This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO sMoRTy71.com -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
Monday, October 31, 2005
Slingbox 2.0 at CES 2006?
Engadget is reporting that the next version of the Slingbox could be revealed at CES 2006 in January. One of the rumored features is 1080i/720p support. Very cool if it turns out to be true.
GiganticURL.com is great!
I don't know why I found this so funny, but I did. GiganticURL.com does just what it's name suggests, it turns a regular URL into a ridiculously long one.

So the next time, a web-savvy co-worker uses a TinyURL.com-generated URL in an e-mail, shoot back with a GiganticURL. That'll teach 'em.

Here is the GiganticURL to sMoRTy71.com. Pass it on:

http://www.GiganticURL.com/url/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5zbW9ydHk3MS5jb20=a
HR0cDovL3d3dy5zbW9ydHk3MS5jb21hSFIwY0RvdkwzZDNkeTV6Ylc5eWRIazNNU
zVqYjIwPQ==aHR0cDovL3d3dy5zbW9ydHk3MS5jb21hSFIwY0RvdkwzZDNkeTV6Y
lc5eWRIazNNUzVqYjIwPWFIUjBjRG92TDNkM2R5NXpiVzl5ZEhrM01TNWpiMjFoU
0ZJd1kwUnZka3d6WkROa2VUVjZZbGM1ZVdSSWF6Tk5VelZxWWpJd1BRPT0=aHR0c
DovL3d3dy5zbW9ydHk3MS5jb21hSFIwY0RvdkwzZDNkeTV6Ylc5eWRIazNNUzVqY
jIwPWFIUjBjRG92TDNkM2R5NXpiVzl5ZEhrM01TNWpiMjFoU0ZJd1kwUnZka3d6W
kROa2VUVjZZbGM1ZVdSSWF6Tk5VelZxWWpJd1BRPT1hSFIwY0RvdkwzZDNkeTV6Y
lc5eWRIazNNUzVqYjIxaFNGSXdZMFJ2ZGt3elpETmtlVFY2WWxjNWVXUklhek5OV
XpWcVlqSXdQV0ZJVWpCalJHOTJURE5rTTJSNU5YcGlWemw1WkVock0wMVROV3BpT
WpGb1UwWkpkMWt3VW5aa2EzZDZXa1JPYTJWVVZqWlpiR00xWlZkU1NXRjZUazVWZ
WxaeFdXcEpkMUJSUFQwPQ==aHR0cDovL3d3dy5zbW9ydHk3MS5jb21hSFIwY0Rvd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aHR0cDovL3d3dy5zbW9ydHk3MS5jb21hSFIwY0Rvd
kwzZDNkeTV6Ylc5eWRIazNNUzVqYjIwPWFIUjBjRG92TDNkM2R5NXpiVzl5ZEhrM
01TNWpiMjFoU0ZJd1kwUnZka3d6WkROa2VUVjZZbGM1ZVdSSWF6Tk5VelZxWWpJd
1BRPT1hSFIwY0RvdkwzZDNkeTV6Ylc5eWRIazNNUzVqYjIxaFNGSXdZMFJ2ZGt3e
lpETmtlVFY2WWxjNWVXUklhek5OVXpWcVlqSXdQV0ZJVWpCalJHOTJURE5rTTJSN
U5YcGlWemw1WkVock0wMVROV3BpTWpGb1UwWkpkMWt3VW5aa2EzZDZXa1JPYTJWV
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Make magazine goes digital
Digital edition of Make magazineMake magazine is giving print subscribers free access to a new digital edition of the magazine. The cool part is that the digital edition is basically just like the print edition (in terms of layout). And with the digital edition, you can easily check out URLs suggested in articles.

If you are a print subscriber, you can upgrade your account for free.
Eric's Halloween Party 2005
Pre-partyI've uploaded my photos from Eric's Halloween Party to Flickr. I didn't take nearly as many as I had planned. Fortunately, I know that Eric was snapping lots of shots with his super-nice digital camera, so I will link to those once he uploads them.

Anyway, we had a great time. Amy and I dug out some of the prop clothes that I used when I was in film school. I always used 70's clothes in my films, so we were basically just a couple from the 70's (although most people assumed I was a pimp and she was my ol' lady).

Our costumes took 2nd place in the costume contest which earned us:

1. instant street cred
2. a shiny "2nd place" ribbon
3. a Target giftcard

Check out my pictures here.

UPDATE: Paul S. has posted the picture of his and Jen's costumes here. You can also read his thoughts about the party on his blog.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Rollyo is very cool
A co-worker forwarded me a link to Rollyo today and it looks very cool. It is a search tool that allows you to build your own custom search engines based on sites you like.

For example, I created a "Home Theater" searchroll that only searches AVS Forum, CNET, Engadget, HD Beat, Gizmodo, PVR Blog and News.com. So if I enter "DirecTV" into the searchroll box, I will only see results from those sites.

Below you will see the searchroll tool that Rollyo provides for adding to your own website. Give it a try:


Google Base in account settings
Of course, everyone has been buzzing about the Google Base site that was up (and then down) earlier this week.

Well, I just checked my Google Account settings a few minutes ago and found that a section for Google Base settings now exists. And base.google.com now contains a login form (which it didn't the other day). Of course, the login doesn't work, but it means that something is indeed coming (and probably soon).

I posted a couple of screens over at Flickr. Not too interesting; however, it does confirm that Google Base is coming.
TiVo (finally) has an official blog
Considering how far ahead TiVo's products and services are from their cable competitors, it has always been a bit disappointing that they weren't more open with their customer base.

Well, Tuesday, TiVo officially kicked off a blog over at TiVo.com. It's too early to tell if it will be more than marketing fluff; however, at least, it is a start in the right direction.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
I want to buy more music direct
TSAR After looking (unsuccessfully) for the latest Tsar CD at my local suburban retailers, I decided to see if I could order the CD online. Fortunately, Tsar has a store on their site and offer the CD for $7.95. To make it even better, they use PayPal, so I didn't have to worry about whether my account info would be safe.

So I was able to get the entire physical CD for much less than the cost of downloading from iTunes. Why don't more bands do this?

BTW, Tsar will be at The Patio in Indianapolis on November 5th supporting Juliet and the Licks.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Flickr adds printing service
I was checking out photos on Flickr this evening when I noticed that they have finally added the ability to order prints.

Looks like the prints are pretty cheap (20 cents for a 4x6) and they offer quite a few size options. One of the coolest things is that they give you the option of having the prints mailed to you or picking your prints up at your nearest Target. The in-store pick-up costs more; however, its nice to know that you can get your photos quicker when you need to.

As with the rest of the site, the checkout process is very easy and has lots of helpful tips to guide you through it.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
I love when technology fixes itself
OK, after Friday's rant about my failed hard drive and flaky DVD player, I came home and tried to fix each of them.

For the DVD player, I tried some compressed air to make sure that there wasn't dirt preventing the disc from being read properly. At first, that appeared to work. Unfortunately, after about 30 minutes of "Batman Begins," the freeze ups began.

So I grabbed the DVD, headed upstairs and continued watching from our bedroom. While watching, I picked up a Pioneer DV285 for $69 at etronics.com. It plays just about every format around. Plus, it had some good reviews on AVS Forum. It should hold me over until I upgrade to an upconverting player or until HD-DVD comes out.

I had better luck with the hard drive. I opened the case and checked all of the cable connections. Nothing appeared to be loose. However, after powering up, Windows loaded just fine. Sweet!
Friday, October 21, 2005
I HATE when technology fails
Anyone who knows me (or reads this blog) knows that I am sort of a technology nut, especially if said technology helps me watch high-definition images of millionaires chasing a football.

So it really drives me crazy when my stuff breaks. And I really, really (rvalue=2) get upset when more than one thing breaks at the same time.

In the past week, I have seen my Toshiba SD-4700 DVD player (which I really liked) and the hard drive in Mahlon and Miles' PC die for no apparent reason.

So now I have to research both DVD players and hard drives. I'm leaning toward a cheaper (but recommended) Pioneer DVD player ($69) that will carry me through until I decide if I want an upconverting player or if I want to wait for HD-DVD.
Have replaced Firefox with Flock
Flickr PhotoMaybe it is a bit premature; however, I have changed my default browser from Firefox to Flock. I have been using Flock all day and its features (history search, aggregated RSS views, Blogger integration, del.icio.us integration) are so useful that I can't believe someone hadn't done this before.

I think the Flickr toolbar for the blogging tool is my favorite feature. Just drag and drop any of your Flickr photos directly into your blog posts.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Test post from within Flock
I am trying out the integrated blog editor in Flock. I finally got a beta invite today, so I have been playing around with it a bit tonight.

So far, I like it. Nice integratrion with Blogger, del.icio.us and Flickr.

Time to see if this will actually post...
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Finally got my next Gamefly game
It took 7 days to finally get "The Ultimate Spiderman" game that Gamefly shipped using its new FastReturn feature. If their turnaround times don't improve, I'm going to have to cancel.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
FFL Week 6
I've been sort of quiet about my FFL team this season (partially due to the move and partially due to the 2 early losses that I suffered due to my poor coaching). However, I have bounced back and now find myself at 4-2. Even though I am in 2nd place (in the strongest division), I have also moved to #1 in the Power Rankings (which looks at record, points scored and how I would have performed against every team in the league each week).

I face Jim's Team next week and I (so far) I am favored to win. Hopefully, the 6-0 Lyndon Llamas can stumble next week so that I can gain ground in our division.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Gamefly's FastReturn feature doesn't rule
OK, just last week, I was touting the coolness of Gamefly's new FastReturn feature. Now, 5 days later, I still don't have the game that they shipped me.

I guess, technically, the feature lives up to its name considering that they only promise a fast return. I'll wait until they implement the FastArrival feature before giving them any more "props."
sMoRTy71 = caffeine-free (sorta)
I finally decided to kick my caffeine habit. It seemed like I was drinking nothing but coffee or Dr. Pepper (and that probably isn't too healthy). So over the weekend, I started weaning myself off of caffeine. I've pretty much got it down to 1 caffeinated beverage a day (Today, I needed a Dr. Pepper in the afternoon to curb the withdrawal headache).

I've kicked my habit once before (for about 3 years). I found that once I got used to not drinking it that I actually felt much better (and I could go to sleep before 1 AM).
IMDB is 15 today
I was over at IMDB looking up info on Miranda July and noticed that today is the 15th anniversary of the founding of IMDB. Here is part of the story from their anniversary section:

"October 17th: Our founder, Col Needham, wrote a series of Unix shell scripts which made the list that were being collected at a Usenet group called "rec.arts.movies," searchable (the lists were filmographies for actors, actresses, directors and something called the "dead list"). The ability to search existing data is one of the key components of the Web experience, and it immediately made the lists more meaningful and useful. Though the new name was still six years off, the Internet Movie Database was, in essence, born."

In addition to little tidbits about the site's history, there are also lists of staff favorite films.

Tip: (although this is probably old news to alot of you) In Firefox, you can simply type "imdb" and then your query (for example, "imdb miranda july") in the address bar and FF will take you directly to the IMDB page.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Gamefly's FastReturn feature rules
I logged into my Gamefly account today and discovered a great new feature called FastReturn. Here is how the site describes the feature:

"FastReturn will start the processing of your next game as soon as we receive confirmation from the U.S. Postal Service that a game has been returned in the mail. You may no longer need to wait until we receive the returned game in our warehouse before we send the next available game in Your GameQ!"

How cool is that? Instead of waiting another day or two to ship my game, GF sends it after only one day (and before they even get the game). It's features like that that will incent me to keep my account open.

Seems like Netflix would want to try something like this... oh wait, no they wouldn't. Netflix is trying to come up with new ways to keep me from getting as many movies each month. Shipping tomorrow, "Very long waits" and shipping from Hawaii or Denver (instead of the hub in Louisville) are just some of the "features" they use to satisfy their subscribers.
Tempted by Apple?
Anyone who has read my blog (or has mentioned a Mac in my presence) knows that I do not like Apple products. Actually, it is really more the Apple zealots that have turned me off to the company as a whole, but anway...

Now, Apple goes and makes a product that I might actually l-l-l-l-like (there, I said it!) -- the new video iPod.

And to make matters worse, they have also announced a content strategy for the new video iPod that makes a ton of sense -- offering commercial-free downloads of TV shows the day after they air.

I guess the deal maker (or breaker) will be how they handle DRM. I would want to be able to get shows that I have TiVoed onto the device, not just stuff that I would pay to download.
Monday, October 10, 2005
Punk'd & "Waiting..."
Turns out that the clip of Rob McKittrick and Luis Guzman fighting on the set of "Waiting..." (that I posted last week) was a practical joke that Rob and Luis put together to have fun at the cast's expense. And because Rob is such a fame whore, he used it to get some buzz around the opening of "Waiting..." (that wily m.f.!).

Anyway, check out the clip when they let everyone in on it (and get the full story) here.
Belated NFL kickoff party
I had my fifth annual NFL kickoff party yesterday. It was postponed a few weeks due to the move. We ended up having about 10 people show up. We ate chili and Texas toast (thanks, Rex), drank lots of beer and watched a ton of football. During halftime, we played a little bit of Burnout:Revenge (I'm trying to get other people to buy the game so that I have someone to play online).
Friday, October 7, 2005
Go see "Waiting..."
Anyone who has been reading my blog lately knows that I have been pimpin' the hell out of my buddy Rob's movie even though I hadn't seen it (although I did just find a copy of the script that he sent me in July 1999).

Well, now that I have seen it, I can definitely saw that anyone and everyone reading this should go see it.

Sure, the critics' reviews have been pretty bad (which is what I would expect for this type of movie); however, I laughed my ass off. It is the kind of movie that you will be laughing about and quoting for a long time.

I plan to see it again with Amy over the weekend (if we can get out to the movies without the kids). So go see it!

BTW, Rob has posted a really funny clip of a fight he had with Luis Guzman. Guzman was great in the movie; however, he comes off like a total jerk. Get the full story here.
Thursday, October 6, 2005
"Earl" HD Easter Egg

Photo from HD Beat.

Viewers (I've heard there are 2 or 3 of them) of the HD version of NBC's "My Name is Earl" got an easter egg of sorts . One of the characters (who was outside of the standard definition 4:3 frame) held up a sign that said "High def rocks!!!"

Maybe I'm just a big HD nerd; however, I think it will be interesting to see if other shows start giving HD viewers little extras like this.

You can check out an image of the full frame over at HD Beat.
Wednesday, October 5, 2005
Mediocre Slingbox review
The Gadgeteer blog over at WIRED has a brief and pretty mediocre review of the Slingbox. According to the review, video quality from the Slingbox is pretty crumby unless you are using a wired connection to your network. Kind of defeats the purpose of portability.

I'm still on the fence as to whether I will get one. I still don't have any mobile devices (I ditched my PDA over a year ago), so the benefit to me will be early-adopter street cred (which isn't that important to me).

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.