Archive for June, 2003

June 19th, 2003

I am enrolled at the Limerick School of Arms, which teaches classical and historical fencing.

Some links to relevant sites include

the International Masters at Arms Federation, the Association for Historical Fencing, The Martinez Academy of Arms and the British Federation for Historical Swordplay.

June 18th, 2003

All done.

Added a books section for what I’m reading now, thanks to www.allconsuming.net

Sorted out some minor bits and pieces

June 17th, 2003

Alrighty then,

A new look, kinda. There are only so many ways a blog can look and this is one :-)

Added blogs I read regularly. Some are people I know, some are political (left of center of course) and some are not so serious.

Archives are working. Hurrah! Although I don’t seem to be able to archive anything earlier that June 8, and the archives are not in reverse chronological order (anf they are supposed to be monthly not weekly). If anyone can help sort them out I would defenitely buy them beer in part compensation.

Other links are to news sites and some web sites. I’ll add more later.

next I want to see if can get some book reviews from www.allconsuming.net and link to them here.

the background color for the right hand column is RGB #C8D0D8 if anyone cares

June 15th, 2003

So windows XP self destructed on me on Friday (bad windows. no cookie). I’ve just about recovered everything except the last 3 weeks worth of email. Now I just need to restore my favourites and reinstall a bunch of applications. ca c’est la vie

archives still aren’t working properly as I had other things on my mind. I’ll sort them out this week. Or next ;-)

June 13th, 2003

archive test here

June 13th, 2003

John Sutherland from the Guardian has me wondering if I should start to be worried about my future job prospects .

Although on the other hand as he quotes Professor David Goodstein

“Producing PhDs is simply not the purpose of our system of education. Its purpose instead is to produce citizens capable of operating a Jeffersonian democracy, and also if possible capable of contributing to their own and to the economic well being.”

Which is nice, if very US-centric. It reads even better if you substitute any education level for PhDs.

June 6th, 2003

So I went to see Matrix Reloaded.

There is a school of thought that says the second part of a trilogy should be a complete, well thought out movie (or book) in its own right, This movie doesn’t do that. Instead it just takes an “aha, so you think you know the Matrix” attitde and subsequently turns everything we know on its head. The movie even has a “Luke. I am your father” moment for God’s sake. Overall it makes no effort to solve or complete anything instead focussing on a couple of plotlines which are left dangling to be picked up and presumably completed in the third movie. Although I wouldn’t hold my breath I can see more sequels and spin offs coming from this than the original “Planet of the Apes”. Probably about the same quality too.

Anyway, lots of secondary characters are introduced. And they all get their 2-3 minutes of fame to make sure that they are at the right place at the right time to say the right things, save the right people and die the right deaths and generally make sure the plot happens as and when it is supposed to. The programs themselve are more interesting than the people, even if all the well realised ones are pretty fatalistic.

This time the plot is the machines are digging, which would presumably make a good movie in its own right, what with the people of Zion mustering their resources agains the the perfidious machines with lots of underground digging and counterdigging and strategic magma strikes (Zion is still supposed to be at the centre of the Earth, right!!) and so on. Alternatively we could ignore that movie becaue we are not afraid (the machines have only destroyed the Earth, enslaved mankind and killed off numerous incarnations of Zion. I’d be afraid) And anyway we have a prophecy…

And so the movie is about prophecy and choice. Except it isn’t really because thats all a front by the machines and what the movie is all about is how to contol and limit random varaiables with the illusion and prophecy of choice. Although its equally possible to come away with the impression that the movie was about long beautifully choreographed fight sequences. I just can’t bring myself to care.

Neo is still THE ONE, and all the machines are a bit more comftrable about this. It probably helps that he looks amazingly like all the previous incarnations of THE ONE. Suprisingly this didn’t help the machines find him in the first movie. I can see the agents in conversation now

1st agent “hey look this guy is the spitting image of the old Neo. Do you think he could be the new Neo in this matrix.”

2nd agent “Nah, thats impossible”

1st agent “He’s called Neo and everything”

2nd agent “Don’t you know anything about human genetics”

1st agent “And he’s a hacker”

2nd agent “Just stop already”

As THE ONE Neo shows suprisingly little intrest in how the Matrix is constructed or how the programs work. He recoginises back doors and rogue programs when he sees them but never shows any intrest in disassembling them to see how they work. I suppose it just wouldn’t be useful in a life or death struggle with a computer program to know how it works, where the backdoors are or just simply be able to dissamble it. Even when meeting the architect our computer guru with an instictive understanding of the Matrix falls back on all the acting skill he devloped in “Bill and Ted’s excellent adventure” when faced with big words and mathematicalish problem descriptions. No chance the Neo would pull out his trusty laptop and utilse his m4d sk1llz to analyse the architect’s programs and equations for himself.

Neo chooses true love over saving the world, which actually is a good choice. Zion is 100 years old in the centre of the Earth, yet looks like it was carved yesterday, with no effort to smooth the walls. And while they have the tech to build meks and ships they lack basic maintenance for the ships (maybe only when the plot depends on it) and Neo never seems to be able to find a clean shirt. (Presumably Lever Brothers wouldn’t pay for product plavement.) This is undoubtedly meant to contrast with the world of the Matrix where everything is clean and bright and sanitised. Unfortunately, In the Matrix Neo wears semi-religous type garb which brings back harrowing memories for those of us educated by the Christian Brothers and other such groups. Brings a whole new level to Neo’s relationship with the orphaned boy…

Its not really an improvement over the first movie. The plot, dialogue, characterization and acting are still rubbish. On the plus side the special effects are even better and it is an absolute gem to watch. Roll on the third installment.