Saturday, June 28, 2008

Movie Review: Balls of Fury

So far this weekend, I’d seen the new Indiana Jones movie, and Wanted. And then I got up Saturday morning, and wanted to kill some time doing something mindless, so I popped on TMN, and watched Balls of Fury.

Now, there is a big difference between Wanted and Balls of Fury. Sure, both are terrible, silly, bad movies. But Wanted is a terrible, silly, bad movie that people liked (according to its average rating on Google Movies). It’s bad, but bad in a way that you can watch it and really enjoy yourself. Balls of Fury, on the other hand, is just a terrible movie.

However, I have to admit—and I am ashamed of myself for this, believe me—that I was laughing all the way through Balls of Fury (which I will abbreviate to BoF for the remainder of this post). Why? Well, to start, it’s got Christopher Walken; that right there is enough to make any movie worth watching. Every time he spoke, I was rolling on the floor. It also had Maggie Q, and she was great too; I’ve only seen her in two movies so far (this and Live Free or Die Hard), but I loved her in both.

But it wasn’t just the actors/acting that had me laughing in BoF. It was the writing. There was something about it that just struck a chord with my particular sense of humour. I mean, sure, a lot of the jokes were pretty silly, but I don’t mind silly humour.

So I don’t recommend BoF. And I’m not planning to get it on DVD. And I’ll never, ever watch it with Andrea. But on this particular day, it made me laugh.

Movie Review: Wanted

I mentioned that Andrea’s out of town, and I had decided to take advantage of the situation by going to the movies, since she doesn’t really like going. But then I thought to myself: Why didn’t I take advantage of the situation fully? I mean, I went to the movies, sure, but I saw a movie that she’d probably like. I should have seen one that she’d never want to see.

So I did. I went back to the theatre, and saw Wanted, a movie that I knew she’d never want to see. Not that I would blame her; it’s pretty ridiculous. But I saw James McAvoy on The Daily Show this week, and Jon Stewart had said that the movie seems ridiculous, from the trailers, but that when he actually saw it, it was great, what with the action and all. So I figured what the heck, I’d give it a shot.

And I have to admit, it wasn’t bad. If—and that’s a big if—if you’re able to lose yourself into it, you’ll find yourself laughing at the action, chuckling at the poor choices in music, rolling your eyes at the plot, and just generally enjoying the movie altogether. Not that I’m recommending the movie, mind you; I’m just saying that I enjoyed it. It’s the type of movie that I’d see in the theatre, enjoy, decide to buy the DVD, wait for the DVD to come out, buy the DVD, realize on second viewing that I don’t enjoy it as much as I thought I did, and let it sit on the shelf for years, gathering dust. (And then, years later, Andrea, out of boredom with the movies we’ve seen, would decide that she wants to see it, even though I’d try and convince her that she’d hate it, but we’d watch it anyway, and she’d make fun of me for years about my poor taste in movies. Justifiably.)

On a side note, I’ve never really found Angelina Jolie all that attractive, but I thought she looked quite beautiful in this movie.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Yeah, yeah, I know. I never review movies when they first come out, when my reviews might actually help someone. I review them when it’s too late, and everyone’s already seen them. Oh well. It’s who I am. No sense trying to change now. Since Andrea was out of the city for the weekend, I took the opportunity to go to the movies (something she doesn’t normally like to do). I went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, what with Harrison Ford being so old and all, but it was quite good. I would say on par with The Last Crusade, but I’m sure there are many who would disagree with me. It seems old fashioned to say this, but the movie is just good, clean, family fun. Lots of action and adventure, no over-the-top violence, no sex. (But it’s not boring, as that description might seem to make it out to be.)

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Friday, June 13, 2008


I haven’t mentioned it yet, but I’m going on vacation for a couple of weeks. Which probably doesn’t mean anything for my blog readers; a couple of weeks without posting won’t be anything strange. (Assuming that I don’t post, of course. Who knows? We might take some interesting trips that I can write about.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Should I avoid Google, to be smart?

That’s a stupid title. I was just trying to come up with one that’s different from the title of the article I’m linking to.

I read an article today, Is Google Making Us Stupid? (by Nicholas Carr), which talks about the fact that our thought processes might be changing, because of the way that we use the internet. One of the things I took away from it is that I should keep making my blog posts long-winded and verbose, because it will help you battle the effects of the internet. (I doubt that would have been Carr’s intended outcome of the article…)

It’s definitely something to think about. We already know that people don’t read blog entries that are longer than a couple of paragraphs long; I’ve gotten that feedback—although it hasn’t changed my writing style at all—and other people have gotten similar feedback on their blogs, as well. I don’t think I’ve suffered the full effects of the internet-alization of the brain, though, because I can still sit down and read a lengthy book. Or even—gasp!—a lengthy blog entry.

But that doesn’t mean I disagree with Mr. Carr. In fact, I should warn you that if you click the link to his article, it’s a long read. Try and make yourself go through the whole thing. It can be your self-improvement exercise for the day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why Service Oriented Architecture Won’t Work in the Corporate Environment (redux)

I sent a colleague a link to a previous post, Why Service Oriented Architecture Won’t Work in the Corporate Environment.

E.S. says (11:45 AM):
i love your blog on SOA

E.S. says (11:45 AM):
Why Service Oriented Architecture Won't Work in the Corporate Environment

sernaferna says (11:45 AM):
hehe Did you read it, or do you just like the title?

E.S. says (11:45 AM):
i read it

E.S. says (11:45 AM):
not in full details but i read it

sernaferna says (11:45 AM):

sernaferna says (11:46 AM):
Yes, I get kind of long-winded sometimes.

E.S. says (11:46 AM):
its all an issue about having an "Enterprise" architecture

E.S. says (11:46 AM):
Orgs. are having a hard time about buuilding a real enterprise architecture

sernaferna says (11:46 AM):
Which most organizations DON'T have, even if they like to pretend that they do.

E.S. says (11:47 AM):
LLOL exactly

E.S. says (11:47 AM):
i snet your blog to a VP here

sernaferna says (11:47 AM):

sernaferna says (11:47 AM):
My blog will become a meme! lol

E.S. says (11:47 AM):
the vp in charge of Business solutions and SOA

E.S. says (11:48 AM):
i like your references to call centers and customer profiles

E.S. says (11:48 AM):

E.S. says (11:48 AM):

sernaferna says (11:48 AM):
lol Well, if I get an from him, telling me to mind my own business and stop badmouthing SOA, I'll know why.

E.S. says (11:48 AM):

sernaferna says (11:50 AM):
Do you mind if I post this conversation to my blog?

Monkey work

Further to my earlier post, I may not be able to find things to read during my few minutes of “down time” throughout the day, but I can use the internet to do mindless, repetitive tasks—a.k.a. “monkey work”—while on the phone.

I was able to modify all of my blogs to use the new blogroll feature while I was on a conference call today.


Not that it really matters, but I’ve changed the way that I list my other blogs, in my sidebar. Google has introduced a specific gadget for creating a blogroll. (Most people will use this to list other blogs that they link to, instead of narcissistically linking to their own, but hey, I’m not most people.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Google Reader and the internet

I’ve mentioned before [probably] that if you want to follow my blog(s), you should probably get yourself some type of RSS “reader”, so that you can be notified when a new post appears. There’s little point coming back here every day to see what’s new when there’s a 90% chance that there won’t be anything. (There’s a 100% chance that even if there is, it won’t be worth your time, but technology can’t help with that problem. That’s just a matter of making poor choices in the blogs you follow.)

Lately, I’ve been using yet another Google product, as my RSS reader: Google Reader. And it’s pretty cool. When I log in, I get a list of all of the blogs (or other sites that have RSS feeds) that I’m watching, and can see at a glance which ones have new posts/items. I can read the posts right in Reader, or I can click the link to go to the blog’s site itself. If I want to, I can “star” an item, so that I can easily find it later, and I can even “share” items—with or without personal comments—and they’ll show up on a special public page, where people can see the posts that I’ve shared. (Which, itself, has an RSS feed, so people could in turn watch my “shared items” in their RSS reader.) I haven’t actually started using the “sharing” feature, though—except for one post from this blog, just to see what it looks like—so at the time of writing, there isn’t much to see at my shared items page. But still, I can definitely see the potential for that to be very cool. If I used it more often, I’d probably even put an RSS feed to my shared items in the sidebar at the side of this blog.

But here’s the issue, which is partially the reason I don’t use the sharing feature: There aren’t that many blogs that I follow. Most of the time when I go into Google Reader, I have the same experience as anyone who follows my blog: Nothing is there. So you’d think that I’d probably just go in once a day, first thing in the morning, and then leave it until the next day. But that’s not how I operate. Any time I have a couple of free minutes, I’m there, seeing the “no unread items” message.

I read a blog post today by someone who was mentioning the fact that the internet has the ability to waste a lot of his time, but I have the opposite problem: When I get a few free minutes at work, my first impulse is to go to the internet and read something, but when I go, there’s nothing to read! I get off a conference call, and have a few minutes to kill before my next one, so I whip out Google Reader, and find… nothing. (There’s even a handy Trends tool, that gives some cool statistics on the blogs I’m following, but that doesn’t do me much good either, when I’m not reading anything.)

So I foresee a future in which I spent a lot of time looking for blogs that I can put in my Google Reader list. Eventually, when I’ve got dozens and dozens, it will become more likely that there will be something to read any time I go into Google Reader. But that will cause other problems: I’ve noticed that I tend to get new items showing up in Reader in clusters; I may not find posts throughout the day, but if I look first thing in the morning, I’ll find a bunch. (Apparently most blog writers do their writing/posting at night, not throughout the day.) So when I get dozens and dozens of blogs added to Google Reader, I’ll also find dozens and dozens of posts showing up every morning—and probably still nothing (or very little) throughout the day!

Thursday, June 05, 2008


I haven’t written in a while, and I had some very good reasons. Reasons that I won’t write about here because I haven’t made them up yet.

We got a virus on our computer at home, and it was a particularly nasty one. I was doing a deployment on Tuesday night, and Andrea called me around 9:00PM to tell me that we had it. When I got home at 12:30, she was still trying to get it off the computer; AVG wasn’t having any success. We were up until 1:30 trying to get it off, with no luck.

I was reading about it on the Internet. It’s some company that produces anti-virus software, and created this virus to drive people to them, to have it cleaned off. Every couple of minutes it would launch a browser, going to the company’s site; it changed Andrea’s desktop to some horrible red page, saying that our computer is infected, and to clean it we should “click here”; it created little icons in the taskbar, emulating Windows Security Centre, saying that our computer was infected with malware. Very intrusive. And all of the instructions I read didn’t work: I was told to remove a particular directory, but the directory didn’t exist; I was told to go to Task Manager, to shut down the process, but the virus disabled Task Manager; I was told to remove certain registry entries, but the virus disabled the registry editor(s).

We shut off the computer and went to bed, and then on Wednesday I got an email (and a phone call) from our ISP, telling us that one of our computers had been sending out a bunch of spam emails, meaning that we probably had a virus, and if we didn’t get the virus cleaned off within forty-eight hours, they’d shut down our service.

Finally I had to do the following:

  1. Reboot the computer in Safe Mode (without networking)
  2. Run AVG again. This time it was able to clean the virus, because in Safe Mode, the virus wasn’t active
  3. Do a System Restore, to fix the Windows DLLs that the virus had modified
That seems to have done the trick.

Luckily, I talked to the people at our ISP’s Tech Support, and they indicated that the emails our computer was trying to send didn’t actually get anywhere; the ISP caught them and stopped them. So it’s not like all the people in our address books got these emails. That would have been embarrassing.

My faith in AVG was starting to wane, when it couldn’t initially clean the virus off, but it was restored when AVG was able to do it in Safe Mode.