Archive > May 2003

22 May 2003 » In Other » No Comments

I wish I could add Grey Goose to my Amazon wishlist. Or Sauza Hornitos. Alas, they have not expanded to handle that particular area yet.

Reload again

22 May 2003 » In Movies, Opinion » 1 Comment

Sebastian Bergmann says that he enjoyed Matrix 2, and labels it “entertainment. Nothing more, nothing less.” Sebastian, I enjoyed Matrix: Reloaded as well, don’t get me wrong. But look at all the hype behind this movie. It wasn’t created by just the fans who worked themselves into frenzy awaiting the release, salivating over every released tidbit of information, and endlessly annoying people in the theatre by shouting out, “You go, Neo!” The hype was nourished along by the creators of the film too, and I would submit that the final product does not live up to the free-floating expectations out there.

Email as a Post-It Note

21 May 2003 » In Me » 2 Comments

Don’t worry, Jeremy, I email myself all the time.


21 May 2003 » In Tech » 1 Comment

This is the coolest little piece of software I have seen in a while. Basically, it lets you control one X display from another. I love it.

Matrix, Shmatrix..

20 May 2003 » In Movies, Reviews » 10 Comments

I saw Matrix: Reloaded last Friday. In a nutshell: fun comic book infused with armchair philosophy, but overall fails to live up to the unrealistically high expectations the first installment created. A lot of the aspects of the original are amplified to the point of contrivance: we had one Agent Smith, now there are a hundred Agent Smiths; we saw a few sentinels, let’s throw thousands of them on the screen; we felt enthralled by a couple of great kung-fu scenes, why not have them occur every 15 minutes or so. Bigger is better, louder is better, more skin is better, more unanswered questions are better. But they still could not stop Keanu from looking like he is being manipulated by a particularly inept puppeteer.
Particular pet peeves:

  • The Wired article practically gushed over how the cinematography and visual effects in this movie would push the filmmaking 10 years ahead. You know what? I could still tell, without any real effort, the transition between live and CG portions, especially in the courtyard fight scene. Virtual actors still do not look like real actors, so hey, don’t throw away your SAG card if you got it.
  • Was it a simple case of we-are-smarter-than-you or a particularly egregious desire to make your audience wish they had Merriam-Webster handy during the most crucial scene of the entire movie? In any case, Brothers Wachowski, you blew it. Half of the people I talked to said that the Architect’s speech went over their heads. You weren’t making movie for academics, after all. Vis-a-vis the current point, what was it about “having 23 people, 16 man and 7 women, repopulate Zion”? Why would Zion be saved if Neo chose the other door?
  • Gratuitous sex scene: hey, Keanu looked stiff even there.
  • Who or what was the French guy?
  • One of the Twins fires, oh, about 7,000 bullets into the car that Morpheus, Trinity, and the Keymaker are in. No one is hit. A cross-eyed drunk anti-gun pacifist would have a better kill ratio than that.
  • So, let me get this right. Neo exhibits supernatural powers in The Matrix, and somehow they “leak through” to the real life? If that’s true, it’s so unbelievable that the series should end right there. The only plausible explanation is that everything, including Zion, is inside The Matrix, but that’s a depressing thought.
  • Apparently, virtual extraction of virtual bullet can heal your real self. How convenient.
  • Did they hire Neal Stephenson specifically to write the ending?
  • From now on I will remember that the solution to the problem of choice and destiny is to get naked and do the tribal dance until the wee hours of the morning.
  • As Howard Stern put it, “the whole thing was just ill-conceived”. At this point, I think X-Men 2 was a better sequel. More consistent, if anything. For now, I’m looking forward to The Animatrix.

    Hva sier du?

    19 May 2003 » In Rants, Tech » 1 Comment

    When I was in Norway this past January, I wanted to get a DVD that had audio tracks in both English and Norwegian, and the subtitles in the same languages as well, so that I could use it as an educational tool in my learning Norwegian. Apparently, the only types of DVDs that could satisfy the requirements were the ones intended for kids, so I purchased Toy Story 2.
    Now, my regular DVD player at home is region 1, and the disc would not be recognized by it. “No problem”, I thought, “I’ll just fire up my laptop and use mplayer”. 2 hours, 3 cups of coffee, and an untold number of lost neurons later, I still could not get the subtitles to display. The movie played fine, the on screen display indicated that subtitles were turned on, and yet all my efforts were for naught. I read through the man page, the online forum discussions, and googled for answers. Eventually, a post on some message board revealed that one needs to specify the exact location of the font and the encoding for the subtitles, which proved to be the answer I needed. I could finally watch Buzz express himself in Norwegian.
    The point of the story is, those who say that Linux is ready for desktop should check in with Reality from time to time. Now, I am fairly familiar with hardware, software, and other aspects of technology, and still, it took me a better part of the day to figure out what unique combination of options would get the DVD to work, so I don’t see how an average person can be expected to use Linux for any sort of multimedia without experiencing major frustration. And I wasn’t trying to do anything obscure — just turn on the damn subtitles. I’m sorry, Linux desktop-prime-time advocates, but that’s pathetic. Whatever bold proclamations you make, Linux will be relegated to the backend server room until glitches like these are a thing of the past. I will happily use Linux for software development, but on my desktop machine at home I will run Windows and save my neurons for something better.


    19 May 2003 » In Hacks » No Comments

    I wrote a module for Apache 1.3.x to perform user and group authentication from an SQLite database. You can check it out here.


    14 May 2003 » In Tech » No Comments

    Michael Radwin wondered how many links still point to, which is the original home of Yahoo!. Well, it’s pretty easy to find out with AlltheWeb URL investigator tool.