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Adam Stout works in the technology field and is currently located in San Diego, CA.

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If I ever doubted how much my wife loves (which I don't after she moved to Pittsburgh with me), it is gone.  Last night she had the idea that we go see the A-Team.  Not because she wanted to see it (I actually believe the opposite to be true) but because she knew I would like it.  After watching G.I. Joe last fall, I was a little scared about seeing a movie based on a show from my childhood. 

I came in with very low expectations, and with that said, it was a really good movie.  Not the best movie ever made but a good couple of hours.  I wasn't optimistic about seeing Liam Neeson as Hannibal, but he did ok.  I was however really impressed with the casting for Face and Murdoch.  Bradley Cooper did a great job of playing Face bringing a great conman-esqe presense to teh character.  The part I like the most was Murdoch played by Sharlto Copely.  I didn't recognize Copely at first, but then it came back to me when I saw he was in District 9.  I don't really know his back story about how he got into acting as IMDB only lists him in a 2005 movie I have never head of and then District 9 and the A-Team.  I'm looking forward to seeing his next project (and hopefully in an A-Team sequel.

If you liked the TV show, I recommend seeing the movie either in the theater or at least on DVD.  If you haven't see the TV show, it may not be the same as someone how knows the characters.  Lucky for you, all six seasons are streaming on Netflix (I'm rewatching them now).
Tonight Jenny and went to go see Rob Schneider at the D.C. Improv.  So far everyone I told about we were going seemed rather unimpressed.  The comment I liked the most was that Rob Schneider was only good at making other people look funny.  While true he is good at that, he was great live.  He did a long set which was nice since he was who I was paying to see.  It took him a few minutes to warm up, but once he got going, he was really funny.  Totally worth the $25 for the ticket.

Beyond the comedy, the thing I remember is that he was really doing what people wanted.  Unlike some other comedians, he got up on stage and gave us the "You Can Doooo It" voice a few times along with several other of his more famous lines.  He has gt to be sick of those, but he gave us what we wanted.  He also told a great story about "You Can Do It" which you'll have to see him to hear, but in any case, he does a great Adam Sandler impression.

Another expected bonus was that after the show, he came out to the front of the house and signed autographs.   Although he was selling shirts that he would sign, I believe he was signing other things and talking to people for no charge.  For a guy who has been a celebrity for so long, it is nice to see that he remember who pays him.  BTW, he is really short.

iPad Printing

Posted: Apr 17, 2010
iPad Printer
In case you got home with your new iPad and then realized that you can't really do much with it, there is some hope.  Although Apple doesn't think you need to be able to print anything anymore (they are very forward thinking remember), HP has created a new all in one printer/scanner/copier that is compatible with the iPad.  While not officially supported by Apple, it is your best option for printing from your iPad.


Enjoy your iPad!!!
Lots of blue boxesThe iPad has now been released now and as "neat" as it is, I'm not sure why people are putting down $500 to $1000 for a new device that doesn't replace anything and just sets you up to spend more in the future.  Lee Brimelow, a Platform Evangelist at Adobe put together a great graphic demonstrating the "entire" web that Apple delivers.  One point that he hit in his rant against Apple is this, "APPLE DOES NOT WANT THE FLASH PLAYER TO PERFORM WELL. They donít want you to go to Hulu or play Flash games because they worry that you wonít buy their apps."

I'm really not sure why people think Apple is so great, they are all about restricting choice, limiting functionality, and above all crushing their competition by any means possible (except of course by letting consumers decide).

For those of you who are planning on buying a new iPad, here is what you have to look forward to...



If you have a few minutes, I recommend reading Lee's article.

Kick Ass Does

Posted: Apr 14, 2010
Kick AssLast night I wanted to go see a light hearted comedy, something I didn't have to think about for some quick laughs.  It seemed a little childish, but we choose Kick Ass... Kid Super Heroes???  How silly could it get?

In this case, I was wrong about the movie, it was a rather dark comedy about kid super heroes, definitely not the light hearted 90 minutes I expected.  While the premise is a bit odd, awkwardness displayed by Aaron Johnson was perfect for the part.  I thought Nick Cage's Big Daddy was good although I thought it could have done without the Batman reference.  It was funny, but a little unneeded as the rest of the characters seemed very unique (although I can't claim to be a huge comic book buff).

If you miss this in the theater, I recommend adding it to your Netflix queue.  This is a nice dark comedy set on a rather odd premise.
Last fall I purchased a network storage device (NAS) to store all of my music and pictures in my house.  This allows for Jenny and I not to duplicate what we have on our computers and instead share everything.  This is also a great place to run our backups to.  The NAS is running RAID 1 so my data will be safe even if one of the drives fails.  Hard drives will fail so you need to plan accordingly.  Anyone who writes their data to only a single drive (especially an external drive that they move around) is just asking for trouble.

Once I got this online and moved my data and my backups to the new NAS, I felt much better knowing my data was secure.  However, I realized that a fire or flood would destroy both drives as well as my computers so I still wasn't really safe.  One feature that I'm glad I had on my NAS was a built in FTP server.  Actually, me having it is nice, but my brother's NAS having FTP is what is really great.  With a built in FTP server, I'm able to FTP my really important files to his NAS in California and he is able to do the same to D.C.  It is really pretty cool that we are able to do this without any real cost.  Now even if one of us has a fire and we lose everything, we will still have some important files (like insurance documents or scans of important paperwork).  Now except for Clan Warfare, I'm pretty ok.

One really important component of my remote backup plan is the use of Cobian Backup.  I first found out about Cobian while at school at Carnegie Mellon.  I figure if it is used there, it must be decent.  It is a great freeware backup program (no longer open source, but Cobian seem to be well supported none-the-less).  In Cobian, I setup a job to backup everything on my computer to the NAS each night as an incremental backup with a full backup once a week (and since I have the space, I keep a few full backups).  I then setup another job to do a full backup once a week with differential updates each night that is zipped up, encrypted, and FTPed to my brother's NAS.  It seems to work pretty well and it was surprisingly easy to setup.  So easy in fact, my brother and I are setting up our parents' and grandparents' computers to do that backups as well.

Now if you don't have someone you can trust with your backups, you can always use a service like Mozy or Carbonite that allow you to backup to the cloud.  This seems like a good option as well, but at around $60 a year, it is cheaper to just backup to back up to a friend's NAS that is already paid for.  If I had a lot to backup, the unlimted space that is offered by these companies does seem to be reasonable priced.

Another alternative that a friend of mine mentioned was using a GMail Virtual Drive to backup to.  If you created a new GMail account just for your backups, this would give you 8GB of free storage.  The down side to this is that this may not be compliant to the terms of service of GMail, but since they haven't stopped this ustility from working in the past five years, you should be ok.  If they do turn it off, you should still have access to the files, you just wouldn't be able to write any new backups to GMail.

To the point, spend the $0 and get Cobian (or something like it), and do a remote backup somewhere either to Google or to a friend NAS that isn't in your house.  If you run a business, this is even more important.

Alice In 3D

Posted: Apr 04, 2010
While I miss the dollar theater I used to go to back in Texas, Jenny convinced me to go to the movies today.  There wasn't much playing but the one thing that I wanted to see was Alice in Wonderland. I like Tim Burton's movies in general so I thought it would be worth it to spring for the 3D tickets.  That was of course before I realized that two 3D tickets would cost me $28.  Since I'm still used to the $1 per ticket price, there was a bit of sticker shock.  But I digress, as for the movie, it was pretty good.  I liked the idea that this isn't a remake, it instead is a sequel to the previous movies based on the book.  That being the premise, Burton was able to pull off a different story line with the same characters compared to what has been done before.

Visually, the movie was pretty impressive.  Perhaps not as breathtaking as Avatar, but very good none the less.  One thing that I could have done without though is the 3D.  In Avatar, I found some scenes very difficult to watch and although that occurred less with Alice, there were still some times where I found myself closing one eye to make it easier to see.  I think I'm done paying the extra for something that is just distracting.  The scene I remember being most impressive in 3D in both Avatar and Alice are the credits.  They looked really cool in 3D but I don't see the need to pay $3 or $4 just to see them.  I'll try 3D again in a couple of more years when they can improve the technology a bit more.
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