this otaku’s life

I recently started a new podcast. of course this led to questions and few people asking, if I was stopping my primary podcast.  the answer to that, is no. I’m just continuing my adventures in podcasting.

for a while/years now, I have felt the need to produce more podcasts.  I’ve reached out to a few friends/talent and have proposed ideas, with the ultimate goal in having a primary website that would bring all these shows into a mini “podcast network” site. originally the first efforts resulted in 3 ideas aside from my primary podcast (; an occasional video podcast, a cosplay podcast, and a spin off show from an older existing segment that someone used to submit to OG. the video podcast never really went anywhere as the producer for that show lost steam in doing it. it never came together and never took flight. the cosplay podcast producer disappeared, however I take some blame in it not taking off as I never really got around to helping her start production; but in my defense she eventually disappeared and didn’t take initiative. the last of the ideas took some shape. I built the functional parts of the facade website that feeds off the CDN, I talked to the producers/talent, but they never moved forward with any full effort (only occasional discussion), and I never found time to finish the prototype website. at least for the 3rd idea, I think it still has merit and one day I will complete my end of responsibilities and bring it to life.  there was also a 4th podcast I help some friends spin-off from OG with an offering to eventually include it in the OG network site (if I ever got around to finishing it). but like the others it lost momentum. they did produce a bunch of shows, but it it eventually fizzled under lack of public interest. in other words they were unhappy that it didn’t make them magically as famous as they wanted. it stopped and they each moved on to other things.

that being said, I haven’t given up. I decided to start something new that only depends on me. this way I can find an additional outlet and reduce my rants and tangents on OG, as well as satisfy a small part of wanting to do more. for years I’ve been looking to do something like this show and I finally “pulled the trigger”. the original idea (years ago) was a weekly show where I would rant (with some structure) and record my thoughts as I commuted.  instead I decided on an NRP style format, more like radiolab and this american life. I’ve decided on a “biographical vignette” format. it will have a bit of storytelling, some ranting, general thoughts and knowledge share. it will eventually will include soliciting friends and others to share their point of view and stories.  last, by comparison to OG the new show should be short and mostly concise.

with that blogged, I bring you This Otaku’s Life …more are on their way.


Silly Faces

I don’t know about you, but I have spent almost a lifetime taking pictures of friends and family (posed and smiling). I have no issues with this kind of picture taking. However, it gets kind of boring. Several years ago, I decided to host a New Years party (more like New Years weekend) at my place. A lot of friends (from far and wide) would come to my place for several days (just before and after the new year). Of course there’s a good chance I’m going to take pictures, and I did. At some point I noticed the trend of boring posed/smiling pictures. So I decided to liven it up a bit, with the silly face shot.

If you plan to take a silly face picture/shot, there are a few rules to keep in mind…

  1. Ask/suggest a “silly face” photo before taking it. It has to be a planned effort. People who made a weird/stupid face while you took a picture does not count. You must get the participants permission.
  2. No profanity or nudity. Generally the idea of the silly face shot is family friendly.
  3. You should participate in at least or more of the shots. It’s one thing to ask friends to make a silly face for fun, but as soon as you take a picture, it changes the game. A picture can last forever and later on be embarrassing. So include yourself, it more fun this way if you’re equally as willing. This also includes you posting the silly face pictures of yourself online (with your friends/etc).
  4. Try to make different faces. I found I default to similar stupid faces. So I try to vary them as much as possible. I’m also the one usually holding the camera, which means I’m generally in front. Because this is usually the case, I will occasionally do a “what is that person doing behind me” or the classic “did you just touch my bum” response-look. Whatever the case, have fun with it, be creative and not predictable with your silly face expression.
  5. Last, the “unintentional head in the shot“… I love these… this is when someone peaks their head or face into the shot. When I started doing this, it happened by accident and they were some of the best shots. Now I intentionally position the camera off frame to create this shot. Always try to get one of these shots. Trust me, you’ll love them.

NOTE: One thing to point out, most of the silly face shots are done via the vanity shot method. This is where you hold the camera out and extended with one or both arms and you click to take the picture. It’s also worth noting, when you take the shot you generally can’t see what you’re taking. The vanity shot takes some practice. Ask a hot chick, she’ll know what to do. Unless you are a hot chick, then you already know what to do. =)

Alright… here’s a few silly faces I have taken over the years… there are more… but I haven’t looked through every single picture I’ve taken.

If you have silly face pictures, I’d love to see them. Send them my way.


Sony Dash (review)

So I received a mysterious box on my doorstep (a few days ago), and to my surprise it was a Sony dash!

It’s about 7.5 inches wide (you can see pictures here), you can stand it upright, or on it’s back and the screen will flip accordingly. The Dash runs ChumbyOS and has over 1,000 widget-apps available. The interface is broken up, into: the menu system, an “alarm clock” screen mode with a power save option (it turns the screen off), and the dashboard. Currently the dashboard only has 2 different display layouts and it does not seem to be configurable. What you can configure, is: “channels”. To create a new channel, register your Dash (; you’ll need to sign-in or create a Sony Essentials account. Once this is complete you can edit the existing default channels or create your own. This is where you add apps to the channel. Once your Dash is registered, pull the power (re-power it) and let it reboot. It will sync to your account and will apply any changes you have made. After I did this I was able to customize and create channels on the device; not just from the website.

Here’s the VLOG I made the other day, when I received the unit…

After playing with the device for a few days, here’s some observations…

the snooze button only snoozes in 5 minute increments. A feature I like on my previous alarm clock, was the snooze default button increments were 8 minutes apart and you could compound them together by multiple taps of the snooze button. With the Dash you can specify multiple alarms and days. However, I would prefer the option of customizing the snooze delay per alarm and at the least have an option like tapping the screen to override the snooze delay temporarily.

networking with the Dash is pretty easy, but it’s only WiFi. There’s no choice for ethernet. For most, this isn’t an issue and it wasn’t for me. However, if I wanted to take the Dash to work it would be an enormous amount of red tape to get the device on the work WiFi network. This wasn’t a problem for me at home and I was able to add the Dash to my secured WiFi network (because I’m the red tape; the argument with myself was pretty short).

streaming music and videos is a nice touch, especially when combined with the alarm. However, in my bedroom, I’m not likely to watch any streaming videos on the device. I can do this directly from my TiVo. Like most households, I already have a TV in my bedroom (bigger than 7 inches). But I do understand this is a nice feature to have, if you put the Dash in your kitchen.

the screen is vibrant and images and video come through just fine.

the touch screen works just fine. I think any comments about the device feeling lagged has less to do the touch screen the more to do with the speed in which the device operates at. However, keep in mind the ChumbyOS is simple by design and is not intended to give you the pinch/zoom gesture experiences you get on iPhones, iPads and Android devices.

ChumbyOS is a very basic operating system. I’m not sure, but it feels flash based. I think Dash would of benefited from a richer operating system; by running something like Android instead. I assume if it was running Android the specs on the device would go up as well as the starting price. But if the Dash was running Android, you would have many more feature filled apps at your disposal. For example, Cooking Capsules running on your Dash in your kitchen I think would be invaluable.

media server / UPnP support is lacking. I wish this device was able to stream content from the media server in my house network. It’s nice that you can play music via a USB jump drive, but allowing this from iTunes or a media server would be a better direction to take, in my opinion.

In the VLOG, I mentioned several minutes of downloading. It turns out that Sony just released updates the day I received the device. So I suspect that this was uncommon and is not likely to happen often. Also worth mentioning, the Dash has a microphone. I didn’t find any applications that made use of the mic, but it’s nice there was some forward thinking on the design.

In summary, I like the device. I can see the potential. Is the Dash fulfilling all that it can be, right now? I don’t think so. But keep in mind, how many alarm clocks have you had in the past that could auto-update itself with new features, and run applications? that’s what I thought. I had a car radio system that could do that (a rio car), and for gadget nerds like me, that’s the “crack topping” to the awesomeness-sundae. Is it worth the cost? (currently at $199) …I would say yes. It’s a nice design and has a lot of potential, especially if you can find a use outside of the bedroom (like in a kitchen, your office, etc).

UPDATE (2010-06-01): Last night (technically this morning) I received an update. I noticed 3 changes: you can now define a snooze interval (from a list of options) per alarm profile, there’s a full screen option for the apps and now there’s more than 2 layouts (aka themes). Remember that potential thing I was mentioning above? yeah, there it is.