Monday, October 31, 2005

Robot Rebellion

It turns out that my Halloween weekend wasn't quite over yet. I went trick-or-treating for the first time tonight in the name of Unicef to collect money (people were quite generous) and ended up with a good amount of candy. Afterwards, I went to Bethany's boyfriend's place for a small Halloween gathering where we watched Dagon, which is a very campy but also very classic horror movie. I've actually been curious about it for a while, and it's best to watch in a group like we did so you can poke fun at it. Oh, and I also found out tonight that I landed an interview with Microsoft for next Thursday. I feel like a sell-out to even be applying there, but if I end up getting an offer I can always keep it as a backup. I didn't want my post title to be Halloween related once again, so I thought that I'd talk a little bit about surviving a robot rebellion. A CMU roboticist actually wrote a book about this very subject in a humorous, but almost half-serious, manner. Supposedly, you'll see a movie about it in the near future, but the book sounds like a good read regardless. He tries to defeat some common stereotypes and who knows, maybe you'll need it someday.

There's really only a couple of big things for tech heads today. In an amazing show of support, Apple has sold a million videos on iTunes in the less than 20 days the feature has been available. This can only mean good things for the growth of legal video downloads, and I think it'll definitely turn the heads of some television executives. Remember, all those sales are coming from just music videos, Lost, and Desperate Housewives. Meanwhile, Google is trying to buddy up to nerds everywhere by paying software engineers to help out on the OpenOffice project. Do they have a vested interest here? Probably, since they run their servers on Linux and have to be noticing that Microsoft is changing gears to ward off losing market share to Google. At least it's something productive though.

Click to enlargeDoes that look like a Wookie to you? Well it does to me, but it's actually a piece of concept art from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. It kind of sucks that after I've left Houston they do an early screening of a movie I want to see: A Scanner Darkly. AICN has a good review for it and a lukewarm one, and I still have high hopes for it. All I have left for you are videos. There's a teaser trailer up for Final Destination 3 and it's almost the exact same plot as the original except for that they cheat death in a roller coaster rather than an airplane. Lastly, I have a bunch of new clips from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for you, which is just a few weeks away now. If you're a fan of the series, I think the clips will totally get you excited.

Now for some Monday Madness:

1. Name 1 comedy movie you've seen.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail

2. Name 2 black and white films you remember seeing.
Chinatown. I know I've seen a few others but not for a long time so I can't remember their names at all.

3. Name 3 dramas you thought were worth watching.
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Fight Club, and Goodfellas.

4. Name 4 television shows you watch on a regular (or semi-regular) basis.
Lost, Desperate Housewives, 24, and Prison Break.

5. Name 5 things that, in your opinion, are advertised on television too frequently.
I'm going to cop-out on this one because I don't watch live tv that much.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Halloween Weekend Fun

Click to enlarge me!Update: Bethany kindly posted a picture of me she took on Monday, so there it is. I think Halloween is the best party weekend of the year, possibly moreso than New Year's. It's unfortunate that the day itself is a Monday and I have a midterm on Wednesday, but who cares because everyone parties Friday and Saturday anyway. I think Friday night was the first time I really felt comfortable hanging out since summer. To elaborate, do you ever have the feeling when you're chilling out that you don't feel obligated to do anything and you can really just relax? I went to Josh's place with Russ and we just watched Office Space and it felt just like when I would go to my brother's place in the summer. It was definitely good for me mentally, especially after all the Rudy's BBQ I scarfed at Big Event. After the insanely frightening Oklahoma State game on Saturday, I put on my black robe, black mask, and donned my sickle. I was a damned good Death if I do say so myself. I got a lot of compliments on the street, and I encountered one of the things I love about Austin: that small town feeling in the city. When I was walking on 24th a truck honked at me, but I couldn't see a lot through my mask so I was totally confused. I actually saw these people 3 hours later on San Pedro and one of them was actually a CS major. How cool of a coincidence was that? Where else would you have that kind of experience? I was planning on going to the Lambda house party, but there was a huge line to get in, and people were actually waiting in it! We went to a couple of other alright parties as well, but it was just fun checking out other people's costumes and messing around with Mike, Josh's room mate, who was dressed in drag. It may not have been as good as last Halloween, but I still enjoyed the break.

I probably shouldn't have wasted all those words on the weekend because of how much tech news there is, but I felt like sharing my thoughts a little. I think the tech-savvy community is gradually adapting to the new iPod as TVHarmony has created a program to load your TiVoed onto your iPod. I think we're getting less naysayers now as to the significance of this new media device, and because I like reading about these developments I'll keep you posted as more happens. Every couple of years we make more progress in mice, from the standard trackball to an optical eye to wireless and beyond. Now there are ergonomic mice and this one to the right, the Pacific Wireless Dual Mouse, is pretty cool. It offers four different positions so take a closer look at what we all should be using. Lastly, ZDNet has a great editorial on why the software-as-services model of selling products, where a user would pay every time they use the program, is inherently flawed. The bottom line is that you shouldn't continuously charge people to use your product unless you're actually offer more stuff every time or it's a value-added type model (ala Norton Antivirus), and it's scary that anyone would think otherwise.

As I'm sure many of you guessed, Saw II came out on top this weekend in the box office with an amazing $30.5 million! The Legend of Zorro made little more than half of that, and Doom dropped down to less than $5. It was definitely a weekend of surprises, but I'm only disappointed that The Weather Man didn't bring in more than $4.2 million. Since Halloween is tomorrow I feel obligated to share with you IGN's list of the 25 best horror movies of all time, and it's quite a great list if any of you wish to celebrate the occasion at home in front of your DVD player. I share their pick for #1, by the way. Lastly, I'm totally thrilled that Stephen King is partnering with Marvel to deliver comic books based on his Dark Tower series, which is still sitting on my bookshelf and I'm dying to read.

Now for some Unconscious Mutterings:

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

  1. Unbreakable::M. Night Shayamalan
  2. Have mercy::On us
  3. Do it better::Than the average
  4. Settle scores::Fight
  5. Comments::Blog
  6. Craziest thing::Insane
  7. Apple::Tree
  8. Halloween::Costume
  9. Manageable::Reasonable
  10. Trick::or Treat (that was pretty obvious)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Dabbling in Software Management

Before I start I just have to link this music video for "Curry-N-Rice Girl" that Christian found. I didn't do much last night but watch Office Space again, but it was great to chill with the guys after so long so I'm glad I took that break and now I'm back in action for the Friday post on Saturday. Joel Spolsky put up a post about a training program they're starting over at Fog Creek and I just find it really intriguing. He says that they don't want an MBA to manage a software project because they don't have enough common sense, and it makes sense that they'd want someone with more experience instead. It's a tough balance to strike and I wanted to bring this up for any CS majors who are considering an MBA. I personally am more geared towards an MS of course, and if you're not doing medicine or law then I'd recommend that you do the same. I wonder if Business Foundations will really do anything for me? It's probably useful to know that kind of rudimentary stuff, because I think I'd eventually want to manage a project since I'm cut out for organization and it'd probably be more money, too. We'll see what happens.

You know that you've wondered this before if you're on a Wintel machine: why do people take the plunge into Linux? O'Reilly is running an brief article on that very subject mostly composed of direct quotes from people on their experience. It sounds like a lot of people are just curious, and it does seem that a lot of Linux users are tech heads anyway so it make sense. Reuters posted a look at the United States possibly shunning science, and I'd say that I have to agree with them. The fact that the religious right has taken over this country's leadership is frightening because they don't understand the concept of accepting new ideas or fostering innovation. So why the Hell don't more people care? To contrast that rather serious article, I thought I'd share the 10 worst jobs in science as viewed from Popular Science (the best magazine in the world, by the way).

Click to enlarge
Once again, the most impressive picture today comes from King Kong, and it's the official teaser poster for the United States. I just think that the level of detail is quite admirable. Official badass Michael Caine is back in action with Christopher Nolan on his next endeavor, The Prestige, alongside Hugh Jackman. This is a movie to keep your eye on. Being Halloween weekend it's only appropriate that I leave off with some scary movie news. If you're still debating whether or not to see Saw II maybe this exclusive clip from IGN will sway you. If you're more interested in Hostel you'll have to wait until December, but we have a few new pictures to help you cope.

The economist in me couldn't end this post without mentioned that the economy grew surprisingly well in the third quarter of this year at a 3.8% growth rate (in GDP), and so you can expect more rate hikes from the Fed to coincide with these developments.

I'm going to try the Saturday Six this week:

1. What is a bigger pet peeve for you: someone trying to talk on a cell phone during a movie, a baby crying in a restaurant, a dog barking on your street, or music played loud enough to rattle windows.
Definitely someone trying to talk on a phone during the movie. It's quite distract

2. What is your favorite cologne or perfume that you wear most often? Which one is the one you like the scent of, but don't wear often or at all?
I love Bora Bora, but I only have a little bottle of it. When I finish my Adidas Moves cologne though, I think I'll get some Dolce and Gabana stuff. Now that smells really good.

3. In your opinion, what is the best way to tell someone you value how much they mean to you?
Doing something nice for them like maybe a gift or taking them to dinner or something like that. Just something that shows effort and thought.

4. Earlier this week, I posted a personality quiz: If you haven't taken it, please do; if you already have, how accurate were the results compared with your true personality.
Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

5. When was the last time you feel you got as much sleep as you really needed in a single night?
It's been a couple of weeks, but I've been getting a decent amount for half this past week.

6. If a stranger walked up to you and handed you a briefcase with enough money to pay off every debt you had down to the penny, do you think you could start from then on living debt-free?
Most definitely. The only debt I have is to my parents though for my college tuition and my room and board of course.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Meet Olive's Symphony

Click to enlarge

I forgot to mention this yesterday, but ACL 2006 has been announced to take place on the weekend of September 15-17, so mark it on your calendar! I bet you've never heard of a little company called Olive, huh? They might just give Apple a run for their money with a new media device called Symphony. What you see above is conceptually much like an 80GB hard drive strapped to a stereo with WiFi and other bells and whistles to boot. Once you feed it all your CDs, you can toss them because it has a built-in CD burner for you to burn your own mixes and such. Have an iPod? It supports that, too. Do you have a wireless network at your place? Then you can just connect to it wirelessly and it even acts as an access point (plus it has 4 Ethernet ports). How freaking cool is this thing?! If you get tired of your own music you can even tune into internet radio. It's only drawback seems to be that I don't think it can play copy-protected music and it's $900 price tag. It does have an 80 GB hard drive though, and it serves all your music needs.

There's really very little other tech news of interest. BBC is running a short piece on Microsoft's plans to usurp power once again over Google and Apple, and the only thing I think he's really been skimping on is what part the Xbox 360 plays in his whole home media center vision. Can it DVR or can it just show some stupid pictures? Sony has decided to start a process to gradually phase out CRT production it seems as they have closed some factories following some losses in September. Could we be facing a day when all that's available is LCD? Lastly, Dennis Hastert (the Speaker of the House) has started his own blog and he sounds surprisingly reasonable for a Republican. I may even keep up with it because he may talk about some stuff worth noting.

I'm going to start out here with the series that keeps getting better: Harry Potter. Yahoo! Movies has a clip introducing some sort of maze competition (I haven't read the books) and Moviefone has one showing our heroes in danger. The latter almost makes it seem as if the KKK have overrun Hogwart's. We now have word that King Kong is now 3 hours long and it's confirmed that Peter Jackson has no concept of time. Will people really pay to sit there for three hours to watch another King Kong adaptation? They'd better to cover the $207 million budget. In a strange turn of events, Lindsay Lohan is joining the cast of Bobby alongside the likes of Anthony Hopkins and Demi Moore. The idea of the movie is to intertwine the stories of key players leading up to the death of Robert Kennedy; I only hope that Emilio Estevez can pull it off. Lastly, we now have a poster for The New World featuring Mr. Christian Bale.

Now for the 3x Thursday meme:

1. Do you like the fact that we have different seasons? Does it matter to you? Why/Why not?
I think it's important that the weather isn't the same all year-round for our sanity. I can't handle 12 months of heat, and I like the cold but I'd flip out if I had 12 months of that either. Change is good, and plus it adds more variety to our wardrobe.

2. With changing seasons comes changing weather. What weather changes do you like and dislike that come with this?
I like the change from unbearable heat to briskly cold, like the weather we have in Austin right now. It feels so nice to just wear a shirt with a light jacket and not sweat at all. I dislike the shift to spring though, because it's not much longer before the summer.

3. Which season do you dislike the most? Why?
Definitely summer since I've always hated summers in Houston. The heat makes it hard to do anything outside, and the evening doesn't alleviate matters much.

Bonus Question for Comments: What's your favorite seasonal activity (This could be anything)? Why?
Celebrating Christmas? It gives me a warm feeling to think of being with family and exchanging gifts, especially with the hectic life I have this semester.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Private School Censorship

This week really isn't working out for me. Not only did NI shaft me but I've had to take cold showers for the past two days since I haven't had hot water. And you thought your life sucked. I think I did pretty well on my CC 303 test this morning though, at least. How far should a school be allowed to go to protect its students? One New Jersey private school has gone so far as to forbid its students from having personal blogs or MySpace accounts, or else face suspension. If I was at that school I'd organize a mass protest and have everyone create blogs so that the whole school could be suspended all at once. That's like if your professor went home with you for the weekend and said, "No, you're not going to party because you may not be safe." You'd probably smack him and keep chugging booze, I hope. I almost feel outraged for them (or maybe it's because the Astros lost) because this is a clear-cut violation of the 1st amendments and though some rights are waived in a school environment this is outside the classroom. What kind of country do we live in where students can't share their thoughts and ideas? I fear for the future if this continues, because while most people do write stupid b.s. in their blogs the fact that you're limiting their creative outlet is a big deal. You can't uninvent technology, so don't try to shun it.

It turns out that the NES is exactly one year older than me, and to celebrate is hosting articles all week long to honor the console that started it all. My personal favorite is the top 15 games, and I've actually played (or own) about half of them. It's a little long, but if you want to read a great lecture about the harm of using Visual Studio to program then you should definitely read this. He brings up a lot of great points and really makes Microsoft look like it doesn't know what it's doing at all (I think they're just misguided). They certainly weren't stupid enough to pass up a chance to take on Google by allying with Yahoo for their book digitizing project. Oh, how the plot thickens. Lastly, if Linux installations sounds too complicated to you then you should look into Slackware, which sounds like it makes the whole process really easy.

Click to enlarge the beauty

Why am I posting a picture with Kristin Kreuk? Because I can. This clip makes Thursday's episode sound kind of interesting. If that has whetted your appetite for horror, then check out the trailer for Hostel that even has me wanting to see it. If you're still more excited about Saw II though, there are plenty of clips out there to get you pumped for this weekend. Lastly, if you're wondering how James Bond became the stud that we know and love today then you'll be happy to know that Casino Royale plans to touch on this through an intimate relationship with a special lady. Let's hope they don't fumble around with it.

Don't deny it, you know you want the Wednesday Mind Hump:

1. Got any plans for this year's Halloween? Dressing up? Going to a spooky party? Taking the kids out trick or treating? Tell us your plans!
I'm going to be Death (I got a black mask to cover my face and a sickle and everything) and I'm just going to crash some parties. I've only been invited to one so far, but hopefully I'll indirectly get into a few others. I'll also help out at Longhorn Halloween on Sunday and Trick-or-Treat for Unicef on Monday.

2. What's the funniest or craziest costume you've ever worn for Halloween? If you can't remember what you wore, you can tell us about a costume you saw someone else wear.
My costumes have sucked until know. I just put on a black mask (kind of like a gas mask) and wielded a toy machine gun. Costumes just weren't as important to me when I was younger.

3. What's your favorite scary movie?
I don't know, I guess The Shining.

4. What's your favorite kind of candy?
Now that's tough, but I guess I'll go with Snickers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

eBay Has New Competition?

For those of you who don't believe my story yesterday about being quarantined you can read all about it here. I actually forgot to mention yesterday that we're #1 in the BCS, and though we won't be next week it's still quite exciting while it lasts. Oh, and while I'm mentioning all this stuff I should remind you all that early voting has begun. The two big amendments for me were the gay marriage ban (vote 'against') and one that grants the legislature the power to set commercial interest rates (make damn sure you vote 'against'). The main topic probably won't interest many of you but it is the biggest item today in technology. You'll soon bear witness to the unveiling of Google Base, which sounds kind of like Craig's List. They posit it as a database to store all kinds of information to be made searchable online, but it's clear that they're veering towards classified ads. Could this simplistic style truly pose a threat to the more heavy-duty eBay interface?

Speaking of Google, they also released the results of their Summer of Code effort and seems to have gone well. If you shed a tear every time you fill up gas then you may be interested in a car that's being developed that makes its own fuel using pure zinc to produce hydrogen. I don't understand all the specifics, and though it may not be feasible in the short-term it does sound like a real cool prospect. Disney is the first movie studio embracing antipiracy technology for DVD screeners given to award committees, and it would basically just ensure that only a specially encoded player could play the DVD. Do they really have money to blow on this with the box office slump and all? Lastly, if you don't know what processor best serves your need, ExtremeTech conducted a thorough battery of tests on the most prominent ones to aid you in your decision so give that a look.
It looks like AMD whoops Intel.

Click to enlarge

Much like them, I'm not too thrilled about today's movie news. As you can presume though, there are some new pictures from the upcoming Harry Potter flick to check out including some Indian people (yay, Hindustan). There are even a few new shots from Clerks 2 with a supposed "spoiler" picture that I don't quite get. If you'd rather just watch a neat fight sequence though then check out this clip from The Legend of Zorro with Catherine Zeta-Jones kicking ass and taking names. If your hopes were previously dashed for Watchmen then keep your head up because it may get made, eventually, after all. What really sounds cool though is that the Weinsteins have secured the rights to a book called Kung Fu High School and are having the writer of Better Luck Tomorrow (Ernesto Feronda) write the screenplay! It actually does sound pretty good so just think of Volcano High but much better.

I'm going to go with the Tuesday Twosome this week:

1. Who was your best friend when you were a child? Who is your best friend now?
The kids at school really didn't like me much so I didn't have one. I'll just go with my brother. It's hard to say now. I'd like to think I just have a few close friends (Josh, Robert, Jeremy) rather than a best friend.

2. What is the longest crush/relationship you have had? What is the shortest crush/relationship you have had?
I had a crush on a girl my sophomore and some of my junior year of high school. I won't reveal her name for a number of reasons, but it did cause me to lose my baby fat. The shortest one was probably a day, but I definitely won't reveal that one since we're still friends today.

3. What is your first thought when waking up in the morning? What is your first thought before you go to bed?
What I'm going to eat for breakfast in the morning, and at night it's usually counting how much sleep I'll get.

4. Do you get along with your family? Are you easy to get along with?
I'd say so. I also think that I'm pretty easy to get along with. I can't really think of anyone who doesn't like me who wasn't a total jerk to me first.
5. What is one thing scientists should invent? What is one thing you wish scientists did not invent?

Monday, October 24, 2005

So Long, DOS

I was quarantined tonight for two hours tonight because I went into the ESB for 20 minutes to write up an event report in the NSC office. That has nothing to do with anything aside from the fact that I'm kind of ticked that I lost two hours I could've spent sleeping or doing homework to a false radiation alarm. The cops were just doing their job so I don't blame them, but I'm disappointed that the college doesn't check out these detectors (smoke and radiation) more often. Anyway, the main topic is that Microsoft has made available an early beta version of its Microsoft Command Shell (MSH) for Vista and Ars Technica put up a rather lengthy look at DOS's long overdue replacement. I thought that it would just be a reinvention of Linux or an extension of MS DOS at the most, but it's actually a completely different beast and I'm wildly impressed that they put so much into it. It's clearly not as intuitive as Bash and it's almost as if you're programming to have to get around on it, but it's a marked step up from their historically weak command line interface.

Inflation has been on the rise as of late, but only for the short term because of energy and food prices being the only real components going up. It makes people ancy about their salaries, and probably makes techies concerned about the fact that IT is propagating a trend of having the lowest pay raises of most industries. IGN has an interview with J Allard in which he talks a lot about the Xbox 360 and reveals that they're actually doing a lot to incorporate other technologies, even of rivals (such as Apple). I don't know how sincere they are about that since he also downplays the advantages that the PS3 has over them. Lastly, if you've seen the "All Your Base Are Belong to Us" video online, then be sure to check out the equally awesome All Your Base Rhapsody.

There's not a whole lot of great movie news today. We have word that Sin City will soon be on the boob tube, but that's really all we know about it. I don't think it'll be handled well, and I'd prefer for them to just keep it on the big screen. The sequel to the Fantastic Four movie has already tentatively been set to the July 4th weekend of 2007, and I get the feeling that this is another train wreck waiting to happen (ala Mortal Kombat: Annihilation). Which reminds me, this comic depicts exactly what I think Doom is probably like. AICN got another review for Chan-wook Park's Sympathy for Lady Vengeance from someone who sounds like they know what they're talking about but are a little conflicted about how they feel given Oldboy. I don't think there's much doubt that it's a good movie though. Lastly, we're long overdue for a spoof movie so next year we have Date Movie to look forward to featuring Alyson Hannigan. I'll even show you a picture of her since I think her hotness is often overlooked:

Click to enlarge

You guessed it, it's time for some Monday Madness:

1. diamonds or pearls?
Diamonds, because they just look better (and they're forever).
2. paperback or hardcover books?
Paperback, just because they're cheaper and you feel less guilty to bend them.
3. carpet or hardwood floors?
Carpet, I just like the softness under my feet.
4. dogs or cats?
Dogs, because they show their love more and they're more fun.
5. fluffy or firm pillow?
Fluffy. Why would you want a firm pillow?
6. fine point or medium point pens?
Medium point, only because it's what I'm used to.
7. clocks a little fast or on time?
A little fast at home for my alarm, but I keep my wristwatch on time.
8. mahjong or spider solitaire (or other)?
What? I don't know what either of those games are (I've heard of the former, but I have no idea how to play it).
9. wall calendar or desk calendar?
Wall calendar, because I've found that desk calendars clutter your desk more (unless it's really huge).
10. 'Survivor' or 'The Amazing Race?
They both suck, so neither.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Audioslave is the Best Band in the World

"Does it make you want to quit guitar to know that you'll never be as good as Tom Morello?" - Robert

Though it is disheartening to know that I can play guitar my whole life and never be as good as him, it's much more inspiring to the craft to see an expert at work. This weekend held a lot of firsts for me: first trip actually driving to Houston, first time going to Houston in my Volvo, first trip home all semester, first time at Buzzfest, and my first time seeing Audioslave. We got to Buzzfest around 6:00 PM and we saw the Bloodhound Gang and Fall Out Boy (and caught some of Seether), but we were really there for the band going on stage at 9:35 PM. Click to enlargeI didn't take this picture to the right here, but I just wanted to give you a visual image of how thrilling it was to see them in person. That was, byfar, the best live performance I have seen in my entire life. They put together all the best elements of a concert: getting the crowd to sing, organized clapping, special versions of songs (as in different lyrics or acoustic), high energy, and as an added bonus: songs from prior bands engagements. He promised new songs, old songs, and really old songs. In that order (not the order of performance) their set list featured "Your Time Has Come" (which was first), "Out of Exile", "Be Yourself", "Doesn't Remind Me", "Cochise", "Show Me How to Live", "Like a Stone", "I Am the Highway" (acoustic solo from Cornell), "Set It Off", "Spoonman", "Black Hole Sun", unknown Soundgarden song, "Killing in the Name", and two other unknown Rage Against the Machine songs.

I've actually heard one of those other two Rage songs, but I can't remember the name of it for the life in me. I was totally blown away at how well they played "Spoonman" together as a band; it's almost as if Soundgarden was up there on stage. The coolest part was definitely when Chris Cornell played "Black Hole Sun" on his acoustic guitar (I was the first to scream when he played the first bar) and then just tapped the guitar after a while and let the entire audience sing the song. It worked damn well, too. He egged everyone to jump up and down during "Show Me How to Live", and it worked once again. What was really neat was seeing Mr. Morello jump in the air in that way that every kid out there who's ever picked up a guitar dreams of doing on a stage somewhere, someday. He seemed to be in the spotlight almost as much as Cornell, by the way, and with good reason. He's my second favorite living guitarist (sorry, I still like John Frusciante better). I guess my opinion of the show is sort of biased since they're one of my favorite bands so I knew almost every since song by heart, but the same holds true for Coldplay. So how did they trump Chris Martin's little band? I felt more energy, and I think it's a mixture of the crowd being better at Cynthia Woods and that fact that we were only sitting (or standing, rather) 28 rows from the stage. Anyway, if you ever get a chance to see them live do whatever it takes to go for it.

I'll keep the rest of this post brief to compensate for my splurging on the concert. There's been a lot of lawsuits going on against Google Print that I haven't covered because they're redundant, and Eric Schmidt has finally posted a great response to all the uproar. I totally agree with what he's saying, but I think he's facing an uphill battle since there's always a possibility of the servers getting hacked. The Google blog also pointed out that e-mail is now 34 years old, so happy birthday to you, e-mail! In an interview with a college newspaper, Bill Gates has expressed his disdain for the upcoming next-generation of DVDs but I feel that it's important to note his criticism of the Blu-ray format. It does sound like Sony is trying to be the movie industry's bitch, but could it be that they're just trying to piss off Microsoft? Lastly, if your electricity bill depresses you then you may be interested in a new type of LED bulb that could blow conventional light bulbs out of the water.

You'll either be delighted or, like me, disturbed to learn that Doom came out on top in the box office this weekend at $15.4 million. The only impressive thing other than that is that Wallace and Grommit are at #3 with $8.7 million. I think that Halloween weekend should drum up a good amount of ticket sales, particularly for Saw II. There's a totally sweet new tv spot out there for Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire that fans of the series won't want to miss featuring a new scene or two from previous video footage. If giant beasts tickle your fancy more, then you'll want to see the new video production diary entry for King Kong featuring the original Kong model. Lastly, you can take a trip don't memory lane with IGN's look at video game based movies.

Now for some Unconscious Mutterings:

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

  1. Infiltration::Espionage
  2. Nice person::Sweet
  3. Debt::Credit card
  4. Settle down::Get married
  5. Thomas::Moore (it's a name)
  6. Unforgivable::Dastardly
  7. Medicine::Red Cross
  8. A year from now::Future
  9. Neighbors::Next door
  10. Dripping::Sweat

Friday, October 21, 2005

Lessons of Napster

I'm writing this post from the sunny city of Houston, and I'm glad to be back for the weekend. It was good to see my parents and I can't wait to see my brother. Tomorrow is Buzzfest and I'm really only interested in seeing Audioslave, but it looks like my friend wants to go earlier so I'll give you the full scoop on Sunday. Don Dodge wrote an article for CNet describing the difficult transition for Napster from P2P to legitimacy, and I bring it up mainly because this could be advice for the future of television show distribution online. The most poignant point he made was to not get ahead of the market, and I think a lot of columnists are questioning whether Steve Jobs is getting ahead of the market with this video stuff on iTunes. I'm undecided, but I really don't think Napster was. His other tips, in fact, just seem to show how stubborn and old-fashioned the music industry was rather than mistakes on his part. It was ridiculous for them to feel convinced that there isn't a problem, and I applaud television networks for acknowledging (or at least seeming to understand) that they could have a dire situation in their hands very quickly if they don't act. Anyway, it's a good, short read if you want to learn more about Napster.

Turning back to Apple real quick, a class action lawsuit is being filed against them for shoddy production of the iPod Nano with regard to how easily scratched the miniature device is. I don't know whose side to take because I don't think these people would lie about this problem, but I'm not entirely convinced that Apple would be cheap enough to use less resin on the coating. I don't think Ballmer previously responded to Kai-Fu Lee's attacks that he threw a chair and said all that stuff about Google, but he now denies ever having done or said such things. I'm inclined to believe he's lieing though since he also said that we'll all be able to trust Windows Vista from day one. Lastly, an article last week claiming that software developers are to blame for insecure code has caused a backlash laying the blame on the economical vendors. I would be inclined to agree with them: coding is a long and involved process that doesn't always get the attention it deserves from the higher ups.

There's very little movie news today, which is good because my parents' computer is like a PII and is ridiculously slow. There's finally a true theatrical trailer for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and while the movie may seem a little over-the-top, the visuals are absolutely jaw-dropping. It definitely has great potential though it lives in the shadow of Lord of the Rings. Yahoo! Movies has a first trailer up for The Producers and it looks like a funny movie, but I'm afraid it will only be a B-movie. Uma Thurman needs a good movie so bad. Lastly, you need to see Jarhead because not only do I think it'll be good and even JoBlo has decided to agree. Just look how excited this guy is:

Click to enlarge

Now for Friday's Feast:

Do you button shirts top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top?

I button bottom-to-top just out of habit. I wouldn't mind going the other way. In fact, I sometimes start from both sides and work my way to the middle.

What is your favorite sandwich?

Hard to say. I don't remember the name of favorite Quizno's sub, but that's what it would be. As long as it's on a toasty cheese-based bread and has a lot of meat (preferably chicken).

What was a family project you helped work on as a child?

What does that mean? Like a home improvement? I can't really think of anything. We never had any family projects. I had enough school projects to keep me busy!

Main Course
When have you acted phony?

Only around people I don't like but with whom it's not in my best interest to keep a negative relationship (such as girls who have screwed me over but know a lot of other girls who know me). It sucks to be phony, so I try to avoid those people.

Do you write letters or postcards? If so, to whom?

If I ever send something like that over snail mail it would be a postcard. E-mail has made writing letters obsolete, and my handwriting isn't the best.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Too Much Attention for Apple

I'm finally going back to Houston tomorrow and while I'm happy to go back I am definitely concerned about how much of my work I can actually finish before then. I'll have to zoom through this post to get back to it, in fact. It'll be my first trip back home this fall and my first time driving to Houston as well. Moving on though, have you noticed that Apple has been in the limelight an awful lot lately? Actually, they've been on the tip of everyone's tongue after everything step they take. John Dvorak thinks it's more than a coincidence and I don't like him but I have to admit that he's right. It turns out that a lot of these reporters use Macs themselves, likely because it's easy to use, particularly for word processing. Have you noticed that whenever Microsoft is mentioned by the mainstream media it's always with a negative connotation or some bad move they've made? Biases suck, but there's not much you and I can do about them other than take everything we read with a grain of salt. I, myself, actually have another Apple article to plug, and this one is the Ars Technica dissection of the new iPod, which is what I've been looking forward to since they always do the absolute best job. If you want to know just how good it really is, then you should definitely take a look at that. Am I biased, too, then? No, I'm still on a Wintel machine.

Speaking of bias, I think that this article about jobs in the gaming industry is a little biased as well. It seems too optimistic, especially in suggesting salaries for programmers starting at $60,000. Maybe it's that much at EA, but most companies have enough people to choose from to start them out at $40k. If you're disappointed with all the browsers currently available then you should definitely keep your eyes peeled for Flock, which is based on Firefox but integrates a lot of next-generation Web technologies. I think my favorite part is the bookmark integration with In another set-back to Toshiba, Warner Brothers has decided to support Blu-Ray in addition to HD-DVD. This is becoming a common trend, who will turn next? Lastly, if you want a more objective view of the new dual-core G5s then head to Macworld.

Click to enlargeThankfully, there's very little movie news today. The image to your left is one of a few images we now have for the very mysterious Southland Tales. When you look at them keep in mind that Sarah Michelle Gellar is playing a porn star. There are a few new Goblet of Fire pictures up and while they're nothing special I'm sure that fans are clawing for whatever they can get. Lastly, if you're looking for a mindless action movie then look no further than the trailer for Underworld: Evolution, which looks to have some good action and horrid dialogue.

Now for the 3x Thursday meme:

Name 3 major things in your life that make you tick, and why.
School, sleep, and family. I couldn't think of an s-word that meant family, sorry. School is a means to an end: a good job. When I'm not working my ass off I typically have fun also. Sleep is important to everyone, and it's very special to me as well. And when it comes right down to it, who cares for you more than family?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

DVD Battle Heats Up

There's a lot of anticipation in my living room as the Astros are so very close to the World Series. In fact, if you're reading this and we're not in the World Series then life just sucks. Anyway, HP is being a pretty reasonable party in the conflict over the best next-gen DVD standard. They're making it known that they will pull support from the Blu-ray if the technology doesn't support mandatory managed copy (for use on home networks) and iHD (supposedly to allow interactivity in Windows Vista). What's the response? Still no comment. Doesn't that sound kind of disturbing? They're not purposely not commenting, but they're not being as decisive as they should be. I think that HP's stake makes complete sense. I don't know how important iHD is, but if that capability really takes off it could mean the end of Blu-ray. So why wouldn't they comply? Maybe they want to just stay the course, or maybe there's a cost issue, or maybe they have conflicting interests. One research group is already putting Blu-ray ahead of HD-DVD, but this mandatory managed copy thing has been an issue for at least a week. Can Sony handle the heat?

We have another relatively slow day in tech today. Apple made another announcement this week: they're unveiling a new line of PowerMac G5s featuring dual core processors for the first time and an improved series of PowerBooks. Apple makes some damned sexy laptops, and you can get a surprising amount of power for under $2000. Some people are still recuperating from the new iPod, and WSJ has conducted a screen test to prove that it's just as good as it looks minus some accessories (like a power adapter and TV cable). Sorry to saturate you with so much about it, but I keep seeing good articles. Firefox has finally reached 100 million downloads, which is a huge deal and will go down in history as the first browser to pose a serious threat to IE. And lastly, I just couldn't resist showing you this cartoon that Absath drew over at Ctrl-Alt-Del:

Oh Jack Thompson, you slay me

Saw II is surprisingly shaping up to be a good movie. AICN has a very positive review of the horror flick and Yahoo! Movies has an exclusive clip to boot. If you want to look into a promising thriller you should watch the trailer for Derailed showing Jennifer Aniston in her first serious role like ever. IGN spoke with Ralph Fiennes, who will playing Lord Voldemort in the fourth Harry Potter movie and it sounds like it'll be a real interesting take on the character. All I have left for you are pictures. There are some new shots from Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and they're actually in great resolution. JoBlo acquired some really high quality pictures from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that are worth a look for fantasy fans.

Now for the Wednesday Mind Hump:

1. What are some of the dorkiest clothes or outfits you've worn?
Those mostly belong to elementary school when my mom dressed me. They were just retro outfits because they were hand-me-downs from my brother (who's almost 8 years older so you can imagine the fashion gap).

2. Are there any current fashion styles you think are especially dorky, or just downright embarrassing?
I find the popped collar to be hilarious. Why do people think that actually looks good? And I don't mind pink on guys, but some guys wear too much of it or they wear a really girly shade of it. Ok, we get in, you're confident in your sexuality just spare my eyes please.

3. What would I have to give you or do for you to make you wear the DORKIEST outfit you can think of, in public, for an entire day?
Tuition for a year would be nice ;)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Unhappy Birthday

This first paragraph is going to get more personal that I have for a while, and for that I apologize and advise strangers to skip this paragraph. I just would feel weird to bottle up what's in my head on my own blog. Do you remember when you were little and your birthday was the best day ever?My 1st Birthday Cake All the kids would fight to sit next to you and your name was on the announcements at school and stuff. Today couldn't have scarcely been less like that. I wasn't even looking forward to it. I woke up to a loud pounding noise because my apartment complex decided to replank the sides of our building without giving us notice, and my room mate clogged our sink with water and rice (don't worry about how). I had an interview with NI that I think went well, but after class and the gym I just did homework for the rest of the day really. This day only serves to remind me of how far I still am from 21 and how little I've actually accomplished in 19 years. Not only have I managed to deter all women from me (in a non-friendship capacity, I mean) in those 19 years but I've isolated myself from my friends to the point that I've had to spend my birthday alone. I try to not be sad, but wouldn't that take the gleam from your eyes? To make matters worse, the calls I got from my family only make me miss them more. Maybe I should overhaul my life? For the first time in a long while, I'm just totally lost. Where did I go wrong? I definitely appreciate all the warm wishes I received through Facebook and AIM though, so don't feel like they fell on dead ears (or eyes rather). At least I'm going to Buzzfest on Saturday, and I just found out that I actually aced my CS 310 test.

I bet you feel pretty safe when you print things out on your printer, but what you don't know is that color printers are usually equipped with technology to encode information about the printer you used for the government to monitor. The EFF cracked the code and I'm glad that they're around to do so. Nintendo has struck a deal with McDonalds for them to offer free WiFi to DS users, which is just quite surprising but also pretty refreshing now that they have someone to compete with. Apple may be getting a little greedy with iPod revenues as they are now charging a tax to accessories that electrically connect to the device, and it's understandable since it is based off their invention but it can't be good for publicity. Lastly, I can't believe it but Jack Thompson has called the cops on Penny Arcade, most likely for donating $10,000 in his name to charity for people making his game idea but more ostensibly for "harassment". They seem to have a good laugh out of it.

There's really only a couple of items I want to mention in movies. The trailer for X3 (and I'm assuming they mean teaser) will be tacked onto King Kong when it's released on December 14 and so we all have that to either look forward to or dread horribly. You'd better not totally screw it up Ratner. The other thing is that Martin Campbell did an interview with Latino Review that, in my opinion, serves as kind of a window as to why fans aren't thrilled that he's directing Casino Royale.

Now for the Ten on Tuesday meme:

10 Favorite People from History
10. Winston Churchill
9. Elvis Presley
8. Abraham Lincoln
7. Buddha
6. MLK, Jr. (you never hear about Sr. though)
5. Donald Knuth (when you make a book called The Art of Computer Programming, you're pretty damn cool)
4. Virgil (I just really like the Aeneid)
3. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (maybe I have too much respect for him, but oh well)
2. Gandhi (he put totally brown skins on the map)
1. Jesus (no-brainer)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Jack Thompson the Retard

So I felt that today went pretty bad because I failed my Unit 13 test for EE so I now have to do that freaking study guide, but then I found out that my brother proposed to his long-time girlfriend and now everything is alright. I'm thrilled for them and it's so funny that I'll soon have a sister-of-law. Enough about that though, I have some Jack Thompson news today to amuse you.Click to enlarge So this nutjob is one of video games' most vehement detractors and he made a "modest proposal" that he'd donate $10,000 to charity if someone made a video game he described where a dude's kid is beaten to death by a teenage gamer so he takes revenge on the video game company (dubbed "Take This", I wonder what that could allude to). When a number of gamers actually created the game text-based (this image to the right isn't exactly the game he describes, but it's another satire from CAD) he rescinded his offer like a douche, so Penny Arcade put up the money for him. In a related turn of events one of the more prominent pro-family groups has actually distanced themselves from the lawyer. The point is that if you go against a community as strong as the video game community, you're not going to win. You're going to be ostracized like he is, so don't try it.

There's actually not a whole lot of other worthwhile stuff going on for techies. IMDB is celebrating its 15th anniversary, which is more years than the Internet has been mainstream so you know that they're hardcore. They're not always accurate, but they are rather comprehensive and no one has a better database. Those of you using the Taylor lab computers (or if you're just a Linux fan) may be interested in the new version of vim, which I'm going to install myself the next time I'm in the lab. In case you don't know, vim is the de facto text editor as far as I'm concerned for command line editing, but this is only a bugfix release. Lastly, the wave of editorials regarding Apple continues with WSJ's point that affiliates are none too happy with their reduced revenue from this new market. Things could get messy.

There's actually a healthy amount of movie news so I'm going to go through it fast and furious starting with some videos. My gift certificate should be coming in within the next couple of days, and you can check out some of the extras I'll be enjoying from the Batman Begins DVD set at Yahoo Movies. The X3 site put up the worst teaser possible and it lasts for all of 10 seconds so don't blink or you might miss it. If you want to see a couple of neat-looking (albeit air-brushed) Thai posters for Goblet of Fire then click here. Spike Lee clearly has no sense of waiting on sensitive issues as he's decided to make a documentary highlighting the race card with regard to Hurricane Katrina. This would be a good movie if it was started maybe five years from now, but being made so close to the event will lead to a close-minded movie and a lack of insight as to the ultimate results. For example, I think that Jarhead was made long enough after the Gulf War to elicit good reviews such as this one and truly explore its effect on the human psyche. Lastly, there are some rather strong rumors that Michelle Yeoh will be in Indiana Jones 4 so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for an official confirmation.

Now for some Monday Madness:

Which one?
1. Lemonade or Iced Tea?

Lemonade, because it's so much more refreshing.
2. DVD or VHS?
DVD, because Tivo already had the funeral for tapes.
3. Gold or Silver?
Silver, it just looks better on me (and it's helpful against vampires).
4. Baseball or Tennis?
Tennis; I just like racquets.
5. Spring or Autumn?
I'd have to say Autumn because you can expect a nice winter to come (or at least in Austin you can).
6. Diet or Regular?
Regular, because I'm not concerted enough about going over on calories.
7. Hearts or Stars?
Stars: they're just less girly.
8. Snail Mail or Email?
I don't even know how much it costs to send a letter via snail mail, so I'll say e-mail.
9. Shop: Online or In-Store?
It depends on the product since online is cheaper, but in-store you can test it out.
10. Credit Card or Check?
Credit card, because writing a check is a pain in the ass and I have no concept of spending more than I can afford to so I wouldn't be worried about debt.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Ease of Distraction

This weekend was pretty uneventful except for a couple of crazy football games (I can't believe USC beat Notre Dame), hence the lackluster topic I'm going to start off exploring. Before I start though I thought I'd mention that with regard to the poll in my lst post I think I'm going to go with Batman Begins DVD because I think I'd be more happy with that than either of the other two despite how great Memento is as well. Thanks to all 5 of you who voted. The NY Times has a pretty extensive article studying the short attention spans of people at their office and makes a number of interesting discoveries. Did you ever think that the size of your screen affects how efficient you are or how cluttered your computer is correlates to how much you lack calmness? People just love multi-tasking so much that they don't realize that too much of it can have a negative effect on your productivity. This is probably why so many college students have to stay up so late to get real work done. Page four of the article offers some worthwhile tips if you have a real problem with getting distracted and the last couple of pages explore whether Microsoft will put out an OS that tries to alleviate some of these issues. It's a worthwhile read if you're curious about the science of getting sidetracked.

Speaking of Windows though, there's now some pressure from the nerd community for competing RISC OS to be made open-source. I'm sure that many of you haven't heard of RISC, which is because it hasn't advanced much in recent years and is leading to this outcry for a community-based approach. It's a good OS being mislead, in my opinion. If you're pissed off that you have to download like four different IM clients to talk to all your friends online then have no fear because the Tech Zone feels your pain and would like to make progress towards more openness in the protocols. You should definitely follow the advice they give. Lastly, I like to entertain opposing opinions from time-to-time so I thought I'd plug this editorial claiming that the iPod Video really isn't going to be making huge waves. Though he does make some great points I feel that the television industry will get caught in the same bind as the music industry was just a few years ago if they don't hop on board.

I don't know how, but the critically-hated movie The Fog managed to get the top spot in the box office at a little over $12 million. Anyone else think that the movie industry is screwed? Domino freakin' opened at less than $5 million, which sucks because that movie actually looked good. Clint Eastwood has put some good movies out there and now he's actually going to release two movies at once from both perspectives of the Battle at Iwo Jima (American and Japanese, of course). It's an interested idea, but I think in series would be better than in parallel. The only other thing worth mentioning is that the site for Clerks 2 put up some really random videos for your viewing pleasure featuring such excitement as this:

Click to enlarge

Now for some Unconscious Mutterings:

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

  1. On the verge::Brink
  2. Tempestuous::Tempest
  3. Coherent::Incoherent
  4. Near death::Epiphany
  5. Illiterate::Book
  6. Why not?::Why?
  7. Period::Exclamation mark
  8. Long lost::Love
  9. Torrid::Passion
  10. Nail::Bed

Friday, October 14, 2005

Is Television Saved?

I feel kind of weird to center my main topic around a post on another blog, but Mark Cuban is famous for a reason. He put up a very insightful article about how Bob Iger may very well have saved television with the move that was announced just a couple of days ago. The announcement has no doubt caused much watercooler discussion, and I think dorks everywhere are sort of polarized (more on the iPod than the extension to iTunes). I happen to agree with Mark Cuban though and think that having shows available online will have the same positive effect of television that DVDs did but possibly even more so because it's even more convenient to catch up on a show. I think they should try offering whole seasons for $20 or less and they'll really see great things with shows like 24 that have lost some viewership. I think it could even be a platform to test out new shows kind of like how Apple sometimes offers a free mp3 from a relatively unknown artist. They could see how people would take to Firefly in light of the movie, for example. One of the dominant concerns regards the issue of ad revenue, and I think they should either try offering them online for free with ads (this may be most feasible with a stream) or maybe offering them for a dollar for a couple of short ads. It may be a little too optimistic to think that online sales would make up for the possible drop in ad revenues, but it's still way too early to tell.

In that same vein, BBC is running an article on why the iPod Video has generated so much excitement when the technology has been around for a while and past attempts have failed. In a nutshell, it's really because they're offering content on iTunes, which is already very credible and has huge potential to attract more companies to hop on board. Siemens has developed paper-thin television screens to be used in magazines and newspapers and such to maybe display ads or just more details on something. I like that we're finally getting into the Harry Potter stuff. It was Microsoft's birthday today and in another year it'll be able to drink while I still have to freeload the good stuff at parties. Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that CNet has an interesting look at the company's life from CP/M to XP and Vista. It's rather lengthy, but you can skim through and focus on the good stuff.

Click to enlarge Bond
That's right, we have a Bond, baby! His name is Daniel Craig and he was a front-runner for a quite a while so it comes no surprise to movie geeks like me. Now they can actually get started on the movie. So that's the first picture from that movie, and here's the first picture from Clerks 2 showcasing the only Mooby's in Dogma. Now I'm really intrigued as to what angle he'll decide to take. We have word from across the world that Tom Yum Goong is pretty damn awesome and now my hunger for a good action movie has increased. God only knows how long X3 will take, which has just now continued production in Vancouver. Details are still scarce on the plot, but maybe they're playing the same misdirection card on the Phoenix storyline that Steve Jobs played on the iPod Video. I'd like to direct those who mocked the CG in the King Kong trailer to a new mugshot of the beast that looks a lot more realistic and refined. Lastly, here are some pictures of Jessica Alba just because it's Jessica Alba.

Before I conclude I'd like to try out a poll for the first time. I've received a $30 gift certificate for because I took some surveys at EPoll and now I'm not sure which DVD I should buy that I want. I'm strongly leaning towards Batman Begins Deluxe Edition because the shipping is free and it's only $22 (plus it's the best movie I've seen this year), but shipping is also free on the Spider-man 2-pack (4 discs in all) which is $25. And Memento is a DVD I've had on my list for a long time. Just wanted to get some outside opinions.

Now for the Friday Fiver:

1. What's your favorite animated characters?
I'd probably have to go with Mickey Mouse. My favorite cartoons growing up always were Mickey Mouse-related, but I also loved the Animaniacs and Bugs Bunny.

2. Violence in cartoons - funny or harmful?
I think it's funny. How many 8 year-olds really have thoughts of seriously hurting people?

3. Can you do any impressions?
Not really, sorry.

4. Would you consider yourself artistic?
Yeah, I think I did decent in Art class in high school. Plus, I have this classical guitar thing going on.

5. What's your favorite type of cheese?
I don't know enough cheeses to make the best choice, but I'd have to go with Feta.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Burger Lecture

I'm going to give today's topic to personal reflections since there's nothing all that noteworthy in the wake of the big Apple announcement. First of all, I'm totally thrilled that Misra, one of the most referenced people in CS, will be handling CS 336 in the Spring and Keckler is doing a section of CS 352 that I will do everything my power to get into. Anyway, Professor Doug Burger (of the famed TRIPS project) gave a great lecture tonight that he gives every year all about graduate school and I'm glad I went because I learned a ton from it realizing how little I actually knew before. For example, I had no idea that you don't actually pay for grad school. Instead, you can either get an NSF fellowship, a department fellowship, a research assistantship, or a teaching assistantship, which would cover your tuition as well as room and board. That knocks off my monetary concerns with regard to further higher education, so why not go straight into grad school after I get my Bachelor's? I think I'm just really itching for the industry and I've spent so long budgeting my expenses that it'd be nice to make a good amount of money for a while. That means I'll definitely have to set my sights for a job near a good graduate school and for a company that would be willing to pay for my fellowship, which would make me more likely to get accepted since the school wouldn't have to pay for me. It sounds like getting my Master's degree would be cost-effective, and I think I've decided that it has to be my M.S. because I'm so much more interested in learning more about C.S. that than in Business. Plans can change, of course, and I guess I'm just waiting to see how my job opportunities unfold. Taking the GRE is going to be the biggest pain in the ass it seems.

We haven't heard much regarding Vista for a while and now we have some leaked pictures from the upcoming OS once again showing nothing special. Maybe Bill Gates should spend more time on that than on touring the nation's colleges. It sounds like from UT CS seniors who are currently looking for jobs that there isn't the deluge of jobs that people like Gates would have you believe. Meanwhile, Google quietly hired the lead programmer on the Gaim project, likely to make Google Talk not suck and maybe quite possibly to throw more support behind Gaim. If you thought that this summer was hotter than it usually is, then you'd be right because it's the hottest year on record. I hope this trend doesn't continue, though I'm sure it will anyway. Lastly, there's a pretty in-depth article on video game aesthetics over here for those of you interested in past and current trends or if you want to throw something in the faces of friends who laud gameplay over all.

I'm going to start off here with rumor of a couple of sequels. The first is for Big Momma's House, which I have to admit was a funny movie although I'm not sure how a sequel would work exactly. The other one is also a comedy and is for the now classic Austin Powers series, though that one is much less certain at this point. If you want even more hearsay then there's rumblings that Michael Keaton is vying for the role of The Joker in the next Batman movie, but that does sound a little far-fetched. I think that Silent Hill may be the first really good movie for video game fans, and my faith is renewed based on some words spoken by writer Roger Avary who is an actual fan of the gripping survival-horror series. I also have high hopes for Jarhead, which is coming much sooner than Silent Hill and is an almost light-hearted study of a soldier during the Gulf War, but it seems to have some heavy themes. If you really want something to look forward to though the reviews are positive so far for Memoirs of a Geisha and it's not too far away. Lastly, here's a picture of Cameron Diaz just because she's hot:

Now for the 3x Thursday meme:

1. Can you handle confrontation? Do you get in there and get your hands dirty and stand up for whatever it is that you're arguing about, or do you back away? Why?
It really depends on the context of the situation. I'm more likely to confront someone who I know rather than just a total stranger.

2. If you have to confront someone about something, how do you go about doing it? Is it usually successful?
I usually start out nice but get rougher if they bite back.

3. What do you do when a confrontation goes sour? How do you handle the aftermath?
I walk away and let our heads cool off for a while.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Apple in a Blaze of Glory

Click to enlarge the black flavor of the iPod VideoIf I had a webcam, you'd see utter shock on my face right now. The big announcement that Apple was planning for today was, in fact, the new iPod Video (which comes in white or black). I even asked the Apple campus recruiter last night about it, and she (and her boss) had no idea what it would be. They come in 30 GB and 60 GB models ($300 and $400, respectively) to replace the old generation of iPod Photos with longer battery life (supposedly). I started watching the special event and it made me realize just how much I want to work for Apple. They started out with a totally sweet new iMac that makes me want to trash my Wintel machine and it includes not only iSight but also a remote control and the standard suite of top-notch software. What you want to know more about though is this new iPod though, and there's a very informational Q&A here explaining all the basics about how the video stuff will work. They're planning on offering television episodes the day after airing for $2 apiece to be viewed on your computer and your iPod, and yes it can be connected to your television. Obviously, that means they're also revamping iTunes (there's a few other changes, but they're not as huge). That'll be the first thing I get if I nab the internship at Apple. This is really a pretty impressive risk that they've taken and though they've only worked with Disney so far I'm sure that other key players will follow suit soon enough. I just can't get over how great this business move is; they've totally put their competitors in checkmate.

Dish network is actually unknowingly competing with this new iPod with a larger portable video device they're calling pocketDish. Guess who got more buzz? Microsoft and Yahoo are teaming up their IM service protocols to allow Yahoo users to IM MSN Messenger users and vice versa, which I think is very smart move. Comcast is pushing for a rather intriguing feature where for $17 you can watch a movie on tv on-demand and then have the DVD mailed to you. Doesn't it seem like the theme today is innovation? Sorry to burst the bubble, but the broadcast flag is still a problem and you really need to contact your representative to stop doing stupid crap like this.

Christopher Nolan has revealed that talks have indeed begun for a sequel to Batman Begins and he will be helming it, but we'll have to wait a while since he's already working on The Prestige. Good things come to those who wait after all. There's some murmurs that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire will be the longest movie in the series yet at over 2 and a half hours. IGN spoke with Kiera Knightly and Tony Scott a bit about Domino, and it sounds like they're proud of their work. Lastly, AICN has an early review of Doom, and though it's positive I think it's just a fanboy's inflated opinions.

Now for some Wednesday Mind Humping:

01. Can you remember where you were in life ten years ago? If you could travel back in time and whisper something to yourself ten years ago, what would it be?
I was just about to turn 9 so probably not a whole lot. However, things were much simpler and I definitely got more sleep than I do now.

02. You inherit a large piece of land and decide to build a theme park a la "Disneyland, Sea World, etc.) What would you name your theme park and what would your mascot be?
I would built Computerland where all the rides would be computer related and the mascot would be a giant monitor. This is why I'm a CS major and not a theme park designer.

04. What would someone absolutely HAVE to know about you if they were considering sharing a room with you?
They have to be clean. I'm a surprisingly tidy guy and I can't stand things like dirty dishes in the sink.

05. According to the song White Rabbit, "one pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small". If you were offered these pills today, which pill would you take and why?
I guess larger since I'm pretty short. Maybe I'd get a little more respect if I was larger, who knows.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Where's the Post?

I'm sorry, I really do want to blog today. However, time is against me and I'd like to get to bed within the next 90 minutes since I have a 10:00 AM class and I'm not getting enough sleep anymore. Let me briefly explain how crazy my day has been. I took an EE test, went to CS 336, worked out, and before I could go home I had to do a bunch NSC stuff during which I found out that I will be the sole person running the Apple Company Night tonight for the ACM. Then, I had to head home, bathe, and scarf down lunch so I could make it back to campus by 4:00 PM to get the DVDs of my home movie from my friend. Next, I had to attempt to do some homework (too many distractions) before I had to prepare for the CS 307 review I was running at 6:00 PM, which went really well and made me feel smart (though I'm really not). I then had very little time before I had to get things started for Apple (during which I almost lost the room's console key) and I had to stay until the end (which was about 10:21 PM). And I caught the 11:00 PM bus coming home so I can finally start my homework! Is that crazy or what? I will, however, leave you with a totally awesome Ctrl-Alt-Del comic strip:

Click to enlarge

Monday, October 10, 2005

Software Liability and Ofun

I had two quizzes and two tests today (in addition to a meeting) and I feel pretty exhausted. And after this post I have to get through Unit 11 for EE so I can do that unit test tomorrow. Maybe things will slow down tomorrow? With Apple coming and a CS 307 review that I'm running, fat chance! What I really want to start off talking about though is this editorial from the BBC responding to attacks on a previous article of theirs regarding accountability for software. Companies should definitely be held to some assurance that their products are useable without inflicting damage, but the real issue is to what extent? I think he takes it a little too far by suggesting completely error-free code because on large-scale products it's far from likely and probably not cheap enough to make it worthwhile, but I think it's important to find a happy medium. What is -ofun though? It's all about having fun while optimizing a project in software development, and those of you who work in Linux are probably more likely to get the joke inherent in the name. He makes some interesting points, but they seem like radically liberal ideas in today's more structured world. I don't even think companies like Google embrace all those ideas! Still, it would be nice in a Utopian society.

If I had to choose another main topic for today it would definitely be the fleeting concept of a personal computer. The article I've cited makes a wholly valid point that the decreasing cost and size of portable memory is making it easier to take your most important personal files/programs with you wherever you go, and I really hope that idea spreads more to public schools (for eBooks). I don't mean to keep harping on how greedy the music industry is becoming, but I just have to mention how nuts it is that they want a portion of the revenues from ads displayed in search engines when an artist or song is queried. I understand wanting revenue from music videos, but only because that's content they own; this is pushing it. Meanwhile, Yahoo is jumping on the podcast wagon with a service of their own to download and review them and I'm quite impressed so check it out. Lastly, before you decide to buy a personal photo printer read this article.

Click to enlarge the poster

International posters seem to always look a lot better than our posters, and that's the UK poster for none other than Peter Jackson's King Kong. They even put up another video journal entry detailing more about the animation process. A while ago there was some talk from Tom Arnold of a sequel to True Lies in the near future and hottie Eliza Dushku seems to corroborate this story! If this actually happens it would make me so excited because the original was one of the first action movies I truly fell in love with. Speaking of hotties, Smallville's Kristin Kreuk may soon be slated to star in a movie called Get Smart with Steve Carell and you can be sure that I'll let you know if that happens. Lastly, if you need any more reason to see Feast when it comes out then read this. It may not be a Donnie Darko, but it sounds like an impressive first movie.

Now for some Monday Madness:

1. Name one productive thing you accomplished this past weekend.
I can name a ton, but for one I cleaned the tub and my sinks. I've never seen either sink so white before!

2. Name two things that you look forward to doing.
I look forward to sitting (or standing, more likely) in my sweet seats in the horseshoe for the Colorado game on Saturday. I'm also looking forward to taking a look at the DVDs that Dzung was kind enough to burn for me of my home videos (under two hours of footage that's all I have of my childhood on video).

3. Name three things that gross you out.
Moldy bread (mainly because I've looked at it under a microscope in high school Biology and it's scarred me for life), naked old people (hey, don't glare at me), and severely overweight people who don't try to improve their situation but rather gorge themselves with food.

4. Name four things that you normally do on a daily basis.
Brush my teeth, bathe, blog, and eat at least three meals. The last thing is the most important.

5. Name five things that you own that you think you could get rid of and not miss.
My CS 315 textbook (worst use of money ever), my Titanic soundtrack (I bought it a very long time ago), a Bank of America waterbottle I've never used, Muruku (it's an Indian snack I found in my pantry), and that's about it. I try to live minimally here.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Glad and Guilty

I want to start out with a bit of advice: never ever leave your place without your keys and/or cell phone. I went 50 feet away to do my laundry, and when I loaded the washer and came back my apartment was locked! Thankfully, my next door neighbor was a super nice guy and let me use his phone to call my mom to call my room mate to come home. That time loss will cause me to go as fast as possible through this post. I went out to dinner with my former room mate last night (Macaroni Grill is surprisingly affordable) and his girlfriend and it made my heart glad (as they say in Greek myths) to see him doing better than he was doing before. Click to enlarge the Reality CheckHe actually told me that he likes to spend as little time as possible at home, which is a 360 degree shift from last year. Plus, he's going to all his classes. I'm proud of him and I hope to hang out with him again soon. Aside from that and the game though (hence the sweet shirt to the right here that I wish I had), I felt pretty homesick this weekend since I was at my place alone and I could've conceivably gone back with Avinash. What made me feel guilty was that my parents' house was attacked late Friday night (some dickless freak through a brick at the window and broke through 2 layers of plexiglass) and I wasn't there to help them through it. My mom is shook up since this has happened a few times before already (with rocks though), and I could've been there. I made the choice to stay because of how much work I have this weekend (stupid CS 310 test) and I'm going home in two weeks anyway. Oh well, I have to press on with my week.

As I had predicted the announcement this week from Apple will not be an iPod Video but rather an upgrade of the current iPod to 80 GB among a few other little things. The confusion apparently arose from the fact that an iPod Video is in development, but there are no plans to release it so early. Another rumor squash I have for you today is that Google has no current plans to go up against MS Office and the deal with Sun was just what it sounded like: a plot to distribute more Google Toolbars. It wasn't such a cryptic alliance after all! Click to enlarge the Nokia Aki conceptThis is kind of minor, but I find it exciting that Toshiba is strongly leaning towards not including region codes in the HD-DVD format, which were totally pointless before in my opinion. Lastly, PhoneMag has a number of articles on Nokia concept technology including a wristband phone and a waterproof one as well! If you're as dorky as me then prepare to drool (seriously).

There's very little movie news (as usual for a weekend) so I may be able to finish this up and continue studying in the next 5 minutes! The winner of the box office battle this week was somewhat surprisingly Wallace & Grommit at a little over $16 million. I'm pretty surprised that it actually beat out Two for the Money (which brought in a measly $8.4 million), and I was shocked that Serenity dropped so far down (its total gross is now $17.6 million). This slump is getting pretty crazy, and I wonder how worried studios are right now. If you like musicals and/or you like Uma Thurman then you may be interested in the one-sheet for The Producers. Lastly, if you're into foreign films then you may want to keep your eye on Year One in the North, which also features Ken Watanabe.

Before I go I have to mention how pleased I am that SOCOM 3 looks like it turned out pretty well. IGN, who really didn't care for the first two, actually gave this one a 9.0. It has vehicles and 32-player multiplayer and everything! If only I had the time to play it.

Now for some Unconscious Mutterings:

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

  1. Quirk::Oddity
  2. Crystal::Clear
  3. Pet Peeve::Nails on a chalkboard
  4. Cuban::Cigar
  5. Breasts::Women
  6. Whispers::Chinese (this is what my cousins from India call that childhood game Telephone)
  7. Complicated::Avril Lavigne
  8. Promise me::Secret
  9. Murder::Homicide
  10. Filament::Mushrooms