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Awesome costumes at New York Comic Con 2010 #video #comics #nycc


Really amazing costumes seen at New York Comic Con 2010. I'm thinking I should plan this into my calendar for next year.




The Internet To The Rescue

The world watched in shock as Chile was hit by an earthquake 800 times stronger than the one in Haiti -- and it happened even before the sun went up. But while governments around the world scrambled to get moving, social media was already saving lives.

It's amazing what social media can do where traditional media and emergency methods often fall short. While we commend the Chilean people for building strong buildings and having solid disaster control methods in place, we can't help but notice how social media platforms such as Twitter quickly began putting things together again.

Case in point: Sheryl Breuker, who yesterday shared her personal story with Mashable.com. Her sister-in-law was in Santiago, Chile when the earthquake struck, and there was no way of getting in touch with her. Most communication lines were cut. But a vital line to the Internet stayed on, so they began contacting locals via Twitter.

Sure enough, just a couple of hours later, a number of locals found Sheryl's sister-in-law, safe and sound. And I'm pretty sure she wasn't the only missing person that Twitter helped track down.

Similarly, Facebook users around the Pacific rim stayed up late that night, tracking the resulting tsunami threat and relaying information hours before their respective government agencies did. Google also launched their "Chile Earthquake Finder" service, allowing users to choose between "I'm looking for someone" and "I have information about someone."

There wasn't much damage caused by the tsunami, but seeing how coastal communities all over the Pacific rim responded by evacuating quickly and systematically made me feel like a proud father.

Social media's role doesn't stop there -- now that Chile is picking up the pieces, heroes all over the world are sending money, aid, and manpower. And I have little doubt that social media is going to play yet another big role when the next natural disaster rolls around.

And I'm also pretty sure that the conservatives will be sitting in their sofas bitching at their TV's every time they see their heads of state offer aid to Chile. They'll still be saying, "Why help Chile? Chile will never help us back! Stop sending aid!"

Oh, let them be idiots. In the meantime, the rest of us will continue using today's tools to help make the world a little better than yesterday -- as they were meant to.

Hi there. Welcome to Filmcamp Singapore 2010! [#FilmcampSG]

Howdy Filmcampers,
 
Al'righty, it’s 3 more days to Filmcamp Singapore 2010!

Welcome! I hope you are as psyched as we are.

We asked you to write an intro about yourself upon registering. What we got in return were many stories from a very passionate group - closet storytellers and filmmakers in the making...each one of us trying to make or find a path for ourselves.

When I first thought of putting together an event like Filmcamp, I took the first step with a simple understanding that each and every one of us has a story to tell.

Telling stories may be a full-time  occupation or just a hobby for you, but it is exceptionally difficult to do it alone. Why not figure this out together? And that’s the whole point of Filmcamp. I invited a small group of people to be on the organizing team, and started tapping on all my contacts and resources to see who will latch on to this idea and want to grow this "community".

Today we have the first incarnation of  Filmcamp in the form of this event. Make no mistake - *this is* a community-run event where the spotlight is really on you. As a Filmcamp participant, you are now part of a big family -- you chose to make Filmcamp your own. There were no judgments. No boring rants (hence the NC16 no ‘kids’ (or brats) part). Instead, you’ve agreed to come meet people, let loose, be your insightful self, and participate!

So... let's get crackin'
 
Now, some of you may not quite yet be familiar as to how this event works, so let’s start off with some rules.
 
 
 
Rule No. 1
 
There are no rules, really. You may move around however you want to, sit wherever you want, or perform something impromptu - without being a complete pain to someone else, of course.  Yes, expect lots of noise on that day. But good creative noise!
 

Still not clear what to be prepared for? Here are some guidelines for Filmcamp.
 
 

Filmcamp is abso-friggin'-lutely free!
 
It’s so free it's giving the air you breathe a serious run for its money. That’s right, I’ve insisted that our first Filmcamp will not cost you an arm or a leg or even your best friend’s leg. My wonderful organizing team has worked to make sure you get to attend at no cost to you! Of course, wads of cash are always appreciated (*ahem cough cough*). We’re a community-run event, and your donations will go a long way in supporting our efforts to consistently bring you good activities, good people, good food, and fight the good fight... fending off the invasion of the Sepulchronians.
 
 
 
It’s alright for the presenter to say ‘I don’t know’

There is no rating for presenters. Presenters, and participants share, all the same. There is no pressure, we are all friendly people! Your sharing is your biggest takeaway. It always is. No matter how many people say your event doesn’t work, your presentation wasn't quite up to par, you have a bad haircut - believe us we’ve done this a bazillion times - it just works. The naysayers haven’t woken up to this simple reality of learning through sharing, and they will - believe me - remain under their expensive, limited-edition designer rock.
 
 

Some suggested essentials to bring along with you to Filmcamp 2010

  • Laptop
  • Mobile phone
  • Your Twitter gadgets
  • Lunch money
  • Video cameras, Mobile phone cameras, etc.
  • Tools for meeting people and exchanging contacts
    • Name cards / Business cards
    • Pokens (used when meeting cool people like myself)
    • Bump (an app for the iPhone/Android-based phones - also used when meeting cool people like myself)
  • Dress comfortably. You will be moving around a lot.

 
 
 
Help out where you can
 
Photographers: we always need photographers to help take photos of sessions throughout the day whenever possible.
Videographers: with video cams to shoot footage which we can compile into a post-show Filmcamp trailer.
Timers: to help make sure that each session starts and ends on time.
If you have extra iPod/iPhone or laptop chargers, please do feel free to bring them to Filmcamp and share the love. You’ll never know when your batteries run out of juice.
 
 
 
Tweet / blog / spread the word about Filmcamp
 
It’s a community-based and participant-run event with no marketing budget. We believe in organic word-of-mouth to keep ‘Filmcamp’ alive. Filmcamp is for you. If something is good for you, share it. If it’s not good for you, well, in the words of singer-songwriter, Mick Jackson, “Blame it on the Boogie” (I have no idea what he means here but it was a good song, nevertheless). Pass this e-mail on to a friend who may be interested in coming along.
 
 
 
Do not use Filmcamp as the "babysitter" for your little brother or your niece while you sneak out to visit your girlfriend without your parents' knowledge
 
Seriously. Don't.
 
 
 
Come with no other expectation other than to have fun
 
Believe me, if the Internet connection becomes unstable or even the electricity goes out, you’ll still have fun. If you didn't meet the people you wanted to meet, by expecting to have fun, you *will* meet the people who want to meet you. Trust us. The more you're open to this concept the more you'll surprise yourself with how much you learn and be amazed by the cool people you meet.
 
 
 
Last but most definitely not least
 
Bring along your sense of humor. We can’t wait to meet you!
 
 
 
Essential notes:
Our updated schedule & speakers' topics can be found here:  http://j.mp/a5dlQq
Our updated participants list can be found here:  http://j.mp/90kZIt
Our participant sign-up form can be found here:  http://j.mp/9RidP2

For your convenience, please print out a copy of the schedule a day before the event, and bring it along on event day - any minor on-site updates to the schedule will be announced then.

 
 

Bear in mind, the planets will all be aligned for us on Filmcamp. And when the virgin moons of Jupiter cross over the path of the 18th Mudath, the mighty Sepulchora will return. And he will bestow his favor upon those who have shown him loyalty through the test of blood and Coco Puffs. The favorable ones will be told to banish the unfavorables for eternity. Darkness will then befall the earth, and for generations to come its inhabitants will only witness acts of pure evil. We must unite to bring back the old believes of the Jerhalis. For the one who walks the path...
 
...er... you guys stopped reading this already, right?



When you see me at Filmcamp come over and say "Hi"
Chris

 

Chris Gomez
Founder / Curator, Filmcamp
producer  |  angel  |  emergent media prophet  |  deity
Web:  www.enginealpha.com www.filmcamp.sg
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/chrisgomez   (@chrisgomez)  |  www.twitter.com/filmcampsg   (@filmcampsg)
==&==




Holiday Shopping?

Happy Thanksgiving. It's been a tough, tough year for most of us, which makes the pessimist wonder what's there to be thankful for. But I'm too cool to navel-gaze, so I'm kicking off the year with a few tech shopping tips. We don't really celebrate Thanksgiving in these parts, but hey, December is just around the corner.

#1 - Netbooks? I know it's a rising trend, but do you really want to get cramps working the tiny keyboard? (I don't.) If you're really fixed on getting a netbook, get one with the features that you need, as well as a full keyboard. Otherwise, I recommend getting a thin, light (and sleeker) notebook.

#2 - TV's? To enter the new year with a brighter perspective, I suggest you (finally) go flat-screen. LCD and Plasma TV's are all good, and they come in small enough sizes that fit your budget. For longevity, go at least 1080p.

#3 - DVD players? Whoops, hold on. We may not exactly have Netflix yet, but believe me when I say it's going to land in Southeast Asian shores in the next two years or less. Skip the one-trick DVD players and go Blu-Ray. Better yet, look for a device that can play Blu-Ray and DVD, in addition to streaming HD movies from the Internet.

#4 - iPod Touch? Definitely a must-buy -- Steve Jobs wasn't kidding when he said it was the "funnest" iPod ever. It's only a sidestep away from an iPhone, and with the App Store handy, it should give you thousands of hours of fun throughout its lifetime.

#5 - Windows 7? Also a good upgrade, although "good" is relative when it comes to Microsoft. While Microsoft finally got things right, going Mac might be the best "new beginning" you can have, especially with the robust Snow Leopard OS doing very well.

#6 - Printers? Don't make the mistake of buying a one-trick printer this year -- they're already overshadowed by printers that offer more features. Find out what your home office needs (Scanner? Fax machine? Photo printer? All of the above?) and find printer models that solve most, if not all, your deficiencies.

#7 - Gaming Consoles? The Wii is still tons of fun, but the Xbox 360 and slimmer, sexier PlayStation 3 are very quickly catching up. These consoles also have HD movie streaming offerings, which can do away with your DVD needs, as well. But if you're willing to wait another year for a gaming console, you might want to watch out for Microsoft's Project Natal.

#8 - E-book Readers? They're easy enough to get, but it's going to be tough getting books from e-libraries for a while. Singapore, for instance, still isn't on Kindle's global list, and there's no way of knowing when the mobile carriers will get their heads out of their behinds and comply with Amazon's requirements. Best put this off until next year.

What would YOU want for Christmas?

Laptop Steering Wheel Desk -- WTF

Every now and then, I come across some pretty strange ads on the Internet. Some just raise my eyebrows (e.g. Wanted: Condom Testers) while others make me seethe (see my article on Burger King's "blow your mind" ad campaign in Singapore, here -> http://bit.ly/5aocES ). This one in Amazon.com, however, simply gave me a migraine -- a "Laptop Steering Wheel Desk."

I've seen some pretty idiotic inventions in my time, but this one takes the cake. The Laptop Steering Wheel Desk apparently fits into most car steering wheel configurations -- and lets you use your laptop comfortably in the cramped space of the driver's seat.

I know the darned thing was meant to be used while the car's on park, but for goodness sake -- Einstein himself said that the only thing more infinite than the universe is human stupidity. So undoubtedly some poor sod's going to get hurt with this thing. It felt wrong if I didn't try to stop this thing from hitting the streets -- or worse.

Of course, I didn't have to. It's a good thing to know that there are some really smart comedians scouring Amazon for idiotic inventions like this one, and leave some of the funniest comments I've ever read in my life.


Here are samples of the wittier comments I came across:

#1 - "I only got two accidents since I bought my own laptop steering wheel desk, but I finally managed to clear my inbox."

#2 - "Driving a school bus, I never have enough time to check my e-mail and Facebook page. Now I can network anytime I want!"

#3 - "Now I can supervise my daughter's driving over Skype, right in the comforts of my living room."

Hilarious. Apparently this is how things go down in Amazon -- commenters "flag" dangerous (or plain idiotic) posts by flooding them with outrageous comments. Eventually Amazon's going to notice and take the ad down.

If you ask me, this is a much more enjoyable way to pick on poor idiots without having to troll or flame. I honestly hope this trend picks up.

Technology Improves Social Relationships, Study Says

A new study claims that the Internet and mobile technology actually improves the average individual's social relationships, instead of hampering them as commonly conceived. This is a surprising find, particularly because it's easy to think a kid who spends hours on a PC or fiddling with a mobile phone doesn't have a social life.

The study "Social Isolation and New Technology" was released last week by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. It seems that if you have at least a few friends, and maybe if you stay in touch with your family more than other people, it's likely because of e-mail, Facebook, and mobile technology.

Of course, the news should be taken with a grain of salt -- the findings are likely to be challenged by new studies in the near future. After all, it was only a few months ago when another study found that students who regularly use Facebook and play video games tend to get lower grades than students who spend comparatively more time studying.

If there's anything these studies show, I believe it's actually the limitations of technology. While certain technologies may influence your personality and social responsibilities, it won't control you completely unless you let it. These findings should only underscore the importance of developing responsible individuals through the Internet.

It may be wishful thinking for some. But now that you know how technology doesn't really have a hold over your performance and relationships, can you really sit on your hands and do nothing?

Happy Birthday, Internet | #media #technology #internet

Many people think the Internet is technology's most recent innovation, but it actually began almost 40 years ago. US scientist Leonard Kleinrock had the idea of using an "interface message processor"(IMP) to access a computer from another location back in 1969, and while the first test was rather dismal, it was obviously the beginning of something new.

Back in October 29, 1969, Kleinrock hooked up a computer to the IMP and began to type the word "LOGIN," to be sent to a colleague in Stanford. But after typing the first two letters, the system crashed. So accidentally and aptly, the first word sent over the Internet was "LO" -- and behold!

happy+birthday+internet+xkcd+wrong+on+internet+Chris+Gomez+Engine+Alpha

Image credit: Found on xkcd.com


The Internet has come a long way since that first word was sent over the first connection. Most people think the Internet only started out in the 80's, because that's when its more primitive forms first became commercially available. What do YOU remember about the Internet's early years?

I remember how e-mail changed the way people communicated. Telegrams were all of a sudden obsolete, and people now had an inexpensive way of communicating with their loved ones and colleagues out of town.

Sometime years later came the browser wars, Google, Wikipedia, and the row over music copyrights (and later general file sharing). Whether we liked it or not, the Internet was here to stay.

I think the biggest impact the Internet has made so far comes in the form of -- okay, I'll say it just this once -- social media. All of a sudden, it opened the doors for a tech-savvy underdog US Senator to reach unprecedented numbers of people and raise unprecedented amounts of money, wresting power from an otherwise immovable opposing party.

But for the rest of us, the Internet simply makes life a lot more interesting. Work is almost always more efficient with the Internet, and productivity levels haven't increased this much since the advent of air conditioning.

Many people say that, at 40 years, the Internet is still a teenager. If life truly does begin at 40, let's see what the next 40 has in store for us.

Paranormal Activity -- The Next "Blair Witch Project" #film

Film-making is a business among many other things, and like most other businesses, the more money you invest in it, the more likely it's going to succeed. But right now, there's a film going around that's doing extremely well in the box office -- and it was shot with a mere $20,000 budget.

"Paranormal Activity" is a feature-length movie produced and directed by Oren Peli, a video game programmer who thought it would be cool to shoot a "Blair Witch"-esque movie -- hi kids, "The Blair Witch Project" was a $60,000 film that grossed over $140 million in the box office back in 1999. With a handful of unknown actors, Peli went on to produce "Paranormal Activity" over a span of one week in 2006, shooting and editing all at the same time.

Note:
Oct 16, 2009 - Updates to this story have been added to the following paragraphs.
Oct 17, 2009 - Added limited-release movie trailer


After a series of post-production problems, Peli was finally able to debut "Paranormal Activity" on a few select screens around the United States. Audiences all over the place unanimously agreed the movie was "pretty scary" -- with some people leaving midway through the film simply because they couldn't take any more. Even director Steven Spielberg couldn't watch the entire movie in one go.

Word of mouth and, of course, participatory media was instrumental in bringing the film to mainstream popularity. Obviously when people think it's cool, they're going to Tweet it to death -- another bit of proof that there's more than just the traditional way to get your movie the mileage it receives.

The movie's reception has been so good that it's scheduled to open in cinemas all over the United States today. It's likely a big blow to most Hollywood studios, who only a few years ago turned down Peli's offers to have the film made into a feature. That was until Jason Blum, who also produced "The Reader," came across it -- and was so spooked the night after watching it that he decided not to pass on it.

"Paranormal Activity" is doing so well that it's bound to garner Peli -- and the actors he worked with -- some due recognition. There aren't any details as to when the film will reach Malaysian and Singaporean shores, but when it does, it's bound to show local filmmakers -- both professional and independent -- a thing or two about good storytelling.

Counting Down To 2012 - The Movie

There's a lot of hoopla going around about Paramount Pictures' upcoming November movie, "2012." It's yet another disaster movie about the "end of the world," and it's got everyone wondering whether the ancient Mayans were really on to something about December 21, 2012.

"2012" the movie stars John Cusack, who delivers a great performance in the five-minute clip of the movie that Columbia Pictures released a couple of days ago. The cast also includes Amanda Peet, Danny Glover, and Woody Harrelson.

Of course, no one can pull this movie off better than Roland Emmerich, the king of disaster movies. If his name isn't familiar, he's the guy who brought "Godzilla," "Independence Day," and "The Day After Tomorrow" to now-paranoid moviegoers around the world.

The production crew poured in a budget that matches the one used in "Titanic," so it should be a blockbuster waiting to happen. If you can sit through almost 150 minutes of death and destruction, "2012" should be the movie to see next month.

The hype that's surrounding the movie is without a doubt because of the idea that the world is prophesied to end on December 21, 2012. The suggestion came from the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, the one the ancient Mayas used. According to the Mayan calendar, the 5,125-cycle of creation goes full circle on that date.

Of course, what the film's promoters purposely omitted was the fact that the date was also the BEGINNING of a new cycle for the Mayan calendar, which never ends.

So relax and check your paranoia at the door.

Med Students Get In Trouble Through Social Media

For the longest time, doctors have been seen as some of society's most respected members, but today that distinction is getting blurry at best. The conduct of some Med students in the United States are worrying their seniors, and many fear it's much worse than it appears.

A new survey conducted among several major medical schools in the United States found a much higher number of incidents of inappropriate behavior and unprofessional conduct in medical schools. What's worse, the reported incidents were only those that reached the deans' attentions -- which is likely only the tip of the iceberg.

Many of the reported unprofessional incidents were posted on the Internet. For instance, a quick YouTube search would net you several videos made by medical students. Most are harmless -- musical numbers, for instance -- while a few are really disturbing.

One of them, a prank involving a dead body, caught the attention of many medical professionals lately. It's not known whether the cadaver was real, but even if it wasn't, what does such a video make you think? Exactly -- maybe your doctor isn't really that serious with his work.

There are other stories, as well. Some medical students post patient information on the Internet, whether on their Facebook pages or on their blogs -- obviously a breach of patient privacy. Others request inappropriate relationships with patients. Still others use profanity and even post photos of drug paraphernalia.

Sure, you could say that Med students aren't unlike every other kid on the Internet these days. But the situation is too serious to ignore -- all of a sudden, the medical profession doesn't seem so credible anymore.

But thankfully, deans and senior medical professionals are catching on to the online habits of their proteges. They're getting savvier with the Internet, blogging, and YouTube, as well as social media platforms like Facebook.

Hopefully this increased awareness will lead to better-behaved students, and much fewer embarrassments to one of the most respected professions in history.