Halt and catch fire

Just finished watching Halt and Catch Fire on Netflix, which I think is brilliant by the way. Apparently the show won’t be returning for a fifth season, so here is a nice review from Wired since I can’t write as eloquently.

(source)

When I first heard of the show, I had the impression that it was simply dramatising the events leading to the birth of Compaq (Silicon Cowboys is the documentary of this story that I thoroughly enjoyed too), but the series went on to explore online gaming, e-commerce (think early days of eBay), community (bulletin boards?), telco networking, birth of internet, browser wars and search (Yahoo-type versus Google?). In parallel it was also a show about the human relationships between the protagonists, the start-up culture and the do-or-die fearlessness of entrepreneurship; you can have great idea or even be on the cusp of victory, everything can still crash and burn. The key is to be able to take failure in its own stride, move on and reboot.

I really like this ending phrase “They’re (computers) the thing that gets you to the thing.” New technologies that appears at breakneck speed (even more so than the period when the show was set in) are tools which allow us to achieve goals but more importantly connect us to people that matter the most.

Sarah Jane Smith

I have been a fan of BBC’s Doctor Who series since secondary school days – I think I started with Tom Baker’s Doctor, during ABC’s re-runs of the series!? This was long before the current revival (started in 2005). Naturally I was a little sad to learn of Elizabeth Sladen’s sudden death back in the middle of last year. Here’s a nice tribute series of videos from BBC.

The wonder years

My copy of The Wonder Years that I ordered last week has arrived today! All of 6 seasons, spanning from 1988-1993, crammed into 8 DVDs!

The Wonder Years was about the growing pains and uncertainties of a teenager Kevin Arnold, with the turbulent 60s-70s US as the backdrop. There is plenty of nostalgic and contemplative music from that period, which I feel was also a big drawcard. This TV series will always have a special place for me (along with Happy Days as a matter of fact) probably because I had recently completed high school and was fresh into university and was still able to relate to some of the issues portrayed in the series. The quality of the video is actually not very good, seemingly recorded directly from normal TV broadcast. But heck, I will take this bootleg collection any day since it seems more and more unlikely that this series will to ever be officially released the entire series because of licensing rights for the numerous songs (more than 200 according to a reviewer on Amazon) used throughout the series.

A quote from the show sums up the trials of growing aptly.

When you’re a little kid you’re a bit of everything; Scientist, Philosopher, Artist. Sometimes it seems like growing up is giving these things up one at a time.