Thursday, March 31, 2005

City of God

First of all, I'm really pissed because I wrote this whole post and then that bloody storm knocked off my electricity. I'll try to reproduce what I had. City of God has to be one of the most ironic movie titles I've heard. The Cicudad de Deus is a housing project near Rio de Janeiro where all the poor live so that Rio de Janeiro remains a bustling tourist spot. The movie is based on a true story as told by the main character, who had a brother when he was a boy who was part of a group of hoodlums known as the Tender Trio. This is during the 60s and the trio's career focused on thievery, until they let on a kid who totally changed things and from there the story goes into the crime scene of the 70s (drugs and territorialism). The movie is as hard-hitting as it is brilliant. Every storyline is weaved together perfectly and it feels more like the real thing than a motion picture dramatization. The whole movie is in Portugeuse, which sounds beautiful, and comes with English subtitles that actually sound like they're probably right. This flick is a must-see because of how awesome the balance is between shocking scenes and more frivolous details that keeps the movie running smooth. It's not for the weak of stomach as people will die suddenly like you would expect in any other gangster movie, but it's not all that gory. The movie is rich with themes and morals with an overlying motif of a circular structure. I give this movie an A+ so run out and rent it.

Now it's time for me to try to piece together all the techie news I had all over again. Ever wonder why Google stuff works faster in Mozilla-based browsers than IE? It's driven me crazy and I've finally found the answer: they prefetch information in Mozilla to speed things up. And if you're a fan of Firefox who wants to know more about its history I think you'll appreciate this. Back to Google though, apparently they've banned Wordpress, which is big for open-source blogging software, for fiddling with keywords to increase their hits. I'm kind of surprised that they got found out and am glad that Google is handling it. Microsoft has finally launched their video download service for handheld device users. Though it's not free, it is a step closer in the diffusion of video content. A student at UC-Santa Barbara is facing some serious penalties after stealing the identities of two professors to change grades. It's quite an impressive feat but definitely not cool. As part of my ongoing coverage of the Grokster trial I thought I'd plug this interview with billionaire Mark Cuban who is supporting P2P because he hates congressmen being pimped by the studios and he realizes how long P2P has been around. He is not a supporter of illegal downloading though, which may become less popular with the rise of alternatives. If you've got a beef with cell phones to snazzy for their own good you won't want to miss this article on just that topic and measures being taken to simplify them. And lastly, paralyzed people may have new hope for living normal lives with advances in implanting chips in brains to allow control by thought alone. Now that's futuristic!

A lot of my movie news today is actually Sin City related. The rest of the press conference I had posted about yesterday is now online with some pretty pictures. Speaking of pretty pictures, you can catch some shots from the premiere over here. And if you haven't gotten enough exclusive clips yet, here's yet another one. Of all the Sin City news though, my favorite is a comic-to-film comparison done by some fans. This is the one I like the best:

Poor Goldie

While I'm still on pictures, there are a few more new Harry Potter ones over at FilmForce. Eli Roth isn't particarly popular but he wrote a horror script that Quentin Tarantino liked enough to invite him over for a chat about it. This can only mean good things for Hostel. Since I'm sure some of you are Dukes of Hazard fans you may want to take a look at this interview with star Johnny Knoxville. And last, but definitely not least, FilmForce put up some exclusive previews of the new seasons of Family Guy and American Dad. May 1 couldn't come any slower.

Now it's time for some Thursday Thoughts:

Talk about your favorite comic book heroes. It doesn't have to directly relate to comic books.
My favorite is definitely Batman. He just oozes cool because he has a do-anything attitude and he strikes fear into criminals. Plus the outfit is slick and so is the Batmobile. Not having parents would kind of suck, but it's how he handles it that makes him so great. My second favorite is Spiderman because he's so down-to-earth and relatable. And lastly, the X-men for obvious reasons.

Oh, and I'm not sure what the odds are that I'll be posting on Friday given all I have to do but we'll see what happens.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Drag Renovations

Before I get started on the main topic, just a couple of things. I'm going to go see City of God at the Union tonight at 10PM so find me in line after 9:30PM if you'd like to join me. I posted so late last night because I had to help run the Goldman Sachs company night, and it went quite well. I talked to one of the reps and it sounds like they pay well. If I interned there next summer they'd subsidize my living at the NYU dorms and plus there are perks like Broadway shows and Yankees games. That'd be pretty sweet. But anyway, one article that I read this morning in the Texan was so compelling that I almost missed my stop and it was about what will happen to the Drag. For those who don't know, that's the western border of UT (Guadalupe) with a strip of stores and restaurants, a big chunk being owned by the Co-op. It turns out that the old Barnes and Noble will house the Co-op and the Co-op will be split in two to become a UFCU and something else. The Co-op for Women will strangely become a Mexican-style grill, and the old Tower Records spot will be a used books/CDs store (as opposed to an HEB annex). All those changes sound better than the current two empty spots, and supposedly they'll build another garage and have an art gallery in the Co-op. I don't know how well the art gallery will do, but I would buy a painting of Tower when it's bathed in burnt orange light myself if it was made available.

I have a decent selection of nerd news today. My favorite article that I found was an MSNBC investigation of computer crash rage. It keeps saying that a large amount of people either yell or physically harm their computers under rage against it, but the percentage is like less than a quarter even. I'm sure it's a problem and it's not because, as they claim at the end, people don't understand computer since CS majors get violent also but rather because of the frustration factor inherent in human nature. Anyway, another rather humorous tidbit was a group of high schoolers who beat MIT in an underwater robotics competition. Something about withdrawing water from a large pool, and they came up with a better solution. If a group of high school kids are better than MIT students, so is a group of UT CS majors! The New York Times put up a better viewpoint of the Grokster trial than I had mentioned yesterday and it sounds like the Justices are also concerned about people innovating with P2P being protected because of the noninfringing uses. The fact of the matter is that no one wants to stifle business or technological advances. If you want to see what's inside a PSP, you'll enjoy this article that goes farther inside of the device than you could possibly need to go into it and provides instructions. Speaking of the PSP, Sony has responded to claims of dead pixels by reiterating the validity of the warranty that comes with it. And lastly, you can get all your Linux questions answered on this site I just discovered last night.

The movie news for today is surprisingly slim. M Night Shyamalan has cast his main roles for The Lady in the Water with Paul Giamatti as the landlord and Bryce Dallas Howard as the nymph, whom I assumed he liked from The Village. Why is Giamatti such a hot item all of a sudden? I'm sure I have a good amount of Asian readership so I think you'll all be happy to know that yet another Asian has been cast for a good movie. Gong Li will not only be in Miami Vice but also in the Hannibal lecter prequel Behind the Mask. Given that she's also going to be in Memoirs of a Geisha I'd say that her career is moving surprisingly fast. So take a good look at her:

Pretty face

Continuing my Sin City countdown coverage, you can read the press conference for the film here with even more background information about making the movie than revealed before. Robert Rodriguez was on the AMC Sunday Shootout this week and you can see the episode at Yahoo! Movies. I don't think I've seen him without the cowboy hat; what a great Texan! They also mention that Bob and Harvey Weinstein are finally free of Disney's sickening control over their studio. Get ready for a lot of insane cool stuff coming from them. And lastly, there's a really interesting article in the NY Times about the new comedy clique and how it's hard to make a movie without one of them. As good as they are, I'd love to see fresh talent. Until then though, we have to settle for Wedding Crashers.

Now for a new fun meme, the Wednesday Mind Hump:

01. Think of a favorite or familiar commerical jingle or tagline. Example: "A day without orange juice is like a day without sunshine." Now, HUMP IT UP! Example: A day without humping is like a day without sunshine."
The only one that comes to mind is "Just Do It" from Nike, which would be "Just Hump It". That would make life an awful lot easier wouldn't it?! ;)

02. If you could be the spokesperson for any product in the world and you received the extra perk of free merchanidise, which product would you like to be a spokesperson for?
I'd probably be the spokesperson for Teddy Grahams. That's like the best snack food for programming ever because they're not messy and not high in fat yet they do hit the spot.

03. Who is your favorite comic strip character? Would you want to live next door to, work with or even live with the main character or one of the characters from that comic strip? Specify the character and tell us why.
My favorite is probably Dilbert because he's a sane, smart guy caught up in a crazy world. I'd want to live next door to Dogbert so that I can profit from his get-rich-quick schemes. A talking dog would be pretty neat after all.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Buzz at Apple

For some reason, there were a couple of articles regarding the rise of Apple today. The larger one regarded the future of the company, and posits that the company is planning an assault on the consumer electronics market with even more devices, especially iPod related ones. The author correctly points out that Apple has lost huge leads in the past, but what's almost certain is a wireless iPod, and it would seem rather likely to see an iPod play videos. He mentions a couple of other ones that don't seem quite as exciting, like a home media center, but it's quite a fervent company though it may not be as hot as Google. The other article I discovered is a post from Paul Graham that is really intriguing about a return to Mac. Their market share right now isn't very strong, but the OS's ease of use with FreeBSD is making it the tool of choice for hackers now. Hacker trends are to mainstream computing trends as big city fads are to small town fads: they start in the former and eventually build up in the latter. I've got to say that I've been tempted to succumb to Mac myself, and I may end up getting one if I ever get a job!

I have some other juicy technology news today as well. Since I was just talking about alternative OSes I think it would be appropriate to start off by mentioning South Korea's endorsement of Linux. Why should they matter? Because they lead the world in broadband internet access and so it's a huge deal when their government moves to the open source OS arena. In a continuation of the P2P saga you can get an update on the current trial here. It sounds like the Justices are hesitant to create new copyright rules but that they do want to preserve innovation, which is a difficult balance to strike. In another big move, Google has purchased Urchin, which is a firm that does web statistics for huge sites such as AT&T and NASA. It's easy to imagine what this could mean, so I'll leave that to you. If you've ever wanted to be on the big screen you'll be interested in this article describing a new technology that scans guests' faces for real-time use in a movie. It's an interesting concept and would be a cool novelty if it makes it stateside. And finally, one day you (if you're not a CS major) could program just by writing in English. The program is called Metafor and it's a project in progress that turns natural language into code. Cool, huh?

The movie news for today isn't too shabby. The tentative release date for Casino Royale has now been set to November 17, 2006, and tensions are still high over who will be cast as Bond. There may be a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie in the works after all these years. The studio working on the pre-production made Father of the Pride, which really looked good, and may be out before the summer of 2007. Because I have faith in Edward Norton as an actor I thought I'd mention that his next movie, The Illusionist, has now cast Jessica Biel, of 7th Heaven and hottie fame. Those of you eagerly awating Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy may want to check out a new feature at Yahoo! Movies called the Guide to the 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'. As part of my ongoing hype of Sin City I'd feel bad if I didn't plug yet another great review of the graphic novel flick. I can't think of a reason not to see this movie, honestly. Thomas Jane, of The Punisher fame, is supposedly going to star in the Justin Lin remake of Old Boy. I'm optimistic of what Lin can do unlike other movie geeks and I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out well. And finally, there are some new pictures online from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, including this one:

Click for the huge actual size

Just a couple of quick things left. To my great disappointment, Senator Hillary Clinton has decided to join the effort against GTA and other violent videogames. It's immensely irritating that the only thing they ever bring up is doing a prostitute and then killin her, because it shows that they put no thought into their view. While I agree that small kids shouldn't be playing these games, it's harsh to deprive everyone else especially when video games provides so many jobs; just increase enforcement of carding. Blockbuster finally settled the suit against them regarding misadvertisement of "No Late Fees". They're paying over half a million bucks to "deceived" customers and will make sure customers fully understand the policy from now on. The litigous nature of this country blows.

And now, you know you want some Tuesday Twosome:

1. Do you procrastinate and if so, explain?
Not at all. If I ever procrastinate it's because I was mislead on when an assignment was due. I start my homework early and try to get it done sooner than later because you never know when stuff may come up and if you get everything done early you have more free time later.

2. Do you feel tired most of the time or not?
If I get 8 hours of sleep, which is typical, I feel pretty normal. So not really.

3. Do you get enough sleep and if not, how much time do you wish for?
I usually get enough sleep. Some nights, particularly Sunday and Monday, I don't. I aim to get to bed at 2AM on other nights and it works out well to get me 8 hours.

4. Do you rely on an alarm clock to get you up or not?
No, I rely on TWO alarm clocks! Since I started using two I've never overslept. One is plugged in to the wall and one is battery operated. I set the one in the wall 8 minutes fast, and it helps surprisingly

5. Do you you dread certain things when you wake up and if so, what are they?
I dread tests when I have test days. I also dread having to get out of bed because your body temperature drops overnight.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Shortest Path Algorithm

"This is some mighty good gin and tonic R2. Can you mix me another one?" - Luke Skywalker

I have to mention the flash movie that quote is from because it's really really funny. It's called 'Star Wars Gangsta Rap' and it has great animation. Anyway, I'm kinda sad to be back here because I'm gonna miss everyone I saw over the weekend. All good things have to end or they wouldn't be good though, and once it kicks in that I'm in Austin I'm sure everything will be back to normal. I'm already getting excited about CS again with the introduction of a new algorithm. Let's say you have a directed graph that represents airplane routes for some airline and you want to find the shortest path from one location to another. How can you do it so that it doesn't take all eternity? You have to use a priority queue that stores where you can go to from each point with its path length as the weight and you have two other arrays to store the predecessor for each location and the total distance for each element. You return that list of predecessors to trace the route, and the point of the total distnace array is so that if you find a shorter path later on you can override what you currently have. The popping from the queue pops the least distant elements first of course. Here's what it looks like to clarify a bit:
public static int[] shortestPath (int[][][] a, int v1, int v2) {
   final int[] p = new int[a.length]; //array of predecessors
   final int[] s = new int[a.length]; //array of distances
   final Queue q = new PriorityQueue(a.length);
   for (int i = 0; i < a.length; ++i) {
      p[i] = -1;
      s[i] = Integer.MAX_VALUE;}
   p[v1] = v1;
   s[v1] = 0;
   q.push(new int[]{v1, 0});
   while (!q.isEmpty()) {
      final int[] e = q.pop();
      final int v = e[0];
      if (v == v2)
         return p;
      for (int j = 0; j < a[v].length; ++j) {
         final int w = a[v][j][0];
         final int x = a[v][j][1];
         final int y = s[v] + x;
         if (y < s[w]) {
            p[w] = v;
            s[w] = y;
            q.push(new int[]{w, s[w]});}}}
   return null;}}

Of course that's not all the nerdy stuff I have to share with you all today. In a huge blow to one of Sony's larger money making products, they have been ordered to pay $90.7 million to a Immersion Corporation and halt all sales of Playstations for patent infringement of the controller vibration technology. Those executives must really be sweating it out now. Speaking of sweating executives, Grokster is going on the flame tomorrow to be tried in the U.S. Supreme Court for copyright infringing file sharing. I'm split on what I want the result to be because both sides sound so convincing (read the article and you'll see) and UMG claims that they'd develop more legal alternatives to sharing if they won. Another thing the government has been involved in recently is campaign finance reform, and it turns out that bloggers barely escaped regulation for political content! I suppose there's no way it would've gone through though given the extensionability of the 1st amendment. If Microsoft Word's grammar checker has ever screwed you over on a paper, this is the the article to read. A couple of professors suggest that despite M$'s claims, they're not doing enough to improve the utility. If you're a fan of Adobe Photoshop this article highlighting the new features in CS2 is a must-read because the next iteration sounds really tight. And lastly, if you've missed out on all Yahoo's recent moves you'll want to read this spectacular post with all that information as well as some analysis.

The movie news for today is pretty decent. I haven't mentioned Domino in a while, so for those who don't remember I'm really excited about it because not only is it directed by Tony Scott (True Romance) and written by the imaginative Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko), but it features Keira Knightly, Christopher Walken, and Lucy Liu to name a few of the big names. The trailer for that flick is finally out to go check it out. While I'm blabbering about exciting movies I should plug this feature at IGN revealing information about the female cast of Sin City, which does contain spoilers. Don't forget to catch the movie this Friday, and those of you with some cash to throw around should catch the premiere on Thursday. Onto other big news though, there are rumors floating around that Quentin Tarantino is planning to cast Arnold Schwartzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Bruce Willis for his WWII flick Inglorious Bastards, and supposedly Harvey Keitel and John Travolta as well. As I've said before though, only Adam Sandler and Michael Madsen are confirmed for now. Bond fans will likely be perturbed to hear that Orlando Bloom may be cast to play a younger Bond in a series of movies hilighting the secret agent's early career. I really don't think he can pull off the image. Kevin Smith, aka Silent Bob, has started an online diary that is kinda cool since it's a window in the mind of a known director and reveals that The Passion of the Clerks will be the first film under the Weinstein brothers' new production company. In comic movie news, there's now Sandman concept art floating around the Spider-man offices, but we're still clueless as to the villain. The main villain of X3 has all but been confirmed to be Dark Phoenix, but apparantly it's not the main story. No idea what that means yet, but stay tuned for more. And lastly, take a look at the official Curious George poster.

Just a few quick items left. In a surprising survey, it turns out that a vast number of people in the British sample gave away enough information for identity theft in exchange for movie tickets! That sample isn't too representative, but it's something to think about. If you're a fan of anecdotal evidence though, check out this article that suggests that PSP sales were weak last week. And lastly, embrace this Penny Arcade comic referring to God of War, which I mentioned recently:

He needs better therapy

Get ready for some Monday Madness:

1. ___________ is more fun to celebrate than any other holiday.
Christmas, because making sweets is fun.
2. The last vacation I took was to __________.
Canada with my parents; the destination wasn't my choice.
3. The next vacation I plan to take will be to ___________.
No idea, but hopefully London.
4. I'd really like to be more _________.
Sociable I suppose. It's hard to meet new people!
5. I can't remember the last time I __________.
Swam in a creek
6. The book I last read (or am currently reading) is ________.
Da Vinci Code
7. The last program I installed on my computer was ________.
Starcraft 8-)
8. When it comes to food, my weakness is _________.
Ice Cream!
9. I really look forward to spending time _________.
with my brother

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Family Business

"I woke up early this mornin' with a new state of mind
A creative way to rhyme without usin' nines and guns
Keep your nose out the sky, keep your heart to God
And keep your face to the risin' sun
All my niggas from the Chi, that's my family dog
And my niggas ain't my guys, they my family dog
I feel like one day you'll understand me dog" - 'Family Business' by Kanye West

I love Kanye West! I can't wait for his next album. That song though is really appropriate for this weekend since I'm so glad to be back in Houston for Easter. After the Tenebrae I went to my Aunt's place where her children were (in their 30s mostly), three of my cousins from San Antonio, my brother (of course), and another cousin of mine. It was really crazy to have so many of us together in one room at the same time and there will be even more tomorrow (don't expect a post tomorrow)! There's something so surreal about drinking a Dos Equis and leaning on the shoulder of a cousin while watching a strange movie (Napolean Dynamite). I could look people in the face who I haven't seen in several months and though there are all these complications it's all family business and we eventually get through all of it. For the time being though, it was just nice to be together and I hope all of you experience that this weekend or hopefully sometime soon. The movie was funnier than I thought it would be and the best part was the end of the movie since it was midnight and we all broke our fast with ice cream and MEAT (Vindaloo)! Sorry to talk about personal stuff, but I just had to reflect on the night for a moment because who knows when it will happen again.

I was surprised to rustle up some good techie news today. If you loved Pez dispensers as a child then you'll get a hoot out of the new line of mp3 players the same company is rolling out. Their capacity is 512MB and it's targeted at a younger audience with a price a bit above the Shuffle, but I just think it's a neat novelty. Speaking of mp3 players, Microsoft was noble enough to enlighten us on how best to shop for an mp3 player. It should be no surprise that their reccomendations are the complete and utter antithesis of the iPod, and the obvious bias is almost laughable. I can't believe they dissed flash memory; that was a low blow. By the way, speaking of M$, you can see an early shot of Longhorn here. Moving along on this prolonged topic, it appears that more than half of all the mp3 downloading that goes on does not come from P2P! And lastly, badass Robert Rodriguez used a digital format for Sin City that Linux supports! Read more about that here.

There's not much movie news today and I'm not going to cover it because my brother is here and I want to go out and chill. Take care everyone and happy easter! If you really need something to read then just read yesterday's post!

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Week is Over

Well, for all intensive purposes at least. I thought the title was appropriate because I've waited days to say those words. This week was crazy because not only did I have to plow through my Philosophy homework in a few days and prepare for my Latin midterm, which became a quiz in the end, but I had club commitments, a CS project, and a crazy CS test. CS tests always scare me because they're true tests of intelligence with regard to programming because coding is all about creativity. I created a mad crazy cheat sheet that helped me out a lot and I feel guilty for using it, but it's not like I couldn't reproduce everything given a keyboard rather than a pen and in a less pressured environment. The exam covered our puzzlers, a paper we read, the searching and sorting algorithms we learned (in the context of just showing their results though), some comparison stuff, and a couple of wild cards (as is expected on every test). The lesser while card was popping from a circular stack the minimum value element, which was tricky but fun. The bigger wild card was the base conversion problems, which I expected but he provided some extra methods for it that confused me so it took longer than it should've. Unless I screwed up with the counter though, I know for a fact that I got those right (I compiled and ran it). What the Hell, I'll share it also:
public static int parseInt(String s, int base)
   {  int result = 0;
      int stringInd = s.length() - 1;
      while( stringInd >= 0 )
      {   int digit = s.charAt(stringInd) - '0';
      for(int i = 0; i < s.length() - stringInd - 1; i++)
         digit *= base;
      result += digit;
      stringInd--; }
      return result; }

public static String numToString(int num, int base)
   {  StringBuffer sb = new StringBuffer();
      if( num == 0 ) return "0";
      while( num > 0 )
      {  char currChar = (char)(num % base + '0');
         sb.append( currChar + "");
         num /= base; }
      return sb.toString();}

What? You're a straight up nerd and you want more? Well you're in luck because I have some decent articles to share. Lo and behold, the PSP has now launched. I suppose I'm a day late on reporting that, but oh well. They released it at midnight Wednesday night (i.e. Thursday morning) and it turns out that releasing late night is a strange marketing strategy. I'd rather have it delivered. It seems like for the king of the mp3 player industry, Apple, the most obvious next move would be an iPod phone, right? It turns out that cell phone companies are greedy bastards, which is no big surprise, and they're trying to find the best way to squeeze money out of this on this concept. If they raise prices for songs to $3 though and sell an expensive mp3 phone they're going to lose big time. Speaking of mp3s, you can get the refreshing perspective of indie artists here on P2P file sharing. They think it's a great way to get their stuff out and are fighting the RIAA, isn't that funny? I'm glad though that someone isn't calling P2P the devil. Back to being in technology though, there's a great perspective here into how productivity is motivated at Google and it seems like a brilliant model. Not only is there one codebase but it's easy to work on multiple projects! That's something you don't see at many big companies. Any of you who are unfunny like me and want to moonlight in standup may want to check out this device first that is a kareoke machine for stand-up comedy! And lastly, the best alarm clock ever.

Today wasn't a particularly big day in movie news. I'm sorry that I neglected to mention the new trailer for The Island a few days ago but I just watched it and now you all must watch it because it's almost too cool to be true. Speaking of which, P. Diddy thinks he's too cool because he's apparently working with MTV on a black version of Ocean's 11. I'm not even going to dignify that with a comment. It better news, there's a few fresh details out about X3. Angel is definitely a man (no reason why yet, but it's confirmed) and Phoenix will be a developing subplot but not the main star. So who is the big villain? No one knows for sure yet, but apparently it's going to be something even bigger than X2 and supposedly won't be Sinister, Shaw, or Trask. Curiouser and curioser. Even more curious is George, as we all know from those fun children's books, and the movie is looking good.

Will they spank the monkey?

As you can see, the cast impressively includes Eugene Levy and Will Ferrell, and I believe it will also feature David Cross is two roles. It's always fun to see kid's movies that don't get too peurile. Last and least, there's a new Fantastic Four poster if any hardcore fans are still managing to get excited about that movie. You'd be better off being excited about Tideland.

Now for the Friday Fiver:

1. What kind of toothpaste do you use?
Colgate Tartar Control plus Whitening

2. Do you take vitamins?
I take my HEB Buddy chewable fruit-flavored vitamins every other day because they have a 100% DV of a ton of stuff.

3. Which over-the-counter drug can't you live without?
Any of them pretty much. Thankfully I don't get sick or have headaches much so I'm pretty much good to go as is.

4. What kind of soap do you have in your shower?
I use Dove and I love it. I always smell really good an hour or two afterwards at least and I'll smell my arm every once in a while because it's so cool! Yes, I know I'm weird.

5. What is the most unusual item in your medicine cabinet?
I'd have to say the stuff Linda has up there that I probably shouldn't comment on ;)

Hope the Catholics out there aren't having too hard of a time with the fast today. Just think of the feast on Sunday! Anyway, that's all I have until tomorrow...

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Grassroots Media Archive

Today's post won't be too long either because I have that CS test tonight and I'm really scared about it so I'm nervous just typing up this post in wait of the test. I would post after the test, but I should really go to Church since it's Maundy Thursday. My main topic for today is rather strange in that it's so thin, but I made it my headline because it's so cool. Ever look for a site where you can permanently store legal pictures and videos and such? One site has decided to start a free archive where you can upload your media for storage forever and the only catch is that it has to be made public. The site is called Ourmedia and it's pretty useful if you're an artist and you need a picture dump or a photographer who wants to store family pictures or something of the sort. The only problem is that you have to fill in all this crap for every piece of media and it doesn't instanaeously upload if you use the web client, but it does if you download their software. I may start using it for my blog instead of using my UT webspace to store pictures that I find and such. Maybe then I could share my code online.

Not a terrible amount of headlines for nerds today. A recent study has found that nearly a third of users have clicked on spam links and a tenth of users are buying stuff advertised in spam. So people really need to stop supporting spam if they want it to stop! In other news, it seems that Apple's scare tactics aren't working on enthusiasts of their products. Blogging about their products is still going on, but the difference now is that Apple looks like the giant that's trying to crush the people that love it. These people aren't trying to hurt Apple but rather discuss is openly out of their nerdy joy for it. Of course there's a fine line between that and actually distributing the software illegally. There was an article a a couple of days ago where the president of the Mozilla Foundation posited that Mozilla is and always will be more secure than IE, partially because it's not packaged with an OS. Sadly the comments were rather weak and an IE developer put up his response, which surprisingly makes sense. It's funny how many hardcore fanboys replied taking cheapshots at the blogger. And lastly, I thought this article was funny because it's about a group of experts trying to assure the worried public that "Netspeak" isn't a threat to children abandoning the whole structure of the English language.

Today there's a healthy amount of movie news so I'm going to quickly hit all the bases. Maybe I should start with some multimedia. If you're looking forward to that new comedy Guess Who? then you may want to take a look at a new clip from the movie. A better comedy is probably Bewitched, which now has its own trailer finally and while it will be funny I don't think it'll be all that. There's also a trailer up for Cinderella Man, which has an all-star cast and looks like it's trying to be another Million Dollar Baby. Sometimes I think that Russell Crowe is too good for his own good. I've been bring Sin City stuff every day and today is no excepion: iFilm has some exclusive clips from the film that are sure to get you pumped up about it. And if you need another reason to watch it you can read this review. My last piece of media is this picture from War of the Worlds that shows that Tim Robbins will actually be in the film also:

Of course the fact that this is coming up so late may mean that his role won't be very big or will be short-lived. There's a small tidbit from Nicholas Cage on IGN about how he's excited to do Ghost Rider and a comic fan so I hope he does a good job! My hero, M Night Shyamalan, is planning to make his next movie, Lady in the Water, under Warner Brothers rather than this Disney this time around. No word on the genre, but it's supposedly about a building superintendent who finds a sea nymph in the complex's swimming pool. Where does he come up with this stuff. And lastly, I just had to mock the fact that Disney is making a third Santa Clause movie. They're really running out of ideas now.

And now for a different meme, Thursday Thoughts:

If you could jump into any movie and witness what was happening, which movie would you jump into?
I'd probably jump into Fight Club and watch the fights. It'd be interesting to just watch average people duke it out. Plus there's another reason which I won't spoil for the sad few of you who haven't seen the movie, but the rest of you probably know what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Crazy Pro-Lifers

Today's post is going to be really short because I have way too much to do tonight (two meetings, CS project, Philosophy homework, CS test studying, Latin quiz studying), but I did still want to post since I have a short chance to. I was walking to the gym today to discover huge posterboards showing the ugly side of abortion and a mass of people debating the issue. Apparently there was a pro-choice one up Speedway, but I didn't get a chance to check that one out up close. What's ironic is that both sides went to each other's pseudo-rally to bitch them about and yet their opinions will not falter. I felt tempted to join them in the arguing, but instead I just wrote, "What would you do if you were raped," on one of these big pieces of butcher paper they kept there amidst comments like "this is disgusting" and "it's a woman's right to choose". The reason for the former comment was that they showed the fetuses and the abortion results among other things and it was rather gratuitous with the blood. Though I'm Catholic, I never understood this devotion to a law banning abortions. It doesn't matter how frequent or rare conception from rape is, the fact of the matter is that it happens and a woman should have the right to choose whether she, possibly at a young age, wants to keep that fetus at a very early stage. There's also the case where the woman's life is in danger. I don't support it for people who irresponsibly had sex, but mainly just in those two cases. I know it's unnatural, but it's not like anyone is carrying out the will of God by preventing it because that would imply knowledge of God's plans. I could go on and on but I probably shouldn't.

I'm going to quickly go through some nerd news. Yahoo is still direly trying to compete with Google so they're going to be offering a GB of space on their e-mail and they're also tweaking their desktop search offering. I love Gmail's interface and that's more important to me than having a GB of space, so Yahoo still has a ways to go. Ireland has become the first country to have completely digital cinemas, which is great for them because it will allow for them to get the movies quicker and cheaper. I thought I'd mention this article about flashy web site hampering PDA and cell phone browsers because I've noticed on my friend's PDA that opening many sites is a pain. That's why you get a laptop instead of a PDA though. Speaking of laptops, Mobile PC put up a great feature on the history of the notebook.

I'm going to also go briefly through the movie news. So I was wrong yesterday with regard to Spider-man 3 and apparently the odds of Venom being in it are very slim. The awesome Michael Madsen has hinted that Tarantino's next endeavour, Inglorious Bastards, will be cut into a couple of pieces like Kill Bill was because there's so much in it. There's a new trailer up for Bewitched, so give it a look. And when I reported the update of the Batman Begins site yesterday I neglected to mention that it had new pictures, such as this one:

He always looks cool

I have to mention a couple of economic articles in my futile quest to educate people with elementary knowledge of the economy. The Fed is becoming more worried about inflation, which is part of why it's been raising interest rates since that restricts the money supply. It wasn't very concerned before though so they'll definitely keep raising rates so that inflation doesn't go out of control leading to the infamous downward spiral under former Chairman Paul Volkner. The other one is this explanation of the lack of money from the Middle East in return for high oil prices. Apparently, they're spending their money elsewhere and that is bad for us. I'm hoping for the rise of the hybrid car.

No meme today, just pray that I go to sleep tonight instead!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Use of the Corporate PC

It sounds dumb to ask whether companies really need a computer on every desk. Of course they do...right? Or maybe not so much. One editorial from last month claims that they're a big drain on financial resources because employees use them for routine tasks that don't require today's processor capabilities. Not only that but it allows for more security holes and companies could just rent out centralized data centers. So why plunge so much into new computers? Bill Gates claims that they are important cogs in the corporate machine,, but his reasons are rather flat. It is true that it allows for richer communication capabilties and that innovation is increasing at an alarming rate, but I think he misses the point of what he's trying to counter. It's obvious that it's important in homes and schools to a certain extent, but is it worth the cost in every company? Sure Moore's law is great and all, but they're basically paying the same to replace their computers with better technology every year. Why not use the same computers or use less of them? It's an interesting topic to ponder.

There are a few other topics of interest in the world of nerds. Though I'm not the biggest IBM fan I've gotta hand it to them when they do something right and they've done something right with spam. They've developed a new service to send spam back to the actual computer from whence they came, and the spam is detected as compared against some giant database. The UK has been a hot name in the news today with two provocative stories. One of their television stations has decided to sell parts of a show online. The show is of car reviews and for a few bucks you can buy DVD-quality video reviews of some sweet cars. They're on the right track but for too high a price. Unfortunately for the insular country though, a fourth of all bots are there. This means that there are more computers there than anywhere else that are being patsied by hackers. And lastly, G4 has put up some great articles pitching the PSP against the DS. They have one focused on the PSP, one focused on the DS, and a grand final verdict. It's unbiased and his decision favors the PSP with good reason so give it a look if you like handheld stuff.

The movie news pipe is surprisingly dry today. There's been an official confirmation from Fox that Matthew Vaughn will be the director and Hugh Jackman will still be Wolverine, but there are still negotiations in progress regarding Storm, Professor X, and Magneto, who will likely return. It must really aggravate them that they can't bring back Cyclops though, and the the war between X3 and Superman Returns rages on. While I'm on superhero news I should mention that the main villain for Spider-man 3 has been cast and it will be none other than Thomas Hayden Church, who has been in good and bad movies. No announcement yet on who he'll play so I wouldn't want to mislead anyone...

Click me

Does he really have that Eddie Brock look though? Anyway, there's actually even more comic book movie news. Some lucky bastard got to see ten minutes of Batman Begins, but he was gracious enough to share his tale. I do enjoy the off and on sputter of news on Batman. They made a flash version of their website too. I'm not a big fan of Harry Knowles's reviews but he has a rather vivid one of Sin City if you haven't had enough of them already. There's a new tv spot out for Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and you can take a look at that here. And finally, Ben Affleck is leaning towards a role in Die Hard 4.0, which makes his career the most unpredictable ever.

Just a couple of quick things left. The Fed, as expected, raised interest rates by 25 basis points today (i.e. a quarter of a percent). Let's hope that energy prices cool down a little, otherwise the Fed will be in quite a bind. Sony is slowly pushing forward development of PS3 games by sending development kits to select European developers, namely the British. If I had one of those kits I'd feel like a kid in a candy store with the added capabilities of the hardware.

And now for the Ten on Tuesday meme, which has really grown on me:

Ten Things You're Good At
10. Blogging, I suppose.
9. Sticking to a plan.
8. Taking leadership roles when necessary.
7. Giving advice (on something I know about that is).
6. Typing (that's a no-brainer).
5. Video games :)
4. Getting work done early.
3. Playing classical guitar.
2. Organizing my time.
1. Programming!

There's probably better stuff than that but it's hard to come up with a list like that.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Computers in Schools

Coming to college after spring break is somewhat easier than it was in high school, but what sucked was the torrential rain on the way to my 11AM class. However, it got sunny soon after class and I swear I could smell flowers on my way up East Mall in the afternoon. I hope I get to go home this weekend for Easter! I'm still looking for a ride though. Anyway, back to the task at hand. A new study has found that high school students do better without computers than with them in schools. It sounds bogus, but they actual took into account confounding variables when they came up with that conclusion. I suppose it shouldn't surprise me because of the vast availability of free online games, but I guess I remember the days when the computer didn't distract me because I didn't chat online much and it was really useful to have Encarta and stuff. I think that the more kids are getting spoiled today the less they're seeing the power of the computer beyond silly things. Buckling down and doing work is a hard thing to learn and when unmonitored on computer I suppose the results could be disastrous. Maybe parents should take a more active role in a child's earlier years in watching over their activity? And maybe we should start a snowfight with the devil as well?

There's a decent amount of other articles in technology today. It's been everywhere that Yahoo has bought Flickr, which reinforces the obvious: Yahoo is trying to augment its planned blogging service, Yahoo 360. Flickr is a service very similar to Hello (from Google) and the software it involves is frighteningly similar to Picasa; what a coincidence. Some dude put up a great blog post with a list of different programs you can load onto your tiny USB drive so that you can take stuff like your bookmarks with you wherever you go. Speaking of being on the go, there's an awesome article here that explains all the pros and cons between getting Napster-to-go or sticking with iTunes to get your music since the $15 a month with the former must be paid every month to keep the music you have. If you have an mp3 player it's a must read. It seems like the new wave in computer security may be hardware-based and someday the trusted platform module may become a standard. This sounds great, but I wonder how long it will be until holes are exploited? Or is it truly flawless? Back to less philosophical topics, learning a language is changing along with the changing face of technology and now you can do much more with relatively inexpensive devices. Lastly, the future of music may be dual layered discs with music on one side and videos on the other. It sounds sweet and it should entice file sharers to purchase the albums.

I'll start off today's movie news segment with the box office report. The winner was The Ring Two with $35 million, which is surprising given the bad reviews it got. I guess moviegoers didn't have many choices though. What's bad is that they think they're doing a good job and so they're considering a third movie. Stop encouraging them, people! I have some good media to share with you all though. If you like kung fu flicks then you'll love Kung Fu Hustle, which I hear good things about and is coming stateside and there are some new clips for. Another great action film that I've mentioned a few times before is Unleashed and FilmForce has a new clip from that movie which is worth a look. There's an anthology film project (a movie directed by multiple directors in distinct pieces) called Eros that is unashamedly about eroticism and desire and it has a new trailer up. I mention it because it's so rare to see a trailer that's actually rated R. The last piece of media is a trailer for the latest offering from master of horror Wes Craven called Red Eye that sounds like a cool thriller. I have some interesting comic book movie news today as well. There's an engaging interview here with director Joss Whendon about Wonder Woman among other things, and what's strange is that the actor he has in mind for the leading role is Morgan Freeman. If you're a fan of Jessica Alba (and who isn't frankly) you'll want to read some of her thoughts on her recent projects. I'll even supplement your reading experience with a picture from her latest photo shoot:

I couldn't resist

A few other things are that there may be a Silver Surfer and/or a Flash movie in the near future. This is becoming like a craze now. Meanwhile, a script for The Punisher 2 is still being banged out. And since I'm on superheros I might as well mention that Hugh Jackman is doing some strange independent work but will be in at least one more kind of X-men movie. And finally, a couple of Sin City items. Rodriguez may do a sequel if the current one does well so everyone go out and see it please! There's another review of the flick over here, but it does contain some spoilers.

Before I close I really wanted to plug this article (no pun intended, really) about teens trying to find loopholes around abstinence. Since when was oral and anal sex not sex? I don't understand the logic. I support abstinence until marraige myself for many reasons I won't go into but they include the intimacy of it and safety.

I know you've all been waiting for some Monday Madness:

How Many........
1. gadgets do you own?
If you include peripherals, at least 20 I'd say. It's hard to count though.

2. on your living room walls?
At my Houston house: I think four or five pieces (we have some Vietnamese things that are like 4 segments of one piece). In Austin: just a calendar and a Fight Club poster.

3. ...magnets on your refrigerator?
At my Houston house: at least 50. In Austin: just four or five to put papers on there.

4. ...reference books in your bookshelves?
I myself probably have 10-20 books just for reference, but my parents have tons in the house.

5. ...boxes of cereal in your cupboards?
In Houston: I think my mom kept like 10 boxes up there. In Austin: about four.

6. ...lamps in your house?
In Houston: probably 6 or 7. In Austin: 3. What can I say, I like light!

7. ...times a week do you shop for groceries?
Just once, and mainly for milk and fruit. Sometimes vegetables and other random things though (like bread).

8. ...magazines do you subscribe to?
I think four right now, but that'll change soon.

9. programs do you watch on a regular basis?
24, Daily Show, Smallville, Jack and Bobby, Joey, and Southpark are the main ones.

10. ...items on your bathroom counter that don't really need to be there?
A bunch, but they're my room mate's.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Beat Half-Life 2

Wow. Now that was a cool game. I finally beat Half-Life 2 yesterday and I'm still putting together the grandness of the whole experience. I think it's safe to call this the third best game I've ever played (right under Tetris and Starcraft). Not only does the game look pretty and sound great, but the gameplay is spot-on. Granted it could be a little harder and less linear, but I think that it's the perfect kind of pacing for your average gamer. What I love about it is how it makes you appreciate every new weapon you get so that you feel it's the best thing ever until you get your next one. Then you finally get the souped up gravity gun and you start going crazy throwing Combine soldiers off the edge into nothingness. The best part of the game though is how realistic and immersive everything is. As the game progresses there are no outside cutscenes but rather only what you see with your own eyes, and there's this feel that you really are the center of attention. The dialogue is never too corny, and usually you can screw with most games' progression of events for kicks but in this game if you don't like run when you have to you will get owned. It's just an awesome experience overall, especially with the smart AI. The only piece missing is the story, which you can discover here.

I was busy last night but I saved up some articles from the technology world for today. I enjoy Google News's combination of different news sources but apparently they didn't secure proper rights because they're being sued by a French news agency for using their stuff without permission. Google is actually coming under fire for a couple of other things too so I hope they can get their act straight, though I imagine it's hard (read the article and you'll see). If any of you love Wikipedia as much as I do you'll be happy to know that they've surpassed 50,000 articles! If you think that we take our free access to the internet for granted than you would be correct. In some countries there is actually a black market to access filtered web content! Think that market will be unnecessary in the next few decades? Speaking of the future, did you ever think about (or hear on Seinfeld) a world where you can do things just by thinking? Well scientists are getting closer to reading your thoughts, which could be a huge breakthrough for paralyzed people. Lastly, I have to plug this editorial about what CS majors should do in college and it's a very informative read.

Movie news is pretty scarce today but I'll do my best. The website for Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy finally went live and it looks very cool and creative. Coincidentally it was opened 42 days before the movie will be in the theaters, which is some sort of nod to fans of the book. Every once in a while Harry Knowles puts up some worthwhile opinions and so I thought I'd mention his thoughts on 3-D movies. It would be pretty cool since it would allow for a richer experience and it would prevent piracy, but don't some people have problems watching movies with those glasses? Anyway, Lex Luthor's main henchwoman for Superman Returns has been cast as Parker Posey, who has been in many random flicks and was likely looking for a big name. Recently there were some top secret screenings of Sin City and some of the audience members submitted their reviews to AICN. Most of them say that this movie will totally own and I even saw a few Pulp Fiction references so I'm even more excited now. All I have left is some meh stuff. Any of you salivating for Fever Pitch can embrace a couple of videos from it. IGN has a pretty good piece about what to expect in Revenge of the Sith over here. And finally, a trailer for the mildly interesting documentary flick called Rock School is now online.

Just a couple of quick video game items. IGN got a first look at the upcoming Batman Begins game and hopefully they're going back to the drawing board because they've come up with the idea of a fear meter now. You can now gauge your enemies' fear and scare them into submission. I hope things shape up well with that game.

Pretty good for an early shot

IGN also gave God of War a glowing review so be sure to look into that game if you have a PS2 because it looks brutally violent and innovative.

I hope you all are ready for some Unconscious Mutterings:

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Stink::Toilet
  2. Renewal::Library books
  3. I remember...::Good BBQ last night
  4. Loneliness::Blows
  5. Ooooh::Ahhhh
  6. For real::Fo' sheezy
  7. Titanium::Hard
  8. Get down::And boogey
  9. Rupture::Eardrum
  10. Dramatic::Million Dollar Baby

Friday, March 18, 2005

Million Dollar Baby

My post is so late tonight because I just got back from watching Million Dollar Baby. I was originally going to see Sideways because it got better reviews, but plans changed and I'm glad they did. I wasn't really excited to see it, but I should've been since Clint Eastwood just made Mystic River a couple of years ago. The premise of the movie is just that Hillary Swank's character, Maggie Fitzgerald, is a woman with nothing to lose and everything to gain with boxing. Eastwood's character, Frankie, is a great trainer who is reluctant to take her in until Morgan Freeman's character, Eddie, convinces him otherwise. The movie takes off from there and blossoms really well. I think the character development was awesome and the boxing scenes were tremendous. My main gripe is that it started and ended slowly. I even started glancing at my watch towards the end, which is a bad sign. Other than that though, the movie carried a lot of well-paced, poignant dialogue and people who you learn to love or hate. I give it an A- with my reccomendation as the best boxing movie I've seen.

I have some palatable nerd news today, but I'm going to keep it short. Yahoo decided that it was about time for them to make all their products compatible with Firefox. That's mighty big of them to bend down long enough to help the little guys. I sense it's an attempt to better compete with Google, but it's too little too late. Speaking of Google, I should extricate myself from bias by plugging this great viewpoint about a possible OS. I do like it better than the one I posted Wednesday because it's more logical and sounds more like their style. It seems like Google has a lot more to worry about in their original search engine with the growth of search engine manipulation. They've done some pretty fancy stuff though so who knows. Open source proponents may smirk at this reccomendation from MIT that the Brazilian government use Linux rather than proprietary software on new computers for the lower-middle income population.

Brace yourself for some amazing movie news today. The BIG news of today is that after much waiting and anticipation, the new "teaser" trailer for War of the Worlds is now up. The last trailer to get me this excited about a movie was the first teaser trailer for Kill Bill, so stop reading this post right now and open that trailer in a new window (right click it) and get ready to flip out. As if that wasn't enough cool video footage, there's an awesome featurette about Sin City and the origins of the movie on Yahoo! Movies that's kind of long but definitely worth looking at (it even has Tarantino in it). I'm hyped up just talking about it! But wait, there's more. Michael Bay is trying to redeem himself with The Island and the new trailer seems to suggest that he's on the right track. Let's hope for the best. That's it for videos I have to showcase, but you may want to read about the beginning of Revenge of the Sith and that Lucas is thinking about a 3-D version. When will it end?! Those of you waiting for X3 news may like to know that Beast and Angel will be major characters whereas Gambit and Cyclops will be more in the background. I haven't had much news for Asian movie fans recently, but there's now strong rumors of a prequel to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. And lastly, feast your eyes on an upcoming Batman Begins poster:

Guess his favorite animal

Instead of doing an outside meme today I'm going to handle something long overdue. Garber had a meme in his blog where if you comment he'd tell you what he likes about you, what song you remind him of, what celebrity you remind him of, and what word best describes you. The catch is that you have to put it in your blog, so here it is:
1. I really like your happy-go-lucky style - I really think you don't let things get you down. (I've seen you down exactly once, and I can't say I blame you for that time.) I really like how whenever I see you I can count on a smile. No matter what. That, I think, says loads about you and your character.

2. Anadivine - The Timid Gentleman. Not only are you gentlemanly (though perhaps not so timid) - it's my favorite song from one of my favorite bands all time and it can be found here. Also, because of one poem you once sent me, Punchline - Heart Transplant, found here. I hope you enjoy both of them if you haven't already heard them.

3. I'll just say that the first thing I thought of when I sat down to do this was Russell Peters. Simply because I knew you were going to see him and you're both Indian. That's an absolutely HORRIBLE comparison but really, your uniqueness is intrinsic. That's right, I said it.

4. Curiousity won't kill this cat. You = brightening/uplifting. In the sense that passing you outside of the gym or on the way to class, the little conversations brighten everyone's day. Or at least mine. Which is what this is about.

They're very nice words and I don't want this post to go too long but I'll return the favor and try to concisely do the same for Garber. Those of you unfamiliar with him can stop reading right

1. I like your talent for writing, particularly poetry. It's hard for most people to really empty yourself out onto paper, and I've tried to model characters in short stories after myself, but I can't express myself quite like you can. I hope that you moonlight as a poet after you graduate ;)

2. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly. Sorry, but since you like hard rock music that just popped up into my head when I think of music and you. That song may not reflect your personality, but it does remind me of you.

3. I'd have to say Adam Goldberg since you like being Jewish so much. It may seem a strange caricature but you could always fall back on being a Hebrew Hammer if geology doesn't work out!

4. This is tough, but I guess I would say spontaneous. It seems like you're very malleable. One second you're drinking the next you're playing electric guitar and the next you're dating someone who sat behind me in English class for a year!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Scene

Being the nerd that I am, I'm kind of surprised that I've never heard the term in my title before. Have you ever downloaded a movie before? Or maybe an album before it came out in stores? Don't lie now, a lot of people have done it at least once. Shamefully, I have as well. When you're young and without a car you get bored. Did you ever think about where these files come from? Apparantly there's an underground world called "the scene" from which such content is spread, and an NYU student has sought to document this experience. Of course the names and stuff aren't real because it's all fiction, but it's likely to be a realistic situation regardless. Anyway, I was always curious about how it happens and this shows you how it happens and why they do it. It's a real eye opener so if you're bored or curious then definitely take a look, especially before you judge these people.

I have a few other techie tidbits to share. Google started their own code dump, which is mainly a site for developers insterested in Google-related development. It has some cool stuff but it's above my head so I won't go into it. I've mentioned the future DVD replacements several times and now I have a really good article that concisely explains the whole battle. It's a matter that will concern us all so give it a look-see. If you've used and it's made suggestions to you about what to buy, you may be interested to know that it's making very educated guesses. And what's alarming is that as it gets better at these predictions that the software could figure out who you are based on what you buy and what others buy for you. A little freaky, huh? Fans of Java may be weirded out to know that it's starting to get closer to the line of open source. Sun is being very wary about it, and I think that Java is going to outlive its usefulness before such a plan would become at all advantageous. Lastly, some guy who told spammers to stop spamming him is now being sued! I don't understand what the claims are, but that's really laughable. When did spamming become acceptable all of a sudden?

The movie news tap has run a little dry today. A little Dutch birdie told me that the Ice Age 2 teaser trailer is finally online and it's what you would expect it to be. Sqrat is an awesome character creation and I hope this sequel is as fun as the original. Jennifer Aniston couldn't be going any stronger after her recent breakup and is now signed on to yet another movie. The reason it's noteworthy is because the movie, Break-up, is based on an idea of Vince Vaughn's and I love his acting style (as seen in Dodgeball). Details are scarce but I hope it's a funny movie. As you have probably already guessed, Superman Returns has finally begun filming quietly, and in the meantime another fantasy movie, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, is still in the works and is going to release a trailer soon. Keep a keen eye for the trailer next month. And finally, there's some new pre-production concept art available for Spy Hunter. I'll share my favorite:

Slim cars are sweet

Being an afficionado of video games I'm always happy to see good games do well. Last month was thankfully dominated by Gran Turismo 4. I hope that Devil May Cry 3 takes over the lead this month. Oh, and Half-Life 2 fans facing withdrawal symptoms may want to turn their attention to the new Timesplitters which is shaping up well, and while it won't be quite as good as Half-Life 2 it will still be a genuinely fun game.

Today's meme is the 3x Thursday:

1. Do you like St.Patrick's Day? Why/Why not?
Other than just being a day to have fun if you're over 21, not really.

2. Do you like Guinness? Why/Why not?
Sadly that's one beer I haven't tried yet. I look forward to sampling it in the near future though ;)

3. Do you believe in the superstitous thingy about having to wear green on St.Patty's Day? Why/why not?
I believe that you will get pinched if you don't wear green! Superstitions though are more just fun to do when it comes to matters like St. Patty's day and so I don't think anyone takes it seriously but abide by it out of habit.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Possibility of Google OS

Today's post is going to be shorter than usual because I'm more pressed on time than usually. Don't let my title mislead you, I'm not saying that they've announced any signs of an OS, but there are many tell tale articles and one bold opinion piece dares to dream about what it could mean. It's quite an extreme argument, but what would be the next level? Google is known for doing things out of the ordianry, so they wouldn't just create some kind of stable Windows. What if they came up with some sort of hybrid combination of web-based hosted environment and operating system? What if you could access your computer from any other web-enabled computer? It sounds pretty far-fetched, but then again so does the idea of a company that started out with a simple search engine becoming an operating system stronghold. I think that as we continue to advance in security that it could become a workable idea ten years from now, and I say that because that's how far away we are from getting to the point where that idea would become practical.

There's some other techie news today as well. Yahoo! is catching on to the blogging trend by developing its own service, Yahoo 360, to allow for a blogger that integrates other Yahoo! services and provides an interface for social networking. I'm presuming that this would be like Blogspot meets Facebook, and it could work well given their track record. Speaking of catching on to trends, Apple has finally caught on to the 2-button mouse trend and is making its own two-button mouse. They have awesome artistic style with their products and I think this would increase its foothold in the video game market so it should be an interesting turnout. Since I've mentioned Yahoo! and Google, it's only fair for me to talk about Microsoft and that they, too, are entering the ad market online. You'd think that they rake in enough money as it is, but I guess the more you have the more you want with competitive edge. Lastly, Hitachi has released its first humanoid robot, and I think it's great because the more entries in the market we have the better the outcome will be for robots that can assist people in need.

I have a handful of good movie news articles today. The geniuses behind the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie have created a cool website for Wonka industries, which you'll find a link to at the lower left corner of the movie website. For those of you who didn't believe me that Disney would have problems without Pixar take a look at their summer lineup. You can easily guess the only movie that I'm excited about, and the others look bad to mediocre in my opinion. Some great news has sprouted up about X-men 3: there are three new X-men according to an inside source. These superheros are Beast, Gambit, and Angel (in a strangely female form). Any of you who don't know who those characters are can shamefully look them up on Google. Horror junkies will be glad to know that some new multimedia has come online today. There's a trailer for the vodoo thriller The Skeleton Key on Yahoo Movies, which features the wonderful Kate Hudson. There's also a new clip from The Ring Two that's actually pretty cool. And finally, there are some new production photos from Superman Returns to feast your eyes on.

That makes you want to adopt an alien

For those of you who are supressing the inner architect inside of you, you may find this article interesting because it talks about a building material that is ready in twelve hours by just adding water to it. It's meant for emergency shelter and it could really do a lot of good. You can indulge the inner child in you with some thoughts on the PS3 from the people who would know best about what to expect. It's long but do you really have something better to do?

Now for some Cheddar X:

1. What's been the most surprising piece of news in the last month?
This is a pretty tough question. For lack of a better memory, I guess I'll say Xbox's announcement, or announcement of an announcement to be politically correct, that their next console will be released by this November.

2. What is the best and most uplifting story you've read recently?
Uplifting? Uhh..I guess Da Vinci Code since it got me excited about religion again. I know it's strange but it just fueled my desire to learn more about Christianity on a more personal basis.

3. Where do you get most of your news from?
Google News and Slashdot are my Meccas.

4. What do you think of this week's resignation of Dan Rather?
He's old enough to retire so why shouldn't he.

5. What standards do you think bloggers need to be held to in terms of reporting honestly and as factually as possible?
It depends. If it's a blog that's specifically for reporting the latest news then I think they should have to adhere to the normal standards of decency and accuracy. However, casual bloggers usually don't mean for their stuff to be taken that seriously and should be granted leniency in that sense (like The Daily Show is).

6. What about blogs being written by media outlets?
I already answered this in #5.

7. What's wrong with the news?
We're being treated as cows. These media organizations tell us what they thing will boost their ratings and don't realize that if they regained credibility by actually doing more investigative reporting that they'd get a bigger audience. For example, how about less bias on reporting on the war? I'm not a fan of wars but if we are doing good to a certain extent then why only show the bad? They let Bush get off way too easy in this past election and that's why he won. It's really ridiculous.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The BitTorrent Phenomenon

Anyone else having a really lazy Spring Break? I haven't done a whole lot, but I've been trying to get things done in a much slower pace than usual. Oh well, I suppose that I deserve a break, but I'm damn scared of the CS test I have to face when I get back. Anyway, my regular readers probably already understand that I'm a fan of BitTorrent and now I found an article that discusses all of its legit uses, which is phenomenal because it can't be treated like P2P clients were. Napster and Kazaa and such never had a huge following for sharing legal files, but this new wave of file sharing does. I'm liking the MPAA better than the RIAA already as instead of targetting the creators of the software or individual users it has instead gone after the tracker sites, which is more admirable. I do hope that torrents become more popular for legit uses because it would make downloading stuff off of websites so much easier. And like I keep chiming in about, it'd be nice for tv executives to take a hint also.

I have a decent amount of technology news today. In a stunning conclusion to the AIM TOS mini-saga, AOL has decided to make its terms clearer so that everyone understands that all personal conversations will remain personal. I'm really amazed at how huge the power of the internet and word-of-mouth online can be. Any of you curious about Internet Explorer 7 may like to know that their main focus is security and the word is that it will include a tabbed interface. Maybe this time they won't include lude comments in their code? TiVo, which I've been mentioning has been heading downhill, just signed a deal with Comcast to make a special version of TiVo for Comcast cable subscribers. This is a big step from them in their battle against generic DVRs, but I wonder if it's enough? I'm a huge proponent of Gmail, the e-mail offering from Google, and it looks like they're approaching the time for releasing it to the public. I've used a number of e-mail interfaces, but this is byfar the fastest and easiest to use. It clears up a lot of clutter and those of you who can't wait can e-mail me for an invite.

I have a pretty good selection of news from the film world. The coolest thing is this interview with Quentin Tarantino in which he mentions that he will be releasing the full length, Asian version of Kill Bill through the recently liberated Miramax with an NC-17 rating. He also talks about what's wrong with the James Bond series nowadays. Horror junkies may like these exclusive videos that JoBlo got their hands on for The Ring 2, and I think that they're worth a look if you liked the first. Speaking of videos, there's another Sin City trailer available that I just noticed but may or may not be new. I've seem seen too much stuff from that movie to know, but it can't hurt to watch it again. There's a new poster for Unleashed available, so take a gander:

What a badass

The movie sounds great so keep your eyes peeled for it this May. A couple of items about some fine ladies also today. There's an interview over here with Ms. Penelope Cruz about her upcoming action flick, Sahara. It should be some good popcorn entertainment, and it's based on a bestselling book after all I believe. There's a movie in the works called Partition and it's an interesting love story that takes place in India in the midst of the infamous Partition of the former British territory. What's cool about it is not only does it feature Neve Campbell, but also the gorgeous Kristin Kreuk. She's on my top 5 hotties list (I know you all have one, don't lie), and I'll show you why:

You can stop drooling now

I'll cut straight to the chase today with a change of pace for memes, Tuesday is Choose Day:

Would you rather:
1. be responsible for an oil tanker crash off the coast of alaska OR cause a rebellion in a developing nation?
Cause a rebellion in a developing nation for sure. Maybe they were oppressed or something. If the country is still developing then a little change could be helpful, but an oil tanker has no redeeming quality.

2. get locked out of your house while naked OR throw up all over yourself in the middle of an important meeting?
Get locked out of my place while naked. At least I wouldn't have vomit all over myself, and it's not like I'm in bad shape. I'm by no means hot, but it's more bearable than the vomit.

3. wake up to find your feet have grown two sizes OR hair all over your back that grows back every night?
My feet aren't very big, so I would love to find that they'd grown two sizes! It would make me feel less conscientious about buying new shoes or going bowling for that matter.

4. eat nothing but cheese for a week OR only chinese food for two months?
Chinese food because it's so good. If I can eat Indian food for most dinners I think I can handle Chinese food as long as it's spicy.