Every Simpsons Ever

Every Simpsons Ever is such a brilliant ploy by FXX. I mean, I’m sure in some board room somewhere, some guy jokingly said “I know, we’ll just show every Simpsons in a row, from start to finish.” Then he laughed.

Then someone else said “Oh my, that’s brilliant.”

And it is.

It made me think about my favorite Simpsons episodes. I’m not sure I can really pin down a list. Chances are as soon as I picked five, I’d think of five more. Then five more. Then five more.

So, right now, here are some of my favorite Simpsons episodes, particularly since many of them have been on over the last day or two.

“Cape Feare” – The Simpsons go into the witness protection program. Most notable for the amazing never ending Sideshow Bob rake gag.

Ssbobrake

“Lemon of Troy” – The Simpsons vs. Shelbyville. “Shake harder boy” is something I quote with regularity.

YVwP1UF

“Itchy & Scratchy Land” – Not only does it have the great Bort license plate, but I quote “Where nothing can possibly go wrong (pronounced bligh). Possibly go wrong. That’s the first thing that’s ever gone wrong” all the time.

Bort

“Bart vs. Australia” – The boot. The device to make water go the correct direction down the toilet. “Hey Andy!”

“Deep Space Homer” – Homer goes into space. Amazing from the get go. Kent Brockman giving into our new alien overlords. The inanimate carbon rod. “Go, Dad, Go.”

Ruffled

Careful, they’re ruffled!

“A Fish Called Selma” – The entire Planet of the Apes musical. “I hate every ape I see, from chimpan-A to chimpan-Z.”

And those all come from before season 7. There’s at least four or five more good seasons of The Simpsons (where good means “somewhere between 3 and 5 classic episodes per season”). Then it drops down to maybe 1–3 classic episodes per season for the next few seasons. An unbelievable run.

I think if Fox just turned FXX into an all Simpsons, all the time network (which they are going to do online with the FXNOW app), it might do better ratings than FXX does normally.

Mac App Store Won’t Update Apps? This Might Help.

For the last couple of weeks, every time I got an update from the Mac App Store (for a non-system application), I’d go to update it, and the Mac App Store would ask for my password, think, and then fail with “There was an error in the App Store. Please try again later (20)”.

No amount of googling lead me to an answer, but it did lead me to some nifty debugging. For instance, apparently the App Store has a debug menu. I turned that on, turned up logging, and then watched my console log. It was complaining about the application receipt (the proof that you purchased the application).

So, back to the google to try to see if anyone ever found that error. I thought “maybe the App Store can’t read the place where I have receipts.” I tried to figure out where that is, which lead me to this post talking about how the App Store keeps receipts around in memory.

Well, I figured, I could give it a shot …

killall -KILL storeagent

and voilĂ , my App Store could update again.

(Which also means a reboot would have worked, but I go out of my way to not reboot my machine, if I can avoid it.)

Great Musical TV Scenes

Following up on the exercise of highlighting some great musical movie scenes, here are some great musical TV scenes. I’ll only give five, but I probably could have gone on for a billion.

Scrubs – How To Save a Life

Scrubs used music as well as any show on TV. I don’t think anything crushed me more than this montage. Dr. Cox, the strong, superhuman doctor loses it over The Fray’s “How to Save a Life”. Still causes me to choke up.

(Here’s another great “Scrubs” musical moment …)

(What the hell, here’s another … )

Coupling – Spiderman

Pre-“Doctor Who” Steven Moffat builds up to this scene over three seasons of TV, imbues it with such meaning, and then undercuts it with the “Spiderman” theme, a call back to a previous episode.

The first three season of “Coupling” are easily amongst the top five sitcoms of all time. Watch the two scenes in order.

Veronica Mars – It Never Rains in Southern California

You know the teen noir of “Veronica Mars” couldn’t end on a really happy note, but this might be the most fitting ending for a show that perfectly hit the greys of Neptune, California.

Chuck – I’m a Pilot

Like “Scrubs”, “Chuck” had a billion great musical moments. I love the way “I’m a Pilot” works perfectly with the landing of the parachuting soldiers and Chuck’s dash to save Sarah.

(For good measure, here’s another amazing scene from “Chuck” … JEFFSTER!)

Supernatural – Carry On My Wayward Son

Every season, “Supernatural” does a fantastic montage at the start of the season finale to “Carry On My Wayward Son”. They really do excel at the montage.

Here’s basically eight of them, back to back.

(For good measure, here’s Jensen Ackles lip syncing “Eye of the Tiger”.)

Great Musical Movie Scenes

Kim at Midnight Snark made a great post highlighting some of her favorite musical movie scenes. While driving home this weekend, it got me thinking about what would be on my list. This is probably too off-the-cuff, but they’re the scenes that stuck out in my head.

Magnolia – Wise Up

Paul Thomas Anderson has a ton of great musical scenes in his movies (damn near every scene in Boogie Nights), but I don’t think anything is more amazing than the “Wise Up” montage from Magnolia. It’s just thematically and tonally perfect. Touching and sad and perfect.

I need to go watch Magnolia again.

(I also could have included the “Sister Christian” scene from Boogie Nights, but I’ve decided to only include one scene per director.)

Almost Famous – Tiny Dancer

Speaking of directors with amazing musical scenes, Cameron Crowe pretty much always has at least one phenomenal musical scene per movie. This had every chance of being cheesy, but the movie and character completely earn this cathartic sing-along.

(And man, Kate Hudson kills it in this movie. She needs to find herself a new Cameron Crowe movie.)

(Oh, and yeah, could have included Say Anything here. Man, Cameron Crowe probably has two ridiculously iconic scenes on his own.)

Office Space – Still

PC Load Letter, what the fuck does that mean?

Step-Brothers – Sweet Child O’Mine

Adam Scott and Kathryn Hahn just crush it. Still hard to pick between this and “Boats ’n Hoes”. Also, you’ve heard of my a cappella obsession, right?

The Blues Brothers – Rawhide

I love this movie so, so much. The music is amazing, and winning over the bar that loves both types of music—country and western— with “Rawhide” and then “Stand By Your Man” is perfect.

Bringing the whip into play, genius.

I could go on for another 30 clips. I think it might be more fun to do this with TV scenes. I can think of a million.

And This is Why Linux Will Never Win the Desktop …

I have a degree in Computer Engineering.

I work with computers all day for a living.

I am pretty well versed in Linux, networking, etc.

I just spent hours googling and trying different things before finally finding these steps, and now I have a working VPN on an Ubuntu desktop. I’m pretty sure your average user couldn’t follow those steps.

(Now, of course, the argument would be that if more folks used Linux, then software vendors would produce better software for it. That’s a chicken-or-the-egg problem that is going to continue to leave Linux a distant third in desktop use.)

Anyway, it works now. All so I can use a VPN inside a virtual machine without disrupting my normal network use.

Fixing a Broken Mac VPN Connection

I was on a wonky hotel wifi connection that dropped and reconnected a number of times while I was connected to my office VPN. Eventually, Mac OS X said something like “your connection sucks, I’m not going to let you use the VPN anymore, sorry sucker.”

At the time, that was no big deal, since I was heading out of the hotel.

But later, when I actually needed the VPN, it was a big deal.

No matter what I tried, the VPN wouldn’t connect. I googled some solutions and one solution pointed to flushing the network routes, i.e.:

sudo route flush

but that just ended up spinning up my CPU to 100% and seemingly not getting anywhere.

I decided to take a more targeted approach. I grabbed the IP for my VPN. (If you have a domain-based VPN host, you can get the IP by using this command:

dig +short vpn.hostname

(where you plug in your hostname for the vpn.hostname). Then, I ran this command:

sudo route delete 123.123.456.456

(again, where you plug your IP into the command, rather than my fake IP). Sho ’nuff, that fixed my problem. Your particular situation may be different (but hopefully not, and you’ll think I’m really smart).

A Couple of Quick App Reviews

I’ve been traveling a lot lately, and haven’t had a ton of free time, but I have had some time to try out a couple of apps.

Waze

With all that traveling (mostly in the car), I gave Waze another shot. And I just can’t use it for day-to-day travel. It does one thing incredibly well: using real-time data to really find you the shortest route. It’ll route around traffic, route around various incidents, and use crowdsourced data to get you there faster. And it is really good at that, save the few times where it tries to get super cute and route you through a bunch of side streets and around neighborhoods to save you a minute of travel time.

It doesn’t do anything particularly poorly, but it does pretty much everything else mediocrely. The interface is visually not pleasing, and at times, confusing. The voice prompts are distorted and are pretty bad compared to other map apps. I think the voice prompts come too close to intersections, leading to harried moments of “is this the turn, ohhhh crap it is”.

For 90% of your travel, Apple Maps or Google Maps will probably meet your needs perfectly well. When you’re stuck in traffic, get your passenger to grab Waze and see if there’s a way around.

Overcast

Marco Arment’s Overcast is a new podcast player. I’ve been using it exclusively for a week, seeing if it fits my usage patterns better than other apps. So far, it does. The interface is really pretty nice—it’s pretty minimal and laid out nicely to take advantage of iOS7. It downloads and plays podcasts. I tend to listen to most podcasts at more than 1x speed, and Overcast handles that nicely. It also has a feature called “Smart Speed” where it snips out long silences to help speed up podcasts. It’s a pretty nifty feature and works as described. I’ve not noticed it yet, but it definitely speeds things up. This has allowed me to not use 2x speed, but knock back to 1.5x and still get a nice speed boost. One of the nicest features is that it will import your settings from most other podcast apps to get your started. A really nice touch. All of the server side stuff seems to run pretty smoothly … more on that in a bit.

There’s a couple of rough edges, which is to be expected in a 1.0 release. You can’t globally set “always play podcasts at X speed”—you set them on each podcast with a “use last settings” or “always use these settings”. I’d guess its an attempt to not put too much stuff hitting in a setting screen, but it always bites me when I’m playing a new podcast or a podcast that hasn’t updated since the app released. It doesn’t seem to download new podcasts quite as quickly as Instacast did. You can’t tap the top of the screen to scroll to the top of the view. When downloading, it does seem to heat up the battery decently (though that could be intermittent signal, since I’ve been traveling, so I’m holding out judgment on that one).

So far, it’s my go to podcast app. I think in a couple of iterations, it’ll have sanded off the rough edges. And, to top it off, it’s the only podcast app I know of that brings a web app to the table, which means you get desktop sync no matter where you are. The only thing that needs to happen on the desktop app is for it to find a way to play at more than 1x speed, which would be a huge win.