Wednesday 31 May 2006

How to run a Google Desktop search from the old Google Deskbar

I've found the solution to run a Google Desktop search from the old (and much more functional) Google Deskbar. The instructions can be found here, but here is the gist of it (in case that page disappears):

Copy your Google security token, stored in the registry at:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Google Desktop\API\search_url

In Google Deskbar Options, add a new custom search. Paste the value of the above key, adding {1} at the end (including the brackets, no space). The resulting query URL should look something like this:{1}

Tuesday 23 May 2006


I've just signed up to Blogcritics in the hope of gaining more exposure for my ickleReviews. From now on my reviews should be appearing on there as well.

Sunday 21 May 2006

The Stone Tape (1972) - ickleReview (DVD)

Rather dated and cheaply-made BBC TV movie about a team of scientists attempting to find a new recording medium. Their research labs are in an old Victorian mansion, which Jill (Jane Asher), the only woman, thinks is haunted. She has the most analytical brain and designs computer programmes to test the data they collect from the mysterious room where she sees the ghost of a servant girl who died in the house in the 1890s. The team leader, Peter (Michael Bryant), is convinced that he has found a stone tape: a way of recording data in stone that will get one over their Japanese rivals and please his Irish boss at Ryan Electronics.

Shot on video, this has a distinct B-movie feel, which is creepy in itself. The main interest is in how the technology in the film has aged. I suppose in 1972 all their talk of computers and data was hi-tech. Now it just looks like they're fiddling about with typewriters and ticker tape. There is an amusing contradiction between their scientific methodology and their emotive reactions to their discoveries.

Nugget: reasonably well written, but acted and shot a little too dramatically. It has the feel of Dr Who. It's not scary and could be quite funny if you watched it in the right company.

Sunday 14 May 2006

X-Men (2000) - ickleReview (TV)

Good, watchable piece of comic book fun with Hugh Jackman excelling as Wolverine. In the not too distant future, mutants are causing controversy. Senator Kelly (unfortunate name: maybe that's why the Democrats lost in 2004) is an outspoken opponent of mutant rights, aiming to expel them and expose them like bogus asylum-seekers or paedophiles. Anna Paquin plays Rogue, whose special power is consuming another person's energy whenever they touch her skin. When she touches another mutant, she momentarily adopts their special powers. Somehow, and quite impressively, she manages to feel an outsider even amongst the mutants, who are curried up together in a special training academy run by wheelchair-bound telepathist Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). There are, of course, baddies, and baddies within the goodies, and a big showdown at the end set on Ellis Island, New York.

Nugget: didn't mean to watch all of this, but it dragged me into it with its rasping humour.

Capote (2005) - ickleReview (cinema)

Biopic about six years in the life of American writer Truman Capote that made him and broke him. In 1959 a family of four is murdered in their rural Kansas home. Capote (masterfully embodied by Philip Seymour Hoffman) leaves New York to cover the story for the New Yorker magazine. He ingratiates himself with the local police detective, Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper), but only with the more personable help of his writer friend, Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), author of To Kill a Mockingbird, which is published during the course of the movie, winning her fame and a film deal. Capote befriends the two accused and convicted men, Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.) and Dick Hickock (Mark Pellegrino) - preying especially on Smith until he eventually tells him in graphic detail what happened that night on 14 November 1959. Capote is camp and sophisticated with a 94% capacity for recall. He ruthlessly turns the killers' story into a "non-fiction novel", which he entitles In Cold Blood, reflecting not only the nature of the murders but the callous exploitation of them in his egoistic writing project. Hoffman is brilliantly detestable, yet somehow manages to illicit tiny grains of sympathy. One never really knows what he is thinking. This is very much a portrait from the outside.

Nugget: not as good as I was led to believe it was. Hoffman is impressive: not doing his usual smarmy perv act and totally changing his voice into a squeaky falsetto. A solid piece of Hollywoodeness.

Where am I heading?

Posted by Picasa Michael Kenna, "Plank Walk", Morecambe, Lancashire, England, 1992

Sunday 7 May 2006

I have a question

What the hell am I still doing awake at this hour of the night? It's no wonder I don't obey my alarm clocks. Go to bed, son. Go to bed!

Chav, bam, ned, scaff, pikey

I can't quite work out if this Devvo stuff is for real or just an elaborate ruse. I can certainly believe there are people like him. Hilarious and disturbing, nevertheless. Well worth a look.

"Where did youns get that there camlycorders from? [...] You don't do pills? What, you foockin' gay? Even my nana does pills, dickhead."

Amazing fact

The Chinese word for "cat" is "mao".

Friday 5 May 2006

Brick (2005) - ickleReview (cinema)

High school film noir.

Nugget: super-stylish homage to a genre re-enlivened by the shift in setting.

Please go to FilmExposed for the full review.

I should add that since seeing this film I've realized that my criticisms of the ending are a little ignorant and unfounded. It's a convention of the film noir genre to recount the plot, explaining what you've just seen, so to complain about this is unjustified. My bad.

[Update: Friday 17 June 2011: looks like FilmExposed is no more, so that link is broken.]