20.5.08

How to fix a failed initramfs update with do-release-upgrade

(All my regular readers could probably ignore this post; it's here to present newly learned information to the interwebs)

I was recently upgrading my Ubuntu 7.10 server to 8.04 using do-release-upgrade.  Everything was going fine until it spewed this unsightly verbage:

Processing triggers for initramfs-tools ... update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-2.6.24-16-server dpkg: subprocess post-installation script killed by signal (Interrupt)  Could not install the upgrades  The upgrade aborts now. Your system could be in an unusable state. A recovery will run now (dpkg --configure -a).  Please report this bug against the 'update-manager' package and include the files in /var/log/dist-upgrade/ in the bugreport. E:Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (2)  Setting up initramfs-tools (0.85eubuntu36) ... update-initramfs: deferring update (trigger activated)  Processing triggers for initramfs-tools ... update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-2.6.24-16-server ^[[13~ Could not install the upgrades  The upgrade aborts now. Your system could be in an unusable state. A recovery will run now (dpkg --configure -a).  Please report this bug against the 'update-manager' package and include the files in /var/log/dist-upgrade/ in the bugreport. installArchives() failed

Pretty, eh?  Well, I hunted all over the wide wide interwebs and asked around in ##linux, #ubuntu, and #debian on FreeNode.  No one really knew; the best advice I got was to format and reinstall--not something I felt like doing at the time.  I finally found the solution browsing a page not even related to it: run update-initramfs -u

That's it.  I checked (and double and triple-checked) to see if anything else seemed broken, but it didn't.  Rebooted, and ended up running 8.04, just as pretty as you please. 

17.5.08

Prince Caspian review

Warning: This contains spoilers for those of you who have not read the book and/or seen the movie. Read on at your own risk after consulting your lawyer (and mine).







First off, in general I'd say it's a good movie. There's some parts that made me dislike it, there's some places where they strayed pretty severely from the book, and there's some parts where it was dead amazing. Overall, I ranked it an 'A' on the survey I took.

The cons:

The movie strays from the book in a few places, most notably in the beginning and later on in a made-up scene and a few other additions. The beginning begins with the actual enactment of the birth of Miraz's son and the flight of Caspian, instead of the landing of the Pevensies on the island of Cair Paravel and Trumpkin retelling the story. In general I do not think this was a bad idea, as it makes more sense (and a more suspenseful beginning) with a third-person omniscient film rather than the book, which follows the actions of the Pevensies. However, they severely played up the pressure behind Caspian's leaving; in the book everyone stops to celebrate, and Caspian makes it out. In the movie, Caspian is only 3 feet from his would-be murderers.

One of the problems with the film is they seemed to play up the suspense when it wasn't that important in the book, and played it down when it was a bigger part of the book. This can be seen when the Pevensies land in Narnia. It takes them all of fifteen minutes to figure out that they're in Cair Paravel and that it's about a thousand years later. As well, the treasure room was, to put it lightly, unimpressive. It showed nothing of the riches of Narnia of earlier times. Instead, it held four chests, one for each of the Pevensies, and that's it. Austere would be a good description.

Another scene they totally made up was a storming of Miraz's castle. It seemed like a quick idea Peter had and wasn't planned that well. There was some suspense, but I felt apathetic to it because I knew that the Narnians would be defeated and have to retreat. They did a nice job with it, and managed to lose Edmund's torch there instead of at Cair Paravel, but it felt rather out-of-place with the rest of the story. There were also some definite Lord of the Rings steals in this scene, most notably when Edmund falls out of the tower a.l.a. Gandalf on the top of Isengard.

After they return again to Aslan's how, I never really felt the urgency to do something. It seemed (to me) that they were still pretty well off. There was never a definite count of their troops, nor a comparison with those of Miraz. They also made the stone table seem small and almost insignificant (Lucy even sits on it). The room is also very well lit; much better than if they had been running low on everything.

The final battle made some diversions from the story as well. Most notable is the partial destruction of the How, and the caving in of the ground under the plain to entrap soldiers. As well, there was an absence of Wimbleweather, the giant, and the battle seemed to still be pretty good on Caspian's side until he nearly gets himself killed and the trees step in. Again, a lack of suspense.

The makers also threw in another subplot (taking out a few original subplots, but I didn't expect them to keep them): a love story of sorts involving Susan. It starts out with a guy in London approaching her. She pretty much avoids him, and then ends up in Narnia. I picked up on the Caspian-Susan thing pretty early, as that's how my life tends to be (very very very subtle indications of feeling...), but didn't expect it to end with a kiss and all. Anyhow, I don't think it's totally worthless, as it underscores the fact that Susan's not the girl of previous books. At the end you see her as a young woman, which is kinda neat. (After all, she is 1300 years older than Caspian...) And I suppose it makes it a movie good for a date as well (not that I'd know, but making a guess...).

The pros:

The Pevensie's exit to Narnia was a pretty sweet sequence. It transitioned much smoother than, say, chimes and fairy music =]. As well, the animators got to show off their chops at animating live sets (if I'm correct in assuming that was CG).

Overall, the animation was amazing. It's gotten to the point where it's difficult to tell live action from animation, which is pretty sweet. I can't wait to see some future work from them.

As well, I enjoyed the bagpipes played by the mice when they bring Reepicheep before Aslan. It occurred to me that if the mice were men (haha), they would be Scottish. And Trumpkin was Trumpkin, all the way through.

But, the best part of the film was when Nikabrik brings in the hag and werewolf and the hag actually summons the White Witch. The whole sequence is amazing, but I was particularly blown away by the part "Just one drop of Adam's blood..." I felt that it extended the story in a very congruous fashion. In fact, I'd watch it again to see that scene again, it was that good.

Final thoughts:

This is the first film I've watched since doing a 10-minute film for Rhetoric in a weekend. I was walking out of the theater and it occurred to me just how much work postproduction would be for a film of that size. I definitely have an appreciation for everyone involved in that.

As well, it was a nice touch (to me) that Dr. Cornelius looked strikingly similar to Jerry Garcia. Glasses, hair, beard, build, face, it was all there, except for the guitar. I definitely would not have been surprised to see him pick up Wolf and play some =]

Overall, I'd watch it again. Yeah, it strays from the book, but it's a great story in it's own standing. If nothing else, you should watch it for the bewitchment scene.

[Edit:] After thinking it over and reading another review, I've rated it at 3.5 out of 5. The problem is they took and chopped up Lewis' book and tried to 'modernize' it, and failed miserably.

16.5.08

My parents are in Israel

And so, for their long-awaited and much celebrated 25th wedding anniversary, my parents went to Israel with Precept Ministries and a bunch of people from my church.  You can read about their adventures here:

http://ncc-israel-2008.blogspot.com/



As well, I'm proud of my dad for figuring out this whole blogging thing.  It seems that more and more non-nerds blog, something I attribute mainly to blogger.com. 

Our next president

I've been kinda thinking about this for about a week, but was waiting for one of my other friends to say it first so I could blame it on them if I was wrong.  Well, they have:

http://thevanishingblog.blogspot.com/2008/05/oh-hullo.html

So here's my idea: Obama is going to be our next president.  He's the most well known of any presidential candidate by far.  Hillary runs a fair second, and McCain a distant third.  Hillary should be embarrassed; after all, she's a former first lady of one of our, ahem, better known presidents.  And she's a woman.  Two nice publicity cards to play.  McCain is a nobody: he has nothing "special" going for him that would gain him media coverage.  Obama has a few cards as well: he's young and a motivational speaker. 

As well, he's black.  Apparently racism is a hotter topic than feminism (or lack thereof) nowadays.  He seems to be garnering all the limelight because he's black.  And he has a black pastor who's been saying controversial, if not outright wrong things.  Two more cards for media attention.

McCain is a nobody.  He's kinda the "last man standing", that is, the Republican with the guts to tough out an election.  Not saying that Romney, Huckabee, and Paul didn't; just that they left, whereas he missed his chance to get out. He was pretty much a nonentity even when there were more candidates.  He's too liberal for many Republicans.  And he never made a big stir about anything.  Huckabee and Romney at least seemed to be causing somewhat of a ruckus what with the religion and Mormonism cards.  Not McCain.

And that's the problem.  McCain is a half-decent candidate, but no one knows who he is.  Hillary has lost the card battle to Obama; as well, I think her dead horse of universal health care might have been beaten a little too much. 

As well, Hillary is a weak candidate for other reasons.  I had to analyze some political standpoints for each candidate, and browsing through the answers for topics such as the war and Internet security I noticed Hillary seemed to be unusually skilled in giving nonanswers.  When asked for her general plan for the war, her response, stripped of political-ese and boiled down, was this: In about 3 months after I'm instated (that's April or May, for those of us counting), I'll get together a bunch of people who know about the war and see if maybe we should do something.  Oh, and I'll be giving all the soldiers universal health care.  Because, we all know their job is so, um, dangerous. 

Obama, instead, at least seemed to have plans for most stuff, even if I didn't agree with him.  McCain I noticed had answered a few questions with an "I've done x, y, and z about this in the past."

So, as much as I dislike it, here's to Obama as the next president.  Wishing not, but, well, what can I do...

15.5.08

Another web exploit

This time it's on those stupid link pages that you get when you type in a bad web address (like, say, http://male.google.com). 

http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/04/isps-error-page.html

Basically, hackers can make stuff look like it's from trusted domains, like google or paypal, and put whatever they want up there by just hacking the ad page servers, which aren't well known for their security. Watch those links and install NoScript if you're paranoid, like me =]

8.5.08

This should be a poem, but I'm not a poet =[

You sit at your computer, home from school.  You open your mail program and click the Get New Mail button.  "Downloading message 34 of 112," the status reads.  You scroll through your folders, hoping that at least one of those 112 emails was written for you. You watch the Facebook folder, glancing occasionally at the download counter as the mail comes in, hoping that someone took the time to notice you.  It's done getting mail.  Not one of the 112 emails were written to you.  Just standard mail list traffic.  You open your iTunes, hoping that there's something there for you to listen to.  You switch back to your email and start reading mail lists. 

You switch over to your browser and open Facebook.  There's nothing going on there, either.  Just one friend is online, and there's a moon by her name. Then you type in the Facebook search box the name of someone special to you, but only you know.  You open up her profile and skim it.  You see the wall, but pass it by.  Nothing.  You click "home" and switch back to your mail and keep reading.  There's nothing to do.

An hour later, you're done reading everything that came in.  You look around.  There's still nothing going on on Facebook.  You click the "get new mail" button again, hoping that there's something waiting to come in to keep your mind off your situation for a precious few seconds.  Nothing. 

There's nothing to do, so you change into pajamas and go to bed early.  You lay there in the dark, thinking of everything that happened that day, everything you saw, all the things your friends and acquaintances did. 

You feel separated.  You have few friends, and you don't know them very well.  You feel separated from almost everything that is going on around you.

Your problem?  You're too shy.