GoldenEye The Story Behind the Scenes

I'm still looking forward to seeing the Goldeneye remake on the Wii.  It was the "gold standard" for first person shooters on the N64 and my friends and I spent countless hours screaming and shooting at each other.  All in good fun, I assure you!

So to whet your appetite, check out this behind the scenes look at what should be coming next week (with any luck)!

Watch it!

"Rhythmic Circus" at West Kentucky Community and Technical College

RC07, originally uploaded by Thomas Gehrke.

On October 23, 2010, "Rhythmic Circus" performed at the Clemens Fine Arts Center at West Kentucky Community and Technical College. And while I did not come prepared to take photographs, I made the best of the gear I had with me (the only lens with me was the 70-300mm).

So check out the entire Flickr set as I continue to update it over the next few days.

Free Software - Adobe Lightroom Presets by onOne Software

Our friends at onOne have put together a little Halloween present for us.  OK, so it's probably not for Halloween, but it is free.  Those of us who use Lightroom will appreciate the 190 presets that help you to "correct color and tone" and "easily add creative effects".

Even if you want complete control over the image development process, these presets offer at least a decent starting point.

Go bag it!

Adobe Lightroom Presets - onOne Software

How I Cancelled My Xbox Live Gold Subscription

It was a long time coming, but I finally cancelled my Xbox Live Gold subscription. The only reason I upgraded from Silver to Gold was for the Netflix support.  This was before Netflix started showing up in every set-top box, TV and toaster.  I have been meaning to downgrade for a while, but Microsoft does not make it easy to do.  At least they make it much easier for me to give them money than they do for me to keep it.

Today Sony updated PS3's to allow streaming of Netflix without the use of a disc.  Today I decided that I wanted to keep my money.  Especially in light of recent rate announcements from Microsoft.  Considering how ubiquitous Netflix has become, I wonder how Microsoft can justify its inclusion in the higher tier option.  I suspect that I am probably one of a minority who subscribed solely for Netflix.

But I digress.

If you have enabled the auto-renewal option of your Xbox Live account and you wish to cancel that, the following should help you find your way.

First, sign into your account by pointing your browser to http://live.xbox.com.  Once signed in, click on the Contact Information link.


On the left-hand side, under the "My Account" section, click the Membership Level link.


Now on the page you see before you, it gets a little tricky.  Or maybe it's just me because I am colorblind.  My eyes immediately go to the area that says "Modify Membership".  There are some obvious form controls there with a radio button to select an option and then a "Next" button.  This is a red herring.  Your eyes need to scan up the page a bit to the status area that describes your current membership information.  The text next to the "Automatic renewal" label is what you want.  This is actually a link.  Click it and ignore the form entirely.


Now don't be confused that the resulting page gives you little indication of the action you are attempting to perform.  Apparently this is an attempt to distract you from completing your objective.  Do not fall for it.  Click the Next button.


You successfully avoided that trap, but now they take another tack.  Maybe, just maybe, you didn't realize what you were asking for when you clicked the auto-renewal status link.  You silly person, you.  

Failing to entice you into changing to a different paid subscription plan, they would finally really, really like to talk to you about this decision you have so steadfastly been trying to make.

Click Next and laugh maniacally.  (The laughing is optional, but highly recommended.)


Finally, some options directly relating to the task at hand!  Select the Off radio button and then click Next.


If all went according to plan, you should see some confirmation.


And if you check your Membership Level again, you can see that the auto-renewal status is now "OFF" and the text is no longer clickable.


It's a piece of cake once you know how it's done.

I hate companies that make things more complicated in order to keep you tied into a service or try to up-sell you by injecting needless steps into the process.  I understand why it's done, and I won't go so far as to say it's evil, but I do think it is an insulting practice and it is a terrible idea from a customer service perspective.

Or maybe the experience here is a simple case of poor user interface design and I am reading too much into things.

Regardless, if you were looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, I hope this helps you find your way out.

Feed Your Reader Needs With Feedly

Occasionally I am asked how I keep up with the latest news in geekery and my other favorite pastimes. One of the tools in my box is a browser extension called Feedly.

If you already use Google Reader as a feed aggregator, then you are 99% of the way there.  Visit the Feedly site at http://www.feedly.com and install the extension for your browser.  Then as long as you were logged into Google Reader already, you will see your feeds formatted much like a magazine or news paper.

There are several options for viewing your feeds, but my current preference is the digest view where I get several articles groups according to my Google subscription groups.  It's a great way to find what's new and relevant in bite-sized pieces rather than having to slog through an ever growing, chronological list.

Expanding an article marks it as read, but you can also mark entire groupings as read or all of the articles linked on the page.  Perfect for catching up and getting rid of those duplicate postings that say much the same thing.

A picture being worth a thousand words, you can go from this...


To this...


Not bad!

Throw in the ability to pull in your Twitter timeline and a few Flickr photos and it's well worth the price of admission.  Oh yes.  That price is free.

Take a taste and give Feedly a try right now!

Which Internet Enabled Set-Top Box Should You Buy?

I have started a Google spreadsheet with comparisons of the latest streaming media devices (Apple TV, Roku, Boxee Box, etc.) and I am making it available for anyone interested.  There are several view options, but I am linking to the List view because that give you the capability to do column filtering and sorting.

Internet Connected Media Device Comparison Spreadsheet

Leave me comments if you find problems or want anything added.  This is a work in progress.

Also Feel free to contact me on Twitter.

Superman II Recut Ending

Found this through Boing Boing this morning and it made me laugh. Definitely a more realistic alternative to the infamous "amnesia kiss".


It also reminded me how cheesy the movie was. The music. The acting. And come on... Superman tripping over a bear skin rug? Really?

Tiltshift in Lightroom [Lightroom Blog]

I have to say that it never occurred to me to using Lightroom for tiltshifting. My Photoshop technique can get a little complicated depending upon the scene, but for a typical, basic effect this works extremely well. What's more is that this is a non-destructive (no pixels were harmed in the making of this image).

Tilt away!

Tiltshift in Lightroom - Lightroom Blog

Hands Up!

Hands Up!, originally uploaded by Thomas Gehrke.

Another one of my animal friends from the Memphis Zoo. Gotta love the orangutans.

Ten Adobe Lightroom Tips - [NYTimes]

I have been using Lightroom more and more in my workflows and find that I have the most success if I do as much as possible in Lightroom before moving on to Photoshop. By following some of these tips, you may very well find that, for some images, Photoshop becomes unnecessary.

Ten Photo-Editing Tips From a Pro - NYTimes.com

Review the Gmail Security Checklist

I have been extra sensitive to my security online recently and have been taking steps to ensure the safety of all of my accounts.  Gmail is a big one, obviously.  Good news.  Google very kindly provides a wizard-like, 18 item checklist to help with the task.  I highly recommend reviewing it if you are a Gmail user.

Batten down those hatches!

Gmail Security Checklist

Welcome to the Future: Introducing eLEGS

I have been a little slow in posting things for my "Welcome to the Future" (WttF) articles where I try to point out things that may seem somewhat normal today, but which just a few years ago were the stuff of science fiction.  So when I came across the following announcement from Berkeley Bionics, thought it was interesting and then considered just moving on, I had second thoughts.

Now any of us who were around during the 70's probably remember the Bionic Man (and spin-offs).  An astronaut has an accident and parts of his body are replaced with mechanical components.  So we aren't quite there yet, but cross that concept with what we're seeing in the Iron Man movies of today and you end up with some pretty cool technology just the same.

This started out with military applications such as HULC, but there are some day-to-day, quality of life applications as well.  The following video was not only interesting from a technology standpoint, but you can really see how it impacts people who "yesterday" had little to no hope for ever walking again.


Introducing eLEGS – see the personal exoskeleton in action | Berkeley Bionics

Simianus Digitalus

Simianus Digitalus
Simianus Digitalus, originally uploaded by Thomas Gehrke.

The site mascot. Hopefully will be incorporating him into a blog "rebranding".

View Art Masterpieces In HD [Haltadefinizione]

There are quite a few iconic works of art. Many of us will never get to see them in person and the best we might do is a printed poster or whatever postage stamp sized image we find online. Until now.

The Haltadefinizione project is making available online, high definition photographs of such works as "The Last Supper" by da Vinci, "The Birth of Venus" by Botticelli and several others.

Fraser Speir's iPad Project

One of the more interesting things I've gotten to do at work lately is to try to incorporate some Apple technology into our infrastructure.  As a fan of Apple, this is both exciting and a little disappointing.  Since they are so consumer oriented, the options to manage The Apple Ecosystem(tm) from an enterprise perspective are pretty limited.

That said, Apple products do offer many possibilities in non-consumer areas.  One of these areas is in Education where they have traditionally had some success.

Fraser Speirs is a software developer who teaches Computing at a school in Scotland where they have loaned out iPads to every single student.  If you are a fan of seeing technology used in new and interesting ways, you owe it to yourself to follow Mr. Speirs' blog.  Many of the issues he has come across, I have seen myself and some of their lessons learned can be applied in other areas.

Watch Out, Zombies!

I see my productivity taking a hit with Left 4 Dead 2 coming out this Tuesday (October 5, 2010). I already own it on the Windows side, but rarely cranked it up since it was a pain to shut down everything I was working on to Boot Camp it.

The Sacrifice

Photography Tips from National Geographic

Where better to get some photography tips than from the people known for consistently creating both gorgeous and compelling images.  I'm talking about National Geographic, of course.  Follow the link below and prepare to be inspired.
Photo Tips, Photos, Galleries, Videos, Photography - National Geographic