Saturday, December 13, 2008

Transformers the movie

I saw this when it first came out, and it wasn't as bad as I thought, being a Michael Bay production, but then I watched it again, and aside from anything where the transformers are involved, its crap. What the fuck is with the desert storm bullshit? Oh hey, war in iraq, Afghanistan. and then the stupid government stuff. That was all crap, and total Michael Bay. Everything with the transformers directly.. I get the feeling Steven Spielberg was on set that day saying "how's the transformers movie doing?" .. that stuff was gold. Ugh I hate the stupid scorpion transformer war bullshit. It was totally cheesy and overdone. It was so cliche. Oh no, robot monster attacks army. OH HOW SCARY.

Half the movie was that crap. And what was with all the fat black guys in the movie? It's like Michael Bay said "lets have a metric tonne of fat black guys cast in this film" .. what was that, trying to appeal to the fat black geek demographic, which is certainly large, but again, somehow it seemed shoehorned, ironic, and stereotypical.

And theres a scene outside a burger king with people eating outside. THAT NEVER HAPPENS. People don't eat outside on the burger king patio. Bullshit. Those tables are covered with spit and urine. Nobody is that stupid.

I think if you cut out the first 25% of the movie, and another 10% spattered throughout, its decent. But what the fuck is Michael Bay's obsession with being Michael Bay?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Conan needs aid



I swiped this image from a thread on bannination.com. I didn't even bother to save it and re-upload it. I'm hardcore that way.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Reed Solomon is lazy and so are you

look how lazy I am, almost a month without posts. It's odd that I tend to do all my posts in spurts. Anyways, I'm too lazy to continue with this today, but since I posted today, that probably means I'm going to have another spurt of posts. spurt.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Buses

I should change the name of the blog to Reed Solomon hates public transit. I probably already ranted about how i hate sick people who take the bus rather than kill themselves, but did you know I also hate when wheelchairs get on the bus? I DO! they take forever to get on, deploy the ramp and shit. and then all the old people who sit at the front have to move to the back where i am and stink it up with their old people stink. But fine, whatever, i can live with it. But what I hate worse is people with baby carriages who get on the bus. If you have a baby, stay off the damn bus with your huge ass baby carriage. and a lot of the time they try to get on the bus and then they have like 3 baby carriages and a wheelchair. seriously, its ridiculous. its like bringing a shopping cart on the bus. I like taking the bus because i dont get road rage, but then i get poor people rage. I can't win. I guess if i had a limo and a servant who drove me around, that'd be ideal. I'll have to look into that I guess. But I wouldn't get a tax credit for that :(

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Anti Piracy Day everybody!

Microsoft announces Global Anti Piracy Day

I think I'm gonna pirate Windows Vista just to celebrate. Also cause my laptop came with Vista pre-installed and I may as well have a WORKING FUCKING BACKUP CD!!! Even though I'm using Kubuntu.

And a broken copy of Medal of Honor (first CD is broken.. oops)

"It's one thing to buy a fake handbag or a designer scarf but when you're putting pirated software on your computer at work, who knows what you're really getting and what kind of damage you could do!" HAHAHAHAHAH. Really, Microsoft guy, you're an idiot. Pirated software isn't software people would have paid for. Piracy takes away jobs? Microsoft has made billions, and has mostly kept that money hidden away for a rainy day. Sure they created jobs, but how many jobs? Will more sales of vista = more jobs? NO! 50 billion dollar loss. How can anyone say that with a straight face.

Fuck you Microsoft, fuck your PR, fuck you working in collusion with the RIAA and CRIA and trying to influence the governments of the world to create new laws like ACTA. new laws like Bill-C61 or whatever its called. It's a sad thing that the governments of the world attract the least intellectually adept people to them. That people actually believe these talking heads is insanely pathetic.

But hey, if you really want to reduce software piracy, INSTALL UBUNTU. It's linux, it's free, its pretty good.

That said, anyone who PAYS for pirated software.. is a moron.

And remember kids! DON'T COPY THAT FLOPPY!


Monday, October 20, 2008

moar yootoobes

Mega Man 3 is one of the best games ever, with one of the best themes. This guy wrote lyrics to it.

Girls Halloween Costumes

It is an odd yet amusing fact that most girls halloween costumes are in the "Sexy" category. I don't really know how that came to be, but it works for me. I guess maybe girls are in the majority more likely to buy the "sexy whatever" costume than anything else. Who knows, I'm not a psychologist or a sociologist. Maybe girls just want attention and like having Halloween as an excuse.

A year or two ago CollegeHumor.com came out with this video. I was reminded of it earlier in the day thanks to bannination.com. Here it is.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Clean your ears

Today I took the bus and there was a guy with the dirtiest fucking ears sitting in front of me, with some white shit in them. I tried not to look but he kept turning his head to talk to the disgusting woman sitting next to him. Clean your fucking ears you troll. That's all I have to say. Buy a q-tip. Screw the Q-tip warning saying they're not for ears. That's what people use Q-tips for, Q-tip company. Get over it. Well, except for this guy on the bus. God if I didn't hate driving (I easily get road rage, go figure) I'd never take the bus.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Netbook


So guess what, I bought a netbook. No, I didn't end up buying the Dell mini inspiron 9. I bought the Linux 8gb version of the Acer aspire one. It was on sale at Futureshop for $299, and had better specs than the Dell mini for $100 less. It's a useful little device. I quite like it. I'm typing on it right now.

My only complaints are the 3 cell battery, and the international keyboard that comes with Canadian versions. The American keyboard seems far less annoying to use. But I got used to the keyboard for the most part. Also the mouse could be improved. It's a pain to press so hard on the mouse buttons, and their positioning is really annoying.

Minor quibbles include a lack of bios options, such as disabling the trackpad, The ridiculously complicated method to add an extra stick of ram (complete dissassembly really).. And the Linpus linux distribution while serviceable.. is annoying for anyone but skilled linux users like me to enhance. I really hope Acer switches to Ubuntu. It really is a better option, with better support, especially from the community. In any case, I did hack linpus up enough with fedora rpm's to have a workable xfce desktop and working divx media players.

Still, its impressively fast on the atom processor, you can play Quake III arena with most of the options turned on. As well, it comes with TWO slots for SD cards. Which really expands the storage options so that you don't miss having a built in hard drive.

The 3 Cell battery gives you 2.5 hours with wifi turned on. Wifi is 802.11g, and its a pretty good card for finding hotspots. Still, I'll wait for a 6 cell battery that can last 5 hours. 2.5 hours is a little bit shorter than what I'd like. 6 hours would be better, 8 hours would be best. There is an extended 6 hour life battery for the aspire one, but its 1) too expensive at $110 dollars, 2) seems to add too much to the bulk of the acer aspire one. I'll wait a bit to see if prices go down and/or they design a version that sits flush using better battery technology or something.

Another thing is that in the future there will be 3G options on these things. That's exciting. Or it would be, if I lived anywhere but Canada. Still, here's hoping Rogers gets some competition in the wireless internet arena.

I think a cool thing would be if they added an e-ink page to the lid, so that closed you could use it as an e-book reader, using the same internal hardware somehow. They could justifably charge more for it, and people would probably pay more for it. if they could do it in a way that it didn't seem obtrusive. That'd be neat.

Also it'd be nice if Ubuntu/Redhat/Xandros et all got together to create an Apple store type place for apps and games, and/or certified hardware. Perhaps using the old Lindows click and run as a base. It would certainly help convince some developers to port their software to the linux platform. Don't get me wrong, I use primarily open source software, but I'm not adverse to seing things like closed source games perhaps ported with wine being sold for download onto linux. At least it will get people on a free open source platform. Plus a lot of games require a CD be inserted, wheras these little things.. kind of eliminate that option. Anyways, I like it. Plus it doesn't have a Windows key, instead it has a little picture of a house. I guess its a "home" key.

Something I'd do with the keyboard, aside from having a US keyboard rather than the awkward international one, is swap the home/end keys with the pause/break/printscr keys. Home and End need a dedicated key, not something tied to a function key. Print screen though, is probably fine as a function key. Ideally, Where PrntScr is, I'd put page up, where Pause is, I'd put page down, where page up is, I'd put home, where page down is, I'd put end. And I'd simply assign Printscr/Pause Break to some funtion key somewhere. maybe f2 and f3.

Finally, I'd like to see some more aftermarket addons for this (and other linux based netbook style) devices. First of all, a retractable portable power cable would be nice. It's such a hassle carrying a brick when its unnecessary. I was a bit saddened that I couldn't charge this thing with a USB port. I mean, I realise its more powerful than a pocket PC.. but whatever. I'd at least like a retractable power cord, universal for all countries wouldn't be bad either. There are other official products they could add on.. like those teeny little USB addons, or whatever. Micro Bluetooth USB. That's what im thinking. I bought one, but if someone set up a netbook store that sold stuff like that, that'd be great. Kindof like apples store again.

So thats my acer aspire one review. The end.

Opus the penguin

If you haven't heard by now, Opus the penguin, star of the Opus comic strip, is going to be killed off by his creator, Berke Breathed. On November 2nd. This is sad for two reasons. First, Opus won't live to see the end of the Bush presidency, second, I like Opus. All the same, I suppose its nice that its coming to an end, Breathed was really milking it in the 90's and 2000's, just doing a sunday strip.. I mean, theres just no commitment there. Outland and Opus were never as funny as the original Bloom County strips. But they were still pretty good, hopefully they get replaced with something that isn't banal and tedious. Oh Marmaduke.. I don't mean you, you huge dog you. You're doggone funny.

At least Bill the Cat isn't being killed off... again.

Monday, September 22, 2008



Good News Everybody!

The Dell Mini Inspiron 9 is finally for sale in Canada with Ubuntu's Netbook remix version of Linux!

Oddly enough, If you select the same options as the Windows version, (add 1GB ram, 8GB SSD) the Ubuntu version comes out to an extra $10.00. I don't know exactly how THAT works out, but there you have it, Linux is worth more than Windows, even though Linux is free. I guess Dell, through Microsoft is PAYING you to install Windows. That is impressive. Though I find it sad that Microsoft doesn't see fit to allow Linux and Windows to compete on a level playing field, oh no, Windows has to be $10 less as part of some OEM contract I'm sure.

What's even stranger is that Dell calls Windows XP the "Upgrade". Wait, the upgrade costs $10 less? How is that an upgrade?

I assume that Dell makes some money on the side by bundling up some annoying Windows ad-ware. That is the only explanation for why that "Upgrade" to XP is being touted.

Still, I'll probably buy the $349 Linux version. It's just too useful not to have it. Plus its upgradable, so why pay the money now for the extra ram and SSD when prices on both fall so quickly. And in the meantime, I'll have a spiffy little portable laptop.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chose Your own Adventure Now on DVD!


So I saw some Chose your own Adventure DVD's at the store. These have apparently been out for a while. First, I have to ask, how lazy of a kid are you that rather than read a chose your own adventure book, you go for the DVD version. Pretty damn lazy that's all I can say. Good luck on your book reports, kid. Anyways, its got decent production values, they got William H Macy, Lacy Chabert, and Frankie Muniz to provide voices for this one anyways. That's pretty impressive.

Still, I always prefered the time machine chose your own adventure series. Gotta love dinosaurs and stuff. Time machine was more educational cause you learned about history and the many ways it was possible to die in the past. I wonder if this "Abominable Snowman" dvd is based on an actual book, or if they made a whole new plot just for this DVD. And I wonder what percentage of choices result in instant death on the DVD.

Wait, I just noticed that Felicity Huffman provides voices too. Filliam H Muffman!

I saw it on sale for $2.99.. now I'm half tempted to buy it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thinkpad SL400 review part 4 (After a Couple weeks using KDE 4)


Well, This Thinkpad works surprisingly well with Kubuntu Intrepid. There is a lot of instability but as it is running with bleeding edge alpha software, that's to be expected.

There was some slowdowns and crashes originally with the system, but that seems to be the fault of Ubuntu itself. In any case it seems to have stabilized a bit more with each update.

The MMC/SD/MMSpro etc slot still doesn't work, though it is not a particular concern for me as of yet. This is well seems to be an Ubuntu/Linux related issue as the particular device itself perportedly worked in a previous kernel revision on certain Dell PC's, so .. I'm not fussed It'll work itself out eventually.

Suspending/Hibernate is still an issue as are ACPI Thinkpad keys/Function keys. That said, I doubt this won't get worked on in the future. Hibernate at least seems a little bit closer to functioning. Suspend seems to work occasionally though.

Apparently the thinkpad SL-400 comes with a Conexant soft-modem. Now, I don't really use dial-up really these days, but it's nice to have the option if travelling where there isn't wifi (just plug it in and use the dial-up.. 295.ca is a cheap backup dialup company I pay for but rarely use) and its nice to know the modem is supported through the linuxant project. I just ran their setup tool and it seemed to download the required deb, then fail in compilation. STILL, it tried, and again I have faith it'll work itself out in a future kernel revision once this version of Kubuntu becomes more stable. Again, not like it's a pressing issue.

An interesting thing is that the microphone is built into the assembly of the camera, so its good that I bought a version with a camera or I would have to add an external mic to talk on skype or whatnot. I have yet to actually be able to see anything on screen with the camera, but it lights up nonetheless and is detected, so I remain optimistic.

As an aside, I also can't wait for KDE 4.2 and more compiz effects built into KDE 4. A lot of stuff that I like to use occasionally like Amarok and Kopete crash if I want to use them for anything useful, but I love the state I've gotten KDE into. It looks halfway decent. Again all it really needs is a Mac OSX like bar at the bottom. Konqueror in KDE 4 is a lot better than it used to be. I wonder if they're using webkit. Yep, its using webkit. Just like Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari. I've always liked Konqueror, so its nice to see that it has come full circle in a way.

Anyways like I said earlier Skype worked pretty well right out of the box so to speak. Aside from video which I've never cared much about.

The keyboard sometimes really bugs me. I hate the page up key and page down key being in the arrow key area. I used to use that as a place to rest my thumb, and use my index finger on the end/delete/home/insert/page up/page down section, but now I get confused and have to look at the keyboard, and since this thinkpad doesn't come with a thinklight (for one of the only reasons I might actually use it) it gets annoying. also the function keys are too close to the other keys, its hard to feel your way between them. I used to be able to feel around the page up key then move down to the F12 key. I mean, if you're just a simple touch typist, then what do you care, but if you're a thinkpad user key placement is important, and any tricks that speed things up are welcome. (I mean, how many touch typists realise that there is a raised bar on the f and j keys?) Anyways, keyboard design is very important. I mean, it feels like a decent quality keyboard, thats not the problem, and the design of the thing, I see where they were going with it, but did they do any real world tests on this keyboard? Or did they just see what their competitors are doing and assume people liked it. Heck, I use page up and down a lot, and in its current place I feel like I will get carple tunnel syndrome if I use it. Page up and Down should be used with the index finger and be placed somewhere in the top row. Preferably with insert/delete and home/end. It just works there. The arrow keys should not be impeded with other keys around them. It'd be like having an NES controller with the A and B keys incorporated into the direction pad. They would never do it! But I've gone off on a tangent. Anyways, another thing is neither the trackpoint or trackpad cannot be disabled in BIOS. This is a grave annoyance. Especially since I have no idea how the latest Kubuntu sets this stuff up. Uses Hal or DBUS or something which I have yet to understand or bother to research. Can't just delete it from x.org and be done with it anymore. Also, with regards to trackpoints, I wonder why they don't put a scroll bar trackpad somewhere along the right hand side. It doesn't have to be full size, in fact it shouldn't be. just a little vertical scroller trackpoint that you could use your index finger to slide up and down the page. I think it'd be useful anyways, it might get me to shut up about the stupid page up and down keys being moved. I hate the trackpad itself, but I don't mind using it as a scroller. Another thing is I managed to find a way to get the trackpoint to scroll using the middle button. I wish that was the default setup. But I had to resort to google to find a way to do it. Hopefully in the future KDE's mouse settings feature such advanced mouse configuration options.

Again with KDE, Plasma really feels raw. There needs to be ways to snap things to a certain size. Still, what I love most about Plasma is it totally reminds me of Tandy Deskmate, especially after I've configured a few applets. I do believe theres a lot modern OS's can learn from really old desktop interfaces rather than simply looking at Macs and Windows. Still its fun to see the improvements happening quickly. The weather applet finally works. Dunno about the media player applet, it doesn't work with Songbird, which is the Firefox media playing program which I never heard of before but its quite good (aside from the fact that it doesn't know how to display the text of all the song names in the playlist.. seems to be a font rendering issue) Still, its no Amarok, and it'l be nice when Amarok finally works in KDE 4.





Another thing that bothered me was sound output was a little on the quiet side by default. I even plugged in a little external speaker and couldn't get that loud of a sound to watch a projected movie with. I don't know if the problem is with dragon player or what, but its still a buggy movie player. In any case, I found right in the mplayer man page that you can simply do "mplayer -af volume=20.1:0 -vo xv dvd://" and have a louder default volume from your dvd's and so forth.

hmm, for the record, the camera shows up as:

"uvcvideo: Found UVC 1.00 device Integrated Camera (17ef:480b)"

which the uvc website does not list as yet supported.. but whatever.

So in conclusion, every piece of this laptop works/kinda works/will eventually probably work with Linux. Considering how much worked out of the box, That's pretty impressive. Most of my problems are with the bleeding edge and not with the Laptop itself.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thinkpad SL400 review part 3 (Overall experience with Kubuntu Linux)

I still dislike the placement of the page up/down keys. It seems logical, but its not, one rarely uses the arrow keys, but frequently uses the page up/down keys when browsing the web. the position of them makes me move my hand down, and press the wrong key accidentally. I don't like it. If I had realised the keyboard had been changed from a regular thinkpad before I bought it, I wouldn't have likely bought it.

Attached the HDMI and VGA to a widescreen TV.. worked reasonably well, display configuration in KDE occasionally crashed as I tried to mess around, but it is Alpha software and for the most part I got a 1024x768 resolution, which could probably be blamed on the TV itself being finnicky. I'll wait for a stable release to make any judgements.

Getting into X after startup USUALLY happens but occasionally the laptop just hangs before X, and theres nothing I can do. who knows why? Not me! I may have to check into xorg backup logs next time it happens.

Kmail, klibido, ktorrent, firefox, konqueror, flash, konversation... all work pretty well in kubuntu intrepid ibex. I wish they'd make a new version of klibido though. Amarok is pretty buggy still, Plasma is 50% useful, but not by default. A lot of configuration options are missing in kde 4.1 still. I'm confident they'll come eventually, but no big deal. I would occasionally lose a panel bar or something would get messed up. qcomicbook crashes on all zip files I tried for some reason. dolphin file manager is pretty decent, and I quite like the dragon media player (and old dependable standby mplayer)

Plasma applets like the comics one and the one that gets photos from flickr.. are too annoying to be used in any capacity. not very configurable, and the image size always changes, causing the comic to overlap other things on the desktop.

Camera seems to be detected, but I'm not concerned with it.

I get about 2 hours of battery life on the machine with a 6 cell battery. Not bad I guess.

like I said in the previous post a few buttons, like volume control and print screen, don't work for some reason.

bluetooth works.

quibble about the LCD screen that came on this thing.. viewing angles aren't brilliant.

All in all, though, its working out better than I expected all things considered. Still, if possible I'd recommend buying something with linux already installed, or at least without Vista, cause no company deserves to be rewarded for shipping out crap like that.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Thinkpad SL400 review part 2 (Vista, and installing Linux)


We left off with me being generally more positive than negative about my new laptop, the Thinkpad SL400 from Lenovo. So anyways, I ended up using Vista for about an hour. I mean I'll give it a fair try.

It was a total pain in the ass I can tell you. It was a PRETTY total pain in the ass, but I'm not a masochist who will sacrifice functionality for good looks. All of the hardware worked flawlessly with Vista upon first boot, but of course, why shouldn't it, it was designed for this machine. The Vista dashboard widgets were nice, but I know KDE 4 has a few (and more in the future) coming anyways. Plus they don't give you a boot CD or DVD. There was no obvious way to backup to a disk. I did a painstakingly slow backup of the default install, to its own separate partition on the hard disk, thinking I could maybe copy it to CD. By the end of it, I figured, who the hell cares I'll never use it anyways and decided to jump right into the deep end with Kubuntu Linux, my distro of choice lately.

I used the 64 bit version, as I paid for a 64 bit computer I figured I should make the most of it. Plus I had the last stable 64 bit release sitting around as I had recently reinstalled it on my desktop PC, which was a far easier process. Anyways, I ended up using that disk to repartition the hard drive, which the latest Kubuntu Intrepid alpha release (release 4 I believe) stalled on. Granted Intrepid is not supposed to be stable. I decided to use the alpha release as I knew the drivers were too new to work with any older distro, x-win, or kernel. Which was correct, as the live CD did not have access to wireless. Neither did the alpha release, but I have an old 802.11g USB plug from office depot I got on sale a year ago with a zd1211 chipset that always comes in handy. It's always good to have one of these things just in case. I use it in my desktop as well as the PCMCIA card I have does not yet have the Ralink drivers to support it either. Or at least, last time I checked it didn't, I haven't bothered checking that in a while already. Yes, I have a PCMCIA card in my desktop PC, I use a PCI - cardbus adapter. I figured its easier and cheaper than buying a desktop card. And it was.

So anyways, I repartitioned the hard drive, and after some initial worries Kubuntu Intrepid Ibex installed without much problem. I still couldn't make use of the build in Intel Wireless, but like I said I had the USB adapter and after it booted I used that. Granted it didn't give me a screen at first and I had to use Safe Mode/Vesa at first. But Kubuntu told me it needed tons of updated packages and I let it go to work getting them (After I had installed a few more packages to keep me entertained. You would think that the Kubuntu live CD would throw in Solitaire and Tetris or something to keep you occupied as you installed. KDiamond/Gweled. I think Gweled is the better realised version even though it's a Gnome program and I suppose doesn't fit into the whole purpose of a KDE based distro.. still, Ubuntu people, throw a couple puzzle games on there please!)

After updating, and installing a million programs that I wanted, I rebooted, though wireless still didn't work. Well, technically it did, but Kwifimanager or whatever the name of the kde wifi program is, did not work at all. Luckily I had experienced problems with wifi in linux enough times to know to install wicd, which almost always works where the others do not, and can be set to automatically run at bootup to auto-connect you to your wireless router. so with that working, I was ready to check the video.

At first I was still in Vesa video mode, but after a few reboots and messing around a bit, eventually the intel integrated graphics worked at 1200x800.

anyways, my lspci

matr1x@Panteleimon:~$ lspci
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Cantiga Memory Controller Hub (rev 07)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Cantiga Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 07)
00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation Cantiga Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 07)
00:1a.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #4 (rev 03)
00:1a.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #5 (rev 03)
00:1a.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #6 (rev 03)
00:1a.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 1 (rev 03)
00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 2 (rev 03)
00:1c.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 3 (rev 03)
00:1c.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) PCI Express Port 4 (rev 03)
00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB UHCI Controller #3 (rev 03)
00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev 93)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation ICH9M LPC Interface Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation ICH9M/M-E SATA AHCI Controller (rev 03)
02:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Device 4237
0c:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller (rev 02)
0d:00.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Ricoh Co Ltd R5C832 IEEE 1394 Controller (rev 05)
0d:00.1 SD Host controller: Ricoh Co Ltd R5C822 SD/SDIO/MMC/MS/MSPro Host Adapter (rev 22)
0d:00.2 System peripheral: Ricoh Co Ltd R5C843 MMC Host Controller (rev 12)
0d:00.3 System peripheral: Ricoh Co Ltd R5C592 Memory Stick Bus Host Adapter (rev 12)
0d:00.4 System peripheral: Ricoh Co Ltd xD-Picture Card Controller (rev ff)

look at all that crazy stuff! the only thing that doesn't seem to work is the Ricoh SD Host controller. Granted, I haven't tried the FireWire or external HDMI/VGA yet, I'll let you know about those in part 3 or 4.

for those curious, the error I get with the SD card slot is:

[ 7032.611354] mmc0: card b368 removed
[ 7043.339062] mmc0: new high speed SD card at address b368
[ 7043.340823] mmcblk0: mmc0:b368 SD 1960448KiB
[ 7043.342138] mmcblk0:<3>mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.343207] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0
[ 7043.343216] Buffer I/O error on device mmcblk0, logical block 0
[ 7043.343760] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.343771] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0
[ 7043.343776] Buffer I/O error on device mmcblk0, logical block 0
[ 7043.344374] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.344384] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0
[ 7043.344390] Buffer I/O error on device mmcblk0, logical block 0
[ 7043.344958] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.344969] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0
[ 7043.344974] Buffer I/O error on device mmcblk0, logical block 0
[ 7043.345552] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.345570] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0
[ 7043.345575] Buffer I/O error on device mmcblk0, logical block 0
[ 7043.345598] ldm_validate_partition_table(): Disk read failed.
[ 7043.346332] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.346342] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0
[ 7043.346348] Buffer I/O error on device mmcblk0, logical block 0
[ 7043.346900] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.346910] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0
[ 7043.346915] Buffer I/O error on device mmcblk0, logical block 0
[ 7043.347481] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.347490] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0
[ 7043.347496] Buffer I/O error on device mmcblk0, logical block 0
[ 7043.349071] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.349083] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0
[ 7043.349090] Buffer I/O error on device mmcblk0, logical block 0
[ 7043.349591] Dev mmcblk0: unable to read RDB block 0
[ 7043.352164] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.352174] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0
[ 7043.352180] Buffer I/O error on device mmcblk0, logical block 0
[ 7043.352635] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.352640] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0
[ 7043.353344] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.353350] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 24
[ 7043.354188] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.354196] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 24
[ 7043.355205] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.355216] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0
[ 7043.355721] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.355733] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0
[ 7043.355792] unable to read partition table
[ 7043.966314] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.966328] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0
[ 7043.966343] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 8
[ 7043.966350] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 16
[ 7043.966356] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 24
[ 7043.966843] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7043.966848] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0
[ 7044.030438] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7044.030452] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0
[ 7044.030468] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 8
[ 7044.030474] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 16
[ 7044.030480] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 24
[ 7044.030967] mmcblk0: error -84 transferring data
[ 7044.030973] end_request: I/O error, dev mmcblk0, sector 0

which seems to be a problem recognizing the SD card itself. I know it works, because its worked in other devices, even a USB/SD adapter card. I'll chalk it up to something temporary and hopefully its just a bug in the latest drivers for this piece of hardware. Maybe I'll do some more research on it but its not a particularly pressing issue.

Other things that didn't work at first was the screen brightness plugged in was at the lowest possible setting, but I ran the new kde 4 battery monitor tool and it allowed me to fix that, and things are working much nicer and brighter. However the "thinkpad" keys do not currently seem to work, but I have faith that the people who work on that will get around to it eventually. Also function+print screen did not bring up the screenshot program, which was annoying. Another annoyance was I had no way of setting the middle trackpoint button to work as a scroll device. The Ubuntu people changed how Xorg works and I have no idea what they did. I'td be nice if someone were able to add a little "Middle button to scroll" option in the KDE 4 mouse config.

Another thing, which is probably only a personal preference, is I wish KDE used control + Tab to move between virtual desktops. I have to manually set it every time and its a pain. Control + Tab to cycle desktops, Control + shift + tab to go backwards.

So in any case with OpenGL AND xvideo working, I was free to play around in KDE 4.1 and try out various things. Of course first I set up Compiz under KDE. Which works nice except for a little bit of fuzziness and artifacts that quickly dissappear, but its there all the same. I'll get a couple more gigs of ram just to see if that helps, as I only have one gig on this thing (I found it cheaper to buy the memory locally, plus I like to support local businesses occasionally)

I still have to setup a bunch of programs and copy over some stuff from my old laptop, and then I can play around a bit more with KDE 4.1. Still, I hate the Oxygen desktop theme and switched it right away, same with the new panel/taskbar. I hope someone comes up with a MacOS X style panel widget for plasma soon.

Next time I will give my review of Kubuntu Intrepid (Alpha) on my SL400.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Thinkpad SL400 review part 1 (first impressions)


Surprise Surprise, I actually bought a new laptop. So new in fact, that it's a challenge getting linux to work with it. But that doesn't mean I'll give up! The Lenovo Thinkpad SL400.

I bought it a few days before Dell announced they would be releasing notebooks with Ubuntu pre-installed. If I had known then, what I know now, I might have gone for the Dell instead. It is quite infuriating that Lenovo does not give the option to install Ubuntu or at least not install Vista on the computer. But it was the only laptop they offered that had the features I desired, and it was at a decent deal, so I grabbed it without thinking. Also my old thinkpad A22m just isn't keeping up with the times anymore.

Anyways, I figured even though its bleeding edge, it shouldn't be too long before its better supported under linux. Plus it took them like 6 freakin weeks to ship it. And they shipped with UPS, the worst possible shipping company anyone can find. But oh well, I got it, and I'm going to go into details about my install.

First though, Specs.

Intel Core 2 Duo processor T5670 (1.8GHz 800MHz 2MBL2)
Genuine Windows Vista Home Basic (Genuine CRAP)
14.1 WXGA AntiGlare
Intel GMA X4500
1 GB PC2-5300 DDR2 (1 DIMM)
UltraNav (TrackPoint and TouchPad)
160GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm
DVD Recordable, Fixed
Integrated Bluetooth PAN
Intel WiFi Link 5100
6 cell Li-Ion Battery (2.4Ah)
1 Year Depot/Express Warranty
ThinkPad and Lenovo 65W AC Adapter - with US/Canada/LA Line Cord (an extra one, they're not that expensive with the free shipping compared to ebay)
Sale price: $ 652.40
GST: $ 32.62
PST: $ 45.67
Estimated total: $ 730.69*

upon reflection, I shoulda gone for the 15 incher, cause with these widescreen laptops, 14 inches is a little less than it used to be, screen real estate-wise.

Other first impressions.. the Keyboard is not bad, its still a thinkpad quality keyboard, except the repositioned keys really do not help. I'd rather they got rid of the touchpad and put in a full trackpoint like exists on my A22M series. I know they won't, but I wish they would. The quality of the plastic is different than whatever my A22 is made of, but its not horrible. It's better than what you're going to find in most stores like Best Buy or Office Depot or Futureshop. The lid doesn't have any latches, nor a rollcage built in, But I've never been a heavy industrial user of my thinkpads so I can deal with it, though if I could have gotten a version with it included, I would have. As well, it apparently doesn't have the feature where if you spill something, its designed to safely come out of a hole somewhere with minimum fuss. I've never used that feature, but its a disapointing loss in this thinkpad series. They also got rid of the thinklight on this series, which I did occasionally use but never particularly effectively.

The black glossy cover really does easily get marked up with fingerprints and the like, but it does make the thinkpad look different, same with the little red LED on top of the i in Thinkpad on the lid. It's not really all that distracting either. With the lid open, I'd heard reports that the it flopped around, but mine is pretty steady. I don't miss the absense of latches, I broke mine on my thinkpad and they were a bit of a pain for me to fix. I am surprised that there isn't even one latch on this thing though.

A nitpick, the Camera, which I requested to be added on, cannot be covered or be manually shut off with a switch. Which is a design point I think I'm the only person who has ever considered. I know it can be handled in software, but theres something comforting about knowing if you press a switch nobody can take pictures of you without you knowing it. It happens. Never has to me, but I'm a paranoid person by my very nature. Also I thought there would be a wifi on/off switch but its built into the function keys on the keyboard, which again I think would have been better served in a different manner. Also the lack of a dedicated print screen button (you gotta use function!) is somewhat annoying, as at least in Linux, print screen usually tends to launch a screen grabber program, which is often useful when taking screenshots. Again, a shortcoming due to the Vista oriented design goals perhaps. Still, it has bluetooth, HDMI out, and bleeding edge hardware I expect will end up supported in Linux within a short time frame. Also its reasonably lighter than I expected it to be. Much lighter than the A series anyways. Also I can see my reflection in the cover. Which is a cute feature unless you're Medusa.

Next post I will discuss the "joys" of Vista (cough), and installing linux onto the SL400.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Happy Labour Day

HAVE A HAPPY LABOUR DAY!

...Sincerely, your dolphin overlords. GET US SOME FISH!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Capitalizing on Micheal Phelps for Linux


The dude won eight olympic medals in Beijing, so even if, like me, you're not a fan of the olympics, you gotta respect that. And swimming is hard!

He's already made millions of dollars, is going to appear on SNL for some reason (which could be good, Wayne Gretzky on SNL was great), and has gotten tons of acclaim for his accomplishments.

But I think the question everyone wants to know is, WHAT IF he was a spokesperson for UBUNTU LINUX.

Yes, that is the question on everyones minds. Well now it is now that I came up with it.

Hey, Microsoft is using Jerry Seinfeld to try to get people interested in poofy shirts Windows Vista, wouldn't it be super if Canonical/Dell could get him to do a commercial for Linux? They could give him a free netbook! Make it waterproof maybe.

Hey, Ubuntu is on version 8, he won 8 gold medals.. it's 2008.. Ubuntu could release a special edition version customized and all that, and it'd sell cause Vista is crap.

I've got it all pictured now. . Phelps says something about Ubuntu blah blah Linux operating system blah blah used in various olympic swimming computers (who knows I dunno), then says "available on dell computers now" then says "Take the plunge" and jumps into the water and then races the linux penguin in the water and beats it and says "I AM THE KING OF THE OCEAN I AM AQUAMAN" or maybe not. But hey, it'd be a great commercial!

Ubuntu Linux 8.0 - Take the Plunge!

I should work in advertising, I Swear. Too bad Linux doesn't have money for commercials.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Olympics are a @!#?@! fiasco


I have never been a fan of the Olympics. I wasn't born with any sporting talent, and do not possess the qualities that would afford me to acquire them later in life. I'm not incompetent at sports, I just don't possess the ability to take things to a professional level without probably DYING. I despised Track and Field days at school, found them ridiculously outdated in concept and pointless.

I could go into each specific sport and why being in the olympics makes them irrelevant, but I will try to avoid that. What I REALLY AND TRULY hate about the olympics is that they are run by a corrupt international governing body called the IOC that has been involved in bribery scandals, and most recently, the fiasco known as the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The Chinese government did not deserve to host an olympic event. They are not a free society, they have actually blocked an American olympic athlete from attending the olympics for expressing their free speech rights in other countries (where it is perfectly legal to do so), they have presented an opening ceremony with a lip synching girl, they have censored reporters and people from going around their country. Yes, its their right to do whatever they want in their country, but thats why they should never have been given the olympics. Even the Nazi's weren't such control freaks that they pretended events were sold out so that venues wouldn't be full, in an effort to control the audience. Families of olympic athletes were told events were sold out and they could not attend, but in reality it was the CHINESE GOVERNMENT LYING in a misguided and ridiculous effort at crowd control.

And the IOC says nothing. The IOC is complicit in this farce of a sporting event. However, the IOC, like any unelected government, is largely made up of self-entitled buffoons. How long does the copyright on the Olympic logo last anyways? They were created in 1914.. you'd think they'd have expired by now. Yet the IOC, ever the advocates for FAIR PLAY, issued a DMCA TAKEDOWN NOTICE on a Free Tibet video on youtube. Yes. That is the conclusion. The Olympics piss me off because they are not about fair play, they are about rewarding genetic freaks, cheaters, and people with no otherwise beneficial talents other than the ability to sail a boat or twirl a baton or swim really fast.

Network television is also complicit in this garbage festival of lies. The CBC has frequently poo-poohed protesters or anyone against the Beijing Olympics or speaking out against the IOC. NBC cares only about making money off of Nationalist Jingoism. China's media is using it to pat themselves on the back, Oh look at how great we are, our 13 year old chinese.. I mean our 16 year old chinese gymnasts have won the gold medal! How proud we are that we were the best cheaters! . Yet there is nothing to feel guilty about. Everyone who is at that level is a cheater in some way. Some have more money, so they are able to train harder and have better equipment, or take newer drugs that are as yet undetectable. The attitude seems to be "everybody else does it, so we have no choice" Which is a slippery slope, and China has covered all their slopes with slip and slides. WHICH SHOULD BE AN OLYMPIC SPORT BUT ISN'T. I could qualify for that one. They used to have Tug of War too. Pathetic.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Stupidist post ever. Also, Linux=Batman.


DC Comics has a weekly comicbook series titled Trinity that I read in the comic shop basically skimmed through it. The premise seems to be tied to Final Crisis, which is another Comicbook that I'm actually buying. Something about Superman, Batman, & Wonder Woman being representative of a God-like trinity or something. I dunno I haven't bought it yet even though I like the writer/artist team of Busiek/Bagley. Basically I found the first story too short, and the Fabian Nicieza stories in the back of the issue to suppliment the comic really uninteresting. Something about a chick with tarot cards. ANYWAYS, that got me thinking about another trinity. The Computer Operating System Trinity.

Originally there was the trinity of Amiga/Mac/PC. There were other trinities of course, but thats the one that came to define that era of computing, everything else was sort of an also ran. Hey, I liked my Commodore 64, but I doubt batman ran his bat computers on a C-64. I'd say Superman would represent the Amiga, batman the PC, and Wonder Woman the Mac.

Good things seem to come in threes. Who would have thought. I guess theres the Firefox/Safari/Internet Explorer trinity of web browsers, theres the MS Office/WordPerfect/Open Office trinity (granted WordPerfect is essentially irrelevant today), levels of government usually have 3 levels. Pyramids have three sides, HOLY CRAP! I CAN GO ALL DAY! THREE! Why have I never noticed this before! Maybe my brain is shutting down I'm suffering a stroke and I'm turning into one of those nutjobs who sees connections where there are none. OR MAYBE I AM GODS PROPHET.


Now there is the operating system trinity of Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows. Mac OS X I give to Superman, since he's a reporter in his day job, Windows to Wonder Woman, and Linux to Batman. Therefore Linux = Batman. Thank you Kurt Busiek for making that clear to me.

So to people out there writing software, Make sure your computer programs will run on every operating system of the trinity. I mean, do you really want to cater your software only to Wonder Woman? It's not really that difficult to create cross-compatible software in this day and age. Get your act together.

Green Lantern used to be a trinity of John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Hal Jordan, now its more of a four musketeers thing with Kyle Rayner. Damn you Kyle Rayner! You're like a 4th wheel on a 3 wheeled car! COMPLETELY USELESS.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I bet microsoft hates mini-notebooks (aka "netbooks")


They must. It must drive them crazy that there are laptops out there that are encouraging companies to create linux drivers and offer linux pre-configured as a reasonable option instead of XP or VISTA.

I will eventually buy one. I've played around with the Acer, HP, and Asus netbooks that have so far been released. Each of them fall short of what I expect from a mini notebook.

The Asus, the original one just does not offer a sufficient screen size or keyboard that is compatible with me not being frustrated. I'd like a small laptop with a decent screen and keyboard I can lug around with good battery life to write my novel about space dinosaurs. Bluetooth built in is a nice bonus but I do have a Bluetooth USB stick so that's not a deal killer. But basically I need a good keyboard and decent screen. The Asus had neither, therefore I didn't get one. I'd have bought one for $150-$200, but their price points are $100-$200 too high to consider.

The HP mini-notebook has a nice screen and an EXCELLENT keyboard. The trackpad is okay but nothing special and I hate the mouse buttons on the side. BUT it comes with Windows Vista with a free "downgrade" to XP. I just can't justify purchasing something with Vista if theres Linux options out there, sorry HP. I just don't want Microsoft to count any netbook purchase I make towards their "we shipped this many instances of Vista this quarter" lies. We all know everyone with a brain hates Vista. Plus my sister has an HP laptop and a month out of warranty its got issues of some sort. Yes, the piece of crap came with Vista. I'm not a big fan of Microsoft to begin with (I respect some decisions they make from a certain perspective, there was a reason they won the DOS wars and the OS/2/Windows war) and I prefer not to support software with annoying registration keys and DRM. That's just me.

Finally, the Acer Aspire One. It LOOKED nice, the screen was good and the Linux UI was well thought out and simple and it came with a good selection of games. Their version of Tetris (LTris) I thought odd that it was included, and they could have thrown in Solitaire and Minesweeper and Pinball games to be completists (and a kjewel type game) But I digress it wasn't about games. I liked the Acer Aspire One until I used the keyboard, which was insanely convoluted to use. If you're looking to use this for writing out blogs and such, don't. It's not worth it. The Mouse was even worse, it has the same side buttons on the trackpad as the HP mini-notebook, but they're impossible to depress (though they do depress me) . Other than that, I could have been persuaded to buy one if the keyboard was good.

So that leaves me waiting for Dell's entry into the netbook market. The MSI Wind is out of the question, again for the Windows stupidity and also because I only want something with a solid state drive. I'm pretty much sold on the atom processor as well, which is another thing the HP netbook missed. However, there are rumours that Dell's netbook will be missing the F1-F12 keys, which is a bit silly. Surely they could have thrown in some tiny little push buttons to replace the keys (like those keyboard buttons for sleep and music on certain full sized keyboards) to save keyboard space.

Someone should hire me to design the perfect nettbook, cause I would totally. It would have a similar keyboard to the HP though with little cell phone style buttons for certain keys like the function keys, with a decent screen 1200x600 or whatever, bluetooth built in, wifi of course, Atom processor, and 1GB ram. and come with Linux, preferrably ubuntu. and have the most popular mini-diversion games on it like solitaire and tetris and the like. Also it would use a standard sized battery. or Maybe two nokia style batteries. Cheap replaceable batteries anyways, and have an easy charge plug that is retractable to save space. touch screen flip screen wouldn't be bad either. But to save money I'd leave that off cause its not really that useful.

The most interesting thing about netbooks is it shows how much certain retailers are in Microsofts pocket. Futureshop, Best Buy, I'm looking at you. Won't even sell a netbook, what's wrong with you. Think it'l cut into your laptop business? Unlikely. I own a laptop and just bought a new lenovo laptop, and I still want a netbook for putzing around with. And one day I'd like an ebook reader with e-ink technology. I just have to wait for designers to catch up with my expectations. Hopefully my wait isn't forever.

* update - apparently lenovo is coming out with a netbook too, and it looks nice, especially keyboard-wise. If it comes with Linux and a SSD they might have me on board.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Google Maps

I live close to a river, and while looking at google maps it occured to me that if I had the power of flight, just across the river is a mini-mall which, with the power of flight, would only be about a minute away. Thats fucking awesome, and if you need proof that there is no God, it's because flight is impossible, and thats not fair!

I wish I could fly, at least for like 5 minutes or so like the princess or luigi in Mario 2. I mean not the same way, I don't want to wear a dress like the princess or have really stupid feet like luigi, but to be able to hover and float in the air for a certain distance would be good enough for me. Not like Mario in Mario 3 or world though, because you have to run and build up speed to fly, and that's just too much effort.

And you could say "oh, Reed, you could just get a boat. You'd get across the river fast". But then you have to maintain the boat, tie it up when you're not using it, watch for boat thieves at all times of the night, and worry about sharks. With flight, all you have to worry about is birds pecking out your eyes, and if you're flying, you're bigger than a bird, so they're not stupid enough to attack you if you're just going to the mall to get toothpaste, which is what I would go for because I ran out and its sunday night and nothing nearby is open.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Joss Whedon is a motherfucking motherfucker

Yes he is.

He puts out this web based video called Dr Horrible, which was enjoyable enough in the first two parts, but first of all was originally blocked except to US accounts (which is bullshit), then when people protested it was unblocked. So I watched part 1 and 2 which were available at the time, and they make you wait for part III. OK, fine.

So part III comes out on a friday. That's fine. I'm busy friday. I'll watch it on monday. ITS ALREADY OFFLINE ON MONDAY. What kind of bullshit marketing is this? They want to sell me a DVD? I might have been on board after the first fuck up with the region bullshit, but after they take down part III after only 3 days, a weekend no less when people have no time for browsing shit on the web? Fuck you. I don't care how it ends. I don't care to buy it on itunes or on DVD because I don't care to be fucked around with at this level.

Fuck you Joss Whedon. That was pathetic and insulting. like I'm going to adjust my schedule to fit your little release time frame. Guess what, the world doesn't work that way anymore. Thats why Tivos exist. You could have done things fairly, but you jerked me around. It's a shame too because if you hadn't jerked me around, I probably would have bought it on DVD in support of the actors involved who I generally like. But now I cannot.

Joss Whedon, you have become that which you hated. You have become the Fox execs who cancelled Firefly and the rest. Your concept of time is warped, as is your concept of internet marketing. Will you make money? Maybe you have enough dedicated fans. But you failed to convince me, and that is a grave failure that will lead ultimately to your downfall.

Oh and also I pirated it. Fuck you.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Winnipeger's review of My Winnipeg

'My Winnipeg', a movie by a guy named Guy Maddin, was playing at the Polo Park Silver City. Having some free time I decided, what the hey, I'm from Winnipeg, lets see what kind of archival footage Mr Maddin would find. Lets see what sort of movie he has created. I mean, its playing at Polo Park Silver City, it can't be THAT bad. Then again, the Happening is playing there too. But probably had less seats filled. (oddly enough, as they have sympathetic plotlines)

My Winnipeg is about Guy Maddin. My Winnipeg is also about Guy Maddin's mother issues. My Winnipeg is also about this town of 700,000 people who would rather spend the 5-6 month long winters complaining about them rather than moving away. Winnipeg is basically a city of people with the type of personality that would theoretically be bloggers if they all had access to computers.

Interspersed with the storyline of Guy trying to recreate his life in order to find the means to escape the magnetic pull of this city, are little anecdotes about the city of Winnipeg. I was amazed to realise I knew of most if not all of them. Probably because I grew up in West Kildonan, close to the north end, where people tell these tales. I wonder where I picked them up though. Perhaps its just something that is ingrained in the Winnipeg consciousness. Still, none of them are lies. There are half truths, of course, but all of the anecdotes about Winnipeg that don't have anything to do with the Guy Maddin and his Mother storyline are generally true. Even the story of ledgeman, the only obviously fabricated story in the movie, is based on a personal truth of Guy Maddins life, embellished with memories of Winnipeg public access television, to create something that is .. not necessarily true, but full to the brim with truthiness.

I disagreed with his premise that the demise of Eatons and its replacement with the MTS Centre arena was a negative thing. Eatons was - in my opinion - a valueless fire trap. A lot of stuff involved in the Eatons destruction ended up being recycled anyways.

I was sad to see the Winnipeg Arena go, but while it was great for hockey games, it had outlived its purpose and was sitting on prime real estate. Also some guy ended up buying the urine trough, so its in some Winnipeger's basement right now. Again, there are a number of Winnipegers who purchased their seats from the Winnipeg Arena and have built small shrines to the Jets, and what could have been if it were not for the obviously insane Gary Bettman.

As a Winnipeger, I did like seeing the city on the screen. As a Winnipeger who sleepwalks around Winnipeg on occasion, having a movie that essentially does it for me is a time saver. It will probably sell big on DVD, and I encourage Guy Maddin, who I believe googles his own name obsessively, to throw in a lot of extras and commentaries. Do an "Ex-Mayors of Winnipeg" commentary or "people who have left Winnipeg" commentary or do a commentary with people who have escaped winnipeg or historians. Or do a "Selkirk insane asylum commentary" I love commentaries, if you haven't figured it out. It really is an opportunity to show off this insane city.

Guy Maddin does tell a lot of tall tales. He mentions Lorette as a hermaphrodite street. There are actually a fair amount of hermaphrodite streets in Winnipeg, not just Lorette. Sure we don't speak of them either, but if you do, you can't speak of one as if it were the only one. Of course, Winnipegs street system is confusing at the best of times. Though as a Winnipeger, I'm shocked to learn that other cities don't have a back lane layout as we do. Also, the Taxi thing is true, they are legally allowed only in the back lanes or the front lanes, but when have you ever seen a cab driver follow the rules of the road? They break it all the time these days.

The scary thing really is, Guy Maddin barely touched the tip of the iceberg on the strange and weird that Winnipeg embodies. He mentions a few anecdotes in passing, like If Day, the Arlington Bridge (ALL TRUE!), yet so much was probably left on the cutting room floor. Which is a shame because I think the seance scene went on a little too long. I get what he was going for, but it just got pedantic.

One thing I got out of the movie is, even though I disagree with the concept that winnipeg demolishes everything, is that there does seem to be a bit of a growth spurt in the city, as if all those years stuck frozen in the past are finally catching up to us and we're being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Possibly because of Global Warming. So I too am worried for the paddelwheel restaurant. At the same time, you cannot save old buildings without creating a positive environment for them to be reclaimed from the homeless.

The cast was superb as well. Ann Savage was superb as Guy's real.. I mean.. reel mother. But the real breakout star of the movie was Spanky the pug as Toby the chihuahua. Not only did he transcend breed typecasting, but he stole every scene of the movie he was in. A lesser director would have cast a chihuahua that looked like Spanky, but Guy Maddin knew acting talent when he saw it, and it paid off with Spanky. Hopefully Spanky gets a piece of the gross, not the net. Or at least an extra doggie treat. Also, there sure seemed to be a lot of dogs named Toby in this city. I wonder what the reason for that was.

Well would you look at that, I must have liked the movie because I can still think of things to say about it. But, in the end, aside from the nudity that could probably have been skipped over, I'd recommend it as an amusing film to see. I laughed at a few of Maddins jokes, I enjoyed the movie well enough. So I give this movie a rating of 9001 Vegetas out of a possible 9000.

Coming soon, an audio commentary on this blog post by Roger Ebert. Not really. But he did do an audio commentary on the movie Dark City.. and that city was totally based on Winnipeg.

Friday, July 04, 2008

A WebComic world minus Minus.

While perusing Dinosaur Comics, by Canadian genius comic strip writer extraordinare, Ryan North, I noticed a little blurb mentioning the end of a webcomic series called Minus. Its beautifully drawn in watercolours, about a little girl named Minus with powers akin to the kid in the Twilight Zone episode "A Good Life". (which was later referenced through the second season Simpsons halloween episode where Bart turns Homer into a Jack in the box - "Bart's Nightmare"). Only Minus is relatively more benign. Usually. I never heard of this comic series before, though after reading all of them, I realised I had seen some of them posted on the occasional web forum. Anyways, it was a good read, relatively short too. But the writer clearly did as much as he creatively wanted, and it was generally pretty unique and clever. A lot of subtle influences, some Japanese manga influences were readily apparent.. there might have been a little Calvin and Hobbes thrown in. But again, it was very unique. (copyright Ryan Armand, aka rezo/copyrezo http://copyrezo.deviantart.com/)



In any case, there were a series of 3 strips that hit me on another level. As shown above, In them, a girl asks Minus to send her back in time, though before saying when she wants to go back, is instantly sent back to the 1800's (I think -- its never specified) She obviously has no way back but to live her life. Falling into a wormhole and ending up in another time or dimension is a constant fear of mine, something I suffer to put in the back of my conscious mind every day, and this webcomic storyline completely got to me.

I probably would have ended it differently, maybe with the old woman having a granddaughter who looked exactly like she did with the exact same name, then everything continues as if nothing happened. I didn't buy the idea that someone wouldn't want their youth back if they could get it. But otherwise it was really well done.

Other strips in the series were funny, but that one really brings home that while you may be enjoying your 21st century life, if you're not careful, bam, you can be sent back in time to the 1800's or the time of the dinosaurs just by walking in the wrong place.

That's probably why the golden compass trilogy was interesting to me. Heck, I watched the TV series Sliders. And the whole biff tannen alternate universe in back to the future gave me the creeps. Perhaps I'm just sensitive to time paradoxes and parallel earths because of how important I am to every single universe that exists in the time-space continuum. That must be it.

Falling into another time or dimension is a real problem. that affects millions of people every year. There needs to be more awareness. I read about this stuff in Time-Life's mysteries of the unknown once so its real.

I also like xkcd and Perry Bible Fellowship.. but who doesn't? I should look for some other webcomics. I despise comics in newspapers these days. Bravo to creativity! Hurrah for the internet! Beware of timeslips!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

lawyersweekly.ca is in favour of new copyright law. And why wouldn't they be? They stand to make millions suing ordinary Canadians for doing what should not be made illegal.

From the Article:
"According to Sookman, the government had three choices with respect to Canada’s copyright regime. First, it could leave things as they were, which he said would not be appropriate in light of today’s digital environment. Second, it could accept that the market has no chance, and allow widespread copying, which could ultimately lead to the implementation of schemes such as that proposed recently by Canadian songwriters for an additional monthly fee on subscribers’ Internet bill to cover downloading. This, said Sookman, would destroy business models such as iTunes and drive business out of Canada. Finally, the government could reform the law in order to create a “favourable legal environment” that creates incentives for businesses to invest in Canada. According to Sookman, the proposed changes reflect this third approach."

Yes, it would destroy some business models, but not iTunes. That's ridiculous. Does Tap Water destroy the bottled water business?

Incentives for businesses to invest in Canada? More like disincentives for businesses to create in Canada. Want to write a game for a gameboy, but nintendo won't let you bypass its DRM? WELL TOUGH LUCK, CANADIAN COMPANY. Because reverse engineering for commercial purposes is also illegal with digital rights management. Want to run a DVD under Linux? Well you can't, even if it was legally reverse engineered and ridiculously simple to do so. DRM, in other words digital restriction monopolies, restrict what you can do. Everybody can be sued.

Ask yourself, Canadians. Do you really want to side with a bunch of outdated American coke snorting music executives, hollywood whores, the Bush government, and idiots who can't read? I doubt it. Just say no to Bill C-61.

Pathetic.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

THE GREATEST BAND EVER!

Presenting The Trons, playing their breakout hit, "Sister Robot"



Freakin Genius.


Friday, June 13, 2008

The Happening

The following conversation takes place between 4:31am and 4:39am CST June 13th 2008. No names have been changed to protect the innocent. Steven is an Australian. So he's up at normal hours.
Steven
really PISSED OFF at M Night Shyamalan. The Happening SUCKED!
Reed

I can't believe you were dumb enough to go see the happening

Steven

until last night I loved MNS

Reed

fool

I've consistantly and justifiably hated him since sixth sense

Steven

No, Signs, 6th Sense, Village and Unbreakable were all great movies!

Reed

I'm always right in the end. It's a curse.

Steven

WRONG!

Reed

I was right about Tom Cruise, I'm currently right about Will Smith

anyways did you want something?

Steven

ummm

Reed

The sun is starting to come out so I figured I should go to sleep

happy friday the 13th

Steven

good morning

and you too

dont die of a nightmare or somthin

Reed

pfff

my nightmare would be in a movie theatre seeing the happening

without a gun to shoot myself

Steven

do you think thats why the ppl kill themselves in the movie

cause they know theyre in teh movie

Reed

yes

Steven

yeah

now get the fuck out

Reed

fuck you

Thursday, June 12, 2008

CANADIAN DMCA

Today the Conservative Party of Canada, through Jim Prentice introduced a "MADE IN CANADA" approach to Copyright reform for this DIGITAL AGE THAT WE LIVE IN (SCARY! ALL THOSE ONES AND ZEROES!) Of course, "MADE IN CANADA" is frequently emphasized, and thus any person with intelligence greater than a brainless hamster would be able to immediately deduce that it is ANYTHING BUT. This law is painfully and obviously made in AMERICA by U.S Copyright interests. The Canadian Public was not involved, except of course if you think being involved is the same thing as coming up with ways to ignore completely. IT IS ACTUALLY WORSE THAN ANYONE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE! The full text of Bill C-61 can be found here.

But lets look closely at what Jim Prentice has secreted from his bowels and is trying to pass off as needed by Canadians:

Today, the Minister of Heritage and I tabled much-needed amendments to the Copyright Act. This fulfills the commitment our government made in the Speech from the Throne to improve the protection of cultural and intellectual property rights in Canada.

Much-needed? That remains to be seen. "Improve" the protection of cultural and intellectual property rights in Canada? Let's find out what's improved.

Consumers will be able to record their favourite TV shows to watch later — known in the industry as time shifting. You will also be able to copy songs you have purchased onto your iPod or cellphone and make backup digital copies of books or photographs. This is commonly known as format shifting.

That sounds great actually. Wow, maybe this copyright law isn't so bad! OH WAIT! there are EXCEPTIONS.

These exceptions take the form of ANTI-CIRCUMVENTION TECHNOLOGY. You remember those SONY CD'S THAT INSTALLED BACK DOORS INTO YOUR COMPUTER? Well, bypassing those would be illegal. AND subject to a $20,000 fine, not $500 as stated by the government.

Anti-Circumvention technology would make it ILLEGAL to use what you buy how you want to. Want to watch that time-shifted program? Well, if you record a digital program, and the broadcaster enables a "no copying" lock on the broadcast, AS HAS RECENTLY BEEN DONE WITH NBC IN THE USA, then you won't be able to time-shift a program to watch it later. Because honestly, do you think they're going to broadcast something without the circumvention technology? OF COURSE NOT.

The same thing is true for copying a song to your MP3 Player/iPod. If you copy it from a CD that requires you to bypass digital locks, sometimes as easy as holding down the shift key, then you are subject to a $20,000 fine.

So what does this $20,000 fine make it impossible for you to do?

If you have an electronic book file that is locked, and are blind, and want to convert it to something your computer can read, you have just become liable for a $20,000 fine.

If you use Linux, and watch a DVD, you have just become liable for a $20,000 fine. Also if you buy a piece of computer hardware and it doesn't work, and you hack it to make it work , you have again subject yourself to heavy fines.

If you buy a Nintendo Gameboy, and hack it in any way that you can play a game you yourself created, you are liable for a $20,000 fine.

If you put up a home video of you singing happy birthday on youtube, you are subject to a $20,000 fine. (Happy birthday is owned by WB)

Hey, remember that TOM CRUISE guy and his SCIENTOLOGY "Religion"? In the united states, they are using these laws to sue ANYONE who uses their "copyright materials" in a critical manner. HOW USEFUL!

Also in the USA PRINTER INK MANUFACTURERS are suing manufacturers who create replacement INK under the DMCA! How is that GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY as Jim Prentice bleats?

There are TONS of examples in the USA of how their DMCA law has done nothing but cause problems for honest hardworking people to use what they purchase the way they want. This is not about "Stealing Music"! This is about controlling the means of production and muddying the waters so much that people will be too scared to produce their own content, because they won't have tons of lawyers backing them up.

Michael Geist has a far better summary of what is being rammed down our throats by these robber barons.

The sad thing is most media companies are COMPLICIT in this act of theivery of your rights and mine. The coverage has been generally lacklustre in the past. Simply parroting out what the industry minister has let out as talking points. The amount of SECRECY involved in this bill is incredibly disturbing. There has been no consultation of the Canadian people. Shame on them.

Oh, and the right to legally back up your Movies and DVD's? NOT YOURS, if you use Anti-Circumvention technology to do it, which almost invariably you WILL NEED TO DO.

But REED you say, I'm an old man, I don't understand any of this stuff! Well, Jim Prentice says you should get a LAWYER. He actually says that. Copyright law is complex, and you will need a lawyer to get through life. He'll have to stand by you all day to make sure you don't infringe on any copyrights accidentally.

Okay old man, heres the gist of it. Imagine you own a car that takes a special sort of gasoline.. If you want to fix your car so that it can get better gas milage, you will be fined for "circumventing" the law. How fair would that be? Not at all. So why do we accept it for Copyright law?

Because Americans are lobbying the government for these laws. It's good business for America. It's bad for Canada.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Dollarama Poncho Man



Dollarama is the best.

Where else can you find stuff like this?

Adult Poncho.

or in French..

Poncho d'adulte

Wonder what the poncho model was thinking.

"Be the rain poncho" "embody the type of person who is.. Poncho"

Did they pay him in crack cocaine?

Theres something about that face that works.

Congratulations, poncho manufacturing association of China. You have achieved what few others have, you've so successfully advertised your product that nothing you do from now on can ever compare. You're like the Apple Computers of Rain Poncho's.

I salute you.

RAIN BEGONE! GIANT DROPLETS OF RAIN! YOU ARE NO MATCH FOR DOLLARAMA PONCHO!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Plastic Bag Police vs The Fashion Police

Recently there have been a lot of news articles with thoughts towards the banning of plastic bags. There is a lot of misinformation out there with regards to bags apparently choking bambi in the forest and attacking babies and killing fish in the ocean somehow. So the in vogue thing right now, is to recycle and reuse bags rather than take bags from the store.

I do sympathize with the ideal, that is to say, I think its better to reuse shopping bags than constantly get and throw out plastic bags. Plastic Bags are made out of Natural Gas, using.. the process of Alchemy I guess, I'm no expert, and really, the price of Natural Gas is high enough.

But thats not really the point of my blog post. My post is about the utter crap that stores offer as replacements. If you go into any store, Safeway or IGA, whatever, they usually have something like a "Green Bag" which is a square shaped bag with a huge loop. Often Green in colour. Who would carry something like that around with them? Why can't they make bags that look like the plastic bags that exist? So that you don't look gay*.

Why do these bags make you look gay? Because they're shaped like an overlarge purse or handbag. It's all well and good if you're female, recycle away. But has nobody any sympathy for the environmentally conscious male? Or is it assumed that any male with an environmental sympathy must be gay? Probably. I find it interesting that recycleable bags are predominantly marketed towards women. Maybe Women do a majority of a households shopping, and command the most attention and sympathy from marketing and design forces.

The point of this article is that, at least here at home, the major parties, even the conservatives for some reason, want to ban plastic shopping bags here in Manitoba. With NO regard for how gay it will make people look. Which is fine if you're gay. But if you're not gay, its rather annoying.

Still, as always, the internet does offer solutions. I did a search, or a few different searches, to find bags that resemble bags that exist.


Acme Bags offers this "Workhorse style" reusable bag. It is made of Nylon, which I always thought was an oil based synthetic, and probably is because my thoughts are usually right. Anyways it folds up into a small little thing, so It's easy to carry, and doesn't look overly gay in black. Looks almost like a large lunch sack or something. Anyways, It's one option thats out there, but again, the point is they don't sell stuff like this in stores. They sell the big stupid looking types of bags. If you want to replace plastic bags, you should replace them with something visually the same. Anyways they have a video on their site. Check it out. One interesting thing is they tell you to watch for cheap imitations and knockoffs. how do we really know that acme bags doesn't produce cheap immitations and knockoffs? Those statements always amuse me.

It does make sense to me to eliminate the current plastic bags we use with biodegradable bags. But it's not just about bags, its about the entire environmental footprint. Why do people throw their food leftovers into the garbage rather than compost? Why do people waste paper, plastic, etc?

It's interesting to me how the cola industry moved to plastic rather than glass bottles. I assume it keeps the price down, but imagine if they tried to sell beer in plastic bottles.

Anyways, back to bags. There was one other shopping bag that looked somewhat non-stupid. Baggu offers bags, but unlike the acme bags product, they seem to have been created by women and primarily target the female demographic. But they seem to appear like regular plastic bags, so.. Yeah.

Still, plastic bags shouldn't be eliminated entirely. What if you buy meat? Do you want meat juice leaking all over the place? Of course not.


* - All definitions of the word Gay are in play. No Offense..

Saturday, April 12, 2008

XM satellite radio wee woo waa wee waa

I bought me one of them there SATELLITE RADIOS. Futureshop, had XM Satellite radios for $9.99 with 3 months free, So I bought one, cause hey, at the very least, i get 3 months and a radio for $10.

Now, Fine, some people hate Coldplay. I have nothing against them. I know at least one of their songs I like. But whatever, this isn't about Coldplay, who aren't musical whores in the same sense as Hootie and the Blowfish were. This is about the XM radio.

It comes with like 130 channels. A lot of them are sports channels. NHL, MLB. That's where xm has sirius beat. Sports. They also offer channels like BBC radio news, Air America for some reason, like 3 or 4 Fox News stations , and a bunch of music channels with un-decipherable names like "Lucy" and "The Hype" and "Oprah and Friends"... what does that even mean? Oprah and Friends? She had someone named Dr Robin or something on the whole day the other day. Not that I listened to it, I was just, you know, dialing through the different stations constantly looking for something that might hold my attention.

There are 4 comedy stations, which play the full gamut from Gilbert Gottfried to Dane Cook...

To be honest, I'm rather well served locally for radio stations. Winnipeg's radio stations are far more interesting than any station on XM. 92 Citi has gone from crappy suckage a few years ago to THE place for listening to Classic Rock. Plus they occasionally have radio personalities who know what they're talking about when it comes to placing a historical anecdote before the song gets played. Power 97, is okay though they're nowhere near the greatness they achieved a couple years ago. CJOB is great for really annoying talk radio, sadly they didn't get an FM license, and I don't bother listening on my cell phone, but CBC radio one and two are on FM and I listen to them occasionally when I run out of podcasts. Heck even the pop stations serve their audience well.

I figured maybe it would be useful to listen to NHL broadcasts. Calgary was playing the other day and their commentator was really BORING. I switched to the Anaheim game, and the ducks were losing to the Stars.. I just couldn't get into it.

Sirius and XM in the USA have made intentions to merge. I haven't tried Sirius, though I do enjoy CBC radio on occasion (Aside from the liberal bullshit they cram down your throat for no good reason) ... Sirius has a couple stations I'd probably be interested in as well. But all in all, there are no plans in Canada for Sirius and XM to merge here too.. so, it hardly matters. It probably wouldn't keep me subscribing anyways.

One thing I found interesting though was that reception indoors was pretty decent even without placing the antenna anywhere near the southern sky. They must beam that signal down hardcore like a bitch. Either that or they broadcast Terrestrially in Winnipeg.

Crappy google quote of the day