20 Nov 2008

// Commented

using namespace std;

int main()

Today I meandered over to the Guildhall, where the Cambridge University Engineering Society today hosted its Annual Careers Fair. An assortment of companies were present, including the likely suspects of BP, Shell & Rolls Royce, as well as others like British Sugar, who apparently don't just do sugar but also tomatoes, and various others who, as is the case with most of these corporate events, are only interesting for the freebies.

My shopping bag today consisted of:

2x highlighter - Faber Maunsell | Aecom, Shell

3x biro pens - Faber Maunsell (again), ARM, British Sugar

1x blue plastic 'Frisbee'/non-aligned flying disk toy you play Ultimate with - Sentec

1x orange foam boomerang - Tandberg. I've given this a try and for the most part it just flies in a vague forward arc with little suggestion of a return path. Might need more space.

1x stress ball in the form of a ripe red tomato - British Sugar

1x blue squidgy foam armchair for the resting of mobile phones - ARM [geddit?]

1x hand-crank dynamo-powered emergency mobile phone charger/torch - ARM. Bearing the cunning text of "ARM-powered". I c wut u did thar.

I also gave this item a trial run, and the torch element wouldn't be something I'd immediately leap for in a crisis. Takes a good deal of gyrating to get a current going, and the bulb promptly cuts out when the crank stops turning. Needs a capacitor mode I reckon.

The image of note from today's post is a screenshot I took of the Faber Maunsell website. Now, being a cautious Firefox user, I browse almost always with the NoScript addon active. This handy little device essentially blocks all JavaScript, flash plug-ins and coding that websites have by default, but informs me of elements that are being blocked, who owns them, and whether I want them on my whitelist or not. Essentially, I don't want my browser to pick me up a keylogger on my travels.

So anyways I take a trip to Faber Maunsell out of common interest and see the crazy text:
// Provide alternate content for browsers that do not support scripting
// or for those that have scripting disabled.
and it made me smile. Having dabbled my hand with C++ these past weeks and following a few years of awareness to the xkcd community, it amused me to see // COMMENTED! lines appearing in a website's final display to the viewer. It also seems like the second line was an after-thought or edit from a second developer. First goes in there, types the code with either normal users or those stuck on Netscape in mind. Second checks it out and adds the third category - overly cautious JavaScript annihilators.

But yeh, // for the win really.

Those concerned about yesterday's musings reading "2nd post in a week" and seeing it paralleled with one listed for 12 days beforehand: here's an explanation. That post was initially drafted a few days after seeing QoS, but it wasn't until last Friday, 14th November, that I finished it off and posted it. Curse ye Blogger and your definition of 'post date'. Those who are seriously pedantic can have the "two posts that went from start to finish in a seven-day timespan" now I suppose.

return 0;

19 Nov 2008

I, for one, welcome our new dobblogger overlords.

Observant readers may possibly notice a subtle switch in poster profile names from this point on. Here's a low-down for you, comrades.

Up until now I have been working on Blog Title Under Construction using a Google Blogger account derived from my Hotmail e-mail. As one can never have too many e-mail accounts (I operate off four these days), I initiated a GMail account, which of course comes with the Google Account items such as Blogger profiles.

Now, as signing in to two Google Accounts frequently during sessions for keeping tabs on my GMail and posting here/wallowing in self-pity seeing "Comments (o)", can get quite tiresome, I followed a mini-tutorial for switching blogs between accounts (http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=41448&topic=12500), so did a bit of a switcheroo. Dobmeister/Dobmiestre derived from my HMail GAccount, ceded command to Dobblesworth d'GMail.

All three are seamlessly connected online entities of yours truly, so don't expect any change in editorial stylings.

Wow, two postings in the space of a week, I feel this calls for a celebration... Toblerone anyone?

7 Nov 2008

It's the Suantum of Quolace!

Good evening world. How goes?

The new Bond film, Quantum of Solace has been met with mixed ratings among the media. It certainly receives one from me. A few weeks ago I went along with a few members of a covert and nameless society of the university I am currently an undergraduate at to check it out. I thought that, on the whole, "Bond 22"/"The Quantum of Solace"/"The Thingy of Whatsit" had its merits and was a good use of 2hrs of my Saturday evening. However, it also had its downfalls, which will merge in here in due course...

- Interesting switch from the more one-off episodes of the Bond franchise, in that it leads directly off the ending of Casino Royale. Oh, mild spoiler warning for this entry by the way ;-)
Whereas your Moonraker's, Goldeneye's and Thunderball's would all introduce the villain, the Bond Girl, the master plan and its demise in a 2hr burst, QoS builds upon the workings of Royale, and implicates CR's antagonists in a wider plot and a shadowy organisation that, much to the concern of surveillance state proposers, even MI6 couldn't track.


LeChiffre in CR is shown to have a certain "Mr. White" working in the shadows behind and around him. This geezer then goes on to blow The Frenchie's brains out when Bond wins in the longest cinema poker match, blackmails Bond's girl Vesper into transferring the casino winnings over to him and his organisation, before off-ing her as well in Venice. Bond shows up before the end credits to blast his kneecaps with what Doom fans might call a Big F***ing Gun Lite at his country mansion. QoS opens with Bond's "Escort Mission" for his foe, bound and gagged in the trunk of a flash Aston Martin.

*End Spoiler, for now*

- In a similar vein, there's some good character development moving off Royale. Daniel Craig may still be a cold-hearted b******, but he's more strongly motivated here, determined mainly by the death of Vesper - a combination of a feeling of betrayal and a desire for revenge. M offers a good line drawing this out in one of the 'board meetings' during it.

*Partial Spoiler*
You don't think about it too much when considering Craig's Bond, but he very sternly states "I am motivated by my duty" at one point; offering insight into the fact that, while he may cause a bit of collateral damage along the way, he's true to his goals, and definitely is going out there 'For Queen and Country'. Especially interesting to see this counter-played by the switching of loyalties and lack of moral conscience of the British politicians and Americans from the CIA.

- Certainly maintained the migration away from over-the-top gadgetry as seen in Moonraker and Die Another Day... Well, to a certain extent:
*Here thar be more spoilers*
~ The Evil Guys take in a performance of Tosca and, spread across a 10,000 seater auditorium, engage in a bit of teleconferencing. Their means of communication? One earphone with a localised wireless network connection to a stylised pinbadge on their lapels concealing a microphone. Not only did they freely chatter together in the auditorium, but I believe they were also linked in internationally.
~ Pulling out his Mobile Phone, Bond manages to get accurate facial recognition shots of moving targets from about 500m away
~ The extent of technology for MI6 offices is ludicrous. Starting on a desk-based touchscreen interface system, features could be effortlessly brought up, shifted along, cross-referenced, before being projected 2 metres across the floor to another system on the wall, then skirted around on to the semi-translucent boardroom window. Somehow through all this mess they get a lead that laundered money was marked by them with a tiny pinprick, this cash was then noticed to have been deposited at point X by man Y who had been seen entering Heathrow at time Z.

- OK that's my discussion of some of the more superficial stuff over. Now, onto the plot. I hope I use the term correctly, but most of the plot seemed to be to be a bit of a MacGuffin. Bond's searching for a root cause of the organisation, yet by the end of it you're left disheartened with a feeling that the surface had only been scratched. You're only really told the name of the umbrella they work for, but essentially the Big Bads for QoS boil down into "Frenchie Neo-Liberal Environmentalist Capitalist" and "Random Army General with aims for a coup in Bolivia". Die Another Day may have had some ludiocrity associated with it, but at least we knew they were pretty big, upper-level Koreans with a more explicit plot for world domination.

- A certain scene features Bond piloting a Ye Olde cargo plane over the desert. It gets peppered with bullets from a fighter. The engine catches fire. The plane is still getting shot at, yet somehow Bond can continue to control it to glide another 15 miles through canyons, before jerking it up the vertical for maximum lift, then flinging themselves out the rear bay door to parachute to safety. Surely they'd have crashed by that point with only one working engine?
- Going directly off this, it takes Bond 95% of his descent to reach his femme fatale with the parachute and yank it open. You see a split-second of footage where it's open before they slam into the ground. Yet somehow they are able to casually walk it off in their dusty evening wear with nary a scratch. I feel like digging out my SUVAT equations here.

- The cataclysmic wrecking of EcoFrenchie's Greenpeace Hotel In The Desert was hilarious. The entire place was filled with biofuel cells, that yes, you guessed it, are hilariously inflammable. Those babies must be pumping out Terawatts of power to explode and combust that vigorously.

- The advertising, oh Lordi Lordi, the advertising. In the 30 mins plus of tripe you get nowadays in advance of a film, heck even in advance of the "These trailers are for films of the same rating standard" spiel, there was so much of the QoS bandwagon jumping.
~ The official game based on the film. AKA slap Quantum of Solace on a generic FPS game and release it on everything from the C64 to the PSP. ... ??? PROFIT!
~ CokeZero tie in with QoS to get a free demo disc of the above. Cunningly done for 007 to be made of CokeZero7.
~ Omega, the watch of James Bond. Yes we know... you said it very explicitly on your empty train to Montenegro...
~ Random plug for the non-memorable arbitrary model classification of the mobile phone Bond uses a heavily modified version of.

Now to finish my ramblings, I present to you a YouTube offering. No the video is not a rickroll, rather a far more impressive theme tune for Quantum of Solace than was given in the movie. Enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMoJRLStD9c