Archive for September, 2010


We’ve all got our guilty pleasures when it comes to surfing the web.  There is always a “go-to” website you like to go to when you’re bored at work and trying to kill those last couple of hours of the day.  The website varies with your mood and general interests, but we all have a short list of sites we frequent to kill time.  Here are some that you might want to add to your personal favorites.

Wallbase – I recently discovered this site and it currently my site of choice to waste time at.  If you love wallpapers, which I do, you’ll love this site and it will provide you with hours of surfing pleasure.  It has wallpapers for nearly every subject under the sun including some NSFW material that you can easily filter out with a click of the mouse.

Angry Alien – 30 second movie parodies, re-enacted by bunnies.  Need I say more?

Funny or Die – Birthplace of The Landlord and a huge collection of celebrity videos that will have you laughing out loud.  You’ll find hilarious videos from the likes of Will Farrell, Jack Black, Zach Galifianakis and many others.

Sci-Fi Meshes – This is a great place to find meshes of sci-fi spacecraft and the like.  It’s also nice to just look around at all the amazing work people post.


Ctl+Alt+Del – A hilarious online comic written and drawn by Tim Buckley.  Enjoy reading through the archived list of past comics.

Arcade Museum – Take a trip down memory lane and explore arcade games of yesteryear.  They have a growing library of over 18,000 classic arcade games.

Movie Wavs – This site hasn’t been updated in quite some time, but you can search through hundreds of wavs from movies that are free to download.

Stylin’ Online – One of the best sites out there for pop culture and music t-shirts.

Trek Core – This is a huge repository of everything Trek.  If you’re a Trekkie and you didn’t know about this site already…you’re welcome.  Let the nerdgasm commence.

Deviant Art – Don’t let the name mislead you, this is a great place for wallpapers and to look through professional and amateur artwork of every kind.  Join the community and share your work.

Chuck Norris Facts – I bet you don’t know as much about Chuck as you think you do.

Lifehacker – Whether you’re an uber-nerd or just someone looking for little shortcuts in life, Lifehacker is for you.

Okay so that should help keep you busy for a little while.  I’d like to hear what your favorite time wasting websites are, please leave me your comments.

There hasn’t been a really good Superman movie since Superman II way back in 1980.  No one has touched the performance of Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel.  But even the first two movies lacked something that would make it true to what fans want to see.

When it was announced that Christopher Nolan would be taking over the new Superman reboot, I was extremely excited.  After what he did for the Batman franchise, I am hopeful he will bring that something magical to Superman.  The previous Superman movies were a little bit of drama mixed in with special effects and sprinkled with ridiculous humor (Richard Pryor in Superman III).

The key villain throughout the series has been Lex Luthor but not the Lex fans are use to seeing from the comics.  Played brilliantly by Gene Hackman then by Kevin Spacey in Superman Returns, the character to me was always a bit of a joke.  He was the kind of villain to fell ass-backward into his schemes and plots and was never really much of a threat to Superman.  That’s not how the “real” Luthor is.  He’s a ruthless, power hungry, obsessed, plotting genius who wants nothing more than to see Superman lying dead at his feet.  That’s the kind of villain fans want to see take on Superman.  Better yet, how about a fresh approach?  There is an entire universe of rouges lined up to take him on; Doomsday for one.  Tell me you wouldn’t want to see him and Superman slug it out toe to toe while in the process reducing Metropolis to rubble.

That’s not to say that Superman is all brawn and no brains, but the villain should stretch him to his limits and make themselves a genuine threat and a force to be reckoned with.  There are plenty of bad guys to choose from, Darkseid, Metallo, Cyborg Superman or Bizarro, so don’t get pigeon holed into Lex as the resident baddie. Unless they are willing to go beyond the comical nature of the past Luthor incarnations, then a new villain needs to be chosen.  Being one of the most recognized and popular superheroes, why can’t they stay true to the character and make a good movie?

Then there comes the subject of who to get to play the Man of Steel.  In my opinion as good as Christopher Reeve was in the role, he lacked something…muscles.  I’m sorry, Superman I am use to and picture in my mind is muscular and looks like he could perform the feats we’re use to seeing, more so than Reeves or Brandon Routh.  The only actor to come close to the look was Dean Cain in Lois and Clark but he always looked more like Superboy than Superman.  There’s Tom Welling of Smallville who looks good in the part, but still has too much of a boyish appearance.  All things being equal I would like to see Welling put on the blue and red and see him on the big screen; to me it would only be fitting since he’s played the Clark Kent character over the past ten years.

With Nolan supervising the production of this new movie and rumors already starting to fly about possible directors, it would not be fair to see another The Dark Knight type film with Superman taking the place of Batman.  But it should be darker than any of the previous films, darker, more action, more substance.  That is something all of them have lacked.  The first 1979 movie was packed with A-list stars that made it credible but lacked the substance, even for that time.  As in all first of the series movies, you have to tell a back story, the origins of the character.  But after all this time, everyone knows the back story of Superman; let’s get down to the action.  Even a retelling of the death of Superman would be a welcomed approach.  Then leave it open for sequels and spin offs or maybe even a Superman/Batman or Justice League movie.

So what would I like to see in a Superman movie?  That’s simple; heart and soul.  Whoever ends up directing this new movie, rumor to be titled Superman – The Man of Steel; needs to bring with it the same heart and passion that directors like Nolan did for Batman and John Favreau did for Iron Man.  What makes these types of movies successful is how they are reacted to by the fans.  If you don’t have the fans, you’ve just got another run of the mill genre movie.  Will lightening ever strike twice as it did for Nolan’s The Dark Knight?  Who’s to say, but I think it will happen eventually, but will it with the first outing of a new Superman is any one’s guess.

So what would you like to see in this new Superman movie?  Let me hear your comments.

My Favorite Apps for MP3s – Part 2

If you’ve read part one of my series on MP3 apps, then you’ve hopefully chosen a player already and are ready to move on to the more advanced stuff.  In this segment I am going to talk about codecs and codec packs.  There are basically two kinds of codecs, audio and video; and even though codecs aren’t apps or even necessary for MP3 playback, I feel it’s important to talk about them in this series.

A codec according to Wikipedia is:

A codec is a device or computer program capable of encoding and/or decoding a digital data stream or signal. The word codec is a portmanteau of ‘compressor-decompressor’ or, more commonly, ‘coder-decoder’. A codec (the program) should not be confused with a coding or compression format or standard – a format is a document (the standard), a way of storing data, while a codec is a program (an implementation) which can read or write such files. In practice “codec” is sometimes used loosely to refer to formats, however.

So now that you know what a codec is, we can begin talking about how to use them.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to codecs.  You can either download and install them as you need them; which can be a very time consuming process.  Or you can download and install a codec pack.  Codec packs usually have the most commonly used and popular codecs included and are all installed together.  A good quality codec pack will cover all your bases and will usually enable you to view and listen to just about anything that’s out there.

So why do you need a codec pack?  Have you ever gotten an error message when trying to view a video or movie file that says you’re missing the required codec?  Windows Media Player is notorious for this and when it offers to download the codec for you, it fails.  Having a codec pack will eliminate this problem and you’ll have trouble free viewing of nearly any video you’ll find.

Now where can you get these magical codec packs?  That’s an easy one.  The best website I’ve come across to download all the latest codecs and packs is Free-Codecs.  They have a great selection of the latest audio and video codecs as well as the popular packs and tools.

At this point you’re probably asking, “Which pack should I use?”  There are some good ones out there.  Some are specialized for particular operating systems, others are more generalized.  You can even find some that are geared for certain media players like WinAmp.  You want to make sure that whatever pack you choose is compatible with your OS or you can end up causing havoc in your PC.  There are a few packs that I would recommend that are well suited for anyone.

Ace Mega Codec Pack 6.03 – This pack has practically everything you will ever need when it comes to codecs as well as some pretty useful tools for content creation.  It works well with Windows XP but can be a little confusing during the install process.  The biggest downfall of this pack is that it has not been updated since December 2004.  It may not work fully with Windows 7 and there have been numerous updates to the codecs included with it since the last update.

XP Codec Pack 2.5.1 – It’s specialized for Windows XP and relies on using Windows Media Player Classic as just one consolidated player for all formats.  It is updated fairly regularly, it’s small and seems to have a solid support base.  You can read more about it at their website here.

Codec 8.3q – This pack boasts that it’s user friendly and powerful.  At only a little under 5MB it contains a few of the essential codecs, but in my opinion lacks many that are widely used today.  This will probably help you in a pinch, but there are other packs that are more complete.

Cole2k Media Codec Pack 7.9.1 – Although it is stocked with nearly every codec you will ever, ever need, this pack comes with a warning.  It has been known to contain spyware that tracks your internet surfing habits.  Use it at your own risk and at the very least scan your PC for spyware after you’ve installed it.  It has a standard and an advanced version as well as a 64-bit version.

Combined Community Codec Pack (CCCP) – This recently updated pack has your essential codecs, but is missing some of the more popular alternatives that you’ll see in other packs.  That doesn’t take away from it’s usefulness, but you might need more than this pack offers.

K-Lite Mega Codec Pack – I will tell you that I am very biased about this pack, mainly because it is the one I use and the most familiar with.  It comes packed with every thing you could need including players and tools.  It has Real Player and Quicktime alternatives and has multiple install options if you’re only interested in installing just the codecs themselves.  It has a lighter and a 64-bit version and it’s updated frequently so you can be sure you’re always up to date.

Vista Codec Package – This is a pack set up for users of Windows Vista.  I don’t have much info on this and have never used it.  It does come bundled with the Bing toolbar, so if you install this one, be careful.  It comes with the essentials, but if you ask me, there are better options.  But it is known to work well with Windows Vista.

Winamp Essentials Pack – For those of you who use Winamp, this is a must have.  It is compiled by actual Winamp staff and contributors but is not an official Nullsoft release.  This pack enhances the already feature rich functionality of Winamp.  It is also frequently updated and supported.

Windows Essential Codec Pack – This contains a pretty complete list of all the popular codecs and is geared to work with Windows Media Player.  It is also updated regularly but lacks some of the tools included in other packs.

One thing that is very important to remember.  These packs should be installed individually and not all together.  You really shouldn’t have more than one codec pack installed at a time.  If you want to try out the options I’ve listed, make sure you uninstall one before installing another.  The only exception is the Winamp Essentials Pack that will only affect Winamp functions.

That should get you started on selecting a codec pack that is best suited for you.  I hope you found this useful and helps get you on your way to having your PC configured like a real power user.  Coming up in part three of this series I will talk about ripping tools and other apps used to create and enhance MP3s.

Have you ever had one of those weeks that seems to last forever?  I’m having one of those weeks; but the good news is that Friday is just around the corner.  However today is Thursday and you know what that means…another edition of The Word.  There are a bunch of great links this week.  But first I’ve got some big news, Word of the Nerd is has it’s own domain!  You will soon be able to find The Word at http://www.wordofthenerdonline.com, keep checking back for updates.  Please don’t forget to vote in the poll on the left, the results will be posted next week.

So I wanted to start of this weeks link with something funny but true.  If you’ve ever helped or stood by while someone less computer literate that you tries to do something on their PC, then you will certainly identify with this link.  Check it out here courtesy of Geeks Are Sexy.

If there is one thing nerds love more than a good sci-fi television show, it’s a hot girl on a sci-fi television show.  Summer Glau would have to be at the top of the list to be crowned Queen of the Nerds.  Here is a list of Summer’s work and some lovely pics of her to boot brought to you by blastr.

The world cannot afford another bad reimagined Godzilla film, but there could be one in the works.  Giving it the Christopher Nolan treatment might be the trick this go around, but the proof will be seen on the big screen.  Read more about it and catch a link to the full interview here.

Are you one of the many who were left with questions after the final episode of Battlestar Galactica?  Well you’re in luck because William Adama himself James Edward Olmos is working on a graphic novel that will depict what happened to Adama after the serial finale.  I for one want to find out what the hell was up with Starbuck just disappearing out of the blue.  Come on Ron Moore, tell us!!!  Check out the story here via SciFiPulse

In more movie news, we were treated to a glimps of concept art for the live action film version of Voltron: Defender of the Universe.  For those not familiar with Voltron, it was a Japanese cartoon dubbed (badly) into English and aired in the US in the mid 80s.  Four young men and one very pretentious princess pilot robotic lions into battle against evil robot monsters.  When the plot saw fit or when they were getting their collective butts kicked, the five lions merged into one huge robot called Voltron.  The story itself was a pretty good notion, but the show as a whole was rather silly and ridiculous.  Hopefully a live action translation will be better than the original.  Read the full story here.

Another poorly dubbed Japanese cartoon is also getting a big screen adaptation.  Star Blazers (as it was called in the US) or Space Battleship Yamato has been made into a big budget film due for release on December 1 of this year in Japan.  There is no word whether it will be released in the US.  There have been a few trailers so far and I have to say that it looks like this movie is going to kick ass.  Check out the latest trailer here.

Edward Norton talked to MTV News about his sudden departure from the Hulk/Avengers movie franchises.  Norton puts aside Marvel’s statement that they wanted a more team oriented actor for the role.  He went on to say it was simply a business decision and that he has no ill will toward Marvel or Mark Ruffalo, the actor chosen to replace him.  This is the second time Marvel has replaced a key actor in one of its franchises; the first being Terrance Howard replaced by Don Cheadle in the Iron Man series.  You can read more about it and see a video interview with Norton here.

Switching gears from movies to television, fans of the Big Bang Theory will be a little disappointed to hear that actress Kaley Cuoco who plays Penny will miss a few episodes this season due to a broken leg she suffered while horseback riding.  The show will be on hiatus an extra week while writers try to figure out how to explain Cuoco’s absence.  Read more about it here.

G.I. Joe meets The A-Team.  That’s how the new animated series G.I. Joe Renegades is being described.  Fans at this year’s San Diego Comic Con were treated to a preview of the new series.  I’m not totally sold on the idea, but I will give it a shot and see how it goes.  G.I. Joe Renegades will be one of several original shows for the new The Hub network that will replace Discovery Kids.  You can read more about the show, see some images and catch the bootleg footage shown at Comic Con here.

Sci-fi shows on television have always had a rocky past as they’ve had to struggle to find audiences and fight for ratings.  There have been some success stories, but there is a long list of great sci-fi shows that didn’t survive and were canceled before their time.  Courtesy of blastr, here is a list of some you might remember or were even a fan of.  Click here to see the list.

Actors Sally Kellerman and Gary Lockwood recall their experiences filming the episode for the second pilot of  the original Star Trek series.  In the episode Where No Man Has Gone Before, Kellerman played Dr. Elizabeth Dehner and Lockwood played Lt. Commander Gary Mitchell.  Read the full article courtesy of TrekToday.

Considering buying an iPad?  There are some alternatives out there that just might give Apple’s device a run for its money.  Maximum PC breaks each of them down and gives you the skinny.  Check it out here.

Nokia created only 14 prototypes of a cell phone that resembles a classic Star Trek communicator.  The phones never got put into production, but one of the 14 prototypes showed up on Ebay recently.  Check out the article and a video demo here.

 

Here is a more obtainable Star Trek gadget via Geeks Are Sexy.  Check out the Trek Pizza Cutter.

This weeks How To Corner has many great links to help you get things done, increase productivity and enhance your life.
     1.  Use a Binder Clip to Maintain Your Knife Sharpening Edge
     2.  How to Create a Completely Customized  Taskbar in Windows 7
     3.  Make Ubuntu Sleep Instead of Hibernate When Idle
     4.  Replace a Dead iPod Hard Drive with a Compact Flash Card
     5.  How to Upgrade to the Latest iPhone for Free
     6.  Establishing Boundaries Between Word and Play
     7.  Things We Say Wrong
     8.  Hourly Desk Stretches Relax Your Brain and Body
     9.  Do you play and think about violent video games?

Ever wanted to fake your death and disappear?  In this short video, a man who specializes in just that gives you some tips if you’re looking to go off the grid.  Check it out here.

Looking for an alternative to Internet Explorer?  Don’t know which browser to choose?  Check out this article via Lifehacker to help you decide.

In this report from The Register, Microsoft explains that the new Internet Explorer 9 will not work with Windows XP.  Those of you who want to upgrade to Microsoft’s new browser will have to upgrade their OS to either Vista or Windows 7.  Read the full article here.

Zone Alarm is under fire for using scare tactics in an attempt to get users to upgrade to the paid version of their famous firewall/security software.  The article via The Register gives further info, click here.

A report by the market research firm The NPD is claiming that digital sales of PC games have surpassed boxed sales.  Check out the full Maximum PC article here.

King of Kong, Steve Wiebe has regained his title and the world record for the highest score at the 80s arcade game Donkey Kong.  G4TV.com has all the details and a video of the event here.

Ever wonder about the science behind packing materials?  Maximum PC offers this great article that answers everything you wanted to know.

You’ve probably heard it in dozens or more movies.  It’s called the ‘Wilhelm Scream’ and blastr has a great mash up video and the history behind it.  Check it out here.

Companies come and go; but only a few leave a lasting impression to signify how they changed the shape of things.  Courtesy of Maximum PC, a list of 21 Tech Companies that Changed The Word…Before They Died.  Check them out here.

I wish they had LEGO sets like this when I was a kid.  Who am I kidding, I wish I could get them now.  Star Trek, BSG, Serenity and other sci-fi tech done in LEGO.  Check them out here.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to wear the costumes of your favorite movie superheroes?  According to the actors who wore those costumes, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.  Check out the full article here.

This graphic explains how George Lucas made his $15 billion dollar fortune from the Star Wars saga.  Can you say merchandising?  Check out the full sized image here.

Pic Of The Week

See it full sized here.

This might have been the longest list of links I’ve posted to date.  I hope you’ve found them interesting or helpful.  I enjoyed bringing The Word to you and I will be back next week.  Don’t forget to vote in the Baddest of the Bad poll then come back next week to see the results.

The Nerd says, “I took my sister to the prom”.

Comics and cartoons have been always been graced with a vast selection of great villains.  Some of them range from the comically benign to the fiendishly evil.  So who is the best or worse villain out there?  The Nerd is going to give you a list of candidates and then you can decided.  Here they are in no particular order.

Megatron (Transformers)

Joker (Batman)

Cobra Commander (G.I. Joe)

  

Doctor Doom (Fantastic Four)

Sinestro (Green Lantern)

Mumm-Ra (Thundercats)

Darkseid (Superman)

Skeletor (Masters of the Universe)

Green Goblin (Spider-Man)

Lex Luthor (Superman)

Gargamel (Smurfs)

Shredder (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

Bane (Batman)

Venom (Spider-Man)

Doomsday (Superman)

Which one of these heavies is the baddest of the bad?  Vote in the poll on the left and I will post the results in next week’s Word.

Review – Easy A

As cute, feel good, teen angst movies go, I have to say that Easy A is one of the better ones I’ve seen in a while.  I think the reason I liked it so well was due to the great performance of Emma Stone.  I love Emma Stone in just about everything I’ve seen her in.  She brings a smart, funny and sarcastic approach to her role as Olive, a nearly invisible high school girl who accidentally gets a rumor started that she lost her virginity to an older guy.  The rumor spreads and soon she not only revels in her new found notarity, she adds to it by adding on it by helping a closeted gay schoolmate solidify a role of a straight stud in order to escape the ridicule of classmates.  But fame has a price, good and bad and soon Olive begins to regret her role as the tramp of the town.

This movie has a wonderful cast of extremely talented actors that show up to give good performances, most notablity Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as Olive’s parents.  Stanley Tucci was wacky and hilarious and stole every scene he was in.  Thomas Haden Church although without a lot of screen time, did a great job as a English teacher who helps Olive with her moral compass while undergoing his own personal issues.  Lisa Kudrow plays a less than likeable guidance counselor that is a far take from her usual roles.  Amanda Bynes plays the goodie goodie religious fanatic as if she was born to it.  And rounding out the cast is Malcolm McDowell as the stern and barely seen principle.

Not to steal too much from the movie itself which mentions John Hughes classic movies in comparison, this film does Hughes’ work justice, but lacks the dramatic feel.  But that does not hurt this film at all given the potentially racy subject matter.  If you’re looking for an American Pie remake with raunchy humor and lots of nudity then you’re out of luck.  Easy A is a good popcorn date movie that leaves you feeling good when you walk out and should give the guys some bonus points with their ladies.    

Once again the bright point of Easy A is Emma Stone.  She’s cute, witty and perfect for this part and it should go a long way to earning her a place in Hollywood as an outstanding up and coming young actress.  Easy A is smart, sexy and fun.  The Nerd gives it a 4 out of 5. 

Boy oh boy has it been a helluva week.  The start of the new NFL season, gas main explosions and probably the most important the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.  Since I don’t want to dwell on all the sad and negative stuff for too long, let’s get to The Word for this week.  I’ve got a long list of great links for you, so here we go.
I cannot believe I left this out of last week’s Word, but I got into such a hurry to get it finished and posted I let this one slip past me.  I should have my nerd status taken away, but I think the little geek mafia may give me a pass on it this time.  September 8 marked the 44th birthday of Star Trek.  Yes my friends, 44 years ago last week the episode The Man Trap premiered in the 8:30 time slot on NBC.  It’s amazing, a show that originally started in 1966 is still going strong today.  As a life long fan of Star Trek, I’d like to thank the late Gene Roddenberry for sharing his vision with us.
The first images of January Jones as Emma Frost in the new X-Men: First Class have hit the Internet.  The Mad Men star is joining James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Till, Edi Gathegi, Oliver Platt and Kevin Bacon.  X-Men: First Class is slated for release on June 3, 2011.  Check out the full set of images here.
New images from the set of Captain America: The First Avenger have also surfaced on the Internet.  Courtesy of The Daily Mail, the images show a stunt double riding on Cap’s motorcycle.  Check out all of the images here.
From the set of Transformers 3, director Michael Bay clears up rumors that the film is not being shot in 3D.  Bay wrote on his site, “Who is this moron posting about what I’m shooting with??? People have no idea how hard we have worked to bring 3D filming into live action shooting. We have invented rigs and systems to place 3d cameras like no other live action movie has done before. The proof will be noticed on the final product.”  The third installment in the Transformers series is slated for release on July 1, 2011. 
Get a preview of all the returning and new Sci-Fi shows coming this season via this update from blastr.  I’ve seen the first episode of Nikita and loved it and I am looking forward to the return of Big Bang Theory.  Check out the complete guide here.

Again from blastr, 10 of the best science fiction TV episodes that ever aired.  How The Best of Both Worlds from Star Trek The Next Generation didn’t make the list is beyond me.  Yes I know it was a two part episode but it is also on the list as the most popular TNG episode as voted on by fans.  Check out the list here.
Oh how I hate a cheater, in multiplayer online games even more so.  What’s the fun or the challenge of cheating?  Sure you win every single time, but are you that shallow a person that you have to resort to cheating in order to feel superior or even equal to other players?  Now Blizzard has the right idea; they catch you cheating at StarCraft II and you are banned permanently from multiplayer and single player content.  Take that hackers!  Read more about it here and please leave me your opinion on the matter in the comments section at the end of this blog.

Cats, to collar or not to collar?  It may not be as dangerous as you think.  Fellow cat lovers and owners should definitely read this.  Check out this very informative article courtesy of Lifehacker.  That’s really my cat Puck…isn’t he awesome?

This next one will leave you wanting to burn your mattress.  Students at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC were asked to move out of their dorm rooms due to an infestation of bedbugs.  I wonder if that was included in the price of tuition?  You can ready the full story here.
You can file this next story under “not very likely”.  Shaquille O’Neil is being sued for computer hacking.  Yes, you read that right, Shaq is an alleged computer hacker.  I highly doubt any of the allegations are true because I don’t think Shaq even knows what a computer is and if he did, he couldn’t use the keyboard because of his inhumanly sized hands.  Hopefully the plaintiff’s case isn’t built on Shaq’s ability to spell computer.  Read the full story here.
This next link is either too funny to laugh at or too stupid to even believe, but this is an actual trailer to an actual book that was written, published and released last month.  Take a look at Night of the Living Trekkies here.
Now this just tears my childhood memories apart and is actually kind of sad.  Billie Mae Richards, the actress who provided the voice of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer passed away Friday, she was 88.  Anyone born after 1965 should remember watching it at Christmas time and if you didn’t, you have no soul.  Read the full story here.
On a much lighter note, scientists in Australia have created a working tractor beam.  At last my dreams of sitting in the center seat on the bridge of a starship are closer to reality.  Now just remember, you never leave spacedock without a tractor beam.  Read the full story here.
That segways beautifully into this next story.  Boeing plans to offer space tourism flights as soon as 2015.  I’m sorry, but until they create a transportation device that won’t accidentally mutate me into a human/fly hybrid, I will keep my feet firmly on the ground and stay out of space and strange looking telepods.  But if you have a few extra million dollars laying around, you can read about it here.
Now only the really hardcore comic book nerds should remember Atlas Comics, but if you don’t it was around for like two seconds in the mid-70s.  Marvel founder Martin Goodman sold the company in 1968 only to form Atlas Comics in 1974 with the sole goal to take down Marvel.  Needless to say it didn’t work and lasted barely a year before folding in June of 1975.  Well Marvel’s arch nemesis is getting ready to relaunch and classic titles like Phoenix and The Grim Ghost will be available once again.  You can read more about it  here courtesy of G4.com.

Watchmen creator Alan Moore said in a recent interview that comics have been in decline since the 1986 release of his graphic novel.  I don’t know what self-righteous hole his dipstick just crawled out of but as good as it was, that was 25 years ago and in my ever so humble opinion they have only gotten better.  Watchmen redefined how comics were made and perceived, but Watchmen was far from the pinnacle.  You can read the full interview here.

In this week’s How To Corner you’ll see how you can keep up with working from multiple devices and how to monitor your PC hardware.

     1.  How to Keep Your Workflow in Sync Across Computers
     2.  How to Keep an Eye on Your Hardware with HWMonitor

For the gamers, a report from Maximum PC on SSDs linked to gaming performance.  I for one never had any doubt that the numbers would support such a theory, but are SSDs stable and proven enough to be long term solutions?  Check out the full article here and decided for yourself.

I love photo manipulations and over at Rabbitooth there are dozens of great Star Trek manipulations for your enjoyment.  Some of my personal favorites are the steampunk TOS crew that can be found here.

LEGO + DC Superheroes = AWESOME.  Check them out here.

Photo Of The Week

Iron Man.  See if full size here.

And that is The Word for this week.  I’d like to thank everyone for reading and leaving me your great comments, keep them coming because I love to hear from you.  If you have anything you want to see posted on The Word, send me an email with the info and I will be happy to check it out.  Have a great weekend everyone.

The Nerd says, “If Doctor Doom’s picture was on a bottle of wine, I’d buy it”.

I recently had the fortunate opportunity to see the new offering from DC in their series of animated movies; Superman & Batman: Apocalypse.  I’ve been looking forward to this movie for a while now since the release of Batman: Under The Red Hood.  Producer Bruce Timm and director Lauren Montgomery have outdone themselves this go around and have brought one of the best animated movies in the DC Universe to date.  Andrea Romano does another brilliant job as voice director for the film; backed up by a great cast makes this a can’t miss for fans.  After watching, I was excited to write this review and will warn you now that it contains a few spoilers.

The story begins shortly after the events in Superman & Batman: Public Enemies, with the impeachment of President Luthor and the destruction of the giant Kryptonite asteroid.  Unknown to anyone, the destruction of the asteroid has uncovered another unexpected secret as a piece of the asteroid crashes into Gotham Bay.  Upon investigating the situation, Batman discovers an alien spacecraft and a young girl fleeing the crash site.  After a brief chase and fight with police, the strange girl is captured and taken to the Batcave for examination.  Superman realizes that she is a Kryptonian like himself and she reveals that she is his cousin Kara Zor-El.  He takes Kara to the Fortress of Solitude where she is to be kept in isolation until she can learn to use her powers.  Not everyone is happy about Kara’s arrival; Batman senses that something is wrong and doesn’t trust her motives.

With gaps in her memory, Batman is cautious and warns Superman that she might be dangerous and could possibly be even more powerful than the Man of Steel.  Superman, ever the trusting soul gives young Kara a brief taste of what life is like on Earth.  Sensing that Kara is a potential threat Wonder Woman demands that Superman send her to Paradise Island where she will be taught to control her powers.  Among Diana and the amazons, Kara is able to fit in and taught to protect herself.  But unknown to everyone, an evil plot is taking shape on Apokolips.  Darkseid wants Kara and her powers for his own use and sends an army to Earth to bring her back to Apokolips.  An epic battle begins between the trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman against the unprecedented evil and manipulative mind of Darkseid.

 
Voice casting in the movie brings together a great assortment of talent to breathe life into these larger than life characters.  With Ed Asner as Granny Goodness, Andre Braugher as Darkseid and the beautiful Summer Glau as Kara/Supergirl, the cast also includes Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman who also voiced the character in the Justice League animated series.  But most importantly the voices of Superman and Batman are once again performed by the only two actors that could be considered and brought the characters to life in their respective animated series.  Tim Daly plays the Man of Steel once again as he did so superbly in Superman: The Animated Series and Kevin Conroy the fan favorite as the only voice there could be for Batman.

 

The animation done in the style of the Superman/Batman series of comics and graphic novel drawn by Michael Turner and written by Jeph Loeb is probably the best to date of the nine movies in the series.  A talented and well chosen cast along with excellent writing makes this a delight to the hardcore DC fan.  I was a little disappointed that Darkseid wasn’t voiced by Michael Ironside who portrayed him in the Justice League animated series, but Andre Braugher’s performance is refreshing and surprised me by taking the Lord of Apokolips to an all new and twistedly evil level.  The story full of surprise cameos and plot twists holds your attention right up to a shocking ending.  It left me sad the ride was over and wanting for more.  I can only hope that Bruce Timm and his team are planning a sequel or at least a continuation in the near future.

There is a mix of drama and humor that grounds the characters helping make them seem more real than their outwardly animated appearances.  Kara referring to Batman as “grumpy ass” and Clark’s defense of him was one of the best examples of the character interaction in the film.  It shows the mutual respect that Bruce and Clark have for each other in spite of having numerous differences of opinions and methods of getting things done.  I’m so looking forward to seeing what DC has in store for us with their next project.

If you enjoyed Batman: Under the Red Hood or the previous Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths you will love this latest installment and it’s a virtual must-see/must-have for fans and collectors alike.  Superman & Batman: Apocalypse is rated PG-13 and might be a little rough for younger kids due to some pretty violent fight scenes and some language.  You can pick up a copy on Blu-Ray, DVD or download on September 28.

I am starting a new feature here on Word of the Nerd.  I will feature a new stand-up comedian that if you hadn’t already heard of, you should check out their work.  Yes, because I talk about them here, it means they’re awesome.  Seriously, I love stand-up comedy and this is a way I can bring my love of it to others.
The honor of being the first featured comedian will be Patton Oswalt.  Patton spend nine seasons on the CBS comedy The King of Queens playing Spence Olchin.  But he is also a very funny and very talented comedian and has done writing and voice work for literally dozens of projects.  I could go on and give you a bio full of tidbits on where he was born and where he went to school; but you can get all that from Wikipedia and never know why he’s funny or why you should listen to his stand-up.
After seeing him appear on The King of Queens, I was pleasantly surprised to find he also did stand up comedy and went looking for some of his material.  What I found wasn’t all that surprising, but I found his style of comedy fresh and extremely funny.  Patton draws on his own life experiences and blends them beautifully into his routine.  The mix of political satyr and sheer lunacy makes him almost heartwarming.  Patton is edgy to say the least and his total disdain for the establishment probably would turn him off to most people.  Being a huge fan of alternative comedy, I found him extremely funny.
Now I will warn you now, he isn’t suitable for the kids and can sometimes be down right shocking, which is one of the things I love about him.  To say things because they are funny, shocking or not, with little regard for what people might think is something that modern comedy is lacking.  There are a few comics out there that excel that this style of comedy, but I think because of that are robbed of the mass appeal that other comics enjoy.  Along with Brian Posehn, Maria Bamford, and Zach Galifinakis can be grouped into the “thinking man’s comics”.  In fact, you can catch Patton and the comics previously listed in a documentary titled The Comedians of Comedy that I highly recommend to anyone interested in alternative comedy.  Then you should pick up or download Patton’s first album Feelin’ Kinda Patton.

If you didn’t already know, there is a Green Lantern movie in production starring Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.  I’ve always been a Green Lantern fan and have waited a long time to see him on the big screen.
For those of you who are not familiar with Green Lantern here is a brief history.
On a planet called Oa, there is a race of blue skinned beings known as The Guardians of the Universe.  They watch over the Universe and protect it from evil.  To help keep the Universe safe, The Guardians empowered other beings with special abilities.  Those deemed worthy were chosen to be Green Lanterns.  Their power derives from rings created by The Guardians and are powered by a unique power source on Oa.  Each of the 3600 sectors of the Universe is patrolled by a Green Lantern.  There have been five Green Lanterns from the planet Earth.  They are listed worst to best.
At the bottom of the list of Green Lanterns has to be Guy Gardner.  From the weird haircut to his childish antics, Guy is the worst Green Lantern there could ever be.  Yes he took over for Hal Jordan when his ring was damaged but so what?  He was always unstable mentally to me and was never worthy enough to wield a power ring.  Guy had a hard life growing up, which may have led to him being chose by The Guardians.  The fact that Guy and Batman literally despised each other was another factor.  Yeah, I get why you could dislike Batman, but you had to respect the guy.  Guy Gardner did nothing but cause trouble within the Justice League and at one point found himself flat on his back after Batman had enough and knocked him out.  He’s cocky, arrogant and blindly stupid; just an oaf with a power ring.  Gardner’s only redeeming quality; his costume is pretty cool.
First Appearance: Green Lantern (vol. 2) #59 March 1968
 
 
Next up is the actual “original” Green Lantern, Alan Scott.  His appearance in comics dates all the way back to July, 1940 which makes him royalty in the comic world.  Alan wasn’t chosen by The Guardians to become a Green Lantern; instead he forged his own power ring and became a costumed hero.  Alan Scott was one of the founding members of The Justice Society, the precursor of The Justice League.  Never having been a Justice Society fan, I admit that I do not know much about Alan and for that reason alone he’s toward the bottom of the list.  All things being equal, I like him more than Guy Gardner.  His costume is kind of cheesy and he wasn’t a chosen Green Lantern; but being the first gives him enough street cred to be worthy of the name.
First Appearance: All-American Comics #16 July 1940
 
The next two Lanterns were a toss up and I could have listed them as being equal on the list, but after thinking about it for a while, one gave up a little advantage over the other.  Kyle Rayner is number three on the list.  Kyle is unique among the ranks of the Lantern Corps; for a while he was the only Lantern alive.  After the Corps and most of the Guardians were destroyed, Kyle was chosen to be the last and only Green Lantern to exist.  This didn’t last long because he was instrumental in rebuilding the Corps and saving the Universe.  Kyle was just an “average Joe” given an extraordinary opportunity.  I’ve always liked him and he’s become a valued member of both the Justice League and the Green Lantern Corps.
First Appearance: Green Lantern (vol. 3) #48 January 1994
First runner up on my list of the best Green Lantern is John Stewart, not the talk show host.  John Stewart is an ex-Marine who has become one of the greatest Lanterns in the Universe.  When Kyle Rayner set to rebuild the Lantern Corps, Stewart was the first to claim a ring.  For a while he was even given the singular distinction of being a human Guardian and married a fellow Lantern.  There has been a lot of death and pain in John’s life, more than any one man could stand.  But through it all John has maintained himself proving time and time again what it means to be a Green Lantern.  What I like most about John Stewart is that Samuel L. Jackson could play him flawlessly in a movie.
First Appearance: Green Lantern (vol. 2) #87 December 1971
Of the five Green Lanterns from Earth, the most well known and most legendary would be Hal Jordan.  In my mind he was the original Green Lantern and the only one truly worthy enough to carry the name.  Hal has had a rough time in his tenure as a Green Lantern and for a while was a villain.  As the entity known as Parallax, he destroyed the entire Green Lantern Corps.  Later he would give his life to save the Earth and the Corps.  It was a sad day for me  when Hal died because he’s always been my favorite Lantern.  But no one ever stays dead for long in comic books and Jordan found himself again wielding a power ring fighting against the Sinestro Corps and the Blackest Night along side his fellow Corps members protecting sector 2814. So number one on the list of the best Green Lanterns is Hal Jordan.

First Appearance: Showcase #22 October 1959