Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Microsoft: The Mixed Bag

Am I the only person who considers Microsoft to be a mixed bag? Sometimes they do really cool stuff, and sometimes they really screw up. One of their biggest screwups was writing off the internet as a fad and, thus, getting on board late with MSN. Today, Bill Gates showed his better side with his endorsement of a safer car for the future. By that I mean that he wants to create a car that can't crash complete with software to fix themselves and features such as voice recognition and cameras and such. These are all interesting concepts, and I wouldn't doubt that Bill would want to take the helm of this given all the money he has in piles just lying around. I think he's making a misstep though in releasing the Xbox 360 later this year, which has actually been confirmed now. He's going to put out a machine less powerful than the PS3, and likely without a hard drive, not realizing that the power of the Xbox is what gained it fans. And another thing they have in the works that could go either way is their new graphics technology for Windows. Whenever they try to make things more complicated they end up falling flat on their ass. But if they got this right, it could be something great. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Rest assured though that I'll never work for them.

Not much else going on in the world of nerds. The wealthier nerds have already purchased a PSP and are now facing the possibility of getting free content online at the price of watching advertising. This could be a starting point for ads in video games in general, and so these content providers are going to want to push hard if they want this to continue. I, for one, wouldn't mind free stuff for watching short ads. Online retailers found out in a new report today that online shoppers are more careful than your average shopper. Doesn't it make sense that someone savvy enough to shop online would also know how to shop around and research products? That's the tradeoff for the retailers with convenience, and a notable finding I think. Lastly, I can't figure out how to get this to work but it would appear that Azureus (the BitTorrent client) now comes with a decentralized database of torrents, which just goes to show that the trend set by Exeem is starting to catch on. I'm also amazed at how quick it is despite being written in Java.

On the other hand, today's movie news isn't too shabby. The movie geek community can't get enough dirt on Indiana Jones 4, and now in a one-on-one with Hollywood.com George Lucas revealed that the script has gone through several rewrites and expects to see a new draft any day now. The fact that they're going through all this trouble speaks volumes as to their dedication and he also hinted that it will be different in a good and may even feature a younger character as well as some old faces. If you thought that was cool though you'll also enjoy this interview with Matthew Vaughn, director of X3, who sounds to have an honest interest in the film although he admits that they're far from done with pre-production. There's also a slightly longer interview over here with Orlando Bloom, who is continuing his streak of golden movie roles with Kingdom of Heaven. Though I'm not an afficionado of fantasy novels I have heard great things about the Chronicles of Narnia and it appears now that the creators are trying something new by literally making the trailer available globally this weekend to the point where you'll have to try and avoid it. I just hope they don't overhype it! Because I thought Zach Braff was stellar in Garden State I think it's awesome that he'll be in the first film from WeinsteinCo called Fast Track with the beauty known as Amanda Peet. Lastly, I have a soft spot for the classic Disney movies so I wanted to plus these exclusive clips from the new dvd release of Pocahontas.

Just a couple of last things. Former president Bill Clinton (we miss your presidency, Bill!) has teamed up with the Governor of Arkansas to promote a program that fights childhood obesity. Having been a chubby kid myself I'm very happy about this and I hope that it gains the momentum it needs, because obesity leads to all kinds of emotional problems. As I mentioned would happen earlier, the federal funds rate has been increased 25 basis points to 3 percent. I think the Fed is starting to approach the point now where the decision to raise the rate will become harder to make. Lastly, I just felt it was necessary for me to share the following sweet picture from the third iteration of the Prince of Persia video game:

That's gonna hurt for sure

And now it's time for some Tuesday Twosome:

1. When faced with a problem, do you tend to run and hide or do you face it head-on?
I definitely try to face it head-on. With girls the situations become more complicated, but I definitely don't try to bottle up my feelings. I try to in some way handle the problem effectively and to the best of all parties involved.

2. Are you more likely to ask for help or try to figure out solutions on your own?
It really depends. I'm not afraid to ask for help though because it's better to ask and look stupid than to pretend you know and look even dumber. I also try to not take advantage of people in that respect, but that's not usually even an issue.

3. Do you offer help to those in need or do you wait until you are asked?
I definitely try to offer my services as it comes up. I even got in trouble for trying to post to the CS 307 newsgroup and give advice to new students! Yeah, I know I'm nerdy; go figure.

4. When offered unsolicited advice, are you easily annoyed or are receptive?
It depends on if someone's giving it who knows what they're talking about or someone who thinks they know. Like I hate it when people who are totally out of shape try to tell me what I'm doing wrong to not be huge at this point. One time at the gym a guy corrected my form and I was glad he did and changed how I did it from then on.

5. What is the best advice you have ever received? What is the worst advice you have ever received?
I'm actually not sure. I guess to talk slower? =P

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