Movie Writing Software

Sophocles -- cheap and easy.
Final Draft -- industry standard bloatware.
Movie Magic Screenwriter -- fan favorite.
Celtx -- independent new kid on the block.
Scrivener -- critic's favorite.
Screenforge / MS Word macros -- poor man's choice.
Scriptware -- member of the pack.

Source: Metafilter


Be sure that your recycling really does help the environment

American Consumers Unwittingly Fuel Toxic Global Trade in Electronic Waste
You may think you're doing a good deed when you bring your old computer and electronics to an Earth Day drop off point, but if you don't check out the organization you are giving it to, you may just be adding more waste. Some companies ship the old equipment to other countries, where they are torn apart or burnt to get at the precious metals inside.
"It is being recycled, but it's being recycled in the most horrific way you can imagine," said Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network, the Seattle-based environmental group that tipped off Hong Kong authorities. "We're preserving our own environment, but contaminating the rest of the world."
Many activists believe the answer lies in requiring electronics makers to take back and recycle their own products. Such laws would encourage manufacturers to make products that are easier to recycle and contain fewer dangerous chemicals, they say.

Fortunately, Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Sony take back their own products at no charge. It's not very easy to find out how, though. But here's the link to the Dell product recycling program.

Jim sounds like a character, here's what he said about the companies that aren't considering the environment in their recycling efforts: "Reuse is the new excuse. It's the new passport to export."


Rabbit Holes

On the net, there's always a new subculture to explore. I see them as rabbit holes, and I'm amazed to find new ones every day. Here's a list for today:
  • Someone forwarded me a link for living frugally, which lead me a bunch of different places, like
  • NetworthIQ, a site where you can track your networth on and share it with others.
    Through their tagging search feature, I found this guy,
  • Buster McLeod, who
  • wrote a book about an 89 year old city planner who didn't want his life to end without meaning.
  • He has a morale-o-meter that you can use to track your morale over the course of time.
  • Another link from the frugal site took me to a story about Japanese women who play the currency markets with their savings.
  • Which was a blog site commenting on this NY Times story.


The future

Remember when there was only one internet?
Now everyone knows what everyone else is doing all the time.
Now that there is a way that computers can automatically e-mail you about where people are, where they are going, and when they have gotten there.
For example, if you arrange to meet someone at a certain time-- for example, you e-mail them "hey, let's meet at 6 for dinner at Y bar," your computer will automatically put that into a central calendar that you can choose for anyone to access and it can link to a map so all your friends know where you are and when. It just makes communication richer so you don't have to talk about logistical things-- they are built into the system, like concrete in the roads.

So now you have a phone that goes everywhere with you and can double as a half-decent camera and radio/music machine. And it also has your calendar and access to the internet, and you have a social networking site that gets updated with the latest information about you, where all of your friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintences are on, and you can set it up so that the GPS in your phone updates your location live on the web, and record a video that instantly goes live if you want. And you can communicate with everyone at once if you want. So basically, everyone is a star to someone, or some group of people. You can produce a television show while you are walking down the street, and interview other people who are walking down it with you, and all the technology and know-how to do this is built right into your phone, the thing you carry all around with you anyway.


I've been getting back into Alan Moore lately. Just bought all the Swamp Thing and Promethea graphic novels for about $10 a book (check eBay and Amazon Used books for great deals).

A bunch of mp3 Alan Moore interviews:
The Alan Moore Chain Reaction thingie
right-click this link to download mp3

Alan Moore on fanboy radio
right-click this link to download mp3

The Bomb Shelter
right-click this link to download mp3

I'm ready for my podcast interview with alan more in 3 parts.


Bush Admin Cuddles Press

with plush new seats and wireless access in the reopened Washington press room. But will the newly opened press room lead to more open answers and transparency in the Bush Administration in it's waning lame duck year plus? We will see. Helen Thomas asks the same question. One interesting factoid from the article:

"She also says there are actually fewer desks for reporters than before with so much more room devoted to equipment and storage."

More coverage:

Yes, I took these from the top results from a Google News search, and no, I haven't read them all yet.

White House Press Briefing.

I'd like to include an embedded video of the briefing, but since they don't make it easy, click on the Video link to the right of the transcript.


Third Opinion on Dvorak's Second Opinion (Update 2)

John Dvorak argues that Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone in his latest column. He says Apple products work best in emerging or declining markets. For example, the MP3 player:
Then there was the online music distribution business, again unfocused and out-of-control with little marketing and a lot of incompatible technologies. So Apple comes in with a reasonable solution, links it to the heavily promoted iPod and bingo. A winner.
He's got it in reverse. Apple came out with iTunes first, then the iPod. The iPod was Apple's portable solution to the music distribution problem that they solved years before with their Rip-Mix-Burn iTunes software. And I'm not sure the business would be languishing without Apple-- it just wouldn't be as sexy. Sony, Sandisk, and Microsoft have music players, as do a number of phones, and the party's just starting-- Verizon is heavily promoting it's music-playing cellphones, for example.

He argues that the cellphone market is in the process of consolidation, with Nokia, and of all companies, Motorola, being the two leaders. Nokia may be a leader, but it's hardly buying up the competition-- LG, Samsung, Kyocera, RIM, and Palm all have stakes in this game, and they're not going quietly (at least Palm isn't). And Motorola just crashed after announcing lower earnings due to lack of cellphone sales and management departures, and sources say there isn't much advanced R&D for future products either.

He also says the margins are small. This is completely untrue. The reason for the excitement for the iPhone is that people will pay a premium for portable technology that works. If Mr. Dvorak uses a cellphone he would know that most of them have too many features that no one knows how to use, most of which do not do what we want them to-- like tell us how many minutes we have left and what each call is costing us, or get us on the internet without limiting us to a 10x10 pixel view.

What naysayer Dvorak is missing is that the Apple iPhone is a paradigm shift in cellphone architecture-- it's no longer the hardware that will drive sales, but the software. Apple is shipping a blank screen-- what is on it 3 months from now when your average razor-flip-camera-phone becomes unhip depends on the latest software release Apple-- or another third-party vendor--pushes onto it.

Don't mistake the iPhone for just another entree on your provider's menu of products-- it's a whole new menu.


No Impact Man

The Times has an article about a guy attempting to have "no impact" on the environment for a year:
The Year Without Toilet Paper
I wrote my comments on his blog:
I have to say that this makes me angry-- self-congratulatory sustainable living in a city is much like bailing water from the titanic. I wish I could see it as a baby step towards better living, but I'm afraid things have to get much worse before they get any better. It seems like a great experiment while you can afford it, but what happens if you both lose your jobs and have to declare bankruptcy? Do you continue your experiment when you are struggling to put food on the table, or do you throw all your high and mighty ideas out the window? I'm sorry but I can't help thinking that people like you can live any way they please. Good luck in your exclusive club, New York Times articles written about you, guests marveling at how brave you are in taking this on, writing about your experience so that the other 1% can support you and think for a second about their impact on the world before they reach for another canape and change the subject.
And more comments on another blog:
It is clear to me after reading Mr. Beavan's reaction to the Times article (his "If I could change that bit..." PR move) that he is doing this to make money off the resurgence of the green movement and to sell his book and documentary. How quaint for two upper class, young professionals and their small daughter to experiment with no impact living, while not giving up their New York penthouse and privileged jobs. In the past year I have done my part to reduce my carbon emissions-- I live 15 minutes from work and ride my bike there everyday, buy from a CSA during the spring and summer months, and practice the three R's-- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. But I am not writing a book about myself or stand to gain economically from my living. I think Mr. Beavan's extremism and time limit on his "no impact" lifestyle is detrimental to the whole idea behind leaving no footprints. What is he going to do when the year is up? Return to his old ways? Lighten up a little? His reaction-- drastic changes to a problem that has been ongoing for longer than he has been alive (increase of greenhouse gasses)-- is overdone. Instead of swearing off toilet paper and trash for a year, he should consider the small changes he could do now-- or even the drastic change of moving to the country and starting a small farm... but then he wouldn't have a book deal, would he?
Yes, they are angry and negative, but that's how I feel when upper class people with better lives and more choices than me preach about how I can sacrifice my life to make things better for their world.


Synecdoche, New York

Synecdoche, New York

I'm searching for the script for Charlie Kaufman's upcoming Synecdoche, New York, about a theatre director who may be dying or may be going crazy, or both, who, among other things, is building a life-sized replica of New York in a warehouse for his latest play. I'm sure the description is much like saying Being John Malkovich is about John Malkovich playing a life-sized puppet of himself, because there are many other elements, like stories within stories and time jumps. Check the links below for all the info.

Reviewed on Ain't It Cool News
IMDB listing
BeingCharlieKaufman.com blog
CHUD.com post (stands for Cinematic Happenings Under Development, watch out for pop-ups).
Synecdoche Wikipedia entry
Jay Hernandez's Los Angeles Times review of the screenplay
BeingCharlieKaufman.com main page

From what I can tell, it has the key elements of a Kaufman film-- self-referential scenes, a lonely guy who can't quite connect with women, obsessive hobbies--