SciTechBlog
May 25, 2010

Google Pac-Man eats 4.8 million hours

Posted: 03:04 PM ET
Championship Pac-Man
Championship Pac-Man

A productivity blog figured out that we wasted (some would say, enjoyed) over 4.8 million hours of time on Friday playing the Pac-Man game on Google.

The game was the search site's featured logo over the weekend to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the popular arcade game. The logo was actually playable and would continue for 256 levels of chomping.

The RescueTime blog did the math to figure out how much extra time people spent on Google on Friday, and how much did that time cost.

Typically, users spend an average of 11 seconds per each Google page view. RescueTime found the average user spent 36 second more on Pac-Man Friday. With 504.7 million unique visitors on May 23, that totals up to an additional 4,819,352 hours spent on Google.

Armed with that number, the blog then wanted to figure out how much productivity was lost. Assuming the average Google user has a salary of $25 per hour, the total bill comes to $120,483,800.

The game would start if the user hit the "Insert Coin" button or if the site sat idle on the Google home page for about 10 seconds. Google left it up on their homepage throughout the weekend, but gave it a permanent home to be enjoyed whenever you like.

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Filed under: Games • Gaming • Google • pop culture • video games


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May 20, 2010

Geek Out!: Can anything replace 'Lost?'

Posted: 09:01 AM ET

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From sci-fi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it, you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

Where will the next "Lost" come from? Just as Jacob found his replacement in Jack, one has to wonder what, if anything, will replace this phenomenon. The Geek Out! team members have some very different opinions on this subject.

Henry Hanks:

Intriguing mysteries, parallel worlds, weird science and J.J. Abrams… yes, of course, I’m talking about “Fringe.”

Currently in its second season, this show is quickly becoming one of my favorites, and quickly grabbing a cult fan base. I think “Lost” fans looking for the next show to obsess about (or just watch for fun) could do no better than to check out “Fringe,” if they haven’t already, that is. John Noble’s performance as Walter is certainly on par with Michael Emerson or Terry O’Quinn.

And we actually know what it’s about now! That didn’t even take two years!

Christian DuChateau:

Viewers are much more likely to see the next “Lost” not on the major broadcast networks but on cable TV. Networks like AMC, FX and USA are attracting viewers with edgy, intelligent, character-driven dramas like “Mad Men,” “Justified” and “Burn Notice.”

Because they don’t have to attract as big an audience as the major networks, the cable nets can afford to take a risk on a new show with a complex mythology. AMC will put this to the test in the fall, with their new sci-fi drama, “The Walking Dead.”

The network has ordered six episodes of the series, based on the comic book of the same name. The story follows a small group of survivors stranded in an apocalyptic future overrun with zombies.

It’s a sci-fi premise, a story driven by interpersonal conflicts, and if you’ve read the comic you’re already aware, no character is safe. Hmmm, sounds familiar.

Doug Gross

George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" fantasy novel series is epic in scope and complexity in a way "Lost" fans should recognize and enjoy.

After years of turning down several movie offers, Martin - a fan of series like "Rome" and "Deadwood" - signed up with HBO to turn the books into a series. The show, "Game of Thrones," named for the first book in the series, is set to start up some time next spring.

Martin's characters are complex, with the line between good and evil often blurry at best. There are surprises aplenty in a fully realized high-fantasy world that rivals Tolkein's Middle Earth.

No seriously. It does.

If the series stays true to the books, there will be bloody medieval-style battles, alliances made and broken and just enough magic to keep things interesting.

Plus ... dragons.

Topher Kohan:

There will never be another “Lost” and we should stop trying to look for one. What made shows like “Lost,” “X-Files,” “Battlestar Galactica” - and, heck, even “24” - what they are is that they were, and are, cultural phenomena.

Let’s forget that fact that “Lost” is one of TV’s most expensive shows to produce, and let’s forget that TV is more and more going away from sci-fi-type shows. “Lost” is one of a kind, and if we keep looking for the next “Lost” we’ll will hate a bunch of good TV just because we thought it should be the “next” whatever.

I will miss “Lost” when it goes off the air. Then I will look for a the next show I will like and watch it for the show that it is, not try and compare it to the show it will never be.

Is “Lost” truly one of a kind, or is there something out there that can replace it for fans? Share your opinion below.

Filed under: Geek Out! • pop culture • television


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May 10, 2010

Playboy to launch 'safe for work' site

Posted: 01:08 PM ET

You just read it for the articles, huh? Well, now's your chance to prove it.

Playboy has announced plans to roll out a work-friendly website, targeting office workers who browse the internet from their desks but don't want to get caught reading the iconic men's magazine.

"Playboy’s TheSmokingJacket.com is the safe-for-work website that brings you everything you love about men's entertainment and the internet, minus the stuff that'll get you into hot water at the office," Playboy spokeswoman Theresa Hennessey said in a written statement.

The site is up but not active and will be launched "in the coming months," Hennessey said.

The announcement comes as Playboy seeks to reposition itself in an adult-entertainment landscape drastically altered by the internet. In short, if you're looking for pictures of naked women, there are plenty of other sites to find that (and more) for free.

Playboy Enterprises reported a net loss of $1 million in the first quarter of this year - actually better than what was predicted. The company reported a loss of $13.7 million during the same quarter last year.

"We believe that 2010 will be a transitional year and that the true benefits of our strategy will be more fully evident next year," Playboy CEO Scott Flanders said in a statement last month.

Presumably, The Smoking Jacket - a nod to founder Hugh Hefner's preferred brand of leisure wear - would be part of that transition.

After its monthly photo spreads of playmates, Playboy magazine is also known for celebrity interviews, short fiction by big-name authors, rankings of the nation's top party schools and other content.

But as tech blog Switched notes, "... if The Smoking Jacket will not feature buxom beauties au naturel, what exactly will drive traffic to the site?"

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Filed under: Internet • online news • pop culture


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May 3, 2010

Geek Out!: Wearing your geek cred

Posted: 12:18 PM ET
Science Is A Verb Now
Science Is A Verb Now

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From scifi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

As the old saying goes, "clothing makes the man." In the geek culture, what is said on the clothing is more important than the clothing itself.

Geeks, gamers and nerds have been showing their cred by the logos, designs and saying on their T-shirts. It is considered a badge of honor and a way to connect with others of like minds.

Shirt designers say people use T-shirts as a quick visual way to tell the world something about themselves. While the core audience for these shirts used to be hardcore geeks, some companies say the appeal has broadened in recent years.

Shane Peterman from Think Geek said buyers of their products include gamers, college students, scientists and NASA employees. "It is more of an open secret now," he said. "Your shirt helps you identify who is 'in the know'."

Brian Sunter, merchandise manager of Penny Arcade, agrees. "Geeks–and gamers especially–relate to that stuff as well, I think, because gaming has a huge pool of shared experiences," Sunter said. "Maybe it is a little awkward, but we’ve kind of all rescued the same princesses and saved the same worlds."

Chris Hastings, creator of "The Adventures of Dr. McNinja", takes a different view. He thinks T-shirts can connect people who wouldn't normally say a word to each other.

"If one is wearing a T-shirt that says 'Ninjas Can't Catch You If You're On Fire", the other sees it, immediately gets the joke and thinks "Wow! This person has the same weird sense of humor that I do," Hastings said.

Designers say that a good shirt goes a little further than just a logo and one level deeper to make that connection. But it all starts with a creative look on the t-shirt that sometimes has different meanings for different people.

TopatoCo has been working as an online store for many web comics artists for about 8 years. Supreme Commander of Promotions David Malki! said the best shirts get an idea out that is reflective of the comic's tone. He also thinks a good shirt speaks on behalf of the wearer.

"The shirt shows the exclusivity and uniqueness of the wearer," Malki! said. "It makes them seem super cool."

Ryan North, creator of "Dinosaur Comics", aims for shirts that target people who are familiar with his comic, but also works well with someone who has never heard of it.

"That way, the person buying it knows it's rad, and knows that people who see it will think it's rad too," North explained.

Sean Gailey, the Creative Overlord at Jinx, takes another route to designing their geek T-shirts. Gailey said they keep a close eye on trends and user comments.

"Our customer core is shameless and passionate about their interests," Gailey said. "The design message has to mean something and you're in on it."

Peterman also says the popularization of geek culture on television shows and movies influences who buys geek T-shirts.

"'The Big Bang Theory' is a big part of it," he said. "Older geeks are tapping back into the culture and they are the ones who can make buying decisions."

These companies are trying to harness that older audience by offering a wider selection beyond just T-shirts. Polo shirts, button down shirts, jackets, and even baby items are getting the geek treatment in an effort to spread the geek chic.

"It is more subtle," Gailey explained. "It is another option to still maintain and express your geek cred."

"I think what is next for geek chic is apparel that acknowledges the identity of modern geeks as responsible adults who grew up as gamers," Sunter said about their new First Party line of clothes. "There is a place, now, for classy clothing that gamers can identify with."

Malki! said TopatoCo is expanding their selections with more colors and organically produced shirts in response to customer requests. Peterman said Think Geek is offering interactive shirts, like a shirt recently seen on "The Big Bang Theory" that plays music when you press buttons on the shirt.

Perhaps the geek cred can be summed up in the mantra at Jinx – "Get into it."

"Whatever you like, get into it," Gailey said. "Don't take a casual interest."

Never let it be said that geeks aren't into what ever "it" is. And as this geek will tell you, wearing your heart on your sleeve – or emblazoned across your chest – is a matter of pride.

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Filed under: Gaming • Geek Out! • Mathematics • NASA • pop culture • science • web comics


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April 28, 2010

Cub Scouts to offer video gaming pin

Posted: 12:42 PM ET

Cub Scouts: The term conjures images of kids doing stuff outside – hiking amid nature, tying knots or identifying which leaf will leave you scratching if used for the wrong purpose.

Well, times have changed. In a move that may horrify old-school former Scouts, the Boy Scouts of America has announced it will offer two awards – a pin and a belt loop – to boys who spend hours playing video games.

Yes, that’s right. Just picture a group of 8- to 10-year-olds huddled around not a campfire but a TV, that glowing box of complacency.

Apparently these new awards are geared toward making Scouts understand which games are appropriate for their age group, not just rewarding them for sitting around on their butts playing video games. Scouts also can work towards their pin by playing a video game that "helps you in your schoolwork."

But you still have to wonder if this isn’t a misguided attempt by the Cub Scouts to stay relevant by pandering to boys’ interests. Seems to me the Scouts should be getting kids outside and teaching them practical skills beyond the bubble of their everyday lives instead of how to read the back of a video game box.

It reminds me of some “Star Trek” episode where a civilization has become so reliant on technology that they have no practical know-how and can’t fix it when it breaks - picture Picard MacGyvering a computer with a paper clip so the planet doesn’t explode.

Those of you who were in the Scouts, what’s your take on this? Should today’s Cub Scouts be rewarded for playing video games? What badge or award were you most proud of earning?

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Filed under: Games • Gaming • pop culture • video games


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April 23, 2010

Geek Out!: The 'Fett' is back!

Posted: 04:14 PM ET

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From scifi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

With the 30th anniversary of “The Empire Strikes Back” only weeks away [May 21, mark your calendars!] I was happy to see that “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” [on Cartoon Network, which, like CNN, is a division of TimeWarner] was about to start a three-episode season finale arc this Friday called “Death Trap.”

Why? Because one of the Star Wars universe's biggest fan favorites - Boba Fett! - will make his first appearance.

I, like many Star Wars fans, love “Empire,” and believe it's the best in the original trilogy. And, by far, my favorite character from the movie is "The Fett."

To be completely accurate, Boba Fett was first introduced to us in an animated section of the ill-fated 1978 “Star Wars Holliday Special” [You know ... the one that inspired Lucas to say he would like to "... track down every copy of that show and smash it."] .

Also, Kenner released a Boba Fett action figure before "The Empire Strikes Back" was released.

And if we want to get *really* deep into Star Wars geekdom, I'll point out that his first "public" appearance was at the San Anselmo's County Fair parade on September 24, 1978, in a parade alongside Darth Vader.

But when the largest group of us saw him first was on the bridge of the Star Destroyer being briefed by Darth Vader.

We loved him from the get-go.

He wore that cool Mandalorian armor [not that we knew what it was called when we saw the movie]. He hid what he looked like. He said only 29 words in the entire original trilogy.

His ship, Slave I, was so whacked-out looking. He was just ... cool.

It was even cooler that he was hunting down the heroes of the movie and we were never 100 percent sure of his motives. Was he just in it for the money? Or did he have another reason he wanted to get his hands on Han Solo?

For me, he was the second coolest of all the characters we meet in the Star Wars universe [I'm a Vader guy]. He is also one of the characters that we meet in the Star Wars universe that gets their back-story fully fleshed out later in the movies (Ep II, Ep III, Ep V, Ep VI), video games and comics books.

I can't think of a part of the Star Wars world that does not have at least a mention of him.

Are you a Boba Fett Fan? What went through your mind when you first saw him in the Star Wars universe? Let us know in the comments.

Also, what are your favorite “Empire Strikes Back” memories, especially if you saw the movie when it first came out? Share your story and photos on CNN iReport.

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Filed under: Geek Out! • Movies • pop culture • television


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April 14, 2010

Geek Out!: Joss Whedon to direct 'Avengers'

Posted: 08:36 AM ET
Writer/director Joss Whedon
Writer/director Joss Whedon

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From scifi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

Joss Whedon, creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Firefly" and "Dollhouse," not to mention one of the biggest geek icons in Hollywood, has been tapped to direct the "Avengers" movie, Variety reports. Commence dance of joy in 5, 4, 3...

But seriously, this is probably one of the smartest moves Marvel Studios has made in its short history - yes, even smarter than hiring Jon Favreau to direct "Iron Man."

"The Avengers," for the uninitiated, is Marvel Comics' supergroup of heroes, in this case consisting of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk. In short, it is potentially the Marvel Comics superhero movie to end all Marvel Comics superhero movies.

Robert Downey, Jr. will, of course, play Iron Man, along with Chris Evans, recently signed to play Captain America in the movie of the same name. Chris Hemsworth will take on the role of Thor, after his own movie in 2011. (One big question mark is whether Ed Norton, who reportedly refused to promote 2008's "The Incredible Hulk" due to a dispute with producers, will return as the Hulk.)

One need look no further than the t-shirts that say "Joss Whedon is My Master Now" to see why this is a genius move by Marvel. The core fanbase will now be itching to see what Whedon does with "Avengers," especially after his well-received feature directorial debut for "Serenity" (box office receipts notwithstanding).

He can more or less do no wrong among his fanbase (myself included, though the early episodes of "Dollhouse," and a couple of seasons of "Buffy" and "Angel" left much to be desired).

What's left to determine? How closely will this movie adhere to some of Whedon's signatures: Will the Mighty Thor burst into song, a la "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog?" Will one or more major characters get killed out of nowhere in the last third of the movie?

Exactly how much of Amy Acker or Alan Tudyk will be in it (the correct answer is "as much as possible")?

Alright, Whedonites (and Whedon detractors): What do you think of this announcement? Are you as psyched as I am... and a little worried, since Whedon was supposed to direct "Wonder Woman" once upon a time? Sound off in the comments below!

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Filed under: Geek Out! • pop culture


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April 8, 2010

Geek Out!: M.C. Frontalot talks nerdcore hip-hop, geekery

Posted: 02:33 PM ET

M.C. Frontalot, the founder of “nerdcore” hip-hop, has gathered a respectable online following injecting video games, Internet culture and all things geeky into a genre too often reserved for chest-thumping swagger.

On his new album, “Zero Day,” released this week, Frontalot – nee Damian Hess – name-drops Dungeons & Dragons, humor-laced multi-user game Kingdom of Loathing and friend/geek icon Wil Wheaton – with guest appearances from “I’m a PC” guy John Hodgman and former Soul Coughing front man Mike Doughty.

Geek Out! caught up with him during his current tour supporting the album.

Q: On “Zero Day,” it seems like as you go through, almost every song celebrates something genre-specific – whether it’s the Kingdom of Loathing song or the Dungeons & Dragons song or the memes like “First World Problem.” Did you set out to do that intentionally?

A: These things just all kind of shake out the way that they’re going to. I wish that I had the time and the control at my disposal to sit down and make an album that winds the themes together in a purposeful way. When I’m writing, it’s really just everything that’s on my mind or pulling at me. That’s the shape the album takes; it ends up being pretty organic.

Q: So, there’s probably no concept album or rock opera coming in the near future?

A: Well, two things I do want to do are a concept album and a children’s album. Maybe I’ll combine the two of those and do ‘The Epic Tale of Mr. Wiggly Piggly’ or something. But, one of these days I will get it together to approach writing a batch of songs as one album’s worth of material instead of a ton of 3 to 5-minutes of moments in musical time.

Q: Is there anything in particular you’re geeking out over right now – a game or book or music or anything along those lines?

A: I haven’t had a lot of time to read or absorb media lately because we’ve been working so hard on the record and we’ve been running all over and doing shows from the minute I got it in the can. Now, we’re launching this tour for a couple of months … . I’ve been geeking out over ideas of what nerd superstars I could more involve and collaborate with instead of just asking them to show up for a couple of seconds on my album … something we could really flesh out together and have both of us equally involved.

That led me to think the other night while I was at Jonathan Coulton’s concert at PAX that maybe I would hit him up to do a split EP with me where we would do some kind of a project … like I would come up with all the ideas for the songs he would write and he would come up with all the ideas for the songs I would write for it. Give each other homework – call it “The Homework EP” or something like that.

Q: You’re just off of [gaming convention] PAX and right before that was South by Southwest. What were those experiences like? Certainly you would think those are crowds that would lean toward nerdcore.

A: Both of them were great … . There are two parts of South-By – there’s interactive week and music week. It’s a massive shift that happens where you see all the nerds walking around with their faces in their iPhones or whatever give way to all these sauntering hipsters who wear sunglasses inside. It’s my people during Interactive and that’s when we did most of my music. Music week, I’m just running around anonymously, trying to absorb some bands.

Then I go to PAX [Penny Arcade Expo, a gaming convention], which is the extreme version of what interactive week would be like. It’s an absolute fantasy zone for me where fans know who I am and I can’t even walk around the convention center without having to stop and take pictures with people every couple of seconds. It’s as if I was in a much more famous band.

I would get recognized on the street … which is just not something that happens to me in day-to-day life very often. These kinds of environments where that happens … I don’t know whether they’re salve for the soul or just inflation for my head. Maybe a little from Column A and a little from Column B.

Q: Do you think that nerdcore says something about the universal appeal of hip-hop – that you have people rapping for whom it would be ridiculous to try to pretend to be a bad-ass from the streets?

A: There is that attitude that seems to have become eventually mandatory in hip-hop that you have to insist and stake everything on your claim that you are the valid representation of what hip-hop is supposed to be like. But a lot of my favorite rappers have found a way to abandon that notion without having to call themselves a geek or without having to be uncool.

Mos Def doesn’t have to spend a lot of time trying to convince people that he’s not fronting. MF Doom, Busdriver, Kool Keith – there are lots of folks I love who aren’t like that. And there’s always been a side of hip-hop that isn’t like that.

I don’t want to position myself like I’ve found this flaw in hip-hop and I’ve satirized it. That’s definitely not my angle. But I was trying to invert something – like, “Here’s this M.C. who fronts a lot. He has to kind of trick you into thinking that you’re looking at a rapper.”

Q: “Nerd” and “geek” – for you, what’s the difference between those two terms?

A: My idea of it is that “nerd” is more broadly anyone who’s natural abilities to fit in socially are very much compromised and, thus, any nerd is pretty easy to identify when you interact with him or her … .

A geek, on the other hand, is someone who has a lot of specific knowledge on any topic … I think you can have a geek who’s not really a nerd in any way. Even people like greasers who work in garages and know everything there is to know about the internal combustion engine – that’s a form of geekery.

There are a lot of ways to geek out over almost any topic without really engaging in what I think of as nerdery. They might think they’re even cooler because they’re [for example] a music geek, but when they start talking about their topic of geekish interest, the regular folks’ eyes glaze over. That’s how you can tell.

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Filed under: Geek Out! • Music • pop culture


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Geek Out!: In search of a better comic book app

Posted: 12:03 PM ET
Comic book apps
Comic book apps

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From scifi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

One of the more anticipated uses for the iPad was as an eBook reader for books, magazines, and newspapers. But comic books are one of the most popular print-format periodicals - and there has been little mention of the iPad as a comic reader.

Luckily for those of us wanting to use it as such, Marvel Comics put out the Marvel app in time for last week's release.

I’ve had my iPad for just over four days now. One of the first things I did was download the Marvel app and take it for a test drive.

The convenience of downloading your comics while sitting in a coffee shop, or anywhere else, is great. And the panel-by-panel flow lives up to the hype, although it doesn't really make reading comics on the iPad a new experience. Honestly, I could live without it.

So far, my personal favorite app for comics on the iPad is ComicBook. They have a pretty good desktop app for the Mac (ComicBookLover), which is very similar to iTunes (imitation... flattery... etc.).

Their iPhone app is in early alpha (0.3) but it is more than usable and available for free on the iTunes app store. You upload your files to your iPad over WiFi using either a second app on the Mac (ComicBookLover Sync) or by FTP (file transfer protocol). This will probably change since the iPad offers better file syncing through iTunes.

ComicBook hasn’t been updated for the iPad yet, so the user interface is built for the iPhone’s screen (you have to pixel-double to fill the screen). But once you open a comic, you forget about the zoomed look.

Comics look great. They don’t have the automatic panel-to-panel feature of the Marvel app, but you can easily double-tap to zoom, and swipe to move around and change pages. I’m happy enough to just read them full screen though.

The apps, both made by Comixology, are indeed amazing - as long as you only want to read back issues (the Marvel app, obviously, only offers their own titles).

There are several other publisher-backed apps, but they don’t come close to the quality of the Marvel and Comics apps. The list of available publishers, titles, and issues is small. For example I have yet to see any DC [a Time-Warner Company] titles, and I really need my Batman!

That’s where independent apps come in. While they don’t have deals with publishers, they do let you read CBR and CBZ (comic book RAR and comic book ZIP) files, and in some cases even PDF files. CBR and CBZ files are ZIP or RAR compressed files that contain JPEG images of each page of a comic. So an entire issue is packaged in one file.

But how and where you get these files is the real moral dilemma. You can’t buy them online. So you either have to scan your own comics or find them in shady Internet back alleys and download them with programs like BitTorrent.

The music industry already had this battle with downloaded music files. Once they figured out they could sell music and make money, they backed the music downloads. The movie industry is just getting up-to-speed on downloadable and streaming video (Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, etc). So how about the comic book industry? It seems the publishers are ignoring history.

I’d be more than happy to pay cover price (maybe a bit less) for current titles. I’d even pay a bit over cover price to get my comics early. Maybe a monthly fee for all-you-can-eat (like Rhapsody and Zune do with music)?

And they can feel free to put as much DRM on the files as they want (although iTunes has removed DRM and the world hasn’t ended just yet). Just let me back up the files if I’ve bought individual issues - don’t make them expire in three years - and let me read them on my computer and my mobile device. My bag, board, and long box collector days are way behind me, but I still like the stories.

What's your favorite comic book app? Anything you're looking for that the current apps don't provide?

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Filed under: Geek Out! • pop culture


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April 5, 2010

Geek Out!: Our favorite 'Easter eggs'

Posted: 04:10 PM ET
God of War 3
God of War 3

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From scifi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

Need a break from this past weekend’s Peep-induced sugar coma? Here’s something else that’s pretty sweet for Easter Monday: some of our favorite Easter eggs! Easter eggs are those fun extra features in games, DVDs and even in some software that play out with a magic code, or some deftly-pressed combination of left-right-left-right-up-down-down. These are the ones that really bring out our inner geek:

My favorites are from the extended editions of the "Lord of The Rings" DVDs. They’re on each one of the films. The first 2 are a little racy as Jack Black is at the council of Elrond in “Fellowship,” and Gollum/Smeagol is accepting an MTV award (with some colorful language) in “Two Towers.” The tamest and possibly funniest are on "Return of the King," where Elijah Wood gets prank interviewed by Dominic Monahagn and Peter Jackson gets asked about making more LoTR-themed movies.
- Nikki Rau-Baker

“Star Trek: The Next Generation” was a 1993 Williams Electronics pinball game based on the popular TV show. When you shoot your pinball into the Holodeck you are presented with a choice of either 25 million points or a “shuttle simulation.” Instead of choosing one over the other, hold in the trigger and press the right flipper button. Once you do that, you will be sent to a hidden video mode where you play a hand of poker with Commander William Riker (voiced by Jonathan Frakes).
- James Dinan

A couple of years ago, when you clicked on the moon in Google Earth and zoomed way in, the moon became a chunk of cheese. It was a super cute easter egg.
- Karyn Lu

The Disc 1 commentary track of “Freaks and Geeks - The Complete Series" shows anime photos of the characters Lindsay and Sam.

“Lost Season 2: Everybody Hates Hugo” - Jorge Garcia talks about sweating.

“Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” - Yoda dances to The Roots, as seen in the photograph above.

"Spider-Man 2" DVD – Willem DaFoe and Sam Raimi prank Alfred Molina.

"Star Wars Trilogy" - hidden blooper reel

"Firefly: The Complete Series" - Adam Baldwin sings "Hero of Canton"
- Henry Hanks

At the end of the video game "God of War," Kratos is left in a room with two huge statues. One is Ares, the former god of war and the last boss of the game, the other is of a giant Minotaur.

If you steer Kratos to the statues and spend close to 5 minutes just wailing on the statues they will eventually shatter. There is nothing to give you a clue that they will break: no crunching sound or debris falling from the statues.

You will doubt yourself, thinking this is not going to work - but it will.

Once they're gone, a special phone number pops up on the screen. When you call it, an automated message from Kratos kicks in telling you that you might think you've got the video game goods because you beat his game, but he will still kick your butt, because *he* is still the God of War.

This was really fun and gave me a good laugh after finishing a great game. This also guaranteed that I would waste a lot of time trying to bust unbreakable statues in both of the sequel video games.
- Gustavo Castaneda

My all-time favorite is the "Fight Club" DVD. David Fincher inserted several subliminal frames of Brad Pitt’s character Tyler Durden in the film – long before you find out he’s a mental projection of the narrator.
- Valerie Streit

By far the best set of Easter eggs I have found has been for the 2002 Best of Bowie DVD video collection.

They added nine cool extras that are completely hidden and have unique ways of getting to them such as leaving the page alone for 5 minutes or having a different version play every 2nd time you select a clip.
- Will Etkin

So what are your favorite Easter eggs? And how did you find them? In the mean time, check out a few more tips for hunting Easter eggs here.

Filed under: Geek Out! • pop culture • Uncategorized • video games


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Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.

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