Movie Review - Juno

So, I went and saw Juno a couple days back. I'd categorize it as a quirky romantic comedy about an unfunny subject, teenage pregnancy. Which, I must say, they treat well - without going into specifics, a lot of how things work out in the movie seems believable and more real-world than happy-movie-world. Also, the film is really funny. The style of humor is sarcastic, and relies heavily on odd, funny words and phrases (which is a good thing) (the sequence near the beginning where The Office's Rainn Wilson plays a convenience store cashier is especially good). The entire theatre (moderately well filled for a Friday evening) laughed out loud at multiple points. So, bottom line, the characters were quirky, but believable - you could see them inhabiting your own neighbourhood. The writing was funny, but still treated its less funny subject matter with some gravity. It was funky and funny and good. 3 1/2 stars out of 4.

Election Update - Iowa

Well, as some of you may have heard, Obama and Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses by a significant margin. I haven't really heard enough about the Republican field to decide who I would rather win (but have no real impact on, as I'm not American ...). Huckabee doesn't seem any worse than any of the others (he was a Baptist minister at one time), but the Republican candidate isn't going to win anyway (and pundits more professional than myself are saying that Huckabee's Iowa win isn't all that significant - lots of Baptists there). Obama's win in Iowa is more encouraging - his message is one of unity, and co-operation - something American government sorely needs after the previous administration's polarizing election tactics. Also, relieving my earlier doubts somewhat, Iowa is primarily white, yet Obama won as a black man - perhaps race won't be as big of an issue as I feared. In any case, it was a major boost for his campaign, and a hit to Clinton's and Edwards', the strongest of the other candidates. Anyway, though an election I could actually vote in would be more interesting ... this one's not bad. Later.


Completely off message

I saw this article, titled "Google Looks to Tech that Recognizes Text in Images" and immediately thought "circumvention of CAPTCHA systems" (the wonky security text). Of course, the press release talks about reading street signs from Google Maps Street View, etc. It must be a computer science thing - seeing a system, and immediately thinking how to break/corrupt it - finding the extreme cases (useful, of course, for making software more stable). Any other computer scientists agree/disagree? (yes, I've come to terms with the term "computer scientist" - it isn't so bad as I thought it was at first ...)


Bigger News

In case you haven't heard, the RIAA is now suing people for ripping legally purchased CDs. That's right - if the RIAA has its way, you won't be able to listen to your own music on your computer, mp3 player, etc. Now, I believe in fair use - you buy a copy of some media, say a song, and you should have license and legal right to play it on any and all playback device you own. It is yours, for your personal use. If buying a CD only gives you rights to play that CD in some CD player, its way overpriced - the actual disc and packaging can't cost more than a buck or two to produce. Watch this carefully - the recording industry is just trying to suck the money out of your pockets.