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Tue, 19 Jun ’12

Geek this Week: Alien Pirates Aren’t What You Think

Also: Free books, Hodging our bets, Pixar Picts, asteroid amour and breaking the Surface

TECHReid a Book – As the founder of Listen.com, which created Rhapsody, Rob Reid knows a thing or two about music piracy, and how much the recording industry claims it cost them. But what if illegal downloading were being conducted on a grander scale than we knew? We send radio waves into space – if the Truth Is Out There, it stands to reason maybe some of our MP3s have gotten around as well. In Reid’s first novel, Year Zero (check out an exclusive audio version of the prologue “Chapter Zero” as read by The Daily Show‘s John Hodgman), it turns out that those anal-probing grays owe us a buttload of money, and the known universe is bankrupt as a result.

Will we become Lars Ulrich to their Napster? Find out the full story July 10th, but if you’re one of those compulsives who needs it immediately, there’s no need to turn pirate on us. We have five copies of the book to give away right now. Enter our Year Zero contest before June 26th, 2012, and swim up the cyber-stream to our Facebook, Twitter, and Google + pages for totally legal multiple entries.

MOVIESLittle Bow, Peeped – Are little boys Brave enough to watch a cartoon with a princess in the lead? Considering that Pixar’s latest protagonist also happens to be a feisty young lady skilled at shooting arrows, we suggest asking Neytiri and Katniss Everdeen how their box-office grosses went. And unlike the case of a certain other CG creation who may have been ogre-exposed over the years, this Scottish siren’s accent is authentic (from Trainspotting‘s Kelly Macdonald). Brave opens Friday; its success seems to us to be in the bagpipe.

MOVIESArmageddon It On – An asteroid is about to end all life on earth, and Ben Affleck apparently does not exist to save you in this reality; what do you do? In Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, also opening Friday, some people have drug parties, switch partners, form angry mobs and tell their other family members what they really think of them. Steve Carell just wants to find his high-school sweetheart, and with the help of flaky neighbor Keira Knightley, he sets off on one final road trip. The path to destiny is enlivened by oddballs played by the likes of TJ Miller, Rob Corddry, Patton Oswalt and more. It may be the end of the world as they know it, but we feel fine watching.

TECH‘Soft Opening – For the tech-head, beauty may now be Surface deep, as Microsoft’s new tablet by that name was revealed yesterday. Running Windows 8, it features a magnetic cover that also doubles as a full-size keyboard, has two wi-fi antennas for extra speed, comes with a built-in fold-out stand, reads a digital stylus without misinterpreting accidental hand-touch and transforms into a Decepticon. Just kidding about that last feature, but really, we all know that’s coming one day, right?