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Top 10 Biggest Plot Flaws: Wrath of Khan Edition
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I had a chance to rewatch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan again recently…arguably one of the best (if not THE best) film with the original series cast. For the most part, the film holds up nicely. However, I couldn’t help but notice some serious plot flaws…enough, in fact, that I found 10 of them.  So, without further adieu, I present…

The Top 10 Biggest Plot Flaws of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

10)  Apparently some magical shit went down in the Ceti Alpha system since Kirk left Khan marooned on Ceti Alpha V fifteen years ago, or the folks on the Reliant are *completely* incompetent to not notice that the system had one less planet than it used to. And even if Ceti Alpha VI *did* explode, wouldn’t Ceti Alpha V still be Ceti Alpha V?

9)  There are *so* many different uniforms, and styles of uniforms for the Star Fleet crew in this movie. Even Kirk, who is running at manic speed for most of the film, takes time to do at least 3 costume changes, including that awesome flipped collar winter coat that he puts on…to visit a space station?

8)  All this fancy technology and you can lower a Federation ship’s shields by knowing a 5 digit prefix code?  FIVE DIGITS?  That’s less than my bike lock.

7)  Scotty’s nephew sustains life-threatening injuries and Scotty carries him straight…to the bridge?

6)  McCoy has a sickbay overflowing with burned and mangled trainees, yet when Kirk asks him if he can spare someone to go to Regula I, McCoy cheerfully replies, “I can spare me!”

5)  Kirk finds Chekov and Terrell on the Regula I space station, Chekov says, “He put creatures in our brains to control our minds.” Um, McCoy…wouldn’t this be a good time to whip out your medical tricorder and do a quick scan on these guys before you take them down to the planet with you?

4)  Apparently only a couple of folks in Khan’s gang can do anything…the rest all just stand around and snicker. And, while we’re at it, why do they all look like Chippendale’s dancers and Khan looks like a grandpa? Shouldn’t they all be the same age?

3)  Little brain slug slips out of Chekov’s ear on to the floor (for no apparent reason) and Kirk, from the other side of the room, shoots it with his phaser. Hey, Jimmy Boy…you want to maybe get Chekov’s HEAD out of the way before you bull-eye that womprat from 3 meters away?

2)  Wait, did Kirk and Saavik just hold a conversation mid-transport?

1)  Kirk’s adult-aged PHD-touting son, David, is one heck of a whiny bastard. And what’s with that over the shoulder sweater during the final battle scene anyway? Did he think he was going to the clubhouse to play some racket ball?

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The most famous villain actor you’ve never heard of…Part One.
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I can just imagine the day that David Prowse was told he was going to play Darth Vader in Star Wars. That had to be some pretty awesome news for a body builder/actor whose previous credits included being the bodyguard of an aging writer in “A Clockwork Orange“. This was a leading role in a Hollywood studio-financed feature film!  The director, George Lucas, was a promising up-and-comer, after a successful “American Graffiti” debut (not to mention “THX-1138“).  I imagine the discussion went something like this:

Studio Exec:  So, David, congratulations on the part.  This is big stuff!

David Prowse:  Yes, I’m very excited.

SE:  Yes, it’s a brilliant role, one of the most iconic evil villains ever, I’m sure.  But there’s one tiny detail we need to discuss.

DP:  Listen, I’m ready to throw all of myself into this role. Between you and me, I just finished working with Stanley Kubrick…he’s kind of a prick.

SE: Yes, yes, brilliant work there. So, Davy, may I call you Davy?

DP:  I prefer David.

SE: Sure, sure, brilliant. So Davy, we’re going to have to put you in a costume.

DP: I read the script, so I expected I’ll be wearing some sort of a space suit?

SE: Exactly! Love that we’re already on the same page. Brilliant!  So we’ve had some conceptual drawings made up, and it looks like this…

DP: I see. So is this finalized, with the whole mask and everything?

SE: Pretty much. You see, we’re going with the whole “Dark Sith Lord Half-Man-Half-Machine” concept. It’s trending better with the tweens.

DP: I see, so no one will see my face?

SE: Oh, absolutely they will, as long as we get picked up for two more pictures.

DP: Two more pictures?

SE: Well, in episode six, the man behind the mask is revealed.  So we’ll get to see your face then.  And your voice.

DP: Wait, my voice doesn’t get heard until then either?

SE: We’ve hired another actor to play your voice as well.

DP: So you’re asking me to run around in a plastic suit that covers my face and no one will hear my voice or have any idea I’m inside this bloody thing?

SE: Yes, but in episode six they take off the mask, and…

DP: Episode six?  You just said three?

SE: Calm down now, Davy. Star Wars is episode four.

DP: So what happened to episodes one through three?

SE: We haven’t made those yet. Trust me…this just how it works.

DP: So let me get this straight, you want me to sign up for a six picture deal that you’re starting on picture four, where you won’t use my face or my voice except for one scene in the last movie?

SE: Pretty much.

DP: I’m In!

 

 

 

 

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From the customer service rant department: Delta Airlines edition
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Today I received an email from Delta Airlines informing me that I might be eligible to qualify for TSA Pre through their frequent flyer program. Anyone who follows any of my social media feeds knows I travel quite frequently so I clicked on the link to proceed with the signup. After digging through old emails and finding my Delta frequent flyer number, going through a painfully slow password reset, I finally get logged into my Delta.com account.

So the first thing they ask is to confirm the spelling of my name as it appears on my government-issued ID. They had my first and last name correct, but it was missing my middle name and the suffix (my father is a Jr. and I’m a III). I assume this is because I signed up for my Delta frequent flyer account was back in the ancient days of the Internet and they probably didn’t have a field for that. I ALWAYS put that in anytime a form has a spot for a suffix, but many websites just don’t have a spot for it. Usually it’s not a big deal.

When I click on the edit button to correct these minor omissions the website tells me that I need to call the toll-free customer service number and speak to a representative. I sighed, but sure, ok. Dial the number and waited on hold for I’d say a good twenty minutes. Finally I get a live person and explain what I was trying to do. She was very polite, and proceeded to ask me about 8 different security questions, including, “When was the last time did you fly on Delta?”

“Heck if I know…I flew over 100,000 miles last year, I’m sure one of those planes was probably Delta owned or operated.”

“Actually, the computer says you haven’t flown on us since 2012, do you recall that trip?”

I couldn’t but I quickly searched through my email back in 2012 and found the itinerary. “Looks like I flew you guys from Atlanta to San Francisco in December of 2012.”

She complimented me on my excellent memory and then asked me to spell my middle name. I spelled it out for her, she made the change and asked if there was anything else she could help me with. I said, yes, I see you have a field for a suffix, I need to add “III” so it matches my passport.

“Oh, well in order to do a name change we need a copy of your ID mailed or faxed to us.”

“Can I email it to you? I can take a picture of it right now with my phone.”

“No sir, we don’t have that capability.”

At this point I was starting to get frustrated, but I kept my cool. I explained I wasn’t “changing” my name…it’s the same legal name I’ve had since I was born, I was just updating Delta’s record of my name to match my government-issued ID (per the instructions of YOUR website). Oh, and by the way, didn’t you just change my middle name?

“I’m sorry but we can’t do that without seeing a copy of your ID,” she replied.

So I say, “Ok, fine, I’ll just bring it to the Delta counter the next time I’m at the airport.”

“I’m sorry but you must mail or fax it to the customer service center.”

Getting a bit incredulous, I asked, “Wait, those aren’t Delta customer service desks you have at all the airports with the people wearing the Delta uniforms with the little Delta name badges?”

“No sir. That’s a different department.”

That did it. I said, “You know what? Forget about it. I just remembered why I haven’t flown on Delta for over a year, because your whole concept of customer service SUCKS!”

Guess I’ll try to get TSA-Pre through Virgin America.  They got customer service down!

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Top 10 Ways to make your “Top 10″ list go more viral
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11.  Make your Top 10 list go to eleven.  It’s one more than 10 and one more opportunity for your cleverness to really shine.

10.  Start with something obvious and funny, but also with something that provokes a strong visceral reaction from your intended audience.  Keeping in mind that your core audience is usually going be comprised of 15-year-old boys, try something like a video of 15-year-old boys getting hit in the nuts…


Fast Tube by Casper

9. Make sure you include at least one picture (or video) of a kitten doing something adorbs.


Fast Tube by Casper

8. Use the word adorbs at least once.

7. Around number seven…this is where you really want to start blowing their mind with some serious Keanu Reeves maneuvers.


Fast Tube by Casper

6. After you’ve blown their mind, it’s time to tug on some heart strings. Perhaps a touching story about a homeless man with a golden voice.


Fast Tube by Casper

5. Now that you’re in the home stretch, you’ll want to reaffirm your reader’s decision to click on this link, as well as make them feel it is important enough for them to share with all of their friends. How do you do that? Easy peasy…a simple daily affirmation does the trick.


4. Say something interesting or controversial about someone who has a really large social media footprint. For example, you could say that Robert Scoble had some interesting insight into why Google Glass is doomed. Or there’s also this post, which says Robert Scoble is creepy. This technique really works well, especially if you’re obsessed with Robert Scoble, Google Glass, or work for a blog that makes money by stirring up fake controversy using Robert Scoble and Google Glass.


3. It never hurts to throw in a shameless plug or two, like this one for the best Voice & SMS API, or this one for my non-profit humanitarian tech accelerator, Geeks without Bounds.

2. These last two are your last chance to knock it out of the park. I like to keep things edgy and topical. For example, unicorns are very popular, but here’s how to get the Internets all riled up…suggest that unicorns ARE NOT cool!?!?? (Insert #7 sound effect) That’s what I’m talkin’ bout!


1. Always remember the golden rule: sex sells. Also, movies about comic book characters also seem to sell pretty good as well. Try including a sexy pic of Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique and you’ve got winner, winner, chicken dinner.

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Zimmerman
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So I had a discussion with Dave the other night about the Trayvon Martin/Zimmerman case.

Where do you think the State of Florida went wrong with arguing this case?

I think what went wrong was they tried to prove “murder”, instead of simply proving “manslaughter’.   We as a society didn’t have a discussion on whether it’s okay to drive around your neighborhood with a gun and get out when you see someone “suspicious”, or when you see someone you THINK is suspicious.  Where was the immanent threat?  Did Travon have a right to stand his ground when he was being followed around by a man with a gun?

At what point do you think the first crime was committed?

The crime is called “Going Armed to the Terror of the People“.   The first crime was committed when Zimmerman got out of his car.

As a gun owner, what do you think about “Stand Your Ground Laws” in general?

They are unneeded and designed by the gun and ammo sales lobbies.  Stand Your Ground in Florida was written by ALEC, specifically by representatives of Wal Mart and the NRA.  They’re designed to provide self-defense immunity as long as the other person dies.  Florida was just the first to enact it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Top 10 Markety-speak Buzzwords I Wish Would Go Away
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You’ve heard them.  You’ve used them.  You love them or you hate them.  They come from the nether regions of  the tech world, somewhere deep in the bowels of Silicon Valley.  They’re overused, misused, misunderstood, hybrid-word bastards that we can’t avoid.   These are words and phrases that have bubbled out of the need to create new descriptions, or techno-slang, for things that didn’t really have a word before the Internet.

I’ve used all of these at one time or another.  Sometimes we have to because, well, there’s just no other way to describe something.  It’s the most accurate description we have.  But just because they’re commonly used, doesn’t make them any less cringe-worthy.

So, without further ado, I present the Top 10 Tech Markety-speak Buzzwords (and phrases) that I wish would go away…

10. “Webinar”

This is the term most often used for a virtual seminar, usually involving streaming audio and video content to a geographically dispersed audience.  The irony is that it very infrequently uses a website to do the actual streaming…you have to download some clunky client software and cross your fingers that it gets installed before your meeting is over.

9. “Nice to e-meet you”

For some reason unbeknownst to me, when introduced to another person via email, this is a typical response.  It’s okay, kids…we all know we didn’t actually meet in person…no need to belabor the point.  Whoever started this trend should be e-shot.

8.  “Synergy”

Synergy, synergistic, synergizing…however you use it, you’re using it too much.  Stop trying to synergize your ecosystem from a holistic approach and start trying to describe what you’re actually doing.

7.  “Social Media Footprint”

Combine your Twitter followers, Facebook friends, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram…yada yada, and you have what they call a Social Media Footprint.  A few companies have even sprouted up (Klout, PeerIndex) to attempt to measure one’s Social Media Footprint.  When someone asks me how big my social media footprint is, I often find myself refraining from replying, “I don’t know, why don’t you turn around and see how far I can get my social media footprint up your ass?”

6.  “Minimum Viable Product”

This one is really annoying.  Minimum Viable Product, or, as they cool kids call it “MVP”.  Odd thing is, it’s not about creating a minimum viable product, it’s a whole “strategy and process directed toward making and selling a product to customers.”  And it sucks.

5.  “Doer”

Ostensibly, a “Doer” is someone who “Does things”.   Kind of like a “Maker”, who “Makes things”.  It’s a less specific version of any of these: Builder, Developer, Coder, Teacher, Fixer, Destroyer, Explainer, Painter, Driller, and Force Choker.  That last one is important, because if I ever catch you calling me a Doer, I will respond by Force Choking you.

4.  “Ninja”

Don’t get me wrong, I love Ninjas.  They’re awesome.  They have throwing stars and can scale buildings.  What I despise are people who call themselves “Sales Ninjas” or “Ninjaneers”.  I will unleash my hoard of pirates on your lack of ninjaness.

3.  “Disruption”

“Our company is poised to disrupt a gazillion dollar moon rock industry.”  If you have to say it, you’re probably not going to disrupt anyone.  You know what disrupts industries?  Perpetual motion machines, matter transporters, time machines, and Napster.

2.  “Think out of the box”

If you’re accustomed to thinking inside a box, then I guess this one is valuable.  But I’ve never, ever, once met a single “inside the box” thinker.  “Hey Jim, whatcha thinking about?”  “Complete darkness all around me”.   Hey, I have an idea, why don’t you think outside the box and NEVER USE THE PHRASE “THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX” AGAIN?

1.  “High engagement”

Everyone wants this right?  High engagement of your users, customers, community?  Right?   Wrong.   High engagement doesn’t really mean anything.  What you mean to say is Meaningful engagement.  Just because you have a lot of traffic doesn’t mean you’re making a profit or providing any real value.  Just look at TechCrunch.

 

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Land of the douchebags, home of the brave…Part One
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When I moved to Silicon Valley (the first time) I knew we had our challenges.  Office space was so limited that we had to accept the fact that when we rented office space, we took on investors.   This was a plain fact of living in Silicon Valley in the early 2000′s.  Warrants and leases were practically synonymous with startups.   The real estate boom was just beginning, and the first dot-com boom was writhing in Pets.com (and much worse) investment debacles.  Landlords literally laughed in my face when I suggested that we needed 14,000 square feet of office space.

In 2000, we walked into the offices of Wilson Sonsini with little expectation, and no knowledge we’d end up with $25M in investment…that’s just silly talk.

(I’m blogging a book)

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Yet another reason to love Amanda Fucking Palmer
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Amanda’s Ted talk. Happy to have been one of her piano crowd sources. She is the hat.

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Finding SXSW 2013 Hackathons, API Workshops, Pitch Competitions…
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If you’re like me, you have this same problem every year at SXSW Interactive…finding which events to attend. There are already a million resources to finding the best parties, music events and where to you can get your picture taken with Hermione Way or Robert Scoble, but for hard core geeks like me, I want to know where the hackers are. I want to network with API evangelists, roll up my sleeves and code!

This year I’ve decided to compile a list of API/hacking/meetup/coding/pitch competitions and generally the more geeky things to do during SXSW Interactive and post them here. I’ll continue to edit this list as I get more event info from the community, so if you know of an event and want it listed, just shoot me an email to johnny at diggz.org or tweet at me @johnnydiggz and I’ll be sure to add you to the list.

Friday March 8, 2013

Saturday March 9, 2013

Sunday March 10, 2013

Tuesday March 12, 2013

Other SXSWi Resources

Additional Resources

Need MOAR HACKATHONS?????  Check out these excellent sites for links to additional events outside of SXSW:

 

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No worries, we’re not annihilating any planets
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European Union To Spend 0M Building Super Lasers More Powerful Than Any Yet Constructed | Singularity HubOn the coattails of CERN’s success with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), comes the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) project, with the goal to build four of the world’s most powerful lasers.
“Additionally, the lasers could be combined to generate a super laser that would shoot into space, similar to the combined laser effect of the Death Star in the Star Wars trilogy, though the goal is to study particles in space, not annihilate planets.”

I’m glad you guys cleared that up. I feel so much better now. Really.

via European Union To Spend $900M Building Super Lasers More Powerful Than Any Yet Constructed | Singularity Hub.