Monday, May 30, 2011

Dr. Who - Season 5

First a little background on my introduction to Dr. Who. With this background, you will get a better perspective on my point of view.

I never watched Dr. Who. Thus, I have no nostalgic connection with the Doctor and everything that was introduced before the reboot. I started watching when Christopher Eccleston started. He is my first doctor. I remember seeing Tom Baker on PBS and thinking that the special effects were too special for me. Thus, I have no allegiances to the Daleks, Cybermen, or anything that came before the current run.

Christopher Eccleston (and Billy Piper) won me over to the series. I put all of my time travel issues aside and enjoyed the ride. I have stayed with the series the entire way since then. I just finished watching the latest Doctor Matt Smith. Here is what I thought.

The Good:

The entire run has been impeccably acted. I cannot complain about any of the acting. While I may have my preferences as far as the Doctors and companions, etc. All of the actors are very good.

The special effects are top notch. Gone are the cardboard looking sets. The aliens appear to be more than actors in funny suits. Also, they are not over used. While it is not imperative to have quality special effects, they help the stories in this series.

River Song!

The Bad (Warning Spoilers Ahead)

The reason I kept with Doctor Who against my time travel prejudice was because the original run appeared to tell good stories and not dwell on the time travel. The Doctor would go somewhere interesting and have an adventure. The big problem with Season 5? The ENTIRE SEASON was spent on earth! With the vast expanse of time and space, they had all 13 episodes focusing on earth.

Hey Writers! ALL of the Daleks have been killed over and over again! They are all gone. Dead! Here is an idea -- come up with some new nemeses for the Doctor! I have no connection to them. They were cool. They hold nostalgia for some fans. You should have thought about that before you killed them all -- all those times!

The Angels from the Blink episode in Season 4 were really cool. Thanks for ruining them in Season 5! Using a Deus Ex Machina to rid the universe of them. Well done!

Who were the interesting aliens introduced in Season 5? How can you introduce cool aliens if you spend the entire time on Earth? Homo Reptilicus? Meh! The Vampire Fish people? Lame! You might as well have tattooed we're trying to attract the Twilight fans on the Doctor's forehead. The alien(s) in The Lodger (while far fetched) was the most interesting nemesis in the entire run. I should not have said that because you will bring them back in some strangled fashion.

Also, the entire premise of time travel is filled with potholes. Way to fall into every trap possible in season 5. There were so many paradoxes! Way to celebrate the impossibility of the series! Why don't you take the Doctor back to Gallifrey and visit some Time Lords? All he has to do is go back in time before the war, and BAM! Time Lords! Gone is the idea of them existing outside of time. After all, the Doctor can meet River Song after she meets him -- or something.

I did not care much for season 4. There were some good episodes in that season, but not nearly enough. Season 5 had one! The Lodger -- it could have happened in space or anywhere, but happened on Earth. That was it! The fate of the entire universe did not hang in the balance of that episode. It was a small, sweet story with a horrible monster. More of that please! We don't need to save all of humanity in every single episode. The doctor is becoming more and more like Wesley Crusher in Star Trek. When the episode focused on Wesley, you knew the safety of the entire Universe hung in the balance. Just tell interesting stories!

I hate to be the only nerd in the world who hates Doctor Who, but there you have it. I liked season 1 and 2, but have been less and less satisfied as it has gone along. It hasn't been the actors, the characters, or the special effects that made me dislike the show. It is the terrible writing -- there I said it. Terrible, lazy, and unimaginative! These guys are supposed to be the best in brightest in Sci-Fi. I say that is far from true.

So, why did I watch season 5 in the first place? It is because Neil Gaiman wrote and episode in season 6. So, Neil, you owe me! Show the Dr. Who writers a thing or two. However, I think the framework you are working with is already broken. Perhaps irreparably so. I guess I will have to suffer a few more episodes before calling it done!

Cyborg vs Cybernetic Sasquatch!

Steve Austin (AKA the Six Million Dollar Man) fights the Six Million Dollar Bigfoot?  A scene with Lee Majors and Andre the Giant fighting to the death...well not actually. (I used Cybernetic Sasquatch because that would make a better name for a rock band than Bionic Big Foot.)



(Hat tip to io9)

Around the Campfire Comment of the Day.

As you may know, I run another blog called Around the Campfire.  It has been around a while, so it regularly gets comment spam. I started this blog because I would occasionally like to do bloggish type things.  That blog was set up to post stories, and not regular posts.  Thus, I have to laugh at comments like this:

I am very interested in the topic of an article that was published because it adds information to the readers who visit
Not only does it not make any sense what-so-ever, but it makes less sense posted on a Sci-Fi short story.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Speaking of Mechagodzilla...

The fine folks over at Citation Needed have a regular podcast. In the most recent episode, Connor Lastowka [The Moderator] discusses the "Powers and Abilities of Godzilla". In that discussion, there is a skit about the designers of MechaG. Give a listen.



(Audio Link)

Dwayne's Wednesday Robot Romper Room

Bubo 

Bubo: In the Ray Harryhausen classic Clash of the Titans (1981) Zeus demands that Athena give her pet owl, Bubo, to his son Perseus. Athena cannot bear the thought of giving away her favorite pet so she has Hephaestus create a mechanical Bubo. Bubo flies, twitters, whistles, and clicks throughout the film. Fortunately, Perseus can understand the mechanical owl otherwise; Zeus would have really been pissed.

(Image courtesy of the Film School Rejects)

Evil Chihuahuas

I think I saw Evil Chihuahuas open for Beck.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This could explain it

Since I do not know of anyone who was raptured, this flowchart explains one possible reason why.  I was beginning to worry it was about that whole goat sacrifice to the elder gods...

(Via Gizmodo)

The Burrowin’ Lizards

Give it up for the The Burrowin’ Lizards!

Beachside Resorts


I remember that vacation well!

(Via DeMotivational Posters)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dwayne's Rockin' 'n' Rollin' Robots

Dwayne's Rockin' Robots are very international. We have heard from the US, Russia, and Japan. So, now Daft Punk (from France) with Robot Rock:

Voracious Feral Camels

I think Voracious Feral Camels just released their first album The New Cane Toads.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Apropos Robot Poem by Ray Bradbury


(Go to Modern Mechanix if you want to read the text.)

Horrors of the Hairy Frog

I think I saw Horrors of the Hairy Frog open for Metallica.

Another IT Rant (Reposted)

I posted this last Thursday, and a short time later Blogspot went down.  When it returned, this post was gone.  Coincidence?  We'll find out.  Dear Microsoft Programmers,

Mirriam-Webster defines search in this manner:

to look into or over carefully or thoroughly in an effort to find or discover something: as a : to examine in seeking something <searched the north field> b : to look through or explore by inspecting possible places of concealment or investigating suspicious circumstances c : to read thoroughly : check; especially : to examine a public record or register for information about <search land titles> d : to examine for articles concealed on the person e : to look at as if to discover or penetrate intention or nature

In their definition, you search in order to find things.  In most instances, we search with the expectation that we would indeed find what we are looking for.  I know it is a remarkable concept.

The reason I bring this up, is you apparently have no clue as to what people expect when they do a search.  It seems to me that you need to review this definition because your search services do not seem to find what the user is looking for.

Perhaps you are attempting to use the same mind reading abilities that you build into your other products.  You know the ones.  The things in MS Word you have to turn off to get your document to look the way you want; rather than the way Word thinks you want it to look.  Like how you have to turn off the select whole words otherwise you cannot simply select the stuff you want.  That type of thing.  The things users wrestle with in your products that you think improve them.

Since Windows 98, your built in search program has become less and less useful.  It is going the wrong way!  I found it interesting that the "Advanced Search" in Windows XP was easier to use than the regular search.  Shouldn't the advanced search be harder?  Not to mention, it still found things.  You couldn't have people actually finding things, so you introduced "Search 4" for Windows XP.  At first, you automatically installed it with WindowsUpdate.  So, I had to uninstall it.

In Windows XP you had this nice feature called "Search for Computers"  I cannot tell how handy that was.  (Gone in search 4 and beyond.)  If I had difficulty connecting to a particular network share, I could see if the workstation could actually see it.  You know, by searching for that server computer.  Can't do that anymore.

I have done searches in Windows 7 for files that I knew existed, but Windows 7 could not find them.  I have done searches in Windows 7 where I manually found the file before Windows 7 did.  You see, probably 99% of the time we search for file names.  (It is probably even more than that.)  However, for some reason, your searches also search through text files to look at their contents.  Thus, on unindexed directories (like network shares) search takes forever!  While searching inside files could be handy in some circumstances, in general it just slows down the search.  That kind of thing should be put in -- oh I don't know -- an advanced search.  (Not vice-versa).

The example I have used about your inability to find when doing a search is the program TweakUI.  It is one of your powertoys for Windows XP.  It is a nice little tool to help customize the user interface of Windows XP without having to edit the registry or use the group policy editor.  We used it regularly, and it is a program by you -- Microsoft.

So, you would think you could go to download.microsoft.com and do a search for "TweakUI".  Well, naturally you can, but you won't find it.  A product, that you can download from your site, cannot be found searching your own site for it!  This is as true now as it was when XP was your flagship.  At that time, a Google search for "TweakUI" came up with a link to your site, and it was the first choice.  It is now down the list, but it is a silly situation to have to use an outside service to find files on your site. 

Simply put, Google does search better than you do.  You see, Google is the dominant search engine because when you search for things, you actually find them.  You see, there is that find thing popping up again in this whole search thing.  Do you get the picture?

You want another interesting thing?  If you go to the download page for Windows XP, TweakUI is on the page.  However, if you do not notice it among the long list of other things listed, you might feel the urge to type "TweakUI" in the search bar.  Hey!  It finds things!  Two things (as of this writing.)  That is a big improvement -- oh wait!  No.  Neither link actually takes to you to a place where you can download TweakUI.  You know the program that resides at your site!  You know the one that I was looking for!

So, Bing will never be anything useful -- to anyone -- ever -- as long as it does not come up with useful results when you use it.  The current search on your flagship operating system is far inferior to the search you had on your OS 13 years ago.  You know, things are suppose to improve over time.  At least you are supposed to improve them if you want to retain market dominance.  The thing that helps you is that Apple's finder is a misnomer.

So, please review the above definition of "search" and if you need help with the term "find" that can also be arranged.

Thanks for your attention.

Douglas.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hypnokittehs

The Go-Gos are back together and touring, so don't be surprised if the
Hypnokittehs open for them.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dwayne's Rockin' 'n' Rollin' Robots!

Once again Akira Ifukube gives us the theme for Mechagodzilla.  However, this one is from the Showa era of the Godzilla movies.  It is a bit more jazzy. 

Blog against Theocracy

As I noted when I posted about the Blog Against Theocracy during Easter, I stated that I am a strong proponent of the Separation of Church and State. I wanted to make a post about David Barton's appearance on the Daily show. Instead, this post sums up my feelings precisely, so I don't have to! Go there.

More importantly:

Chris Rodda wasn’t happy, either. She had written a book debunking the lies of the Christian Right’s retelling of our nation’s founding called Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History Vol. 1.  But after hearing the interview, she can’t take it anymore. She’s going to give away her book for free in the hope that the truth can spread.

Now back to our robot related silliness.  Thanks!

Cybernetic Cat Ears

You should listen to the first album of Cybernetic Cat Ears called Read your Brainwaves.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Around the Campfire Comment of the Day.

As you may know, I run another blog called Around the Campfire.  It has been around a while, so it regularly gets comment spam. This was comment was made on a post about Roman slavery.

Here is another piece of info about Ptolemy XIII has to do with The Temple of Kom-Ombo:

Located in the town of Kom-Ombo, about 28 miles north of Aswan, the Temple, dating to the Ptolemies, is built on a high dune overlooking the Nile. The actual temple was started by Ptolemy VI Philometor in the early second century BC. Ptolemy XIII built the outer and inner hypostyle halls. The outer enclosure wall and part of the court were built by Augustus sometime after 30 BC, and are mostly gone. There are also tombs from the Old Kingdom in the vicinity of Kom-Ombo village.

(Naturally, it was advertising tourism to Kom-Ombo...) How a story about Roman slavery has anything to do with Egypt is anyone's guess.

Combustible Lemons

Combustible Lemons is today's WMAGNFARB.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dwayne's Wednesday Robot Romper Room

Crow T. Robot
Crow T. Robot: (AKA Art) A robot created by Joel Robinson (played by Joel Hodgson) with the parts that were originally for controlling when the mad scientist's movies began or ended.  Naturally, this was on the wildly popular Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Originally voiced by Trace Beaulieu, but from season 8 on he was voiced by Bill Corbett.  Like the rest of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 theater goers, he cracked wise at the bad movies shown.  The 'T' in Crow T. Robot stands for 'The'.

(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Crabmonsters and Sentient Darkness

I think I saw Crabmonsters and Sentient Darkness open for David Bowie.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hipstamatic Junkies

They're not junkies.  They're not hipstamatics.  They're Hipstamatic Junkies

Soon, we'll all be obsolete.

Robots are getting involved in all manner of human activities. How long will it be before they break into the major leagues? After all, it can make coffee...



(Hat tip to Gizmodo)

Jean-Paul Sartre writing dialogue?

I am not sure if this improves George Lucas's dialogue or not.  You decide while I continue to experience existential angst.



(Hat tip to io9)