Independence Day

I celebrated independence day by wearing my DeCSS T-Shirt and watching the Richardson fireworks show from the front lawn of my sister’s house. I get questions about the the T-Shirt every time I wear it and I’ve come up with a one sentence explanation that is reasonably understandable. “The shirt signifies my opposition to current movie and recording industry attempts to prevent fair use of copyrighted works.” Additional explanation is usually needed but it’s the most concise explanation I’ve come up with so far.

I was reviewing the stats on several of our websites this month and noticed that Mozilla is begining to be a measurable quantity in the list of user agents. The May stats showed Mozilla/5.0 with a 0.12% share. June stats showed it with slightly more at 0.18%. It’s not much but it’s more than most non-IE/non-Netscape browsers like Opera and Lynx get. I’m looking forward to continued growth as M17 and M18 are released.

Titan A.E.

I’m posting this from the Mozilla M16 release. It’s still got a long way to go before it’s ready for everyday use but it’s slowly getting there. It still doesn’t seem to work at all on sites that use dynamic html. But M16 is the first version that has rendered the table-based layouts on Slashdot and Freshmeat in a way that seems almost correct.

Nothing too exciting to report over the weekend. It did stop raining long enough to mow the yard (it’s raining again right now, in fact). We got the newly released Philip Glass CD, Symphony No. 3. Highly recommended! It also includes a couple of shorter pieces, one of which is written in the chromatic scale – a bit of a departure from the norm for Glass and definitely worth a listen.

Susan and I went to see Titan A.E. this weekend. As I’m sure everyone is aware by now, the movie sucked. After all of the hype that it was going to be an animated movie targeted at adults instead of children, I was a bit suprised to find that just the opposite seemed to be true. Everything in the movie seemed targeted at very young children. All the characters were drawn in Disney-esque, ultra-cute style. For the most part they all behaved like characters from a Disney children’s film too. I guess when they said an adult animated film, I was thinking of Heavy Metal or Bakshi’s films like Wizards.

The plot doesn’t help much. Some movies have holes in their plot but this one was all hole. Half the time the story is set up on the premise that the Drej destroyed the Earth because they feared what mankind would do with a powerful new ship it had created called the Titan. The other half of the time, the premise is that humans created the Titan to save humanity because they knew the Drej were planning the Earth’s drestruction. Huh?! So, the Drej destroyed the Earth because Earthmen built the Titan but Earthmen built the Titan because the Drej were going to destory the Earth? Don’t even try to figure it out. The movie switches back and forth between these two contradicting story lines frequently and at unpredicatble times. It’s almost like two movies with different plots were made and edited together into one incomprehensible mess.

Adding to the two-movies-in-one effect is the combination of traditional cell animation and cheap 3D computer graphics. Some scenes look like they’re right out of a traditional Diseny movie and others look like 2D animated characters have been chromo-keyed onto a 3D landscape somebody spent a couple of hours rendereding in Bryce. Mixed in with this are a few higher-quality ray-traced renderings. So, let’s see, that’s two plots full of holes combined into one, goofy combinations of 3D and 2D animation, terminally-cute Disney characters suitable for a childrens movie, stupid dialog, and hmmm… I’m sure I had a longer list of complaints than that. Oh well, you get the idea. The one thing that worries me is that I seem to agree with JonKatz on this one!

Mozilla Alpha and Windows Bugs

I’m trying out the new alpha release of mozilla. So far, it seems reasonably stable. The interface is really awful looking but apparently you’ll be able to swap out the “skins” like you can on winamp and xmms. Speaking of new software, Windows 2000 ships in matter of days. According to an article on zdnet, an internal Microsoft memo reveals that Windows 2000 will have over 65,000 known bugs in the final version. Fortunately, Microsoft claims that less than 28,000 of these are serious, the rest are unfinished code, partial functionality, “long-forgotten” problems (whatever that means), or merely “potential issues”. Hmmm… Sounds like more good news for Linux to me.

Random Software Updates

Thursday and friday I worked on two things (and got so busy I forgot to update my news). Ironically one of the things I’ve been doing it working on a new release of my newslog cgi program. I’ve been trying it out under mod_perl and found a few things that needed fixing or improving. I’ll put a link here once the upgraded version is completed. I may even post an item on for it this time. The other thing I’ve been working on is upgrading my Linux development machine to Red Hat Linux 6.1. It appears that Gnome has made another huge leap forward in functionality and stability. If this keeps up, there won’t be any question of Linux becoming a popular desktop OS. On the other hand, I tried out the latest Mozilla alpha release (M11) and while it’s begining to be reasonably functional it still can’t render DHTML properly and the UI design is really ugly. It’s still months away from replacing Netscape 4.x.