Musings @musicandmeaning.com

I'm hiding out in the big city blinking.
"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 January, 2005


Tuesday, 25 January 2005

Google video search

Google Video Search: searches transcriptions of television programs.

I tried to think of a distinctive episode title of a TV show. I entered "tunguska" into the search box. What does it mean when the first distinctive title I can think of is of an X-Files episode I haven’t seen in over eight years?

The search results: nothing. Then I actually read the text of the Google video search page: "Search recent TV programs online." No wonder. 😉

So then I searched for only+connect and the first result? The ER episode from last week, natch. (No results for the same-titled episode of Joan of Arcadia from September. That’s not recent enough, I guess.)

Clicking on the page for the episode currently displays five screen caps and portions of the transcription at various points of the show that include the words "only" or "connect" — and this is the funny part: the transcription includes commercials! So in this case, three of the results are from adverts.

Yes, I searched for "Forster." It brought up a mention from 24‘s episode "Day 4: 12:00 Noon-1:00PM"…and no, it’s not a reference to E. M. (Turns out that it’s a part of a company name, apparently.)

I also searched for one of my pet peeves regarding (written) dialogue. [rant] I hear this bit of dialogue all the time on TV and in movies, and it’s so repetitive now that it’s distracting and takes me out of the story. Please, writers, I know people really talk like that in real life, but could you please avoid scripting it? If not a moratorium, then how about a "use sparingly" rule? [/rant] 🙂

The search results display images, but as of now, no video files. It’s an interesting new tool, in beta. I’m not sure how it works; the About page does not specify the transcriptions’ sources, but they may be the same ones used for closed captioning (which is not always accurate). The page does say that there’s currently a limited amount of programming available online, beginning from "late December 2004." I don’t know if I’d use it often.

(Found out about video.google.com from Metafilter.)

Posted at 1:49 am | Filed under Tech/geek, Television |  

Monday, 24 January 2005

The TV season of Forster

It must be the television season of E. M. Forster. In September, I wrote about Forster being immortalized in the pop culture that is prime-time television (specifically, Joan of Arcadia and Gilmore Girls), and apparently it’s not over: last week’s new episode of ER was titled "Only Connect" and opened with Abby (Maura Tierney) waking up in the morning; then her eyes drift to a nearby book titled Howards End! (In case you’re new to this blog, this site, and/or me, Howards End (written by Forster) is my favorite novel. It’s also one of my favorite films, but that’s a different topic.)

Admittedly, I haven’t been watching ER regularly in a while, but of all the characters to be reading Forster, it’s my favorite character from the current cast. Abby just got even cooler by a gazillion points. (And to top it off, her clock radio alarm was set to NPR’s Morning Edition! If she ever starts listening to Richard Buckner, I may go into shock.)

Mucho thanks to madbard for taking the time to relay the happy news to me. 🙂 I missed the show on Thursday, but I’ll try to keep an eye out and catch the repeat.

I’m still waiting for the first TV show to mention E. M. Forster’s name (positively would be good).

Posted at 11:39 pm | Filed under Books, literature, Television |  

Security patch for MT

The patch fixes a vulnerability that allows spammers to hijack the MT comment script and use it to send spam. Not spam comments, but e-mail spam. Apply the patch now, or upgrade to MT 3.15.

I read about this via Photo Matt.

Posted at 11:35 pm | Filed under Tech/geek |  

Wednesday, 5 January 2005

Happy birthday, Morgan

Happy new year! And a belated birthday wish to my literary hero E. M. Forster, who was born on the 1st January 1879. I hope he won’t mind me calling him Morgan. In any case, I was looking through the stats for musicandmeaning.com (this will become evident in a forthcoming entry), and I found out that The Writer’s Almanac (public radio’s daily humanities blurb hosted by Garrison Keillor), mentioned Forster’s birthday and linked to my Forster site on its Web and e-mail editions for December 27, 2004 to January 2, 2005 (scroll down to January 1, or search in-browser for "Forster"). Very cool. In terms of the Almanac‘s blurb about Forster, I’m not sure where the quote comes from — it would have been nice to see a source. I’ll try looking it up, or maybe I could e-mail and ask the Almanac writers. I also noticed that Howards End is spelled with the dreaded apostrophe… <grin>

I haven’t heard The Writer’s Almanac on the radio in a while — I can’t remember when the last time was. I heard it regularly about ten years ago, when I was in high school. In the evenings I’d work on an article for the high school newspaper; I’d have my portable radio tuned to a public station (I’m guessing it must have been KUSC — I don’t remember KCRW or KPCC airing Writer’s Almanac on weekday evenings).