EA / To Have and To Hold Prologue – 4

[i][b][size=medium][color=003399][font=Arial]Chapters 5,6,7 & 8 Now Up In Fanfiction Archive!! Thank You.[/font][/color][/size][/b][/i]

To Have and To Hold

Another EA alternative

Prologue

Ten-year old Danielle was engaging in her favorite exercise. She was throwing mudballs at little boys that were her own age, maybe a little older. She had the upper hand as well. She was so involved that she hadn’t heard one of the house servants calling her.

“Come, Danielle, ” Paulette called. “Your father wishes to speak with you.”

Danielle looked up. “Coming, Paulette.” She looked down at herself.

“Come on, Danielle,” one of the boys called, “You hardly have any mud anywhere.”

Danielle looked up. “Not compared to you, Henry,” she said laughing

“Look at me,” Henry’s eleven year old cousin, Francois, answered. “I am covered from head to toe in mud.”

“As am I,” Danielle’s ten-year old friend, Gustave agreed.

Twelve-year old Henry laughed. “Your mother is going to throw a fit when she sees you like this.” He turned his attention to Danielle. “And you, Danielle de Barbarac, this is no way for a noble lady to behave.”

“You should talk, Your Highness,” Danielle answered him wiping some of the dried mud off her dress. “You are a Prince.”

“Prince in training,” Henry laughed. “That’s the way my father likes to refer to it.”

“DANIELLE,” Paulette called again. “Come inside and bring my son with you.”

Danielle looked at Gustave. “Ready?” she asked.

“I suppose so, but Henry is right. I am going to get it.”

Henry laughed. “You’ve already gotten half the province on you already.”

They all laughed, including Gustave.

“The two of you don’t look any different to me,” Danielle said. “Come along, Gustave, we have to get back.”

The two of them turned to go.

“Danielle,” Henry called out. “Wait a moment.”

Gustave stopped to wait, as did Francois, but both Danielle and Henry waved them on.

“Will I see you later?” Henry asked.

Danielle smiled. “You know how my father is.” She leaned a little closer, “I will try. The usual place?”

Henry nodded. “Yes, the usual place. The ruins at Amboise.”

“DANIELLE,” Paulette called a third time.

“COMING,” Danielle called back. She gave a last look to Henry, turned and ran as fast as she could to catch up to Gustave.

Henry watched Danielle and Gustave run to the manor door where Paulette was waiting for them.

“She’s wonderful, Henry,” Francois said.

“Yes, she is, cousin,” Henry agreed. And she will be all mine, Henry thought and smiled.

“Come, Francois, let’s get back to the castle.”

[ Edited by susan on 2002/5/18 2:52:21 ]

[ Edited by susan on 2002/5/19 9:23:16 ]

EMTV 14 – Bond and The Matrix Are Back and We have the Scoop!!!!!

Hey, hey, hey, on this week’s exciting episode, we have the television premiere of footage from Jame’s Bond’s latest outing Die Another Day and The Matrix Reloaded! Plus we have footage from EA Game’s James Bond game “”No One Lives Forever”” and the new full length video from Eminem’s unreleased “”The Show”” album!

If this isn’t enough to make you watch, we have an appearance from Hugh Grant and Nicholas Hoult from about a boy, and our extended review of Episode II, and news on the May 28th release of Harry Potter on DVD!!!!!! On the couch for this week’s episode is Michelle Alexandria, Lora Bofill, and Monty.[url=http://eclipsemagazine.com/tvshow/emtv14wm.wmv]So check out the show. Click Here to watch it in streaming media format!!!!!![/url]

About A Boy – Fun

I checked out “About A Boy” last night, and you know, I’m coming around to liking Hugh Grant now. It was a funny, intelligent, well written movie. The only thing wrong with it was I found the accessive Narration irritating at times.

We also had a pleasent surprise because the Weitz Brothers themselves were on hand to intro the movie. I would give the film a B or maybe B+.

And since this is a word of mouth screening, I may actually post my review next week, it opens May 17th.

Episode II – Quick Take

Since I’m having a ton of computer issues, and I have to wade through 500 emails before I format my HD again to resolve my issues, I want to give you all the word on Episode II in a few sentances or less. I’ll give you a full articulate review later in the week when my issues are resolved. So do not take this as my “official” review.

In short Episode II is probably the best SW out of all of them. Before you all yell at me, let me state up front, I’ve never been a fan of the SW Trilogy. I thought each film had major flaws – in SW all the Tatooie desert stuff puts me to sleep almost every time I watch Star Wars, in Empire – I hated the Dagoba stuff and can’t stand Yoda, in Jedi it was those damn Ewoks, and in Episode I it was Jar Jar.

Well Episode II is certainly not without it’s flaws, namely really bad and stilted dialog. But if you can look past that, the film is an amazing feet of special effects, Episode II had a lot of “WOW, That is so cool” moments.

Natalie Portman was beautiful and really good, Hayden Christianson was servicable, he’s not going to set the world on fire, but he was definitely tolerable. The chemistry was there, but it was not quite enough to really hold the film together.

The CGI “eye candy” alone is worth the price of admission. The effects were simply breathtaking, everything from Padma’s home planet with it’s lush greenery to the cloud city, etc, was simply awe inspiring. If you liked the crappy CGI that was used in LOTR’s Rivendell scenes, you will weep at the sheer beauty of Padma’s home planet. Just awe inspiring.

Again the dialog in the film was stilted and laughable in several spots, and the movie is surprisingly dialogue heavy, not much “action” in it at all. If you are going into this expecting the two or three good galatic battles, you are going to be sorely disappointed. Episode II should be used as a textbook on how to use special effects to enhance a film, and not just because “you can”.

Oh, and did I mention the evil Jar Jar is in this? Sure he’s only in it for about 5 minutes, but that’s 5 minutes too long. But it was so funny when (Spoiler Warning)

Jar Jar is the one who convinces the Senate to hand over complete control of the Republic to Palpatine. Too funny.

The final 30 minute battle just kicks all kinds of major ass. Your mouth will fall open into a huge gape. And then, Yoda! As much as I can’t stand Yoda, well, I won’t tell you what happens, but you will both stare in wonder and laugh at the same time. Let’s just say Yoda ain’t a Jedi Master for nothing!

Yes, Episode II is fairly shallow, yes the dialog is horrible, yes the “romance” is cliche filled, but the WOW factor overcome the films other faults .

Just “WOW”, is what most folks will be doing during several scenes in this film. Close your ears (you know the story anyway) and just gawk at it’s sheer beauty. Final Grade A

[ Edited by malexandria on 2002/5/12 0:11:03 ]

Favorite Girl Power Films?

What are your favorite “Girl Power” films? Films that have strong female leads who kick ass or take charge? Off the top of my head I would say

Long Kiss Goodnight
Terminator 2
Charlie’s Angels
V
Ever After (although, that’s probably stretching
the criteria a little)
Zorro
The Gena Davis Pirate Film, I forget the
name, but the last 30 minutes of it, she’s kicking
all sorts of pirate tail.

and I can’t think of any others at the moment.

[ Edited by malexandria on 2002/5/19 14:56:49 ]

[ Edited by malexandria on 2002/5/19 15:37:17 ]

Waking Life

Brilliant or pretentious? Innovative or ostentatious? Opinions vary on Richard Linklater’s animated tryst through assorted dream states, and it’s easy to see why.

With no narrative to speak of, the film drifts as lazily as its lead character, played (sort of) by Wiley Wiggins. It catches up with characters from past Linklater films while absorbing the emotional and physical realms of anyone and anything it comes in contact with. Like any experiment, “Waking Life” produces both unanswered questions and positive results. Linklater’s groundbreaking combination of live-action shots colored with vivid animated cells takes the medium in completely different directions. But after you’ve appreciated the visuals, you’ll find yourself hungry for a plot that never materializes. “Life” holds your attention for the first 30 minutes, as your brain tries to figure out if it’s the main reason you can’t process what your eyes are receiving. Linklater’s achievement’s certainly not for everyone, but worth a glance.Grade: C-THE EXTRASThree commentary tracks accompany Linklater’s feature on Fox’s DVD release of the film, though they don’t necessarily clear up any of the philosophical ambiguities of the script. Instead, they focus on the sparkling technology used to produce the film’s visuals. Only a third, text-based track provided by Linklater, addresses the questions Wiggins’ journey raises, but the comments are infrequent and can ve considered vague, as well.An “Animated Scrap Heap” collects deleted scenes, animation tests and alternate shots. The “Greatest Hits” featurette shows the live-action footage Linklater shot prior to animation, and the scenes feel hollow and bland without the original gimmick of being animated. Had Linklater just shot this film on digital, sans animation, it would serve as a cure for insomnia. The remainder of the DVD extras focus, rightfully so, on the animation process. A 20-minute tutorial demonstrates the technology and software used to give birth to “Life,” while “Snack and Drink” and “First Pass” appear to be brief test runs to see if a feature-length version of “Life” was even possible, or worth undertaking.Grade: B+OVERALL EXPERIENCE: C+A visual excursion for the brave, “Waking Life” deserves a full 20 minutes of your time. Just don’t feel guilty if you eject it after that, because after you’ve absorbed the original animation techniques, there’s just not a whole lot left.By Sean O’ConnellMay 20, 2002

Hollywood and Open Source Software – Or Your Operating system will be Ilegal

A Bad, Sad Hollywood Ending?
Open-source software could find itself locked out of a whole industry if the entertainment giants get their way on copyright protection

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Giant Steps for a Software Upstart

Before Red Hat Sees Blue Skies

“I Think We’re Up to the Challenge”

A Bad, Sad Hollywood Ending?

The Software Counter Culture

Forget about Bill Gates, folks. The biggest enemy of free software may be Senator Ernest F. Hollings. Legislation introduced in March, 2002, by the South Carolina Democrat to require that copyright-protection software be embedded in PCs, handheld computers, CD players — and anything else that can play, record, or manipulate data — could make open-source software such as the Linux operating system illegal.

Initially, the Hollings bill provoked a huge outcry mainly from consumer groups, plus makers of PCs and electronics gear (see BW Online, 3/27/02, “Guard Copyrights, Don’t Jail Innovation”). Now that the measure’s full implications have sunk in, the usually vocal open-source community is starting to react as well.

Linux guru and Hewlett-Packard consultant Bruce Perens says Hollings-style copyright protection schemes are “a high-level concern” for open-source advocates, a point he has made to Hollings’ aides and to protechnology Representative Rick Boucher (D-Va.). Consumer-advocacy groups such as San Francisco’s Electronic Frontier Foundation also are defending the open-source concept in negotiations between electronics manufacturers and entertainment companies that could result in new standards that outlaw the use of open-source components in new digital TV sets and tuners.

KEY ISSUE. Here’s the crux of the issue: Hollywood studios and record labels want to encrypt their products with an algorithm of some sort, for which every piece of hardware or software that plays or displays their material must have a corresponding electronic key. (If the algorithm or the key is missing, the content won’t play — thus thwarting pirates.) For added protection, the established entertainment companies want Congress to pass a law requiring technology companies to build the key into their products. Thus, no DVD players, PCs, CD players, or operating systems would be legal without Hollywood-designed copyright protection.

The problem is, in their zeal to dictate how hardware and software makers build their equipment, the movie and music moguls would mess with matters that are none of their business, critics say. Embedding copyright-protection mechanisms into new PCs and other digital devices would mean inserting pieces of software code that are hidden, or locked down, and couldn’t be altered. That would amount to nothing less than an assault on the open-source religion, which advocates sharing, collaboration, and free access to code.

A crucial feature of the Linux operating system — the basic software that controls a computer — is that any part of it can be modified by its users, as long as they agree to make the modification available, for free, to the world at large. Locking down Linux could destroy this dynamic, on which plenty of corporate software developers now depend, and also bar open-source programmers from the $80 billion consumer-electronics market.

SCRAMBLED AND UNSCRAMBLED. The Hollings bill’s vague language makes it difficult to predict specifically how any new legislation would affect open-source software. Even so, the fears of the movement’s junkies reflect more than paranoia. Just look at the controversy surrounding the encryption that’s already embedded in DVD players. Six years after DVD players were introduced, no legal, “pure” (free of proprietary components) Linux DVD player is on the market.

The reason: Each approved DVD manufacturer has to sign a licensing deal with the DVD Copy Control Assn. It requires that each player contain the Content Scrambling System (CSS), which prevents, say, a French citizen from watching a Hollywood movie before it has been released in France, as well as inhibiting unauthorized copying and distribution (see BW Online, 1/16/02, “The French Have a Word For It: Hacking”).

Since the licensing goes against the most basic open-source ground rules, no company that used Linux signed the license. Thus, Linux users are unable to to watch DVDs on their computers. “Hollywood doesn’t just make movies, it controls how consumers can watch the movie,” complains Larry Rosen, a Silicon Valley attorney and executive director of the Open Source Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting open-source software. “They make it impossible for a movie to be legally viewable on Linux — or on any machine they don’t approve of. Does that hurt Linux? It hurts everyone.”

CRACKED CODE. The DVD example also illustrates something else: that even the best copyright-protection plan isn’t foolproof. In mid-1999, 16-year-old Norwegian hacker Jon Johansen started to distribute a software program called DeCSS. It unscrambled the CSS encryption so DVDs would run on Linux. Once that was accomplished, DVDs could also be copied to hard drives and shared with Internet users, à la Napster.

Since then, five or six Linux DVD players have come to market, all of which Hollywood claims are illegal because they don’t contain the CSS. So far, U.S. courts have backed the studios, though several cases are still pending. There’s only one “approved” Linux player, LinDVD, from a company called Intervideo. But it contains some proprietary code — and has received lukewarm reviews from Linux users.

Despite the breaches in CSS, copyright owners continue pursuing the idea of embedded copyright protection as a key weapon in their fight against piracy. They’re now trying to create standards that could restrict the use of open-source software in the delivery of digital TV. Members of what’s known as the Broadcast Protection Discussion Group (BPDG) confirm that closed-door talks between copyright owners and makers of consumer-electronics and PCs are focusing on securing veto power for Hollywood over technologies that could be used in future TV sets — and open-source isn’t on the O.K. list.

BAD CALLS. The BPDG’s recommendation, which could be announced as early as May 17, outlines two possible approaches, according to the group’s members. Either Hollywood studios will have to approve which technologies can be used to encode and decode digital broadcasts, or they’ll be allowed to construct a list of criteria that technologies must meet to be considered for use. That list would then be used by an arbitrator to decide if a technology is secure enough to entrust using with digital content.

“No matter what, Hollywood has some control over the technologies manufacturers are allowed to support,” says Seth Schoen, who is attending the BPDG meetings as an Electronic Frontier Foundation staffer. “And that limits consumer choice.” A lawyer who works on behalf of the studios counters that Hollywood’s position is right, adding: “It’s their content that’s at risk.”

Granted, but Hollywood has proved uniquely unqualified to decide which technologies will benefit consumers — even in its own industry.

THE VCR SCARE. In 1982, Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, famously proclaimed that the videocassette recorder was as threatening to the movies as the Boston Strangler was to a woman walking alone. Twenty years later, video rentals account for 46% of studio revenues, vs. the 24% collected at the box office.

Open-source advocates say that’s proof enough the market, not the entertainment industry, should decide which technologies prevail. But Hollywood’s voice — and dollars — carry more weight on Capitol Hill than ideological arguments about the best way to develop good, cheap software. So, for now, open-source advocates face a tough battle just to make themselves heard.

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