Review

DatabaseSpy better than Toad and DBArtisan

According to Redmond Magazine's new article Redmond Roundup: Tooling Around in Your Database, Altova DatabaseSpy is the Redmond Roundup Champion and beats both Toad for SQL Server and Embarcadero DBArtisan - two products that are over four times more expensive:

RedmondRoundup

The article highlights different aspects of each database tool and comes to the conclusion:

"Each tool has its strengths. DatabaseSpy is the best overall in terms of range of features."

The editors further have this to say about Altova DatabaseSpy:

"At $139 [actually, the correct price is $149] for a permanent license, Database Spy is one of the last great deals available. While it's not perfect, it lets you do anything you may need to do with your databases. If this one doesn't meet all your needs, Altova has a number of other discrete tools for analyzing and modifying database structures.

Overall, Database Spy provides virtually all of the features anyone could need to supplement products that store, log or analyze data in relational databases."

I couldn't agree more - to read the full article click here...

To try DatabaseSpy for free, please download the 30-day fully-featured eval version here.

Golden Compass Movie Sneak Preview

We got to see a sneak preview of the upcoming Golden Compass movie today - six days before it opens nationwide in cinemas. The movie is certainly beautiful to watch - the renditions of some of the technological marvels of that other universe are elaborate and impressive. And the acting isn't bad either. However, the shape-shifting of the kids' dæmons was quite disappointing (they shift so fast that you don't get to see any nice CGI-transitions at all). And the story has been brutally mangled as it was turned into a screenplay: important aspects of character-development are missing, entire sections of certain chapters are missing (e.g. the ambassador of the witches), the sequence of events has been overturned (e.g. Bolvangar vs. fight of the bears for the throne), and the end has been turned from a breath-taking, earth-shattering, and tearing-the-sky-open cliff-hanger into a mediocre happy ending, Hollywood-style.

Furthermore it appears that the Authority still has a strong grip on affairs in our universe: the movie doesn't dare to criticize the Church and only calls it the "Magisterium" and even the church buildings in the movie have only a fleeting resemblance to cathedrals and look more like a cross between Metropolis and greenhouses.

Nonetheless, one of the positive things about the movie is that you can visit the movie website and do a quick test to meet your own dæmon - here is a picture of mine, and her name is Hypatia:

GoldenCompass_Hypatia_Cropped

I really like that tiger - I think I'm going to keep my dæmon.

So what it all boils down to is this: I recently read the entire His Dark Materials trilogy on the Sony Reader (a few months before the Kindle came out) and the Golden Compass book is just so much better than the movie. If you haven't read it yet, do yourself a favor and get the book before you watch the movie!

MLT's Wizard of Oz dazzles audience


Marblehead Little Theatre's Wizard of Oz production opened this weekend and the performance was enchanting. The story, special effects, and first class acting bewitched children and adults alike.





Starring Ron Amon as the Lion, Lianne Gennaco as Dorothy, Ted Merritt as the Tin Man, and Erik Rodenhiser as the Scarecrow, the "Fab Four" set out on their quest to find the Wizard and follow the Yellow Brick Road all the way to the Emerald City.





Janet Sheehan is spectacular as the Wicked Witch of the West, as she tries to get Dorothy's slippers and attempts to block the way of the quartet every-witch way she can.





Likewise, Ursina Amsler attempts to help the four as Glinda the Good Witch of the North, and comes to the rescue when things get sticky.





The Munchkins are adorable and oh so thankful to Dorothy when she drops her house on the Wicked Witch of the East.



DSC02865



Karin Anderson, Nora Falk, and Barbara Lasovick are the Apple Trees who don't like to be picked, and are defending their reputation by throwing apples after the Scarecrow and Dorothy.





The best thing about the show, however, are the dance scenes - both in Oz and in the Enchanted Forest, where the Jitterbug captures the travelers. This elaborate choreography is a clear departure from the old ways for MLT and adds greatly to the overall professionalism of the performance.



For more photos, please see this gallery, where you can also buy prints. However, I should add that I wasn't able to attend the dress rehearsal this year, so these photos were taken during an actual performance, without flash, and only with the small 7 Mpixel camera, so they are not as perfect as in previous years.



Last, but not least, if you want to see the show, you can buy tickets online on the MLT web site. The show runs the weekends of Nov 10, 11 and Nov 17, 18 with Saturday performances at 1:00 PM and 7:00 PM and Sunday performances at 1:00 PM.