Archive for August, 2004

Time’s Eye, A Time Odyssey: Book One, by Arthur C. Clark and Stephen Baxter.

August 21, 2004

I was worried about the readability of a book written by these two, but really, it’s a short work in the park, with very small chapters and few difficult concepts to digest.

The beginning is cheekily 2001 like, and the scene setup is handled fairly quickly.

The middle of the book was mostly pretty boring new meets old stuff, like the history style of early Doctor Who programs, except it wasn’t interesting.

Things did pick up in the very last part of the book where we nearly get a glimpse of the malevolent force that ripped the Earth apart.

Overall, I’m not really that keen to purchase any more in this series.

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A new toy, an Iriver.

August 21, 2004

A solid state MP3 Player.

Features I care about:

  • It is tiny.
  • One (marketing) GB of memory.
  • plays Oggs.
  • FM receiver, quite good.
  • In built microphone, I was very surprised at the quality of the recording.
  • Uses normal AA batteries.

Complaints:

  • The menu controls are a little dorky, requiring hold-and-press to get to a menu means you need more buttons.
  • Slight delay between playback of oggs, a tiny bit annoying when listening to audio stories.

Unfortunately there’s no UMS (USB Mass Storage, apparently) firmware for my particular version so it doesn’t appear as a USB memory stick. Instead I have to use a little program called ifp, which basically treats the iriver as an ftp server. It works, but it’s not as convenient as a UMS device. It would have been nice if the debian package was recent enough to work my device too :)

Overall, I’m very impressed and happy.

Lightning in a Bottle

August 16, 2004

This documentary was the perfect post script to The Blues that I saw recently, it is basically a recording of all the artists playing on stage.

Wonderful performances.

The Man who Stole my Mothers Face.

August 16, 2004

A documentary journalling a mother reconstructing her life after a brutal rape and assault, and her daughters fight for justice.

Both mother and daughter was available for Q&A afterwards.

A very powerful, moving and uplifting film.

Intergalactic 5555

August 16, 2004

(This was a replacement for _Phil the Alien_)

There is a movie god and she loves me. I bought the _Daft Punk_ album (that is the sound track of this movie) based on the accompanying clips which reminded me so much of _Ulysses_.

The movie is lovely animated with all the stereotypes, it was magical.

Hard drive on Fire

August 12, 2004

From syslog: Aug 12 13:45:16 panatropic smartd[26714]: Device: /dev/hda, SMART Usage Attribute: 194 Temperature_Celsius changed from 134 to 130

It seems to be reporting Fahrenheit but telling me it’s Celsius, this might be something to do with reporting `raw’ versus `normalized’ statistics, but I don’t really know.

Crimson Gold

August 9, 2004

The reaction of a poor, depressive Iranian who rubs up against rich people in his daily job as a pizza delivery guy.

The ending of the film is shown at the start, and it’s an interesting exercise in character development.

Most rich folk want nothing to do with him, but that doesn’t stop him treating them with respect. When he comes across one rich person who treats him with great respect, he decides to take his frustrations out on someone who didn’t, with tragic consequences.

There are lots of funny and quaint moments in the film.

Greendale, or Neil Young does a Movie.

August 9, 2004

I don’t feel comfortable talking about artistic films, it’s the old `I only know what I like’; but this is a blog, so here goes.

This a musical exploring the internal effects on Americans of post September eleventh politics.

Overall the film worked for me, like a cat doing figures of eight around my legs the leftist propaganda kept me warm; it was always going to be one sided.

He has the perfect voice for this sort of work, slipping between lines of dialogue and lyrics, I never tired of him. The only disappointing bit was the ending, where it turned into an old Hollywood musical ending.

I never really twigged where the devil had come from, or what his interest was in this one family.

Shouf Shouf Habibi! (Hush Hush Baby!)

August 9, 2004

The clash of cultures when a Moroccan family move to Holland. There’s the daughter who doesn’t want to marry in an arranged way, and the son who can’t fit into Holland, but also discovers difficulty fitting in back home.

A serious film with many funny moments, or a funny film with many serious moments? The director is constantly yanking the audience in both directions in a _Bend it like Beckham_ style.

Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story

August 9, 2004

There’s an odd mail order industry in the states, send it any crappy old lyrics and professional musicians will sing them and add backing music.

This film interviews the musicians, the collectors, and some of the more odd writers. It’s mostly very funny, and very eclectic. It’s touching at times to, as for some of these people, it’s their only way of expressing themselves.

There’s some great live performances where you see bizarre lyrics turned into, uh, music, right before your eyes.

It was great seeing the reactions of the writers to the finished product.

I don’t understand how anyone makes any money out of this.