The apex of cool

Becoming a film buff, part XVII: Today I watched 'Bullitt', the Steve McQueen movie. No wonder that guy was the apex of cool back in the early 60s. The pursuit sequence is still plain amazing after 40 years — I think the only recent film featuring pursuits that managed to surpass Bullitt's spectacularity and adrenalin was 'Ronin'. And the rest of the movie is very good too. Very well directed, very inventive camera angles — they rarely do similar things nowdays, kids.

Finally I bought myself that much-needed SLR camera. Even though I'm addicted to my pocket-sized digital camera, an SLR is a must for decent photography, as most digital shots end up looking as if they were taken on a crappy Lomo. Only with JPEG artifacts in it. So my choice went on the recentely released Minolta Dynax 5 (I think it's called Maxxum 5 in the US). I can't wait to start shooting with it! Now, if I only had enough dough to purchase developing equipment...

Joe Blogs

I'm buying myself an SLR camera. I need that for my photography lessons, and to do those things my digital camera won't do. I was thinking about buying Nikon F65 together with a couple of lenses (a 28-80mm and a 75-300mm sniper-like lens). However, I'm quite undecided now. I definitely need both zoom lenses, but are there better cameras, like those manufactured by Canon or Minolta, in the same price range? Leave a comment if you would like to recommend something.

I've been playing Uplink which is, quote, "high tech computer crime and industrial espionage on the internet of 2010". Yes, yet another hacker/cyberpunk computer game. This one, however, has a very distinct feel that makes you think you are a script kiddie on a trenchcoat, even though the ultra-powerful 60GHz computer you have in 2010 shouldn't find the File_Copier 1.0 such a complicated program.

I read Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, that famous book about darwinism where the word 'meme' first apeared. I didn't think the book was that revolutionary, but Dawkins connected the dots very, very well.

Direct Connect: Yet another P2P app, this one a Hotline-style affair where you can download a bucketload of illegal w*rez and MP3. Which is nice.

World seven thousand

"On to the other news of the day, the Chairman and the Board of Directors of local giants Portugal Telecom are on preventive arrest after a Very Wise judge decided they commited crimes against Portuguese citizens in the form of horrible service, monopolistic tactics and their refusal to comply with the Government's 'flat rate' intentions". Ah, dreams are nice.

"First they came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me."


by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945.

The Free World. Except that they forgot to erase Afghanistan too.

Trendy word du jour

This is 'terrorism': treated worse than killing people because it takes a bit of money out of a few men's pockets. And so the war on hackers begins. How long before owning a pair of analog audio cables is illegal?

Trendy words. Things ending in 'delic', 'istic'. Long words like 'bassdrumdeluxedelic' or 'jazzistic' or 'phunkdelic'. Words with 'ph' instead of 'f'. Cool terms like 'basement sessions' or 'lounging electrodelic'. Phuck, I'm so sick of these.

Nineteenninetytwo

Yesterday I was watching MTV's Chillout Zone, still the only show worth watching on the 'coolest' brainwasher in the planet. There was this early 90s computer-graphics video from an X-Mix or an X-Mix-like tape, starting with that famous Polygon Window. Early 90s graphics, that means crap 3D scenes of some shell flying through a tunnel, badly-rendered insects, an amazing walking human and such. Remember, that was cutting edge computer graphics when most of us were stuck on a 16 bit computer. However, it's heart-warming to watch such a video. Back in the early 90s everything seemed so positive, and there was this sense of discovery and that things were only about to get better. I want it to be 1992 again.

Illegal computer parts

Don't ever forget, the virtue of democracy is that there's not a single ideological value, while bad political systems emphasize only one. Anarchy will only recognize freedom, communism wil only recognize equality. And fascism is a system obsessed with security.

The thing is, the 20 thousand deaths are just the tip of the iceberg. More will die in whatever unlucky country are the responsibles from, and millions will be deprived of their freedom on the grounds of security. Whenever Bush, Ashcroft and pals say the word 'freedom' I feel sicker than when they pronounce 'God', because they are the kind of people with the kind of ideology which has been always attacking the people's 'freedom'.

Being completely a-religious, I can't stop feeling a bit irritated when people talk about God in the aftermath of such catastrophic events. Can't people ever understand that God equals Nature and that God/Nature won't give a fuck about us useless and insignificant humans? God won't protect us now more than before, but Nature will always make sure that revenge is just like adding gasoline to fire.

Dr. Manhattan

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Even though the Afghan responsability is yet undetermined, the American quick need for a scapegoat has sentenced that cruise missiles are now hitting Kabul. Ah, the joys of brute force.

UPDATE: The WTC has completely collapsed, as did part of the Pentagon. Another airplane has crashed on Pennsylvania, and apparentely four other hijacked planes are still on the air. There are celebrations on Islamic nations, which is another factor turning them into scapegoats. Expect missiles to start flying into Afeghanistan, Iraq etecetra this time tomorrow. I think that the men behind the attacks are not the obvious Muslims (can you say 'Timothy McVeigh'?), but America will probably learn to be careful about the people they give money and weapons to.

UPDATE: The World Trade Center tower hit by the second plane has just fell. And the Pentagon has been hit by an airplane. And there was an explosion on Capitol Hill. All airports in the USA has been closed. September 11th 2001 might be the new Pearl Harbor.

The kind of thing you thought only happens on comicbooks: It is yet undetermined if was an accident or a delibarate attack, but as I write both the World Trade Center towers in New York are burning as two (!) airplanes have colided against the twin towers, one of those a Boeing 737! The images on CNN are absolutely terrifying, it's incredible how the towers held up after the impacts. Two accidental crashes into the same landmark within 18 minutes are quite improbable not to say impossible, so maybe someone decided that a van full of explosives wasn't enough.

M1cr05oft

It is said that in 1976 Bill Gates wrote some sort of anti-piracy manifesto, because back then 'information wants to be free' was still a serious motto. However, nobody else in the world has perhaps as profited from piracy as Bill Gates himself. 'Warez distros' of Windows or Office are everywhere, but distributions of Solaris or WordPerfect are not. I'm not saying Microsoft actively pushes forward piracy to help them win a market-share, but piracy was perhaps their biggest help in building a Monopoly. It's fairly simple: If everyone has a pirate copy of Windows at home, then their employers (which have stricter laws over them) will have to buy Windows since there won't be so many experts on Unix or other operating systems. At least in Europe and Asia, most computers sold are store-assembled bulk models. Since PCs exist, shops would install DOS and later Windows free of charge. This is plain piracy and a damn good help if you are building a monopoly on your products. It's much better to have an army of people who can only use Windows than to sell every single copy. Now, under the pressure of the local authorities, many computer sellers are installing Linux instead. Of course people who buy such coputers will eventually get a friend to install Windows, because its monopoly consists of people's heads, rather their hard-drives. Does anyone really believe Microsoft sold Windows copies to 97% of the world's computers?