Saturday, June 22, 2013

Caitlin's Recital

Caitlin had her third piano recital today at UP Diliman's Aldaba Recital Hall.  Her first piece was Mozart's Sonata K.545.  Its supposed to be a fast piece, but she seem to have played it way too fast in my opinion.

For her second piece, Caitlin played Through the Eyes of Love from the movie Ice Castles.

During the intermission, Teacher Dennis Ortega played a piano solo of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Superman 2013

The family went to watch the latest reincarnation of Superman in the silver screen -- Man of Steel.  The movie has been getting lots of good comments from friends so I had high expectations.

The Cast

At the lead role is Henry Cavill.  I last saw him at Cold Light of Day opposite Bruce Willis.  Let me go straight to the point -- I don't like cleft chins.  I know that is very shallow and does not really say anything about the acting skills of the person.  But I can't help it.  I find cleft chins very distracting.  I hated Timothy Dalton's rendition of James Bond 007 because of his chin also.  He looked like he really buffed up for the role though.  He did not look that big in Cold Light of Day or Immortal.

Amy Adams made a great Lois Lane.  Definitely not as annoying as Margot Kidder in the original Christopher Reeves series.  And they made her smart in this movie unlike Margot Kidder who couldn't tell Clark Kent and Superman are one-and-the-same given that their only difference was the eyeglasses.

I've never really heard of Michael Shannon before this movie, but he played a pretty impressive (and scary) General Zod.  He is a good choice too.

The Music

I like Hans Zimmer's electronica music, but... it just doesn't measure up to a John Williams score.  After the movie, you wouldn't remember what the Man of Steel soundtrack sounded like.  But even 20 to 30 years later, people still know the soundtrack of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and of course, the original Superman series.  John Williams' music takes up a life of its own.  I think the Man of Steel producers **should** have used the original theme somehow.  They could let Hans Zimmer update it a bit for the 21st century if they do not want it to sound too fanfare-ish.

The Villains

For a superhero who has been around decades (in real time, not comic book time), one would expect Superman has amassed a large pool of arch-enemies.  But surprisingly, there seems to be a shortage of them.  So far with the movie adaptations, its just either Lex Luthor or General Zod.  Zod is not really much of a recurring character in the comic book series unlike Luthor (can't figure out why Superman can't beat this normal mortal with all his superpowers).  Bring in Brainiac or some other inter-stellar baddie.

In contrast, Batman has a great pool of great enemies to choose from (I hated Jack Nicholson's rendition of Joker in the original Batman movie).  Spiderman also has a lot of great villains that has still not appeared in the movies.  Even second-tier superheros like The Flash has an entire Rogues Gallery.  But Superman seems to be stuck in the same category as Green Lantern who does not have much of a list of enemies other than Sinestro; or Thor who only seem to have Loki as his constant enemy.

The Plot

DC took some liberty in changing the original Superman mythos.  Lois Lane knows from the start that Clark Kent is Superman.  Kal-El goes soul-searching as he learned of his powers early in his life and seems to have completely skipped the Superboy/Smallville phase.  Jor-El becomes a scientist who apparently is capable of beating up their planet's top military guy (duh!).  Well, I guess Russell Crowe is still Gladiator.

A couple of scenes that did not make sense to me:

1. When Superman and Lois where in Zod's ship, Superman slipped her the black key (with the "S" emblem).  Lois later plugs the key into a slot which brings up the consciousness of Jor-El who guides her to escape from the ship.  I don't recall Lois ever pulling out the key.  So how come at the end when they were going to drop Kal-El's baby spaceship into the alien spaceship, the scientist onboard the plane had another black "S" key to plug in?  Where did he get that key from since the one from Kal-El was left at Zod's ship?

2. How did Clark Kent, with no previous journalism background whatsoever, become a reporter at the Daily Planet on Day 1 of his work alongside Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists like Lois Lane?


I rate the movie 4 stars out of 5.  I felt the Marvel Studios movies (Iron Man 3 and Spiderman) were more fun to watch.  Ethan rates the movie 3 stars out of 5 -- because Superman did not wear his red briefs outside as what he was looking forward to see.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) Causes Problem with ASP.NET Applications

A customer reported a problem to me today that the button at our site does not work when used with IE10.  I've never encountered this problem before because I use Chrome mainly (I think the only people still using IE are those who do not know how to download a new browser and just sticks to the one pre-installed with their OS).

When I fired up my IE10 and tested it against our test server, it also worked fine.  After trading screenshots with the customer, I found the problem!  It seems that our production server (which runs on an older OS compared to our test server), has an ASP.NET installed that does not recognize IE10!  And if it does not recognize a browser, the default system behavior is to assume that the browser is not Javascript-capable and disables support for Javascript altogether.  This has the effect of disabling buttons that rely on Javascript.  This behavior is documented in Scott Hanselman's page.

I tried Scott's suggestions from the Machine-Wide and the Site-Only fixes, which basically updates the browser definition file of the .NET framework, to no effect.  The hotfix described in the Microsoft knowledgebase that is supposed to fix this issue also does not work for me.

In the end, I tried forcing the browser to emulate IE9 by sending a meta tag from my page as described here:

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EmulateIE9">

With .NET websites, inserting this in the Masterpage automatically fixes all pages.  IE sucks.