Upgrading RAM in a EeePC 1000HE

SODIMM
(Image by osde8info via Flickr)

I’m not sure if this applies to other models of the ASUS EeePC, or indeed to other manufacturer’s products, but I had a niggly problem upgrading from 1Gb to 2Gb memory (the maximum the little beast can take).

I bought my upgrade from Offtek who I’ve used a few times before and found to be very good. The SODIMM turned up, I swapped it out for the 1Gb one included in the machine and rebooted.

And found I had 0.99Gb of memory. The exact same as I had in place before the “upgrade”. I rechecked, re-seated, ran the Ubuntu memory checker and all told me the same thing.

So the SODIMM went back to Offtek who sent me a replacement by return of post.

And the same thing happened.

The solution, it turns out, is simple. Finding it is not. I couldn’t find jack shit on the ASUS website. For a start, there is no “EeePC” model listed in the search filter in the FAQ. Skipping past that and just searching for anything with “RAM” or “memory” in the text returned – surprisingly – nothing. At all. For any model.

I then tried Google and found a solution, funnily enough on some ASUS forum that wasn’t linked from the UK support site. It is this:

Upon booting, hammer the F2 key so that you get into the BIOS setup. Don’t touch anything, just hit F10 to quit and save changes (answer “yes” to the prompt).

Sorted.

An annoying little problem with a silly solution.

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I Am Number Four / The Rite

A very late night on Friday to fit both of these in. A good job the latter was so bloody boring I managed to rest my eyes during a lot of it.

I Am Number Four

“A place is only as good as the people you know in it.”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: Weird kid with secret tries to fit in with outcast kids at school while being chased by aliens. As you do.

I didn’t realise until I walked past Waterstone’s today that this film is based on a book by one Pittacus Lore (actually a pseudonym for two people: Jobie Hughes and James Frey). What’s scary is that the book didn’t come 0ut until last August, and the option to it was bought a year prior. This means that Warner Bros were sinking a huge sum of cash into, and filming, a movie based on a book that hadn’t even been published. Wow.

The trailers and spiel made it out to be along the lines of the passable Push and the not-all-that-bad Jumper. It is in that it’s about a kid with abilities who’s being chased by forces unknown. It’s much better than both of them, though.

Imagine a mix of the above with the grouping together of characters which made the likes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer so good. It doesn’t start particularly well, with the acting seeming somewhat shonky but that improves as things go on. It was pleasing to see that the backstory was dealt with very quickly so that we could concentrate on what’s happening to our main character (John, played by Alex Pettyfer) and his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant).

Basically, he and a few other children are the last to escape a planet which is destroyed by the marauding Mogadorians. Once they come of age, they will develop powers which will help them defeat the evil nasties (who remind me of the black-clad aliens from Critters, if memory serves). Simple enough plot and one that focuses on John being unable to settle, constantly being on the move and starting to come of age – rebelling against Henri and trying to do his own thing despite the risks. Ideal teen fodder.

Thing is, it all works very well. Far better than the trailer would have you believe. The effects are excellent, the monsters scary, the bad guys evil and the violence pretty graphic for a 12A. OK, so it’s a little predictable in places (how obvious could the torn shirt cloth plot device have been made?), but it does keep throwing new things into the mix which you simply aren’t expecting.

The final battle scene, complete with ducking into doorways and firing huge laser guns around, is nothing short of a great homage to the original Star Wars in my eyes.

Really rather good. Hopefully, unlike with the excellent Vampire’s Assistant, it’ll rake in enough to warrant a sequel or two. Good stuff.

The Rite

“ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: A priest is railroaded into becoming an exorcist and sends the male half of the audience to sleep.

Even the usually-excellent Anthony Hopkins couldn’t save this turkey. It’s as linear as a set of railroad tracks, has no twists or turns and the only good bit is at the end when you know you can go home.

Gill seemed to think that women would prefer it and the comments I overheard as we left would perhaps bear this out. Female voices made attempts to find good things in it while several men branded it variously as “shite”, “pish” and “fucking awful”.

While it does have a story, it just doesn’t have a good one. It isn’t a horror. Nor is it something that would tear the Catholic church apart in a fit of conspiracy theories. It’s not a thriller and there’s no mystery to it. It’s most definitely not a comedy.

It starts well enough, with Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue) deciding to become a priest. Given the alternative is to take over at his father’s mortuary, this isn’t perhaps understandable. He aces all his exams except theology, which he flops as he has no faith. In a bid to get him to believe (or something), he’s packed off to Rome to study to become an exorcist.

Here, it could have got interesting. Perhaps he could have battled with his faith and the church, argued intelligently with great minds over the existence and non-existence of Satan. But, no. They palm him off on some old guy who’s casting demons out and… well… I fell asleep. Even Gill, who stayed awake, admitted that nothing happened. She just enjoyed the journey to nowhere that I snored through.

I recently had a comment on the Facebook rendering of this blog asking if I ever saw films I didn’t like. Well, it doesn’t happen that often, but I guess that comment tempted fate.

This was shit.

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True Grit / Drive Angry

I just spotted there were going to be eight films in the cinema this weekend that interested me. This called for an emergency trip to the Edinburgh Cineworld to offset this load slightly.

True Grit

“If you would like to sleep in a coffin, it would be all right.”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: hard drinkin’, straight shootin’, man huntin’… erm… rootin’ tootin’ cowboy flick.

According to the blurb, this isn’t  remake of the 1969 John Wayne movie, but instead a new adaptation of the original source novel by Charles Portis. I heard an interview with one of the Coen Brothers recently, and he stated that they’d stayed close to the book including around 90% of the dialogue being lifted straight from it. The dialogue certainly is fantastic and one of the highlights of a great movie.

Now, I’m not a Coen disciple. In my opinion they’ve done some pretty good stuff (The Hudsucker Proxy) and some completely over-rated claptrap (I’ll be crucified for this, but I think Fargo is shit). I picked True Grit as it had had good reviews and because it started at a convenient time. I’m glad I did as I really enjoyed it.

As I said, the dialogue is a delight. If the Brothers tell the truth then the credit deserves to go to Portis for writing it so well. Of course, the delivery by the likes of Jeff Bridges (“Rooster” Cogburn), Matt Damon (Texas trooper LaBoeuf) and narrator Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) should also be credited in much the way that Aaron Sorkin‘s genius wouldn’t be as effective without the gifted casts of The West Wing or The Social Network.

I am not a fan of westerns, either, but the setting makes no odds for this as the story is good. A simple tale of revenge as Mattie hires Cogburn to track down Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) for killing her father. The two don’t like each other, or Damon’s LaBoeuf who joins them, and the three play well off each other.

It’s a well-spun tale with a good ending (not the same as the Wayne version, and apparently that of the book) which doesn’t over-stretch itself or become maudlin.

Better than I expected and well worth a watch.

Drive Angry 3D

“Wouldn’t wanna be you when Satan finds out!”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: Things explode and people get killed and there’s some devil worship in there somewhere… and maybe a plot.

I really can’t be arsed with 3D films. This one claims to be shot in “state of the art”3D. How this is different from the 3D used in other films these days, I have no idea. Yes, I’m aware there are those filmed in 3D and those ruined by mucking about with the print in post-production to fake it, but they’re all just gimmickery.

The first thing you should do upon buying your ticket for Drive Angry is to place your brain into neutral and allow any sense of reality to ooze from your ears before the trailers end (and that fucking Orange advert comes on. Again.). You should now enjoy it immensely. Especially if you’re male and around 18 years of age. It’s that kind of film.

Nicolas Cage is a man on a mission, to rescue his grand-daughter from the clutches of an evil devil worshipper. He’s aided by a ridiculously hot waitress (Piper played by Amber Heard) and a couple of other buddies along the way. To tell you more would only give away as much as is in the trailer but as ever I’ll try to stay as spoiler free as always.

As a bonus for your money, there are two bad guys. The aforementioned evil devil-worshipping cult leader Jonah King (Billy Burke) and The Accountant played by a  magnificent William Fichtner. I’ve seen this man in a few things, including TV’s Prison Break and he is, frankly, the natural replacement for Christopher Walken. Cool, unruffled, slightly unusual-looking and capable of scaring the shit out of you. In fact, he’s so good in this film, that he runs the risk of doing what Alan Rickman did in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and stealing the show.

This is not a sensible film. There are no heart-wrenching performances. It won’t have you rolling in the aisles with laughter. What it will do – if you enjoy films like Death Race – is thoroughly entertain. It does get a little bit repetitive at points, and some of the action scenes drag a little too long. Or maybe that’s me having seen too many daft films.

Either way, it’s worth your cash. Although I still reckon it would have been every bit as stupid and enjoyable without forcing me to wear those bloody glasses for 100 minutes.

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Gnomeo & Juliet

Another trip to the cinema with the kids. We needed something entertaining enough to engage the little one without sending us mad. That ruled the painful-looking Yogi Bear flick out, so we settled on:

Gnomeo & Juliet

“Let’s go kick some grass!”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: Shakespeare with pottery.

This turned out to be a great choice. Superb cast, tons of humour, near-constant action and bright colours made it ideal for all four of us.

The plot follows Shakespeare’s original fairly well, to a point, and some of the dialogue is a direct pastiche of the Bard’s work. Gnomeo (James McAvoy) is a blue garden gnome living in the garden of Mr Capulet (voiced by Richard Wilson). He falls for Juliet (Emily Blunt), a red gnome living next door in Miss Montague’s (Julie Walters) garden.

Of course, the owners and therefore the gnomes are deadly enemies. We’re not limited to little rotund porcelain midgets, though. There are plastic flamingos, concrete animals and a cute little toadstool as well. The imagination of the creative team is incredible with amazing attention to detail and beautiful ideas being thrown up time after time.

If there’s a downside to the film it’s that all the music is by Elton John and it’s not exactly my favourite genre. In fairness, a lot of it is reworked into the background. As the film goes on, the songs themselves are replaced by background instrumentals. Right up to the end credits when a voice from Hell takes over and cuts into the eardums like a chainsaw. I think it’s Ellie Furtado and it’s horrendous.

Gnomeo & Juliet is fun, bright and funny on enough levels to make it entertaining for the whole family.

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The Fighter

Only time for one film on Friday again. I am so looking forward to a return to university (hopefully) next year when I can start cramming in 7-8 a week again!

The Fighter

“That guy did not just get off the fuckin’ couch. If he did, I’m gonna get a couch like that.”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: The ups and downs of two brothers, both boxers, in smalltown America.

Very short review as I’m short of time.

Fairly run-of-the-mill rags to riches story, though based on true events. One brother (Dicky – Christian Bale) never quite made it in the ring, so he looks to his younger sibling Micky (Mark Wahlberg) to capture that glory for him. With a possessive mother (Melissa Leo) managing him, Micky never quite seems to be getting there.

Events take a turn for the worse for Dicky at around the point where the story is waning. Just as the plot seems to be stuck in the “seen it all before” rut, things do get more interesting. As ever, I’ll avoid spoilers so I won’t say what happens.

The family starts to squabble, Micky looks to other avenues and his career moves in another direction.

The Fighter won’t be remembered for its story, enjoyable though it is. It will be remembered for one of the best casts to come together for a film in some time. Bale and Wahlberg could be brothers in real life, the way they appear on screen. Leo is magnificent as the bitchy mother and their sisters are scary and mad. Amy Adams is a perfect mix of sweet and tough as the love interest, while special credit must go to Micky O’Keefe who plays himself. Not as a minor part, but as a major supporting character.

While this isn’t a great film, it contains so many excellent performances it should be seen to appreciate the acting. Also, ensure you wait a few seconds into the end credits to see a short segment featuring the real-life brothers. From that shot, you can see how well Bates and Wahlberg have captured their subjects.

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