Upgraded to WordPress 2.8

I upgraded the backend of andybartlett.com to WordPress 2.8 today; will have to play around with some of the new features, as they seem interesting. I still haven’t taken much time to really dig into WordPress and figure out how it works beyond “Find theme that I like, apply it, write some nonsense and hit ‘publish’,” but it’s still nice to know what this software is capable of, should I ever find the time to really learn how it all works.

EDIT – lol, WordPress 2.8; none of the UI elements in the “edit post” screen work on either Safari 4.0 or Firefox 3.5b4 on my iMac. The “add” button for the “post tags” element doesn’t do anything, nor do the hide/reveal boxes for “excerpt,” “send trackbacks,” “custom fields,” “discussion,” or “comments.” Oops.

EDIT 2 – clearing caches and upgrading Firefox to 3.5b99 doesn’t fix the problem. This will be fun… Luckily the “update post” button seems to be the only UI element that’s functional on my Edit window.

EDIT 3 – the “visual” and “HTML” tabs work, also, as do “preview changes,” “change permalinks” and “view post.” That seems to be about it… “post tags” still not working, nor are the show/reveal buttons for the other sections of the post.

EDIT 4 – Weird; updating my Flickr manager plug-ins solved the problem. All UI elements on “Post” page now functioning; our national emergency has ended!

Yes! Somebody else gets it

Somebody found this blog using the following search term:

“why is marcus more advanced than t800”

Yes! Why indeed? It makes no sense…

Stupid, stupid Terminator: Salvation.

To the person who made it here due to that search term, I say “welcome.” 🙂

Film redemption: “Hangover”

The cinema redeemed itself yesterday in a big, big way. After sitting through two hours of the disastrous “Terminator: Salvation” on Friday, I rebounded in a big way by seeing “Hangover” yesterday with Melissa.

Having seen a little about this movie on-line beforehand, I figured it’d be worth watching. It’s so far beyond simply “worth watching”; it’s genuinely one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. To oversimplify it, it’s a combination of “Bachelor Party” and “Dude, Where’s My Car?”packed full of ridiculous and hilarious cameos. This is one of those movies that we’ll watch forever. We’ll assuredly buy it immediately on DVD and will do things like watch it three times in one night, guaranteed.

I won’t say much about it; just go see it. And when you do, stick around for the first two minutes or so of the credits.

“Terminator: Salvation” — ugh.



That’s my one-word review for Terminator: Salvation [IMDB|Rotten Tomatoes]. There’s so much wrong with this movie I’m not even sure where to begin…

First, in the previous Terminator films – particularly in the most-recent two – one needs a relatively large ability to suspend disbelief that the human resistance could not only defeat Skynet’s military assets, but even remain remotely competitive with them. For example, Terminator 2 should have ended in four minutes – the T-1000 should’ve seen John Connor and used his “pointy face-stabbing finger of doom” trick to execute him immediately from across the room. But you suspend that disbelief and go along for the ride, because the movie is fun — and for a really entertaining movie, I’m willing to do it.

Terminator: Salvation wasn’t one of those movies. It requires an absolutely preposterous level of belief suspension if you’re to buy into the movie. Let’s run down a few examples (by the way, Marcus is a Terminator – I’m not remotely going to try to cover up that “spoiler.” If this ruins the movie for you, too bad. You’ve got bigger problems.).

• John Connor [Christian Bale] is flying a helicopter close enough to a nuclear explosion to have the blast knock it out of the sky, but apparently not close enough to suffer any other adverse reactions – not so much as a scratch.

• The Marcus Terminator crawls out of the hole in the ground where the nuclear bomb had gone off just minutes before, and has every square millimeter of his human tissue completely intact.

• Connor can jump out of an aircraft into oceans with 50-foot swells, without a diving suit, and miraculously appear dry inside a submarine in the next shot. There will almost certainly be a restored scene here on the DVD.

• Skynet’s Hunter-Killers use IR cameras to find and kill humans at night – and are exceptionally good at it, but apparently only if they’re in cars. No human on foot at night is ever in the remotest bit of danger from IR cameras on HKs. And apparently you’re completely invisible to them during the day? The desert must be exactly 98.6 degrees at all time, and nobody’s body temperature is allowed to deviate from that of their neighbor.

• Enormous motorcycle-deploying Terminator robots have incredibly accurate laser cannons that allow them to instantly destroy any vehicle carrying an extra, but somehow if your name is on the movie poster their guidance systems go completely haywire.

• Motorcycle-deploying Terminator robots will send two motorcycles after our heroes, who will then need to defeat three of them.

• If you step on a land mine, it will completely wreck every part of your body except your face.

• However, being thrown a half-mile by a motorcycle-deploying robot into a river will cause no visible damage whatsoever.

• Terminators, despite being made of metal, can float and swim.

• Motorcycle Terminators can duck to avoid semi trailers, but can be defeated with a rope across the road. Once they’ve been defeated with the rope, you can take control of them with a PSP.

• When being pursued by a T-800, the best defense is to jump down one level of whatever building you’re fighting in. This causes the T-800 to inexplicably disappear for long periods of time.

• T-800s can punch Marcus-class Terminators in the heart hard enough to put them out of commission, but not hard enough to so much as knock the wind out of John Connor.

• When Terminators get punched in the heart and killed, you can revive them with a little shock by shoving live wires into the holes in their chest.

I could go on, but I really don’t want to. It’s depressing.

Going into geek analysis mode here, it even seems as if they’ve screwed up the timeline for the progression of Terminator models. The first Terminator we saw, Schwartzeneggar in the first Terminator movie, was a T-800. Salvation starts with John Connor finding evidence of a “new Terminator model,” the T-800, in a Skynet computer.

However, Marcus is far more advanced than a T-800; T-800s are Terminator frames with human tissue coverings. Marcus has a) a human brain (apparently one human “cortex” and one cybernetic “cortex”) and b) a human heart powering it; a more advanced model, from both an engineering and AI standpoint — clearly a successor to the T-800, which hasn’t yet been deployed. So why bother with the T-800 at all then? Just deploy the Marcus (which is not referred to by a model number; I’d guess it’d have to be a T-900) and crush everything.

In the original Terminator, the T-800 sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor originated in the year 2029. This movie takes place in 2018. So Skynet has no less than five models of Terminator – the T-1, T-600, T-700, T-800 and Marcus models (all of which are seen in Salvation) – developed in the first 21 years after Skynet becomes self-aware on Aug. 29, 1997, and then nothing for the next 11 years? Sure.

At any rate, Marcus leads us to…

The ending… Oh, good lord, the ending. Stupid. As. Hell. It was the most trite, transparent and ridiculous ending… The much-reviled Terminator 3 ending, which I actually liked a lot, seems like Citizen Kane in comparison.

Mostly, a Terminator movie shouldn’t be boring. Terminator: Salvation was boring. I checked my watch three times. Hollywood’s next step to get the Terminator to not suck will probably be a “reboot” of the original with Will Smith as the Terminator. It baffles my mind that the same Hollywood that produced “The Dark Knight” was also responsible for this.


About to go check out “Terminator: Salvation”

Mel and the kids are going to see Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian [IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes] which, unlike the first Night at the Museum [IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes] film that I actually enjoyed, looks completely atrocious. So, I’m going to go check out Terminator: Salvation [IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes] — I’m going in with absolutely zero expectations as to the quality of this film and, frankly, expect it to suck. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve seen the last two Terminator movies in the theaters (the original was a bit before my time in terms of getting to hit up R-rated flicks in the theaters) and am going to check this one out simply to keep the streak going.

After all, it can’t be as bad as Alien vs Predator [IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes], can it?

Here’s a drawing: “Chibi”

Andy Bartlett; 3/8/2009

I did this back in March; it’s just a down-and-dirty sketch I did with an 0.5mm mechanical pencil. I used to draw all the time; I really should find the time to do more of it. This was really fun, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

This is Chibi; lead singer for a Toronto-based band called “The Birthday Massacre.” They rock. \m/

Adventures in Printing

So, here’s how my day went at work with our office printer:

This morning, two print jobs sent to the printer, no problem.

After lunch, nothing. Everything got piled up in the printer’s queue because my computer couldn’t complete a connection to the printer. I deleted the printer out of my system preferences, and attempted to add it back from scratch. Only my computer couldn’t see it.

So I went to HP’s web site and downloaded their driver software for the printer. It came on a disk image, but the application on the image wouldn’t open, but instead triggered an Automator action, because of how HP named the app. I deleted a bunch of extraneous numbers and crap, which MacOS was treating as a file extension, and finally got the app to install.

Now, the HP printer utility still couldn’t see my printer. I finally was able to get the HP printer utility to find it, but even though that utility can see it, my printer and fax control panel in system preferences can’t find it.

This has been going on for over an hour. I’m done. Tomorrow’s a great day to start four consecutive days of being off.

Reflecting on the price of storage

I was shopping on eBay over the weekend for a new internal hard drive for my rapidly aging PowerMac G5. It’s got two drives in it now – the 150-gig drive that came with the computer when I bought it in November of 2003, and a 320-gig drive I bought to replace it as the computer’s main drive a couple of years ago. I’ve been looking for something to replace the 150-gig drive with, since I’ve discovered the miracle of streaming ripped DVDs to my Playstation 3 downstairs and video files do enjoy their space…

So I was poking around on eBay to see what I could find, and I ran across a 1.5-terabyte drive for $140. The size and the price made me reflect on the time I bought a new hard drive for my ZEOS-made 486 back in college, and I was floored at the thought of what 1.5 terabytes of hard drive space would have set me back not even 15 years ago now.

I recall gleefully going into Circuit City in Topeka, Kan., and plopping down $220 for a 1.2-gigabyte drive, thinking that beast was the biggest hard drive I’d ever need. That comes out to about $183 a gigabyte; at that rate the drive I almost bought on eBay this weekend would’ve cost me $275,000 (two hundred and seventy five thousand dollars) in 1997.

Technology and progress are amazing things, and the speed at which computers have progressed in the last decade has been astonishing. It’s even more amazing that my damn near six-year-old G5 is even still useful. I love that machine.

Fun at home with my new PlayStation 3

My awesome wife hooked me up with a PlayStation 3 for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, and so far I’m totally loving it. Highlights:

• watching Melissa gun her way through Resident Evil 5 has been a lot of fun. She beat the single-player campaign on weaksauce mode the night before last, and is now replaying it on normal difficulty; I’m co-piloting her attempts to complete Trophy achievements for collecting all the game’s hidden treasures and badges.

• I’ve been playing Resistance: Fall of Man, which I have thoroughly enjoyed so far. It’s a pretty old game, I know; it was a Greatest Hits pack-in with the PS3. It took me awhile to regain my console shooter chops, which atrophied pretty solidly during a four-plus year World of Warcraft addiction; I’m still not completely back yet, but it’s been a few stages since I’ve managed to get myself killed. The setting and the storyline are well-done, and so far I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve spent with it.

• LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga is awesome. Same-screen co-op games are pretty rare, and Mel and I have enjoyed playing this together. Also, it’s easy enough that Helen can actually play too, which has been pretty fun. This is a game Megan will love once she gets back up here.

• Video streaming! Oh, I’m loving this feature so far… I have been ripping DVDs onto the old-school PowerMac G5 in my upstairs office at home and streaming the video to the PS3 down in the living room with MediaLink. It’s incredibly easy to set up, and works extremely well. My computer’s going to be pretty busy over the next few days ripping our DVD collection, and I’m now officially on the hunt for bigger hard drives. The 150-gig drive I’m using for this now ain’t gonna cut it for long…

Coming up next – Killzone 2, Metal Gear Solid 4 and Grand Theft Auto 4, not necessarily in that order. Also have an eye open for a Final Fantasy XIII release date; I skipped 12 (again, due to that pesky WoW addiction), and am excited to pick that series back up again.