Reviewing T4

Terminator: Salvation was OK, but definitely the weakest of the series to date.  Yes, I’m including T3 in that statement.  No, I don’t think the third one was awful.  Yes, despite Claire Danes in an action flick.  No, I’m not kidding.  It was a decent conclusion (or restart, depending on how you look at it).

This latest one did alright maintaining some believable continuity with the timeline established earlier in the series, but how many more screen-hours of humans running from terminators can we reasonably take?  The “redemption” storyline with the terminator hybrid was pretty weak and cliched.  But honestly, it followed such an obvious and predictable sequence, to stretch it out more would have made it much worse.  The chases, the explosions, the post-apocalyptic landscape of southern California, all combined for reasonable levels of excitement, even if they did nothing innovative.

Bottom line: this flick plays to that lowest common denominator of action movies, and will make plenty of money in the process.  If you’re looking for an exciting adventure this summer, though, I’m gonna give my early vote to Star Trek. Even that Transformers shite might jump ahead of T4, given that they’ve got Hollywood’s king of gratuitous excess, Michael Bay, at the helm.

I’ll give it 5 out of 10.

Time to Enjoy the Summer

The summer season is undoubtedly, officially here.  I had things to do around the house yesterday evening, but couldn’t bring myself to stay in, after seeing all the people dining outdoors on my bus ride home.

Michelle and I biked on the Oak Leaf Trail (despite the insects breeding like gangbusters in every stagnant pool of water) and we used a restaurant.com gift certificate for dinner at Bayou.  It was a really nice meal– Michelle ordered a catfish fillet entree, and the portion was huge; three whole fillets.  I had a cajun shrimp meal, and if you don’t think 9 little shrimps sounds like plenty of food, let me assure you– it was, and it was tasty.

We sat out on their patio, which overlooks the segement of the Milwaukee River near the corner of Humboldt and Commerce Street— the Humboldt bridge is out, so you have to make a few wacky turns to get there, but it was still a nice view and a pleasant evening.  It was windy, but warm enough that there was no chill whatsoever.

We’ve got a number of summer weekends booked solid already, but there was an opening for next weekend (May 29-31), so we’re going on a weekend camping excursion to the north Kettle Moraine and good ol’ Mauthe Lake.  There are a number of campsites up in that park that don’t require a reservation, so we feel OK about going on short notice.

Back to work and enjoying my open windows for now…

You're Saying You Didn't See This Coming?

Gina from Lifehacker had a post yesterday about Google’s dominance of her personal online data and her [late, futile] attempts to stop it.  Well, basically, it’s a post about how Yahoo! search is more or less just as good as Google, but my summary of her motivation is accurate.

I’m not saying “I told you so,” or anything like that, because I am every bit as guilty of feeding the Googles as most average internetters.  To be honest, there is just too much that they do too well to justify NOT using a lot of their (free!) services.  To only come to grips with the risk inherent in giving one company control of so much information at the three- or four-year mark seems oddly shortsighted, though.

Have we just buried our heads in the digital sand up to this point, innately aware but consciously ambivalent about this course of events?  Is it possible we’ve reached a social tipping point, and this may signal the start of a mainstream Google backlash?

Once Again, Without Emotion:

Contributing colleague David U. Schrubbe sends in a link today to a story posted by MSNBC about the work being done on “a package of software and hardware” (read: SkyNet) that will serve as an “ethical governor” for robotic war machines in the field.  The assumption here is that with adequate programming, we will be able to relinquish human control  and LET THE ROBOTS DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES WHOM TO KILL.  For once, I am NOT exaggerating on this point.

The arrogance is staggering, to assume that we will still ultimately be able to control machines to which we grant greater and greater autonomy and logic-processing.

Meanwhile, enjoy this musical interlude, certain to become the Robot Nation’s anthem:

Long Shots

I looked at my sad little list of tweets on the front page today and it made me feel kind of bad.  Really just haven’t had a lot of blogocity flowing of late.

Anyway, later on this evening I will be taking in a second screening of Star Trek with some of the geek men from MKE.  We caught Watchmen as a group, too.  I’m going to turn in a little earlier than I usually would on a Friday, because I have to head over to the Wordell house in the Falls tomorrow to work on a computer; want to get said work done in the AM hours, so I’ll need some good sleep…

Went out and took some pictures last night after the sun went down.  Been meaning to do some night photography with my new camera, but this was my first chance.  Picked up a couple tips from Wordy on how to make some of them look better (I only uploaded a few of the decent ones).  Tip #1: remember that when you’re doing a 5-15 second exposure of a building and you’re zoomed in @ 300mm, you’re asking for blurring.  It’s just gonna happen.  Good point there.

What’s with the Brewers lately, eh?  They started slow, but things are looking up after a 5-1 homestand that came on the heels of a 3-1 road trip.  Brewers have won 6 series in a row, and they go to St. Louis this weekend playing for first place in the Central.  Yeah, it’s still early, but I see signs that the team is more relaxed and grown up than people were counting on.  I hope they don’t lose it, and they remember what is working during this good stretch.  Oh, and having Trevor Hoffman to handle the 9th doesn’t hurt, either.

I’ve got 2 weeks to go @ UWM before heading back to Osh Vegas for work once again!  How bout them apples??

What’s new with you?

New Lappy Setup

This is another in my series of “posts of reference for my future self about computer crap,” so be advised.

So I got my new laptop from the UPS man yesterday. Since I’ve become sort of a hardcore Linux man, I am wiping the hard drive before I use it. I called Lenovo customer service first, and asked about obtaining a refund for the Windows license. I ran out of patience with that process really quickly. I sent them an email instead, and we’ll see what happens. More to come on that front (or not).

After not accepting the software license(s), the next thing I did was boot into SystemRescueCD from my USB drive so I could run GParted and wipe the hard drive.  I found out that the “rescue” partition took up an ungodly THIRTY GIGS of that hard drive.  I mean, this is a 320-gig drive, so you actually have about 290 to work with to start, and then after that rescue partition, you’ve got somewhere between 250 and 260 to go.  Quite a difference.  It was nice to (A) wipe out those unneeded partitions, and (B) know that I’m good enough with these machines now that I DON’T need them.

The Windows 7 release candidate just came out, so I thought it might be worth it to test an install of THAT OS on the new laptop, since I have the space for it, and I’m sort of curious.  I installed Windows first, because when I add Ubuntu, it’s going to very polite about the boot loader (adding more options, not over-writing), where Windows is usually a dick.

I was thinking of taking Joe’s advice and setting up encryption with Ubuntu to protect my data in case of loss/theft.  I even found a nice guide on how to do multiple partitions inside an encypted volume.  However, since I am restoring my /home partition from my old machine, I don’t believe encrypting will be possible.  Maybe next time I do a total reinstallation (but I don’t know when that will be).  And I don’t believe I would be able to dual-boot with that setup, either…

When I booted up the Ubuntu installation disc, I was pretty stoked about how nice it looked immediately (without any extraneous drivers), and quickly set up the drive to partition the way I like.  From the time I clicked the “INSTALL” button, it took about 15 minutes to be ready to boot into Linux.

So with my OS of choice ready to go, I was all set to restore the /home partition.  This is the part that took longest.  I had the data backed up to my server, so transferring it all over the network was going to take some time.  And I needed to copy over 32 gigs.

I will need to pick up a small bluetooth adapter for the laptop.  I found a bluetooth adapter on NewEgg that apparently works with Ubuntu pretty well.  The other nice part is that it’s small enough that you can just leave it plugged in forever and forget about it.  There are still two more USB ports on the other side, so that should be plenty.  I’m also going to have to reinstall a bunch of extra software that doesn’t get included by default, but that’s not too tough with APT.

Pretty smooth overall, all things considered.

Cinco de Mayo IS On Tuesday!

Here you go– to commemorate the day, a live performance of my favorite Cinco de Mayo song:

firing from the hip since 2002