Archive for the 'Reviews' Category

no country for old men…

November 21, 2008 10:43 am by josh

…is a return to form for the Coens, which is to say it’s an excellent movie, but is at the same time completely different in tone than almost any other movie they have made. This movie affected me, and I really recommend it. Unique, suprising, original, yet using standard genre conventions so it feels familiar in many ways. The greatest accomplishments of the film are the character of Chigurh (played by Javier Bardem), the breathtaking cinematography by the incomparable Roger Deakins, and the momentum and efficiency of the script.

This movie is unsettling and deliberate… and for most viewers, I would imagine, unsatisfying. But I can’t think of a movie that I’ve seen in the last year that I would recommend more. Go see this movie.

Choke

October 18, 2008 6:07 pm by brian

For those of you who have not seen the adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s book “Choke”, see it now before it leaves the theaters. In my opinion it was a great adaptation that was true to the spirit and the tone of the book. Now, true, there is some humor in the movie and rather than making you feel disgusted at Victor they make you nervously laugh along, but this was a great add on to the story.

The Electric Church

November 20, 2007 11:54 pm by brian

Wow,

Let me say it’s been a while since I picked up a good piece of dystopian, tech savvy literature. Jeff Somers hit the nail on the head with his newest work “The Electric Church“.

Before I go into more details, here’s the closest thing to what I can think happened:

  • Somers broke into William Gibson’s house, stolen his pens
  • Next, broken into the storage space of Sterling and found an unused ream of copy paper
  • Frantically channeled the spirt of these two men into a brutalized amalgamation of cyber-punk-esque madness

Now to convert you to the church:

The Electric Church(TEC) is based in a near future/post-apocalypse based world where crime is the standard and every man has his price. Thieves, gunners, and techies wade in the cesspool of civilization left by the unification of the system. Constantly hiding from the bootheels of the system security force, Avery Cates is a man who knows his price. A gunner for hire he has become adept at separating the politics from his work. Everyone has done something bad in their lives, it’s just a matter of whether the price is high enough to make you pay. With the rising tide of “The Electric Church” controlled by it’s founder & high priest Dennis Squalor, its the fastest growing religion. Monks on ever street corner promise eternal life and ‘an endless trail of sunsets’. But what happens when you become a pawn between the System and The Electric Church?

All in all, the book was written superbly. The language is not pretentious. In fact, the vocabulary, though small, is quickly established and maintained. Somers goes into great detail about how poor the quality of the bathtub gin is. I could have done well with him mentioning it only about half as many times as he did, but that’s his style. He takes an idea and runs with it and never hesitates to reuse a choice turn of phrase.

After reading the book, I must say I became even more of a fan. At the end of the book there was a link to a well made website: http://www.the-electric-church.com. Being the nerd that I am, I wondered what google may have indexed in the site which didn’t turn up much. A google search for sites which linked to it was much more fruitful and turned up a couple of character based blogs from the novel. Finding these was a nice touch. While in general, they exist more to help the main sites google page rank, it was awesome to see someone put in that kind of time into easter eggs, especially for a book.

Nagios – System and Network Monitoring

October 30, 2007 4:41 pm by brian

Recently I’ve been digging into lots of reading related to Nagios. It’s a great network monitoring system that can be used to monitor damn near anything. Maybe you’re looking to keep an eye on Temperature on your back deck. Maybe you need to see the humidity in your data center (and make sure it’s in a certain range). If there is something you need to keep an eye on (and more importantly, want to be notified if it changes), then have I got the tool for you.

That being said, this a book review. Specifically, it’s “Nagios – System and Network Monitoring” by Wolfgang Barth (No Starch Press). Once again, the folks at No Starch deliver. It’s a hefty tome which works as a reference manual as well as a howto. With around 450 pages (give or take) it should be everything you need to get your feet wet. Just recently, we decided at logjamming that we need to do more blogging. After all, we are a company devoted to servicing bloggers. To make this happen (as well as be a major annoyance, which i’m good at), Josh and I wrote a Nagios plugin which checks on the blog every 5 minutes. If one of us has not written a blog entry within the past week, that person gets notified via text message. If nobody has blogged in the past 72 hours, then all of us get a text message. It’s a good balance of “big brother” and “spewing information to the world”.

Anyways, like I said, I’m doing a book review here… sheesh, stop side tracking me. This book is fantastic for beginner to intermediate users. It doesn’t touch on any of the GUI interfaces (like Fruity) but, in my opinion it’s best to learn to walk before you put yourself in the wheelchair. Blah Blah, fantastic book. Buy it today!