[Mad] magazine once received a letter from Lucasfilm’s legal department after their Empire Strikes Back parody, demanding that they recall all printed copies of the issue and destroy them. MAD replied by sending a copy of another letter they had received the previous month—from George Lucas, offering to buy the original artwork for the Empire parody and comparing Mort Drucker to Leonardo Da Vinci and the parody’s writer, Dick De Bartolo, to Mark Twain. They never heard from Lucasfilm’s legal department again.

From Cahiers du cinémad by Grady Hendrix.

28.05.2013 • Permalink

The Fat Lady Inhales

I just downloaded the alpha of Opera 15, the major new release that sees the Norwegian browser maker dump its own Presto rendering engine in favour of Google’s Blink, the webkit fork that in absolutely no way is Google’s nascent way of cock-blocking Apple’s Safari and ensuring Chrome is the IE of the new millennium.

The good:

  • Still seems fast
  • Splash page can do folders
  • More extensions of actual use to me
  • Facebook actually works
  • Added Safari-like read-later feature

The bad:

  • The e-mail client is gone
  • The customization options are gone
  • RSS reader … gone
  • Notes … gone
  • IRC … you guessed it, gone
  • Tab grouping has been removed

The built-in email client has apparently been discontinued “by popular demand”, which I frankly find hard to believe, but perhaps those of us who liked it were a minority. Apparently, there’s a stand-alone mail client coming along. Whee.

I’ve also enjoyed being able to move the tab section around in the past, another feature that’s apparently gone. Tabs now either go on top, on top, or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, on top. This is annoying, because being able to stick the tab section on the side was great.

The loss of the RSS reader should hit me harder than it has, but since Opera never bothered to add your RSS streams to Opera Sync, it killed some of its usefulness. Still, at least there’s a Feedly extension available.

Granted, this is just the alpha release, so a lot can change. I don’t see much point in Opera keeping many developers on if all they’re going to do is skin Chromium, so I have to assume they have something else up their sleeve. And hopefully not just an acqui-hire.

I can certainly understand why Opera had to make the switch, if it meant ensuring survival and growing market share, but currently, it seems like all the things that made Opera unique are gone.

I think a a world with Opera is better than a world without, but if it means they have to follow Google’s lead slavishly, the fat lady really has sung.

28.05.2013 • Permalink

Architecture of Aggression

Megadeth, Sentrum Scene, May 24th

It's been 21 years since I first picked up Countdown to Exctinction on cassette. Think about that for a second. I did, especially given that – on-stage, at least – Dave Mustaine doesn't appear to have aged a single day. I suppose Jesus agrees with him, but for a guy who's been strung out on drugs and drink for decades, and even pronounced dead a few times, it's pretty impressive.

The solos come fast and furious as the riffs thunder along, apocalyptic and dystopian lyrics accompanied by audio-visual aids on the numerous big screens placed around the stage. And I can't help but smile as the band wiggle their backsides during riffing, a strangely dainty display in stark contrast to the death and destruction on the monitors.

While the new stuff sounds good, there's no denying that most people – including us – are there to bang their heads to the epic riffage of Rust in Peace and Countdown To Extinction. It may be unfair, but that's the trouble of getting it right, of course; once you make it to the peak, where do you go?

For us, it's definitely a trip down memory lane, the sound of high school and hormones. Which is unfair, actually; the riffage is clearly beyond doubt, but Mustaine's lyrics have stood the test of time rather well. Three presidents later, well … plus ça change.

Mustaine, a troubled soul for most of his life, seems happy and genuinely content to be there, though perhaps it's just the seasoned pro shining through. From what I've read, I was half expecting political rants from the stage, perhaps even Mustaine getting biblical on the audience, but no. The vibe is oddly positive.

Their performance clocks in at a neat 90 minutes, then they head off-stage, and the rest of us head out to a beautiful spring evening far removed from Megadeth's lyrical landscape.

26.05.2013 • Permalink

Stuff

I’m getting ready to move again, and am currently in the process of boxing up my things, slowly building my very own Wailing Wall right here in the living room. It’s been less than three years since last time I went through this ordeal, and let me tell you, it doesn’t really get better with more practice.

Once you’ve actually moved, it’s OK. Unpacking is never quite as exhausting as packing, because you’re, like, building your new life. That’s some pretty exciting shit, even if putting the cutlery in the correct drawer isn’t the epitome of rad.

But those weeks leading up to it. Oh, man. The logistics of it all. The horror. There’s just … all this stuff. Everywhere. Stuff you forgot you had, stuff you never knew you had, stuff that others forgot or left behind, stuff that seemingly appears out of nowhere (or at least from whichever dimension your socks disappear to) … the two common threads connecting the stuff being 1) that all of it has to be tagged and bagged, and 2) it rather starkly highlights your consumerist existence. It’s all rather exhausting.

Still, in the end it’ll all be worth it. Bigger, brighter and better digs to live and grow older, if not old. New faces. New places. And lots more room … for more stuff.

25.05.2013 • Permalink

Yahoo is expected to announce significant upgrades to [Flickr] on Monday as well, and one source who has seen the new version of Flickr described it as “stunning.”

Now this I'm excited about. (via ReadWrite)

Update: Hell, yes!

20.05.2013 • Permalink

Yumblr

http://pcweenies.com/2013/05/19/the-record-deal/

I can only speculate, but from what I’ve read elsewhere, Tumblr would’ve run out of funding money soon, so at some point, the cat-lovers and cutters would have had to grin and bear it or take their business elsewhere either way.

Rumor has it that running a service (especially one used by millions) costs money, and since I first joined Tumblr a few years ago, I’ve paid precisely fuck all, which is what I assume everyone else paid too.

Fear of change is natural, and sure, Flickr has definitely been mismanaged until fairly recently, but still – take heart, kink lovers: there’s loads of skeevy porn still to be found there, Yahoo! takeover or not.

Furthermore, provided these (so far, entirely) unsubstantiated rumors are true, Yahoo! has agreed to mostly leave Karp to his own devices for the next 3 or 4 years, at which point there’s a good chance Google will own and run everything everywhere anyway.

Update: It’s official!

20.05.2013 • Permalink