Vista - Arrogance & Stupidity

E-043 Vista - Arrogance & Stupidity
Wow. Harsh.

I don't even like my current install of XP trying to 'ring home' whenever something hangs - especially when they're not even microsoft products. So I'm not going to be pleased with an OS that seems intent on doing it very time it can. It's MY computer, it's MY property, it's up to me what I do with it. Grrrrrr just eff off Microsoft.

As for all the bloat and hardware resource hog Vista looks to be - hell, I remember similar accusations whooshing around in the 80s when my 'puter of choice was the Amiga and Windows 95 first came out. They were true then as they are today. What's the deal with all that computing power just being wasted on what amounts to eye-candy. Gaming machines have long been able to throw about the fanciest of graphics on far smaller fractions of CPU, RAM and HDD (or CD or DVD) that the minimum of recources a Vita box demands. Aside from the obvious that it's being done so that there's a constant turn-over in new chips and hardware all the time. It also disturbs me that all this is primarily because of DRM - it makes the next generation of home computer into a wasteful uber-paranoid encrypting and decrypting device - being run for the benefit of the entertainment industry -certainly not the end user. Because y'know, it's so obvious we're all pirates and criminals now and these corporations don't trust us an inch - but at the same time are still greedy for our money. Gah. Idiots.

I have to admit I've already got installation disks of Unbuntu and Solaris standing by. Only I don't know which one to choose...

In which I have a little ponder on this new season of Doctor Who.

*Chin-stroking mode -on*

Well – now. Unless you've been living out of the country these past few months – you'll have heard the major spoiler that the big bad for the end of this season is likely to be that this Saxon MP bloke who we haven't seen yet is going to turn out to be 'The Master'. Which I dunno, sounds all a bit disappointing to me. Maybe that's simply because it messes with my own personal theory that if they were to have brought the Master back – they missed a trick by not casting Anthony Head as him. Anyway -it just doesn't seem clever enough to me somehow.

But the last two episodes and the upcoming one have got me thinking. According to Tennant talking in one of the 'Confidential' programs rather obliquely about the last words of the face of Boe... 'you are not alone' and saying he's that only sort of right. I'm putting that together with the last episode – where the Daleks had themselves their nifty genetics laboratory and isn't that rooftop gizmo still up there on the Empire State building's mast -oh, and didn't a bit of timelord DNA get transferred into the human Dalek hybrids there? Maybe all the hybrids didn't die maybe one survived, or at the very least their bodies would still be around in order that someone somewhere could extract some hybrid DNA to carry on experimenting with it (side note: how did they ever explain to the authorities about there being so many dead bodies of people and pig-human hybrids laying around the place? Who paid for the building to be completed once the last Dalek went? Who hired the workers after Mr Diagoras was disappeared?). The next episode 'the Lazarus Experiment' now, going from the trailers that looks all the world to me like a machine that does artificially what comes naturally to a timelord: Regeneration. So are we heading for a person who somehow is a recreation of a timelord but with a rather unfortunate hint of a Dalek-ism, which would certainly make them a bit of an adversary for our good doctor?


The Problems with LOST

[this is a work in progress and may be subject to re-edits – just so you know.]

This show started out as an ambitious attempt to do something new – but it has only ended up trying to hybridise too many things into one one overall package. Being a ad-hoc combination of reality show (in inspiration at least – from 'survivor' certainly), the TV movie of the week, soap opera, and occasional internet game, all set within a fantasy paranoiac sci-fi, action-thriller show framework such as the X-files, the Prisoner were. Unfortunately:

  1. It's a victim of it's own early success – the TV company having been persuaded to spend so much money on the pilot season obviously wanted a return on that investment. A very big return. At that point the creators should have started to make cautionary noises but instead they said 'yay, yessirree boss man we can do this – this show can be re-jigged to run for years and years and years'. No really, one of the writers did said that. (They've since done a complete volte-face on that one.)

  2. As it's turned out they were wrong, with way too many characters to juggle around the creators must have thought gleefully: “oooh, we can have a 'movie of the week' flashback for each and every one of these characters and that alone will make the show last years and years and years....” and rubbed their hands at the prospect of having created a format that will keep them in full time employment forever. Alas – these movies of the characters back stories happen to be of very variable quality. And the big over-arching background story of the Island mysteries (the 'Others' – Dharma – Smoke monster and whatnot) means a large part of the audience wants to see those elements reaching some definite conclusions and answers from time to time. Over this long stretch of time (80 days of Island time has currently taken three years real (broadcast) time) with the result that the flashback stories are looking more and more like an indulgence which is only serving to hamper the overall grand narrative flow – become a stalling mechanism rather than deepening our understanding of the individuals like they once did. That's when they're not blatant out and out irrelevant filler. This is a fundamental fault of the restriction of TV networks insistent on having to have a set number of episodes per season -when rather obviously 24 episodes is proving way too many for the makers of Lost to fill, especially when they're so intent on dragging out the big main plot/final reveal for as long as they possibly can. I also think they've made a serious mistake in this self-imposed format by limiting themselves to only following the one single character's flashback story a week – that in itself has become too cumbersome. (For example -I still can't believe they wasted a whole episode merely to show us how Jack got his stupid tattoos. Or of Hurley getting an old van to work.) This device seriously unbalances the show.

  3. Being a regular listener of the official podcasts. The two main creators worry me. If 'the Others' are based on anyone it's the creators themselves. They are every bit as manipulative, just as devious, as equally insistent on never giving anything approaching a straight answer to anything -except when it suits them. And don't they just love playing with the audience and it's expectations. (I.E. All the books they've snuck in there – which many fans then go on to read -thinking they'll provide clues -turn out to be mostly just jokes on their audience. Which I'm sure is very entertaining for them, but it's only aggravating for us. It certainly shows an arrogance and a barely concealed contempt for their fans.) Even then the worst thing is when they do 'listen' to the audience and come totally unstuck in their half-hearted attempts at appeasement. The recent Nikki and Paulo storyline being a case in point. Maybe it's no accident that they only bother themselves to take notice of the audience's criticism (one of these being that we never heard much about the background characters milling about on the beach) when they saw it as a way of creating for what is for all intents and purposes yet another filler episode. (This is something they had already done before with the boring and rather trite 'Rose and Bernard' episode.) Then ended up with yet another very patchy episode. The only people who seemed to have liked it and there are quite a few – can't actually like 'Lost' itself and are far more into the whole 'movie of the week' aspect of the show. (Actually, thinking about it - does anyone anywhere still do TV movies of the week anymore? Or is this a lost format? Unintentional pun there.) I've said before and now say again -Lost would be far better show for being half, or even a third, maybe even as fourth as long. As it is – it's a long rambling dreary barely coherent mess that's now become a chore rather than a pleasure to watch.

  4. Call me a cynic but it's looking more and more like that the ultimate pay-off of the whole grand over-arching plot is actually going to prove to be embarrassingly lame and the creators (who took over from J. J. Abrahms) know it. (Having sat through the finale of 'Alias' and seen for myself what a complete crock of shit that was – I have absolutely no faith that the conclusion of Lost is going to be any better.)

I still remain fascinated with 'Lost' but not for the obvious 'proper' reasons. It certainly confirms for me some of the impressions I've gained over the years on how the way the whole American TV system works and it is all quite utterly bizarre. There's a constant never-ending battle between the creative people and the TV executives. These executives seem to hail from a completely different planet than the rest of us. They work in the industry but they seem to only have total contempt for it. I get the impression that they've only interested in spreadsheets and Neilson scores and advertiser's money... These people would only be happy if broadcast output consisted of nothing else but a constant 24 hour stream of commercials. That does seem to be their ultimate aim. Yet these execs - despite not understanding anything whatsoever about the creative process are constantly interfering in it. They're totally bereft of any understanding of audiences or what makes for a successful show or of, especially how their whole industry is currently changing under their feet and where the old tried and tested methods no longer apply, that the rules are currently in flux all under the pressures that new technology is bringing – yet they still care far more about what their advertisers want then their audience do. The audience – IE those people who actually watch the shows, and pay hard cash for the DVDs and internet downloads when they get released. The people they probably make more money off of than they do from advertisers. They just never seem to enter the equation. As I've said - bizarre.

mmm Sec-ilicous

I've just had a thought: there's going to be a Dalek-human Sec doll action figure isn't there? I need one already.

When has Scotland ever had vineyards and made wine?

Or is this the creators of Lost just accidently letting slip just how poor the US educational system is?

Would it have killed them to have done a little bit of research? Couldn't the actor have told them - or was he just being professional and trusting that the writers knew what they doing?
So I'm watching 'I, Robot' for the first time ever* on film 4. I'm really really annoyed with it. How typical of bloody Hollywood to get everything completely wrong.

The whole reason Asimov created his three rules of robotics was to get away from the tired old clich├ęd whole “evil robots wanting to kill people and/or take over the world” plot. In doing so he created a backdrop which meant he was able to create far more interesting stories.

So what does Hollywood do? Twist those laws to have evil robots wanting to kill people and take over the world.

I didn't like the CGI either and I thought the whole look of the NS-5 robots was pretty ropey too.


Benefit claimants to face lie detector tests

Seriously - WTF is THIS!?
This is insane!

Benefit claimants to face lie detector tests

Victoria's ASDA Ads

Errrr.... why is British comedy genius Victoria Wood doing those lamentably lame commercials for ASDA. I mean - if it's for the money couldn't we all have a whip round? They just don't make any sense. Well, they do - I know how advertiser's minds work - they're just using Victoria's image as a nice, homely down-to-earth friendly character in the hope that the cache will become associated with the brand. At a time when all the supermarkets are suffering a major backlash for their predatory, underhanded, devious profiting ways. I'm worried for Victoria that the rub off will go the other way and she'll get caught up with the backlash.
Life on Mars.

I watched the very last episode - mainly because of all the hype. I never really watched the show because ...70s cop shows just aren't my thing.

Oh hum. It was OK enough.

Custodians of chaos

Custodians of chaos | Extract from 'A Man without a Country' by kurt Vonnegut.



Doctor Who might be delayed or even cancelled this Saturday

Outpost Doctor Who might be delayed this Saturday.

If this happens I will be VERY pissed off. I've been waiting all those long months for this new series and to have it taken off because of a lame football match... Grrrrr.
Vote Saxon

man of the people...

(yay - the tie-in sites are back)
So the other night I'm watching the BBC news - and in the same programme they cover the upcoming UN climate change report... and a piece on a middle class family going on holiday to America and how they're worrying about their 'carbon footprint' (the message being: bad, bad air travel, bad. Yet there's never a mention of daily car travel - stand at any busy road and just count up how many people in cars are alone - just transporting all that empty air around with them. Day in day out.) All that guilt tripping (make sure you're using energy saving light bulbs - make sure you're recycling - etc.) then they ended with showing the volcanic eruption on Reunion Island. Mmmmmm - and not a mention of what carbon emissions that's got to be pumping out...