Archive for category TV & Movies

Gnome 3 and new shows

I’ve been pretty much absent for a while. This is in no small part to me being in the final year of my graduate degree. I am now counting down the day by saying what activity this year will be my last whilst enrolled in school (ie. last Christmas, last January 9th, etc.) We got a one of those shiny new iMac’s for Christmas for my wife. That left the old family laptop available to be re-purposed (read:liberated) to be my own personal playground. You know what that means, I started installing Linux on it.

I tried Mint, it didn’t live up to the hype, then I tried Debian, still too rough around the edges for my liking. Then finally I installed Ubuntu, again. While it’s a very polished distro, it ran like crap on my old laptop. I tried shutting down as many desktop effects as I could but it still lagged pretty bad. I liked XFCE but I decided to give Gnome 3 another shot, or Gnome shell or what ever people call it. I remember when I first tried it out when the 3.0 version came out I couldn’t figure out how to make it work, so I quietly uninstalled it and went on my merry way. Now, version 3.8 is out and let me say I am nothing short of impressed. It does present a paradigm shift in how you interact with your desktop, but it took me about 5 minutes to get used to it and now I am zipping around faster than I ever could on Windows/Unity/Gnome2/etc. Most impressive thing for me is that I can interact with the desktop without needing to use my mouse. That’s huge for me, the less I need to use the mouse the faster I go. Rooting through menu’s and sub-menu’s and sub-sub-menu’s takes time and is really annoying. I tend to interact with the same 5-10 programs in any given day so typing their name is faster than rooting through a hierarchical menu system.

It’s snappy too. My laptop is pushing 8 years old with only 2 GB ram and an aging processor, but the whole experience feels fast and I have never experienced desktop lag. Forget what everyone said when this DE first came out, the Gnome devs have been working to make this a quality product and its showing. I installed a few extensions and now I feel right at home.

Oh, and one a side note. The whole time I was messing with this, I was watching past episodes of the CW’s new show Arrow. I didn’t start watching it since most major networks have a tendency to really screw up super hero shows. After it got a ton of really good reviews from places that I would have expected to eviscerate it, I decided to give it a shot. Long story short, this series wrocks. Finally a gritty super hero series that isn’t Melrose Place with capes. I had to pay Amazon on-demand to watch the first couple of episodes (well worth it) but then I was able to pick up the last couple episodes on Hulu. Highly recommended if you want super hero action that doesn’t suck.

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Transformers and multitasking

This weekend I went and saw Transformers the movie with a friend. I had high hopes since I was a fan of the toys (who am I kidding, WAS, I still am!) and the cartoon. Though I was hesitant since there have been a lot bad movies that had a lot of promise. *cough* Battlefield Earth *cough*
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It was a solid movie, quite a bit of action, some humor thrown in, and an almost epic soundtrack. This one will definitely be going on my to-buy list. I am skipping the whole renting it, I will want to watch this one again a few times.

Also, this weekend I decided since I was a bachelor for a Saturday, I was going to line up a few projects and knock them down since there would be no interruptions (aka, children). I was going to finish up a huge cabinet I was making, file or trash all the papers that were piling up in my office, finish a web site I have been working on for a friend, and make myself a kick-a$$ fish and chips dinner.

Here is pretty much how the day played out:

First I went to the hardware store to get what I needed to work on the cabinets. Once I got there, I realized I hadn’t written anything down, so I was just going to have to wing it. After browsing for about an hour, I came to the stark realization that I had no clue how to put together custom cabinets. I decided that would just get the backing board to start putting it all together and I would go home and try to wing it as best I could. I thought I could always come back since I had the whole day to work. Realization 2, no matter how hard you try it is impossible to get a 4’x4′ sheep of plywood into a Chevy Cavalier. There just isn’t any opening in the car big enough to accommodate it. I had measured the inside cavity, but not the opening, defeated I trudged back to the store to return my backing board.

Once home I decided that I’d had enough of word working for a little bit and I would work on the mountain of paperwork in my office. If you know me very well you will know that paperwork gets me agitated, and a lot of paperwork gets me downright pissy. After finding more than one unpaid and overdue bill in the stack over the course of an hour, I stood up up in disgust and surveyed the room for something to thump my fist on.(because fist thumping is an amazing relaxant…not). Spying my wife’s desk (which is made up of a two file cabinets and a huge solid door) I found my adversary. Scooting over to the desk I yelled the ceremonial curse “dammit!” and let my fist fly. The first curse was followed by a second..and a third when I realized the door was in fact not solid, but a hollow closet door and my fist went right through the top. After parading around the house like a baboon on helium, I realized to my horror that my wife was going to come home and see a huge hole in her desk. Reacting with the speed of a desperate man, I cleared everything off the desk and flipped the desktop over. Ha ha! I hadn’t put my hand all the way through, so this was an excelled solution! She would never notice!

I went back outside and spread my lumber across most of the yard so I could begin painting the unassembled pieces. Finished with that I got out my saw and began making the necessary cuts to get everything to fit together seamlessly. At that time I made two more realizations, one; my saw makes a lot of sawdust, and two; it was all sticking to the newly applied paint. Raising my fist to ceremoniously release my anger, uttered the standard curse then sheepishly withdrew my arms as the image of my wife’s desk came crashing back into my conscience. That was right about the time I felt the first raindrop. Uttering a whole stream of ceremonial cursing and some words that weren’t even words, I ran between the garage and the yard trying to get my rain dotted, saw dust encrusted boards out of the rain.

It was dinner time buy the time I got everything cleaned up so I decided to have a go at my third project, a kick-a$$ dinner of fish and chips. I got the fish out, seasoned it, then emptied the bag of fries into my grill skillet. Hmm, there weren’t many left so I used what was left. Taking my plate of fish and skillet of fries to the grill I lit it up and began grilling my masterpiece. Then the phone rang. It was my wife and the boys, my oldest really wanted to tell me everything they had done that day and if you have ever listened to a story told by a four year old you will know that their stories are extremely non-linear, only partially accurate, and really hard to follow at times. After squinting and scratching my head for 10 minutes the story was finally over (although I wasn’t precisely sure how dinosaurs and light sabers made it into the story, he included them somehow) , my son bid me farewell and went on his way. After my wife got back on the phone I started to notice a strange black fog rolling into the back yard. Realizing that I had no idea how long it had been since I stepped away from the grill, I quickly said good bye to my wife and sprinted to the grill only to find a meteorite where the fries used to be and some strange meat that I can only surmise to be extremely overcooked fish. Having learned my lesson the first time, I simply uttered the ceremonial curse and kept my hand in my pockets.

The next day my wife came home. She sprinted in the house citing a major bathroom emergency. And, amazingly enough, while sitting on the toilet, and no where even close to the office, she shouts “What the heck happened to my desk!?” *sigh..

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1-18-08 and JJ Abrams

I have spent more than a little time digging into JJ Abrams’ new work. No one has a title yet, but everyone is referring to it as 1-18-08 for now. Its a teaser that debuted before the new Transformers movie.

It doesn’t show much other than a party, and eerie and ominous noise followed by explosions and people running. It finally ends with the people that were at the party running down into the street and the head of the Statue of Liberty being thrown by some unknown force, crashing into a building then rolling down the street.

If its faily typical JJ Abrams, its going to be surrounded by tons of mystery and will leave alot of room for interpretation. I have read that it is most likely Abrams’ take on the Cthulhu Mythos, by HP Lovecraft. I haven’t personally read it but his works but I have read enough supporting material to know that if you pair the two, you _SHOULD_ get some really great movies out of it. (Lets hope..)

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Transformers the movie

This wouldn’t be the first time a movie trailer got me so hot and bothered about an upcoming movie that I became a giddy little fan boy telling everyone I know how like totally awesome cool a movie was going to be. *cough* Battlefield Earth *cough* But the new Transformers movie looks to deliver on what I am hoping, really really kewl robot blowing stuff up and beating the oil out of each other. If you don’t believe me, check out the new high def trailer that hit the net recently.

Now if that doesn’t get your robo on, I am not sure what will. Its just too bad I have to wait until July 4th to see it.

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Xubuntu Dapper take 1

Well phooey! I formatted and went for a relatively clean install of Xubuntu Dapper last night and the installer kept crashing. So it left me with a totally non-functional system, I think I am going to go through SSH withdrawl.

I am downloading the alternate CD so I can try a text based install. Them new-fangled gooeys jes don feel raght!

Mer and I are hopefully going to go to XMen 3 this weekend. Its one of the few movies I am pretty excited to see this summer. It looks like it has been doing pretty well in the box office ratings, so hopefully it won’t stink too much.

Netflix has made me a total Battlestar Galactica fanboy. I have been reading up on everything BSG I can find after watching the season 1 DVDs. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of season 2. Oh and if anyone can shed any light on the whole season 2 things with BSG I would appreciate it. Why does the season 2 DVD set only contain the first 10 episodes of season 2?? Where do I get the next 10 episodes? Is there like a season 2.1 set? Either way, its still one of the best scifi series going, probably the best I have ever seen.

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Serenity

I just got back from the movie Serenity. Wow, thats all there is to it. Just, wow. The best Sci-Fi movie I have ever seen. I enjoyed the Star Wars movies, but always felt there was just too much going on. Kind of like Lucas was trying too hard.

Serenity just flowed. Joss Wheadon did a wonderful job, and the cast was excellent. I will definitely be seeing this one again.

See Serenity the movie

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Stilling hackin..

The first release went out, of course they managed to hit on every minor bug that existed during the meeting, but everything turned out alright. I worked a 19 hour day Thursday to get the app polished and ready to roll for Friday. I was going to hit the road right after the meeting so I could go home and sleep but I missed the noon bus and ended up having to wait for the 3pm. So I essentially sat around the office falling asleep while I waited for 3pm to roll around. I took the weekend completely off, I didn’t even crack my laptop open.

Speaking of laptops, I am getting a new one! I guess all that complaining about how slow my current development machine is paid off. A brand-spanking new Dell Latitude D810 with 2GB Ram, 2.26GHz Pentium M and a 100GB 7200RPM drive should speed things up a bit. 😉 Its scheduled to arrive October 12th, I can’t wait.

And to clear something up that confuses alot of non-programmers, in relation to the title of this post. Hackers are coders, programmer and people that hack out code. Crackers are people that maliciously try to manipulate systems to some devious end. Now you know.

On a final note, Mer and I are going to see the Lion King Broadway musical this weekend, should be interesting. And, Serenity hits the theatres the 23rd, if you like Sci-Fi with a bit-o western thrown in, don’t miss this one.

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Firefly

We joined Netflix last week. Its pretty cheap and the distribution center is just down the road so there is pretty quick turn around. Anyway, we got the first season of the Sci-Fi series Firefly. If you like spaceships and cowboys, this is the movie for you. It is an amazing blend of high and low tech. Joss Whedon got this one right, and it should have NEVER been cancelled after the first season. The movie looks absolutely stunning, lets hope it revitalizes the series.

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