The Last Jedi

Wow. Never heard so much criticism of a Star Wars movie so quickly. It took months for the hate against Episode 1 to surface, and 2 and 3 were (relatively) warmly received as being better. Nevertheless, I also remember the harsh takes against “Return Of The Jedi” for its creaky script (“What I told you was true, from a certain point of view”) and apparent emphasis of marketing over believability (ewoks). The IMDB user reviews will no doubt be updated, but the day after the preview showing, some thirty or more 1 or 2 star reviews (out of 10!) were posted -

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Besides the genealogical tour of Savannah, we also drove up to Charleston to see the eclipse. A couple days of beautiful – but very hot! – weather, then the clouds started to roll in Monday morning. We were invited to a friend-of-friend’s house on a river a ways north-east of the city, practically on the centerline of the eclipse…

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Ad Blocking Rationale

Seeing a bunch more discussion about the use of ad-blockers for news/content web sites. Here’s a good link with interesting data about why people use ad-blockers

You’ll see that the main criticisms from people is that a lot of ads now are “annoying”. News sites (as I’ll call them for simplicity) are now responding with different kinds of pop-up notices whining about the use of ad-blockers, how it takes away their revenue stream, hence they won’t be able to provide their content, etc.

My reason for using an ad-blocker is simple – without an ad-blocker I can’t read a news sites content, period. There are plenty of sites I would love to read, but when I see a link to an article hosted at that site, I usually don’t click on it, because the user experience is horrific. I happen to have a pretty modern, multi-core CPU, 16GB DRAM, and SSD local disk – yet when I click in to many sites, my machine grinds to a halt, I can see literally hundreds of TCP connections flying in and out, and the CPU cooling fans squeals in to high-gear.

Meanwhile, as you all know, the ads and banners start popping up and I start to play the modern version of a first-person-shooter trying to hit hidden “x”s , stare at blank content spaces while some slow ad content provider is failing to load, and by now have totally forgotten what it is that I was trying to read. This is akin to reading a good book and having someone yank it out of your hands every time you turn the page.

The problem is not with ads but with ads that are so deliberately intrusive that it makes reading the content unbearable. Leaving aside privacy concerns about ad tracking, to some degree I would want some ads to be targeted to my (or at least my demographic). The primary concern (see the data linked above) is just that – to repeat myself – I can’t read the content.

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Grim Visag'd War

Chirstopher’s Nolan’s Dunkirk is a masterpiece, best of the year. Two main points:


Turn’s out that Nolan’s Inception wasn’t just a movie, but re-introduced a new way to frame story-telling, not with flash-backs, but with multi-track, multi-timescale story lines. That’s sounds bizarre but it enables three different stories, with three different time-spans to be told and intercut in one linear narrative. In Inception, that was just a cute plot gimmick, weird and fun. Here it is the critical form of the movie, driving forward the function of the film’s dramatic tension.

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