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Archive July 2002
Tuesday 30 July 2002
Why is it that it's nigh impossible to find high-quality paper bigger than letter-sized, in America? And why not use A-sizes like everyone else? atlex.com was the only place I could find with A3 glossy photo paper. [06:14] [0 comments] The worst pun ever! "Now I understand why the internet is full of WINS broadcasts." "All the bad punce?" [06:08] [1 comment] A rather excellent artistic nude photograph that's probably best not viewed at work, from a generally pleasant site of tasteful photography, houseoftransgressions.com. [00:10] [0 comments] It's approaching 1984 in 2002, thanks to everyone's favourite big brother, Mr Bush. Apparently. [00:06] [4 comments]

Monday 29 July 2002
AntiTrust: Ooh look, the bad guy is a bit like Bill Gates - how hilarious! [23:58] [0 comments]

Sunday 28 July 2002
Shadow Realm: Tremendous surreal first quarter; tedious predictable twists for the others, but at least they're separate stories. [17:20] [2 comments]

Saturday 27 July 2002
The Thomas Crown Affair: Excellent movie, likeable character, unfortunate ending. [10:31] [0 comments]

Friday 26 July 2002
People are so mean to Bill Gates. He does something pretty cool, and they just say it's "an unusual display of humility". Why can't it be a nice display of humility? Even pleasantly surprising would be appropriate. Unusual, though, is just unnecessarily snippy. Not that I wouldn't normally applaud such behaviour, but in popularity-world Gates is the underdog - he doesn't need any more kicking. [14:55] [2 comments]
The A-Team: I realise it isn't a movie, but it's bloody brilliant - who else can recycle a story so many times and remain entertaining? [14:51] [5 comments]
In happier and more pointless news, detailed instructions for mixing computers and coffee machines in the same cuboid space: The Caffeine Machine. And it only takes months of work, too! [01:47] [1 comment] Ahem. Oops. It seems I already did a one-sentence movie-review today. So much for my sense of time. Anyway, now for some griping - it's our old friend the INS, under the loving leadership of the wonderful John Ashcroft, reviving a previously repealed law about noncitizens such as myself having to report all changes of address within ten days, or face criminal charges. Even better, they didn't tell us this - the geek grapevine is the source. Would I be arrested by surprise for not knowing? It certainly appears that way. Hooray! [01:42] [0 comments]
Universal Soldier 2: All Van Damme's special finishing moves from all of his other movies fail to work in this one - that alone makes it amusing. [01:26] [0 comments]

Thursday 25 July 2002
It's interesting to take an overview of Livejournal friends-pages, sometimes, when they have a wide variety of people appearing. It's the juxtapositions; one instant you're reading about horrific medical problems or close family deaths, the next you're reading "wah, I might have a bit of a cold". One minute it's "people are so shallow and self-involved", the next it's personality quizzes. It's not even as though they are consistently the same people with the same topics - people talking about everyone else being self-involved will happily complain, the next day, about being a bit tired. Unlike most people who make posts of this nature, I don't think this is a bad thing - if the worst thing in your life is that you're a bit tired, you shouldn't refrain from grumbling just because someone else that you don't even know has a severe case of explodey head. Personality quizzes are a nice counterpoint to death - I wouldn't want to read any of it, if it were all doom and gloom. The disparity is what makes it compelling. [11:23] [9 comments] I received spam 'from' postmaster at allegiancetelecom, today. This is amusing because Allegiance Telecom are the company my wife recently quit from, after they had been regularly demanding that she work 80-hour weeks without being paid overtime or receiving any sort of bonuses (nor a raise when they 'promoted' her into a position with more work). Still doesn't seem amusing? Ah, but the amusing thing is that the spam is not really from them; they will be receiving thousands of mail-bounces and "take me off your list" messages for no good reason. Couldn't wish it on a nicer company. It's just a shame that the people who have to deal with it aren't the managers or HR people. [10:58] [0 comments]
Invincible: One of the worst plots I've ever seen, made entertaining by Billy Zane's presentation of some lovely lines. [10:53] [0 comments]

Wednesday 24 July 2002
NT7 threatens continental destruction! Ah, the fun of a misleading headline. Watch out for Windows 2019. [05:57] [2 comments]

Tuesday 23 July 2002
In a fit of procrastination, I've made a few stylistic modifications to my blog, bringing the content marginally nearer the top of the page - the projects are now squished two to a line with a wider window, and I've removed the instructions since nobody reads such things anyway, and/or it's fairly obvious to anyone who fancies experimenting. Also, a bit of colouring around the archives, to distinguish them from anything important. [13:59] [3 comments]
Cube: A terrible concept made excellent by strongly defined characters, well constructed scenery, and a lovely soundtrack. [11:20] [0 comments]

Sunday 21 July 2002
I expected it to happen, but I was still surprised when it did - blatant sarcasm horribly misunderstood by someone who isn't American. I don't think I could have made it any more obvious without including <SARCASM> tags. I applaud Tyrethali's masterpiece of leading the fellow on. [11:09] [7 comments]
Donnie Darko: Dark, nice, interesting; a really poor movie to have on when you're not really paying attention. [11:05] [4 comments]

Friday 19 July 2002
Some nice links people have posted in my comments, which I'll bring to the front: RATS, a spoof of Bush's PG TIPS, and government-sponsored computer security, which sounds like a good idea except that I, for one, wouldn't be inclined to trust any software from such a disreputable source. Also, I am vastly amused by what I just accidentally discovered is at whitehouse.com. [09:27] [6 comments]
From Beijing With Love: The finest Bond spoof ever, with humorous gore, humorous sex, and an unlikely mix of subtlety and slapstick. [09:17] [0 comments]

Thursday 18 July 2002
This is six months old, and perhaps linked before, but it makes a fairly decent sideline to the exodus: The New McCarthyism. Returned to my attention through the magic of Livejournal. [21:42] [3 comments] Oh no! Current Nationwide Threat Level: ELEVATED. Run for the hills! Or, ideally, run for another country which doesn't think "nothing has happened for the last six months" is an elevated level of threat. Local people, prepare to join us in an exodus in about 12 months. [09:12] [11 comments]
Eraser: Arnie does his thing. That's it. [09:05] [2 comments]

Wednesday 17 July 2002
Read the writing on the sky - advertising is getting out of hand, and into the air. Swiftly banned in Denmark, it will presumably just be licensed in America, so anyone who can pay can blemish the sky. Still, at least the Bat Signal will be allowed. [12:18] [0 comments]
Gymkata: Gymnastics and martial arts combine to form an entertaining pile of crap. [12:13] [0 comments]

Monday 15 July 2002
A rather excellent un-American article from England, where they are allowed to say such things. You really shouldn't read it, it's pure nonsense - America is the best nation in all the world, and everyone knows it and they're all just jealous. [11:00] [23 comments]
Demolition Man: One of Sylvester Stallone's better movies, which really isn't saying much. [10:56] [0 comments]
Far too much entertainment in the form of randomly selected amusing geek-quotes. It is probably sad that I am amused by this page. And I expect you all to be extremely unlucky in the random selections you receive, so that you think me insane. Thank you. [02:35] [2 comments]
What's Eating Gilbert Grape: Johnny Depp can't save this movie; DiCaprio does a very good rendition of a retard - unfortunately, he does that in Titanic. [02:26] [2 comments]

Sunday 14 July 2002
Today I made some ghetto coffee. Jalen's parents supplied us with a coffee machine a while back, and I finally got around to purchasing some beans. I didn't manage to also purchase a grinder, so it's currently a matter of plastic bags and pyrex dishes. The resulting first batch of coffee was a bit weak, possibly due to overcoarse grinding and insufficient mass of coffee. Also, I forgot to drink it (both cups) resulting in cold weak coffee. Hoorah. [03:13] [0 comments] Hm. Moved the archive links from the bottom of the page to the top, because I discovered from my new traffic stats collation that some web-spiders don't delve into the archives. I assume this is because the archive links were further down the page than the spider is willing to follow. Not entirely sure this change is a good thing. On the up-side, I also modified some of the underlying structure so less files are messed with when a new archive month is added. You'd never know if I didn't tell you. [02:48] [2 comments]
Léon: A splendid mix of artistic silliness and silly action - much better in the uncut version. [02:33] [1 comment]

Friday 12 July 2002
Hm. I just looked up the law regarding late payment of taxes, because Virginia is claiming that my wife didn't pay hers for 1999. That's right, 1999, the taxes that were due more than two years and two months ago. She almost certainly doesn't owe them money, in fact, so it's not really a problem - in fact they probably owe her - but, here's the interesting part; "The late pay fine adds a half-percent per month charge up to a maximum of 25 percent."

There's an incentive to wait a really long time before asking for it, then, I suppose. I'm surprised they didn't wait the full four years and two months.

Unfortunately, there's no corresponding fine that we can charge them for not sending her the money that, in fact, they owe her. How unfair. [03:23] [1 comment]

Thursday 11 July 2002
More supreme childishness, also from b3ta.com - a perfect rebuttal to any argument containing a typo: You Can't Spell. [21:48] [0 comments] The Singing Bass Revisited. Hooray for b3ta.com. [21:26] [0 comments]
Hoorah - one of the sockets in our house (a different one from that which shot out a fireball a while back) had a go at setting fire to things. Stupid aluminium wiring in the wall oxidised, grew hot, melted the insulating covering, and started to melt the plug on a power strip before the singe was noticed. More expensive house repairs. I have to wonder whether we mightn't have been better off not noticing, and getting a lovely rebuilt house from the burnt-down-house insurance. On the up-side, I now know how to rewire an electrical socket and prevent future recurrence of the oxidisation. [11:20] [0 comments]
The Stuff: Delicious goo is perhaps an even more entertaining villain than zombies. [11:13] [0 comments]

Wednesday 10 July 2002
In other news, I'm apparently to be interviewed (by a proper newspaper thingy, even) about the wide proliferation of online personality-quiz doodads. So that may be interesting. Must strive to be entertaining; free publicity at stake. [12:17] [0 comments] My blog has a terrible power. First, Hard Target was on TV the night after I one-line-reviewed it. Now, astonishingly, Cemetery Man is on. The power hasn't 100% reliability, though - the power of coincidence isn't strong enough to bring about televisation of Korean movies or of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Still, any movies I should turn the power towards? [12:14] [5 comments]
Few proper updates recently; this is what happens when I'm programming hard on a serious project. Nobody wants to hear "some stuff worked and some other stuff didn't yet". I hope. However, some programmer blurbs are more interesting than others, and this is probably one such. Which isn't to say that it's interesting.
Today, I was reminded that subverting downloads by server falsification is not an unused technique. Since my Robot Game will be doing automatic updating, I can't allow such server subversion - I don't want to leave it possible for my program to screw people's machines, even if it's also someone else's doing. There is no way to prevent the subversion at the server end. There is no way to detect it from the client, since a fake server can easily copy any responses the real server might make. What is possible, though, is making sure that the downloaded data files are the correct ones. This can be done using public-key cryptography, on the condition that the public key can be reliably transmitted to the end-user. Since the original copy of the software won't be downloaded using the software, it's not my problem if falsification has occurred before that point - the end user isn't running my program, it's nothing to do with me. So I can include the public key with the original distribution. The private key, used to sign the downloads, need never be on a server, since I can sign them before I upload them. Nobody else will be able to sign files in a way that the public key will verify. Thus any false servers will be able to supply only files which will be recognised as invalid, and remain unused. Security is maintained. Hoorah. [09:10] [0 comments]
Absolutely: The Vido: Sadly, as with many 'best-of' compilations, none of the best sketches are present on this video. [08:27] [0 comments]
Mr Nice Guy: Jackie Chan somehow makes an awful plot with terrible acting into an entertaining movie. [07:51] [0 comments]

Sunday 7 July 2002
Dogma: American-style fart-humour is very rarely as entertaining as it is in this movie. [23:05] [4 comments]

Saturday 6 July 2002
eXistenZ: I first saw this on a plane, and thought my opinion of it might have suffered; no, it is just really awful. [11:11] [1 comment]
Tsk, another power-cut. At least this one was only fifteen minutes or so. Hooray for programming on a laptop - I would have lost about fifteen minutes of work otherwise. That doesn't sound bad, I know. The thing is that losing fifteen minutes of programming includes losing all concept of how much of the work is done, forgetting to re-do some things, and thus actually entails about two hours of work to recover those original fifteen minutes. So again, hooray for programming on a laptop. [01:54] [0 comments]
Curry and Pepper: Not one of Stephen Chow's best, but that's not a strong anti-endorsement. [01:51] [0 comments]

Thursday 4 July 2002
Chopping up a picnic table with an axe - which muscles would you expect this to jellify? I expect the answer is not that which was the case for me, fingers and lungs. I've now got callouses on my lungs, and fingers full of phlegm. [23:22] [8 comments]
Chocolate Inspector: There is no chocolate, and the movie is boring. [23:06] [0 comments]

Wednesday 3 July 2002
A fantastic animation from the people at SomethingAwful: Aborted. [23:45] [1 comment] We had six hours of powercut last night. Surprisingly, ice-cream-like things in the freezer didn't all turn to goo, and no computers had their power-supplies destroyed by the pulse at each end of the blackout. So that was nice. [23:26] [0 comments]
The Scorpion King: Irreverent Conan-like fantasy fluff with aesthetic things - good mindless entertainment. [23:19] [0 comments]
Warning - the following is programmer babble. If you are not likely to find interest in programmer babble, stop reading this entry right about now. In writing a Windows dialog box for auto-update purposes, I was pondering the pieces of data that need to be retained between messages. Since it's a piece of code that I'll likely be reusing, I want to keep its overhead as small as possible, so I'm trying to avoid global variables and such. I also didn't want to have to go mallocing all over the place, because it's a pain. My solution - puttings strings into unused window-control-titles, and handles and pointers into unused GWL_USERDATA spaces. There are no mallocs. Splend. [03:56] [2 comments]
Hard Target: Jean-Claude Van Damme in a movie that seems unsure what genre it is, with John Woo pretending to be someone else ineptly trying to mimic his own direction - unexpectedly, this combination of horrors adds up to a fairly entertaining movie, in an MST3K sort of way. [03:43] [0 comments]

Sunday 30 June 2002
A Beautiful Mind: Apparently, clever people and those they associate with spend all their time crying 'waaaaah', pathetically. [09:06] [0 comments]