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Imported From Epistula Movies Theatre

Squee

Because I’m a strange person:

Branagh’s As You Like It

It’s got Kevin Kline and Alfred Molina as Jaques and Touchstone. Alfred Molina is playing my role in AYLI! It’s got Adrian Lester and Brian Blessed in it! Brian Blessed as Duke Frederick! Doing Shakespeare! And it’s a proper film and everything of As You Like It!

(Yeah. Other people can squee over Pirates or Hobbitses. To your own fandom be true)

(No, this does not mean I will ever write shakespearian slash. Though I’m sure it exists).

(Hmm. Touchstone/Jaques).

(Did you know that before the Aquarionics Diary Bit was called “Dayze at a time” it was called “Ducdame”?)

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2006 Imported From Epistula linux LUGRadio LUGRadio Live social

LUGRadio Live 2006

Okay, third time lucky…

Last weekend I went to LUGRadio Live 2006. I had a blast from the moment I got to the initial Friday lunch meet to the moment I left, annoyed I couldn’t stay for the after show party (Damn hotel bills).

Good Things

Talks

I didn’t go to very many talks, mostly because I was too busy shooting the breeze with people and playing computer games. In fact the only two actual talks I went to were Sara Ewen’s talk on PlayStation 2 Linux (Though I missed the bit on PS3 Linux) and Simon’s talk on Django (Which has lead to the rebuilding of the “Storyville” and “PFD4-2” projects in it. Watch this space). I also went to Bruno Bord’s talk on how much they swear in LR, and bits of the Women in Open Source talk (I caught the last twenty minutes) (Actually, I’d quite like to know what Jen, Kat & Phated – who hosted the talk – think about the recently announced Fedora Women project and others of its ilk. They may have discussed that, I wasn’t there.

Oh, and Dotwaffle’s talk on the Linux Demo scene (including a demonstration of a 64k demo called Origami, which I highly recommend you watch. It’s beautiful.

I went to more talks than I realised.

People

I met and remet some wonderful people. I made them wince at bad jokes and I took the piss out of their beards. Some of the people had corsets, some had full tuxedos, most had jeans and T-Shirts. They were all wonderful.

LAN Gaming

We played Enemy Territory. I shot Aquarius. He shot me. Repeat. This would have been better had we not been on the same team.

The Party.

About more later.

The Low Tech Wiki

They set up a Low Tech WikiAKA, A black board – upon which notes were made about stuff that was changing.

But it got spammed, and used for random crap, and because we had no revision history we couldn’t revert the changes.

Simon Willison and I started a discussion page on the back of the board on the Saturday night and by the end of Sunday that was still going strong.

What went not so right

Don’t get me wrong, the entire event was a blast, but in order to help them do even better next time:

The Hotel

I stayed at a hotel universally referred to as the Quality Chin. As hotels go it was reasonably priced (Heh. Our prices were something like 33% of their normal rates. At full price I’d have been… disappointed). The breakfast was fine but nothing stellar.

The hotel’s heating broke down. Or, rather, broke up. It apparently – on one of the hottest days of the year – decided to put everything up to full whack until they ripped the fuses out. The hotel was hot.

My room’s bathroom had black bits.

The bedroom was definitely a single. The bathroom could have held the encampment for napoleon’s entire army. I found this odd.

None of this is the LUGRadio team’s fault or responsibility, obviously.

Too Many Things

As Aq mentioned I’m not entirely sure how you can resolve this. There were effectively seven things happening at any one time. One main stage, two smaller stages, three community group gathering events and just shooting the breeze. I suppose the only way around it is to see which talks people want to go, see if you can group them so that those things don’t clash, and hope it all works. So if you found that the people interested in Linux on PS2 tended to also want to go to see Matthew Garrett’s talk about “Linux and Laptops” but not the more ethereal talks such as “The Zen Of Free”, arrange that Zen clashes with PS2, for example. It’s the kind of system that requires a lot more organisation and a certain amount of living with the consequences, but since it’s not me who will have to do the organising, I can suggest things as I please.

The Party DJ

Of which more later.

The weather

Winter. LRL2007 needs to be in winter or at least autumn. If nothing else, flights are cheaper.

Beards

This year by the end of LR, there were significantly fewer beards, and this is a Good Thing.

The Party

So, upon the Saturday evening it was decided that there should be a Party. So there was a Party. Some people dressed up properly for it (well, two people did). Some dressed up a bit (wave) most didn’t bother. There were cakes, and the cakes were very fine indeed. There was Guinness, and that was very fine also (I haven’t drunk Guinness since I was at university, and since we were back in a student bar I decided to revert to form and sit in the dark with a pint of the black watching the social butterflies dance in the bright lights.

Watching the dancing was interesting. (No, of course I didn’t dance. If you say you saw me, you are wrong. I have a twin brother. His dancing is worse than mine). Mostly because the DJ was more of a club-style than disco-style, as he claimed. The result of this was he was playing lots of loud thumpy tracks at deafening volume and complaining that nobody was kickin’ it on the dance floor. Then he started playing cheesy stuff (The Time Warp – albeit a disco remix; Madness – which got Jono on the dance floor; and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This brought a core of hard-core dancers onto the floor, where they danced as if nobody was watching. Natalie was intent on getting people to dance, but had to leave early, so it is for her benefit I mention the first person to start dancing was at 23:10.

Anyway, after a few cheesy tracks people could dance to, the DJ went back to the heavy thumpy stuff that drove them away. After that it turned into a tide effect: The DJ would play a few cheesy tracks to lure people into his domain, and then as he thought he had them in the groove would switch to something loud and thumpy, clearing the floor in seconds.

There was a MAME cabinet (Which played 4 player Gauntlet, which is something everyone should so at least twice), at one stage I counted 8 people around it with nobody on the dance floor at all.

Somewhere in this country there is a facility designed to get around the laws stopping them from cloning people. This facility is running a scientific study into how many times you can create an absolutely generic DJ, identical to all the others. Every so often one fails and is forced to become a fairground announcer (“If you’d like to ride, if you’d like to ride… scream if you want to faster…”) but the rest go out into the world of professional party DJing, and nobody can tell the difference…

…also, I notice that if you want to find out how many long haired people are in your audience, simply start playing “The Ace Of Spades” and they’ll all be in one place. Moshing like their hair was on fire.

The Macs

I can’t let this one go. At Linux User Group Radio Live 2006: the plasma announce boards, the recording software and – for a while – the Enemy Territory server were all PPC Macs running OS X, because they Just Worked when they needed to.

Nothing much I can add to that.

The final bit

It was great. Same time next month?

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Imported From Epistula MLP

Piracy

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Imported From Epistula Movies

back to back to the future

So, you know how in Back to the Future parts 1 and 2, Marty goes to the same dance and stuff?

Someone has edited that entire sequence side by side so you can see what is happening in both movies at the same time.

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comics Fiction Imported From Epistula Movies

Resolution

This Wednesday I’m having the windows in my flat replaced with unixes. Er, double glazing. Since my flat customarily looks like some kind of laundry-bomb-wielding country has decided my carpet is harbouring terrorism, and has started a campaign of rescue having first sent in inspectors looking for teaspoons of mass destruction; this weekend was going to be dedicated to tidying it up.

So, on Saturday I went to London to an AFP meet that spanned three pubs, a curry house and a large stretch of London before almost missing my last train home (Which leaves from – of all places – West Hampstead at twenty to midnight. Futureme take note). Then on Sunday watched ?Pirates of the Caribbean 2?:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0383574/, ?Superman Returns?:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0348150/ and then retired to an evening of playing City of Heroes.

Because of this, I’m going to talk about Resolution.

Quick capsule review of the films, btw: Pirates 2 is a series of interesting set pieces randomly scattered around a vast and intertwining plot where each of the strands occasionally swaps characters. It’s worth seeing but doesn’t end properly. Superman Returns is an interesting series of set pieces linearly scattered along a short plot where the Goodies and Baddies go for two hours without paying any attention to each other. Conflict happens when one character gets stuck in the wrong plot line. Kevin Spacey is good but not really there, Superman good, Lois good, Jimmy less good, Perry not good, Small precocious child bad. It finishes the story. City of Heroes is a series of occasionally interesting missions randomly intertwined along a series of linear plot lines which you can ignore and just hit things if you like. Because other people have to do the plot lines after you do (It’s a massively multiplayer game) nothing ever really ends properly.

The remainder of this article contains mild – but not plot detail – spoilers for Pirates 2, Superman Returns, Batman movies and X-Men III. Caveat Lecter: Reader beware of being served with fava beans and a nice chianti.

So, I’m frustrated and unresolved, because having a franchise and story that theoretically doesn’t have to end until people get bored of watching it is not compatible with actually finishing things off.

This is, incidentally, bullshit. Novels though the ages have proven you can end a story properly without closing off the world. Buffy – on occasion – managed to finish a plot arc without killing off its main characters or sending them off to (un)live (un)happily ever after. Comics have been doing this stuff for decades, finish the story but let the heroes come back next week for another adventure and, every so often, shake up their worlds when maybe they won’t.

Pirates 2 just doesn’t end, the final scene is no more conclusive than any one of twelve things in the story that are just scene changes, and it falls into the LOTR trap of “And then it ended. But wait! This is what happened to these people: And then it ended. But wait! These people ended their story like this. But wait! These people are unhappy. 🙁 But then they realised they could be happy 🙂 and then it ended! But wait! we have a final ending for this person!” with the exception that none of them actually ended anything and they all started a new plot thread.

The opposite, though, has its own problems. Batman did the resolution thing. He killed the Joker, then the Penguin, Two-Face, The Riddler. By the fourth movie he was running out of Batman villains people had actually heard of. The latest Batman movie has him fighting the Scarecrow (one of my favourite Batman villains, as it happens, but I am not a typical movie goer) though I can’t actually remember if he kills him or just turns the tables and puts him in Arkham in the movie, I suspect the latter.

So there is an advantage to merely defeating your enemies (Quite apart from their ability to come back with a more interesting plan, it sidesteps the whole “So, if you kill people to stop them killing people, is that Right” moral angle.) in continuing the franchise, at the expense of a more satisfying ending.

Upon this scale you have X-Men III, a film which revelled in killing off – or destroying – large parts of the cast of the first two movies, but then spoilt it all with the single scene of hope that negated all the emotional feedback of the initial killing (Add up the final body count, counting the pre- and post-credits sequences).

The film that did it best, I think, was Spiderman and its sequel. (And, comic fans, have you noticed the similarities between bits of the X-Men movie overplot, the Spiderman movies and the new Civil War series?). Stuff happens, the bad guy is defeated (but not gone) and we return to a non-resolved but more advanced form of life for the main characters, set up for the next adventure to push it along a bit. What I would like to see – although I doubt this will ever happen and has been specifically denied from some sides – is continuity between the movies in the same universe. I want Christian Bale’s Batman to provide technical support for Brandon Routh’s Superman, for there to be a Green Lantern film, or the JLA (A movie of JLA:Classified, for example, would be fun) and for some acknowledgement that these people work in the same worlds. Whilst they don’t fight the same people (Superman would just melt Doc Ock’s extra arms, for example) it would be nice for the world to be a bit better defined.

The big hole for this is money, really. Getting a large star from another movie to cameo in your film is probably one of those things that is really complicated in practice, but it would be nice if the movies took on some of the better traits of their less respected originals, and wove a better world around their stories.

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Imported From Epistula MLP

That which is seen

Ron Gilbert on the modern games industry
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Imported From Epistula MLP

That which is seen

The Making of… Grand Theft Auto – Edge Online
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Imported From Epistula programming web development

Happy Birthday To You

Since I have so far missed both parents and both siblings birthdays because I am incapable of remembering anything, it seems fitting that this is a couple of days late.

Friday, June 30th was the 7th birthday of Mozilla bug 9101, that Firefox should support the soft hyphen properly, on the basis that not having it makes supporting languages with long words more difficult.

Reading seven years of comments, you’ll notice that various people have come up with fixes for the actual problem, but they have either been rejected because they didn’t fix another, related but completely seperate, problem. Or they’ve been ignored entirely.

Seven years, it’s still marked as new, and I fully suspect I shall be posting another entry like this in three years time. One day, I’ll have enough spare money to put a bounty on it.

Sometimes Open Source fails.

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Imported From Epistula MLP

That which is seen

YouTube – Bike Thief
Someone goes around NYC stealing his own bike to see if anyone gives a damn. SPOILER: Nobody gives a damn.