Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings has been adapted for film, radio and stage multiple times.
The book has been adapted for radio three times. In 1955 and 1956, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) broadcast The Lord of the Rings, a 12-part radio adaptation of the story, of which no recording has survived. A 1979 dramatisation of The Lord of the Rings was broadcast in the United States and subsequently issued on tape and CD. In 1981 the BBC broadcast The Lord of the Rings, a new dramatisation in 26 half-hour installments.
Three film adaptations have been made. The first was J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (1978), by animator Ralph Bakshi, the first part of what was originally intended to be a two-part adaptation of the story (hence its original title, The Lord of the Rings Part 1). It covers The Fellowship of the Ring and part of The Two Towers. The second, The Return of the King (1980), was an animated television special by Rankin-Bass, who had produced a similar version of The Hobbit (1977). The third was director Peter Jackson's live action The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, produced by New Line Cinema and released in three installments as The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). The live-action film trilogy has done much in particular to bring the book into the public consciousness.[9]
In 1990 Recorded Books published an unabridged audio version of the books. They hired British actor Rob Inglis — who had previously starred in one-man stage productions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings — to read. Inglis performs the books verbatim, using distinct voices for each character, and sings all of the songs. Tolkien had written music for some of the songs in the book; for the rest, Inglis, along with director Claudia Howard, wrote additional music. The current ISBN is 1402516274.
There have been several stage productions based on the book. Three original full-length stage adaptations of The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003) were staged in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. A stage musical adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (2006) was staged in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
There have also been a number of game adaptations, such as The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game.

The Matrix

The Matrix is a science fiction/action film written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski and starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving. It was first released in the USA on March 31, 1999, and is the first entry in the Matrix series of films, comics, video games and animation.
The film describes a future in which our world is actually the Matrix, an artificial reality created by sentient machines in order to pacify, subdue and make use of the human population as an energy source by growing them and connecting them to the Matrix with cybernetic implants. It contains numerous references to the cyberpunk and hacker subcultures; philosophical and religious ideas, including messianism and Socratic, Cartesian, and Platonic idealism; and homages to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Hong Kong action movies and Japanese animation.

Plot synopsis

A telephone call from a woman, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), in a dark hotel room is interrupted as a group of police officers attempt to arrest her. Using superhuman speed, she fights and escapes from them, fleeing across rooftops. The officers pursue her, along with three sinister government agents possessing similarly incredible abilities. At street level, she reaches a ringing telephone booth, answering it just as a garbage truck driven by one of the Agents smashes into it. Examining the wreckage, the Agents discover no body, but state that they have gained "the name of their next target": "Neo".

"Neo" is the alias and screen name of Thomas A. Anderson (Keanu Reeves), a computer programmer for a software company who leads a secret life as a hacker. One night he wakes to find messages appearing on his computer monitor, "The Matrix has you" and "Follow the white rabbit". This cryptic instruction leads Neo to a nightclub, where he is met by Trinity, who is aware of his desire to learn the answer to the question: "What is the Matrix?" Neo believes that a man named Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) is somehow connected to the answer.

At work the next day, Neo receives a telephone call from Morpheus, warning that three agents are searching for him. Despite Morpheus' seemingly-omniscient guidance, Neo is apprehended by the agents, who present evidence of his criminal activities as a hacker. They explain that Morpheus is a wanted terrorist, considered by many to be the most dangerous man alive. The agents request Neo's help in locating him; in return they will erase his criminal record. He refuses to cooperate and the scene turns nightmarish as his lips melt and fuse together and the agents implant a robotic bug in his navel. Neo wakes up at home, assuming the event to be a dream, but immediately receives a call from Morpheus, requesting a meeting. He is picked up by Apoc, Trinity and Switch, who remove the bug from Neo and take him to meet Morpheus. During their meeting, Morpheus explains that he has been searching for Neo his entire life, and informs him that the Matrix is "the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth". He then offers Neo a choice between two pills: one blue, which would enable him to wake up safe in his bed but never learn the truth about the Matrix; the other red, which would allow him to "see how deep the rabbit-hole goes". Neo accepts the red pill, and abruptly wakes up naked in a liquid-filled chamber, his body connected by wires to a vast mechanical tower bristling with pods identical to his. The wires, the largest of which is connected to a plug in the back of his head, are disconnected and Neo is ejected out of the pod into a pool of water. He is rescued by Morpheus and taken aboard his hovercraft, the Nebuchadnezzar. As Neo passes in and out of consciousness, Morpheus urges him to rest while his atrophied muscles are rebuilt.
When recovered, Neo is introduced to the crew of the ship, and is told that it is not the year 1999 as he believed, but estimated to be 2199 — the exact year is unknown. Sitting in a chair on the ship's main deck, a wire is plugged into the socket in the back of Neo's head. Instantly, he appears in a blank white expanse, his appearance back to normal. Morpheus is also there, and explains that they are in "the Construct", a virtual reality environment used for training. He explains that humanity is fighting a war against intelligent machines created early in the 21st century. After being denied their primary power source, the Sun, by the human race, the machines responded by enslaving human beings and using them as their source for energy, growing countless people in immense fields of pods identical to the one in which Neo awoke. It turns out that the world which Neo has inhabited since birth, the Matrix, is an illusory simulated reality construct of the world of 1999, developed by the machines to keep the human population docile while they are connected to generators and their energy is harvested. Morpheus and Trinity are part of a group of free humans who "unplug" other humans from the Matrix and recruit them to their resistance against the machines. Shocked by what he is told, Neo refuses to believe him, vomiting and fainting when he is unplugged from the chair.

Neo awakens in his bed on the ship, Morpheus at his side. He confirms that Neo cannot go back to his life in the Matrix, and apologizes for the stress he has caused him. However, he explains that he disconnected Neo for a reason: he believes that he is "the One", a man prophesied by the Oracle to "hail the destruction of the Matrix, end the war, bring freedom to our people". Morpheus believes that Neo has the power to free humankind from its enslavement through complete mastery of the Matrix, but Neo is skeptical.

In the morning, Neo speaks to the ship's "operator", Tank (Marcus Chong), who describes Zion, the last human city and a refuge for unplugged humans. In order for Neo to join the group, he must learn how to bend or break the rules of the Matrix in order to subvert the simulation's laws of physics. He is plugged back into the chair on the main deck, and Tank demonstrates that Neo can instantly learn new skills by uploading training programs directly into his mind. Over a period of ten hours, he learns martial arts disciplines such as Jujitsu and Kung Fu, then demonstrates his skills by entering another simulated environment similar to the Matrix and sparring with Morpheus. Despite a level of speed which impresses the crew, Neo is unable to land a strike on the more experienced Morpheus and is defeated. Morpheus encourages Neo to understand the idea that the Matrix is nothing more than a computer program with rules which can be bent or broken by mental effort; muscles have nothing to do with a person's abilities within the Matrix. In a second round Neo moves faster and finally manages to evade Morpheus's defenses, leaving the crew amazed.

They are then transferred to "the jump program", a simulation of two skyscrapers a significant distance apart. Morpheus tells Neo to "free his mind" and jump from one building to the other, a leap Morpheus easily achieves, but Neo attempts and fails. After being unplugged from the simulation, he is bleeding. He questions Morpheus about this, as he thought the training program was not real, and is told that any injuries suffered in the Matrix are reflected in the real world: if he is killed in the Matrix, his physical body will also die, as "the body cannot live without the mind".

In another training program Morpheus warns Neo of the rebels' main hazard in the Matrix: Agents. The men in suits who interrogated Neo earlier were actually self-aware programs who behave as anti-virus utilities; their purpose is to seek out and eliminate any threats within the Matrix in order to keep it stable. Anyone who has not been unplugged from the Matrix is potentially an Agent, since Agents have the ability to take over the body of anyone still connected to the system. They possess incredible martial arts skills, superhuman strength, agility, and speed, but Morpheus explains that Agents are still nonetheless limited by the physical rules of the Matrix. Once Neo, being "the One", fully understands the true nature of the Matrix, the Agents will be no match for him. However, later, another member of the crew, Cypher (Joe Pantoliano), advises Neo to disregard Morpheus's advice, telling him that if he sees an Agent, his only chance of survival is to flee. Cypher is later seen having dinner inside of the Matrix with Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). Stating that he prefers the artificial world of the Matrix to reality, Cypher strikes a deal with Smith that he will arrange for Morpheus to be captured if the machines will reinsert him into the Matrix as a celebrity and with no memory of true reality.

The group enters the Matrix and takes Neo to the apartment of the Oracle (Gloria Foster), a woman Morpheus describes as being very old and with the rebels "since the beginning ... of the resistance." Neo is puzzled at her ability to predict future actions. She then implies that Neo is not the One, and that he seems to be waiting for something — his next life, perhaps. She states that Morpheus believes Neo is "the One" so blindly, he would sacrifice his life to save Neo's, and predicts that Neo must make a choice between his life and that of Morpheus. As they leave, Morpheus explains to Neo that the Oracle's words were for him alone.

After the meeting, the crew heads toward the nearest "hard line", a telephone line in the Matrix which may be used by the rebels to safely exit the virtual world. As they approach the exit they realise that the line has been cut and they have become trapped, with Agents and a police SWAT team in pursuit. In their attempt to escape, an unarmed Morpheus saves Neo from Agent Smith's grasp, but is effortlessly beaten and captured himself. The others manage to escape, but Cypher is separated from the group and is the first to reach a new hard line. After exiting the Matrix, Cypher wounds Tank and kills Tank's older brother, Dozer (Anthony Ray Parker). The crew discovers that Morpheus was captured due to the betrayal of Cypher, who preferred living in ignorance within the Matrix and blames Morpheus for giving him the red pill. Cypher murders Apoc and Switch by unplugging them, but before he can kill Neo and Trinity, Tank recovers and shoots Cypher. Meanwhile, Morpheus has been imprisoned in a government building. Three Agents attempt to use a serum to gain information from him regarding access codes to the mainframe of Zion. During this time, Smith confesses to Morpheus that despite being a computer program he hates the Matrix and he demands the codes, so that Zion can be destroyed and he can leave.

Neo decides to rescue Morpheus despite Tank's warnings and the mission being virtually impossible. Trinity accompanies him. Entering the building, Neo and Trinity kill the dozens of guards. In the process, Neo becomes more confident and familiar with manipulating the Matrix, allowing him to perform feats such as dodging bullets fired at him by an Agent. They finally succeed in rescuing their leader, and, in an abandoned subway station, Morpheus and Trinity exit the Matrix through a hard line. However, before Neo can follow, the phone being used is destroyed by Agent Smith. Instead of fleeing from him as Cypher advised, Neo duels with Smith, eventually managing to force him onto the tracks in front of a moving subway train. However, Agent Smith quickly possesses another body and pursues Neo.

Neo is chased through the city by the three Agents while Sentinels (robots used by the machines to "search and destroy" human ships) locate the Nebuchadnezzar's position in the real world and close in fast. However, the ship's electromagnetic pulse device, the crew's only weapon against the Sentinels, cannot be activated until Neo has left the Matrix. As they prepare to use it, Tank guides Neo towards an "old exit", but Smith is already waiting. He shoots him several times, and Neo collapses to the floor in the Matrix as a flatline readout of his heartbeat appears on a screen inside the Nebuchadnezzar. Trinity whispers to Neo that she refuses to accept his death, since the Oracle told her that the man she would fall in love with would be the One, she confesses that she is in love with him and kisses him. Neo's heart monitor begins to beat again, and within the Matrix he stands up. The Agents shoot at him, but he raises his palm and stops their bullets in mid-air. As they fall to the ground, Neo looks up and sees the artificial Matrix as lines of streaming green code: he finally becomes "the One". Agent Smith makes one last ditch attempt to physically attack him, but Neo effortlessly blocks his punches with one hand. He then plunges directly into Smith's body, causing it to rupture and then explode, leaving Neo standing. The other two Agents flee, and Neo returns to the real world barely in time for the ship's electromagnetic pulse to destroy the Sentinels.

A short epilogue shows him back in the Matrix, making a telephone call promising:
"I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you... a world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world... where anything is possible. Where we go from here is a choice I leave to you."

Neo hangs up the phone, looks up, and flies into the sky above the city.

Jacques Kallis

In an era of fast scoring and high-octane entertainment, Jacques Kallis is a throwback - and an astonishingly effective one at that - to Test cricket's more sedate age, when one's wicket was a commodity to be guarded with one's life, and runs were but an accidental by-product of crease occupation. After a distinctly ordinary start to his Test career, Kallis blossomed into arguably the world's leading batsman, with a defensive technique second-to-none, and the adhesive qualities of a Cape Point limpet. Generally a placid and undemonstrative man, he nailed down the crucial No. 3 position in the South African batting order after a number of players had been tried and discarded, and his stock rose exponentially from that moment. In 2005, he was honoured as the ICC's Test and overall Player of the Year, after a run of performances against West Indies and England that marked him out as the biggest scalp in the modern game. His batting is not for the romantic - a Kallis century tends to be a soulless affair, with ruthless efficiency taking precedence over derring-do, and he has never quite dispelled the notion that he is a selfish cricketer, with more interest in his average than his team's position. But whatever it is that makes him tick, it has propelled him to the top of the all-time South African Test batting charts, and until the emergence of Andrew Flintoff, he was by some distance the leading allrounder in the world game, capable of swinging the ball sharply at surprising pace off a relaxed run-up. He is a strong man with powerful shoulders and a deep chest and he has the capacity to play a wide array of attacking strokes, if not always the inclination. To add to all this, he is a fine slip fielder.
Missed the first Test of South Africa's tour of Australia at the end of 2005 with an elbow problem, struggled facing Brett Lee at Melbourne and was hampered by the injury in making a patient and crucial 111 in the first innings at Sydney. Added a slow, unbeaten half-century in the second innings as South Africa contemplated their declaration and ended with an average of 61.33. Stood in as captain for the gut-wrenching third Test in a return series at home recently, and was the lead South African batsman in a bowler-dominated contest. A fighting 114 out of a total of 267 at Durban highlighted his series return of 227 runs and seven wickets. With Graeme Smith ruled out for 12 weeks with an ankle injury, Kallis was named captain for three ODIs and a Twenty20 against Zimbabwe at home ahead of the Champions Trophy in October.

HP iPAQ hw6940

The HP iPAQ hw6900 Mobile Messenger provides all the essentials to keep your business running even when you're away from the office -- phone, e-mail, and more secure access to business-critical information. At the same time, let your HP iPAQ keep life fun using GPS Navigation, the HP Photosmart Camera, and Microsoft Windows Media Player 10 Mobile to play your digital music and videos.

iTALK: Quad-band GSM technology delivers high quality mobile voice and data services with roaming capabilities across the world.

iCONNECT: A variety of integrated wireless technologies, including GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth let you connect and communicate in and away from the office.

iFIND: Transform your HP iPAQ into a personal guide to get you where you need to go with the built-in GPS receiver.

iWORK: Read and respond to e-mail using powerful solutions that help maintain your businesses' security. A Mini-SD slot is available to add memory as you need it or to exchange files between your HP iPAQ and another device.

iCREATE: The built-in HP Photosmart Camera allows you to take a quick photo and share it wirelessly from your handheld.

iPLAY: Your HP iPAQ keeps life fun with Microsoft Windows Media Player 10 Mobile to play your music and videos, HP Photosmart Mobile Software to show off your photos, and Windows Mobile games to challenge your mind.

Intel® Dual-Core Processors

In April of 2005, Intel announced the Intel® Pentium® processor Extreme Edition, featuring an Intel® dual-core processor, which can provide immediate advantages for people looking to buy systems that boost multitasking computing power and improve the throughput of multithreaded applications. An Intel dual-core processor consists of two complete execution cores in one physical processor (right), both running at the same frequency. Both cores share the same packaging and the same interface with the chipset/memory. Overall, an Intel dual-core processor offers a way of delivering more capabilities while balancing energy-efficient performance, and is the first step in the multi-core processor future.
An Intel dual-core processor-based PC will enable new computing experiences as it delivers value by providing additional computing resources that expand the PC's capabilities in the form of higher throughput and simultaneous computing. Imagine that a dual-core processor is like a four-lane highway—it can handle up to twice as many cars as its two-lane predecessor without making each car drive twice as fast. Similarly, with an Intel dual-core processor-based PC, people can perform multiple tasks such as downloading music and gaming simultaneously.
And when combined with Hyper-Threading Technology¹ (HT Technology) the Intel dual-core processor is the next step in the evolution of high-performance computing. Intel dual-core products supporting Hyper-Threading Technology can process four software threads simultaneously by more efficiently using resources that otherwise may sit idle.
By introducing its first dual-core processor for desktop PCs, Intel continues its commitment and investment in PC innovation as enthusiasts are running ever-more demanding applications. A new Intel dual-core processor-based PC gives people the flexibility and performance to handle robust content creation or intense gaming, plus simultaneously managing background tasks such as virus scanning and downloading. Cutting-edge gamers can play the latest titles and experience ultra-realistic effects and gameplay. Entertainment enthusiasts will be able to create and improve digital content while encoding other content in the background.
The new Intel® Core™ Duo processors have ushered in a new era in processor architecture design in which multi-core processors become the standard for delivering greater performance, improved performance per watt, and new capabilities across Intel's desktop, mobile, and server platforms. The Intel dual-core products also represent a vital first step on the road to realizing Platform 2015, Intel's vision for the future of computing and the evolving processor and platform architectures that support it.