A geek, a laptop, and some spare time.

Posts tagged ‘Google’

Google Search Tip: Track Your Flight

Use Google to track your flight!

Use Google to track your flight!

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! But is it on time? Want to track a particular flight? Just type the airline and the flight number into the Google search box. The results will show information about the flight. You can see the terminal, gate, arrival and departure times, and if the plane is in the air, it will even give you a nice graphic to show you how far into the flight they are.

Filmception: The Movie in a Movie Game

For Angie and I, sitting down to watch a movie marathon is a great way to spend time together. We’re both movie lovers, born and raised. And when we get together with family for gatherings, you can safely bet that watching a movie or three will be a major part of the day. But when you have as many eclectic tastes as we do, and as many differing opinions on what we should watch next, sometimes picking the movie is way more entertaining that actually watching it.

When I’m looking to spice up my movie marathons, I have a few go to rules that make it a more interesting experience. If I’m having a low hassle kind of day, I’ll stick with watching a series, such as the Scream movies or the The Godfather Trilogy. For something a bit more challenging, I’ll put together a nice run of films that feature the same actor or actress. So if I decide to get my Bruce Willis on, I might start with Hudson Hawk, followed by Die Hard, and then maybe an instant-classic, like RED.

But when I’m up for a serious challenge, there is nothing better than Filmception¹.

Filmception is when one movie appears inside of another movie, most commonly playing on a TV or movie screen in the background. A less common, though still perfectly valid form of Filmception is when the characters or set pieces in a film make direct reference to another film.

When planning a Filmception marathon, the rules are simple.  The first film can be anything you want. But the second film you watch MUST have the first film in it, or directly reference it, as explained above. For real bonus points, you can then watch a third film, which must have the second film in it. Alternatively, you can watch the first film, and then all films that follow must have that first film it. Either way, the challenge factor is HIGH.

So how about a few examples?

Spoiler Alert: Obviously, I’m about to talk about a few movies. If you haven’t seen them, I’m blowing more than few plot points here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Ladyhawke / Conspiracy Theory

Ladyhawke (1985) appears in Conspiracy Theory (1997)

Ladyhawke (1985) appears in Conspiracy Theory (1997)

We start out with the 1985 classic, Ladyhawke. Starring Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, it’s not only a great film, but the origin of one of my favorite movie quotes:

Sir, the truth is, I talk to God all the time, and, no offense, but he never mentioned you.

Now follow that with the 1997 film Conspiracy Theory. Starring Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, and Patrick Stewart. (Stewart does a nice bit  playing against type as the villain.)

Filmception: At one point, while trying to hide from a group of bad guys, Mel Gibson’s character attempts to hide in a packed movie theatre. And what’s playing? That’s right, Ladyhawke!

Jaime’s Random Trivia: It might seem a little odd that a movie theatre in 1997 is playing a film from 1985. The crossover makes more sense when you realize both movies were directed by Richard Donner.

Ghostbusters / Zombieland

Ghostbusters (1984) appears in Zombieland (2009)

Ghostbusters (1984) appears in Zombieland (2009)

First, the movie that I have seen more than any other in my entire life, 1984’s Ghostbusters. Starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Sigourney Weaver, it’s an endless buffet of quotable lines. Personal fave:

Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say, “Yes!”

Next up is 2009’s Zombieland. Starring  Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, and Bill Murray. (And Derek Graf as the Zombie Clown. I only point this out because my sister Shannon hates clowns. Hi Shannon!)

Filmception: While our Zombieland refugees are taking shelter in the great Bill Murray’s house, they partake not only in the film Ghostbusters, but also in recreating a scene from the film with Murray playing his own character. (Murray also has the funniest death scene ever. “Ah, that’s still tender.”)

Jaime’s Random Trivia: The Zombieland script, which was originally meant to be a television pilot, was offered to John Carpenter to direct. I have a feeling that would have been a very different movie.

Lawrence of Arabia / Prometheus

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) appears in Prometheus (2012)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) appears in Prometheus (2012)

Here is one 50 years in the making. Start out with the 1962 epic, Lawrence of Arabia. Starring Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, and Anthony Quinn. This film won 7 Academy Awards and became the gold standard for what cinematography could be.  The desert practically becomes its own character. My favorite line, which really only makes sense if you’ve seen the movie:

The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts.

Now fast forward half a century and watch 2012’s Prometheus. Starring Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof, and a bunch of other people you’ve never heard of. Prometheus is supposedly a prequel to the 1979 masterpiece Alien. It works a lot better if you just watch it as if any similarity between it and the Alien franchise is purely coincidental.

Filmception: Early on we see the android David killing some time watching his favorite film, the one and only Lawrence of Arabia.

Jaime’s Random Trivia: When I first heard they were making a sequel to Prometheus, all I could think was, “Isn’t Alien the sequel?”

¹ – Filmception is a made up word inspired by the movie Inception. If you’ve seen the movie, then you’ll understand why. I wish I could say I’m the only genius to have coined the phrase, but a quick Google search will show you everyone and their brother uses it. (Though rarely to describe the Movie in a Movie thing.)

Weekend Roundup: Jonathan Winters Edition

Comedian Jonathan Winters

Comedian Jonathan Winters

Welcome to the weekend! Let’s take a gander at what caught my eye this week.

  • The Dayton Daily News, my hometown paper, highlights the alleged criminal mastery of one Israel Frost. He is accused of stealing an item from a local pawn shop, and then attempting to sell it back to that same store. Five minutes later.
  • Google Street View is a great way to take virtual trips around town, or around the world. The folks over at Google-Street-View.com have some of the better planned, and not so planned moments captured by those roving camera cars.

Have a great weekend!

Chrome Tips: Pinned Tabs and FavIcon Bookmarks

Using pinned tabs and FavIcon bookmarks can really save you space in Chrome.

Using pinned tabs and FavIcon bookmarks can really save you space in Chrome.

I’ve talked before about being a big fan of the Chrome browser from Google. But like any good tool, it takes a little know-how to get the most out of it. Here are two more tricks to add to your Chrome arsenal!

Pinning Tabs:

Pinning a tab.Some websites are so useful, entertaining, or integral to your online life that you always want them available. If you have a site that you use a lot, you can actually “pin” the tab. Pinning a tab has several advantages.

First, a pinned tab shrinks down so that only the site’s FavIcon shows, saving you valuable horizontal space. Second, a pinned tab loses that pesky ‘x’ button that closes the tab. (You know, the one you’re always accidentally clicking on while trying to click on the actual tab.) Third, if you are a tab-aholic, and have so many tabs open that they’re streaming off the screen, the pinned tabs will always stay visible on the far left. Handy! To pin a tab, right-click on it and select “Pin tab” from the menu. If you want to restore a tab to normal, right-click on it again and select “Unpin tab.”

FavIcon Bookmarks

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got bookmarks coming out your ears. If that’s the case, then space on your Bookmark Bar can really be in short supply. A great way to pack more bookmarks in is to just use a site’s FavIcon in the Bookmark Bar. This is an especially useful tip for all of those sites that you can identify just by their FavIcon. If the picture is enough, why waste space with words?

FavIcon Bookmark Bar

Plus it looks pretty cool!

To do this, the first thing you’ll need to do is make sure that the Chrome Bookmark Bar is displayed.  You can do this by clicking on the Chrome menu button (the three horizontal lines), then on Bookmarks, and finally on “Always show bookmarks bar.” You can also use the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+Shift+B (Windows and Chrome OS) and ⌘-Shift-B (Mac) to toggle the bar on and off.

Now when you add a bookmark, delete all the text out of the Name field. Now your bookmark is just the FavIcon!

Weekend Roundup: Personal IPO Edition

It’s the weekend once again. That means it’s time to poke the Internet with a stick and see what falls out! So let’s take a look at a few highlights I stumbled across over the past week:

  • James Fallows, over at The Atlantic, has a nice piece up about Google being their own worst enemy. I heartily agree with his assessment. It’s great that Google keeps coming out with all of these incredibly cool tools. (Hello Google Keep!) But how do you trust them enough to start using them when they keep killing all their older tools? (RIP Google Reader.)
  • Wired has the story of Mike Merrill, a guy who in 2008 sold his fate to investors for $1 a share. This isn’t a story of some scam. This guy created a personal IPO on himself, and for the last 5 years he has let his stockholders make the major decisions in his life.
  • If you’ve never immersed yourself in the comedy gold that is the Missed Connections, a subcategory of the personals on Craigslist, I have one to get you started. In short, Missed Connections is for folks who saw someone they fancied, but for whatever reason didn’t make the introduction. Pro Tip: You know it’s going to be good when it starts out, “I saw you at the funeral and I couldn’t take my eyes off of you.

Have a great weekend!

Google Search Tip: Planetary Weigh In


I’ve got the whole world in my hands, more or less.

While not necessarily something that you need everyday, it is pretty cool to know the mass of the Earth. Just type in “Mass of the Earth” and take a look. You can also get the mass of the Sun, Moon or most any other planetary object at a moment’s notice. Try it out.

Google Chrome Tip: Growing Textboxes

I’m a big fan of the Chrome browser from Google. It’s lightweight, fast, and quite flexible. It also is chock full of fun extras that make it my browser of choice.

Here’s a tip for the next time you’re feeling a little cramped while typing something up in a text area online, such as on a blog or forum. Chrome allows you to click and drag on the bottom-right corner of a text box and expand it. Check it out:

This is the text entry box on a forum. If it feels a little cramped, click and drag down where indicated by the arrow.

This is the text entry box on a forum.
If it feels a little cramped, click and drag down where indicated by the arrow.

Now look at all the room you have. Very nice!

Now look at all the room you have. Very nice!

One last note. Site designers can, and sometimes do, disable this feature. (In fact, it’s disabled on the theme I use with this blog!) So if you find a site where it isn’t working, don’t worry about it. Otherwise, enjoy the freedom to stretch and grow those text boxes to your heart’s content.

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