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Archive for May 17th, 2009

Star Trek 2009

by on May.17, 2009, under SciFi

I’ve seen Star Trek twice now, and might see it yet again in the theater.  It was certainly a lot better than Nemesis.

When I first heard the general plot outline – something to the effect of “Kirk fights Romulans on Pike’s Enterprise” I was sortof astounded that those few words contained two cannon inconsistencies that me, someone who has not really watched every TOS episode more than once, could immediately pick out.  Kirk explicitly states that he met Pike when Pike was promoted to Fleet Captain and Kirk took command of the Enterprise, “The Menagerie, Part I” (TOS 1×15, about 90 seconds from the start).  And in “Balance of Terror” (TOS 1×08, 5 minutes in) it is stated that “no Human, Romulan, or ally has seen the other.”  The several ENT episodes dealing with Romulans were very careful that this stayed consistent.  How would they have a movie in which the enemy Romulan wasn’t seen by the Enterprise crew?

How does JJ fix this?  Well, they create a divergent timeline at approximately the moment of Kirk’s birth with the appearance of a Romulan ship from the Trek universe that we know and love.  They’re pretty explicit about explaining this in the movie, and the amount of confusion this and the appearance of old Spock from the established universe must have been deemed a necessary pandering to the fans at the expense of the general audience the movie intended to capture.  Personally, I think it’s not a bad idea.  A lot of fans hated the idea of a “reboot” and yet JJ rebooted without really destroying what came before (in fact, he added some to it).  There could still be a continuation of the original universe, while this one continues in parallel.  In a way, it’s totally consistent with Trek precedent.  The Mirror Universe spanned three of the five Star Trek TV series.  Honestly, I skipped watching the DS9 mirror universe episodes  – since they mattered little to the highly serial DS9 storylines.  I’m looking forward to the next installment of Star Trek 2009’s Universe (which Memory Alpha is currently terming the Alternate Reality).  One interesting fact about the point of divergence is that, in theory, ST:ENT is canonical for both realities, as reinforced by Scotty’s comment about Admiral Archer’s beagle.

The movie’s soundtrack was good, but very repetitive, and used the TOS theme directly at points instead of the much more impressive (and modern) theme developed by Jerry Goldsmith for ST:TMP.

I found the heavy quoting of Starfleet Regulations to be offputting during my first viewing, but more tolerable on the second.  Not that regulations aren’t quoted in Star Trek, it just seemed that more than usual were in this movie.

There seemed to be a conscious effort to avoid general use of technobabble which though noticeable, wasn’t really missing because the movie spent much more screentime showing things rather than talking about them, as is more typical of Trek.  One counterexample is Scotty’s Transwarp Beaming, which almost has to be a cannon violation as old Spock is providing it from the original universe, and there’s no indication of this existing in the original universe.

Anyway.  Overall very pleased and looking forward to the DVD/Blu-Ray release, and sequels!

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DIY DSL using FlowPoint 2200s

by on May.17, 2009, under Networking

When I am occasionally asked about what might be used for networking two random buildings together, the first two thoughts are generally private DSL and wireless.  I’ve not had any personal experience with private DSL, but I know that Patrick had used it in the past, and I think he had used Flowpoint gear.  As I have a possible project in the works, and want to know a bit more about what I’m talking about, I bought a group of  5 FlowPoint 2200s on eBay.

Configuration didn’t go terribly smoothly.  While I was able to setup a typical 9600-8-N-1/no-flowcontrol rollover connection to the boxes, they would seem to not recognize keystrokes after the boxes booted.  If they were configured to do that, I haven’t been able to figure out how.  Fortunately with watching my DHCP server to find their IP addresses (they seem to try to lease them even when statically configured), and using the password override which thankfully works on telnet and not just console, I was able to reconfigure all but one of them.  The last one refused telnet connections (presuming a firewall setting).  If anyone has any idea what might be wrong with the console setup, or other ways of resetting the box, I’d be interested to hear.

As for the point-to-point, or what they seem to call back-to-back portion of the configuration, I found a document describing the setup process.  The routers would link up using this, but would not seem to bridge.  Bridging would be a much easier and more elegant solution for the applications I’m looking at.  I switched the protocol to RFC1483 instead of PPP which seemed to allow the bridging configuration to work.

While approaching ancient, the Flowpoints appear to be the cheapest back-to-back SDSL options out there.  Mine do seem to have a max speed of 1536 kBPS (that’s a T1 less ESF overhead, iirc), but that would probably be fine for my needs.  Anyone using better cheap gear?

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Android Music Index

by on May.17, 2009, under Technology

I’ve not used Android’s music player much, but today I FTP’d some MP3s to my G1 and they would not show up in “Music.”  I remembered that when I tried it once before it had “just worked.”  After much Googling revealing nothing (which is really annoying, and hopefully this post will fix) I removed and reinserted the microSD card, and magically the media was indexed and available in Music.  The only mechanism of rebuilding the android media index seems to be inserting the SD card.  It seems this has to be physical as well – while Android has an “unmount” option for the card, it doesn’t give you a mount option afterwards.  The music program itself really should have a menu item for performing a re-scan, at the very least.

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May 2009


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