Infographics Made Simple:

I am completely loving the new infographics site,

Not only is it a gallery, where graphic artists can upload, share, critique, etc.. ( finally taking digital art networking seriously) it also includes an online toolset for everyday folks to create cool infographics.

While the toolset is still limited (they say growth will happen quickly, )

I was pleased with the results of the Twitterizer tool:

is what it came up with for my personal Twitter account. I was most intrigued when it came up with a couple of my apparently “made up” words as frequent topics of interest. Other than that, it is not too far off base… pretty impressive for an under 5 minute process.

The Mummies’ Funky Jive Spiced up Kokomo

Thursday evening rolled the opening of the 2011 Haynes Apperson Festival, and this year it all started a little Funky.

A bit before 8PM, the crowds started gathering in front of the courthouse… and then the Mummies arrived.

Although the ending of the show can get a little bit Racy ( in the most fun ways), families gathered to listen, dance and enjoy the funky beats.

I wandered about the crowd… for a bit we even went over to the food and rides side of the Downtown Festival but the sounds of the Mummies’ Jive could be heard clearly no matter where you were. Everyone got the treat of their

As for the Mummies? They looked, and sounded good from every angle.

Check out more shots in the album:

Once Upon a Time: When Fairytales and the real world collide, anything is possible

Welcome to Storybrooke, where the evil queen has frozen time and stashed all the residents of the enchanted forest. The problem? They don’t know they are fairytale characters- including Emma Swan, the lead character. When Emma’s 10 year old son- who she gave up years ago- finds her, it shifts her world view. This is the premise of Once Upon a Time, one of the new shows ABC has lined up for next fall.

Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (Lost, Tron: Legacy) invite you to a bold new vision of the world where fairytales and the modern day are about to collide.

Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) knows how to take care of herself. She’s a 28-year old bail bonds collector who’s been on her own ever since she was abandoned as a baby. Henry (Jared Gilmore) is 10 years old now and in desperate need of Anna’s help. Henry believes that Emma actually comes from an alternate world… and is Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) and Snow White’s (Ginnifer Goodwin) missing daughter. According to his book of fairytales, they sent her away to protect her from the Evil Queen’s (Lana Parilla) curse, which trapped the fairytale world forever, frozen in time. Of course Emma doesn’t believe a word, but when she brings Henry back to Storybrooke, she finds herself drawn to this unusual boy and his strange New England town. Concerned for Henry, she decides to stay for a while, but she soon suspects that Storybrooke is more than it seems. It’s a place where magic has been forgotten, but is still powerfully close… where fairytale characters are alive, even though they don’t remember who they once were–including the Evil Queen who is now Henry’s foster mother. The epic battle for the future of all worlds is beginning, but for good to win, Emma will have to accept her destiny and fight like hell.

This is one of those times when I wish networks did not do promos so far in advance- this preview has me hooked and I want to see the whole show. Because, as Snow White says, “Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing”. I choose to believe that this could be a happy ending for all the TV viewers.

The show is now active on Facebook and Twitter, so plug them into your social graph.

Robert Carlyle – Rumplestiltskin
Josh Dallas – Prince Charming/John Doe
James Dornan – Sheriff Graham
Jared Gilmore – Henry
Ginnifer Goodwin – Snow White/Sister Mary Margret Blanchard
Jennifer Morrison – Emma Swan
Lana Parilla – Evil Queen/Regina
Raphael Sbarge – Archie/Jiminy Cricket

Production Company – ABC Studios
Executive Producer – Edward Kitsis
Executive Producer – Adam Horowitz
Executive Producer – Steve Pearlman
Executive Producer/Director – Mark Mylod

Charlie’s Angels, Blast from the Past

I must confess, as a preteen/young teen girl, I loved Charlie’s Angels. When someone told me I looked like Sabrina, Kate Jackson’s character, I was over the moon. Three brilliant, self sufficient women being tough and solving problems on their own? I was hooked. The fact that they were gorgeous? A huge bonus. Right or wrong, every teen girl has a drive to be attractive ( oh, fess up, we all still want to be hot – it is just that our definitions of HAWT shift over time). The other problem solving females I had as a role model back then were Daphne and Thelma of Scooby Doo Fame. The lesson there? If you are smart, you are dumpy. Here was a show shattering that reality for me- you could turn heads and still be the heroine!

This Fall ABC will be bringing back Charlie’s Angels. I had a bit of trepidaption about this, not all of the 70’s/80’s show refreshes have been even close to great. And then there is the fact that I have grown up… my view has changed too. Would I still love the Angels? This big, loud, fun take on the 1970’s smash hit series introduces us to three new angels, all fearless operatives, head-turning beauties and close friends. There’s Abby (Rachael Taylor) a Park Avenue Princess who became a world-class thief. Then there’s Kate (Annie Ilonzeh), a Miami cop who fell from grace, losing both her career and her fiance. Finally there’s Gloria, a disgraced army lieutenant who has a way with explosives. When one of the angels’ missions ends in Gloria’s tragic death, Charlie persuades them to partner with Gloria’s childhood friend, Eve (Minka Kelly), a street racer with a mysterious past. They may not know each other yet, but one thing’s for sure–Abby, Kate and Eve will always have each other’s backs.
Leonard Goldberg (the original Charlie’s Angels) and Drew Barrymore (the Charlie’s Angels movies) join forces with Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (Smallville) to deliver the adrenaline rush of the season. Set in scorching-hot Miami, Charlie’s Angels delivers nonstop big screen action. With the help of Bosley 2.0 (Ramon Rodriguez), their hot, young technical expert, and the guidance of their enigmatic boss Charlie (Robert Wagner), these angels are an unstoppable crime fighting force.

If the series holds true to this preview look, I am in. It will be one of my “secret pleasure” shows – like Castle. Will it be intellectually stimulating? Probably not. But it looks to be a fun, wild ride and I will stay behind the show that taught me that you could solve the problems of the world, kick ass and still look good.

As ABC says: “Everyone deserves a second chance. Even a thief, a street racer and a cop who got in a little too deep. After all, the three women who solve cases for their elusive boss Charlie Townsend are no saints – they’re angels… Charlie’s Angels”. I will be giving the show a second chance as well.

They are out on Facebook and Twitter, so plug them into your social graph to keep up on the latest news and info.

Annie Ilonzeh – Kate Prince
Minka Kelly – Eve
Rachel Taylor – Abby Sampson
Ramon Rodriguez – Bosley
Robert Wagner – Voice of Charlie

Production Company – Sony Pictures Television
Executive Producer – Miles Millar
Executive Producer – Alfred Gough
Executive Producer – Nancy Juvonen
Executive Producer – Leonard Goldberg
Executive Producer – Drew Barrymore
Director – Marcos Siega

SamCast Guest Appearance

Not so long ago, I made a guest appearance on the SamCast weekly podcast. His show is quite a bit of fun, and if you haven’t checked it out yet, you can listen to me yammer on about the 3DS….

I am working on another review for him, so this could become a “regularly irregular” collaboration. It was a great lot of fun and I am looking forward to it continuing.

Peculiar Preztelmen- the cure for Mondays

Over the weekend, I got turned on to The Peculiar Pretzelmen by Ms.Pat Kight. My life has not been the same since.

Their music is an amazing and complex blend of old fashioned gritty jazz/blues, chaos and the experimental joy of making music with everything around you. The rhythms are infectious, make me want to move and even their darkest topics made me smile.

Close your eyes and you are transported back to dustbowls, a hard scrabble life and simple pleasures and joys. The gravel in the lead singer’s voice makes him somehow more grounded and real- someone you expect to look up and see banging on a banjo on your front porch.

With a philosophy of renovating, recreating and restoring old instruments, they fit well in the Maker ethos, bringing a modern beat and exploration of sound to life on musical history itself.

If a song like “Wash the Ground” does not turn around your Monday, nothing can. A slow start of melodic rhythms that eases into gravelly vocals backed by instruments that sing the harmonies, this song had my toes tapping, then my legs bouncing, then me up out of my chair and dancing inn the office. So come on down…. time to get infected by the Peculiar Pretzelmen.

If streaming music is more your thing, you can also find them on, myspace, or check out the Pandora Station I created. If you fall in love with them, check them out on CD Baby and help support some great music.

I have not had the privilege of seeing them live, but will be watching their tour listings for something close by. Do you have Peculiar Pretzelmen stories to share?

edit note: updated to correct the amazing person who originally turned me to the Peculiar Side– I apologize for the confusion. Mary Mactavish still has an awesome blog ya’ll should check out if you love geography.

HTC Evo Photo comparison

I have been playing around with the back camera ( 8 Megapixel, dual flash) on my Evo. So far, I have been pretty impressed with what it can do, considering it is a cell phone camera. Low light is a challenge, but the flash does well for objects not too far away. Shade gives a little focal issue,

From Drop Box

but it is so much better than the camera on my BB ( which got used a LOT) that I am stunned and more than pleased. Our household camera is a Kodak Z950, which is a good little all purpose point and shoot for us. the other night, we were goofing around on the deck, waiting for a storm to roll in and so I decided to do some side by side shoots for comparison. All of the pictures are untouched.

This is the shot from the Kodak, no flash at all from across the deck toward the fireplace under construction. You can see it was pretty dark out.

From DeckStormPics

The Evo with Flash manages to light up the area pretty well, but the flash causes some pretty bad washout.

From EvoDeckStormPics

Flash on the Kodak caused less washout.

From DeckStormPics

Rearranging the lantern the boys had inside the fireplace gave better clarity with the Evo,

From EvoDeckStormPics

and even gave pretty good results when zoomed all the way in as far as the Evo could:

From EvoDeckStormPics


The Zoom on the Evo still can not touch that of the Kodak ( no surprise), so it will not be completely replacing our family camera.

From DeckStormPics

I was pleasantly surprised that the Evo did not give me a complete blur when I shot the boys climbing out of the fireplace from across the deck with only the flash:

From EvoDeckStormPics

All in all, don’t be surprised to see me whip out my cell phone and grab a quick pic.

Roku Revolution

As you probably already know, late last night, Roku released the new channel store. I got my tipoff this am from @thepreppydude when I checked Twitter before email. After humping over the silly check for update bug (No, REALLY roku.. check again..) I had a channel store and the potential for 10 new channels on my Roku box.

It was 6:30am when I pronounced to my family that Broadcast Media is officially spun on it’s head and we began pondering how the war would shape up. More on that later, first- here is a Rogue’s take on the new channels and the navigation software…

The Channels are broken into 3 main categories- Social Media, Podcast/Media Distribution, and Personal Content viewing/sharing.

Social Media:
The new channel line up includes Facebook Photos ( which allows you to see your friends’ photo streams) and MobileTribe. For us, Social Media apps on the family TV make no sense at all. You have to associate the channels with an account. We have 4 different account holders in our household… none of us want our accounts up there and viewable by the household. With Laptops, netbooks, cell phones and an iPod Touch in the household, we are all already 24X7 connected to our chosen social media, this is just noise on the TV. I did NOT add these channels.

Personal Content Viewing/Sharing:
The sharing feature of this may be the nudge that pushes me into buying Roku boxes for family members for Christmas. The Flickr Channel is nice, but I want to be able to see my contacts’ photostream as well. If I do this, I could upload photos and my parents half a country away could view them on their TV instead of their computer. Yes, I can make a private group and add them to it, etc.. but that is just complicated. The selling point of the Roku is it’s simplicity. There is also frameChannel, which allows me to do photo sharing. I hate to move photos to yet another service, but if we can not get Flickr right, we might consider it. the sharing application that really sold me was MotionBox. With a free account I can share video with my contacts. This means I can shoot video, upload it and the grandparents (and great grands maybe) can see it on their TV, even though they are far away. I am SO all over this. An unlimited account is 40$/yr. I wonder how good their infrastructure is on the backend.. seems like it is about to become VERY easy for someone to film and produce a TV show and distribute it. Who needs YouTube?

Podcast Distribution:

The other channels are not just single channels, but collections of hundreds or thousands of feeds. These channels include,, Mediafly, Revision3 and Pandora. the amount of content that will contend for my attention on my living room TV just increased about 400%. This is the reason that Broadcast media just got spun on it’s head. Makes me wonder how all of those podcast hosts feel about being elevated to TV star over night.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly:

Once content explodes, navigation and search becomes the barrier to enjoyment. This is the only place where the Roku channel interface falls down. With just 2 or 3 channels the old coverflow style was functional. As the channel number goes up, this becomes unwieldy. I still hope for a Boxee/Roku mating. I love the Boxee interface for navigating many channels and creating favorites. Even better, I dream of functionality that my old lover Joost had.. the ability to take content from many channels and providers and create my own custom channel with only the content I love on it.

What content do you most love that you want to see on your TV? Which service providers will you prod to create a Roku interface? the possibilities are endless… as my youngest daughter quipped, “Now we really can get the Puppy Channel… puppies, puppies, puppies……”

What’s wrong with FlashForward

The new Fall 2009 show FlashForward was one that lots of people wanted to like and whose premise was initially exciting. It has, however, fallen flat. People not actively slamming it have given up on it. I tried again this week to watch it…but find it so uncompelling that it is easy for real life to interrupt. For many shows, I may hit pause on the DVR when I am interrupted and come back. With FlashForward, I walk away without hitting pause and do not have any qualms about missing pieces of it. This is not a good sign for the life of show.

The show has interesting characters and takes on compelling philosophical issues- so what went wrong? This last episode finally gave me some insight into the problem when they introduced yet another character. The show now has over a dozen major characters in a one hour show. With the average show running actual time about 45 minutes * 9 episodes, that comes out to just a little over 33 minutes of airtime per character over the course of an entire season. Not a lot to become invested in characters. Even worse, all of that time is in small 4 or 5 minute bursts. The story, while compelling, has been made overly complex to the point that the storytelling is fragmented, fractured and not even close to fun.

What other shows have failed you this season- giving in to complexity, special effects or shock value rather than building upon great storytelling??

iTouch and gaming is fun again

A recent WSJ article shows that Nintendo is starting to get a clue that they are under fire, but they are still in denial. From the article:

” Nintendo and Sony say unlike Apple’s products their devices are designed to be game machines. “From the actual game play to the games themselves, we don’t see any real overlap,” said a spokesman for Sony’s games division.”

“If we can’t make clear why customers pay a lot of money to play games on Nintendo hardware and Nintendo software and differentiate ourselves from games on the mobile phone or iPhone, then our future is dark,” said Mr. Iwata at a recent company event.

We are a Nintendo family. We have a Wii. We have a lot of Wii stuff. We have multiple DSs. We have a library of DS games. We have a library of DS games the game chips of which the kids are constantly losing and re-finding (sometimes) despite dollar penalties to replace lost games and family peer pressure from other people angry at the lost game. We have invested a lot of energy ( and money) into the Nintendo platforms.

Then I got an iPod Touch. I have purchased a couple of DS games since the Touch came into my hands. I have been fairly disappointed in them. I hardly play them. My iTouch is rarely far from my hands ( part of that is the fault of Tweetie2.

What are the reasons that I think the Touch is a superior platform?

1) The games are cheap. If a game sucks and I only spent 3 bucks on it, do I care? When I spent 20-30 on it, I am grumpy.

2) I can download the games without ever going to a brick and mortar store. I know Nintendo is going there with the DSi, but I am NOT going to spend 200$ each for 4 kids just to upgrade and get download capabilities. It sounds silly, but in a family and life pressed for time, it makes a big difference.

3) I can load and take MANY games with me without carrying a case of game chips.They can’t get lost, I do not have to keep track of them. I am considering switching our family to this platform, just for the loss of Mom headache of tracking games when we travel.

4) The games and the interface is fun. Nintendo may have a machine designed for gaming, but it does not grab everyone. My second daughter- the rebelliously Anti-Geek in the family who gave up her DS years ago and rarely plays Wii got ahold of my iTouch the other day and started playing games. I had to arm wrestle it back from her.

5) Even the gamers like it. My two stepsons are at prime tween gaming age and have been gaming almost as long as they could walk. They live and breathe games. Getting time on the iTouch to play is a huge motivator for them. They play RPG, they play tower, they play strategy and they play just silly stuff.

If Nintendo thinks that having a device “designed for games” is superior, they are lost. Do they forget that electronic games evolved on Computing platforms? Have they noticed that other gaming platforms have evolved back to computing platforms and do much more than games these days? Time for Nintendo to look around and do an honest assessment or their future is so dark it will be 6 feet underground.