Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

When is too much Money?

7 January 2010

Terrence Howard and Zulay Henao…are definitely a couple.
Terrence Howard
Photo Credit: Hissip

This is a post in 3 parts.

Part I

Iron Man should have hit theaters twenty years ago when Universal Studios bought the rights to develop it for the big screen. After a series of potential directors, writers, and actors looked at it, 20th Century Fox acquired the rights in 1966. Then after numerous adaptations, rewrites, screenplays, and even more directors, writers, and actors, Fox sold it to New Line Cinema.

In 2005, after two years of unsuccessful development, New Line Cinema returned the film rights to Marvel Studios who were anxious to develop it themselves since Iron Man was their only major character not already depicted in a live action film. Being anxious they were perhaps over-generous to the first actor to sign on, Terrence Howard, who portrayed military liaison Lt. Col James Rhodes (and possibly to play the character War Machine in sequels). Howard, seen here cavorting with Zulay Henao on a beach, was actually paid more than Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, or any other actor. Hey, are you finished looking at the photo?

Marvel must have had low expectations for the film; indeed, Downey never starred in any film to gross more than $100 million, so Howard (who had a base plus percentage) hit the lottery when the film grossed more than $585,133,287 worldwide in its first 22 weeks in theaters (Domestic: $318,412,101 ; Foreign: $266,721,186)

Because Downey’s performance surprised them, Favreau and screenwriter Justin Theroux decided to minimize Howard’s story line for Iron Man 2. Because of that, the studio went to the actor’s agents with a much reduced payday – more in line with what the other supporting actors were getting. But Howard would not take a pay cut.

Instead of making a few million less, Howard opted for no money at all.

Part II

When Disney asked Julia Roberts to star in the flick ‘The Proposal,’ Julia refused to lower her salary, so the studio went with Sandra Bullock. Sadly for Julia, ‘The Proposal’ cranked out a whopping $314 million in worldwide ticket sales (Domestic: $163,958,031 ; foreign: $150,700,000) in its first 140 days of release.

Instead of making a few million less, Julia opted for no money at all.

Part III

Now this part is for audience participation; fill it in yourself;

Two of the stars of ___________ (fill in TV series name) may not be back for the _____ (fill in) season because they’re reportedly asking for too much money. _______ (fill in studio name) is said to be meeting
with _______ and ______ (fill in actor names) as substitutes.

Actually this is an easy question to answer: you know you were asking for too much money when they decide to give you nothing at all.

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Making Money From Lazy MTA Riders

3 December 2009

The Daily News reported last week that many riders don’t know what to do – or can’t be bothered – with small-change balances left on their MetroCards.

I know what you’re thinking: “So what?” Well, it seems that straphangers will leave more than $53 million on expired MetroCards this year. Most riders said they simply throw away cards with balances of five, 10 or 20 cents.

I don’t get it. If you use the subways and buses often then you have to buy another card. Why not simply hand in your old card and ask to add the balance? Personally, I use the automatic dispensers. It asks if I want a new card or add money to an existing card. Nothing could be simpler.

But fortunes are made off the stupidity or laziness of others.

Here’s a suggestion to panhandlers: instead of asking for donations on the subways, ask for old MetroCards. I am sure you are more likely to get a few cards with balances on them than trying to get cash. In addition, since you’re hanging around on subways a lot, pick up discarded cards lying about. Bring them to the MTA kiosks and have all the balances put on one card. Contact me when you have a bunch of cards with decent balances of $10 or more. I will buy them from you 60 cents on the dollar – cash. I won’t lie – I have someone who will buy them from me for 80 cents on the dollar. Hey, I gotta make something too.

Need Something to Help Waste your Time?

29 October 2009

Take any youtube video URL, for example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiSWms6_SSk and substitute “warp.swf” for “watch” thus: http://www.youtube.com/warp.swf?v=xiSWms6_SSk and pop that puppy into your address bar to see a clever flash application take over.

Mouse over any button to form an new array of related videos displayed as buttons, each of which links to a youtube video. Click on a button to view the video.

Serendipity was never easier.

Cellphones like Keys on a Piano

24 October 2009

Thomas Ricker over at Engadget was impressed to hear Vodafone NZ’s Symphonia playing on 1000 cellphones to reconstruct Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture. Click here if you cannot see the following video:

To see how it was done view videos part1 and part2.

Interestingly, this is quite similar to Dialtones, a telesymphony presented at the Ars Electronica Festival in September 2001, and at the Swiss National Exposition in May and June of 2002 where the concert performance was produced through the choreographed ringing of the audience’s own mobile phones.

On a smaller scale I suppose one could easily have a group of friends program their cellphones to each display one word each but spelling out “Will” “You” “Marry” “Me?” at a restaurant or some other venue.

Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade from XP Without Buying the Full Version

23 October 2009

Windows 7Caveat: before you follow any advice in this article make sure you first run Windows Upgrade Advisor to determine if your PC can run Windows 7 and always backup your data whenever installing or upgrading to anything.

Microsoft says you can upgrade to Windows 7 from Windows XP and Vista; however what they mean by upgrade is very confusing. If you think upgrade means taking an Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade and laying it on top of an existing XP system – it cannot be done. That only applies to Vista; in the case of XP what Microsoft means by upgrade is buying a full version of Windows 7 and doing a clean install which is not really an upgrade but a new install.

I got my copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade from Amazon for $219.99 instead of the full version because I believed what they wrote:

Not sure if you need the upgrade version or the full version? You can purchase the Upgrade version of Windows 7 if you’re currently running Windows Vista or Windows XP on your PC. If you’re not running Windows XP or Windows Vista on your PC, you’ll need to purchase the Full version of Windows 7.

But when I tried to “upgrade” my Windows XP version to Windows 7
A Microsoft Customer Service rep informed me that I could only “upgrade” from XP by buying the “full” version.

Instead of returning the upgrade disc and buying the full version disc, I did the following:

  1. I backed up my data onto a removable hard drive although Microsoft does supply a program called Easy Transfer that you must install before running Windows 7 to help migrate your files.
  2. I booted from the Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade disc.
  3. I formatted my hard drive.
  4. I followed the install prompts.
  5. When asked for the product key, I pressed NEXT without entering the key.
  6. Windows finished installing.
  7. I removed the disc from my DVD tray and rebooted.
  8. Once Windows 7 came back up, I re-inserted the disc and hit the UPGRADE option (not the CUSTOM option).
  9. Windows will start the install – ask for the key – this time put it in. And it will reboot a number of times (don’t let it bother you) until it finishes the install
  10. You’re done.

Remarkably, nowhere in the process did it ask me for my original XP product key. Usually if I am upgrading software I am asked for the underlying base product key. This means: even if you never purchased XP or Vista at all, instead of laying out $100 more for the full install, simply buy the upgrade version and follow this procedure. Until Microsoft fixes this great feature.

Related articles: Tom’s Hardware – Windows XP Can Upgrade to Windows 7, Sorta, Excerpt: Microsoft
has said that it will offer upgrade options for users to move from Windows XP to Windows 7, but to be clear, those are only for purchasing software licenses. There will be no software upgrade path.

Tech Mirage – Microsoft Plans to Offer Windows 7 on USB Flash Drives, Excerpt: Looking at the heavy increase in the netbook sales, Microsoft has admitted to CNET, that they will offer the brand new OS on USB Flash drives.

Photo credit: The Boy Genius Report