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This is my personal site, where I store my rants, pictures, and movie reviews. Have a look around, register and leave comments.
-James

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Rocketmonkeys, bigger, more bandwidth... uncut!

Posted by james on Dec. 19, 2006

Whoa! I just got a new host, so I'm migrating things a piece at a time. Don't worry if pictures and stuff don't work for the next couple of days; you'll live. Or will you...

I'm moving to Hostmonster. They offer unbelievable space/bandwidth, so we'll see if it truly is unbelievable. But bonus points; I signed up online, paid by credit card. 15 minutes later, I got a phone call confirming my signup and letting me know how to get tech support. Wow. Could this ultra-cheap host really be different? We'll see.

Meanwhile, family has started arriving for Christmas. Should be pretty crowded soon.

So, get those ideas flowing... what should I add to rocketmonkeys? What should I change? Any ideas?

Manchurian Candidate

Posted by james on Dec. 10, 2006

(post.rating: 8)
Rating:

IMDB   Apple Trailers

Wow. I didn't know what to expect, but I wasn't too thrilled that Denzel Washington was in it. Don't get me wrong, he's great as an actor (minus the talking-with-gravel-in-mouth syndrome), but I was in the mood for fun/flashy/exciting/shallow, and his movies tend to be more deep, thoughtful, heavy. I wanted candy, not main meal.

But Manchurian Candidate turned out to be better than I would've thought. I didn't know how "Mixed Nuts" actor Liev Schreiber would do as a serious role, but he was perfect for it. Ironically enough, Liev also has some sort of small rock stuck in his mouth. I guess part of the mystery is figuring out exactly what everyone's saying.

Meryl Streep is creepy as the evil stepmother, Jeffrey Wright does well as the psycho. Really could've used more of him, his character piques interest.

Side track: This is becoming a more common story; I sit down to watch the movie, and a few minutes in realize this is going to be much better than I anticipated. I watch halfway through, talk to my housemate for a few minutes (an interrupted movie... breaking my rules here), but then get to the Really Good Bit... and CRASH! The movie stops because of scratches on the DVD. Thanks a lot <b>Netflix</b>, you've ruined yet another climax of yet another movie. How do they always seem to do it at the interesting bit? And how do I figure out that the movies will dump me halfway through before watching and being completely invested in it? It wouldn't be as bad if I weren't totally into a good thriller when this happened.

I hate Netflix, about 15% of the time now. We'll see if their record improves or disproves from here on out. -10 points for Netflix, and they're on notice.

Online photo printing comparison, and Customer Service Fun

Posted by james on Dec. 3, 2006

<b>Comparing Digital Photo Print Sites:</b>

I printed photos out at Walmart, Shutterfly, and Costco. I printed the same photos, unmodifed, without any corrections. The results...

<b>Walmart</b> ($.15 4x6 in store pickup): at first glance looks the most striking and sharp. Mostly because they tweak colors (brighter or more contrast, auto sharpening filter, slight red shift). It makes skin tones look good, and make details pop, but also causes halo-effects due to over sharpening. Annoying when you're hair is too sharp in the pic and looks like it's made of glowing wire.

<b>Shutterfly</b> ($.19 4x6 delivery plus <a href="http://www.shutterfly.com/help/pricing.jsp#delivery">shipping</a>): right in the middle. Did some brightness and red-shift color correction, but did pretty good. Decently sharp, no auto-sharpen like walmart. Probably the best all-around.

<b>Costco</b> ($.17 4x6 in store pickup): fuzzy, untouched colors/bright. Probably the best color levels if I do correction at home, but they're too fuzzy.

I'm going to use Walmart in-store for now, and deal with the super-sharp halo effects. Looks good for most stuff, unless you've got dust spots or bright contrast in your pic. At $.15, can't complain.

Funny thoughts: Costco uses "Snapfish by HP", and uses the same web interface as Walmart! They must use the same backend, and maybe Walmart uses Snapfish too?

<b>Customer Service Stories:</b>

Today's story regards calling Walmart Photo center about their super-sharp filter. I got a lady immediately (10 bonus points!), described the problem (photos get sharped and brighted), asked question (Is there a way to print/order without those auto-corrections?). Answer: "You can return photos if you're not satisfied. (Ooo, -2 points). Asked again, got "As far as I know, walmart does not alter photos." (-3 points) Asked again, she talked to her supervisor (short wait, 0 points lost) and then said that Walmart does not modify photos at all. Obviously wrong and unknowledgable, though polite about it, so final score:

-20 points: Unhelpful

Oh well walmart, not too bad... Definitely better than Roadrunner, may they burn in customer service waiting-line queue.


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