Monday Jul 04, 2005

Plan 9

No, not the Operating System developed by Bell Laboratories...

I had a good laugh over the weekend as we watched one of the worst movies ever made: Plan 9 from Outer Space.

It's so bad, it's good!

The DVD release comes with an excellent documentary about Ed Wood and the making of the movie. Now I'm looking forward to seeing Tim Burton's movie about Ed Wood, played by Johnny Depp.

Plan 9 from Outer Space is apparently used in film schools to teach prospective directors how not to make a movie. I wonder if there is a similar "Hall of Shame" with examples on how not to develop software...

UPDATE: The Internet Archive has just made the movie available for download. The Internet Archive is an amazing project to archive digital content that is in the public domain. This is a valuable service for preserving culture and making it available to a wider audience. However, I still recommend you buy or rent the DVD version as it contains lots of extras.

Monday Jun 13, 2005

Sudoku and the Fearless Vampire Killers

$ man su su - become superuser or another user $ man sudo sudo - execute a command as another user $ man sudoku No manual entry for sudoku.

OK, so sudoku doesn't ship with any standard UNIX... yet... :)

Over the weekend I got hooked on Sudoku, a deterministic, NP-complete number puzzle that was first published in New York in the late 1970's, became popular in Japan in the 1980's and is now becoming increasingly popular worldwide.

What a pleasure it is to "play" a simple number puzzle that requires no CPU cycles and can easily be solved with pencil and paper.

I have never been into modern computer games with advanced graphics and sound. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but a game that engages the mind appeals far more to me than one that bombards my sensory neural pathways.

The same applies to my (some would say, warped) taste in movies. I couldn't care less for special affects, CGI and all that, though I am quite a fan of animation. But even then, I am far more fascinated by Aardman's plasticine characters than Pixar's smileyhappyfriendly computer-generated ones.

Speaking of movies, I love a good spoof movie, especially a good spoof spook movie. I watched Roman Polanski's 1967 comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me but Your Teeth Are in My Neck. What a laugh! I had no idea what it was going to be like, but I knew it would be interesting when the MGM lion turned into a vampire with fangs. And when Alfred, played by Roman Polanski himself, peeped "Wolf!" in a pathetic frightened voice, I knew I was in for a good laugh. Dublin-born Jack MacGowran is hilarious in his role as Professor Abronsius.

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