It was a herculean task. Team Maximum PC at this year’s Comic-Con International consisted of only two people, and there was no way we could attend every packed panel at the event. So instead of bringing you movie and television panel reports you’ve probably already read on SlashFilm or AintitCoolNews, we wanted to be your eyes on the show floor. And that meant showing you what stood out most in the 500,000sq ft space of the main exhibit hall: the cosplayers. Our quest to document as many unabashed costumed geeks as we could find yielding 400 photographs of comic-book, anime, fantasy, science fiction, and film characters. We saw dozens of jokers and batmen, numerous video game-inspired outfits, and even steampunk-era Ghostbusters. The impressive level of creativity and enthusiasm that we saw in these cosplayers was an awesome reminder of why we love geek culture. We hope you can appreciate it as well.
Click through for, yes, all four hundred photos -- each in thumbnail and full-rez formats. Can you name all of the characters?
We’ve heard the phrase “visual computing” being used a lot lately – it refers to the use of computers and graphical environments to interact with and manipulate heady data sets and other textbookish content. Well, we’ve encountered one of the most visually stunning and impressive examples of visual computing in San Francisco’s Morrison Planetarium, the new $20 million dollar facility that’s a part of the recently reopened California Academy of Sciences. This isn’t your daddy’s planetarium (nor is it Barack Obama’s famous $3 million dollar star charter, either).
The Morrison Planetarium is a technological marvel, enabling astronomers not only to show traditional star charts, but to guide visitors through an immersive fly-through of our universe – realistically rendered in real-time. We were fortunate enough to be invited for a private screening of the new exhibit, and went behind to scenes to check out exactly what PC hardware drives this modern stellar cartography lab. And before you ask – yes, the system can play Quake.
We'll guide you through a tour of the planetarium, show you what visitors get to experience in the amazing digital presentation, and then walk you behind the scenes for an exclusive look at how the tech gods who built the whole system make it work. Trust us, you'll be impressed.
Forget the lessons of Tyler Durden. The things you own define who you are. And nothing makes a bigger statement than your cell phone ringtone. Your ringtone gives valuable insight for everyone within earshot about your preferences and personality -- information with which they'll use to judge you (and yes, you're always being judged). You don't want to be the guy sitting in a quiet lecture hall when your phone suddenly starts blasting the latest Fallout Boy single. That tells your neighbors that you have poor taste and probably cry yourself to sleep at night. No, you want to be the guy who has Europe's The Final Countdown chime in at opportune moments, letting that cute hipster girl nearby know that yes, you too are a fan of Arrested Development.
For geeks and techies who want to attract like-minded compatriots, we've compiled a list of the top 10 must-have ringtones to own. Any respectable tech/gadget/sci-fi aficionado should have these tones stored on their phones at all times, alternating the chimes in a daily rotation to prevent them from getting stale. We've also included a definitive list of the 10 coolest text-message alert sounds, as well as the most clichéd and obnoxious ringtones and alerts that must be avoided at all cost.
Back in our September 2008 issue, we published a list of 9 Skills Every Nerd Needs – a lighthearted examination of the essential abilities Maximum PC readers should have in their geek arsenal. We still stand by that list, but we were somewhat one-upped last month when we saw that Gizmodo had since run its own list of 50 key geek skills. Their list was very respectable, but we thought that we could do better by not only expanding and refining our original story, but actually teaching you these skills. The highest echelon of geeks will be able to do everything in this list, and this is by no means a full categorization of the complete geek skillset – only what we consider to be the most indispensable abilities. Have anything to add to our list? Post it in the comments!
Sure, you overclock your rig to the bleeding edge, direct deposit your paycheck to Newegg, and are on the utility company’s watch list because of the blackouts you’ve been known to cause. Yes, you’re a badass power user, but let’s face it, none of your home-built rigs can touch these 10 beasts. So what if half of these machines only exist in the minds of sci-fi writers – their computational prowess transcends the fiction/reality plane, putting our mighty Petaflop age to shame. Peruse this list for inspiration and then get building, you’ve got some catching up to do before you can compete with the real big boys. We won’t settle until our rigs achieve sentience.
We're down to the last month of summertime and retail stores have already dug out their back-to-school displays. If you've been putting off that dream vacation you had planned for 2008, you better get moving. Don't know where to go? Consider one of the top vacation spots for geeks as assembled by InformationWeek.
The news outlet has compiled an interesting list of unique getaway destinations suitable for the prototypical modern day tech and sci-fi enthusiast. Are you a Lord of the Rings fan? If so, book a flight for New Zealand and schedule a Lord of the Rings Tour. The brochure promises "breathtaking scenery captured on film by Peter Jackson in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Explore Middle Earth and other famous LOTR film locations".
If you're more of a Star Trek fan, stay stateside and get your geek on in a 50,000 square foot interactive tribute to the series that has spanned over 40 years. Destinations are yet to be announced, but the tour will travel to 40 cities in the next 5 years, with a list of 2008 locales coming soon.
Other recommended spots include the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a three- or six-day Space Academy program, a jaunt to Puerto Rico to view the 20-acre reflector on the radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory, and more.
Know of a geeky destination not listed? Let us know about it!
Here’s something I noticed today while snapping up photos hundreds of cosplayers: they each have a unique pose prepared when other attendees or photojournalists ask to take their picture. It’s actually quite entertaining to watch, really. A dressed-up costumer will just be walking by, casually chatting away with their friends, and then they’ll suddenly execute a unique pose and mug for the camera if they anticipate a shutter click. I’d like to imagine that these cosplayers practice modeling their poses in front of a mirror before stepping foot in public.
But on to the kick-ass sights I saw today. Warner Brothers held a large panel to promote the upcoming Watchmen movie; director Zack Snyder brought the entire starring cast to answer questions from fans and show off never-before-seen footage. The cast really looked and sounded like they loved the material and immersed themselves into their roles. Confirmed: Patrick Wilson’s Nite Owl will indeed be balding, fat, and impotent when he’s out of costume. Matthew Goode, who plays Ozymandias, also pointed out that he played the character with the idea that Veidt was the son of Nazis.
Click the jump to see more awesome costumes, and to find out who I bumped into on the show floor today.
Who knew geeking out could be so tiring. The first full day of Comic-Con is over, and our legs are already worn out. But before we collapse in fatigue, we wanted to share with your some more awesome sights from the show floor. We spotted hundreds of cosplayers (don't worry, we'll be posting photos of them ALL after the event), B and C-grade celebrities (Captain Sisko from Deep Space Nine!), and even some surprise announcements from the movie presentations (Tron 2 is in the works, starring Jeff Bridges). Some quick impressions of the Max Payne footage shown today at the 20th Century Fox panel: the movie looks like it's taking the story seriously, and bullet-time shots are definitely different from what you've seen in the Matrix or John Woo films. The film apparently utilizes a camera that can shoot at 1000 frames per second -- one scene we saw slowed the firing of a single shot down to over half a minute. Another big surprise from that panel: Hugh Jackman made an unannounced appearance to show off the first footage from the Gavid Hood directed Wolverine movie. Gambit and Deadpool are confirmed to appear. Awesome!
These ladies can barely contain their excitement for Ghostbusters. Click through the jump for more geek-out photos.
So much geeking out to do, with so little time to do it. We’re just about to head back to the San Diego Convention Center to join the 100,000 pop culture fans who’re ready to storm into the show floor. But before we head out to attend today’s festivities (which include a Max Payne movie presentation and Science Fiction discussion panel), we wanted to share with you our favorite snapshots from yesterday’s Preview Night. Families in cosplay, movie props, toys, and geek babes – wish you were here to see it all!
Geeks rejoice! Comic-Con, the annual holy land for comic book, movie, television, and gaming culture, is just about to open its doors. We’re down here in San Diego covering the event, and had a chance to sneak in before the doors opened to the 400,000 attendees to take a few photos of the convention floor. The spotlight tonight: the video game presence at the con. All the top gaming publishers are here, including EA, Capcom, THQ, and Sony. Maximum PC even has its own booth, Gaming University, where we’re joined by our friends at HP, FunCom, and CDV. Of course, we couldn’t resist snapping a few photos of the awesome props on display, including the mind-blowing Nite Owl ship from the upcoming Watchmen movie. Honestly, we tried to obey the “do not touch” signs. It just looked too delicious.
Click the jump for photos of the ship’s interior, and more snapshots from the floor. Over the next four days, we’ll bring you more reports from Comic-Con, so check back frequently!