The DVD recordings of this year's JREF Amazing Meeting were hindered by a technical problem; it seems an entire DAY'S worth of audio was lost. A plea apparently went out to attendees to see if anyone had recordings of that day's talks. From the JREF store:
However, due to our audience's complete disregard for instructions to refrain from recording the proceedings, and a heroic effort by JREF video manager Rich Montalvo, we recovered most of the audio, and we were able to put those presentations on the DVD.
After discovering that the G1 had a hidden proxy configuration that allowed all internet traffic to be routed through a proxy of your choosing, I decided to dust off the old Internet Junkbuster, an Adblock predecessor from 1996 or so.
Like Adblock, Junkbuster allows one to specify via regular expressions a list of URL conditions to treat as advertisements, replacing them with 1-pixel transparent gifs before they get to your browser, effectively blocking any sort of unwanted intrusion into your web experience.
I tracked it down, compiled it from source, and got it running on my Dreamhost account. After configuring the G1 to use it, I found that it worked amazingly well. I fed it the current snapshot of the community-maintained "filterset.G" blocking rules, and banished ads virtually entirely from my phone. Awesome.
Until, that is, Deamhost's Abuse Department dropped me a line asking if I was aware that copious amounts of spam were being sent by my account, and notifying me that they were able to track all of the spam messages to my running Junkbuster installation.
I haven't yet investigated to determine whether Junkbuster itself has been compromised by spammers or whether it's just badly coded so as to allow this sort of abuse, but the discovery of my active installation and subsequent spam messages that were resultant from it happened within hours of me turning it on. Startlingly fast, in fact. I'm not sure there's really any explanation other than Junkbuster itself now containing malicious code, but I'll be looking into that shortly.
Either way, finding that the tool you're using to remove the spam from your web surfing is, in fact, resulting in spam showing up in the email of strangers is delightfully ironic.
1) Yesterday I learned of my #2 anticipated upcoming movie. Not #2 out of 10 mind you, I mean 2 total. In any case, New Line Cinema is attempting to cash in on 3 of its most successful movies of all time (which means it is actually 3 of the worst movies of all time, naturally) by wrapping them into one "spoof" style movie. Noah Emmerich, who I can only guess is Roland Emmerich's son, is producing Armageddagain: The Indepence Day After Tomorrow in which the president of the United States of America (the role is being strongly pursued by Bruce Willis) has to contend with an alien invasion, a looming ice age, and an earth-obliterating asteroid impact -- all on the same day. I'm not sure whether this will be any good or not for the following reasons: a) all 3 of those movies are fuckin' hilarious as is -- spoofifying them might be too much, and b) Team America lambasted them in a more subtle fashion to great effect already. I can't imagine this will pan out, but here's to hoping.
2) In case you are unaware, my #1 anticipated upcoming movie (before yesterday the only one) is Snakes on a Plane, wherein Samuel L. Jackson has to contend with an airliner filled with snakes. See, there's a witness scheduled to testify against the mob, so they decide the best way to take him out is by using a variety of deadly poisonous snakes. Deadly poisonous mafia snakes. The brilliance in this film is in what Jesse Thorn (not to be confused with Jesse Thorne, his British counterpart) of The Sound of Young America refers to as "The New Sincerity." This concept is kind of hard to explain, but Jesse usually sums it up by using the example of Evel Knievel. See, it is impossible to take Evel Knievel at face value with any degree of sincerity. Yet the man is frickin' awesome -- he drives a rocket car for goodness sake -- meaning that you can't take him with any degree of irony either. The man transcends irony and sincerity to equal degrees, which is exactly what Snakes on a Plane does.
See, for a while the studio decided that this film deserved a respectable title -- after all, who would go see a movie called Snakes on a Plane, right? They changed it to Pacific Air Flight 121, and all was well and good. That is, until someone mentioned the change to Samuel L. Jackson. Sam flipped out, and I've reinacted it for you:
SLJ: What's that you say?
HWJ: I'm a Hollywood Journalist, and I know these things. The movie is now called Pacific Air Flight 121.
SLJ: Aww no. SHIT! I signed on to Snakes on a Plane. SNAKES on a muthafuckin' PLANE. I'm calling my agent.
[Sam pulls out his Pink Motorola RAZR phone]
SLJ [to agent via cellphone]: You tell them the title includes SNAKES and a muthafuckin' PLANE, or I walk. I didn't sign on to no Pacific Air Flight 121, that sounds like a Lifetime movie of the week. I want muthafuckin' SNAKES, on a MUTHAFUCKIN' PLANE.
Apparently they saw it his way, because it has been changed back.
This title really is the perfect title for a movie like this; upon hearing it, you instantly know whether or not this is a movie you want to see. I think it will lead to really high ticket sales and look forward to a future where every film is named like this. If that were to happen, Hollywood will no longer be able to pull a fast one on us with creative marketing. I mean, would you have gone to see Ewoks Bashing Stormtroopers with Rocks. Which would you rather see: Jurassic Park 4, or Raptors With Guns.
With that one, it doesn't matter which you choose, because they're the same exact movie.
I've already shared some of the many programs I watched during my December vacation, but one that I specifically wanted to post about eluded my memory until yesterday. The film in question is the documentary entitled Paper Clips, which is fairly charming and educational. As you can probably guess though, I have a few problems with it.
The basis of the documentary is a multi-year effort by a Southern U.S 8th grade class (I can only assume that at least some of the 8th graders were limited to a single year of the project) to collect 6 million paperclips to represent the 6 million Jews that died in Nazi concentration camps. The idea was to help the students (and clip donors) become more aware of one of the worlds most traumatic injustices, and that goal was accomplished. People from all around the world were touched by the efforts of these children, and that is really impressive. The goal of collecting 6 million clips was also accomplished -- in fact, they had to stop collecting at 11 million, deciding that they could throw in some of the non-Jew causalties to bump it up to 11 million.
The first problem I have with the film is in semantic details of the logic employed during their endeavors. Throughout the film, they kept repeating how each paper clip will represent an individual dead Jew, serving as a monument to honor their souls. That's a nice gesture, very commendable. So where did they decide to house these souls? In an actual Nazi rail car that was actually used to haul thousands to their deaths -- a trip that was unbelievably uncomfortable, being packed to the brim with over 150 cramped suffocating Jews at a time. Students kept saying, "I can't believe there were 150 people in here at one time... it's so small." Well, that's just great, now all 11 million of these souls get to spend eternity crammed in there. You think 150 was uncomfortable, imagine what you've just subjected them to. Now that's irony. Rather than just scattering them around on the floor in there, maybe they could have put some ovens in there to fill with clips as well?
The second problem I have is in the problems that had to have arisen as a result of the clip collection. Eleven million+ paperclips is a lot of them. What do you think happened to all the paper clip manufacturers that suddenly ramped up production due to the huge increase in demand? I bet they went and bought fancy Lexuses (Lexi?) in anticipation of the newly lucrative paper clip industry, only to have to sell them after the project's completion. This brings me to another problem: many of the clips came from people in the U.S government; senators, congressmen and presidents sent them clips. Who paid for those clips? Me, thats who. And you.
One thing that was neat about the documentary was that they had a special dinner during the filming where some actual living breathing holocaust survivors told stories of when they were in the camps. Sadly, the producers decided to include very little of this material, giving more time in the film to fat redneck children counting paper clips. It seems to me that the whole point of the project was to help people learn about the holocaust, what better way to help this project out than by, oh, I don't know, listening to stories from people who actually experienced it? Naw, let's just put in more redneck children counting paper clips.
In any case, Paper Clips is a pretty good little film, just try not to let your irony detectors beep too loudly while watching it.
So by now I'm sure that everyone knows that Rosa Parks passed away. She was a pretty amazing woman.
Now, I don't want to belittle all that she did to make this country a better place, but I think it would have been hilarious had she died in a bus crash -- a crash where only the people in the front were killed.