Monday, January 31, 2005

Teens and the First Amendment

There's no exceptionally great story today so I thought I'd make this interesting study the cover story of today's post. It turns out that 17% of high school students are really stupid because that's how many think that expressing unpopular views is illegal. Even more surprising is that only a fourth of the students knew that flag burning is legal and half are on the verge of communism because they think the government should have to approve press stories. I hate to be another whiner about education, but I really have to be here. My government teacher was very clear about the bill of rights and their philosophical basis and I can't imagine that so many kids in the rest of the country don't learn this stuff. Though it was kind of redundant for me I realize how important it is because these people may neglect their rights or may someday fight against them because they don't understand why they're so important. I can't wait until Bush is gone so we can get someone in office who actually cares about education.

Not a whole lot of movie news today I'm afraid. There's a new trailer up for Mirror Mask, which I cited a review for last week, and it actually looks much better than the old one. Just go to the site and navigate to 'Previews'. It would appear that the role of Jimmy Olsen in the upcoming Superman movie will be played by Sam Huntington. This comes as a shock to fans who expected the role to have been taken by X-man Shawn Ashmore, but don't cry too hard for him though because he's in a movie opposite Elisha Cuthbert anyway. Anyway, I have high hopes for this movie (gotta love Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth).

The strange few of you who have been waiting for the Doom board game need wait no longer, it has arrived!

Very odd

If you're as curious as I am about the inspiration for this board game with so many swallowable plastic pieces you may find this interview of use. It sounds way too nerdy for my taste. Speaking of nerdy though, ATI was the top producer of graphics chips last year barely edging ahead of Nvidia according to one research firm. Both of them rock regardless though in my opinion.

Google has been having a pretty good day today. They've officially become a seller of domains and their brand was number two in 2004 according to a Reader's Choice Award. The number one title belongs to Apple because of its plethora of new products last year, but it lagged behind IBM, Intel, and HP in market share. It's interesting what brands made that list, including Bimbo, so take a look.

It is probably no surprise to many of you that the Fed is expected to raise rates this Wednesday at its FOMC meeting. If the economy doesn't look so hot, why do they want to raise the federal funds rate to 2.5% at a "measured" pace? Because money is too cheap and the economy is still going through expansion. With energy prices on the rise we don't want to get into an inflation spiral, which we haven't had in quite a long time thanks to the Fed and veterans like Paul Volkner. And we're finally approaching what is known as a neutral interest rate (we're too low right now because of the recession from a couple of years ago), which is definitely a good thing.

Lastly, I wanted to plug this blog post about how to blog. It's a really good read for all of you who feel unsure about your blog. I found it from the 2005 Bloggie nominees, which you should vote on because there's some great blogs on there including the sleek and humorous Defamer.

It's now time for some Monday Madness:

1. Are you more likely to rent or buy DVD's (VHS's)? Why?
I'm more likely to rent because I only buy DVDs of movies I really love and can watch many times. I actually have few more than ten DVDs myself.

2. If you rent DVD's, do you bother viewing the 'Behind the Scenes' or watching the entire movie again with commentary on?
If I liked the movie I'll usually check out the Behind the Scenes stuff and/or deleted scenes, but not commentary. I may watch commentary for select scenes, but usually not.

3. Do you think these features warrant the extra cost for DVD?
Given that it's only a few more bucks, sure. You get a higher quality movie in a pretty package with great extras for the real fans.

4. What's your favorite DVD (or VHS) in:
*Drama I consider Pulp Fiction to be drama, despite its official genre of action), and it's a spectacular movie with deserving extras
*Comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail of course!
*Action Probably The Matrix because that movie just has classic scenes
*Suspense/Thriller I think the Sixth Sense one has great stuff, plus the movie rocks
*Horror I'm not a big fan of horror movies so I'll just say The Ring out of lack of a better title, but I did like that movie despite popular opinion

I just wanted to conclude with this:

I am going to die at 84. When are you? Click here to find out!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

"I Will Always Remember..."

watching The Girl Next Door last night. Ok, so may be it wasn't that inspirational, but I still enjoyed it. It's one of the best teen comedy movies we've had in quite a long time and a ton of fun to watch. It also makes you feel kind of fuzzy inside at the end, but no guy will admit to that. Well except for me of course, but that's just because it's left me in a strangely bittersweet mood. Those of you who haven't seen really should because it's actually funny and has a palatable plot (similar to Risky Business) with believable dialogue. Plus you get to see stuff like this:


For those of you who don't know, it's about a high school senior, played by Emile Hirsch, who does't do a whole lot in high school other than being an overachiever until he meets the girl who moves in next door. This character is portrayed by Elisha Cuthbert, who was drooled over by many men in 24 also, and then the movie takes many interesting twists and turns. Anyway, go see it if you haven't.

I only have one other movie item today. This weekend's number one movie was Hide and Seek with $22 million. January is typically a slow month, which shows right here since this movie is supposed to be horrible. I guess I actually have one more thing: an article about the top films from Sundance if anyone wants to see the good stuff coming up this year.

I do have a couple of tidbits about television, however. Apparently an episode of "Postcards from Buster" on PBS was pulled due to a reference to a lesbian couple. They were forced to under threat of pulled funding, and I think it's insane how much power these conservatives have nowadays. Their children are going to have trouble coping with homosexuality in society when the time comes because of such idiocy. It looks like downloading tv shows online has finally come under fire from tv executives. I understand that they don't want people to burn DVDs of it, and I don't intend on that at all. I just want to watch shows I miss and a select few cable shows that I can't watch here in Austin. I think if they charged like fifty cents for me to download these shows to watch that I'd willingly do that. They're toying with the idea so hopefully it gets them somewhere.

I have some great techie news today as well. A flash card maker in Taiwan, C-One technology, has developed one that is even faster than USB 2.0. It's called Mu-flash (as in the Greek letter) and it's actually cheaper to make as well. Maybe I'll have a digital camera by the time that comes out! And in case anyone is interested, BBC put up part one of a two part interview with Bill Gates that they conducted. The questions were good, but Gates didn't say anything terribly profound.

Now for some Unconscious Mutterings:

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Coroner::Creepy, pale, white dude
  2. Mystify::The magic shows my dad used to record (I loved Penn and Teller)
  3. Corroborate::Cops trying to interrogate a perp
  4. Misinterpret::Reading inscriptions in Latin!
  5. Humorless::My high school physics teacher
  6. Calculus::My fun high school teacher and my craptacular college one
  7. Eye for an eye::tooth for a tooth
  8. CPR::Health class from Freshman year
  9. Stitched::Snake stiching himself up in Metal Gear Solid 3
  10. Facility::Taylor Hall's Unix lab :)

I'll leave you with a strange and scary quote:
"We don't want a war in the Middle East if we can avoid it" - Dick Cheney (last week)

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Inspiration Without a Priest

"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing." - I Corinthians 13:2-3

I went to mass today because I have stuff to do early tomorrow, but I accidentally went a little late so I did some reading alone in the church afterwards to compensate. I'm realy glad I did that. There was something about the passage above and rereading the beattitudes that really struck me profoundly. It sounds corny, but the context of the passage was just so beautiful because it strove to be true. Love isn't a guy kissing his girlfriend or a husband taking his wife out to a romantic dinner, but rather it's "not rude, it is not self-seeking" and it "never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease." I just thought like the thought of that.

Now onto some more current events. A recent study has found that people who fidget have to work less to lose weight because they burn calories naturally! My old psychology professor would call that bullshit, but it sounds reasonable and I found it interesting considering that I fidget and I still had to work my butt of to get thin! It turns out that the badass known as Tim Berners-Lee has been named Greatest Briton 2004 for his creation of the world wide web. I salute him for it because I wouldn't be able to write this blog without him. Phillip Pullman also won but in the category of arts, and I'm a big fan of his so that's pretty neat.

I know how much you all love the movie news so here's a shot of the Dark Knight courtesy of JoBlo:

Nice suit

He also reported that Tony Jaa's new movie, Tom Yum Goong, will be coming out in Hong Kong around the same time Ong Bak will be released stateside. He even put up a clip from the upcoming movie that's worth a look and I reccomend that everyone check out Ong Bak as well. And while I'm on the topic of movies I might as well mention that IGN put up a good article about twelve franchise games that may actually be good contrary to popular belief. The game on that list that I'm most excited about is actually The Godfather because of all the effort EA is putting into it.

Following up from yesterday's mention of the MySQL worm, it turns out that it has now been reduced to being benign because the external ties to the bot have been severed. Supposedly the cause was not a bug but rather that the worm was exposing some feature, but I'm just glad it was halted. For all you hardcore nerds out there, this article is an interesting read about computers actually being able to learn words just by plugging into Google. And if you're a hardcore nerd, you may also appreciate this comic strip because you know it's true:

This happens in video game projects too

And now, the Saturday Six:

1. Who is the first celebrity you recall having a crush on?
I have to say the ever beautiful and talented Katie Holmes. She was the only reason I watched Dawson's Creek! I know, it's shameful, but she's sooo pretty!

2. What was your favorite amusement park ride when you were young?
When I was young I hated roller coasters because I was afraid I'd die on them, so I supposed the Astroneedle? Of course nowadays I love the Serial Thriller.

3. If you could change your name (first or middle but the name you go by), would you, and if so, what would you change it to?
No way. The Elton John references do get annoying, but it flows so well with my last name and it's so short! How many Eltons do you know anyway? Plus it's way easy for people to pronounce and produces many nicknames (Eltinium Processor being my favorite).

4. Go to and take the "First Name Analysis" test. Do you agree with what the site comes up with?
I would copy and paste the result here, but it's pretty long. It says that I have an urge to be kind to other but that I have a lot of frustration from a scattered and emotional nature, which is mostly true. It also says that I'm a people-person, which is very true. I don't agree with what it says about liking easy money though because I believe in hard work.

5. Other than Johnny Carson, which former talk show host's tape archives would you most like to visit, and why?
I don't really know. Richard Bey maybe? That's really the only one I used to watch when I was younger.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #44 from Jessie: If you were in good health, would you donate a kidney to a friend who's dying regardless of what your family's opinion are and if yes or no, why or why not?
Yeah, I think I would. Life wouldn't be the same without a kidney, but it would be even worse to know that someone I cared about died when I could've helped.

Most of you can stop reading now; I just wanted to take note of a few personal things. I went to the ACM junior officer introductory event today, and it went well. Do you ever get the feeling that you could've done something better? Not because you totally screwed it up or anything, but because you felt awkward about it afterwards? If not then I guess it's just me! I probably could've been more personable, but oh well. Like I could've gone out to lunch with everyone, but I had so much food at home that I would've felt bad to have eaten out. But anyway, if ACM is half as good as NSC I'm sure I'll have fun and warm up to everyone just fine. Oh, and I broke my second nail this week on Friday, so that really put a damper on yesterday. It was hampered by my talking to an old friend of mine, however. Is it just me, or are all the really cool girls always spoken for? Guess it's just me; I'll just live by a new motto: vive et gaude.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Politicians are Dumb

I've got so much to talk about today that it's hard to pin a title to it! But I decided to start out with a topic I wanted to address a few days ago. Why would you want to discourage education in an unstable economy? I would really like Mr. Bush to explain that to me. Instead of cutting funds from areas like fancy inaugurations and useless tax cuts (they're only meant to provide a temporary stimulus, not permanent) he's cutting programs that help nearly half a million students get a higher education. I know that doesn't sound like much, but it all adds up when they graduate with a higher than average salary and contribute to taxes. The best thing to do when we have crises in unskilled labor markets is to try to encourage education so people can get better jobs. Apparantly this concept is lost on conservatives. It's really quite disturbing that these are the people who are running our country and pissing all over our economy.

Ok, enough ranting for now. AICN put up some reviews of an early screening of a rough cut of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It doesn't sound so good so far so I hope that they manage to spruce it up a bit before the release because I was looking forward to this movie. In other movie news, it looks like Disney is going downhill. They broke up with Pixar (which is owned by Steve Jobs) and so now they're have trouble finding a director for Toy Story 3 since none of the good ones want to get on Pixar's bad side! Not to mention that Tom Hanks left the project as well. I'm sure that Pixar will leave Disney in the dust now that they're so well-known and respected.

And now it's time for some nerdy news. First off, some malware has been spreading rapidly regarding Windows MySQL installations because of weak password-protected systems. It's kind of sad that someone would want to do that since MySQL is open source and is supposed to be programmer friendly. The other thing is that some high school kid got a hefty jail sentence for releasing a variant of the Blaster worm and screwing up 48,000+ systems in the process. I feel a little sorry for his mental state, but what he did is a disgrace to programmers everywhere and it really did a lot of damage. The last thing I wanted to mention was this awesome article about writing good code. I think it's a must read for all programmers. It also condemns Pascal, which is hated because it used to be the standard for teaching CS majors in introductory courses and because of its mild similarities to the annoyance that is BASIC. I haven't actually written in Pascal and am trying to avoid it, but I'm sure I will eventually have to.

Alright you've almost reached the end now. I just wanted to bring up a few notable things in video games. Konami is going back to Castlevania's old school adventure roots with Curse of Darkness, and it sounds like an interesting game but the videos don't really impress me yet. It appears that the Nintendo Revolution, the Sony PS3, and the Xbox Next will all make an appearance at this year's E3, which will take place in May. This is a big deal because so far all three companies are being really hush-hush about them. And finally, it looks like small developer Blue 52 is trying to make a name for itself with Stolen. You can read some great first impressions here.It's supposed to be a true stealth game since you don't actually kill anyone, and it looks kinda like this:

A female Solid Snake?

Now the moment you've all been waiting for, the Friday Fiver:

1. Do you use profanity?
When your code doesn't compile you pretty much have to. Or when your climbing a rock wall and there's no conceivable way to get any higher up.

2. What are your favorite words of frustration?
Dumbass, holy shit, and from Donnie Darko, fuckass.

3. Did your parents ever swear in front of you?
They still do! Everything except the f-bomb.

4. Do you think that films should be rated based on the language they use?
To a certain degree, yes. I think exposing kids to too much profanity definitely has an effect on their psyche. It's not that they don't know the words, it's that the movie almost rationalizes their use and I myself really only curse in a poignant situation.

5. If you could curse our someone right now, who would it be?
George W. Bush or any Christian fundamentalist would do.

Have a great weekend everybody and please don't smoke!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Pair Programming

A few days ago we received our first project for CS 315, and it's much simpler than I thought it would be. All we have to do is fill in the implementation for a Date calculator. So you can add and subtract days and such and figure out what the date would be according to the Gregorian calendar. We're required to work in pairs on this project and reccomended to on future ones. I must say that I'm impressed with how well pair programming works. The concept is that if one person is writing code while the other watches, the chances of making mistakes in logic or semantically are rather slim because the other person will catch your mistakes. This saves a lot of debugging time and even just the time to code it up since two heads can think up better algorithms than one. I've met a few times with a friend of mine on it and I think we're making progress on this concept. We've gotten quite a bit of the code done and it is more enjoyable when you get used to the other person since you get more done and you have someone to talk with during breaks and stuff. It also makes writing test code less daunting when you have another person to help you along. Our teacher put up a great article about the rules of pair programming and how similar they are to Kindergarden rules.

Moving along, the movie news today is rather short. Star Wars fans may be pleased to see the introductory text for Episode 3 online, but I still feel indifferent about it. I'm only gonna watch it because from the looks of the trailer it seems like Yoda may have another sweet fight scene. If anyone is interested in an affordable solution to transfer VHS tapes to DVD, read this great article about the choices available right now. I'd rather just wait for the next generation of DVDs myself. The last thing I want to mention is the release of the trailer for the Gunner Palace movie. It's a documentary about the war in Iraq told from the side of the soldiers there. Obviously it was shot back in like 2003 through some of 2004, but it looks really cool and really true from the little I've heard from my cousin who's is currently serving in the war. The website has a cool blog on it, and my favorite picture from it is this:

Keep on jammin'

In other news, Microsoft thinks they can tackle more piracy offenders by requiring participation in some special program to get updates from their sites. Given the bugginess of SP2, I don't see why people would even care. I have a legal copy and not even I bother to update it. I wonder if Linux has less security holes because dowloading 50 security patches is very disconcerting. If any of you are Mac Mini fans you may be part of the petite-PC revolution. I personally think that that article is biased and that the Mini sucks. I guess it's ok for the casual user, but it's such a weak computer!

If you like reading about breakthroughs in technological research you'll enjoy this article. Apparently, some computer science badasses as Cornell have been developing software that converts images into sound to help blind people experience colors. I think it's a noble effort and I hope they get far in it.

Now for your dose of dumb news today. Some insensitive DJ in New York made a song that pokes fun at the victims of the tsunamis is Southeast Asia. The lyrics are pretty despicable and I'm amazed at how cruel she is. Meanwhile, Ringo Starr is somewhere saving the world. Sound weird? Yes, it is. For some unknown reason Stan Lee is making a comic out of the Beatles member, and I think that he's finally lost his touch.

Now for a couple of cool things before the meme. When I mentioned that Google search engine for tv shows I neglected to provide a link to the actual site. Well, now I have one! So turn on the tv, pick out a quote, and search for it. It's still in beta but fun to play around with nonetheless. The other cool thing is something called an artPad where you can do a little drawing and send it to your friends. The neat part is that it records the whole process of you drawing it so your friends can see. You can see my craptacular art skills here, and please comment with your own!

And now for the Thursday Bookworm:

1. We've all heard the phrase, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Have you ever picked up a book based solely on the title or the picture on the cover?
Yes, but that's mainly for research papers and stuff like that. I have also done that for a few guitar books though. Usually when I pick up a book, I recognize the author or I remember it from somewhere somehow. I don't get enough time to judge books by their cover for pleasure =P

2. Along the same lines, do you ever look at whichever book someone else is reading in public or whatnot, and based on that make a snap judgment about their character or literary taste?
Not really since I'm on a college campus. Most people read the books they read because they need it for some type of class, and when I rode the bus to go to work in the summer I only saw people reading the newspaper. I wonder if people judged me on the bus though for reading my gigantic Java book (which I did finish for the most part anyway).

3. Do you buy books online? If so, where is your favorite place to find them?
I mostly use All Book Stores and Book Finder, but is my reference tool like it is for everyone else and also where I keep my wish list.

4. From someone who's had more than her fair share of library fines... what is the largest late fee you've ever incurred at a library for returning a book past the due date? Have you ever borrowed a book from a library and never returned it?
Probably a quarter, I'm pretty good about returning books.

5. What is the first book that you can remember reading by yourself as a child?
As I've mentioned before, James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl is all I can remember. If you haven't read this book you should be ashamed of yourself and immediately run out and get it!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

My One Month Anniversary

As I'm sure none of you are aware of, today marks one month since I began this blog. I think I've done rather well with the exception of some posts being longer than I preferred. Sometimes there's just a lot to talk about though! If you have thoughts on my first month or what you'd like to see or anything of that sort, please feel free to comment on this post. To commemorate this day, here's some funnies from the Daily Texan:

I love Mattuous!

I had to scan those comics in the UGL because the Texan doesn't put them online, but it's a good thing the MCF is so cool.

Since I've already gotten into the habit, I guess I'll start out with some movie news. Filmforce put up a hi-res version of the trailer for Batman Begins, so take in the glory of it on full-screen. They also put up a great commentary of the Academy Awards, and it's definitely worth a look. I mentioned the movie Mirrormask the other day, but not much information was available for me to divulge. Now, however, AICN has put up a first review of the movie. As a friend of mine had expected, it was more about the visuals than the plot like the trailer showed. I still want to see the magnificent visuals though when the movie comes to theaters.

I have some great video game information today. Sony has finally released a trailer for Project: Snowblind, and it looks rather cool. IGN's impressions are good so far, and now I really wish I had ordered that beta to my Houston address last month so I could've played it! Sega finally decided to sell off their Visual Concepts studio to Take Two, which is a smart move I think given Take Two's future plans and EA's exclusivity contract with ESPN. Lastly, China has decided to ban 50 games, which isn't a big surprise given their other recent censorship hunts.

I have some even more interesting technology news today. HP is developing a circuit for cameras where images of people's faces can remotely be blurred. I think it's meant mainly for celebrities, but it seems kind of extreme. Isn't it a privacy concern in itself for that to be a part of cameras? Not to mention possibly hacking. A small software developer in Cali is working on a cell phone application that can identify a song given a sample of it. I think that's really cool and must be really hard to make. And finally, Sun is releasing the code of its Solaris OS. You can download the code over here. Supposedly they're afraid of the ground they've lost to Linux, but I wonder if they're too late.

I started using this program called Gaim instead of AIM and so far I like it a lot. This is what it looks like:

Lovely tabbed windows Sleeker buddy list

It allows you to use multiple messenger services and it has tabbed windows! I love tabbed windows because I don't like closing conversations I need to continue later or that may serve as a reminder, but I also don't like a bunch of open conversation windows. It's pretty easy on the RAM and on the eyes, so give it a try.

One short note before I get to the meme: I just want to express my sympathy over the stampede in India. I didn't post about it a couple of days ago because I was waiting for more solid information, and now I have it. My prayers go out to the victims and their families.

And now for the Midweek Music Meme:

If you could have any musical artist or band record in another genre entirely, what artist/band and what genre? For over-achievers, what song?
I'd have to say that I'd love to see The Roots do some more rock stuff. They have so many talented musicians and yet the closest they've gotten to rock stuff was Phrenology. I keep mentioning them, but they're really the only answer I can think of to this question! No specific song though.

I hope this first month of blogging has been as fun for you guys to read as it has been for me to do! Here's to many many more months of blogging!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

My First Unix Experience

It's not really as exciting as my title makes it sound, but today was the first time I used a Unix workstation. I now have access to a 24/7 Unix lab in the RLM on the 8th floor for my Linear Algebra class. It was running a GUI called KDE and it looked kinda like this:

Eat it Gates!

I must say that I was impressed with how fast it worked and how smooth everything looked. It seemed to be pretty stable, but I only spent a half an hour playing around with it. We have the lab to use Matlab, but I'll probably use it for more than that. Hopefully though, I'll become a Junior Officer for ACM and then I'll get my Unix shell account for the 24/7 Taylor lab early. I'm surprised that more developers don't develop for Unix and encourage it. It would certainly end Gates's reign if that were to happen, but we all know that won't happen. I guess I'll find out soon enough if programming on a Unix machine is easier than on a Windows machine.

I have lots of other stuff to talk about today. It turns out that Coldplay is putting the finishing touches on their new album (finally) and it will be released in March. Insiders are saying good things about it so let's hope it's on par with their normal stuff.

Not a whole lot of movie stuff today. I just noticed that the Batman Begins website has put up a synopsis of the movie for those of you who are still clueless. Academy Award nominations have now been announced and they make me realize how many movies I wish I had seen last year. Especially Hotel Rwanda and The Aviator (receiver of 11 nomination). I will, however, be seeing Ray at the Union in a month or two. Sounds like a lot of worth nominations though for the most part.

TI and Nokia have teamed up to make single chip cell phones. What does this mean for you and me? Now those cheap phones you get when you sign up for a new plan will actually be cool because this new technology makes production cheaper. I'm really excited to see what kind of new capabilities they'll be able to venture into with the new technology's power consumption improvements.

The New York Times was on fire today with an abundance of great articles. First off, a bunch of whack-job Christian fundamentalists are threatening to pull support of Bush's Social Security reforms if he doesn't fight more aggresively for an amendment to ban same-sex marraige. I don't think I've seen a more despicable group of individuals. How can these people call themselves Chrstians when they hate on a certain type of people? They're as much Chrstian as those crazy 9/11 terrorists are Muslim. It doesn't make sense to claim to be part of a religion of tolerance and at the same time try to ignorantly deprive a group of people of their happiness and their life commitments. The next article talks about how search engines are now starting to index television show archives so people can search for a show based on a quotation. Lastly, our country is coming under fire for the decline of the value of the dollar. Why do they care? Because cheap dollars means that imports cost more (because of the exchange rate) so our demand for imports goes down while exports skyrocket because our goods seem so cheap. Administration officials claim that it's just because we're so cool, but the bigger factor is our deficit (budget and trade) and the article goes more in depth.

I'm going to end the post that never ends with some gaming news. There was a leak yesterday morning about a new silver PS2. No information about it yet, but it looks cool.

Isn't it shiny?

That retailer is gonna get the smackdown from Sony I'm sure. The other tidbit I wanted to mention is this interesting piece from BBC about next gen consoles. It all sounds about right and very cool, expecially the advent of more accurate physics engines.

Without further ado, the Tuesday Twosome:

1. How often do you update your blog/site and why?
Every day since I'm a loser. Also because it forces me to actually stay on top of current events and it allows me to provide a commentary that I can come back to and read if I ever felt so inclined to do so.

2. How often do you comment on other people's sites and why?
I only comment on entries I find interesting, and that's probably a coule of times a day on average. I spend too much time writing on my blog to read a whole lot of other blogs.

3. How often do you change the layout of your site and why?
I'll probably only change it once every few months. I just want to keep it fresh, but it looks good for now.

4. Do you ever feel guilty that you don't reciprocate comments or you really don't care?
No because I do comment when I feel a post is deserving.

5. How many sites on average do you visit daily and of those, how many do you comment on?
I probably visit 5-10 blogs a day and I'll probably comment on one or two of those.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Homosexuality is Right

"And with a male you shall not lay lyings of a woman" - Leviticus 18:22

Funnily enough, I grew up in a rather traditional Catholic family. My dad is extremely opposed to homosexuality and my mom is in the middle but would kill me if I was gay because she went to a Catholic private school growing up (only private schools in India were actually good). Moving on though, I visited my Latin teacher from 506, Doug Boin, who is gay himself and was a magnificent teacher. It turns out that the main reasons religious zealots condemn same sex relationships lies in Leviticus and Paul. The quote above is a literal translation from the original Hebrew (which I confirmed from my teacher also). The Living Bible says, "Homosexuality is absolutely forbidden, for it is an enormous sin." The trick is, there is no word in Hebrew or Greek for homosexuality. More than that though, the important thing is that the context that passage comes from is referring to prostitution in Pagan temples. The people with pens putting it in English were just homophobes. I can't seem to find the Paul passage, but it may have been in Roman. Anyway, basically it was a bit archaic and the context in which he condemned same sex relationships was among people who were actually heterosexual but went against nature and had relations within their sex. If you want to read more, check this out. You'd be surprised how much anti-gay material comes from mistranslated Greek and Hebrew. I could go on about this topic, but maybe another day.

I think I'll continue with some movie stuff. The trailer for Mirror Mask is now up and it looks like it'll be pretty interesting as you can see from its flagship image:


You can check out the trailer by going here and then clicking on "Previews" at the bottom. The production company is the Jim Henson Company (think Muppets), which means that it should have some really imaginative stuff. The story centers on a girl in a circus family who wants to leave circus life to join real life and comes upon quite an adventure. Apparantly, the Constantine movie doesn't suck according to an unknown source. The movie looks pretty bad but this guy sounds like a comic book fan so maybe I'm wrong. The last movie bit is that Napster is planning on expanding into movies. I'm not sure why but their target audience in the young video-game generation. Their target audience should be busy people in the 24-35 age bracket who have money but no time to go to the movies to see some of the best ones.

If you're a resident of planet Earth you may be disheartened to hear that there is now an actual threshold for global warming and we'll be hitting the point of no return within the next 10 years. I'll let the article speak for itself though because it concisely says a lot about the problem.

The final part of today's blog will be a spotlight on Firefox. It's no surprise that the lead engineer of the successful browser has been hired by Google. Could it become a part of the Google family like Picasa has? It would certainly be interesting. If you want to find out more about Firefox's inception, check out this article about its 19 year-old co-creator.

It is now time for Monday Madness:

What do you think of when you see the following colors? (You may write as many words as you like.)

1. White:
Mainly about weddings and priests' attire
2. Yellow: My favorite fruit, bananas
3. Blue: My cool looking PS2 box and blue M&Ms for some reason (damn their effective marketing campaign)
4. Black: Weird people who think that being goth is equivalent to being cool
5. Green: Drunk Irish people and delicious green apples
6. Red: Kisses from girls with lipstick that I don't get and strawberries (I love fruit, what can I say)
7. Purple: Barney and also that purple Teletubbie
8. Pink: These girls with pink hair I saw a couple of years ago who I thought were hot
9. Brown: My skin color!
10. Gray: Cloudy skies

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Greenspan is Turning Against Bush

It's not as dramatic as my post title sounds, but it's essentially true compared to his near complacency during Bush's first term. The Fed is becoming more worried about our trade and budget deficits. These deficits aren't new news but Greenspan is worried that their rate cuts fostered a false sense risk-taking and the FOMC's smart plan to raise rates has preempted any chance of a bubble in the housing market. This may sound boring to you guys, but it's pretty important. If our trade deficit continues at this pace, foreign investors will demand more returns on the dollars they own and we cannot afford that. Not to mention the chance they they'll turn to Europe for investments and leave us in the cold, which would be really really bad. Supposedly the White House is planning on trimming the budget, and I sure hope they do. The article is an interesting read and I'm surprised to learn of the turn of events with regard to Greenspan's successor.

I don't usually post on Sundays, but I thought I'd try a small one today and see if people actually read it. I watched Narc last night and I felt that it was a surprisingly good movie.

Ray Liotta and Jason Patric are awesome

It's about this one cop (potrayed by Jason Patric) who gets discharged for accidentally shooting a pregnant women in pursuit of a criminal and is called back to help solve the murder case of the partner of another cop (portrayed by Ray Liotta). It turns out to be a rather interesting case and what's even better about the movie is how it incorporates their personal lives so well. Go see it if you ever get a chance to.

There were a couple of deaths recently. Johnny Carson died after a long battle with emphysema and though I didn't watch his show I still feel that he had a big impact on the evolution of late night television. You Bollywood fans may already know about the death of Parveen Babi, who starred in a ton of movies and was hailed as really bringing a lot of great style to the big screen.

Now for a couple of oddities. if you want to see the weirdest trailer ever made, check this out. Don't ask me what it means because I have no idea. And I warn you, it's extremely weird and slightly disturbing. The other oddity is this court decision regarding the rights of porn distributors. They decided that it wasn't the responsibility of the state to decide about people's morals, and I think that's a good idea. If you let the courts ban people from doing porn, when will it stop? What people do in the privacy of their home is their business as long as it's not kiddie porn and it doesn't hurt anyone else.

On a last note, the Barnes and Noble on the drag is closing down so I reccomend that you Austinites hurry up and cash in on the bargains because tons of stuff is 50% or 75% off. I got a $23 hardcover Stephen King book for $3! It's definitely worth a look for anyone in the area.

And now for a new meme, Unconscious Mutterings:

  1. Material world::Material girl
  2. Satin sheets::Comfortable bed
  3. Blizzard::DQ Ice Cream :)
  4. Real estate::Monopoly
  5. Dress up::House House (I think Americans call it Housey?)
  6. Wesley::Snipes
  7. Robber::Jewel thief
  8. Saliva::French kissing
  9. Slave::Gimp
  10. Shift::Stick shift (on a manual car)

If your thoughts are more interesting than mine, please comment with your answers.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Europe is a Fattie

"I will not stand around and let you abrogate my plans. You will rue this day. *pause* Well go on! Start rueing!" - Stewie, Family Guy

Looks like people in Europe have already started rueing the day they made fun of Americans for being fat. It turns out that their children are headed towards an alarming obesity problem. One in three children in Southern Europe are clinically obese! In response, the European Commission is asking fast food vendors to voluntarily tone down their advertising or else the Commission will do it for them. I just think it's funny how karma works out that way. I do hope, however, that they manage to fix this problem because I remember how much it sucked to be fat and how hard it was to lose the weight. It's so easy to gain weight as a child because you don't have anything to worry about and no girls to chase.

It turns out that Audrey Tautou, of the movie Amelie, has been cast as the female lead (Sophie Neveu) in the Da Vinci Code movie. It turns out that she beat out some other great actresses, including the lovely Sophie Marceau (from The World is Not Enough), for the role and I think she'll do great. I'm not terribly far in the book, but it is quite compelling. In other movie news, it turns out that Wes Bentley has been cast as Mephisto in the upcoming Ghost Rider movie. I always loved the Ghost Rider comics and I hope the movie turns out well.

I mostly chilled for my first Friday night in Austin of the new year and ended up watching Bride and Prejudice.

She's too hot for her own good

Does anyone have any idea how Aishwarya Rai has green eyes? She's Indian! She should have brown eyes. I'm pretty sure they're not just tinted contacts. Anyway, I had heard bad things about the movie but I enjoyed it. It's not an A+ movie by any means, but it was entertaining. I'd probably give it a B-. The plot was actually believeable, there weren't too many long-winded songs, and it had some funny dialogue here and there. I wish it wasn't Aishwarya's first crossover movie to the Western Hemisphere though because I think she's more talented than the movie shows. Anyway, see it if you get a chance but don't kill yourself if you miss it. It won't come stateside for a few months yet.

And now for the Saturday Six:

1. Which of the following is your favorite store and why?
A) Wal-Mart
B) Target
C) K Mart
D) Sears

Sorry, but I have to say Wal-Mart. Target and K-mart abandoned my neighborhood long ago and Sears just blows. I don't do all my shopping at Wal-Mart, but at least I can buy some of the stuff I need affordably (including jeans).

2. How far does your closest friend who's not in the same town as you live, and when was the last time you saw them in person?
If I consider myself as living in Austin, I'd have to say my friend Ketan who goes to Rice. I actually saw him last week before I came back to Austin because I hadn't seen him since before the fall semester had started.

3. Have you ever gone on a date with someone you met online? Would you?
I have not and I may consider it. I'd rather meet someone in person if it's possible because going online is cheating! You don't have to face the fear of getting rejected face to face and so you lose the confidence you'd get from an acceptance.

4. What is your favorite novel and what makes it stand out for you?
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. It was the first book I read that I literally couldn't put down. I had withdrawal symptoms when I did put it down because it's the first book I've actually enjoyed more than being lazy and just watching television. It was so funny and had such a powerful message to it.

5. You get snowed in at your home for three days. You have power and telephone service, but no way to leave the house. How will you amuse yourself?
Not the way you'd think you perv! I'd probably just play guitar and video games for three days. Maybe I'd finish some Stephen King books also.

6. A fellow journaler you consider a friend disappears from J-land. Visitors leave comments in the journal but they get no response. You send the journaler an E-mail to make sure everything is okay, and despite the fact that you see that it has been read, you get no reply. What do you do?
E-mail bomb him? Either that or I try for the awkward phone call.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Half-Life 2 Owns Me

Gotta love Dogbert

I've got a lot to talk about today, but I thought I'd share that comic strip with everyone because I think that'd be an awesome idea! I wish they didn't cancel that Dilbert show. Anyway, as you may have guessed from my post title I have indeed gotten into Half-Life 2, which I borrowed from a friend, and it's truly badass.

Look at those textures!

Some people were disgruntled because it got Game of the Year status over GTA: San Andreas, but those people need to play this game for a couple of hours. It is such a unique game experience because it's so bloody immersive! Some people think that games like Silent Hill are immersive because you feel scared sometimes, but when you have awesome weapons and ammo and you're still scared, that's truly incredible. You always feel like you are a part of what's going on and you always have to keep going. It doesn't even feel scripted! It's well worth the price tag, so get it if you get a chance to. Counterstrike: Source is pretty cool also and comes with it for free.

Now for some UT pride. I'm not a supporter of Bush, but it's nice to know that our band played at the inauguration. It's honestly one of the best college bands I've seen, but it's very sad that they lost a member recently. My prayers go out to his friends at Tejas and his family of course. Back to happy stuff though, there was an awesome Rose Bowl insert in yesterday's Texan so try to get your hands on it if you haven't. It has great pictures and articles. Speaking of UT, if you're in the College of Natural Sciences consider joining NSC.

There's a lot of movie news out there today. The most exciting item though is the release of the trailer for a new movie by Tim Burton, of Nightmare Before Christmas and Big Fish fame, called Corpse Bride. The trailer looks like it's shaping up to be a great movie so keep your eye on it. David Yates is now officially the director for Harry Potter 5. I haven't read the books but I think that the movies just get better and better. Lastly, Robert Zemeckis, Neil Gaiman, and Roger Avery are coming together to do Beowolf! I'm a fan of Zemeckis (Back to the Future, What Lies Beneath) and Avery (Pulp Fiction) so it should be a great movie.

eXeem has finally been released in public beta, and it looks pretty good. It comes from the creators of Suprnova and acts as a P2P client for torrents. It makes people more vulnerable than the creators since everything is so decentralized, but I think it's gonna be great as it grows in power. For those of you who don't know, torrents are a way to download files from other people (called seeds) and while you download you also upload. You can resume easily and it ensures uniformity of the file so it's pretty cool. I only support the use of torrents for TV shows though. I don't download music anymore, I just buy CDs on sale. I don't see the point in pirating movies I can get for free from the UGL, so I don't support that either. I think it's important to be able to get shows you miss or can't get because you don't have cable. I wouldn't mind watching the ads for them if they came with the file if it made it more legit.

A couple of random things before I conclude for today. If you know someone in high school, please pass this speech onto them. It has a lot of great stuff in it and I think a lot of it is very true. I finally finished that puzzler I was grumbling about yesterday after finding out that i doesn't have to be less than j. I understand now why these things are so important: they make you realize how dangerous faulty assumptions are. I think I'll have fun with them and that they'll become more and more a pain in the ass as the semester progresses. We finally get our first project this weekend, so that should be interesting. If you want a good chuckle by the way, check this out.

Now for your favorite meme and mine, the Friday Five:

1. Which is worse, the Burning Question ~OR~ the Painful Truth?
Definitely the painful truth. A burning question can always lose steam, but the truth can hurt and sting for a while. You never forget the painful truth. When your memory chooses what's important to store for the long term, emotionally intensive things almost always stick.

2. "Live hard, die young and leave a beautiful corpse" ~OR~ "Live long and prosper"?
Live long and prosper. The longer you live the more good you can do for others and for yourself. If you live your life too fast how can you savor the beautiful moments?

3. Let bygones be bygones ~OR~ Bitch, I'll cut you!?
I don't follow this always, but let bygones be bygones. Revenge causes more trouble than its worth in most cases. The people that do you wrong always get what's coming to them.

4. Private hell ~OR~ Sharing is caring?
Private hell for sure. When bad stuff happens to me, I like to bottle it up. It may not be mentally healthy, but my problems are my own and no one else's. It's my responsibility to get my stuff together.

5. Open hearted ~OR~ Walls around your heart?
Being open hearted is really important. Obviously you can't wear your heart on your sleeve, but with some discretion it's a good thing. It makes you more friendly and likeable as long as you don't annoy someone with your romantic escapades (or lack thereof if you're like me).

Enjoy the weekend! :)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Fight for Blog Rights

I was messing around with Technorati yesterday and came upon this very interesting post. Apparantly some woman who worked for Delta Airlines got fired for posting these "inappropriate" pictures to her blog. That's ridiculous though! I think that's a freedom of speech violation because she didn't violate any part of her contract, and she found male pilots posting pictures of themselves in uniform online as well. She's become quite the martyr now, and she has an interesting blog. You can read an article with more information about her incident here. A group of bloggers have set up an informal bill of blogging rights here and have blacklisted companies that are "blogophobic" (id est, they fired or disciplined blogging employees). I think it's an interesting idea and I wholeheartedly support it. It's not fair to fire people without warning like that, and I think anything you put online that doesn't actually harm the company should be allowed. Apparantly this has become a hot topic in recent months, but I didn't catch wind of it until yesterday.

In other news, some really cool people put up Batman Begins pictures like this one:

Looking sharp Mr. Bale

There's one batch of cool photos here and another over here. Those are all from Batman News so just ignore the Dutch text. You can also see a picture of Christian Bale carrying the gorgeous Katie Holmes here. I'm still very excited about this movie and still counting the days until June 17.

Now for a couple of random tidbits. Gracenote, who took over a big lyrics search engine a while back, is working on voice recognition integration for mp3 players. Can you imagine just saying the name of a song or an album while driving and then hearing it play?! The future has arrived! And you World of Warcraft players may be happy to know that Blizzard is hindering the sales of the game to prevent further server issues such as the auction house raid that took place Tuesday night and caused massive lag.

A few days ago I believe I spoke about the debate with the new DVD format. I found an even better article covering the issue here, but it includes DivX in the war. My room mate informed me that current DVDs actually won't last as long as a CD because they're so cheaply made. Blu-ray discs, however, are encased by a second layer to prevent scratches from ever affecting the movie. Hopefully I'll have a cushy job before I have to worry about changing video standards!

I forgot to mention it yesterday, but I beat Prince of Persia Tuesday and it was a great story. More importantly, it's just fun to watch what you can do in the game. I highly reccomend it. I tried boiling some eggs last night and I wanted to share a bit of knowledge I learned from it. If you want hard-boiled eggs, slowly boil it in water for six minutes, hold them under cold running water for a couple of minutes, and then soak them in cold water for a few more minutes. I didn't do the cold water thing my first time and I got a semi-liquid mess! And one last note before the meme, if anyone has any idea what the hell I'm doing wrong on the puzzler, please assist!

And now for the Thursday Bookworm:

1. How many books do you own (and if you're not a nerd like me and don't know the exact number, guess-timate)?
Probably somewhere around 40 that I personally own. My mom discouraged me from purchasing books when I was younger because she thought it was a waste of money since I could go to the library, but I snuck them in anyway and still buy today of course.

2. Do you keep books to add to your personal library, or do you trade them/give them away?
I only give away books I've outgrown (kid's books) or school books that I don't feel I need anymore.

3. If you keep books, what makes you keep them? What kind of books do you keep?
I usually keep the ones that I really enjoyed. Especially books that I feel I can read over and over again. I also keep books that I feel I'll be able to refer to in my future programming career. Some books I keep just so I can pass them along to other people.

4. Do you have a guilty pleasure book- something you would never want to admit to reading?
Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul =P I don't read them much anymore, but I have the first three and I loved them. I'll probably pass them down to someone and get other Chicken Soup books.

5. Have you ever gone without something you needed to buy a book instead?
Not that I can think of. You'd have to be really obsessed to do that!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Yay for Picasa!

Ok, it's official: I love Google! First of all, they are fighting comment spam. Second of all, they have released a new version of Picasa for free (edit: a newer article was posted here)! Apparently they acquired the company last year and have been improving the software. What's so great about it? Well first of all it's free! It's a very lite program and yet it's so fast! You can do all the basic editing stuff you want to do plus a little more and all without shelling out for Adobe Photoshop, which is still of course the standard for high end editing. For people like you and me though, this program is where it's at. Here's what the main screen looks like:

So nice and clean

As you can see, the interface is very uncluttered and looks clean. This program can make you photo CDs and DVDs, you can use it to directly send pictures through Gmail, you can send pictures directly to sites that can mail you prints, you can use those same sites to share with family, you can organize your pictures into albums, you can see your pictures in several ways (including a timeline format), you can upload the pictures to your blog easily, and so much more. And it's all very user-friendly. Not to mention that the program can scan your computer automatically for pictures when you install it (or just the folders you want it to) and that can run in the background as you do other stuff. It will even continuous update itself as you add new pictures to your hard drive. I recommend the free download. If you're not convinced, check out PC Magazine's glowing review.

There are a couple of movie news items today. If anyone still cares, the Fantastic Four trailer is now up. It's nothing terribly exciting so don't get your hopes up. Secondly, Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg spoke about War of the Worlds on Yahoo! Movies! You can watch it here. If you don't know what that movie is, you're a loser and should at least watch this.

I am not worthy!

Today was the second day of classes and I think it went rather well. I went to M 340L first, Matrices and Matrix Calculations, with Dan Knopf. I'm excited about that class because he seems like a great guy and a great teacher. The class is supposed to teach us the concepts and techniques of linear algebra, and it's going to be my first dive into mathematical abstraction. Sounds like something I may be able to use someday. And my other new class was CS 315 with Glenn Downing. It sounds like it'll be intensive, but that's what makes it so fun. He gives us tests for our assignments that we dont know the correct output for but if we get any of those wrong we get a 0 on the assignment! Plus we gotta make our own tests and use JUnit and Javadoc and stuff, so I think I'll enjoy the class thoroughly.

Now all that's left is the Midweek Music Meme:

What song drives you absolutely batty, to the point that you nearly feel compelled to physically stop someone from singing it?
I've heard some pretty bad songs, but "Pieces of Me" by Ashlee Simpson has to be the worst. Either that or "La La". I hope she gets humiliated out of the music industry eventually!

Comment with a song you hate if you'd like!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Start of Second Semester

Hope everyone had a good MLK Day weekend! I know I did. I had a great dinner Saturday (Carabba's), came back to Austin Sunday, and went rock climbing Monday. Those of you who haven't tried it should definitely give it a try because it's more fun than it is scary.

No, that's not me!

We went to the Green Belt portion off of Loop 360, and it was my first experience climbing a real rock outside. The rope is very comforting though and I'm proud that I managed a 5-7 (steepest grade, but easiest climb route). Don't worry if you're not a muscle man (or woman), it's mostly in your feet and your balance anyway.

Today was the first day of classes at UT and I only spent like 2 hours in a classroom. My CS TA didn't show up for discussion! I woke my ass up at 9AM for nothing! But anyway, Philosophy 313K sounds interesting so far. I was glad that he gears the class towards the use of logic and proofs in computing. I can't wait until we get to recursion so that I can understand recursion notation better so I can hopefully steer farther away from those bloody infinite loops. I'll probably be talking about that class a lot because it looks interesting and I've heard it's very hard.

My Latin teacher seems good, but damn am I going to miss Doug :( Don't neglect your nonmajor classes, because Latin was my favorite class last semester. Douglas Boin was like the coolest teacher and having that small class was so conducive to the material. Maybe I'll get him for LAT 311 next semester, who knows. I didn't go to math class (M 340L) yet or CS 315, but I already have a CS puzzler to do!
Doesn't look too hard though, maybe I'll post some thoughts on it tomorrow after I've taken a closer look at it.

I can't help but laugh at Sega right now because EA has officially pwned them. They bought an exclusive contract with ESPN and had recently signed a deal with the NFL as well. I do feel a little sorry for Sega, but I love the Madden series and it's not like it was underhanded.

My laughing is abated, however, by my failure to secure a spot in GUI 201 :( Apparantly it's all full, so if I can't get in next week I'll have to wait until the fall. Oh well, at least I get to sign a lease for my apartment in Far West for next year tonight! If anyone needs an apartment finder, talk to Alex Larsen over at Key Properties. He's very cool and extremely helpful. Plus, it's free to you!

And now to conclude with the Tuesday Twosome:

1. What are your two favorite restaurants?
Cheesecake Factory and Lupe's (I'm not minting money here!)

2. What are your two favorite restaurant items?
Anything with grilled chicken or with shrimp

3. What are your two favorite desserts?
Tres de leche (don't know if I spelled that right) and Boba (I consider it to be a desert because it's so sweet and filling)

4. What are your two favorite weekend "activities" (movies, clubbing, etc.)?
Private parties and racquetball

5. What are your two favorite vacations destinations?
New York City and Bombay (I should get out more, huh?)

Monday, January 17, 2005

Measuring Computer Literacy

Joe: "We're going on a beer run, wanna come?"
Peter: "No thanks, I think I'm becoming an alcoholic."
Guys: "What?!" Joe: "Oh my God!"
Peter: "Haha, I'm just kidding. Let's drink til we can't feel feelings anymore."

Yay for Family Guy! I just realized that now that I'm in Austin I can't watch Family Guy because I don't have cable here :( Oh well, it's an even tradeoff for the freedom! Moving on to the main topic, Educational Testing Service, the satanic organization responsible for the SATs, is working on the Information and Communications Technology literacy assessment test. It's supposed to test college students in making good evaluations of material they find in a library and online. They're calling it an information literacy movement, but I don't think it will hold up. The only technological literacy test that would be big is computer literacy, which I think they should start doing. Kids should be able to do basic stuff like spreadsheets and word processing and typing fast and such. But these are the people who made the SAT, so maybe they have a lot of clout with universities. I personally hate standardized testing. If they were more like computer science midterms, they'd actually test for intelligence.

I'm really excited because I FINALLY got my Keane CD!

Buy me, damnit!

I'm listening to it right now and I love it. I highly reccomend buying it while Best Buy is selling it for dirt cheap. It goes in the same genre that Coldplay does, but it's not the same as Coldplay of course. I also got my Project: Snowblind beta today so if it'll still let me play it (it came to my apartment 5 weeks ago) I'll put up some impressions tomorrow.

A couple of random tidbits left. Creative has named that its sole purpose this year is to beat out the iPod! I applaud their efforts and will cheer them on because I think Apple has reigned for quite long enough. Creative thinks that it can use the fact that the iPod is dependent on iTunes against them. Oh, and some loser who thinks that people still care about Star Wars is camping out for 139 days because he's an attention whore.

Did anyone watch the Golden Globes? I didn't catch it because I was on a trip to Austin and then had to hit up Gregory before its early closing time, but looking at the results I don't think I missed much. Some of the stuff I wanted to win, like House of Flying Daggers and 24, lost to things I haven't seen.

And now for a meme I love, Monday Madness:

Name your favorite...

1. Family Game
- Cranium! It's loads of fun and I play it with my cousins every once in a while. Try it if you haven't.

2. Piece of Jewelry - The wooden cross on a black string that I wear everywhere. It's a good reminder to ground myself when I lose my temper and it reminds me of someone special (other than God, but it does remind me of him too).

3. Winter Activity - I haven't done this yet, but snowboarding! It looks like fun and hopefully I'll try it in the coming years.

4. Hot Beverage - I'd have to say hot chocolate. I hate coffee, and I think that the sugar you get from hot chocolate is enough energy.

5. Quote - So far, I'd have to say the Dijkstra quote that I put up a few days ago: "In their capacity as a tool, computers will be but a ripple on the surface of our culture. In their capacity as intellectual challenge, they are without precedent in the cultural history of mankind."

6. Color on You - Green! My female cousins got me some green clothes and we figured out that it looks best on me! Could it be that I'm part Irish? It would explain a lot ;)

7. Summer Activity - Football! I guess you could play football in other seasons, but it's especially fun in the summer.

8. Topping on Pancakes - Maple syrup is quite tasty, so it gets my vote.

9. Musician - I'd have to say John Frusciante. He's the lead guitar from RHCP and he never ceases to amaze me with his riffs.

Now that school is starting I'll probably start blogging in the evenings rather than early afternoon, but that may change on days when I have extra time in the middle of the day. Anyone who's interesting to see my schedule can check it out on the right sidebar.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

GOTY 2004!

And the winner is...Half-Life 2, baby!!

Behold the gravity gun!

FINALLY it gets some recognition! Everyone is running around praising Halo 2 as if it fed and clothed them, but neglect showing love for Half-Life 2. No doubt that Halo 2 is an outstanding multiplayer game, but its story, graphics, and pure style cannot compare to the awesomeness of Half-Life 2, which busted barriers in the FPS genre. I salute you Vivendi! Also, congrats to the wonderful Uma Thurman for winning hottest movie babe and best actress.

Congrats Uma!

No worthwhile movie news today, but some new evidence has come up in the Michael Jackson case. Did he do it? I think first of all that the parents were retards for letting their kids stay over so much. I do think he's guilty though because if these kids really were fans, I don't see why so many of them would want to sue him. Can they really be that money hungry? Vote with your thoughts here.

Strongbad put up a new e-mail! It's about what his dream e-mail would be, so check it out for a chuckle. On another random note, I still have Gmail invites left if anyone wants it. I love Gmail and you can read more about it here. So if you want an invite, e-mail me.

I thought I'd share my nerd rating with everyone:

I am nerdier than 51% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

The meme for today is the Saturday Six:

1. You achieve a high level of fame in your chosen career. Calls begin coming in for interviews...if you could only appear on one of the following shows, which would you select?
A) Today
B) Live! with Regis and Kelly
C) The Daily Show
D) Oprah
E) David Letterman
F) Jay Leno
G) Jerry Springer

The Daily Show! Too easy =P I'd love to have a political discourse with Jon Stewart!

2. You have the opportunity to briefly become another person in another body, then spend 48 hours alone with the real you. Would you do it?
I'd be interested in finding out what it's like to be a hot guy and have me tag around! That way I could see how bad my luck really is and also see how bad my cluttering is.

3. You have the opportunity to briefly become another person in another body and live a normal life for 48 hours. Would you dare to spend two days as a member of the opposite gender?
Hell no! Women are way too complicated, I think I may implode. A perv would be really excited at that chance, but that would get boring fast. Plus I'd have to deal with a guy checking me out. I think I'll stick to being a nerdy guy thank you very much.

4. Compared to previous years, did you spend more or less money on Christmas gifts? How soon do you think you'll have all of the bills for Christmas paid off?
If I spent more, it was probably marginally. I paid for everything cash though so it's all paid off.

5. What is the first toy you remember playing with?
Magna Doodle? That's the earliest I can remember, but there was probably something before that.

6. Have you ever downloaded a song or theme song for your cell phone? If so, which one amuses you most? If you haven't, but had to pick one, what would it be?
I haven't actually because my phone is ghetto and I have to pay for the internet anyway. I'd like to have a hip hop ring tone though. More specifically, a song from Mos Def or The Roots.

Post your answers if you want. Until next time, adieu!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Visual Google?!

Ted Turner: "Are aces high or low?"
Peter: "They go both ways!"
Bill Gates: "Hah! He said they go both ways!"
*everybody laughs*
Ted: "Like a bisexual."
Mr. Pewterschmidt: "Yes Ted, that was the joke."

Today's post will be an amalgamation of randomness, like the Family Guy quote above. It turns out that USC is good for more things than pulverizing pompous football teams; their ISI has developed image-recognition technology and now the head of the lab is aiming to link the world together through a visual Google of sorts. Can you imagine seeing a car on the road, taking a picture of it, and then sending it to this "visual Google" on your cell to go to the website of the car?! That's the sort of thing he's trying to do, and the biggest challenge so far is going to be the searching itself. Unlike normal text-based searches, searching through images takes more time and so it'll have to be more finely tuned.

If you've ever wondered how audio compression works, check out this article. It's a very interesting explanation of compression, which I remember seeing in the movie Antitrust and wondering how they can create better codecs for that global network they were working on. It explains how audio is represented and all that good stuff.

I've got several movie tidbits today. AICN managed to nab a first review of The Ring 2. It sounds like it's just as good as the first movie, which apparantly only my friends and I actually liked! A lot of people mocked that it was stupid and more funny than scary, but other horror movies are much more ridiculous. At least The Ring had a plot!

I actually watched bits and pieces of TRL yesterday, which is worse than I remember it used to be, and they had a 20 second clip of the Fantastic Four trailer. Some fans captured it and so it's now online here. Word on the grapevine though is that this movie is gonna blow.

I've been reading Da Vinci Code recently (in the pretty illustrated edition) and was pleased to learn that Jean Reno, of Onimusha 3 and Mission: Impossible fame, will be portraying Detective Bezu Fache opposite Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon. My last movie item is this new Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy poster:


This poster was released last week, but I didn't mention it because it didn't look special. The movie should be cool though because it features Sam Rockwell, Mos Def, and John Malkovich.

Some of you may have noticed the Technorati search bar that I put on the right side bar. I like it because it allows you to search my blog in case there's an old post you liked with a good article in it and you can search Technorati's listing of the blogosphere. It's a great, great site to see what other people are saying about, well, anything! Lastly, here are my answers to the Friday Five meme, which is my favorite meme so far:

1) What is one thing about you that you hate?
My cluttering problem! :( It's almost as annoying as stuttering is, except that less people know about it. It sounds easy to just talk slow all the time, but it's hard! *sigh* Please pray that I someday get over it!

2) What is one thing about you that you love?
My study skills. I'm very proud that I can do work and get it done. I always do my homework early so I always feel comfortable in my free time and stress-free. If it weren't for those skills I would never have been able to keep up with classical guitar.

3) If you had to change one thing about you what would it be and why?
This should be obvious: my speech problem. I don't really have serious problems with any other aspect of me. Maybe I'm not a hot guy, but with the passion I have for classical guitar and computers I'll always be a nerd anyway =P I'd pick talking normally over looking more attractive any day.

4) One is one word that you would use to define yourself?
Passionate. When I like something, I get really excited and into it. I become very ardent, even if it's only for a little while. Especially movies! I'm still counting the day until Tarantino releases a Kill Bill special edition boxed set.

5) Imagine what you would look like in a perfect world.. what do you look like?
Uhh, I guess like this guy? I'd look a hell of a lot more muscular! And I guess I'd have a prettier face? I like my eye color and skin color though, so I wouldn't change that. But man, that would be shweet! Maybe then girls would stop screwing me over!

These are great questions so you can comment your answers or see others' answers here.