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Comment Re:Twilight zone radio (Score 1) 104

ortholattice wrote:

A good number of the TV shows have been rewritten and re-acted for audio only. I believe it's a syndicated radio show in some areas, but we bought the CDs. My son enjoyed these in his early teens, and we often listened to them with the lights off when he went to bed. As a result I've collected all 13(?) volumes (10 stories/volume). (twilightzoneradio.com if it interests you.)

I agree with you that the Twilight Zone Radio Dramas are excellent. One of the best things about them is that they take the original episodes and enhance them (possible since they are longer than 30 minutes and have no commercial breaks).

One of my favorite stories, The Obsolete Man, features additional scenes where we get to know the lead characters better, learn more about the brutal nature of this future society and how it came to power. Vocally, Jason Alexander does as good a job as Burgess Meredith did in the original episode.

Comment Re:Imitation shows (Score 1) 104

tedgyz wrote:

The Twilight Zone spawned a lot of great imitators in the 80's and 90's. My favorite was Friday the 13th. They carried the torch for presenting bizarre concepts that stretched your mind. My favorite was a woman from our modern times that gets drawn back in time to the Puritan era. When she lights up a cigarette with a BIC lighter they say she is a witch - "She make fire without flint nor tinder." Great show.

One of my favorites of the Twilight-Zone (TZ) type shows is "Freddy's Nightmares," especially the first season shows. Although they tended to fall into the horror genre, they also had a nice touch of humor at times.

One common feature of the later TZ type shows is that they usually had a frame in which the stories would be fit (and would often drive the story forward. With "Friday The 13th The Series" the search for cursed objects provided the frame for the stories. With "Freddy's Nightmares" the first story would often dovetail neatly into the second story (often a character from the first story would be the focus of the second story). Although the stories did often feature a moral, the main character usually wasn't around to learn it.

This wasn't just limited to the TZ. "The Love Boat" was basically "Love, American Style" on a boat, with the crew and boat providing the frame for stories. Also, like the TZ, "Love, American Style" also had a 1980s revival although it was only on for a short time.

As far as my favorite TZ episodes, I think it is "The Obsolete Man. Although it doesn't get the attention of "Time Enough At Last" it too features terrific performance by Burgess Meredith.

Comment Re:EMP? Impending poverty? (Score 1) 857

wile_e_wonka wrote:

Insightful? I think he was joking. Have you tried to do math with roman numerals? Roman numerals are absolutely useless for math. There is nothing about roman numerals that can teach a skill useful to math (except, perhaps counting, because, although it isn't convenient, it is technically possible to count using roman numerals).

Concerning roman numerals, I borrowed a video from the library called "The Story Of 1." It featured Terry Jones of Monty Python and told the story of how the number 1 developed into its current form (at different points in history it was a scratch on a stick, a small token, a mark on a clay envelope, a ruler, a roman numeral I, and the current hindu-arabic "1" and the digital "1"). Besides being informative, it is a very funny video.

Per that video, roman numerals weren't used for calculations. People would do their calculations on a counting board (an early version of the abacus), and then record the final result in roman numerals.

Comment Re:Illegible Cursive going away? Oh Noez! (Score 2, Interesting) 857

cyn1c77 wrote:

Heh. Way to illustrate the GP's point. Shakespeare's works are meant to be seen and heard in the theater, not read on some shitty reprint with cliffnotes that you bought from Penguin press for $5.

True calligraphy requires an amazing amount of skill, practice, and artistry to produce consistent and attractive writing... all while focusing on what you want to say. And remember this is done in ink, with a nib that an untrained person would have a hard time writing legible text with, and there is no eraser or "undo" key.

Is it necessary to use calligraphy nowdays? No, but it is a learned skill that some people appreciate. Sounds like the definition of art to me.

And just for the record, Shakespeare submitted his works in handwritten text written with a pen...

Even non-calligraphy print can become art. An example is in comic books. Even though much of the creation process is assisted by computers, it still boils down to a creative team working by hand, including the letterer (the person who prints text in the speech, thought, and comment ballons). In a related point, although Comic Sans is based on comic book lettering, to me it doesn't bare much resemblance any comic book lettering I've seen.

One of the best letterers I've ever seen is Bob Lappan, the man who did the lettering on the late-1980s Justice League comics (a series noted for being one of the funniest comics of its time). Although most of his lettering is in block form (all capitals), by the use of letter size, italics, white space, and other techniques he is able to shape the words in a way that you can almost hear the characters speaking. His work added so much to each issue, and greatly enhanced the humor. For me, it was true art.

Comment Re:Just another feabile attempt (Score 1) 331

holophrastic wrote as part of a post:

Second, WordPerfect was, and probably still is fantastic. Where'd it go? Why did OOo appear when WP was already mature?

I think what happened to WordPerfect is that it wasn't able to make the transition to Windows 3.1 fast enough, while MS-Word was ready when Windows 3.1 launched. That delay cost them the leadership in the word processor field at a time when it was competition with many other DOS word processors, including MS Word, WordStar, Professional Write, AmiWord, and PC-Write.

Another factor that worked against WordPerfect (and other word processors) is the integrated office suite. Based on my experience, for a time the integrated office suites had individual applications that tended not to be a good as the standalone applications. This changed with the introduction of MS Office, and the standalone word processors were now competing with an entire suite of applications.

Returing the the subject of word processors, WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS is one of the best word processors I've ever used. However, I gave WordPerfect 5.1 for Windows a try and disliked it so much that I returned to the DOS version after 30 minutes. For a time I worked in an office environment where MS Word, WordPerfect, and WordStar coexisted, but once Windows became the standard PC OS the only word processor that was available to us was MS Word.

Comment Re:There is a LOT that uses MS Office (Score 1) 331

erroneus wrote:

RTF is incapable of containing malicious code and is based on well documented standards. (I say incapable in the sense that it doesn't host executable code by definition... it may be capable if an exploit were found in the reading functions in a given application software and used as a mean of compromising the application and the system it is running on.) It's likely why RTF was created in the first place. It is news to me, however, that professional publishers insist on it.

From what I understand, RTF was created to allow documents to travel from one word processor to another while retaining the basic formatting (bold, underlining, and so on). Part of the reason for its creation was that there was trouble moving documents from one version of MS Word to another.

Despite its age, I think the reason that RTF still remains in use is that: (1) it works well as a basic word processing format, and (2) just about every word processor can directly read it. As far as its use by profession publishers goes, I think (just my opinion) that the reason it would be used is that RTF is good at retaining basic in-line text formatting in a document, while being able to be easily converted into other formats.

Comment Re:Economic benefit vs economic waste (Score 1) 278

Reziac wrote:

How much money is NOT being made by NOT publishing stuff that's still under copyright but that isn't profitable enough to pay royalties?? (And maybe isn't profitable enough to justify tracking down an absentee copyright holder.)

Clearly there IS money in publishing old stuff, or most of the pre-1900 classics would be long since out of print, and such is not the case. They continue to be reprinted to this day.

I would guess that over the long haul, long copyrights result in a net reduction of money to be made all along the chain -- remember it's NOT just the author and his agent and the first publishing rights, but also all the reprint houses, distributors, and bookstores. It occurs to me to wonder how much long copyright contributed to the demise of small local bookstores, and may now be contributing to libraries that are social hubs but no longer house vast numbers of books.

I think that a long copyright hinders the creation of new material simply because it may be too close to something already under copyright. For example, a writer is considering writing a story featuring a spy, but decides not to because the spy/story would be too close to an already existing spy/story that is in copyright.

A somewhat recent example of how copyright can hinder story creation is in the series "Star Trek - The Next Generation." In an early season they did an episode featuring Dr. Moriarty from the Sherlock Holmes stories. Due to copyright issues they had to wait years before they could do a follow-up story featuring the character.

I think a consistent and predictable influx of published material into the public domain will, in the long run, lead to the creation of new work. I do think that the rule should be simple and consistent, rather than having several rules (such as extensions) which lead to a situation of "this story which was published in 1950 is in copyright, while this story, which was also published in 1950, is in the public domain."

On the subject of how long copyright should be, rather than having copyright rules which allow for variations (as mentioned above), I think that a better way would be to have a copyright of 30 years (basically one generation) from the date of publication, rounded up to the 1st day of the next year (for example, by this rule anything published in 1979 would fall into the public domain on the 1st of January 2010). This would make it easy to determine what is and is not in the public domain, and would ensure that works do fall into the public domain in time.

Comment Re:I just want my MS Word (Score 1) 106

Anonymous Coward wrote:

Why should we as customers have to suffer because of patent issues most of us don't understand. I just want my Microsoft Word. Without Microsoft computers wouldn't even be able to do anything.

I must respectfully disagree with the last sentence. Although Microsoft (MS) is dominant in the computer industry, it is not the only player. In the case of operating systems and office applications, there are alternatives.

As an example, I've been using StarOffice for a few years, and for the most part I've found it a viable alternative to MS Office for spreadsheets and writing (especially since I prefer to use a spreadsheet as a database instead of a specific database application). It's not as powerful, but it works fine for what I use it for.

If this case results in MS Office no longer being legally available (a very unlikely result), people will find workable alternatives for each of the applications. I think that regardless of the final results of this case, it is likely that some people/businesses may consider alternatives to MS Office due to it.

Comment Re:great! (Score 1) 423

jollyreaper wrote and included with a post:

Does this mean that we can expect to see unending series of cash-in sequels, like Spiderman 3, Fantastic Four 3, Iron Man 2, X-Men 4, etc?!? Oh wait...

It might be morbidly amusing to see how Disney retcons and bowlderizes some of the more questionable characters. G-rated Marvel Zombies? Lobo?

Fortunately, Lobo is a DC character (although he was vastly toned down during his appearances in the Animated DCU, including no mention of his origin).

Comment Re:Reliance on Microsoft (Score 1) 376

kregg wrote:

It was around 6 months ago, but I remember that the pictures didn't show up, contents needed to be recreated, tables were an issue. Also I tried writing a resume and the formatting wasn't what it looked like in OO compared to Word.

I've found this to be a problem with MS-Word even with short documents. I used to have to work with a special type of one-page document. The problem I ran into was that the document (in MS-Word format) that I received via e-mail looked different on my computer than it did on the originating computer. These documents had to have absolutely no changes from the original, even a single slightly different space between two words was not allowed.

At that time sending a PDF back and forth was not an option, so our only option was to have the sender FAX the document to us so we had an exact copy of the document, and then get it approved. We would FAX changes to them, and they would FAX us an updated version. Once it was approved, the sender would provide use with a hard copy of the original document for processing.

Comment Re:Reliance on Microsoft (Score 1) 376

kregg wrote:

Yes, OO can save in *.doc format. If you have ever tried it with something like a 100 page file with tables, indexes and pictures you will know that it is a waste of time. Word is the only option and thus the problem.

What specific problems came up when saving a file as described above in the .doc format using OpenOffice.org?

Comment What If The Author Is Just Himself? (Score 1) 410

Much of the discussion in this thread focuses on how well/badly the new author will emulate Douglas Adams. What if, rather than that, the new author writes a story in his own distinctive style but set in the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy universe? Instead of trying to emulate the past, the new author focuses on writing an entertaining book.

The passage to the new author could even be treated as a point of humor in the new novel (the dark humor is suitable to a Hitchhiker's book). Much like in the movie "Monty Python And The Whole Grail" when the knights survive a monster's attack when the monster disappears because the animator suddenly dies.

As a comic book reader, changing writers is a matter of course for me, and sometimes it can lead to terrific stories. As an example, I've enjoyed Green Lantern over the years and there have been some good stories, but when Geoff Johns took over the series he wrote (and is writing) the best Green Lantern stories I've ever read, and has introduced concepts that taken the series in very different direction. This includes the revelation that there are eight different lantern colors, each linked to a different emotional state, which has lead to a massive war between the different lantern corps.

Comment Re:Oh, come on... (Score 1) 410

Veggiesama wrote and included the following with a post:

For me, the funniest parts of the books are the excerpts from the Guide (especially the part about how the Babel Fish has been used for the non-existence of God). If they had added just a couple of minutes to put those into the movie, I think I would've liked it much, much more.

While I agree with you, the producers believed the Guide segments were slowing down the narrative pace, especially in the beginning where lots of Guide segments were used. There's only so much you can put in 1.5 to 2 hours of film and expect a brisk, action-packed story (in contrast to the whimsical, sometimes meandering pace of the book). Two different mediums, two different beasts, and two different presentation philosophies of the same story.

Anyway, they actually produced (most of) the Babel fish segment for the DVD release, seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1ctoT7ezTE

I think the movie and book being two different mediums is the key. With a movie, you only have a limited amount of time to tell the story. Even with the amount of time available in the "Lord Of The Rings" series (the DVD versions I have runs a total of slightly more than 9.25 hours for the three movies) there were still things from the book that were left out of the movie.

It is the same thing with comic books. Even a relatively short story in comic book form can become extremely long in another form. An example is the DC Comics' series "Infinite Crisis." As a comic book it was a total of six regular issues and one longer issue, and in novel form it is 371 pages. As a full-cast audiobook, "Infinite Crisis" is approximately 13 hours long, and it took that much time to get all of the story into the audiobook.

Comment Re:What about slugs getting hot for ape females? (Score 1) 832

prockcore wrote:

I'm not sure why the Star Wars Universe, would use the time it takes for the Earth to orbit our Sun as a standard measurement of time. We have no idea how long a year is for them. Could be 2 hours.

It would depend on what it is based on.

  • Possiblity One: It is an already established measure based on a government edict. Since there are so many different planets with years and days that are of different lengths, the Republic could have just said that the standard universal year is this length of time (based on some unchanging universal standard such as the vibration of a quartz crystal).
  • Possibility Two: The official standard year is based on Coresant itself (if it orbits a star). How long that year is would depend on the size of the planet (the more massive the planet, the longer its year). It is much like in our star system, Mercury's year is much shorter than ours.

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