Linux on an old PC

So everyone is getting on the Lunix bandwagon, or at least the open souce revolution. I’ve recently made the switch to Firefox, the open source browser from the Mozilla team. I’ve been very pleased with it so far. A few new things to get used to, but the new features, and the options of extentions make the browser a lot of fun to use. Tabbed browsing is something I should have done years ago when I first heard about it.

So onto Linux. I picked up an older computer from my family. It’s an old AMD 400Mhz machine, that should have enough energy to pump out a little bit of steam to experiment with. My first problem was the CD drive, easily fixed.

I originally was going to install Gentoo but while I learned a lot from partitioning my hard disks, I decided to “vanilliafy” my learning experience and download Mandrake and get it set up and learn some more of the basics of Linux before I did the deeper Gentoo.

So it’s installing on the other computer as I type this and I’ll see how it goes. Updates sure to follow.

About that article

I mentioned yesterday that an article in the Classic Gamer Magazine made me pause and think for a moment. It was titled “An Inside Joke” by Todd Deci. In it he details a situation similar to mine.

Being a gamer, and married, you want your significant other to enjoy at least part of your hobby with you and it always seems to be a struggle to find games that you can both play together. Todd talks of his experience playing the Game Boy Advance Wario Ware Inc. and loving it. When he heard that there was going to be a multi-player version coming out on the GameCube, he like me, thought it would be a great way to get his wife to play a game with him, and enjoy the ecclectic, fast pace game that Wario Ware is.

Sadly enough, the wife played for 30 minutes with him, got bored and wandered off to do other things. While I got my wife to play longer (before she went to play Zuma), I belive it was more because she was humoring me, rather than actually having a great time playing the game. This isn’t to say she didn’t like the game. Jess enjoyed many parts of the multi-player experience and some of the minigames, but the constant frustration of knowing what to do in any given game and losing when you don’t figure it out is always frustrating.

Todd makes the point in his article that Wario Ware is like a big “in joke” for gamers everywhere. The games are quick, but also intuitive if you’ve played games forever. When we see Mario at one end of the screen, and something speeding towards him, we know to press the button to jump to get out of the way. It’s ingrained, like riding a bike. So while someone who has played games for years and years will catch on to the mini-games quickly, casual gamers quite possibly just don’t have the background of hundreds of games, and clones and knockoffs that give them this sense of what the rule of the game may be.

So Jess will still play Wario Ware with me, but now that I’ve gotten her hooked on AstroPop I end up playing the game solo again. Really I don’t blame her, AstroPop is damn addicting and it makes more sense and lets you work up to the more difficult levels. Popcap has done an amazing job of killing hours and hours of both our time. I’m hoping to try and woo her into playing a game with me again with Super Smash Brothers Meele. You never know it just might work. We’ll see. We’ll see.

The Philadelphia Story

I watched The Philadelphia Story last night with my wife. Since the movie makes my wife’s “top 5 movies of all time” list, it was a must watch movie. I’ve always wanted to see the movie anyways with it being on the AFI’s top 100 list, and I am slowly progressing through that list of movies (I’m making good headway).

Jimmy Stewart has always been a favorite actor of mine. The guy who never quite gets “it” but you are always rooting for him. Stewart was by far the best part of the film. Katharine Hepburn on the other hand tends to annoy me in movies. I don’t see her as belivable or credible as a character at all, but that’s flowed over into other movies of her’s as well (i.e. The African Queen). The rest of the supporting cast and Carey Grant did an excellent job.

When I see lists of old movies and hear about how good they are, I tend to not really belive that they are that good. Maybe it’s that I don’t think that some 60 year old movie can really hold me the way a more modern movie can. I’ve been finding that pleasantly wrong. With my wife I’ve been starting to buy and watch older movies like “All About Eve” and “Funny Face”. These movies entertain, without having to resort to blowing up a building. The feelings and emotions carry the same weight all these years later.

Problem is I want to start buying them left and right. With the Criterion Collection and the Fox Studio Classics, and their infernal numbering system that makes you want to have a complete set, and other major studio releases of Hitchcock classics and other director and star driven movies of old, I’m on a classic movie kick. Nice part is, I can somewhat justify getting the movies from time to time, with the wife loving them already, she’ll want to own them, right?

Custom NES Labels

Jred has created custom labels for NES games that didn’t get released in the US. Not much use to many people, including myself. I am in the process of collecting materials to build an EEPROM burner, and then I suppose in the future I’ll be able to try out some of these translations and original games and prototypes on a real NES. As much fun as an emulator is, playing on the real thing can’t be beat.

Links to random nerd crap

– Over at The Ur-Quan Masters, you can find the latest in the remix packages for the music of the game Star Control 2. Some of the original composers of the music for the game, and others, have taken it upon themselves to update the memorable tunes to the 21st century. This just released third pack is not as strong as the first two but still more that worth the download.

George R. R. Martin, author of “The Song of Ice and Fire” series of books, has updated his site with progress on the fourth book in the series, A Feast for Crows. To sum it up, “When it’s done.”

– When you see that a cell phone blows up in a girl’s pocket, it’s kind of interesting. But when you recognize the phone as the one your wife uses, you ask her never to put it in her back pocket, ever.

– I’ve decided to start experimenting with Firefox, the open source browser. After putting it off for ages, I’m going to start using it and then eventually convert my family over to it. As much fun as it is to keep spyware and other malware off my parents computer, I think this might be a much better solution in the long run. Much.

Thoughts

I have wanted for a while to be able to write about things I’ve read or watched or played, and record what they’ve made me think about, but I wanted feedback and other ideas to enter into the picture as well.

Enter this blog. Writing in it gives an odd sense of… I’m not quite sure of exactly what the feeling is, but it is a release of thoughts and ideas that I have mulled over. Some of them will probably not be as coherent as I would like, some might be to clear or one sided. That’s why I like the idea of public viewing. I want to be called on things that are off, and have countering viewpoints. I like this idea and we’ll see if it works in action. It may not.

Star driven animation vs. character driven animation

I was reading an article on “The Terminal” where it was speaking about how Spielberg and Hanks both work well together, and it mentioned Dreamworks SKG, where Spielberg was the “S” in SKG. I couldn’t remember who the K or the G were (Jeff Katzenberg and David Geffen for those who care), so in finding the Dreamworks website, I found out about Shark Tale.

Putting aside any similarity to another fish movie, it made clear to me again the differences in Dreamwork’s style of animated film and Pixar’s style.

Take the advertising for Shrek: “Hey we have this animated movie, with Eddie Murphy, Mike Meyers and Cameron Diaz playing the lead roles, and by the way there is a story somewhere in there.”
Then you have Monster’s Inc: “Hey we have this great story with monsters in the closets, and oh yea, by the way Billy Crystal is playing one of the characters.”

Completly different marketing stratagies, and also different goals as a movie.

Dreamworks has it’s focus on it’s talent that it brings into it’s movies. It wants the stars names to drive you to see it. Go for the stars, and it’s a bonus that the movie might be good. Pixar on the other hand is so story driven that it’s the characters that matter much more than the actor that plays them. Not to say they don’t get top rate talent, and that they don’t push them, but for an example see the latest trailer for “The Incredibles,” the latest Pixar movie coming soon. Do ever really get to see who is actually playing these characters? No, it’s focus is on the creators of these great stories that you remember, and the quirky new one they have created, not Will Smith as a fish!

This isn’t to say that I don’t like Shrek. It was a fun movie, and I will probably watch it again someday. Sure I’ll also see Shrek 2 and possibly even this new Shark Tale movie. For me, at the end of the day I care more about what happens in Pixar movies and where the characters end up when the movie is over. For some people, it’s different, and that is why Dreamwork’s movies do so well in the market.

The Blog

Why blog? It’s not as if there arn’t 2,000,000 other blogs out there pertaining from the mundane to the profound. This is more of a learning experience and a way to express thoughts on whatever is happening around.

I’m not verbose like some people seem to be, typing and typing just to hear the sound of the keys, and LoL hoping that somewhere in the midst of all that a nugget of sense might pop out. Short and sweet. We’ll see what happens.

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