Ric on Twitter

  • 10 September, 2012 - 10:55
    Any watch freaks out there? Time for some early Xmas shopping! http://t.co/kM5C8cyx
  • 25 July, 2012 - 10:14
    Have you kicked the tires on the Joomla 3 Alpha? If so, I'd love to know what you think.
  • 17 July, 2012 - 17:25
  • 17 July, 2012 - 16:18
    The Alpha release of the new Joomla! 3.0 is out now. The release is primarily intended for extension developers... http://t.co/eX31fk0o
  • 9 July, 2012 - 23:45
    My latest book is out: Joomla! Search Engine Optimization http://t.co/3lToGUhh #joomla #seo

Feed Roundup

BlackBerry and T-Mobile try $100 bribe to lure BBers to their side

The Register - 4 April, 2014 - 23:24
Chiefs trade faux polite barbs as spat spits along

In the latest round of the velvet-gloved boxing match between T-Mobile US and BlackBerry, the mobile operator's chief John Legere has told BB users that he supports them and wants to give them $100 credit towards any new handset they want.…

Categories: The Essentials

BlackBerry and T-Mobile try $100 bribe to lure BBers to their side

The Register - 4 April, 2014 - 23:24
Chiefs trade faux polite barbs as spat spits along

In the latest round of the velvet-gloved boxing match between T-Mobile US and BlackBerry, the mobile operator's chief John Legere has told BB users that he supports them and wants to give them $100 credit towards any new handset they want.…

Categories: The Essentials

Siri set to rival Windows beauty Cortana after Apple eats Novauris

The Register - 4 April, 2014 - 23:04
Speech recognition firm could help fruity firm take Siri offline

Apple's personal assistant Siri is more than two years old, so you'd think it was high time for its parents to cut the umbilical cord.…

Categories: The Essentials

Siri set to rival Windows beauty Cortana after Apple eats Novauris

The Register - 4 April, 2014 - 23:04
Speech recognition firm could help fruity firm take Siri offline

Apple's personal assistant Siri is more than two years old, so you'd think it was high time for its parents to cut the umbilical cord.…

Categories: The Essentials

Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

Slashdot - 4 April, 2014 - 22:53
Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes: "A year ago, getting ready for Burning Man, I read that the cars in the exit line sometimes have to wait in the sun for hours to get out. I came up with an algorithm that I thought would alleviate the problem. Do you think it would work? If not, why not? Or can you think of a better one?" Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: The Essentials

Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

Slashdot - 4 April, 2014 - 22:53
Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes: "A year ago, getting ready for Burning Man, I read that the cars in the exit line sometimes have to wait in the sun for hours to get out. I came up with an algorithm that I thought would alleviate the problem. Do you think it would work? If not, why not? Or can you think of a better one?" Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: The Essentials

The Disorienting and Disturbing Arthouse Science Fiction of Under the Skin [Review]

Boing Boing - 4 April, 2014 - 22:43

If Her was all about Scarlett Johansson's off-screen presence–the vagaries of her voice, and what meaning might be read into its inflections–Under the Skin is all about Johansson's looks. And her looking. At you. It's about skin, and bodies, and silent facades. Johansson plays her extraterrestrial invader practically as a mute.

The script for Under the Skin, which opens today in New York City and Los Angeles, and April 11 in select U.S. cities, probably contains a few thousand words of dialogue, max. What conversation there is bridges long silences. Viewers will find no traditional alien versus human action. No chases, or gun battles, or heads exploding with green goo. No little green men or tattooed Klingon wannabes hatching plans to destroy the earth, either.

Likewise, fanboys (and girls) drooling over Johansson won't be treated to some mindless sexcapade. As a nameless woman, Johansson cruises the streets of Glasgow, using her newfound wiles to seduce men for her nefarious purposes. She's an alien femme fatale, and once she's snared you in her spell, gentlemen, her sultry face clicks back to its poker-faced, robotic demeanor. Look out.

Therefore, fans of sci-fi and Ms. Scarlett, respectively: Be forewarned. But the patient viewer of director Jonathan Glazer’s existential, science fictional mediation will be rewarded with an unsettling poetic experience–one that's infinitely more rewarding than the utterly predictable action fare that usually passes for Hollywood's high-concept "alien invasion" schlock.

Glazer, who hasn't made a film in a decade, directed the equally unique and unnerving crime film Sexy Beast (2000). His sophomore effort was the less-well-received ghost story Birth (2004). With Under the Skin, he seems determined to reinvigorate yet another tired genre: the alien-among-us film. Reminiscent of E.T.-out-of-water films such as Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and John Sayles' The Brother from Another Planet, Under the Skin succeeds magnificently. Glazer has crafted an intelligent work of arthouse science fiction equal parts disorienting and disturbing.

Working from Michel Faber's 2000 novel of the same name, Glazer and co-writer Walter Campbell begin their film in media res (in the midst of things), wisely dispensing with any exposition. Which planet does Johansson come from? How has she arrived on our shores? What does her spaceship look like? Why exactly is she here? None of these ideas are of interest. There are no conversations between characters to fill in gaps.

A good half an hour passes before you feel adequately acclimated to the plot, to the extent that Under the Skin has one. Be patient. Glazer's pace is methodical and unhurried, as studious as Johansson's character is figuring out her new surroundings. It's worth hanging around to see what kind of creepy Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster Glazer has concocted.

I'm wary of giving away too much, but some explanation is necessary to understand the set-up. After a brilliant opening sequence, during which what looks like an eyeball, or lens, is being zapped into being somewhere in space–one that recalls the eerie red camera eye of HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey–we're suddenly plunked down in Glasgow. With a black mop of hair, and wearing a trashy fake fur coat, stonewashed jeans and high heels, Johansson is soon seen driving a white van, searching the gritty streets for prey.

"No girlfriend, really?" Johansson asks Bachelor Number 1, a pedestrian she picks up from the roadway after pulling over to ask for directions.

"I don't have a girlfriend," he replies, in a Scottish accent American ears will find almost impenetrable.

"You're very charming. You have a handsome face," she fires back with a smile. "Do you think I'm pretty?"

"I think you're gorgeous," he says.

"Do you?"

"Aye, definitely."

"Good."

In similar encounters, her clunky banter jumps from lines line "I'm looking for the M8" and "Do you live alone?" to "Are you busy right now?" and "I have a place about three minutes from here." Cut to Johansson luring the next cocky dude or poor sap back to her pad for a hookup, alien-style. Of course, she's just playing along, getting what she needs. But what is she really after?

I'll let you imagine what happens next. It's not what you think.

Men, several of them, do fall under her spell. Some are achingly shy, even intimidated. Others are helpless against this alien seductress. They all seem floored by the prospect of their incredible luck. You can practically see the stories forming in their heads, the tall tale of how they scored with some random chick. "Never guess what happened last night. You're not going to fuckin' believe this, man..."

Their reactions feel real, painfully so. They are uncannily candid. Here's why: During the shoot, Glazer had Johansson driving a real van, and interacting with a series of actual non-acting strangers. According to the film's press materials, eight miniature cameras were built into the van's dashboard, headrests, and other hidden locations. They were all wired to equipment in the back of the van, behind a barrier, where Glazer and his team sat watching the eight camera feeds on monitors. Another vehicle followed the van, and after each scene with the men, a crew member would hop out to get release forms from all the accidental actors. (Whether some of the guys recognized Johansson under that tarty make-up was not made clear.)

In the most riveting of these encounters, Ms. Scarlett picks up a man (again, played by a non-professional actor) with a facial disfigurement. But our alien heroine doesn't see or judge him as we might. She's not rattled by his appearance. Rather, she asks, "When was the last time you touched someone."

Adding to the exquisite uneasiness is the soundtrack, composed by classically trained Mica Levi, aka Micachu, of the band Micachu & The Shapes. Her experimental, minimalist score–the crazy lovechild of Ravel's String quartet in F major and Hitchcockian Psycho riffs–combines viola music, synthesized MIDI strings, flute and spare, woody percussion beats. Levi's score punctuates the film like a rhythm track of heartbeats, or heavy breathing. It might approximate the noise inside Johansson's head. Or the siren song of a desperate predator.

Suffuses the entire proceedings is a cloak of suspenseful dread. Much of the movie takes place in a moody dusk, foggy haze or dim overcast, or by the amber light of the dashboard. And a mysterious motorcycle driver who has something to do with Johansson's Mission to Earth bombs around the periphery, never too far away.

But Johansson's character is far from home, as is Johansson the actor. This is a role about as distant from Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow from The Avengers as Mailbu is from Pluto.

"I want to get away from it all," says one man the alien vamp encounters on a stormy, rock-strewn beach. "Because it's nowhere."

The story eventually whisks our Alien in Wonderland off the beaten track of urban Glasgow and into that "nowhere": the wind-beaten countryside of northern Scotland, its desolate heath, snowy Highlands peaks, damp towns and mossy forests. It is here where Johansson begins to abandon her twisted Prime Directive, and where Under the Skin begins to take shape, morphing from random, raptorial encounters to a conflict with Johansson's burgeoning conscience. Hesitant, and terrified, she tries out this idea of being human, of truly inhabiting her body. Our red-lipsticked, low-rent Hooker Who Fell to Earth becomes an alien with a heart of gold. Or, at least, a barely pulsing soul.

Without spoiling too much, it's safe to say her experiment is not entirely successful. But Ms. Scarlett's extraterrestrial stumblings are poignant, and heartbreaking, and serve to remind each of us, each life form, what constitutes the human condition. Is it our capacity for mercy, or charity, or love-making? Or our ability to fake it, get what we want, and just play along?

Perhaps we are most human when we've finally decided to give up our evasive or dastardly ways, come down to earth, and finally be real.
    





Categories: The Essentials

The Disorienting and Disturbing Arthouse Science Fiction of Under the Skin [Review]

Boing Boing - 4 April, 2014 - 22:43

If Her was all about Scarlett Johansson's off-screen presence–the vagaries of her voice, and what meaning might be read into its inflections–Under the Skin is all about Johansson's looks. And her looking. At you. It's about skin, and bodies, and silent facades. Johansson plays her extraterrestrial invader practically as a mute.

The script for Under the Skin, which opens today in New York City and Los Angeles, and April 11 in select U.S. cities, probably contains a few thousand words of dialogue, max. What conversation there is bridges long silences. Viewers will find no traditional alien versus human action. No chases, or gun battles, or heads exploding with green goo. No little green men or tattooed Klingon wannabes hatching plans to destroy the earth, either.

Likewise, fanboys (and girls) drooling over Johansson won't be treated to some mindless sexcapade. As a nameless woman, Johansson cruises the streets of Glasgow, using her newfound wiles to seduce men for her nefarious purposes. She's an alien femme fatale, and once she's snared you in her spell, gentlemen, her sultry face clicks back to its poker-faced, robotic demeanor. Look out.

Therefore, fans of sci-fi and Ms. Scarlett, respectively: Be forewarned. But the patient viewer of director Jonathan Glazer’s existential, science fictional mediation will be rewarded with an unsettling poetic experience–one that's infinitely more rewarding than the utterly predictable action fare that usually passes for Hollywood's high-concept "alien invasion" schlock.

Glazer, who hasn't made a film in a decade, directed the equally unique and unnerving crime film Sexy Beast (2000). His sophomore effort was the less-well-received ghost story Birth (2004). With Under the Skin, he seems determined to reinvigorate yet another tired genre: the alien-among-us film. Reminiscent of E.T.-out-of-water films such as Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and John Sayles' The Brother from Another Planet, Under the Skin succeeds magnificently. Glazer has crafted an intelligent work of arthouse science fiction equal parts disorienting and disturbing.

Working from Michel Faber's 2000 novel of the same name, Glazer and co-writer Walter Campbell begin their film in medias res (in the midst of things), wisely dispensing with any exposition. Which planet does Johansson come from? How has she arrived on our shores? What does her spaceship look like? Why exactly is she here? None of these ideas are of interest. There are no conversations between characters to fill in gaps.

A good half an hour passes before you feel adequately acclimated to the plot, to the extent that Under the Skin has one. Be patient. Glazer's pace is methodical and unhurried, as studious as Johansson's character is figuring out her new surroundings. It's worth hanging around to see what kind of creepy Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster Glazer has concocted.

I'm wary of giving away too much, but some explanation is necessary to understand the set-up. After a brilliant opening sequence, during which what looks like an eyeball, or lens, is being zapped into being somewhere in space–one that recalls the eerie red camera eye of HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey–we're suddenly plunked down in Glasgow. With a black mop of hair, and wearing a trashy fake fur coat, stonewashed jeans and high heels, Johansson is soon seen driving a white van, searching the gritty streets for prey.

"No girlfriend, really?" Johansson asks Bachelor Number 1, a pedestrian she picks up from the roadway after pulling over to ask for directions.

"I don't have a girlfriend," he replies, in a Scottish accent American ears will find almost impenetrable.

"You're very charming. You have a handsome face," she fires back with a smile. "Do you think I'm pretty?"

"I think you're gorgeous," he says.

"Do you?"

"Aye, definitely."

"Good."

In similar encounters, her clunky banter jumps from lines line "I'm looking for the M8" and "Do you live alone?" to "Are you busy right now?" and "I have a place about three minutes from here." Cut to Johansson luring the next cocky dude or poor sap back to her pad for a hookup, alien-style. Of course, she's just playing along, getting what she needs. But what is she really after?

I'll let you imagine what happens next. It's not what you think.

Men, several of them, do fall under her spell. Some are achingly shy, even intimidated. Others are helpless against this alien seductress. They all seem floored by the prospect of their incredible luck. You can practically see the stories forming in their heads, the tall tale of how they scored with some random chick. "Never guess what happened last night. You're not going to fuckin' believe this, man..."

Their reactions feel real, painfully so. They are uncannily candid. Here's why: During the shoot, Glazer had Johansson driving a real van, and interacting with a series of actual non-acting strangers. According to the film's press materials, eight miniature cameras were built into the van's dashboard, headrests, and other hidden locations. They were all wired to equipment in the back of the van, behind a barrier, where Glazer and his team sat watching the eight camera feeds on monitors. Another vehicle followed the van, and after each scene with the men, a crew member would hop out to get release forms from all the accidental actors. (Whether some of the guys recognized Johansson under that tarty make-up was not made clear.)

In the most riveting of these encounters, Ms. Scarlett picks up a man (again, played by a non-professional actor) with a facial disfigurement. But our alien heroine doesn't see or judge him as we might. She's not rattled by his appearance. Rather, she asks, "When was the last time you touched someone."

Adding to the exquisite uneasiness is the soundtrack, composed by classically trained Mica Levi, aka Micachu, of the band Micachu & The Shapes. Her experimental, minimalist score–the crazy lovechild of Ravel's String quartet in F major and Hitchcockian Psycho riffs–combines viola music, synthesized MIDI strings, flute and spare, woody percussion beats. Levi's score punctuates the film like a rhythm track of heartbeats, or heavy breathing. It might approximate the noise inside Johansson's head. Or the siren song of a desperate predator.

Suffuses the entire proceedings is a cloak of suspenseful dread. Much of the movie takes place in a moody dusk, foggy haze or dim overcast, or by the amber light of the dashboard. And a mysterious motorcycle driver who has something to do with Johansson's Mission to Earth bombs around the periphery, never too far away.

But Johansson's character is far from home, as is Johansson the actor. This is a role about as distant from Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow from The Avengers as Mailbu is from Pluto.

"I want to get away from it all," says one man the alien vamp encounters on a stormy, rock-strewn beach. "Because it's nowhere."

The story eventually whisks our Alien in Wonderland off the beaten track of urban Glasgow and into that "nowhere": the wind-beaten countryside of northern Scotland, its desolate heath, snowy Highlands peaks, damp towns and mossy forests. It is here where Johansson begins to abandon her twisted Prime Directive, and where Under the Skin begins to take shape, morphing from random, raptorial encounters to a conflict with Johansson's burgeoning conscience. Hesitant, and terrified, she tries out this idea of being human, of truly inhabiting her body. Our red-lipsticked, low-rent Hooker Who Fell to Earth becomes an alien with a heart of gold. Or, at least, a barely pulsing soul.

Without spoiling too much, it's safe to say her experiment is not entirely successful. But Ms. Scarlett's extraterrestrial stumblings are poignant, and heartbreaking, and serve to remind each of us, each life form, what constitutes the human condition. Is it our capacity for mercy, or charity, or love-making? Or our ability to fake it, get what we want, and just play along?

Perhaps we are most human when we've finally decided to give up our evasive or dastardly ways, come down to earth, and finally be real.
    





Categories: The Essentials

Samsung Galaxy S5 now up for preorder via Verizon

from News.com - 4 April, 2014 - 22:40
Eager buyers can grab the phone for $200 with the usual two-year agreement, or $600 off contract.
    





Categories: Open Source

Best Buy sale cuts price of HTC One to $1

from News.com - 4 April, 2014 - 22:39
The original HTC One is on sale to make way for the HTC One M8, though the offer is good only through Saturday.
    





Categories: Open Source

Ad blockers get ad-group exec's blood boiling (Q&A)

from News.com - 4 April, 2014 - 22:37
The Interactive Advertising Bureau doesn't like how tens of millions of people use ad-blocking software. IAB's general counsel has a counterattack: block the blockers.
    





Categories: Open Source

White House blasts Samsung for tweeting Obama-Ortiz selfie

The Register - 4 April, 2014 - 22:37
President's lawyers looking into 'commercial' pic taken by Boston Red Sox player

The White House has criticised Samsung for tweeting a selfie taken by Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz of himself with the US President, using a Sammy mobe.…

Categories: The Essentials

White House blasts Samsung for tweeting Obama-Ortiz selfie

The Register - 4 April, 2014 - 22:37
President's lawyers looking into 'commercial' pic taken by Boston Red Sox player

The White House has criticised Samsung for tweeting a selfie taken by Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz of himself with the US President, using a Sammy mobe.…

Categories: The Essentials

Amazon Fire TV not DIY-friendly, teardown reveals

from News.com - 4 April, 2014 - 22:36
The folks at iFixit have gone inside the new Amazon Fire TV and find it "hard to disassemble" and, really, just "another board-in-a-box."
    





Categories: Open Source

Google gives peek at its Ara modular phone project

from News.com - 4 April, 2014 - 22:33
Meet some of the folks at Google's advanced-tech team working to design phones you yourself can build. Watch them snap pieces together!
    





Categories: Open Source

Google's cash for questions app comes to Australia, Canada, UK

from News.com - 4 April, 2014 - 22:24
The Google Opinion Rewards survey app is now available for Australian, British and Canadian folk to earn money towards Android apps and games.
    





Categories: Open Source

GameSpy Multiplayer Shutting Down, Affecting Hundreds of Games

Slashdot - 4 April, 2014 - 22:12
An anonymous reader writes "For over a decade, GameSpy has provided and hosted multiplayer services for a variety of video games. GameSpy was purchased in 2012, and there were some worrying shutdowns of older servers, which disabled multiplayer capabilities for a number of games. Now, the whole service is going offline on May 31. Some publishers are scrambling to move to other platforms, while others are simply giving up on those games. Nintendo's recent abandonment of Wi-Fi games was a result of their reliance on GameSpy's servers. Bohemia Interactive, developers of the Arma series, said the GameSpy closure will affect matchmaking and CD-key authentication."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: The Essentials

LOHAN's Punch and Judy show is GO for Saturday

The Register - 4 April, 2014 - 22:02
Roll up, roll up, for your live test flight details

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) "Punch" and "Judy" test flights are go for tomorrow (Saturday 5 April), and as ever we'll be streaming proceedings live over the interwebs so you make yourselves a nice cuppa, kick back and follow the action live from the comfort of your PC.…

Categories: The Essentials

Windows Phone 8.1: Like WinPho 8, but BETTER

The Register - 4 April, 2014 - 21:30
Blog blag bug... You said WHAT would be in the OS?

Hands on The biggest Windows Phone news this week was that it's now royalty free. This means it will cost manufacturers less to make a Windows Phone than an Android phone, all other things being equal. And, of course, it also received the much-anticipated update.…

Categories: The Essentials

NASA To Catalog and Release Source Code For Over 1,000 Projects

Slashdot - 4 April, 2014 - 21:30
An anonymous reader writes "By the end of next week, NASA will release a master catalog of over 1,000 software projects it has conducted over the years and will provide instructions on how the public can obtain copies of the source code. NASA's goal is to eventually 'host the actual software code in its own online repository, a kind of GitHub for astronauts.' This follows NASA's release of the code running the Apollo 11 Guidance Computer a few years back. Scientists not affiliated with NASA have already adapted some of NASA's software. 'In 2005, marine biologists adapted the Hubble Space Telescope's star-mapping algorithm to track and identify endangered whale sharks. That software has now been adapted to track polar bears in the arctic and sunfish in the Galapagos Islands.' The Hubble Space Telescope's scheduling software has reportedly also been used to schedule MRIs at hospitals and as control algorithms for online dating services. The possibilities could be endless."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: The Essentials
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