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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Radio Active #52: Good Bye Geek Fu, iPod Resurrection, Superheroes, iGTD

by Ken Newquist / July 9, 2007
Artwork: 5th Generation iPod

On this edition of Radio Active my iPod dies and comes back again (in a slightly different form), Geek Fu Action Grip goes on indefinite hiatus and I launch two new superhero blogs chronicling my Mutants & Masterminds campaign.

I also the debate the merits of Tivo vs. Netflix, discover two wikis dedicated to Marvel and DC superheroes, figure out how to Get Things Done on my Mac,  and finalize my summer reading list.

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Show Notes

Nuketown News
  • The iPod: Dead and Back Again
    • I dropped my beloved 30 GB black iPod last week, which killed it dead. Fortunately, the Apple Store replaced it for a minimal fee -- I decided to kick in an extra $30 for an AppleCare plan on the thing. Now to find an impact proof container for the iPod...
  • "Ubuntu on a G3 iMac" comment on Geek Acres #89: I report in on my experiences installing and running Ubuntu Linux on a G3 iMac.
  • Super Blogs: I'm starting up a Mutants & Masterminds superheroes campaign on Friday, and have created two blogs to support it:
    • Infinity Storm: The official campaign blog.
    • The Constant Sentinel: The in-character blog recounting the events of the campaign from the street-level view of a rabid fanboy.
    • It's the first time I've ever used blogs in a campaign, and I'm curious to see how it works out. For Infinity Storm, I've given my players admin access to the blog so they can go in and edit whatever posts they like.
    • For The Constant Sentinel, I've created an alter-ego GMail account known as Infinity Lord, who does all the posting. So far Evil Genius has responded to the posts with a l33t-speaking fanboy of his own named SPOONJUSTICE. Should be amusing.
  • Tivo vs. Netflix
    • We just got digital cable and something like another 200 channels. This has led my wife to believe that a Tivo might not be such a bad thing, and made this offer: we get Tivo, but lose Netflix.
    • Oh, the torture. How will I get caught up on The 4400, Doctor Who and MI-5 without Netflix?
    • I'm thinking of keeping netflix through until September, trying to watch as many shows on my "watch list" as possible, and then getting Tivo in time for the Fall TV season.

Promo: Geek Acres


  • Geek Fu Action Grip goes on indefinite hiatus
  • Superhero Databases
  • iGTD
    • A free "Getting Things Done" software tool for the Mac. For those unfamiliar with GTD, it's a system for figuring out what you need to do, and then doing it -- or basically, it's a nifty way of generating lists.
    • I make extensive use of paper to-do lists at work, and although I've tried many other tools, none have replaced my trusty "The List" notebook.
    • iGTD very well may replace it. It allows you to assign tasks to contexts (Home, Work, Freelance, Nuketown) and projects (Radio Active, Game Wiki, etc.)
    • You can also free tag resources, automatically add Safari or Mail tasks via an "F6" button, add tasks via Quicksilver, and assign priorities to everything.
    • You can  export the whole thing automatically to iCal and sync it via .Mac to your other Macs.
    • If you're looking for a way to organize your geek life, you need to check out this app.

Promo: GBN

The Official Summer Reading List

The Game Master Show


Audio icon NuRA-2007-07-09.mp325.32 MB


Hey Ken,

Good show as always. In a weird coincidence my 5th Gen iPod just died too. Unfortunately, mine isn't as new as yours (over a year old), and so no replacement will be forthcoming from Apple. I may be following the herds into the realm of iPhone.

Just for the record, technically I didn't recommend Storm Front. It is on my summer reading list, so I can't vouch for it. I only bring this up because if you hate it, I take no blame! I do recommend American Gods, so if you hate that one I will take the blame...

Keep up the good work.

I feel your pain. To lose an iPod so new ... it's a terrible thing. Ok, maybe not such a terrible thing in the big scheme of things, but it definitely left a void in my geeky life. The iPhone is very cool -- I saw one at the Apple Store -- but I just don't use a cell phone enough to have one. Now if they released an iPod with similar capabilities, but using only wifi, that would work for me.

As far as the Storm Front non-recommendation ... sorry about my muckup. I'll be sure you don't get the credit when it turns out to be a great read. :) American Gods is a great book by the way; at least the first 1/4 that I've read is. I've got some thoughts about the thin-veil-of-reality theme that's run through my recent reading lately that I'd like to post to the site at some point, but we'll see how crazy my days and nights are in the second half of July.

Ken and Scott:

My iPod has been wearing a protective silicone sleeve since I purchased it. I'd highly recommend trying one. I look at the slight extra investment as an insurance policy.

It's no so much that the thing would provide a great deal of impact protection, but rather that the case makes the iPod so tacky. I've literally never dropped my iPod - it just sticks to my hand.

My particular case is a Jam Jacket by DLO (Digital Lifestyle Outfitters). (Not that it matters - there are a ton of these types of cases available.)

Add one of those transparent "sticker" screen protectors (I also use these on my DS), and I think you add quite a bit of durability to your iPod.

Jeez - what a horrible choice to have to make!! I'd say find something else to cut out and keep both of these services!

We've had a DVR for about a year now, and I'll never be without one again. With our busy schedules, it's practically impossible for us to reliably have our butts punctually on-sofa for every episode of our favorite shows. With a DVR, program 'em in and when you have time to watch tube, just sit down and select what show you feel like watching.

Until the video providers finally roll out on-demand, a la carte programming, a DVR is definitely the solution.

We also use Netflix just like you do, Ken - watching previously-aired TV series' that we missed, on our time and on our schedule. Such a great service.

I forgot to comment on your Netflix vs DVR dilemma. I feel your pain.. that's a hard choice. If I had to pick one, I'd pick my DVR; I love Netflix but the convenience of watching TV on my schedule and not the network's pays off more often (at least for me). Since I don't have a wife to reign in my spending, I keep both. :)

And I did end up going for the iPhone. So far I'm pretty happy with it. My iPod didn't have much more than 5GB of actual files on it, so the 8GB model worked for me. I was already an AT&T customer, so no switchover problems. The keyboard is fairly intuitive, and even when I'm not on wifi, the Edge network isn't that awful, especially if you are browsing low-graphic websites. Just my $.02

k, first the Ken-Editor:

My alter-ego on the Constant Sentinal is "JusticeSpoon", not SpoonJustice. C'mon, SpoonJustice? That's just lame. :)

Secondly, the Tivo Netflix choice. Ummmm, can you buy less soda or something and do both? lol! Seriously, they're both such good services it's almost a shame to have one and not the other.

But if you have to choose, I'd go with Tivo. It's literally the best thing to happen to TV since cable.

And if you're worried about not being able to rent older tv programs, well, Tivo has this great feature called the Wishlist. If you type in a show or keyword, Tivo will record those shows that have that keyword.

I've used this frequently to catch marathons of interesting shows. For example, about 2 weeks ago, I noticed that there was a Eureka marathon on SciFi. I was able to record all of Season 1 and then watch the 13 episodes over the next week. I had done almost the same thing with Firefly.

And, a feature of the Gen2 Tivos that you can take advantage of is the new UBox (i think that's what they call it) feature that lets you browse and rent movies right from and download over your broadband home network (which you connect to Tivo).

Also, Tivo has another cool media feature that I don't use much but you may. Tivo, through your wireless network, can display pictures and video clips streamed from your computer. Kind of neat, and maybe something Sue would like, especially at family gatherings or the Tree Trimming party, when you could stream a slideshow of pictures of the kids.

Heh, yeah, JusticeSpoon. SpoonJustice would also be amusing though. :)

Alas, keeping both probably isn't an option. The thing that weighs in favor of Netflix is being able to get movies; Tivo is great and all, but since we don't have HBO now (we just dropped it form our digital cable line-up, I won't have a good way to see movies in a timely fashion.

An option that might be doable is dropping netflix down to its cheapest, one-DVD-at-a-time plan, which would let me get the movies and rely on Tivo for series. I could also go to the library, but they don't always get new DVDs in a timely manner.

Nice! Hype aside, the iPhones really are beautiful little machines. 8 GB would never do it for me -- I think I'm at about 20 GB right now with all my audio and video podcasts -- but I'm sure bigger ones will be along soon enough.

Hmmm. Interesting -- I'll have to check that out. I'm tempted to get something that has an armband or belt-clip that I can use at the gym as well (assuming I don't get a shuffle or some other cheap MP3 player for that purpose).

Good show. Enjoyed the blogs.
I for one choose my DVR over anything. I can watch what I want when I want, save them for as long as I want and never miss a show.

I'm glad you liked the blogs -- they've been a blast to write. I've been working on a couple of new Constant Sentinel posts, and they should be going up later this week.

Thanks for the DVR feedback -- clearly Tivo/DVR is a popular topic among my listeners -- I haven't had this many comments in months. Next show: all Tivo, all the time! :)