Picture is of the i-Stones iPod docks, not the actual rocks that were found in the box

Long ago, there was a time when people actually gave each other rocks as gifts; these rocks were welcomed and enjoyed by the recipients (why? We can’t say. It was the ’70s) and, as quickly as the trend started, it was gone. Gone, that is, everywhere but two Target stores in Fort Worth and Grand Prairie, TX, where the lithogift appears to be alive and well.The Star-Telegram reports that mother and daughter Melanie and Regan Ritter had an eerie experience of deja vu while shopping for Regan’s 14th birthday present, a shiny new iPod(note to self: begin collecting empty bottles and green stamps for children’s future gifts). After finding the iPod in stock at a Fort Worth Target store, Melanie bought it and delivered it on her daughter’s birthday, and Regan opened the lovely shrink-wrapped “Designed by Apple in California” box to reveal… rocks. A collection of rocks, in fact, matching the approximate weight of the missing iPod. I believe the word you’re looking for is “buzzkill.”

Roger Kenny sends word that one of the best web-based games for the iPhone, Battlefleet, has been updated. Not only is there a new splash page (quoting an eminent Mac gaming scholar– ahem), but Roger has set up an “iPhone Entrance,” a “Web Browser” entrance (which, strangely enough, didn’t work right in Firefox 2.0.0.7 for me– I had to play the iPhone version in my browser, which worked fine), and an “Internet Explorer Exit.” Very nice.

One of the challenges of ad-hoc open source development is that, sooner or later, disagreements arise. Personality conflicts generate friction (often exacerbated by the limits of online communication, and cultural or linguistic differences). Optimal technical solutions may be obscured by the rising heat of names called and accusations leveled.

Over at Toc2rta, iPhone hacker Niacin has announced a beta test for his iPhone/iPod touch jailbreak effort. To join, you must point your irc client to irc.toc2rta.com and connect to #betatest. 1.1.1 testers only and you will need some working version of iPhuc.I’m not personally familiar with the current state of his hack so Caveat Hacktor and all that. Good luck, and bring us back a jailbreak.

Update: 1AM: Niacin announces: “I would just like to 100% confirm we cracked the itouch” for a tester whose handle is podometer. He further confirms that his hack is based on Dinopio’s hack, adding some chained calls to get around OS issues.

(Source: vfxhack.com) One of the scariest moments that a new VFX supervisor can endure is their first day on a working film set. The seasoned veterans you may encounter your first time out can sometimes be less than helpful and often downright intimidating. Walking onto a hot set from the relative safety and comfort of the soft glow of a monitor can feel a bit like a white-tail deer walking into an NRA convention.

Come prepared
As you can see from my earlier kit bag post, I like to come to set prepared for anything. This also extends to doing my homework and knowing exactly what I am shooting and how I’m going to accomplish getting the plates that I need. There is no shame in writing down a checklist and knocking stuff off one set-up at a time. You do not want to be the guy who just isn’t quite sure what the hell he wants. Your average film production professional can smell fear and ineptitude almost as well as approaching catering truck. If the crew starts to think you’re just another mouse jockey who doesn’t know a Baby from a Blonde, they can make your life on set a living hell.

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“Star Wars” creator George Lucas visited Chicago’s Museum Of Science and Industry Friday night.

This is the opening day of the temporary exhibit.. “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination.”

It explores the fantasy technologies in the “Star Wars” films and the science behind them.

Lucas says he’s happy “Star Wars” can help educate people about technology in an entertaining way.

There’s some serious news to report on Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus — notably that it’s actually happening, or at least is in pre-production. Gilliam knows that’s a slight stretch from a true go picture, particularly if you’ve seen the documentary Lost In La Mancha.

Gilliam fan site Dreams has a solid breakdown of the film, with casting and plot summaries and a super-large version of the image above. My previous report that Tom Waits would be playing the title character isn’t quite right — that’ll actually be the best old man in Hollywood, Christopher Plummer.

No, not Guillermo Del Toro! That guy’s busy enough! I’m talking about the Oscar-winning bad-ass actor known as Benicio Del Toro. A while back we informed you that the guy would be starring in a new version of The Wolf Man for Warner Bros. and director Mark Romanek. Well, the flick is still on the way (fortunately), but Benny has some other projects to get through first — including two Soderbergh films in which he’ll play Che Guevara!

Chris Weitz, director of the upcoming The Golden Compass, wrote on his official production blog that he has reworked the ending of the movie, which is based on the first volume of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Specifically, Weitz said that the end of the first book will now constitute the beginning of the proposed second movie in what is hoped will be a troika of films.

Halloween could bring a mixed bag of tricks and treats. The Writers Guild appears to be getting ready to go on strike at the end of the month which means that many shows might be affected in serious ways, while some might not even see the light of day.

By Nov. 1, nets will have enough episodes of current shows in the can to get them through mid-January. But the February sweeps would be decimated [by a strike], and new shows would halt production well before they’d filled their initial 13 episode orders.

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