Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

I saw Episode II yesterday. I thought it was awesome and far better than Episode I. After the chase at the start of the movie, I realized I had my mouth open watching the stunning visual effects. Very cool movie and fun to watch. Just don’t think too much about it.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead. The following contains information that might ruin your viewing of Clones. If you have not seen it yet, you might want to skip the following.

Some people have obviously thought about the Star Wars movies. The Weekly Standard has a humorous and controversial article suggesting that the Empire is good. The author makes a compeling case, but not without faults. He claims you cannot trust Leia’s claims because she willfully lies to the Empire, but accepts Chancellor Palpatine’s comments despite the fact that he is manipulative and deceitful to the Senators and Jedi.

Jerry Pournelle critiques the silliness of the movie, complaining that the Jedi bring knives to gunfights. Of course, light sabers aren’t just any old knife, but an energy weapon that can reflect blaster shots. Pournelle makes a good point about the silliness of the plot, particularly the knowledge of Ben’s friend at the diner, and the incompetence of the Jedi, Senate, and assassins.

Despite all this, I really loved the movie. The action and scenery are amazing. I found it perfectly believable that Jar Jar caused the galactic war, but cannot fault him too much–the Chancellor would have been able to manipulate someone else if he hadn’t. At least Jar Jar was treated as annoying and his lines were minimized. The one-liners from Threepio were great. Talking with friends after the movie, we decided that R2-D2 is like Batman’s toolbelt: anything he needs he has. It was fun to watch him climb stairs. I definitely want to see it again.

Netscape changes and rearranges has a new look. The colors are somewhat darker than previously and the home page is quite different in layout and shorter.

There are rumors that the next version of netscape will be 7.0. This has been suggested by the Netscape/7 useragent string in several bug reports. I suppose it is remotely possible that these are from AOL testing Gecko in AOL 7.0, but don’t think they’d use a Netscape 7 identifier for the AOL client.

What a dull name…

I’ve been testing out a Windows build of mozilla/browser. It has a number of usability improvements, including a return to having the URL entry box in its own separate toolbar, simplified menus, a slightly improved reload icon, and easier access to history. Check Blogzilla for screen shots and additional information. It’s clear that it needs a lot of polish, but it is somewhat better than Mozilla, if only because of the URL bar change. Update: If you download the build, make sure you launch it with mozilla.exe -chrome chrome://browser/content/ or you will not see any differences.

Trying to search Google for more information about mozilla/browser (or even mb) yields less than useful results. It makes me wish this project had a more interesting name.

Pope via SOAP coming soon?

The pope talks about the Internet as a new forum for proclaiming the gospel:

The Internet causes billions of images to appear on millions of computer monitors around the planet. From this galaxy of sight and sound will the face of Christ emerge and the voice of Christ be heard? For it is only when his face is seen and his voice heard that the world will know the glad tidings of our redemption. This is the purpose of evangelization. And this is what will make the Internet a genuinely human space, for if there is no room for Christ, there is no room for man.

I suspect the pope is speaking at least partially figuratively, but thankfully there are already many icons available that show the face of Christ.

The essence of the Internet in fact is that it provides an almost unending flood of information, much of which passes in a moment. In a culture which feeds on the ephemeral there can easily be a risk of believing that it is facts that matter, rather than values. The Internet offers extensive knowledge, but it does not teach values; and when values are disregarded, our very humanity is demeaned and man easily loses sight of his transcendent dignity.

There’s a certain irony to posting comments like this to a blog (and in quoting the pope in the Orthodox Christianity category for that matter).

A way to enhance blogs

Link to an article and it will return the favor (used to link to / dis / linkback.html ). This is a good idea that helps to reinforce the natural grouping, community-building, and conversational aspects of blogs. I expect to see it copied widely. [Hat tip to Jon Udell]

Update: Back in 2002 when this article was originally published, using the technique was a good idea. Unfortunately, spammer scum have now made the technique completely useless. They made this essentially throw away article the far and away most popular blog entry in October and December 2005, so I have renamed and edited it to hopefully make it less popular with the bad robots. In this case the permalink isn’t. Deal with it.

Spammers, since we have never published the places that you (supposedly) came from (I know the technical term, but am avoiding it) your efforts were completely wasted. Go do something worthwhile.

Barn raising, internet style

Robert X. Cringely writes about some fascinating ideas. In his latest article, he describes a new and powerful form of collaboration that is impossible without the internet. Cringely recently lost his son Chase to SIDS and wants to prevent other babies from suffering the same fate. I was skeptical when I read his original proposal to create baby monitoring techno-jammies. I was also stunned by the number of babies that die from SIDS each year. And as a parent, I can imagine how hard it would be to have your son die while lying on your lap. I look forward to reading more about the project and watching the barn go up.