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Archive June 2005
Wednesday 22 June 2005
Making up for the morasses of meh that were Batman Begins and Mr and Mrs Smith, today's movie was House of Fury. It did many of the same things The Smiths did, only it did them well. Admittedly the plot is more akin to that of Spy Kids, but that doesn't really make much difference, it's not like any of them are plot-centric movies.

If anything, House of Fury's plot is reasonably complex. The premise is simple ("ho ho, a secret agent whose family doesn't believe he's really a secret agent"), but there's a myriad of little details that all play together into interesting bits of foreshadowing and backreferencing, and depth of characters... Well, maybe not depth, but there's character of the characters. Hollywood needs more of that. Smiths' "ha ha, you're not very good at cooking even though you're a woman lol" "well you're not very good at sex because you're a man ha ha do you see what we did there with cliches" doesn't cut it, and nor does Batman's "does it come in black, look at me, I'm a goth because I'm Batman but you'd never guess because that's my secret identity oops I just gave it away pretend I didn't say anything okay". The first thirty seconds of House of Fury (after the credits) is more entertaining than the entirety of Smiths and Batman put together. [18:51] [6 comments]

Tuesday 21 June 2005
Lots of people have been posting one-line positive reviews of Batman Begins and/or Mr and Mrs Smith recently. I can only assume there's some horrible subliminal trick in them to make people say nice things without actually remembering anything about the movie, since normally people would say more than just "it was awesome" or, as was in several instances the case with Batman, "it was awesome except that the fight scenes did that thing movies keep doing nowadays where the camera is in too close". I imagine both movies emphasised this 'good memory of the movie' trick by being really bloody boring for the first half, and then getting better (though still not good), thus making people feel positive about it before they leave the cinema.

Now, when I heard that about Batman fights being shown from too close up, I imagined something like this:
Prancing Batman

Which is a pretty annoying way to show fight scenes, but bearable. What the movie actually did, however, was more like this:
Blurry Closeup Batman

(Images mangled from this quite amusing thing.)

If it had been a good movie apart from the fight scenes that might have been okay, but no, it was a really boring movie that might have been redeemed by having decent fight scenes, if it had had any. To be fair to it, I did enjoy, near the end, that (oh no, spoilers!) the Scarecrow is beaten by a normal woman with a tazer after he prances around her for a bit going "look at me, I'm scary", but I was rather hoping to enjoy a Batman movie for Batman being cool, not for the fact that he was upstaged by a random woman and policeman Gordon.

Really I should have known not to see it after there being so many vague positive reviews, and then seeing the trailer which for some reason considers Batman asking "does it come in black?" about a potential batmobile to be the height of wit. Because, ha ha, I'm Batman, and so I'm a poncy goth, you see, and want black things.

Mr and Mrs Smith wasn't quite so bad; the action was watchable, at least, but to make up for that being quite good, there was instead a whole lot of badly mumbled dialogue and people talking over each other. So the best thing I can say about that is that at least brghrbmlemble. But the ending is rghblrghm throatwobbler mangrove. [19:09] [11 comments]

Monday 20 June 2005
A chain letter amused me enough to get a reply, today.
From: fool@shit.free.email
To: me@my.address, thirteen_others@their.addresses
Subject: FW: Beautiful people

>To A Beautiful Person
>If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
>If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it.
>He sends you flowers every spring.
>He sends you a sunrise every morning.
>Whenever you want to talk, He listens.
>He can live anywhere in the universe, but He chose your heart.
>Face it friend, He is crazy about you!
>God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without
>rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light
>for the way.
>My best wishes to you for an extraordinary day!
>Love Cyndy
>Send this to every "beautiful person" you wish to bless.
Warranting the reply:
Wow, God sounds like a great date. But then I discovered that the bastard was cheating on me! He was supposed to be in my heart, and looking after me, but he was in like ten other people's hearts at the same time even during that one email you sent! Man, it's hardly amazing that he chose to be in my heart of all the universe that he could be in when he can just gallivant off into other people's hearts whenever it's hard times. So I've decided I'm breaking up with God and going to date someone who can at least promise me *some* days without pain and laughter without sorrow. Hell, I could manage that much without dating anyone. God's a horrible boyfriend or girlfriend, and I feel after this email that I should tell everyone else that he's cheating on about his gigolo ways.
I mean, not only that but he didn't even have the courtesy to tell me he was supposed to be my boyfriend or girlfriend in the first place. It's like stereotypical high-school, getting his friends to tell his other friends to tell me indirectly about his crazy infatuation. Big freaky stalker. [13:16] [9 comments]

Sunday 19 June 2005
5 years after All Your Base Belonged To Us in song, it does so again, Bohemian Rhapsody style.

In other news, the stupidest news ('Teleporting' over the internet) since ChatNannies (this page will redirect to an 'expired' after it loads the story, annoyingly). Coincidentally, this time the absurd nonexistant technology advance apparently involves the use of giant nanobots, amongst other nonexistant technology, instead of using magical nannybots. If you're inclined to believe either of those stories, you might also be interested to know that master hypnotist and big fat liar Derren Brown can put people into a catatonic state using a video game and about 6 flashes from the screen in order to play a hilarious zombie-game prank in the real world without the victim being an actor at all, and also I can sell you the Brooklyn Bridge for $5000 if you like. All of you. I have one for each of my readers. [13:13] [7 comments]

Friday 17 June 2005
Today I am pleased by simple but non-obvious solutions to things.

For example, in poking around researching wireless networks, I discovered that, apparently, the true data rates of wireless networks are as follows:
  • Pure 802.11g network with no support for 802.11b does ~27Mbps.
  • 802.11g network with support for 802.11b but no 802.11b clients does ~18Mbps.
  • 802.11g network with active 802.11b clients does ~9Mbps for the 802.11g clients.
  • 802.11b clients always get ~6Mbps.
Obviously this is pretty daft for 802.11g clients to be dragged down to one third of the speed of which they are capable, just because of one 802.11b client on the network. But going incompatible and forcing people to upgrade isn't nice. The delightful simple but non-obvious solution: an access point which has two wireless cards, one doing 802.11b the other doing 802.11g, linked together into a single network. Instant maximum speed for all, at a fairly negligible cost.

Another geeky wireless example - I was looking for wireless devices that support external antennae, for potential community wireless things at some point in the future. Neighbourhoods sharing internet access seems like a good idea to me. The only cards that seem to properly support external antennae are PCI cards, the worst choice for setting up for other people since they require opening up your computer. Nearly all the USB wireless connectors I could find are just tiny sticks that will project from the back of the PC's case, with no antenna connector. The delightful simple but non-obvious solution: USB extension cables. The USB device itself becomes the external antenna. Apparently, standard external antenna cabling generally adds ~0.5dB loss per metre of cable and ~1dB loss per connector (for comparison, adding a small DIY dish to an aerial adds ~21dB), whereas USB extension cables will be effectively lossless within reason (and can even have quite cheap repeater hubs added to extend "within reason"), so this option is in many cases superior to a proper external antenna. (I later found a USB adapter that incorporates a proper directional antenna, though USB extension cables still appear to be the way to successfully distance the aerial from the machine.)

Tell me delightfully simple but non-obvious solutions that you have encountered. Other than duct tape. We all know about duct tape. [13:00] [0 comments]

Tuesday 7 June 2005
My desktop computer's keyboard stopped working a couple of weeks ago. I finally got around to buying it a new one. I decided to get a roll-up rubber keyboard for little real reason (the price wasn't a lot different, and it seems likely to be more resilient than a normal cheap keyboard). Little did I know that it would come with bonus comedy instructions.

The Roll-keyboard can be used in below conditions:
  • It must be used on an even working face.
  • It can be used in the temperature of -40 - +80.
  • It can be used in the damp environment even shallow water.
  • It can be used in the dusty environment even sandstorm.
  • It can be used in the acidity and alkaline environment.
  • It can be laundered by alcohol or disinfector.
The Roll-keyboard cannot be used in below conditions.
  • It cannot be contacted the sharp object.
  • It cannot be contacted the oil or the organic impregnate like acetone and toluol etc.
  • It cannot be pressed when it was rolled.
  • Cannot places the heavy object on it in long time.
  • It cannot be putted into the oven and putted on the fire to roast.
  • We cannot put out strength to twist or pull it.
Made by high-quality silicone, the keyboard has no poisonous and evil smell, according to the requirment of the environmental protection, it is a kind of creative new product.

And finally, the last instruction from how to connect the keyboard: "Turn on the computer then it works." And it did. [07:19] [9 comments]