January 2006 - Chris Ullrich dot net
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January 2006

The Future is Now (so is the past)

i like these photos:

can you spot the apple products and the sony psp?

this would make getting around easier.

even great grandma liked her starbucks.

see more here.

Happy Birthday Macintosh


1984 won’t be like 1984. on this date in 1984 apple introduced the macintosh and things were never the same. oddly enough, steve jobs hate the macintosh and tried to kill it. of course, he later changed his mind, took over the project and the rest is, as it is often said, history.

now with steve jobs poised to take a seat on the disney board and apple scoring record profits from sales of ipods and even a few macs, the little company has come a long way. pretty soon, steve may be able to realize his dream of making apple a bigger and better version of sony.

its been 22 years now and the mac and apple show no signs of slowing down. all of the doom and gloom predictions of the past have given way to glowing reviews and almost universal praise. apple has become a media darling. i guess when it works it really works. of course, it could have just as easily gone the other way. as smart as steve jobs is, luck has played a factor. luck always plays a factor. so, here’s to luck.

who knows what the next 22 years will bring. hope i’m still around to find out.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday


yes, the title says it all. its sunday here and i have spent many hours this weekend watching tv. not just tv really, i watched a couple of movies too. i’m not sure why but it seemed like the thing to do. i watched battlestar galactica, the jacket (with adrien brody and the very cute keira knightley) , both NFL conference championship games (go seahawks) and new episodes of the west wing and grey’s anatomy (yes, i watch grey’s anatomy, so what?).

i also managed to squeeze in a birthday party for a one year old (my friends gil and holly’s son, julian) and also a trip to the santa monica civic to see the photo la exhibit. plus lunch and dinner and some time at whole foods market for a crap load of soy milk and other stuff. a full weekend indeed.

after taking a look around the photo la event, i am even more convinced that i am a mildly skilled photographer at best (one of my photos is in this post). those photos at photo la are really, really good. not just good, really interesting and inspiring. just what great art is supposed to do. inspire. it did for me.

i am more determined than ever to try to improve my photography skills. i have a long way to go. i am prepared to suffer for my art though so i got that going for me, which is nice.

my friend j-rod could tell you many more fascinating details about the various photographers whose work were on exhibit at photo la. i, however, can’t do much of that. i will say that i particularly liked the photos of Eikoh Hosoe and David Hilliard. check them out if you get a chance. unfortunately, photo la ends today i think so maybe you can make it next year. try, its worth it.

perhaps i will have improved by then. fingers crossed.

17″ iMac Review and a quick bit of other stuff

i know, i know. again with the light blogging. “what the hell is wrong with you?” you may ask. well, nothing really. just, you guessed it, busy again.

for some reason as yet unknown to me, except perhaps a dose of stupidity and a little boredom, i have decided to do some work back in the world of showbiz. well, not showbiz exactly, more the corporate world. on the plus side this corporate stuff is all very dramatic and will be fun to do so i am looking forward to it. we get to burn stuff and maybe even blow some shit up. good times.

anyway, back to the task at hand. over at ars technica they have a review of the new intel based imac. pretty good article. i enjoyed it. i might have to pick up one of those imacs soon (to install windows on it, of course, just to “see if i can”).

Capt.Ny12601172350.People Shatner Ny126 and, in other more serious news, william shatner of well, if you don’t know who he is i don’t know what to say about that, recently sold a kidney stone of his and gave the money to charity. really, it actually happened. i don’t know what more disturbing. the fact he sold a kidney stone or that someone actually bought it. really people, i like star trek but it was just a tv show. jeeez.

and, is the new video ipod responsible for the boots in ratings for NBC’s version of “the office”. if you read this, they seem to think so. could be, i guess, but the show being really funny might have something to do with it also. now if they would just start selling videos of “arrested development” on the itunes store. it might help that show too.

while we’re on the subject, isn’t it about time to change the name of the iTunes Music store to something more in line with what they are selling? how about calling it the Apple Media Store? that’s got a nice ring to it.

or maybe the Apple iStore? anyway, its time to consider a change. i’m sure they will come up with something and i hope its better than “mac book”. that doesn’t really work for me as well as “powerbook”. now that’s a cool name.

Mac World Stuff


well, the stevenote at mac world expo is over. sadly, no “media center” mac mini or anything like that. however, we now have some pretty cool new things to play around with. and here they are:

the new MacBook Pro (say so long to the Powerbook name) which runs on Intel Dual Core processors and looks basically the same as the 15″ Powerbook. i’m sure a redesign of the casing is in the works. just not for today.


also, a new Intel based iMac with the same look as its G5 based brothers. also with Intel Dual Core processors. that’s cool. unless you just got an iMac last week.

and, osx 10.4.4 is out today. its for “old” macs as well as new Intel macs. runs on both. i’ve been using it for a few weeks now and it seems to work just fine. still, i might wait a few days for the initial early adopters to install it and have problems before i would rush out and get it. also, updated the iLife suite to iLife ’06 (catchy name, eh?) including the new iWeb app which lets you create web pages and share your photos, podcasts or blogs with the world at the touch of a button (or a mouse, as the case may be).


there is also an update to the rest of the iLife apps which take advantage of the new .mac features announced today. all in all a pretty cool package to get your stuff up and seen.

the mac book is a step in the right direction but still not enough to make me really want one. yet. i’m waiting for a 12″ version with all flash based hard drive that weighs 2.5 pounds. that would really be something.

as for the iMac i might pick one of those up to check out. but maybe after the first revision. i’m a little tired of being an apple beta tester after my experiences with my first dual 2ghz g5 tower. these macs are just the first step this year anyway so its not over by any means. by the end of the year, it will be all Intel all the time. i can wait. plus, my G5 tower is working just fine at the moment so what’s the rush?

it would have been nice to get a mac-mini based hd dvr that runs mac osx and allows you to stream audio and video and record it to dvd like tivo-to-go does for windows (maybe even for the mac soon). not yet though. i would bet money that its just around the corner. i guess i can put my amex away. for now.

for the rest of what’s hot (or not) from the stevenote, go to apple.

Tivo Tuesday


i have been thinking and writing about Tivo a lot lately so i though i would continue the trend, at least for today. so, in the spirit of total disclosure, i wanted to list my Tivo season passes for your enjoyment and to compare them to your own. plus, some friends like LAist editor-at-large jason toney already listed his so it seems like the right thing to do. although, he only listed his top ten but i have graciously listed every one of the shows that i season pass.

if for some reason you don’t actually have Tivo, please go out and get one as soon as you can. seriously, it it a great thing and will change your life for the better. i can’t believe i ever lived without one (or two). although, if you are one of those people who don’t watch TV at all then a Tivo isn’t for you. plus, if you don’t watch TV, you clearly have other problems.

oh, one or two notes about these lists. as i am lucky enough (or, unlucky as some of you may feel) to live in Los Angeles, Directv treats me pretty well. i am able to get all of the local network channels in high def like ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox etc. so i record most of the shows that i watch on the HD Tivo. makes sense, right?

the downside to that process is that the HD Tivo has only so much space, especially for HD content. so, to alleviate that problem, i also have my old Series 2 Tivo hooked up to a second standard def DirecTV receiver box. that way, i can record shows in SD and fill that one up as much as necessary. plus, as the Directv Tivo box doesn’t have networking capabilities, i need to record any programming on the Series 2 Tivo that i want to use with Tivo to go and burn to a DVD or whatever.

sounds simple right? it took a little time to work out the details but now it works perfectly. i don’t have as many season passes on the Series 2 Tivo but its really become more of a recording device for shows i might want to take off of the Tivo via Tivo to go.

anyway, without further to do, here are my much considered season passes from both of my Tivo boxes:

DirecTv HD Tivo:

1. Battlestar Galactica
2. Lost
3. Veronica Mars
4. Rescue Me
5. Scrubs
6. House
7. Arrested Development
8. Bones
9. The Sopranos
10. NCIS
11. Rome
12. The O.C.
13. The West Wing
14. My name is Earl
15. The Shield
16. Grey’s Anatomy
17. Surface
18 E-Ring
19. The Office
20. Out of Practice
21. Deadwood

Series 2 Tivo:
1. The Daily Show
2. The Colbert Report
3. Aqua Teen Hunger Force
4. Southpark
5. The Simpsons
6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
7. Angel

ok, maybe i do watch too much tv. no wonder it seems like i never have time for anything. some of these shows are not on right now but i don’t remove them from the season pass just in case i forget to add them back on. i am also going to add 24 to the list after i see the big season premiere this coming sunday. unless, of course, its total crap.

hasta la vista baby.

CES highlights and the future


apparently, there is some sort of event going on in las vegas called the consumer electronics show (aka CES). at the show, the major and minor electronics companies duke it out with press confrences to announce that they have developed similar products to each other that while new and exciting are not really that new or exciting. what a sad state of affairs indeed.

if you want everything in all of its glorious detail, point your browsers to the big tech blogs engadget and gizmodo. they are doing in-depth coverage of what’s hot, what’s not and what really stinks (including the backed-up toilets at the convention center). for my money, the more interesting announcements should come next week at mac world expo. perhaps on tuesday of next week to be exact.

however, if i must pick some things from CES that look interesting (and i must, for i am a writer who picks things) here they are:

tivo offers up a new box. the series 3. will this be the end all be all and finally replace all of my other boxes? mmm, doesn’t seem like it. in fact, it looks like us directv people are going to be left out in the cold with this one. cable card slots only from the look of it and no provision for satellite?

hopefully, that’s just because i don’t have more info at the moment. fingers crossed as i really, really want to keep using a tivo device and not have to switch over to some bastard child designed by the room of monkeys at directv. tivo knows something about simple and useable interface design. directv not so much.

google announces a video store. gee, what a great idea. they will be selling content from cbs and other sources as well as letting you download stuff for free. no prices yet but more content available online (legally online that is. yes, i’ve heard of bittorrent thanks) should be a good thing.

sony announced its first blu-ray dvd player. its got all the big time features and looks like a monster as well. and toshiba announced it’s HD-DVD players as well which also look pretty good.

now, if all the kids could just get together and agree on one format, that would be great. what it will come down to will be the programming. as in, what movies will be available on each format. in fact, here’s a list of release titles for blu-ray and hd-dvd(at least for now).

sony also announced a few other things including bigger memory stick pro duo cards (finally) as well as new phones and the sony reader for reading ebooks.

verizon offers up their new v cast wireless music downloads. you can download music to your verizon cell phone for two bucks each and listen to it on your phone. you can also transfer it to your computer via usb. could be interesting. sprint also has a similar offering only theirs includes video. wireless is the new black i guess.

this would be a great gaming rig (or allow you to keep yourself warm in winter) that is, if you are a person who uses a windows pc. not that there’s anything wrong with that.

last but not least, fuji is using my friend nick’s pictures in their booth at CES. so, if you are there, drop over and tell them how great the pictures look. nick would appreciate it.

oh, one more thing. there was also another event going on in vegas this week at the same time as CES. it gets less publicity but it is no less important. its the adult entertainment expo which climaxes (sorry, had to do it) with the AVN awards.

that’s it for CES. tune in next week for even more important announcements from my favorite company, apple. predictions? well, i think we might see one or two new laptops with brand new intel chips. and maybe a mac mini or imac with intel as well. perhaps some new ipod variation and hopefully, a mac-mini like device that can be put in the living room to record television content and play it back to my hd tv. too much to ask? come on apple, make it happen.

as a side note, i really wrote this for LAist but if you read carefully, i have tailored it for this site. see what i do for you.

Joss Whedon and the future of Television


special guest poster Joss Whedon on the future of TV. actually, i stole this from the tv guide .

don’t laugh too much, he could be spot on. it sure feels like it some nights. personally, i’m looking forward to the jerry bruckheimer network or as it will be affectionally know : “just jerry”.

feel free to click on the link above or if that’s too much work (and really, it might be) just read on:


Many people have asked me, “Joss, what is the future of television? What will we watch? And how will we watch it? Surely you must know, for you are wise, and slender.” I usually smile and say nothing, because I wasn’t actually listening to the question. But it’s a good one, and I think it’s time I let you in on a few highlights of Television-to-Be.

The networks will all be creating exciting, innovative new spin-offs of today’s shows. Approximately 67 percent of all television will be CSI-based, including CSI: Des Moines, CSI: New York but a Different Part than Gary Sinise Is In and NCSI: SVU WKRP, which covers every possible gruesome crime with a groovin’ ’70s beat. (Jerry Bruckheimer will also have conquered Broadway with the CSI musical “FOLLICLE!” starring Nathan Lane as a frenetic but lovable blood spatter and Matthew Broderick as lint.)

Lost has that one-of-a-kind alchemy that really can’t be copied. Therefore, look for the original series Misplaced, as well as Unfound, Not So Much with the Whereabouts and Just Pull Over and Ask!

In a stunningly cost-effective move, CBS will air How I Met Your Biological Mother, That Bitch, which is just old episodes of How I Met Your Mother with snarkier narration. HBO’s Westminster will continue the trend pioneered by Deadwood and Rome by making 19th-century England really dirty and weird, like Jane Austen with Tourette’s. (Actually, I can’t wait for that one.) Also, the constant slew of cable mergers will result in the creation of CinePax, a channel that’s just very confused about its morals.

Every year another film actress gets “too old” for film leads and finds a (sometimes much better) home on TV. This trend will continue a few years hence when the aging but feisty Dakota Fanning headlines CSI: Vancouver Made to Look Like Chicago.

Obviously, we’ll see advances in technology. TiVo, iPods, streaming video — the way we watch TV is changing dramatically. It’s on our phones, in our cars — even projected on specialized eyeglasses. But don’t listen to the talk about having shows beamed directly into your brain. That’s science-fiction nonsense. Shows will be stored in the pancreas and will enter the brain through the bloodstream after being downloaded into your iHole.

And what of me? My short-lived series Firefly was the basis for the epic action film Serenity (now available on DVD! I have little or no shame), and the future will see even more incarnations of this visionary work, as it returns to TV as Serenity: The Firefly Years, then back to film as Firefly: Serenity’s Sequel, back to TV as SereniFly, and finally end as the direct-to-eyeglasses series Choose a Damn Name Already. I promise it’ll be as heartwarming and exciting as the original Serenity, now available on DVD. (Explain again this thing you call shame….)

That’s all I can tell you, except for one last thing: Veronica Mars will still be on. Veronica Mars will still be on. We clear about that?



well, i’m convinced. he’s a genius. or perhaps, a super-genius?

Funny Stuff for the New Year


hopefully this will be as funny to you as it is to me even if yesterday was actually a lazy sunday. and, if you are ever in new york, the cupcakes at magnolia bakery are quite good. in fact, you could even say they are crazy delicious.

plus, check out andy samberg’s other stuff at the lonely island site back when he was just a local LA funny guy that hadn’t hit the big time yet on SNL. i’m especially fond of the ‘bu. good stuff. or, if you prefer other chris parnell goodies, get a load of farm slut.

All the best for 2006. now if the damn rain would stop. this is getting ridiculous.