Desert Bus for Hope 2: Bus Harder
November 18th, 2008

Posted by Matt

Here we are. It’s mid November, and Deser Bus 2 is just on the horizon. I’d like to appologize for leaving the announcement so late this year. We encountered a number of complications over the last couple of months, and we weren’t able to finalize the details until last night. We’re scrambling a bit to pull things together, but rest assured, Desert bus is happening, and it’s going to be even better than last year.

First off, as you’ve probably seen in the announcement posts, it’s going to begin at 6:00PM on Friday November 28th. It’s Thanksgiving weekend for the yankees, I know, but hopefully you can find time to fit us in between the turkey and the pumpkin pie, or somewhere in between the pie and the requisite midnight turkey sandwich. At the very least, you’ll presumably be home with your families, rather than out at work, so may I suggest you take the opportunity to introduce them to LoadingReadyRun, and get them in on the Desert Bussing action?

The second thing to know is that we’ll be running from Victoria, BC again this year, although we have a location other than Bill and Morgan’s living room. If you live in Victoria, keep an eye out, I’m sure there will be opportunities presented to meet the team or prticipate in a more direct way than simply watching the feeds.

We’ve also finalized our roster of drivers for this year! Returning to the driver’s seat are James, Bill, and Morgan. I’d have thought that they’d learned their lesson last year, but I guess I was wrong. Paul has been dropped from the lineup this year so that he can direct his focus to the technical elements – the stream, recording elements of the event, lighting, audio, the chatroom, and so on. We’re hoping to have things go a little more smoothly in the technical area this year, and we think freeing Paul up to handle it was the right move. Replacing Paul in the lineup this year is our very own Jeremy Petter. I think he’s pretty excited about taking the wheel this year, so I hope you’ll all be out in force to support him as he drives his legs of the trip. Graham and Kathleen are taking the roles of official pit crew this year, they’ll be ever present at the driver’s sides, supporting them and the audience in whatever capacity they require. And if you haven’t figured it out already, I’ll be handling the communications. I’ll be your main point of contact whenever I’m around (which should be essentially all the time). I’ll be handling the blog, updates, running the twitter feed, and moderating the IRC channel. additionally, I’ll be frequently checking e-mail, and keeping you up to date on dollar totals, and special events. You’ll be able to contact me in a wide variety of ways over the course of event, and if you have any questions, or comments, feel free to direct them to [email protected], or [email protected] . I’ll be checking both regularly.

Paul will be launching the new, improved Desertbus.org in the next few days, so check the site periodically, and see if it’s up. We have a lot of plans for this year’s drive. Some of those plans we’ve finalized, others we’re still pulling together. I’ll be filling you in with more information as it becomes available, so make sure you’re following one of our many information streams, either the twitter, the announcement thread in the forum, the blog, or www.desertbus.org .

We’ll see you on the open road!

-Matt

[email protected]: Bond, James Bond.
November 17th, 2008

Posted by Matt

Casino Royale was a great Bond film in many regards.  It introduced Daniel Craig as the new, “darker, grittier” Bond.  It was strongly character driven.  The action sequences were intense, and fast paced, but done almost entirely without the aid of CG, so despite their grand scale, they were believable.  But more than that, it showed us what a Bond movie could be if it stepped outside the formula. Gone was Roger Moore’s Bond, parodying the espionage genre that Connery’s Bond had helped to popularize. Gone also was Pierce Brosnan’s Bond, assaulting our sensibilities with action elements more befitting of xXx than 007.  Casino Royale was a compelling, intelligent Bond film, atypical in nearly every way.  This may be why I found Quantum of Solace to be such a disappointment. They established Craig as a ‘different kind of Bond’ and then proceeded to drop him back into a very standard Bond film.

Now, let me be clear, I enjoyed QoS a great deal.  I do not mean to imply that it is a bad film.  In fact, I would even go so far as to call it one of the better bond fims. My problem with it is that despite being a stong Bond film, it’s still just a Bond film.  It brings nothing new to the table, and it is formulaic to almost the point of cliche. 

The plot picks up 20 minutes after the end of Casino Royale, with bond evading his persuers, and bringing Mr. White before M for interrogation.  Mr. white informs them that there is a secret organization pulling the strings of international crime, an organization that MI6 knows nothing about.  Bond sets off to get revenge on the members of this organization for Vesper’s death,  and in the process, stumbles on to a plot by one of them to arrange a military coup. Along the way, he meets women, drives cars, boats, and planes, attends parties, and kills badguys.

Taken as the second half of Casino Royale, the film makes sense.  And, I get why they did it. It’s the perfect conclusion to Casino Royale within the established bond universe.   This movie was all about linking Casino Royale’s Bond with the hardened, womanizing Bond we’ve always known him to be.  It’s about taking him from being a three dimensional, emotive character, and making him two dimensional carachture. It’s about establishing the beginning of Bond’s adventures. And it performs this role admirably.  Craig’s Bond fits beautifully within the classic formula.  Thinking back on it though, I kind of wish they hadn’t gone this route.  It’s the easy way out.  Taken as one film, QoS is a very generic Bond movie.  It holds a place with Dr. No, The Living Daylights, and You Only Live Twice as what we might expect from a typical Bond film, but fails to acheive the hights of Goldeneye, Thunderball, or Casino Royale.

It’s a good film, and I vehemently encourage everyone to go see it.  It’s a lot of fun, and there’s a lot there for bond fans.  The action is still top notch (although there was more CG than I was happy with), the story is well constructed and believable, and the characters interesting.   It’s just a shame that despite the cast and crew’s attemts to distance themselves from the catchphrase, they made a film that is very much “Bond, James Bond.”

Preview – November 17th, 2008
November 16th, 2008

Posted by Graham

A video on the topic was bound to happen, but how exactly will we deliver??

I could tell you, but I won’t.
🙂

LRR Community Profiles now in LRRcasts
November 11th, 2008

Posted by Paul

In order to make them easier to find and because we think they are cool, Tim’s LRR Community Profiles are now integrated into the LRRcast archives. Hopefully this will make it so people don’t have to dig through the forum thread to listen to past Profiles.

From Revver to Blip.tv
November 10th, 2008

Posted by Paul

For the last 2 years LRR has been using Revver to serve all our videos. There servers have been pretty fast, their player is customizable and they automatically transcode into both quicktime and flash. The ad revenue they have provided has enabled us to do many things we would not have been able to otherwise, such as purchasing the bus for the San Diego Road Trip and upgrading our equipment. It has also helped with the rent for the LRR Orbiting Underground Moon Base (rocket fuel, alone, costs a pretty penny, let me tell you).

Unfortunately, for the past several months, Revver’s quality of service has been very problematic. Extremely slow trans-coding resulted in many late video updates and often video uploads were truncated or corrupted, requiring multiple retries. On top of this, revenue generated by Revver and the quality of ads they are providing has been steadily declining and they have not issued a payout to creators since September. The final straw was when all Revver videos suddenly stopped working for a large group of our viewers using Time-Warner for their ISP. Now here we are, two weeks later, the situation still hasn’t been fixed and we are stuck apologizing for something that we have no control over. Not Cool.

This is all a lead up to tell you that we have now switched over to Blip.tv for our video hosting! Not only are the videos now higher quality, but Blip’s interface allows us to upload much faster, so hopefully there will be less late updates. At the moment, only the latest videos have been moved over, but we will hopefully be migrating everything over in the coming weeks.

As a side note, in response to this problem with Revver, I have changed the LRR backend to de-couple us from any video host. What this means is that if Blip doesn’t work for us for whatever reason, we can easily change to someone else.

As always, please let me know if you experience any weirdness or issues with the new player.