May 6, 2005
Steve Ballmer has evidently come to a conclusion as to how Microsoft is going to deal with support or non-support of issues like the one raised here.
Since Scoble posted it on the Channel 9 site, I'll just link to that from here.
Good job Steve Ballmer.
Yes, he may have initially made a mistake, but he's corrected it. Perfection I don't care about. But recognizing you made a goof and fixing that goof I DO care about.
Ballmer did that, and as is consistent with the principles of good leadership, I'm publicly commending him for that.
Again, good job Steve Ballmer.| Comments ()
May 5, 2005
THIS...is what I mean
Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, gave a speech on the anti-gay marriage amendment about to (probably) be passed in texas.
The full text is below. It's not cut.
All I can say is “Word”, and if I lived in Houston, I'd be sending her donations and volunteering time.
She said it all, and she said it perfectly.
HJR 6 Speech by Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston)
I have been a member of this august body for three decades, and today is one of the all-time low points. We are going in the wrong direction, in the direction of hate and fear and discrimination. Members, we all know what this is about; this is the politics of divisiveness at its worst, a wedge issue that is meant to divide.
Members, this issue is a distraction from the real things we need to be working on. At the end of this session, this Legislature, this Leadership will not be able to deliver the people of Texas, fundamental and fair answers to the pressing issues of our day.
Let's look at what this amendment does not do: It does not give one Texas citizen meaningful tax relief. It does not reform or fully fund our education system. It does not restore one child to CHIP, who was cut from health insurance last session. It does not put one dime into raising Texas' Third World access to health care. It does not do one thing to care for or protect one elderly person or one child in this state. In fact, it does not even do anything to protect one marriage.
Members, this bill is about hate and fear and discrimination. I know something about hate and fear and discrimination. When I was a small girl, white folks used to talk about “protecting the institution of marriage” as well. What they meant was if people of my color tried to marry people of Mr. Chisum's color, you'd often find the people of my color hanging from a tree. That's what the white folks did back then to “protect marriage.” Fifty years ago, white folks thought inter-racial marriages were a “threat to the institution of marriage.”
Members, I'm a Christian and a proud Christian. I read the good book, and do my best to live by it. I have never read the verse where it says, “gay people can't marry.” I have never read the verse where it says, “thou shalt discriminate against those not like me.” I have never read the verse where it says, “let's base our public policy on hate and fear and discrimination.” Christianity to me is love and hope and faith and forgiveness-- not hate and discrimination.
I have served in this body a lot of years-- and I have seen a lot of promises broken. I should be up here demanding my 40 acres and a mule because that's another promise you broke. You used a wealthy white minister cloaked in the cloth to ease the stench of that form of discrimination.
So, now that blacks and women can vote, and now that blacks and women have equal rights-- you turn your hatred to homosexuals-- and you still use your misguided reading of the Bible to justify your hatred. You want to pass this ridiculous amendment so you can go home and brag-- brag about what? Declare that you saved the people of Texas from what?
Persons of the same sex cannot get married in this State now. Texas does not now recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions, religious unions, domestic partnerships, contractual arrangements or Christian blessings entered into in this State-- or anywhere else on this planet Earth.
If you want to make your hateful political statements then that is one thing-- the Chisum amendment does real harm. It repeals the contracts that many single people have paid thousands of dollars to purchase to obtain medical powers of attorney, powers of attorney, hospital visitation, joint ownership and support agreements. You have lost your way-- this is obscene.
Today, you are playing to the lowest common denominator-- you are putting aside the real issues of substance that we need to address so that you can instead play on the public's fears and prejudices to deceive and manipulate voters into thinking that we have done something important.
I realize that gay rights are not the same as civil rights-- but I can guarantee you we are going in the wrong direction. I can not hide my skin color. In fact, in most of the South, people as pink as Rep. Wayne Smith were still Black by law if they had a great grandparent who was African. I was unable to attend an integrated and equally funded school until I got my Master of Laws degree. There were separate and unequal facilities for nearly everything.
I got second-hand textbooks even worse than the kind you're trying to pass off on every public school student next year. I had to ride to school on the back of the bus. I had to quench my thirst from filthy coloreds-only drinking fountains. I had to enter restaurants from the kitchen door. I was banned from entering most public accommodations, even from serving on a jury. I had to live with the fear that getting too uppity could get you killed --- or worse. I know what third-class citizenship feels like. In my first term, one of my colleagues walked up and down this aisle muttering about how Nigras should be back in the field picking cotton instead of picking out committees.
So, I have to wonder about Rep. Chisum's 3/5 of a person amendment. Some of you folks hid behind your Bible then, too, to justify your cultural prejudices, your denial of liberty, and your gunpoint robbery of human dignity.
We have worked hard at putting our prejudices against homosexuals in law. We have denied them basic job protections. We have denied them and their children freedom from bullying and harassment at school. We have tried to criminalize their very existence. But, we have also absolved them of all family duties and responsibilities: to care for and support their spouses and children, to count their family's assets in determining public assistance, to obtain health insurance for dependents, to make end-of-life or necessary medical decisions for their life partners--- sometimes even to visit in the hospital, even to defend our own country. And then, we can stand on our two hind legs and proclaim, “See, I told you homosexual families are unstable.” And nearly every one of you on this Floor has a homosexual in their extended families.
Some of you have shunned and isolated these family members. Some of you, even some of the joint coauthors, have embraced them within your own family for the essence of Christianity is love. Yet, you are now poised to constitutionalize discrimination against a particular class of people. I thought we would be debating real issues: education, health care for kids, teacher's health insurance, health care for the elderly, protecting survivors of sexual assault, protecting the pensions of seniors in nursing homes.
I thought we would be debating economic development, property tax relief, protecting seniors pensions and stem cell research, to save lives of Texans who are waiting for a more abundant life. Instead we are wasting this body's time with this political stunt that is nothing more than constitutionalizing discrimination. The prejudices exhibited by members of this body disgust me.
Last week, Republicans used a political wedge issue to pull kids-- sweet little vulnerable kids-- out of the homes of loving parents and put them back in a state orphanage just because those parents are gay. That's disgusting. Today, we are telling homosexuals that just like people of my ilk, when I was a small child; they too are second class citizens.
I have listened to all the arguments. I have listened to all of the crap. Mr. Chisum, is a person who I consider my good friend and revere. But, I want you to know that this amendment is blowing smoke to fuel the hell-fire flames of bigotry.
You are trying to protect your constituents from danger. This amendment is a CYB amendment for you to go home and talk about.
Madam, you are my new hero.| Comments ()
May 3, 2005
Is Apple changing? I hope so
Now, in previous articles here, I've taken Apple to task for their inconsistent and in some cases, sub-standard/non-existent AppleScript support. Heck, any script support. It was, and is, stupid and short-sighted.
However, if I'm going to point the finger when they mess up, it falls to me to tell them when I think they've done right, and lately, they've done some right. In fact, they've done a whole passle 'o' right.
First off, Soundtrack Pro is scriptable. I haven't seen the dictionary, but it has one. Not only is it scriptable, but this fact is rather prominently displayed as a feature right on the main Soundtrack Pro page: it's recordable.
That's right readers, one of the main pillars of Final Cut Studio is scriptable and recordable. I don't know how that got pulled off, but to whomever managed it, find me at the WWDC, I'll buy you a beer. This isn't just cool on it's own, it also makes Soundtrack Pro accessible from Automator via AppleScript Studio. Hot DAMN!!!
Minor update: Just received word from Apple that Soundtrack Pro is not recordable in the AppleScript sense. No matter, Recordabilty is not, nor should it be a deal-breaker. They still deserve all the praise here.
Good job Soundtrack Pro guys. Now, go over to your compatriots in the rest of Final Cut Studio, and hit them with the clue stick.
Shake is scriptable, albeit via its own language, and/or shell script. Regardless of this being due more to its origins or work from Apple, the point is this: it's automatable. And if you can shell script it, you can AppleScript it too. A 'true' dictionary is always nice, but I'll take shell. Because automation doesn't suck. Maybe the Shake folks can act as backup to the Soundtrack Pro guys, 'cause that clue stick gets heavy after a while.
QTSS Publisher is scriptable and how. It's not recordable, but i can live without that. (Recorded scripts tend to be real funky looking and need much work to get efficient) Take a look at it, someone put a lot of time and effort into it, and it shows. Again, good job QTSS Publisher folks. Amusingly, QTSS Publisher getting a dictionary is not surprising, the QuickTime folks have always had their heads on straight with regard to AppleScript. They can be the third vector of attack in support of the Shake and Soundtrack Pro folks.
Keynote 2 (only) has a dictionary but it's pretty much useless for anything beyond automating the playing of a presentation. You can't say, use AppleScript to yank stuff from a Word or OmniOutliner document and use that to create slideshows. You can with PowerPoint, since, ironically, Microsoft Office has better AppleScript support than iWork, but at least there's a dictionary. But no real pat on the back until it gives us the ability to do stuff.
With the latest updates, GarageBand now has a dictionary. It's not as ineffectual as Keynote 2's, in that you can actually do some stuff with it, but there's some stuff that's kinda silly. Like record enabled being read only. In fact, most of the track properties are read only, other than the instrument name and the track volume. However, the CPU load property of a song has some potential. If nothing else, it can show you which machines you need to update first in a lab situation, or which ones are having issues because of CPU load or other problems. Of course, if monitoring the CPU load causes a major CPU load, it's kind of useless. But it's cool. So, even though it's mostly read - only, GarageBand's dictionary has some real coolness, which gets it qualified praise.
The biggest praise must go, as always, to the Core OS AppleScript team. They've done some amazing new stuff, which I'll look at as soon as I get a gander at the release notes for the Core OS.
But I have to say, the increase in useful dictionaries, especially in the Pro Apps, which, up until NAB 2005 were a “No Automation” zone, is a a really good sign that maybe Apple is realizing that they have to lead, not follow with regard to AppleScript. They've a ways to go, but at least they're moving, and that's something.| Comments ()
May 1, 2005
I hates Lucas! I hates it forever!
Lucas that is. George Lucas.
Take away his film privileges. He sucks, and he's a total OCD imbecile who doesn't understand that sometimes, it's the imperfections, and the things you may not like about a work of art that make it something more. He thinks that if he modifies everything enough, eventually no one will notice and we'll all call it perfect.
First, and this must me said now, he's an awful director. Before all the examples to prove me wrong start up, he's a shit director. What he is good at, or used to be anyway, is editing. All those examples you want to prove me wrong with?
American Graffiti? The first
Star Wars film? Editing. I mean for the love of god, he made Suzanne Somers look like she could act. Alfred Hitchcock, who could out direct Lucas thirty years after his death couldn't have done that. Early Lucas flicks are tours de force of editing wizardry. The ones that don't suck.
But please, don't try to tell me that Star Wars, (by this I mean, Episode IV, A New Hope. When someone who's 37 says
Star Wars, we only mean one movie) is a masterwork of directing. All the great acting happened in spite of Lucas, not because of him. Face it, Harrison Ford was, and is, a great actor. Alec Guiness? Great Actor. The were also big enough to not have to put up with a lot of Lucas' shit if they chose not to. Alas, poor Liam Neeson was not in that position. (Nor is anyone else since Lucas became the richest prat in Hollywood.) Bet he's glad he died off quick.
However, for those of you who think Lucas is a great director, and insist on using Star Wars as an example, I give you Leia's Amazing Disappearing Accent. Early in the film, she had this really awful, (almost Winona Rider in Dracula awful) sorta-British accent:
The tighter you make your grip the more systems will slip through your fingers. By her next major scene, she's just dropped that:
Hey! Ain't youse a little short for a Storm Trooper? A
Great Director keeps track of shit like that. Let's not forget his moronic
In the future, chicks don't wear bras because they're all liberated 'n' stuff. Hey moron, there are good technical reasons to wear bras beyond the subjugation of femininity by the patriarchy.
As well, he keeps thinking that if he messes with the movies enough, he'll make them perfect. Well, no, he won't. But his ego, and his pathetically stupid belief in technology as the magic spell of not-sucking won't let him realize this. I saw his huge re-edited explosion for Star Wars. A big ring. Big deal. Now, had he made it look like the explosion of the Nostromo in
Alien, that would have been worth the effort. Now, sometimes, it's not total suckage. The added Jabba scenes? Okay, nice background. A little redundant, but not evilly so. But the whole
Han shot last, now Han shot at the same time thing? Gimme a break.
A major part of a movie is character development. One of the best examples of those was Han Solo. At the beginning of
Star Wars, he's a smuggler, in trouble over money, and quite honestly, will shoot your ass dead if he thinks he has to. Won't bother him a bit. He's a self-centered criminal. Note: This was specifically stated in the book version of Star Wars (The one that Lucas wrote):
Everyone knew you never let Han Solo's hands out of sight. Han was not a nice guy. He wasn't utter scum, but he wasn't a nice guy either. Any nobility had been quashed by the realities of his life. But through the movie, and through the first three movies, we see him grow. His nobility rises again. He remembers that money isn't everything, and some things are worth dying for, (contrary to his earlier statements), or even getting frozen in Carbonite for. That's what character development is, and for a long time, Han was a fantastic example of it.
Lucas went and really screwed that up, although he backed off a bit. Now, Han's a good guy from the start. What, he's undercover as a smuggler? If he's that good of a guy, then being a smuggler and working for scum like Jabba makes no sense. He's no longer a character, he's just a plot device for Luke.
Luke gets it in the ass from the magic wand of re-editing too, although supposedly this has been fixed.
I am of course, talking about The Scream.
The Empire Strikes Back, during his fight with Darth Vader, there's a revelation. Vader reveals that he is Luke's father. It's a powerful scene, since most of what Luke believes has just been crapped on, and thanks to the Force, he knows its true. His entire life is upside down, and, oh yeah, he's kinda fighting for his life, and his hand's been chopped off. So he has a hard choice. Join the Dark Side, or die. He chooses, and silently takes the header off the platform. Vader rushes to the edge, but to no avail. There's a lingering shot of Vader, and we wonder what he's thinking. (Of course, with what Lucas did to The Force, I wonder why Vader didn't just levitate his ass back up, but that's a later paragraph. Never mind, this is explained in Episode III, and it is indeed lame.) Then in the VCR re-release, Luke screams as he falls off the platform. Well goody. Now, it's no longer a noble sacrifice, another example of being willing to die for what you feel is good and proper. No, he what, slipped? He wanted to chat with Vader more? Gimme a break. If the information about The Scream being taken out are true, then good. Because it was stupid and petty. Sorry George, but everyone's right,
Empire really is the best of the series and I don't see Episode III changing that. But then,
Empire had a good director. Oh, and the re-engineering of Hayden Christensen into the first movie? WTF, Vader never aged in the suit? He was 19 until he died? Gimme a break. He SHOULD look older than oh, HIS SON.
Don't give me any crap about how “Well that's the age he was before he became evil.” No dumbass, that's the age he was at when he was too whiny, foolish and stupid, and went over to The Dark Side because he was an overpowered little whiny bitch. That's the age he was when he became evil. You DO remember where he finds redemption? That whole scene in
Return of the Jedi? “Father...help me?” He sees that his entire life since going to The Dark Side has been a waste, an unending cry of rage and fury, and it's about to kill the only thing he ever did that was worth a crap. (Again, I must interject. My statement about rage and fury was wrong. As it turns out, his entire life since going to the Dark Side has been a teen-aged temper tantrum because no one would call him “Master”. Another great character, ass-raped by Lucas)
He couldn't have done that at nineteen. If he had, he wouldn't have become Vader. It was the older Anakin who was able to marshal the strength to rise up and say
No more. My evil ends here. He died to save the life he had created, the only time he had created life, (along with Leia), and not destroyed. It's why his request to Luke to remove his helmet so that he can finally see his child with his own eyes, not filtered through Vader's shell is so powerful. It is Anakin we see laying there in the remains of the Death Star as it falls apart around him. It could be said that it was perhaps the only time we get to see Anakin finally being the Jedi he could have been, at last freed of the rage and hatred that formed his early years, and made becoming Vader a given. That is why it is fitting that, in that final scene with Kenobi and Yoda, we see Anakin as he should have been, as he could have been if he had only had more strength of soul when he was younger. Seeing the whiny bitch who had a bad day and helped kill billions is an insult to the strength that the redeemed Anakin had finally found within himself.
In every act of creation, there's the temptation to keep making it better. This temptation must of course be resisted. At some point, you declare it done. Not perfect, but done. You let it go and move on. If there are things you don't like, apply the lessons learned to your next work of art.
As far as the first three movies in the set go, utter crap, all of them, even the ones I haven't seen all of , or have even been released yet. As examples:
The Force now makes you Superman. You can fly, you can shoot lasers, deflect bullets. Probably gives you a bigger winky too. Or for female Jedi, nicer boobs. I dunno, it's a joke now. The Force no longer makes you one with the universe, it makes you a super hero. Of course, the re-directing of The Force into the ultimate Deus Ex Machina pales next to teh stupidity that are midi-chlorians.
I literally could not believe that Lucas did this. So now, being one with The Force means you have a higher concentration of microscopic organisms in your bloodstream? What, is The Force now a form of dysentery? It would explain the crap that passes for Jedi Dialogue but my god, this is moronic, and insults the intelligence of every viewer. George, here's another tip: You don't have to explain everything. We don't need to know the mechanics of The Force. That one scene where they talk about Anakin's midi-chlorian count? Crapola. Trust your audience George. We can live with The Force being mysterious. In fact, it makes The Force cooler. This midi-chlorian idiocy makes it sound like you can get The Force from drinking untreated water. So, instead of The Force being a mysterious thing, it's a disease brought on by micro-organisms. Just great.
Have chronic diarrhea? You may be a Jedi.
But that's minor. Take a look at what Lucas does to the actors in Episodes 1 & 2. Liam Neeson? Boring. Samuel L. Jackson? Boring. That's right, Lucas made Samuel L. Jackson boring. The dialog between Anakin and Amidala, (I saw a few parts of Episode 2, and I almost puked)? Oh.my.god...if it were any more wooden, it would be Star Trek V. “I...Love...You...Ami...Da-la” BARF. Christ, why bother using humans at all? Oh wait, Jar-Jar, never mind.
But the fight scenes are the worst. He couldn't even be bothered to choreograph the fight scenes properly. In the final fight with Darth Maul in Episode 1, really look at the action. Ray Park is almost moving in stop motion to let the other two catch up. If that's how bad Jedi fight no wonder they all got massacred. A bad Tae Kwon Do school could do it. I watched the battle between Jango Fett, and Samuel Jackson...okay, so yes, Jackson's character is an uber - Jedi master. But he's fighting Jango Fett. The Baddest Bounty Hunter Anywhere. He's killed Jedi. I'm not saying Fett should have won, I'm saying it should have been a close fight. Not “Swish-swash, and Fett's head rolls away.” That was just insulting. It means that Boba Fett is either the biggest wuss in the world, or that everyone else who fears him is just a complete spineless pile of jelly.
But the worst was Yoda. Yeah, I wanted to see Yoda fight. Who hasn't. But I'm also a martial artist, have been for over a decade. What you realize is that as you work with folks who have been doing this for say, over half a century is that they don't waste movement. The better they get, the more economy of motion. There's no grand gestures anymore. Watch videos of the master who founded Aikido. No great movements, but people get laid out. That's a Master...they use their art unconsciously in everything they do, and when they are actively using it, you can barely see some of what they do. So I'm looking for something that shows Yoda as the Master he is, because even at that point, he's been doing it for what, 700 years? Even fighting Count Dooku. (DOOKU? Holy crap George, don't just HAND South Park the parody...“Howdy-ho everybody, I'm Count Dooky, the evil Jedi Master”) I am hoping for this economy of motion from someone who is a part of The Force at levels that no other Jedi can comprehend. From someone who has transcended anger and hatred.
I'm a complete moron for thinking Lucas could do that.
Instead I get a methed-out cricket with a glow stick. Boing, boing, screaming, yelling, boing boing, and then, he can't even kick Dooku's ass while holding up a building. I guess he can only do that on Dagobah. What a pile of crap.
Looking at the previews for Episode 3? Same thing. Vader pivoting up on the table with his hands clamped up beside his head...so he looks like an overly effeminate flamer getting a surprise. “OOOOOooohh...I get a LIGHT SABER!!!!” The emperor attacking people, looking like Freddy Kreuger in bad robes. No. I refuse to give Lucas my money, or even my time. I honestly hope it gets pirated all to hell and no one sees it in the theater. Losing money seems to be the only thing Lucas understands.
Screw you George, for being such an egotisical cockwad and ruining something that a long time ago, was really really cool.
I wrote that part in December of 2004 on another site, after seeing early previews. I've now read (not bought, George gets no money from me) the kid's book and the full novelization of Episode III.
I hate Lucas more.
You have to understand that in the first three movies, Vader was Evil. He was unnatural. He was the thing that crawled out of the pit that Obi-Wan pushed him into. He scared everyone but the Emperor pissless, and he was the most obvious manifestation of the Emperor's power.
He was Vader, and to even displease him was to die.
Over time, fans of the three good movies think of Anakin as a true tragedy. A noble character who was gradually perverted into a monster. A ray of hope changed into a wasteland of hopelessness.
But what does Lucas give us in the first three movies?
A whiny bitch who couldn't have his way so he turned to the Dark Side in a temper tantrum. He's not even evil anymore, not like Vader was. Now, he's just every other goth-teen stomping into his room yelling
No one understands me, but I'll show you all!. My god, he's a sci-fi version of those two prats who shot up Columbine. That's not evil, that's just...teen angst to the max.
So now, every time I see Vader saying great lines like
Obi-wan was wise to hid her existence from me. Now his failure is complete. I'll be hearing
Neener-neener, I know who she is now, and i'm gonna maker her evil so we can do evil things, like...like wear black and worship SATAN! My god, Lucas turned Darth Vader into DARK HELMET!
Thanks to George's appalling lack of subtlety and talent, one of the great embodiments of screen evil is now the lame embodiment of an over-privileged teen trust kid who had to settle for a stock Benz on their birthday instead of the AMG model.
I mean, at this point, Obi-Wan should have just bounced a basketball off his forehead and told him to squirt a few. Even worse, it's not that Anakin uses the raw power of the Dark Side to crawl out of the lava pit and back to his new master to become Vader in form, not just name. Obi-Wan kicks his damned ass. Cuts off both his legs and the other arm, and watches the basket case roll into the lava. It's a damned midget toss! The only reason he survives is because the Emperor feels a disturbance in the Force, (I guess that much whining does have a long range), and comes to get him. What's the first thought the guy has? Not “Good, now I truly own him.” No, it's “God-damn, you little retard. What good are you like that. Can't shoot no zippy Force death rays, can't fly. Shit. Maybe I can put him in a scary suit, and give him a voice that sounds like he grew a pair at some point.”
Oh yeah, Amidala dying right as the kids are born? Smooth move Lucas, way to keep continuity with “Jedi”. I suppose you'll have to edit out scene where Leia tells Luke about their mother. Way to know your own work, idiot.
Oh, the whole chosen one thing? Why did the Jedi think “Balance” meant, “No more evil.” I guess “Math” is one of the things in the list of stuff A Jedi Cares Not for. Okay, so before Episode III you have two Sith, and a passle of Jedi. That, dear reader, is unbalanced. After Episode III you have two Sith and two Jedi. That dear reader is balanced. I guess along with sex and love, Jedi aren't allowed to do math. Critical thinking and analysis aren't big on their list either. No wonder Anakin Whinewalker wiped them all out so easily.
I have to stop here, it's just too lame to keep thinking about it.
What's left, we find out Han's really a furry, and Chewie's his love-slave?
God I hate Lucas.| Comments () | TrackBacks (30)