Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Linux System Administration LiveLessons By Ben Whaley (Pearson)

Wow, where do I even start. This is a LOT of material and really, my first review of a lengthy video (series). The series consists of 9 downloadable .mov files which total up to approximately 1.3Gb of space and around 350 minutes of video, or about 5.5 hours according to my video players calculations.

The first noticeable bonus from a video series as opposed to a book, is, well, video. You get to watch commands and examples in real time along with the information. Of course, the inverse is also true and if you are looking for quick reference or brevity then a book is really the way to go. Somehow, however, it almost seems as though I tend to get less distracted from the content with video than with a book. That can indeed be a bonus!

There are 9 video sections or selections in this series and the are as follows: Where to start, The Shell, Booting and Shutting Down, Access Controls and Root Powers, Controlling Processes, The File System, Log Files, TCP/IP Networking and finally, Security. This really is an exceptionally wide range of information to cover, I think, and that brings me to my review.

This videos series says it is aimed at Linux beginners, Administrators familiar with other OSes and Anyone interested in learning about Linux. All in all, I think that covers exactly everybody, everywhere. If you combine that with the enormous amount of information that wants to be covered in the subject material it just makes the objective impossible. I found the information good in some areas, too advanced for general and new users in others and completely missing in places as well. Even topically it seems a bit disjointed to me, for instance talking about how to “start out” without ever stepping through an actual Linux install, just use some pre built virtual machine copy. You hear a lot about running Linux via Vagrant and Virtualbox but as an actual System Administrator, I can assure you, that is not how most people run it. I realize we are talking nuts and bolts OS stuff here but I also found the content a bit dry. Some user or admin stories would have helped a great deal in that area. I would think finding a way to keep the interest of your audience would be even more paramount when dealing with dry technical content.

Now, does this mean it was all bad? Not at all and don’t walk away from this review with that impression. There is some genuinely good information buried in there for most Administrator levels, just realize that if something sounds too advanced or technical for you, skip to the next video chapter, much like you would in a book. Ben seems to not only know what he’s talking about but I don’t think I noticed him saying “er” or “ah” or “um” in nearly 6 hours of video 🙂 Usable as it is, the perfect fix for this would be to split the info up into 2 *much* shorter general videos. Aim one of them at the total beginner and aim the other at advandced. You may even want to break off some of the heavier topics for their own videos where they can get more specialized attention. Networking would be a great candidate for that.

I love Pearson to death as they have some of the best techie content out there, but this one needs some work I think.

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Plex Media Server – Issues



Dang.. Some days it’s hard to find what I need on the net. Now I could have SWORN that some time ago I had not only mentioned on my blog that I was a complete Plex Media Server fan, but that I have been running it forever and have only had 1 issue with it. That issue is I actually moved it from one machine to another (the server and data) and once there I found that I could no longer fix incorrect data matches.. None of the movie databases were listed anymore, etc.. Well it took me forever to figure out not only what the problem actually was, but how and where to fix it. That all being said, it happened to me today again, which is why I went looking here.

The issue is that for some reason whether through updates or whatever, the plugins get messed around and no longer work. The fix for this is relatively simple really:

Stop the service:
/etc/init.d/plexmediaserver stop

Move the Plugins directory (move and not delete – just in case):
mv /usr/lib/plexmediaserver/Resources/Plug-ins /usr/lib/plexmediaserver/Resources/Plug-ins-old

Start the service back up:
/etc/init.d/plexmediaserver start

Give it a minute or three and you should be back in business.


Sunday, October 20th, 2013


OK, so it’s October and once again there is an onslaught of spooky movies and ghost hunting shows all over the digital media outlets. Although I have LONG been a fan of such things, I have a few questions to pose to the ghost hunters out there. Leave it to me to go interjecting logic into all this, but some questions just scream for an answer.

Why is it that all ghosts are presumed to be telling the truth? So assuming that you actually get to talk to a ghost that has been harassing you or your family by haunting and scaring the crap out of you, WHY do you believe a word they say? I mean, I hardly believe anyone living I meet in person, let alone some dead guy that has been hiding for 100 years in my closet.

Speaking of closets, why do all ghosts seem to live in the closet, attic or basement? Presumably, while alive, most people live in their living room, at work, etc.. Why such a change? I mean if you are invisible and stuff, what’s to stop you from hanging on the couch and watching Oprah? What is the allure of the closet? And what the heck are they *doing* in there all day? I assume they don’t need to sleep?

What’s the deal with the dark? You will see countless paranormal investigators tell you that “spirits require a lot of energy to manifest”, but in the same breath, they turn off all the power. Do they *not* want to find them? I also notice that normal people see these ghosts during the day, or while watching tv or doing laundry (again in the basement). So why not follow the scientific method and try and duplicate that and do wash with the lights on instead of bump into walls in the dark while trying to “see” something?

If you have a haunted house and you are terrified enough to seek help. WHY go to a paranormal group? These groups come into your house, declare it haunted and then leave, leaving you with the problem (at least the ones on tv do). I mean, don’t you already know your house is haunted in the first place?

Paranormal groups that use psychics? Seriously? Why not use two psychics, have them write down their impressions independently and then compare notes. Otherwise you have 1 that says whatever they want with no verification, or two at the same time that just agree with each other. And how come they all head straight for the basement, closet or attic 🙂

Cleansing your haunted house with burning weeds. This I do not understand other than the fact that it probably smells up your house. I mean if that makes ghosts go away then great, but what happens when you plug the air fresheners back in? Go and get some *actual* clergy and not some emo chick ringing a bell and throwing rock salt on your floor.

Are there “good” ghosts? Time and time again, I see these paranormal groups saying “there is nothing here to worry about”, “they won’t harm you” or even “the ghost of your -insert relative here- is here to protect you from -insert evil ghost-“. EXCUSE ME?! If there is some invisible person making noises rummaging around in my basement or playing with my dishes and “manifesting” themselves in front of me when I am waking to the bathroom to pee, THAT is not harmless. It is trying to frighten you to death. People actually do get scared to death you know, not to mention the stress that kind of thing could put a person or family through.

Exactly what are they saying? This is probably one of my biggest beefs. Aside from believing whatever unverified malarkey your resident psy”chick” tells you, your options are some kind of one sided conversation like light this light for “yes” kinda thing (what if they want to light it for no?), or EVPs, which to me mostly sound like overdubbed intestinal gas recorded on an 8-track player.

I am sure there is more but I will stop here and leave room for what I hope is the barrage of interesting comments!

Haunt ya later!

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Roku 2 XD

Roku 2 XD

Roku 2 XD

Long have I wanted to have a device that would easily tie my Netflix subscription and other streaming internet media to my tv. I have tried lots of nice things, but they all left me wanting something more, that is, until I got a Roku.

I picked up a Roku 2 XD at BestBuy for $79 and figured I would try it out and return it if it wasn’t what I really wanted. To my surprise I really like it!

My first impressions are that it is REALLY small. It literally fits, in its entirety, into the palm of my hand. It’s pretty slick looking for a little black box with a fabric tag sticking out the side. It has the normal input/output ports that you would expect for a device that connects to your tv to have, and, really, nothing else but the remote, which is also quite small.

Once you hook it all up and plug it in, you are greeted by the Roku logo while the system loads, and then you are taken through a series of steps to register your box and your account (free). After that you can start adding channels and enjoying your streaming web content on your tv!

Now the channels on Roku are different than I expected. Each channel is a service. For example, Netflix is a channel and Hulu is a channel and Crackle and Pandora, etc. and the list goes on. I am sure there is something in there for almost everybody. The ones I really enjoy, outside of Netflix, are Crackle, which somehow provides FREE streaming (recent) movies and tv content, Pandora, and Pub-D-Hub, which has all kinds of old movies, shows and cartoons (and even commercials).

The only thing I really do not like is it’s difficult to actually locate the kind of content you are looking for. This is primarily because there is so much available, and, I will have to admit that sometimes it’s fun just searching around.

What’s Good:
Small, Good looking, Quick, Inexpensive, easy to set up and easy to use.

What’s Bad:
Hard to sort through all the content to find exactly what you want.

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Where no one has gone before…

I just got back from a special premier showing of the new Star Trek movie, due in theaters early next month. What can I tell you about it that won’t spoil it? Well, the audience cheered in unison at the end of the show. I really enjoyed it, and if you like Star Trek, and who doesn’t, you’ll enjoy it too. More movies like this will truly make sure that Star Trek lives long, and prospers.

I know, I just couldn’t help myself 🙂

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Reading Lately

A couple weeks ago, Dann was saying how he was reading the Watchmen, and remarking on how good it was. Well, I hadn’t EVER read a graphic novel, or even touched a comic since I was maybe 10, so I decided to pick it up to see what I was missing.

Well, I am finished with it now and my opinion is that is really was very good! The story line was sufficiently adult enough to hold my attention. There was a lot of action going on. The character development was done well. The artwork was absolutely fantastic!

This brings me to the second portion of my post. Since I was so enamored with the Watchmen (hey it was a great read while on the train all week), I wanted to see if I could find another graphic novel to read during my transport. I stopped by Barnes and Knoble and looked around a bit but didn’t initially see anything that really caught my eye. There are a lot of graphic novels there, but the artwork in most is really bad (imho) and in still others, the subject matter is a tad juvinile. Then, just as I was about to leave, I spied a large cardboard end-display with copies of DanielX Alien Hunter on it. A quick peek inside revealed really nice drawings, so off I went with it. I hope to get a chance to start reading it soon.

In other news:

I had the opportunity this weekend to watch both “Wanted” and “Meet Dave”. Wanted was a really good action flick (I thought anyway) and Meet Dave was a really funny alien comedy with Eddie Murphy. Both were good enough that I would watch them again, so if you are looking for some way to kill a couple hours this week while you are off, pick one or both of them up. Just be warned that Wanted contains inappropriate subject material for young people.

Lastly, I found out that, although it isn’t too terrible, my ferrets do not necessarily enjoy taking a bath. I decided that they were getting pretty dirty so it was bath time. With tear-free shampoo in hand I proceeded to dip them one by one into the sink. Puff, slightly distracted enough to dig at the water while he was in there, did the best, although he was not into staying very long. Stinkerbell literally had the crap scared out of her. Teddy was big enough to be able to reach to edge of the sink, where he held on for dear life almost long enough to get wet. He’s quite a handfull when he is focused on getting away from the evil water stuff! In retrospect, I should have taken pictures, however, my hands were quite busy 🙂 Perhaps next time.

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Behind the times

Ok, so I am a little behind the times. I *FINALLY*, just yesterday had the opportunity to watch the new Willy Wonka movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Wow!

They took a wonderfully eccentric, yet warm Willy Wonka character, best played by the brilliant Gene Wilder and made him into a somewhat creepy, dysfunctional psychopath with some OCD tendencies, played by the equally creepy Johnny Depp and his annoying fake teeth.

They also butchered the really cool Ooompa Loompas and turned them into some really ugly middle aged Indian guys with bad hair who can’t sing (*OR DANCE*). If that wasn’t bad enough, the same 4 Indian guys were reused over and over again in the movie and, since the OL’s are supposed to be short, they resorted to camera trickery to give that illusion. The problem with that is poor camera work which portrays them in several different perspectives and sizes that are inconsistent throughout the film.

The worst part of all this is I just learned that the film received an academy award nomination, although not for the story or the acting thankfully. What were they thinking!

At any rate, obviously, do not bother with this movie if you haven’t yet seen it. I actually feel dumber for having watched it. Go and watch the one with Gene Wilder in it. It’s what the movie should be.

Friday, December 5th, 2008



I went with my daughter to see Expelled tonight. I have to say that I think it was fantastic. Now, it’s no secret that I am a Christian, so I don’t want this to sound biased in that matter. This movie is not about any sort of religious debate. The basis of this movie is the case of information suppression. Challenge yourself to go and see this movie no matter what your personal beliefs are. You may be surprised with what Ben has to say here.

When was the last time you were in a movie theater and the audience actually applauded at the end of the film? This was really that good!

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

About stinkin time.

I decided to take my wife out to the movies this weekend. We went out to see the movie “The Mist”. I have to say, it’s about time. The movie has been billed as “old school horror” and, perhaps, that’s exactly what I have been waiting for for so long. A really good old school horror movie.

I have always enjoyed monster movies, and this one has it in spades. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but, you get good monsters, a good plot and great characters in this movie. There is even a creepy twist at the end. If you like horror movies, make sure and go see this one. You won’t regret it.

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

More than meets the eye

Yes, I was part of the unwashed masses that went out on opening night to see the Transformers. All I have to say is “wow”. Fantastic movie. Superb special effects. This was even great for the younger audience that hasn’t seen the original stuff. In fact, I took my daughter, who is 13. 3/4 through the movie she told me I was going to have to get her some transformers toys, and after the movie she told me she completely trusts me now with taking her to geek movies 😉

Go and see it.

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007