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CNET Tech Review
Comic-Con 2011: Joss Whedon speaks!This week on the CNET Tech Review: Comic-Con mainstay Joss Whedon talks "The Avengers" and the future of Buffy; how to get more out of OS X Lion; and the best--and perhaps only--smartphone for Nextel that's worth buying.
This week on the CNET Tech Review, Comic-Con has come and gone but we've got the best of what you've missed including our 1 on 1 interview with the king of the con, Joss Whedon. Plus, how to wrap your hands on the new gestures of OS X Lion. And, how to avoid looking cool when you listen to your tunes. It's all coming up right now. Hi, everyone. I'm Molly Wood and welcome to the CNET Tech Review where we collect our hottest videos of the week and tell you what's good and what's bad in the world of tech plus offer our special wisdom in the form of the bottom line. Let's get started with the good. Each year, hundreds of thousands of TV movie and comic book fans descend on San Diego for Comic-Con. It's pretty much the place for geeks of all types to feel right at home and as you're about to see, this year's gathering did not disappoint. Brian Tong was on the scene and here's the look in his favorite reasons to visit Comic-Con. -What's up, guys? Brian Tong here with CNET.com and there are so many things here at Comic-Con. So, I just want to bring it, trim it down to [unk] it to my top 5 favorite things that we've seen here. And, at number 5, we start off with the big statues and no one does it big or better than Optimus Prime. When we say these statues are big, we mean big. At number 4, a legal usage of spandex. Now, we've seen plenty of men in tights and you could see every bulge and bump you can imagine. We're here with a family of spandex. You know, guys can't help but stare, looking at other guys in spandex. It's kind of one of those things where you kind of have to stop and look. Are you comfortable with that? -It's all relative. You know, I have to. Every once in a while, I hate to say it, but I look around and if I'm looking a little bit better in spandex than somebody else then I'm okay. -Is this worth your advantage? I mean, girls got a really good look in your physique and your butt, right? -Yeah. You know, my fiance kind of had a problem with it that actually I really don't have that much of a butt with this but I have like a tighter way to [unk] but otherwise. -Sorry to spank you. At number 3, we're talking shopping. Now, where else will you find grown men buying toys that remain in there packages and wait in line for hours? Only here at Comic-Con and honestly, I wish I could wait in line with them. Now, the fact that these are limited, is that what makes you wait in line to get them? -That's obviously what's creating the line but honestly, I'd be getting some of these if they weren't limited but it definitely adds some collectors appeal to them which I love. -How long did you have to wait in line? -We actually got our tickets yesterday for 2 o'clock and we came this morning. So, yeah, that long. -Are these to resell? Or are these for your own personal collection? -Personal. I'm like, keep them on the package, open 1 up, and 1 just in case. -Are we tracking anything here right now? -Oh, good Lord. It's mad. It's pretty mad here at Comic-Con. -At numero dos, we've got geek pride now. For us, geeks and nerds alike, nothing feels more like home than Comic-Con and nothing says geek pride more than Star Wars on a car. -When they asked me to do this, they said, would you like to draw live on our car, Star Wars? I said I could do this job without reference. I could just sit here and just draw, and that's what I've been doing. I've been sitting here for about 2 days, 3 days now and just drawing Star Wars things. I'm having the greatest time. Sure, it's a lot of work but it's cool. Man, come on. It's Star Wars. -Why do we do it? It's because of love for something that we grew up with. I mean, I think that's it. When you can identify with something that kind of shaped your life for a very long time, it's not for showing off. It's just a matter of, this is what I'm passionate about, this is what I like, and this is what I'm about. -When it comes down right to it, it's just bringing the thrill and creating memories for people who attend Comic-Con as well. -At number 1, girls. Now, I've been to a whole lot of conventions. CESC3. But, the girls don't do the things the girls do here. They talk to you, they wanna be your friend, your close friend, and I love every second of it. You know, the guys kind of look at you like pieces of meat. Is there more to you than just that? -You know, it really hasn't been bad. We haven't had any bad comments or anything else like that. -We've been in here at Comic-Con. I think any, elsewhere it wouldn't work. -So, why would you stop and talk to someone like me? -'Cause you asked us to. -Top 5 things to see here at Comic-Con 2011. I'm Brian Tong for CNET.com. Hey, I think I'm just gonna stay here all day. -Come with me. You'll be mine tonight. -Guys, I got to go. I got to go. -I definitely miss being at Comic-Con this year although, I am glad to see that Brian had fun. Maybe a little too much fun, as usual. Be sure to stick around for more of our coverage from San Diego later in the show. Now, I know last week we spent a lot of time talking about OS X Lion and the new MacBook Airs that were released. But, 1 item we didn't get a chance to get to was the latest version of Apple's Mac Mini. Well, lucky for us, Rich Brown is going to help me fix that oversight right now. -Hi, I'm Rich Brown, senior editor for CNET.com. Today we're going to take a look at Apple's brand new Mac Mini. This particular review unit is the 799 model. Apple has a couple of other options available including 1 starting at 599. There's also server model available for 999. This is the middle-of-the-road system. It comes with a 2.5-gigahertz core I5 CPU, 4 gigs of RAM, 500-gigabyte hard drive, as well as an AMD Radion HD 66-30 mobile graphics chip. Now, in addition to those specs, there're also a few new features that are important to know about this system. It has Apple's new OS X Lion, an operating system. As well as the new Thunderbolt Core in the back. Probably, controversially though, this system lacks an optical drive. The first time Apple has eliminated the optical drive from its Mac Mini lying up here. So, that makes it really sort of a dedicated digital download system more. Of course, you can use USB ports for rod keys and external drives, that kind of thing. But, it's interesting that for a system that actually works well as a living room pc, Apple has pretty much decided it's no longer gonna accept optical media. So, say if you have a large DVD collection, this is not the system for you. So, here's a quick overview of the outside of Mac Mini. It's got pretty much the same design as you saw before. See in the front here, again, no optical drive but otherwise, it's got the nice, clean, Apple look and feel. Got the ports in the back here. There's power input. Ethernet. Firewire 800 HDMI which we're glad to see Apple left on. Thunderbolt. As well as 4 USB 2.0 jacks. Down here, you've got a couple of audio ports. As well as the SDXC ST card input. As before, you can also get inside the bottom of the Mac Mini. This disc spins off which we can show you really quick. This one should twist this around, falls right off, and you can see here is the memory, and you can actually get in there and replace that yourself. So in our testing, we found the Mac Mini with its dual core I5 CPU was actually a pretty competitive system. It competes well with Windows PC's and its price range, particularly a slim line for HP. Now, the problem though is that the slim line costs roughly the same as this system. It has a Blu-ray drive, TV tuner, a 1-terabyte hard drive, as well as room to expand. Now you might not see a lot of value in a Blu-ray drive or TV tuner but you can argue that the HP is not a better deal. Now, the Thunderbolt port may be one of the key advantages for the Mac Mini but we're not exactly sure how that benefits consumers just yet. Now, we may have some criticisms from the Mac Mini in terms of how it compares with Windows PC's but on a narrower OS X environment, this is actually a reasonable deal. So, if you are a Mac loyalist and you envision using the Mac Mini with other Apple devices, this system does represent a big performance leap over the previous Mac Mini and it has some nice new features. So, I'm Rich Brown. This is Apple's new 2.5-gigahertz Mac Mini. -You can't beat the design of this little desktop powerhouse. But, Rich is right. Without a DVD drive or, God forbid, a Blu-ray player, there are better choices for a living room computer. At least until we get a hand on a 40-inch Thunderbolt ready TV. Of course, the new Mac Mini comes loaded with OS X Lion and much has been made about all the new gesture controls and the new operating system. Whether you're a new fan of the new navigation scheme or you're still dubious, there's more to Lion than just swiping and pinching. Here's Sharon Vaknin with a little bit of how to that highlights a few of those handy new features. -If you upgraded to Mac OS X Lion, you'll notice that a lot of things have changed since Snow Leopard. Mission control and launch pad are new, and they both use a bunch of new gestures. I'm Sharon Vaknin and today I'll show you how to navigate these new features and get to know the new track pad. To get started, you can open mission control by going to your desktop and swiping up with 3 fingers. This does 2 things. It scatters all your open windows that you can easily select one and you'll see your dashboard desktop, full screen apps, and desktop spaces across the top. Now, it's over the top right corner and you'll see a plus sign. Clicking this as a new desktop space which you can use as an extra desktop. So, for example, you can have a desktop for your documents, a desktop for your games, and a desktop for your web browsing. You can switch between these desktops and full screen apps by going back to mission control or by swiping right and left with 3 fingers from any screen. If you want to get rid of a desktop, just re-open mission control, hover over the space you want to close, and click the X. There are a few tweaks for mission control in your settings. Go to System Preferences then Mission Control. One setting you might want to change is automatically rearranging spaces based on most recent use. If you uncheck it, the desktops and full screen apps will be arranged in the order they were opened. Launch Pad is another new feature that gives you a tiled view of all your apps for easy launching. Pull in with 3 fingers and your thumb to open it up. If you have an Eye device, this setup will look really familiar. To open an app, you only have to click once. You can also organize your apps into folders. To create one, just click and drag one app over another. Your Mac will automatically choose a name for the folder but you can change it by clicking on it and entering your own. From here, you can add more apps by dragging them in and remove apps by opening the folder and dragging the icons out. To exit Launch Pad, push 3 fingers and your thumb. You could do the same gesture whenever you wanna get a clean view of your desktop. Just pull back in to bring your windows back. Launch Pad and Mission Control will take some getting used to but once you've mastered the gestures, you might find that they actually make your computer a lot easier to navigate. There are about a dozen more new gestures in Lion that you can learn by going to System Preferences then Track Pad. Just hover over one of the gestures and you'll get a handy video of how it works. Some of the gestures like Mission Control can be changed and all of the gestures can be disabled if you don't feel comfortable pinching and pulling at your computer just yet. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me on my Facebook page and visit howto.cnet.com for more Lion tips and tricks. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin and I'll see you on the interwebs. With Mac OS X Lion, you get Autosave and Versions, 2 new features that are gonna save you a lot of trouble when it comes to editing documents. With the autosaving versions, you don't have to worry about losing any unsaved work. Let's open Text Edit to show you how it works. Whenever you make a new document, you only have to save it once. Just do the usual File, Save and give it a name. That's the last time you'll have to do that because from now on, Text Edit will periodically save changes as you make them. Once you make an edit, you'll see Edited show up at the top bar of the file. Click it and you'll see a little menu. Lock let's you lock the file so that no more changes can be made. It's useful if you wanna create a template or just to prevent your doc from being changed. If it is a template, you can use Duplicate in this menu to quickly create and open a copy of that file. Now, if you're editing a document and realize you wanna get it back to the way it was when you opened it, click Edited and hit Revert to Last Saved Version. Below that option is Browse All Versions. Now, the Autosave backs up all your changes so you can browse all versions of the document. Click Browse All Versions to see how it works. On the left is the current version and on the right is where you browse all previous versions. Along the side is a visual timeline of the different versions with their time stamp. Just click the version you want to revert to and hit Restore. You can always go forward or backward in time by going back to Browse All Versions. Right now, only a few Apple branded apps like Text Edit and iWorks support autosaving versions but hopefully other apps will be updated to incorporate these features. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask me on my Facebook page and visit howto.cnet.com for more videos like this. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin and I'll see you on the interwebs. -All right, I know autosaving versions are hardly the sexiest features but I can definitely see them being a lifesaver someday. It's like a tiny little time machine for each one of your documents. Speaking of time, the time has come to take a break but stick around. We have a lot more Tech Review right after this. Welcome back to the CNET Tech Review, our weekly video digest of all things good and bad we've seen here at CNET TV. Continuing on, in the good. I feel like I don't hear that little NexTel chirp as often as I used to, which is a good thing. But if you have to have a NexTel phone and it has to be a smartphone, then I guess this is the one for you. -I'm Nicole Lee, senior associate editor for CNET.com and this is a first look at the Motorola Titanium for Sprint NexTel. This is a NexTel direct connect phone which means it supports Sprint's iDEN network. This also means this phone has Push To Talk capabilities. As you can see here, it's a very simple candybar design here. On the front is a 3.1 inch color touch screen display. Underneath that, you get a 4-row QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard should be familiar to anyone who has tried a Blackberry Bold because the keys are very similar. You get a search button on the lower left. The phone is also military specified to withstand a variety of different environmental hazards. As you can see, it's rubberized on the sides and on the back. On the back is a 5 megapixel camera and LED flash. One of the bigger downsides to the Motorola Titanium is that it only has Android 2.1 Eclair. That's about a couple of generations behind right now, and that's because most Eclair phones and most Push To Talk devices aren't robust enough to handle the latest phone ware. The interface as you can see here is pretty simple. You get up to 5 customizable home screens. There's no Motoblur to speak of so it's pretty clean. Other features of the phone include a GPS and WiFi and Bluetooth. The Motorola Titanium also comes with Opera mini-browser, which is helpful because iDEN speeds are pretty slow. The Motorola Titanium is not the most advanced Android smartphone out there. But as far as Push To Talk Android phones go, it's probably the best one. The Motorola Titanium is available for $150 with a new 2-year service agreement with Sprint NexTel. I'm Nicole Lee. This has been a first look at the Motorola Titanium. -Given the fact that it's only running Android 2.1, I feel like calling the Titanium the best Push To Talk Android smartphone, it's kinda like calling Taco Bell the best Mexican food in all of Iceland. And yes, they do have Taco Bell in Iceland. I looked it up. Let's see what we've got cooking this week in the bag. First off, let me say that I am all for using a Bluetooth headset when talking on your phone in the car. But walking down the street? I can not say I'm a big fan. But if you're worried that you don't look like enough of a tool with one Bluetooth headset on, now is your chance to double down on the dorky-ness. -Few things are more irritating than having the headphone cords yanked from your ears, but these Dog Tag Headphones put an end to tangles, with a wireless Bluetooth signal that cuts the cord. I'm Justin Yu, headphone editor for CNET.com. This is your first look at the Outdoor Technology Bluetooth Tags. Most of the Bluetooth headphones we review come with a plastic band that sits on top of your head. But these wireless ear buds eliminate even more of that bulk and are better for active lifestyles and travelers. The individual ear pieces are joined together by this long cord that wraps around the back of your neck and comes in handy when you're not using them. They're meant to dangle off your neck like a pair of dog tags and a small plastic clip actually lets you twist them together as well. The set comes with 3 color coded ear tips, a mini USB cable for charging through a port on your computer and a small plastic carrying case. Now, since there is no rubber cable for the remote control, all the navigation is done directly on the right ear bud using 3 buttons - one multi-function button to play and stop your track and 2 directional buttons to skip forward or backward through a play list. The company also includes 2 plastic ear clips that securely fasten to your ears while listening. The tags weren't specifically designed for athletes but the clips make it really easy to add a soundtrack to jogging, cycling, hiking, and other active sports. Pairing the headphones to a Bluetooth connected smartphone is really easy. But if you don't have a compatible IOS device, Outdoor Technology also sells an external transmitter for IOS devices that costs $25. Now one drawback to Bluetooth is that your music will lose sound quality in the audio compression process so you might notice a little bit more static and a drop in clarity compared to wired headphones but we think the tradeoff is worth it especially considering the Tags cost less than a mid-level pair of ear buds. You can check out more details and photos and our full review on CNET.com but that's gonna do it for me. I'm Justin Yu. These are the Outdoor Technology Bluetooth Tags and that sounds good to me. -Okay. Maybe I was a little harsh. I mean, I suppose I could give them a pass if the sound was decent but it's not. So why bother? All right, let's finish things up with this week's bottom line. There's one name in Hollywood that has become virtually synonymous with Comic-Con - Joss Whedon. From Buffy and Firefly to Dr. Horrible and now the eagerly anticipated Avengers movie, fans can not seem to get enough of Joss, myself included. Brian Tong was lucky enough to pin him down for an interview where Joss discussed what Comic-Con means to him. -All right, guys. We're here with Joss Whedon. Your fingerprints are all over Comic-Con. How is it like coming back here and what, if you could really kinda describe what Comic-Con is for you, what would you say? -It's the giant playground in my backyard that I forgot to build. It feels very much my home, except that it's way louder and it's a lot sillier. But I'm okay with both of those things. -Now, you're here to talk about Buffy kinda returning to, you know, the first girl you dated, you know, one of your true loves and, how was it bringing back Buffy The Vampire Slayer to Dark Horse? -You know, she's lived there for awhile now. And it's a very, very, very good relationship. I think that, you know, the things about season 8 that I felt like were amiss, were all on me. I felt like the people that Dark Horse brought to the party, people that I brought to the party, they all did an amazing work but I felt like structurally, I missed the point that even in comic book form where you can do anything you want, what people really wanna see is the Buffy that they relate to on a very day-to-day level. And so I'm excited about season 9 'cause we're coming back to that. -It sounds almost for yourself a little bit of, you know, personal retribution because from what I just heard, it sounded like you kinda were let down by it but you're here to bring her back, you know, in better ways for yourself. -Well I loved a lot of the stuff we did with season 8. But I do think, you know, I had in my head, oh my gosh, you know, we could be the authority. We can do anything. And people were like, can we just talk? And obviously they're not just gonna talk. You know, there's mystical monsters and all sorts of fun. But that fun is rooted in the experience of going through a normal life in an abnormal way. And that's really what made the show work 'cause people could be Buffy and when she's running an army, it's a little harder to be her and I think I missed on that. So I'm excited to get her back to her roots, the ethos of the show which we never tell a story no matter how exciting unless it's about her and exactly where she is, you know, in school or out of school. -Now, a lot of people may not be familiar but you kinda have the musical gene inside of you. You did Dr. Horrible sing-along blog. You even directed an episode of Glee with Neil Patrick Harris. Is music a big part of, you know, kinda one of those creative outlets that you have that you'd like to explore here and there? Like how does music fit in to everything that you do? -Well, you know, me and my brothers were raised with a tongue in music and musicals. And just, it was in our lives. Not that anybody played anything. My brothers all learned to play instruments somehow really easily. Bastards. But it's, you know, music has been a way that we understand expression and I'm a huge fan of music and dance. And it's just, you know, it comes and goes because, you know, when you have a ton of projects or very, very young children, you don't get a lot of time to make music and sort of coming back in again. And it's a great feeling because it really does nurture, it's a really life way to express what you're going through. -All right, also with The Avengers, one of the unique things is you've really started building characters from scratch on your own and kinda building their, you know, the story and the character itself. With Avengers, they have an established characters storyline that people are familiar with. How is that a challenge for you? -It's an enormous challenge to take all these characters that already exist in very different universes and bring them all together and not tell their origins but just sort of have people get by the way you're telling the story who they are in case they haven't seen those movies. Same problem with [unk] quite frankly. It's a little easier because most people, we all know who Captain America is even if they haven't seen the movie. But it is, you know, it's all about sort of dancing around these different perspectives and keeping a real narrative flow while you're shifting constantly from person to person. It's enormously difficult. -Now, one of the characters that I don't know if it's been confirmed or not but there are rumblings about Ant Man in the movie. Is that true or not? -You know, I'm really not allowed to say what happens in the movie but I can say that it's not true. -Oh, it's not true. -No. Ant Man is not in the movie. -I was looking for a role because I might be able to save you some budget costs on the CG. So that could work in your favor. If you're looking to stick him in somehow, I'll just crawl around the bottom. -We'll call you. -The Bottom Line this week, so jealous. I can not believe I wasn't there for that. Although, maybe it's best that Brian Tong interviewed him after all because I probably would have been kinda speechless. Although let me tell you I can not wait for The Avengers and the Buffy season 9 comics. All right, folks, that's our show. Come back next week for an all new CNET Tech Review. Until then, there are tons of great videos available everyday at CNETTV.com. I'll see you next time and thank you for watching.