Four Three Four Stars

Finished watching the first season of Jericho on DVD yesterday. I have now ventured back to the CBS website and found out that I have 7 ep’s to go before they call it a series. I started out really enjoying the show, then I felt like it hit a lull and lost direction mid-year, before (sort of) picking it back up again down the stretch.

If I were making a critical assessment strictly from a content standpoint, I would have downgraded it to three stars– I thought it was enjoyable, but I have a feeling I might’ve given up on it if I were watching week-to-week.  For one thing, there were some significant continuity problems, and second, the method used to turn an apparent “bad guy” into a “good guy” was pretty sloppy and poorly executed.  There was also a tendency to dwell on certain plot points and present NEARLY EVERY FRACKING CHARACTER’S VIEWPOINT of a set of circumstances before moving forward.  Even as I sit here and consider the continuity issues… they become more numerous. That was a major thing as the season wore on.

However, I still think that the show played well on an allegorical level– I feel that, overall, the series (at least as much of it as I’ve seen, which is most) did a good job of interpreting a harrowing, 3rd-World-type disaster into English.  I found myself appreciating the sense of isolation and lawlessness that I could only imagine would exist anywhere when a small group of people are suddenly and violently cut off from the rest of the world.

The over-arching problems that the characters faced, and the troubles that they had to deal with rang true to me, even if the way that those problems were handled didn’t always do as well.  I did find it distracting at times when they would run too long on tangents pertaining to conspiracies or characters’ back stories– Jericho wasn’t LOST or 24, but it tried to be both at different times.  Maybe that was part of the problem, and why they were whacked after 22 29 episodes– the show was definitely at its best when it told the story of a fractured society that was torn from its comfort zone and had to reinvent a whole new way of life.  As a tale of human ingenuity and perseverance, Jericho works.  As an action/mystery serial, not so much.


Picked up this link from the AP tech wire: Electronics makers to create home networking standard

I’m totally shooting from the hip here, but my first thought was “well, duh.”  But to be honest, I’m a little surprised that A) people aren’t more annoyed yet that bringing any new device into your home requires the stringing, plugging, and inevitable tangling of MORE FRACKING WIRES, and B) principle to this discussion by “electronics makers” is not necessarily the development of a full-duplex wireless communication standard for all this stuff to start talking to each other.

I know that bluetooth is sort of supposed to be that solution, but last time I checked, a scenario whereby your plug in your TV, and set your stereo receiver and your PlayStation 4 right next to it, and surround the room with your 7.1 DTS speakers and everything would just WORK, without being wired together, was a bit out of the realm of possibility for this technology as it currently exists.

Ah, well.  Sometimes I forget that living in the Future still means that there’s a future of the Future.

Destroying The Machines May Only Slow Them Down

David L. Schrubbe, a valued colleague and fellow sentry on watch for The Singularity, sent this link for video evidence of a robot capable of reassembling itself when destroyed. Imagine how pissed that robot would be if you gave it a gun.

On the Topic of Summer Movies

Yeah, so thinking about a new ‘X’ prompted me to check out the balance of the summer schedule. This is shaping up to be a very geeky summer at the movies for me…

May 2 – Iron Man. I know, we’ve been very disappointed by the non-Spidey-or-X-Men offerings coming out of Marvel in the past, but I’m willing to give this one a shot. I was never even into Iron Man as a character, but I have enjoyed Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau in the past, so…

May 16 — Prince Caspian. I wouldn’t characterize The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe as a picture that I didn’t enjoy, but frankly, trying to be The Lord of the Rings all over again is a bad move, and really tough to live up to. When I read the Chronicles of Narnia as a kid, I think this was my favorite of those books, so I’m looking forward to seeing it on the big screen.

May 23 — Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Are you frackin kidding me? Indy 4, ’nuff said. Geeks have not anticipated a movie this much since 1999. We’re just hoping for a better outcome. Lucas didn’t direct, so that’s a start.

June 13 — The Incredible Hulk. I know, I know… just see notes on Iron Man above, replace Downey Jr. and Favreau with Ed Norton. Also see trailer.

July 18 — The Dark Knight. Here’s one to get seriously, legitimately (and mainstream-ed-ly) ramped up about. My expectations are extremely high. They were also really high for Batman Begins, and that delivered.

July 25 — The X-Files: I Want to Believe. As I’ve recently stated in other forums, “I have to believe this will be better than the series finale. Which was ass.”

Six movies is more than I’ve seen in one summer for a while. The bummer part is that out of all of them, I expect Michelle to be interested in roughly 0% of them. Reckon that’ll leave me dateless for most of my movie viewing this summer… but isn’t that sort of what being a geek is all about?

News to Me

Sometimes, all those random, bizarre emails that I get from Justin, et al. are actually worth something.  I found out about this, which had COMPLETELY evaded my radar.

If I’m not mistaken, the discussion of an X-Files sequel started somewhere around 122 minutes after the premiere of the first film.  For a variety of reasons, it took some time for it to come to fruition.  But the simple fact that it’s now about 12 weeks from opening and this is the first evidence I’ve seen of an actual movie being produced…  Well, that just speaks to how out of touch I’ve become with Hollywood.

I’ll add it to my list of stuff to check out this summer, though.  And speaking of checking things out–if you hurry, you might get to watch this before the YouTube Police take it down.

Want to Believe?

Hardy and SMBFS — A Change of Syntax?

As I’ve made known here previously, I am one of those “dangerous-but-not-really-very-knowledgeable” types, particularly when it comes to the command line and certain config setups in Ubuntu.  That said, I found a solution to the problem I was having with mounting my server using smbfs.  I thought I would post it for the Google-pilgrims that might need a hand in the future…

Ever since Dapper, I have had a line in my /etc/fstab that looked like this:

//<server IP>/<share> /home/jason/Server cifs credentials=<credentials file>,lfs,dmask=777,fmask=777  0    0

This stopped working in Hardy.  After installing smbfs, the share would still mount, but I would get errors saying the following:

WARNING: 'dmask' not expressed in octal.
WARNING: CIFS mount option 'dmask' is deprecated. Use 'dir_mode' instead.
WARNING: 'fmask' not expressed in octal.
WARNING: CIFS mount option 'fmask' is deprecated. Use 'file_mode' instead.

I could read everything from the server, but I had lost my permission to write there.  After finding this bug that was filed at the end of March, I thought, “what the hell, I’ll try mounting the way this guy’s doing it:

//<server IP>/<share> /home/jason/Server cifs credentials=<credentials file>,lfs,file_mode=0777,dir_mode=0777,uid=1000,gid=1000 0 0

And now all is well.  DVD playback– fixed.  Server share– fixed.  What else did I need?  Oh, right, nothing.


Hardy Heron Post-Install #1

Sorry if there are a few über-geeky posts in the next couple days.  But, I did say that I would share my experiences with running Ubuntu…

Forgot a few things in my post(s) from the last few days.  There were a number of additional packages I could have mentioned, but here are the highlights…

First, turn on all those non-default software repositories (except maybe the bleeding-edge development channels), then get all the gstreamer plugins, the microsoft core fonts, and thumb through the add/remove software window.  I like to sort by popularity, because there’s usually a reason that a lot of people are downloading it.  You can find a number of the packages that I mentioned the other day using this method.

I was glad that my monitor worked out of the box, at the right resolution and frequency.  A welcome change.  I also noticed that SeaMonkey was in the software channels now, so that kind of makes ubuntuzilla an unneeded commodity for me.

I forgot to mention how to get DVDs running.  Take a look at medibuntu for more info on that.  Or, is Automatix still around?  I haven’t used it in a while…  Oh, I guess not.

The thing that’s really sticking in my craw right now is the wealth of issues (well, just two I guess– but big ones) that I had with samba immediately upon installation.  In the past, I have run samba on my desktop machine because it was an easy way to share files back and forth between my desktop and laptop (in case I didn’t need or want to use the server as an intermediary).  Well, samba crashed every time I tried to start it so far.

The second problem (MUCH bigger) was getting my server mounted with full read/write access at startup.  This absolutely has to work for me.  At this point, I can get the share to mount (although not where I tell it to, for whatever reason), but I can’t write to it.  I’m going to check around the forums a bit today when I have time, and see if I can get these things resolved.  If it looks like there’s going to be a wait for a fix of some kind, I’d probably go back to Gutsy and wait for a while.

Oh, and finally (almost forgot)– Firefox 3 is the default browser for Hardy, even though it’s stil in Beta.  Granted, they’re on like the 5th or 6th beta version now, but fact is this: almost none of my extensions work, or a couple of them work wrongly.  I can still install Firefox 2, but I’ve never had to change the “default browser” in Ubuntu.  I’m sure it’s not too tough.  But maybe ubuntuzilla won’t be obsolete after all…

Switching to Ubuntu– a Quick Footnote

So the new version is due to be “officially” released in a couple days.  Forgot to mention the other day that when you’re downloading it, you definitely want to use the torrent.  It is maniacally-insane-fast.  The best speed you’re ever going to get directly from a server is *maybe* 300K or so.  Right now, I’ve the torrent coming in at about 830K.

I’ll let you know how my fresh installation on a new machine goes!

"Bum Bot" on Patrol in Atlanta

From the AP Tech Wire. Proprietor in Atlanta puts justice in the hands of his homemade toaster. Here’s my favorite part:

The bar now welcomes patrons with a sign that says ‘Home of the Bum Bot,’ and Terrill has asked a regular to design a T-shirt with its image. He says he may use it for a campaign for Atlanta mayor he plans to announce this summer.

‘He’ll be my chief of staff. He’ll be parked in front of my office,’ says Terrill, who finished fifth out of five in Georgia’s 2006 Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.

firing from the hip since 2002