The Heartbleed Bug and how to talk about it with your non-geeky friends

One thing that my husband has been up late working on is patches and fixes due to the Heartbleed bug, information about which was publicly disclosed at the beginning of this week. What is it, and how does it affect you?

Basically, an error in the coding of a system called Open SSL meant that a person could send a query to a server and receive in return a random chunk of the server’s memory. With enough querying over time, this same person could eventually gain enough clues to compile information about the users whose information is stored on the server.

A more compact explanation can be seen in visual form, here: Continue reading “The Heartbleed Bug and how to talk about it with your non-geeky friends”

Geekly Speaking About… “The Commander Shepard Challenge”

Does a Shepard by any other gender kick as much ass? We're about to find out...

If you’ve been listening to our “Geekly Speaking About…” podcasts, you’ve probably heard co-editor Jillian Pullara and me talking about Commander Shepard from the Mass Effect series of games from Bioware. While she’s mostly played the PC game version and I rocked the Xbox 360 version, we both have a similar sensibility towards the main character in that we think she totally kicks ass. Lowell Greenblatt also loves playing Commander Shepard and thinks that he’s got a real compelling story to tell.

But the problem between us is that our Commander Shepards are different genders. And that got us to thinking: Could playing the character in the Bioware game as the opposite of your preferred gender change your perception of the game?

Reference links and show notes, after the jump:

Continue reading “Geekly Speaking About… “The Commander Shepard Challenge””

Vincent D’Onofrio’s directorial debut to be picked up for distribution?

In addition to being able to hear “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” actor Vincent D’Onofrio speak about his experiences directing his first movie, a slasher/musical called Don’t Go Into the Woods, the audience members at the Center for Communication screening and Q&A of the film heard from D’Onofrio himself that he had a meeting with people from Tribeca Films to pick up the film for distribution. However, when contacted, a spokesperson from Tribeca Films declined to comment.

Shot on a budget of $100,000 in upstate New York, the Don’t Go Into the Woods centers around an indie rock band who while taking a break from their “daily distractions,” end up disappearing one by one and dying from gruesome deaths, singing all the while. D’Onofrio and his collaborators Sam Bisbee, (co-executive producer, co-screenwriter and composer) and Joe Vinciguerra (co-executive producer and co-screenwriter) answered questions at the Q&A session, which was moderated by Brad Balfour from the Huffington Post.

About the production process, D’Onofrio said that there isn’t a big difference between writing a love song and writing a song about death, and added that there wasn’t any CGI used in the production. Also in attendance was one of the actors, Cassandra Walker (Ashley), who said that while she heard the music before reading the script, the concept was a bit wild to her.

Finally, D’Onofrio proved that he was well-versed in horror film lore by expounding a bit on “refrigerator logic” and how it applies to his film:

Further details about a release date for Don’t Go Into the Woods will be added to this article as they become available.

Thanks to Lyssa Spero for contributing to this article.

Trailer Watch: “Top Gear” USA

Oh dear.

Mentioned during the “60 Minutes” segment on the original U.K. show, the U.S.-based version of the show will feature these three guys:

  • Adam Ferrara: A comedian and actor, his biggest credit to date is starring as Chief Nelson on “Rescue Me.”
  • Tanner Foust: A stunt driver whose credits include two of the The Fast and the Furious movies, he’s also a rally driver and has competed in the X Games.
  • Rutledge Wood: He’s the dark horse of the trio, having no major mainstream screen credits to his name, other than appearing on SPEED in a show called “NASCAR Smarts.” This show is so off the radar it doesn’t have its own Wikipedia page.

Now, I’m not the most car-obsessed person in the world and I love original-flavor “Top Gear.” I also loved “Initial D” when I first saw it. And yet something really bothers me about the approach they’re taking in the trailer.

Lemme backtrack a second: German race car driver Sabine Schmitz has been featured on the original “Top Gear” several times; the most recent appearance was in 2008 when she and her two “D Motor” co-presenters took on the lads in a series of crazy races, one of which involved the removal of a prosthetic arm.

The thing I noticed about the German team was that Schmitz seemed to have the most personality and charisma out of the three (and I am willing to concede that perhaps I like her a lot because she’s a female racer). However, all three were pretty fun to watch during the double-decker race because they were as aggressive and crazy as Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May.

These three guys? I don’t get a sense of that kind of craziness, and that’s what keeps people watching “Top Gear.”

However,’s Ray Wert is on board after having been given a peek at the show’s segments and offers this perspective on one of the guys:

But, [Tanner Foust] rocks because he wears his heart on his sleeve. While riding shotgun in a Lamborghini with him around the Las Vegas Convention Center, I told him that fan-boys of the UK series were rooting for this version of “Top Gear” to fail. His first response was viscerally physical. His jaw set, his eyes narrowed behind his sunglasses and he gripped the steering wheel more tightly. For a split second I had a vision of him letting go of the steering wheel and lunging at my neck. Then he explained just how much the concept of Top Gear meant to him.

It was at that moment that I realized he looked so hurt by the comment because the guy’s just like us — a fan-boy.

Anyway, this is going into my DVR, and if all things go right, you may even be able to either read or hear a commentary of the show between me and our U.K. TV expert Kara Dennison.

“Top Gear USA” premieres on the History Channel on Sunday, November 21 at 10:00 pm Eastern/9:00 pm Central and will likely repeat.

Trisha’s Video of the Day: Hawaii gamers bring new meaning to the words “defending home base”

When you’re gaming late at night at your favorite Internet cafe, you don’t expect to become fodder for your local news channel; however, that’s exactly what happened to some PC gamers in Hawaii last week:

Just like the reporters at local channel KHON, I don’t think that everyone in this sort of situation should fight back; however, given that the staff eventually knew who the alleged assailants were, I’m sure that Dylan Hays knew he’d be okay when he started fighting back.

Kudos to the midnight crew at PC Gamerz for defending their home.

Keeping Tabs, SDCC Edition: Helen Mirren loves Harvey Pekar, and more

Until a miracle happens and I’m able to justify spending gobs of money to go, it’s highly unlikely that I’m going to be able to provide the kind of coverage of Comic Con (aka “Nerd Prom”) or any other major geekfest that you deserve. However, what I can do now and going forward is to highlight the stuff that really turned my crank:

  • “The Gray Lady” may have been able to make the con relatable to its older readers and audiences, but Michael Buckner’s photograph of Dame Helen Mirren—star of the upcoming Red, based on the graphic novel by Warren Ellis—stole that panel’s show and put things in perspective by showing up in a T-shirt memorializing recently deceased American Splendor creator Harvey Pekar. I’d like to think he would have gotten a kick out of that. (Source: The New York Times)
  • Did you realize that there was an Iron Man anime series? No, not “animated” as in the 1994 TV series starring the voice of Airplane‘s Robert Hays as Tony Stark, but a new series created by Studio Madhouse (Ninja Scroll, Black Lagoon) in conjunction with Marvel Studios. At the SDCC panel, new executive vice president and head of television Jeph Loeb (“Heroes”) and Madhouse COO Masao Maruyama confirmed that the series will launch in the U.S. and Canada in 2011, after its debut in Japan on October 1 on the G4 network. Other Marvel anime series which will also appear on the network in the U.S. are Wolverine, X-Men and Blade, and it sounded like negotiations were forthcoming on whether or not all four would also appear on G4 in Canada. (Source: ANN)
  • If anyone took director Guillermo del Toro up on his offer to show him their work, I’d love to hear the story. No, seriously; this is what he told fans at his Q&A panel:

    “I cannot read screenplays, but if you have a portfolio, or you have a short you want me to see, fuck it, give it to me. If you see me on the floor, accost me,” he challenged the crowd. And he also gave his public email address for them to contact him.

    (Source: The Hollywood Reporter Heat Vision blog)

  • It was sing-a-long time at the “Big Bang Theory” panel, moderated by TV’s Wil Wheaton, where the Barenaked Ladies performed the entire theme song and not just the TV edit to a room full of fans. (Source: The Hollywood Reporter Live Feed blog)

More to come when I’m feeling less tired.

Walt Disney to produce a live-action movie about gargoyles

The latest news out of the House of Mouse has me pretty bewildered.

According to Marc Graser at Variety, the next live-action film in the Walt Disney Studios pipeline will be something about gargoyles, with Zoe Green in final negotiations to write it and Lauren Shuler Donner producing.

I can hear many of you thinking, “Wait, ‘Gargoyles’? As in the awesome 1994 animated cartoon about a bunch of creatures who by day are lifeless statues but at night come alive and protect a modern day New York City metropolis from the schemings of a businessman named Xanatos?”

And this is where I have to dash your hopes and say that no, Graser’s sources say that it’s not tied to it, but will be something entirely different: Continue reading “Walt Disney to produce a live-action movie about gargoyles”

RIP: American Splendor creator Harvey Pekar (1939-2010)

When news broke on Monday that American Splendor creator Harvey Pekar was found dead in his Cleveland Heights, Ohio home, I wrote via Twitter: “I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting him in person, but [Pekar] is and will always be an inspiration to struggling creators.”

Pekar is best-known for the pioneering comics series American Splendor which told the story of Pekar’s own life and the lives of the people around him in his home in Cleveland. It was this series which lead to several guest appearances on “Late Night with David Letterman,” the last of which in 1987 got him banned from the show: Continue reading “RIP: American Splendor creator Harvey Pekar (1939-2010)”

Black Star Warrior needs your help, badly

Once again, Google informed me that the latest and final part of the Black Star Warrior documentary is online, and this one has an appeal for help at the end:

As the YouTube comments have so far stated, this is really tripping my “This is fake” buttons, but I also agree that it’s so well-done that I don’t care. The glimpses at the end of the documentary of what looks like “actual” footage is pretty interesting, and if indeed they will be releasing a trailer to go along with this, you know I’ll be all over it. Also, isn’t Comic Con coming up soon?

Anyway, if you think you can help, go visit for more information.

Related Posts: More “news” about BlackStar Warrior?, Video of the day: Did someone really make a black version of Star Wars?

Former wrestler, director’s son get their hands on Manos sequel

Back in June, it was reported by that one Rupert Talbot Munch, Sr. was going to be arriving at this year’s San Diego Comic Con in his usual cosplay attire as Torgo from Manos: The Hands of Fate with a special announcement in tow: Munch is producing a sequel to that infamously bad movie. Featuring original cast members Jackey Raye Neyman Jones (Debbie, the young daughter) and Bernie Rosenblum (the guy in the make-out car), the film has also recently added three more cast members.

According to Stephen J. Pytak of the Pottsville Republican Herald, former WWE wrestler Gene Snitsky, the grand marshal in that town’s Independence Day parade, will have a starring role in the film, which is slated to begin filming in El Paso, Texas in early 2011. This report confirms the news announced by Munch, Sr. via Twitter where he also mentioned that original director Hal Warren’s son Joe would also be joining the cast as well as Benton Jennings, a character actor and the son of a man who played one of the cops in the movie.

I remember the first time I saw Manos; I also recall that one of the favorite things my geeky circle of friends loved to do back in the day was to inflict it upon the unwary. I think that part of its appeal is just how horribly bad it is, but it never actually becomes a So Bad It’s Good movie, no matter what the editors at TV Tropes say. It’s just bad.

Looking at Munch’s video announcement, however? I think I may have to re-think my analysis of what exactly “bad” is.

Keep up with all the sequel news at