The Dark Knight Rises – Nokia Trailer

The Dark Knight Rises

Have you folks seen the new Nokia Exclusive trailer of The Dark Knight Rises? It’s bloody brilliant. Seriously, Nolan is a God when it also comes to trailers. The trailer provides more details of the film. The return of Bruce Wayne after a decade, relationship with Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway playing Catwoman is the only thing that I hate about the film!), Bane’s encounter with Batman and many more. Another thing I noticed is that they have worked on Bane’s voice after there were a lot of criticism when the first trailer came out. There is more bass added to his voice and he is very audible in this trailer. From a comic book standpoint, I could see shades of Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, Knightfall 11, No Man’s Land in the trailer, which is a great thing. Looks like Nolan wants to go out with a bang!

The music is mind blowing. I thought they could never one up The Dark Knight. But Hans Zimmer has proved me wrong. The German genius is da bomb! The music conveys a feeling of real urgency and the havoc that Bane intends to unleash. Contrast that to the music from The Dark Knight. The track, Why so serious from the album conveys perfectly the unpredictability of The Joker, with its humming in the background, eventually exploding in your face with strong beats. Seriously, Zimmer is a God. I am glad that he has signed on to the much needed Superman reboot.

I will add another post tonight regarding essential reading material to prep for the movie. Watch this space for more! In the meantime, here’s the trailer embedded for your viewing pleasure.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoDGGNsIhno]

Oh, by the way, if anyone wants to enjoy listening to the background music track from the trailer, minus the audio track, just follow this link, if you couldn’t wait until July 17th. A certain Youtube user, Rubow89 was kind enough to do the editing and upload the track.

Gotham’s Reckoning – Hans Zimmer

Pretty Pink!

So, a couple of days ago, I just made a color scheme pretty quickly to go well with the Bats Family wallpaper. The wallpaper has been posted a few posts back. I am satisfied with the end result. Click on the following showcase pictures for details.

Pretty Pink

You can get the colors here. Enjoy!

Joker Thesis – Delayed

Sorry about that folks. I am getting released from the hospital tomorrow, hence, it has been pretty hectic over the last few days. It will take a couple of days or more to settle down at home environment. Once settled, I will post the article. Finally, it feels good to be out of the hospital. Sort of feels like I was locked up in one of those root partitions all this time, where I had no access to change anything, but I can peek around harmlessly. Now, I am back to my home partition. Time to celebrate! /usr/home/skinwalker/ FTW!

Variation on a theme

So, I just cooked up some new colors for my OpenBSD rig. The colors are just low contrast variations of the default X colors. Thought it would look crappy, but I am kinda satisfied with the results.

Now, presenting the screenshot. Click on the images for full view.

Clean Version

Clean Version

Busy Version

Busy Shot

Now, for the colors, just click on the following link.

Brew

As for the wallpaper, it’s the famous Minimal 2 version from Alexander at DevArt. Follow the link to the wallpaper. If you are into minimal walls, make sure to check out his profile page. He’s got some excellent wallpapers.

Minimal 2 by Alexander

 Enjoy!

On a related note, the track Terrific Trio vs Rocketeers from Batman Beyond Album is da bomb! Killer track to run in the background when hacking furiously. Sort of reminds me of the track, Ishikawa surfs the system from one of the Ghost in the Shell Albums.

nmap Overkill – Wayne Enterprises

I was watching Justice League: Doom again just a few hours ago. This time, I paid extra attention to the titles right in the beginning. It features the nmap scanner. The following is what you would see:

Wayne Enterprise Mainframe:- en$ nmap -v 192.168.23.10 (http://we.inc) at 2011-08-31 18.56 EDT
Machine 192.168.23.10 MIGHT actually be listening on probe port 80
Initiating Parallel DNS resolution of 1 host. at 18:56 Completed Parallel DNS resolution of 1 host. at 18.56, 0.01s elapsed

The date of the scan is 31st of August last year. I thought I had seen it for the first time, only to be disappointed that it has already been featured in nmap in movies section of nmap website. As reported on the website, nmap.org has been simply changed to we.inc. Then I paid more attention to the processes and realized that the following daemons were running:

coreaudiod, distnoted, diskarbitrationd, blued and many more. These daemons reside in the /usr/sbin directory on a Darwin box. So, there you have it, Wayne Enterprises runs on Mac OS. No wonder how Mirror Master was able to hack into the Bat Computer. Bruce must think about OpenBSD (Are you listening DC?). Being functionally paranoid as he is, OpenBSD will serve him well. Lex can kiss his Luthor Corp Key Generator good bye!

Another tidbit from the nmap scanner from the movie:

Processes 67 total, 3 running, 64 sleeping, 407 threads
Load Avg: 0.75, 0.69, 0.68 CPU Usage: 25.80% user, 5.90% sys, 68.3%idle

Oh, in addition Vmware Fusion is running as well.

As I had mentioned earlier, nmap has a dedicated page to detail instances of nmap appearing in movies. Click on the following link to get to the page. It’s pretty interesting.

nmap in movies

nmap scan appears a lot during the titles. But, I ain’t complaining.

Justice League: Doom

JLA: Doom

If you haven’t seen Justice League: Doom, then head to your local video store and grab a copy. Get home, make some nice dinner (spicy works best!), a big pot of coffee and some fine self rolled Pall Mall cigarettes and watch the film. It is a high quality production with a great story to boot. It is based on the story arc that we saw on The Tower of Babel (another one of my prized possessions). If you haven’t read that comic book series, then you should.

I am not gonna post a review of the film. The wiki article that I linked earlier would more than suffice. But all I wanted to say is, it was 01 hour 16 minutes and 52 seconds of absolute fun. Besides, who wouldn’t wanna hear Kevin Conroy’s Batman. Speaking of Batman, he is the central theme in the movie.  No wonder why it is my absolute favorite.

The animation is excellent. A large group of Japanese animators have worked on the movie and it shows in the end product. This should me a must have DVD if you are a Bats fan and JLA fan.

A monumental scene from the film:

Power of the Bats

Psychoanalysis of The Joker – What to expect

So, my psychoanalysis article is almost complete, except for a few edits here and there. I will be putting it online this Saturday. So, keep watching this space. But before I do that, I would like to give a glimpse of what one could expect from the thesis.

You see, there are plenty of articles available online about The Joker. In my thesis, you can expect strong elements of modern psychiatry and psychoanalysis – Freudian, Jungian, you name it. My analysis is also partially influenced by Deleuze and Guattari’s  work and the The Matrix Trilogy. Wait, Why you ask? Just because I can. I just managed to find parallels between a character in The Matrix and The Joker that I thought I should address. So, you should expect the unexpected.

The thesis is divided into the following sections:

1. Motivation: A little bit about why I decided to write such an article and what it means to me personally.

2. Introduction: Introducing the character of The Joker as it was intended in the 40’s and how the character has evolved over time to a dark, psychologically richer version of current day.

3. Origins: The most important part of my thesis. A strong building is dependent on its foundation. Likewise, the key to understanding The Joker is analyzing his formative years and his transformation. This section is mostly derived from The Killing Joke.

4. First Encounter with Bats: I spent quite a while trying to understand this part. You see, the first encounter basically established The Joker for what he is. After this first encounter, Batman knew that if The Joker were to strike again, it will be his utmost priority to stop him. The Man Who Laughs and Lovers and Madmen inspired this section.

5. Arkham Asylum: I had a lot of fun analyzing The Joker’s time at the asylum. The kind of tricks he pulled to get out and how he manages to manipulate officials and even parole officers into doing his bidding.

6. Relationship with other Villains: The Joker’s relationship with Two-Face is well known and has been explored in different titles. So is his relationship with The Penguin. Analyzing these relationships gives us a viewpoint of The Joker that is absolutely stunning in my opinion. Hence, this is a very important aspect of my thesis.

7. Comparisons: This is the section where I compare The Joker with several figures, including The Matrix connection.

8. Conclusions: A long section devoted to my final words on The Joker. I address questions like, Can he ever be cured? Does he really want to be cured? Can he exist without Batman? and many many more.

Hopefully, I have been able to trigger your interest in my thesis. Please wait until this Saturday. I will definitely put it up then. 

Joker’s Asylum

The Joker’s Asylum

Have you folks read Joker’s Asylum? It is awesome. It is written from the perspective of The Joker. You see, a tale of each villain is narrated by The Joker in his own, inimitable style. Psychologically very rich and extremely interesting. Was a bit troubled by a couple. But, a fascinating read.

EEE 1000H – Showcase

Just a showcase shot of my EEE 1000H in action. Using ScrotWM in this shot. You should recognize the person on the netbook skin. He is my God!

EEE 1000H – Shot I

Click on the images for full view.

EEE 1000H Showcase -Shot II: Fascinating!

The following shot details the working screen. As usual, click for full view.

EEE Screenshot

BSD UNIX – Is it for me?

BSD UNIX – Is it for me?

I have spoken about this earlier as well. You can see the following link for an example.

OpenBSD – EEE PC

My Transition

I was recently asked by a blog visitor about why I use BSD UNIX over Linux and what advice can I give a prospective convert. Nothing special, actually. In my case, it was just a matter of choice. I started from the school of UNIX (HP-UX, Sun Solaris, IBM-AIX and some SGI-IRIX) and  then ventured into Linux (Red Hat, Gentoo, Fedora, Ubuntu and its variants, Sorcerer, Lunar Linux, SourceMage, LFS, and back to Sorcerer), before getting to BSD UNIX. Why didn’t I try BSD earlier? Good question. You see, during my Engineering and Physics studies, in addition to the aforementioned Unices, we were forced to use Red Hat or Gentoo. Apart from a HP-UX box at home, I had no other personal computers, so I sort of stayed with Linux. Since, I grew up in India, during those days, computers were really expensive. Then, when I began my Doctorate studies, something happened. BSD UNIX was always on the back of my head. But a chance encounter with another BSD power user over at box-look led me to BSD UNIX finally. And it was also the time I started developing my toolkits for high performance simulations at work. Since,  the C compiler and Perl with many ported libraries from netlib, was all I needed, I realized I could have a lean system without  all the bells and whistles, including X. So I took an older computer at work and installed FreeBSD. So, you see, it was my efffort to start anew that eventually led me to BSD, FreeBSD to be precise. It was the beginning of a fruitful relationship that persists even to this day. Apart from one rig that runs Sorcerer, all my boxes are powered by BSD’s

Installation Routines

It would be illogical for me to go into the merits of using BSD versus using Linux. There is plenty of information available on the internets comparing BSD with Linux. So, I will avoid it. All I can talk about is what can one expect out of a standard installation routine on BSD systems, just briefly. One should not be lazy to read the manuals. BSD documentation will knock the socks off of Linux. Trust me, it is not a joke. OpenBSD manuals, in particular are poetry. Detailed installation methods are explained in the manuals. So, its absolutely necessary to read them. Don’t expect details in this post.

In general, every BSD installation follows through stages. First, you install the base system that installs the kernel and important toolchains needed for further builds. Assuming you are doing an installation with a CD/DVD, on FreeBSD there is the time-tested, pretty old sysinstall that can be used to install the base system.  It is pretty intuitive and it must be very easy to follow. Although, I don’t use sysinstall anymore . There are modern methods to install a rock solid base system with ZFS enabled and getting it up to date with security  advisories.  For a beginner, this might be complex, so on your first trial, just use sysinstall. But that doesn’t mean that the highly motivated should not use the modern method. It is up to you.Once the base install is finished, you can install X that would pull in additional dependencies automatically.

OpenBSD’s installation is pretty easy with a CD. Once you set the filesystem up, you can easily install the base system with X. Remember,  Xorg on OpenBSD is called Xenocara, a unique build infrastructure of Xorg. In my opinion, it is more efficient than the standard implementation of Xorg. When you reboot, you can immediately  start using a customized fvwm implementation and can start customizing the system according to your needs.

NetBSD and DragonFly BSD are pretty similar in their installation infrastructure. You setup the base system from a CD or minimal boot iso’s and then you can start adding software, like X, window managers etc.

Speaking about filesystems, on BSD’s you have the opportunity to explore different filesystems on different flavors. ZFS, UFS, Hammer, so much variety. For the initiated, you can learn more about them.

Package Management – Binary or Source?

Package management in BSD UNIX is probably the best in my opinion. You have the option of installing binary packages, but for the functionally paranoid, you can use the source (ports, pkgsrc).

On my boxes, I always start out like this. Install base system. Then, important languages that I need, a shell like zsh, vim editor and then X server. You could install the full X server or even choose to get a lite version installed, depending on the BSD flavor. So, you see you have complete control over what you want.

You can install either binary version of the packages or you could install every package from the ports infrastructure. My choice is ports. The reason is, many packages have build options that make it easy to customize them the way you want. For instance, let’s take the rxvt terminal. If you install the binary package, you will just get the default flavor. But if you build from ports, you could choose to install various encodings, scrollbars, 256 colors, etc. So, you see, it is usually helpful to install from ports. But having said that, the developers have gone through the pains of generating binary packages to facilitate easier, faster installation of packages. Hence, sometimes, it would be better to just choose the binary package. It is the most preferred route for me when I use OpenBSD stable branch. I mostly install the binary packages, except for occasional port builds. On FreeBSD and NetBSD, DragonFly BSD boxes, it is ports and pkgsrc, respectively.

Updates/Upgrades

Patience is important when using ports to configure your system. Speaking of patience, if you are a bleeding edge fanatic, you would be better off without BSD. That brings us to the topic of updates. Yes, it is possible to keep your packages updated on BSD boxes, but it is cumbersome if one resorts to doing that almost daily. I do that on unstable branches, and have encountered many breaks and most of the times I had to rollback to get the system back up on its wheels. BSD is a complete operating system, unlike Linux, so if you are only bothered about the relative newness of packages, just use a rolling release Linux distribution, like Gentoo or Arch Linux. But if you are bothered about the stability of the system as a whole with emphasis on code correctness and proper vetting of packages, BSD might just be your savior.

The main updates that I do on all my BSD boxes are security and kernel updates (release to stable). They are the ones that matter the most to me, not whether I am using zsh 4.5.X1 or zsh 4.5.X2. I hope, I have made my point clear. The only time I do port upgrades on my stable machines is when there is a new release of BSD. Generally, a complete system upgrade. I have done system upgrades universally across all my BSD boxes, that it is child’s play these days.

It’s not easy to generalize Linux users, due to the various distributions. But all I can say is this – If you want to use BSD over Linux, your thought process has to change as well. What is more important? Stability or constant tinkering even on the kernel level and upgrades that might rock your system? You be the judge. Honestly, of late the whole bleeding edge concept has become some kinda disease, where using fresh off the stove software is more important than stability. It is a philosophy that has become popular these days, thanks to many rolling release distros. You might ask, when Linux does it, why not BSD? Again, at the danger of sounding like a broken record, I am gonna reiterate the fact that BSD UNIX is an operating system, unlike Linux.

In conclusion, what works for me is being up to date with security updates and full system upgrades when a new release is out on stable machines. Snapshot testing rigs are a different story altogether. OpenBSD is the only BSD that adheres to a strict release philosophy, putting out new releases every six months. FreeBSD is famous for prolonging releases. NetBSD and DragonFly BSD do release cycles pretty well too.

Hardware Issues – Do the research!

It pays to know your hardware inside out, if you wanna have a completely enjoyable experience, be it using BSD UNIX or even Linux, for that matter. You see, hardware can sometimes be a stumbling block in using BSD. Newest hardware, be it graphic cards, sound cards, wireless cards and many more might not function well, just because the drivers may not be available. It is likely that one of the BSD’s might have support for a certain piece of hardware that others don’t. So, it is essential to do some research. In my opinion, research has to precede the buying process. Every release information of BSD’s include details about the cards that are supported and by which driver. Even bugs are listed. Lets say, you have settled on OpenBSD. Now, you wanna buy a laptop. You dig into the release information and find laptops that more or less match the support information in the release document. Then, you will never ever have to complain. This holds true for new hardware. For older systems that you might be getting from work, friends or family, if no information is available about the hardware, you can cycle through all BSD’s to find the optimal distribution for your machine (Refer this post about my NetBSD experience on a laptop that I salvaged earlier). On legacy hardware, for instance, NetBSD is a killer. It flies on some of my very old rigs, without any of the hacks.

It takes a while to reverse engineer a driver even on Linux, but the wait would be longer on BSD. But that doesn’t prevent you from trying to reverse engineer yourself! That’s the beauty of OpenSource isn’t it? Still, on matters like graphic cards, you need to do some research before settling on a BSD of your choice. For instance, if you have an NVIDIA card, and you want to use OpenBSD, do not ever expect to find an official NVIDIA driver on the machine. You will not. Theo is very particular about binary blobs. That is the very essence of OpenBSD. People criticize the OpenBSD project as being very rigid in their philosophy and their emphasis on security. Linus Torvalds, once famously called OpenBSD developers a bunch of masturbating monkeys! It’s nothing but hot air. OpenBSD’s focus is on security and cryptography and not having the source code goes against their security emphasis and why should someone criticize them for that. You don’t like it, don’t use OpenBSD, plain and simple. As of this writing, FreeBSD is the only BSD operating system that has an agreement with NVIDIA to develop and use official NVIDIA drivers. FreeBSD’s focus is different. If you don’t like their agreement with NVIDIA, no one cares. You see, it could go both way.

Support Information

There is plenty of support available on the internets. FreeBSD forums, Daemon forums, mailing lists, etc. In special cases, if anyone needs help, you can always bug me as well. On FreeBSD forums, for example, you should definitely check out the Tips and Tricks section. There is plenty of gold there. Same holds for Daemon Forums. Most users of FreeBSD forums are also active members on Daemon forums. So these two places are great to start with when someone needs help. Otherwise, you always have mailing lists. When you use snapshots and daily builds, it is crucial that you check mailing lists, since anything out of the ordinary will be reported and it might help you in case you run into a bug.

Have fun with BSD UNIX. I promise, you will love it!