asides review

Movie Review: Jumper

Jumper: David Rice (Hayden Christensen, sulky as ever) is your garden variety weedy highschooler when he suddenly discoveres he can “jump” – teleport to a place he’s seen before. Based on a novel, it’s a fast paced sci-fi thriller that won’t win any award for plot (case in point: David’s never encountered another jumper before, but soon after, refers to the “jump scar” – how? wha? when?).

The action is unrelenting, the movie never really taking a breath to let us absorb and believe the characters, but for all that, it’s not half bad, and saved by Griffin (Jamie Bell, formerly Billy Elliot), ironically enough a character introduced for the film. ★★☆

the daily column

Movie Meme

-Bold the ones you’ve seen fully.
-Italicize the ones you’ve seen parts of.
-Underline the ones you own.
-Add 3 of your own

rant tech

The Apple Macbook Battery Swindle

According to Apple’s service department, laptop batteries are considered “consumables”. Any use you get out of your MacBook battery after 1 year, the warranty period, is “a bonus” that you should be “grateful for” (their words!).

I don’t ask for much, but for a battery to go from holding 98% of maximum charge to holding zero to not being recognised by the system at all in the space of a week 13 months out from its last replacement (in-warranty and at Apple’s cost) is ridiculous. I’ve got a 4 year old Dell laptop that still holds 2 hours of charge and the battery is the one that came in the package.

A battery is not a ‘consumable’ – especially not at $200, an appreciable fraction of the cost of a new system – but an integral part of a laptop, and for Apple to claim otherwise is selling these things under false pretenses. The Next Byte store was sold out of MacBook batteries – and that’s not exactly something you’ve got people lining up at the tills for.

If it wasn’t for the fact that Apples remain some of the best looking systems and Mac OSX is so many miles ahead of Windows, I’d never even consider buying one again. All I ask is that Apple build a reliable fucking system I can use for more than a year.

I find myself in agreement with those who call for Apple to license Mac OSX – Apple make some great software, OSX and the iLife suite shining examples of such – and their design studios’ skills are to be respected wherever industrial designers gather. But clearly, they have fuck-all clue about building reliable hardware, and I wish they’d let someone else just have a go at building something with a little more quality control.

That is all.

Ed note: this no longer applies to new MacBooks, since Apple now build it in (i.e. non user serviceable) and push the expected lifespan as being in the order of 3 – 5 years; if you have any issues, shout very loud.


Fruit in Japan

If you live in Japan and like mangoes, be prepared to pay ¥8,400 (AU$84) for one: between that and the $80 bunch of grapes, it makes our $13/kg bananas from 2006 look like a real bargain.


Sunday Recipe: French Toast

Here’s an easy one for you :) I have no idea if my style of French Toast has any resembelence to the so-called real thing or not, but this is what I love to make of a Sunday morning.

Straightforward ingredients:

  • Eggs: my rule is 2 eggs for 3 slices of bread
  • Bread: 3 slices is plenty for brunch; 2 slices for breakfast. White bread absorbs the egg best, but some sort of grain bread adds texture.
  • Milk: 1/4 cup
  • Salt
  • Pepper, and other spices to taste: as per Indian tastes, you gotta have spices.

The Method to this Madness:

  1. Break yourself some eggs and sprinkle in some salt. No more than a pinch or two should be necessary.
  2. Mix ’em up with whatever whipping mechanism you choose – I prefer a fork, keeping it simple
  3. Add milk to make things a little more creamy & smooth. Also add pepper and spices, and ensure it mixes well.
  4. Cut your bread to make more manageable slices – halves usually works, though you can make quarters if you want to be cute.
  5. Start your non-stick fry pan, but don’t make it too hot – eggs need to cook slowly to maintain smoothness.
  6. Soak the bread in the egg mix for a few seconds
  7. Add oil to the frypan and drop the bread on. Repeat for as many slices as you can manage at once (build yourself up).
  8. Depending on the heat of your pan, flip over in 30 seconds to a minute, as the eggs cook to a deep golden brown. Only flip once.
  9. Repeat for all remaining slices, and finish up by putting any excess egg onto the final slice to give it a thick, almost omlette cover.
  10. Serve with your favourite sauce. Garnish if wanting to impress.

Et voila, french toast! (sorry.)

asides review

Movie Review: The Forbidden Kingdom

The Forbidden Kingdom: So get this. You’ve got a kid from Boston magically transported to middle-ages alt-China. Kung fu and the whole deal. You’ve got Jackie Chan and Jet Li on board (for the first time in a Hollywood film), and you make this movie? Good lord, someone make sure this scriptwriter isn’t let near a movie studio again (though IMDB suggests he’s about to murder a classic). Stunning visuals and good fight coreography entirely let down by a plot that takes itself much, much too seriously and doesn’t bother to explain its oddities (like 14th Century Chinese emperors speaking English) along the way. ★★★



Zero Punctuation reviews Super Smash Brothers Brawl (and the mailbag follow-up). Zero Punctuation is exactly why the net is awesome – potentially offensive to everyone and yet still out there.

the daily column

What is wrong with Lotus Notes?

To all GUI designers and those who aspire to such lofty heights:

What is wrong with this dialog box?


The Lady’s Murder

The Lady’s Murder – A short story by Eliza Frye: a new webcomicy thing. Uber stylish.



I’ve got a new thought: instead of sending off that email flame to the intended recipient, send it to yourself first.

Read it an hour later, and try to figure out whether it’s just that they are a pompus ass, just don’t get it, and have ended up winding you up; or whether you’ve actually got a point that your multitude of thinly vieled swearwords actually conveys.

How do you deal with frustration over email? I have a much abused stress toy that’s going to get thrown out the (perma-closed) window one day.