Category Archives: Geek Culture
Universal FanCon has been postponed “until further notice”. The announcement came about a week before the event was to be held. No official reason was given.
According to its Facebook page, Universal FanCon celebrates diversity and inclusion in our fandoms. The inaugural Universal FanCon was to be held on April 27-29 in Baltimore, Maryland. Their Kickstarter (which is still up) describes Universal FanCon as “First multi-fandom Con dedicated to inclusion, highlighting Women, LGBTQ, the Disabled and Persons of Color.”
On April 20, the Universal FanCon Twitter posted a tweet that said the event would be “postponed until further notice”.
It is with a heavy heart that we must announce that FanCon has been postponed until further notice. We deeply apologize for the disappointment, anger and feelings of lost trust due to this decision. We are taking the steps to reschedule the convention & will provide an update
— FanCon (@UniversalFanCon) April 20, 2018
An FAQ followed on the Universal FanCon website. The first question is: “Why are you postponing FanCon?” The answer: “Currently we are in a financial deficit that will not allow us to operate the convention within budget. Accordingly, we have made the decision to postpone and reschedule FanCon so we can put forward the type of event our fans deserve.”
The FAQ indicates that the organizers do not know how long the event will be postponed. They are going to fully assess their options and then make an announcement after that. The FAQ states that the event is not canceled.
There is information on the FAQ that might answer some questions from people who have already taken days off of work, booked a hotel room, or paid for a flight to the event. Those who were scheduled guests, or on a panel, or who were going as a vendor may want to contact Universal FanCon for more details.
Sadly Peter Botwright has passed away last week after a lifetime of providing leather costumes and goods to the film and entertainment industry. Hard-core Indy fans will know of his work, but for the rest, Peter made Indiana Jones’ iconic leather jacket for Raiders of the Lost Ark and Last Crusade.
Designed by Deborah Nadoolman, Peter made up fourteen jackets for Raiders based on a modified James Dean pattern. There’s a good write-up of the full circumstances around the jacket over at IndyGear, with some additional background at TheRaider. Peter’s company Wested Leather continued to make replica jackets but the website is down as a mark of respect. In addition to Indiana Jones, he’d worked on Das Boot and both the Bond and Mission Impossible franchises.
Peter’s passing was announced on Wested Leather‘s Facebook page and the business hopes to continue once affairs are in order. I’ve personally bought a few leather items from them (not an Indy jacket!) and I can thoroughly recommend them.
Asked to name an industrial designer, most Apple lovers will come up with Sir Jonathan “Jony” Ive, designer of iconic products such as the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Go back a few decades, and it was Braun and Dieter Rams that were synonymous with industrial design. From coffee makers and toothbrushes to calculators and radios, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen or used one of his designs.
Rarely seen in the public eye, there’s a fantastic opportunity to learn more about this great designer, famous for his “Ten Principles for Good Design“. Film director, Gary Hustwit, is recording a feature-length documentary about Dieter Rams which is currently looking for funding on Kickstarter. The director has previously produced Helvectica, a documentary about typography and Objectified which looks at the relationship between objects and the designers behind them..
The project has already reached its target of US$200,000 with another two weeks to go. There’s some cool rewards (including your own private screening with the director at $5,000) but a $15 digital download is more reasonable.
To underline Dieter Ram‘s significance, there’s a trail that goes from mid-century modern straight through his work to today’s designs from Apple and Ikea. If you want to understand the consumer products you buy now, this is a must-see documentary….though you’ll have to wait until 2017.
With San Diego Comic Con quickly approaching, everyone is jumping on board the superhero bandwagon.
Today even McAfee has joined the hype. (The company, not the man, however, we’d love to see a comic book based on John McAfee!)
In a press release, the anti-virus company released its second annual list of superhero searches that lead to bad links, viruses, malware and sites containing malware.
Here’s the list of suspicious superheroes:
McAfee’s Top 10 Most Toxic Superheroes:
1. Superman, 16.50%
2. Thor, 16.35%
3. Wonder Woman + Aquaman (tie) 15.70%
4. Wolverine, 15.10%
5. Spiderman, 14.70%
6. Batman, 14.20%
7. Black Widow, 13.85%
8. Captain America, 13.50%
9. Green Lantern, 11.25%
10. Ghost Rider, 10.83%
*% indicates chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses or other malware.
Todd is still out for one more show, enjoying his Vacation somewhere in the lower 48, I’m Mike Dell, from Podcast Help Desk, former Geek of the North and I will be your host for tonights show. Most of you don’t know me unless you have been around podcasting a long time. I used to do a show called Geek of the North which was a Tech Show. I have since Podfaded that show and I now do a relatively new show called Podcast Help Desk at podcasthelpdesk.com where I talk about the geeky techie side of podcasting and help people get setup and going with their podcast.
It’s great to be back with the GNC listeners! I last hosted this show on November 10th 2008 Show #415. A LOT of water has gone under the bridge since then!
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There’s a pretty good chance that if you are a 40+ British geek, the mere mention of “Elite” will roll back the years to hours of gameplay in front of a BBC Model B, flying a wireframe starship around an almost limitless universe. Trading, fighting, arms-dealing, slavery, whatever it took to get respect and the coveted Elite status. Even now, I still feel a small hint of pride in my own Elite achievement, over 20 years later.
Created by David Braben and Ian Bell, Elite was the first 3D game and eeked every last ounce of performance from 8 bit processors and 32 KB of RAM, even less once the OS had taken its share. There were tricks such as making all the objects in the universe concave, which significantly reduced several calculations in techniques such as hidden line removal and despite being largely only in monochrome, it was totally amazing for its day.
The successor to Elite, “Frontier”, never gained the same traction as the original Elite. In some ways it was too big and just wasn’t as immediate as the original Elite.
Returning to the original ethos of Elite, David Braben has launched a Kickstarter campaign for “Elite: Dangerous” to raise £1.25 million ($2 million) for the development of a new game in the canon, aiming for delivery in March 2014. Elite: Dangerous will be a multi-player game in a massive universe and initially the game will be for the PC, but other platforms will be looked at.
As usual, there are various funding levels, but £20 gets you a copy of the game plus the opportunity to reserve your commander’s name. But if you were looking to get lunch with David Braben at £5000, I’m afraid that all five slots have already been taken.
There’s additional reporting at the BBC.
Today I was relaxing in a cafe, taking it easy on Sunday. As I looked around the other tables, everyone else was either looking at a smartphone or else had one resting on the table. They weren’t students or young professionals either; these were mums and dads, grandmas and grandpas.
Getting away from “my phone is better than your phone”, what might this highly unscientific observation say about the mobile communications market, at least in the UK?
Third, no-one was actually using their phones to make phone calls. In all the time I watched, there wasn’t a single call made or received but there was plenty of reading, swiping, tapping and pecking. It always seems that the PDA was lost in the convergence with the mobile phone, but the reality is that the PDA won the battle and “voice calling” is one feature among many.
Fourth and finally, smartphones are now ubiquitous and cross-generational. There wasn’t single ordinary phone to be seen and the range of the users suggests that age is no longer a discriminating factor.
As I said, entirely unscientific but still an interesting snapshot in the evolution of the smartphone.
Geeks of a certain age will undoubtedly remember when the Rubik’s Cube craze (or Magic Cube as it was originally known) spread through school playgrounds in the early 1980s. Building on the current popularity of all things retro, this Rubik’s Cube Speaker will bring back memories of success or frustration depending on whether you were able to solve the puzzle or not.
The Cube speaker uses the USB connector for power and the 3.5 mm jack for the audio, so there’s no batteries or power adaptor required. Unsurprisingly the speaker is NOT a functioning Rubik’s Cube but you can try and impress your friends by saying that you solved it…until they spot the cables.
Available from the Science Museum Shop (and other online retailers) for £20.