New blasters this year?

Jeff at Alphecca asks what new blasters a blogger has gotten this year. Can't say that I have gotten any, though TCM has gathered a few.

I would like to get one of mine back, though, from a 'smith who doesn't reply to emails. She's Dierdre's sister Hermione.

This coming year (tomorrow perhaps) Firstborn will send her first .22 bullet downrange. A good pellet rifle will be in order if she gets the itch. Aside from that, I want no more guns, just time and a place to shoot them.


The problem isn't PowerPoint, it's how it is used

Twice in the last month I have been shortchanged in a course of instruction, by an instructor who chooses not to subject me to "death by PowerPoint. Let's go ahead and get our hands on the equipment instead, you'll learn more."

It would be forgiveable if the instruction were accompanied by sound handouts or preceded by comprehensive read-ahead material. A few block diagrams would help too. Instead I am explaining in whispers to colleagues what all this gear is supposed to accomplish and why, and learning little for myself.

I've cursed PowerPoint myself, in this very space in fact. But dammit, y'all, PowerPoint isn't the problem here. The lazy tendency to shovel a tech manual into PowerPoint, now that's a problem. Making your slideshows underinformative, oversizing them with raw digital photos, adorning them with MS's clip art, those are the problems. Fix them and slideshows won't bore people to death, they'll actually be informative and useful.

Both times, the instructors were contract employees for defense contractors. They represented the same company, in fact, though I suspect this is a trend and is much more widespread. Anybody else encounter this sort of thing?


Chicken or egg question

Barbaloot and I are watching one of my presents to her, the DVD set of Aeon Flux (impulse purchase at BestBuy).

First episode: Utopia or Deuteranopia?

Trever Goodchild mumbles his goals and means to himself as he completes his purge of competing high-level functionaries to consolidate his rule over Bregna. Among his means: "Total information awareness."

So my question is: was this work recut in the last year or so to add in that throwaway line referring to Admiral Poindexter's pet program, or were Peter Chung and the Aeon Flux writers more visionary (still) than I give them credit? Amazon lists the DVD collection in '95.