Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Review: X-Men: Origins: Wolverine

Filed under: Fun,Movies,News and Current Events,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:20 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

Right, so I saw Wolverine Friday night.

It was good, and I’m totally willing to see it again, which is good because I suspect that I will be, but, honestly, it wasn’t great. I mean, it was no Dark Knight or Iron Man, but it was still good.
Here’s the thing, to a fan, there’s nothing new here. Really, what they did was sort of take all the various alternate histories of Wolverine that we’ve seen in the comic books over the years and sort of munge them all into one. Well, except for leaving out all the time he spent in Japan. But, all the origin history, how he came to be alive, how he discovered his mutant powers, his association with the military and how he lost his memory are all in there. Like I said, though, no real mystery to any real fan of the comic books, though.

So, the movie starts with him as a sickly kid in a wealthy family, with a father who, it turns out, isn’t quite his father and a half-brother, who is the mutant Sabretooth. Then, we drift through a montage of history following the two brothers through various wars starting with about the American Civil War and ending up in Viet Nam, which is where the meat of the movie really starts.
Wolverine and his brother hook up with a bunch of U.S. government run mutant “special forces” who are little more than the assassin mercenaries of General William Stryker, who later is a baddie in the X-Men movies. This is just earlier in the timeline. Naturally, Wolverine gets fed up and bails out, retiring to the Canadian wilderness as a lumberjack with a girlfriend. After Sabretooth starts hunting down the old team, he kills the girlfriend to get Wolverine back in the game, so to speak. Also, this is what motivates him to volunteer to get the adamantium skeleton that he’s famous for having.
So, yeah, no point in telling the whole story. Either you’re a fan and know it already or I’d be spoiling the movie, so, might as well just let it go. Suffice it to say that the plot is a typical action movie filled with betrayal and comic book surprises.

The one real downside to the movie is the ending, which was pretty weak. It seemed like it was mainly a setup for a sequel or a spin-off or both. Personally, I’m betting on both based on the weekend’s box office returns for this one. These folks made some money. And, rightly so, since Wolverine is one of the most popular Marvel comic characters in a very popular franchise. I mean, really, this has been one of the most anticipated films of the past couple years. Right up there with Star Trek opening Friday.

So, all in all, a pretty good film. Not great, but good enough to pay full price. And, when a friend of mine wants to finally go see this after fulfilling some family obligations, I’ll be pleased to see it again and look for details I missed the first time.
Worth seeing, for sure, but not twice for most people. And watch for the next one or the spin-off!


Rogue Dolphin Soldiers?

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:44 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

This seems like a problem…
Over two years ago, on my other blog, I noted a little news article about dolphins geared-up and trained for combat. Well, it seems that not only do they exist, but they may have been released into the Gulf of Mexico, by accident, due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. At least, according to this news article at the Guardian, that’s quite likely. The US government will neither confirm, nor deny, the veracity of this story, but sources close to the military indicate that as many as 36 bottle-nose dolphins that have been trained by the Navy to attack terrorists compromising ocean vessels may be loose in the Gulf. These sources say that divers and surfers may be in actual danger from these swimming mammals who have been armed with some kind of “poison dart gun”. The concern, according to the article, is that these dolphins “have learnt to shoot at divers in wetsuits who have simulated terrorists in exercises” and could attack innocent bystanders who fit the profile.
The good news is that the “poison” darts are designed to put their target to sleep for later interrogation, but a lone swimmer or diver could find themselves in trouble. And, again, the Navy will not confirm or deny this story. It could be nothing, but…
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water!


GPS License Plates

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 7:39 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Well, not quite, but close.
In the UK, they’re going to be “chipping” their license plates. Among other things, that will mean that those plates can be tracked by the proper authorities via GPS. Yeah, the proper authorities. And, if that phrase didn’t strike enough terror into your heart, how about this… The article goes on to say that U.S. authorities are looking into this. How long before we’re greeted with “Hello citizen!” when the damn car door opens!?
Okay, this disturbs me on many levels. Setting aside the potential for governmental abuse and eroding the rights of the individual, what if hackers were to get into this system? Can you imagine the damage that could be done? It was bad enough when the old phone phreaks rerouted calls and made it look like calls originated in ficticious locations, but this, this has some really scary potential. Well, so far, it’s just over there in the UK, but, if the U.S. government is looking into this… Watch the skies, citizens. Remember, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance!
(Bonus points for anyone who can tell me where that quote originates. At least, with me.)


Security, E-Mail and Blogs

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:12 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

“The question isn’t ‘Am I paranoid?’, but ‘Am I paranoid enough?'”
Ever heard that before? If you’ve dealt with computer security, it should be your damn mantra. But, too, if you just use the internet to send e-mail or blog, you should think about it. Why? Well, are you sure that all your e-mail is safe? And, do you know who reads your blog? If you wouldn’t want to say something in front of your mother or child, you might not want to put it up for the entire world to see. Also, did you know you can get fired for blogging? Yep, not only is there the famous Heather at dooce.com, but also the Delta Airlines incident and there’s this story on Register.com about two, unrelated incidents of people being fired for blogging. It’s even gone so far that Blogger has guidelines on “how not to get fired because of your blog“.
But, back to e-mail. I can remember on many occasions rebuilding e-mail files so that we could find out who sent what to whom and when they sent it. At least one time, I had to rebuild an entire e-mail server and system to replicate data that was taken by a U.S. Government agent. (No, not the IRS, thankfully, just the FBI and EPA. The IRS agents are really tough, from what I hear, when it comes to data collection.) Oh, but don’t think that simply deleting the mail is enough. No, siree, there are plenty of ways to get that back. For one thing, many internet enabled systems have a cache that can be poked and prodded back into a mail database. Or, perhaps someone forgot to delete their sent mail. Sometimes that’s even better because it will capture not only the outgoing mail, but part of the e-mail to which the “target” is replying. That’s two birds with one stone, there! Oh, and don’t think that a wireless device will protect you either. According to this story on Slashdot, even the messages sent Blackberry-to-Blackberry can be retrieved by your employer.

Of course, this works in reverse, as well. I often send copies of my work e-mail to my home account so that I have “backup” in case something goes tragically wrong with the work e-mail, I still have a copy to print out and present to a nice judge. Never know when that’s going to come in handy. Believe me, I’ve seen strange stuff when it comes to lawyers and e-mail. Don’t forget, I’ve worked through at least two sales and one bankruptcy. Trust me on this one, it’s nice to know you have proof of what you promised people!
And, if you want something to “vanish” you’d best get to know all about any purge functions you have available to you or look into getting a PGP-based “eraser”. Better yet, if you plan on defrauding the Federal Government, don’t talk about it in an e-mail to anyone. Hell, just don’t talk about it at all. Better yet, just be honest and pay your taxes like the rest of us.

Remember, in the end, the best thing is to just not do anything that you’d get fined for or do time for later. Barring that, don’t make a damn record of it where some vengeful prick might get their hands on it. And, above all, be careful who you cross. (Yeah, this is the sort of thing I think about on airplanes and sitting in hotels after working on new servers all day long. It is my entire life these days.)

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"If God is for us, who can be against us?"
   --Romans 8:31 (NIV)



Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Geek Work,Linux,News and Current Events,Novell — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:29 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Okay, here’s some more on that. The article was out Sunday night and based on this article on YahooNews, that’s helped Novell’s stock price up. Also, this article referred to the proposed “merger”, not a buyout. Of course, since Sun seems to have the bigger bank account I’m betting they’re going to be in charge.
When I checked Novell’s website, the last big news story was about Novell’s new software contract with the US Government. Nothing to sneeze at, but I’d have hoped to see something more about a potential merger/acquisition.


Bikini Atoll Website

Filed under: Art,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:19 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, really, I’m serious!

The famous Bikini Atoll, where the US Government did their atomic bomb testing, has their own website. Apparently, there are people actually living there! Who knew?
In any case, they have quite an active tourist trade, inlcuding sport fishing and diving. Hmm, I wonder if they have contests for fish with the most eyes? And, I bet the night diving is spectacular, what with the glow and all! But, really, the best thing is the shop on the site. You, too, can own a Bikini Atoll Dive Program shirt.
Oh, c’mon, it’s Friday! Go check out the site!


Open Source Initiative

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Geek Work,Linux,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:25 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Open Source Government!

I wish it were the US government, but at least Australia believes in the Open Source movement. According to this article on AustralianIT, areas of the Australian government are “encouraging” Open Source pilots where possible. Apparently, in an effort to save money and reduce future hidden costs, officials have gotten behind the idea that Open Source may, in fact be better. Well, at least they’re comparing closed-source options to Open Source options on a fairly regular basis. It’s a start, at least, in the right direciton.
I sure hope they’re finding solutions out there!

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