In 3D

by Peter Rojas

Monster HouseIt's not often that I get to go see a major motion picture directed by someone I know (in this case, Gil Kenan, husband of my good friend and former roommate Eliza Chaikin), so this past Friday I coughed up $10.50 to go see Monster House, that new computer animated kids horror movie. It's definitely a cartoon for kids -- even though it's ostensibly a horror flick, it never gets too scary or intense -- but what made it watchable was the movie's clever sense of humor (they don't rely on making grown-up pop culture references in order to appeal to adults) and the fact that the theater we went to was screening it in 3D (you have to wear glasses and everything). 3D's been a movie gimmick for decades, so I was a little skeptical walking into the theater about how good it'd be, but they're using a relatively new technology called RealD, and I walked out impressed. There wasn't a whole lot of the "stuff floating out in front of you that you try and grab" kind of 3D (remember Captain EO?), it was more about using the 3D to add texture and depth to everything, something which made Monster House seem like more than just yet another computer-generated cartoon. Best of all, I didn't leave the theater with a headache. Coincidentally, I'm supposed to see a demo of Philips' new 3D television system this week. 3DTV is still years, if not decades, away from mainstream adoption, but I'm very curious to see how it compares with what I just watched.

Why I love the internet (and Ubuntu)

by Peter Rojas

Ubuntu stickerThis is why I love the internet: lately I've been geeking out with Ubuntu, which I have installed on my Sony Vaio FS, only to discover that there's an entire blog dedicated to Ubuntu on the Vaio FS. I'm not sure I'm quite ready to be like the cool kids and make Ubuntu my primary OS -- I still have to worry about stuff like synching my Treo, something I haven't quite gotten to work yet -- but otherwise it offers about 90-95% of what I need out of a PC.

But most importantly, my new Ubuntu PC runs Firefox like a charm. Now that I've migrated my email to Gmail, my calendar to Google Calendar, and my to-do list to Backpack, all I really care about on a device is how good its browser is. That's one reason why for my latest trip to Europe I decided to force myself to go laptop-less, and instead carry around a Nokia 770 internet tablet. I'm not going to pretend that I was able to get a ton of work done -- the pen-based interface did me in (and besides, I was supposed to be on vacation) -- but the browser on the 770 is excellent and I was able to do a fairly good job of staying on top of my email and newsfeeds. What Nokia needs to do is bite the OQO Model O1's style and come out with a version of the 770 with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, it'd make it a lot easier to ditch my laptop. The slide-out QWERTY keyboard is the main reason I'll be checking out Sony's new mylo device as soon as it debuts, though I suspect that its screen will be too small and too low-res to be of much use to me.

Text to email

by Peter Rojas

Overheard a woman on her cellphone at the Duane Reade on Delancey Street this morning: "I'll text you when I email you so you'll know that it's urgent."

I'm going to start texting people to let them know when I've emailed them about setting up a phone call. Can't be any worse than when PR people call me to let me know that they've emailed me some inane press release.

Me on HGTV

by Peter Rojas

I Want That Tech Toys

I've been insanely busy since I got back from Europe, which is why it's taken me a few days to get around to mentioning that I landed a small contributing role on HGTV's new gadget show, I Want That! Tech Toys, which airs Wednesdays at 9pm EST/PST. (Trust me, I had nothing to do with the name. Or the horrible logo. Or any part of the show I don't appear on.)

I haven't actually even seen the show yet -- I was somewhere over Greenland during the premiere -- so I'm not sure how everything turned out, but you'll have a chance to hear me talk about Samsung's new Helix portable XM satellite radio, as well as see the inside of my apartment, which is where part of the segment was taped. I'm still having a lot of trouble getting used to the, um, rhythms and cadences of professional TV. Everything has to be condensed to just 90 seconds (or less) and you have to project yourself in a way that isn't natural. Or least not in a way that is at all natural for me. I've set the DVR to record this coming week's episode, but if anyone actually caught this past one, let me know.

Back. Sort of.

by Peter Rojas

St. PetersburgThere's nothing like coming home from a two week vacation offline to discover that your cable internet connection is down. Not sure what'd I'd do without EV-DO...

P.S. - That's Jill in front of the Church of the Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg.