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jimmylvo at 2014/12/18  14:13:00  

Jack Davis, the legendary Mad magazine illustrator and movie poster artist, is finally hanging up his pencils.


It’s not that the iconic 90-year-old cartoonist can’t draw anymore—he just can’t meet his own standards. “I’m not satisfied with the work,” Davis says by phone from his rural Georgia home. “I can still draw, but I just can’t draw like I used to.”


Davis has probably spent more time in America’s living rooms than anyone. Mad was a million-seller when Davis was on the mag, and when he was doing TV Guide covers in the 1970s, the publication boasted a circulation of over 20 million. Yet, Davis is largely unaware of his massive cultural significance. “I never really thought about that, but I guess I’m very blessed,” he says. “I’ve been very lucky.”


But his luck paled in comparison to his skill. Davis started his career in 1936, when he was only 12; he won $1 as part of a national art contest and saw his work published in Tip Top Comics #9. While still a teen, his cartoons were published in The Yellow Jacket, a humor magazine at Georgia Tech University, where his uncle was a professor. After a stint in the military, Davis caught on with EC Comics in 1950, where he was part of the artistic wave that revolutionized comics with titles like Tales from the Crypt, Two-Fisted Tales, and Mad.


Whereas Norman Rockwell’s images represented Americana of the 1940s and ’50s with his Boy Scouts and pigtailed girls, Davis’ work epitomized the ’60s and ’70s—the smirking, sardonic face of the emerging counterculture. By the time the Beats and the Hippies (who came of age reading Davis cartoons) took over, he was doing movie posters for Woody Allen’s Bananas, The Long Goodbye, American Graffiti, and others.


“Jack Davis is probably the most versatile artist ever to work the worlds of comic books, illustration, or movie poster art,” Scott Dunbier, a former art dealer and current director of special projects at comic book publisher IDW. “He can work in a humorous style or deadly serious style, historical or modern, anything. His work transcends that of almost any other cartoonist.”


IDW recently published Jack Davis’ EC Stories Artist’s Edition, reprinting some of Davis’ classic stories taken from the original art. Other pieces from the archives may emerge, but Davis is done producing new work. “I’m just gonna sit on the porch and watch the river go by,” Davis says. “And maybe go fishing once in a while.”


Check out some highlights of Davis’ work in the gallery above.


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jimmylvo at 2014/12/17  14:19:00  

It takes a special kind of patience to engineer a spectacular Christmas light show set to themes from Star Wars — all in the close comfort of your front yard.

Despite the massive undertaking, however, YouTube user Tom BetGeorge from Newark, California, has done just that for a good cause.

The light display features giant, illuminated instruments that reflect BetGeorge's work as a music teacher. Overall, the show requires about 100,000 lights run through 12,400 channels. According to the YouTube video description, BetGeorge uses the display to raise money for the poor and homeless, which keeps him in good graces with his neighbors.

Curious Star Wars fans in the San Francisco area can check out his display on the corner of Lafayette Avenue and Ruschin Drive in Newark, on most nights between 6 and 10 p.m., local time.

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jimmylvo at 2014/12/16  14:15:00  

When I look at my bare beige apartment walls, I lament the passing of personal cameras and Polaroids. If I want real life copies of my precious smartphone photos now, I must use a service like Printstagram. Polaroid’s latest camera attempts to bridge that gap by blending the physical photo printing of yesteryear with today’s instant social media sharing.

The Socialmatic is a 14-megapixel camera that connects over Wi-Fi so you can post images to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. (It actually runs Android, so you can download other apps or browse the interwebs on its 4.5-inch touchscreen, too). It comes with a 2-megapixel selfie camera on the back, because humans are now incapable of turning cameras around to take photos of themselves. It’s also GPS- and Bluetooth-enabled.

After you’ve futzed with your photos on its screen, the Socialmatic lets you print two by three-inch adhesive-backed photos you can stick on your wall, bedroom mirror, or Trapper Keeper. You’ll still have to resort to some other printing service if you want anything larger, but hey, at least you’ve got something you can share with friends in meatspace.

A Socialmatic with enough paper for 10 prints will cost you $300 through Photojojo; bump that to 110 for $344. You can buy a 25-pack of photo paper for $25, or two packs for $45.


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jimmylvo at 2014/12/08  14:31:00  

As one of the world’s most recognised and highly regarded technology manufacturers, Apple is always going to be in the limelight. With Microsoft seen as the rugged, yet slightly behind the times, uncle-like figure, Apple is the youthful firebrand, in step with modern trends, styles and attitudes, the standard around which creatives the world over gather. As such, Apple has quite the reputation to uphold, and 2014- fraught with continued iterations of devices and levelling sales- has been quite the gauntlet for the Silicon Valley giant.

There have been a fair few releases from the company this year, though critics have been more divided than usual with regards to Apple’s offerings to consumers. In March the iPhone 5c was released; despite being a fair iteration, critics were quick to note the lack of differences between the 5c and the 5, sans the polycarbonate (instead of aluminium) coating and black glass screen. The phone didn’t even host the 5S’ 64 bit A7 chip, touch ID- we could go on!

The release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus was more of a ground shaking event; smartphone fans clamouring for the larger, faster devices were greeted by retina displays, huge storage and memory, new features and an excellent processor to boot. Industry figures were also celebrating; websites and businesses heavily dependent upon apps for their revenue were happy with the increased features on the popular smartphone. The massive boost in processing power has already helped many sites that rely upon up-to-the-minute updates of information. Take bettingsports, a site that regularly posts a mix of fixtures, events and odds. Recently the need for fast hardware was plainly seen as it reported on a variety of time-sensitive professional winning picks; without these, fans would surely have been left in the dark.

With new updates for the MacBook Air, iMac, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini, Apple has certainly used this year as an excuse to update its existing product lines. The issue is, however, has the company been getting sloppy, releasing piecemeal, ineffectual products merely for the sake of an update? The3rd Gen MacBook Pro was a meaningful release; Core i7 processors, Retina displays and all manner of new ports; and was as such well received by consumers and critics alike. Same goes for the Mac Mini, MacBook Air and iMac, with all of these receiving similar improvements.

The issue, however, has been noted in Autumn’s iPad Mini 3. With the new iPhone 6 Plus nipping at the heels of the small tablet range, the Mini has been left- perhaps purposefully- in the hinterland between small and large tablets. Increasingly irrelevant, this ‘tweener’ product will be an interesting one to watch in the future, perhaps ready for the cull.

With Apple shares falling currently, thanks to fears that Apple is losing out on the innovation front, the rest of the year looks set to be a turbulent one for the designer-cum-manufacturer.


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jimmylvo at 2014/11/01  22:33:00  

Tim Cook
In a Bloomberg BusinessWeek essay published this morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook affirmed that he is gay, something that had long beenspoken of within the tech community (and sometimesaccidentally in the mainstream media). In his own words:

While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven't publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.

Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It's made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It's been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It's also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you're the CEO of Apple.

Cook's decision to publicly discuss his sexuality was made despite his desire to maintain a modicum of privacy and keep the focus on Apple's products. In the final analysis, this was overcome by the realization that his story might serve to help others:

I don't consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I've benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it's worth the trade-off with my own privacy.

You can read Cook's entire piece on the Bloomberg BusinessWeek website, where you can also see a video clip of his address in Alabama confronting his ancestral state's record on gay rights.

Update: Comments will be closed and deleted if participants cannot find a way to stay on topic and be civil.

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