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Bleat is disappointing today | The Bleat.

. . . and probably not worth the wait; it’s a computer gift-guide for anal-retentive types. Short version of today: awesome! Cold. Teeth-cracking cold. Hit the mall for shopping, but turned all that good yeasty material into the column. Spent most of the night writing, which short-shrifted the Bleat – and when I finished what I intended to post, I realized I could either stay up until 1 AM adding all the links, or stand down for the night and promise to post tomorrow. Which I won’t, because things will come up. Argh.

Consolation promise: Diner tomorrow.

Hey, here’s my favorite Bond theme ever. I’m willing to entertain contenders, but only Goldfinger comes close, and it’s all brassy Bassey without the expansive melancholy of this number.

But that’s just me. What’s your favorite movie theme?

Okay, now that I’ve put something out there with a general interest theme, here’s the dorken-stuff.

I got some interesting feedback yesterday about a glancing computer program recommendation, and so, what the hell. I’m always on the lookout for small programs that give me the illusion of managing my data, improving my work, making me feel as if I’m in control of the vast amount of data I have. In the end you’re on your own, because anything that helps you “organize” stuff requires you to make an effort. But! If you have a mild form of obsessive-compulsive disorder – and I think computers actually allow such tendencies to bloom, and ennobles them as “organizational strategies” – then there’s great pleasure in putting everything where it should be.

Especially if the program has a nice interface, because that flatters your conception of yourself as someone who believes aesthetics are not only important, but make you a slightly better person than someone who uses a hideous program with bad fonts whose powerful tools are expressed in an elegant design. Well, maybe that program automatically backs up everything, but gawd, that bevel on the splash screen is SO 2002.

That said:

Handbrake is good for ripping DVDs; it’s ugly, but it does the job without tweaking, and tweaking is yours to be had if you wish. However, the icon is ugly, and the name inscrutable. For ordinary video conversion, Permute is dead-simple and quiet and unobtrusive.

Backing up: I have tried nearly every program available. I use Carbon Copy for cloning boot drives, which I only do monthly. But – but you’re insane! you say. INSANE! No: I have an ongoing incremental backup via Mac’s built-in Time Machine, which gives me one copy. I have backups scheduled via Chronosync that distribute data through the hard drive on my machine. It’s simple – drop the folders in the window, set the time you want them to sync, and forget about it. The program turns itself on at 4 AM and syncs your data. Once a month I run deep backups on a series of external drives, and that requires manual attention, but big whoop.

Clipboard managers: y’know, I don’t find myself constantly juggling myriad clips, pasting them into various programs, wishing there was some system-wide program that would give me hot-key access to an URL I highlighted six days ago. The only thing I want to do is this: drop in pieces of HTML code I use over and over. On my blog at the paper, I write everything in HTML, and hence tire of adding paragraph breaks and blockquote. Typenator lets me drop in the relevant code with a few pre-defined macros. Every other clipboard manager I’ve seen is just a nightmarish example of feature bloat. Stuf, for example, might be up your alley if you’re constantly moving graphics around, but the icon gives me the creeps. That mask. I hate it. Yes, I’m that shallow.

FTP: Maybe there are other programs that do everything Transmit does, but all I know is this: Transmit lets me create little wormholes that sit in the folder, and when I drop something on the wormhole it goes off to my site, and that’s that.

Putting stuff elsewhere: Dropzone. You add destination folders. You drag a file onto the Dock icon, which brings up a grid of destinations. Release. The file goes there, and it no longer exists where it used to be. This is copy without the copy. You don’t end up with two versions of the file.

Dealing with Recent Stuff: we’re caught in a ‘twixt-and-between world where things are still thought to exist in folders, but belong to larger organizational schemes based on tags. I’m in the process of tagging everything I have, because I am sick. But what if you just want to see something you were working on recently, and don’t remember where you stored it? For a while I really, really wanted to use Fresh, which has an attractive green bar showing all the things you were working on, but damn: it just takes over your screen. I started working with Blast recently, and it’s much tidier. I’ll probably buy this one, and trash Fresh.

Intra-computer file access: Dropbox. No question. For information that doesn’t need to be opened in a program, Evernote. Both work on your phone, so you’re always connected to key information.

Security: for passwords, there’s no argument: 1Password is the best tool for assembling all your passwords, logins, software keys, and so on. As the Marines would say while jogging: Looks good! Mm-hmm! Works good! Mm-hmm! Good for you! Mm-hmm! Good for me! Mm-hmm!

As for encrypting personal data, I’ve used two programs. Exces has a weird icon and I don’t know what it’s doing. Espionage worked well for a while until it didn’t, and it wouldn’t unlock secret folders. Maybe you’re better off just using Disk Utility to create encrypted password-protected disk images. It’s free, and it’s built into the Mac OS.

For network security: I used a program with infinite settings that warned about everything. Good for paranoids. At one point I fiddled with the settings and somehow destroyed my access to the internet. Power users will love the customization. I’m content with Sophos and Little Snitch; the latter can be a nag, but it sends up a flare when something wants to talk to some distant strange computer.

There, that’s some of it. Add your suggestions, to interfere with the other topic subject. Sorry for the nerdery! Back to normal tomorrow.

 

99 Responses to Bleat is disappointing today

  1. Spud says:

    If I’m in a mood for a Bond theme song, I’ll just take out my Jonny Quest DVD. My favorite movie theme music would be Tangerine Dream’s work on “Thief” (James Caan, Willie Nelson). The “Blade Runner” music with Vangelis is good too.

    I’ll also say “here here” to the EverNote program. I should use it more, but I’m just too lazy. It’s a good one to get/download for the kids in school as they utilize the computers/internet, as it can help them organize their work and get into good habits.

  2. swschrad says:

    password programs: used one avidly at work until the hard disk died. whoa, what are all my passwords?

    I have over 200 that I need randomly, daily, you see.

    plus everything for my home life.

    so we’re back to paper for them in both places. at home, they’re indexed, in case I get hit by a bus and wifey has to sort things out.

    any really good passwords, somebody’s already hoovered them up and they’re likely on a server out of siberia anyway. ask on ‘facedbook and somebody will give it to me ;)

  3. madCanada says:

    Okay. Bond. Carly Simon. “Nobody Does It Better.” In my mind, the definitive breezy sexy 70′s movie theme. Saw it as a wee lad in a jam-packed 2500-seat theatre on a colossal screen — the way movies, especially Bond ficks, were meant to be seen.

  4. Greg Thorne says:

    James-
    Good list. I’m going to have to check out many of them. Here’s a couple of suggestions for you:

    Coda:
    http://www.panic.com/coda/
    Really designed for developers, but it’s simple enough to scale to whatever you need it for. Combines HTML/CSS editing with FTP, so you never have to leave the program. You can define ‘clips’, that can be dragged into your document, or you can access them by typing the keyword you defined, then hitting ‘tab’.

    Knox:
    http://agilewebsolutions.com/knox
    Create password-protected, encrypted volumes, then access them by mounting them just like a regular disk volume. Copy/move files, then close the volume when you want it to go away. Doesn’t get much easier. Oh, and it has a cute briefcase icon, so you’re safe there.

  5. Charles D. Shell says:

    I’m probably biased since I really dug “The Man With the Golden Gun” as a kid, but that theme still gets me. But there have been a LOT of great JB themes, so it’s hard to pick.

    If you’re talking just movie songs/themes in general, I’d have a tough time picking a favorite. “The Untouchables” had some great iconic scores. “The Incredibles” had some amazing stuff, too. (That’s two ‘bles’ in a row.)

    A couple off the top of my head is the Main Theme in “Blade 2″ by Marco Beltrami & Danny Saber. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sW2Ne1QVr2o

    Another might be the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme.

    But these are all instrumentals. A movie vocal? Hmm . . .

    Elton John’s “Pinball Wizard” cover in “Tommy” was always a show-stopper with me. Don’t know if that counts as a ‘theme’, though.

  6. Sigivald says:

    What’s your favorite movie theme?

    Buckaroo Banzai. Specifically the end credits theme.

  7. Bruno Strozek says:

    “You Only Live Twice” is one of the top 5 Bond movies of all time. After listening to the theme I have to check NetFlix and see if the stream the video!

  8. metaphizzle says:

    Michael Giacchino: The Incredibles.

  9. bgbear says:

    When I was little I like the “Georgie Girl” song and had a crush on Lynn Redgrave. Also the “Cat Ballou” song with crush on Hanoi Jane.

    I never had a latency period

  10. LS says:

    Anything by John Barry is good. Check out “Beat Girl,” “The Knack… and How to Get It,” and “The Ipcress File.”
    Also, anything by Mancini or Jerry Goldsmith.

  11. hpoulter says:

    @metaphizzle:

    Bravo. I love Giacchino. I love his music for “Ratatouille”, too. “Le Festin” makes me feel good.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_hdmt4vpBo

    I really like Joe Hisaishi’s music for “Spirited Away” and other Miyazaki films, as well. It’s wonderfully emotional music, and really suited to those films.

  12. Charlie Young says:

    Hey, you forgot Zumodrive for getting your music collection in the cloud. You mentioned it about a month or two ago. I tried it and found it to be acceptable. 1st 2 gigs are free (after jumping through some hoops) and they start to tack on monthly fees for 10 gigs and up. Not a bad service, though.

  13. Stewart says:

    “You Only Live Twice” is my 3rd fav Bond, after “We have All The Time In The World” from OHMSS and “The Spy Who Loved Me”-especially the lovely synth ending in the film which is strangely missing from the album. Overall fav is “Where Eagles Dare” followed by “The Magnificent Seven”; honorable mention to Keith Emerson’s “Nighthawks” sadly not available in soundtrack.
    Whenever I read a lament of the lack of symphonic music in the 20th Century, I have to wonder if they never went to the movies; the great symphonic of the last century was almost all done for film.

  14. Philip Scott Thomas says:

    If we’re talking Bond themes, I vote for Casino Royale. No, not that one; the original one, by Herb Alpert. It’s the most insanely happy, goofily joyous instrumental ever recorded.

    If you want to go really lateral, how about Mahler’s 5th Symphony? The whole thing is a soundtrack in search of a movie.

  15. Hello? Gone With The Wind, anybody?

  16. Hippo says:

    My favorite soundtrack is Local Hero by Mark Knopfler. Also, it’s my favorite movie.

  17. GardenStater says:

    Anything by the Beau Hunks.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25gcs4yullk

  18. Larry says:

    I am a Beau Hunks fan as well, but hard to call that movie themes in this context.

    You only live Twice is indeed the best Bond theme with vocals, but the absolute best is On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

  19. Larry says:

    Oops, favorite film music, not even close:
    Ennio Morricone. Scored a number of films but the best are Sergio Leone’s: Once upon a time in the West and Good, Bad and the Ugly.

  20. Kerry Potenza says:

    I posted earlier, but it was awaiting “moderation” indefinitely, so here goes again.

    Godfather, Jaws, West Side Story off the top of my head.

    Best movie music soundtrack of all time (IMO) is from the 1991 Alan Parker film, “The Commitments”. It’s also one of my favorite movies with a ton of quotable quotes (“Do you not get it, lads? The Irish are the blacks of Europe. And Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland. And the Northside Dubliners are the blacks of Dublin. So say it once, say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud.”) Brilliant Irish comedy! The music is so great. This quote from the movie is an apt description of it’s soundtrack:
    “….Sure there’s a lot of different music you can get off on but soul is more than that. It takes you somewhere else. It grabs you by the balls and lifts you above the shite.”

  21. Lily says:

    I love the music for the Lord of the Rings movies – more than the actual movies themselves. But I am not much of a movie music fan. Or movie fan. Or even music fan. I prefer books. In a quiet library. With tea.

  22. swschrad says:

    Gone with the Wind?

    frankly, my communicant, I don’t give a damn.

    best, great crane shot. the rest is IMPHO Harlequin tripe.

  23. RexV says:

    Live and Let Die, for me, ranks about fourth on the Bond film themes. Got a new appreciation for it a few weeks ago when The Polyphonic Spree played it to close out a show….wow!

  24. hpoulter says:

    It’s not my top choice, but I would have expected some votes for “Lawrence of Arabia”. It’s certainly a theme-y theme.

  25. Best soundtrack evah? I give you Manos, the Hands of Fate. (Yes, I kid, I kid…)

  26. shesnailie says:

    _@_v – i actually found torgo’s theme from manos on mp3

    http://home.roadrunner.com/~dasimperator/torgos_theme.mp3

  27. Cory says:

    Single song from a movie, not the movie’s “theme” song altho in reality it is – hard to argue the greatest ever is not that little girl with the dog singing Arlen

  28. madCanada says:

    Chaplin, “Limelight.”

  29. Zac K says:

    I don’t know why, but the main theme from The Rocketeer has always stuck with me. Everyone I know seems to hate it, but I saw it when I was just a wee lad; I didn’t know better. I love the movie anyway.

    Besides, it was by Mr. James Horner.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvBLFqqqS50

  30. xrayguy says:

    Pick one? Waddaya stoopid? Closest I can come is John Williams theme to Anything- even “1941″, yeah all of it, just makes all my hair stand up witha thrill.
    (Trumpet voluntary from “Rocky”)

  31. bgbear says:

    Ballad of the Green Berets?

  32. swschrad says:

    I think for the randy hell of it, I will enter “Blame Canada” as best movie song, and see how many folks gag ;)

  33. patriot says:

    Goldfinger is also my favorite Bond theme song.
    Shirly Bassey does it very well. Strange but good. By far the best song that I’ve heard her sing.

  34. Pencilpal says:

    Quirky, but sticks in my mind – one man, one zither, theme from The Third Man. Jaunty but a little paranoid, kinda like the setting for the movie.

  35. Ross Adler says:

    For me, a tie from the ’80s. The main theme from “The Right Stuff,” full of optimism and exhaltation. And from “Amadeus” just about anything, I suppose, but especially the closing credits music, the 2nd movement from (I think) the 20th piano concerto, full of emotion of quite a different order. Both superb.

  36. Bill Peschel says:

    On the right side of your page, under “So You Said,” I saw this:

    * Ross Adler on Bleat is disappointing today
    * Pencilpal on Bleat is disappointing today
    * swschrad on Bleat is disappointing today
    * bgbear on Bleat is disappointing today
    * xrayguy on Bleat is disappointing today

    I felt bad about those guys until I realized what you titled today’s post. This weapon could be used for good or evil, James.

  37. swschrad says:

    @Bill Peschel: actually, that’s the first use of the new algorithm, “Write What I’m Thinking.”

    apparently has a predictive feature, too.

    I wish it had a lottery number feature, because it’s right on so far :-D

  38. madCanada says:

    Antonio Carlos Jobim’s score for “Black Orpheus…”

    and Mikis Theodorakis’ score for “Zorba the Greek.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeNsr_nQEfE

  39. Crid [CridComment at gmail] says:

    Excellent choice, Mr. Lileks. There is no second prize. And if there were, it would be to the sister theme from Mr. Barry, “Midnight Cowboy.”

    Seriously, after all these years, posts like that make you a favorite blogger.

  40. browniejr says:

    @shesnailie: Torgo’s Theme suggests a solution to Mr. Lilek’s cold pizza delivery problem:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__0C1lxp1Q4

    Themes: How about a couple from OTR- Jerry Goldsmith’s Theme from Frontier Gentleman (great trumpets), “Old Trails,” The Gunsmoke theme by Rex Koury.

    Movies: For setting the mood, ANYTHING by Bernard Hermann (Psycho, North by Northwest, Citizen Kane, The Day the Earth Stood Still, etc., etc.!)

    Bond Theme: I gotta agree with Lileks- YOLT, by a mile.

  41. Mrs.ME says:

    LOVE the soundtrack to ‘The Mission’ by Ennio Morricone. Especially love Gabriel’s Oboe. Also love most anything by Dave Grusin. The first movie I ever saw was ‘The Music Man’ when I was 3. My mom said I sat spellbound for the entire couple hours. We had the LP and I listened to it hour after hour when I was young. Another favorite movie soundtrack for me was West Side Story during my teen years.

  42. Bob Lipton says:

    Oh, if you’re going to go for tv themes, it’s Lalo Schifrin’s theme from MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.

    BOB

  43. Richard Heft says:

    Opening credits to THE 49TH PARALLEL by Ralph Vaughn Williams.

  44. camillofan says:

    Commenting on a day-old post because (in my admittedly quick read-through) I didn’t see mention of any of Randy Newman’s scores and wanted to remedy that. Could name several, but “The Natural” has always been a favorite.

    I did see others name Elmer Bernstein; here’s another vote for “To Kill a Mockingbird.” (Was there *anything* about that movie that wasn’t just right?)

    Song from a film? “The Windmills of Your Mind,” by Michel Legrand & the Bergmans, from “The Thomas Crown Affair” (orignal version, of course). And it wasn’t the theme song, but Mr. Newman’s “When She Loved Me” from “Toy Story II” is exquisite.

  45. chrisbcritter says:

    I hate coming late to the party…
    I always loved the theme from Swing Shift, “Someone Waits for You” sung by Carly Simon – would have been a big hit 40 years earlier.
    For instrumentals, John Williams’ opening theme from Midway which was played to footage of the Doolittle raid from Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, climaxing with bombs exploding in Sensurround.
    Bond theme: “Thunderball” – Only Tom Jones could have pulled it off, although I wish Elvis could have taken a crack at it.
    Fake Bond theme: “The Man For Me” by Khristy from Operation Kid Brother. As close as we’ll probably get to Morricone scoring a Bond film, sadly…

  46. Chris says:

    My vote for best movie theme would have to be Ben Hur hands down. The whole score blows me away especially the “love” theme.

  47. John says:

    Great thread. I love the theme for Year of Living Dangerously by Vangelis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsBOxDM_Vek
    and the end credits for A Series of Unfortunate Events
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsZ75J8_jNE&feature=related

  48. Paul in NJ says:

    Some very interesting software suggestions – and, wadda ya know, some of them even have Windows versions! Will be checking ‘em out.

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