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Cocaine Cowboys

March 9th, 2007 by Alex

During the 80s, Colombian drug lords invaded Miami determined to control the trade by whatever means necessary. It’s what put the city on the map. Cocaine Cowboys is based on a true story of how Miami became the drug, murder, and cash capital of the US, recounted by the folk who made it all happen.

It’s a full-length feature film, nearly two hours long. And boy if you love stereotypes, this movie’s got ‘em. So if this sounds like something that might interest you, watch it. If not, just put it on during a party… I’m sure it’ll capture somebody’s attention.

Apple’s “Showtime” Review

September 12th, 2006 by Alex

Although not directly related to counter-culture, Apple products are a part of many of our lives. Specifically, music and entertainment are areas in which Apple excels – and we all know smokers love their music. With that in mind, tFS has decided to break down the latest Apple Keynote with a different point of view.

So, to clear up any confusion and to break down all the major announcements, here is what Steve Jobs dropped on the world:

iTunes 7

iTunes 7
This has been speculated upon since the release of iTunes 6 almost 11 months ago. Due for a major update, Apple’s It’s Showtime promo delivered the promise of downloadable movies. That’s right – movies. The pricing starts @ $9.99 for older movies all the way up to $14.99 for new releases. You can also pre-order releases for $12.99. I think that’s some pretty steep pricing for almost HDTV quality video. To top it off, hese movies are equivalant to DVD prices and you don’t get any of the added features.

iTunes itself got some plastic surgery done too. Apple has provided more views to rummage through your music library, including new features such as the new album & cover flow views. Bringing an old-school, jukebox type feel to something digital is definitely cool.

Apple iPod

iPod / Nano / Shuffle
iPod updates their entire line of portable mp3 players. Unfortunately, the huge re-design we were hoping for didn’t get released. Instead, Apple introduced a new 80gb version and dropped pricing to start @ $249. One cool (yet basically substanceless) new feature is the release of games for your iPod. Titles range from Pac-Man to Texas Hold’em and are available for $4.99 per game.

I’m not sure how fun the games are going to be with the scroll wheel controls. Imagine how killer Texas Hold’em would’ve been with a widescreen, touch-sensitive iPod. Ah well, maybe in the next Keynote.

Apple iPod Nano

iPod Nano
Apple did a good job with the Nano. They kept the pricing the same, but increased storage capacity to 8gb (black Nano only). Another nice boost was to the battery strength, which will now play audio for 24 hours. The Nano also comes in 3 new colors (red/green/blue) and with the entire line-up weighing in at 2gb, 4gb and 8gb sizes. Personally, I prefer the more solid-feeling, larger iPod, but I know of many people who use and love the Nano. So, this should be a welcome upgrade for anyone that enjoys a light-weight, full-featured mp3 player.

Apple Shuffle

iPod Shuffle
This one is ridiculous. As if the Nano wasn’t small enough. As if the Shuffle by itself wasn’t small enough. Now, Apple has taken the Shuffle and chopped it in half. The casing has been completely redesigned and now comes with it’s own docking station. One million of these puppies have sold, so the $79 pricetag seems to be justified by consumers. This is a great solution for students on a budget or maybe even the Incredible Shrinking Woman. Good luck keeping track of one if it falls out of your pocket or gets lost in a room somewhere.

Extra Announcements

Rounding out the keynote, Steve Jobs dropped a few other pieces of information. Apple previewed its upcoming iTV product. This half mac-mini sized box is going to stream pictures, music and video straight to your TV. If all that’s promised is delivered, this unit will be a nice multimedia center that works with the existing Apple remote. They plan on releasing it around the 1st Quarter of 2007 and price is tentatively set at $299. This was a welcome surprise nearing the end of Steve’s keynote.

Conclusion

So, what’s really the bottom line here? After all the fireworks & smoke has cleared we’ve been left with just a little bit more of the same old stuff. Expected storage capacity upgrades, some pretty new colors, and games to kill even more of your time. The only real blockbusters are the movies store (which I was hoping would be more moderately priced) and the upcoming iTV (which won’t be out until the beginning of next year).

Overall, each tFS staff member is slightly disappointed with this latest set of Apple products. Logical, progressive steps have been taken for Apple to integrate further and further into the hub of life entertainment. We’re talking the whole schebang here – everything intergrated, everything communicating, and everything accessible to modest means of income.

Apple is pioneering the future of our electronic landscape, but it’s been a while since they’ve produced something truly revolutionary. I feel like a kid who asked for a certain present for Christmas and got one similar, but not as awesome as expected. Hopefully, we’ll see the widescreen, touch-sensitive iPod on the horizon, better pricing on the movie downloads, and more mobile communication capabilities in Apple’s next generation of products.





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