He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity and capacity to love, will not have anything to give others. He will communicate to them nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his ego-centered ambitions, his delusions about ends and means, his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas.
On a recent Mac Power Users episode, David Sparks and Katie Floyd were trading their most and least favorite Star Trek movies1. I haven't given the series much thought in a while, and had some different opinions.2
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
- Star Trek (2009)
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
- Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
- Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
- Star Trek Generations (1994)
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
- Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
- Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Most people rank The Final Frontier as their least favorite of the set, but I don't mind it as a movie. It's my least favorite of the original series crew, but definitely not my least favorite overall.
I really like The Undiscovered Country. It was the first one I saw in theatres, having only recently gotten into Star Trek TNG around the same time, and it showed off the growing special effects capabilities of the industry with the older cast.
I also am a big fan of the reboot films. I think Chris Pine is a better Kirk than Shatner3, and the casting overall is spectacular. The writing is great and the integration of Leonard Nimoy as Spock' is a bonus. I get all of the timeline weirdness, and truthfully I don't care how/why they are where they are and how it's not the same as the original timeline. I'm not a purist.
Overall, the TNG cast films aren't my favorites. Once Frakes got ahold of the director's chair, the films became too much inside baseball and less about advancing the universe. Generations was good, mostly because of the Kirk. First Contact was really good. Insurrection was ok, but not good. The ending to Nemesis made me furious.4 It might be one of the only times I didn't enjoy Tom Hardy in a film.
though not very seriously↩
To be clear, I own all of them and would watch any of it were offered.↩
sacrilege, I know ↩
That whole movie made me furious. It should have been called Star Trek: Narcissist for how Picard-focused it was. I wanted so badly to like it, but ended up hating nearly every plot direction.↩
A couple of months ago, I was asked by our associate pastor to step in for him and preach this fall. I come from a short-but-wide line of preachers, and despite my last time in a pulpit being about 25 years ago, I agreed to step up. We're in the middle of a series on Spiritual Practices, and I picked "Silence" as a topic from a category about self-denial.1
For inspiration, our associate sent me this video. I had a really hard time not laughing:
My week was this past Sunday. If you're at all interested in hearing me talk about being quiet and still, you can do so here. I think I set a recent record for shortest sermon by keeping it under 25 minutes.2
This was an interesting experience for me. I watched my parents go through the sermon preparation process every week from as early as I can remember through leaving home to go to college. I definitely didn't appreciate it then, and I think I only barely do now. I haven't done much public speaking in my life that didn't involve singing in one way or another, and thankfully this wasn't a very controversial topic on which to expound holy scripture... also I knew 98% of the people sitting in front of me. The barriers were relativel low.
I'm speaking at a conference in about six weeks. More on that another time.. I expect that experience to be far more nerve-wracking than this was.
You know.. stuff?
In Episode 1 the Arments discuss their top four favorite video games.1 I have never been much of a gamer, and I don't play many video games now, but for a time I spent way too much time staring at a screen for non-productive gaming purposes. From 2001 to 2006, I probably spent between 15 and 30 hours per week playing one or more games. Then I got married. Then my PC died and we bought an iMac. To finish me off, on the second Christmas following our wedding, Cait asked me to give up all video games for one year. I was already waning in my play time anyway, so it wasn't much of a hardship.
After that year, I tried to go back and just could not handle gaming for more than 20 minutes before I started to get twitchy. I was broken2. Having an iPhone for a few years now has given me many opportunites to get sucked back into electronic gaming. Admittedly, I've spent far more time than I'd be willing to type on one of a few dozen iOS games here and there. None of these are really going to rate highly enough for me to say they're a favorite, and the reality is that I just no longer love video games. I'll play them; I'll enjoy them, and I'll waste time playing a game on my phone now and again[^pho], but I'm just not that into it.
If I had to rate the games I used to enjoy and would maybe kinda sorta enjoy them again, they'd be:
- Tecmo Bowl (NES): Yes, seriously. I was so good at this game, even without a Game Genie.
- Minesweeper (PC): YES. MINESWEEPER. Once you get really really good at Beginner (~5 seconds) and Intemediate (~14 seconds) and then spend your entire middle school years trying to get a high score under 40 seconds for Hard, it becomes part of you. You dream of mines.
- Risk (PC/iOS): Also beloved in tabletop form. I heartily enjoy seeing just how each electronic version varies its own internal strategies when playing "AI" players. RISK II for PC had this multi-turn idea where each player would queue up their moves and then they'd all happen at once. This meant that players could have conflicting moves which had to be "merged" into one another. It was awesome and led to some of the shortest games of Risk I've ever played (I conqueued the world in 5 turns at one point). The latest iOS verison let's you keep playing on a turn so long as you have armies left in attack-able positions. It's good.
- I can't pick a fourth. It's a toss-up between Starcraft, Half-Life 2 and Unreal Tournament 2004... all of which I used to love for totally different reasons from one another. I'm unwilling to admit how many hours I spent perfecting my Onslaught strategies from 2004-2005. UNWILLING.
No matter. I enjoyed listening to the Arments talk about their love for their most enjoyed games. If you've been around the world of ATP or any of Marco's prior podcasts, and enjoyed listening to him, this is another great one3.
My team recently moved from Subversion to git, a migration we have been considering and planning for the past several months. We tripped over many stumbling blocks on our way; I intend to write about many of those in the coming months.
The day after the migration, we found ourselves needing to create a support branch1 for one of our components. We do this by branching from a tag and naming it as such:
That should just work. However, we have quite a few pre-commit hooks in place to keep everybody working with the same set of standards. One of these requires that you're pushing only your own changes, and that your author info matches. In SVN, our tags were all created by an internal service account running our releases (srv-clubuilder), so the release point and the tag created from it were both done under that user. Well, that user doesn't exist any more, and certainly I'm not him. When my team tried to do the above, we saw this lovely error:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Yes. Those are teddy bears.
I tried a few things like creating an empty commit as myself and pushing that, but it didn't matter—that wasn't the commit it was complaining about. I tried amending that commit, but since I hadn't changed anything, there was nothing to amend. In order to modify the branch, I needed to change the author of the tag itself. Most search results directed me to use git-filter-branch, and while I'm comfortable re-writing my repositories history (we did just do that, more or less, during the migration), I didn't want to cause any additional confusion.
Git, however, is pretty darn powerful. Some teams, after they have been using git a while, move from a traditional lightweight tag to a richer annotated tag, which might contain additional author information or be cryptographically signed by the author. We're sticking with lightweight tags for now, but the migration process for historical tags was similar to what I wanted to do. In the end, I was able to re-write only the tag and successfully create my branch:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
The result of this was exactly as I expected. When I look at the commit in the history, I now see that I am the author of this tag:
And now I'm in business.
We’re using git-flow as a branching model, but have the need to keep some releases around long-term for production support of integrations which cannot upgrade. This varies from a traditional concept of a hotfix in that we also need to be able to port features back to this release stream.↩
Love this video.
Neal Stephenson posted the first 26 pages of Seveneves, his latest novel, this afternoon.
The moon blew up while...
After reading this, my first reaction aside from genuine anticipation is to take note of just how many culturally modern Internet services get name-dropped:
It's nice that the text is immediately relatable, but I worry that it might not be in a decade, like Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon1, and The Diamond Age all are.
He had wassted a week on the fascinating scientific puzzle of "What blew up the moon?" That had been a mistake.
I pre-ordered the book when it was announced a few weeks back. I'm looking forward to reading it nonetheless.
Despite being mostly about contemporary technology, really only the bandwidth and storage media feel outdated.↩