peteg's blog

Brick

/noise/movies | Link

I enjoyed this about as much as the first time, but followed the pow-wow much more closely with the help of the pause and rewind buttons.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

/noise/movies | Link

What a turkey. I last saw this at the cinema when it was released in 2003.

Mick Turner at Brightspace

/noise/music | Link
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The guitarist for the Dirty Three, Mick Turner, is exhibiting his paintings in Melbourne presently. I especially liked this one, titled Fifteen Year Argument.

What one reads in Việt Nam News.

/AYAD/HCMC | Link

Việt Nam News is "The National English Language Daily", published by Việt Nam News Agency.

  • One can obtain the Sunday edition on Saturday. (Sunday's is more of a Good Weekend-style supplement, a week-in-review and some feature stories, rather than new-news.)

  • The comic strips are Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes and Rubes. There is a find-these-words-in-a-matrix and a rather strange and Americentric crossword.

  • There are some editorials but no letters-to-the-editor.

  • From Tuesday 2007-09-18:

    • City drivers fail to heed traffic safety month: The traffic in the two main cities (Hà Nội and Hồ Chí Minh City) is terrible. Apparently in August there were 987 fatalities and 746 other injuries in more than 1,000 road accidents, though it is unclear if that is just for the cities or country-wide. (I've heard it said that wearing a helmet makes one feel more safe, ergo more likely to push the safety margins, so I wonder if the imminent law making them compulsory will improve these figures.)

      There are 3.5 million registered motorbikes in HCMC, which apparently get their riders around at a speed of 3kph at peak times, and 6-8kph at other times; this makes walking look competitive on this basis.

    • Asian Development Bank projects drop in inflation rate next year: The ADB reckons Việt Nam will have an inflation rate of 7.8 per cent this year, and 6.8 per cent next year. I hope the INGO bean counters are taking note!

    • Local writers join Swedish book fair: three lucky Vietnamese are having their work featured at the Göteborg International Book Fair. At least one, Hồ Anh Thái's Trong Sương Hồng Hiện Ra (A Rose Appears in the Mist), has been translated into English, apparently under the title Behind the Red Mist.

  • From Saturday 2007-09-22: USAID supports disabled employment:

    HÀ NỘI — An employer council was organised yesterday by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to discuss strategies for promoting employment of the disabled.

    The council, called The Blue Ribbon, aims to provide employment opportunities and skill training for the handicapped and raise awareness of the benefits of hiring them.

    "The Blue Ribbon Employer Council is in a position to take the lead and make the business case for hiring people with disabilities in Vietnam," said United States Ambassador to Vietnam Michael Michalak at the first Council meeting.

    Assistance programmes worth $US43 million have been launched by the United States to help the disabled in Việt Nam.

    This is excellent news, and I hope we hear more about it.

Their main competitor in HCMC is the Saigon Times (apparently a business rag), which I haven't read.

Unicode Numerals.

/cs | Link

OK, take a deep breath. Look at this page and tell me the world isn't crazy.

Say you want to talk to the world in Unicode, but you want to do it quickly. Well, obviously you're going to draft C's atoi and friends to convert numerals to your internal integer type, right? That's great in theory, but when your code is running on someone else's webserver that you know little about, things might get a little tricky.

Haskell's FFI specifies that the functions in the CString module are subject to the current locale, which renders them unpredictable on the hitherto mentioned webserver. I can imagine a numeral encoding that e.g. strtol_l understands with the locale setting of today that it fails to understand tomorrow. I don't think there are enough manpages in all the world to clarify this problem.

Solution? Use integers only for internal purposes, like user identifiers, render them in ASCII, and use Unicode strings for everything else. Don't use the CString module, carefully unpack UTF-8 ByteStrings into Haskell Strings, and don't expect warp speed. If you're (cough) putting this stuff in a library, hope like hell your users don't try anything too weird.

One day someone will resolve all the issues of implementing a proper Unicode I/O layer, and I will thank them for it.

I, Robot

/noise/movies | Link

Wow, this isn't anywhere near as bad as I feared. Will Smith is in Men in Black mode, the CGI is over-the-top, and the steady hand of Alex Proyas stops things from getting too out of control. Forget Asimov and don't think too hard. Thanks Rob.

I Want You

/noise/movies | Link

Struck me as a warm-up to his even-racier later movies. He does a better job when the themes are clearer in his mind. Rachel Weisz is luminous, as are the other (lesser-known) actors.

Apocalypse Now (Redux)

/noise/movies | Link

In several sittings, the damn thing is too long to watch in one go. The last time I saw it was in a cinema back in 2002 or so, when the "redux" version was released.

Wild at Heart

/noise/movies | Link

A David Lynch classic, wedged somewhat uncomfortably between his signature Blue Velvet and his later work on Twin Peaks. I reckon this just might be Nicolas Cage's best effort.

Oi, amigo. If ever somethin' don't feel right to you, remember what Pancho said to the Cisco Kid... 'Let's win, before we're dancing at the end of a rope, without music.'

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

/noise/movies | Link

At the Galaxy Cinema with Dũng, Loan and Mai. It was pretty much the same as an Australian cinema, roughly identical to one of the Academy Twin theatres but with worse sound. As the majority of patrons were reading subtitles, the noise levels were pretty high.

Until now I've remained as completely oblivious to the whole Harry Potter phenomenon as anyone can, and I don't think this movie was a good one to start with. Still, a pleasant bit of fluff.