Archive for June, 2009

Movie Review: “Year One”

June 23, 2009

I can’t bring myself to call this a great movie, but I’ll say this: I laughed.

I had no expectations for this movie, but I did find it genuinely funny. Being a Jack Black movie I was not surprised at all that it took them a grand total of 10 minutes to have a poop joke, but to be honest it was a very small joke so I’ll let it slide. Normally I don’t know actors, but since my stocks of old tv shows that I haven’t seen is drying up quickly I’ve been watching normal tv for a change and have gotten to recognise some actors. First was Jack Black (the main character) I know him from Tenacious D, and School of Rock. Then, the sidekick was Michael Cera, from Superbad (and Frequency apparently, back in 2000). David Cross played Cain (as in Cain and Able) now, I know him, I know him well, but I couldn’t figure out from where (mainly) until now… He played the sympathetic geek from Small Soldiers (I really like that movie by the way).

Christopher Mintz-Plasse, whom I also remember from Superbad played Isaac, while his father Abraham was played by Hank Azaria who is most famous for doing several of the voices on the Simpsons. The next one I had to do a double-take, Olivia Wilde played the Pirncess. It’s not that I have a problem with her being cast as the princess, far from it, I can’t (at the moment) think of anyone I’d like better in the role. Now her I know as “13” from House M.D. but she’s apparently in the cast for Tron 2 which makes me that much more excited for that movie. Vinnie Jones was in it too, I know him as the leader of the “soccer hooligans” from Eurotrip. ok, so far it’s just been me rattling off actors I know, and where I know them from, but since I don’t recognise this many people in the same movie very often I wanted to do it.

When I first started watching this movie I thought it would basically be all set in the forest with the “hunters and gatherers” but after some biblical references (a couple I got, but most I just recognised that references were being made) it appeared that time was progressing at a fast rate.  In the span of about a half an hour they went from hunters and gatherers, to farmers, to chariots and what looked like Roman soldiers, so it seemed kinda anachronistic.  I am ok with that though (at one point I thought they might end up in space by the end of the movie it was progressing so fast) since they only went so far with it.

There is a bit with Cain and Able with “the wheel” being something new, and I’m glad they didn’t overplay that too much (I was dreading that they would when they first were like “OMG wheel!”).  None of the rest of it seemed to leave that lasting of an impression on me (I’m not giving many, if any, spoilers), but it’s basically how you would expect the actors to act in their roles.  Actually, now that I think about it I did like this movie.  It’s not great, but it definitely is good.  I don’t know how often I’m going to write movie reviews, but I’m definitely not going to have a rating system, it would make me sound too much like a definitive source for information. I’ll say it’s good, not great and that I laughed.

Also, expect some time this week pictures and a description of a heathkit I just got.

update: I could swear I saw Anna Torv (the main character, Olivia Dunham, from Fringe) in an advertisement before the movie.

Zune: Followup

June 20, 2009

I really anticipated it would have taken me a longer time to get around to doing this, but was given some opportunities, and actually got it done, here’s how it went.  As soon as I posted my last blog post I went out to a coffee shop where one of my friends worked.  I picked up someone on the way, we call him British, and I knew he had a zune (and is probably one of my 3 readers at this point) so I had him bring his charging cable along.  Now I never really expected to have the thing power up on the first try, but I was really hoping it would (it did not).

We’ll skip ahead in the night to after I got home (~4 am), I was strangely motivated to try and take the thing apart, but didn’t want to ruin it.  I went out in search of websites with disassembly guides and found one as the first result of my first search (I have mad google-fu skills).  The guide (seen here) says to use one of those plastic safety tools as to not mar the surface of your pod, but I don’t have one (nor will I get one to disassemble a free zune) so I used what I had, a $0.99 aco hardware box cutter.  I used this tool without fear because the 30GB zune has a surprisingly large gap in it’s main body construction so it was easy to work the long flat dell edge of the knife in there and pop it open (I may do a video, but not at this time).

So, after getting it open I layed it all out, as seen in these pictures (camera phone, I will replace them when I can find my better camera).


It’s kinda hard to see, but the main board has corrosion all down the right side. I plan to try rubbing alcohol on it to see if I can clean it up, and if I’m extremely lucky, make it work again. If I can not I may try to obtain a zune that is broken is some other way (with a working main board) for really cheap, or if all else fails I have repair parts for another common consumer electronic device (I love to have repair parts) and an amazingly small 30GB 1.8″ ZIF hard drive (MK3008GAL) to do whatever with (maybe increase internal storage of my EEE 701?).


ADDENDUM: shortly after this I gave the device to a friend who said he could fix it (I knew he couldn’t) and I ended up giving up parts that could have gone to fix a different friend’s zune.  You can see where I come down on doing that again.

Zune: New Project

June 20, 2009

So, my first blog post just happens to be my first new project since starting a blog.  There are many more un-finished and un-started projects to post on, but listing them all right now would waste my time and yours, so I’ll start with this one: free broken zune.  that’s a phrase I’ll probably be saying a lot, “free broken X”.  This zune is a white 30GB model that won’t power on.  The previous owners said that one day they let it run down too much and then it just wouldn’t re-charge.  I plan on trying several different strategies to repair this zune.

First: I plan to borrow a friend’s charging cable to see if it’s something as simple as that (although I don’t think so, because I’m pretty sure they had a boom box dock for it that would keep it charged while it played)  or at least continuity check the cable with a pinout of the zune side connector.

Second: I would remove the case and battery and attempt to power the zune with a battery pack of my own design (probably a bad idea, but as a test I don’t think it’ll kill it).

Third: try and re-solder the zune connector if broken off the board or bypass it with a hardwired usb cable to see if that’s the problem.

Fourth: buy a new battery from an aftermarket seller (maybe dealextreme or ebay).

Fifth: at least I can probably rip a working 30 GB drive out of this thing, or maybe sell it on craigslist, or maybe both…. maybe not.

Any way I slice it  come out on top because I got a free zune, usb cable, and wall outlet usb adapter.