Month: October 2009

My Alternate Ending to Terminator Salvation

Posted by – October 31, 2009

Terminator Salvation Movie Poster

Terminator Salvation Movie Poster

It’s been quite awhile since this film came out so I decided I’d like to let people know how I would have ended it.  I know you were all dieing to know what I felt about it, so I’ll give a tiny review as well.  Keep in mind there are spoilers here, some might say I give away the ending (well duh) but I don’t think it really matters, but READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Alright so at the end of the film, we find out that John Connor’s heart is damaged and needs to replaced so Marcus decides to donate his.  Which to me was completely fucking stupid.

They opt to replace the almost indestructible robot who fights for the humans for some dude who will HOPEFULLY survive the procedure and then have a heart condition and need to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his natural life.  I really don’t get what they would be thinking if they were real, but as writers I can see that they wanted to give Marcus the chance to repay his debt to society and what-not, but it’s still a really stupid decision.

So anyway, what I would have liked to see happen was that John Connor dies (nice big dramatic moment and everyone thinks the resistance will fail especially when people lose morale when they find out their leader is dead.  So Marcus decides to take over Connor’s legacy by adopting his name, and through a few procedures (well, firmware updates) change his voice to match John’s so he can take his place as leader.

It would work quite well, Marcus is more than capable now as he had shown, and nobody actually knew what John Connor looked like to begin with and with his voice, he could continue the radio broadcasts.  It’d also add a weird twist to the movie and series because while John Connor helped in the resistance he wasn’t the Jesus they make him out to be, and it would leave Skynet still sending terminators back to kill John Connor when the real target was Marcus all along.

I thought it’d be a great ending, but what do you guys think?

As for the film itself, I’m glad they made it as it’s been wanted for quite awhile.  It was pretty much what I expected, and was somewhat mediocre but defiantly worth a watch especially if you followed the films as a kid.  It is a bit weird to see them practically toss out the whole motif of the previous films “The future cannot be changed, it can be changed, no wait it can’t, oh whatever look robots!”.  I also felt Christian Bale could have easily been replaced as I found his character recycled and bland, and really felt Marcus was the shining star of the movie and makes my ending more the better.

Rehash: Neave Strobe Optical Illusion

Posted by – October 30, 2009

This was WAAAAAY too crazy to pass-up.  I had to post about this here, as it’s probably the most crazy optical illusion I’ve seen to date.  I came across it on Phil Plait’s blog and just had to pass it on.

So without further delays, here is the Neave Strobe Illusion, be warned that if you are epileptic or sensitive to flashing lights of crazy black and white moving lines to AVOID this, as it screws up my mind pretty hardcore.

Neave Strobe

Review: Zombieland

Posted by – October 30, 2009

Zombieland Movie Poster

Zombieland Movie Poster

The wife has been wanting to see this movie for awhile and we finally got our chance.  While I was looking forward to it, this movie didn’t strike me as anything ground breaking or a must-see movie in theatres, and to be honest it really wasn’t.

That isn’t to say that the movie wasn’t entertaining, but it sort of followed a cookie cutter design and nothing really unpredictable occurs.  The most catchy thing about the movie is the humour in the fact that “Rules” appear on the screen which break the fourth wall but provide comedic relief.  This will most likely become an Internet meme though as zombies are really “in” right now.

The movie is about a fellow named Columbus (or at least nicknamed) who has made a habit of making “rules to follow” to survive the zombie invasion.  As I’ve stated these displayed the screen when they’re adhered to such as “Always check the backseat”.  He travels about America which he now deems “the United States of Zombieland” and befriends a dude, and then meets some others.

I can’t really explain much as there really isn’t much to the film, beyond the zombies there are very few characters and the film constantly broke the fourth wall for me.  While I was entertained the movie wasn’t all that spectacular, and I’d probably give this movie a “rent”.  It’s probably worth seeing, but only because of the memes it will spawn.

Sorry if this review seems a bit weak, there isn’t much I can give about the film that doesn’t give it all away.  The sum of the story could easily be fit into a paragraph.

Review: Google Reader

Posted by – October 26, 2009

Google Reader's Main Layout

Google Reader's Main Layout

This post has been sitting in my draft folder FOREVER, as I was never quite happy with the formatting or what I wrote.  I decided I’m going to push it through anyway.

I’ve been using Google products for years.  Like most people I’m attracted to the ability to save my work server-side as well as being able to export it to my own local hard drive for safe-keeping.  Most companies don’t tend to do both because their business model is to lock you into their services usually to ensure constant ad revenue.  Google instead relies on innovation and user-friendliness, which hasn’t failed them yet (at least, except maybe Orkut, which I also enjoy…alone), this includes Google Reader.

It all starts off with a pretty simple layout.  The right pane is for viewing your feeds/statistics, the left pane is for navigating your feeds and options.  The ability to use Google Gears to view your feeds offline also gives you a great option for laptop users who will be traveling without wifi access, as you don’t need to install a local news reader.

Viewing a Feed with Google Reader.

Viewing a Feed with Google Reader.

The layout for the reading the feeds is the most important feature however, and it doesn’t get much better than this.  As you can see, it looks very much like any feed reader out there, very simple, with black text on a white background, all the images are there and easy to see.  You can even collapse the navigation pane for a larger viewing window.  With all the different viewing options on how the articles will appear, I think everyone can find a view that they like which is really what customization is really about.

You can track your reading statistics through Google Reader's Trends.

You can track your reading statistics through Google Reader

Another very cool feature I probably couldn’t live without is Google Reader’s Trends.  I’ve always been one to enjoy graphs and statistics (especially when they’re about me; see Review:WhatPulse, Review:RescueTime and DD-WRT Vs Tomato).  However I do find this somewhat useful as if I find I’m reading too much junk feeds, or I haven’t read from a particular feed in many many months; I’ll prune the feeds to increase my productivity.  This doesn’t always work how I’d like however.  In order to get an article to disappear from your ‘new items’ you have to click ‘read’ even though I may just be skipping it as that particular article doesn’t have my interest (Slashdot or Metafilter are two of the big feeds I have trouble with in this regard).  I propose having an ‘ignore’ box as well, which will show up on trends showing how many you ignore, so you can also prune away if the numbers get too high.

For the most part I think Google Reader is the best feed reader out there, although I’ve seen some religious wars with Bloglines vs Google Reader.  The arguments for both sides aren’t very convincing as Google has/is taking all the good features from Bloglines, and getting rid of the bugs and problems Bloglines has (such as duplicate articles in the feed).  It’s all up to you to decide because that’s what the Internet is about; choices.

Here are a few other screenshots of different views, for those interested enough to care, but not yet enough to sign-up.

Google Reader with the navigation pane collapsed.

Google Reader with the navigation pane collapsed.

Google Reader displaying articles with the list view instead of extended.

Google Reader displaying articles with the list view instead of extended.

Safety of Information In the Cloud

Posted by – October 19, 2009

This will be me someday...

This will be me someday...

Most of us have probably heard about how T-Mobile failed pretty epically by losing all of their customer’s sidekick data (as the device has no storage of it’s own, it’s all stored in the cloud).  Luckily Microsoft has stated they have been able to recover “most, if not all” of the information.  However consider the fact that when this news broke, T-Mobile openly admitted to not having backups.

Like many Internet users I rely on Google a great deal of the time.  I use their email service, their RSS reader, their office document suite and of course their search engine.  It appears to me Google has a lot of relaly smart people in their ranks and I not only assume but can pretty confidently say I KNOW they keep backups.  How comprehensive these backups are, and how often it’s backed-up I don’t know.

So it seems I put a lot of faith in Google to keep my information safe, but then again I would have thought T-Mobile would have the same obligation.  This is why I was quite amazed upon hearing of The Data Liberation Front which is a team, well I’ll quote the website:

The Data Liberation Front is an engineering team at Google whose singular goal is to make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products.  We do this because we believe that you should be able to export any data that you create in (or import into) a product. We help and consult other engineering teams within Google on how to “liberate” their products.

So basically Google is working to allow YOU (the user) to keep and regulate your own backups without having to find crazy work-arounds like many other services (where their business model is to make it difficult for you to leave).

While most of their help will only help those who are technically minded (such as knowing  to use their forwarding/popmail to grab a copy of all your email as a backup) it’s definitely a step in the right direction.  While cloud computing is definitely making lives easier, it also raises the stakes for catastrophic data loss and we need to be careful to ensure a bad day at Google isn’t a bad year for us.

I’m probably going to write a few guides over the next several weeks on configuring tools and scripts to automating the backup process (as I have been backing up Gmail and other web services for years).

.999… Equals 1

Posted by – October 15, 2009

While I’ve heard this before in many places, I’ve never had the interest in actually seeking out why or infact IF this was true.  At face value it really does seem to be wrong, because .9 repeating is just every so slightly less than 1.  However I’ve now been thouroughly convinced this is not true.

This made the whole argument click for me.

This made the whole argument click for me.

This was the most convincing proof for me, is located on the left.  However I strongly urge any nerds out there to read the small blog post I’ve linked to below as he goes over the problem in several ways that might help prove it to you too.

The concept of HOW it could equal one is still mind boggling but at least now I can confidently state that it in fact DOES.

I think this might also be a neat trick to freak people out, but then again maybe I’m nerding-out thinking people would be impressed by a mathematical proof.  Or maybe I’m just hanging out with all the right people.  I’ll take the latter.

Read the full post here