Friday, April 29, 2005

Some TrustRank Speculation

Where's the ball?

I played broomball last night with NSC against the ACM, which was an odd fight since I'm an officer in both clubs, and we sadly lost 4-0. It has nothing to do with the topic at hand except that it was a lot of fun and my butt still hurts from falling flat on it so much. I'm that guy in the green shirt in the picture by the way. For those of you who don't know, broomball is just a game where you have sticks with rubber edges and you try to get the ball in the other team's goal with it like hockey except you're on the ice with tennis shoes so the lack of friction becomes a tricky beast. I think we could've won if our seniors hadn't been out drinking, but we'll get them next time. Moving on though, Google is aiming to ramp up its ranking system for its search engine more for what is believed to be called TrustRank. It would basically use the credibility of news organizations to rank them even better than the current parameters of relevance and recency so that articles like from CNN, for example, aren't on page three. It's an interesting idea, but I wonder if some will complain that they're unfair when they unveil it? They'd basically have to remain totally unbiased and base it off of stuff like how long the company has been in the business and how long their articles are and such. I wonder how they keep coming up with fresh ideas so often?

I'd like to start out the technology news with a proclamation from Firefox: they've broken the 50 million barrier on downloads of their browser! This is a huge success for open source browsing and while it's not without its problems it has proven to pose quite a challenge to the monopolostic hold of Internet Explorer. There's been a lot of 3rd party support today for Apple's Tiger OS with lots of plugins for all facets of the platform, many of which are real nifty. Not everyone is so supportive of Apple though. The online retailer TigerDirect has sued Apple over the use of Tiger, which apparently it owns a trademark to along with a couple of other related names. It looks like Apple is getting a taste of its own litigation from a covetous company making a rather petty claim. I don't like the idea of someone having the rights to the name of my favorite animal in general. This is a really random tidbit but I was appalled to learn of a tax being levied in the Netherlands for every GB of capacity on an mp3 player that is bought there in order to make up for downloading. So much for the mp3 industry over there. Lastly, I have to reiterate the idiocy of John Dvorak by citing this new article he wrote about the degradation of the video game industry. Not only does he not know the first thing about the industry but he doesn't see how insane sales are. It's hard to make video games because you need someone to fund them, and I can tell that a lot of companies are trying to be innovative because that's what makes them more money.

I'll start out the movie news with some stuff on what's sure to be this weekend's big flick: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It has been getting some mixed reviews, but IGN seems to like it. I guess it's a love it or hate it thing. Irregardless, there's a good interview here with Sam Rockwell, who you may remember from Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Sam Raimi likes to toy with our minds because he's now hinting at the complexity of the visual effects of the villains, but that could mean one of several things for Spider-man 3! I'm surprised that he's going through so much trouble to keep things under wraps. Speaking of superheros though, you can see some footage from the set of Superman Returns over here set to some great theme music, which is just a moving form of the pictures I spoke about earlier. It concludes with some words from director Bryan Singer to some fans, so it's worth a look if you're hardcore like me. If you want some more media, there's a new clip from Crash at Yahoo! Movies and I think the great cast, which features Don Cheadle, is what's going to pull me into this one. Hip hop artist Mos Def is really working his way up in the movie chain with a role in an action-drama opposite Bruce Willis called 16 Blocks. I love his music and I think he has some talent as an actor, but I hope his music doesn't suffer as a result. And lastly, I thought I'd share the new poster for War of the Worlds:

Oooo, fiery

Just a few things I wanted to mention before closing up and taking a nap. I highly reccomend tuning into Fox on Sunday and here's a preview of why. In other good news, Katie Holmes is saving herself for marraige. So I guess she's still waiting for me! I know I'm sad; sorry. I would provide some biting commentary on the social security plan Bush interrupted Sweeps week for, but I think the quotes from the democrats in that article sums up my thoughts. He has the most illogical plans you ccould conceive of.

Once again, I've decided to take a bite in the Friday's Feast meme:

Which keys do you have on your key chain?

Not much I'm afraid since I don't have my car yet! :( I have my apartment key, guitar case key, mailbox key, ACM office key, and the key to the back door of my parent's house in Houston. The most prized thing on that ring though is my bottle opener though because I got it for free and it's awesome.

What is the most spontaneous thing you've ever done?

Proposed to someone. Just kidding! I'm not all that spontaneous I'm afraid because I'm such a wimp. I guess I'd have to say going to Red and White (a dance) at my high school stag with a few friends and doing a semi-freak dance with a girl in my Hindi class. It was quite odd and I wouldn't really want to replicate that experience. I wouldn't mind freak-dancing again, just not in that setting.

Who is the best cook in your family?

It used to be my grandmother, but now that she's gone I'm going to have to go with my mom. My mom's older sister is really good also, but of course I'm going to be biased to my mom because I'm salivating right now just thinking of her food.

Main Course
If you were to write a "how-to" book, what would the title be?

How to stretch your food budget in college when you don't live in a dorm. =D

Name a recent fad you've tried.

I've been wearing a couple of those silicone rubber wristbands. One says "Go Horns" and is burnt orange and the other says "Integrity UT" and is blue. I love both colors and bands.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The State's Mixed Up Priorities

So I got my financial aid notification and I'm not happy. The Texas Legislature, in all its infinite wisdom, has taken almost $5000 away from me in scholarship money. This past year my tuition was paid for, but next year much less than half of it will be covered. Readers of the Texan probably know that I'm not the only one with a beef, but others have more severe problems. So what's the deal? They're screwing with all their formulas so that less needy students get the money. Did you know that Texas is ranked 45th among all the states in number of students who go through college after high school? And it's crap like this that causes it. Not only do you need ambition for college, but you also need money. Instead of jumpstarting the economy for the long-term by increasing the amount of skilled labor they'd rather allocate their monies elsewhere. I'm part of a single-income family and I have a 4.0 GPA, so would someone tell me what exactly I have to do to get scholarship money? Do I have to jump through blazing hula hoops? I'm still trying the FastWeb route, but no luck so far. I think I now officially hate George W. Bush, because his administration set off a chain reaction of events that caused this and yet he gets re-elected because he claims to support education. Bullshit.

My nerd news is much less aggravating. Movie pirates everywhere started hiding under rocks today upon hearing the news that Bush has signed a bill into law that would subject anyone in posession of unauthorized copies of a movie prerelease to fines and jail time of up to 3 years. So if you have done that stuff in the past, keep it in the past! It's not worth the risk. In a weak attempt to compete with Google, Yahoo launched the beta of its My Web services today. After they became such a hot item way back when they were bound to burn out. As an interesting connection to my main topic, Bill Gates is encouraging the U.S. government to relax quotas on visas given to skilled labor because apparently they can't find enough employees inside the country. This wouldn't be such a big issue if they encouraged education more by improving financial aid programs! And lastly, Nokia is preparing to release quite a monster on the high-end cell phone market with its N91, which comes with a freaking 4GB hard drive. That's more hard disk space than my old computer had! That can hold a ton of music and it comes with a 2MP digital camera. It's also Bluetooth enabled and you can buy music through the phone. Now it's drool time:

I know I've already mentioned the Batman Begins trailer a couple of times already, but there's a newer one! You must check it out right now. It's a combination of all the old ones plus a few new scenes and it's totally sweet. The remaining movie news isn't quit as exciting, but at least we know that Batman Begins will be dark and not created for the mainstream, so it should turn out well. Another cool trailer out today is the one for George Romero's Land of the Dead, which is part three of the series and looks to be promising so far. Another video you may want to check out is a behind-the-scenes montage from Kingdom of Heaven, which I really hope becomes a good movies. Back to men in funny suits though, Marvel has decided to produce its own movies and so you'll want to brace yourselves for a sleu of PG-13 flicks so they can build up a lot of capital. Something I didn't know about and maybe you didn't either is that Jerry Seinfeld is working on a CGI film called Bee Movie about a bee fresh out of college trying to make it out in the real world and befriends a florist along the way. There's more than that to it but the point is that it won't come out til November 2007 so we have a long wait ahead of us. At least it has an impressive cast. And lastly, there's a Samuel Jackson interview at JoBlo, but it's unfortunately centered around XXX 2, which is bound to flop.

Before I go I just have to plug this parody of the Wal-Mart Foundation site, especially because they got a cease and desist order from the retail giant for using copyrighted images. That really didn't help their image out much.

And now, you know you want some Thursday Threesome:

Onesome: Sex...When did you learn about sex? Was it through those films at school? Word of Mouth? Your parents?
Sex? What's that? Seriously though, I don't exactly remember. I'm pretty sure it was word of mouth. I just put all the pieces together and they fit, and then it was all confirmed in high school health class, but not with a video.

Twosome: ...Lies-- you believe little white lies are all around us? Or do you prefer only the truth even if it hurts someone's feelings??
This is a tricky subject. I prefer euphemisms to lies because any kind of lie can get you in a lot of trouble. I really try to stick to telling the truth and being frank with people.

Threesome: and Videotape-- you buy movies on Video and/or DVD? Or do you prefer to rent? What kind of movies do you add to your collection?
I buy DVDs of movies I absolutely love, so I only have 10 right now but there are a few others I want (Memento, a Kill Bill boxed set, Spider-man boxed set). I rent when I'm with my brother or with my cousins sometimes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Comments Are Key

No, I'm not talking about blog comments. In fact, if you're not a programmer you might as well skip this paragraph. I've run into quite a few peers who don't see the point in writing comments first and then building the code around it. Essentially, doing extensive planning before putting your fingers to the keyboard in an IDE. Some people call it psuedocode, some call it PDL, but the most important term is documentation. I'm bringing this up because of this article I came across that endorses just this. If I tried reading the code I wrote a month ago without the comments I think it'd be slightly less fun than poking myself in the eye. It's not only that, but more that it's not enough to write a line of code with sensible variable names and then write a comment explaining exactly what that line does in English. What needs to happen is an explanation in terms of the problem; so the why rather than the how. If someone wants to know how it's being done they'll interpret the code in front of them. What's harder to discern is the purpose of a block of code and why it's written the way it is. The motto to live by is that no code is completely self-documentating. The program is crying out for you to give it that extra meaning, so just shut its mouth and do it!

The remaining techie news isn't too shabby either. I think everyone is familiar with Adobe's Postscript and PDF formats as the file formats for read-only documents on the Mac and PC, respectively. Well the surprises keep coming at the WinHEC conference as Microsoft has now revealed that it plans on competing with Adobe using an XML-based document format called Metro that would be built into the next iteration of Windows to be accessed without an independent client. This really is a challenge to Adobe and I feel bad for them because this is just M$ being mean-spirited. They even ordered people to take down pictures of its new UI because they don't have the patents in place yet. I didn't get my order yet so I think I'll keep mine up. I guess that they should've been more paranoid about security at the event if they didn't want any leaks of that sort! Privacy can be a touchy issue in general though, especially in North Carolina where administrators at a couple of universities have been ordered to not divulge the information of some resident music pirates. And the RIAA loses another battle, but not the war. If you want proof that open-source software can turn a profit then look no further because this article explores how one guy got a lot of money from venture capitalists banking on success similar to Red Hat, which sells improvements and support services to clients for a fee. Lastly, if you want to waste some time you should totally check out Guess-the-Google where you're presented with 20 images and you have to guess the keyword that turned them up. It's surprisingly fun and addictive, but could use more unique keywords.

I've got some sweet movie news for you all to feast on today. The big thing is Robert Rodriguez will be working on not one, but TWO sequels to Sin City! I can barely contain my excitement, but I guess I'll have to until summer 2007 rolls around. Sheesh, by then I'll be heading into my last year of college! Other good news today is that James Bond will be Pierce Brosnan after all. There's no explanation as to the sudden change, but I don't think Ms. Dench would lie. Not enough good news for you? Fine, there's also word from Kevin Smith, the man, that the new Star Wars movie will in fact be what we've been waiting for. I won't be camping out for this one, but I'm getting more hopeful for it for sure. Too much good news? Fine, Katie Holmes is dating Tom Cruise. Now we can never be together! Why, Katie?! Ahem, moving on, there's word now that the husband of the leading lady in Silent Hill will be none other than Boromir from LOTR: Sean Bean. With those creepy eyes maybe he'll end up being a bad guy. Following up on the production of Superman Returns in a stalkerish fashion, we now know that Kevin Spacey has started filming on set in his role as Lex Luthor. Can you imagine anyone better for the role? Because of my respect for Antonio Banderas as an action hero in some great movies I have to mention his casting in the indie thriller Bordertown regardless of J.Lo being involved because he just oozes coolness. And lastly, feast your eyes on the first one-sheet for Saw 2:

Just a tad dirty

Before I leave off I wanted to mention that the Family Guy to premiere Sunday night has been leaked and it's totally sweet. Some people disagree with me, but I thought it was an awesome start to the season and IGN agress with me. So be sure to tune in Sunday at 8PM on FOX along with American Dad. Also, Audioslave fans must immediately go here to help us unlock a new track from their album.

And now for some Cheddar X:

1. What would you name your boat?
The S. S. Badass I suppose. OR, the S. S. getInstance("Fun")

2. What's your "go to" joke?
Somebody's gonna get hurt real bad!

3. What do the words "family vacation" evoke in you?
The good ol' days when my I used to live in the same roof as my brother and we used to take random road trips.

4. What is the most infectious song you know right now (that song you can't get out of your head once it starts going in there)?
"Number One Spot" - Ludacris. It was in my head all day yesterday.

5. Are you safer now than you were five years ago?
Considering that I'm out of Fondren and I'm not permanently living in my parent's house in the ghetto and I'm slightly stronger than before, yes.

6. So, how about the new Pope, better than the old Pope, worse or just more of the same?
I could make a joke here, but I think I shouldn't. The Pope's decisions never affected me directly, so it's more of just the same. Unless the Indian dude won. That would've been sweet.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Embarrasment to Christianity

Any of you walk past Gregory Gym in the late afternoon the past couple of days? This dude has been there answering questions about Christianity; kind of like Cliff last semester. Cliff was a lot better and more eloquent though. I walked past him right after Latin class and ended up staying for like 10 minutes because there was a heated discussion about homosexuality going on and I'm always amused to hear Christian conservatives try to defend their viewpoint. He was doing a horrible job by bringing up a long-winded story to make the point that gay people feel in their conscience, given by God, the guilt that what they're doing is wrong. He went on to say that if one of his sons told him that he was gay that he'd try to figure out where he failed as a father. One girl, who was quite pretty I might add, said that she came from a strong Christian background (as have I by the way, I should've hooked up with her, huh?) and that he was an embarassment to Christianity. I had to applaud that, because she was right. When I finished working out I ran into my friend Jeremy, and we had a much better discourse on the subject. His viewpoint is that it's a learned behavior and the bible condemns it. It sounds one-sided, but I'll cede that he had some good arguments. The cornerstone of my philosophy though is that the bible cannot be trusted because it shouldn't be taken literally (it's open to interpretation), it was written by man (so fallibility applies), and we can't guarantee its accuracy since it's so old and may have been changed over time. He believes that it's something that can be "cured", which sounds worse than he was making it out to be because it's not that we should hate them but we should help them. I feel that it's their choice to make though, and I can't see it being hurtful to the Lord. Anyway, this has gone on too long but feel free to comment with your thoughts on the subject.

The centerpiece of this post had I not seen that guy talk would've been the unveiling of the Longhorn beta. So far, the verdict is that it's not too impressive and may be a step backward, in fact. Of course that's very subjective, especially since Microsoft could have an ace up its sleeve for all we know. The only tangible thing the rest of us can go on is shots of the Aero Glass UI, which looks kind of like this:

Uhh, I guess it's different

It looks a little glassy, but is it all that special? Microsoft also announced that they're planning on putting something along the lines of a 'black box' recorder in the new Windows to allow for better error reporting, but of course along with that comes privacy concerns. It'd only be worth it if it markedly improved their bug detection. Meanwhile, AOL is finally coming to its senses by testing out Triton, which would eliminate all the reasons I (and many others I'm sure) used 3rd party IM clients. New features include logging, tabbed interface, mini-icons in the buddy list (ala Gaim), 3rd party plug-in architecture, and VoIP among other things. Take a preliminary look here. There's already word that Dell is planning a replacement to its Axim x50 model next year that will be its first cellular-wireless handheld. Now we're really making progress with PDAs.

The movie news today is rather weak; I guess partially because everyone is still hot on the heels of the Batman Begins trailer. Thankfully, the movie will be released two days earlier on Wedensday, June 15, so be sure to skip work and/or class that day. There are also some behind-the-scenes shots over here for those who are interested, or you could just get the new Entertainment Weekly. Does anyone know anything about Joss Whedon's Firefly? If you do, I think you'll get something out of this interview. The rest of us can just settle for the cool new trailer for Serenity, which unfortunately got pushed back to September because for some odd reason they feared the April competition. Anyone interested in The Lion, the With, and the Wardrobe can check out the website for some good, new behind-the-scenes footage and sustain themselves with this description of the upcoming trailer. Lastly, IGN has an interview with relative newcomer Martin Freeman, who plays the lead in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and we can expect to see more of him if it turns out well.

My post today just wouldn't be complete if I didn't mention this Bushism. He was obviously trying to get laughter from a crowd at Galveston by mentioning Splash Day, but the great irony is that it's a huge gay and lesbian event! Nice going George. There were actually a couple of things today about video games. For one thing, a new program has been developed that acts as a V-chip for PC gaming so that parents can control and limit the playing time of their children. I think it's a great idea because kids are getting way too attached to games nowadays; much moreso than back in my day. That's too bad for them though because Prince of Persia 3 is in development to my great delight and you can bet that I'll keep you abreast of any details that arise.

Here goes one of my favorite memes, the Ten on Tuesday:

10 stupid things you did as a kid
10. Made a habit of talking fast.
9. Fell for girls I shouldn't have and ended up getting hurt.
8. I got fat!
7. I hit my brother, who is 8 years older than me, pretty hard with these plastic nunchucks I had and then I almost pissed my pants when I realized what I had done.
6. I decided that Fondren would be a good middle school to go to.
5. I wanted to see this big star-shaped trophy my mom got so I reached up to get it and dropped it on the floor breaking a piece of tile from the floor. Then, I tried to cover it up!
4. I put a review of a Physics test (very generic, no specific questions) online.
3. I stuck these fake, metallic keys in one of our power outlets. I've gotta say: ouch.
2. I put a staple through my thumb while trying to fix the bloody stapler.
1. I listened to one of my friends and took something pretty bad to school that will remain nameless (it's not a weapon).

Monday, April 25, 2005

From Analog to Digital

Television, that is. Many of us are used to low-quality television because we're middle class and are used to our analog television sets. However, if you've ever downloaded an episode to your computer then you know the joy of digital quality picture and sound. What you may not have known about is a bill in Congress passed in 1996 that would call for the end of all analog television broadcasts at the end of 2006. There's a clause in there that it can be modified should the spread of digital television sets have not reached 85% by then, but that's aside from the point. It would be a huge step into the future and would free up those channels normally used in "regular" tv for better uses like emergency broadcasts or wireless signals and such. Why is Congree deliberating on this and not just the FCC? I have no idea, but at least they're taking steps in the right direction. This will pressure the industry to make affordable, normal-sized HDTV sets, which is great for us. However, if this doesn't happen soon a lot of pissed off Americans will have bought obsolete tv sets. And since the date in that bill is changeable, what will the solid date be if we even have one? No one knows quite yet, and it will be a compliated path, but the benefits could be pretty great as outlined in that article.

I'm not sure why, but there's barely any great news for nerds today. I've mentioned it before but with a worse article so I'll mention it again: Microsoft is planning to beef up security in Longhorn through the hardware. There will be special keys in certain silicone chips built into the machines themselves, and this could be a huge step forward although the article does point out that many of the OS's other features sound strikingly similar to Apple's ideas. No surprise there. Is there anything more annoying than being stuff in traffic? Thanks to research from the government and Polytechnic, GPS information may be linked with traffic information to truly provide the best possible routes for you while you're on the road. That will make life so much easier when it's completed. Since I'm ever-fascinated with electronic devices that can think on their own, I have to plug this open robot project that aims to create a uniform platform for robotic applications. And lastly, Google is beefing up its ad services by giving more control to advertisers as to where their ads go. So you'll see more ads with graphics, but hopefully they won't become a nuissance.

The movie news today isn't too shabby. The best news today was the revelation that the final Batman Begins trailer will premiere this weekend (click that link) at the discretion of local theaters, which is a pleasant reminder to us that the Dark Knight will return in less than two months! Respected director Woody Allen has taken quite a liking to Scarlett Johansson who will not only be in his upcoming film Match Point (romance turned suspense), but also in his unnamed next project in London this summer.

Great hair

I can't blame him since she's so pretty, and so is Jennifer Connelly, who will be joining Kate Winslet in Little Children as a supermom. Did you like that little transition there? I like Tony Scott because of True Romance, and so I was intrigued to learn that he's working on a romance thriller next with Denzel Washington called Deja Vu, which you would think is called so because it's like deja vu to see him play a cop again. And finally, I'd like to leave you with some sequel news. Thankfully, David Fincher will most likely not create a sequel to his masterpiece Se7en, and curiously Kevin Smith seems to be creating the sequel to Clerks in what seems to be very similar to the original though he definitely has more money now. Go figure.

Everyone is partial to a little Monday Madness:

1. What season are you in right now?
I'm in season 18 and things are getting wild and crazy! More seriously though, I'm doing the whole spring thing; so it's hot but not summer crazy hot.
2. Do you celebrate anything special this time of year?
Well Easter is pretty big and so is the end of the school year. I can't believe I'll soon be a sophomore in college! Much time has passed since the days I dreamed of moving out of the house.
3. Name 3 things that come to mind when you think of spring (or your current season)?
Flowers, finals, and bikinis.
4. In the current season, about how many hours of the day are daylight hours?
I'm guessing about 12 or 13 hours.
5. Do you do any 'spring cleaning?'
This is the dumbest concept that I've ever come across. Why would you only clean up during one season of the year? I am to clean on a weekly basis, but more realistically it's bimonthly or monthly.
6. Do you wash your own car or take it to the car wash?
When I get my car I'll probably just wash it whenever I go to my parent's place. I don't trust those gas station car washes.
7. Do you hang your laundry out on a clothesline on nice days?
I used to do that every week at home! I still do when I go home because the dryer just isn't enough. When I do laundry in Austin I can't because I'm in an apartment.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Lagging CS Matriculation

Isn't that a weird word? People seem to use it much less than "enrollment", but it really means the same thing. Anyway, it turns out that there has been a very recent trend of lessening enrollment in CS programs from both sexes. Back in the mid to late 90s the size of CS programs were through the roof across the nation. At UT the introductory classes had somewhere around 1,000 students, whereas now there's less than half of that and we lose approximately 25% of our students every semester. Is this really such a bad thing? I think it's horrible that women are so deterred from it, but I'm glad that it's not a fad anymore. I do it because I like it and I think it's good that we have more people in it nowadays who are in it for the right reasons. There are several reasons why women are averse to majoring in CS, principally because it's such a male-dominated field. Is not this whole world male-dominated though? Why should they not be able to break into CS as well? The reason it's important is because only through diversity can we break barriers in fields.

The tech news this weekend is good for a weekend edition. If you find yourself frequently checking e-mail then you may be proving the point that it affects your IQ. Researchers believe that its role in diverting your attention easily and hence slowing down your brain hurts you, but I don't think the correlation is strong enough to really prove anything. I can see how it affects kids, but that's still not in a direct way or a generality. I love USB thumbdrives and so I have to post this article comparing ten of the newer devices, which I'm still casually reading actually because it's quite useful. Borland JBuilder was the first Java IDE I knew about when I learned Java, but I soon discovered that it was far too complicated. Now it's lending a portion of its core to the Eclipse project (an open-source, cross-platform, multiple-language IDE). Like all companies though they're in it for the money through possible improvements they can rake in and sell off of it.

The movie news for the weekend is lackluster as always, but there are a couple of gems. I'll start out though with the box office report. At the top this weekend was The Interpreter, a movie that I was looking forward to but got mixed reviews, and only managed to rake in $20 million. I was kind of surprised given the cast, but at least it beat The Amityville Horror, which came in second. If you love kung fu action then you've gotta check out this fight montage from Unleashed, and you can also see a newer trailer over here. I hope that movie turns out as good as I want it to. If you're a fan of the book and you want to see some character profiles from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as a refresher you can now check those out. And if you're a die-hard Star Wars or George Lucas fan you'll want to read all about Star Wars Celebration III, which also had some information about Indiana Jones 4. Apparently he has the Indy 4 script and hasn't read it yet. He needs to get started! Anything from the mind of Tim Burton has to be totally sweet so I was glad to see a set visit for Corpse Bride at AICN replete with clarification of the teaser trailer among other things. Apparently, this dude Victor (Johnny Depp's voice) is trying to propose to this girl Victoria (convenient name) but ends up proposing to this dead girl instead and she tries to get him to honor it and more stuff ensues. It sounds even better than The Nightmare Before Christmas. Lastly, we finally have some shots from the set of Silent Hill (that movie being written by the awesome Roger Avary and Christophe Gans) and it looks pretty cool. It's taking place in a small town in Canada that looks creepy enough as it is where a woman desperate to save her dying child stumbles upon the alternate dimension known as Silent Hill.

Perfect location!

Not much randomness to leave you with. Since I was a fat kid I thought I'd share this revelation about how being overweight may not be as prominent a cause in death as previously believed. Nevertheless, I don't see the point in legitimizing eating the wrong way (for people who don't have a genetic problem). I hated being fat and I can't see any benefits to it.

And now some Unconscious Mutterings:

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

  1. Detachment::Isolation
  2. Regard::Birthday cards
  3. Community::College
  4. Strike three::You're out
  5. Congregation::Protestant church
  6. Generous::Donations
  7. Pretention::Before detention =P
  8. Pregnant::Baby
  9. Drinking::Booze
  10. Brilliance::Genius

Friday, April 22, 2005

Storage Via E-mail

How many messages are in the inbox of your primary e-mail account? Too embarassed to say? Well have no fear, because you're not alone. Though there's no statistical evidence proving it, it has become pretty clearcut that using e-mail to hold onto information has become a growing trend. Could it be that our society is just becoming more and more lazy? Is the foundation of existence crumbling beneath us? Probably not. I think people's lives are just getting busier and we still haven't developed a way to easily organize our life in an electronic form. Sure there are electronic organizers and PDAs, but the tiny keyboard of the former is a turnoff and the necessity of a pen on the latter is annoying. Plus there's the pricing for something decent. And it's so easy to lose what we write on paper. I think this burden has been shouldered onto e-mail because it's something we can rely on and access from everywhere. When devices that are like PDAs but come with keyboards and are more compatible with computers (and intuitive) become popularized at a lower price the tables will turn. Until then, just keep procrastinating that e-mail clean-up you've been dreading.

The news for nerds today is pretty decent if I do say so myself. The coolest thing was that scientists have finally figured out why popcorn has leftover unpopped kernels. Apparently the culprit is a leaky hull that impedes the moisture buildup. Many of you can easily recall the buzz surrounding Windows 95 when it first came out, and as archaic as it is now you can't deny what a revolution it was for the PC (read: non-Apple computers). Microsoft is making the claim that Longhorn will be that big. In fact, they're so confident that their new motto will be, "It just works," and I hope they follow through on it (assuming that they stop being bigots). I've gotta hand it to them, they're trying out a new OS model and taking a chance. On the other side of the spectrum, there are fresh concerns that Linux may fail in the long-run due to a lack of rigorous testing. They make some good points, and I can cite much evidence that without well tested software you have nothing. And lastly, Sun has released a list of features to be included in J2SE 1.6 aka Mustang. They sound pretty neat, but not enough to save the language. I think in another 5 years Java will be rarely used.

The theme of today's movie news is quality over quantity. I'll start out with the superhero stuff. I know that Batman Begins has already had like six posters and I keep putting them up here, but now there's a new one that I also must put up:

What a badass

That's the one that the publicity machine is using for France. I want you to compare the Batsuit to the suit being used for Superman Returns, which was just put online today:

Click for ultra high res

I don't think the colors pop out like they should. Oh well, it'll have to do. The appearance of Juggernaut in X3 has now been confirmed officially and Matthew Vaughn also spoke a bit about his adaptation of Stardust (the Neil Gaiman novel), which should be pretty cool. And if that wasn't enough comics for you, there's also a first shot of Nicholas Cage as Ghost Rider in today's USA Today. His zeal for the series is very promising. I love Mos Def and Sam Rockwell so it was pretty neat to me that IGN got an interview with both of them to help promote Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Not a whole lot of new information, but always nice to hear them talk about it. Lastly, there's some new information on the U.S. version of Oldboy for those of you who are interested. I think the movie idea is pretty cool but I know nothing of the original so maybe that article will serve some of you better.

Just a couple of things before I close up here and relax for the rest of the night. I know I keep mentioning Greenspan's warning regarding our twin deficits but now he's pissed. For those of you who don't know, the exacerbation of the deficit sets of a chain reaction of things starting with uncontrollably high interest rates and leading to a lack of credibility in our monetary stability in the international community and less consumable income among other things. We just had to elect Bush, huh? If any of you are truly interested in the blog contraversy with employees of certain companies you may like this extensive article.

Because the Fiver is a little bland today I'm doing Friday's Feast:

Name something that helps you fall asleep.

Turkey! Other than that though, laying down in front of a television usually does the trick. There's also my Philosophy teacher's voice, and I think it does the trick for a number of other people in my class as well.

Who brings out the best in you?

So as to not get all caught up in annoying woe-is-me crap, I'll just say it's a girl I met a couple of years ago who I miss in my life now. A few of my cousins can usually do it too though, but it's not quite the same.

What do you like to do on a rainy day?

Watch the rain while eating corn on the cob from the comfort of my bed. Doesn't everyone?

Main Course
Complete this sentence: In our home, we never have enough...

Kahlua! I love that stuff but my dad doesn't keep a whole lot of it on hand unfortunately. It goes great with milk, chocolate liqueur, and irish cream liqueur.

Which shoe do you put on first?

My left shoe for some reason. I don't really have an explanation for that, sorry.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Mutations of Turtles and Google

Note: This post was done a while ago, but Blogger was doing some bloody maintenance.
I had a couple of small things that I wanted to make the centerpiece for today and unfortunately that was the best title I could come up with. I went last night to the UTC to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They had to move it there because the Travesty film festival was going on in the Union, and as such it was an hour late because of moving the equipment. Anyway, they had these four guys in Ninja Turtle costumes do a dance to that rap song they did for the second movie and it was awesomely funny. I hadn't seen the flick for like ten years so I barely remembered it, though I remembered liking it. I enjoyed watching it again because it was so corny at some parts (we were laughing at serious parts) but it was great because everyone loves TMNT. I think it's a great movie for college kids to relive. Through a comment on my blog I ran into this guy's blog who has made a bunch of nifty Google Hacks. One of the cooler ones allow you to put in some words, and then it'll complete your thought by searching for its occurance on Google and finding words that follow it. Another one allow syou to visualize your poetry by searching for images matching your words. One that I was impressed by can tell you the color of the word you enter.

Moving right along, you can now check out your search history in Google in case you're a scatterbrain like me and forget things that you were thinking about moments ago very easily. Of course you need a Google account, but they're free anyway and worth it for all the stuff you get with it. Toshiba and Sony have decided to hold hands and prance about in a field of lilies to create a unified next-generation DVD format. This is great news for us, but the big concern for them is going to be time; particularly for the development of the PS3. Since the possibilities of using the PC as a media center as well has intrigued me I thought I'd mention this article describing all the current ways you could go with purchasing a computer to watch TV and listen to the radio and other such things. The big plus with that is being able to record shows off your computer rather than having to buy a Tivo or messing with a VCR. A hot topic in computing in recent years has been security, and an even hotter issue is identity theft. The next wave of security measures could be utilizing biometrics and voice input to verify ID over the phone and even on a card itself. Now that would be pretty sweet. And lastly, there's an opinion floating around that the recent purchase of Macromedia by Adobe was due to a desire to beat Microsoft to it. And I thought I had friends in high school who were paranoid.

There's not a whole lot of great movie news today. An early review of Will Ferrell's Kicking and Screaming suggests that the movie is unfortunately not anything to get worked up about. Anchorman can only carry his name for so long. Apparently Wesley Snipes has a side none of us have seen because he's gone all crazy and is suing New Line Cinema for everything from racism to director choice on Blade III. I can't see him winning it, but who knows. And hopefully Sarah Michelle Gellar has a side we don't know about because she's going to be a porn start in Southland Tales, which now has a plot. It's set in the near future in L.A. and features an action star with amnesia (The Rock) and a cop (Sean William Scott) with the key to some sort of conspiracy among other characters backed by awesome actors. Richard Kelly is really going all out on this one with his plan for publicizing it so hopefully it turns out well. Mike White, writer of a couple of seemingly college kid targetted flicks, is working on a movie now with the Napolean Dynamite director that will feature Jack Black as a guy who wrestles to raise money for a Mexican orphanage. The movie could go either way, but of course I hope it'll be good. I've mentioned the Adam Sandler comedy Click quite a few times before because it sounds kinda neat and it will now feature not only David Hasselhoff (who's a huge star in Germany supposedly) but also Kate Beckinsale. This movie just gets curiouser and curiouser. And lastly, there are a couple of interviews of note. IGN managed to nab an interview with Kung Fu Hustle star Stephen Chow and they also spoke a bit with the stars of A Lot Like Love.

Now for a couple of last notes. In an extremely atrocious move, Microsoft has pulled support for a pro-gay rights bill that it had previously supported. Why? Because of one close-minded minister. If this legislation fails I will work for Google and do whatever it takes to screw over Microsoft royally I'm so mad at them. Read that post and you'll see why. The other thing I wanted to mention is quite a bit happier. IGN put up a feature on the 10 best looking games on the PS2. This is what numero uno looks like:

Now that's detailed

Now for some Thursday Threesome action:

Onesome: Domain--Hypothetically, if you could own any domain name you wanted, what would it be and why?
It would have to be www.clownpenis.fart. I only say that because of that hilarious SNL skit where they talk about the investment firm and it's totally serious and classy, and then they give that URL with totally straight faces. Brilliant.

Twosome: Name-- Are you called by something other than your legal name? If not, have you ever had a nickname? Or done something weird with your name, to try and stand out? Like an odd spelling or a slightly different pronunciation? Or just flat out wanted to change your name? To what?
Not usually. My economics teacher used to call me Easy E, which I liked (as you can tell below every post), and another friend of mine called me E (this is before The Incredibles) because she thought it sounded cool. Another friend has done something weird: he calls me Elt sometimes to invent a true nickname for me, but thankfully it never really stuck. I like my name personally, but some of my friends prefer my middle name: Victor.

Threesome: Renewal--Do you have any magazine or other subscription that is an absolute 'must renew' whenever you get the notice?
I just started getting Popular Science and now it's a must-renew. It's quite informative and well-written so don't think it's just for nerds or anything. It has really cool stuff in there.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Google Challenges Microsoft

Do I talk too much about Google? Yes. But the more I learn about their business model the more I like them, and the more I want to work for them as soon as I can. So I thought I'd give my thoughts on a couple of articles online today about their challenge to the Microsoft's "manifest destiny" of sorts over the PC. The first is from Fortune and what they have is almost a summary of the second. The second one is much more detailed and comes to us from Globe and Mail. Red flags actually went up in M$ a couple of years ago, hence the MSN search engine revamp and such. The plan that both of these articles presuppose is one I've mentioned before and even linked anithetical arguments to (you can use the side search bar to try and find them): the possibility of Google creating a totally webcentric computer platform. They've released released new things nearly weekly for the past few months to inch closer to their goal: organizing all the information in the world. When you think about it, it's a pretty good plan. Without Windows, what does M$ have? Just applications based on that OS. All they're doing so far to react is Longhorn, which will be more search-centered, but is it enough? Will Google really achieve all we think it will? You'll have to just stay tuned to find out!

Moving right along, I actually have another bit of Google news. Apparently, they're testing out a feature to allow you to read RSS feeds straight from your Gmail account. This could be pretty big and make Gmail even more versatile than before. A bunch of college students got together to try out the Turing Test. This is a famous, hypothetical test Alan Turing posited about testing how smart a computer is by having a judge talk to it and a person and if the judge can't tell the difference then the computer passes. The results should be quite telling. In an ironic twist, a couple of Americans got tried in China for piracy. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Anyway, just thought that was funny. And lastly, the Nintendo "Revolution" is apparently too revolutionary to be revealed because they will not be unveiling it at E3 when Sony and Microsoft show their cards. I think that's bull and that they're just not sure about everything or ready to show it yet.

The spectrum of interesting movie news today is rather slim. I have a fascination with foreign films because they're so different from what we produce in most cases, and AICN put up a trailer for a Japanese flick called Howl's Moving Castle from the creators of Spirited Away. Surprisingly enough, it's under the Walt Disney name, but I doubt it'll pull in that much money for them so why would they want it? The Da Vinci Code now has a couple of new characters. Ian McKellan, who has been in a ton of movies, will play Leigh Teabing and Alfred Molina will be Bishop Aringarosa. I can't believe they're able to get so many big name actors, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised given the book's sales, huh? If you don't watch Smallville you may want to tune it at least to the season finale on May 18 because there will be an 8 minute preview of Batman Begins, which is worth absorbing all the teen angst and drama. Lastly, there's a fun interview with Johnny Knoxville over here for fans of his films or for the infamous Jackass show.


Yes, you're seeing that image right. There will be a new Coldplay album out soon! The release date is June 7 and you can check out their first single on their website. It's so nice to hear fresh stuff from them. In other music news, the Christian Science Monitor, a highly respected publications for those of you unfamiliar with it, put up an awesome piece on the impact of the iPod giveaway at Duke and its implications for the future. I think the possible educational uses could outweight the threats, but I'm not sure about it outweighing the costs as cheaper universities like UT. And finally, since Austin is the live music capital of the world I thought a lot of you indie-music fans would get a kick out of Indy. It's a P2P program for independent artists and it could become huge in my opinion.

Now for the Midweek Music Meme:

What song would you, if you could get away with it, infli—… er, share with the town at large, at full volume?
I'd have to say "Spin" by Lifehouse, because I just love that song. It's so uplifting and fun to listen to.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Open-Source Product Ideas

It makes sense in programming to work collaboratively with other coders on a piece of software. After all, the more great minds donating time and ideas the better. Is this concept really unique to software development though? Or could it be ported to other industries? Apparently, it's a trend that started a few years ago. I actually always wondered how it is that product development teams seem to think of everything, but it turns out that a lot of consumers have lent a hand to some producers for a little while now. I suppose this has always been happening through focus groups and such, but is that enough? One MIT professor argues that these companies should actively seek out these innovators, who are called the "lead users" in that field. Could the whole process of product development cycles revolutionize? As many of you can probably guess, most products are created to fulfill some need rather than outside creativity. It should turn out to be interesting, and hopefully I'll have more on this trend as it develops (or of its lack thereof).

The nerd news pipe is a little dry, but I still have a few things I thought I'd point out. Microsoft has decided to make certain beta (test) software, namely Visual Studio, licenseable because they believe the quality of the code is good enough for real-world development and use. I think they're being a little too sure of themselves; no code on that scale is close to perfect without rigorous testing. M$ has also been in the news quite a bit for its preview build of Longhorn, and now there's a better look at its search features as opposed to Tiger's search features. It's an interested read if you haven't heard much about it. If you ever wondered about the efficacy of online advertising or how it started you may want to check out this pdf report on its history, including a look at one of the first banner ads. I posted about a webseries called "The Scene" about a month ago and now there's a couple of new episodes for those of you who forgot about it. Lastly, I have to plug this article because it was rather random that I encountered an article about a company releasing holographic storage.

Today's movie scoop is pretty decent. Revenge of the Sith has this publicity machine underneath it that just never quits. They've put out yet another 3 tv spots, which you can engross yourself in over here. They're actually pretty good. Another piece of media you can feast on is a set of pictures from V is for Vendetta, which is notable for being directed by the Wachowski Brothers and starring Natalie Portman. It sounds like it may turn out to be a good revolution-oriented movie. There's finally a site for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe which is a must-see for fans of the series because it looks so neat. As part of the ongoing X3 pre-production saga, there seems to be word reinforcing the likelihood of Vinnie Jones being Juggernaut and his wearing a big red rubber suit to simulate the dastardly villain.

Talk about big shoes to fill

Also, the article seems to suggests that Toad won't actually return, which I mentioned yesterday. Having been a fan of Transformers in my youth I feel obligated to continue reporting on it and the fact that the movie adaptation is tentatively set to be released in November 2006 at this point. I don't doubt that many of you have heard of David Fincher from such movies as Se7en and Fight Club. The great news is that he'll be directing Zodiac, a movie about the Zodiac Killer, including Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downing, Jr. I already have goosebumps! I've saved the biggest news for last though: we may finally have a Silas for the Da Vinci Code movie. The actor is Christopher Eccleston, who you probably don't know of because he's British. Part of being British I think is being really strange because he actually has to think about whether he wants the role!

Today's post just wouldn't be complete if I didn't mention the selection of the next Pope. He's a German cardinal named Joseph Ratzinger, but his Papal name will be Pope Benedict XVI (Papa Benedictus Sextus Decimus being the proper, Latin name). He was chosen in a surprisingly short amount of time, but it appears that he was one of a few cardinals believed to have what it takes to run the Church and the Conclave wanted someone who would continue the legacy of Pope John Paul II since he worked so closely with the former pope. He's the first German pope since almost a century ago and is one of the oldest elected. Strangely enough, he was elected around the time my luck went sour and I lost my umbrella! Oh well, I tried to smile a lot anyway today for my heart if for nothing else.

And now, you know you want some Tuesday Twosome:

1. Mail-in rebates: A pain to deal with or worth the wait to get money back?
I always thought they were worth the wait. It's kind of cool to get money in the mail that you forgot you had coming to you.

2. Warranties: Take a chance without them or a must have when buying high-priced items?
I usually take a chance without them for products from companies who I know are pretty reliable. Like if you get a Canon Powershot, you really shouldn't need a warranty because that's an awesome line of products.

3. Product knowledge: Research before you buy or rely on salesperson?
I always research before I buy. Through magazines, other people, forums, and reviews wherever I can find them. I guess it's something I got from my dad, and I think it's worthwhile. It makes getting the product all the more exciting when you know how good it is.

4. Word of mouth: Base purchases on what your friends say or disregard because you know what you are doing?
I take them into account, but I don't rely solely on them. You wouldn't rely on anecdotal evidence if you were conducting a study of any sort after all.

5. New Versions: Must buy the latest version right away or wait for a while?
It depends on how good the latest version is. Usually though, I just wait. My money flow isn't too fast nowadays and I'd like to see more of it before I spend it on new versions of things I already have.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Props For Profs

I don't know what I did to get on God's good side but I'm glad I did! Amazingly, I awoke today feeling normal despite the less than 6 hours of sleep I got last night, and I did pretty well on my Linear Algebra test. It was 7 free response, 5 true/false, and no real surprises. Then again, I studied for over six hours. Anyway, the new CS project looks like it will end up being easier than the Graph one, which we did end up finishing last night with 15 minutes to spare and much confidence in the end product. The new project is a DequeList and thanks to inheritance it won't take as much code as I previously expected. My Latin teacher cancelled class on the perfect day because I had to meet up with Sayali to discuss Props for Profs set up, and then I had to shower and stuff after the gym and start getting things ready for the event. For the confused, this is an event NSC puts on every year where students in the College treat their best professors to a semi-formal dinner at the Union in the Santa Rita Room (which is cool because it's big and has a quasi-Oriental style to it). I was kind of worried because we ordered food for 100 people and we weren't getting many RSVPs early on, but the room ended up being packed. The speaker was Dr. Brent Iverson who gave a lecture about how chemicals are evil, and though I thought I'd be bored it was quite interesting and funny. Eating a meal with Mike Scott was also a plus and I didn't run out of things to talk about like I had previously feared. The meal was great and Sayali was nice enough to recognize my effort with the event in front of everyone, which was nuts because there was a prolonged applause. It was so surreal because it was no only my peers and superiors in NSC but a lot of distinguished professors, and that was an honor in itself. It made the whole event even more worthwhile and I hope next year's events will go well under my leadership of Student-Faculty Relations.

As promised yesterday, I'm going to cover a whole weekend's worth of techie news and I'll try to only stress the good stuff. Byfar the coolest thing I encountered was this CBS special report on this guy's flying machine. He built a personal flying vehicle that can be produced for about $50,000 and with NASA's incipient support could become a reality to be used on air highways. It would be awesome for paramedics! Our future could also be composed of LED bulbs rather than the usual incadescent type because they're so much more efficient and the aesthetics will propel them into the home market. They're a bit pricey right now, but they'll come down over time. One part of our future that is uncertain right now is the possibilities of WiMax, which Intel has invested in and would be wireless broadband access for areas as large as cities basically. Maybe then America wouldn't be behind other countries in broadband internet diffusion. If you've been loath to get a PDA because using two hands is too much you may want to check out Microsoft's experimental user interfaces just for your thumb. I don't think it'll end up being a big deal, but I think it's funny that it would even be an issue; just grow out your nails like me if you don't want to use a stylus pen. Photography enthusiasts must read this article detailing a number of different photo vaults that are actually under $1000.

Movie media is just falling from the sky today. Yahoo! Movies put up a couple of new exclusive clips from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy including the revelation of the planet's most intelligent animals. You can check out a few new pictures from Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, featuring Johnny Depp, over here. There is a good amount of pictures from the set of Superman Returns including this one of Bryan Singer and Brandon Routh:

Preparing to run

If that wasn't enough superhero excitement for you though, Ray Park may once again be Toad in X3, but nothing is official yet. If you can't get enough of Wolvering though, there are a few new details on the direcion of the movie focusing on him over here, and it will apparently paint him as a berserker/loner type of character as the comic book seemingly intended. Fans of 24 probably know Aisha Tyler's character, Marianne Taylor, as the agent you love to hate. Now she, in all her hot glory, will be in .45, a movie with the same setting as Daredevil but a more workable plot.

And before I conclude I just thought I should share yet another viewpoint on employee blogs. I do think there's a fine line between what's personal and what actually hurts the company. Censorship should only be necessary when the company is painted in an unfavorable light or when anything insider about it is revealed. Otherwise, I would hope people would be free to write what they want.

And now, some Monday Madness:

From the time you get up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night, how many different digital/electronic devices do you use on any given day?
Here's the best I can come up with walking myself through my day:
My computer at home
Cell phone
Alarm clock
Refridgerator (does that count?)
Unix machine in the CS lab
My CS partner's PDA
Today I used a projector for Props for Profs
And that's all I can think of!

...and an optional random question, because I just cleaned my mouse...
How often do you clean your mouse?

Never because I switched to optical =) Back in the day I used to clean it every couple of weeks though.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

My 100th Post

Happy 100 to me! Unfortunately, it marks a weekend when I was totally off schedule with posting and I won't be able to make a full post for my weekend edition. I didn't get back into town until 7PM, then it took a while to get home because of all the MS 150 detours, and by the time I finished my CS project, worked out, and showered it was 1AM. Tomorrow morning I have a huge Linear Algebra test so though I have news to post about I don't have time to do so. Hence, I'll just have a larger than usual post tonight (Monday night), which will be a tad late because I have Props for Profs tonight (will explain in the next post). For today then, you're stuck with some personal reflections. So if you're still interested then read on. Otherwise, pray for my performance on the test because I'm ultra scared.

I had to take the KBC bus home because I couldn't find any other rides, and I must say for future reference that it's amazingly punctual. It said I'd arrive at 8:45PM and my foot hit Houston soil at exactly that minute. I got to drive home on the freeway for the first time! Exciting and scary at the same time, but it's notable because you only drive 60+ mph for the first time once. Anyway, I've got to say that it was worth the cramped bus ride because it was one of my best trips home. I got a lot of studying done on the bus too, which I wouldn't have been able to in a car with a friend so that was a blessing in disguise I suppose. Though I didn't get all the homework I wanted to get done completed, I got through as much stuff in general (including haircut and other miscellaneous things) as possible and I'm satisfied with it.

The heart of the weekend was Saturday night. It was my uncle's 50th birthday so they were throwing a big party for him. It wasn't that big; just one more family under the roof than usual. Also: better food and DANCING! Any of my close friends are probably laughing at that because they haven't really seen me dance. I've discovered that the formula for me to dance well is rum and coke, and a girl. I was dancing with multiple girls, all of which being related to me, and my cousins are great dancers so that's not bad at all. Am I the only person who enjoys dancing with cousins more because there's less pressure? Probably just because I'm a loser, huh? Nevertheless, it's cool how my inhibitions were gone. I was doing moves I didn't know I knew and judging by everyone's reactions I pulled them off pretty well. I was so happy to be there and around everyone, and though I knew I had this big math test it was like it didn't bother me because it didn't matter that night. I'm a real worrywart so when that happens it's big to me because it wasn't just the booze.

Are you ever in a moment that you know will be something to remember? I suppose it was a whole night to remember, but I guess it just hit the spot like a good beer hits the spot after a rather dry, busy week. It's cool when you know it because those moments are so rare in today's busy world. Sure you have fun with your friends sometimes or maybe you get your work done early and you get the sleep you craved for so long. However, they don't quite compare to the times when you're so happy to be somewhere that you don't even worry about when it's going to end because it really doesn't matter. To top off the weekend, my parents were pretty cool to me and we had no arguments at all. I was actually a little choked up to leave because I didn't want to leave the weekend itself. I think I just came to a realization that you come to once in a while that should be obvious but it's not. The special times in your life are special because they're so unique, and as much as you love them you have to move on because that's what makes them so great. You have to put yourself together and look forward to the next one because if you keep living in it you kill it. I think once I dealt with that and realized that the week will be cool after my test in the morning I was all good again. Sitting next to a stranger and studying math for 3 hours didn't seem too bad.

I hope the post wasn't too personal or weird for any of you. You could've stopped reading at any time though in all fairness. I'll get back to the norm tomorrow, but it's not everyday that I have something positive that I really want to get out to say. Hope you all had great weekends as well! Hopefully I can post pictures from Saturday soon.

Friday, April 15, 2005

The Incipient OS Battle

As I've mentioned before, Apple and Microsoft and both coming out with new OSes. Well, Apple's is just an upgrade of Panther, but Microsoft's will be totally new and is aiming for a winter 2006 release. I guess it's unfair to compare them, but that's what's going to be happening in computer labs and parents' garages nationwide so I thought I'd have a kickoff post to commemorate it since there are coincidentally two previews of the platforms today. I was pretty excited about Tiger a couple of days ago when I got a hold of the hard details, but then I read this review only to find out that maybe my confidence was unfounded. It's not because the software is crappy, but rather because it's an over-hyped and over-priced update. If it was like $20 or even $50 it may be worthwhile, but given the bigger changes to it I think that the smarter consumers will wait for OSX 11. Dashboard is just like Konfabulator, but Spotlight is something new and I think that by OSX 11 it'll be refined to the point of awesomeness. To counter, M$ is bringing out something that may hit the spot. Their problem has always been moving the product out before it was really ripe, but they sound like they are trying to avoid that (I know, they could be BSing). Longhorn looks like it'll really be something new. They're bragging about a search system that will be better than Spotlight, and they may actually be right because they'll actually have virtual folders to continuously store the search results as they develop later on. There's also the better system of permissions that I mentioned in an earlier post and a more efficient file system. Are they really capable of making a product to redeem their name of buggy software? It depends on how serious they are about it, but they can dominate if they do (I mean among nerds, not just in sales).

There are a few other bits of technology news. Google has done it again: they've made their search engine even more intuitive. Now you can enter a tracking number or patent number into the search bar and it will try to link you directly to the right place. It sounds useless, but I've bough stuff online where the seller will tell me the wrong shipping venue and it's just annoying to have to try like 3 different sites for one tracking number. Raytheon, a company some people have actually told me to work for because they think every other company outsources, is working on a technology similar to that displayed in Minority Report with the gloves navigating the computer screen. I think it's funny that a movie predicting the future may help create it. If you think satellite imagery is as neat as I do, you'll like this article about Easter eggs found in the pictures such as the set up for a Burning Man festival and a bombing in Baghdad. Lastly, I thought that this new polymer was pretty crazy because it can change shape and then return to its former shape upon exposure to UV rays, which could mean big things for medicine.

It's getting late so I'm gonna do a quick run through of the movie news. I've been excited about Domino for several reasons I won't bother rehashing *cough*Richard Kelly*cough* and some lucky bastard got to see an early screening and lived to tell about it. It sounds like a good production getting better. Peter Jackson has kept a tight schedule for King Kong and he got so tired that he enlisted the help of Bryan Singer! I think that's really random but cool that he got Singer to come in on such short notice. Stephen King is approaching retirement, and now his sons are working on a screenplay called Fade Away about a detective in purgatory, which sounds cool but I wish they'd write some novels to get a name for themselves first rather than riding daddy's coattails. The world is slowly catching wind of Aishwarya Rai and she's landed another Bollywood movie called Saamna. She's not the best actress we've got, but she's damn gorgeous. I think I have more faith in Lucy Liu than most people because of her performance in Kill Bill, so I wanted to mention that she'll be in Sam Raimi's Rise. It's a vampire flick and I think she can handle the image. The dude who does the voice of Solid Snake, David Hayter, has penned the best version of Iron Man and it's now in production with some plot details here. And on a great final note, there's yet another Batman Begins poster out featuring my favorite hottie (guess which one it is):

No, it's not Christian Bale

Just a few quick list things. Amazon is aiming to make its way into DVD rental service with a partnership rather than a freshly made one. I wonder how big Amazon will be before it takes over the world? Fears in economic growth has spurned the lowest stock levels of the year. The stock market can be so fickle, and this is hard proof of it.

Now for the Friday Fiver meme:

1. Who inspires you?
I'm going to have to go with my parents on this one. Coming to this country and starting off with a minimum wage job is pretty crazy. They've provided so much for us from so little and that kind of drive and dedication is what keeps me aiming for the best grade humanly possible.

2. Who disappoints you?
Besides George W. Bush you mean? I think people who take for granted what they have. There were people at my high school I don't want to name, but they had so much talent they just wasted because they felt they had enough money already.

3. Who makes you angry?
My answer to this is also high school related. First of all, my Physics teacher for screwing me over though he knows I didn't actually cheat on his final. He was really just pissed because I said that he was full of crap in my AIM profile. And second of all, someone from my high school who tried to manipulate people to get what he wanted and at one point made fun of my speech impediment. I'm glad I'm Christian, or some bad stuff would've happened because that's not cool. And finally, Boran, who informed me that all Indian people are ugly. Again, glad I'm Christian.

4. Who makes you laugh?
Lots of people, but mainly my cousins, my brother, and my close friends. Doesn't narrow it down much, huh? Well I'm a very well-humored person so I laugh easy.

5. Who do you love?
Lots of people once again. Essentially all my friends and family. By friends I mean people who I keep in consistent contact with and didn't just meet like a month ago or something. People who I've formed relationships with that are just really cool.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Watching the Surveillance

Today has been (and will continue to be) a busy day, so I doubt this post will run too long. I have to pack up my stuff to go back to Houston tomorrow for the last trip before the big move-out. As such, today's main topic is somewhat less than thrilling but it's an interesting idea. At an ACM conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy, a group of guys went to a mall and started taking pictures of hidden cameras. Not only that, but they also kept hidden cameras in tote bags with a smokey clear end (only some of which contained cameras). Their purpose was to try to prove that it bothered the storeowners that they were documenting the cameras, but the owners were more perturbed at the prospect of them giving the pictures of products and store displays to competitors. Irregardless, it was an interesting idea and the owners were concerned at making other customers uncomfortable by the tote bags. The point they bring up is valid though: a lot of times we're being monitored when we don't know it and it could be an infringement on our rights in some cases. At the end of the article they mention some of the gadgets the head dude has including a wallet that requires ID to get its ID and a briefcase that reads in fingerprints before it allows anyone to open it. The wallet idea sounded pretty cool to me.

There were a few other things going on in the world of nerds. For one thing, there's slightly more word on Google's video distribution service (the video blog thing). They want uploaders to have full distribution rights and make it impossible for others to pirate the video, and given the crazy minds they have I wouldn't be surprised if it were possible. If you're a die-hard Linux fan then allow yourself to be knocked down a notch by this article proclaiming that Linux can't kill Windows. Why? Because it's not predictable or consistent and it's an operating system not a platform. Read the article for more info explained better. Hollywood is apparently dumb when it comes to computers and are just getting turned on to the possibility of using BitTorrent for movie distribution, so maybe it'll eventually happen! If you want more information about all the P2P trials up til now and currently going on you'll find this interview with Michael Weiss quite enlightening. And lastly, we may soon see the end of metal detectors thanks to advanced physics. The new technology would rely on milimeter wave sensors and other concepts way over my head but that sound neato.

Today's movie news is pretty decent. I have quite a few bits of multimedia including this new trailer for Tony Jaa's Tom Yum Goong. It's in Thai but very cool. The first clip I've seen for House of D is over here and it doesn't incite a lot of confidence for the movie but it could still turn out well given the actors Duchovny was able to muster up. There's also a supposed "first look" at Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy over here, but I could've sworn that I've seen clips before. Anyway, it's only slapstick comedy but I guess something is better than nothing. I've mentioned the movie Lonely Hearts before where Salma Hayek plays a serial killer, and now there are some first pictures of it including this one:


What is it that makes the off-the-shoulder strap so sexy? Speaking of hotties, Kim Cattrall and Carrie Ann-Moss will be in Snow Cake, which I mention because this may be a movie to keep on the radar given its interesting plot and a cast that includes Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman. And lastly, Mel Gibson may be working on a movie about the life of the Pope (John Paul II). And in case you guys didn't know, John Paul II isn't his real name, but usually when a cardinal is made Pope he usually chooses to change his name to something more fitting for the role. I'm skeptical about Gibson's religious zeal getting the best of him.

Just two things before I conclude. A survey done recently revealed that people believe bloggers deserve the same rights as journalists. The belive that they should be censored for personal information of other people and journalists and such, and that they use blogs to get information on politics and current events. Obviously they didn't survey too many Xanga or LJ readers. Strongbad put up a new e-mail about rampages, so waste a few minutes you could spend studying and get a chuckle out of it.

Now for some meme love with the 3x Thursday meme:

1. What kind of humorist are you? What makes you laugh?
It's pretty easy to make me laugh, but I am a fan of dry humor and sardonic humor. I love David Cross, but I also like Dave Chapelle a lot. Plus, cultural humor is always great.

2. Who makes you laugh? Who are the people you look to to make you laugh when you need it?
Some of my closer friends and being around my cousins makes me laugh a lot. I'm starting to laugh a lot at our NSC exec meeting! =D

3. Where do you get your sense of humor from? Mom? Dad? Someone else?
Probably a combination of my brother and my friends from high school. I don't think I share my parents' sense of humor, but I guess I lean more towards my dad in that aspect.

Do you try and find humor in the bad stuff that happens? Why/why not?
If it's not too horrible, yes. It just depends on the situation and how impacting it is and how humorous it actually is. Like American Psycho had some funny moments.

My post tomorrow will likely be later than this one given the journey that I have to make home to Houston.