Monday, February 28, 2005

The End of Sweeps

I took down my first Linear Algebra test today in Belmont Hall of all places, and I think I did fairly well. It was only 15 true/false and 5 free response, and yet I barely finished the test in time. I wish I had more time to check answers, but I'm glad that he focuses so much on the concepts because I think this stuff is great. No single news item today was particularly large so I just chose to talk about this article discussing the new Neilsen local rating system. The new system, called the people meter, would mean that executives can learn the following day how well a program did. This has already gone into effect in five major cities, but for now the rest of us are on the old system of sweeps, which determines advertising rates, four times a year during which you'll see star-studded episodes of regular shows or extraneous segments for local news shows. I always thought the system was a bit archaic, but I think I'll miss those big budget episodes of shows like 24 and Smallville when the system comes to Texas.

I have a plethora of small, random techie tidbits to get through. Mozilla 1.8 Beta 1 has been released with some strange fixes. Of course the real star is Firefox though anyway, which has knocked IE off of its 90%+ market share for the first time ever. So far Firefox only has 5.7% share, but they're aiming for 10% and given the bugginess of IE I think it may be possible unless IE 7 is really awesome. Fellow haters of PC Magazine's John Dvorak will take pleasure in this article picking apart his posit that Microsoft can take destroy Linux. AOL has decided to open up AIM to third-party developers. They really are behind on this bandwagon since ICQ has allowed extras for a long time, but it's better late than never. Fans of Macs should take a moment of silence to honor Jeff Raskin, who created the first Mac and died a couple of days ago. Music fans should bemoan the imminent rise in mp3 prices that's on the horizon. Apparantly, some of the big labels are upset about Apple's increasing price share and want to increase their wholesale price from 65 cents, which would be a stupid decision and likely cost sales. And finally, users of loud, musical cell phone ringtones may want to take a look at this explanation of the history of ring tones and appreciate what it took for them to hear that fresh beat on their phone.

Not a whole of movie news today, but I might as well start out with the box office report. The weekend was dominated by a chick flick called Diary of a Mad Black Woman with $22.7 million despite being so low-key and having so many bad reviews. It was followed by heavyweights Hitch and Constantine, which should really be making more money than it is. I had to work on my CS project last night so I only got glimpses of the show, but it sounded like there were some worthy winners (especially The Incredibles and Jamie Foxx). I wasn't too thrilled with Chris Rock from what I saw, but there were other gripes in the community. At least there were some good looking people though:

Nice curves!  She's constantly sexy

The Razzies were a bit disappointing though. Anyway, I'm more disappointed with the trailer for Fever Pitch because I know that Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore can both do better than this. Any trailer that gives away most of the plot can only mean bad things. Those of you waiting for The Legend of Zorro (and who isn't waiting to see more Selma Hayek) can bask in a few pictures until they hire some better publicity people. Zach Braff, of Garden State fame, may soon be cast in Kevin Smith's upcoming movie, Fletch Won. I actually like Smith's films so hopefully it'll turn out well, but it's still a while away anyway. Meanwhile, George Lucas couldn't be working on a stranger film next. His next movie, Redtails, follows a group of black pilots during World War II. I don't even want to know why, as long as it isn't Star Wars again. There's some subpar superhero news today, and the only thing of interest I found was that the guy who plays Jason Teague on Smallville may be the lead in the upcoming Flash flick.

Just a couple more things. There's a noteworthy bill going through Congress right now that would make sure that every vote is counted in future elections and that everyone can vote, including a federal holiday for election day. I think the bill is an interesting idea and that it deserves a shot. Those of you who have been with the internet since the beginning probably don't realize that it has been a decade since the Internet boom that gave birth to today's larger companies. I think it's interesting how well the market has evolved in providing great competitive services. I think a prime example is how the advent of Google Maps forced new features onto Mapquest (like road signs and hotels and such).

And now for some Monday Madness:

1. What time is it right now?
9:20 P.M.
2. What are you usually doing at this time on any given day?
Eating dinner! so tasty right now.
3. Is there a day of the week that time seems to fly by faster than the other days?
It seems like Wednesdays go by rather fast because before I know it I'm almost upon the weekend.
4. If you could make ONE hour of each day twice as long, which hour of the day would you choose?
12AM-1AM so I could have more time to play Half-Life 2 after finishing my homework.
5. If you could make one DAY of the week twice as long, which day would you choose?
I suppose Saturday because then I could have more fun and get more homework done early.
6. If you could make one hour and/or one day HALF as long, which time of the day, and which day of the week would you choose?
Tuesdays really seem to drag along for me, so I'd have to say that day.
7. Do you agree with the following statement? "The older you get, the faster time goes by."
It seems true to be so far just because my life was so much more boring when I was younger and time goes by faster now that I do so much stuff that I like to do in college (even work wise).
8. What do you usually do during your "down time?"
Play guitar and computer games mostly. I do watch downloaded tv shows while I eat though.
9. What one thing do you spend more time doing each day than anything else?
I suppose blogging since there's no particular subject that I do a lot of consistently.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Finished The Da Vinci Code

Look closely

It took me a couple of months, but I finally finished The Da Vinci Code and I've got to say that it was an amazing journey. I was a bit hesitant to read this book because it seemed so cliche that everyone was reading it, but I'm glad that I got it for Christmas because it is definitely one of the best books I've ever read. Why? Because as great as classic books are I'm always hungry for a writing style that pulls you in and never lets you go. That's part of what I like about Stephen King. Dan Brown writes the book like the story never stops and his relatively short chapters makes it easy to swallow the book piecemeal. The premise of the book is that the curator of the Louvre museum in Paris has been murdered but he left some strange clues, which end up being taken up as a puzzle by American symbologist Robert Langdon and DCPJ Agent Sophie Neveu. There's much more to it than that but I don't want to give it away. The amount of research Brown did for this book was incredible and the way he constructs the whole puzzle is masterful. I applaud that he's done such a great job of getting people exciting about reading and also about thinking. This is what Harry Potter for adults is like I think. My old Latin professor, Doug, doesn't want to read the book because of the principles on which it was written since it was written like a screenplay. But whatever it is, it's great fun so pick up the illustrated edition ASAP.

I think I have a few worthwhile techie articles to convey. If you're an iPod owner, have you ever wondered if the shuffle feature was rigged to favor certain artists? Is there a huge conspiracy? It turns out that the feature really is random and despite some buzz about it, it's totally impartial. A VP at Microsoft recently spoke at an IT conference to encourage young girls to get into IT. The enrollment of the fairer sex in MIS and CS even at UT is rather slim and it's nice to encourage them but it almost sounds like some groups try to give them some sort of favored status. That comment isn't specific to that article. I mean I do want more women to join CS because it would certainly make my life more interesting, but I think after they get an initial hand that they should handle it like the rest of us. Bill Gates is actually aiming a little higher by criticizing high schools for not teaching students what they need to know today. I'm surprised the college dropout has an opinion! However, I do think it is important for high schools to reinforce study skills necessary for college so I hope that politics don't get in the way of children's well being. Oh and those of you who know what a Marsenne prime is might want to know that the 42nd one has been found. I wonder how long it will be until the next?

I have some juicy movie news today. Casino Royale director Martin Campbell has all but confirmed that the next Bond will be Julian McMahon (think Nip/Tuck). He seems to have advanced to the front line, but he's no Brosnan! The sexy Scarlett Johnassen has been cast in an upcoming romantic comedy called Forget About It that almost sounds similar to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It's about a woman who fakes amnesia to avoid her responsibilities, and it sounds like a step down from her normal calibur of movies. David H. Steinberg, creator of Puss N' Boots in Shrek 2, has been bankrolled by MGM to write a spinoff movie featuring the loveable cat and though it doesn't sound so good to me it could theoretically turn out well. I also have some pretty videos to dazzle you guys. A new internet-only trailer for Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has now been put online and fans have to check it out. It's narrated by the Guide in a humorous light and starts out like the other trailers but then starts showing new scenes that look kinda cool. Yahoo! put up some exclusive clips from The Jacket and I really hope that it helps out Keira Knightley's career because I think she's an underestimated actress. FilmForce put up an exclusive clip of their own, but thei's is for Be Cool. The clip unfortunately doesn't make me all that excited for the movie but I really did want the movie to turn out well so let's just wait and see. Now that the Independent Spirit awards are done with, don't forget to watch the Oscars tonight at 7PM on ABC.

You're finally nearing the end of the post. I wanted to plug this article about the crushing impact of OPEC on its smaller members because it's one of those global economic issues that a lot of people never think about. If you've ever dreamed of HD movie theaters then buy your ticket to the UK and prepare to be amazed by their upcoming network of 250 screens where they'll play movies off of portable, secure hard drives. I wonder if it'll come to America if it does well? And this post wouldn't be complete if I didn't mention my excitement over the release of Devil May Cry 3. IGN gave is a very high score and a 10 for gameplay. For those of you who don't know, IGN is very strict on rating PS2 games so this is a huge deal and the game sounds awesome. Supposedly everything you asked for in the first game was answered: more variety in fighting style, smarter enemies, even cooler combos, harder levels, and funner bosses is just the start of that list. I cannot express in words how much I want this game. I'm going to just let the picture I want to exhibit speak for itself:

Wish I could do that

I hope everyone is ready for some Unconscious Mutterings:

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. You’ve got a friend:: That overplayed song from Toy Story
  2. Immigration:: Bosnian refugees (no idea why)
  3. Waitress:: Cute girl in a short skirt I suppose
  4. Snickers:: Hungry? Why Wait?
  5. Recognize:: Cognosco, cognoscere, cognovi, cognitus, -a, -um (Latin)
  6. Concept:: Sweet looking cars that aren't made yet
  7. Birthday:: Free drinks on 6th street when I turn 21 =D
  8. Told you so:: Annoying
  9. Unlikely:: A cure for cluttering
  10. Extension:: Those exercises at the gym that really hurt (leg and back)

Oh and sorry that I didn't post yesterday, but I didn't have much time to. I will be posting tomorrow though of course around 7 or 8PM.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Searching the Depth First Way

Today in CS class we had one of those 'wow' moments. Those of you apathetic towards programming can skip this paragraph. So when searching a graph, depth first is where you go to the farthest depth you can and then keep trying again and breadth first is where you go through each possible depth in waves. He wanted to represent the graph first and after shooting down our adjacency matrix idea he accepted a ragged array of the possibilities from each place. The real world example graph he gave was of routes on an airline. Now for the algorithm. We were all stuck on the recursive backtracking mindset and then he led us towards the conclusion of using a stack for depth first, and it was amazing how well it works. You basically maintain the elements you can go to from each point on the stack and as you push them on you also keep track of them on an array of visited elements. So check this out:
boolean DFS( int[][] a, int s, int v)
{  Stack x = new Stack(); //max length is a.length
   boolean[] b = new boolean[a.length];
   b[s] = true;
   while( !x.isEmpty[] )
   {  int i = x.pop();
      if( i == v ) return true;
      for(int j = 0; j < a[i].length; j++)
      {  if( !b[a[i][j]] )
         {  x.push( a[i][j] )
            b[a[i][j]] = true; } } }
      return false; }

Is that not badass? I was just sitting there in awe for a while staring at the code because the amazing part is that if you replace the stack with a queue and use enqueue() and dequeue() rather than push() and pop() you have the breadth first search algorithm! It's a relatively efficient solution (memory wise particularly) and it's so simple! Gotta love good code.

While I'm on nerdy stuff why don't I just keep babbling. Mozilla released a new version of Firefox today for added stability and a few security fixes. It sounds like the ALA is against blog people according to this opinion piece. I think people are blowing things way out of proportion and in any case bloggers wouldn't be a threat to the mass media if those people actually did their jobs right. Microsoft is finally getting the hang of anti-piracy by requiring buyers of PCs that come with Windows to answer questions before allowing them to install the OS. This is a loophole that's been abused for a while and they have every right to ensure the legitimacy of their software usage. Those of you who hate floaters will like this article pointing out that groups like Mozilla are starting to look into ways to fight that annoying crap. The Wired Rave Awards are now online to recognize innovators in everything from hybrid cars to music technology and even includes the creator of RSS. It's a great read if you have a few minutes to spare browsing it.

Not a whole lot of movie news today, but there are some things of note. Yahoo! Movies got the exclusive teaser trailer to The Amityville Horror and I've got to say that I'm quite impressed. It started to remind me of The Others but as it progressed it reminded me of my favorite horror movie: The Shining (awesome book, too). Speaking of horror movies, Shaun of the Dead star and co-writer Simon Pegg said a few words about being on the set of Land of the Dead (the new Romero flick) so fans of either should check it out. I also have some bad movie news, a bunch of nut jobs are making a Napster movie. They want it to be a biopic about Shawn Fanning, and I think it's going to bomb if they go through with it. Allow me to cushion the blow by mentioning that Doug Richardson has been confirmed by Bruce Willis to be working on the screenplay for Die Hard 4.0. It's always exciting to hear the possibility of an action movie done right. And finally, the Golden Schmo winners are up and many of my votes got the award or runner-up. I was severely disappointed that neither Will Ferrell movie won best comedy. Obviously the only movie awards that matter will be Sunday night.

Alright I'm almost done here. Since I'm on a two day streak of articles on lawsuits I might as well mention eBay getting sued for price gouging auctions. That guy is so stupid and he had better lose because he doesn't even understand how eBay actually works. At least the economy is going strong, or somewhat strong at least. We're in good shape if we have annual growth of 3-4%, and since 3.8% is in that range we're on the right track and maybe we'll finally his prosperity in a year or two. Those of you curious about the PSP launch titles can check those out here along with their box arts.

Oh how I wish I was rich

The American box comes with the PSP, a 32MB Memory Stick Duo, headphones with remote control, a sampler disc, Spider-man 2 for the first 1 million buyers, battery pack, AC adaptor, soft case, and cleaning cloth. Remember that it can also play movies and there are more accessories.

Now for Friday's Feast:

Appetizer - Name something that makes you scream.
Easy: Christian fundamentalists.

Soup - Who is a musician you enjoy listening to when you want to relax?
Coldplay all the way 8-) Chris Martin has the coolest voice and the music is just so melo.

Salad - What was the last book you purchased?
Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King at that crazy Barnes and Noble sale.

Main Course - If you could live one day as any historical figure, who would it be, and what would you do?
Now this is a tough one. I know so many historical figures but it's hard to pin one person down as having a day to bask in. For lack of a better example, I'll say the day Tim Berners-Lee created the internet. What an amazing accomplishment to have under your belt!

Dessert - Tell about a time when you were lost. Where did you end up? How long did it take you to get back to where you were going?
The last time I was physically lost was at orientation in July and I ended up just asking someone for help. The last time I was metaphorically lost was sophomore year in high school when I just had a few life problems to deal with. I managed to solve some of them through some mental determination and the rest by losing weight. Still though, I can't kick cluttering :(

Thursday, February 24, 2005


"I'm gonna make it do what it do, baby!" - Ray

I went to the 6:00PM showing of Ray at the Union tonight and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think some people are reluctant about this movie because it's a biography, but the best reason to come to this movie is the acting. It doesn't look like a movie about the life of Ray Charles Robinson; it looks like the life of Ray Charles. You can really feel the intricacies of his personality and his life and the movie just really delivers on telling the story as best as it can. If Jamie Foxx doesn't win Actor of the Year then the whole universe is backwards because seeing him get so into that role is phenomenal. I highly reccomend this movie and give it an A-. I felt the pacing at some points could've been better.

I mentioned the downfall of TiVO the other day now I have news that they may be bought by Apple. It's all speculation, but it could possibly save the company. What is for sure though is that Apple is downscaling its promotion of FireWire. It's mainly because USB 2.0 has made advances to compensate and plus it would cut costs to ship iPods without it. Those of you looking for new ways to charge your cell phone may want to look to the air like innovators in Dehli are. I always envisioned a future where we wouldn't even need to charge laptops with a wire. Lastly, the geniuses as Google have implemented a movie operator to help you find movie reviews and showtimes. You can even put in some keywords related to a movie and find it if you can't recall the title. Neat, huh?

I have some cool movie news today. I only vaguely heard of a movie adaptation of Hairspray and now we know for sure that John Travolta will be in it. It's being written by Leslie Dixon, who has written some other interesting movies as well (including Mrs. Doubtfire, which I adore as a comedy). I've loved Travolta since I saw him in Pulp Fiction so I hope he does well. Speaking of Pulp Fiction, Christopher Walken will be in a movie called Click opposite Adam Sandler. Apparently he's a mysterious figure who gives Sandler a remote that controls his life. I really hope that movie doesn't blow. While we're talking about Tarantino movies why not talk about Tarantino: it turns out that he'll be directing the season finale of CSI. I don't watch the show, but I'll likely watch that episode. Martin Campbell has finally starting talking about Casino Royale and it seems like he's trying to bring the 007 series back to its roots. He's no Tarantino but maybe he can put out another decent Bond movie. And finally, I thought I'd mention the new trailer for Into the Blue for all you fans of movies with pretty people (Jessica Alba and Paul Walker).

Just a few short things left. I had to mention the lawsuit against Sean Connery for being a rowdy neighbor because I think that's really funny. The PSX may not be dead so those of you looking for a PS2/DVD Burner hybrid will want to look into that. EA turned out another Fight Night game and it looks really cool. They say it's a must-have and given how awesome the first iteration was I'm not surprised. It's more fun that you think it could be so if you have a PS2 give it a chance. I'd put up pictures but I have much better pictures for SOCOM III:

Yay for stealth

According to the e-mail I got from Sony some of maps will be up to 5 times as large as before, you can now customize your weapons from 30 weapons and 21 attachments, and some of the vehicles available will include turret-equipped pickups, SEAL-team Humvees, and the SOC-R Assault Boat. Plus the AI is supposed to be better and the voice recognition will be better. I'm really really excited and it's due to be out this October.

Now I'm going to try the 3x Thurday meme:

1. How well do you eat? What's your definition of 'eating healthy'?
I consider myself to eat pretty well because my dieting from a few years ago put it in my head that eating bad is going to make me fat again. It sounds crazy I know but if I ever eat unhealthy it's not more often than once a week.

2. Do you get any exercise on a regular basis? What's your definition of 'a regular basis', and what do you do?
I go to the gym at least 6 days a week for a half hour and I do 3 sets of 6 exercises to work out 2 muscle groups. I have a 4 day cycle (biceps/chest, shoulders/trapezius, back/triceps, legs/abs) and it's working out slowly but surely.

3. Do you take vitamins or supplements? Why/Why not? If you do, what do you take?
I take HEB-Buddy chewables! It has 100% of most things so I take one every other day.

Barely any people are visiting anymore so if you guys have suggestions of what you don't like feel free to comment.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Lunch with Dr. Geijn

ACM hosts a series of faculty luncheons, and today I was the moderator at the lunch with Dr. Robert van de Geijn (of CS 378: Parallel Computing fame). It's amazing how down-to-earth someone so smart can be. His cirriculum vitae is literally 12 pages long! And yet, he was an interesting person to talk to and I think that everyone who attended enjoyed it (there were actually five other people) as well. We talked quite a bit about graduate school and it just makes me wonder more and more whether I should pursue a masters degree in CS. On one hand, I really love learning more about it. However, I'd really rather get in the industry rather than do a lot of research. If I got a masters degree, I would love to go to Stanford for it. Oh, and anyone else think that O's Cafe is pretty reasonably priced? I had heard it was real pricey, but everything seemed reasonable. I got a good sized plate of fries I got for $1.50. Anyway, maybe I'll put up a picture soon.

Those of you who use Firefox and have had problems with some sites avoiding the popup blocker should check out this fix. I really wish I had this tv! Instead I have a tv that changes brightness as I watch DVDs on it. Anyway, I also wish I had a 512 MB video card. Though it's not necessary for today's uses, games could advance to the point where games would really take advantage of it within the next five years in my opinion. Back to television though, the debate continues on the broadcast flag issue in court. Apparently the judges don't take too kindly to power hungry federal organizations, and I think they're right. I can see the FCC's concern, but these measures are like hitting a nail with a sledgehammer. Technology did take a leap today though when a Nevada nanotechnology company developed Li-ON batteries that can charge faster. This is cool because we use Li-ONs so much in cell phones and laptops. Apple has been getting smarter and smart and it has now released a new iPod mini with more space (4GB), longer batter life (18 hours), and a cheaper price ($200)! I think if they teamed up with Google they could take over the world.

I'm kind of dry on movie news today. It looks like Chow Yun-Fat will play a bounty hunter for the undead in a movie called The Wretched. Looks like his career in the U.S. is starting to take off! Jim Carrey is slated to be in another romantic movie (a comedy actually), but this time with Angelina Jolie. Details are scarce and there's no commitment yet, but if it's written for them specifically it's likely that they'll like it. It's amazing how much Carrey has transformed since those awful Ace Ventura movies. Star Wars fans will want to reserve seats to the March 11th release of Robots so they can see the new trailer. My hopes are actually higher for the trailer than the movie though. Speaking of bad movies, there's a new clip up from Cursed. The only reason I can discern for sitting through that movie is Christina Ricci. Those of you eagerly awaiting the Chronicles of Narnia flick may be interested in this interview with the visual effects supervisor. It sounds like they really put a lot of time into it so we can expect great things! And lastly, Filmforce visited the set of Michael Bay's The Island and put up some commentary on that movie. The plot kind of reminds me of The Matrix, but without the focus on action, so it could be good.

So I've saved the best for last: game news. Zipper confirmed a SOCOM III! I love the SOCOM games and I can't wait to play it with vehicles and more locations. Maybe they'll even develop an AI comparable to Half-Life 2? In my dreams, eh? Gran Turismo 4 is finally out, and it almost feels surreal. IGN gave it a 9.5 because it didn't break as many barriers as they hoped, but you can bet your money that it's still one of the best PS2 games out there.

I am soo not worthy

Games this sweet should really be illegal. That shot is from the photo mode from which you can only take pictures of yoruself in races but also get different angles from replay videos and edit them and all that jazz. Alright, enough about that game; just know that it's awesome.

Nothing left now but the Midweek Music Meme:

What song reminds you of winter, and why?
"Let it Snow"? Even more than that though actually, "The Christmas Song" actually invokes that feeling of warmth in the midst of cold. Being in such a warm place I don't have any songs but Christmas songs to remind me of the winter.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Cell Phone Insecurity

Once again, I have some interesting cell phone information today. This time, however, it's bad stuff. What I believe is the first major cell phone virus has now been spreading in the United States from the Philippines. It's called Cabir and so far it's only adverse effect is draining battery life. Paris Hilton has more phone problems than fleeting battery life though. It turns out that someone hacked her phone revealing many celebrity phone numbers (strangely including Eminem). As you've seen in the annoying commercials, she has a T-Mobile Sidekick II and so this must be brutal for T-Mobile. Now I know not to switch to them since even after there was a security breach of their database they didn't inform users to change their passwords. It looks like phones are becoming unsafe right when they're starting to really evolve. Though Cabir was rather benign and it only affects Bluetooth it's likely meant to be a message that the software has big holes. It makes you wonder how long it will be now until we have the kind of integrated cell phones that the Japanese have and can be used without insecurity.

I don't have too much techie news today so let me get through that first. A wireless hotspot vendor is trying out a service where wi-fi is free and sponsored through ads. The idea is that businesses can offer the wi-fi and actually gain money themselves through the ad revenue. So think original Netzero but without the adware actually staying on your computer. It sounds interesting, but I think it's a business model that may be doomed to fail. It's not more doomed than TiVo is though! A number of recent signs seem to show that TiVo is going downhill since it's too easy to do what they do and DirecTV is probably going to drop their box from their services. Not only that, but they just haven't been innovative enough to keep themselves desireable. They really should create PC software that does what their little box does. I know I'd get it. Lastly, Mobile PC put up a great list of the top 100 gadgets of all time. The list features Pong, thumbdrives, the swiss army knife, and a slue of Apple stuff. I didn't see anything Microsoft related on the list, but Apple does come up with some cool stuff after all.

I have some ripe movie news today. There's a new trailer up for House of D and this movie actually looks like it might turn out well. The movie is actually written and directed by David Duchovny, and I guess he's a good writer because he managed to get Robin Williams, Tia Leoni, and Erykah Badu on board. I think this may be one of Williams's better movies. What's that? You want another video to watch? Ok you greedy bastard, take a gander at the new featurette for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (from the creator of Shrek).

So reminiscent of The Lion King

I really do like the art style and though I haven't read the series I hope that the movie will be good. Ben Affleck is now going to be wearing the big red 'S' on his chest in Truth, Justice and the American Way. The movie is a biography of George Reeves, and it's a good movie for Affleck who could use a serious flick to boost his career. Baz Luhrman (remember Romeo + Juliet?) is now back on track to create his own version of Alexander and given his record I don't think it'll really blow this time. He's also supposedly going to work on a movie called The Lecter Variation to tell the background story of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. And finally, I wanted to reemphasize purchasing Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut by referencing this review.

You're just a few interesting tidbits away from today's meme. I should've mentioned it yesterday, but The Simpsons finally revealed that Patty is a lesbian. It makes sense when you think about it. Fans of Netflix or those interesting in online movie rental won't want to miss this article that details the competitors to the services and whether it can stay in the game. Video game geeks like me should enjoy this piece about the future of gaming, including the future for pocket-sized counterparts. Fans of EA and Marvel will be pleased to discover new details about the crossover game Marvel Nemesis. It's too early to predict how good it'll be, but the story sounds decent.

Finally, it's time for the Tuesday Twosome:

Do you wish you would spend less or more time...

1. Watching TV and why?

More time since there are shows that I hear are great but don't have time to watch (like Lost), but I still watch a respectable amount.

2. On your computer and why?
Probably less time because all my blogging detracts from my homework time!

3. With your family and why?
More time since I'm over here so much and when I do go home I probably don't do as much with my parents as I should. I do usually do a lot with my brother though.

4. Dedicated to your career and why?
More time because I love computer science! Unfortunately I have other classes to take, but I very much enjoy the time I spend programming and studying it.

5. Concentrating on yourself and why?
Probably more time because I'm having a hard time kicking this cluttering habit. Talking slow is easier said than done, but feel free to comment with suggestions.

Tomorrow's post, like most Wednesdays, will be late. I don't expect it to be up before 10:00PM so just bask in this post until then!

Monday, February 21, 2005

The Growing Power of India

Sorry that I didn't get a chance to post yesterday, but I don't think very many of you missed it and I had to spend five hours in a row working on my CS project anyway. I think we did a pretty good job on it and now we have to move on to a BigInteger class. Moving on to the topic though: I found a great piece about India arising as a technological superpower. For a long time it has been a rather backwards country but now they're making great advances including plans for their first trip to the moon and modern nuclear power. I'm very proud that they're finally starting to break out of the economic disadvantages forced upon them by being under British imperial rule for so long. Things that we take for granted, such as cell phones and affordable vaccines, are becoming more popular there. More important than that though, they've been veering into new roads such as stem cell research for the blind and GM crops to help alleviate hunger. Of course their most popular rise has been in IT, but they've managed huge improvements in reducing economic disparity. All these scientific advances could bring about a revolution that would pull India out of such dire poverty levels. Though domestic IT workers are bemoaning outsourcing, it will be great for the global economy in the long run by forcing better quality products domestically to compete with foreign labor and fostering a middle class that would be able to import more of our products. It makes me more proud of my skin color to see these changes.

I do indeed have some more nerdy news today to compensate for what was lost yesterday. A visual-computing vendor have now developed wearable artificial-reality gear that will become extremely useful in training for things such as the armed forces. That's the kind of stuff you dream about as a kid and see in Metal Gear Solid so I thinkthat's really exciting. ChevronTexaco has now opened the first of six pilot stations for hydrogen fuel in California for a selection of Hyundai vehicles. The development of hydrogen as an alternative fuel could take in excess of a couple of decades, but all great things have to start somewhere! I thought it was notable that one of the top 5 net names to watch is Weblogs, which hosts some great commercial blogs. Also on the list was Mozilla, which is definitely becoming a hot company this year. Those of you interested in programming solutions to the Go game should check out the solution to the 5x5 board problem.

People like me who enjoy downloading TV shows they miss or can't watch will want to read this article about challenges to new preventative measures against such distribution. The concern is regarding the possibility of burning DVDs of seasons and probably also the circumvention of commercials. The idea is that they'd implement a flag on broadcasts to protect them from being distributed to electronics that aren't flag-compliant. It sounds like they'd be open to legitimate distribution, and that's what I'm really looking for. In case you're curious, the leader in tv show downloading is the UK. While I'm on the subject of piracy, I might as well mention new methods of using Napster to pirate music again! All you have to do is get a plug-in that would make the protected files unprotected so that a subscription to Napster wouldn't be necessary. The people who use it though are people who are interested in getting it to work with old devices, so all Napster has to do is fix this issue to solve a big part of their problem before it catches on.

Now for some movie news. It appears that Hitch is once again the box office king. Constantine stuck very close behind though, and I was ashamed at America that Son of the Mask even got the number 4 spot. I guess I'll start off by giving you some hope for the future with a couple of trailers. The teaser is up for A Scanner Darkly and it looks damned good. This movie features a very creative artistic style and an interesting, but vague, plot that isn't clarified much in this very pretty trailer. It has a good cast so hopefully it'll turn out well. On the other hand, the trailer for House of Wax looks better than I think the movie will be, but at least it has Elisha Cuthbert! In other news, there's going to be a recut of The Passion for those who avoided it for its graphic nature. Maybe then my mom will go see it (she's afraid of getting too emotional during the movie)! And now a short paragraph break so I can show you one of a few new pictures from Sin City:

Gotta love the eyes

You just have to love that black and white style. Anyway, it looks like Bruce Willis, who will be 50 years-old next month, will possibly be working on an action-comedy called 16 Blocks while he waits for Die Hard 4.0 to get a script. I guess you never get too old for action movies. Rupert Wainwright, of Stigmata fame, is doing a remake of John Carpenter's The Fog featuring the WB's Tom Welling and Maggie Grace. The movie sounds like a crappy horror movie but with a director like that it's hard to tell.

I'm going to lump my randomness and game news into one paragraph. Those of you who are as intrigued as I am by The Godfather game won't want to miss the opening scene from the game, which is now online. It looks like it's the part in the first movie where Vito Corleone gets shot. There's an interesting article here actually about developers getting burned by the pressure of deadlines for movie-based games (modern ones, not like The Godfather) and the boom in movie-based video games. It's surprising how few of these games actually turn out decent. Fans of Russell Peters and/or Dat Phan can get tickets to their Houston show tomorrow morning or even to their Austin show soon I'm sure. UT students from Houston should note that the show will be the Friday before spring break week. I'm definitely going and am very excited! Lastly, viewers of 24 can now talk back at AICN here.

Whew, we finally made it to some Monday Madness:

This week, using the letters in your name (real or screen name), list places that you've been to.

Elgin (shortcut to get to Austin)
Laredo (when I was really little)
Toronto (this past summer)
WashingtOn, D.C. (a few summers ago)
New York :) (a couple of years ago and for Eco Challenge)

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Stewart is Moving Up

There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says: fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again." (Fahrenheit 9/11)

That's one of my favorite Bushisms, and I first heard it on The Daily Show. Jon Stewart is now trying outside projects with his Busboy Productions. He's still on contract with Comedy Central until 2008, but they've agreed to let him find homes other than the network for his projects. His show is consistently funny, and it really provides a lot of good information for people like me tired of conservative media.

An idiotic lawsuit has been filed against Blockbuster in New Jersey for violating local consumer fraud laws. Apparently their "no more late fees" slogan is misleading in that they charge a nominal restocking fee after a week and force you to buy the movie after 30 days. I think this is a perfectly reasonable policy given that we consider late fees to be a daily thing whereas this is flat. Anyway, there was a cool study conducted about the brain's sixth sense as part of the brain's early warning system. It's hard for me to explain so just read the article for some more info. A lot of accusations against Catholic priests have come up that are of events from 30 years ago. I think it's a bit much to sue someone 30 years late, like it was with those girls who sued Bill Cosby.

Today I actually have some video game news I wanted to convey in yesterday's post, but it was already overweight. First of all, I have to mention this sick flash movie about what happened to Mario after he saves the Princess. It's sad and hilarious at the same time, so Mario fans will want to check it out (thanks to Amiya at the ACM boards). Kazuto Nagazawa, the artist from the anime scene in Kill Bill, is working on the artwork of the new Tales of Legendia game. I mention it because I think he's a cool artist and you can tell already that the game will be pretty. Microsoft has set into motion the program of replacing faulty Xbox cables. In case you didn't hear about it, it turns out that around 14 million Xboxes may have a bad power cable that can catch fire when overheated. I just have to say to M$, "HA!" IGN gave Project: Snowblind, the game where my dumbass had the beta and couldn't play it, a great score. I figured it'd be Editor's Choice and it looks like a great new FPS option for those who have played Half-Life 2 enough (unlike me) for a system lacking Halo 2. IGN also put up some more enemy information about Devil May Cry 3, which I must reiterate looks really kickass. Because there are better Project: Snowblind pictures though, I'll showcase one of them:

I love the art style

The environments look real perty. There's a new Strongbad e-mail up and it's really funny so check it out. It's about Strongbad's recipes.

Now to end this post of randomness with the Saturday Six:

1. Other than Earth, what planet intrigues you the most and why?
I'm not big on astronomy, but I suppose Mars since it seems mildly intriguing that there could be life out there. *shrugs* Plus it was the setting for Total Recall.

2. What is the last business issue you wrote a letter or called to complain about? What's the last thing you complemented a business on?
I complained to Google about some Gmail stuff, but it's still in beta so it's not that bad. I think I also complemented them by the same token for its celerity.

3. When was the last time you had your picture taken? Did you like the way the picture turned out?
Christmas time? I liked the pictures because taking pictures with my cousins is pretty fun and they come out well.

4. What was the last program you watched a rerun of on television?
Family Guy, gotta love it.

5. The land has been referred to, by more than one person, as a community or a neighborhood. What would you call the metaphorical name of the street you reside on here in the land and who are your closest neighbors?
The street of the ghetto? The area my house in Houston is in has become really craptacular and I hope my parents move out when I graduate from college.

6. If you had to write an essay that pertained to 'human life', what opinion or topic about mankind would you choose to write about? (exp. relationships, struggles, accomplishments, etc) And briefly explain why you chose said topic...
I'd say struggles because I find it fascinating how pain can be so satisfying.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Security is the Buzz

As my title implies, the buzzword for today is 'security'. I found this commentary on Microsoft's entrance into the antivirus market to be intriguing. People in the industry believe that M$ will continue to share security information with the rest of the community (it is in their best interest after all) so there's not much backlash regarding their entrance, but people aren't so happy with their making their AntiSpyware software free. It does shadow those who can't afford to offer it for free, and it does seem ill-spirited to screw them over. I think at the least they should bundle it with Longhorn or something of the sort. I wonder if M$ will actually overpower McAfee and Norton? At least we'll get better software from them now. M$ also played the good samaritain role in warning about rootkits, which infest the OS kernel to funnel out information or piggypack on ports. This is a scary wave of malicious programs since it's currently undetectable because they're built so bloody well. The U.S. government probably couldn't even detect normal viruses as they've been given a D rating on their progress report from Congress. They pay their employees low salaries and wonder why their systems are so weak; go figure. Their money would be better spent on fortifying their ports rather than enacting crappy anti-spyware legislation that does nothing.

I have a wealth of movie news today and I'll start it off with a handful of trailers. If you want a trailer to point at and make fun of, you'll want to check out the trailer for D.E.B.S. on Yahoo!. If you're looking for a creative Korean movie about a guy who is locked up in a strange, private jail for the murder of his wife (which he was framed for) only to be mysteriously let out 15 years later, the trailer for Old Boy is a must-see. The new trailer for Robots looks good animation wise, but it sounds like another animated flick that tries too hard and ends up falling flat on its ass. John Travolta and Christina Millian fans won't want to miss these new clips from their upcoming movie, Be Cool. I'm excited about this movie because it features Vince Vaughn and the talented Uma Thurman in addition to the legendary Harvey Keitel. The best video is the one we can't get though: an EPK of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy that's only available to lucky bastards in San Francisco and FilmForce VIPs. The rest of us have to settle for the recent trailer. We can also bask in the fact that Penelope Cruz is going to be in a new romantic drama, The Loop, alongside Matthew McConaughey. I can sum up my excitement for the movie with this:


Any movie with her is worth the price of admission. Anyway, it looks like Ghost Rider now has its Mephistopheles, Peter Fonda, and its Mack, Donal Logue. Sounds like the movie is really taking shape, but will it stay true to the comic book? Speaking of animated books, David Goyer (of Blade and Batman Begins writing fame) has taken over the movie rights to the graphic novel The Fall, which supposedly is a modern-noir. Those who are awaiting The Ring 2 can take solace in some new pics, only one of which is genuinely creepy. It has now been announced that Revenge of the Sith will premiere at Cannes, which is the huge French film festival that takes place in the middle of May. And finally, get out and vote for the Golden Schmo Awards!

I few short notes before I finish up. I've mentioned before that Bill Cosby was alleged to have mollested some women a while back and those charges have now been sticken. There's not enough evidence and the charges were made so late the the DA decided to throw it out. The New York Times is buying out, which is a rather popular site, for a hefty sum. I never cared much for the interface at, but maybe the new owners will change that. Lastly, for Eco Challenge memories, I have to mention this article about Greenspan urging two huge money lending institutions to scale back their loans. They used to be a pretty big deal in the economy and still kind of are, but Greenspan is uncomfortable with their instability.

Finally, the Friday Fiver:

1. Describe the last time you were frightened:
If you mean really terror-struck, I'd say that time Junior year in high school when I got caught "cheating" and I was facing the possibility of some harsh consequences. I wasn't actually cheating but I did idiotically put some information on a test in my profile. It was very general stuff and nothing of much use to anyone other than to ease their minds before the test, but it was still frowned upon.

2. What does your hair look like?
Pretty short since I cut it a week ago.

3. Have you ever dyed your hair a new color?
No and I don't plan on it. Black suits me for now.

4. Do you like heights?
I don't have a pronounced fear of heights, but I don't like being too high up for too long. I enjoy the views from heights, but looking down is where I get some chills.

5. Girl Scout cookies, candy bar sales -- what's the worst fund raising you've had to do?
I had to sell these $20 crappy coupon books for National Honor Society that no one wanted.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

My 50th Post

Happy 50th to me! I have now made 50 posts and this will be the last one...just kidding. I'll keep going for at least another 50 if people still like it. The big news today is that I'm a hero! Ok, maybe that's a little extreme, but I saved some people today. I figured out the grader's mistake on my CS exam to get me enough credit for an A! But more importantly, I figured out a mistake she made on all the tests in that non static members of a class can access all of the outer class's private variables directly. So most of the class will now get points back. I also saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind last night. That movie is like the new precedent for all romance movie hereafter. It has a lot of humanity and heart and it does it all without being corny. Of course it's relatively predictable, but the style was amazing and I adored the acting. The writer, Charlie Kaufman, also wrote Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and he seems to never run out of great dialogue. I reccomend the movie to everyone (I asume you all know that it's about having someone erased from your mind).

Funky hair

I have some mediocre technological articles today so I won't dwell on them too much. The tech Oscars were yesterday, which is cool because the winners are cheap bastards like me who are just more innovative. The winners included a dude who invented a telescoping camera crane! Firefox 1.0 has finally reached 25 million downloads, which is cool because it means that people are starting to become more open minded. I personally use both Firefox and IE for different purposes, but I really like the tabbed UI. A private altercation between two computer scientists over the security of a Windows-based web server and a Linux-based one found that the Windows 2003 one was more secure! Red Hat actually has more than double the number of days of risk that Windows has. I'm glad to not have to worry about all this web server mumbo jumbo for a while. And lastly, I dug up an article about the high-tech toys kids are getting nowadays. The most advanecd thing I had when I was little was a GI Joe where you could press a button on his back and he'd say one of a few different phrases. Now kids have mini-Blackberries and digital Etch-a-Sketches! My only concern is that with so much selection parents will feel more inclined to cave and spoil their kids, particularly with video games systems. Then, they'll never really want to study! Oh, the tangled web we weave.

Unfortunately not a ton of movie news either. An international trailer for Fantastic Four was released, and I actually recommend giving it a look if you're interested in this movie because it's much better than the domestic one. My hopes for this movie still arent very high though. What do you know, I also have Constantine news! JoBlo put up his review of the movie and while he doesn't give it a flattering score, he praises a lot of the movie's core elements. He also put up an interview with Keanu Reeves and around the same time FilmForce put up theirs. They're both well conducted interviews so if you're a fan then be sure to check those out. It's unfortunate that the Constantine game blows though, and it was gimmicky as expected. Filmforce also up up some new pictures from the upcoming Star Wars flick with some miscellaneous information. Who knows, maybe it'll turn out alright. This image is the only one I cared for:

Lots o' lasers

The only other movie bit I wanted to mention was that Will Smith is considering the lead role in an interesting superhero flick called Tonight, He Comes. There has been a lot of interest in the unmade script for the movie for a while, so it may bring Smith from B action movies (except Ali of course) to actual A flicks.

I have a couple of other things I wanted to mention before I close out. There's recently been a lawsuit against Take-Two, Wal-mart, and Gamespot for a kid shooting somebody (supposedly based off the game). The stores are involved because he bought the first two instllments when he was under age. I'm not sure how much trouble the developer will get in, but the stores could potentially get in some trouble for selling to him when he was underage. It's more a liability of the kid and his parents though; it's not like the game gave him a gun and told him to shoot two cops. On a completely unrelated note, stocks took a tumble today, partially as a result of the Greenspan statement I mentioned yesterday. I find it a bit strange, but the thing with the stock market is that it's very delicate and can be extremely hard to predict.

Today I'm going to try a Thursday Thinker from the Daily Haiku:

When things get tough in your life, what do you like to do (or where do you like to go) to escape? Fantasies or other things that you can't actually do are fair game.

I play some music
I go and rent a movie
I visit a friend

Sorry it isn't more exciting! Feel free to comment with your own if you can come up with something better. Oh, and the answer to yesterday's CS brain teaser was that you actually allocate two more arrays, both of them involved in tracking what elements have already been set or get so that new ones can be filled with the fill value. If you want the whole explanation, drop me a line.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Faith of Fabrication

"Sophie, every faith in the world is based on fabrication. That is the definition of faith--acceptance of that which we imagine to be true, that which we cannot prove. Every religion describes God through metaphor, allegory, and exaggeration, from the early Egyptians through modern Sunday school. Metaphors are a way to help our minds process the unprocessible. The problems arise when we begin to believe literally in our own metaphors." - Robert Langdon, The Da Vinci Code

I'm still trucking along in The Da Vinci Code and I'd probably finish it faster if I dawdled less with my homework and allotted myself more time to read it. I think that quote is the most important that I've read so far because it's what I've wanted to say to people who try to purposely shake my faith by making a mockery of it; I just couldn't put it in the proper words. People misunderstand faith as blind acceptance of what seems to clearly be false, but it wouldn't be a belief if it was easily proven. How much easier would be to believe in Jesus's resurrection if we had video footage from the crucifiction to the tomb? The fact of the matter is that it's what I believe and others of my religion believe because it's what we think of God's message to us of rebirth. There are so many layers of metaphors in that act alone let alone the whole bible. When people get caught up in semantics we have issues because they don't allow themselves to mature their system of beliefs.

I don't want to get too preachy though, so I'll get a couple of articles of interest out of the way. Bill Gates spoke at the RSA Conference yesterday and in his keynote speech he mentioned that their Anti-Spyware software will be offered free of charge. Apparently, they've been using something called Spynet to accept reports of spyware and through that they've developed this software to be able to find and remove such software. I have no idea how good this software is, but I don't think they'll invest a whole lot in it since it's free. The creators of TCP/IP, without which the internet would not be possibly, are finally going to be getting their dues with this year's Turing Award. This protocol specifies data packets being sent through packages over the internet so that everyone can be on the same wavelength (figure of speech) with communicating. Alan Greenspan, who will be chair of the Fed for one more year, is signalling that the economy is in good shape. I wouldn't be inclined to disagree with him since the recent inflation has been matched with continous growth in the economy and so it's not actaully an inflation crisis. In fact, we're doing better than some of the other big economic powers. I was surprised that he revealed their plans to continue raising interest rates, but there was argument last year at the Fed that clarity in their actions is key. Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut is now on sale so I highly reccomend that those of you unfamiliar with the movie or who don't already have the original DVD go pick it up.

Now for the skinny on current films. My doubts on the quality of the Doom movie are growing as the movie strays more and more from the game. It sounds like the creators of the game are only supporting the movie artificially and the fact that they'll be basing future games off of the movie is scary considering that they should be trying to mature the series independently. However, I have much higher hopes for the Silent Hill movie adaptation after reading what the plot is like. It's the standard fare of someone's journey getting caught up in a strange and menacing town, and it sounds like a mix of the first and second installments of the game (especially since Cybil was a real character in the first game). I don't think the masterful Roger Avary will disappoint us unlike the sickening Uwe Boll. If you're looking for some tidbits of information on Superman Returns you'll want to read this article, which also mentions that X3 is still on track to start shooting in July. They may actually be rushing the movie considering that they're trying to package a teaser trailer with the Fantastic Four prints. The comic book movie with some more certainty, Constantine, has an interestingly ambivalent review now and there's even an interview up with Rachel Weisz. Her interest in the film sounds genuine and she seems to have really gotten into the role. Many of you have no doubt already noticed: the trailer for Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is finally online!

Neato poster

The trailer was definitely worth the wait and I have high hopes for this movie. Some of the early views for the movie have sounded a bit shaky, but I think it'll be at least a B+ movie (hopefully A though). While I'm on the topic of exciting movie news I should plug the new site for Sin City. It is an amazingly creative site so take a few minutes to gawk at it. Bruce Willis is on fire with not only this movie but also with Hostage, which sounds pretty cool so far. And lastly, Jet Li fans should note that Unleashed was pushed back to May 13.

On a personal note, I got my first B on a Computer Science test! My grade was a 43/50, but luckily the test is only 10% of your grade so I think I can buckle up and do better on the next test. His brain teaser for us today was how to fill an array of a certain size in O(1) time. So the constructor of this array class would take in the array size and a number to fill the array with. If you think you have the answer, feel free to comment with it. I'm finally going to go see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tonight at the Union so look for me there if you're planning on going to! It will be at 10PM tonight, and it's free as always.

Today's meme will be Cheddar X:

What's the best way to spend?

Fifty cents Err..candy bar?
A dollar An mp3
Five dollars Tapioca milk tea!
Twenty dollars Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut
One hundred dollars
One thousand dollars A superbadass computer with over a GB of RAM and at least a 3Ghz processor with a sweet graphics card
One million dollars The Villas on Guadalupe
One hundred million dollars An island in the Caribbean

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Year of Cell Phones

I think that this will be the year of cell phones. First of all, they're getting some exclusive television shows. It's called V-Cast and for $15 a month you can watch 24: Conspiracy (a spinoff of 24), Love and Hate, and Sunset Hotel. They will also provide some other content, but each episode is only a minute long! The seasons range from 24 to 26 episodes long. Is it worth it? Probably not right now, but it's cool because it's the start of what could be a media revolution for us. In other cellular news, Motorola is coming out with iRadio to allow people to pick up internet radio stations on their cell phone. The service will be $10 a month and while it offers many things in real-time (traffic, weather, etc), much of the audio will just be stored on the SD card. Still, it's progress, and Ericsson will be developing Walkman phones themselves. I mentioned Nokia's audio deal yesterday, but it's along the same lines.

I'll keep the steam going with some more techie news. Supporters of open source software should read this article that compared the code of OSS projects to closed source software. It almost sounds like OSS isn't much more advantageous than CSS, but it's definitely not worse. The new version of Firefox will not support international domain names to prevent domain spoofing. The technique exploits how browsers interpret such URLs to gain sensitive information from users when they submit it to certain sites. They'll actually allow users to enable it if they want to, but it sounds more dangerous than it's worth. On the other side of the internet browsing spectrum, Bill Gates announced that Internet Explorer 7 will be included in the next version of Windows (aka Longhorn) and will be available for Windows XP SP2 with stronger security, and that the beta will be released this summer. It sounds like they had pressure from the industry, which isn't surprising considering the market share they've been losing to the Mozilla project.

I think I should start a new paragraph because that one was getting too long. Some corporation named Macrovision unveiled a new technology called RipGuard that will supposedly deter DVD ripping. I'm not sure how effective their solution will be, but it sounds like all they're doing is making it more difficult to extract the data and causing the rips to take much longer. They claim it will take down 97% of ripping, but I feel that it's likely to be thwarted. It's a worthwhile attempt though I suppose, but until they unleash a more secure movie media storage item they'll have a huge monetary leak to pirates. I have to mention this failure of the NMD (National Missile Defense) in recent tests. I studied this system back when I was a debator and it was just horrible. It will require years and years of research to become effective, and we just don't have that kind of money to throw at it right now. It's like trying to shoot a bullet with a bullet, but against ICBMs instead.

The ever gorgeous Kristin Kreuk has landed a leading role on the movie Partition. It's a romance movie set in India, which is strange because she's half Dutch and half Chinese. Oh well, she'll get a lot of horny asian guys to see the movie and it'll be a good stepping stone for her (Katie Holmes had some meh movies also on her road to fame). Since I'm talking about smoking chicks, I might as well mention that Uma Thurman has confirmed what Tarantino geeeks like me have known for a while: there won't be a Kill Bill 3 for a long time (if it even is made) and it likely won't include her. She also revealed that there will be a special edition for Kill Bill released at some point with a possible re-cut of the movie, but no date as of yet. I hope Tarantino doesn't do what he did with Jackie Brown and make fans wait for years. The sequel to Saw now has a director: Darren Bousman, who is an unknown currently. So no predictions can be made yet, but maybe he'll become a master of horror films; who knows. There are some new Batman Begins pics up on the official site, and here is my fave:

The trademark cape spread

They're doing a great job of steadily leaking information on the movie. While I'm on comic book movies, FilmForce gave a glowing review of Constantine. I've been posting so much about the movie because they're doing such a great job with publicity that it's hard to avoid it. IGN actually called it "the reference for all future CGI", and it sounds like a movie that slaps previous naysayers in the face. The only reviews I've seen for this film so far either have said that it's good or that it's really awesome, so it's bound to be better than average. Star Wars fans can bask in some new pictures from the Episode III film. I'm not excited about this film yet, but hopefully Lucasfilm will prove me wrong. And extreme fans of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will want to keep their eyes glued on Amazon and IMDB for a new trailer of the movie, which sounds pretty cool.

I have a couple of pieces of real news of interest. The defrocked, child-mollesting priest I mentioned a little while ago has been sentenced to 12-15 years in prison. He got off easy considering he could've faced life in prison, but something is better than nothing I suppose. Money-grubbing politicians in California are considering charging their resident a driving tax based on the number of miles driven. This is pretty crazy and I hope it doesn't spread to Texas. I think that's a rather extreme tax for areas where a car is a necessity.

I even have some notable game news today. Atari has lost its mind and decided to make a Matrix game that trails Neo's finest moments in the movies. Any game strictly based off a movie like this one appears to be is typically a bad idea and I can't believe they're still trying to bank off of the trilogy. I really think it has already run its lifetime as a franchise. Fans of the Splinter Cell series should really check out this hands-on of the first three levels from Chaos Theory, which sounds too cool to be true so far. Hopefully it's not more trial and error gameplay though.

You have finally reached the Tuesday Twosome, congratulations!

Do you...
1. Feel safe in your community? Why?

Not exactly, but it's not that dangerous. Since I live in West Campus there's a lot of room for break-ins and stuff, but there are a lot of cars on the road so I don't feel too endangered myself, and I look forward to moving into Far West next school year.

2. Tend to be a follower or a leader?
I'd have to say a leader. I like to take responsibility for what I do, so that usually means taking charge of situations and getting organized. I try to not be bossy though, and I like the feeling of getting stuff done thanks to my organizational skills. It's not really hunger for power, because I'm happy with less problems to deal with!

3. Like where you are in your life? Why?
I'm really happy to be in my major and in the clubs that I'm in and to be at UT. It's even pretty fun living with my room mates. However, I feel strange to not have had a girl friend so I'm not really happy about that but I tend not to dwell on it. I'd rather settle for a girl who's really worth it than just a trophy girl for the sake of having a girlfriend.

4. Confront problems or try to ignore them?
I learned the hard way that ignoring them is real bad so I typically confront them.

5. Stand up for your beliefs or keep it all to your self?
I definitely like to stand up for my beliefs and make sure that my voice is heard. I don't like to force my views on others, but I don't like to be concilliatory in opposing views either.

Monday, February 14, 2005


Note: Sorry about the lateness of the post, but I had internet problems due to self-stupidity. It was ready hours ago.
I could title my post "V-day" or something, but that would be giving more credit than is deserved to ad istum diem. Part of my bone with the "holiday" is that I'm a loser and the other part is that it's not in the spirit of love but rather in the spirit of spending money. The day doesn't signify anything tangible! Anyway, back to my short title. I actually didn't know that three telephone companies are toying with the release of Internet Protocal Television until today. The big players in cable television don't feel the pressure of making tv more interactive, but this new service sounds cool because it will convert the information into data packets, much like normal internet works, so that they can fit more into their wires and in turn onto the screen. They also want to add more to what you can do on your boob tube and it sounds neat to me.

I will venture on into some more nerd news. Phillips is developing a new weapon in the war on P2P: digital fingerprinting. This means that videos would be identified in the middle of a swap as carrying a certain "fingerprint" and the transfer would be halted. It's as difficult as it is confusing to make because different compressions can complicate things and providers could potentially find away around it since they're obviously pretty smart. It sounds like a good idea, but it's just impractical. VeriSign is working on halting downloads too, but their focus is annoying pop up certificates where you have to hit 'yes' to unknowingly unleash spyware on yourself. You would think the VeriSign certification would provide security, but there have been loopholes so they're finally starting to crack down. Microsoft has had a pretty good day today overall. They announced that they have developed a GSM/GPRS smartphone platform alongside Flextronics. For those of you who don't know: smartphones are the newer models of phones with advanced capabilities (color screen, photos, faster data rates, Java compatibility, MMS, etc), GSM is 2nd generation international standard for cell phone protocol, and GPRS is basically just GSM but faster. Anyway, this OS is supposed to be pretty powerful so I guess they can do something right for a change. M$ also made a deal with cell phone giant Nokia to launch a mobile music service, which means that you can download songs to your phone and later transfer them to your PC or even order them directly to your PC. This means that you can spend your free time on the shuttle bus browsing new songs, which would be really time effective for most people. On a closing note, a patent case failed today to patent part human-part animal hybrids. The intention of the case was to prevent people from profitting from such a creation, and the whole thing sounds creepy to me.

My movie news today is rather dwindling, but quite high-quality. Moriarty put up a script review of The Departed (think Martin Scorcese, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jack Nicholson) today. It's a really well written review, but if you want to avoid spoilers then just read the first paragraph, which provides a great synopsis. It's a cop vs. gangster movie, but of course there's more to it than that and it has some huge names producing it over and above the stunning cast. This is one of those movies designed to win little golden men and I don't think Scorcese will disappoint because the review's qualms seem to be less important than the great structure of the movie. JoBlo put up a really exciting interview with Francis Lawrence, the director of Constantine. It's a well-done interview and answers a lot of questions I had plus more stuff about the layers of the characters and the themes. It sounds like they wanted this to be a real movie, not just some blockbuster crap and they really put a lot of effort into it and I really respect that about the creators. There's actually good Punisher 2 news today: it may actually be truer to the fans this time and be a worthwhile film. John Saint's son is rumored to be the new villain so who knows what could happen now. Fans of Robert Rodriguez will want to drool over these new pictures from Sin City off of Entertainment Weekly, one of which I will display here:

I've gotta admit that she's hot

It will be out in just a couple of months and EW thinks it may be the next Pulp Fiction.

I have a few other things I would like to address. If you've heard a variant of an expression based in "breaking a heart", you'll want to check out this study about a broken heart syndrome. Apparently, extremely stressful events can have detrimental effects on your heart because of too much adrenaline being fed to your heart. So next time you break up with someone, take care to not physically break their heart. The Xbox 2 is not being predicted to be released in November or October of this year. This is a bad move, in my opinion, because the current generation has a solid year left in its lifespan and rushing this console could make it prey to the PS3, which will likely be more powerful and reliable. It sounds like blogs are finally headed into a meaningful direction with the resignation of a top CNN executive. An outrage from bloggers regarding his statement that troops purposely aimed at reporters was not the only reason for his resignation, but I'm sure it was a contributing factor and it shows that we may be getting closer to an online community that encourages the truth and, thus, provides a check for the mass media. And finally, there was a little event last night called the Grammies which I didn't see, but I managed to catch the winner's list. I'm really glad that Maroon 5 won best new album (it's quite an uplifting CD), that "Jesus Walks" won best rap song, and that The College Dropout won best rap album (Kanye is too awesome). Ray Charles won a disproportionate number of awards, but he was a musical genius in his day so I can't really complain.

Get ready for some Monday Madness:

First of all, choose a letter of the alphabet. Now, choose a number 1-10.
I'll go with the letter 'E' (for obvious reasons) and the number 6.
Got a letter? Got a number? Here's this week's challenge:
Using the letter you chose, write down _____ (number you chose) things that describe the current season where you live. (You don't necessarily have to begin each word with the letter you chose.)

I probably should've cheated and read ahead, but oh well. Things about winterin Austin I guess (it just got hot today, so that doesn't count):

1) Ephemeral, but mainly because I think that's a cool word. It's a bit of a litote, but our winter is historically a short two or three months.
2) Easy-going because we get a five week spring break at UT :-D
3) Ever-green (self-explanatory)
4) Elevating because it's a break from the inexorable heat
5) Enticing because you feel more inclined to eat christmas sweets so you can gain a little weight and warm up
6) Enamoring ecause it makes you fall in love with cold weather

Oh, and Cat put up pictures from the ACM JO intro event (which I blogged about a while ago) so I'll share one: