Miles Ahead

A Miles Davis biopic has been floating around Hollywood for years, but has never been made. With movies like Walk the Line and Ray hitting theaters, I thought for sure the film would be made. Mile Davis is one of the most influential musicians in American history, after all. Sadly, the script has been sitting idle after several false starts. Not anymore. Don Cheadle (in a role he was born to play) is now turning to Indie GoGo to help get financing for the film.

So why a movie about Miles Davis? Cheadle writes

I want to tell a story that Miles himself would have wanted to see, something hip, cool, alive and AHEAD.

I’ve taken my marching orders from Miles’ mandates (“Play what’s not there.” “Fear no mistakes. There are none.”) and focused in on a very specific point in his life to explore his relationship with his muse, his voice, his fears and challenges to come out of his silent period and return to the music. I’m hopefully making a movie that tells a story many people can relate to, jazz fan or not.

MILES AHEAD is not just about the music. It’s about what we all face at one time or another in our lives; questions about who we really are, what we have to say and how will we say it. How will we ultimately be defined and who gets to say so?

Watch the campaign video below. You can support the project here.

Kanye West for Mayor?

God, I hope not.

Ben Shepard has launched the “Kanye 4 Mayor” campaign. The initiative includes a website, Kanye4Mayor.org, that features several pages of explanations on why Ye would be the best successor to Chicago’s current leader Rahm Emanuel. Shepard believes “Mayor West could lead a movement to make it the best city in the world.”

In open letter to Kanye, Shepard points out four main issues he feels the citizens of Chicago need addressing by a new administration: failing schools, a sub par transportation system, excessive shootings, and an undemocratic police force.

If Kanye ever becomes mayor of anything it will mark the fall of America.

Batman v Superman Title and Logo Released

batman v superman The new Batman/Superman crossover movie now has an official title and logo. The title of the movie is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I think it’s now pretty obvious (as if the casting leaks for Wonder Woman and Cyborg weren’t enough) that this is going to be the first installment of The Justice League.

Growing up as a comic book nerd, the silver age Justice League of America was one of my favorite books. I think this was mainly because this was the comic my dad grew up on, so it was something that allowed me to connect to him. I’m really scared that DC/Warner Bros is going to ruin my fond memories of the JLA, just as they have done with almost every other comic book property that has been turned into a movie. Let’s be realistic here, DC does not make good movies, save for the Christopher Nolan Batman series. All their other ventures in recent years have failed (don’t get me started on Green Lantern). Zack Snyder did an OK job with Man of Steel. The flashback scenes were great. They made the character of Superman more human, but the fight scene at the end was spectacle for spectacle’s sake. I’m afraid that Dawn of Justice is going to be more of the same. I guess we’ll see on May 6, 2016 to see if I was right.

Jurassic 5 release new song and video

It’s been 8 years since one of the best groups in hip hop called in quits, but Jurassic 5 is back… sort of. They recently released a new song and video in preparation for their first US tour in 8 years. The song is entitled The Way We Do It and was produced by the late Heavy D. Watch the video below.

RIP The Blog

Jason Kottke recently had a post on his blog declaring the blog dead. Of course, it’s not really dead, but the way we write, consume, and share content has changed drastically over the past several years. If you look at my posting on this site over the years, you can see the number of posts decreasing each year, and fast. I no longer have the time, or the will, to write long posts about what I find interesting, what’s going on in my life, or random stuff I find on the internet. When I do want to share something, I usually post it on Facebook or Twitter (mostly Twitter).

That being said, I still want to share that information in a place that is much easier to sift through the noise (like a blog!), but that’s not what piece of shep is or was. So, I started i am shep on Tumblr. It is the perfect place for me to post quick links, pictures, videos, etc. Yeah, I could have found a Tumblr-style theme for WordPress, and I tried, but Tumblr is a better place for my new focus (or lack thereof). So, if you’d like, go over and follow me there or subscribe to the RSS feed (or, since it posts to Twitter, follow me on Twitter). POS will still exist, and I may post longer posts here, but for now, anything that grabs my attention will be posted at i am shep.

A New Mac

I’m beginning to look for a replacement for my 4 year old iMac. The current specs of my iMac suit me fine, 8 GB of RAM, 256MB video card (I don’t game), Intel Core 2 Duo processor. I haven’t really run into any issues with the tasks I need to perform… Until recently.

I have been experiencing quite a few issues with kernel panics that seem to be caused by the video card (according to the console and crash reports). They will either freeze the computer or restart it. They happen at random times. Sometimes the screen will freeze on the screensaver (with very few apps running). Other times they happen just browsing the web (in Safari).

Back in June I was had some issues with the video card and luckily the iMac was still under Apple Care and they replaced the video card and the logic board. I thought that would solve all my problems, and for a while it did. Now I experience panics and freezes on a daily basis. I even did a fresh install of Mountain Lion, just to be sure it wasn’t due to something I installed and also because I haven’t done a fresh install since I got the machine. I may take the machine to the Apple Store for diagnosis, but I doubt they will find anything (they didn’t “find” anything the last time either, but wound up replacing the two components that were likely causing the issue). The Apple Hardware Test did not find anything wrong, but obviously, something is. The problem is, if I do need to replace the parts, the cost will be close to half the cost of buying a new machine with no guarantee that it will fix the issue. Then I will be out of that money and back where I started.

So that’s where my dilemma comes. Do I buy a new Mac (and no, buying a PC is not an option. I adore OSX and love the apps I use on it and do not want Windows 8) and if so, what model?

I currently use my iMac for web browsing, Photoshop work, web development and, most importantly, as my media server. I have Plex Media Server running and stream all my media to my Roku. I would really like a Retina MacBook Pro, but I would not want that running at all times in order to stream media to my Roku (and what’s the purpose of a MacBook if it has to stay on my desk connected to several external hard drives?). So, in all honesty, I have 3 options, a Mac Mini, an iMac or a Mac Pro.

The Mac Pro has not been update in forever and is really expensive. Not to mention, it is overkill for my needs. I’m not processing raw image files or doing a ton of video encoding. I don’t need server-grade (and outdated) Xeon processors. I don’t want to go with another iMac because of Apple’s move toward soldering the RAM directly to the logic board. I also don’t want to be stuck where I am now with my current iMac. That being said, any Mac I choose will face the same issues that all new Macs have with user-swappable parts (besides the Mac Pro, which I’ve pretty much ruled out at this point).

So that leaves the Mac Mini. I can upgrade the RAM on it, but that’s it. Everything else has to be done by Apple or an Apple certified repair shop. Also, the Mac Mini has integrated graphics and not a dedicated video card. I don’t do much (any) gaming, but it does worry me that I may need that extra power. I’m not sure how well the transcoding that Plex does or graphic intensive applications (Photoshop) will work on it. I imagine they will run fine, but I really need more information on that.

The Mac Mini is definitely the cheapest alternative. Building one online (without upgrading the RAM through Apple) will run about $1500. Not bad, but how will the machine handle in 3 or 4 years? Will I need a better machine by then (I like to keep my machines running as long as possible, in fact, I’m typing this on a 5 year old white MacBook that is also on its last leg, but with the iPad, I rarely use it)? Will it start to die on me like my iMac is? If I get the Mac Mini I will upgrade the RAM to 16GB, probably from Crucial, but the integrated graphics gives me some pause.

I feel that Apple’s tight control over their products and slow update cycles is hindering me here. I really wish they had a computer for people like me that were more tech-geek friendly. An iMac that users could open and swap parts would be ideal, but that is not Apple’s style, unfortunately. A cheaper Mac Pro would work too, if it were cheaper and not reliant on server-grade hardware. I don’t think I can wait to whatever mystery product Tim Cook hinted at for Mac Pro users in 2013, especially since I can’t go on using the iMac with it freezing every day.

So what do I do? I’m not sure.