May 18, 2003

Matrix Reloaded: Movie and Soundtrack

Went to see the Matrix earlier this afternoon. It absolutely lives up to everything that made the original great. The problem is, its missing what made the original so great - the surprise. The sequel is just as good or better than the original - its just too bad that the surprise element is missing.

I wish I could say the same for the soundtrack. JamesW is running around the office with glowing reviews of this two disc release. I can't get into it. Where the original was a great bookend to the visuals of the movie (and a wonderful counterpoint to the backdrop of mysticism sitting behind the story), this one comes across as a watered down rehash of the original soundtrack - one that doesn't push any new buttons. There's some potential there, but it never really steps forward. What really turns this soundtrack into a disaster are the "made for MTV/radio" tracks that were forced in - Dave Matthews, Marilyn Manson, Fluke etc. - yick. Tracks that get played over the credits aren't part of the movie - they shouldn't be there. Such are merchandising rights I suppose.

The only thing that saves this CD set from itself is the great second disc that highlights the strictly musical tracks of the score. Both "Burly Brawl" and "Main Title" are the standout tracks. The latter because it evokes memories of the first time that the green-tinged opening of the original hit the screen back in '99. Great stuff.

For the $18 that the CD is going to set you back, its probably not a bad idea to grab it just to add it to your collection. You won't wear out three copies from playing it too much, but you will get $18 of value out of it.

Enjoy the movie.

Posted by ross at 05:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

April 25, 2003

Rethinking the Network Economy

"For economic incentives to work appropriately, property rights must protect the rights of capital assets....At present...severe economic damage [is being done] to the property rights of owners of copyrights in sound recordings and musical compositions...under present and emerging conditions, the industry simply has no out...Unless something meaningful is done to respond to the problem, the industry itself is at risk.

- Alan Greenspan, on "Audiotaping",
October 25, 1983

[Alan Greenspan, Testimony on the Home Recording Act before the Senate Judiciary's
Subcommittee on Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks, October 25, 1983]

Just finished up a new (for me) book entitled "Rethinking the Network Economy: The True Forces that Drive the Digital Marketplace". Excellent work by Stan Liebowitz that completely confirms a lot of my views on some otherwise commonly accepted constructs like "Customer Lock-in", "First Mover Advantage" and "Network Effects".

The quote above is but one glimpse into the cynical but insightful perspective of the author. What else would you expect from a book that starts of with an explanation that "I shorted Yahoo! in April of 1996....I was way too early on the short side...[and]...I threw in the towel in April of 1998. I took my losses and vowed to expose what I saw as insanity in the business press....That was when I conceived of writing this book...Not necessarily the best of motivations, but not the worst either."

I've always believed that the internet was special and that it would change the way things worked - but that it didn't change the way that the earth spun on its axis and certainly not the fundamental underpinnings of economics, business and technical innovation. It makes all of these things "better", but it can't put the constants of our universe on hold while we search for a better way of doing things.

Some of my favorite passages stem from examinations of the outright silliness and hubris of the business sector over the last few years. "We're from the internet, don't worry, everything will be okay." Of course, all of this is easy to say in retrospect - but still leaves us with a good read.

Posted by ross at 08:07 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

April 15, 2003

Run to the Hills: Rap is the New Rock

I wear khaki pants to the office. I drive a minivan. The last time I was in a record store, yes I said "record store", I bought Mark Knopfler and Neil Young's latest releases. I BLOG. For the most part, I'm a geek that acts like he's grown old before his time.

And I don't listen to rap. I hate it.

Until I saw "8 Mile" on the plane during a recent trip to Brazil. There was something in the music that I actually liked. A lot.

Its odd - hated it through high-school, couldn't stand it in university and nothing has really jumped out at me in the meantime. To be honest, I found a lot of it really annoying. But not this. This is excellent, its angry - and insightful. Its the rock album that I've been waiting to hear since "Powerslave", the last real rock album that made sense and stood out - at least in my mind.

I can't believe I just said that. Eminem is the new Iron Maiden.

And this is a great album.

Posted by ross at 09:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

November 17, 2002

Emergence Doesn't

"Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software" by Steven Johnson, I suspect, was intended to be an introductory glimpse into the science of complexity. The book was replete with interesting anecdotes and glimples into slices of the world that I'm not normally privy to. Unfortunately, it also lacked a "plot". Usually non-fiction like this one takes you from Point A to Point B and tries to explain as much as is needed for the author to keep the reader from ending the journey early. Emergence, on the other hand, did very little to keep the interest of the reader and ended rather abruptly. As is the case from time to time, I just read through books without reading them - which may have been the case with this one. So while I will be re-reading it at some point in the future to make sure that I didn't miss some big point that Johnson was trying to make, I can't recommend that you do.

I am happy to report however that Springsteen's latest disc is still in heavy rotation in my CD player. If you haven't picked this one up yet, you are definitely missing out. Neil Young on the other hand, hasn't fared as well. I still have yet to give the disc one complete listen through. Frankly, this one starts to bore me about three or four tracks in - I've never felt compelled to listen to the whole thing. Hopefully his next effort is better - he's a great musician that still has great work left in him, I hope. This one just didn't do it for me.

Posted by system at 05:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

September 26, 2002

You and three other Canadians might have read this

I had such unrealistically high hopes for the Internet back in 1994 :P
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August 30, 2002


I was at the local Blockbuster tonight and came across a title in the new releases section that I hadn't heard of before. "Dahmer".

"Interesting", I thought to myself. "Don't remember this one being released in the theatre." Which quickly took me back to thoughts of the first time I thought this - anyone remember "Supergirl"? (which incidentally had a theatrical release of about 3 days). Anyways, given the rather, shall we say, "interesting" subject matter, I added it to the other two movies I'd picked (got to love three day rentals) and was on my merry way.

Getting home, I mentally prepped myself for the 2 hours that lay ahead of me. Made sure I'd finished eating before sitting down, sat through the "Making Of" featurette with my wife to make sure that she was fully on board for the spectacle and then eventually hit "Play".

I must say that the movie wasn't nearly as interesting as it could have been. The entire two hours was spent detailing the pathetic life that Dahmer led. We start off the movie knowing that he's a grisly serial killer, get dragged through a bunch of flashbacks that support our initial knowledge and then end the movie knowing that he will always be a serial killer. Nor do we actually get to the real dark roots of his twisted tree, the details that most fascinated the gruesome curiosity of the world in 1991. The director avoided most of the less savory facts of Dahmer's life; the necrophilia, the cannabilism, the limbs, heads & genitalia stored throughout Dahmer's apartment...

What the Jacobson did do quite well though is draw a very direct, and disturbing line between the darker side of human nature and a pathetic creature that could quite literally be the person standing behind you right now. Perhaps the most compelling aspect of the film is that he manages to pull  this off without the sensationalism that would have actually got this flick a decent run at the local theatre. Knowing however that the actual story was much more intriguing than what this cinematic veneer was portraying, I could never quite get to the heart of what I think that the director was trying to portray. Dahmer himself noted at trial that "It's hard for me to believe that a human being could have done what I've done, but I know that I did it." - this is what I wanted to see, this is what I had hoped the director was going to show me.

If you have a slightly twisted or adventurous taste in films, this one might interest you. 5.9 in my books. Kept my interest, made me think, probably won't rent it again, would possibly rewatch on cable - if I had cable ;)

(1 being the most amazing B movies ever made, 10 being the film that you've watched 35 times already and will 35 more, 5 being your average Hollywood blockbuster.)

Posted by system at 01:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

August 27, 2002

Springsteen, Young and Emergence

One of my monthly fixes from Amazon showed up at the office today and I was so impressed with the payload, that I just had to share. First off, Bruce Springsteen's latest is absolutely wonderful. I couldn't resist ordering this one - (and given that Bruce's Toronto show is sold out at $115 CAD per seat, I guess that watching VHS footage from the '80's is as close as I'm going to get to seeing the E Street Band live...<sigh>) - but after three or four listenings tonight, I'm really glad that I did.

Bruce does what Bruce does best on this album - tells some great stories about the country that he lives in. As with some of his more popular efforts (like the inimitable "Born in the USA" or the landmark "River") he manages once again to pick up on the true emotional undertones of his fellow Americans and manages to wrap some great songs around them. I'm not sure that he is as nimble (adept?), lyrically, at doing this as he once was, but I'm quibbling now - this is a *great* album that nicely surprised me - surprised me in the fact that he can still pull it off after such a long run without the epic work that we became used to between 1973 and 1984. Classic Bruce, in my books at least, is Bruce that can pull off a heartfelt description of the dark side of being "grown". "The Rising" pulls that off...

More on the rest of the payload later...I have to figure out a way to get this disc out of my CD player first...(Real tough choice here, Young, Springsteen...Young? Hmm...;) In the meantime, here's a great quote from "Emergence" (which I hope to provide a small review about shortly)...

"You can't really, truly understand Brewster Kahle until you've had him show you the server farm in Alexa Internet's basement." Now given the fact that this was a random quote that jumped out at me when I folded the book open for the first time indicates that this is my kind of book ;)

Posted by system at 10:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

August 12, 2002

Wherefore art thou Mole?

I miss "The mole".

<sigh>it hasn't even been a week yet.</sigh>

Tuesdays will never be the same. My kingdom for a Tivo. (well, my kingdom and the rest in cash ;)

Posted by system at 09:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

August 06, 2002

Wed, 07 Aug 2002 02:16:44 GMT bill is the mole, dot wins and now I can go to bed early. Hopefully this show doesn't go into repeats...
Posted by system at 09:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

Wed, 07 Aug 2002 02:13:14 GMT

Ahh well...guess that means that bill is the mole...stupid game.
Posted by system at 09:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

Wed, 07 Aug 2002 02:09:44 GMT

For the last bazillion weeks people have been getting themselves booted from the dhow because they had no idea who the mole is...and they are supposed to be able to answer that question now? Dumb start... Who cares...
Posted by system at 09:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

Wed, 07 Aug 2002 02:03:54 GMT who is the mole... More mindless commentary over the next hour as the only show I watch comes to an end...
Posted by system at 09:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

July 30, 2002

Wed, 31 Jul 2002 03:00:11 GMT

And the loser is me because I got sucked into wasting another Tuesday night on such a trivial show. I really need to get cable.
Posted by system at 10:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

Wed, 31 Jul 2002 02:56:41 GMT

Time for the final quiz... 20 questions about the mole... ...and the loser is... Damned commercials...
Posted by system at 09:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

Wed, 31 Jul 2002 02:48:31 GMT

The tension is killing me. Damned commercials...
Posted by system at 09:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

Wed, 31 Jul 2002 02:40:21 GMT

Ahh...this is too funny... Bill found his GPS while Heather loses her dignity but gained the affection of a wild pig. Tuesday night TV couldn't be better. I still think Dorothy is the mole, but Bill would be the logical "script" choice...
Posted by system at 09:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

Wed, 31 Jul 2002 02:29:51 GMT

Have you figured out who "The Mole" is yet? Poor Bill can't find the castle...
Posted by system at 09:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

July 26, 2002

Fri, 26 Jul 2002 21:38:47 GMT

Happy SysAdmin Day!
Posted by system at 04:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

July 25, 2002

Thu, 25 Jul 2002 20:47:04 GMT

31.25% of Sydney beer drinkers don't know what a "schmiddie" is... [Dub Dub Dub Where is the Pub?]

...and me. But it involves beer, so it must be good.

Posted by system at 03:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

Thu, 25 Jul 2002 14:39:14 GMT

LONDON -  Diageo PLC agrees to sell Burger King Corp. for $2.26 billion.
Posted by system at 09:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

July 24, 2002

Thu, 25 Jul 2002 00:51:07 GMT

Did you know that you can lose up to 3lbs per year by not parking in the spot closest to the mall doors? Don't know if that's as neat as wireless blogging but...
Posted by system at 07:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink

Thu, 25 Jul 2002 00:33:38 GMT

The number of people that one interacts with throught their lifetime is truly amazing. What's even more amazing is how few of them one gets to know.
Posted by system at 07:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Permalink