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Thursday, March 09, 2006



by Don Rose

(March 8, 2006 : Century City, CA) A long, long time ago, in a state far far away, I recall learning a grade school weather aphorism that says March “comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”. So what better time than early March for MGM to host a press luncheon, where the studio (owner of the world’s most famous lion logo) previewed a new lineup of films set to begin rolling out this April. The star talent in these films is top-notch, including A-listers like Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Richard Gere, Ben Kingsley, Kevin Costner, William Hurt, Eva Longoria and more. Some of the important “lion dates” coming up that caught my eye: April 7 for the release of “Lucky Number Slevin” – a New York gangster/murder pic -- starring Willis, Lucy Liu, Kingsley and Freeman; August 18 for the long anticipated Kevin Smith sequel, “Clerks II”; February 2007 for “Darwin Awards”, starring Joseph Fiennes, Winona Ryder, David Arquette and Juliette Lewis; and first quarter 2007 for “Mr. Brooks”, a psychological thriller starring Costner and featuring Hurt (fresh off an Oscar nom).

Other news of note at the luncheon:

- There will indeed be a “Pink Panther” sequel to the Steve Martin remake. Not surprising, since they said the Martin movie has made over $70 million so far and is growing, expected to top the magic $100 mil mark after its trek overseas.

- There will also be a sequel to “The Thomas Crown Affair” starring Pierce Brosnan, ex-007. I guess he and MGM see eye to Goldeneye now.

- The sixth installment of the “Rocky Balboa” saga just wrapped production, coming to theatres most likely next year.

- MGM partner Sony is making and marketing the new James Bond film, “Casino Royale”. Looks like the new Bond will debut (or live another day, if you will) this November, but next year would seem to be the one meant for marketing magic; you can't get better numerological synchronicity than 2007=007!

- The MGM folks hinted they may be looking for a new Terminator, acknowledging that Arnold is a bit busy these days. True, the original Terminator is now the Governator, but MGM knows a good franchise when they see one; Bond, Panther, Rocky – they always seem to find a way to keep these sequel machines going, so making more machine-laden “Terminator” tales seems a sure bet as well.

In addition to the speeches, film presentation and Q&A, press guests were treated to excellent food (catered by a cool guy named Kai) and tours of the MGM offices, where several of the studio’s 209 (count ‘em, 209!) Oscars are on display (the 209th coming a few days ago, for Best Actor Philip Seymour “Capote” Hoffman – he still has that one in his possession, I assume). Finally, I must give kudos to the press kit itself, which roars like a lion as you open it. With a slew of top talent on display in their upcoming films, perhaps the greatest film library in the world, and a strong alliance with Sony, MGM should be roaring indeed.

# # #

Monday, January 09, 2006



The fat lady has definitely not sung for Opera, the browser alternative to Microsoft's IE (Internet Explorer) and the Avis of browsers, number two Firefox. I already liked Opera before, but the encore is even better. The latest free version of Opera I just got, version 8.51, is a snap to download and install, and runs (in my tests on my Win XP machine) faster than either IE or Firefox.

But that's not all. Like Firefox, Opera has tabbed browsing, a must-have nowadays -- but Opera also has other cool features built-in that work quite smoothly and, as far as I know, are not standard in IE or Firefox (although, to be fair, there are many extensions you can get for Firefox that extend its abilities in many cool ways).

My fave Opera coolies**: fast ZOOMING (hold CTRL and scroll down/up on your mousewheel to make a page look smaller or bigger -- not just the text, but everything on the page -- you can also zoom by clicking the glasses icon); one-click removal/reloading of images; storing of passwords and personal info so you don't need to repeatedly reenter your info on sites; and something I have never seen, a browser TRASHCAN (if you click out of a webpage and didnt mean to, or just want it back for whatever reason, click the trashcan and you can get it back in a new tab, along with the other pages "around" it - that is, the pages you browsed before/after it before it went in the trash). And get this: if you exit out of Opera, and relaunch later, it brings you back to all the pages you had open before; that is, when you re-open Opera, it automatically opens ALL of your tabbed webpages in the EXACT configuration they were in before you last closed the browser!

All in all, Opera is worth a look. Free to download, free to use. I can't sing its praises enough. Bravo! Now if I just had some flowers to throw on Opera's virtual stage... they truly deserve it.

(** Rosespeak for "cool things")

Saturday, December 24, 2005



WiFi's Little Secret - You're Not 100 Percent Safe -- Protect your identity and data when using a WiFi "hotspot" - StealthSurfer II makes wireless surfing secure

Stealth Ideas Inc (www.stealthsurfer.com), a portable privacy software company, announced that its recently unveiled StealthSurfer II device will now allow for 100-percent secure and encrypted wireless Web browsing. StealthSurfer II is a thumb-sized flash storage drive which allows consumers to surf the Web with anonymity from any computer - even over a wireless connection. StealthSurfer II's integrated privacy features keep surfers safe from identity theft as well as from phishing and pharming spam attacks. Ideal for frequent coffee shop surfers, airport travelers, Internet café goers or anyone who uses their laptop wirelessly in a public "hotspot," the StealthSurfer is the most robust and complete privacy and identity protection tool on the market.

The Risk

Wireless networks in public areas or "hot spots" (like Internet cafés) often do not provide adequate security. A recent polling revealed that most public and private Wi-Fi networks used no encryption at all. Moreover, even when the host does have the proper security settings enabled, consumers still leave themselves at risk to knowledgeable hackers or wardrivers (those who use easy-to-obtain "sniffing" software to find unprotected networks). Once penetrated, an experienced attacker could implant malicious programs, including spyware, adware or Trojan horse applications, directly onto a computer.

The Solution

With StealthSurfer II, wireless Internet access is totally safe and secure. By using the device's customized FireFox browser and integrated IP masking, an encrypted tunnel is created between the surfer's laptop and the receiving Web site. This encrypted data stream cannot be read by anyone but the host computer. Any data packets intercepted would appear as illegible data garbage rendering the attack useless. All user data (such as confidential credit card and social security numbers) remains protected and secure.

Tiny enough to carry on a keychain, the USB 2.0 flash drive plugs into the USB port of a computer and allows users to surf the Web with total privacy. The device is available in memory configurations of 128-megabytes to one-gigabyte at pricing starting at $99. Small, sleek and versatile, StealthSurfer II offers the very best in portability, privacy and identity theft protection.

Comprehensive Privacy Solution - all integrated under one hood

StealthSurfer II is loaded with a host of privacy protection tools that are seamlessly integrated into one tiny and portable keychain device. With all these tools "under one hood," users can not only protect their laptop or personal computer, but can now take this virtual "armor" with them wherever they go - even when traveling or using public computers. The full suite of protection includes:

Firefox (high-speed browser with enhanced security):
Surf the Web with the newest Internet browser with the highest security capabilities available. Firefox empowers users to browse faster, more safely and more efficiently than with any other browser. Built with security in mind, Firefox keeps computers safe from malicious spyware and includes a comprehensive set of privacy features to keep online activity secure.

Anonymizer Anonymous Surfing (complete IP masking):
Anonymous Surfing safeguards a user's identity and Internet activities by shielding their IP, or Internet address, from hackers and online snoops. An encrypted path is created between a user's computer and the Internet using 128-bit SSL technology, the most secure form of SSL available, to ensure the highest level of protection and anonymity.

RoboForm (one-click form-fill and user ID/password management application):
This integrated tool simplifies the process of filling out online forms by storing multiple user identities, including name, address, phone number, and other important information required by the user; it also securely stores confidential data such as passwords, bank accounts, and credit card numbers.

Thunderbird (portable email access):
Access an email account anywhere at anytime. Thunderbird gives users a faster, safer and more productive email experience. Designed to prevent viruses and to stop junk mail, this tool is portable and can secure both POP mail (such as through Outlook or Outlook Express) and Web-based email.

About Stealth Ideas Inc :
Stealth Ideas Inc is a portable software solution company integrating products for computer software with a focus on secure, convenient and portable applications. The company was launched in 2002 by a team of experienced business owners with a track record for bringing innovative technologies to the consumer arena. Architects of the StealthSurfer and StealthSurfer II have a long history in technology innovations and leadership and are the creators of the third-party telephone billing systems of the early 80s. The StealthSurfer line of products is designed to offer both consumer and enterprise professionals the security and portability needed in today's Web-centric world. For more information, visit the company's Web site at
www.stealthsurfer.com , or call 888-742-4747.



But they say it's only available for a limited time, and only to AOL members. The trials run anywhere from 30 days to 3 months. No charge to you if you cancel before the trial ends. Members can even get free phone minutes to use, whether they wind up signing up for AOL's phone service or not.

So, even though AOL has been making a big push into offering free online content (and making money with ads on such content), it still wants to get new paying subscribers, and this enticement is intended to show some of its cool advanced features (which cost extra $, above the monthly member fee). Examples: phone services via broadband, online music downloads, caller alert, and more.

For more info, go to www.aol.com

How will Google's recent investment into AOL affect all this? Perhaps Google will develop new services for AOL. Also, an AOL spinoff IPO (away from Time Warner) is one rumored possibility, in a year or two. Holy Deja Vu: Could it be AOL will become a darling Internet stock again, leading to late-nineties-esque mania once more? Stay tuned....

Monday, September 05, 2005



I can't help it, this site is not only fun (assuming you have too much free time), but may just point the way to the future of entertainment on the Web (or at least some whacked-out portion of it).

If something this stupid is compelling, they may be on to something.
Also, I keep having this urge for a chicken sandwich.... hmmm......

Yes, control freaks, now you can control a freak. Dressed in a chicken suit.
Give text commands, and the 7 foot chicken will do it (at least it did MOST of what I asked).

Video on demand. Your typed-in demands, that is.
Enjoy... at
www.subservientchicken.com .

Monday, August 29, 2005


MAILINATOR: Great Temp-Email Solution to Avoid Spam

I just discovered this free service called Mailinator; they provide users with free temporary email addresses -- a web based solution to getting email you don't need to keep forever, in a safe spam-free way. Its main appeal: a way to avoid spam and stay incognito while safely getting email from someone you just met, or from a business you don't know that much about.

Go to www.mailinator.com for more info, but here are the basics of how it works:

Say someone you meet (in the real world, or online) wants to email you something. If so, make up a Mailinator address on the spot, that you can remember, like, for example, peachy@mailinator.com . Give that out. Now, if someone sends you email at that address, an emailbox is created for FREE at Mailinator, which holds the email for you to read. When you go to the Mailinator website, you would type "peachy" in the proper field, and voila, you are sent to that temporary "peachy" mailbox to see your email. Any mail you receive is stripped of images, scripts, etc, it just appears as text. Your email eventually gets auto-deleted, after a few hours.

The key here is that you can just make up the mailbox name ON THE SPOT and give it out immediately; with Yahoo or Hotmail or other free web email, you have to register online and THEN you can give out the address to people. With Mailinator, you can give out the address FIRST, and then LATER it is created automatically for you. And, Mailinator asks NO info about you, you stay totally anonymous.

Their website says Mailinator was "created out of frustration over spam" and is "a spam solution that approaches the problem differently. It focuses on only one niche of the spam problem. However, what it does, it does well. Mailinator solves the problem of handing your email out to just anyone. You've always got a new spam-free email address ready-and-waiting." Mailinator is designed for folks who "need an email address right now ... that they know they won't need later." The site summarizes its appeal well: "It's free, never asks anything about you and is always ready to go. It fills a real gap. ...Mailinator lets you choose who you are."

The only possible problem I see: what if someone ELSE is using the name you come up with for your emailbox? One solution: always use a name that is either wacky or complex or both, and easy for YOU to remember -- a combo of letters and numbers meaningful to you. That should, I believe, solve this one potential issue.


Mailinator is, of course, not a perfect catch-all solution, just one way to avoid spam and get temporary email in an easy way. See the FAQ section on the Mailinator site for more details (one of the funniest FAQs I've ever read, as you can see from this brief snippet):

So if the government issued a subpeona to Mailinator to divulge emails or logs, you'd rat me out?
Holy crap, yes. I'm not going to jail for you, I have a boyish face and very, very supple skin.
....We think Mailinator provides pretty decent privacy, and we want to keep providing that and even improve it, but we can't promise it. A promise would require lawyers, money, and probably guns - and we don't have any of those.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005



Rocketboom is one cool vlog. Go see it. Like, now.

Kinda kooky... kinda Cronkite meets Congdon -- Amanda Congdon, that is; she's the smart, sassy, sexy host of the short-n-sweet show. There's news, sure... but also always-fun-or-odd vidclips sent in by various folks, with Amanda providing the commentary and the fast-n-fun tieitalltogether glue. Just a few minutes per show, perfect for net viewing, this may be the Future of News for Gen Y and Z. (G... Y didnt I C it'd B the next new net thing?)

i Rather like it!
In fact, CBS did too, they recently featured Rocketboom on a news piece. News covering news, how self-referential. But Amanda And Co deserve it. This is notable, New News.

Tune in at www.rocketboom.com

Monday, August 08, 2005



So, dear readers, I watched with rapt attention the premiere of GIRLS NEXT DOOR last nite on E!, and it rocked! So glad this new reality show lived up to all the hype! 5 out of 5 stars. Loved all the behind the scenes stuff about the behinds, backstage stuff about the backsides, gettin to know Hef, the wild partying life, but especially the lives and goals of the 3 lovely ladies he now dates (VIVA VIAGRA!). They will surprise you. I think you'll be most drawn to Kendra and Bridget, their bubbliness and charm will win you over.

GIRLS NEXT DOOR titilates, has plenty of backstage, backsides and backbiting (well, not really biting, but the girls are a little competitive, sure -- especially the "main GalFriend" who wants to win Hef all for herself.... or is it Hefself). Highly recommend you watch the next episode, next Sun at 9pm, I know I will -- since the 3 girls are supposed to get their own mag cover, finally - and why not? Hef's other main gals of years past got Playboy covers, and these 3 current girlfriends are just as hot, and probably smarter. Check it out. Awesome series, well done E!