Monthly Archives: August 2007

Not Your Father’s Flash Gordon, And That’s A Bad Thing

When the SciFi channel announced that they were going to do a new take on Flash Gordon, it was hard not to be at least a little bit enthused. After all, Battlestar Galactica has been some of the best TV of the last few years. Sadly, they seem to have missed out on everything that would have made this good.

While it’s great that they appear to have given Cory Doctrow his first acting role as Hans Zarkov (and yes, that’s a joke), pretty much everything else on the show is a miss.

First off, Flash Gordon is nothing like Battlestar Galactica. You’re not taking a badly executed property with a kernel of a good idea and remaking it. You’re taking a very successful comic strip with gorgeous artwork by Alex Raymond as a starting point. Even the serials with Buster Crabbe were successful. You’re not competing with the special effects of the 1930’s, you’re competing with the visuals of Raymond’s strips. That’s what they were trying to recreate as best they could back then. You’ve got to do the same. It’s space opera and you’ve got to get to Mongo and spaceships, ray pistols, hot looking people, and lots of action as fast as possible. Also, it might be nice if there were some chemistry between Flash and Dale Arden… 

Anyway, if you want to catch a little bit before it’s cancelled you can get the first episode free from iTunes right now: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewVideo?id=261786418&p=261559757&s=143441

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Hadoop And The Opposite Of The Not-Invented-Here Syndrome

Microsoft is famous for having a really bad case of ‘not-invented-here’ syndrome. They don’t like to accept any protocol or standard or even take a perfectly working piece of software and include it. It wasn’t invented at Microsoft so it’s automatically crap. They have to “fix it”. Yahoo! appears to have turned that on its head.

Yahoo’s biggest competitor is arguably Google. Google invented an algorithm for data processing called MapReduce. They use it to process the terabytes and petabytes of data they grind through on a regular basis. They piggy back that on top of their storage system called GFS (Google File System). Because Google published papers on all this software, even though they don’t make the software itself available, there was enough description for people to start developing their own versions of the Google tools.

Yahoo has now decided to both use and endorse the toolset Hadoop. Hadoop encompasses implementations of both GFS and MapReduce so arguably Yahoo is now running software that is based on ideas from their direct competitor. They aren’t shy about it either, they aren’t hiding it, rather they are telling the world that the software is good, they like it, and they intend to support it.

Bravo. I’m impressed.