This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO sMoRTy71.com -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
Monday, June 27, 2005
QOTSA get more cowbell
I love the Queens of the Stone Age and Will Ferrell. So when I saw that they were re-airing the 5/14/2005 Saturday Night Live that featured Will Ferrell hosting and Queens of the Stone Age performing, I decided to stay up and watch.

Imagine my surprise when, during the QOTSA performance of "Little Sister," Will Ferrell appeared onstage as his classic "More cowbell" skit character to perform a little cowbell action. Because "Little Sister" features cowbell throughout, Ferrell was able to jam the entire time.

Thanks to Beth for finding the video on Google. Check it out.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Got my White Stripes tickets

Tickets for the September 13th show went on sale this morning at 10AM. Of course, as luck would have it, both Miles' and Mahlon's baseball games were at 10AM.

My plan was to head down to the Palace box office (I refuse to pay Ticketmaster's "convenience" charges) after the game. During the games, though, our realtor called and scheduled a house showing at 1PM. Since I hadn't cleaned the house prior to the games, I couldn't get the tickets at 11AM as planned.

To make a long story a little less long, I ended up getting downtown around 1PM to get my tickets. The floor of the Palace had already sold out, so we ended up with 3rd row balcony tickets. Considering that I've had to sit in the next-to-last row in the balcony (and it wasn't bad), I'm pretty pleased with our seats.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
White Stripes in Louisville
The White Stripes will be playing the Louisville Palace on September 13th. Tickets go on sale this Saturday. Sweet! Thanks to Paul S. for passing this along.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Construction update

We had a house showing tonight at 8:45, so we decided to go and check out the progress on the new house. It had been a couple of weeks since we last checked on it, so we were curious to see how much work had been done. Much to our surprise, most of the framing of the house is finished!

I'm not sure how much longer it will take, but it seems like they should be done well before September 30th.

One thing we did notice is that they put our coat closet in the wrong location. So I guess they still have some framing to do to fix that.

Here are some more photos of the progress
Monday, June 20, 2005
Cyberhome DVR1600 update
Well, I've spent the last couple of weeks tinkering with my new DVD recorder. Up until yesterday, I was about to throw the damn thing out the window. It was failing to finalize about half of the discs I recorded regardless of which brand media I used (from cheap Office Max to Memorex to Sony).

However, thanks to a thread I subscribed to on AVS Forum, I was able to update my firmware and fix most of the problems I was having.

Since the update, I am 3 for 4. Not too bad for a $97 DVD recorder.
Got an update on "Waiting..."
My buddy Rob sent out an e-mail update on the state of his long- (really, really long) awaited film "Waiting..." The release date has been moved up to September 23rd and Rob says that we should start to see lots of promotion for the film as that date approaches.

Also, there is now an official website for the film and a director's blog.

One interesting note is that nowhere in the first few posts of his blog does Rob mention that I totally launched his film career. Hmm. Maybe he's working up to that. I guess we'll see.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Morgan Spurlock's "30 Days"
I stumbled across this new show from "Super Size Me" director (and fellow West Virginia native) Morgan Spurlock last night. It takes the premise of "Super Size Me" and applies it to other activities.

In this premiere episode, Morgan and his fiance move to Columbus, Ohio for 30 days to see what it is like to live on minimum wage. Morgan takes on a landscaping job while his fiance, Alex, washes dishes at a coffee shop.

Like "Super Size Me," the show succeeds because of the sincerity, humor and charm with which Spurlock approaches the material. He really wants to show how difficult it is to make ends meet for low income families. It's really more a statement of a social activist than a reality show (and that's definitely a good thing).

This first episode was great. I can't wait until next week. In the meantime, check out TV.com for more on "30 Days."
Updated my Home Theater section
I finally got around to adding all of the new components to the home theater section of my site. Check it out.
I've enabled comments
I have enabled comments on my blog, so start blabbin'. BTW, I am still tweaking the CSS that displays the comments, so that may look kind of fugly for a few days.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
360 is backward compatible?
OK, I haven't been keeping up with video game news like I should; however, this GameSpot article about the XBOX 360's graphics processor contains a little blurb that discusses backward compatibility:

"Huddy goes on to shed some light on backward compatibility. Each Xbox game is written with specific Xbox hardware in mind, and the 360's move to PowerPCs and ATI graphics doesn't jibe with the Xbox's Intel chips and Nvidia graphics processors. To add to the difficulty, the 360 wasn't designed for backward compatibility early on in development.

To solve this, Microsoft has implemented the use of emulator programs that will let the Xbox 360 play Xbox games.
"

After searching Google, I did find a blog by Michael Brundage who claims to be working on the emulator project for Microsoft. He confirms backward compatibility as well (and he claims it was announced at E3).

And then I found this official press release from Microsoft where Robbie Bach says:

"Now, many gamers have been asking us if they'll be able to play their favorite Xbox games on Xbox 360. Tonight, we are very pleased to announce that Xbox 360 will be backwards compatible with the top-selling Xbox games."

Damn, how did I miss this? I thought I stayed on top of all of the XBOX 360 news during E3. I guess I need to pay more attention.
Monday, June 13, 2005
I watched a co-worker's car burn today
As I arrived to work at around 8:30 this morning, I noticed a strange fog enveloping our office building. From a distance, it almost looked like rain. As I got closer, I realized that one of the cars in the parking lot was starting to smoke.

As I got out of my car and approached the building, I realized that it was the car of one of my co-workers, Beth. So I alert our office manager and Beth that there is a smoking vehicle in the parking lot (seems no one notices that kind of thing anymore).

The next thing you know, the front end of the car is engulfed in flames and the fire department is busting out the windows and using the jaws of life to open the hood (that had melted shut). After about 10 minutes, the fire is extinguished and the car is toast.

Being a sensitive bunch, we all decided to take Beth out to lunch to cheer her up; however, we all kept making fire jokes ("We should go to the Sizzler" or "How 'bout some Krispy Kreme for dessert," etc.), so I'm not sure how much it helped. I figure that late in the day someone is going to make a seemingly innocent joke and Beth will strangle them... I can't wait to see who that is!
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Rewired my home theater on Friday
My wife bought me a DVD recorder (an early Father's Day present) and, because I had added a couple of different components over the past few months, my equipment rack was pretty much a mess of tangled cables and mismatched components.

So Friday I decided it would be a good idea to pull everything out, clean everything off and put everthing back in. Two hours later, I decided that it wasn't a very good idea after all. And about 3 hours in, I was finished.

The good news is that my DVD recorder and my Omni streaming receiver are now hooked up properly. Also, I have like components (satellite receivers, home theater receivers, dvd players) grouped together in the cabinet where they are easier to get to. I even have an extra shelf (XBOX 360, maybe?).

The bad news is that the tangled mess of cables behind the equipment rack is just as crazy as when I started. Plus, I get to do this all again whenever we sell the house (I forgot that little tidbit before I got started).
Friday, June 10, 2005
Submitted my HTPC to Snapstream
PVR Blog posted a short piece about Snapstream, the maker of BeyondTV and the Firefly remote (which I love), profiling users and their Home Theater PCs. They are using a Flickr group to evaluate submissions, then posting the ones they like on the Snapstream website.

Because I just happen to have a million photos of my home theater on Flickr, I added one of my photos to their pool. Hopefully, it will be selected.

If you want to submit your HTPC, go to Snapstream's submission form.
Thursday, June 9, 2005
No more Priceline.com for me
We are planning on going to Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend (Urge Overkill show, IKEA, Taste of Chicago, etc), so I went to Priceline tonight to book our room. We've used them several times and have always been satisfied. In fact, the last time I went to Chicago, Priceline got me a terrific price on a great room in the heart of downtown.

Tonight, however, it didn't work out well at all. I requested a 2 1/2 star hotel Downtown and Priceline found a match. In fact, they upgraded me to a 3 star hotel. Unfortunately, the 3-star hotel they upgraded us to only has a single queen bed or 2 twin beds. They offer no double-double rooms at all. None!

Of course, Priceline tells you that they can't guarantee bed choices; however, I feel like that their 3 star upgrade (which I didn't request) is what messed it all up. After all, how many hotels don't offer double-doubles? Now, we've paid for the room and have no other option than to tough it out.

I called both Priceline and the hotel and both told me I am out of luck. The Priceline customer service rep agreed that, in this case, their free upgrade didn't work out very well for us.

On the bright side, we don't plan on spending much time in our room, so maybe it won't be so bad. After all, I get to see Urge Overkill (for the 3rd time in a year) and go to IKEA.
Are folders on the way out?
Although this WIRED article is about an Apple technology (and we all know what an oxymoron I think that phrase is), it raises a great question: Why are we still using the folder metaphor to find things on our PCs?

Having been a Google Desktop Search user for several months, I think that its quick search method is so much more simple and efficient than browsing through folder after folder after folder in Explorer.

Maybe the article makes too much over the death of folders. I don't think folders are any different functionally from tags or Gmail's labels.

So, to me, desktop search tools and folders/tags/labels aren't mutually exclusive. I think one is better at finding information and the other is better at getting/keeping it organized. I think that they can continue to coexist.

While we're on the subject of organization, Esther Dyson's Release 1.0 has an interesting article titled "Ontology is Overated: Categories, Links, Tags" (free registration required) that is definitely worth a read if you're interested in this topic.
Wednesday, June 8, 2005
XBOX 360 pricing details
This news is a couple of days old; however, I forgot to post it. GameSpot is reporting a rumor that the XBOX 360 will be priced at $299 and that MSFT will be taking a $76 loss on the hardware.

In a separate story, they also confirm that game prices are going up for the 360 games. Looks like you can expect to pay $59.99 (Ugh!) for the launch titles.

I think that $300 is a reasonable price for a new console with the specs of the 360; however, I am really hestitant to pay $60 per game. Price is part of the reason I don't buy more games now.
Friday, June 3, 2005
New White Stripes on Rhapsody
I just noticed that Rhapsody has an exclusive preview of the new White Stripes album. You can't buy it until Tuesday, so check it out in Rhapsody.
RS review of "Get Behind Me Satan"
I don't remember ever reading a more positive review than the one I just read about the White Stripes' upcoming "Get Behind Me Satan" on RollingStone.com.

Rob Sheffield says:
"But the music is so wild, it could make you weep over how pitilessly the Stripes keep crushing the other bands out there. Having clocked all rivals, the Stripes have to settle for topping their 2003 masterpiece, Elephant, the way Elephant topped White Blood Cells. If you happen to be a rock band, and you don't happen to be either of the White Stripes, it so sucks to be you right now."
Wednesday, June 1, 2005
Online reputation systems
Esther Dyson has an interview with Jim Griffin who manages ebay's user reputation system. He explains the importance of such systems and explores some of their limitations. Interesting for anyone working on social networking or community features online.

The 14-minute video is part of Esther's ongoing "New Ideas That Matter" series.
Vote for my ROME logo
Voting is open for the ROME logo contest that I entered a couple of months ago. You can register and vote for the one you like the best. I'll be the first to admit that my logo isn't the best one; however, you can still vote for it! BTW, 5 is the highest score, 1 is the lowest.
POKIA changes name, launches product
The good news: Hulger, formerly known as POKIA, has finally started selling their retro cellphone handsets that I love.

The bad news: The handsets are $70 plus another $25 for shipping and they will arrive in 21 days. Bummer.

I still want one.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.