Website and PC cleanup…

Website

Two colleagues mentioned my website was looking a bit messy on the same day. The main culprit being the left-hand toolbar, which had loads of links and search tools. When you live with something for so long it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees, but when I took an objective look I had to admit it was in a bit of a state. As a result, I spent the weekend having a bit of a cleanup.

I simplified the navigation and everything except the homepage is clutter free. I figured, when you click on an article you’re there to read it, not stare at loads of navigation and search widgets.

I think the basic layout will stay like this for a while, but I’ve not decided on colour scheme or the shape of the tabs and borders. It might stay like this. It might change. Whatever I decide, I want it to be very clean and simple.

PC Cleanup

At the same time, I fancied a bit of a cleanup of my main PC at home. I do almost everything on virtual machines, so I can use any OS that has a browser and can run VMware Server.

I’ve been using CentOS 5 for ages, and although it’s a stable server OS, it’s a long way behind Fedora and Ubuntu in terms of desktop features. I think I’ve made my feelings about Fedora clear, so I decided to give Ubuntu 8.0.4 a go.

I’ve been playing round with Ubuntu virtual machines for a while (since version 6 I think), but I’ve never run it as a host operating system, so I was expecting a few problems. Fortunately, everything worked out of the box. As soon as VMware Server was installed I could start all the VMs on my NAS and life was good.

It’s only been a couple of days, but I’m starting to think once all my talks and conferences are out of the way I’ll switch my laptop to Ubuntu also. I just need time to check the demos and presentations work. I’m in Estonia next week so I don’t think now is the time to start messing about.

Ubuntu ships with a beta of FireFox 3. I wrote a brief post about FF3 a while ago. Having used it for a while I decided to load the RC1 version on my Vista (yuk) laptop and it’s working fine. I’ve read some press reports about bugs, but I’ve not come across any problems yet. There’s talk of an RC2 version, but hopefully the final release will be soon.

Cheers

Tim…

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

When I was watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull I got the distinct feeling I was watching a ripoff of The Mummy Returns, which is kinda funny since the mummy franchise was a ripoff of the Indiana Jones franchise. The original Indiana Jones films had some pretty extended and outlandish action sequences, but the mummy franchise just multipled everything up. It seems this film used the same approach. I suppose it’s naive to think it can recapture the magic of the originals now I’m old and jaded. 🙂

The story was a little lacklustre, but that’s OK because not many people go to this type of film expecting much of a story. There are a couple of sequences I recognized from other films, but for the most part it is just a rehash of the previous films.

I thought it was a pretty fun film. If you can forgive the obvious failings, you’re going to have a really good time watching it.

As I walked out of the cinema I saw a massive display advertising the new film in the mummy franchise. I expect that will be one 3 hour long action sequence. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Spelling and written English…

[Written with alternative spellings intentionally]

I saw on the news today that 1 in 3 peeple in England have problems with spelling. One of the commentators sujested we shud follow Portugal’s egsample, who have resently proposed changes to simplify and consolidate Portuguese.

I think a revamp of the English langwage is well overdue. Silent letters and multiple spellings of individual fonetic sounds are just plane stupid. Added to that, we have some variations in spelling between English speeking nashons.

It’s ezee to be preshus about “our heritage”, but if English was a new invenshon, I’m sure many wud be quick to identify all the problems.

If there is ever a vote for a spelling simplificashon I will be in favor of it.

[/Written with alternative spellings intentionally]

Cheers

Tim…

Outpost

Outpost is a reasonable film. Better than I expected, but not totally amazing. The cast is mostly British, with plenty of TV actors, but they do a reasonable job (if you can ignore a couple of dodgy accents). The story is ok, and there are a few genuinely tense moments.

If you are bored and you’ve already seen Iron Man and Doomsday, then give this a shot. Not as good as Dog Soldiers. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Fedora 9 and Oracle 11g…

I wrote a couple of articles against a beta version of Fedora 9 before I went on holiday. I did a run through against the final release of Fedora 9 today and they seem fine, so here they are:

The installation process doesn’t give you the option to turn off SELinux or the firewall. You can do it after the installation, so it’s just a small annoyance, but I don’t like it.

If you want to know my opinions on the distribution itself, read my post on Fedora 8. It’s six months later and there is still no visible sign of a direction for this distribution. I don’t think my opinion has changed.

Cheers

Tim…

Back from holiday…

Just got back from holiday.

Sorry to all those people waiting for answers to their mails, blog comments and forum posts. I’m starting on the process of catching up, but it’s going to take some time. 🙂

I’m taking the brutal approach to catching up. If the subject of an email or blog post doesn’t jump out at me, I’m deleting it. I’m sure I’m going to miss out on some good stuff, but I’ve got to catch up quick. There is too much going on and not enough time. 🙂

I decided to gave a total period of being offline. No email, not twitter, nothing. It’s kinda nice to be a technology free zone for a while. You forget how much of your day is filled up with deleting irrelevant blog posts… 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Doomsday…

As far as the story goes, Doomsday is one of the most derivative films I’ve ever seen. The whole plague thing is very reminiscent of 28 Days Later, with a few scenes robbed from Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Rhona Mitra‘s character (Eden Sinclair) was very much like Selene (Kate Beckinsale) in Underworld, with a bit of Milla Jovovich thrown in for good measure. Some of the story seemed inspired by Escape from New York and at one point I thought I was watching Mad Max II.

Probably the worst thing about the film was the product placement. If you watch the film you’ll know what I mean!

So that all sounds pretty damning, but I actually enjoyed the film. Rhona Mitra played the strong female lead really well and is soon to play Sonia in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, the prequel to Underworld. Adrian Lester (from Hustle) was also pretty cool. Bob Hoskins is a legend. Several of the cast members of Dog Soldiers were present, which was cool. There are some nice scenes of Scotland, without going over the top in a Lord of the Rings style.

Maybe this film will appeal more to a British audience, due to the familiar cast and very British expletives, but it’s nice to see the writer/director Neil Marshall hasn’t gone all Hollywood and has stuck to his roots. I’m sure it would be more lucrative for him to do a Hollywood blockbuster or some Romantic Comedy drivel, but for now he hasn’t been seduced by the dark side…

Cheers

Tim…

Iron Man…

Iron Man is the best superhero film I’ve seen in ages. It’s got some iconic scenes, some funny bits and some real actors. I can’t wait for the sequel (or is that SQL?). 🙂

Cheers

Tim…