The Beagle has landed
Or crashed, or the usual Xmas small print of
"batteries not included" wasn't spotted
by the ESA chaps at Darmstadt.
Whatever, I've been following the Beagle's
progress or otherwise on the Beagle team's
(no feed unforch), and
However, I'm pleased to see that the Beagle itself is
rather smarter than the ESA chaps and not only has
managed to avoid the frames and tables tag-soup hell
of the official site, but it's also managed to setup it's
on BlogSpot. I guess it feels somewhat superior
to the ESA folks who've landed it on a hostile planet with
such a very limited selection of MP3s, so it's decided to
do its own thing communication wise.
[Mon, 29 Dec 2003 11:07
Cinemas encourage piracy?
Well you wouldn't necessarily think so from the numerous
"Piracy supports terrorism",
"Piracy funds organised crime",
"Piracy supports George Bush"
(I made that last one up, but it's the most plausible of
the bunch), shown before the
Return of The King
the other night.
Further thoughts about the unpleasant cramped conditions
in the cinema, and the way the whole experience left a nasty
taste in the mouth has made me realise how deep a hole the movie
business has dug itself into.
The average cinema today is certainly encouraging
piracy; let's face it, why on earth should someone pay good
money to spend an evening in an unpleasant environment?
Here's some things I don't want to experience when I go to see
- A big shed multiplex cinema miles from anywhere - I'd like
to eat somewhere reasonable before watching a film, in my
experience decent restaurants are rarely based on retail
parks or industrial estates
- Buckets of carbonated drinks - what can can I say other
- Overpriced fast food - ditto, food poisoning whilst being ripped
- Cramped conditions - if land in the UK cost £1
million per square foot maybe I could understand the need
to cram someone into 5 or 6 square feet, but it doesn't
cost anything like that, so give us enough room to sit down!
Here's some things I'd like to see:
- Town centre location - access to decent food, accessibility,
and even cutting down on the need for people to drive, all good
- Bar - enjoying a glass of wine or a pint with the film is a
very civilised way to pass the time, maybe it hasn't got the
profit margins of sugared water, but who's the target audience?
Penniless yoofs, or adults?
- Comfortable seating - make it enjoyable and people come
back, make it a crap experience and people write stuff like this
- Good heating and aircon - seems obvious, if only it was...
fulfilled many of these needs, but it's closed down - it needed a
refurb and with another new cinema being built within 50m I guess
the refurb wasn't viewed as being profitable enough, and I bet they
can make more money by turning it back into part of the
restaurant. Damn :-(
[Tue, 23 Dec 2003 21:50
LoTR - RoTK
In best Thauvin style here's a micro-review of the latest
Tolkein Lord of The Rings epic movie Return of The King.
3.5 stars, slightly better than
but it's still no masterpiece. IMO this is possibly the weakest of
the three LoTR films, more Hollywood than some of the others
in that the numerous lengthy battle scenes just seemed to be
used as filler (some of these so vacuous I was half expecting
Arnold or Bruce Willis to appear). I'm told the ending doesn't
match the book, this certainly seems likely, it has the
"feel-good factor" nonsense so beloved of Hollywood,
frankly it almost looks like they filmed a proper ending and then
got pulled back into the studios to add a different twee ending
for the RIAA.
The Reg points out
the continuity errors,
and I've got one other major gripe, the nearest cinema for
To book I had use their almost inaccessible automated phone
service where they proceeded to take the most roundabout
possible route (on an expensive but not quite premium rate
phone call), and then they still had the audacity to charge a
booking fee! To cap it all the cinema may have had a refurb
recently, but it was still dirty and stuffy with
insufficient seating room for an adult - I'm 5'8" and
I was very cramped, something that doesn't even
happen to me in economy airtravel!
Next time I'm voting with my feet, let's face it the
Odeon's criminally inaccesible website
should have indicated their customer service intentions in
big red lights!
[Mon, 22 Dec 2003 20:48
Like Matt, I've been
this week, "normal" service should be resumed shortly.
Not that I've got any huge missives to post, just a tangle of
ill-formed thoughts to beat into some semblance of shape.
[Fri, 19 Dec 2003 19:22
Sven's New Ride!
A Sven-tastic new film from
and his merry bunch of helpers -
to squeeze onto the 3650!
Update 2004-01-13: Sven currently has some
hosting problems -
[Sat, 13 Dec 2003 14:43
Are you pleased to see me, or...
One of the highlights of today's Wi-Fi day on
is Chris Davies'
a gorgeously useful little device, if I had the spare cash I'd buy one
off Chris tomorrow.
ride on *the*
was great too, and for him to get an interview on board with the CEO of
GNER was just brilliant.
[Fri, 12 Dec 2003 21:37
It's Wi-Fi day over on
for no reason in particular, it could be entertaining!
will probably out-trump us all if his little adventure comes off
successfully, that's certainly worth looking out for.
[Thu, 11 Dec 2003 23:46
Three, a story of pain and insults
So, I've written
Yet again it's critical of them, I don't know why, but this pains me; I
feel like a parent scolding their child. I have no financial (or other)
involvement with Three, but I really want them to succeed, how or
why can an individual become so enthusiastic (and so disappointed) by a
[Tue, 09 Dec 2003 22:24
got hold of a
and I'm very jealous, however I should be seeing him very soon so
I ought to be able to prise it out of his fingers for a quick play.
That should be very interesting, I wonder, is it going to be good
enough to take the Series 60 crown from the
[Mon, 08 Dec 2003 17:53
It's about time...
As he said "Well, it's about time a transvestite potter won the
Turner Prize...", what a classic line for an acceptance
speech, it certainly makes the usual crap from Hollywood for the Oscars look
even more trite than usual. Grayson Perry, you're a star!
Anyway back to the art, Grayson Perry's pottery is exceptional work,
classic art from tortured soul. The Chapman brothers' work whilst widely
touted seems more like a juvenile lavatory joke in comparison.
More pics of pots on
Grayson Perry's website,
and more about the Turner Prize from
The Tate Britain.
[Mon, 08 Dec 2003 13:13
Show Us Your Tree!
"Show Us Your Tree!"
So here it is, it only came into the house last night, and it's not
covered in lights and stuff yet. Vital statistics are 4'9" (1.45m) tall
Sure it looks a bit lost in this view, but with the kids and dog
running around I really don't need anything else for them to fall
[Fri, 05 Dec 2003 20:32
Bye Bye BlogShares
closed down, and taken my millions with it...
I was one of the earliest users of BlogShares back in
and registered user number 6, although I have to admit barely touching my
portfolio in the last few months.
Despite working in the financial industry writing software for the
best part of two decades I didn't get a lot of the strategies and methods
used by BlogShares, maybe that's what dulled my enthusiasm. Anyway it was
fun whilst it lasted, I wonder what
is up to next?
[Thu, 04 Dec 2003 13:34
BBC Sport's Football front page
Supporters of the so called "smaller clubs" have long been
frustrated by the media bias towards the likes of Manchester Utd,
but it gets a bit much when they can't even face up to reporting
the true score...
If you're wondering, Man Utd lost
last night, not
their first loss
of the season and undoubtedly not their last.
[Thu, 04 Dec 2003 13:21
Interesting story from the Japan Times about an experimental maglev train
(also reported on
cool stuff, but maglev is rather blue sky stuff, did you know that a TGV
reached over 515km/h back in 1990?
Sure TGV is a bit brute force and ignorance - lots of power, and
special extra straight trackbeds - but if a little more tech wizardry
was added to this formula, even better performance could be achieved,
after all the much maligned
ran at 155mph (249kp/h) on conventional tracks back in 1979 with what we
would now think of as stone-age technology.
Update : Fixed the TGV speed (doh!), and found
this interesting page
from the BBC saying that the APT hit 162.2mph back in 1979.
[Wed, 03 Dec 2003 14:02
Useful stuff time:
a site collecting RDF schemas, particularly useful schemas for
FOAF, both serious stuff like Eric Vitiello's
that extends foaf:knows and fun stuff like the
No sign of
there yet, looks like the LOAF project team are slackers... :-)
[Wed, 03 Dec 2003 00:07
Pompey falls again?
The Saints take on Portsmouth (twinned with
apparently) tonight in the Carling Cup.
I'm biting fingernails already, it's going to be a close thing,
as recently the Saints have scored less often than Bill Gates, so
don't expect a cricket score. In fact,
Gordon Strachan is predicting a 0-0 score after penalties!
The Ugly Inside
fan site has a funny
guide to Southampton
for Portsmouth's more troglodytic fans...
Update : Final score Saints 2 (Beattie twice): Pompey
[Tue, 02 Dec 2003 19:31
So it's December already, I'm not sure how that sneaked up so quickly!
was a duff month on Mobitopia for postings, so here's some stats to use as
a light(ish) stick to beat some of the slackers (including myself)
I'll buy the most prolific poster in December a pint!
Update: The promise of beer certainly helped, here's
[Mon, 01 Dec 2003 14:14