So I’ve been playing with Mandrake linux the last …

So I’ve been playing with Mandrake linux the last few days. Yesterday I was sick so I ended up even swapping out hard drives and installing it on my primary machine so I could get a really good feel for how I liked it.

Good things and bad things, that’s for sure. Mainly, it’s not nearly as easy to use as Windows. Big surprise there, and it’s not like I wasn’t a DOS user for many years so it’s not too bad for me. Not common user ready yet though.

Both GNOME and KDE are really very pretty, but I’m having some serious stability issues with GNOME. KDE on the other hand is rock solid so far. I’ve also been trying to update the copy of Ximian Evolution but I’m having some trouble with their Red Carpet package finding the GNOME channel. I tried just downloading and installing the RPM, but that failed miserably. *sigh* I’ll get it figured out.

In the meantime, for any Linux users who might read this (not that many people actually read this) I’m very interested in hearing about good apps that you like/use/have seen. Ideally I’d like to get to the point that I do a dual-boot XP/Mandrake install and use Mandrake as my primary OS and keep XP around for games. But we’ll see.

So I went and saw Disney’s Beauty and the Beast IM…

So I went and saw Disney’s Beauty and the Beast IMAX Special Edition last night at the Minnesota Zoo last night. Mostly it was as good as I remember it. There were several things that translated really well to the really-big screen, and a few that didn’t enough to almost be distracting.

For example, there are some wonderful scenes when the father wanders into the the Beast’s castle that are these zooming pans of the enormous gothic architecture. I remember thinking it looked huge on a normal movie screen when I saw it the first time as a kid, but putting it on an IMAX screen made the scale really blow your mind. Many of the lovely impressionistic landscapes also showed well for much the same reason.

On the other hand, we have the character close-ups and the ballroom CGI. For some reason we spend a lot of time looking very closely at Belle’s face. There wouldn’t be so much of a problem with this except that it seems to have been drawn with really large lines. When her eyebrows move around, they loose all sense of grace that they might once have had, and instead look like largish blocky lines flailing about. Possibly this effect was intentional, possibly to highlight the characters simplicity by drawing her with as few lines, and as simple lines as possible, but somehow I think it’s just the effect of the enormous magnification that is happening.

For much the same reason, the ballroom scenes are similarly, well, bad on the really big screen. When the movie was originally released 10 years ago these scenes were held up as the epitome of state of the art with reflective surfaces, intricate architecture, and pretty amazing detail. The problem is that 10 years ago, those scenes were rendered to be displayed on a screen that had a lot lower resolution. Someone obviously saw the problem, but instead of re-rendering the entire scene (which admittedly probably would have cost a fair amount of money just to get transfered to new film, though I’m pretty sure they still have the render models and processor time is a heck of a lot cheaper these days) just threw on a digital masking effect that made the whole mess blurry to get rid of what were probably fairly atrocious “jaggies”. What used to be crisp and clean now looks like someone put too much vasaline on the lens for a close-up and then accidentally put more on for the panorama shot instead of getting a new lens. Ick.

For those of you who don’t know much about this re-release, they have done a bit to the actual movie besides put it on really big film to make it salable when it gets to regular movie theaters later this year. They added in an entire scene and musical number right in the middle of the movie. “featuring an all-new musical sequence with the original song, ‘Human Again.'” is how the press materials read, and it was quite a bit of fun. If you liked the “Be Our Guest” sequence in the original, you’ll be a big fan of the new sequence. My only real problem with it was that it came hot on the heels of that already really large scene. So we see the end of the dinner and there’s a little bit of camera play, we get the snowball fight between Belle and the Beast, and then it’s action time once again after barely 5 minutes. It was almost too much.

Anyway, I did have a very good time, and it was good company to boot. If you have a chance to see it in this format, don’t miss it. It’s well worth the ticket price.

These days it seems like just about everyone that …

These days it seems like just about everyone that I know is doing something on Live Journal. A problem is that I really don’t like Live Journal, and it has nothing to do with the basic service, it has everything to do with what happens when people start using it.

I have a relatively well realized rant about why this is, and I’ll spare everyone from it now but the core of the problem is that I really do not like clique’s and Live Journal seems to facilitate both the formation of clique’s incredibly well as well as interaction between clique’s which only seems to cause turmoil.

I do know that part of the problem is that I only ever hear about the negative things that are said/happen on Live Journal, but it happens with enough frequency that I really don’t like it.

A friend recently brought up the point that I do have a blog, which is much the same thing. At the time I agreed, but I have since figured out what the difference is for me. In Live Journal, other people are able to make comments about your journal directly. When I post something in my Blog, the only way that people comment about it is directly to me. Despite the fact that it’s a public display of my thoughts, it feels a lot more private and personal.

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On Monday (Dec 31), Betsy and I stopped by the Toy…

On Monday (Dec 31), Betsy and I stopped by the Toyota dealer and picked up her new car. It’s a gorgeous blue Toyota Prius. So far, we’re really happy with it. There aren’t many options available for it, so we basically took almost all of them:

  • 6 disc CD Changer
  • Onboard GPS/Navigation System
  • Alloy Wheels
  • A/C
  • Cruise Control
  • Floor Mats
  • Cargo Net for the trunk

There are quite a few things to get used to with it though since it is a Gas/Electric Hybrid. The stragest thing is sitting at a stop light or stop sign and realizing that the engine just shut off, on purpose. Then when you need to go, just step on the gas and there isn’t any hesitation. It recharges the battery array (38 NiMH batteries in a big long box in the trunk) mostly while braking and I have noticed some small oddities while braking. The problem is that I don’t know if that’s the Hybrid System or if it’s the ABS system, since I’ve never driven a car with either before.

I do have to say that I Love being an early adopter!

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