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Feigning normality since 1973

November 22, 2014

Doctor Who Series 8

Filed in: Doctor Who.

Man, time flies. So some verdicts on the recently-ended season of Doctor Who. Spoilers, naturally:

  • Deep Breath
    A strong start to the season, though by no means the best debut episode for a Doctor, worked well enough. The actual plot, that of the half-face man and his fellow robots cannibalizing humans, really took a back seat to Clara trying to come to terms with the Doctor having regenerated. There were bits I thought were a bit self-indulgent and could have been cut, but overall, not bad.
  • Into the Dalek
    Definitely one of the better episodes of the season, even if it did retread some of the plot elements of 2005's episode "Dalek". Journey Blue was a great character, who might have made a good companion, if only it wasn't for the Doctor's recently acquired dislike of soldiers. Rusty, it appears, was originally intended to destroy himself to blow up the Dalek ship at the end, so maybe they're intending to bring him back.
  • Robot of Sherwood
    Unlike many, I liked this episode. The bit at the end with the gold arrow was silly, but every scene with the Doctor and Robin Hood bickering was fun. It's a pity the beheading sequence at the end had to be cut for broadcast, though to be fair, it does appear to make the Doctor and Clara unwitting accomplices to murder, so perhaps it was for the best.
  • Listen
    Another great episode, and for once left to the viewer to make up their own mind what was going on. The bait and switch at the end was clever, though perhaps more of a peek than we should have had.
  • Time Heist
    The most original series story of the season, with lots of running in corridors and improbably large ventilation ducts. A fun romp with two great guest companions who I hope return at some point. I'm not sure if I'd ever do business with a bank which got out the flamethrowers if you got you pin wrong though.
  • The Caretaker
    Mostly to further the Clara/Danny Pink relationship, and once again the alien plot is more of a subplot. It works very nicely, and it's always great to see the Doctor trying to cope with regular human life, with varying degrees of success.
  • Kill the Moon
    I would like this episode more if it wasn't for the somewhat outrageous science. The premise that the moon has suddenly increased in mass because it's going to hatch soon is in variance with how eggs work. Still, the atmosphere of the episode is nicely built up.
  • Mummy on the Orient Express
    I enjoyed this episode a lot. The space-bound Orient Express echoes the spaceship Titanic from earlier in the show, and the main plot of the Mummy attacking people on the train is well played, especially the Doctor's burst of deductive reasoning as he resolves the plot. Was it Missy who was behind getting him on the train? Frank Skinner was excellent, while Foxes' cameo seemed really unnecessary.
  • Flatline
    The best of the series. While not a unique concept, the 3D 2D people looked great, and the TARDIS shrinking because they were leaching the dimensional energies from it was well realized. Rigsy's another great character I wouldn't mind seeing back again.
  • In the Forest of the Night
    Oh dear. Instantly-growing fireproof trees saving the Earth from solar flares. They did their best to represent London overgrown by trees, but a lot of the time, it just seemed like a forest with lamp posts stuck in it. Some good moments, nonetheless.
  • Dark Water
    Finally getting back to the series arc. When Danny dies, the Doctor and Clara go looking for him, and yes, it turns out that Missy is the Master and has been turning Earth's dead into Cybermen. For all the fuss about "the three words", I don't think we're ever actually told what they are.
  • Death in Heaven
    I jokingly suggested to a friend before this episode aired that UNIT would turn up and solve everything in five minutes by shooting the Cybermen. As it turned out, UNIT did turn up, though everything wasn't resolved quite that well. I was most annoyed about them killing off Osgood, though Cyberbrig was a close second for sheer silliness. I don't think the plot hung together all that well, but it was worth it for the ending. Except the very final scene, which I could have done without.

So series 8. Overall, I think it came out rather well. Besides a few missteps, an above average season! Looking towards the Christmas special now with some measure of trepidation, but we'll see what they come up with.

Posted at 4:45 PM | Comments (0)

October 9, 2014

The future of PagedArchives

Filed in: Movable Type.

I was helping Nancy Chuang out with a problem she was having getting my PagedArchives plugin working on her installation of Movable Type last night (it turned out to be a compatibility issue between the versions of MT and PA) and had reason to look at the Movable Type website. I was surprised to see that it is no longer open source and has gone all commercial. That's kinda a bummer. Movable Type's been my first choice for blogging software for years now, primarily because I like the fact that the posts and so forth are all static -- the pages are stored on the web server as files rather than constructed on the fly by the blogging engine. It's rather sad that it's no longer freely available. There are many alternatives, of course, but none, IMHO, as good as MT.

The repercussions of this mean that I won't be able to upgrade my MT installation here to the newer version, which in turn means that if the PagedArchives plugin happens to break because something changes in the core application, there's nothing I can do about it. It's rather unfortunate, but in the end, this is a hobby and not something I can shell out that amount of money for.

Posted at 5:56 PM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2014

It's almost election time again

Filed in: Tetrap.Local.

So a roundup of the political parties:

National: AKA the Cult of Key, is the current government. Chances are they'll win the election, but who knows what will happen before then. We've already had Nicky Hager's book come out throwing light on the grimy tactics National has been using to smear the opposition, and Kim DotCom is planning more revelations closer to the date. Certainly John Key seems to be able to shake off most controversy and still poll well. Without him as its head, the National Party would not being doing nearly so well.

Labour: haven't really done anything to distinguish themselves as candidates for government. David Cunliffe lacks Key's charisma and they've basically been overshadowed by National Party antics such as Gerry Brownlee creating security breaches at airports, along with the minor parties doing more to undermine National than Labour is. If they win the election, like National's victory in 2008 and Tony Abbott's win in Australia, it will be more down to the incumbent party not winning.

The Green Party: Doing the best out of the minor parties, but any minor party has a struggle to overcome the two-party system.

The Maori Party: Its influence seems to be waning since the Mana party split. It's unclear how well they'll be doing post election, but I think they'll pick up a seat or two.

Mana/Internet Party: Key kinda created a beast when he tried to have Kin DotCom locked up. The partnership between Mana/Internet will likely ensure the Internet Party will have representation, where they might not have managed it on their own, though their influence will be minimal...

And the "It's that guy!" parties:
Winston Peters: New Zealand First will likely get back in again.
Peter Dunne: Likewise Peter Dunne will likely get back in, though his fortunes apparently depend on National bending over.
ACT: So far the last two ACT candidates have been disgraced out of parliament, but if the people of Epsom opt to be Key's puppets once again, I guess the ACT candidate will get in.
Conservative Party: It's unclear why the media keeps humouring Colin Craig when he's in no danger of winning an electorate seat and his party isn't polling high enough on its own. I'm hoping this election is the last we hear of them.

Posted at 4:54 PM | Comments (0)

December 1, 2012

Batman: Arkham City PS3 Game of the Year Edition

Filed in: Games.

Is a game I have been having tremendous trouble with technically speaking. Oh, playing it is fine, but I keep getting errors saying "The game data is corrupted. The game will close. You must delete the game data to play this game". At first it was only when I started a new game, but it seems to have somehow spread to my existing game save at well now.

It seems to be a semi-common problem dating back to the release of the game, which doesn't have a concrete solution. In a lot of places, there's someone going "I had this problem, and reinstalling the gamedata/copying the savegame around/sticking my elbow in my ear fixed it" but no actual firm solutions.

I've thus far tried:

  • Deleting the game data (as the error suggests!) sometimes works, sometimes makes no difference.
  • Backing up the save game (as suggested here) - no change.
  • Rebuilding the database from the PS3 recovery menu (suggested here) - no change.

There, uh, might be some sort of patch for the game, I expect, but I can't find anywhere on the official site to check, so... yeah, no solutions yet.

Posted at 2:40 PM | Comments (0)

June 3, 2012

Spammer's gotta spam

Filed in: Spam.

Unsurprisingly this blog still attracts a sort of background noise of spam. Most of them are along the lines of "This blog is so great. I am totally subscribing naked casino chips party" but I got one in late May that was kinda blunt:

The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't disappoint me just as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, however I truly thought you would have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.

Wow! That's pretty harsh for someone trying to advertise doors. The spam link included on the comment suggested to me that the spammer in question might not speak English, so...

Posted at 10:39 AM | Comments (1)

January 30, 2012

Doctor Who: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe

Filed in: Doctor Who.

I admit to being outstandingly late with this review. I have nothing but my own laziness to blame.

Having watched it again when it screened on Prime, I'm better disposed towards The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe. It's still not as good as A Christmas Carol - I felt it wasn't quite as polished as the previous Christmas special, but it's at least a great watch, and what more do you need on Christmas? Yes, Steven Moffat apparently wrote this in the middle of the year, but it still manages to be appropriately Christmasy. The fact that it borrows heavily from the Narnia stories is so blatantly telegraphed by the title means I don't feel like I can really complain about it. I knew what I was getting into, after all.

Overall rating: 6 out of ten. More spoilery discussion (at this stage, who hasn't seen it yet?) after the cut.

Continue reading "Doctor Who: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe"

Posted at 4:58 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2011

Doctor Who: Closing Time and The Wedding of River Song

Filed in: Doctor Who.

All too quickly, Doctor Who series 6 comes to an end. With it being split in two, it actually felt like it was on for less time than it actually was. I wonder if Steve Moffat has been happy with the results. This time we have...

"Closing Time", which, well, if you enjoy watching the Doctor and Craig interact, this episode is for you. If not, skip to about ten minutes before the end and you've missed nothing.

I went into "The Wedding of River Song" not being quite sure what to expect, and I'm still not quite sure what I got. I'll go into more spoilery stuff under the cut, but I thought that it worked well in wrapping up some of the plot arcs of this season, and was even fun. Moffat did far better with last year's wrap-up though, and there was such a lot to cover I wish that it had been a two-parter, which might have helped it. The problem with that being that then it and "Let's Kill Hitler" would have meant a full half of the episodes in this half of the season would have been arc episodes.

More spoilers under the cut.

Continue reading "Doctor Who: Closing Time and The Wedding of River Song"

Posted at 7:33 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2011

Doctor Who: The Girl Who Waited and The God Complex

Filed in: Doctor Who.

I'm a little bit behind, since "Closing Time" screened here last Thursday, but NEVER MIND.

"The Girl Who Waited" is perhaps the best episode of the season. This half of the season certainly. Though not without one of two moments of fridge logic, it manages to do a lot with a few sets and some make up. Why is it often the simplest plots which come out the best. Karen Gillan as an older Amy was perfect.

Meanwhile "The God Complex" starts off brilliantly, is atmospheric, and a great concept, but then when the time for explanations come, it sort of falls apart and become silly. Potentially this could have been my favourite episode this year, but that ending... What the heck was that?

Further discussion and spoilers below the cut.

Continue reading "Doctor Who: The Girl Who Waited and The God Complex"

Posted at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

October 1, 2011

Software recommendation: Partition Magic

Filed in: Computers.

Back when I set up my current computer, I partitioned the 250GB hard drive with a 20GB partition for Windows XP and the rest as a separate partition for my data. At the time, I thought it was the best thing to do - since I was planning on installing software on the secondary partition and reserving the system drive for Windows, I didn't expect to need much space. Indeed, the amount of disk used on my system drive (which ended up as H:, because the installer for Windows is not very good at working out how to assign drive letters) has only grown by a little in these past four years or so.

Unfortunately these days software vendors are keener for you to install their software on your system drive. Google Chrome doesn't even seem to give you the option when you install it - it's the system drive or nothing! So the free space on my system drive has been dwindling for some time, and it was starting to impact on Windows' performance.

I've faced this problem before with my PC prior to this one. The system drive on that was likewise 20GB, and while doing some maintenance on it for its current owner, I used Partition Logic to make the system partition bigger. I figured I could just use the same software on this PC as well, so I burned a fresh copy to a CD.

Partition Logic is pretty awesome. Unfortunately it turns out that Partition Logic doesn't support the particular SATA drives which I have in my PC. Darn! So I went hunting on the web to see if I could find another similar tool which would support my drives. After trying one piece of software (In fact, I went through the whole process of installing it and setting it to adjust the partition sizes before it told me it wouldn't proceed unless I paid for it), I found Partition Wizard, which is free for non-commercial use. It was easy to install and use, and I was surprised that it was able to resize the partitions while Windows was still running. It was also very fast, though I had cleared most of the data off the secondary drive that I was shrinking to make room.

So that's my software recommendation! Adjusting partitions is not something you have to do that often, but Partition Wizard makes it fairly painless.

Posted at 6:57 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2011

Doctor Who: Let's Kill Hitler and Night Terrors

Filed in: Doctor Who.

Doctor Who is back, finally! And... yes.

"Let's Kill Hitler" is an episode which seems to be aiming for light entertainment. As a follow up to "A Good Man Goes to War", it's a little unsatisfying. We get some explanation as far as River Song is concerned, and a concept ripped off from a movie which bombed magnificently at the box office.

"Night Terrors", on the other hand, is played dark. Luckily, unlike "Let's Kill Hitler", it's not bogged down by having to be part of a larger series arc, and is more of a standalone story. That said, I can see how it would fit better as part of the first half of the season (ISTR it was swapped with "The Curse of the Black Spot").

More under the cut! Because there's spoilers!

Continue reading "Doctor Who: Let's Kill Hitler and Night Terrors"

Posted at 7:02 PM | Comments (0)

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