Showing posts with label Courting Controversy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Courting Controversy. Show all posts

Saturday 17 December 2016

That new Star Wars movie

If you need to be told that an article entitled "That new Star Wars movie" is perhaps going to discuss that new Star Wars movie, and intrinsically that's going to include details of the plot then... well here you go:

This contains spoilers.

I'll leave some space before I say anything else, in case that's not clear enough for you, and you think "oh, I hope what Cameron says here doesn't discuss that new Star Wars movie... I haven't seen it and I don't want it spoiled".

Oh for fuck's sake why do I do this to myself?

Firstly, Adam Tuttle is dead right on two counts:

This is true. I watched the trailers for this and though: "haha, nicely played: this doesn't look like crap!", and pretty much decided to see it on that basis. He followed up with this:

I'm the same. I've not actually enjoyed one of these movies since the third one. To save some confusion: I don't give a shit how Lucas decided to number these, or whether they're prequels, sequels or spin offs: I number them chronologically based on their release dates. In this case I mean: Return of the Jedi: the third one. I liked that one. I was 13 when I saw it (in 1983), and I've always had a soft spot for "space ships and laser guns" movies. And it was a good kids' movie. And I was a kid.

It demonstrates AdamT's point that I also knew what date this new one was being released (well: within a week or so of the date: "early Dec"), and I figured a coupla nights ago... I'd be in Galway on Saturday afternoon with two options:
  1. sit at the pub and write a blog article about consuming SOAP web services with PHP. Oh, and drink Guinness;
  2. or go to the local cinema and kill a coupla hours watching this movie first.
I don't wanna think about SOAP yet, so I decided on the latter. On the way home from the cinema I decided to procrastinate on the SOAP thing further by wittering on about the movie instead. I've got the Guinness though. There's always Guinness.

But anyway AdamT was right... there was some anticipation from me to get to see this latest Star Wars movie, and given - despite my best efforts - I don't actually enjoy them, I suspect it's just the nostalgia thing he mentioned.

So, yeah, I scooted down to the cinema and watched the movie. Interestingly there was only about another dozen people in the auditorium. I guess it's either not the draw "a Star Wars movie" used to have, or Saturday afternoon is not a popular time, or the Irish are too sensible to waste their time on such nonsense. I like to think it's the latter.

In case you don't know, this one is the story about how the goodies got hold of the Death Star plans just before the beginning of the first movie, and got them to Princess Leia and R2D2 and what not, and off they went to be chased by that Star Destroyer, and the rest of Star Wars goes from there.

Here's the problem with this new one from the outset: we already know the goodies in this movie succeed in their efforts to steal the plans, and we also know that they all die. Hey I told you there was going to be spoilers. Why did we know they'd all be dead at the end of this one? Well if they weren't they'd still be around for Star Wars etc, wouldn't they?

As a sidebar I am a big fan of the movie Alien, and before I developed a sense for decent movie writing, I also really liked Aliens. I always thought it'd be way cool if there was a linking story covering the period at the LV426 colony before they all got wiped out (some scenes of this made it into the extended mix of Aliens)... showing the colonists being overwhelmed, and only two of them being alive at the end. But even then it occurred to me the denouement wouldn't work as we already know what it would be.

Same here with this movie: Felicity Jones (I've no idea what her character name was: it didn't matter) was always gonna end up dead. And that other geezer she was with. Dead. Along with all the red shirts they were with. Well obviously they were gonna end up dead: they were only making up the numbers (this includes the yeah-we-get-it-it's-The-Force blind dude and his... brother? Pal? Who knows? Who cares?). This was, accordingly, a movie without any real overarching sense of drama.

One thing I did like about this movie was all the nods to the earlier movies there were. I'd usually think this would be self-indulgement / self-knowing / "Joss-Whedon-esque" sort of movie making, but hey, this thing is a nostalgia exercise more than anything else, so why not. I mention this cos I chuckled when they did indeed open with a triangular thing coming down from the top of the screen - eg: the Star Destroyer in the first movie - but this time it wasn't some big spaceship, it was a visual illusion of the way a planet's rings were in the planet's shadow (you'll need to see the scene to get what I mean). On the whole these things were inconsequential but I spotted a few, and they made me chuckle.

I was surprised to see Mads Mikkelsen in this (slumming it slightly, IMO), and he delivered his lines well and seemed convincing in his role... although it was a pretty small if pivotal one. I mention this because most of the rest of the acting was either pretty bland, or the players were the victim of pretty turgid writing (I was reminded of Harrison Ford's quote "George, you can type this shit, but you can't say it!". This was alive and well in this movie too, despite Lucas having nothing to do with it).

Forest Whitaker was a prime example of victimised actor here. His lines were so awful even he couldn't save them. I actually wonder if there was more material for his character originally which was excised, cos I really don't see why he was in the movie.

Felicity Jones was OK, but in comparing her to... ooh... [thinks]... Daisy Ridley in the preceding movie, who I though "hey, you've made a good character here!", I didn't get the same reaction. But she was completely OK, and one of the few people not over-egging their performances.

The comedy robot sidekick was better than usual, but it was still a comedy robot sidekick. It's interesting though that - on reflection - it was probably the second-most-rounded-out character after Jones's one. More so than all the other humans.

On the whole the script was dire. Uncharacteristically for me I found myself repeatedly muttered "for fuck's sake: really? Did you really just make the poor actor utter that line?" But I have to realise it's aimed at people with limited attention spans, and limited... well... age. Be that chronologically or... well... ahem.

What's with the capes? Why did that dude... the baddy guy who wasn't Tarkin or Darth Vader... wear a uniform which otherwise would never have a cape (none of the other dudes with the same uniform had one), had a cape basically clipped on to it. Who the fuck has worn a cape since the Edwardian era?? I never understood that about the likes of Batman or Superman either. Fucking daft.

But actually that baddy guy wasn't too badly drawn and portrayed either. He didn't seem "one note evil" like CGI Cushing or Darth Vader. Vader with his cape. Fuckin' dick.

(later update: shit it was Ben Mendelsohn. Fair enough he did a decent job then. Thankfully his script wasn't as bad as Whitaker's)

The visual composition of the thing was impressive, as one would expect from one of these movies. I think they overdid the "huge impressive but strangely odd design for the given situation" buildings a bit. And it was clear there was a design session of "we need new environments... these things always have new environments... I know: rain! Let's do rain! We've not done rain before! Oh and Fiji too. Let's make one of the planets look like Fiji: we've not done that before either". Still: it all looked impressive. It also pretty much looked real too, which is an improvement on some of its predecessors.

There was also a lot of "exciting" action set-pieces, except for the fact they're not exciting at all, because we all know that the action bits during the body of  the movie will only ever serve to maintain the attention-span of the viewers between sections of exposition or travel to the next set piece, and nothing really important will happen during them. Like key characters being killed or anything. Just the red shirts (or white-suited storm-troopers in this case).

All I could think in the final space battle thing was that - once again - they've committed too many resources to this thing: there's not a few TIE Fighters, there's a bloody million of them, so obviously any of that action is not going to actually contribute to the plot, as there's no way the goodies can realistically beat them ship to ship, so something else needs to happen. So: no drama, and might as well not bother. It doesn't even look impressive as lots of small things whizzing around the place is not impressive. So it's just a matter of sitting there going "oh just get on with it, FFS. Get back to the plot".

I also thought the people in the Star Wars technical design dept should talk to the ones from the Battlestar Galactica one. Those were capital ships. None of this "we'll fire a coupla laser beams at you every few seconds", but "we'll throw up a wall of lead and fire, and small craft just ain't getting through it". Star Wars capital ships just aren't impressive. Oh, OK, I did like the way they finally got rid of the shield gateway thingey though. That was cool. It also reminded me of the scene in RotJ when one of the star destroyers lost control, and crashed into the surface of the Death Star.

Speaking of which: why was there no mention of the fact they were building two Death Stars? Those things would take ten years to build, so they were clearly both underway at the same time.

I did think "ooh shit, now yer fucked" when the AT-ATs showed up at the beach battle. Although obviously they were just gonna get destroyed or just not matter anyhow. I grant some of the ways they were destroyed struck a chord, especially in contrast to their seemingly imperviousness (is that a word?) in The Empire Strikes Back. The rendering of them made them look solid and foreboding though. Completely impractical, but quite foreboding.

How come only one person in the movie had a fully-automatic weapon? And why did it have a slide action (like a pump-action shotgun) which occasionally needed using?

What was with that computer of theirs? At the end when they were trying to get the plans. why did it need a manually controlled thingey to find the hard drive that they were looking for? I realise it was a plot device to slow things down a bit so the baddie could get there for that final showdown, but is that the best they could come up with? Shitty, lazy-arse writing.

Why was the controller console for the satellite dish way out there at the end of that catwalk?

Why did the Death Star miss from that range? I mean other than a setup so that the two goodies weren't instantly vaporised, instead giving them a moment to be reunited and have a wee hug (that was telegraphed too. Sigh) before being all tsunami-ed.

Why the fuck do I keep going to these movies?

In the end, I'd rate this movie as follows:

  • visually impressive in a vapid way;
  • not bad for a Star Wars movie. Probably the "best" one since RotJ;
  • but let's make it clear: that's damning it with faint praise. This is an intellectually barren movie, aimed at kids (at least psychologically, if not chronologically). In that I know adults that actually like this shit, it's just further proof of the infantilisation of our culture, and at that I despair.
  • I'll  give it 6/10 mostly cos it does indeed achieve what it sets out to do... I'm just not the right audience for it. But seeing the kiddies waiting outside for the next session all excited made me remember what it was like when I first went to Star Wars, aged eight, 38 years ago.
  • If I was a kiddie, it'd be an 8/10, I reckon. It's a bit bleak for a kiddie though, as they won't understand all the rest of the story kicks-off from the end of this one. That and that pretty much everyone of note in the movie dies. But at least they wouldn't notice how fucking stupid and bad almost all of the human-element of the movie was.

Oh... I thought the very ending was good: getting the plans to Leia's spaceship and off they went... 5min later for the Star Wars plot to start. That was all right.

Right. Another Guinness and I better try to find 1000-odd words to write about SOAP.

Sorry for the off-topic shite, but writing this all down here will save me some Twitter conversations about it. And, hey, it's possible click bait ;-)



Wednesday 5 March 2014

CFML is dying. Let's drop it off at Dignitas

Yes. It's another "CFML is dying" article. We haven't had one for a while. Note that this is not "ColdFusion is dying", this is CFML in general.

TBH: the headline is slightly tongue-in-cheek, and designed to garner outraged click-throughs whilst the Daily Mail readers amongst us search for the "Comment on this article" button so they can display their mouth-froth to everyone.

This article actually isn't about CFML. And that's the point.

Friday 17 January 2014

Rakshith is mistaken about the release schedule for ColdFusion 11


First things first:

To demonstrate a point, I am going to release this blog article with one title, post my usual Twitter status update, and ask someone to "retweet" it. Then I shall be changing the title subtly... and the title change will reflect the title I actually want the article to be seen as. This is to demonstrate that once someone says something on the internet, it stays said. The original title was unfairly harsh, and a slight overstatement (although not actually inaccurate). By design.

Today I wondered out loud on Twitter whether the ColdFusion 11 pre-release lifecycle seemed longer than usual. Brian Klass set me straight on that:

And, indeed, having done some homework, I am well off base with my instinct. I'll get to that. That's only tangential to what this article is about.

Thursday 2 January 2014

ColdFusion: contempt of court

Be forewarned. If you're the sort of person who reacts poorly to me being a meany, then can I just refer to this this right now: "Why weI fight" (and this blog's communication policy), and perhaps you oughtn't bother reading this. I do call into question someone in our community's professional capabilities here. And some of you might not like that. [shrug].

I am reproducing this here, as some of it has already been redacted by Adobe. I understand why they have done this: fair enough.

Here's an exchange in the comments (OK, not the best place for me to have posted some of this, I know) against bug 3648781: "Closures cannot be declared outside of cfscript".

Rupesh Kumar (RK):

11:02:55 PM GMT+00:00 Jan 1, 2014

It is not about half implementation at all. Outside cfscript, functions are declared using cffunction tag. Now how do you define the closures in tag syntax? The only way to do that would be using an ugly mix of script and tag which would look like

<cfset c = function(){
    var a = something;
    var b = foo();
    return a * b;

To me, this syntax looks confusing. Given that more and more new code is being written in cfscript, I feel we should not mix script and tags in this way. Deferring it for the time being and we will revisit this later.

Adam Cameron (AC):

3:01:16 AM GMT+00:00 Jan 2, 2014

It's just an expression like any other sort of expression, Rupesh.

You can't say "oh, this sort of expression is OK in a CFSET statement, but this other sort of expression? No, can't do one of those". That's ridiculous.

By way of comparison, this already works fine in Railo. But then again they're not quite so judgemental/patronising as to what will / won't look "too complicated" for CFML developers.

I think if it looks complicated *to you*, you probably should not be making decisions as to what does and does not go into the language.


Thursday 10 October 2013

ColdFusion: Why weI fight

G'day, and apologies to Frank Capra for trivialising his work.

An alternative title for this article could be "Readers: can't live with 'em... can't kill 'em". But I liked the Capra allusion which popped into my head initially, even if it does self-aggrandise what I do here "somewhat".

Can I please remind you lot of something. At the top right of the page you are reading, second paragraph, it says this:
I tend to be a bit "forthright": I think CF is a good product, but I won't blindly defend it in all circumstances, and I have been quite critical of ColdFusion and Adobe at times. This will come out occasionally here: I make no apology for it.
It says that on every page of the blog. And I put it there on every page for a reason.

First: a digression. The back story of this blog - and the gist of the title - is this.

I have been in the ColdFusion community since about 2001 (working with CF since 2000, but was unaware of the community at the time). I have enjoyed reading the various blogs that have come and gone, but they all and one common thread: they were always - or at least almost always - never in the slightest bit critical or questioning of what Macromedia / Adobe were doing with ColdFusion. The general approach of the CF community seemed to be blind adulation, matter-of-fact stick to examples of how the code worked, or stony silence when something was a bit rubbish. No-one ever seemed to go "Oi, WTF is going on with this?"

I had been thinking about starting a blog for a number of years, but for a while I was suffering from imposter syndrome, and thought I'd probably only have enough material for about half a dozen posts, and then run out of steam. Plus it would simply not be of any benefit to the community. Plus I have the attention span of a goldfish, and lose interest in stuff fairly quickly.

But whenever it was - a year or so ago - I decided, screw it... I'm fed-up with where Adobe is taking this community (or more to the point: I'm fed up with that the community seems to be sleeping through this happening), and I perhaps do have an interesting alternative spin on what's going on in the CFML world, so I'll write it down. My position has always been to question what's going on, rather than just sit idly by watching it but not saying anything because I'm too darn polite (like an awful lot of people seem to be). The raison d'être for this blog is kinda "well someone's gotta say something".

Thursday 4 July 2013

Response to comment (since redacted, it would seem) posted on the Adobe ColdFusion Blog

I headed over to the Adobe ColdFusion Blog where there's an article on these security holes in ColdFusion (via web sockets) to reply to an update Awdhesh made yesterday. But the comment is gone. Well no it's not, here it is:

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Adobe ColdFusion bug tracker: sigh

 (Warning: this is just a frustrated grumble, and has little merit beyond allowing me to stomp my foot like a petulant school child).

As mentioned in my previous article, "I've raised four bugs, but unfortunately I cannot share the details with you because I raised them as "security issue", so I don't get given the bug number."... all I get is a note "Thank you for submitting a bug. Due to security concerns, this bug will not be externally viewable."

This plumbs new depths of "Adobe really just don't think shit through".

Saturday 25 May 2013

Sunday 24 February 2013

Email address validation (#1 in a series subtitled "Fool's Errands")

G'day (from sunny New Zealand):
The sunshine has been too hard to resist, so I've only been looking at my computer superficially over the last coupla weeks. That and typing anything of any length on this netbook is a bit of a pain in the butt.  However I have an hour or so downtime before descending on my sister (who I've not seen in three years) and reacquainting myself with her brood - including a new niece I have not yet met - so I'll rattle something off quickly about one of my pet annoyances.

Email address validation.

For goodness sake: don't do it! You'll probably get it wrong. Most websites I encounter do, so I don't see why you'd be any different.

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Christmas Spirit, StackOverflow style (#2 in a list of why StackOverflow is populated by @rseholes)

Is it the season for "Peace on Earth and goodwill to all men"? No, on StackOverflow it's more like "Screw you, newbie @rsehole: I have power over you, die die die" for some people. And, again, people like this demonstrate how the Stackoverflow approach to site self-management needs some thought.

If you read this article, also please make sure you read the follow-up to it as well.

A newbie ColdFusion user has posted a newbie-ish question over on Stackoverflow. Given the treatment they've received from non-ColdFusion users over there, I would not be surprised if it's their last.  Here's a summary of their question (by someone called "volume one"):

Saturday 24 November 2012

Thoughts on "Coldfusion and the law of dialectics of progress" by Stofke on wheels

This is another article that started as a comment on someone else's blog, but it got too long, so I figured I'd clutter up my own blog rather than theirs.

"Stofke on wheels" has written an interesting article entitled "Coldfusion and the law of dialectics of progress" (I wish I could come up with titles like that... without simply just copying it, like I have in this article, I mean ;-)
The article starts well - discussing a concept I was unaware of "Law of the handicap of a head start" - and how it possibly applies to ColdFusion - but ultimately arrives at some dubious conclusions as to how Railo is an answer to the questions left asking.

Monday 19 November 2012

Sean said that Nick said that Fusion Authority said...

Sean Corfield's written an interesting article entitled "CFML - Too Little, Too late?". I recommend you read it. It's not earthshattering and not saying anything that hasn't been said before, but it's nicely composed and is poignant and thought-provoking. And I tend to pay attention when Sean says stuff. I don't necessarily then agree, but I do pay attention ;-)

I started feeding-back to him in a comment on his own blog, but it was getting too long for a blog comment so I thought I'd revise it slightly to add context, and write it here instead.

Thursday 8 November 2012


It's been a quiet week on the blog front this week sorry... this is down to it being a pretty busy week in general for me.  Nothing exciting... just too much work, so little motivation to spend even more time in front of the screen when I get home.  And, to be frank, I've not been in the mood to write anything on the train in the morning either. This isn't for a lack of stuff to write, it's just what I've got in the list of things to write about takes research and... well... a bunch of actual work to get the thing ready.

So this is a bit of a filler article.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Survey Results: The importance of backwards compat between ColdFusion versions

This survey was all about getting a feel for how people upgrade ColdFusion, and the path they take. And, given that, what there experiences with rework to effect the upgrade was, and how much of an issue it was. And with that in mind: what their thoughts about the weighting Adobe give to this "backwards compatibility at almost any cost" (including, at times, at the expense of common sense).  I discuss the latter notion in a dedicated article.

Monday 10 September 2012

Survey Results: CF strings being interpreted as dates and integers

No articles for a few days, sorry (if indeed I can be so self-indulgent as to think anyone actually gives a toss one way or the other ;-)... I had a busy weekend flitting from London to the other side of Ireland and back in the space of about 40 hours, and have been pretty much shattered as a result.  But here we go now.
I've been running some surveys for a while (see the list of them in the right sidebar), and I've finally got enough results to give some analysis. I decided there was no point in reporting back on a survey unless I got at least 50 results. On a couple of them I'm now well over that, so I'll share the results and editorialise a bit.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Which version of ColdFusion am I actually running? (follow-up)

G'day: this is a follow-up to yesterday's article in which I asked what was going on with CF's versioning after the recent 10.0.1 updater. The short version is that after the install ColdFusion still reports itself as 10.0, rather than 10.0.1. This is in conflict with:
  • established previous ColdFusion behaviour
  • industry-standard expectations
  • the ColdFusion team's own published material (they refer to it as 10.0.1)
  • Adobe's published Release terminology guidelines
  • common-sense