Walking with Dinosaurs movie mini-review

Just watched the Walking with Dinosaurs movie. It is beautifully made, but oh boy was the talking dino’s every bit as bad as I had expected. To get a taste of it, watch the trailer above.

Ever since hearing the concept of Walking with Dinosaurs – the original series, that is – I absolutely loved it. I was one of those boys with a thorough fascination for dinosaurs. Think Tim in Jurassic Parc, except maybe a little less annoying. And no, I had not read scientific publications by famous paleontologists. But I did read every book about dino’s that could be found in the children’s section of the local library.

That was well behind me when the original Walking with Dinosaurs was announced, but being a man, you never really grow out of that sort of thing. WwD was to be like a documentary. No being chased by a T-Rex in a Jeep (no, not that way way, silly), but David Attenbouresque observations, aided by the latest and greatest CGI and animatronics.

The actual series did not fail to deliver. Of course, epsecially the close ups looked fake, even back then, and being spoiled with today’s CGI (I rewatched the whole thing recently on Netflix) also the computer generated sequences look a bit dated, but it’s still interesting to watch.

So, all in all, the 2013 movie had quite something to live up to. And, in terms of video quality, it does look gorgeous. 14 years later, it really does look realistic. No more feeling that, eventhough you’re supposed to be looking at some prehistoric creature, you’re really looking at some colored rubber on a metal frame. Especially striking was the glittery skin on the Gorgosaurs, as if the T-Rex from Jurassic Parc hired the most festive tux it could find (this sounds tacky, but it really isn’t).

That’s where the praise ends, though. Because gone is the original WwD formula of documentary-like story-telling. I probably would have loved this movie if it was made like the beautiful Earth, which shows that a nature documentary can be made feature length. Instead, though, it was turned into something more akin to Babe, the talking pig, although they did resist the temptation to have the creatures lip-sync (although that could not have made it mcuh worse). Its’s a rather corny feel-good story, with an underdog hero that rises to the occasion. To make matters worse, the whole thing is wrapped in a completely unnecesarry present-day thing with a rebelious teenager who, after having been told said corny story by a crow, suddenly does think his paleontologist uncle is pretty cool after all.

How wonderful it could have been, when that executive who did have some sense (they did exist, right? RIGHT?) was able to convince those responsible for this highly commercial choice and was allowed to hire the likes of James Earl Jones (see the link to the Earth trailer above) or Jeremy Irons (see this clip from the wonderful The Last Lions to get an idea) and turn this into the beautiful tribute to the orignal series it should have been.

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Gizmodo: Full Scale Lego X-Wing

This is Lego Inception. A enlargement of the small Lego model to full scale, built with… Lego.

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Iron Baby

Cleverly made Iron Man parody.

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Growl + Bark + DummyGrowl = Notification Center goodness

Update 28/12/2013: It looks like DummyGrowl has served its purpose and that it is no longer needed with the latest versions of Growl.

DummyGrowl stops Growl 2.0 with Bark from displaying both a Notification Center notification and a standard Growl notification (right, the Notification Center notification can be seen through the Smoke-style Growl notification). At this point, it is still unclear to me whether this is a bug or a feature of either Bark or Growl.

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HomeBrew vs. MacPorts (vs. Fink)

High level overview of the differences between these systems. As I am re-installing my Mac, I thought I’d first do a little research before defaulting to MacPorts (which feels somewhat natural considering I have some BSD in my past). I think I will go for HomeBrew this time around, just for the heck of it.

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Debugging Drush with Eclipse and XDebug

Drush is a command line tool to interact with the Drupal Open Source CMS (Get it? DRUpal SHell). It is an invaluable tool that many Drupal developers love once they start using it. Another tool I personally love greatly is the XDebug PHP debugger. I use it almost daily to quickly find out what is going on in a PHP website I am working on. It can be a pain to set up, but once you have it, firing up a debugging session is as easy as hitting a button in Eclipse (in fact, it might be the only reason I put up with Eclipse’s slugishness; I have yet to find a better integrated experience on the Mac – especially being able to set breakpoints right from your editor is king).

Getting XDebug to work with your local Apache installation can be daunting. Enter Drush. It doesn’t work through Apache. Or a browser, for that matter. In short, Eclipse’s “PHP Web Page” debugging target is no good. In this post I explain the steps required to get all the XDebug working for Drush commands, just like you sure used to for your PHP sites. Read More »

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Google gets you the domain name you deserve

It looks like Google may send traffic your way for domain names you don’t even own. How?

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WAT

Extremely funny. For programmers, that is. Via @berkes.

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Changing a user’s password in OpenX 2.8

The user management of OpenX is a little confusing if you are used to other systems. There is a blog-post about the user system on the OpenX-blog giving a good overview.

One aspect that they seem to have forgotten is dat users may want to change their password. A “I forgot my password” link is provided, but other than that there is no way to change your password.

If for some reason the password-recovery is not an option, it is possible to change the password directly in the database. The password is md5-hashed, so you can use a query like this:

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UPDATE ox_users SET password=MD5('password') WHERE username='johndoe';

Obviously, you will need to change “password” to whatever you want to set the password to, and the username to the user you want to change.

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No more multi-language

So you may see a few weird menu items, blog posts and/or categories. This is because I disabled the WPML (multi-language) plugin. Recently, they went commercial and since then (or thereabouts) I’ve had trouble updating. Then, my server was hacked. I am not in the least way implying this was due to WPML, but the fact is that it was out of date along with three other plugins. The others I could update. WPML, not so much.

Since it really is not much more than a gimmick, I decided to switch off the plugin, which means all content is now mixed on the one site. Not sure what to do with it just yet, I may actually split the site up into some more dedicated sites, which can be either Dutch or English.

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