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...to defend the frontier against xur and the ko-dan armada

I spotted The Last Starfighter at f.y.e. today so I picked it up.

One image from the movie which I have repeatedly seen in various places is this:

tls

Yes, I know. Makes no sense, right? I'll explain.

The above image is a scene of Alex Logan's room with a poster of a tropical paradise on the door.

Here's the shot when he enters the room just a few seconds later:

tls-2

Is the poster on the door significant?

Yes. It's supposed to signify that the hero (i.e. the main character) would rather be somewhere else. Somewhere warm and sunny.

I actually do live in that warm sunny place. Periodically I will see references to it. It doesn't necessarily mean Florida, but rather anywhere warm and sunny. The Last Starfighter is yet another one of those references.

So anyway, on to the movie.

. . .

Movie Tech

For some reason I like to collect movies that have some significant impact in the special effects department. The Last Starfighter is one of those movies. It broke ground because of the first use of photo-realistic computer generated effects on film. Tron (which I also have) was produced two years before Starfighter but it was intentionally made to look very "computery."

The computers used to make the digital scenes in Starfighter were Cray supercomputers. Much of the software used was written as the movie was being made. Crazy but true. And those Cray's... wow. A huge tower system rounded into the shape of a "C" (for "Cray" assumedly) with a bench-style thing on the bottom that you could actually sit on. The height of the Cray was taller than most people, including myself.

I've never seen a Cray supercomputer in person, but some of the commentary on the Starfighter DVD notes that standing inside the thing is, in a word, scary. The thing just looks intimidating. They don't build 'em like that anymore, but they're still in business and appear to be alive and well.

. . .

Movie Story

As far as the actual movie is concerned, this is yet another one of the sci-fi flicks inspired by Star Wars and E.T. Those two movies more or less opened the floodgates for a whole slew of family-friendly fantasy and sci-fi films in the 80's. If you liked those, you'll like Starfighter.

This movie really hasn't aged all that much even though it was released in 1984. You could have a kid watch this flick and I'm very certain s/he would enjoy it. It's got a nice flow to it, it's very easy to understand, there are no gaping plot holes I could spot, and the best part is that you don't pay attention to the special effects. They work together almost seamlessly with the story which makes the movie a joy to watch.

It's a good flick. Go buy it. 😀

OS X on a PC

This is one of those computer nerd things so I'll make it an extended entry.

Because I'm the curious type, I acquired a copy of OS X that will run on a PC instead of a Mac computer. Why did I do it? Because I wanted to see if it could be done. I have no intention of running OS X because I personally think it's a crap OS. Example: The fact you can't cut/paste a file out of one window to another is completely stupid. Note that I said cut, not copy. You can copy files out of a window in OS X until you're blue in the face, but you can't cut. That's stupid.

To make things even more interesting, I installed OS X on an external USB hard drive. Did it work? Not on the first installation attempt, but after a few times it did. And not everything worked. The display resolution was wrong and non-fixable, the NIC didn't work and the sound didn't work. But everything else did. I suppose if I really buckled down and got all the fixes I could get a proper "Hackintosh" working correctly, but I don't have the patience for that.

After messing around with OS X for about an hour I shut it down, popped in my Sabayon Linux DVD and put that back on the drive. My mission was accomplished. I installed OS X on a non-Apple PC. It ran like crap, but that was no surprise since the OS was "expecting" Apple hardware and didn't find any. The goal was to see if it could actually be done, and yes it's possible.

To anyone out there thinking about putting OS X on a PC, I'll say this:

Don't waste your time. Most guys who want OS X on non-Apple hardware are Mactards looking to take the "cheap way out". They use OS X and really like it, but don't want to spend the cash on another Macbook, iMac or whatever Mac you use. If that's your situation, I sincerely empathize with you - but the fact of the matter is that you're sucked into the money pit known as Apple. You want OS X? Pony up and buy another Mac. There's no other way to do it right. If that's out of your price range, Sabayon Linux is one of the few distros that can be made to look and act very similar to OS X - and at least that works 100%.

key fob security is both good and bad

A lot of people use keyless entry for their cars. And it's known to many that anything transmitted can be intercepted. So I wasn't surprised at all that if one is patient enough they can crack the frequency for keyless entry for your car.

Do you need to worry about having your car broken into since it's possible to do this?

Not really.

You're only susceptible to this if:

  1. Your car is worth stealing.
  2. Something in your car is worth stealing.
  3. You use your fob in a dense area.

"3" is the one to pay attention to. In order to crack a keyfob's frequency, equipment has to be in place to "listen" for it when you trigger the door unlock. If you don't use the fob, it never transmits and the would-be thieves' equipment has nothing to receive.

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