All posts by Brent Lea

Jason Bourne

Last night, I took Becky and Dorie to see the new Jason Bourne movie.  We’ve always been fans of that series and Dorie wanted to see this over the other new releases that are out.  I think it was a good movie.

Emphasis on the word “think.”

Matt Damon picked up the Bourne role and ran with it.  He and the other actors delivered good dialogue and this new facet of the Bourne story was put together pretty well.  I can’t tell you much about the action or fight sequences.  Really I can’t tell you much about the movie visually.

I’m pretty sure they let a herd of 100 year old Parkinson’s patients film the movie after they had consumed several gallons of espresso.  Yes, this movie used the “shaky cam” technique.  Everywhere.  Every scene employed shaky cam.

This doesn’t work for me.  Especially on the big screen.  You can’t tell at all what’s going on.  In fact, a couple of times I had to look away for a minute because I could feel the beginnings of a headache forming.

It wasn’t just me.  Dorie immediately leaned over and commented about it.  This method of filmography ruined the movie for all three of us.

Now, the question is this.  Why film it this way.  I don’t recall the other Bourne movies employing this technique.  Did the director actually think this was a good approach?  Maybe, through all the shakiness and blur, they were covering something up?  Hmmm…

Matt Damon is 45 years old.  Just three years younger than me.  I’m guessing that he can’t do the “Bourne” stuff as well as he could a few years ago.  Maybe the shaky cam was used to cover up his fight scenes.  Now that I’ve had some time to consider it, the caffeine saturated, tremor plagued, 100 year old camera operators were at their “best” during the fight scenes.  It was a blur of action.  Maybe it wasn’t actually Matt Damon in those scenes at all.  Maybe it was him, but he was moving so slow that they needed to cover it.

Whatever the case, I was disappointed.  I’ll probably give this one another shot when it comes out for home use.  Maybe the shaky cam will be better on a small screen.

Maybe if I drink enough espresso before watching it, my own tremors can sync with the video and I’ll be able to tell what’s going on.

Windows 7

Because my current employer has a select licensing agreement with Microsoft, the final version of Windows 7 became available to us a few weeks ago. Out of morbid curiosity, we downloaded and installed it on a couple of systems that we had been running Windows Vista on. It almost pains me to say this, but Windows 7 is a very nice operating system. It is everything that Vista should have been.

It is faster. After a short problem with a wireless driver, it is much more stable. (Did I mention that it is faster?) I’m also quite taken with the new task bar.

I’ll post more as I can, but my impression after about two weeks of use is that Windows 7 is the new Windows XP.

Leveraging Synergy across two platforms…

Sounds like a line from a certain “pointy-haired boss,” doesn’t it?

I use a MacBook Pro running OS X Leopard as my main system at the office. I have a secondary display connected to it and I use the built-in “Spaces” feature. My secondary system, a desktop, is running Ubuntu 8.10 workstation. For several months now, I have had two keyboards and mice to deal with. There had to be a way to share one keyboard and mouse between the two systems.

Enter the utility, Synergy.

Continue reading Leveraging Synergy across two platforms…

ProFTP on Ubuntu Server

Installing the ProFTP 1.3.1 server on Ubuntu Server 8.10 is a pretty straight forward process. I won’t go into the whole thing here, but a standard apt-get works just fine.

I started running into problems when a user noticed that after uploading a file to the server, the time stamp on the file was six hours ahead. That corresponds with the six hour offset from GMT for Central Standard Time. The confusing thing was that the problem was only visible through an FTP login. If I connected to the server through an SSH session, all of the date information on the files was correctly showing CST time.

Continue reading ProFTP on Ubuntu Server

SharePoint

I have had the opportunity to deploy Microsoft’s SharePoint Services and also Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. I have to admit, they really have it going on with these products.

My current employer is not going to proceed with a full blown deployment of SharePoint, which is too bad, but we do have a couple of small implementations that I maintain. During the last couple of days, I’ve been able to work with these small environments again, and it has renewed my disappointment in our lack of future deployment plans.

Continue reading SharePoint

MS08-067 and VNC

Well, I’ve finally done some testing and it appears that the MS08-067 patch doesn’t break VNC. I have been testing with an XP SP3 system and the latest version of Tight VNC.

I started with the XP system and no patch. I installed and configured VNC as a service and tested it. I was able to take remote control with no problems, which I would expect.

After installing MS08-067 on the XP system, I rebooted as required. Everything seemed to come up fine and I noticed that the VNC icon was in the system tray. Again, this is as would be expected. I fired up my VNC client and took remote control of the XP system without hesitation. All works well.

Keep in mind, this is one system. There may be other problems with other scenarios. Next, I need to do some more definitive testing with GenControl.

Church Ministry on the Web

Unless you want to spend the money to hire a professional developer, there just doesn’t seem to be a great solution out there for churches. Now, I understand that there are some good efforts going on. My problem with those is that I need to be able to hand off the daily maintenance of the site to a staff member or a ministry volunteer and the “good efforts” are still not very user friendly.

Continue reading Church Ministry on the Web