Sunday, December 30, 2007

Battlestar Galactica 1x01 33 / 1x02 Water review

The first episode takes us from the miniseries straight to a crisis. The Cylons are finding the fleet every 33 minutes, and the fleet have to make a jump each time they are found. It has been going on for 5 days, so the characters have a serious sleep deprivation. The acting is superb - it really feels like they are not sleeping, and I know the feeling (raising babies, although not with this 33 minutes...).

The cause for this is that a civilian ship, the Olympic Carrier has some sort of tracking device, or Cylon agents. It disappeared after one of the jumps, and the Cylons did not arrive. When it returned, the Cylons returned 33 minutes later. Apollo is forced to blow up the ship, which also had Nukes on it. After he does this, it keeps bugging him at least in the next episode as well. Frankly, I don't understand why. It was the ship or the fleet. It was also not clear if the ship contained any humans on it when it returned.

We also get to see Helo on Caprica, reunited with "Sharon", as Sharon is actually a Cylon (the BSG Sharon - "Boomer", is a sleeper agent. She doesn't know she is a Cylon).


The next episode deals with Boomer. Boomer doesn't know she is a Cylon. She probably suspects it, as her sleeper side is awaken from time to time. In this episode she plants bombs and blows up part of Galactica's water supply. Boomer isn't aware she did it, but finds one explosive in her bag. Tyrol helps her, as he too doesn't think she did it (oh, and he loves her).

As the fleet looses a lot of water, the Raptors are sent to find water. Boomer finds water, but her Cylon side doesn't let her say that she found the water. After her human sides fights with the Cylon one (metaphorically speaking), the human side wins and she declares that she found water.

Grace Park plays the wonderful part of 3 characters: Caprica Sharon, Galactica Boomer (human) and Boomer (Cylon). The latter is only hinted a bit at the end. She does a great job at playing someone who knows something is wrong with her, but can't be sure of what it is.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Battlestar Galactica - the miniseries

After completing Lost S1-3, and since all the good stuff on TV is currently blocked, I need another project, and that is re-watching BSG. I've completed the miniseries today, and looking forward to the rest.

So, what do I like about BSG? It's not just another sci-fi series. This one is about the people, and it has a real feel to it. I'll start with the latter: Although it is set in the future, and in space, the technology looks familiar and non futuristic. They don't have fancy flat screens, no fancy phones, and no fancy computer graphics. Heck, CSI looks more futuristic than they do, which is another way of saying the technology in CSI looks unreal.

Second, the people - they have a real feel to them, and the actors are good, and non-plastic. The relationship between father and son, military commander and civilian commander, and so on.

And the surprise in the end, that Sharon it a sleeper Cylon is very nice. Of course, once you've seen it already, you're no longer surprised, but I'm seeing it with someone who hasn't seen it yet, so it was nice to see him surprised.

Looking forward to 33. I'm already tired :-)

Paul McCartney - Live at the Olympia

So, finally I got a chance to see it over two days. It's 90 minutes long, and it was definitely worth it. As I wrote in another post, this time Paul gives us the show from beginning to end, without any interruptions between songs, or in the middle of them, and with hearing Paul and the band, and not only the audience.

The show starts with Paul alone on the stage, the curtains are closed behind him, and he starts with Blackbird - a very intimate start. He quickly switches to the mandolin, I'm sure you can guess for what song, and the curtain opens to reveal his usual gang in the last years (Rusty, Brian, Wix, and Abe), which I got a chance to see personally in April 2003 in Earls Court.

Then come two energetic songs - Only Mama Knows, which I've waited to see in a live concert ever since I've heard it on MOF, followed by Flaming Pie. It's the first time I've heard this song in a live show, and it's a great piece for a concert. Oh, and Rusty know how to play his guitar!

The second Beatles song is next - Got to Get You Into My Life, followed by C-Moon, in a wonderful version. Oh, and I finally got an explanation on L7 (which forms a square) vs. C Moon (which forms a circle, or something like that...).

Another two Beatles ones - The Long and Winding Road, followed by I'll Follow the Sun. The latter is a bit short, so after he finishes the song, he waits, and does the ending again. And so on for three or four times :-)

Another one from MOF - That Was Me. Again, a great show for a concert, very energetic.

Next is a song that will always bring me back to 1982. A very sad and touching song - Here Today, which he wrote for John after his death.

Next comes Calico Sky, again, a song I've never heard live, and it's a very nice one.

Going back to the Beatles, we get some classic concert material -  Eleanor Rigby, and Michelle. The latter is what the French audience were waiting for!

And now it's time to rock the audience, so we get Band On The Run, which gets everyone dancing, and Back in the USSR, which drives everyone insane!

Next Paul moves to the piano with another favorite of mine from MOF - House of Wax. Rusty rocks with the guitar. Paul's voice strains quite a bit on this one.

Then, a wonderful version of I've Got a Feeling. I think the last live version of it was on the roof. That is a GREAT song for concerts. And if you're wondering who is replacing John on his part, it's Rusty and Abe. Paul also added a short electric guitar segment at the end.

Paul on the piano again, this time for Live and Let Die, with the usual flashing lights and explosions. They all go crazy, and Abe looks a bit tired at the end :-)

Next comes Hey Jude, with all the na na na stuff. The audience loves it, and I a little less. Paul and the band go off the stage. Will they come back? Yes! For some more na na na na.

But then, how can he not, we move to Let it Be, which I'll never be tired of. Then comes the sweet and short Lady Madonna, but it's not over yet. Paul says the next one goes way way back, and I'm thinking, I Saw Her Standing There? Yes! A great way to end the show, but the audience know their job, and so, Paul returns with another one straight from the roof - Get Back. At last, Brian gets a chance to shine with the guitar solos.

The concert ends, and what a concert it was, and as I said at the beginning, a great production. They should take it as it is, without all of the "extras" of his last DVDs, add a DD 5.1/DTS soundtrack, and I'll be visiting Amazon!

That's it for my longest post yet.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Catch up on Lost in 8 minutes

There's a great clip where you can catch up on Lost seasons 1-3 in 8:14 minutes! There are some pretty funny comments, and some obvious missing pieces (Michael killing Libby and Ana Lucia, and the part about Lock's dad), but other than that, it is pretty hilarious.

Check it out here:

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Paul McCartney - More DVDs!

So, apart from Live at Olympia, I now have two other, which are a bit rare: Lightspeed - DVD 1 and DVD 2. Now, these are a bit old and contain the following:

  1. James Paul McCartney - a TV show from 1973 (starring, guess who + Wings).
  2. One Hand Clapping - From 1974. Paul + Wings in the studio, recording a live studio album.
  3. Wings Fly South - a Wings concert from Australia. This is from 1975, and basically is an earlier version of the famous Rockshow.

Up to now I've only had a brief chance to look at them. One Hand Clapping is pretty cool. I've never had a chance to see Wings in action (apart from Rockshow), and seeing them recording in a studio, is much different from seeing them in a concert.

I'm planning on seeing some of them this Friday. I think I'll start with Live at Olympia. Be sure I'll report back!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Heroes have lost their way - 2x11

I don't know how, but somehow Heroes have lost their way. It says something, that I've watched the final episode only now.

Well, the episode was OK. We get some sorts of closure when the virus is destroyed, and Adam is put 6 feet under. However, this was not very exciting to me. The only part which really moved me, was when Nathan was shot. That was a very strong moment. I assume the shooter is Mr. Bennet. And now, we have to wait for Volume 3 - Villains.

And speaking of volume 3, here is a video camera shot of the trailer, which was shown at a Film Festival:


I can't say I'm overly excited, but I hope it will be OK.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Lost Season 4 extended trailer

Thanks to Nikki's blog, and thanks to her loyal readers I've found this exciting new Season 4 extended trailer. We get to see a lot more, with at least two new characters that I can spot in the trailer. I guess the events shown in the trailer will happen in the first couple of episodes, but the idea that only some will make it off the island will probably be the main theme behind the rest of the seasons. I guess the flash forwards will show us who will make it off.

Anyway, here is the trailer. Enjoy!


Oh, and pay attention to the cool reflection of a city instead of the Island at the end.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Survivor 15 Finale - Todd takes it all!

What a finale! I think it's the first survivor in a long time, that the person who won it was a serious contender from day one. Todd was not a physical player, but he was very strategic, and it worked for him very well (as opposed to Rob, not the Boston one). The thing that puzzled me the most though, was how Courtney got two votes. Though it is clear, as Frosti has a crash on her, and Denise couldn't vote to Amanda, after Amanda broke (and she certainly did that!) her word to her.

As for the jury questions, I think the best was when Todd answered J.R. question in a way that stopped him flat. You saw that he wanted to say something, but couldn't really. James had a big laugh!

Congratulations to Todd. He deserves it!

Daily photos for 8 years

This man photographed himself each day for eight years. The result is an amazing video. Check it out in the link below

The Adaption to my Generation - A Daily Photo Project ++ c 7 11 23 ++ JK Keller

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Survivor 1x01 (Israel)

Tonight, the first episode of the first season of the local version of Survivor was aired. It is taking place on an island in the Dominican Republic. Overall, it is very similar to the American version, including a host who is doing his best to look and sound like Jeff Probst (right down to the necklace). There are a few differences though:

  • 52 days, instead of the 30 something in the original
  • 20 survivors
  • Two episodes per week (only the second episode has the vote)
  • The loosing tribe have an individual challenge, and the winner gets a double vote at the tribal council
  • It looks like the person voted off is not yet leaving the show, but rather going to a different island. The purpose is not yet clear

Looking forward to seeing the next episode! And it comes at a good time, when the 15th season of the original is coming to its end tomorrow.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Survivor 15x13

So, we now have the final four. But what did we get before that? The reward challenge was great, having Courtney win the game for Denise. The immunity challenge ended with Amanda winning, with Peih-Gee at a close second. So now comes the weekly "so called dilemma". You can usually tell if it's a fake dilemma, trying to add some tension to the show, or a real dilemma. I think the dilemma here was real, but the reasoning that people sometimes have shows that some people are not aware of the Survivor rules. Let's say you have someone who pissed off a lot of people in the Jury, and he gets to the final two. Let's say the second of the two is someone who piggy backed on someone to get to the final two. The Jury will rip that first person up in the Q&A session, but he will ultimately get their votes at the end. We have seen several such cases in recent years. If someone didn't do anything to deserve the $1 million, they won't get a vote.

So we have Todd, Courtney, Denise, Amanda. I believe that Todd can win against Courtney and Denise. I'm not sure he can win against Amanda.

I don't believe that Courtney can win in any case (god, I hope not!).

Denise can win against Courtney, but I don't think she could win against Amanda.

Amanda can beat everyone, except maybe Todd.

To conclude, the most interesting final two could be Todd vs. Amanda, but somehow I've got a feeling that it won't happen, and that it can go either way.

So, we're waiting for Sunday, but meantime, the first season of Survivor Israel starts on Saturday. They say it's almost a copy of the US show. The big difference is that there are a lot more episodes -there are going to be two episodes a week, with a tribal council once a week. It sounds very promising, and I hope they are up to par with the US show. You'll hear more of it tomorrow.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I got a chance to check it out today, and it's pretty cool! It is a sub-notebook. On one hand, it's small and very light. On the other hand, it's big enough to work on. It runs on a Linux distribution, although you can install Windows XP on it as well. The UI is very simple, with large icons which are divided to different areas (Internet, Work, Play, etc.). It has quite a few applications pre-installed, and it also has WiFi.

Who is it good for? Good question! Kids, novice users who don't want a desktop, and so on. What about power users? Well, you're a bit limited with it. It's not very fast, so if you want to install a full-blown OS, with lots of utilities, it probably won't work so well. I tried to use the advanced mode, which gives you the KDE environment, but some dialogs were too large to display on the 7'' screen. There may be a way to change the screen resolution, but when it comes to Linux, I'm a novice.

But it's a great alternative if you travel a lot, and need only the basic applications. At 0.92kg, it beats any Notebook!



Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Heroes 2x10

What an episode (especially due to the last minute)! So now we know what's Adam's story. And Peter is helping him. My guess is that Peter will figure it in time. I hope that the next episode (which I'm too tired to see now) will resolve this.

On the other hand, the story of Maya, Alejandro, and now Sylar is a bit boring. The New Orleans story is also a bit boring. I hope things pick up for the next episode.

Lost season 3 - final episode

Today I've completed a long way. Together with a relative, we've finished watching the 3 seasons. For him it was the first time, mine was the second. We were in a race against time to complete this before season 4 in Feb 2008. We've finished it early, and the new season won't start on time...

But what an episode! First of all, the flash-forward. When I first watched this episode, I assumed it was a flash-forward, but the reference to Jack's father confused me. Seeing it again, when I know it's a flash-forward, was a pleasant experience.

Second, the acting was great, and the story was right on the spot. So we end the season knowing that they are going to be saved, but for some it's not going to be what they wished for (Jack). Charlie is sacrificed (a lead character needed to be killed). Tom is brutally killed by Sawyer (he was a nice guy.Why Sawyer? Why?). Michael Emerson is just great playing Ben. He should get the next Emmy for the best supporting actor (Hey Alex, meet your mom!). Oh, and how many lives does Mikhail actually have?

So now what? I'll re-live season 3 with this new book that I got, and hope that the writers get what they deserve quickly enough, so that we won't have to wait too long for season 4.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Survivor 15x11-12

Finally I got to see the last two episodes!

Episode 11 - the top man on the block is leaving town. James looks like a nice and honest guy. With these assets, two immunity idols, and strength, we were looking at an almost sure winner, and at 7 people to go, it's not fun to know who is the winner. So it was a very good move on Amanda's part to try and get rid of him. I also liked his last words, showing that he wasn't blaming anyone but himself. The remaining tribe members, as well as the jury seemed very very happy with themselves...

Episode 12 - that was a close call for Todd. Although the "sort of" tension, I didn't believe that Denis would vote against Todd. Denise is too nice to vote against anyone on her alliance, although her alliance didn't have any problem voting against James the previous episode. So Todd is still in, and Erik is gone. But looking at "next time on Survivor", it looks like Todd will be on the hotspot again. I can't wait to see that one.

Once Upon a Time - Il était une fois

Once Upon a Time, or Il était une fois, is an old TV series which I used to watch as a kid. It's an animated history series, starting from the creation of planet earth, and ending in the future. It was educational, but presented in a way that kids liked, with a little bit of humor, and reoccurring characters throughout the history. There were villains, and there were heroes.

My 5.5 years old kid just got the first season DVD as a present. I was happy about it, after all, it will teach him some history. Well, I didn't remember it, but it contains some gruesome details! In the first and second episodes you see man hunting animals, carrying the limbs of a dead elephant, or the head of a rhinoceros! You see them cutting meat off of dead animals in a very graphic way, and you see people dying.

My kid was a bit troubled by those sights, but slept well at night.

It's strange how we remember an old TV show as one thing, but when we see it many years later, we look at it in a different way. Anyway, I still think it's a nice show, but my kid will watch it with adult supervision...

Friday, December 7, 2007

My new A/V setup

My Sharp LC32-BV8E LCD TV unfortunately has only one HDMI input. At the time when I bought this TV, I didn't know the importance of HDMI. Up until now I had the computer connected to the TV, so that I could watch HD content. I recently got a new DVD - Pioneer DV-400, which has an HDMI output. It's a standard DVD with upscale capabilities.

Since I have only one HDMI input, I purchased a simple HDMI switch, and two HDMI cables. I got them a few days ago, so now both the computer and DVD are connected to the TV. I cannot say that I see a big difference when I upscale to 720P, but I guess it really depends on the content. Battlestar Galactica looked only slightly better, but Ratatouille looked great (not a big wonder though).

Having the audio coming through the HDMI connection is also a small bonus, for Stereo content, or if you cannot use the receiver for fear of waking the kids.

The computer is not very happy about this. I have to cancel the secondary screen each time I switch to the DVD. Otherwise, when I switch back I might end up with the main screen on my TV instead of my computer!

In the future I will purchase a new receiver with HDMI inputs, so I shouldn't have this problem (I hope).

Big delay on TV shows. More time for Music

This blog is supposed to be mainly on TV shows. My last post was a week ago. This is what I haven't seen yet:

2 X Desperate Housewives

2 X Heroes

2 X Survivor

My better half is falling asleep early so we hardly see anything. I hope for a better TV week next week...

So for now, I'm hearing some new and old stuff. I got a hold of some Beatles bootlegs from the recordings of Let it Be. Some interesting stuff there.

I also got the new Neil Young CD - Chrome Dreams II. I like it quite a bit. I already have songs which are playing in my head. Some of the songs do not sound new, and have bits and pieces from his older songs.

For some reason, "The Way" sounds to me a bit like the "Weeds" theme song.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Finding Lost: The Unofficial Guide: Books: Nikki Stafford

I wanted to recommend this book to Lost fans. I bought this book along with the official companion book. The official book, well, I didn't finish reading it. It wasn't that good.

Nikki Staffords' book on the other hand... a completely different story (pun intended :-). First of all, it's for the first two seasons together. Nikki summarizes each episode in a few words, and then analyses the episode in a very interesting way, and tying it up to different episodes. Each episode ends with interesting facts, translations, open questions, numbers, and more. Along the book she has profiles of the actors, and different references (books mentioned in the episodes, philosophers, whisper transcripts, and much much more). The book ends with several appendices, such as how everyone relates to everyone, information about the filming locations, and more.

Overall, a very interesting read. I'm currently waiting for her book of season 3 to arrive at my doorstep. Finding Lost: The Unofficial Guide: Books: Nikki Stafford

Prison Break 3x08 recap

Why am I returning to this one? I just browsed through a recap of the episode in TV.COM, and it was pretty funny. I didn't read everything, but here is the closing statement. You can read the rest in the link above.

Some old guy, obviously of a higher rank than the Colonel, so I'll dub him General, or Genny for short, enters the Yard. He marches straight to Michael and says that there have been two escape attempts since Michael arrived. Perhaps SONA isn't the best place for Michael so he's led through the front gates. Bellick, T-Bag, MBBM and Whistler are all, "Wuh? Does this mean I'm no longer part of the supporting cast? I gotta call my agent!"

Friday, November 30, 2007

This is what I'm not watching now

When the last TV season started, I've decided to pick up some new shows. The selected few were Back to You, Journeyman, Pushing Daisies, Reaper, and K-Ville. The only one I'm currently watching regularly (except for the last episode, is Back to You, for reasons noted earlier).

K-Ville was dropped like a fly. The few episodes that I saw were always ending in a too easy and unrealistic way.

The other three are currently recorded and put aside for a rainy day. I had too many things to do, and couldn't spare the time to watch them, but still, they were nice enough to want to watch some time. Here is my thought on them:

Journeyman - The time-travel idea is nice. Up until episode 5, the episodes were pretty standalone. There was not enough information about why this was happening to him, and I needed something more to connect me with it.

Pushing Daisies - Again, a nice idea. The episodes (the three that I saw) were also nice. That's the thing, they were no more than "nice", and the fact that each one was standing on its own, didn't give me the right incentive to keep on watching.

Reaper - Now, here is a show which I really liked. I liked Bret Harrison in "The Loop", Ray Wise is always great (he will always be remembered by me as Laura Palmers' father), and the sweet Missy Peregrym, who unfortunately lost her job on Heroes. Beside the actors, the show was funny, but after 4 episodes it was beginning to repeat itself. Again, standalone episodes don't do it to me. It is so 80s.

So, when the rainy days come, I will make use of these recordings. Unless you convince me otherwise...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Live Search - xRank

MS have a new feature for their Live Search, which is currently in Beta. It's called Celebrity xRank - they rank celebrities based on the amount of searches. You can search for your favorite celebrity, compare them to others, see trend charts, and so on.

So, I've done a little research, both in the music and TV areas. First we have a showdown between some of my favorite musicians. (drum-roll) And here are the charts:


Musician xRank
Paul McCartney 97
John Lennon 113
George Harrison 437
Ringo Starr 1027
Neil Young 119
Elvis Costello 934


So, the biggest looser here is Ringo, while the winner is Paul McCartney. But surprisingly and sadly, Costello is so near the bottom of the list.

And now, the TV showdown - tonight we have Battlestar Galactica against Lost. I searched the xRank of the main characters, but in both shows, not all of them had an xRank. Both are not running right now, so expect low results:

Actor Character xRank
Tricia Helfer Number Six 1252
Katee Sackhoff Starbuck 2157
Jamie Bamber Apollo 2467
Edward James Olmos Admiral Adama 2550
Mary McDonnell President Roslin  5222
Battlestar Galactica Average 2730
Elizabeth Mitchell Juliet 1253
Matthew Fox Jack 2706
Dominic Monaghan Charlie 4121
Daniel Dae Kim Jin 4553
Terry O'Quinn John 5517
Naveen Andrews Sayid 5884
Lost Average 4006


The winner of the two is BSG (no doubt about it!). The rating of BSGs stars is pretty clear. What is strange are the Lost results, where Juliet (sad puppy look) was ranked higher than anyone by far, followed by Jack, 1500 points away. However, the big mystery is how Juliet is only one point below BSGs favorite Cylon! Coincidence, or not...

Paul McCartney - Live at the Olympia

I just got a quick look at McCartney's show at the Olympia (Paris). Overall this looks much better than his previous DVDs, which is great! You see little of the audience, and good shots at Paul and the band. I saw House of Wax and Only Mama Knows from his last album. Both were great! Although, his voice is not as good as it used to be (on the CD he also sounds better), he still gives a good performance.

If this comes out on a DVD, it'd be on my purchase list.


Update: my full review is online.

Battlestar Galactica - Razor

Just saw Razor. What can I say? Some BSG is better than non. Overall it was as good as any standard episode. We got to see what happened to Pegasus since the attack. We got some disturbing information (or misinformation) on Starbuck. We got to hear the phrase "By your command". Overall it was nice, but it's a shame we are still so far from the last season.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Survivor 5x10

No, haven't seen it yet, and I'm wondering if I should. This is another recap episodes. I don't like those. I feel like I'm wasting my time with these episodes. Most of the times we skip this episodes, so there is a good chance that this will be true in this case. But we'll see about this later...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Should I reboot

Here is what my computer screens look like after my computer started acting a bit sluggish, and I've decided to be artistic:


The cat

This cat sat on my car. It sat there when my kids went in. It sat there when my wife came in. It sat there when I came in. When I started the car, it calmly jumped of the car, and walked away.

Either it was very brave, or very cold.


Looking danger in the eye

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Heroes 2x09

What an episode! I'll start with the nice stuff. So, Matt can now force people to do as he pleases. Also, it is clear that Adam is the one who kills the founders of the company, although it was clear even before Hiro saw him. However, the highlight of this episode is Noah, the painting of his death, and Suresh. At their first encounter we think that Noah managed to escape his fate, but then comes the showdown at the beach, and it is clear that it is going to happen. That moment is the strongest in the episode, and as a whole. It was sad saying goodbye to Mr. Bennet.

And then comes the surprising end...

This is a 9.8 in my scale.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lost 2x01 and 3x01

Writing about Lost yesterday, I can't help remembering the opening episodes for both season 2 and 3. These have the best opening scenes of the best opening episodes for a TV series I have seen (well, at least in the top 5).

Season 2 starts with an unknown person doing ordinary stuff in an ordinary room (or so we think), listening to a song (the wonderful Make Your Own Kind of Music), and then you hear the blast, and Mr unknown rushes for the guns, takes a look, the camera runs through a series of mirrors, until we see our guys.

Season 3 starts with an unknown woman, doing ordinary stuff in an ordinary house (or so we think), listening to a song (the wonderful Downtown). Then the ground shakes, everyone comes out, we see Ethan (who was under the house before), and Ben, we see the plane coming apart, and we understand.

These are such great episodes, that I'm wondering how 4x01 will look. Will they follow the same theme? Well, we have quite a long wait in store for us.

BTW, what triggered this memory is of course 3x16, where there is a flashback to the famous book club scene.

Downtown, things will be great when you're
Downtown, no finer place for sure,
Downtown, everything's waiting for you


I've been an owner of a digital camera since 2003, and ever since then I've been looking for a good photo album software. The first one I had was Adobe PhotoShop Album, and I even upgraded to version 2, and later, the free V3 Starter edition. What I liked about it the most was the ability to edit an image, while automatically maintaining the original, and seeing only one version in the album (hence the name versioning). But it was slow, and the format was not compatible with anything else.

So, a year ago I've found IDimager, which has all of the qualities that I needed (including a good tagging system, and open architecture). The most important need was Versioning. True it doesn't automatically back up the picture you're editing, but you can easily "Save As" the picture, and you'll see only the edited version in the album. It also made it possible to create versions to my old pictures, which were edited with the Adobe software (although I've yet to catalog all of the pictures from that time), and it has a decent Web Album capabilities for those of you with a web site (there are other publishing methods as well).

Version 4 came out recently, with a very important change. Instead of the Access DB at the back-end (for the Personal version), the back-end is now SQLite, which is a lot more quicker and stable.

If you're looking for a similar product, I highly recommend to check this out.

Lost 3x15-16

OK, these are not new, but I'm watching Lost again from the beginning, preparing for S4 (which I hope is not lost due to the WGA strike). Anyway, I've decided to skip 3x14 (Nikki and Paulo - filler episode), and jump right to 15 and 16. What I like most about these episodes is the character of Juliet. Although her "sad puppy" look can be a bit annoying at times, she is a very interesting character, and I enjoy the episodes which focus on her, and in general, the ones showing the "others" flashbacks.

A few quick notes:

  • In episode 15, why didn't the smoke monster fly over the barrier to get Kate and Juliet?
  • In the same episode, how did Kate get into the dinar without anyone seeing here?
  • Why do the creators need to have these nice moments, where music is playing and you see the characters talking to one another and being very nice and happy?
  • Always nice to see Ethan as a nice guy.
  • The end of 16, where Juliet remembers what Ben has told her, and her lie is revealed to the audience. That is nice!

It's pure Madness!

Midtown Madness 2, a 7 year old game published by Microsoft.

Why am I writing about this one? Well, I just installed it on my machine (stumbled upon the CD), and it's a tremendous amount of fun, just like it was in 2000 (only better, my machine is stronger now of course). The graphics is a bit old, but the vast amount of space in both cities (London, and San Francisco), and the interaction with the environment (breaking down signs, lampposts, traffic lights, etc) is just as fun as it was.

And the new addition: my son loves it, and he is learning to use the joystick to crash cars around the city (he is used to crashing planes in FSX).

If anyone still has this game, I highly recommend it!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Survivor 15x9

A cliffhanger in Survivor? Now that's a first (I think)!

About the rest of the episode, the tennis ball reward challenge was nice. It's amazing how they think of new things every time.

The immunity challenge - I cannot understand how people can be so stupid as to go for the hamburgers. Haven't they seen Survivor ever? Nothing good can come out of it.

I was really hoping that Courtney would be voted out. She is really annoying. But it was obvious it wouldn't happen.

In any case, it looks like Todd is still in control over this game, but it could very easily turn against him.

This episode gets a 9 in my scale.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Naughty McCartney part 2

McCartney knows how to create music. He also knows how to perform (seen him myself in London, four years ago).

What he doesn't know is how to create concert movies. Every concert movie he is ever made (after Wings' Rockshow) have had the same basic problems:

  • You mostly see the audience singing.
  • When you see the audience singing, you usually also hear them!
  • The parts which show Paul and the band are usually very jumpy - they don't stay on one angle more than very few seconds.
  • Some of the songs have interviews over them!
  • There are interviews between the songs, which interrupt the flow of the rock show.

I've bought a concert video in the late 80s and a DVD a few years ago. I guess it only got worse!

So, the fans want to see Rockshow on DVD, but they have to settle for illegal VCDs, because it is not made available on DVD. Some of it made it on DVD for Paul's latest DVD ("The McCartney Years"), but only a few songs. I think I will wait for the full version.

Heroes 2x08

At last we find out what happened 4 months ago, and how our heroes got to where they are now. A pretty good episode which fills the gaps. Now we understand what Nathan sees in the mirror, and what happened to Niki that caused her to surrender herself to the company, and of course, what happened to Peter. BTW, anyone understand how an empty container got from the US to Ireland?

9.2 in my scale.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Prison Break 3x6,7,8

Oh man, this series is so far fetched! Season 1 was great. Season 2 was also good, but the last episode was way too much. They should have ended it there. However, when you put on the correct glasses (throw logic out the window), the action is quite good!

So episode 6 ended up strangely - Michael wants to fight Whistler??? But when episode 7 starts, we see that it's actually a part of Michael's plan. Then something happens and the plan fails, and so on, and so on. The Company is trying to break Whistler out, and Michael foils that.Alex is sent back to Sona, and Michael is taken out of Sona (which was a hilarious move by the writers!).

What I do find strange, is that Sona is supposed to be so wild that the prison guards had to get out. However, the inmates are behaving so well when they come in from time to time, including in the last scene, where you see a guard, alone, in the cell areas without any protection. If this was such a bad ass prison, someone would have grabbed his rifle, wouldn't you say?

Overall, 9.5 in my scale.

Desperate Housewives 4x07

A nice one, which contains the usual mixture of comedy and drama (and a possible thriller!). Of course, you have the obvious things, such as the encounter of Victor and Gabrielle (of course there was nothing dangerous in the black bag), and Mike lying to Susan about how he is going to stop taking the pills.

And then comes a murder. A murder in the suburbs you say? This is surprising. But after 4 seasons in Wisteria Lane, this does not come as a shock to the viewers. We are used to seeing them once in a while.

But overall a nice one. 8.3 in my scale (which I've just invented by the way).

Monday, November 12, 2007

Naughty McCartney part 1

I was a huge fan of Paul McCartney when I was younger. Had all of his albums, posters on the wall, etc. Today I'm still enjoying listening to him from time to time.

Five months ago he came out with a new album, called Memory Almost Full. A very nice album. There are a few great songs, such as Only Mama Knows and Mr. Bellamy, and the album as a whole is indeed good.

There were two versions of the CD. A regular one, and a Deluxe one, which included 3 extra songs, and an interview about the songs. You can guess which version was purchased by his loyal fans (me not included).

Now, fives months after, there is another Deluxe version, with almost the same content as the previous one + DVD with videos and live recording of some of the songs. You can guess who is the target audience of this version, and what they think of this. Some examples are in the Amazon reviews.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Survivor 15x08

Well, Jean-Robert found out that his Poker strategy (being lazy...just kidding) didn't work out well for a social game such as Survivor. The most surprising thing though, was that Todd didn't realize that this could be their last chance to take out James. Not that I have something against James, it's just that it isn't likely he would loose much more challenges, and he has the two immunity idols. They could have blind-sided him without any difficulty. But, Survivor is always full of surprises. I guess no one saw how the Survivor production blind-sided Terry in Survivor Panama, when they made that last challenge a balancing challenge instead of the usual, endurance type.

Anyway, the game is far from over, but in any case I wouldn't be upset if James won.

Geni - Genealogy - Free Family Tree

Anyone interested in a free online family tree? I am! So recently I found Geni (at, which is exactly that. It has a very nice and intuitive UI, it's very easy to add people, or see the collective list of birthdays and anniversaries (did you know the the 12th wedding anniversary is also known as Silk?), and so on. I sure could have used it when I was a kid, and I had to make a family tree (mind you, it was before, or just at the beginning of the days of the PC).

However, if you do use it, you should know a few things which I found the hard way:

  1. It's not perfect - it sometimes gets stuck when you add people, so you need to close the window and log on again.
  2. You can export your family tree to the GEDCOM format (a common genealogy format), but you cannot import GEDCOM files yet.
  3. Once you invite people, there is no way you can stop them doing whatever they want in your family tree. This one caused me to dump the first family tree I was working on, and create a new one from scratch, which was kind of a bummer.
Any other tips would be welcome of course!

Favourite Hour

Figure hanging on a leather band
Pa consults the watch he cups in his hand
The jewel movement measures lost and vanished time
Pray for the boy who makes his bed in cold earth and quicklime

So stay the hands, arrest the time
'Till I am captured by your touch
Blessings that don't count
Small mercies and such
The flags may lower
As we approach the favourite hour

This is the source of my blog name, a song by Elvis Costello from the album "Brutal Youth" (the album title actually comes from this song.
He is one of the musicians I most enjoy listening to. His music is so varied, ranging from soft love songs, to rock, new wave, to other genres (some of them I don't even like so much...).

So it happened that I was listening to this song, while thinking of a name for my blog, when I came up with this. It seemed appropriate for a blog which deals with my favourite things (my most favourite and precious things have a blog of their own).

Vista - Ultimate Extras

Ultimate Extras... people purchased Vista Ultimate to get these so called "extras". Actually they got next to nothing. The most Extra I've used is the Hold 'Em game. $200 is a bit of a high price to pay for one game...
ZDNet have a nice blog entry about it:

Vista SP1 “tries to hide the Ultimate Extras shame” by ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes -- While many are waiting on Windows Vista SP1 to come along to knock off some of Vista's rough corners, it seems that some at Microsoft will welcome the release too - specifically Microsoft’s Windows Ultimate group.

The one Extra I don't get is DreamScene. For those of you who haven't seen it, DreamScene is actually a looping video background for the desktop. So you get a running waterfall, or flowers moving in the wind, all this on your desktop.
Can anyone tell me what's the deal with this? Who's sitting watching the background move? All this also has the price of CPU cycles and memory. This is one expensive extra.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Samsung Blackjack

My name is Blackjack, Samsung Blackjack. Just got this one from work on Thursday. I usually have some sort of Pocket PC machine, so that I can read mail from anywhere (lucky me!!!). Usually it is a bit big and bulky, and cannot replace my old Nokia as a phone. This one however is a dream come true. Very small and light, with all the useful features I need (activesync to my Exchange, IE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and so on and so on).

My old Nokia is currently resting in the car (used only when driving). I'll probably have some more feedback on it this coming week, as I haven't had much chance working with it.

A little bit about my A/V Equipment - part 1

I'm the proud owner of a Sharp LC32-BV8E LCD screen (HD Ready). One of the things that is connected to it is this very same computer I'm using now to write this post. It's connected via an DVI-HDMI cable (not for long, but that is a story for a different post).

The computer is my only way to watch High-Definition content, usually in the form of x264 encoded content. The result is breathtaking! Makes watching shows like BTU (see previous post) bearable.

Back To You 1x06

Why am I watching this? Two reasons: Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton. I loved Frasier and I loved Raymond.

This one my friends, is neither.

But, my wife enjoys it, and I enjoy watching tv shows with my wife, so so far it is working. This episode was slightly better than the last ones, but overall, I find myself not laughing as much as the "live audience" are laughing. The jokes are very simple and obvious, the humor is slapstick, and it's just not my thing.

I'm still giving it a chance, although with the Writers Guild strike, I probably don't have too many episodes to watch...

So, what's now?

Well, you ask (those of you who have found me by mistake), what would I find here? That's a very good question! Here are some things which I thought of:
  1. Interesting gadgets I ran into (or own, lucky me).
  2. TV shows I'm currently watching.
  3. Other stuff (we'll call it misc.)

How long would it last? My last blog lasted about 2 minutes. Don't ask why. Let' see how this one goes