Everything, Everything - May 2009

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Windows Server 2008 SP2
Tuesday 26th May, 2009 21:57
It's best practice to install service packs onto a test server before you install it on a production server. I don't have a test server that's identical to my production server, so the safest thing would have been to install it on my non-identical test server. Except Windows Server 2008 SP2 x64 downloaded a lot quicker on my production server with its fast connection than my test Windows Server 2008 x64 server on a slow ADSL connection (I wasn downloading Vista 2008 SP2 x86 at the same time). The good news is everything appears to have gone smoothly, the server was back up and running after a relatively quick reboot.

Additionally, Vista SP2 x86 appears to have installed okay too. Now I just have to get around to installing it on the other couple of Vista x64 machines.
Windows 2000 Support
Thursday 21st May, 2009 10:26
There's been a reply on Bugtraq regarding an updated version of HP System Management Homepage for Windows. The author simply asked "Where is the patch for Windows 2000?". The thing is, HP haven't claimed to support Windows 2000 since February 2008. The last version that claimed to support Windows 2000 was (C) that was released in January 2008. I'm hoping that the reply was tongue in cheek (it probably was), otherwise the author is over a year behind on their patches.

I could argue that HP not officially supporting 2000 is a bad thing, but Windows 2000 is in Extended Support (and has been for four years) and is several versions behind the latest Server OS from Microsoft (note: Windows Server 2008 R2 will be x64 only!). But I wouldn't be surprised if you can install the latest version on Windows 2000 anyway.

I still think people should move to Windows 2008 though.
High School Musical
Friday 15th May, 2009 11:23
I watched the original HSM ages ago and thought it was pretty good. I then watched HSM2 and was quite disappointed, so I wasn't sure what to expect with HSM3 and its 3.6 rating on IMDb. Thankfully they returned to the school, and the move to the big screen appears to have allowed director Kenny Ortega to deliver the most visually appealing movie in this trilogy (I'm not sure that the storyline was as good as HSM, but it's been a while since I've seen it). HSM3 should have been the end of an relatively impressive era (I suspect the low IMDb ratings are because the kids - Disney's target audience - aren't the ones that have been voting), but Disney have already announced they'll be filming HSM4, with a completely new cast and without Ortega. I predict it'll be rubbish, but knowing me I'll probably watch it anyway.
Synecdoche, New York
Friday 1st May, 2009 14:07
I should probably start by saying I've only seen the movie once (so far), and it sounds like people spot new things every time they watch it, but I really don't think I liked it. This has surprised me, as I generally like Kaufman's other movies. This might say more about me than the movie, but as much as I enjoyed parts of this dark movie, overall I found it frustrating. I'm a person that likes facts, I like to be able to piece things together. I don't think you can piece this film together, but you're welcome to try.

I've read a couple of Kaufman's interviews that generally add more pieces to the puzzle, but still doesn't really get me any closer to solving it. Many people might argue that it's art, that it's meant to get you thinking, that there doesn't need to be an answer; but I think there should be a storyline, some form of internal logic that lets everything we see and hear fall into place. Perhaps there is. Perhaps I simply haven't worked it out yet. But no one else appears to have worked it out either, which either makes Kaufman a genius for creating such a complex puzzle, or it makes him crap for failing to create a movie that's capable of explaining itself.

Assuming that this isn't art for art's sake, and Kaufman isn't just your typical pretentious writer/director, there must be something to explain why we're watching all of these dark, depressing, lucid events. Perhaps we simply have to explore every little detail in order to determine the foundations of this internal logic that holds the movie together?

The problem with that is we don't really know what we should be focussing on. We don't really know if something should be interpreted literally or as a metaphor. We hear phrases like "the twins" followed by the name of three kids. We see three kids on screen, which suggests there are three, so why did she say "twins"? We hear the therapist say "Why did you?" followed by a correction of "Why would you?". Did Caden mishear? Or was that meant to be a clue?

Your traditional romantic storyline tends to have the following predictable pattern:
  1. Boy meets girl
  2. Boy falls in love with girl
  3. Something happens
  4. Boy ends up with girl
This is all nice, simple, linear and WYSIWYG. On a bad day I'd like nothing more than curling up on the sofa with a tub of icecream, big bar of chocolate, and watching such a movie.

But sometimes you need something more thought provoking. Something that's more than simply adding numbers together to get the same consistent answer. Sometimes you want a quadratic equation, which can be solved using the quadratic formula. The quadratic formula gives us two, but not necessarily distinct, solutions, called roots, which may or may not be real. Perhaps we're left wondering whether Sam Tyler is in a coma or if he really is back in the 1970s. Perhaps one of those answers is obviously real. And just in case you hadn't worked it out, Ashes to Ashes will tell you the correct answer during the first episode.

And perhaps that's why I'm struggling to find meaning in Synecdoche. It's either a hidously complex simultaneous equation that I'm going to struggle to ever work out (if at all), or there just isn't enough information in order to work out what's really going on. I'm currently leaning towards the latter.

Some movies are meant to be thought provoking. I think this is meant to be one of them. Unfortunately, Kaufman seems to have created a movie that's too confusing to properly satisfy the viewer. Hopefully the next movie he writes will be directed by someone other than himself.
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The views and opinions expressed on this site do not represent the views of my employer.