For everyone outside the UK I recommend catching up with this fine series as soon as some off-shoot of the BBC makes it available to you. It's kind of a pesudo-James Bond meets what could be real life MI5 (you like to imagine) with a side order of cheese all in series form. It's quite a strange combination but it's very compelling and quite enjoyable. Even in it's more jarring moments. Talking of which the tag-line is: "MI5 not 9 to 5" - which I think tells you succinctly just about everything you need to know about the series and whether you're going to like it.
Anyway what drives me to write is not that it's back on television - which I don't deny is great - but to cover some of the more fanciful & enjoyable 'discoveries' this evening's episodes provided:
1. MI5 shy away from Big Blue technology and it's clones going all out for Mac systems. They're all over MI5 head-quarters - 17 inch wide screen iMacs, Power Macs of all shapes and descriptions, and hoards of Power Books - well I'm assuming this last one as I don't actually remember clocking any notebooks at all - but it's fair to say it was a Mac-fest. Anyway I'd love to think that this was true. The genius. Over 90% of security breeches, virii and worms attack PC systems - so what could be safer for the security services than running Apple networks? This would make the basis of a great switch campaign. What saddens me though is that the BBC probably just decided to use Macs as they seem to have decided that the MI5 building is actually the techie playground of uber-geeks and Macs look "pretty cool" and fit in with that image. Part of me still hopes the first reason is the right one though.
2. On the other hand it wasn't surprising to see that the nasty Serb terrorist used a PC (I actually think it was an IBM) and that the down-at-heal private firm used sub standard PC kit in my favourite shade of systems beige.
3. Finally my favourite event was the previously mentioned Serb terroist bloke typing his secret documents in the Serb embassy. What's the best way to hide what you type? Some sort of book code? Encryption software? No. The best way to hide what you are typing is to know the binary for anything you might want to say and then type it very fast. Hoping of course that there isn't a second computer savant watching over you shoulder. Quite incredible. The typing of the binary was one thing but the fact that he could do it at a fast touch typing speed was another. The real icing on the cake though was the number of keys in use - surely touch typing with all five digits is show-boating if you are only typing out 0's and 1's?
Anyway I eagerly await the rest of the series as it's hugely entertaining despite - and because of - the slight oddities of plot and setting. In the meantime I'm updating my PC wallpaper even though 9 out of 10 intelligence agencies don't recommend it.
Jedi Knight II is hardly new but I got addicted to it after downloading the demo from Games Domain. I was actually looking for the Freelancer demo but this turned out to be immensely disappointing unless I was missing something. Anyway I'm in a completely different world now - which is a bit sad - but the up side is that I'm not tempted to be out there spending my mortgage money - something which is still scaring the hell out of me I have to say. I'm sure the Jedi training will come in useful if the bailiffs come knocking anyway.
Finally just a quick sorry to daisy who's film quiz I haven't even looked at yet and she has real prizes and everything. Maybe if the quiz had cool graphics and Jedi mind tricks I would have spent most of the weekend on it. Anyway the closing date is midnight tomorrow so I'm going to give it a crack and I recommend you do too (as long as you don't snatch a prize from my grubby grasp).