Disney buying Pixar for 7.4 Billion


There have been rumors, but Reuters is reporting that it’s a done deal. Disney has bought Pixar for 7.4 Billion in stock. The deal should be all wrapped up by this summer. Steve Jobs will join Disney’s board of directors.

I personally am saddened by this. To me, Pixar seemed to have some integrity when it came to choosing what films to make. Disney on the other hand will make anything for a buck. I’ve heard that Disney wanted to make Toy Story 3, but Pixar said they didn’t want to be involved. Disney was going to go ahead without them, but now I guess they don’t have to.

Plot Outline (Toy Story 3): The story follows Buzz Lightyear as he is recalled to Taiwan after a series of malfunctions. Learning of a productwide recall, all the toys in Andy’s room, under Woody’s leadership, head to Taiwan to save Buzz from doom.”

Found via MacMinute

UPDATE: It appears as though Steve Jobs will pocket about half of that 7.4 Billion, and become the largest stock holder of Disney. According to Steve, Pixar isn’t going to be messed with, the buyout is really meant to “fix” Disney. I hope he’s correct.

UPDATE #2: It looks like the acquisition has done some good. Toy Story 3 has been scrapped, at least for now.

Blogging from Jail

San Francisco Jail

Well, I’m not actually in jail, but I am blogging from the jail. I’ve been summoned for Jury Duty selection… oh joy of joys. The way they do it here in San Francisco is they have you call in every night for a week to see if you are supposed to report the next day. Last night was my lucky night :(

The good news is they have wireless access here. The bad news is it’s $6.95 a day. I just got here so I’m not willing to pay it just yet, so I may be posting this from home later. If it ends up looking like I’m going to be here for a while I may break down and fork over the cash.

We just received an orientation from a court clerk. He made it sound like we’ll be here for a while, and may be sent to several court rooms for selection. That $6.95 isn’t sounding so bad now. He also explained that if we are selected to serve on a trial, we’ll receive a whopping $17.50 per day for our valued service. Although, if you are employed by the State of Federal Government, you don’t get anything.

We’re now watching a spiffy video presentation on Jury Duty. It’s thrilling. It kind of reminds me of those bad instructional videos they played in grade-school. It’s actually trying to convince us that Jury Duty is educational, and down right enjoyable. All the people in the movie seem thrilled to have served.

The video is over, and they just announced a judge will be here in about 5 minutes to go over some things with us. They also said they need a lot of jurers today, so I’m getting the impression that this may be harder to get out of than I thought. At this point I’m not sure if I should buy the internet access or not. I may be bouncing around from courtroom to courtroom all day, and not have much opportunity to use it. We’ll see what happens.

The judge hasn’t come in yet. I’m looking around the room and I would guess that we have about 200 people in here. From where I’m sitting I can see that 5 other people have laptops out. I’ve heard some grumbling about access should be free (I agree). Unfortunately, there’s only one other Mac user in sight. The other 4 are PCs. I hate it when that happens. Don’t you just love when you walk into a Starbucks (or anywhere with access) and see mostly Macs? I do.

At this point I’m wishing I had brought my power cord. I still have a bit of charge, but it won’t last the day.

Someone just came in with a court reporter and made us all stand, raise our right hand, and swear to do something-or-ether. The judge came in after that and gave us a pep-talk about Jury Duty. He proceeded to tell us about being excused due to hardship, like health issues or if English is not your primary language. He actually said “… if you can’t understand what I’m saying, you should go with group “A” and apply to be removed from service…” Does anyone else see the problem with this statement? In the back of my mind I had thought I may be able to say I was self employed, and couldn’t afford to be on a long trial. Unfortunately, he specifically mention that being self employed is not a good enough reason to be excused. Oh well.

The judge went on to say everyone not seeking to be excused (Group “B”), can now leave, and come back on Thursday for selection. WTF! Why did I go down today if they just want me to come back on Thursday? I’m glad I didn’t buy that internet access.

I’m back at home now and ready to post this. The picture above is of the jail, as seen from our balcony. I’m hoping when I go back on Thursday I don’t get picked to serve. The judge said that this particular trial is expected to last about a month.

I was called up for selection once when I lived in Phoenix. During the selection process the judge and lawyers ask you a series of questions to see if you would be right for this case. When it was my turn, I said I thought the guy definitely looked guilty… they quickly released me. I wonder if that will work here?

Blanket + Sleeves = Slanket

The Slanket

I just love it when people have an idea for a product, and run with it. Unfortunately these are sold out at the moment, but I think it’s an awesome idea, and the creators obviously have good tastes in computers too.

“Sometimes you want to read a book, channel surf, eat popcorn or play a video game and it is chilly in your house, apartment, teepee, igloo, or whatever you call home. It is hard to lie on the couch or in bed and read a book without your shoulders and upper body exposed to the elements. So cover up with THE SLANKET, the best fleece blanket with sleeves, and you will be wrapped up snug like a toasty burrito in the middle of winter!”

Found via Laughing Squid

Good Night and Good Luck

Good Night and Good Luck

4 Stars

On Friday night we went to see Good Night and Good Luck. It’s the story of Edward R. Murrow, and a series of stories on CBS News in 1953 about Joseph McCarthy.

I really liked this film a lot. It was well written, performed, and edited. As an indication of its popularity, the film has been running non-stop in our local theater since it was released in October of last year, and it was still a packed house.

Good Night and Good Luck was co-written and directed by George Clooney. I personally have never been a big fan of Clooney in his younger days (Remember when he was on Rosanne?), but I’ve changed my mind. That guy really has some talent, and it shows in this film.

My only real criticism of the film would be that I felt it required the viewer to have a certain amount of knowledge about the McCarthy Era in order to get a true sense of the time. The film gave the basic gist of what was going on, but I didn’t think it had enough depth to accurately portray the scale of the witch hunt that McCarthy lead.

If this one is still in theaters where you live, I highly recommend checking it out on the big screen. If not, Amazon has it on DVD.

Has Southwest Airlines raised their prices?

Southwest Airlines Flights

For at least the last few years, Southwest Airlines has offered $59 one-way flights from the Bay Area to Phoenix, with 21 days advanced notice. I can’t speak for all destinations, but at least for us, those days appear to be over.

We’re trying to get a couple flights to Phoenix for an event in February, and I was shocked to see that the cheapest price for two round-trip tickets was over $500. We normally pay about $270 for those tickets. Out of curiosity, I checked all the way out to June (the end of the online calendar), and the cheapest one-way I found was $99, and even that was fairly rare.

I’m so bummed. I want my cheap flights back.

Marathon for OS X


I’ve never been too much of a gamer, but I do have fond memories of wasting countless hours back the late 90’s playing Marathon, the old first person shootem-up game. We would get most of our office involved in a giant blood match.

Until recently, if you wanted to play the classic game, you had to play on OS9. But luckily, the game’s creator’s released the Marathon source code into the open source community before Microsoft bought the company. Finally, we have some fruit from that seed, in the form of a beta version for OS X. It’s been renamed Marathon Aleph One. Here’s a note from the people who ported it over…

“Aleph One is an open-source descendant of Bungie’s _Marathon 2_ first-person 3D shooting game. A1 plays Marathon 2, Infinity, and 3rd-party content on a wide array of platforms, with (optional) OpenGL rendering, Internet play, Lua scripting, and more.”

Found via TUAW

Hike to Arch Rock

Arch Rock, Point Reyes

I’m not one to normally make new years resolutions, but this year we decided to make some changes. We both want to lose some weight, and we want to get out and do more things this year. Towards those goals, we went on an eight mile (round trip) hike yesterday out to Arch Rock, at Point Reyes. We took the Bear Valley Trail (map).

It ended up being a wonderful day to go. We’ve had a lot of rain lately, and there was a threat of rain yesterday. As a result, the park was very lush and green, and had a lot of running water. I think it also helped keep the crowds down, as it was a bit muddy. There are more pictures after the jump

If you are looking for a place to go hiking and live in The Bay Area, I highly recommend Point Reyes. It’s only about 1.5 hours north of The City.

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Improved Movie Viewing in iTunes

Lost: Full Screen through iTunes / QT

Matthew Russell, of the O’Reilly Mac DevCenter posted a great tip yesterday for using AppleScript to improve the video functionality of full-screen playback in iTunes. He provides the script needed to make iTunes open the movies (full-screen) in QuickTime, which gives you access to those great on-screen player controls. You don’t need QT pro to make it work. Well done Matthew!