Wizard World Chicago Comicon 2014

Having spent threedays at the Chicago Comicon, I have some mixed reviews of it.  On the whole it was a good weekend but there were things that really could have made it quite a bit more enjoyable.

First the good stuff:  the attendees and vendors (the ones selling comics and geeky stuff) were great.  Everyone was their to celebrate their particular brand of geekdom and, although often in costume, be theirselves.  The general mood was one of happiness and acceptance.

One of the highlights for me was the Bruce Campbell film festival.  It was essentiall a series of full length feature horror movies that would like either never see the inside of a theater or have a very limited runs in theaters.  I got to see three of the films:  Inner Demons (which I mentioned in my previous entry), Meet me there, and Killers.  All three were good films and quite enjoyable.  It was interesting to be able to have a short Q&A seesion with the people involved with the movies afterwards.

I also enjoyed the panels.  Twice I went to Joel Hoedson’s panels and even broke down and got his autograph afterwards.  I also went to the John Carpenter panel and got to ask him a question.  And on the last day I attened a panel that was hosted by four professional movie critics about the joys of the B movies.  I even got to participate a little bit in the discusssion on that one.

Now fot the bad.  The bad all boils down to one thing: the venue.  Comicon was hosted at the Donald E Stephenson Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois.  I have never attened a convention there before  and I pray I never have to again.  Simply put, it was probably the single worst place I can think of to host a convention.  Some reasons for this are:

1) Parking.  Parking is $13 per day.  That I am fine with.  What I am not fine with is paying $13 per day and then having to walk a 15-20 minutes through parking lots trying to figure out how to even get to the convention center and try to cross a busy road, taking ones own life in their hands, and having no shuttle bus service.  Then the proceedure for paying for parking is so unclear nobody really knew how to do it.  Oh, but take your ticket with you.  Why?  Because you may have to pay for parking in the lobby of the parking garage.  Or you might not.  Or they may be nobody on duty.  But there might be.  It depends.  On what?  Who knows?  

2)  Food.  You would think having a major confrence center like this would be an opportunity to have a variety of resturants to cater to all these people.  I mean this is a captive audience.  And at $13 for parking with no in/out privledges, people are going to tend to want to stay there.  One might also think that there would be plenty of resturants around the convention center to cater to the overflow from these conventions.  Yet there was little of either.  The convention center itself had little in the way of food options.  Oh, there are several food stands there with the standard crap (pizza, cheeseburgers, and hot dogs) at exorbant prices ($8 for a luke warm, tasteless cheeseburger.  Really?) BUt for a four day convention, that doesn’t go over very well.

Now to be fair, the hotels had several restaurants (again at insane prices) and there were restaurants a few blocks away, but I came to the convention center to actually attend the convention, not wander all over Rosemont looking for decent affordable food.

The coup de grace, however, was the food stand at the convention center when my daughter wanted cheese pizza and they just sold the last slice.  I asked if there was more coming.  The person looked at me like I was asking here to move a mountain and mumbled something we couldn’t understand.  I said “I’m sorry, did you say there was more coming?”  Now see glared at us and said, with much distain, “I said it’s coming.”

So now, really feeling the love, we get to the cashier and I am astounded that there is a tip jar there.  This is a line where I get my litttle cardboard tray thing, I put the food on it, I put the drinks on it, and everything I want I have to do and the little bit of assistance I ask for I get treated like shit and now here, at the end, is a tip jar.  Incredible.

3) Cellular signal.  Two of the three days we were there the cellular repeaters were  down the bulk of the day.  Now being in IT, I know stuff happens, but honestly they need to have back up systems in place to allow for this type of thing.

In short I was very unimpressed with the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.  In short it seemed mismanaged at best.  I will be a happy little camper if I don’t have to go back there again.

Chicago Comic-con Day 1

We arrived (my daughter Kelsey and I) at comicon (#WWChicagoCC) around noon.  In the car ride over we identified the things we wanted ro see.  The first we we did was attend the Neard for a living panel.  It was okay but seemed to focus mostly on animation and such which is really just a part of nerddom.  So it kind of left us wanting but over all it was fine.  We then went to the snack bar and had a quick lunch and walked around the floor a bit.  We then split up and I went to see Gates McFadden and she was awesome.  It was a real treat to get to see her in person and hear tales not only from ST:TNG but Labrynith too.

After leaving that panel I was still floating on a cloud kind of when I ran into Stan Lee.  Stan Lee!!!!!  An I shook his hand!!!  Arrrggghhhttt!!!!

Yes, I am officially a geek.  All doubt is dismissed.

We then went for dinner at the Marriott  across the street from the convention center.  The lack of any restaurants around the Donald E. Stevenson Convention Center is surprising.  Dinner was fine, but a little pricey.  I need to find some better resturants around here.

We returned to the convention center and attended the Joel Hodgeson panel where he riffed on himself.  What a hoot.  That guy is so funny.  And I had no idea that he and Jerry Seinfeld were close.

We ended the night by seeing the Chicago permire of a horror movie Inner Demons.  It was pretty darn good I have to admit.  Kelsey and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  In fact I think we are now going to try to see all the horror movies while we are  here.  (Apparantly they are trying out something new by having a mini-movie festival within the convention focusing on horror movies.  I’d say it is a great idea.)

My only complaint thus far is the distinct lack of gaming and game vendors.  Hopfully tomorrow will have more or I’ll find here they are hiding.  

Awsomebar issues in Firefox on a Mac

I use to do the IT support for a company we supported in the same building as us.  On occasion I would have to get into their spam filter and change some settings.  The url was spam.downstairscompany.com.  It was nice and easy to get to and manage.

Once I was relieved of the “joy” of supporting those * ahem * people (they were a pain in the ass) I no longer needed to go to that spam filter.  I did, however, need to go to my spam filter which was named spam.mycompany.com.

Everytime I started typing in Firefox address bar the URL, the one for the comany I no longer supported would come up first.  This seemed like a minor annoyance, but a fear down the road, it was beginning to bother me.
The auto-complete (or autofill) feature in the URL address bar just would not forget that I once supported them, no matter how hard I tried.

I started trting to fix this by deleting my history.  That did nothing.  So I headed over to Mozzila support and came across this link that told me to start typing the address and then press Shift+Delete to clear it from the autocomplete history.

That did nothing.  No matter how many times I tried it, it still did nothing.  It rise highlighting the address and doing it, nothing.  Hover over the URL and do it?  Nothing.  No matter what I did, the Shift+Delete did nothing.

So I started to play with my settings and found that if I wen into preferences and then went to Privacy and set the location option to suggest nothing and that actually worked in eliminating the offending URL, but it wasn’t a pretty solution and honestly I want it to suggest from history and bookmarks.

So I re-enabled it and the offending URL popped right back up again.  Ugh!!!

I figured there had to be something about this in the configuration, so I typed about:config in the address bar and did a search on “autofill”  Here is what I found:

I toggled the browser.urlbar.autofill to false and closed and opened the browser.

Darn…so close.  I was hoping the cache or database would be deleted but no such luck.

So next I decided it was time to perhaps start over.  I made note of the plug-ins I hade installed and made sure everything was up to date with xmarks.  Then once it was done, I opened Firefox and went to help>>Troubleshooting Information.  There I selected the profile finder and chose “Show in finder”

The folder opened, I closed the browserand then, in the profile folder located places.sqlite and remaned it (not deleted) the file to place.old.

Once that was was done I reopened Firefox, re-installed my plug-ins and once again all was right with the world again.  No more annoying autofill URLs.

(As an FYI, I opened the places.old file and Lo and Behold the offending URLS were in there.  So that is where they were coming from.  Attempts to edit the file directly did not achieve the desired results.)

Hope this helps.

A New Blogging Program

One reason I don’t blog as often as I would like is because of the inconvenience of logging into the interface, typing it out, formatting it, checking it, uploading it, blah, blah, blah.  In short, it is easy to avoid doing it.

But perhaps those days are past.  I’m trying ot this new software called Blogo (http://www.getblogo.com)  .  It works (right now) with wordpress blogs and it simplifies the blogging process to to its minimal (yet still functional) components.  Thus far it seems to be working very well.  The set up took all of about three minutes and to walk through the tutorial about double that.

I am hosted by GoDaddy.com so I can vouch for the program working with that host.  I can’t see any reason that it wouldn’t work with any blog host on the WordPress format.  They also mention on the say that they intend future releases to work with other services (Tumblr and Blogger) “coming soon.”

While the interface is minimal, the features aren’t.  Within the app you can add tags and catagories, insert media, change fonts, preview the post, set a post to preview at a specific date, and respond to comments.  Honestly, for day-to-day posting that is really all I personally need.  I found what usually happens is that when I get into my blog I start messing with settings and spend more time doing that than actually writing the blog post.

So, yeah, this might be a good fit for a techie A.D.D. guy like me…

One thing I do not like is that the formatting (namely paragraph breaks) are uploaded correctly however once the post is published, the breaks go away on the post in Blogo.  They are still there in the actual blog post however.  It makes going back and editing kind of a nightmare.

It is currently a “Mac Only” application, available in the App Store, and I am unaware of any plans to expand to the PC or Linux market.  It is still essentially in beta and as such is 50% off in the app store as of this writing ($14.99 US.)