catching up on movies

A recent version of MythTV added some “special” searches; 3.5 stars or more, science fiction, etc. Between TCM and AMC I’ve been catching up on movies from the various lists on the blog, as well as a bunch of other classics:

“Top 50 Movie Adaptations”:
“102 must-see movies?”:

* The Graduate
* The Maltese Falcon

“sf film canon”: and “AFI Tpo 50 SF Movies”:

* The Stepford Wives
* The Thing From Another World
* 28 Days Later


* Singin’ in the Rain
* The Silence of the Lambs
* The Adventures of Robin Hood (Errol Flynn!)
* The Odd Couple
* Harvey
* The Philadeplphia Story
* Casablanca
* Key Largo

posted at 7:02 pm on Thursday, April 24, 2008 in Personal | Comments Off on catching up on movies


you’ve all heard of “lolcats”: by now, right? Well here are new, never before captured photos of “lolgrues”: in teh wild…

(well, I laughed… :-)

posted at 9:03 am on Saturday, April 12, 2008 in Humour, Links | Comments Off on lol

Happy Pi Day!

Well, to our American viewers, anyway. To the rest of us, it’s some less exciting number :)

posted at 10:00 am on Friday, March 14, 2008 in Personal | Comments Off on Happy Pi Day!


Today I finally learned how to solve the NFS UID problem on Ubuntu.

You see, NFS normally does it’s permissions by numeric UID. If the UIDs on two different machines don’t match, then NFS permission checking doesn’t work; you don’t get access to your own files, and you might get access to somebody else’s files instead!

Ubuntu, of course, has no standard UIDs, not even for system services. So my four ubuntu boxes here each have different username <> UID maps.

Enter the ugidd package, which is an RPC daemon that runs on the client. The NFS server calls this daemon when a mount request comes in, and dynamically builds a UID map between the server and the client, based on the string usernames. As a side effect, it also seems to map userids that are not assigned on the client to ‘nobody’. In this way, the nfs server can map UIDs between systems, without the administrator (that’s me!) maintaining static map files.

The one downside is that this feature requires the user-space NFS server instead of the kernel nfs server, so performance suffers a bit. I have CPU to spare, though!

Now I can use NFS between my MythTV boxes :-)

posted at 12:56 pm on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 in Personal, Security | Comments Off on rpc.ugidd

old news

It seems the “news” has finally leaked out to the general public:

* “”:
* “”:
* “”:

I’m not allowed to say much in public, so I’ll link to these stories without .

posted at 9:09 pm on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 in Personal | Comments Off on old news

traffic “vapour lock”?

vapour lock isn’t really the right term, but I can’t think of a better fluid-dynamics term right now.

In the sudden torrential snowfall this afternoon, I got stuck south of an intersection for about 20 minutes, unable to move. The traffic lights were synchronized, which works for normal traffic flow, but with the snow everyone was going slowly. The net result was that:

* when the light was red to me, there was space north of the intersection for cars, but that space was quickly filled by people turning from the cross street.
* by the time the light was green to me, there was no space left on the north side of the intersection. In fact, there was no space *in* the intersection, because the turning traffic was consistently filling the intersection. So I was stuck, along with everyone else.

I finally gave up, turned around, drove all the way around the block, and came at the intersection again from the cross street :). After which I encountered another roadblock; York Mills eastbound was closed at Don Mills, because cars could not make it up the hill.

It took me 1:45 to get from my office to the school…

posted at 8:13 pm on Friday, February 29, 2008 in Personal | Comments (1)
  1. Helge says:

    The word you are looking for is “grid lock”. Streets are laid out in a grid and if you cannot get anywhere it is gridlock. Old term that’s been around since cars.


episode one

“Episode One”: of “Shadow Unit”: is up. In case you were actually thinking of getting work done today…

posted at 11:24 am on Monday, February 18, 2008 in Links | Comments Off on episode one

AFI top 50 SF movies

SCI-FI Wire “announced today”: that AFI has picked a “Top 50” list of science fiction movies. I’ve taken their list and bolded the ones I’ve seen. I have -18- 16 movies to see to catch up!

* A.I. Artificial Intelligence
* *Alien*
* *Altered States*
* *The Andromeda Strain*
* *Back to the Future*
* The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms
* *Blade Runner*
* Children of Men
* A Clockwork Orange
* *Close Encounters of the Third Kind*
* *Cocoon*
* *Contact*
* *The Day the Earth Stood Still*
* Destination Moon
* *E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial*
* *Escape From New York*
* Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
* Fantastic Voyage
* *The Fly (1986)*
* *Forbidden Planet*
* Frankenstein (1931)
* The Incredible Shrinking Man
* *Independence Day*
* Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
* The Invisible Man (1933)
* It Came From Outer Space
* *Jurassic Park*
* *Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome*
* *The Matrix*
* *Men in Black*
* *Minority Report*
* *Planet of the Apes (1968)*
* *Repo Man*
* *RoboCop*
* Rollerball (1975)
* *Silent Running* (one of my favourites)
* *Soylent Green*
* *Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan*
* *Star Wars: Episode IV–A New Hope*
* *Starman*
* *The Stepford Wives (1975)*
* *Terminator 2: Judgment Day*
* Them!
* The Thing From Another World
* *The Time Machine (1960)*
* *Total Recall*
* *Tron*
* *2001: A Space Odyssey*
* *The War of the Worlds (1953)*
* Westworld

posted at 1:37 pm on Friday, February 15, 2008 in Movies, Personal | Comments (3)
  1. Helge says:

    A Clockwork Orange is not really a Sci Fi film. It a future film based on the book by Anthony Burgess about a foursome of British “droogs” or stoners who beat people for fun. Their main guy, played by Malcolm McDowell, gets caught, is sentenced and has to watch “deconditioning” film until he goes mad.
    The only thing fantastic in Fantastic Voyage is Rachel Welch.
    Soylent Green is a new food for all the world’s masses of people to stop everyone from starving. Guess what it’s made of? People!
    Westworld is very scary in which the story is that Westworld is a theme park a la Disney where you get to play gunslinger. A robot gunslinger played by Yul Brynner has one of his safety circuits blow and he becomes a real killer contrary to everything Isaac Asimov ever preached about Robots.


  2. Viper Pilot says:

    Clockwork Orange not science fiction?

    Erm, the government uses new scientific methods to curb antisocial behaviour. That’s an application of technology affecting mankind. That’s *pure* science fiction. You can’t really have science fiction without the science, otherwise it’s just fiction.

    Unlike, say, Star Wars which is just a western fantasy and keeps getting called science fiction simply because it’s set in space and they use blasters instead of six-shooters.

    -Viper Pilot

  3. […] sf film canon and AFI Tpo 50 SF Movies […]

419 spam

after a long drought, I added another country to my “419 spam list”: : Iran!

posted at 9:16 pm on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 in Personal | Comments Off on 419 spam

it’ll be lonely

The entire development team here in Toronto has been “WFRed”, HP’s fancy term for “your job no longer exists, thanks for playing”. (To be fair, HP’s process is actually quite generous; they offer everyone lots of time to try to find another job inside HP, resume services, interview skills training, and so on).

I’ve been asked to stay on, because my job has always been customer facing, and they need someone with that experience to help with the transition. I’ve always joked that I’d be the last one let go; I didn’t actually believe it though! Anyway, for a lot of different reasons, I’ve decided to accept. So while everyone else is out looking for work now, I’ll be looking for work in November.

It’s going to be a lonely 9 months. On the plus side, I don’t have to start commuting to Mississauga every day! I’ll have the ever so challenging “three flights of stairs” commute…

posted at 10:53 am on Saturday, February 09, 2008 in Personal | Comments (2)
  1. Reid says:

    There’s always Alias Research, er Alias|Wavefront, er Alias Systems, er.. Autodesk. Ya, that’s it..

    A lot of people have mellowed over there..

  2. […] not allowed to say much in public, so I’ll link to these stories without comment. 31 words posted at 9:09 pm on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 in Personal […]

keep flying?


From the site:

bq. We are looking to push the envelope of episodic television by offering Season Two of Firefly in a groundbreaking new format. Each episode (or the entire season) would be made available for purchase in Standard or Hi-Definition.

Head over there and fill out a survey. And while you’re at it, check out “Sanctuary”: , a show that was developed first on the web, and has now been picked up as a 13-episode series by the SCI-FI Channel. Anything is possible…

posted at 7:18 pm on Thursday, February 07, 2008 in TV | Comments Off on keep flying?


I predict that there will be six more weeks of winter…

posted at 3:16 pm on Monday, February 04, 2008 in Current Events | Comments (1)
  1. CL says:

    The thing I’ve always loved about groundhog day is living somewhere where 6 more weeks of winter is pretty much the same thing as an early spring.

steven wright

I found “wright house”:, a site that has a long list of so-called Steven Wright jokes. The difference? They’ve annotated the list; they mark jokes as authentic, or else name the comedian who actually said them.

“what’s another word for synonym”?

posted at 10:06 am on Sunday, January 20, 2008 in Links | Comments Off on steven wright

interesting reading

I just finished reading through the Livejournals of “three”: “FBI”: “agents”: They apparently work for a of the Behavioural Analysis Unit? Interesting reading, though. There’s certainly _something_ going on out there that they’re not telling us about…

posted at 7:57 pm on Saturday, January 12, 2008 in Current Events | Comments (2)
  1. Coffee Em says:

    Some kind of weird U.S. security theatre thing?

  2. chk says:

    Anything is possible, especially given the state of “U.S. security theatre” these days!

    Maybe I should reconnect with an old friend that works for CSIS and see if she knows anything about that incident near Sherbrooke QC last month…


The very nice wildlife guy replaced the shingles that blew off my roof in this week’s windstorm, and refused to take a tip afterwards; he said he needed the practice :).

So if y’all need wildlife extracted, I continue to highly recommend “AAA Wildlife”: They’re friendly and knowledgeable and professional!

posted at 9:17 pm on Friday, January 11, 2008 in Personal | Comments (1)
  1. Debbie says:

    Thanks for the AAA Wildlife pointer; I’m going to check them out…

critter central

At least it’s not raccoons; this time there are squirrels frolicking in my attic…

posted at 11:59 am on Thursday, January 10, 2008 in Personal | Comments (2)
  1. Nita says:

    Joys. I think you have to stop leaving them food and the invitations.

    Good luck, hon.

  2. Debbie says:

    Squirrels Are Evil.



* status quo
* update the weblog more often
* switch to LiveJournal
* switch to FaceBook
* become a luddite

posted at 9:39 pm on Saturday, December 29, 2007 in Personal | Comments (2)
  1. David Brake says:

    Well you could set Facebook so it automatically pulls this weblog into it then update this more often. Ditto for Facebook and Twitter. That way Facebook is updated frequently enough for your facebook friends but you don’t actually have to worry about it…

  2. Nita says:

    Long run, y’all are going to do what you want.

    There is some entertainment for those of us elsewhere for the luddite idea, but I’m voting for update more often.


* dual, built-in convection ovens
* stand-up mixer
* cookie sheets, baking pans, etc.
* oven mits

Charlotte and I are off to make some chocolate chip cookies :)

posted at 12:44 pm on Friday, December 28, 2007 in Personal | Comments Off on presents


Quotation of the Day for December 23, 2007

bq. “Whoever imagined that you would hear from the United States and from Britain the same arguments for detention without trial that were used by the apartheid government.”

– Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in a December 10th speech commemorating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

(via the Quotation of the Day Mailing List)

posted at 10:12 am on Sunday, December 23, 2007 in Current Events, Politics | Comments Off on qotd


A completely over-the-top review of a Bic pen: M. Williams “Matt Wil…’s review of Bic Crystal ballpoint pen, medium point, b…

Some of the comments on this review are equally hilarious:

bq. I often use pencils to write notes on paper, but have been thinking about changing to a pen. Is this pen a good starting point for a novice?

and so on…

posted at 11:11 am on Monday, December 10, 2007 in Humour, Links | Comments Off on giggle
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