// Internet Duct Tape

In the Future This Blog Post will be Obsolete

Posted in Digital Culture, Technology by engtech on February 18, 2007

I spend a lot of time surfing information feeds and I see how ideas form and spread from one person to another. We are in the information age and experiencing information explosion. Push button publishing has lead to ever increasing content. The librarians of the future have their job cut out for them — but that’s okay because the physical storage space for all this data continues to shrink.

The bigger question is how do you keep it accessible? Digital Rights Management (DRM) is one side of the problem — ensuring that anything locked by copyright will be unreadable in 10 years time. The other side of the problem is technological obsolescence. Even if you use open standards they are continually evolving. At the moment I can play MP3s on my computer, iPod, home stereo, car, and gaming console. What about 50 years from now?

Do you own a record player? What about a cassette tape player?

This is great for content producers because they can keep selling you the same thing over and over again. But what about when the data isn’t a consumer good? If there isn’t any money to be made from converting data to the new format du jour then it will be abandoned. Look at this New York Times Best Seller list from the 1940s to 2000s. I haven’t heard of most of the books or authors that were published before I was born. And that was before we hit the Information Age. Good luck finding those books at a bookstore.

Copyright legislation ensures that by the time a published work is freely available for copying it is almost guaranteed there will no longer be an audience who is interested in copying it. More and more content is available in digital format, but by the time it can be legally copied that format can’t be read. Do you have software that can read a WordPerfect [wiki] document [1]?

Old video games see new light because of virtualization and emulators. But these are the exceptions that prove the rule. At least with stone tablets you could still read them thousands years later. CD-ROMs can become unreadable after as little as two years [wiki] under normal usage conditions. Even if they are physically accessible the chances of being able to read the content 50 years from now is next to nil. When was the last time you bought a computer with a 3.5 inch drive?

Content is disposable and the chance that something you create will be read, watched, or listened to years from now are next to nothing unless it continues to remain commercially viable from generation to generation. Even if you created something that could stand the test of time there are too many new voices producing too many new things. The best of the best is a needle in the haystack and the haystack keeps getting bigger.

[1] And I am unfairly picking on WordPerfect. It is still a commercially available product, just one that few people use.

Have Yourself a Very Geeky Valentine’s Day

Posted in Geeking Out, Links, Technology by engtech on February 14, 2007

You Complete Me - Nerd Valentine Day Geek LoveThe social bookmarking sites Digg and Reddit are getting swamped with Valentine’s Day links (which are being promptly buried). I waded through them and grabbed these links to the best Valentine’s Day related sites from a geek’s point of view.

It’s almost too late to do anything — so here are 14 last minute suggestions.





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Top Romance Movies: 76 Romantic Flicks for Guys and Girls

Posted in Movies, Popular Posts, Technology by engtech on February 08, 2007

Everyone likes movies.

The problem is that people don’t like the same movies.

This is especially true for romantic movies. Valentine’s Day is around the corner and people are putting together lists of their favorite romantic movies. Many of them I didn’t agree with, so I decided to make a list of my own and I got my girlfriend to help me.

Together we’ve brought you a list of the best romantic films ever made neatly organized into what we both liked, what I liked, what she liked and the movies everyone else seems to like (based on the number of times they showed up on other people’s lists).

This isn’t the first time I’ve put together a big list of movies like this and it won’t be the last.

There are links to Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB for each movie to make it easier to cross-reference. Movie review scores are taken directly from Rotten Tomatoes and provided for reference – if you have a beef with the numbers, take that up with the professional film critics of the world.
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Romance movies for men and women

(photo by Christine)

Our Five Favorite Romantic Films

Out of all the movies we came across when looking at other people’s lists, these were the five we think that will appeal to everyone.

Shrek (2001)IMDB: 8.0/10, RT: 7.7/10, RT Overall: 88%

Plot: An ogre, in order to regain his swamp, travels along with an annoying donkey in order to bring a princess to a scheming lord, wishing himself King.

Shrek Director: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson

Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow

Genres: Childrens, Comedies, Animated, Comedy, Fantasy, Monsters, Children, Computer Animation, Theatrical Release, Comedy (General), Fantasy Worlds, Animated Characters, Essential Cinema

Amelie (2001)IMDB: 8.6/10, RT: 7.8/10, RT Overall: 89%

Plot: Amelie, an innocent and naive girl in Paris, with her own sense of justice, decides to help those around her and along the way, discovers love.

Amelie Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Writer: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Guillaume LaurantStarring: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Lorella Cravotta, Claire Maurier, Isabelle Nanty

Genres: Foreign Films, French, Comedy, Romance, Magic, Theatrical Release, Comedy (General), Paris, France, Essential Cinema

The Princess Bride (1987)IMDB: 8.2/10, RT: 8.4/10, RT Overall: 100%

Plot: A classic fairy tale, with swordplay, giants, an evil prince, a beautiful princess, and yes, some kissing (as read by a kindly grandfather).

The Princess Bride Director: Rob Reiner, Writer: William Goldman, William Goldman

Starring: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, André the Giant, Mandy Patinkin, Carol Kane, Billy Crystal

Genres: Comedies, Adventure, Comedy, Classic, Fantasy, Medieval, Spoof, Swashbuckler, Love Story, Rescue, Classic Fight Scenes, Recommended, Family Film, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

When Harry Met Sally (1989)IMDB: 7.6/10, RT: 7.9/10, RT Overall: 94%

Plot: Harry and Sally have known each other for years, and are very good friends, but they fear sex would ruin the friendship.

When Harry Met Sally… Director: Rob Reiner, Writer: Nora Ephron

Starring: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher, Bruno Kirby, Lisa Jane Persky

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Romance, Love Story, Self-Discovery, Recommended, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

Groundhog Day (1993)IMDB: 8.0/10, RT: 8/10, RT Overall: 94%

Plot: A weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again.

Groundhog Day Director: Harold Ramis, Writer: Danny Rubin, Harold Ramis

Starring: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky, Brian Doyle Murray, Marita Geraghty

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Classic, Romance, Time Travel, Self-Discovery, Recommended, Surreal, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

hearts, flowers and movies

(photo by <kickstart>)

Romantic Movies for Guys and Girls

Men and women can never seem to agree on anything. These are the movies we both like.

Before Sunset (2004)IMDB: 8.1/10, RT: 8.2/10, RT Overall: 94%

Plot: It’s nine years after Jesse and Celine first met; now, they encounter one another on the French leg of Jesse’s book tour.

Before Sunset Director: Richard Linklater, Writer: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Richard Linklater

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

Genres: Dramas, Drama, Romance, Theatrical Release

House of Flying Daggers (2004)IMDB: 7.6/10, RT: 7.8/10, RT Overall: 88%

Plot: A romantic warrior breaks a beautiful member of a rebel army out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem.

House of Flying Daggers Director: Yimou Zhang, Writer: Yimou Zhang

Starring: Zhang Ziyi, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau, Lu Feng, Song Dandan

Genres: Foreign Films, Chinese/Mandarin, Assassination, Epic, Period Piece, Samurai, Theatrical Release, Friendships, Dancing

Casablanca (1942)IMDB: 8.8/10, RT: 9/10, RT Overall: 98%

Plot: Classic film set in unoccupied Africa during the early days of World War II: An American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications.

Casablanca Director: Michael Curtiz, Writer: Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Paul Henreid, Dooley Wilson, Conrad Veidt

Genres: Dramas, Drama, Classic, Romance, Suspense, Tear Jerker, World War II, Betrayal, Love Story, Recommended, Character Study, Infidelity, Essential Cinema

Punch-Drunk Love (2002)IMDB: 7.4/10, RT: 7.5/10, RT Overall: 81%

Plot: A beleaguered small-business owner gets a harmonium and embarks on a romantic journey with a mysterious woman.

Punch-Drunk Love Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson

Starring: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Luis Guzman, Mary Lynn Rajskub

Genres: Dramas, Comedy, Romance, Theatrical Release, Los Angeles, California, Psychology, Essential Cinema

Gone With the Wind (1939)IMDB: 8.0/10, RT: 8.5/10, RT Overall: 96%

Plot: American classic in which a manipulative woman and a roguish man carry on a turbulent love affair in the American south during the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Gone With the Wind Director: Victor Fleming, Writer: Margaret Mitchell, Sidney Howard

Starring: Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Olivia de Havilland, Hattie McDaniel, Leslie Howard, Thomas Mitchell

Genres: Dramas, Big Battles, Civil War, Drama, Classic, Family Interaction, Romance, Slavery, Love Story, All-Star, Epic, Recommended, Period Piece, Blockbuster, Gentry, Essential Cinema

Annie Hall (1977)IMDB: 8.2/10, RT: 8.8/10, RT Overall: 98%

Plot: Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditsy Annie Hall.

Annie Hall Director: Woody Allen, Writer: Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman

Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Shelley Duvall, Tony Roberts, Paul Simon, Carol Kane

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Classic, Romance, Self-Discovery, Mishaps, Thanksgiving, Recommended, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

The Last of the Mohicans (1992)IMDB: 7.6/10, RT: 8.1/10, RT Overall: 97%

Plot: Three trappers protect a British Colonel’s daughters in the midst of the French and Indian War.

The Last of the Mohicans Director: Michael Mann, Writer: Michael Mann, Christopher Crowe, Philip Dunne

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means, Eric Schweig, Wes Studi, Steven Waddington

Genres: Action/Adventure, Adventure, Indians, Romance, Western, Love Story, Recommended, Period Piece, Theatrical Release

Before Sunrise (1995)IMDB: 7.9/10, RT: 8.1/10, RT Overall: 100%

Plot: A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one romantic evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together.

Before Sunrise Director: Richard Linklater

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

Genres: Comedies, Adventure, Friends, Comedy, Romance, Love Story, Recommended, Theatrical Release

Chasing Amy (1997)IMDB: 7.5/10, RT: 7.5/10, RT Overall: 93%

Plot: Holden and Banky are comic book artists. Everything’s going good for them until they meet Alyssa, also a comic book artist. Holden falls for her, but his hopes are crushed when he finds out she’s a lesbian.

Chasing Amy Director: Kevin Smith, Writer: Kevin Smith

Starring: Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee, Dwight Ewell, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith

Genres: Comedies, Friends, Comedy, Drama, Gay/Lesbian, Romance, Self-Discovery, Recommended, Theatrical Release

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)IMDB: 8.6/10, RT: 8.5/10, RT Overall: 90%

Plot: An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would had been like if he never existed.

It’s a Wonderful Life Director: Frank Capra, Writer: Jo Swerling, Frank Capra, Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich, Philip Van Doren Stern

Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi

Genres: Dramas, Afterlife, Holiday, Drama, Classic, Tear Jerker, Self-Discovery, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Recommended, Family Film, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

Wedding Crashers (2005)IMDB: 7.2/10, RT: 6.8/10, RT Overall: 75%

Plot: John Beckwith and Jeremy Grey, a pair of committed womanizers who sneak into weddings to take advantage of the romantic tinge in the air, find themselves at odds with one another when John meets and falls for Claire Cleary.

Wedding Crashers Director: David Dobkin, Writer: Steve Faber, Bob Fisher

Starring: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams, Jane Seymour, Isla Fisher

Genres: Comedies, Comedy

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)IMDB: 7.1/10, RT: 7.6/10, RT Overall: 97%

Plot: Comedy-drama about a group of British friends… the title says the rest.

Four Weddings and a Funeral Director: Mike Newell

Starring: Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, Kristin Scott Thomas, Simon Callow, James Fleet, Rowan Atkinson

Genres: Comedies, Friends, Comedy, Death, Romance, Mishaps, Recommended, Marriage, Theatrical Release

Closer (2004)IMDB: 7.4/10, RT: 6.7/10, RT Overall: 68%

Plot: The relationships of two couples become complicated and deceitful when the man from one couple meets the woman of the other.

Closer Director: Mike Nichols, Writer: Patrick Marber, Patrick Marber

Starring: Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Clive Owen

Genres: Dramas, Romance, Infidelity, Marriage, Theatrical Release, London, England, Love Affairs, Love

Romancing The Stone (1984)IMDB: 6.8/10, RT: 7.3/10, RT Overall: 93%

Plot: A romance writer sets off to Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister, and soon finds herself in the middle of a dangerous adventure.

Romancing the Stone Director: Robert Zemeckis

Starring: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Alfonso Arau

Genres: Action/Adventure, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Romance, Swashbuckler, Thriller, Jewels, Jungle, Recommended, Theatrical Release

True Romance (1993)IMDB: 7.8/10, RT: 7.3/10, RT Overall: 89%

Plot: Clarence marries hooker Alabama, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood, while the owners of the coke try to reclaim it.

True Romance Director: Tony Scott, Writer: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt

Genres: Action/Adventure, Action, Drama, Drugs, Organized Crime, Romance, Suspense, Cops, Outlaws, Classic Fight Scenes, Young Love, Recommended, Theatrical Release

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)IMDB: 6.7/10, RT: 7.3/10, RT Overall: 94%

Plot: A young man must complete his work at a Navy Flight school to become an aviator, with the help of a tough gunnery sergeant and his new girlfriend.

An Officer and a Gentleman Director: Taylor Hackford

Starring: Richard Gere, Debra Winger, David Keith, Louis Gossett, Robert Loggia, Lisa Blount

Genres: Dramas, Action, Adventure, Friends, Drama, Romance, Self-Discovery, Personal Triumph, Recommended, Military, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

The Sound of Music (1965)IMDB: 7.7/10, RT: 7.7/10, RT Overall: 81%

Plot: A woman leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to a Naval officer widower.

The Sound of Music Director: Robert Wise, Writer: Ernest Lehman

Starring: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Richard Haydn, Peggy Wood, Eleanor Parker, Heather Menzies

Genres: Musical & Performing Arts, Musicals, Classic, Family Interaction, Musical, Romance, True Story, Recommended, Clergy, Family Film, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)IMDB: 7.7/10, RT: 7.5/10, RT Overall: 86%

Plot: A young New York socialite becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her apartment building.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Director: Blake Edwards, Writer: George Axelrod, Truman Capote

Starring: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Martin Balsam, Buddy Ebsen, Mickey Rooney

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Romance, Love Story, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

Chocolat (2000)IMDB: 7.3/10, RT: 6/10, RT Overall: 62%

Plot: A woman and her daughter open a chocolate shop in a small French village that shakes up the rigid morality of the community.

Chocolat Director: Lasse Hallström, Writer: Robert Nelson Jacobs, Joanne Harris

Starring: Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Alfred Molina, Lena Olin, Carrie-Anne Moss

Genres: Dramas, Romance, Theatrical Release, France, Small Towns, 1950s

Mr and Mrs Smith (2005)IMDB: 6.5/10, RT: 6.1/10, RT Overall: 59%

Plot: A bored married couple is surprised to learn that they are both assassins hired by competing agencies to kill each other.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith Director: Doug Liman, Writer: Simon Kinberg

Starring: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Kerry Washington, Adam Brody

Genres: Action/Adventure, Action

The Girl Next Door (2004)IMDB: 6.8/10, RT: 5.7/10, RT Overall: 57%

Plot: A teenager’s dreams come true when a former porn star moves in next door and they fall in love.

The Girl Next Door Director: Luke Greenfield, Writer: Brent Goldberg, Stuart Blumberg, David Wagner

Starring: Emile Hirsch, Elisha Cuthbert, Timothy Olyphant, James Remar, Christopher George Marquette, Paul Dano

Genres: Comedies, Romance, Teenage, Theatrical Release

Shallow Hal (2001)IMDB: 6.0/10, RT: 5.5/10, RT Overall: 50%

Plot: A shallow man falls in love with a 300 pound woman because of her “inner beauty”.

Shallow Hal Director: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Writer: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Sean Moynihan

Starring: Jack Black, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jason Alexander, Zen Gesner, Susan Ward, Laura Kightlinger

Genres: Comedies, Slapstick, Theatrical Release

Sliding Doors (1998)IMDB: 6.8/10, RT: 6.4/10, RT Overall: 64%

Plot: A London woman’s love life and career both hinge, unknown to her, on whether or not she catches a train. We see it both ways, in parallel.

Sliding Doors Director: Peter Howitt, Writer: Peter Howitt

Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, John Hannah, John Lynch, Jeanne Tripplehorn

Genres: Dramas, Romance, Theatrical Release, Drama (General)

The Wedding Singer (1998)IMDB: 6.7/10, RT: 6.2/10, RT Overall: 56%

Plot: Robbie, the singer and Julia, the waitress are both engaged to be married but to the wrong people. Fortune intervenes to help them discover each other.

The Wedding Singer Director: Frank Coraci, Writer: Tim Herlihy

Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Christine Taylor, Alan Covert, Angela Featherstone, Matthew Glave

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Romance, Nostalgic, Marriage, Theatrical Release, 1980s

romantic movies men love romance film

(photo by reinvented)

He Said – Romantic Movies for Guys

These are the movies I liked. Sure, maybe I’m stretching the definition of “romance” a little… but what else do you expect from a guy?

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)IMDB: 8.5/10, RT: 8.4/10, RT Overall: 93%

Plot: A couple undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories when their relationship turns sour, but it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Director: Michel Gondry, Writer: Charlie Kaufman, Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry, Pierre Bismuth

Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Wilkinson, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Love Story, Recommended, Doctors, Surreal, Theatrical Release, Romantic Comedy, Essential Cinema

Shaun of the Dead (2004)IMDB: 7.9/10, RT: 7.6/10, RT Overall: 90%

Plot: A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.

Shaun of the Dead Director: Edgar Wright, Writer: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright

Starring: Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Nick Frost, Penelope Wilton, Dylan Moran

Genres: Comedies, Horror/Suspense, British, Comedy, Horror, Romance, Spoof, Zombies, Theatrical Release, Comedy (General), British Comedy

The Man Without a Past (2002)IMDB: 7.7/10, RT: 8/10, RT Overall: 97%The film follows a man who arrives in Helsinki and gets beaten up so severely he develops amnesia. Unable to remember his name or anything from his past life, he cannot get a job or an apartment, so he starts living on the outskirts of the city and slowly starts putting his life back on track.

The Man Without a Past Director: Aki Kaurismäki, Writer: Aki Kaurismäki

Starring: Markku Peltola, Kati Outinen, Sakari Kuosmanen, Juhani Niemela, Kaija Pakarinen

Genres: Comedies, Foreign Films, Finnish, Comedy, Rock And Roll, Romance, Theatrical Release

Out of Sight (1998)IMDB: 7.2/10, RT: 7.9/10, RT Overall: 92%

Plot: A career bank robber breaks out of jail and shares a moment of mutual attraction with a US Marshall he has kidnapped.

Out of Sight Director: Steven Soderbergh, Writer: Elmore Leonard

Starring: George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn, Dennis Farina

Genres: Action/Adventure, Romance, Theatrical Release, Crime, Heists, Essential Cinema

Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)IMDB: 6.9/10, RT: 7.1/10, RT Overall: 83%

Plot: Jessica Stein is a single, straight, sucessful, journalist, part of a bonded Jewish family living in New York City, who finds herself not as straight as she thought when Jessica meets and begins an intense friendship with career woman Helen Cooper which ultimately leads to romance.

Kissing Jessica Stein Director: Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, Writer: Jennifer Westfeldt, Heather Juergensen

Starring: Jennifer Westfeldt, Heather Juergensen, Scott Cohen, Tovah Feldshuh, Jackie Hoffman, Michael Mastro

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Romance, Theatrical Release, Lesbians

From Here to Eternity (1953)IMDB: 7.8/10, RT: 8.1/10, RT Overall: 87%

Plot: In 1941 Hawaii, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit’s team, while his captain’s wife and second in command are falling in love.

From Here to Eternity Director: Fred Zinnemann, Writer: Daniel Taradash, James Jones

Starring: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Frank Sinatra, Ernest Borgnine

Genres: Dramas, Action, Drama, Classic, War, World War II, Love Story, Recommended, Infidelity, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema, Based On A Novel

Starman (1984)IMDB: 6.7/10, RT: 7.4/10, RT Overall: 94%

Plot: An alien takes the form of a young widow’s husband and asks her to drive him from Wisconsin to Arizona. The government tries to stop them.

Starman Director: John Carpenter, Bruce A. Evans, Writer: Raynold Gideon

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, Charles Martin Smith, Richard Jaeckel, Robert Phalen, Tony Edwards

Genres: Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Friends, Aliens, Romance, Science-Fiction, On-The-Run, Theatrical Release

Children of a Lesser God (1986)IMDB: 7.0/10, RT: 7.1/10, RT Overall: 83%

Plot: James is a new speech teacher at a school for the deaf. He falls for Sarah, a pupil who decided to stay on at the school rather than venture into the big bad world. She shuns him at first, refusing to read his lips and only using signs. Will her feelings change over time?

Children of a Lesser God Director: Randa Haines, Writer: Hesper Anderson, Lloyd Fonvielle, Mark Medoff

Starring: William Hurt, Marlee Matlin, Piper Laurie, Philip Bosco, Alison Gompf

Genres: Dramas, Drama, Romance, Tear Jerker, Character Study, Physically Impaired, Theatrical Release

Ladyhawke (1985)IMDB: 6.7/10, RT: 5.6/10, RT Overall: 68%

Plot: Philip Gaston, called The Mouse, escapes from the prison of the medieval city of Aquila. Chased by the guards of the evil Bishop of the city, Philip meets a mysterious knight with a beautiful hawk and begins to follow him. Philip soon discovers that the knight has been cursed by the Bishop, so that when the night falls…

Ladyhawke Director: Richard Donner

Starring: Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Matthew Broderick, Leo McKern

Genres: Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Adventure, Fantasy, Medieval, Romance, Witches And Wizards, Love Story, Classic Fight Scenes, Recommended, Magic, Theatrical Release, Romances

Proof of Life (2000)IMDB: 6.1/10, RT: 5.4/10, RT Overall: 39%

Plot: Alice hires a professional negotiator to obtain the release of her engineer husband, who has been kidnapped by anti-government guerrillas in South America.

Proof of Life Director: Taylor Hackford, Writer: Tony Gilroy

Starring: Meg Ryan, Russell Crowe, David Morse, Pamela Reed, David Caruso

Genres: Action/Adventure, Disaster, Drama, Politics, Theatrical Release, News, Affairs, Hostages

best romantic movies of all time

(photos by mag3737)

She Said – Romantic Movies for Girls

These are the movies my girlfriend really likes but I’m so-so about.

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)IMDB: 8.4/10, RT: 9.4/10, RT Overall: 100%

Plot: A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

Singin’ in the Rain Director: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly, Writer: Adolph Green, Betty Comden

Starring: Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, Jean Hagen, Cyd Charisse, Rita Moreno

Genres: Musical & Performing Arts, Musicals, Comedy, Classic, Musical, Romance, Recommended, Showbiz, Theatrical Release, Silent Films, Essential Cinema

Roman Holiday (1953)IMDB: 8.0/10, RT: 8.5/10, RT Overall: 100%

Plot: A bored and sheltered princess escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American newsman in Rome.

Roman Holiday Director: William Wyler, Writer: Dalton Trumbo, Ian McLellan Hunter, John Dighton

Starring: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert, Tullio Carminati, Hartley Power, Harcourt Williams

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Romance, Vintage, On-The-Road, Recommended, Reporters, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

Say Anything (1989)IMDB: 7.5/10, RT: 8.1/10, RT Overall: 100%

Plot: A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college.

Say Anything Director: Cameron Crowe, Writer: Cameron Crowe

Starring: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney, Lili Taylor, Pamela Segall, Jeremy Piven

Genres: Dramas, Campus Life, Comedy, Coming Of Age, Drama, Romance, Teenage, Love Story, Young Love, Recommended, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

Moulin Rouge (2001)IMDB: 7.7/10, RT: 7/10, RT Overall: 78%

Plot: A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets in this stylish musical, with music drawn from familiar 20th century sources.

Moulin Rouge Director: Baz Luhrmann, Writer: Craig Pearce, Baz Luhrmann

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, Natalie Mendoza

Genres: Musical & Performing Arts, Musicals, Dance, Romance, Illness, Theatrical Release, Paris, France, Artists, Poets, Love, Essential Cinema

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)IMDB: 7.1/10, RT: 7.6/10, RT Overall: 97%

Plot: Comedy-drama about a group of British friends… the title says the rest.

Four Weddings and a Funeral Director: Mike Newell

Starring: Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, Kristin Scott Thomas, Simon Callow, James Fleet, Rowan Atkinson

Genres: Comedies, Friends, Comedy, Death, Romance, Mishaps, Recommended, Marriage, Theatrical Release

Moonstruck (1987)IMDB: 7.0/10, RT: 7.8/10, RT Overall: 92%

Plot: A widowed Brooklyn book-keeper is torn between her fiancé and his brother.

Moonstruck Director: Norman Jewison, Writer: John Patrick Shanley

Starring: Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, Vincent Gardenia, Danny Aiello, Julie Bovasso

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Classic, Family Interaction, Romance, Self-Discovery, Recommended, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

Sleepless in Seattle (1993)IMDB: 6.6/10, RT: 6.9/10, RT Overall: 80%

Plot: A recently-widowed man’s son calls a radio talk show in an attempt to find his father a partner.

Sleepless in Seattle Director: Nora Ephron, Writer: Nora Ephron, David S. Ward, Jeff Arch

Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Ross Malinger, Rosie O’Donnell, Bill Pullman, David Hyde Pierce

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Romance, Love Story, Recommended, Blockbuster, Theatrical Release, New York City, Essential Cinema

Sabrina (1954)IMDB: 7.7/10, RT: 7.5/10, RT Overall: 94%

Plot: A playboy becomes interested in the daughter of his family’s chauffeur. But it’s his more serious brother who would be the better man for her.

Sabrina Director: Billy Wilder, Writer: Billy Wilder, Samuel Taylor, Ernest Lehman

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Martha Hyer, John Williams, Walter Hampden

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Drama, Family Interaction, Romance, Love Triangle, Recommended, Essential Cinema

Love Actually (2003)IMDB: 7.8/10, RT: 6.5/10, RT Overall: 66%

Plot: Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely and interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.

Love Actually Director: Richard Curtis, Writer: Richard Curtis

Starring: Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Romance, Christmas, Theatrical Release, Sex

Dracula (1992)IMDB: 7.1/10, RT: 6.7/10, RT Overall: 85%

Plot: The vampire comes to England to seduce a visitor’s fiance and inflict havoc in the foreign land.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula Director: Francis Ford Coppola, Writer: James V. Hart, Bram Stoker

Starring: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Cary Elwes, Sadie Frost

Genres: Horror/Suspense, Horror, Suspense, Vampires, Love Story, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

Dances With Wolves (1990)IMDB: 7.8/10, RT: 6.9/10, RT Overall: 79%

Plot: Lt. John Dunbar, exiled to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military.

Dances with Wolves Director: Kevin Costner, Writer: Michael Blake

Starring: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney A. Grant, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Robert Pastorelli

Genres: Westerns, Adventure, Drama, Indians, Western, Wilderness, Epic, Recommended, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

Pretty in Pink (1986)IMDB: 6.2/10, RT: 6.4/10, RT Overall: 82%

Plot: A girl from the wrong side of the tracks, a geeky new-waver who worships her, a rich High School Hunk who has her eye, and John Hughes.

Pretty in Pink Director: John Hughes, Writer: John Hughes

Starring: Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Harry Dean Stanton, Jon Cryer, James Spader, Annie Potts

Genres: Dramas, Coming Of Age, Drama, Romance, Teenage, Personal Triumph, Young Love, Recommended, Theatrical Release, 1980s

What Women Want (2000)IMDB: 6.3/10, RT: 5.7/10, RT Overall: 54%

Plot: After an accident, a chauvenistic executive gains the ability to hear what women are really thinking.

What Women Want Director: Nancy Meyers, Writer: Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa

Starring: Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Marisa Tomei, Alan Alda, Ashley Johnson, Mark Feuerstein

Genres: Comedies, Romance, Theatrical Release, Relationships, Sex

Pretty Woman (1990)IMDB: 6.6/10, RT: 5.8/10, RT Overall: 63%

Plot: A man in a legal but hurtful business needs an escort for some social events, and hires a beautiful prostitute he meets… only to fall in love.

Pretty Woman Director: Garry Marshall, Writer: J.F. Lawton

Starring: Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Hector Elizondo, Jason Alexander, Ralph Bellamy, Laura San Giacomo

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Drama, Prostitution, Romance, Recommended, Blockbuster, Theatrical Release, Romantic Comedy, Friendships, Romances, Prostitutes/Whores, Essential Cinema, Sexy Women

Playing by Heart (1998)IMDB: 7.0/10, RT: 6.2/10, RT Overall: 61%

Plot: Eleven articulate people work through affairs of the heart in L.A.

Playing By Heart Director: Willard Carroll, Writer: Willard Carroll

Starring: Gillian Anderson, Ellen Burstyn, Sean Connery, Angelina Jolie, Anthony Edwards, Jay Mohr

Genres: Dramas, Romance, Drama (General), Romances, Love

One Fine Day (1996)IMDB: 6.1/10, RT: 5.7/10, RT Overall: 46%

Plot: Melanie Parker, an architect and mother of Sammy, and Jack Taylor, a newspaper columnist and father of Maggie, are both divorced. They meet one morning when overwhelmed Jack is left unexpectedly with Maggie and forgets that Melanie was to take her to school. As a result, both children miss their school field trip and are stuck with the parents.

One Fine Day Director: Michael Hoffman, Writer: Terry Seltzer, Ellen Simon

Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, George Clooney, Mae Whitman, Alex D. Linz, Charles Durning

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Romance, Mishaps, Parenthood, Big City, Theatrical Release

romantic love passion movies

(photo by LunaDiRimmel)

They Said – Movies That Showed Up Again and Again

We don’t whole-heartedly recommend these films because they were either very average or we haven’t yet seen them. But plenty of other people do, so take that for what it’s worth.

Shakespeare in Love (1998)IMDB: 7.4/10, RT: 8.1/10, RT Overall: 93%

Plot: A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

Shakespeare in Love Director: John Madden, Writer: Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard

Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Ben Affleck, Judi Dench, Colin Firth

Genres: Comedies, Drama, Romance, Theatrical Release, Shakespeare, Essential Cinema

Sense and Sensibility (1995)IMDB: 7.6/10, RT: 8/10, RT Overall: 100%

Plot: Rich Mr. Dashwood dies, leaving his second wife and her daughters poor by the rules of inheritance. Two daughters are the titular opposites.

Sense and Sensibility Director: Ang Lee, Writer: Emma Thompson, Jane Austen

Starring: Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Gemma Jones, Harriet Walter

Genres: Dramas, Drama, Family Interaction, Romance, Betrayal, Recommended, Period Piece, Theatrical Release, Based On A Novel

West Side Story (1961)IMDB: 7.7/10, RT: 8.4/10, RT Overall: 95%

Plot: Musical about two youngsters from rival NYC gangs who fall in love.

West Side Story Director: Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins, Writer: Ernest Lehman

Starring: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno, Russ Tamblyn, George Chakiris, Simon Oakland

Genres: Musical & Performing Arts, Musicals, Classic, Gangs, Musical, Stage Play, Love Story, Tragedy, Recommended, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

The English Patient (1996)IMDB: 7.1/10, RT: 7.9/10, RT Overall: 86%

Plot: At the close of WWII, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair.

The English Patient Director: Anthony Minghella, Writer: Anthony Minghella, Michael Ondaatje

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Kristin Scott Thomas, Willem Dafoe, Naveen Andrews, Colin Firth

Genres: Dramas, Adventure, Drama, Romance, Suspense, War, World War II, Betrayal, Love Story, Epic, Tragedy, Recommended, Doomed Lovers, Infidelity, Desert, Nazis, Africa, Blockbuster, Theatrical Release, Drama (General), Essential Cinema

Ever After (1998)IMDB: 6.8/10, RT: 7.6/10, RT Overall: 92%

Plot: The “real” story of Cinderella. A refreshing new take on the classic fairy tale.

Ever After: A Cinderella Story Director: Andy Tennant, Writer: Susannah Grant, Andy Tennant, Rick Parks

Starring: Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston, Dougray Scott, Jeanne Moreau

Genres: Dramas, Romance, Theatrical Release, Romantic Comedy

The Age of Innocence (1993)IMDB: 7.0/10, RT: 7.2/10, RT Overall: 83%

Plot: Society scion Newland Archer is engaged to May Welland, but his well-ordered life is upset when he meets May’s unconventional cousin, the Countess Olenska. At first, Newland becomes a defender of the Countess, whose separation from her abusive husband makes her a social outcast in the restrictive high society of late-19th Century New York, but he finds in her a companion spirit and they fall in love.

The Age of Innocence Director: Martin Scorsese, Writer: Edith Wharton, Martin Scorsese, Jay Cocks

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder, Miriam Margolyes, Richard E. Grant, Geraldine Chaplin

Genres: Dramas, Drama, Romance, Love Triangle, Recommended, Character Study, Infidelity, Period Piece, Gentry, Theatrical Release

Jerry Maguire (1996)IMDB: 7.2/10, RT: 7.6/10, RT Overall: 85%

Plot: When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent with the only athlete who stays with him.

Jerry Maguire Director: Cameron Crowe, Writer: Cameron Crowe

Starring: Tom Cruise, Renée Zellweger, Cuba Gooding, Jonathan Lipnicki, Bonnie Hunt, Kelly Preston

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Romance, Self-Discovery, Sports, Recommended, Theatrical Release

Notting Hill (1999)IMDB: 6.9/10, RT: 7.2/10, RT Overall: 85%

Plot: The life of a simple bookshop owner changes when the most famous star in the world walks in his shop and buys a book…

Notting Hill Director: Roger Michell, Writer: Richard Curtis

Starring: Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville, Emma Chambers, Rhys Ifans, Tim McInnerny

Genres: Comedies, British, Comedy, Theatrical Release, Comedy (General), Romantic Comedy, Movie Stars

Titanic (1997)IMDB: 7.0/10, RT: 7.5/10, RT Overall: 82%

Plot: Fictional romantic tale of a rich girl and poor boy who meet on the ill-fated voyage of the ‘unsinkable’ ship.

Titanic Director: James Cameron, Writer: James Cameron

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Bernard Hill

Genres: Dramas, Disaster, Drama, Classic, High Seas, Romance, True Story, Love Story, Love Triangle, Tragedy, Recommended, Blockbuster, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

Bridges of Madison County (1995)IMDB: 6.9/10, RT: 7.2/10, RT Overall: 86%

Plot: Photographer Robert Kincaid wanders into the life of housewife Francesca Johnson, for four days in the 1960s.

The Bridges of Madison County Director: Clint Eastwood, Writer: Richard La Gravenese, Robert James Waller

Starring: Meryl Streep, Clint Eastwood

Genres: Dramas, Drama, Romance, Tear Jerker, Love Story, Infidelity, Bucolic, Theatrical Release

While You Were Sleeping (1995)IMDB: 6.4/10, RT: 6.4/10, RT Overall: 81%

Plot: Ticket collecting romantic pretends to be engaged to an unconscious man but can’t fool his brother

While You Were Sleeping Director: Jon Turteltaub

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher, Peter Boyle, Jack Warden, Glynis Johns

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Family Interaction, Romance, Love Story, Self-Discovery, Mishaps, Christmas, Theatrical Release

You’ve Got Mail (1998)IMDB: 6.1/10, RT: 6.3/10, RT Overall: 68%

Plot: Two business rivals hate each other at the office but fall in love over the internet.

You’ve Got Mail Director: Nora Ephron, Writer: Nora Ephron, Delia Ephron, Miklos Laszlo, Samson Raphaelson

Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Parker Posey, Greg Kinnear, Jean Stapleton, Dave Chappelle

Genres: Comedies, Theatrical Release, Comedy (General), Romantic Comedy, Romances

Ghost (1990)IMDB: 6.8/10, RT: 6.4/10, RT Overall: 78%

Plot: After being killed during a botched mugging, a man’s love for his partner enables him to remain on earth as a ghost.

Ghost Director: Jerry Zucker, Writer: Peter Barsocchini, Bruce Joel Rubin

Starring: Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Goldwyn, Rick Aviles, Vincent Schiavelli

Genres: Dramas, Afterlife, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Ghosts, Romance, Scams And Cons, Tear Jerker, Betrayal, Love Story, Murder, Hell, Recommended, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)IMDB: 6.3/10, RT: 6.7/10, RT Overall: 76%

Plot: When a woman’s long-time friend says he’s engaged, she realizes she loves him herself… and sets out to get him, with only days before the wedding.

My Best Friend’s Wedding Director: P.J. Hogan, Writer: Ronald Bass

Starring: Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz, Rupert Everett, Philip Bosco, M. Emmet Walsh

Genres: Comedies, Black Comedy, Comedy, Romance, Love Triangle, Marriage, Blockbuster, Theatrical Release

Out of Africa (1985)IMDB: 6.8/10, RT: 6.6/10, RT Overall: 76%

Plot: In 20th century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate but ultimately doomed love affair with a free-sprited big-game hunter.

Out of Africa Director: Sydney Pollack

Starring: Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Klaus Maria Brandauer

Genres: Action/Adventure, Adventure, Drama, Romance, True Story, Wilderness, Love Story, Recommended, Character Study, Period Piece, Africa, Theatrical Release, Essential Cinema

Benny & Joon (1993)IMDB: 6.7/10, RT: 6/10, RT Overall: 80%

Plot: A mentally ill young woman finds her love in an eccentric man who models himself after Buster Keaton.

Benny & Joon Director: Jeremiah Chechik

Starring: Johnny Depp, Dan Hedaya, Mary Stuart Masterson, Aidan Quinn, Oliver Platt, Julianne Moore

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Romance, Love Triangle, Mishaps, Character Study, Theatrical Release

Romeo + Juliet (1996)IMDB: 6.8/10, RT: 6.7/10, RT Overall: 74%

Plot: Shakespeare’s famous play is updated to the hip modern suburb of Verona still retaining its original dialogue.

William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet Director: Baz Luhrmann, Writer: William Shakespeare

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, Miriam Margolyes, Harold Perrineau, John Leguizamo, Brian Dennehy

Genres: Dramas, Drama, Family Interaction, Romance, Teenage, Tragedy, Young Love, Doomed Lovers, Theatrical Release, Shakespeare

An Affair to Remember (1957)IMDB: 7.2/10, RT: 6.2/10, RT Overall: 64%

Plot: A couple falls in love and agrees to meet in six months at the Empire State Building – but will it happen?

An Affair to Remember Director: Leo McCarey, Writer: Delmer Daves, Leo McCarey, Mildred Cram

Starring: Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Cathleen Nesbitt, Neva Patterson, Richard Denning, Fortunio Bonanova

Genres: Dramas, Drama, Romance, Tear Jerker, Love Story, Tragedy, Recommended, Theatrical Release, New York City, Essential Cinema

French Kiss (1995)IMDB: 6.2/10, RT: 5.7/10, RT Overall: 50%

Plot: A woman flies to France to confront her straying fiancé, but gets into trouble when the charming crook seated next to her uses her for smuggling.

French Kiss Director: Lawrence Kasdan, Writer: Adam Brooks

Starring: Meg Ryan, Kevin Kline, Timothy Hutton, Jean Reno, François Cluzet, Susan Anbeh

Genres: Comedies, Comedy, Romance, Love Triangle, Mishaps, Theatrical Release

Sweet Home Alabama (2002)IMDB: 5.7/10, RT: 5.2/10, RT Overall: 38%

Plot: A young woman with a white trash background runs away from her husband in Alabama and reinvents herself as a New York socialite.

Sweet Home Alabama Director: Andy Tennant, Writer: C. Jay Cox

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Joshua Lucas, Candice Bergen, Patrick Dempsey, Rhona Mitra, Ethan Embry

Genres: Comedies, Romance, Divorce, Theatrical Release, Romantic Comedy, New York City, Small Town Life


That was a long list, and if you have any movies you think should have been on it than please leave a message in the comments. The movies are heavily skewed to the 1990s or older due to our age. There were a lot of great older movies that didn’t make the list because neither of us had ever seen them.

If you like this list you might like my list of tips for Valentine’s Day and my list of 81 movies for geeks that do not suck.
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Book Review: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

Posted in Book Reviews, Geeking Out, Technology by engtech on February 01, 2007

Cory Doctorow is a writer from Toronto. He is well-known for being co-author of one of the most popular blogs on the planet (BoingBoing), his association with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and for his stance against copyright. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom was his first novel and one of the first books to be simultaneously released in published form and as an online free download.

While I could have done without the focus on Disneyland, there were several key ideas in his book I found interesting. The story takes place in a “post-death” society. Scientists have discovered how to “back-up / brain dump” the human brain so that all the experiences that make up a person can be copied into a new body — which are easily available thanks to cloning advancements. Death becomes meaningless as you only lose the time since the last back-up (days or weeks). As would be expected, medicine takes a complete nosedive; why try to heal a body when it is so much easier to grow a new one?

mickey mouse obi wan star wars
photo by shadowplay

Everyone is online all the time with a “heads up display / HUD” that provides them additional information about the things around them. In this post-scarcity economy where material goods are abundantly available currency has been replaced by “whuffie” — a quantitative measure of how you are viewed by society. Think of something like micropayments where if you write a popular song people can give you a small portion of their whuffie and the riches come from reaching many people.

“Whuffie recaptured the true essence of money: in the old days, if you were broke but respected, you wouldn’t starve; contrariwise, if you were rich and hated, no sum could buy you security and peace. By measuring the thing that money really represented – your personal capital with your friends and neighbors – you more accurately gauged your success”.

Whuffie is a measure of reputation, and as a blogger I saw this as a natural offshoot of the blogging microcosm. Whuffie is like attention.You write good content to get hits, links and to increase your influence. Linking to someone is like giving them whuffie. Having a high Wuffie score gets you exclusive invitations, free stuff and a general level of respect. Whuffie promotes a society where people perform actions to make them more popular.

This is where the focus on Disneyland takes place. The book is about in-fighting between several of the factions who control the rides. I felt pretty “meh” about all of the Disney stuff but I really enjoyed the concepts of this futuristic society and I’d recommend the book for that alone.

You can read the book online. There is a short story quasi-sequel to “Down and Out” called Truncat that was published on Salon.com

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Outgoing Links

Settlers of Catan board game is coming to Xbox Live Arcade

Posted in Games, Technology by engtech on January 15, 2007

I believe I have won some kind of award for being the last person on the planet to try Settlers of Catan (or at least, the last one out of my friends). The game was invented in 1995 and I’ve been hearing about it since at least 1999. What makes this even more of an anomaly is that I am a bona fide geek and a board game like this is right up my alley.

(photo by gadl)


CES – Microsoft Home Server

Posted in Gadgets, Microsoft Windows XP and Vista, Technology by engtech on January 09, 2007

The news du jour is Microsoft Home Server (blog of developer here, product page here, TechMeme coverage).

This is a great product idea, if properly executed. I consider myself a “tech power user” and I already have a home server setup where I mirror backups across multiple computers and stream media to my Xbox 360. This Christmas I wanted to add 500 GB to my home network and the deciding feature on my list was the ability to stream to the Xbox 360. I couldn’t find something to do it that was easily available at the local electronics store — next year my story might be different.

Removable media (CD-R / DVD-R) is more hassle than it’s worth for backups. It takes approximately 10 minutes a disc to restore from a backup. I deal with a lot of digital media (music, movie/tv, photography, comic scans) and if I have a system wipe out I’m looking at DAYS (if not WEEKS) to restore everything from disc. I’m not going to. I had a 60 GB drive with music fail in 2000 and I still haven’t restored from backup. Hard drives are cheap and it is far more time effective to mirror to another drive over a network. It’s logical to think we’ll eventually be doing it over the internet.

With the Microsoft Home Server adoption it’s going to be all about the price point and Xbox 360 integration. If it’s comparable to what it would cost me to buy a PC of my own then I would buy it for the form-factor alone. If it can handle things like printer sharing, running an FTP/Web site, and Xbox 360 connectivity then it is going to be an easy sell. Like anyone who has seen Microsoft’s track record I have security concerns, but they’ve done a good job with the 360 — as long as they limit what can be done with the Home Server they’ll be fine.

Microsoft has a huge opportunity with the sales of the 360 over the past year. The 360 has already become a strong competitor for video-on-demand (with television and movies on demand available), giving Microsoft a channel into home entertainment. If they have seamless integration between the Home Server and the Xbox 360, then they are a shoe-in to convert the existing Xbox 360 user base into Home Server sales.

Boxing Day is coming

Posted in Gadgets, Links, Technology by engtech on December 25, 2006

RedFlagDeals has a nice round up of all of the boxing day deals in Canada. The already have all of the boxing day flyers online. And they offer a nice reminder that some of the online store sales have started tonight (Future Shop, Best Buy, NCIX).

Online shopping is the way to go as you avoid all of the hassle (the biggest problem is trying to log on to the web site).

There are a lot of DVD, comic book trade paperback and video game sales to be had, all from the convience of your computer desk.

You might be able to use the flyers for price matching at competing stores.


Gift Guide for Geeks concludes

Posted in Geeking Out, Technology by engtech on December 24, 2006


I’ve finally finished my gift guide for geeks series.

  1. Introduction – Some personal stories of what the holiday experience is usually like for me.
  2. Gifts.com – I go through one of those gift suggestion websites and try to pick out the good from the bad. TIP: these sites suck.
  3. Gamers – A list of what I think is good for the Xbox 360, Nintendo DS and PC video gamers.
  4. Comic Books – My favorite comic books available in trade paperbacks.
  5. Programming/Tech Books – Top ten recommended books for programmers, managers and anyone working in high tech.
  6. Books – 45 of my favorite books (non-fiction, fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, humour).
  7. Movies – 81 of the best DVD recommendations.
  8. TV series on DVD – some shows I like.
  9. T-shirts – 100+ geek t-shirts that I like.
  10. Last Minute Suggestions – waited too long and need a gift in a hurry? Try these.

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The Internet is for Trolls

Posted in Digital Culture, Technology, Web 2.0 and Social Media by engtech on December 20, 2006

Meek, normally polite people can turn into the biggest assholes when they don’t have to look each other in the eyes.

When I was involved in the BBS/IRC scene as a teenager I was surrounded by flame wars; one-upmanship was part of the attraction. I thought it was because of the immaturity of the participants, but now I think it is a natural offshoot of digital communication. We lose all the visual and auditory cues that are a normal part of human dialog and instead focus on words that can be easy to misinterpret (especially if looking for a reason to fight).

Throw anonymity into the mix and it becomes a recipe for disaster. Becoming popular on Slashdot or Digg is equal parts excitement at the exposure and annoyance at the new commenters. To be fair this isn’t restricted to these two communities; for a large number of people getting into arguments on the Internet is a major source of entertainment. Two weeks ago I put a comment policy on my blog – I have no problem with disagreement but keep things civil.


107 t-shirts for geeks that do not suck

Posted in Popular Posts, Technology, Tshirts by engtech on December 14, 2006

Being naked sucks.

Not for you, but the people around you. You might be living the geek dream, but a chubby belly, pale skin, and the muscle tone of a newborn calve isn’t doing anything for the people who have to look at you.

That’s why t-shirts are good.

(bad example, she probably looks good without a t-shirt)

Save to del.icio.us

Nerds like shirts-with-funny-things-on-them like a fat kid likes cake. I don’t know why; I’m not a psychologist (although I play one on the Internet). But you can use that to your advantage. It’s might be too late to order t-shirts online in time for Christmas, but I thought I’d continue my Gift Guide for Geeks by taking a look at some of the best shirt choices on several popular websites.

If you’re a t-shirt addict, you might want to check out some of these fine blogs that are devoted to t-shirts: addic[tee]d, Preshrunk, iloveyourshirt, and tcritic. I’m only doing this for one post; they do this all the time.

On to the t-shirts!


TV on DVD – A bunch of series I like (GGG8)

Posted in Geeking Out, Technology by engtech on December 12, 2006

My list of gift suggestions continues. This time I’ll be focusing on TV shows.Watching an episodic TV series on DVD is more satisfying then arranging your life around a timeslot. 24 and Family Guy showed how big of a market this can be. There are now websites devoted to it like TVShowsOnDVD. The golden price point of around $25-$50 a season was reasonable and affordable. Then everything went downhill when the studios got greedy and decided to start releasing half-seasons.

This is a collection of series I own, and ones I’m thinking about owning (even if it means downloading a torrent.) This is what I like, and if your tastes match then you might find some other series to try out as well. If there’s something I’m missing that I’d like then leave a comment.

(photo by reddirtrose)


81 movies for geeks that do not suck

Posted in Movies, Popular Posts, Technology by engtech on December 09, 2006

Write what you know. In this case, what I know about is being a geek. Over the next few days I’ll be suggesting things that I liked. The list is sci-fi/fantasy/comic book heavy. Surprisingly low on the “computer related movies” tip, but we blame that on the fact that most computer-related movies suck ass.81 flicks in total, but I’m sure I’ve missed some. Leave a comment and tell us your favs. I didn’t include any movies I hadn’t seen, so that may be why your “this list sucks because it’s missing XXXXXX” was missing. Also, it is skewed to the mid/late-20s demographic.

Is this the definitive list that should be written in stone for the children of the future? No. It’s a geek listing some of his favorite flicks on a personal blog.

Links to Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB for each movie to make the list easier to cross-reference. Trailers are hosted on IMDB (but we have not double-checked that all of the links lead to a trailer). Movie review scores are taken directly from Rotten Tomatoes and provided for reference — if you have a beef with the numbers, take that up with the professional film critics of the world. It’s not my fault.

Romance movies for men and women

My girlfriend and I have done another list like this for romantic films. Just in time for Valentine’s Day.

(photo by ehoyer)


Is Santa Claus Real? – A Look at the Physics

Posted in Geeking Out, Humor, Technology by engtech on December 08, 2006

No idea who the original author is, but this is a good take on the physics of Santa Claus.


1) No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

2) There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn’t (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total – 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that’s 91.8 million homes. One presumes there’s at least one good child in each.


Hacking for Hollywood – Programming in the movies

Posted in Movies, Programming and Software Development, Technology by engtech on December 07, 2006

teh matrixdrivl.com is an entertainment site by seomoz.org. I think the content is written intentionally to spread virally, but who cares because some of it’s good. This time around Matt tackles programming in movies. I liked the spirit, but it needs a title fix, some editing and a stronger intro/conclusion.

  • Code does not move

    Do they honestly think we can read shit that isn’t sitting still?
  • Code is not green text on a black background

    Most programmers use syntax highlighting and sysadmins configure their shell to use ANSI color.
  • Code has structure

    It’s got line breaks, spacing, and indentation. [Unless it’s a nasty perl hack.]
  • Code is not three dimensional

    Last I checked my terminal app doesn’t require OpenGL. I’m working here, bitches — I’m not playing quake.


45 Books I Like More Than a Little

Posted in Book Reviews, Geeking Out, Technology by engtech on December 06, 2006

Write what you know. In this case, what I know about is being a geek. Over the next few days I’ll be suggesting things that I liked. I’ll be giving ball-park prices (in Canadian dollars) and at the end of each post I’ll include a link to where you can find all of the items on Amazon.

(photo by chotda, CC licensed)

This time around I cover some of my favorite novels.


Cory Doctorow on Building an Audience

Posted in Building a Community, Digital Culture, Links, Technology by engtech on December 05, 2006

Cory Doctorow is a prolific author and runs the most popular blog on the planet: BoingBoing. He’s also been challenging the publishing industry traditions with his writing. I still haven’t read any of his books, but I should. Forbes as an interview with him where he talks about giving the milk away for free, but still getting people to buy the cow. (via Gaping Void)

I’m a believer that Digital Rights Management (copyright protection) is horribly flawed. By trying control every aspect of the consumer experience, content publishers are shooting themselves in the foot. Watching a copied DVD is a better experience because you can remove the “forced to watch” trailers at the beginning. Theatre goers are confronted with a “copying is stealing” message even though they’re the only customers who are guaranteed to have paid for the experience.


How to be a Programmer with 10 Simple Books (GGG5)

Posted in Book Reviews, Geeking Out, Programming and Software Development, Technology by engtech on December 04, 2006

(Continued from Gift Guide for Geeks Part 4 – Comic books)
(Start at Gift Guide for Geeks Part 1 – Tis the Season for Receiving)

Write what you know. In this case, what I know about is being a geek. Over the next few days I’ll be suggesting things that I liked. I’ll be giving ball-park prices (in Canadian dollars) and at the end of each post I’ll include a link to where you can find all of the items on Amazon.

technorati programmer at work
(photo (c) torek)

Unlike the rest of the posts in these series, I haven’t read most of these books. I’m basing the recommendations on the countless other lists on other tech websites, particularly Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror. These books are programming language independent and would make a great gift for anyone working in high tech.


Suggested Comic Books for Grumpy Old Men (GGG4 featuring Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, JMS, Frank Miller)

Posted in Geeking Out, Technology by engtech on December 03, 2006

(Continued from Gift Guide for Geeks Part 3 – Gamers)
(Start at Gift Guide for Geeks Part 1 – Tis the Season for Receiving)

Write what you know. In this case, what I know about is being a geek. Over the next few days I’ll be suggesting things that I liked. I’ll be giving ball-park prices (in Canadian dollars) and at the end of each post I’ll include a link to where you can find all of the items on Amazon.


I used to work in a comic book store, and I guess that’s never really left me. I’ve had a renewed interest now that they’ve started collecting series as moderately priced trade paperbacks (TPB). I still read comic books regularly although my tastes are much more mature. Most of the books I mention are intended for a mature audience only as they deal with adult themes (sex, swearing and violence). I’m not alone in my recommendations as a lot of these books are Eisner Award winners.

Feel free to suggest any other good comic books in the comments.


Gift Guide for Geeks Part 3 – Gamers (PC, Nintendo DS and Xbox 360)

Posted in Games, Technology by engtech on December 01, 2006

(Continued from Gift Guide for Geeks Part 2 – Christmas Gift Suggestions from gifts.com)
(Start at Gift Guide for Geeks Part 1 – Tis the Season for Receiving)

Write what you know. In this case, what I know about is being a geek. Over the next few days I’ll be suggesting things that I liked. Occasionally I’ll be going by other people’s recommendations, but mostly this is a list of stuff I own and like. I’ll be giving ball-park prices (in Canadian dollars) and at the end of each post I’ll include a link to where you can find all of the items on Amazon. Please leave a comment if you have other suggestions or disagreements, I probably missed a lot of good stuff.

I play video games on my PC, Xbox 360 and the Nintendo DS. These are my picks for great gifts if your geek gamer has similar tastes. I’d love to suggest games for the Wii or Playstation 3, but it would be hypocritical because I’ve never played those systems. Feel free to suggest any other good games in the comments.


FM Holiday Gadget Guide

Posted in Gadgets, Links, Technology by engtech on November 29, 2006

Federated Media has gotten gadget reviews from several bloggers together under one roof.

A collaboration between nine tech-savvy bloggers, the Federated Media Holiday Gadget Guide aims to get readers up to speed on the must-have devices, electronic toys, and other can’t-miss gifts of the 2006 holiday season. The Guide will also assist readers in weighing their choices among competing devices — e.g. PS3 vs. Wii and iPod vs. Zune.

Surprisingly enough, you can’t find a comparison of PS3 vs Wii on there, despite what their “about me” page says.