The Film (there are no real spoilers here but you might want to reserve judgement until you’ve seen the film for yourself)

lauperr and I went to see H2G2 (the film) last night.

If you’re one of those people who get’s annoyed when you go to see a film which is based on a book and it turns out to be very different to the book, then you’re probably not going to like it. However, I don’t think you can really apply that logic to Hitchhikers because it isn’t just a book, it’s a radio show, a book, a TV show, a video game and now a film.

Each version tells the story differently and the film is no different in that respect. It doesn’t ruin the experience for me at all, it’s almost like you’re just watching a parallel dimension which callously disregards all other dimensions and does its own thing. It’s great 😀

I wasn’t particularly impressed by the liberal sprinkling of American accents, but the British humour was left well and truly intact. I can’t help but think that the film would have been better had Douglas Adams still been around, but it was still good enough to be a fitting tribute to him and his work.

If you’ve read the books you’ll probably think that the involvement between Arthur and Trillian is too much and the Vogons pop up in places they shouldn’t, but the storyline generally worked well.

Some of the settings were exactly how I imagined them, Arthur lying in front of the bulldozer and the air lock on the Vogon ship were spot on. The big planet-making factory floor was quite good, Marvin didn’t look how I expected but the voice and personality were perfect! Zaphod and Ford were nothing like I imagined, Trillian was OK, Slartibartfast was played well (though he didn’t look how I imagined) and Arthur was very good.

I’ll be buying it on DVD. Just don’t go into the film wanting it to follow the books religiously and wanting to hear all of your favorite quotes because you’ll be disappointed. The only thing that caused me great disappointment is that I want to see more! I do hope they do the rest of the books, but I suppose that will be determined by ticket sales this time around. So go buy some tickets.

The Audience

When the credits started rolling and the lights came up I noticed all the smiling people who had just watched the film and I thought that would make DA happy. I also noticed that the audience seemed to comprise of two main groups – mothers and children, and geeks. In fact, we managed to follow a huddle of 7 geeks (what’s the correct collective noun for geeks?) to Franky and Benny’s where we’d planned to have a meal.

Hello, Baby, Google UK and IEE Magazine

Hello all
Firstly, hello to my new readers. It’s a weird feeling when I keep hearing that people who I know but would never expect to look at my web site have been reading my blog.  This includes elderly relatives, people I’ve not seen for years and people from work who I don’t know that well.

It’s silly that I’m publishing my thoughts to the entire world yet I’m suprised when I hear that someone I know is reading them! I’d say that I’ll have to be careful what I write from now on, but that would also be silly.

“New ALUG member”
Congratulations to quinophex and wildduck on their new baby girl. They’ll make great parents 😀

Google Goes Local
Lastly, Google Maps, Google Local and related SMS services have gone live in the UK and I’m extremely impressed. They found the closest place I can order a pizza from and my nearest computer shops as first hits, I’m almost sure there was a half-built bypass down the road from me on Google Maps and the SMS stuff is really very useful. Oh and I think it’s tracking where taxis are in real time.

IEE Magazine
It must make me a real geek but I’ve just been reading the Electronics, Systems and Software magazine the IEE sent me and I found it really really interesting.

Deciding how to vote based on 23 questions… hmm

If this counts as a meme, it’s the first one I’ve ever done. I was curious…

Who Should You Vote For?

Who should I vote for?

Your expected outcome:


Your actual outcome:

Labour -22
Conservative -38
Liberal Democrat 62
UK Independence Party -1
Green 39

You should vote: Liberal Democrat

The LibDems take a strong stand against tax cuts and a strong one in favour of public services: they would make long-term residential care for the elderly free across the UK, and scrap university tuition fees. They are in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, but would relax laws on cannabis. They propose to change vehicle taxation to be based on usage rather than ownership.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For

The bad and the good of the hippygeek at work

Web Development Woes

At work the plan was to launch the new site after Easter. Following a hardware failure over Easter, last week we ordered a new motherboard for the web server only to find out it was the CPU that was faulty.

On Monday I learnt lots of things about why design-by-committee doesn’t work, which lead to my first real conflicts with anyone in my job so far. It was comforting to find that some developers I met in Birmingham last night had just had a very similar problem, wasting 4 months work.

Last night the hard disk in the web server died and I spent a large portion of the day today transferring the entire Debian installation and data to another hard disk. Now I find out that an entire extra database and front end needs writing before the launch, which is supposed to be this week.

This project is cursed.

OpenAdvantage Seminar

Last night I took a train to Birmingham for a free seminar on Open Source Content Management Systems which was really very good. The work OpenAdvantage are doing in the West Midlands is brilliant and there was lots of interesting discussion going on.

I find the intricate process of geek mingling at these types of events very amusing.

Private wiki as a brain extension

After installing a wiki for LLUG, In a kind of paradoxal move I’ve installed a private wiki on my home web server which I’ve been using as a kind of open canvas project management tool. It’s been especially useful for putting some structure into my personal research which has otherwise been rapidly filling a dead tree notebook in a very messy fashion. Wikis seem to be good for situations where a more formal structure for data is too restrictive and prohibits the flow of ideas.

Lemur Encounter

During mine and laura’s trip to Woburn Safari Park over easter, a lemur decided to sleep in my arms. It curled up and sucked its thumb for a very long time and I had real trouble pursuading it that I had to go. Photography by lauperr. It has been suggested that the Lemur sensed that I am a hairier, less evolved version of a human being and I would therefore make a good friend. Or at least a warm place to sleep.

lemur3.mov (6.1Mb)
lemur4.mov (2.5Mb)