Blade Runner

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

-Roy as he dies in Blade Runner

Something about that quote never fails to amaze me. There’s a certain lyrical quality to it, a pure sense of both wonder and regret. I’ve heard that Rutger Hauer ad-libbed the line, which if true would make it even more amazing.

Hear it yourself here.

Junk Mail

Recently I’ve been getting junk mail addressed to “Chadwina Haefeld”, a frankly bizarre permutation of my name. So whoever put that name on a list somewhere as a joke, fess up 🙂

But the one I got today was different. It was one of those survey things to fill out and return, tons of questions. But in with it was a $5 bill! (as a ‘thank you’ for receiving the survey)

So mystery person, feel free to put my name on whatever list you did again.

Pulse of the Nation

I’ve been subscribing to Blockbuster’s online rental service (like Netflix) on a trial. I like the service overall, despite some recent shipping delays. Not sure if I’d pay for it long term though.

Coincidentally enough, a few days before Johnny Carson died I added all three DVDs of “Ultimate Collection Starring Johnny Carson”, a collection of Tonight Show clips from his stint, to my queue of wanted DVDs on Blockbuster. At the time I added them to my queue, all 3 were listed as “Available Now”. Now two have “Long Wait” and the third is “Short Wait”. Tons of people are suddenly interested.

The change doesn’t surprise me really, but its amazing to be able to see such a large community’s shifting interests change in almost real time. Truly we are in the information age.

As a side note, I did manage to get ahold of a VHS collection of Johnny Carson clips. Every clip I saw NBC play in tribute the last few days is drawn from these two videos. I’m surprised they didn’t have a better archive available.

Dancing Robots!

Before I go to bed, I need to share this video clip.

The download is a bit on the large side, but fast. And worth it for the dancing. As far as I can tell from a quick googling, this is not special effects. These are real, physical robots. They just move like special effects.

My brain still can’t quite comprehend that these are real and not just pixels in a computer somewhere.

Project Greenstone

I’ve spent the afternoon playing/wrestling with Greenstone, an open source digital library creator. I’ll be using it for my term project in, appropriately enough, Digital Libraries this semester.

While it does some very cool stuff (I might try to get an example set up on the site), it desperately needs a user interface overhaul. The GUI would look at home in Windows 3.1. Greenstone 3.0 is in alpha release, so maybe that’s an improvement. I’ll probably check it out at some point.

And I’m still not sure how I got it to work with images! I tried everything I could think of, but it simply ignored all jpeg and gifs. I downloaded an example library of images from Greenstone’s web site, loaded that, and it worked fine. Then I re-loaded my own library and it has worked since as well. Loading the existing one must have changed a setting somewhere, but I’ve got no idea where. Oh well, good that its working I suppose.

Battlestar Galactica

Last night I saw the season finale of the new Battlestar Galactica. What an episode! I really can’t say much about the ending; if I had it spoiled for me I would have regretted it. It takes a lot for a movie or show to get my jaw to literally drop. I really hope there’s a second season to keep things moving along and resolve one hell of a cliffhanger. There’s only been 13 episodes in season 1 (and also a 4 hour miniseries that kicked things off), and there’s much potential remaining.

The new (never saw the old one and have no desire to) Battlestar Galactica is officially my #3 favorite Sci-Fi show of all time (behind a tied Deep Space 9 and Firefly for the #1 spot).

I got to watch the show early thanks to ‘connections’ from England. Here in the U.S., the Sci-Fi channel is on episode 3 or 4 I think. Tune in, this show deserves your viewing time.

Google Video

Google has started offering a beta of a new “Google Video” search. The function is a little counterintuitive given the name. No actual video files are searched – instead Google searches transcripts of TV shows (essentially the closed captioning).

I’ve been playing with it for a few minutes, and its kind of a neat idea. More useful for searching news programs than anything else, as it only covers what has already aired and not what is upcoming. And as anyone who has ever looked at closed captions knows, they are often riddled with errors (especially on live broadcasts). See here for a particularly bad example. There’s a limited number of stations covered for now as well (largely California network affiliates). But it’s still in beta and better than nothing.

For now, Google has no ads on the video search results. And as with Google News, the big question is how can Google claim the right to make money off somebody else’s content? I’ll be interested to see if they can spin this or their News section into profit-making.

Librarians to the rescue!

Wired has a really interesting article up about the average internet user’s inability to distinguish between real results and paid ads on search engines. I admit it surprises me a bit, especially given that the ads are almost always clearly marked as such to avoid exactly this type of confusion.

But ultimately this is another opportunity for library instruction to step in. Libraries already often run basic internet lessons. Maybe this should be made part of the curriculum.