Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 18th Jan 2009 14:26 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes The past week wasn't as packed with events and shows as the previous one, but luckily for us, that didn't mean there wasn't enough to report on. This week focussed on netbooks, Steve Jobs' health, and KDE/Qt. This week's My Take is a shameless plug for one of the best television shows we've seen in a while.
Order by: Score:
Dammit
by liamdawe on Sun 18th Jan 2009 14:48 UTC
liamdawe
Member since:
2006-07-04

Fracking skin jobs!!

Reply Score: 1

Just on KDE 4.2 ... I have just tired it out
by lemur2 on Sun 18th Jan 2009 14:51 UTC
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

Ubuntu have just announced a the Alpha 3 release of Jaunty (due for final release in April), and the Kubuntu version features KDE 4.2, so I thought I'd give it a try.

http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=05286

Even without the ATI proprietary driver for Linux (fglrx) installed, KDE 4.2 seems definitely faster (snappier) than KDE 4.1.3. This could be due to the fact that I am also trying out the ext4 filesystem. The boot time for Jaunty (and ext4) is very quick ... it is subjectively about a 30% improvement over Intrepid and ext3 on the same hardware.

I am very pleased with KDE 4.2 considering that KDE 4.2 is still a RC version, and Jaunty Kubuntu itself is only Alpha 3. First impressions have left me optimistic (even though Alpha software is definitely not for the feint-hearted).

This release of Kubuntu/KDE4 is set to stir the pot a little bit I feel ... it seems to be a quite significant improvement over the previous releases IMO.

Reply Score: 2

kajaman Member since:
2006-01-06

Yeah, it's pretty good. I have installed it on 8.10 - it still has bugs, but is definitely impressive. However, they should include some Cylon-like theme in release ;) .

Reply Score: 1

BSG
by Morgan on Sun 18th Jan 2009 15:11 UTC
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

I watched the BSG pilot miniseries a couple of months ago, and it was much better than I expected. I have yet to get started on the regular episodes though, as my personal and work lives have kept me too busy.

I grew up with Star Wars and E.T. in the theater, and the original BSG, the "V" series and reruns of classic Trek on television. Obviously I'm a longtime sci-fi fan and while I loved most of the above, the classic BSG always seemed too corny for me. Therefore, I went into the new miniseries expecting something similar. I must say that I was blown away by the difference though; the new BSG miniseries was like watching an A-list film. I have a feeling I'll like the regular season episodes as much as my beloved Firefly, though BSG so far seems to be more serious and less whimsical.

Reply Score: 2

I *HATED* Starbuck
by Lobotomik on Sun 18th Jan 2009 17:09 UTC in reply to "BSG"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

The new BSG is quite good, the storyline is OK, the Cylons are really interesting... But Starbuck's character is the most obnoxious, unbelievable and flat character EVER, and her acting sucks. And what is worse is that the series orbits around her: she blasts the cylons, she finds the food, she flies the cylon ship around the galaxy by pulling the tendons with her bare hands, she f--ks the good guys, she becomes an alcoholic... Hours upon hours of sheer Starbuck boredom. Character development? My ass!

I prayed to the Gods of the Cylons that she was blasted to smithereens in the most dishonorable way possible and she disappeared for good from what would otherwise would have been a good TV series. Unfortunately my patience was blasted down first and I dropped out.

Reply Score: 3

RE: I *HATED* Starbuck
by miscz on Sun 18th Jan 2009 23:11 UTC in reply to "I *HATED* Starbuck"
miscz Member since:
2005-07-17

Gods of Cylons? You're kind of missing a very important part of the plot ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I *HATED* Starbuck
by Lobotomik on Mon 19th Jan 2009 07:45 UTC in reply to "RE: I *HATED* Starbuck"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

Yeah, now I remember: the Cylons had one, humans had many... That was actually a good part of the plot but, you see, I really don't care any more. In a ship with thousands of people, whatever happened she was either part of the problem or involved in the solution, and I just hated that.

Budget restrictions might hinder introducing new characters to do new things, but this was too restrictive to be believable.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Nicholas Blachford
by Nicholas Blachford on Sun 18th Jan 2009 16:03 UTC
Nicholas Blachford
Member since:
2005-07-06

The storyline of Battlestar Galactica doesn't deal with aliens, the inner workings of warp drives, or other pseudo-scientific nonsense. Instead, it focusses on religion, military command, and political games, and how those interact with one another, and how those interactions affect the lives of the people in the series. In other words, it's actually a political/military/religious drama, rather than a traditional space-faring sci-fi show.

I've never watched the modern BSG, your "review" makes it sound very like Babylon 5, and that was a fantastic show.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Nicholas Blachford
by _txf_ on Sun 18th Jan 2009 16:21 UTC in reply to "Comment by Nicholas Blachford"
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

Alas, Bablyon 5 still had far too many," let's help the alien of the week" stories with prerequisite happy ending ...they bored me.

BSG is far more raw than the usual scifi series (on tv anyways).

Edited 2009-01-18 16:22 UTC

Reply Score: 2

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Alas, Bablyon 5 still had far too many," let's help the alien of the week" stories with prerequisite happy ending ...they bored me.


That was really only in the first two seasons, though. There was very little "non-arc filler" from the 3rd season on.

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

That was really only in the first two seasons, though. There was very little "non-arc filler" from the 3rd season on


I didn't like B5. It was far too much like Trek for me, especially because it makes the same mistake that Trek made: all aliens are humans with different skin ridges on their foreheads. It's just very hard to take seriously. To make matters worse, I really disliked the visual style of B5.

Then again, I didn't make it through the 1st season because of that. Maybe it does getter, as you say.

Reply Score: 1

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

I didn't like B5. It was far too much like Trek for me, especially because it makes the same mistake that Trek made: all aliens are humans with different skin ridges on their foreheads.


There was some of that, but I think there was much greater variation in B5. E.g., there were several species that were more insect-like than humanoid (E.g., the Shadows). And I think it was much more believable to have aliens that didn't all necessarily breathe the same atmosphere as human beings (encounter suits, etc).

To make matters worse, I really disliked the visual style of B5.


I assume you're talking about the SFX scenes? That aspect hugely improved after the 2nd season - in the first two seasons, IIRC, they were using old Amigas for the 3d graphics.

Then again, I didn't make it through the 1st season because of that. Maybe it does getter, as you say.


If you ever do give it another shot, I'd recommend skipping ahead to about the middle of the 2nd season - that's about when the series started to hit its stride.

Reply Score: 2

Vargol Member since:
2006-02-28

Just what did you expect for 1995 and a budget half that of Star Trek's, seamless integration with a million CGI aliens :-)

Drop your unreasonable expectations and watch the thing from end to end, you owe it to yourself.

Reply Score: 1

DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

There's also something of an antecedent in Blakes Seven, a late-70s BBC show written mostly by Terry Nation.

It has more than its share of faults, like an incredibly tiny budget, poor sets and special effects, and over-the-top hammy acting... but it was surprisingly intelligently written. I mean that in the sense that you'll watch a TV show and wish the characters would notice or do the blindly obvious; on Blakes Seven they regularly would.

It looked like Doctor Who and put the characters into the same sorts of situations as Star Trek, but it was darker and things were never as simple or easy. They also didn't have a problem killing off main characters.

It's nowhere near as separated from Star Trek as Battlestar Galactica or Babylon 5 was, but it was a step toward a more imperfect future.

Edited 2009-01-18 22:24 UTC

Reply Score: 2

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Absolutely, it's definitely more reminiscent of B5 than Trek. And, amusingly, the B5 DVD film from last year used the same special effects crew as the BSG series.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Nicholas Blachford
by tyrione on Mon 19th Jan 2009 05:18 UTC in reply to "Comment by Nicholas Blachford"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

BSG craps all over Babylon 5. The talent in acting, the harsh reality of it's settings and very subtle moments in their plots that are key clues to what the hell is actually going on puts it on level with LOST.

The show is harsh and the environment is harsher. The concept is far more realistic than Star Trek or Star Wars right down to the machining crews working in abysmal conditions.

Reply Score: 2

smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

You really shouldn't judge B5 on the first half of S1, because it evolved into a much more complicated show. However, I wouldn't necessarily compare it with BSG.

B5 was one of the first shows that I can recall which relied on a multiple-season story arc, much like DS9 later did with the Dominion War. It also had some grey characters in it, but not nearly to the same extent that BSG does. Mr. Morden (the evil shadows guy), for example, was not exactly a complicated moral character. Others, like Londo were. I can't recall a single character on BSG that hasn't had at least a little bit of grey thrown in, which is quite remarkable.

B5 also tried to throw in much more humor - BSG is really a very dark show and it doesn't try to lighten the mood at all. That unrelenting darkness is something that really makes it stand apart from most other shows IMO.

BSG also tries to tie its themes back to current day issues much more. I remember B5 had a big civil liberties arc that would probably resonate a lot more today, post-9/11 then it did back then. People were calling it ridiculous back then and saying that stuff like that couldn't possibly happen in a democracy. But BSG tackles much more complicated and more concrete issues all the time, comparatively.

Then there's the obvious. BSG has a much larger budget and can afford to make things looks much more atmoshpheric. It also has better actors. And it mostly has more "non-scifi" tech, like regular guns instead of lasers.

I loved B5, and BSG probably owes certain aspects of the show, but they're really pretty different.

Edited 2009-01-19 05:59 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Sci-fi, DS9, and BSG
by StephenBeDoper on Sun 18th Jan 2009 17:00 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

I like the term that Robert Heinlein coined (IIRC): "speculative fiction." Aside from sounding a bit more dignified, it seems like a better description for people like Ray Bradbury who don't entirely fit into either the sci-fi or fantasy pigeon-holes.

Re: Star Trek, I generally agree with Thom. I was a huge TNG fan as a teen, but it hasn't held up very well. Even with DS9, most of the "unique" elements (relative to the other Trek series) were just lifted from Babylon 5.

Re: BSG, it's good, but not as amazing as many people paint it. It's continued Ronald Moore's practice of copying from B5 (E.g., he finally discovered Newtonian physics), but it still has its fair share of annoying Trek-isms. You can still be fairly certain that any major changes will get a "reset button" treatment within a few episodes (how many times are they going to rehash the "president has cancer" story arc, or the "father-son conflict" between Lee and William Adama?), and that no major characters will die - not permanently, at least.

With BSG, I've found that the score, the special effects, and the general production values have been top-notch - but the other elements of the series (writing and acting) have been hit-or-miss. The finale to season four (or it's first half, at least) was especially cliched - all it lacked was Charlton Heston yelling "You maniacs, you blew it all up!"

Reply Score: 2

RE: Sci-fi, DS9, and BSG
by Soulbender on Mon 19th Jan 2009 12:15 UTC in reply to "Sci-fi, DS9, and BSG"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"speculative fiction."


Er...isn't all fiction speculative?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Sci-fi, DS9, and BSG
by StephenBeDoper on Tue 20th Jan 2009 21:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Sci-fi, DS9, and BSG"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

""speculative fiction."


Er...isn't all fiction speculative?
"

To a degree. "Regular" fiction typically limits the speculative aspects to the characters, their actions, specific plot points, etc - but otherwise, the stories presumably take place in the same world that we live in.

What separates speculative fiction, IMO, is that the speculative aspects are more of a central focus. Although I don't think it's a black-and-white distinction: Martin Amis, for example, is usually considered a writer of "straight" fiction, but he often includes some science fiction-y elements (Time's Arrow, London Fields, etc).

Reply Score: 2

Jumping on the bandwagon...
by matatk on Sun 18th Jan 2009 17:01 UTC
matatk
Member since:
2005-07-06

I have always thought that truly good sci-fi is about removing people from our reality so that our reality no longer gets in the way and we can concentrate on precisely the issues you highlight -- people and how they interact (though it's not TV, Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy is awesome and about precisely that). To me, sci-fi is about the human condition. This is why I don't like traditional "soap opera" so much; I find that being set in the here-and-now gets in the way of what really matters (with the exception possibly being morality shows like Scrubs).

I like Star Trek for the fact that each character symbolises a facet of the human psyche and DS9 is also my favourite. But the breed of dark and gritty sci-fi (which possibly started with Babylon 5 and Farscape) is very compelling.

Hadn't realised that these "Week in Review" articles were going to be regular ("I might be slow, but I get there in the end" --Holly). I must remember to avoid distracting myself from work during the coming week because I know a good summary will be provided at the end :-).

Reply Score: 1

I wonder when KDE4.2 will hit...
by fithisux on Sun 18th Jan 2009 18:03 UTC
fithisux
Member since:
2006-01-22

PCBSD!!! (+ 7.1 Release)

Reply Score: 2

Science fiction != Star Trek
by iain.dalton on Sun 18th Jan 2009 21:16 UTC
iain.dalton
Member since:
2006-02-28

Science fiction never equaled Star Trek. Maybe if you narrow your definition to television series, but even then you have Babylon 5 (which I saw all of, and it's no more like Trek than BSG is), Dr. Who, and Firefly (which I haven't seen but I hear it's nothing like Trek). Now count all the great SF movies (Terminator, Strange Days, Ghost in the Shell) and books (Asimov, Herbert, Dick, LeGuin, etc.) and how can you say liking science fiction means liking Star Trek?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Science fiction != Star Trek
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 18th Jan 2009 21:25 UTC in reply to "Science fiction != Star Trek"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

how can you say liking science fiction means liking Star Trek?


Maybe because I didn't say that at all.

Re-read the paragraph calmly, and you'll see that I said something completely different.

Reply Score: 1

iain.dalton Member since:
2006-02-28

However, in the real world, this usually comes down to something else: you have people who hate Star Trek, and people who like Star Trek.


Oh, so you're saying when people hear "science fiction" they usually think "Star Trek"? That makes sense. It is rather unfortunate, but true I suppose.

Reply Score: 1

Farscape
by memson on Sun 18th Jan 2009 21:28 UTC
memson
Member since:
2006-01-01

In this kind of situation, when Sci Fi is being thrown about, Farscape must be mentioned. It is the law.

Thom, I'm a child of the late 70's and Dirk Benedict was my total hero. So, ban me ;-)

Reply Score: 2

So my take on your take ..
by de_wizze on Sun 18th Jan 2009 22:45 UTC
de_wizze
Member since:
2005-10-31

If BSG is "a political/military/religious drama, rather than a traditional space-faring sci-fi show", then why even refer to it as a Sci-Fi Show?

Reply Score: 2

Star Trek
by JMcCarthy on Mon 19th Jan 2009 01:30 UTC
JMcCarthy
Member since:
2005-08-12

I hate that Star Trek has become virtually synonymous with SciFi -- while OK for a TV series the stories themselves are a joke, embracing just about every cliche in the book, its vision of humanity is completely hollow -- we're perfect or at least close to it, Well, the only way we're going to come close to perfection is if we stop being human.

There are exceptions of course, I forget its name but I remember an episode where Picard was sent comatose and lived out his life, very very fondly. I do like DS9.

The unforgivable thing though is the stigma it's attached to Sci-Fi. People roll their eyes to things like "2001: A Space Odyssey" or to a far lesser extent BSG (until seeing them, assuming they ever do). It's easy to do this if you've only watched some TOS or the early seasons of TNG.

They'll never bother to read any of the greats.

Reply Score: 2

BSG Props
by kill on Mon 19th Jan 2009 08:06 UTC
kill
Member since:
2005-11-03

I tried very hard to love this show when I was watching it in its first season. But I simply don't like it. I mean, the bridge's microphone is an inverted telephone from the 30s, the headphones are clearly mutilated computer headphones, the bridge's glass partitions keeps breaking on and on, they use paper maps on the bridge. I mean, I knew the ship's systems was not networked, but c'mon. Although Grace Park is stunning!

Reply Score: 1

BSG
by Ultimatebadass on Mon 19th Jan 2009 13:24 UTC
Ultimatebadass
Member since:
2006-01-08

Yeah well those things you mentioned that make BSG great for you are exactly same things that ruin it for me: political/religious nonsense - not enough sci-fi in that sci-fi ;) . That, really poor (IMHO) set/interior design and annoying characters - that blonde cyclone woman and her crazy doctor friend make me cringe... (I've only seen first and half of second season).

I enjoy sci-fi partly because of that "techno-babble" as some like to call it, huge star ships that use technology from 1960 really don't do it for me ;)

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Ringheims Auto
by Ringheims Auto on Mon 19th Jan 2009 17:45 UTC
Ringheims Auto
Member since:
2005-07-23

Battlestar Galactica is such a good science fiction show exactly because it doesn't deal with the science and the fiction at all, instead focussing on the storyline, character development, and political, military, and religious affairs.

That's exactly why star trek is the best scifi, it deals with science, it's not just another western, drama or soap opera with people wearing masks. Well, apart from Deep Shit 9, that is.

Apart from Deep Space Nine, whith its excellent character development and exciting Dominion War story arch, I'm not a huge fan of Star Trek.

Man, you got to get off that crack. At least check out what Deep Shit 9 ripped off from; Babylon 5.

Reply Score: 1

I hate BSG
by 3rdalbum on Wed 21st Jan 2009 10:46 UTC
3rdalbum
Member since:
2008-05-26

The new Battlestar Galactica is possibly the worst science-fiction TV show I've seen. The character development consists of "Throw in as many annoying traits as possible". The CGI is pretty good except that you get motion-sickness from the cameras, which are made to look like my mother is filming, with a camera that has an incredibly fast zoom lens.

Starbuck might have 'worked' as a woman, but considering that she's in the military she never follows orders and seems to ALWAYS nearly get everyone killed.

There are more plot holes than Enterprise (Why did the Cylons bother to make a million Boomers? Wouldn't that be a complete waste of time and resources if she was found out?). I've heard better incidental music in a Warioware game, and trust me those 5-second minigames have much more depth than BSG's acting.

I actually think that if the Battlestar Fan Film (based on the original series) ever gets off the ground, we'll see a more worthy piece of science-fiction than this "reimagined" tripe. And that's saying something; Fan Film is a completely amateur production.

Reply Score: 1

RE: I hate BSG
by IGPNicki on Thu 22nd Jan 2009 08:01 UTC in reply to "I hate BSG"
IGPNicki Member since:
2009-01-22

lol, wow! Finally, someone else who hates it! No, I don't hate it per se... I definitely dislike it for a lot of the reasons that you named. I don't know how closely you follow the show, but one of the reasons I dislike it is because the story might be halfway decent if they cut the amount of episodes by half. Literally, the writers' modus operandi is to drag a particular storyline for several episodes, then have several abysmal one-off episodes and then have another story to drag through several episodes... Oh, and again, I don't know how much you follow the show, but the amount of times that these military personnel shove a gun in each other's face... it's gotta be at least once an episode...
http://www.igp-scifi.com

Reply Score: 1