atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#7338: Did they see the same movie I did?

No idea if this will come through, but this clickbait article about movies which could not be made today calls out Sixteen Candles thus:
Sixteen Candles was an '80s classic, but this is the kind of thing that wouldn't fly today. In the film, a character's pants are stolen by another, and he trades his super drunk girlfriend in exchange for his pants.
I do not remember anything like that happening in the film. The Wikipedia entry on the film doesn't mention that, either.

* * *

Discouraged by my mistake with the trim--and lacking the energy to go buy more to correct it--this evening I worked on paint prep in the bedroom, instead.

There are spots on the ceiling where the paint succumbed to years of moisture coming from the master bath, so I used the putty knife and then a wire brush to remove the paint where it had flaked and peeled. With that done I spackled those areas to smooth them out. Tomorrow I'll go get more trim for the cupola, and when I do, I'll also get some coarse-ish sandpaper for the orbital sander. Finish sanding with 150-grit, wipe down walls and ceiling, then...masking.

When we redo the master bath--which will be in the second half of 2021, or in 2022, damn it--I'm putting in an exhaust fan. Give that humid air somewhere else to go.

* * *

While trying to find the box of long drywall screws, I found the $30 "action camera" that Og gave me a few years ago. Turns out that if you set the resolution to 720p, the video comes out smooth rather than jerky. Anyway I recorded the drive to work with it on 1080p and the trip home on 720p. The former features dropped frames such that you get maybe half a second of smooth motion, and then a couple tenths of a second of low frame rate, and then back to smooth motion. The latter, nice and smooth frame rate, but the picture quality is not as good (of course).

A name-brand SD card might fix this, and might not. Today, out of curiosity, I looked up no-name-brand sports cameras on Amazon and found one that purports to be a 4k camera for $50. I bet that if you set that camera to 1080p it will record 30 frames per second all day long....

* * *

The other night, I was fiddling around on the computer as usual, when my attention was seized by my Bluetech Radio channel on Pandora. This song had come on, called "Eternal", by a band called Above & Beyond. And as I listened to it I saw, in my mind, the last scene of the story I'm rewriting.

So, I did what any sensible person would do: I paused the music and went to Amazon.com to buy it. Only, I couldn't.

I could buy it from any number of other sources, but not the one that I actually use. I could buy it on CD (used) for $30. Spotify, iTunes, a handful of others, for unspecified prices and conditions. So instead I ganked it from YouTube, and it turns out that there are exactly four songs in the album I can stand. "Filmic" is the first track. "Prelude" is somewhere in the middle, as is "The Sun In Your Eyes", and then "Eternal" is the final track. The rest are all vocal tracks, and...well, they don't work for me.

So I went back to Amazon, trying to see if I could buy individual tracks--but no, they're not available, either. Guys, you're leaving money on the table; if it had been there I would have bought the entire album on the strength of that one song. I mean, I'd heard "Filmic" before and it was really good, but "Eternal" just nailed that scene for me.

* * *

Can't believe that October is half over, already.

* * *

Today, while I worked, I was listening to the music stored on my cell phone, and the first movement of the second Brandenburg Concerto came on. This is music I used to listen to while doing my thing in Receiving at Target.

I'm not sure why, but in 1985 when I got a CD player, among the first CDs I bought was the first three Brandeburg Concertos. I don't know if I had ever heard them before, but I had fixated on them as the music to have. And it actually took me a little while to like them as much as I thought I ought to, if that makes any sense. I liked Bach's work, and already had several LPs of various pieces, so I knew I'd like them.

Anyway, I don't know what was going on, but I got this disk, and the first movement of the Second Brandenburg Concerto has this sequence has this nice up-down-up-down call-and-response kind of thing which is repeated several times, and listening to it in early 1986, I was struck with how it sounded like montage music for an SF movie about some computer technology or other. Like, the film would show the main characters hard at work developing whatever the compu-macguffin was, and there'd be a scene where something was rotating and being scanned and that up-down-call-response bit would be right there in the soundtrack.

Today, in the 21st century, I was listening to that piece being played from a computer which was flatly impossible to build in 1986--my freaking cell phone--while working on other computers which were similarly impossible 35 years ago...and felt a little unsatisfied by it, so some perspective adjustment was in order.

I thought to myself:

Today I get paid to work with technology that did not exist when I first heard the Brandenburg Concertos. The music itself hasn't changed, but how I listen to it has. We have extremely powerful computers that we stick in our back pockets and use to make phone calls and to play stupid "match 3" games.

Let's see...in the year I was born the entire world had approximately 10,000 MIPS (million instructions per second) of computing power. That's 10 billion IPS.

Average smartphone: about 3,500 MIPS. A second-generation Core i5: 83,000 MIPS.

Okay, so look at it this way: the typical smartphone has more computing power than the entire world had in 1960, sixty years ago. The average desktop computer has eight times the computing power than existed in the entire world around 1970, fifty years ago.

In 1985--35 years ago--you needed a Cray X-MP to generate the kind of graphics we take for granted in our console games. And the Cray didn't generate them in real time, either! These days we get mad if our games don't serve up the kind of graphics we saw in Tron or The Last Starfighter at something better than 30 frames per second!

To further put it in perspective, this evening I watched a short video on YouTube which was generated by some fans of Star Trek featuring various Federation starships, entirely computer-generated and completely photorealistic. Done for fun.

WoW had to download a 20 GB patch yesterday. I played WoW Classic while it did, and it didn't take more than half an hour. In 1985, top connect speed was 300 bits per second.

Came across a listing of the price of memory over time, and I found that while the price of memory modules has remained approximately constant over the past decade or so, the capacity of those modules has increased greatly. Where you once paid $50 for 256 MB, you're now paying $50 for 8 GB. Like that.

* * *

There are two basic states for a society. One is "promethean", which is forward-looking, dynamic, developing, growing. The other is "epimethean", which is backward-looking, static, contracting.

Societies never switch from one state to the other easily. And I was thinking about that in the context of the history of the past several decades.

1960, the United States was promethean: I mean, we went to the freaking Moon. But the early 1970s was a time of upheaval, and we turned epimethean. Burned the blueprints for the Saturn V, turned our focus inward to our own navels, wasted decades and trillions of dollars trying to overturn human nature, and failing.

I feel now like we're on the verge of turning promethean again. Like, it's just possible that the space industry SF people have dreamed about for decades will finally come true, thanks to SpaceX and the other commercial launch companies that are appearing. Like, the utopia of clean air and water and limitless energy and freedom and so forth is ours for the taking.

I feel as if we're on the cusp of one of the most amazing periods in human history, where we finally start to send people to other planets to live there. And I consider my nieces and nephews and how they will live long enough to--just maybe--be able to buy a ticket to the Moon for a week's vacation. And how their children will not think anything of taking a noon shuttle to Satellite Two, to spend an afternoon cavorting in a zero-gravity athletic facility.

Forget needing an Internet connection in your house; something very much like Starlink will provide world-wide Internet at speeds we can barely comprehend.

The longer 2020 goes on, for some reason, the more firmly convinced I become that I'm not just blowing smoke with this feeling. I can't explain it, and it's entirely possible it's just wishful thinking, but WTF? It doesn't hurt to be optimistic, does it?
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