bunsen_h: (Popperi)
Gimli: 'I don't wish to meet that old man at unawares without an argument ready to hand, that's all.  Let's go!'

Does that look wrong?  Or more precisely, sound wrong?

I enjoyed the audio book version of The Fellowship of the Ring quite a lot.  Reader Rob Inglis has a reasonable range of voices -- nowhere near Luke Daniels, who reads Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles, but that's a very high bar.  So I expected to like his reading of The Two Towers.

But I keep getting thrown out of the story.  He keeps altering the text, including the dialogue, by using contractions.  Frequently.

By some lights I'm something of a purist with regard to Tolkien, no question.  I was lukewarm on Jackson's version of FotR, disliked TTT, and have seen only a few minutes of his RotK -- which was enough to confirm my decision to give it a miss.  I've seen most of the first Hobbit movie, at home for free while I was working on something, so it wasn't completely lost time.  That convinced me that Jackson has no sense with regard to sacrificing plot in favour of ludicrous action sequences.  I saw a few bits of the second Hobbit movie a couple of days ago, and that was enough; I was shrieking in laughter at the fight sequence with the Dwarves barrelling down the river, and the melting of the "gold" in Moria.  I don't know what that stuff was, but it wasn't gold.  Negligible specific heat and heat of fusion; low melting point.

But this audio book's problem is subtler... "just" contractions.  But Tolkien was very careful about character voice.  Some characters speak casually, some always formally, and some change their style of speech depending on circumstance.  To chuck that out is wrong; it significantly affects the characterization.  For Gimli to say "That's all.  Let's go!" just knots up my neck and shoulder muscles.  It's fingernails-on-blackboard stuff, full-on "uncanny valley", who-are-you-and-where-is-the-real-Gimli material.

*sigh*
 
bunsen_h: (Popperi)
My brain's "variables" — internal representations — for "heroic" and "awesome" and so forth are signed values.  Peter Jackson's are unsigned, so he gets to enjoy twice the level of awesomeness and heroicity that I do.  But when he cranks his movies up to the max, for me, the values wrap around to being negative.
 
bunsen_h: (Default)
About a month and a half ago, I noticed that my Windows XP box seemed to be slowing down.  The most noticeable problem was an increasing delay when I right-clicked on a file in Windows Explorer, before the list of possible actions appeared.  Initially the delay was just a few seconds, but over time it increased to a couple of minutes.

(Details of the solution are left as an exercise for the interested student...) )
Apparently the Seagate Replica software takes a long time to search for all the older versions of a file to build its sub-menu in the file action list, and while it's working on that, Windows Explorer hangs.

The problem, of course, is that I didn't want to leave the external drive disconnected while I was using the computer.  That would take away most of the value of having it in the first place: a system for backing up my files which didn't require my attention, and wasn't vulnerable to my fallible memory.

After a bit of guesswork about possible solutions, I found a software tool that allows me to control which options appear in the file-action list: FileMenu Tools, by Rubén López Hernández.  I haven't played with it extensively, but it appears to do just what it says — a simple user interface to allow filesystem actions to be enabled/disabled — and does it pretty well.  Under "Commands of other applications", under "All file system objects", I unchecked "CRebitContextMenuExt" (and it took me a fair bit of trial-and-error searching to determine that that was the Replica action).  Voilà, my file operations are back up to their proper speed.  If I do need to retrieve a file sometime in the future, I can re-enable that action.

It's a work-around, not a solution.  I'm disappointed that the problem has been reported to Seagate repeatedly over quite some time, but nothing seems to have been done about it.
 
bunsen_h: (Default)
When a statistic is reported as "plus-or-minus X, 19 times out of 20", it means that 1 time out of 20, the value will not be within plus-or-minus X.  (That is, the people who did the survey rolled a d20, and if it came up 20 — or 1; depends on the local rules — they got to make up some other number.)  If the results being measured follow a "normal" bell-shaped distribution, about 1 time out of 400, the real value will be outside plus-or-minus 1½ X of the reported value.
 

BSG

May. 5th, 2007 10:35 am
bunsen_h: (Default)
I've recently been watching Battlestar Galactica, after a friend loaned me the DVDs.  I'm about half way through the first season, and I think I'm going to stop.
  • Poor prop and stage design.  The series is supposedly set some thousands of years in the future, at a time when Earth is only a legend.  But most of the props look like they were purchased from contemporary sources.  Maybe a 2005-style whiteboard is the most efficient conceivable way of displaying information quickly and informally on a wall, but would it have been that difficult to find or make a board, markers, and eraser that looked at least a bit different from current standard office equipment?  Why is the doctor smoking current-standard filter-tip cigarettes?  (Apart from the issue of his annoying his patients by doing so...)  The only props that seem to have had some stylistic evolution don't make sense for having done so.  The playing cards have weird glyphs.  All printed material -- papers, cards, books -- has large corners chopped off.  It looks silly.
  • Low tech.  A lot of the technology we see on the show isn't even up to real-life standards.  Telephone handsets are big and clunky.  MRI should be able to detect differences between Cylons and humans; they have different chemical compounds and different brain structures, and they've demonstrated greater strength and peculiar vulnerability to some form of radiation.  And it would be nice to think that sometime in those thousands of years, better tests and treatment for cancer would have been developed...
  • Plot inconsistencies.  In the pilot episode, a character was abandoned because (faked) tests showed that he was really a humaniform Cylon.  A few episodes later, much is made of the difficulties in coming up with such a test.  But it's never brought up that either those first tests could be extended, or if they could never really work, that that character should not have been left.  Oh, and that stuff about "there are only twelve models of Cylons, so we can instantly recognize someone as a Cylon once we know about that model"?  There's an ancient concept that I'd like to remind you about: "disguise"..?
  • Bad relationships.  We've seen some romantic/sexual relationships, in some detail.  All have been disastrously bad.  The flight instructor was involved with one of her trainees, gave him passing grades which he didn't deserve, and directly led to his death.  And there are no fewer than three female humaniform Cylons who have been seducing human males -- the sadistic relationship between "Number Six" and Baltar really makes me twitch.
  • The Plan.  We keep being told that the Cylons "have a plan".  But if so, it seems to be baroque, and it doesn't seem to be intended to wipe out humanity so much as to cruelly toy with humans.  Given that the Cylons have already effectively infiltrated the fleet, and have superior technology in pretty much every respect (and why have they used nuclear weapons and conventional explosives etc. rather than an engineered plague or two?), if they wanted humans gone, humans would be history.  But I don't get any sense that there really is a more complex goal, and the characters don't seem to be thinking along the lines of "what are they really after?".

The show is probably not worse than, say, Star Trek or Doctor Who.  But it's also pretty much completely lacking any sense of joy or fun -- perhaps unsurprising, given the plot, but there's very little positive stuff even in small details.

Bottom line: I'm not enjoying it very much, so I'm going to find other ways of spending my time.

August 2017

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