Sunday, July 31, 2005

A Modern-Day Brain Drain

I went to a Hindi movie theater near my house (the one on West Bellfort) to see a Hindi movie since I haven't seen one in such a long time. This one is actually inspired by The Godfather series and is called Sarkar. Bollywood has definitely made some big advances, but their cinematography is still at least 10 years behind where we're at today. Anyway, it was indeed a noble effort and I was pleased that it had its own story rather than being a carbon copy of the Copolla classic so Bollywood fans may want to consider seeing it. What I'm really here to talk about though is the mass migration of jobs to Google and Yahoo. You may associate the term "brain drain" with the Cold War and the Soviet Union's nuclear arms development program, but in the early 90s it was actually also used with reference to Microsoft's clutch on the programming job market. Just like the issue of outsourcing I do think it's important to realize that the media is exaggerating this topic to a certain extent, but it is true that Google and Yahoo look for the cream of the crop and are very competitive about it. I think within a year we'll see a slowdown of this rapid growth and both companies will eventually settle into what Microsoft is today but hopefully to a much less evil extent (evil as in their business practices). I hope I can still find something worthwhile when I graduate in that case though!

I'm going to start off the tech news by getting the other piece of Google news out of the way. The company was smart enough to file a patent for advertising on RSS in 2003, and so now they whole all the cards in the possible evolution of advertising. Some people find this to be bad given the good image Google has maintained among nerds, but they're not dumb enough to pass up a good business move like that. It's only fair that I mention Microsoft's business move of its own in incorporating HD-DVD drivers with the Xbox 360. Only later models, when the HD-DVD is fully ready, will include HD-DVD drives, but the importance of this move is that they're marking their territory against Sony. The next time you stay at a hotel, be wary of the fancy TV features because it could pose a huge security risk. They use infared, which is simplistic in nature and as such is quite easy to hack. Findings like these are thanks to sniffers, who are hired by companies to test the integrity of their systems and sounds like it could be a fun job. Not sure if it's a route I'll ever take, but I am intrigued nonetheless.

We have quite a phenomenon to start out the movie news with: Wedding Crashers has magically risen to the number 1 spot. This is more about the box office weakening than the movie gaining steam (though the percent change actually went down) since it only brought in $20.5 million with Willy Wonka raking in $16.4 million and all the new movies behind it. Still, quite impressive for an R-rated comedy. I know you're tired of Serenity trailers (yeah, right), but there's yet another one and though it has very few new scenes I still think it's the best of the American movies. There's also a trailer for a movie that you probably haven't heard of featuring a certain hobbit called Green Street Hooligans. I think it's a welcome change for the actor's movie career. I usually don't support romantic comedies, but Moviefone has a trailer for Prime and it features Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep so it may actually be good. Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal (of Donnie Darko) have now joined the forthcoming 9/11 movie project. Stay tuned for more on that film as I'm sure it will develop quickly. Lastly, I have to show you the poster for Into the Blue because Jessica Alba is in a bikini:

Click to enlarge the beauty

I actually have a few miscellaneous items I'd like to mention. A senator from Delaware is pushing legislation to impose a 25% tax on porn to further efforts against child pornographers. The tax wouldn't do much other than help fund the fight against crazy pervs, but I do think it has a chance if it was lowered a bit. A heated debate has begun regarding the fate of leap seconds, which may seem negligible but apparently have caused issues for computer programs that can only take 60-second minutes. I'm siding with the scientists here on the issue though because time should go by the sun and not by lazy people. Lastly, the economy seems to be doing much better than in the second quarter with less inventory in factories and steady expansion in several sectors.

I've gotta conclude here with some Unconscious Mutterings:

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

  1. Risks::Rewards
  2. Abdominal::Pain (I really killed them today at the gym)
  3. Radiant::Beautiful
  4. The usual::The grind
  5. Mix and match::Jelly beans
  6. Wireless::WiFi
  7. Remedial::Learning
  8. Mile::8,
  9. Long lost::Love
  10. Only one::God

Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Factory Willy Wonka Made

Again, I'm a day behind. *shrugs* What can I say? I went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last night and so now I have a scrumpdidlyumptious review for you all. In my younger years I was an enormous fan of Roald Dahl and own several of his books. I have read both Wonka books, but I don't remember enough about them to say how true to the books this movie is so I'm just judging the movie as I saw it. I've read some unimpressed reviews for the movie and I just don't get why people didn't like it. I thought it was a wholly enjoyable and unforgettable experience. Here is a movie to remind people just who Tim Burton is again. I can't stress enough how great the casting was on this one. Click to enlarge the factoryI thought using Deep Roy to be all the oompa loompas was a bit strange, but it added a bit of dry humor to it that I kind of enjoyed. Speaking of the oompa loompas, I actually liked these songs better than in the original movie because they were more humorous and less childish. Johnny Depp was amazing as usual and did quite a good job at showing the absent-minded nature of Willy Wonka as well as his awkward disposition towards children. Freddie Highmore was the other big star of this one and I can't imagine anyone doing better than him in the role of Charlie. I was a bit disappointed that they chose to skip the scene where Charlie screws up, but it's no big deal and may have made the movie too long at that point. The sets were great, the dialogue was witty, and the cinematography had a vintage charm to it. I give this movie a high recommendation with an A+.

IE7 beta kits are already out there and now we have some reviews. This review gives you a good idea of how it looks and it sounds like they really are trying to take a big step here. I'm relieved at the effort they're making and you can get a second opinion here. They're going to need all the improvements they can take with FireFox hitting 75 million downloads. Back to Microsoft, BBC is running a very provocative article on the possibility of M$ dabbling in open source with its own distribution of Linux. I don't know that they'll ever take that step, but with the kind of talent they have I think we'd all like to see what they could do. Lastly, Joel Splosky put up a new post on usability testing with Morae, which is a cheap way to set up a usability lab with some webcams. I just think that's really neat and something to read for my coding readers.

The movie news today is very sparse, which is good because I haven't had lunch yet and I'm a little hungry. Bryan Singer put up a new video journal entry regarding the pre-visualization process on Superman Returns and it's just invigorating to see a director working with such vision. There's also a new entry in the video blog for King Kong featuring the pick-ups (they're in post-production now) and it features most of the main actors. The official theatrical trailer for the U.S. for Serenity is now online and seeing all this footage from the movie makes me want to watch Firefly. There used to be a trailer up for Ghost Rider, but it was taken down because it wasn't meant to be released and was only for Comic-Con. I didn't hear good things about it so hopefully it was just too early for a trailer. Lastly, I think it's weird that Nicole Kidman is slated to be in a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers since it just doesn't sound like her cup of tea. Then again, she has been in quite a few remakes as of late.

In the spirit of Friday, here is Friday's Feast:

Name 3 people whom you admire for their intelligence.

David Johnson (old debate coach), my brother, and Glenn Downing. The last one will probably change, but it was just cool to learn CS from a guy who knows his stuff so well.

What's the last food you tried that you really didn't care for.

I had some Popeye's chicken on Thursday that I could've done without. Maybe it's just knowing how fattening it is that makes it bad. The biscuits were totally badass though as always.

If you could rename the street that you live on, what would you want it to be called?

I don't really know. Wysteria Lane? Pinto Street? I've never really thought about it.

Main Course
When was the last time you were genuinely surprised?

When my dad let me drive their new Hyundai Santa Fe. So much easier to drive than my '90 Maxima.

Share a household tip.

Apparently, hydrogen peroxide is a great agent for getting blood out of clothes. My aunt shared that tip with me.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Limits of Web Browsing

Sorry about the tardiness of this "Thursday" post, but I was at my Uncle's place babysitting once again and his nephew at to do some work on here so I decided to wait until morning for a post. I think some of us forget where the web has taken us. It's crazy to think back to its humble beginnings and then look at it again today. It has soared to such great heights and the ease of using stuff like Flash and PHP has created some gorgeous pages compared to the crud we saw 10 years ago. My first site sucked, too, I'll admit that. I didn't even design this layout (as most bloggers don't their own blogs) and it looks good. There's so much more content out there. Could there really be boundaries? According to the guys behind Google Maps, yes. They spoke at an Australian web development conference to support the use of cutting edge web technologies. Did you know Google Maps used to be a C++ application that was to be downloaded? Yet, they managed to use XML and VML to put it online for everyone. With Google Earth you have the stuff they couldn't do on the web because browsers don't offer access to computer information, but I find it fascinating when people push the envelope like this in such a constrained development environment like the web.

You didn't miss a whole lot of nerd news yesterday, but I'll go over the higher points. Some crafty Japanese scientists have unveiled their female android, and it looks really good. I find it weird that one of the guys mentioned that giving it human-like qualities was important for its sense of presence, which sounds like a lead-in to AI. If you're more interested in getting light in your house without the UV though you should check out this article. According to their research, it could save a lot of electricity (particularly in the North) in the daytime, especially in offices. Microsoft has earned a minor victory in its suit against Google with a judge granting a temporary restraining order on the employee from working on any duties similar to those he was involved in at M$, which sounds like it would mean he can't do anything but I understand that they have to get everything settled out first. They should be more worried though about the dude who cracked Genuine Advantage in 24 hours with one line of code. Vide software dealers seem to be in agreement that it's not to anyone's best interest for HD-DVD and Blu-ray to compete and have outlined the important traits for a new format. I'm still sold on Blu-ray because of backwards compatibility with DVDs and that PS3s play them. Lastly, a very stupid elderly woman is suing Take Two because she was dumb enough to buy San Andreas for her 14 year-old grandson when it was rated M and didn't know about Hot Coffee. If she wins I'll truly lose all faith in the law system because she's the one in the wrong! It was rated M!

The movie news today is slightly better I think. I want to start you all off with the brand spanking new trailer for Lord of War starring Nicholas Cage, Jared Leto, and Ethan Hawke. I have high hopes for it being a worthwhile action movie because I love Cage. AICN has a review of Dukes of Hazzard hailing it to be a great summer movie full of funny moments and fast-paces car chases, and I hope that it delivers. Apparently though, it's been modernized so don't expect it to be just like the classic series. Quint over there reviewed Sky High and since he liked it I'm sure that it's another one of those kids movies that a whole family can go to without pretending for the little one's sake to enjoy. Given the recent flops from Universal (Cinderella Man) and DreamWorks (The Island), they've been in talks to merge and that may be a good idea for them. Because Rachel McAdams is hot and Cillian Murphy is a talented actor I just have to plug these new shots from Wes Craven's Red Eye in hopes that the movie will pique your interest. Lastly, feast your eyes on the new poster for a movie that's becoming a cult hit before its release, Serenity:

Serenity now! Serenity now!

Now for a late Thursday Threesome:

Onesome - If You - If you were given a million dollars, what would you do with it?
Buy a lifetime supply of booze and ice cream. Or, I'd pay for all my college, then get my masters, then get my doctorate, and then cruise off to Cali to find a job in my new Ferrari. Oh, and I'd probably take girls out on dates to fancy restaurants and such.

Twosome - Have To - What is it that you have to do today? Or is there something you're dreading to do this week?
Do a bunch of reading for school because I have 3 tests on Monday (two of which are open book) and of course play some guitar. I'm dreading this week all the cleaning I have to do Saturday afternoon for my dad's birthday bash.

Threesome - Go Away - Where's that place you've been imagining to take a dream trip to lately?
I miss New York City, but I've been craving to go to London or L.A. for a long time now. I know a lot of you may not like L.A., but I'd really like to see for myself. I could always travel to other places on the coast and hit up the beaches.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Shattering Some Myths

Like a clown I put on a show
The pain is real even if nobody knows
And I'm cryin' inside
And nobody knows it but me

-- "Nobody Knows", Tony Rich Project

I heard that on the radio last night and I didn't realize how sad and true it can be. Sometimes nowadays I kind of feel like that excerpt from the song, and it sucks that there's no logical explanation for it! Luckily, the person who it's regarding isn't around to read this post. Anyway, sorry but I just had to quote the song. BBC has a story on a study that found that illegal file sharers actually buy more music than other music fans. It's not a surprising trend for me because I've bought quite a few albums based on music that I've illegally acquired and rarely download music just for the Hell of it. Do you think the RIAA will ever understand that? The study also found that music lovers don't trust their cell phones enough quite yet to use it as an mp3 player, so I guess we'll have to wait a bit longer. The other myth I wanted to break today was that some printers actually embed a secret code in your documents to identify the printer itself due to government pressure. It's meant for nabbing counterfeiters, but it's still creepy. The EFF is starting research to help identify these manufacturers and need your help. I think it's very important to help them.

Click to enlarge the RazrwireI wanted to start off the techie news with Motorola's new line of phones including the Moto Q (a Razr with a keyboard running on Windows Mobile 5.0), Ojo (a video phone), and Razrwire (as pictured on the left). I liked the Razrwire the best because you can protect your eyes and talk on the phone when you're on the go and if I had a better phone I'd totally get it. Beware of the next time you use a free hosting site because some of them are phonies that can put malware like keyloggers and spyware on your computer. Try to use ones that you've heard of before. If you're a web application developer then this article is a must read because it tells you how to port your IE applications to Mozilla. I'm going to bookmark that one myself for future reference. In case you haven't kept up with the shuttle news it turns out that the piece that fell from Columbia was a piece of insulation and so NASA is grounding the whole fleet until they can figure things out. Lastly, the LA Times has an incredible article about how the current controversy with video games is overblown and parents need to look at the kind of stuff they were exposed to as kids like high school football and such. Some video games may even stimulate cognitive development more than cheering the Astros and fulfill desires for real criminal activity.

I'm going to start out the movie news with some superheros. According to a supposedly reliable source, Thomas Hayden Church will be the Chameleon in Spider-man 3, which will help set up Kraven the Hunter for later film(s). I'm not sure what to make of this, but I hope Raimi doesn't lose steam with this one. There's also word that no-name actress Ellen Page will play Kittie Pryde in X3 and apparently they've already started photography at Alcatraz. At least the wheels are still turning. Universal managed to acquire the rights to Sony's successful video game God of War for a motion picture, and while the game looked awesome I just don't see how the story will translate well into a mainstream movie. I guess money talks though. AICN got an early review for Tim Burton's Corpse Bride and it looks like this will help bring his career back up to snuff again. Lastly, IGN has a couple of clips from Four Brothers for those of you interested in seeing more from it.

Now for a good old-fashioned Wednesday Mind Hump:

01. Ohmigosh! You're on the cover of the National Inquirer (or other trash magazine)! What is the headline? Give us an except for the inside story.
Local Indian Student Disobeys Parents and Starts Casual Dating. Blasphemy! =O

02. If it did make a sound, what sound would your head make when you shake it?
It would be kind of squishy, like squeezing one of those soft water balls when they're soaked with water.

03. You are lighter than air, you float. C'mon, introduce yourself - what are you?
Tinkerbell's gigolo? Or more realistically I could be like the Ghost of Christmas Present or something of that sort.

04. Your blog just won an award for being the best. What is it for? You've also been given an "award" for being the worst. What is it for.
For writing so many posts that are too bloody long! The latter award would possibly be for least creative blog name.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Apple Being Weird

Have you ever watched the Jerry Springer show with the volume off? I was glancing at it at the gym this morning in between sets of an exercise I was doing and one second I saw a pretty good-looking lady talking, the next time I look she has a breast exposed, and the last time I look she's fighting a guy and an older woman. I just thought it was a funny progression of events. Anyway, something must be jacked about the water over at the Apple camp because despite the move to Intel chips they will not offer OS X to PC machines. Why? Past experience taught Jobs that it would hurt them financially, but the problem is that he now has to compete with Windows and Linux rather than just M$, and so he should've re-examined his strategy. The chipset won't even be x86, it'll be Mac specific. The problem with this is that it doesn't really put them as ahead of Linux as they would've originally been had they ported the OS to Wintel systems, and so I don't see how the expect to gain market share. It looks like just another upgrade for Apple loyalists. At least they've officially announced the Mac Mini and iBook (which will feature Bluetooth) upgrades.

To continue the tradition of Microsoft news today I have for you a great article that covers some of the basics of Windows Vista for those of you who have had trouble keeping up with the plethora of articles building it up. The article isn't much, but it's better than trying to keep up with their weak attempts to compete with Google's mapping services. Oh, and Virtual Earth was, in fact, just using old maps and not purposely excluding the Apple base. The Google freaks out there can bask in additions to their personalized home page. I haven't forgotten about today's most important news though: the launch of Discovery. I listened to the launch on the radio this morning on the way to school while I'm sure many of you were either asleep or at work yourselves and it really was a glorious feeling because of Columbia.

Click to enlarge Lex

Today's movie news is dominated by multimedia in general, starting with a first look at Lex Luthor from Superman Returns. Kevin Spacey looks good in the role, but Michael Rosenbaum seems to have the perfect Lex image (though Spacey is the better actor of course). If you're more interested in magic than superpowers though, there are some hunky pictures of Daniel Radcliffe over here. Oh, Rachel Rachel Rachel!I wonder if teenie bopper girls actually find him that attractive. IGN got its hands on the teaser trailer for Doom and I can't help but get the feeling that they're throwing money down the drain here. There's a better trailer out there for Zathura though. I'm still not all that interested in it, but I have to admit that it's a pretty trailer. Because I loved Guy Pearce in Memento I just have to mention his leading role in Death Defying Acts, which is a quasi-biographical movie on Harry Houdini and sounds like it could be interesting alongside major hottie Rachel Weisz. Classic TV series Voltron is now slated to become a major motion picture from New Line Cinema, thought I don't suspect that they'll add a whole lot of substance to it. Lastly, Michael Bay seems to be taking the flop of The Island pretty badly and is at a loss to explain its failure. It may not be an awesome movie according to reviewers but I'm sure it's great popcorn entertainment.

Just a couple of short things left. The video game industry is filing suit against an Illinois law charging a $1,000 fine to retailers selling rated M games to minors, and I can't see any reasoning to oppose the law. I really can't see the ESRB doing a lot currently to prevent the sale of those games to the underage. The other thing is this hilarious article about nerd gangsta rap, which sounds like it should be right up my alley.

Now for some Tuesday Twosome action:

1. Name two things you enjoy about the beach:
The hot girls and building sand castles.

2. Name two things you dislike about the beach:
The salt in the water makes it hard to do a whole lot in the water other than mess with the waves, and it's way too easy to get sunburnt without enough protection (even for a brown man).

3. Name two things you "must have" at the beach:
Drinks (water and/or alcoholic beverages) and towels (the beach is no fun without getting in the water after all).

4. Name two of the best beaches you have been to:
Pensacola and Quintana at Freeport (I haven't been to many beaches, yet).

5. Are you going to or have you visited a beach this summer? What other plans do you have for the rest of your summer?
We went to Quintana in early June (you can see the post in my archives for June about it where I have a picture of my feet). For the rest of the summer I need to finish my summer school, probably do a website for this company, and hopefully get a lot of C++ programming done even if it's the death of me.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Quality Programmers Over Quantity

Don't you hate it when you tear off the skin from an old wound? I took a nasty fall on my knees about a month ago and one healed while the other went into an odd state. Now, a part of Elton is on my car door's speaker. Anyway, I'm running late tonight because I saw the Astros slaughter the Phillies 7-1. I didn't want to go originally, but seeing the four homeruns was damn cool. Anyone else think baseball is a little too long? What I'm really here to talk about though is a new post from Joel Splosky about why it's more important to have the best programmers than an army of mediocre ones. I think people all too often see programmers as machines who don't really expend much more effort than another programmer, but our brains work differently and some are just better at it than others. Just because you throw more manpower on a project doesn't mean it'll do better because with so many people involved it could convolute the code and end up taking even longer. It's better to keep it with a smaller team of badasses. I hope to be one of those coders one day.

Since you're so used to hearing about Microsoft in the tech news I'm obligated to mention that their Virtual Earth application has left out the Apple campus, but I think it's just an old satellite image since they also still have the twin towers. In more important news, Yahoo is taking over Konfabulator and making it totally free in the process! This is definitely a good thing as they'll want to foster the development of more widgets and a richer API, and even Mac users will benefit from it so I applaud Yahoo for the move. If you'd like an easy way to chronicle your life then you should look into a study at MIT that gave its subject cell phones that could act as a life diary tracking their phone usage and sleep schedules and such. They ended up with a ton of data and possibly something that may someday become a mainstream product. Another thing that may become big someday is ads in video games, and one company is launching full motion ads in a sci-fi game called Anarchy Online. This could either be the start of a revolution or a flop. If you're interested in video blogs you should read this article at the New York Times, which is pretty short and relatively cool. Lastly, take a look at the world's smallest mp3 player, the mobiBLU DAH-1500. It sounds like it's pretty decent given its size.

It must be easy to lose

I'm about ready to go to bed so I won't dawdle with the movie news, and I'll start with some video footage. Sky High is a movie I haven't talked much about but I think it has potential to be the first decent kids' movie in a while and now you can see the first 10 minutes over at If you're more interested in a grown-up movie though, IGN has the first four minutes of this coming weekend's new action movie, Stealth. I didn't watch all of either footage, but from what I saw it looked like Sky High will be a little better. Yahoo! Movies has a new clip from Four Brothers that may tickle your fancy more and I still think of it as a movie to keep in the back of your head. I know we don't have much Transformers footage to go off of so far, but at least we have an interview with Spielberg to show how into it he really is. I think I might be a little more intrigued in his newly named upcoming film Munich. Anyway, it's more than we have for Southland Tales, but more cunning fans would have found out that the storyboard is actually online at an appropriate URL. There's also a strange website up for Sarah Michelle Gellar's character in the movie, and I consider the poem there a must-read. Mel Gibson is trying to make another movie in a foreign language, but this time it's called Apocalypto and is entirely in Mayan. I somehow don't see how it will compete against Lady in the Water like Disney wants it to. Lastly, I just had to mention the cute pictures that IGN has from March of the Penguins.

I wonder if he got rejected

Now for some Monday Madness:

1. What kind of storm is the most scary to you?
An electrical storm sounds scariest, but the scariest one I've experienced is probably a tropical storm.

2. In your opinion, what is the perfect outdoor temperature?
In the mid to low 70s I would think. I think that some nights in Austin in the fall are that nice, but it's unfortunately not part of our usual weather pattern down here so I couldn't give an exact temperature.

3. Would you rather experience thunderstorms or snowstorms?
My instinct is to say snowstorm since it doesn't snow here, but I know that it causes more road trouble so I'd have to say thunderstorm.

4. Share a weather-related experience with us...feel free to include pictures!
I got trapped in a bus for a few hours during a bad Houston flood my senior year of high school. It was sadly also the bus driver's birthday! It was a pretty scary experience, but it was nice to see Houstonians coming together. My dad was stranded trying to get home from work and someone who lived on that street passed out water bottles and snacks to the tired drivers. Now that's a dude who's going straight to Heaven.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Being a Game Designer

Only in Houston can I be struggling through flooded waters one hour and then driving on dry land a couple of hours later. Going through weather that wet is scarier than I thought, and I think all of the city felt it. Anyway, I just wanted to mention real quick that I finally saw The Village last night and it's definitely Shyamalan's least impressive work but it is still a decent film. I also saw Batman Begins again today and still loved it. What I really wanted to talk about though is this extensive article regarding being a game designer. A lot of kids, myself included, fantasize about making video games some day because it sounds like the most fun job in the world. Almost as fun as like working in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. However, the harsh reality is that you have to really crawl to the top in an industry like video games and you'll only get that far if you're real lucky or real awesome. The people who I've spoken to in the industry make it sound like getting that far is like trying to be a movie star in LA, and I'm sure that's an accurate depiction. Nonetheless, it's really cool to hear the thoughts of these big dogs of game development and a worthwhile read for anyone interested in games.

In this weekend's tech news, I really am starting to feel bad for Microsoft. They're facing another lawsuit, but this time it's regarding the name of their next iteration of Windows being the same as an actual company. I'm sure that they'll throw some of their money around and reach a settlement though, so don't cry too hard. As if that wasn't enough though, M$ has decided to make IE7 exclusive to Windows XP, which could mean big gains for Firefox among Windows 2000 users. I see their logic, but I just don't think it's a smart business move with Firefox clawing for market share. Apparently, it's more important to them to patent smileys for MSN Messenger, which is making them a laughing stock among geeks like me. Google is doing much better though with the addition of a hybrid mode to allow you to see satellite imagery and street names much like in Google Earth. This can only mean good things for their market share in online mapping. They also rolled out the beta for Google Scholar, which doesn't seem like much more than a dumbed down Lexis Nexis but I'm sure that they're still building on it. Lastly, if you think that software (like Photoshop and Visual Studio and such) is overpriced, you'll like this article about how we should take maintenance costs and such into account to lower it a bit.

There's not a whole lot of movie news today, but the box office really took a beating with The Island pulling in a measly $12 million at number 4 (a tenth of the production costs). The fact that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stayed at number 1 with only a 20% drop ($28.3 million) is a testament to how good it is and Wedding Crashers clung to number 2 at $26.2. Ironically, the new movies this weekend were beat out per theater by indie films Hustle and Flow and March of the Penguins, which is an interesting turn of events. If you want to see another clip from Hustle and Flow you can head over to Yahoo! Movies. They also have some clips from Happy Endings, which I'm interested in because it's Lisa Kudrow in a serious role. I've got to support a UT film maker now and plug a review for Tsui Hark's Seven Swords, which sounds like it'll be another one of those great martial arts movies. Lastly, if you wanted to check out that Transformers footage but didn't a few days ago when I posted, there's a fresh upload of it here.

Great goalie

The real big news today wasn't in computers or movies though, but rather in soccer with the United States barely winning the CONCACAF Gold Bowl! No one scored at all until the penalty kicks in overtime where we scored 3 and Panama (who beat South Africa a week ago under similar circumstances) only got 1. It was a big shocker to everyone, but I'm glad that we won since Mexico couldn't. The last thing I wanted to mention was that I'm appalled that lawmakers want to extend Daylight Savings just because they think people would be happier if it was sunnier and Halloweeners would be happy. I think the original purpose actually was to conserve oil, but I can't see it being substantial.

Now for some Unconscious Mutterings:

  1. Believing::Seeing is,
  2. Invasion::of the Body Snatchers
  3. Boys::Me
  4. Island::Major tank
  5. Repeatedly::Firing
  6. Normal::Normie (see Family Guy)
  7. Hex::adecimal (sad, isn't it?)
  8. Tuxedo::Penguins
  9. Virgin::Steve Carrell (the movie I mean)
  10. Cereal::Cherrios

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Wedding Crashers

Are you really surprised to see my Friday post on a Saturday night? This time I really don't have a good excuse other than I wanted to see Wedding Crashers with my brother and his girlfriend and I decided to stay the night. I'll admit that when I first heard about the movie I was very skeptical of it consisting of stupid, dirty jokes because of the R rating and just wouldn't have enough substance. I'm not the greatest at first impressions though. This is the best comedy to come out this year so far, but I wouldn't be surprised if The 40-year-old Virgin took the throne away. Under no circumstances should you take a child with you or your parents (unless they're just that cool) because it really is quite raunchy. What's amazing is how these jokes can be R-rated and be funny without you having to feel guilty about it. When you see Vince Vaughn's level 5 clinger (Isla Fisher) giving him an hj at the dinner table, it's actually hilarious. It's like when you saw Dodgeball and you didn't think a guy getting hit by a wrench would be funny. The few cameos in this movie were nice and it had more heart than you'd expect without being really corny or totally far-fetched, but it had its problems. Why would you hire Christopher Walken and make him say just ordinary lines? This is a guy who once told a story about keeping a watch up his ass through a war and you have him as a run-of-the-mill father? Some scenes were unnecessary, like the scene with the mother for those of who you have seen it that had no follow-up. Despite some minor quibbles like this though, it's a solid comedy and I'd give it a B+.

I know that what you really want though is the nerd news. You'd think that Microsoft didn't already have enough on its plate with Google countersuing them over how they restrict the rights of employees to change jobs. However, they also decided that they'd release the name of Longhorn: it is now Windows Vista. My brother was joking about how this will be interesting for Indian FOBs to say and I find it a bit odd myself since you think more of a vacation home than a program, but as long as it has it where it counts. Google has more problems than just litigation though with drug rings using Orkut to conduct business. That sounds like an interesting testimonial to have and in case you don't know, Orkut is kinda like Facebook. The biggest way to keep in touch online nowadays though seems to be Instant Messenger, and losers like me may want to investigate how popular they are. If you're looking for some good podcasts to listen to click here and read away. If you keep reading my blog rather though, you're probably more easily driven to distraction by technology like blogs and it turns out that you are not alone. I keep talking about that because I just think it's funny how easily our minds can be kept away from what we need to do.

Click to enlargeBryan Singer has finally decided on a logo to be officially associated with Superman Returns as the excitement continues for the long rested red-caped crusader. The most exciting movie news today though is really the advent of a trailer for V for Vendetta (from the Wachowski Brothers). Seeing Natalie Portman bald is a little scary, but the movie looks like it'll be awesome. IGN got their trailer for The Fog working if you're still interested in the horror flick. They also have some FX pictures from War of the Worlds if you're into that movie, but I have still yet to see it unfortunately. What's really cool though is the pictures that JoBlo found of the Ghost Rider bike.

Click to see the bike even bigger

Just a couple of quick random things. It turns out, predictably, that some retailers still don't want to carry San Andreas even after it gets cleaned up. Not having Wal-mart or Best Buy on their side could hurt Take Two, but it could also make them a martyr in the minds of gamers. I can't believe that I neglected to notice last week that 24 received 9 Emmy nominations including Best Casting and Best Lead Actor in a drama series.

Now for Friday's Feast (remember, we're pretending that it's still Friday):

What kind of car do you drive? If you could make an even trade for any other car, what would you want to drive?

A 1990 Nissan Maxima unfortunately, and no one steals it so I have to keep driving it! I'd love an Accord or an Altima or even a Toyota (Corolla or Camry). I'm all for a safe, affordable, reliable car for now.

Take your phone number and add each number together separately (example: 8+6+7+5+3+0+9=38) - what's the total?

It adds up to be 53 for my cell number and 59 for my home phone in Houston.

When were you last outside, and what were you doing?

I was last outside a few hours ago swimming with my cousin and my Aunt's nephew (no direct relation to me, just through her as my mom's brother's wife).

Main Course
What is your favorite restaurant, and what do you usually order there?

I don't know that I really have a favorite restaurant. Maybe Tapioca House? =P I don't eat out often enough to have one, but I do love meat so I could temporarily go with Saltgrass Steakhouse (I have not been to Salt Lick yet).

Name 3 things in which you occasionally indulge.

Booze, fattening deserts (like Cold Stone Creations), and Stephen King (time is so precious that he's an indulgence now).

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Preserving Memories

Ok, jump in your time machine and pretend that this post was written and published last night. I would've done it last night, but after a long day of tests and vacuuming I decided to have dinner at my brother's place and he was busy setting up things for his new house on his computer. Anyway, I decided to take the only home movie we have to his place so that his girlfriend could see what he and some of our cousins looked at age 7 or 8. It made me realize how important holding on to stuff like that is. That tape has four people in our family who have died since. If they had camcorders back in the day maybe I'd be able to meet more than just one of my grandparents. I urge you all to keep in the back of your mind the purchase of a video camera whenever you have your first child. You don't have to film every little thing, but make sure you get the important stuff. It's funny to see myself at such a young age, and especially my brother. His girlfriend got a real hoot out of it, and of course I was much cuter then than I am now. You can even see me saying "Dada" and you hear my mom in the background complaining that I still hadn't gotten to saying "Mama" yet. I'm working on transferring it to DVD and I think I have a couple of friends luckily who can help me out there.

MuhahahahaI do have some real technology news today though. CNet did an awesome feature about the top 10 web fads though, and it would appear that they got most of the big ones on there and a few I hadn't heard of. My favorite was the All Your Base one, which starts out as an actual scene from a Japanese video game that was translated to English to be sold here. I reported on Microsoft's Blue Hat event a while back and SecurityFocus nabbed an interview with Dan Kaminsky, who attended the event and provides some great insight into M$'s aims and what-not. He's one of the few security experts who truly seem to take an objective point of view so it's a really worthwhile read. You may or may not care, but Google's month-to-month query volume has dropped a bit while gaining unique searchers since last year and I think it all amounts to slight volatility in the search market. Is it possible that web surfing is costing businesses (as a whole) $178 billion a year? This is a perfect example of a biased study that is overblown to show what they want to show where the reality is that it's not an accurate account of wasted hours or of the actual cost given that no person is ever productive 100% of the time regardless of whether they surf. To help out the troops in Iraq the Pentagon has been developing a riot control ray gun that could output a microwave beam causing enough discomfort to force participants out of the way. What if this could have indirect health effects though and what if they can't move out of the way? Lastly, I wish more kids were like a group of Utah high schoolers who have won an award for developing a way to save tons of fuel.

I have a little bit of movie news today. There's actually an uncensored trailer for The 40-year-old Virgin out there complete with curse words and a nipple, and I highly recommended it because it actually made me laugh out loud. I'm getting good vibes from this one. If you're more interested in a serious trailer though, Yahoo! Movies has one for the biopic on Johnny Cash, Walk the Line. It's amazing how close Joaquin Phoenix can get to Johnny's voice and while I don't think it'll be a Ray it should be enjoyable. The weekend is almost upon us and a detailed review of The Island may help you to decide whether to see it. Basically, it sounds like it's only good for some mindless fun. I kind of wonder how mindless The Devil's Rejects will be, too. Lastly, a couple of good websites went live. One is for The Transformers movie complete with a lot of stuff for a movie so early in production. The other one is for Harry Potter, which isn't all that notable except that it's Harry Potter and you just have to get excited about seeing anything you can for it.

Now for the 3x Thursday:

1. How tall are you? Do you think it's 'tall' or 'short'? Does it matter to you? What are the advantages/disadvantages to being your height?
I'm about 5'5" and I consider myself pretty short. My friends tease me about it sometimes, but it doesn't bother me all that much. The disadvantages are looking so young that I have to be carded, the limitation of not being able to get too tall a girl (I wouldn't reject a girl for being taller than me, but it does look a bit weird), and having to make embarrassing adjustments at the gym to correct for it after a bigger guy uses it. The advantages are that the youth factor may come in handy later on and I'm still taller than my brother so that's kind of cool. Plus, I don't think I'll ever be too tall for a girl.

2. Do you consider yourself to be better than others? Why/why not?
Not really so much. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and though I have a lot going for me other people possess talents and abilities that I don't excel at though they may not study or program or something like that as well as me.

3. Do you think you're good at your job? How/how not?
Right now I just babysit, and I think I'm alright with it but having had an odd childhood (not bad, just odd) I don't think I have that inner child as much as most people do. Oh well, my forte is coding anyway.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The ESRB Shocks Us All

Yesterday's post didn't turn out as short as I thought, but hopefully this one will because I have to study for my first test in History II. The most striking piece of news today was ESRB's decision to make Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas the first Adults Only game ever. Take Two has halted the manufacture of the game to take out the hidden content and the ESRB will distribute AO stickers to retailers who wish to continue selling the game. I literally jumped in my chair when I first read the headline. I didn't think that they would cave, but I guess they had to do something. I think they might make a modified version of the game rated M again, but no explicit mention of that so far. Why am I afraid that this is too little too late for the religious watchdog groups? It's like a teenager helplessly trying to wish away a car accident by assuring his parents that the car isn't in too bad a shape. Could this mean that more games will be rated AO now? What will the distinction be between M and AO? The Guy Game was canned because of its lascivious content, but could it pass as ok with an AO rating? I'm sure that we can expect more developments very soon.

To start the techie news there's the high profile grand opening of Google Moon, which is commemorating the anniversary of Apollo 11 (the first moon landing). It's just a satellite map of what data we have so far of the moon, and when you zoom in real close it would appear that the moon is made of cheese (or at least at the time of this post). Apple has finally decided to revamp the iBook after nearly a year, and the buzz is that it'll be widescreen. I keep getting PowerBook and iBook mixed up so hopefully this new release will set me straight. Bank of America is trying to reinforce their website security with SiteKey, a free service that will require you to answer 3 questions in addition to your password and may also have you identify an image (as you do when registering for most message boards nowadays). The 3 questions may be a little too much, but at least they're trying. If you're enamored with RSS then you may want to consider the possibility that its growth will be more important for companies than bloggers. What I'm more worried about is possible security exploits. Lastly, take a look at Humanoid Robot HR-2.

The movie news today really is short and sweet. Fox is moving forward with a biopic on the Notorious B.I.G. and I think that it's definitely an appropriate time to give it a try. With The Island just around the corner, IGN spoke with Michael Bay and Scarlett Johansson and it makes the movie sound more and more palpable. Even better, Yahoo! Movies has most of the "Freeway Escape" scene. That's definitely not the last of the video footage today though. We finally have some footage from the upcoming Transformers movie, and I'm happy to report that it's starting to look pretty good. We still have a long time to wait yet though. IGN got an exclusive trailer for a movie called The Chubscrubber, which sounds like part of the recent trend of really deep teen movies that could go either way really. If you're interested in foreign films there's a trailer in French for Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist and I can't understand what's going on it. Lastly, we also have a neat international trailer for Serenity about a teenage girl in space with a big secret, and everything I've heard about this one so far has been great so it should be worthwhile.

The rebels

Before I conclude I just have to share my distaste for Congress's motion to extend Daylight Savings Time by 2 months. Who's lobbying this stuff?! Farmers don't really care about it anymore. It's so hot here that it sucks to have to wait until like 8:00 PM if I want to jog outside (which I don't do anymore as a result).

Now for some Wednesday Mind Humping:

01. The humped up version of those famous words spoken on the moon would be, "One small hump for man, one giant hump for mankind." Choose a historically important quote and hump, hump, hump it up!
"Ask not what your country can hump for you, but ask what you can hump for your country!" Very compelling words, indeed.

02. It's story telling time! Have you ever been mooned or have your ever mooned anyone?
Not that I can recall, but the ladies should feel free to moon me!

03. When the moon is bright and full, what sort of creature of the night might you transform into?
Hmm, maybe Optimus Prime? If I'm lucky though, maybe Fabio or even Brad Pitt.

04. Indulge in a bit of lunacy -- complete the following moon quotes:

When the moon is not full ... some people may flip out.
May you have a full moon on a dark night and ... a shiny sun on a gloomy day.
Love is like the moon, it ... is big, mysterious, and freaky.
I'd rather be a dog and bay at the moon than ... be Lacey on Real World: Austin.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

CS in the News

I'm pretty tired today because I ended up having dinner unexpectedly at my brother's, which means I'm literally going to just crash after I finish this post. Hence, don't expect it to be too long and don't be surprised by big grammatical errors. Bill Gates has taken it upon himself to decry the issue of a lack of spending in the Computer Science industry by the government, and I actually agree with him (for once). I think that the rise of security concerns has proven how important programmers really are today, and yet it's frightening that the government has cut back on investing in R&D and just in human capital. I understand that we have a huge deficit and all, but is a war in another country more important than the technological dangers facing people here? Plus, it would really put us ahead in the world. It's kind of sad to know that the most graduates in CS are from online or night course schools. It's great that these are women, but why aren't we seeing more teenagers going through programs at accredited four year institutions? What's the big turnoff? Was it that stupid outsourcing scare? I believe that there are more people interested in computing than like to admit it (*cough*Ronak*cough*), and it's a shame when they go astray.

There are a few other things in tech news today. Despite Gates's responsible outcry about, he has immaturely decided to sue Google for stealing an employee from him! There was some dispute about the former M$ employee's contract, but Google is willing to fight back and I hope they win. A recent issue that has sprung up is the possible video iPod and it turns out that Steve Jobs is furtively in talks with Disney to license Disney content for the future device. It's just nice to see that the gears are turning. I'm disappointed to see Senator Clinton in opposition to the ESRB because while her motherly concern makes sense I just can't see how she doesn't see the importance of good parenting here. I'm sure that they'll win and create an independent organization to rate games, and that's really sad because I'll be you that it'll make no difference at all. Lastly, CNN decided to do an article on the new trend of being openly dorky, and it feels like everyone followed me! I struggled with it for a while before realizing that it's just part of me, and then everyone started wearing shirts with "Dork" on it! Go figure.

The movie news is pretty quirky and littered with trailers so I'm gonna just breeze through it. By some miracle, Fantasic Four looks like it may be on its way to having a sequel despite the 60% drop, and hopefully they do it better this time. AICN put up what it saw from Kevin Smith at Comic-Con, and most importantly what Richard Kelly interjected about Southland Tales, which looks crazy and interesting at the same time so give it a look-see. If you miss the movie Wall Street or even the less impressing Boiler Room then be sure to look at the trailer for Two For the Money because it follows another path of gambling in a guy who's just lucky with picking winners and inevitably gets his investors in a hole. If you'd prefer a deeper movie there's also a new trailer for Proof regarding the legacy left for Gwyneth Paltrow's character by father Anthony Hopkins, and it could go either way so don't write it off. There's also a supposedly stunning trailer for The Fog up but I can't get it to work so maybe you'll have more luck than me. If you can't get enough Jessica Simpson then you'll want to see what pictures JoBlo has dug up from Dukes of Hazard. I'm more concerned with posters though, including the new one for Red Eye and an even better one for Memoirs of a Geisha:

Zhang Ziyi has a real pretty face

Now for a quick Ten on Tuesday:

10 Countries You'd Like to Visit
10. Russia
9. China
8. Philippines
7. Nepal
6. Jordan (Danna has me intrigued)
5. Peru
4. Japan
3. Italy (I have to see Rome someday)
2. United Kingdom
1. India, though I have been there before.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Be Cool in the Closet

Miss me? You know you did, just admit it. The title is strange I'll admit, but it'll all come together by the end of this paragraph. Oh, and if you want to read more about the soccer games yesterday then click here (or here for Panama v. S. Africa). I had read some bad things about Be Cool, but I was still curious to see it since it had some big names in it and my brother had already rented it anyway. It ended up being a decent popcorn flick. It was perfect to end a relaxing weekend because it wasn't meant for you to think on much. The plot has obvious issues, but the script is better than I would've thought and the acting was feasible. The shining star had to be The Rock though playing a gay bodyguard and providing a whole lot of comic relief and had us rewinding it for more. I give it a B- because while you shouldn't go out of your way to see it, it is fun to watch. Another thing we checked out last night upon my brother's urging was R. Kelly's "Trapped in a Closet" hip hopera (click on 'Video'). This is the stupidest piece of R&B I've seen. Sure it rhymes well, but he's just singing a story! And it's incredibly far-fetched. My advice: watch the first chapter and then check out the Jimmy Kimmel parody about pizza. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

I have a ton of technology news that I've whittled down to the very best stuff. has its own opinion on why Apple switched to Intel, and they believe it has to do with an up-and-coming network protocol that Longhorn will supposedly support. Not to be outdone, it seems that Apple may be rushing to Intel so that it isn't left in the cold and it's plausible as a contributing reason but not the main one. This coupled with Apple's ambitions for an online video store (similar to iTunes) could make them quite a powerhouse very soon. I have high hopes for them. Microsoft seems unperturbed though and are more focused on urging developers rather to start development efforts for Internet Explorer 7. I think it makes them sound a little pompous, but hopefully they can back up their claims of this browser being good. Meanwhile, it turns out that 56.2% of software developers used open source modules in their process, and I just find it interested that it's actually on the rise. Another thing on the rise is spyware, and it turns out that people are beginning to toss their computers rather than fight the battle. I can totally relate to them because it can be quite frustrating, but I just think it's funny that it's such a common practice. Another thing I found a bit humorous was this article about how to cover your slacking at work, and may be relevant for many of you. Lastly, take a quick glance at how computers were taught to work about 25 years ago.

I'm kind of tired tonight so thankfully there isn't too much movie news. The winner at the box office this weekend was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with $55.4 million and fellow opener Wedding Crashers managed to pull in almost its whole budget at $32.2 million, and I find both figures pleasing given the prior box office slump. Fantastic Four actually had a 60% drop at third and Batman Begins is about a million away from grossing more than Batman Forever. Brett Ratner looks to have abandoned hopes for now of a Rush Hour 3 in favor of a heist film (presumable a comedy) featuring Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock conceived by Murphy and to begin after X3 wraps up. Speaking of X-men, it seems that the rumors of Ben Foster being Angel are starting to solidify, and the race to finish the movie continues. If you're looking for an interesting foreign film IGN has the first 6 minutes from a promising German crime movie called The Edukators and will be out nationwide by August. Lastly, take a look at the teaser poster for the highly anticipated Southland Tales movie (coupled with the release of the graphic novels):

It's not much, but it's something!

Just a couple of quick last things. With all the Hot Coffee mod controversy lately I thought that this article would be helpful for those of you who don't know how the ESRB ratings work. I think that this attack on the ESRB and calls for FTC regulations are ridiculous and you're hard-pressed to find an incorrect rating on a game. A guy at Flexbeta posted the top 5 things he'd like to see in the next 5 years, and he makes some good points.

Now for some Monday Madness:

1. Mal asks... What is the last thing you do at night?
On most nights it's brushing my teeth, but before that I usually play guitar for a while.
2. Wil asks... Where were you when the lights went out?
The only time this summer I've been stuck without electricity was at 24 Hour Fitness and I waited there for 30 minutes before going to another location.
3. Andrea asks... What's on your refrigerator?
A bunch of random magnets my mom has collected.
4. Jenny asks... What is your ideal vacation spot?
Probably New York City because there's so much fun to be had there.
5. Kia asks... What's the sexiest language in the world?
Portuguese maybe? It is pretty cool to listen to.
6. Zeno asks... Have you ever made a wish on a shooting star and had that wish come true?
I've never wished on one before because I don't see one all too often out here in the city.
7. Bunnykissd asks... We're more than halfway through the year now; how are you doing with your New Year's resolutions?
I'm getting somewhere with my cluttering, but I need to kick into overdrive now.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

No Weekend Post

Sorry to disappoint my regulars, but I will not get a chance for a weekend post this weekend. My cousin's birthday was last night, and today (it's still Sunday for me kinda) I saw the quarterfinal CONCACAF soccer matches at Reliant Stadium. Mexico ended up losing unfortunately, and after the game we chilled at my brother's and saw Be Cool (I think I'll review it in my Monday post). So anyway, just thought I might as well explain. And tomorrow I'll have a busy morning so you'll have to hold your breath until Monday night! I'll try to incorporate some of the stuff I wanted to talk about today in that one.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Privacy is All the Rave

Have you noticed how much privacy has been in the news recently? It all started with a Republican bastard named Karl Rove. One reporter did a little article about how easy it is to find the CIA operative in question with a little Google action. He ended up with a satellite map of where she actually lives, and that's a little creepy. The Government really needs to get on top of protecting their operatives. Disney has started a controversy all on its own with required finger scanning at all their parks. The ACLU is not happy about it as they shouldn't be because they may be a little out of line. Can the finger print check really prove that much? To reiterate a question I've asked a few times before: how much security is too much? Back on the Internet, Mozilla's Spread Firefox site has been hacked and the culprits could've gotten a good amount of private data. I guess not everyone likes FireFox, but it seems like a rather random attack. Anyway, I guess privacy concerns are following us everywhere we lurk nowadays, and I don't like it.

Don't feel too bad for FireFox though, because they gained market share on IE by almost a percent last month. It doesn't seem like much, but now they're only 1.29% away from their year goal. Microsoft is also fighting a battle against Yahoo though, but in the anti-spam arena. Yahoo is working on some digital signature technology while M$ wants to examine domains, but I can't decide which (if either) is better than the other. You'll have to read the article and decide for yourself. Another high-profile fight is between Sony and Toshiba regarding the next DVD format, and a recent survey shows that many more people support Blu-ray over HD-DVD due to backwards compatibility with the current DVD and availability in a number of devices. The survey didn't mention pricing of players or content availability, but it's a good early snapshot of the situation and I'm sure things will change as the battle heats up. Time Warner has begun a pilot program of cable TV over the Internet in San Diego, and they seem pretty optimistic about it. I hope it does well there because I'd love to watch TV online if it was cheaper than on my actual television set. If anyone is interested, the UN published its official report on governing the Internet and it sounds like the most important thing to them is some sort of change. Lastly, Fujitsu is debuting bendable electronic paper technology and it's pretty neat because it looks like this:

So futuristic!

Not much movie news today at all, but I'll tell you about the good stuff. The teaser for Saw II premiered at Comic-Con and it's now online in all its freaky goodness for your viewing pleasure. I don't think it'll be better than the original, but I guess we'll see. Halle Berry has reason to believe that her character in X3, Storm, will actually fly. This would certainly be truer to the comic book character we've come to know and love. It turns out that the title of the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie will be Pirates of the Caribbean: World's End. No word on why or if this is even official yet, but it is a bit strange nonetheless. Lastly, horror fans may want to look into The Skeleton Key (from the writer of The Ring), which sounds like it good be very good and very creepy. It's about a practice in Louisiana regarding the spirits, and I don't understand much about it but apparently a lot of locals believe in it.

Now for the Friday's Feast meme:

What is your middle name? Would you change any of your names if you could? If so, what would you like to be called?

Victor, because it was the name of my Dad's father and he died not long before I was born. I like all three of my names and I don't think I'd like to change them. Sure, Pinto is used as a car name and a bean name, but it's still respectable. And Elton John may be gay, but he's a damn good musician.

If you were a fashion designer, which fabrics, colors, and styles would you probably use the most?

No clue. I'm a guy! What do I know about fabrics and style?! Maybe cotton? I guess I'd use green and blue a lot since green apparently looks good on me and blue is my favorite color in all its shades.

What is your least favorite chore, and why?

Definitely dusting the furniture. It's so annoying because dust comes back so quickly and there's so much at my parents' place to dust.

Main Course
What is something that really frightens you, and can you trace it back to an event in your life?

I'm not afraid of much nowadays. Just wasps, bees, and dying alone pretty much. None of them really lead back to a previous incidence. In my younger years I was afraid of the dark for a variety of reasons, including a video game I played called Phantasmagoria (doesn't sound nice does it?).

Where are you sitting right now? Name 3 things you can see at this moment.

In front of my computer in my brother's old room. I can see a cordless phone, a stuffed beanie tiger, and a computer microphone. Not too exciting I'll admit.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Ruling the Internet

Taking History II is making me realize summer away from Austin sucks. Going to class feels like high school again and I'm glad that I'll never have to do summer school again after this one. I'm also taking Government II, which is actually more bearable. Anyway, the UN can't get enough reasons to hate Bush and their newest reason is control of the Internet. Their complaints include the creation of controversial domain names, network security, and spam. The Bush administration has already said that it would not surrender control of internet domains and addresses to anyone, but if they don't then it could mean the fragmentation of the Internet. For once I actually agree with the UN. The Internet should be a global network, and as such it shouldn't be run as some sort of dictatorship. Other countries' interests should be considered as well. The Bush administration will really go down in history as horrid if they sit idly by and let the Internet become fragmented.

This is beyond cool

That doesn't look like a keyboard does it? But it's actually the Optimus keyboard and the keys change on the outside to reflect what you're doing (like playing Quake). The keyboard is especially good for foreign languages, and I really hope that it takes off someday. Another interesting gadget is Sharp's double-vision LCD television model that will allow for people to watch two channels on the same TV by sitting at different angles. It probably won't be very cheap and they're still working out the sound issue, but it's a great idea. If you still need more gadgets to ponder on you should look into the 3D Face Camera from Bluebear for better identification in forensic identification. It turns out that a lot of studies about the security of Linux as opposed to Windows have been biased and the reality is that Linux is only slightly ahead of Microsoft. It isn't all that surprising since it hasn't been bombarded with the kind of junk that's thrown at Windows. Lastly, we have another survey from Nielson suggesting that legal music downloading has indeed increased quite a bit this year though the RIAA is still seeking out P2Pers.

The movie news today isn't bad, and I'll start out with a couple of reviews. AICN has yet another review of The 40-year-old Virgin once again asserting that it's very funny. My anticipation for this movie is growing even more. Harry Knowles put up his review for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and he seemed to thoroughly enjoy this version of the classic children's book so I'm sure that Tim Burton did Roald Dahl proud. Speaking of Burton, JoBlo has a good interview with him that I recommend because he's quite the visionary director. He made a couple I wasn't totally thrilled with, but his other movies really make up for it. Comic-Con is going on right now and you can get some information from the booth from A Scanner Darkly over here. I'm expecting great things from the movie with a star-studded cast and amazing animation values. When I was younger, I absolutely love True Lies (I've seen it like 10 times) and I'm exciting to hear that there's talk from the actors of the movie about a sequel. Of course they have to wait on the Governor of California to finish his term, but I'm sure they'll wait if they're serious. Lastly, fans of the CollegeHumor website may be interested to know that they're in talks for a movie deal choc-ful of their crude humor. I'm hoping that it'll be better than Van Wilder.

Now for the Thursday Threesome:

Onesome: Double-- Vision? What have your seen lately that's made you stop in your tracks and take another look? Oh, come on now; there's something !
There have been a few girls at HCC that have made me turn around for multiple looks. It may not be a great school, but even hot chicks have to go to summer school sometimes. Life must've sucked for guys in the olden days when girls weren't privileged enough to get an education.

Twosome: lens-- Glasses or contacts? ...or nothing? What's your preference? ...or do you have a choice? ...or maybe you're just lucky?
I wear glasses, but I'd prefer contacts. I don't have a choice right now, but hopefully I will very soon when I get my eyes checked next. I like my eye color and I'd really like to expose them more.

Threesome: reflex-- Do you ever have a reflex reaction to a TV commercial? Is there one that your finger just reaches to change the channel on without any conscious thought? ...or maybe there's one that has caught your attention and just locked you in before you even realized it?
Not really. Sometimes I forget that it's even a commercial break and keep watching. Usually I will try to change the channel though.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Still More AppleBM

First there was Bennifer, then there was Tomkat, and now it's AppleBM! Ok, so I'm really bad at making up names for controversial relationships, but I do have more on Apple and IBM today so I thought I'd make them the main attraction. Apple has started to ship Intel machines with Mac OS X loaded on them to developers and they're getting a good response so far. Recipients are pleased with the speed so far, even when a translator program (Rosetta) runs on PowerPC code so that it can run on the Intel machine. Looks like we won't get our greedy hands on these computers until the middle of next year, but we could be surprised with an early release. Meanwhile, IBM seems to be doing just fine with a dual core PowerPC 970MP chip, which they actually seem to want to use for electronic devices other than PCs. Apple is still going to use the 970 FX low-power usage chip in its G5s. IBM may be looking at it as Apple's loss since their chips are considered superior to Intel, but we'll see who has the last laugh.

If you're really an Apple freak you should try out the floating PowerBook. Apple isn't quite the center of the nerd news universe today though. It is the 10th birthday of the MP3 name, and it has really grown up! A blogger from the Mozilla Foundation has asserted that Linux is not ready for the mainstream desktop (unlike Firefox) because of 5 very valid problems including the lack of simplicity and the difficulty with migrating from a Windows system. I wonder how long it will be until the world is truly ready for an open source OS. Meanwhile, the end of an era is upon us: we have grown weary of floppies. In fact, I don't know anyone in their right mind who still uses the bloody things. The only point of them is for a startup disk on Windows 98 machines. Anyway, PBS is pioneering a revolution in television with the release of a one hour show called NerdTV that will be entirely view via the Internet featuring the smartest people in the tech world. Of course they don't need ad revenues, but hopefully it'll be successful and set a good example (they have some airtight guests so far). Lastly, you may soon be able to legally check out live musical performances online, and presumably free via the various distributors, in reaction to the success of Live 8 (which is still online). Sounds like it could be a pretty sweet deal.

I think I have to help my mom peel some shrimp, so I'm going to go through the movie news rather quickly. If you haven't heard of Hustle and Flow yet then I feel sorry for you and you can make up for it by checking out IGN's interview with John Singleton. Sean Bean also spilled his beans regarding the plot of Silent Hill, which sounds very true to the videogame franchise and, hence, very cool. The next movie you can see him in though is The Island. IGN also had an interview with Johnny Depp about his lead role in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and he sounds like he had a lot of fun with the part. Uma Thurman is signed up to be in another comedy, but this time it's alongside Luke Wilson in Super Ex where she plays the love interest and superhero. Thankfully, she has a few dramas she'll be in until then, and also The Producers. Lastly, Domino has sadly been moved again to October in respect of Domino Harvey's death and to give visionary Tony Scott a little more time to play around with it. I'm willing to wait as long as it's good.

Couple of quick random things. If you've seen Pulp Fiction, I think you'll appreciation this 30 second reenactment of the film by bunnies. There are some other ones there as well, but that one is the best. The other thing I wanted to mention is that IGN has been running a poll-like tournament to determine the biggest badass in video games and the winner is Solid Snake! I was hoping that he'd win. Just look at him:

He is so cool

Now for the Wednesday Mind Hump:

Say What? is a "complete this sentence" challenge. The challenge? Below is a list of common cliches and/or some lesser known sayings. Your mission should you decide to accept it is complete the sentence with your own crazy ending.

01. A penny earned is ...
one step closer to ordering that late night pizza.
02. When in doubt ... always walk with traffic.
03. Do unto others ... what you think is most appropriate.
04. Give them an inch ... because we don't use that Euro trash metric system!
05. He who hesitates ... is probably more careful than me.
06. The road to hell is paved ... with Uwe Boll films.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Wasting Time at Work

I got a comment on my Saturday post last night that actually said that nerds are hot! I thought that was a nice offset for an unnecessarily rude comment to a very old post I got the other day, and I realized that I was using that bunny picture (from Donnie Darko) in my profile here for no reason. Hence, I changed it to my old Facebook picture and one of the few pictures of me I actually like so hopefully you'll agree it looks better now. It has been more than 6 months after all. Anyway, there wasn't a lot of news going on today (I guess in anticipation of the shuttle launch tomorrow), but I did like an article I read about how much time people waste while at work. The average worker whittles away 2.09 hours a day on the company's tab, and I can see that since I do it while I try to do homework. To continuously work without any break but lunch is kind of harsh with the length of workdays now, and so it seems pretty logical. I've found that rest time during studying helps me focus better, and I'm sure the same would go in a work environment. So keep surfing the net America!

Like I said above, only a few things to speak of in the geek world. Netflix may be the first to offer movies for download legally. Some guy accidentally stumbled upon some stuff he wasn't supposed to on the site suggesting this, and there's more reason to believe that they're moving in this direction in that article's comments so I hope that they do go forward with that. Meanwhile, domestic and foreign law enforcement officials executed an operation to take down 8 warez sites and succeeded in halting the piracy of some big games. They're probably starting to shake up the community now. The PS3 will no longer be able to be used as a home network router as previously presumed, but the bank of Ethernet ports could be used to make it a good switch or hub nonetheless. To compete with this, Nintendo is developing a wireless routing device that will plug into your USB 2.0 port and allow you to share your connection with your Revolution and DS! Finally, they're doing something right.

The movie news today though is slightly better, but also kinda slow. We now have an official teaser for Ice Age 2, and it's in the same vein as the first movie's trailer but with water instead of cracks in ice. Robert Rodriguez is eyeing Salma Hayek for a movie role once again, but this time it's for Sin City 2! Given how hot she is, this could be a really awesome thing. Everyone seems to have The Island fever with an extended trailer, behind-the-scenes pics, and a chase scene clip all at the URL. And as if that wasn't enough, IGN even gave it a thumbs up. Maybe everyone just can't get enough of Scarlet Johansson:

Love this shot of her

Of course IGN also liked Wedding Crashers despite some other less happy reviews, but I guess we'll have to just judge for ourselves on that one. Avi Arad is pretty pissed off with Internet geeks trashing the X3 script and director, and I can't blame him since a lot of it is speculation and leaks. Ratner frankly doesn't have a good enough track record to handle a movie like this, but we'll see what happens. Lastly, Capone at AICN also got a chance to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and seemed to like it a lot. It's a great sign when a movie looks good this early.

Now for the acclaimed Ten on Tuesday meme:

10 People Who Inspire You
10. My brother - He's shown me how much hard work can get you in life.
9. Stephen King - This may sound like such an odd choice, but his writing style shows me how you're supposed to feel when you read a good book and never ceases to amaze me.
8. Quentin Tarantino - He put all his eggs in one basket and won big with his directorial career showing that geeky dreams can come true.
7.Chris Martin - To create the kind of music he makes and also promote free trade like he does almost makes him Superman.
6. David Johnson - This was my old Debate coach in high school and taught me more than I even realized at the time.
5. Larry Paige - He had a great idea and just ran with it to help found Google.
4. Franklin Delano Roosevelt - I know he had some problems, but he just handled the Great Depression so well and was a very noble man.
3. Jesus Christ - Can you imagine finding out that you're the Son of God and will one day be crucified and yet manage to change the world?
2. My mother - She is the main person responsible for bring herself and her siblings and her mother to America, and she had to suffer for it.
1. My father - He gets up at 2:00 AM in the morning to go to work for like 10 hours to put food on the table and put me through college.