|Zap's Digital Lighthouse|
Sun, 27 Oct 2013
My wife and I saw Gravity at a cinema on the Champs Elysées this morning. We had heard mixed comments about the movie, but had heard that most critics quite liked the movie.
After seeing it, my best comment is wow. I think it's clearly a must-see movie. Not necessarily for the story, but it is a remarkable movie: the visuals are great, the action is gripping, and Sandra Bullock's acting is just stellar.
Of course, the science isn't perfect and the story is a bit predictable, but they do keep you on the edge of your seat and succeed well in making the viewers suspend disbelief.
Overall a great movie. Try to see it on a large screen in 3D if you can.Fri, 18 Oct 2013
So, Windows 8.1 is out today.
I upgraded by new PC (oh, I haven't written about that yet... guess it's a good topic for my next blog post) from Windows 8 to 8.1 this morning.
The update went smoothly, with only a couple of annoyances:
Oh well... it still works, I'll play with it further over the weekend. (*)
In the positive effects category, one can now specify that Windows logs in to the Desktop screen instead of the newfangled Start screen (where the first action I took was always to click on the Desktop tile), so I can basically blissfully ignore the New User Interface applications and use Steam, MS Office, Thunderbird, Firefox, VLC, Spotify, Skype, /WoW, _WoT, all of my regular Desktop applications on a regular basis.
Overall, it all went pretty smoothly... I'm glad to have upgraded.
(*) Note to self: I hate software that is too clever for its own good and will disable menu options and configuration options when it thinks something is already active, when you clearly know that it's not. Clever/fancy user interfaces often get stuck in funky states when you have an unsual configuration or if an update aborts in the middle (lack of disk space or power outage)... the number of times in my life that I've found myself having to trick an application into understanding the state that it was truly in is just distressingly high.
Some weeks ago, my desktop started freezing on a regular basis when playing heavy 3D graphics games. It wasn't that old, but apparently some part of the hardware was having some trouble with overheating.
I investigated for a few weeks, but could not find the culprit. So, I decided to buy a new PC. I bought a nice configuration at AAC Computers on Daumesnil in Paris' 12th arrondissement.
Here's what I now have:
All of this in a CM Storm black enclosure -- this is quite nice.
The amount of computing power we now have at our fingertips is just amazing... the first computer I have ever used (a CDC Cyber 173 running under NOS/BE), a beast for its time, would pale compared to this PC (*).
(*) if I compute well, the Cyber 173 was a dual CPU machine, running probably at 25 MHz (not counting the 12 PP processors here) with probably 256K 60-bit words of memory (around 2 MB if I count right). So if my back-of-the-envelope calculations are correct, it's about 250 times faster with 8000 times more memory, and I won't even try to count how much more disk space.