Mark Snell . com

Lord of the Rings

Warning. There is some information about the movie here, though nothing I’d call a spoiler (it is only the first of 3 movies and the book has been out for 45 years..)
I went to the trouble of booking a ticket the night before to see the 9:45 am session of Lord of the Rings, but I needn’t have bothered, because it turned out there were only about 40 people who were interested enough to venture out on a cold Melbourne Boxing day morning to see the first session.
Overall the movie was excellent. I was completely sucked in to the world of Middle Earth (though that is not too hard for me, I’ve read the books about 7 times). There were some things I would have done differently, but none of them detracted from the spectacle of the movie as a whole.
Merry and, in particular, Pippin seem to have been cast as comedic relief, which is a bit sad, and may make things a little difficult when the times comes for them to take on the serious roles later on.
I was dissapointed to see that the whole Fatty Bolger/Old Forest/Old man Willow/Tom Bombadil/Barrow Wights bit had been cut out, but I can understand it from the point of it having little to do with the story as a whole, and taking up a big slab of time.
The glow (when Orcs are around) of the elvish sword “”Sting”” that Frodo bears looks like a last minute job, more like what I would have expected from the guys that did Troops.
Overall, still a 5/5 I can’t wait for parts two and three.

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20GB USB HDD

We were given a test unit of a USB HDD which is a USB connected 20Gb Hard Disk in a tiny convenient case. In a package not much bigger than a Zip disk we have nearly 10x the capacity with fantastic ease of use. Once you install the software, the unit simply plugs into the USB port and mounts itself as the next available drive letter (E:) on my system. The transfer speeds are not blistering @ 879 kbytes/sec but that still means you can transfer a CD’s worth of info in less than 13 minutes. If you could build a USB 2 version, the times would drop dramatically, and it would be a truly superb unit. Excellent for those who want to carry large files around from place to place.We also tried the Unit on an iMac, but even though it recognized that there was a disk connected, there we no drivers to enable it to read from the device. A simple USB Disk driver is probably all that is needed, but we were unable to find one.We can’t mention the distributor looking to bring this into the country, but if you are interested, feel free to drop me an email, and I’ll pass that information along. RRP looks like being about AUS$550 for 20GB, maybe less for smaller drives and possibly a no-disk option for those who already have a 2.5inch Hard Disk lying around.

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Thief the Dark Project & Thief II the Metal Age

These two titles by Edios have produced a new realm of gaming, the First Person Sneaker, where you are rewarded more for cunning and hiding in the shaows than for a full frontal attack (which will usually get you killed). The ability to creep through the shadows and whack someone over the head with a blackjack, or hide in the shadows atop a wall and plug a guard in the back with a well placed arrow really appeal to me. Combine this with lock picking, rope arrow to shoot into a rafter and climb away from your enemies, a little magic and a twisting, turning plot and this is a series of games you do not want to miss. There is also an intersting Fan site at Thief Underground with lots of news and extra levels.

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Soldier of Fortune

Soldier of Fortune is another great first person shooter with a feeling of realness to it. The setting is real, the missions are real and the game manages to suck you in completely for hours at a time. The latest release, Soldier of Fortune II is due out in early 2002 so that should be interesting.

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Tactical Ops

Tactical Ops is a modifcation to Unreal Tournament is the best First Person Shooter I’ve played in quite a while. I really enjoy Unreal Tournament, but this game adds more realism with “”real”” weapons and “”real”” scenarios that pit the S.W.A.T. team against a group of Terrorists holding hostages. I love a bit of strategy and being able to find a nice spot to sit and “”camp”” and pick off the SWAT as they come around a corner or the Terrorists as they hide in thier tower.

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The Hurricane

I also just sat down and watched the Movie the Hurricane” starrring Denzel Washington. This is a fantastic film, one of the best movies I have ever seen. It is a deep (and true) story and it is told well. The acting is excellent and some of the camera work is spectacular. I watched it on DVD so also got the chance to watch it a second (& third) time with the Directors overview soundtrack which was quite revealing. Five stars.

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Blade

I also got a chance to sit and watch Blade, which is a great movie, if a little predictable. The very end was such a setup for a sequel that it made everything a bit hollow though.

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Kernel compiling

Today I decided to recompile the kernel on my home server, seeing as I am no longer relying on it for dial-up. Hopefully this time I can get it right. Last time there were no new modules, but this time I’ve gone from the top with: make menuconfig, make dep, make clean, make bzImage, make modules, make modules_install that I got from http://www.linuxnewbie.org/nhf/intel/compiling/kernelcomp.html. It takes rather a long time on the P66 with 24MB RAM that I use as a server, but basically that was enough hardware to route my old dialup and act as a file server.

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