June 2004 Archives


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Over at The Japanese Apple Trailers site, I've just noticed a trailer for Appleseed, by Masamune Shirow. It sure looks good. Pity it'll probably be only in Japanese...

Things you can learn from 24

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  1. It is possible to drive to anywhere in Los Angeles in under 5 minutes. Mexico requires a ten minute plane ride.
  2. Wireless network connections work even in the deepest bowels of a building from a remote source.
  3. Jack Bauer can drive without looking at the road. (although, to be fair, most American actors seems to drive while staring fixedly at their passenger.)
  4. The hard drives on 4U Dells are arranged vertically and are screwed in. There's also a convenient place on the Dell server to attach a lump of C4.

Dragon Boat Day


Today is the Tuen Ng festival, which commemorates the death of Quan Yu, a Chinese statesman and poet.. This festival is celebrated by eating sticky rice dumplings (Zong Zi), and, of course, by paddling a dragon boat.

Today is my first ever dragon boat day in Hong Kong where I'm not out on the water in Stanley, so this is a somewhat sad day for me. This is mainly due to the Tendonitis I've been suffering from ever since I got back from Melbourne. At one point I could hardly type without pain, much less hold a paddle. I'm a lot better now, but I still get pains in my arms when I'm typing too much or stressed.

Fragrant Harbour


Fragrant Harbour, by John Lanchester, purports to be an epic novel of Hong Kong. Sadly, it doesn't quite have that spark, and just seems to lurch along in a pedestrian fashion.

It certainly has a somewhat epic scope, spanning most of the 20th century, with wars and revolutions. It doesn't feel like an epic though — it feels more like a gentle look at a few lives, rather than an epic like TaiPan

I found the tale of Dawn Stone to be utterly uninteresting, except in a "I know a few people like that and I don't like them" sort of way. People who skate across the surface of Hong Kong in a whirl of Junk trips, Mid-levels and Peak apartments and jobs with huge housing allowances. (Not that there's anything wrong with each of those individually, but together they tend to insulate people from the reality of Hong Kong.)

Matthew Ho seems to be painted in very broad strokes. He does a lot of very generic Hong Kong Businessman things, which aren't very engaging. And, to be honest, I was more interested in what Tom Stewart was doing than Matthew.

Tom Stewart is the real protagonist, and I'd have read a few hundred more pages about his time in Hong Kong easily. That's where Lanchester really did his research, and it shows. Little details of life in Hong Kong since the thirties abound, and really help the story feel real. If you're reading with no experience of Hong Kong, you won't notice these details, but to me it read like a pretty straight historical piece. I felt that I could have gone down to Deep Water Bay and picked out the hotel from the description given.

I found the ending to be quite abrupt, however, and I did wonder if my edition had a few pages missing. Should the last line be "I did it because I am a refugee."?

More Politics


Dual Screen stuff


As I've mentioned before, I run a dual screen setup here. I have two LCD monitors in a side by side configuration to give me a screen of about 31" x 13" with a resolution of 2560 x 1024.

On the Linux box, which is my primary workstation (and also the server you're reading this on), both of these screens are identically sharp. The VGA card is a Matrox G400 with dual analogue outputs. I get a 75Hz Vertical refresh rate.

On the Windows box, both screens are noticably different. I have an Nvidia card with one DVI and one VGA output, both of which give a 60Hz refresh rate. The analogue output is noticeably more fuzzy than the digital output. Strange.

Alas, although the primary purpose of the Windows box is game playing, two screens isn't all that useful for gaming. While many games will support a widescreen view, the dividing line between the screens is then right at the centre of attention and is very distracting.

A three monitor setup would be perfect, but onle one card supports that — the Matrox Parhelia — and that really doesn't have the oomph for proper gaming.

See Through Concrete


See Through Concrete!. (via Making Light, appropriately.)

Iraq and Al Quaeda


So now it's official: There was no credible link between Al Quaeda and Iraq. I wonder how those lockstep right-wing liars will try and spin this one?

I note that Cheney is spewing more lies.

Ronald Reagan


The Gipper has finally passed on, after ten years of a slow death with Alzheimers. As a man, may he rest in peace.

As a president, may he be remembered as the initial sponsor of fundamentalist Islam in Afghanistan, massive national debt in the USA, and the advocate of wholescale treason and illegal warfare on the part of the USA.

I don't have much good to say about him, but, in comparison to George Bush, at least he sounded convincing when he was talking, and at least he could deliver a speech. The current hagiography about Ronald Reagan just makes the Smirking Chimp sound like a brain-damaged, illiterate and inarticulate moron. Oh, wait a minute...

And also in comparison with the Shrub, at least when Ronald Reagan got an easy gig during a war, he actually did his job. Unlike the shrub, who couldn't be bothered turning up for his Vietnam-avoidance stint in Austin, Ronald Reagan turned up for his acting gigs and maybe his propaganda movies were even useful to the war effort.

(God, I never thought I'd be nostalgic for the reign of Ronald Reagan.)

Tianenmen Square

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It's the 15th anniversary of Tianenmen Square today. Richard, the Peking Duck has some excellent articles about the whole thing.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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