Doctor Who news roundup

Pictured above is the Prospect Heights bar, The Way Station featuring a TARDIS as their bathroom. How cool is that?
Kate Beaton of “Hark! a Vagrant” fame posted a hilarious Doctor Who comic even though to her own admission she has never seen the show.
Doctor Who experience opened in London last Sunday and will run until May 29. Sadly, I don’t see any possibilities of making it.

Nicholas Courtney who appeared in Doctor Who over the span of 4 decades as Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart passed away this week. Here is his obituary at The Guardian.
And finally to end on a positive note, according to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, BBC Worldwide has announced a Doctor Who MMO developed by indie game company Three Rings, best of all, it would be free to play! I couldn’t find any trace of the announcement on the BBC website but on the homepage of the Three Rings website:

One of our less secret projects is a recently announced Doctor Who online world that we’re jolly excited about!

Phew! That will be enough Doctor Who for now.

SiriusXM Internet Radio timeout, a simple workaround

SiriusXM offers their radio stations online on a browser based interface for an additional $2.99/month. Great! What is not so great is the timeout for inactivity after 90 minutes or so. In other words if you are not interacting with the player’s window for a period of an hour and a half, the music stops playing.

There’s a slew of third party applications out there but all of them stopped working when SiriusXM redesigned their website on February 4.

I’ve seen suggestions out there to use AutoMouseClicker but it works only for a while as SiriusXM will still log you out after a while so I went back to third party applications to see if one of them had an update that would work and found XMTuner. The GUI is very basic but it seems so far to be doing what it is suppose to do with at least one cool feature.

All you really need to do is enter your XM or Sirius username and password (make sure to check the “autologin” box), the channels allowed on your subscription will then populate the channels window. Right-click on a channel and hit play. You’re done.

I suppose where this piece of software really shines is for an application I don’t need it for at all; it can serve SiriusXM radio to other computers and devices on a network. It can even convert the stream to other audio formats like wav or mp3 if you install the third party application TVersity.

As of today, this is the best solution I’ve found. I thought it was worth sharing.

Star Wars news roundup

Demo for LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars just landed on XBox Live and since we are talking about LEGO Star Wars, take a look at this nifty ad campaign created by students of the Cuca Escola de Criativos.
Brought to you by Holy Cool, 15 cool stuff every Star Wars fan must have. Sadly, the cufflinks were a unique set and were already sold by the time I got to the Etsy page. [Update: I was able to buy another set from the same vendor]
Finally, Lucasfilm Animation is having its 3rd annual benefit art auction this week with some pretty cool items put on the auction block like the LEGO Ahsoka at the top of this post.

New John Williams recording available!

A first recording of this Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra was released 10 years ago on the Treesong album. This welcome new recording is the second of three exclusives with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra directed by Leonard Slatkin. The first release back in October was a Horn Concerto requiring some comparison shopping. Currently the best option is on iTunes at $4.99 with an exclusive phone interview of John Williams and Leonard Slatkin.

For this Concerto for Violin & Orchestra however, Amazon is the way to go at $5.99 in MP3 format, encoded at an average variable bitrate of 224 kbps. iTunes is at $9.99 with no exclusive or bonus content.

This album is available in the U.S. only.

The summer of all bores

Looking at the list of movie releases this summer, I have the same sinking feeling I had back in May of last year when I saw the fall TV season lineup, that little voice whispering in my ear there’s nothing there for me.
It’s tempting to blame it on aging but before I dropped cable, I faithfully watched 8 seasons of 24, 6 seasons of LOST, 4 seasons of Battlestar Galactica and I still watch Mad Men. The same goes for summer movies. I was looking forward to Iron Man 2, Toy Story 3 and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World last year and was curious about Robin Hood, the A-Team and The Last Airbender (So much for curiosity, I want those hours of my life back!). It’s not like I’m sitting here  remembering how much better movies and TV series were in the 80s. My point is, I like independent, smart, brainy movies but I also like when things blow up. Yet, this year’s offering from Hollywood leaves me completely cold with the exception of Harry Potter. I have some mild interest in X-Men First Class, Super 8 and possibly Cowboys and Aliens  but besides that, my opinion on these movies range from laughable to offensive.
I never want to see another Transformers or Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Thor, Captain America and Green Lantern don’t even pass the giggle test, even Pixar had to go with a sequel of their only movie I don’t particularly care for: Cars.
I guess I’ll catch up on reading and watch Game of Thrones.

Time to hit the history books America!

According to a Gallup poll released yesterday, Americans appear to be under the impression Ronald Reagan is the greatest U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln coming second 5 points behind.
I had difficulties believing the results at first but looking at historical scholar rankings on Wikipedia, Ronald Reagan seem to have been consistently climbing in the ratings since the beginning of the 21st century. Now, I could start a lengthy post about the issues I have with his presidency and what I consider inflated claims by today’s conservatives but what would be the point? I’ll instead take a quick look at some of his predecessors.

John F. Kennedy: The Cuban Missile Crisis and the Space Race.
Dwight D. Eisenhower: The Interstate Highway System.
Harry S. Truman: The Marshall Plan, the founding of the United Nations and the use of the atomic bomb on Japan.
Franklin D. Roosevelt: The New Deal, Social Security. World War II.
Theodore Roosevelt: Youngest President at 42, instrumental in the completion of the Panama Canal, first American to win a Nobel Prize with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for negotiating an end to the Russo-Japanese war.
Thomas Jefferson: The separation of Church and State, the Louisiana purchase
Abraham Lincoln: the Civil War, the Gettysburg address, the abolition of slavery.

And if none of these mattered, George Washington who as the first President of the United States defined the presidency as we understand it today.

I’m not implying Ronald Reagan had no accomplishments during his terms in office but what exactly did he do that easily tops putting a man on the moon, abolishing slavery, leading the nation through the greatest war the world has ever known or through a civil war? What gut wrenching decision did he take that came remotely close to the use of the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki or writing a response to Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile crisis?

This poll shows a terrible contempt for history and I find it troubling.

Tintin by Moebius

Moebius, Giraud

Jean Henri Gaston Giraud (born May 8, 1938[1]) is a French comics artist. Giraud has earned worldwide fame, not only under his own name but also under the pseudonym Moebius. He is the creator of Blueberry.
He said about Hergé:
“Drawing comic strips is repetitive, mechanical work that naturally leads to the development of artistic tics. Few authors can escape this process yet Hergé, thanks to the fact that he managed to create such a far-reaching work, managed to free himself from it entirely. On the other hand an artist like Franquin, despite his obvious genius, represents the archetype of someone in the grip of this artisitic mechanisation.”
« La bande dessinée est un art répétitif mécanisant qui amène forcément la création de tics. Peu d’auteurs échappent à ça. Hergé parce qu’il avait réussi à créer une œuvre tellement aboutie, a pu s’en dégager totalement. Mais pour Franquin, par exemple, qui, aussi génial soit-il, représente vraiment l’archétype du dessinateur pollué par la mécanisation ».

(Source : Vincent Bernière, Moebius, le double Je, Beaux-arts, n°209, octobre 2001, p.74)