About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

20 July 2006

Microsoft Playing Fair?

From dedicated tech sites like CNet to mainstream media like The Seattle Times, the word is that Microsoft are adopting 12 principles towards more competitive practices with Vista. No doubt, the fines lobbied by the EU totaling to almost a billion Euros had something to do with it, but the question remains - how much of this is publicity, and how much of this is actually going to happen.

The question really is, can I buy Windows Vista, the operating system without crap like IE, Outlook Express, Solitaire (and the other Windows games), Media Player and all the other GB worth of bloatware? Windows Vista is reputed to have a massive installation base, but if this is true, a slim down version of windows at a slimed down price ... then Linux and other OO variants will have to really think fresh ... On the other hand, it could also usher in a new era of true interoperability. Somehow, I just don't see it happening.

Morning Radio Blues

I used to be a big fan of Mark Gillman. In fact, my alarm clock radio thingie is tuned to 5FM for this reason. But off course, Mark Gillman is gone from 5FM, and his replacement, Gareth Cliff is crap. So, I ask, are there any good breakfast shows on radio - specifically, something that won't put me back to sleep? I promise to try all suggested shows.

19 July 2006

Movie: Swing Vote

Abortion is probably the most contentious (and in my opinion interesting) legal battle ever, more than the death penalty. In the USA, abortion was legalised in a now famous ruling referred to as "Roe vs Wade". Since then, the anti abortion movement (pro life) has been fighting to overturn the decision, and in many cases, this has been one of the tickets that republican presidents (like Dubya) have run on, and will probably continue to run on.

The movie plotline is simple, Roe vs Wade was overturned, and a state made abortion equivalent to murder 1. A woman is charged with murder 1 after aborting, and the case has moved back to the Supreme Court. A new hot shot trial attorney has just been sworn in as a supreme court judge, and thus the decision needs to be re-affirmed or over turned.

There are no new arguments, although it is a very balanced presentation of the problem posed by abortion, with some personal touches. And in many ways, the final decision reads a lot like our own rules governing abortion, like mandatory counseling.

I read a book on the subject once, a few years back, and it defined the pro life stance as an argument based on the "sanctity of life". The question it raised was - why is life sacred, and more particularly, why is human life sacred, and are some human lives more sacred than others?

Movie: Superman Returns

It was not a conscious decision to watch two movies dealing with polyamorous love in the same afternoon - although the relationship in this case is a lot more of a love triangle. Superman (and his alter ego) loves Lois. Lois loves Superman (but not the alter ego). Lois loves Richard. Richard loves Lois. Yet another triad see ...

The movie, as expected is a CGI masterpiece, and like all superhero movies, riddled with plot holes, and sometimes stupid points. Right from the very beginning when Lex Luther, takes control over the Krypton crystals ... come on, an advanced civilisation without an access control policy?

But the movie was a lot of fun, although at about 2.5 hours, it's probably 30 minutes too long.

Movie: Separate Lies

Polyamory is a strange concept to most people, and the thought of having more than one love at the same time is probably weird, though I have never worked out why. And more importantly, why people should care that others are in a polyamorous relationship - maybe it's jealousy.

Polyamory is not the theme of the movie - the movie is primarily a murder mystery. But it is the unique triad that develops that is the real focus of the story - the married couple, and the wife's lover - all of them recognising each other's presence and role in their respective lives. The movie never really takes the ultimate step (from the view of the polygamy supporters), but it's probably the most acceptable position in the overall scheme of things.

As for the mystery itself - it's not really one. It is rather obvious, what makes the movie good is how the story is unfolded and the superbly brilliant acting. It's worth watching for that fact alone.

Movie: Natural Born Killers

Yes, it's an old movie. But it's one of the major Quentin Tarantino creation that I had not seen before this past weekend. A lot can be said about the theme and it's subsequent influence, including its possible influence in the Columbine Massacre. Yes, it's gory, and it is one of the few movies where the bad guys win, and in some perverted way you support the script writer's vision that the bad guys go free.

Murder for the thrill of it? First person shooters already practice it virtually. Embedded television as tanks and planes blow up real people into bits is already reality. So the thrill in killing - it seems real ... the question is how different is the movie to all this current reality?

17 July 2006

Weird Food

Fancy eating camel humps? How about pig testicles or sea slugs? See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/06/programmes_food_for_thought/html/1.stm for a visual delight :p

Signs, Walking and Public Transport

I was at the V&A to watch the F1 at Sports Cafe yesterday (I am a regular, they not only know my name - they reserve a table without even asking :P) and I noticed that V&A has set up walking routes in the V&A area. There are 4 different routes, well demarcated with explanations at interesting points, and the routes themselves have different themes. Thinking about it, Cape Town (the city itself) is quite a walking friendly city - there are a number of signs, most of which point the right way, and major areas like St George's Mall and Parliament Gardens have a lot of historical anecdotes etc - you can almost make a guided tour out of it! The V&A has gone even further with their noticeboards in a number of languages - English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu (I guess it's Zulu and Xhosa), and a number of international languages like German and Japanese. Now, if this was extended to the rest of Cape Town - it would really make it unique.

Anyway, on my way back, I saw the first white guy driving a (minibus) taxi in cape Town yesterday. I don't know - it just seemed very weird ... it just seemed so unusual. The main thing I really wanted to talk about was the standard of driving by taxi drivers - forever criticised and demonised. I have had lots of good experiences in taxis, and since I don't drive - I am not really in a position to comment. When I do cycle, they are often the most respectful - and I think they are often criticised wrongly.

Anyway, one of the problems raised is how they often stop in the middle of nowhere - but thinking about it, and after some experiences in Jammie Shuttles, I don't think it's entirely their fault. It's often lazy customers who want to be dropped off or picked up at certain points that force this habit - and often people get very angry if they don't get their way. But I suppose, if every taxi driver stuck to their guns and only picked and dropped off people at designated points, then the situation would improve.