Saturday 24 April 2004

Dear, What's Your Disability?

"How should I know? I'm retarded. Guh-ee!"

South Park season 8 is slowly trickling on to Dante's machine... Man those are some fucked up kids. Like really messeg up. No just like your friends, but really just insane coke junkies. And on that note, a few more movie reviews.


I borrowed the DVD from a friend. The Animatrix is a collection of 9 short animations (6 - 16 minutes each) put together as part of The Matrix project. Several were written and directed by the Wachowski brother and the rest were sponsored (if that's the right word) by them.

Some of the films are easily identifiable as being part of The Matrix and very much about setting human characters against machines.

Being short films, it is a bit difficult to place them with the huge epic setting of The Matrix. Each instead extends a specific aspect. In a couple, we see characters who are unable to become freed from the matrix, in one, we see a modern haunted house...

With the DVD, we have the advantage of letting the directors explain themselves in cases like Matriculation which makes absolutely *no* sense when you watch it. Though not as of the same 'general' appeal, watching through the animations and the directors comments, I greatly enjoyed all nine of the animations.

For overall rating, I'd rate it as worth putting aside an evening, renting the DVD, and watching through everything, including revisiting the more, ah, challenging pieces.


The Wendawg rented this one as well as Requiem for a Dream (below). It was a good movie, at least for those who like movies about drug lords. Blow is about a drug deeler, George (Johnny Depp), who goes from being a nobody to possibly the largest cocaine distributor in the US and then back down through a series of busts.

Good movie, I'd say rent it some time. Some people like this genre of movies about pushers and junkies more then others so mileage may vary.

Requiem for a Dream

Now here's a very rough movie. There are four characters we meet. We see them as they aproach the cusp of hope and loss in their lives. We vividly see their dreams, what they cling on to.

"It's a reason to get up in the morning."

When each character hits the brink between the safety of their existing resources and the pit of their vices, they tumble, clinging desperately to hope that was never strong to start with.

Really not a movie for the squeemish. The description on the back of the box is a little deceiving. When they say 'gut wrenching', they mean that you're about to watch heroine, cocaine, and speed addicts hit bottom.

Rating? Oh, um. Get a shrink. You'll be just fine.

Friday 16 April 2004

Out to the Movies - Hellboy and Kill Bill vol 2

Ah, the movies... Couple of high profile flicks for all y'all.


Another comic book film this time about a creature pulled in from an alternate plane to this one be evil forces (Nazis). Rescued by "good" Americans and raised to fight super natural evil in the US.

Okay, that's the first five minutes of the movie. The rest of the movie goes: Hellboy has been on earth 60 years, has the physique of someone who is 25, and the emotional maturity of a 14 year old.

Hellboy has one main power: he's invincible to everything. Woo.

And one major flaw: he's stupid.

Rating? Well, if you still have a lingering distaste for comic book movies, this one will put the nail in the coffin. This is a good investment, either seeing it in theaters or at home, if you want to save money in the long run by not ever watching another fucking Marvel movie again.

Kill Bill vol 2

Ah, the latter and longer portion of the Kill Bill ensemble. A very entertaining second-half (second two-thirds?). I found the comic aspects hilarious, the action sequences gritty, and the characters engaging.

If you can stand, or even enjoy, the violence and gore, this is a fabulous flick to catch. I rate it as: see it in the theaters probably once, twice if you get it cheap, and then get the DVD or have someone who is willing to lend it to you buy it.

Tuesday 13 April 2004

Ooo! Its Purdy

Well maybe not, but I did figure out what the fudge was wrong with my shortcuts. I cranked up the debugging and stuff and had the stderr/stdout piped out somewhere I could read it to find that the two programs were trying to use a temp folder that wasn't there. *phew* Just mkdir'd that and now they work.

Other then that, this install has been good in Linux, but a little wonky in Windows. I just installed KDE (I know, but it will be okay) and aside from the odd problem with the Firefox/Thunderbird problems, its been all good. I don't seem to be missing as many useful apps out of the box this time which is good.

Windows has basically been fucky. I had tried to backup my application data (e.g. settings) for the aforementioned Firefox and Thunderbird. That just didn't work. My username or something apparently wasn't the same, or I didn't have ownership, or maybe they just sucked, but whatever the reason, I had to set everything up again.

At least the GPG stuff was easy. I exported my public key ring and my private keys from linux, imported them in windows, wiped the plain-text versions of everything, and I'm signing messages like its nobody's business.

The other odd problem with Windows is that Dungeon Seige (yes, I'm a very bad man) keeps crashing. Its not the hardware because I was using the same hardware before. The only significant thing I've done is change from Windows 2000 to Windows XP. I know other people have played DS in XP fine, so its not so fundamentally 'a Windows XP' problem as that, so I'm thinking its some magical driver oddness. Which sucks. It doesn't crash too often, however the few times the Wendawg and I tried doing a LAN game, it has just been sucking down the lag problems.

Eh, that's about it. Nothing too interesting going on. I'm going to finaly try and analyse the tcpdump data I collected over a week of usage. Should be fun to see what happened. It will take a while. That's a gig of log files.

Sunday 4 April 2004

By the Power of fdisk

Ah, its been a fun weekend. First order of business was my damned cpu fan. That thing was really pissing me off. By most accounts, this fan is not the quietest fan when everyone is running off 12V, however dropping the voltage and therefore the rpm drops the noise significantly.

So I poked around in BIOS, couldn't quite figure out if I could change the voltage on that plug from there. Went online and eventually came accross that a rheostat is a handy little doodad for changing voltages. But before going too far into adding hardware, I actually found some useful ASUS docs (heaven forbid).

Once I found the Q-Fan option in BIOS, I had to enable it, reboot, and then listen as the fan whirred down to just about being innaudible. Its a wonderful thing. Now when Michael powers up, there a loud whirring of the fan powering up to the full 5,600 RPM and then as BIOS kicks in, it whirrs again but down to ~3,700 RPM. At that level, it is certainly the quietest machine in the room. After running at that level a little while, it seemed to just disappear. I can't even pick it out anymore. It's awesome.

So with confidence bolstered, I whipped out my operating system discs and gave Michael's partitions The Evil Eye. Primarily, I just wanted to steal some disc space from Windows and give it to Mandrake so I played around with Partition Magic 7 a little bit. It didn't seem to want to resize my partitions so then I had a little fun.

First, pop in the old faithful Win 98 boot disk and gave Michael a wee spot of the ole 'fdisk /mbr'. Sure boots up windows directly nice and fine, but still no resizing.

Next grab the Western Digital disk diagnostic/EZ BIOS floppy. Boot from that, disable EZ BIOS on the drive (still on there from when I tried to cram that drive in Nikita so many years ago). Reboot. Uninstall EZ BIOS. Reboot. Still no dice on the resizing.

Okay, copy everything from Michael to Dulcea for backup and fdisk the whole mofo.

Jammed Windows XP back on there. Patch, reboot, add driver, reboot, Direct X, reboot, reboot, patch, reboot, install anti virus, reboot, update anti virus, reboot, more stuff, reboot, reboot, reboot.


Install Mandrake. Hack at ypbind until the little bastard works on boot and I'm still not sure how I'm expected to set the domainname on boot so I eventually edited the functions network script to add that in there.

And now for some reason Mandrake won't laumch Firefox or Thunderbird from the shortcuts I have on my taskbar thing. I can launch them from a konsole (I feel shame), but even recreating the shortcuts doesn't help.

Whale oil beef hooked.

But its working. The usual couple of things to add in later, but I've got all my package sources sorted out so its all good.

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