Die Zeit, die ist ein sonderbar Ding.
"He had a theory that musicians are incredibly complex, and know far less than other artists what they want and what they are; that they puzzle themselves as well as their friends; that their psychology is a modern development, and has not yet been understood." – E. M. Forster

Archive for May, 2004

Thursday, 13 May 2004

The world of blog: new MT upsets fan base

Don’t delete your old MT installation files. You might want to keep the archives for a while.

Today, the Movable Type team released MT 3.0, and sneakily introduced a tier-based licensing scheme. There’s still free version, but for a lot of people (me excluded) it just won’t do: three free blogs for only one author. To get a better idea of how people are reacting, read the MT creators’ blog — scroll down to the trackbacks.

The old download page still exists (although it’s harder to find), so you might want to grab MT 2.661 (the last donateware version) while it lasts. If you’re running a version older than that, read the features/changes made for 2.661.

The new pricing is sad news, because it really alienates a lot of people. I’m sure many will not be upgrading to MT 3.0; on the other hand, it’s probable that the MT folks won’t be releasing any more patches or upgrades for the 2.x line.

I first played with blogging software in Fall 2002: first Blogger; but I disliked having my posts stored on a free, third-party Blogger database that could decide to give out or be lost at any time. Blogger comments were also not native, so if I wanted them I had to figure out which script would be best. So I decided to try something else, and researched a bunch of other free blogging software that I could install on the server. I went through a bunch of different titles, but one day, I happened across a site using MT, with its space hosted by the Web host I was using. Hence, my introduction to MT. I installed the software and decided to stick with it.

A few weeks ago, I was setting up a site that would eventually be a "commercial" one, according to MT’s policies. Since commercial blogs had a licensing fee, I looked into other blogging software with no such restrictions, and decided on WordPress. The documentation leaves a lot to be desired (there really isn’t a single, thorough, well-organized resource on installation; I had to flip through a number of pages to find what I needed), but so far it looks good. Definitely more streamlined than MT, and I do miss some features, but for the most part it’s working out (and it’s free). My favorite aspect of it is the instant updating of posts, with no tedious rebuilding. The most difficulty I had was, really, wrestling with the CSS to get the site to look right.

Certainly, the new Blogger, which made its appearance last week, looks more useful than its older version. The new release has a less clunky interface, a comments feature, and an allowance for permanent links to individual posts.

As for this musings blog, I currently have no plans to switch from MT to WordPress or something else. I suppose I could upgrade to MT 3.0, since I only run one blog, but I really don’t feel like doing it anytime soon. We’ll have to see what happens as blogging software evolves and things like MT 3.0 being for-pay happen.

Posted at 3:43 pm | Filed under Tech/geek |  

Wednesday, 12 May 2004

West Wing tonight

Spoilers for tonight’s episode, and major speculation on my part. Don’t read the rest of this post if you don’t want to be spoiled at all!

I was reading the TV listings on Yahoo this a.m.: "The president considers military options when a congressional fact-finding team’s vehicle is bombed during their investigation of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict." Based on this, the preview from last last week, and a previous episode, my knee-jerk reaction was: "Nooo! Don’t kill off Andie!" Because, Congressman Andie Wyatt is supposed to be on the fact-finding trip (there was a big deal about it with Toby), and if she’s in the car when it blows up, then there’s probably no chance of her surviving. I know of no other spoilers (nor do I want to seek them out to see if my guess is true), but if this is indeed true, I don’t know what to think. I’ll have to e-mail Bird York and tell her how much I’m going to miss her on the show — she’s perhaps my favorite recurring character on the show. <Sniff> First Mrs Landingham, now maybe Andie Wyatt? Why target the strong women characters? (Have you also noticed how the senior White House assistants save Donna, e.g. Ginger and Bonnie, have pretty much disappeared in the past year?) Besides the fact that it causes serious upset within the White House and particularly for Toby, I would imagine…why???

(Okay. Not just Andie, but Donna and Fitz too?? Geez.)

Of course, the car bomb could be a red herring, but it being the second-to-last episode of the season, I’m not holding my breath.

Update, 13 May ’04: Oh no, they killed off Fitzwallace! Remember when the show received so much press before it even premiered, about having no minorities in the Bartlet administration? And how the character of Charlie was added as a result of protests over its all-white cast? What a way to go, killing off one of the very few minority characters on the show.

So, my fear about Andie Wyatt was false. Heck, she hardly had any screen time. We got to see her from afar on a TV monitor in the communications bullpen, and later saying one (or two) lines to Donna.

Since I hadn’t seen the previous new episode in its entirety, I hadn’t realized that Josh had sent Donna on the trip. She certainly got a lot of screen time (this seemed to be "her" episode), and although I dread saying this, I still wouldn’t be surprised if this is all a setup for Moloney leaving.

That aside, however, I still didn’t enjoy the writing of the episode. I’ve grown to dislike the repetitive use of the "tease with a dramatic moment, then rewind 24 hours (or whatever) and show what led up to it" device. I don’t hate the device itself, I just think it’s been overused on The West Wing now. I think ultimately, it was a way to get the viewer to watch a very political episode about the Middle East crisis (as this episode was airing, I flipped the channel to news, and saw the latest on bombs and people killed — a chillingly true juxtaposition of reality and fiction), which many people may not want to watch in a fictional show and idealized White House administration. So, showing Donna as a victim of a car bomb, and getting the viewer invested in her story (and the Irish journalist’s place in it: I’m still at a loss as to why there weren’t more journalists there, e.g. American journalists who are seemingly everywhere else on the show), was a way to hold interest through an underlying story about a very charged issue.

Whatever happens to Donna after this, I’m pretty certain that we’re witnessing the show changing drastically. For the better? Well, let’s put it this way: I still think that the golden years of the show were 1999-2001, and with a few exceptions, its later episodes have never been able to live up to their predecessors. Madbard is right: the love just isn’t there anymore.

Posted at 5:08 am | Filed under Television | 3 replies »