Viewer Discretion is Advised

As the parent of a toddler, you might look forward to spending the occasional afternoon or evening snuggled up on the couch with your little one, watching a movie that you remember enjoying during your own childhood. That is not a bad thing, as even the most active toddlers occasionally enjoy a little down time. As you think about what movies you may want to watch with your toddler, it is helpful to take your toddler’s temperament into account. We do not watch a lot of television at our house, nor do we watch many movies. Interestingly enough, there are … Continue reading

Miyazaki: Master of Animation, Pt. 2

“Each cell of (Miyazaki’s) movies is a painting you’d want to hang on the wall.” –Kathleen Kennedy, Executive Producer, “Ponyo” English language version Today I’ll conclude my look at Miyazaki’s films, and consider what makes him such a great animator. Whisper of the Heart (1995; adapted by Miyazaki). Based on a comic by Aoi Hiragi, “Whisper of the Heart” is unique for Miyazaki in that it’s set in modern-day Tokyo and is not a fantasy. This is another coming of age story with some Germanic influences and a gorgeous violin soundtrack. It follows teens Shizuku and Seiji as they determine … Continue reading

Miyazaki: Master of Animation, Pt. 1

“It’s just a wonderful world that (Miyazaki) creates that’s just so different from anything you see out there today.” – Frank Marshall, Executive Producer, “Ponyo” English language version In my review of “Ponyo” earlier this week I mentioned that Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film, though excellent, might be a little off-putting to those who haven’t seen any of the Japanese animation master’s other films. I decided to compile a list, complete with descriptions/recommendations, of all of Miyazaki’s films (available Stateside on Disney DVD) and his involvement in them, which almost always includes him being a main animator. At the end of … Continue reading

Ponyo Makes a Splash on DVD

This week a DVD came out that I’ve been waiting on for years. It’s the latest from animation master Hayao Miyazaki and his company Studio Ghibli: “Ponyo,” with American distribution by Disney. “Ponyo” is Miyazaki’s take on the fairytale of “The Little Mermaid.” But it’s better that you put any assumptions or knowledge that you have of the story aside in order to watch the film, which puts its own very unique, and at times bizarre, spin on the story. Ponyo is the eldest daughter of sea wizard Fujimoto and the ethereal spirit of the sea. While in her natural … Continue reading

Exercising and the Virtual Experience

When the air is bitter cold or sweltering hot the last thing that you want to do is exercise outside. In the winter you have not only the bitter cold, but the patchy ice to contend with. This could pose a safety issue. The early hours or late evenings in the summer are also ideal, however you may not have time to exercise before work and you may be exhausted by the time that evening rolls around. Even so, this too poses safety issues. So when is a good time to exercise. Well, we are all different, but I like … Continue reading

Judging TV Picture Quality on the Sales Floor

When shopping for a new television, you walk into the electronics store and are instantly confronted by a bank of televisions all showing the same signal that has been split multiple times. It is hard to judge the quality of the picture while staring at all of those images. In addition, the stores set the televisions to attract you, often giving the televisions that they want to sell the brightest settings, and dimming other less expensive models. So what exactly should you look for when trying to judge the picture quality at the store? Here are some tips. First of … Continue reading

Computing Week in Review: March 17th Through March 23rd

Did you know that you might be able to return your outdated HD DVD for a full refund? It is true. Another financial technology bargain is the fact that iTunes may give you free access! Both of these stories and more were featured this past week. Check them out. Here is the Computing Blog week in review for March 17th through March 23rd. March 17th Computing Week in Review: March 10th Through March 16th The safety of my children is a primary concern. That is why I have been busy writing about parental controls in video games. Some os these … Continue reading

Can You Return Your HD DVD?

For those who are “stuck” with the outdated HD DVD system, reminiscent of the old format war that plagued video recording systems, life may be sad; at least as far as home theater systems go. As we all know, HD DVD is dead, beat out by Blu-ray whose global distribution system was far superior and, in my opinion, the main reason for its winning the race. But, the good news is that if you do have an HD DVD system, you may be able to return it for store credit. Some stores are allowing you to do just that. If … Continue reading


Wondering if you should upgrade your television to a high definition unit? Here are the most common questions I have gotten about the HDTV technology. How much better is HDTV? Perhaps you mean how much sharper? Regular television is called analog TV. it is the stuff that we have been watching since the 1950s. The resolution on an analog television broadcast is 640 x 480 pixels, much smaller than most computer monitors these days. A HGTV program comes through at a resolution of up to 1920 x 1080 pixels, about six times as sharp. You can see an obvious difference … Continue reading

Blu-ray Frequently Asked Questions

After yesterday’s article about Blu-ray and HD-DVD technology, I received several private messages from readers who wanted to know more about this technology. Most of the questions were about Blu-ray, so I thought I would start there. 1. Will I be able to play my old DVDs on a new Blu-ray player? Yes, definitely. Blu-ray players are backwards compatible with DVDs, meaning that they will be able to play movies and other content that are on standard DVDs. The players come with multiple heads to support the different formats. You are likely to notice an improvement of quality in your … Continue reading