Category Archives: Uncategorized

What I’m Watching on Netflix

Like many other college students I do not pay for cable. Instead, I pay $8 per month for Netflix. It’s great. I can watch Netflix on my computer, my Xbox and there’s even an app for my phone. The number of studios that have made deals with Netflix keeps growing, which is a great reason to get started with the service.

Here’s what I’m watching on Netflix right now:

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I never thought I’d say this, but I’m watching Dexter. The Showtime series was recently added to Netflix and follows the life of Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department. Dexter has a secret: he kills serial killers. I was surprised to learn that this show is not just a drama, but a dark comedy. It’s gruesome and gory, but don’t be surprised when Michael C. Hall’s monotone narrative draws you in.

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Here’s one to lighten the mood: Louis C.K. Chewed Up. It’s an hour of pure comedic standup genius. Louis C.K. talks about everything from offensive language to being a father. It’s wildly inappropriate but so much fun.

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I’m not big into the whole “superhero” genre. Arrow is different. There has only been one season so far, but the show is renewed for a second. Oliver Queen, a billionaire, has returned from spending years in isolation on a shipwrecked island. He doesn’t have any superpowers, but he’s dead accurate with a bow and arrow that he uses to fight crime. Where did he learn his skills? Will he ever get caught? One thing I like about the show is the flashbacks to Queen’s past.

 

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Bo Pelini: A Timeline

It’s been a long year for Nebraska’s head coach Bo Pelini. Here’s a look at his life as a coach and his journey with Nebraska.

http://embed.verite.co/timeline/?source=0Asm2yURfuqvEdDdGYll4eXdpQlpoRFRPVEh0Z2gyZXc&font=Bevan-PotanoSans&maptype=toner&lang=en&width=900&height=650

Racial Slurs in American Society Panel

Live tweet story can be found here. 

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Professor James Garza discusses racial slurs with the audience.

Story and live tweets by Brian Frey.

“This motherf***er won’t die because we will it to live and live and live,” Professor Kwakiutl L. Dreher said.

Dreher was referencing the N word. It was one of the many racial slurs brought up in UNL’s Ethnic Studies Colloquium Panel that was held today in Andrews Hall.

Every semester the Institute for Ethnic Studies holds panel discussions that focus on topics of interest among students and faculty. Today’s discussion centered on racial slurs in American society. Panel members included associate professors Tom Gannon, James Garza and Kwakiutl L. Dreher. “It allows students to hear from faculty researchers about controversial topics,” Garza said.

The panel discussions have been held for the past six years, usually between staff and students, but occasionally are open to the pubic. Guest speakers are often invited including writers and poets who specialize in certain topics. “We want to bring topics to the forefront that need to have more exposure [for students] in global job markets,” Garza said.

Next semester the program will have a celebration in April and the President of the Lakota Nation has been invited as a guest speaker.

The Toxicity Effect, and why the Huskers will prove us all wrong

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photo courtesy espn.go.com

A special thing happens at Memorial Stadium every home game, whether we win or whether we lose.

Fans fall silent and turn their attention to the giant HuskerVision screen in the North stadium. Players address the fans directly: “What’s up HuskerNation.” The Tunnel Walk begins, and an electric current creates a ripple in the sea of red as head coach Bo Pelini and his team take the field. For that moment, it seems, all doubt, criticism, speculation and uncertainty about this team is gone.

Then, at the first mistake, mess-up, misstep, interception, penalty, fumble, whatever you want to call it, it comes roaring back.

Last night it came roaring back louder than ever. I’m not going to talk about last night. Instead, I’m going to talk about something called toxicity and its effect on the University of Nebraska’s football program.

I’ve been at UNL four years. Before that, I was here for the Callahan era and witnessed the start of a new head coach whose name was on the lips of every Nebraskan man, woman and child. Bo Pelini. He was going to save our beloved football program.

I’m going to argue that he did just that. In 2008, Pelini lead the Huskers to a 9-4 season and beat Clemson in the 2009 Gator Bowl. The next year we played Texas in the 2009 Big 12 Championship game, although we lost, Pelini coached us in the 2009 Holiday Bowl and we beat the Arizona Wildcats 33-0.

Something strange happened in 2010, my first year as an undergrad. We raised our expectations…perhaps unrealistically. The AP poll had us ranked No. 8, a cruel joke it would seem, on Husker fans looking back on that season. The critics emerged. The toxicity began.

The bulk of it was directed towards head coach Bo Pelini and freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez. Both of whom have dedicated their lives to Husker football, yet were unable to live up to the fans expectations that season.

When 2011 rolled around, there was a difference in the faith of our football team. Fans were no longer saying “We’re going to win a championship game.” Instead, small voices began calling for a new head coach and a new quarterback.

Imagine how that must feel as a young QB, putting on protective gear every Saturday to go fight for your team and for your fans, many of whom doubt your success, and your future at Nebraska on the first interception you throw.

Now imagine being a young head coach beloved by fans that turn cynical towards your program and having to defend your team and your players despite maintaining a winning record.

Now imagine having to do it for two more years. The small voices spouting criticism have only grown louder. It has become toxic.

Here is something that I don’t doubt: Bo Pelini loves his players like a family and has gone great lengths to defend them. He has stuck with this program and never had a losing season.

Here is something I will say, because it needs to be said: the Huskers will prove us all wrong this season. When this season is over, the doubters will disappear and HuskerNation will once again have faith in their football team.

I’m not asking you to Bo-lieve me. But the fact is we’ve only lost 1 game this season.

I’m just wondering what it would be like if our fans turned their cynicism into support.

I wonder how it would it feel to the coaching staff, and to the players if, for the rest of the season, we gave them our undivided support for once as they take the field.

Every Saturday they fight for us. Why not start fighting for them?  Maybe we’ll win a championship.

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iPhone rumors

I have a secret. I’m still using the iPhone 4. Actually, I had a 4s for a few weeks before I broke it, then downgraded back to my 4. I barely noticed the difference. The 4s was slightly faster, had a slightly better camera, and had Siri, which barely seemed to work right.

Then there was the 5. I, like many other students I know, are due for an upgrade but couldn’t justify the purchase. Once again, bigger, faster, “Siri,” but why not wait ’till the next one? Apart from looks and speed, I can do almost anything I need on an iPhone 4 that you can do on your iPhone 5.

And why should I buy an iPhone anymore?

The iPhone was the industry standard for a long time. If you were a journalist, it wasn’t a question. The app store was crucial. Everyone in the media had one. You had to have one.

That’s all changed. Android is a cross-platform operating system that has matured into a comparable alternative. Most iPhone apps are now on the Android market, and there are more carriers.

Apple is ready to take its title back. It introduced two new iPhones: the 5c and the 5s.

The 5c is basically a 5 with bright color options and a better camera. The 5s is where the real upgrade takes place.

Here’s one thing the new iPhone will have that makes it a deal-breaker: a fingerprint reader.

Yes, the iPhone 5s will be able to read your fingerprint. This could possibly change the way phone security works forever. A shift in a new direction. This is the kind of change that makes me want to upgrade.

In time, I’m sure we’ll see a lot of changes in the cell phone world with the implications of Apple’s cell phone reader.

Here’s Gizmodo’s coverage:

http://gizmodo.com/apple-iphone-5s-everything-you-need-to-know-1282062460

Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown”

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If there’s one good decision CNN has made, it’s hiring Anthony Bourdain, former host of Travel Channel’s “No Reservations.” Anthony Bourdain, a chef-turned-journalist is a fantastic storyteller. 

The first two episodes of “No Reservations” were very impressive. Bourdain took us to Myanmar and Korea Town in L.A. 

The unique thing about Bourdain is the way he tells a story. Not only is he a great food journalist, but he also has a way with people. He approaches life from all angles. It’s easy to tell the people he’s interviewing are comfortable with him. 

“Parts Unknown” is basically like “No Reservations” but with better equipment and more access. CNN has the rights to content from historical events of the past, which have the potential to make for a high quality show. 

 

Gawker Media

Here’s a website I visit occasionally www.gawker.com

It’s a media collaboration of different blogs that follow different aspects of the news.

 

The Trials and Tribulations of Final Cut Pro X

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When Apple released the new version of Final Cut Pro, dubbed “X” in 2011, two things happened. Video editors everywhere realized the price had been cut down dramatically to a mere $300, so they downloaded it. Then they opened up the program and collectively blew their brains out.

Final Cut Pro 7 was considered, and still is, one of the best Non-Linear Video Editing (NLE) programs, ever. It’s what directors use. It’s what television studios use. It’s what I use. So naturally, Apple decided to change it. The program was completely redesigned, and the price was cut significantly.

Thirty days ago, I downloaded the 30-day free trial, on a whim. Then something unexpected happened. I bought FCP X after those 30 days.

I heard the horror stories. I was discouraged from using it for class. Some called it the “red-headed bastard child” of FCP 7. Other’s called it iMovie on steroids. I call it awesome.

To all the haters: I feel your pain. Apple took your baby from you and gave it a sex change. Now, nothing works right. Some of the coveted features in 7 were nowhere to be found in X. That was in 2011. Since then, several updates have slowly begun adding these features to X.

There’s a few reasons why I bought this program. First, I was using FCP 7 on school computers and wanted to purchase it for myself, but Apple no longer sells it. Also, at only $300, this is the cheapest professional video editing software on the market. It’s actually something I can afford.

The first thing I noticed about FCP X, was how intuitive it is. Yes, the layout is dramatically different from 7, but after playing around with it for 30 days, I didn’t need an instruction manual. Perhaps that’s why this program was snubbed for being “too amatuer” for elite videographers. I agree that Apple needs to incorporate more “professional” features into the program, but at face-value FCP X is an incredible tool.

There is a dilemma though. Nobody wants to touch FCP X with a ten-foot pole. The classes I take, and the job I work for use FCP 7. Instructors only teach FCP 7. The question that I keep screaming in my head: why teach a now obsolete program to young journalists and videographers?

I know the answer…it’s because certain features in FCP 7 haven’t yet been added to X. These are the features that the pro’s need. Slowly, they are being added in updates. This should give hope to the editing community. It means that Apple has the potential to fix this dilemma, and reclaim it’s title as the “industry standard.”

Here’s a video project I did using FCP X.

Bath Salts and Zombies, A History

The U.S. held it’s breath when headlines broke that the man on the left, Rudy Eugene, ate the face off the man on the right, Ronald Poppo, in Miami, Fla. Several other similar incidents have occurred. They all involve a) people on drugs, and b) people going psychotic because of a).  America’s first thought? Zombiesss.

Come on people. Your obsession with The Walking Dead and stockpiling for impeding doom might help boost the economy, but zombies aren’t real. There is no zombie virus. The cause for these gnarly flesh-eating assaults is something much simpler: bath salts. It’s a term that has been thrown around a lot in the news, but not entirely explained. Here’s a rundown.

Not your mother’s bath salts.

For hundreds of years, people have used salts in baths to improve the bathing experience. When salt is added to water, it changes the osmosis so that less water is absorbed through the skin. Also, it can affect the buoyancy of water, making it easier for a person to float. These salts are used in bathhouses and spas and are sold under the name “bath salts,” they are widely available. They are not dangerous and not intended for consumption.

In the past few years, a different group of “bath salts” has emerged. They are not salts intended for bath usage at all, but rather dangerous designer drugs intended to be smoked, snorted or injected. They can be purchased here.

The poor man’s cocaine.

There are three synthetic stimulants prevalent in bath salts that mess you up: methylenedioxypryrovalerone or MDPV, methylone and mephedrone. Although these chemicals are in the amphetamine class, their composition in bath salts may vary.

Bath salts reportedly give users a high similar to that of cocaine or meth. The effects last no more than a few hours. Bath salt usage has exploded in recent years due to its legal grey area and ease of accessibility over the internet.

Bath salts are illegal (sort of).

In October 2011, the DEA placed a ban on the three synthetic stimulants prevalent in bath salts, citing an “imminent threat to public safety.” The ban is effective for at least a year. It is likely that the DEA will forever make bath salts illegal.

Still, bath salts are widely available online.

new iPhone.

Did this yesterday. I broke my iPhone 4s last month; the screen, chassis and backplate. It was a mess. My options were to get a new iPhone ($300 for my 32 gb), or get the parts and replace it myself ($180). I had to order new parts, so I went to iphone4parts.com and ordered a white faceplate LCD ($60), metal chassis ($100) and brushed metal backplate ($20).

It was a very complicated process- it literally took me an entire day. The worst part was the screws. They’re so small you can barely see them, and the only way to unscrew them is by using the world’s smallest screwdriver. There’s like 50 of them. Apart from that, the iPhone is built very well, and the parts are (relatively) easy to replace.

Then I turned it on…And on came a light blueish flickering screen that looked like someone nuked my iPhone in radiation poison. It works, but something is off with the color calibration. They sent me a faulty LCD screen, those bastards. I asked them to send me a replacement.

At least the custom backplate looks sweet.