Cartoons are the new reality

Kottke has an interesting mini-review of the new Pixar movie Ratatouille in which he observes;

I’m not quite sure how this is possible, but the people in Ratatouille acted more like real people than the actors in many recent live action movies (especially the rats), like they had realistic histories and motivations that governed their actions instead of feeling scripted and fake. The world of the movie felt as though it had existed before the opening credits and would continue after the curtain fell………..This is an interesting state of affairs. In comparison, the live action movies have become the cartoons. Not all of them, but certainly many Hollywood movies have. Spidey 3, Transformers (I’m guessing), Die Hard 4 (guessing again), anything Eddie Murphy has made since the mid-80s, Wild Hogs, Blades of Glory, RV, etc. etc.

An interesting state of affairs indeed and one that I find reflecting myself in TV viewing. The stuff that I’ll happily watch over & over again like The Simpsons (or the lello people as Ileana calls them), South Park, Futurama, even Family Guy all have their own universe and characters with a consistent personality with realistic behaviour (even if the situations are often completely insane).

Compare that to the overly dramatic, pantomime-ish, issue of the week pap that is Eastenders, Corrie, Hollyoaks, or any of the other crap on TV, where characters ostensibly live in the real world, but exhibit inconsistent forced behaviour, and inhabit places and situations that just seem alien to me; c.f. demented doctor and husband hold expectant mother of husbands love child hostage in worlds most pre-emtive kidnap (Eastenders); girlfriend is almost escort / prostitute to boyfriends psycho brother, goes into business with his wife, spills beans, marriage breakdown, he gets upset, traps her in car boot then has crash while answering phone to brother searching for girlfriend, brother happens to arrive at crash site and helps discover trapped girlfriend by ringing her mobile (Corrie); young girl falls pregnant to school thug, hides pregnancy from all, has surprise baby, parents try and pretend it’s theirs, girl falls for school nice guy, previously nice reasonable dad turns psycho, corners boyfriend and aggressively threatens, boy reaches out finds brick nearly kills dad, who when recovered black mails boy into breaking up with girl, the pair then decide to run away together only to be thwarted when money is stolen by most unconvincing drug addict in history (Hollyoaks). I have no idea how I know these story lines but they make the Mecha Babara Striesand I’m watching on South Park seem utterly sensible.

Open interop is easier

There has been something nagging me in all the deals Microsoft has been doing deals with Novell, Xandros, Linspire, and friends – something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It wasn’t until Mark’s post and Matt’s comment on it kicked some synapse into gear. The bit that bothers me is the so called interoperability work that is included in the agreements.

The thing is if they want interoperability there is no need to go around signing agreements and handing over cash – just assign some engineers to and Samba and/or make sure the specifications for OpenXML and CIFS are complete, and without licence or implementation restrictions, and make the necessary patent grants. In fact so long as the specs, licences, and patent grants are done right you probably don’t even need to worry about assigning engineers – other folks will be motivated enough to do the interop work for you.

Organisationally it’s dead easy to get into interoperability with open-source projects – sure there will be technical hurdles but if you do things in the open that’s all you have to worry about – no worrying with contracts, payments, legal maneuvering, PR, etc.

Proprietary companies make a big fuss about these sort of agreements because when you develop stuff on your own behind closed doors it’s a big deal to sort through all the organisational, legal, and financial angst around opening up and sharing with some other proprietary company.


FUD is good for you

Linspire (nee Lindows) the company that changed it’s name after and out of court settlement with Microsoft is now best friends with the folks from Redmond

I’m definately coming round to Don Marti’s line of thinking in FUD is good for you.

FUD is great, isn’t it? Drive away the FUD-susceptible customers, and all of a sudden Support is doing a better job, the product is getting better because “better” customers are using and talking about it, and I’m just getting started.

In the same vein it seems Microsoft is doing us all a favour and picking off all the weak also rans of the distribution market and herding FUD fearing sheep like customers their way. Wonder what will happen with the ClickNRun on Ubuntu deal now – to this point there hasn’t been anything that’s taken the shine off the big U, but too much cuddling up with Linspire could start to tarnish? (not sure how you tarnish something that is already brown and orange, but still…)

More GUADEC waffle

Some more random updates from your favourite Gnome related conference;

  • In case you missed it; Registration is open – book your place now! We have to start ordering schwag soon so if you’re not registered we can’t guarantee we’ll have enough to go round. Don’t delay, register today!
  • We still looking for volunteers to help with the recording / transcoding / archiving of each session. Aidan Delany if braveley stepping up to the mantle of organising this group of volunteers
  • We also need lots of volunteers to help keep GUADEC ticking – there’s plenty of great people on the list – why not sign up now?
  • It appears that we will be having another Football Tournament with the most skilled footballing hackers in the world doing battle on Aston’s finest astroturf.
  • Following some clarification from the Etap hotel (which seems to be everyones favourite including ours) you probably only want to share 3 to a room if you are really good friends since most rooms are a double bed and a single bed. Double check when you book.
  • As others have blogged we had a good meeting at the venue on the 2nd June. Aidan did a good job obsessively taking photo’s through the day and I finally got round to uploading the all to Flickr. At some point I will get round to annotating them a little better.
  • I knew I’d regret lending the camera to Jono and Aq – not because they’d do any damage, but because they’d end up doing something so cool: Check out the LRL adverts, The Freedom March and Don’t Listen Alone. Script, Direction, Production 8/10. Acting 6/10. Mark my words – these guys will be running the country before long (which will be both amusing and scary).
  • I should also point out that the State of the Map conference happens just up the road in Manchester on the 14th and 15th July. If you’re getting to Birmingham or the UK early for GUADEC then why not jump on a train or bus and find out the cool happenings in Open Streetmapping. I know a bunch of those guys will be piling down to GUADEC and there’s even talk of having a mapping party.

I’m sure there’s something I’m forgetting but whatever it is I’ll just leave it for another time.

I’ll remember you til the day I die

Coming to the end of a pretty rough week. Sadly my brother Theo passed away on Saturday night peacefully and without pain. Theo had been recovering successfully from colon cancer operation last year – last week he felt a little weak and tired and was persuaded to visit a doctor. By the time myself and our dad had got up to Middlesbrough on Friday the doctor had to give us the bad news that the cancer was aggressively spreading through his body and the prognosis was that he had only days to live.

Obviously this was a shock to all of us but Theo was amazingly brave and calm about the situation and handled it all in his usual ‘no fuss’ way – I can but hope that when my time comes I muster half the courage and grace of my brother. Thankfully over friday and saturday all the family and most of his close friends were able to visit and spend some time with him. I’m sorry that due to the suddenness of the situation we were not able to get hold of everyone and give them some time to visit.

In keeping with Theo’s wishes we’ll be having a ‘no fuss’ internment at the Linthorpe Woodland Cemetery on Friday 15th June at 2.30pm. Any of Theo’s friends are welcome and I think Theo would have preferred you to wear bright colours (for example team shirts) rather than black suits. We’d kindly ask for people not to send flowers and instead, if they wish, to contribute to the Macmillan Nurses who were a tremendous help to us and Theo. Please send cheques made payable to ‘Palliative Care Trust Fund’ to

Noeleen Hunter
Macmillan Nurse
The James Cook University Hospital
Marton Road

Aside for folks on Planet Gnome – I’m sorry if I’ve dropped some GUADEC stuff over the last week. This was, in the first instance, down to my stupidity in forgetting my power supply in the rush up to MIddlesbrough, and not being able to pass stuff cleanly to Bastien and Thos. My thanks to those guys and others for picking up the slack and keeping things running. Please continue to pester us if there is stuff we’ve mislaid.

GUADEC sponsorships

We’ve gone past our deadline (31st May) for announcing who has been accepted for sponsorship to attend GUADEC 2007. I can only apologise to all those who are waiting – we have had a high number of requests (as usual) and it’s taken time to collate all the information, and try to make a cut off is difficult. I give an absolute golden hand on heart promise that we will contact everyone before midday (GMT) 4th June.

On a related note could I remind all speakers who haven’t yet submitted costs (or even estimated costs) to us to please do so asap.