Very Unfair Ending of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones 4 is a decent sequel to the previous three Jones series. Unlike Pirates of the Caribbean, the sequel named Dead Man’s Chest was the first movie that actually made me fall asleep in the movie theater.

I generally enjoyed watching Jones 4. However, there are two things in the movie with which I want to find fault:

  1. Does Shia LaBeouf have to transport his motorcycle all the way to Peru, and said a stupid line later in the movie “I lost my bike”. What is the point? Although he does handle his dagger with dexterity in a scene.
  2. The ending of the movie is very unfair. I mean, by contract, whoever returns the crystal skull will be rewarded. The Russian Colonel played by Cate Blanchett returned the skull through a series of arch-villain acts. Despite the means she achieved her goal, she should get her rewarded as was promised. But it turned out that aliens infused into her brain was too much for her to handle, and she blow into dusts.

    Wait a minute, aren’t the aliens supposed to be smart enough to know that too much knowledge will destroy her instead of doing the errand runner good? Still the aliens chose to destroy her by giving too much she could handle. Guess what? I think the aliens have just showed how untrustworthy they were, and no earthling would ever do the job for them again.

Starforce Must Die

If something is evil to be tough, then this thing is doomed to be destroyed. Why? Because this is what happened to the rogue CD protection software — Starforce.

I tried to use a multimedia CD that ships with a text book. As usual, I want to use CloneCD to make images of it and load it via Daemon Tools, so that I don’t have to bring the CD all the time, and avoid the noise and vibration of the spinning CD-ROM getting on my nerves.

But this time it is not as simple as that. The CD is encrypted with Starforce, and it did force users to do things against their will! Once run, the CD prompted me to reboot. Obediently I followed, but Windows XP told me it could boot. So I pressed F8 and used the “last known good” menu to boot into XP.

It then asked me to key in the long string of CD-key when I lauched the autorun program. OK, I bowed down to squeez at the small print on the Disk cover, and input the keys with submission. Finally, it ran but I immediately hate the noises the CD-ROM generated and the slow responses of the system.

Starforce is tough because it prevents Daemon Tools to use the CD images. Users are left with no choice except to load the CD, input the keys, and hear CD-ROM groan every time they use it on a different computer. But this is evil and the buyers of the books have to suffer the all these conveniences, and what to do when the CD wears out after repetitive using?

Fortunately, there are people who hate Starforce as much as I do. I pop into this site which has a complete collections and download links to all the tools for defeating CD encryption. A tool which is righteously called Starfucker can be used to screw the older versions of Starforce brutality, and StarForce Nightmare works better for newer versions of beastly Starforce by disabling physical CD-ROMs.

Before I use this tools and take my revenge against Starforce, I found that the latest version of these tools were made in year 2005. I immediately realized that Starforce should already be dead by now, because the cracking tools like this usually are kept up-to-date to combat Starforce. My theory was confirmed when I got a newer version of the textbook, reprinted in 2006. The encryption on the CD was gone, and I can daemon-tool its image again. So the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press has stopped buying products from Starforce, due to, which I can rightly assume, the floods of complaints from teachers and students.

I have a word for the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press: your lucrative business, perhaps monopoly, does not grant you the license to walk hand in hand with evil Starforce.

To Starforce: the age of CD/DVD-ROMs will soon be over and give way to Flash memory devices. I boot mostly from USB and rarely use my DVD-ROM. Besides, your technology is causing more trouble to your clients than doing them good. I will be more than glad to witness this evil and tough-looking Russian company bite the dust!

A Debian/Lenny User Experience — A Glass Half Full

As far as I could recall, I did not use Linux/Debian for about two years. Last week, I  had an open time slot and I decided to installed my favorite Distro Debian/Lenny on my aging desktop to play around a little.

My experience so far is mixed. I would say the general user experience has enhanced so much that I actually spent less time fixing the system for a better environment. On the other hand, numerous details of the Desktop environment have much to be desired, and if fixed properly, could contribute so much to the user experience, to the degree that one can term Linux Desktop as “just works”.

It all depends on the perspective a Linux user choose to view:

One can run out of his patience and feel it is a waste of time to fix many things after the initial installation. Why can’t it just work out of the box? Why does the OS often stands in the way when I try to do some work?
On the flip side, I know many Linuxers just enjoy the tweaking, tinkering, patching and fixing of their Linux. For them, the real joy of using Linux is the users’ being able to improving it the way they want it. It is a glass half full, and Linux users can end up on the extreme sides of pessimism and optimism.

For me, I’m gleefully surprised by the following user experience enhancement:

  • Once again, I get the same cool feeling running Debian box on my machine.
  • The font display is now much better than it was a couple of years ago. Now it is viewable and basically pleasant. But I don’t think I was the only one who had endured and cursed the fuzzy, eye-straining font display under Linux.
  • Xorg is configured automatically after installation, and the Nvidia 3D driver is also installed without much hassle. I could still recall the nightmare when I had to calculate modelines for my 17″ CRT monitor to get the comfortable display quality. Now that pain is only memory, and partly thanks to LCD screens.
  • The effects of Compiz 3D desktop are fantastic, and the overall experience beats the pants off Windows XP. Don’t even mention Vista to me.
  • Chinese language environment is better. With free fonts like uming and wqy, the Chinese display under Gnome is comparable to that of Windows. Not as great, but not very bad either.
  • USB disks can now be automatically loaded with its icon displayed on the desktop.
  • Splashy is such a pain remover for those who had tried grub splash. At least you don’t have to compile your kernel in order to splash, for god’s sake.
  • I can now officially suspend and hibernate my Debian box, although my machine isn’t be able to be restored to normal after the break.

But wait, Lenny is absolutely not in a position to be complacent. In fact, it invites the attack of many “haters and ranters” such as this one. In my next related post, I will bash my user experience under Lenny relentlessly.