Matt Smith is Leaving “Doctor Who” – WHO Will Be The Next DOCTOR?

Several months ago I became a “Whovian”, a rabid fan of the British television series “Doctor Who”. I had no intention of this happening, but thanks to a couple of friends who are die-hard fans and a shiny, new subscription to Netflix, I got dragged kicking and screaming into a world of time travel, companions, Daleks, Cybermen, and a blue police call box called the T.A.R.D.I.S. (Time And Relative Dimension In Space).

I didn't go all the way back to the beginning. I just started watching the reboot of the series starring Christopher Eccleston as the “Doctor” and Billie Piper as Rose, his traveling companion. At the end of that first season, the Doctor died. But not really. For those who don't follow the show, the Doctor is the last of a race of aliens called Time Lords. Time Lords don't actually die. They regenerate. Meaning they come back to life, just in the form of a different person with his own quirks and personality.

So Chris Eccleston became David Tennant, who a few seasons later became Matt Smith. Two days ago, the BBC announced that Smith has decided that after four seasons, he would be leaving the show. That means that show runner and head writer Steven Moffat needs to find a new Doctor. This has sent the Internet into a frenzy of people trying to guess who the next actor to pilot the T.A.R.D.I.S. would be. I've seen names thrown around from the absolutely ridiculous like Johnny Depp and Paris Jackson (yes, Michael's 15 year old daughter who attempted suicide this past week), to what I consider possible such as Rupert Grint. There is an ongoing joke in the show about how the Doctor has never been a redhead… Or “Ginger” as they usually put it. Some are saying that its time for there to be a female Doctor. Perhaps Helen Mirren or even the aforementioned Billie Piper. It's science fiction. I'm sure that Steve Moffat could find a way to make the former companion the Doctor that would be believable. Other names I've seen include John Hurt, Ben Whishaw, and Martin Freeman, fresh off the success of Peter Jackson's “The Hobbit”. I find the inclusion of Freeman intriguing, but I don't see it happening due to his role as Watson in Moffat's other BBC blockbuster, “Sherlock“.

I have my own theory as to who I believe will take over the role. And it's, admittedly, a bit out there. David Tennant. You may argue that David already played the 10th incarnation of the title character. How could he be the 12th? Like I said, this is only a theory… But… David Tennant is appearing in the show's 50th Anniversary episode set to air in November. In addition to this, there is another reason that I can see this happening. From what I understand, long ago it was established that the Doctor can only regenerate to number 11. Matt Smith is the 11th actor to play the iconic character. Technically, there cannot be another regeneration. My feeling is that the character will “Ungenerate” (my own invented word for the purpose of this article) back to Number 10. Think of it as sort of downgrading a version of your computer software. Like I said, this idea is kind of out there, but it is definately the type of curveball so,any of us have come to expect from Steven Moffat.

The rumor right now is that the BBC will probably announce the actor or actress stepping into the Doctor's shoes sometime next month. So we can continue to speculate until then. As long as Jenna-Louise Coleman is staying on as the Doctor's companion, I'll be a happy Whovian.

Who do you think should become the Doctor? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Continue reading

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Pray For Newtown – Thoughts About the Tragic Events at Sandy Hook Elementary School

Like everybody else, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the tragedy that happened Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. How does somebody walk into a school and kill 27 people? 20 of which were only between the ages of 5 and 10 years old?

It seems like we are hearing about mass shootings too often. Names like Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Aurora come to mind. Just a few days ago, Portland was added to the list. These are, of course, national stories and we feel the pain and grief associated with them. What makes Newtown different for me, is that this happened almost quite literally in my backyard.

I live in Danbury, which is just two towns over from Newtown and the village of Sandy Hook where Friday’s shooting happened. I drive past Sandy Hook Elementary School at least once a week. I have a personal connection with Newtown. I’ve heard the the town described on the news today as “bucolic”, “picturesque”, and “quaint.” All of these are true. It’s a beautiful, upper-middle class town. The iconic “New England” town where everybody knows everybody else. The town with the beautiful Main Street lined with colonial style houses built in the 1700’s, and adorned with plaques explaining their historic significance. There is an enormous flagpole smack in the middle of Main Street that the town is known for. It’s not the type of place where you would expect something this gruesome to take place. You expect this to only happen in large urban areas. I know this isn’t true… It can happen anywhere. I will never be able to drive through the Sandy Hook area of Newtown again without thinking of what happened… How seven adults were gunned down and how twenty children became little angels today… Chanukah gifts left unopened, Christmas presents still sitting under the tree.

Because this happened so close to home, I am waiting to find out what kind of connection I have to the people involved. It’s inevitable. I may not know any of the victims or heroes personally, but I’m willing to bet that I know somebody who does. I’ve been scrolling through Facebook today and I found out that a friend of mine went to grade school with Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School who was killed in Friday’s massacre. I imagine that over the next few days I will find out that I have more connections, even if they are second and third degree.

I’m not a parent. I know that I’m devastated, but I cannot even fathom what people with children in that school must have been going through. Twenty sets of parents were told today that their children will not be coming home. That is the saddest thing that I can imagine.

This is something that is going to hang over not only Newtown and the State of Connecticut, but over our country for years to come. I’m sure I don’t have to say this, but hug your kids. Tell the people you care about that you love them. This CAN happen anywhere.

One More Thing… The Passing of Steve Jobs

I was the farthest thing from a fan of Apple. I even went intentionally out of my way to buy an mp3 player that WASN’T an iPod. To me, a PC was fine. It was a tool… A utility that I needed to use.

Then came the trip to the Daytona 500 in 2007. My friend, Dan had purchased a MacBook a few months prior. I borrowed it to do a quick check of my e-mail. It was the first time since high school in the mid-80’s that I had ever touched a Mac. I instantly fell in love. The shiny black case… The illuminated Apple logo on the top… The sheer beauty of OSX Tiger. How did I ever forsake the functionality and simpleness of Apple?

Within days of returning home from Florida, I went to the Apple Store at the Danbury Fair Mall, slapped my credit card down, and walked out with my very first Apple product. My own shiny black MacBook! I’ve never been the same.

I started following Apple and Steve Jobs. I watched every Keynote he gave and read every book I could find. I’ve always been a marketing person, and Steve sort of became my role model. He was fascinating to watch. I know he was a tough person to work for. He demanded perfection. I remember reading stories about how product teams would spend weeks putting together presentations for him only to have him cut them off within a minute and tell them to redesign. But he KNEW what was needed.

The only times I ever felt a connection with an inanimate object was with guitars. My new computer was a life-changer for me. Not only could I not put it down, I also found myself wanting to learn everything I could about technology. I have developed a fascination with computers, applications, start-up tech companies, and Apple itself that I still have to this day. I had never been a “techy” person, but now I have almost become an evangelist!

Soon after that purchase, I bought my first iPod… The 160gb Classic. The iRiver that I had way overspent on eBay about 8 months earlier was now collecting dust.

I had just lost my job the month before the original iPhone came out. My friends were buying them, but it was an expense I couldn’t afford. Remember, the original price was $600. For fun, I decided to go wait on line at the Apple Store with them. I was blown away by the crowd that had gathered!

In eventually decided that even though I wasn’t working and couldn’t really afford it, I HAD to have an iPhone. I wound up purchasing a refurbished model on Apple’s website. The next day I had buyer’s remorse and was going to cancel the order. My best friends told me not to cancel it and gifted it to me!

Last year I was able to sell my original iPhone to Gazelle and with the help of some gift cards was able to purchase a new iPhone 4. The cost of my calling plan actually DROPPED!

And then a few months ago, while I was laid up in a rehab hospital for 2 months after what call my “big, scary surgery”, my cousin championed a fundraising drive of my family and friends to surprise me with an iPad 2! The iPad was something I had long before decided I couldn’t buy in my state of unemployment, and really didn’t need anyway. After all, I had my MacBook and my iPhone. Jaimie, however, knew my love for Apple and wanted to get me something that I wanted, rather than needed.

I am writing this post on that iPad, sitting outside of the Apple Store at the Danbury Fair Mall. When I learned last night that Steve Jobs passed away, I really became numb. I kept thinking how ridiculous it was that I felt so emotional over someone I had never even met. I realized that it was because in a lot of ways, he became sort of a marketing mentor to me. And of course, the fact that I am a cancer survivor, myself. Steve Jobs has given me my love of technology. He has given me the tools to allow me to express my creativity. He has rekindled my passion for marketing.

And of course, he reminds me that cancer doesn’t discriminate.

Thank you for everything Steve.

Jonathan’s Card: A Social Experiment Gone Awry?

By now, I’m sure that many of you have heard about “Jonathan’s Card”. For those that haven’t, here are the basics: Jonathan Stark, a mobile application consultant and author, purchased a Starbucks card and put $100 on it. On July 14th, he put it out to the world. He took a screenshot of his card and posted it online for people to download as a .jpg to their smartphones. The barcode would scan at Starbucks just as if you were using the Starbucks mobile payment app.

The idea Jonathan had was a social experiment. In the spirit of “Take a penny, leave a penny,” his thought was to see if people would “Take a coffee, leave a coffee”. I actually like to think about it in terms of paying for the person behind you, which has garnered some attention to Starbucks for people doing this at the drive-thru. Jonathan’s hope is that people would use the card and then reload it for others to use. He set up a barebones website that explains what to do. He also set up a Twitter account, @jonathanscard, that tracks the use of the card and gives an update every time there is activity. I’ve been following the card’s activity, and usually there is between $5 and $10 on it. There have been may times where it has reached zero. But it is constantly recharged. To date, there has been almost $9,000 added to the card by over 500 people.

However… It also leaves open the possibility of abuse. Instead of purchasing a coffee or a latte, there have been some stories of people using it to purchase more expensive merchandise. And then comes this…

Sam Odio, an Internet entrepreneur, has intentionally transferred $625 from Jonathan’s Card to his personal Starbucks card. In addition, he coded a computer script that he posted online (no, I will not provide a link for this) which alerts the user when the card reaches a certain limit. You could download this script, set up your laptop at your local Starbucks, and when you get the alert, go to the counter and transfer the balance. Odio adds insult and justifies his actions by stating that Starks’ experiment is just “Yuppies buying yuppies coffee”.

Odio says that he is going to put his personal card on eBay, and then donate the money to Save The Children.

Here’s the thing… While his actions aren’t ethical, they aren’t technically illegal. Or are they? If I rob a bank, but then donate the money to charity, is that ok? If I add money to Jonathan’s Card, I’m doing it with a certain expectation. My hope is that it is going to buy somebody else a cup of coffee. Not to be added to some idiot’s personal card and used for something I didn’t intend. I know that there are bad people out there who abuse the system. I like to think that there are more good. My personal opinion is that Sam Odio is stealing, and should therefore be arrested and prosecuted.

Jonathan Stark has decided not to intervene or shut down the card, which I applaud. I guess in it’s way, it becomes part of the experiment.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a Starbucks partner as a part-time Barista.

UPDATE: The experiment is over.  Starbucks has pulled the plug and is shutting off the card. Here’s the notice from Jonathan.

Looking For iTunes Help

I thought I would use this forum to see if anybody can help me out. I’m looking for either an iPhone app, AppleScript, or a way to lay out a smart playlist in iTunes for a particular problem.

Here’s the background… I have a 16gb iPhone. I have an absolutely enormous iTunes library (almost 130gb… Over 28,000 songs). Obviously, I had to set up a playlist in iTunes just for my iPhone music. The problem that I’m having is that even with paring my library down to 9gb for the iPhone, between apps, pictures, podcasts, etc, I am constantly running out of room and having to delete music from my playlist in order to make it fit. And forget about trying to add anything new to the playlist. Purchasing a larger iPhone is out of the question right now for me.

What I’d like to do… I’d like to build a smart playlist (or get an AppleScript for iTunes) that would allow me take my iPhone playlist and mix it up every time I sync. Have it set to sync, say only 8gb of music, even though that particular playlist is 9, 10, or more gb. This way, I can keep adding music to the iPhone playlist and never have to remove any. Whenever I connect to iTunes, it would randomly sync only the set amount.

As an example, let’s say I have the following music in my iPhone playlist:

Song A
Song B
Song C
Song D
Song E
Song F
Song G

My iPhone can only hold songs A, B, C, D, & E

When I connect to iTunes, this program would randomly rotate out Song A and swap in song F. But the next time I sync, it might swap A back in while taking out B and adding G.

Hopefully this makes sense. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or ideas.

Thank you all for your help!

Armchair Judge & Jury – Fallout From The Casey Anthony Verdict

Let me start off by saying that I don’t really have an opinion as to whether Casey Anthony is guilty or innocent. I didn’t follow the trial.

However, I have been following opinions and threads all day on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, as well as traditional news outlets. People are shocked… SHOCKED that Casey Anthony was found not guilty in the murder of her two year old daughter Caylee. My question is… Where are all of these people when it’s their turn to step up and sit on a jury? They are doing everything in their power to get out of it. Don’t get me wrong. Many citizens, myself included, feel that it is an honor to be a part of this country’s judicial system. But let’s be honest… How many people try to come up with excuses as to why they can’t sit on a jury?

The outcry after today’s verdict got me thinking. Who are we to sit back and say that she is guilty or not guilty? This was a high profile case that the media got ahold of early and basically swayed public opinion to their own ends. For the sake of argument, let’s say that Casey Anthony is indeed innocent. Based on media opinion, she never had a chance. You and I weren’t in the courtroom. We don’t have all of the facts. The jury was. The law says a person is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The “facts” that the media feeds us are what we have to make a judgement. We can only make a judgement sitting in our living rooms based upon what we know. The jury in this case had to sit through all of the minutiae that goes with a murder trial.

The only person that will ever really know if she’s guilty is Casey Anthony herself.

Remember the next time that you get that jury duty notice in the mail that you actually have a chance to make a difference.

“Relay For Life” of New Milford: The Music Video!

Last weekend, the annual American Cancer Society’s “Relay For Life” of New Milford, Connecticut was held at Sarah Noble Middle School. I sit on the committee of this wonderful event as the Publicity Chairperson. If you have never attended a Relay, I promise you that it is an event that will stay with you forever.

Obviously, it’s primary function is as a fundraiser. But it is so much more than that. It is a place for cancer survivors, caretakers, family, and friends to come together. It’s a huge party! The’s food, raffles, games, and all kinds of other fun activities. We even had a renewal of wedding vows at the event this year! In turn… It is also a time to remember those that have passed on due to this horrible disease. The Luminaria ceremony and silent laps are perhaps one of the most emotional and beautiful aspects of any “Relay For Life.”

I usually spend my time at Relay running around, answering questions, and trying to help things run smoothly. I’m also the guy with a camera attached to his neck. I probably took close to 400 pictures to document the event (Thank God for digital DSLR cameras). One of the hardest aspects of what I do, is to try and narrow those pictures down to just a few that I feel represent what “Relay” is all about. And then I make a music “video.” This isn’t something I have to do… It’s something I enjoy. So the first step was figuring out what song to use. I came up with what I think is the perfect song: “Courage” by Orianthi. The song is a duet with Lacey from the band, Flyleaf. Then I had to figure out how to cut 400 pictures down to a relative few to fit the length of the song. Here is the video. I hope that you enjoy it. And please, find a “Relay For Life” in your area in which to participate. I promise… It will be amazing! For more information on “Relay”, click here.

Seriously Vancouver? It’s Just a Hockey Game!

There’s riots in the streets. People getting hurt. Cars being burned. Why? Because they lost a hockey game!

Come on! I’m a big fan of the NHL. The Rangers are my team, although I was. Hartford Whalers fan until Peter Karmanos lied to the people of Connecticut and moved the team south all those years ago. Yes, I get disappointed when my team loses. But it’s a game… Entertainment. Somebody has to win, somebody has to lose. In this case, the Boston Bruins won.

I didn’t watch any of the NHL finals. I admittedly lost interest when my team didn’t make it. Maybe it’s just me, but I just can’t understand why losing a GAME would cause a crowd of people to cause injury and damage. Must have been the alcohol.

And by the way… congratulations to the Boston Bruins.

Blogsy

I know that I haven’t posted anything to this blog in quite some time. Part of it is because I’ve been laid up by a couple of recent surgeries, and part of it is because I’ve never really been crazy about the UI in WordPress.

I’ve recently come into owning an iPad 2 (more about that in a future post). As an Apple geek, I’ve been an iPhone user for quite some time. Like many people, I het overwhelmed by the sheer amount of apps that are available. So I usually look for suggestions from people that I know, or follow blogs such as Engadget, TUAW, and Gizmodo. I also subscribe to quite a few Apple related podcasts, such as “The MacCast” and my favorite… “Mac Break Weekly.” One of my favorite segments of Mac Break Weekly is “Picks of the Week.”. This past week, Andy Ihnatko used an iPad app called “Blogsy” as his pick. I’ve always trusted Andy’s instincts, so I decided to give Blogsy a try. I’m writing this post using the app. The interface is much nicer than the actual WordPress interface and it has really cool drag and drop features.

I’m hoping that I’ll fall in love with this app, and as a result will take more care in not neglecting my blog. I’ve got a ton of stories to share.

If you have a blog… What apps do you use? I’d love to know! Please feel free to leave a comment below.