OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Things I know

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  • Idiot Savant,

    Something I learned today: The Golden Compass blows goats. Having carefully re-read the book as preparation for the movie (which also allowed me to admire its greatness again), I was appalled to find that most of it is glossed over in about twenty minutes (gotta rush to get to the Big Fight after all), and the emotionally jarring scenes (the discovery of Tony Makarios / Billy Costa and Lyra's intercision) were done so badly that they fell completely flat. That, and they chopped the big ending, in a way which means that when it happens at the beginning of the next movie, you'll be left compleely in the dark about why it happened.

    Meh. Stay home. Don't give these people money, even if they threaten to cut your daemon away.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    I/S, dude, never read the book of anything before seeing the movie.

    Things I know: It's late. Goodnight.

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Season 2 of Heroes suck ass

    I'm sorry to be the one to break it to you. But it does.

    Well, Keith, creator/executive producer Tim King beat you to it. I didn't actually think it was as bad as the last season of Lost (Veronica Mars turned kinky sociopath with serious daddy issues helps no end) but I do wish Kring had spent a little less time stroking out every time hack mentioned his show and 'science fiction' in the same sentence.

    And with all due respect, I/S, The Golden Compass cannot be as bad as the sight of Natalie Portman naked in The Darjeeling Limited.
    Was her character supposed to look like an anorexic boy?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Something I learned today: The Golden Compass blows goats.

    My kids thought the same thing. The younger one was appalled.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I would go so far as to say – and I would say this, even to Russell's face – that it's sexier than Macs.

    Perhaps I should whack Ubuntu onto my iMac too (can I install and boot it from an external drive?). I feel like such a dweeb for finally running Windows, but it's Vista and it's like, dude, nobody's using that shit.

    Still, my iMac definitely runs Vista better than the brand-new PC we got the kids ...

    Oh, and interestingly, MacOS X is up over 16% of traffic on PA this month. The difference between home and office traffic, presumably ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    Oh, and interestingly, MacOS X is up over 16% of traffic on PA this month. The difference between home and office traffic, presumably

    Three people I know and I switched to mac late last year, & I know a couple more who saving up for it. I suspect Vista's the best thing to happen to Apple in a while. I'm SUCH a convert tho.

    Morningside • Since Nov 2006 • 533 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    I/S, dude, never read the book of anything before seeing the movie.

    Unfortunately, as a literate person, I often find that Hollywood has taken the choice out of my hands after the fact.

    Though I suppose I could not read anything, ever, just in case some Hollywood studio decides they can milk it for a few bucks.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Duane Griffin,

    If you're interested in battery life, and haven't already, you should check out powertop. It should be available through the ubuntu package management system.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    ... as bad as the sight of Natalie Portman naked in The Darjeeling Limited ...

    Good lord, man - speak for yourself! 8-)

    Perhaps I should whack Ubuntu onto my iMac too (can I install and boot it from an external drive?).

    Aye. I put in on my new Eee using an SD card. (That is, installing a system onto the SD card first, then using that as an installation medium.)

    One problem I had with Linux on Macs was that browser plugins were poorly supported. However, this was back in 2004, with iMacs from 2000, with PowerPC chips. So, that's probably a very outdated concern now, but others might have a better idea of how things have progressed since then.

    If you're interested in battery life, and haven't already, you should check out powertop. It should be available through the ubuntu package management system.

    Cheers! Aptitude-ed it right now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    I would go so far as to say – and I would say this, even to Russell's face – that it's sexier than Macs.

    Well look at that. Woke up this morning and suddenly I'm cool.

    Now I need a new mission for 2008.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Good tip on the burgers - especially since Wellington BF caught fire over the hols, so we might not be getting much from them in the short term.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Hansel Dunlop,

    I was recently reading the Wikipedia entry on Avant-Garde, as you do, when I came across this paragraph. It succinctly informed me why I, in particular, have never gotten any enjoyment out of an Apple product. I do accept that this conception of Apple products as being kitsch is unique to a subset of people who find the operation of the machines themselves deeply fascinating. Let me be clear that I don't place myself in the avant-garde of computer science, obviously, but I do place those people that are developing the open source movement there.

    The concept of avant-garde refers exclusively to marginalised artists, writers, composers and thinkers whose work is not only opposed to mainstream commercial values, but often has an abrasive social or political edge. Many writers, critics and theorists made assertions about vanguard culture during the formative years of modernism, although the initial definitive statement on the avant-garde was the essay Avant-Garde and Kitsch [6] As the essay's title suggests, Clement Greenberg conclusively showed not only that vanguard culture has historically been opposed to 'high' or 'mainstream culture', but that it also has rejected the artificially synthesized mass culture that has been produced by industrialization – the pervasive commercial culture of popular music, Soap Opera dramas, pulp fiction, magazine-illustration, and B movies. Each of these media is a direct product of Capitalism – they are all now respected Industries – and as such they are driven by the same profit-fixated motives of other sectors of manufacturing, not the ideals of true art. For Greenberg, these forms were therefore kitsch: they were phony, faked or mechanical culture, which often pretended to be more than they were by using formal devices stolen from advanced or vanguard culture. For instance, during the 1930s the advertising industry was quick to take visual mannerisms from surrealism, but this does not mean that 1930s advertising photographs are truly surreal. It was a matter of style without substance. In this sense Greenberg was at pains to distance true avant-garde creativity from the market-driven fashion change and superficial stylistic innovation that are sometimes used to claim privileged status for these manufactured forms of the new consumer culture.

    Not really an attack on why someone else might enjoy using a mac. Simply an explanation of why I find Linux such a pleasure to use and them dis-pleasurable. Every time I use a Mac I feel like the raw computer has been taken away from me and been replaced by something slick - obviously useful - but ultimately sterile.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Matt Crawford,

    It took the release of Safari for Windows to finally figure out why I found the Mac experience so disconcerting - it's the damn font rendering. Does this resonate with others on both sides of digital divide?

    Speaking of a different type of MS-Apple underdog - if any of you get the chance to have a play with a Microsoft Zune I heartily recommend it. The new firmware is a thing of beauty and syncing is now wireless (painfully slow for 500mb movies, but good for podcasts and photos). I'll be importing a second gen 80gig from ebay at some point to replace my original.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • Nat Torkington,

    Journeyman was intriguing but never paid off: always with the shadowy deus-ex-ex popping up and being adorably omniscient yet never actually telling us (a) what the fuck's going on or (b) why we should care about these people. I tried hard, watched six episodes, which in retrospect turned out to be about four more than I should have.

    "Big Bang Theory" ... now *that* is worth downloading. Some seriously good shit there, my friend. Particularly if you have a geek in your life. It's got a cliche premise, and the first episode skated uncomfortably close to ridiculing its characters, but it just got better and better. Ditch your Journeyman habit and get with the big bang, and not just for the hook-filled theme by the Barenaked Ladies.

    Ti Point • Since Nov 2006 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Does this resonate with others on both sides of digital divide?

    I did have much the same experience going the other way (to PCs at work). Why is the type all blocky and distorted? Why must I see the pixels?

    It it just my hazy memory or is Ubuntu somewhere into the middle? Are there options?


    @ Hansel: operating systems as art?

    In the cultural sense I also associate Avant-Gardism with a certain amount of enthusiastic sloppiness (at least as the mainstream would see it). Not so good for OSes.

    I think I see what you mean, though. Me, while I'm happy, say, making food from scratch, I'll only go so far under the bonnet of a computer.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    Journeyman was intriguing but never paid off: always with the shadowy deus-ex-ex popping up and being adorably omniscient yet never actually telling us (a) what the fuck's going on or (b) why we should care about these people. I tried hard, watched six episodes, which in retrospect turned out to be about four more than I should have.

    Just like Quantum Leap! I rather enjoy shows that just flat out go: "This insanely strange premise is fact. That is all." Recent examples include Dead Like Me, where fatal destinies are delivered on Post-It notes, or Pushing Daisies, where a pie maker can resurrect the dead by touching them once, then unresurrect them by touching them again. It just is, damnit. Both created by Bryan Fuller, incidentally.

    Or, on a more similar note, Early Edition, where a cat delivers a newspaper from the future. I mean, how can a cat deliver a paper, anyway? That's just crazy. And I'd hate to work at that paper. Everytime I get a good, gruelsome story, some guy from the future rescues them, and doesn't even stick around to comment. Not cool.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    Ditch your Journeyman habit and get with the big bang...

    I already finished the first and only season. I did quite enjoy it, though. But I have 25gb of traffic left at my old flat, and I was wondering what to do with it...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • Hansel Dunlop,

    Yes Ubuntu has options. If you don't like the way the text is aliased you can pop in another font renderer. Pretty much everything is configurable under Linux. And if it isn't then you have the source code to play with. I think the main appeal of Ubuntu though is it just uses some sensible defaults to start with and lets you go from there.

    As Keith will tell you the most amazing thing about a Debian based operating system is the package management. I'm convinced that one morning I will wake up and my computer will have achieved sentience overnight.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    You mean yours hasn't yet?

    >apt-get update
    >apt-get install sentience

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Hi- just quietly to the wannabe geek:) is it a viable option to put ubuntu on a memory stick, and boot and run the os from that?
    I don't want to have a dual boot, but a very light-on-the batteries word-processor and browser only option for the laptop- that I could simply put on a pendrive and use whenever- seems very attractive indeed.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2109 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    ... as bad as the sight of Natalie Portman naked in The Darjeeling Limited ...

    Good lord, man - speak for yourself! 8-)

    Belatedly: I was cool with seeing her naked, but I kind of wanted to kick Wes Anderson's ass for making her character into an imitation Jean Seberg. We've all seen A Bout de Souffle, Wes...

    (The film itself was better than the short. But I am an Anderson fangirl. He could do that 'slo-mo shot with a 60s pop song playing' thing in every single film until the year 2525 and I'd still love it.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    "is it a viable option to put ubuntu on a memory stick, and boot and run the os from that."

    I did exactly that the other when experimenting to see how well Ubuntu ran on my daughter's new Asus eee.

    A certain amount of jiggery-pokery might be required depending on the laptop hardware as the stock live CD may not have the correct drivers etc. But a competent person could easily make a bootable pendrive for you that did have the right stuff on it, given a little while to experiment.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    Hi- just quietly to the wannabe geek:) is it a viable option to put ubuntu on a memory stick, and boot and run the os from that?

    It works just like a normal installation, except that you install it onto the memory stick (or in my case, SD card). The biggest caveat is that memory sticks, or any kind of flash memory, has a limited number of writes before they die. That's fine for normal usage, but if you put a swap drive on it, then it'll die much sooner. So you have to put the swap drive on the harddisk, or do without one (which is fine).

    You'll get better mileage out of dual-booting, and it's not too hard...

    I did exactly that the other when experimenting to see how well Ubuntu ran on my daughter's new Asus eee.

    Stephen, you should try Eeexbuntu. It's Xubuntu, but all the jiggery and pokery has been pre-done. I'm writing this from my Eee, with Firefox on Xubuntu, right now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Torrenting it now, Keith. The big problem is prising it off Hannah for long enough to try it - she loves that little lappy.

    Damnit, I should have bought it for me and got her a book voucher or something.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

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