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La Boheme - Royal Albert Hall, London

February 28, 2004

La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini is (once again) a story about love and despair; life and death.

The opera is set in Paris, circa 1840. Central characters are the four struggling artists painter Marcello, poet Rodolfo, Colline the philosopher and the musician Schaunard. Marcello has a jealous relationship with the popular cabaret singer Musetta while Rodolfo falls in love with the already dying Mimi.

Royal Albert Hall offers a big area for the stage and it was used well. The stage had a circular composition where sometimes the action was focused to the middle and other times things were happening in various parts of the stage. Something that would not have been possible at a traditional opera stage, e.g. at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.

The biggest downfall of the performance is that it is sung in English. While I don't speak much Italian, an opera is always much more powerful in the original language. Especially such beautiful language as Italian. Further more, when an opera is sung in a foreign language, there are always subtitles that let one follow the dialog if necessary.



Facelift

February 23, 2004

SRRA v2.0An overdue facelift was necessary for this website of a non-profit organisation that I am helping out with. The site was done by me 2 years ago and back then it just had to be done quickly. Since then I have been adding various features and the site has been growing organically. It outgrew the initial scope in the first six months.

I was considering a fully featured content management system (Drupal was recommended by Taran) but chickened out in the end. Instead, the web site will be a mix between Movable Type and home brewed PHP features. Movable Type will take care of the news and articles and I will develop custom user registration, newsletter, classifieds section and photo gallery (to start with).

It took me most of the weekend and it's not even finished. I decided to use CSS positioning and XHTML and that is why it took so darn long just to get the layout right. Getting rid of nested tables felt good however. A List Apart was a great resource; both for the layout design and elegant, non-graphical tabs.



Charlie (2004)

February 16, 2004

I was not impressed with this movie, not at all. The cheap production was very noticeable and the movie gave an impression of a TV documentary. Possibly something from National Geographic.

The only reason I went to see this movie was because of an user on IMDB. He/she compared this movie with my all time favourites 'Lock Stock...' and 'Snatch'. Don't be fooled though, 'Charlie' cannot be compared with the said movies in any way whatsoever.

The only thing worth seeing in this movie was Luke Goss performance as Charlie Richardson. Very realistic and performed with a lot of passion.

The lingering images in my mind are the gory and realistic torture scenes of various individuals.

I would not recommend this movie to my worst enemies;even less to my friends.

Looks like there is some controversy surrounding the movie. Looks like it might have been a movie about gangsters made by gangsters.



Linksys WAG54G 802.11g ADSL Modem VPN Router

February 11, 2004


Hello you world of wireless fun. Here I am, please take me in with open arms. I have been a believer for a long time but never really got around getting the right equipment. Now I have.

The Linksys WAG54G is a handy 4-in-one device for an ideal home broadband and wireless solution. The device is full of features

With the built-in ADSL modem the device connects to broadband Internet. The device comes with a micro filter and a phone cable so it's all in the box, ready to run.

The device has a router with 4 switched ports to let you connect PC, laptops, printers and etc. via network cables. All computers connected to the router will be able to shares resources creating a home network. By plugging in additional hubs you can create as large network as needed. Of course, all computers will have access to the broadband connection.

The 802.11g (WiFi) access point lets you connect wirelessly from other devices. The g standard supports speeds of up 54Mbps and is backward compatible with the older b standard in case you have any such devices. The access point supports 128-bit WEP encryption and MAC address access list making it decently secure.

To complete the picture there is a firewall to fend off any hack attempts. The firewall is configurable for port forwarding and DMZ if you need more control over what services would be available inside your network. An extra security is time based access control. With this feature you can limit certain devices (like your child's PC) to access the Internet only during certain hours.

The Linksys WAG54G can be set up to create a VPN connection to a VPN server. This is ideal If you are working from home and need to connect to your office. All devices inside the Linksys will automatically be able to access the LAN at work.

Included in the box is one network cable so that you can set up the device and start using it straight away. Connect to http://192.168.1.1, browse through all the settings and set them accordingly.

ADSL setup: account, password and ADSL parameters
WiFi: change SSID, turn off broadcast, turn on WEP 128-bit encryption, set up a MAC access list
Change the administrator name and password

Takes around 15 minutes and is very straight forward. The Linksys WAG54G can be purchased for just above £100.

Update 15/02/04
The newest firmware update from Linksys corrects incorrect system time and adds WPA security. Definitely a must.

Check out the the Linksys WAG54G forum.



Weather forecast for London

February 05, 2004

The daily weather forecast interests me more and more and I make sure to watch it each morning. I must be getting old.

This morning was no fun. "Think 'W': wet and windy", I was told.

And even better for the weekend:

"Strong winds and wintery showers". Not sure what wintery showers exactly means but it sounds cold... and scary.

London weather, GOTTA LOVE IT!