Archive for May, 2004

Hotel De Beukenhof – Charm and Design in the Netherlands

I just spent the weekend for a wedding in the Hague. I stayed at Hotel De Beukenhof in Oegstgeest. It’s a very nice hotel combining charm, the building is old and very typically dutch, and design, every room is a suite appointed with B&O equipment and all kinds of amenities (our room even had a sauna). If you need to be near the Hague, it’s a great place to stay. The restaurant is also very good and even the service, not exactly a dutch forte, is excellent.

AvantGo and Mac OS X : it’s possible ;-)

One of the possibilities for getting mobile news that I used to enjoy on my Palm via my Mac was AvantGo and it’s large choice of channels. When Mac OS X arrived, AvantGo didn’t support it and so I stopped using it. RSS was for me the replacement but I ended up checking if it still wasn’t possible… Good news, it is. The solution is mal conduit. It works very well and is free. There is another possibility from Markspace.com (Missing Sync for AvantGo) but it’s complicated to configure and I didn’t get it to work (I imagine it’s possible though…). This product does however have added the added functionality of letting you access the Internet with your Palm via your Mac’s connection.

The Day after Tomorrow

Just walked out of the theater and l’m already posting my review. The movie opened today in France so this is really fresh news 😉
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The Day After Tomorrow was made by the same people who gave us Independence Day. This is another classic Hollywood doomsday extravaganza. The story goes roughly like this : Climate expert predicts global warming will change ocean currents possibly causing a new Ice Age; prediction comes true sooner and faster than expected; storms, tornadoes, hailstorms and ocean surges devastate the Northern Hemisphere; father (climate expert) searches and rescues stranded son in frozen New York City.

Nothing special in terms of plot but the visual effects are tremendous and the movie keeps you bolted to your chair. Compared to other disaster movies, this one fares much better in part because there is no excessive characterization. After all, when you go to see a movie like this, you’re going for the disaster. The characters are there to give a human dimension but no more. This movie, from the 1st minute, wastes no time in getting started and doesn’t let up until the end. This is a Hollywood feature that aims to entertain. It does so quite well.

A couple of additional comments :

– For those of you interested in an environmental take on this feature (after all, this film gets it’s premise from global warming) see this story on ENNHumans, nature mix things up in Day After Tomorrow

– I’m surprised that 20th Century Fox would release such a film at this moment. Fox is part of News Corp. and owned by Rupert Murdoch (a very staunch Bush supporter). This movie is very pro-environment and critical of the USA’s actual policies regarding Climate change. It will be a hit and will contribute to putting another issue on the table for the Bush administration (and they’re already very much in trouble as it is). To sum it up, a good entertaining movie, surprising source, important issue and trouble for the Bushies. There is nothing to complain about here 😉

Troy, the movie is better than one could expect

OK… There are hundreds of articles out there about this movie. We’re talking Brad Pitt here ! What reason could I have to write a review or comment ? This weblog is like a new toy for me but the software I’m using (iBlog) has some quirks. In this case, I have several categories predefined but they won’t appear unless there is an entry relative to them. So if I write this “review”, the movies category will appear. it’s magic 😉

So then, Troy…. The Iliad is probably the first book I read. No, not Homer’s opus (which I did read much later on), but a little childrens book called “The Wooden Horse of Troy”. I loved that book and used to reproduce with great care the illustrations of the armored hoplites and the walls of the city. All of the epic moments were already in this 20 page book and needless to say I have this story printed in my mind. So there were no plot surprises (though as can be expected, for Hollywood’s sake, there are some modifications such as Agamemnon not making it home).

It’s for the memory of this first book that I decided to go see the movie even though Brad Pitt with his Missouri accent and blond hair didn’t exactly fit with my ideal of Achilles… The movie is much better than I expected. Brad Pitt pull’s off a very credible Achilles and Eric Bana as Hector shines. Orlando Bloom, cast in an anti-Legolas role as Paris, is probably the best of a very good cast in that he manages to make Paris acceptable and give the story some weight in as to why so many people should die over him stealing someone else’s wife. Helen, though pretty is forgettable (I already forgot the actress’s name). Peter O’Toole as Priam is up to his usual standard and I rather liked Brian Cox as Agamemnon who ended up giving some comic relief (maybe unintended…) in a movie that is otherwise very serious and heroic.

This is a war movie and the battle scenes are numerous and impressive. They are in the same league as those that feature in Lord of The Rings and Gladiator. If you liked those, you will enjoy this as well. The movie is however less good than Gladiator (and doesn’t even begin to compare with the Lord of the Rings trilogy). Troy clocks in at 2h40 min. It’s long and a bit ponderous as it tries to manage all of the twists and turns of the book. I did look at my watch a couple of times during the film but as it built up to the great duel between Hector and Achilles and as the “Wooden Horse of Troy” entered the gates of the city, I relived those childhood moments and savored them.

And now : an RSS reader.

After creating a feed, let’s find a good reader. I use Macs at home and a PC at the office. Since I’m home now, let’s talk Mac first.
When one does a “newbie” search for RSS readers for Mac OS X, the one that comes out is NetNewsWire fromRanchero Sofware .

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It’s not a bad reader and it’s the first one I used but I ended up installing another one which I prefer : NewsMac 3 . I find the interface to be nicer (hard to say why though…) even though it doesn’t have all the features such as blog posting, wide view etc… that NetNewsWire has. If you’re a Palm or iPod user, you might appreciate the sync options that come with NewsMac.
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At the end of the day, both are good choices and they’re both FREE 😉

First Post… Here Goes.

It’s a strange thing to decide to publish a blog. After all, with the millions of sites out there, who needs another one ? Who cares ?

I guess the answer, for me, is that publishing this, something, anything, is now possible. That I now have a voice in the global village. That I can participate. And that I can share without knowing whom I’m sharing with.

The trigger for me though, and we might as well get started with the kind of stuff I intend to discuss, was the discovery of RSS (a week ago…. ;-( ) whilst searching how to get Avantgo working in Mac OS X (it’s possible…). I was immediately fascinated by the amount of feeds out there and the easy, effortless, way with which one can access them. Reading or more adequately, following a blog made sense all of a sudden. And so did writing one…

Power Blues ;-)

I started my musical journey, like so many others, by listening to the blues. I moved on. Went to metal. Then to jazz. Ended up listening to classical music. This might seem crazy, but I think what makes music work transcends genres and there is greatness in all of them.

However, this time I’m back with the Blues. And from a band where I would never have expected it : Aerosmith. Their new album “Honkin’ on Bobo” is full of the power. Go onto the Apple iTunes site and listen to the extracts, you won’t regret it. For more info, there’s a review with which I agree on Yahoo.

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The object of this blog (and the why of the title)…

It’s sort of hard in the case of a blog (if it’s not related to a specialized subject or group) to give an object that makes sense. What follows probably won’t 😉

So why the Title ? Because this world is accelerating constantly. Because the pace of technology never stops. Because the journey is the reward. Because I’m a Metallica fan. This blog is my way of sharing, reflecting, musing, blabbing, on everything that holds my attention more than the usual 5 seconds. And so I hope you’ll enjoy ….