Bag of Spoons
Just off the A1(M)

Wed, 16 Dec 2009

Going Googleless

A post by Benjamin Ellis prompted me to think about how dependent I am on Google for my daily use of the internet.

These are the Google services I use and some possible replacements:

There are a few areas of my on-line life that are not dominated by Google. Microblogging is covered by and Twitter, links by Delicious, but I might be tempted if Google offered alternatives with the same coverage if they integrated with their other services.

One of the reason I use so many Google services is the integration between them. It's still limited, but has great potential. It tends to work less well with services they have bought up rather than developing internally.

So could I give up Google, if only for a limited time? I think I could, but I would probably miss it. I'd love to see all the services I want offered as open source/protocol options. This would free us from having to use a single provider and even allow us to host them ourselves. I could host my own microblog (, photos (Gallery), IM (Jabber) and others, but there would be little integration and there's a fairly high maintenance overhead.

This post was partially composed in a Gmail draft in my lunch hour so I could finish it at home.

[20:59] | [/Internet] | Comments | G

Sun, 13 Dec 2009

A Christmas Carol

There have been many versions of this Charles Dickens story and I've seen a fair few of them. I may well try to catch the Muppet version over Xmas. Today I saw the new version starring Jim Carey. Director Robert Zemeckis uses the same motion capture techniques as in Polar Express to create a very realistic computer animation. At times you almost forgot that it was not real people on screen, but there's still the 'uncanny valley' to cross before it can be totally convincing. There were plenty of shots that would be impossible in the realistic world. It was very obviously made to be seen in 3D with lots of things rushing towards the 'camera' and wild journeys over the London rooftops, but we saw it in 2D. As far as the story goes I understand it stays very close to what Dickens wrote, but I have never read it. The dialogue certainly seemed authentic. The acting is perfectly adequate. I'm not a fan of Carey when he acts zany, but he was very good in The Truman show and he also plays this fairly straight. I see he did a lot of voices apart from Scrooge.

I saw the film at the Sunday morning Kids' Club at the Letchworth Broadway in the company of a load of kids between 8 and 11. The story isn't really aimed at kids and the film is very wordy. I think they enjoyed the action sequences, but some of them found parts scary.

I think it stands up as a telling of a well known story and shows off the state of the art in animation. It's worth seeing, but not really for kids, even if it is from Disney.

[21:50] | [/Entertainment] | Comments | G



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