felt like drowning

From the article: “Barbara Budd recalls thinking ‘Why me?’ as she gets ready for her final sign-off”

I can’t help but wonder if NPR executives moved to Canada…it sounds like the same bone-headed move those clowns made with Morning Edition. Now I have another program I’m not going to listen to…

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New U.S. Push to Regulate Internet Access

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 1:10 am

From The Wall Street Journal: New U.S. Push to Regulate Internet Access

From the article: “The decision, by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, is likely to trigger a vigorous lobbying battle, arraying big phone and cable companies and their allies on Capitol Hill against Silicon Valley giants and consumer advocates.”

Can’t wait to see how this plays out, and how the consumer will get screwed (and by whom).

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5/3/2010


Regulators mull antitrust look at Apple

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 7:26 pm

From Reuters: Regulators mull antitrust look at Apple

From the article: “Regulators are considering an inquiry into whether Apple Inc violates antitrust law by requiring that its programing tools be used to write applications for the iPad and iPhone, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday.”

Should be interesting to see if anything comes of this. Again, if Microsoft tried something like this, everyone would think it was horrible.

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More from Father Greg Boyle and Bob Edwards

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 4:16 pm

This morning on XM Satellite Radio’s The Bob Edwards Show was another interview with Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries. If you don’t subscribe to XM, it would be well worth it to hit XM Radio Online and sign up for a demo account; tune to Channel 133 this evening each hour between 8:00pm and 11:00 pm EDT to hear the rebroadcast of this morning’s interview (also at 4:00 am tomorrow morning, if you’re crazy enough to be up at that hour).

This show was great, but it made me want to hear more, so I went back to the August 11, 2005 The Bob Edwards Show and listened again to the first time Bob sat down with Fr. Boyle.

I thought others, especially those who weren’t subscribers to XM Satellite Radio back in 2005, might want to give it a listen, too, so I posted it to The Bob Edwards Show/Bob Edwards Weekend Discussion Forum - you can easily play it using the embedded audio player.

(Those of you relatively new to the show might not recognize the original theme song, or at least the cut that was used in the early days of the program. Also note that this episode ran during the month or so where the opening was not dated.)

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Helen Wagner, 91, ‘As the World Turns’ Star, Dies

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 8:45 am

From The New York Times: Helen Wagner, 91, ‘As the World Turns’ Star, Dies

Goodbye, Nancy.

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5/2/2010


AT&T wants 3 strikes tribunal, government website blacklist

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 12:15 pm

From Ars Technica: AT&T wants 3 strikes tribunal, government website blacklist

From the article: “If the government wants to get into the enforcement business, AT&T would be fine with that. Actually, the company would be more than fine with the proposal—it suggests that the government get into the business of adjudicating such cases and dishing out penalties.”

Tell AT&T to stuff it up their Innertubes. Copyright infringement is a civil matter, not a criminal one, and should remain so. Enough of this nonsense is enough.

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