Sunday, April 30, 2006

Pushing Back Fiji

Click to enlarge the Burninators!
We may not look like much, but the ACM Burninators took 3rd place at NSC's Kickball Tournament on Saturday. The NSC people thought I was betraying them by helping out ACM, but oh well. I put up more pictures over here if anyone cares. There's really not much big stuff going on today. Click to enlargeIn fact, I only decided on the Fiji article because I wanted to show you this awesome poster to the right from a contest where participants made old timey propaganda posters relevant to the OS X vs. Windows battle. Speaking of that battle, we're all well aware that Vista isn't coming out until early next year. So what the Hell is Fiji? Well, it turns out that they've already codenamed the next Windows (this one was codenamed Longhorn, by the way) Fiji, presumably after that group of islands in the Pacific? The point is that there are concerns that it'll be delayed now since Vista is delayed and they're likely developing these OSes in parallel. But, get this, they've already codenamed the next version of Windows after that! It's called Vienna (after the city in Germany?), formerly known as Blackcomb. First observation: maybe they'd be more on time with releases if they spent less time coming up with stupid codenames for software. Secondly, were they really going to keep on a strict schedule with "Fiji" anyway? There's no way it was going to come out in 2008 even if Vista was on time. You know why? Microsoft is too big a company to follow a two-year turnover and has too much bureaucracy. It's not their fault, it's just a fact of the kind of company they run. In contrast, everything at Apple is run by Steve Jobs. So the hierarchy is less pronounced and the company is a bit smaller, and Jobs really rules with an iron fist. If Microsoft would just look ahead of the curve and turn out real high quality versions of Windows, they wouldn't attract so much negative press (it really is exaggerated) just because they don't release a new version every year.

There's trouble in paradise over at the Mozilla Foundation as well: Firefox 2.0 will no longer have its upgrade to bookmark dubbed Places, which has been in the alpha version and was arguably one of the most important upgrades. It sounds like they were having stability issues though, and so I'm glad they're being so brave with this decision despite the backlash they knew would ensue. I'm sure Firefox 2.0 will be a quality product with this kind of leadership. There's been some change at Apple with the Aperture team getting the axe under the covers over in Cupertino, and one blogger claims to have just accepted a position on the Aperture teams, which would imply that the project is still going to continue on! Let's hope for a less rushed release next time from Apple. Ever wonder if that $500 graphics card is worth more than the $300 one? Then you're probably not a hardcore gamer, but if you are then you should check out this comparison of two such cards from ATI and from Nvidia. Some day, I will be able to afford a graphics card as sweet as those. Usually, when I encounter links to sites with lists of free online books, I write them off as junk, but this one is actually pretty decent so give it a try if you're looking into learning a new techie skill. I'll definitely be perusing some of those books over the summer. Lastly, Stephen Colbert did a little speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner yesterday, and it's pretty much a must-see if you're Democrat, liberal, or just not a big fan of the Bush administration. You can get the torrent over here from its airing on C-Span, and it shows what kind of balls he has to say all that stuff just a few feet from the President.

The box office victor, strangely, was RV, the Robin Williams comedy, at under $20 million. United 93 came in second with over $11 million, but made more per theater since it was released much less widely. The critical acclaim for it is phenomenal though, so you need to see it (as do I) this weekend if you don't make it out to MI:3 (or it just gets sold out). The Vatican keeps spewing its nonsense about how you shouldn't see the Da Vinci Code, and I'm getting sick and tired of it. It's a work of fiction, and I, being Catholic (and having read the book), don't see what's wrong with it. It's interesting to think about and the book had some fun little brain teasers in the mix (just like the Google contest, which I'm hooked on now). If you want to read a more intelligent script review of Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof than the one I had posted recently, then you should definitely read this. I don't think it's fair to judge any of his movies before you see them though. All I have left for you now are videos. Arguably the coolest one actually comes from X3 in a scene where Wolverine tears the head off of a Sentinel. If only Ratner just fixed the plot now! Superman is appearing in an ad in Australia, and it doesn't show much, but something is better than nothing (as I say often, nowadays it seems). Your favorite spider-based superhero has also popped up on Youtube with a couple of on-location videos and some pictures in a Cleveland newspaper. Lastly, we have a French teaser for Casino Royale, and it's obviously hard to understand, but does have some action snippets. Still not doing much for me yet.

Now for some Unconscious Mutterings:

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

  1. Out of place :: Anomaly

  2. Helicopter :: Blades

  3. Francis :: France

  4. Ryan :: Corn (nickname of someone I know named Ryan)

  5. Wedding :: White

  6. Apalled :: Mortified

  7. Historian :: NSC

  8. Powerful :: Men (sorry, it came to mind first, no offense to women)

  9. Sex symbol :: Austin "Danger" Powers

  10. Uncomfortable :: Silences

Friday, April 28, 2006

Everyone Talking About Wii

I went driving today, which I don't do too often except to campus, to get some new swim trunks from Old Navy for a couple of parties I'm looking forward to next weekend. I like them so much that I'd thought I'd share. Here they are:
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
The bottom one was the view from a stoplight on 360 South on my way to Randalls afterwards. I'll try to get a better shot from 360, but it really is a gorgeous little "loop." Just following through on my promise to post more pictures with this new camera. Moving along, everyone seems to be a self-proclaimed expert on the quality of the name of the next generation console from Nintendo: the Wii. The only source you should really trust for what the system is all about is this comprehensive article from 1up. They seem to do a good job of separating fact from subjective speculation. There are plenty of reasons to flame Nintendo for this name, but GameLife has come up with some good reasons on why you should embrace it. They may not claim to believe in what they're saying, but I do. I think that Wii really can become a nifty little name, despite how much we'll all miss "Revolution." I think the good outweighs the bad byfar. IGN actually has another interview with a Nintendo VP if you want more on the background of the name. Now for the juicy gossip: when will it launch and how much will it hurt our wallet? The Mole blog seems to have strong insider rumors that it could be as early as July! After all, they never tied themselves vocally to a November release. And how does a $200 price tag sound? It's enough to make me want to pre-order one right now, to tell you the truth, since I enjoyed my SNES for so long (the last Nintendo console I bought). Theoretically, he also claims that an E3 launch isn't out of the question, and it would set the gaming world ablaze, after all. That's probably a little too optimistic, but a July launch would be just right. Then, Zelda could boost them against the PS3, and Sony faces a much harder battle since they've already lost a lot of PR with their delays and silence, whereas Nintendo keeps racking up points as far as Internet geek buzz is concerned. Oh, the excitement!

Programming may get a lot easier for coders who have developed conditions from repetitive strain thanks to a new tool called VoiceCode that would turn your speech into Python code without having to give special instructions for each weird symbol involved. This is probably too clunky for general use, but could be useful for people who actually can't type. Apple has filed for some interesting patents including and touchscreen keyboard and an iChat whiteboard. Note that companies usually file for patents to protect their ideas (or at least sit on them even if they don't use them), and doesn't mean that we'll see that product ever. However, the former patent does sound like it would go well with a new iPod, doesn't it? Robert Cringley's theory to explain the dissolution of the Aperture team is that Apple is planning on buying Adobe because of how dependent they are on Adobe software to compete with Microsoft's best selling stuff. I think that's a rather hair-brained rumor to try and spark up though seeing as how Adobe is doing very well and probably wouldn't take too kindly to being taken over. We've lost a battle in the fight for net neutrality now that Congress has foolishly struck down an amendment that would've barred telcos from discriminating in web traffic. Let's hope the likes of Google and Yahoo ally together to gain back some ground. If you find yourself having to use Linux, then you'll find this site useful. It really does have all you need to get yourself started up on one of those machines, and who knows, you may even like it. Mark Cuban thinks that television can be saved by live commercials, but I don't think that's really what it needs. What TV needs are more of the commercials that we see at the Superbowl. Some people watch the big game just for those commercials, so why not make them year-round? Lastly, construction has finally begun on the Freedom Tower in NYC, and it's really about time. Don't hold your breath though until it's done, because it won't be for another 5 or 6 years.

Do you remember those rumors of Quentin Tarantino doing a Jimi Hendrix biopic? Well forget them, because they were fake (as I had correctly suspected). Now we can move on to better stuff, like a newer trailer for Marie Antoinette, and we actually have English dialogue this time! It starts out kind of teeny-bopper, but gets more serious, and ends up leaving you thinking that this really may be the real deal from Sofia Coppola. I know what you really want is a full trailer for Superman Returns, and it looks like you'll have one next weekend when you go and see MI:3! I may have to make time for it despite my studying obligations, but it's premiere was actually today in Rome. Yahoo Movies even has some promotional footage from it, mostly with actors praising Tom Cruise (big surprise given Yahoo Movies's other coverage of the film), and I suppose that Tom's manager is trying to boost his PR from pre-Katie Holmes levels. Back to Superman though, IGN actually has a little article with some words from Kate Bosworth on how she's portraying Lois Lane, and I think I like the more classic look they're going for in this one. They also have an interview with Brett Ratner, and I thought it was funny that Bryan Singer told him to not read AICN. I understand why he did that, but I think given that we've actually seen the script and people who have seen it have actually described its worst scenes to us, I really think he should've read it a little. Sony released a few more pictures from the Da Vinci Code, but nothing much better than what we already had. I'm having more fun playing the puzzle game contest on Google, and I feel like I'm keeping my brain warmed up by playing it. Mike Sampson from JoBlo tried out MovieLink's movie download service, and it sounds like Hell in a handbag to get through. Looks like they still have a long way to go before it's actually easy-to-use.

Now for Friday's Feast:

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how polite are you?

I'd say an 8. I don't randomly talk to people, but when people talk to me or ask me stuff I'm usually pretty responsive. And I always hold open doors for strangers and stuff.

What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?

Probably the Colbert Report I watched this morning, but it was from a couple of weeks ago. I don't remember what he was talking about that I liked so much though, sorry (been a long day).

Who is your favorite cartoon character?

Probably Mickey Mouse on the funny side, and Batman on the more serious side. I guess I just like how one-dimensional Mickey Mouse is for comedy and cuteness while Batman has so many sides to him and a rich character (I mean in history and stuff, not money-wise, though he has that, too).

Main Course
Tell about the funniest teacher you ever had.

Hard to say, but my Latin teacher for LAT 506 was pretty funny. So was my Intro to Classical Mythology teacher. He actually had one slide titled, "Zeus the Rapist," which appeared before he actually explained it so of course everyone was cracking up.

Complete this sentence: I strongly believe that ______________________.

the RIAA is taking their Gestapo tactics too far (see my post from Wednesday).

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Goodbye Aperture, Hello Apple Media Center?

I put down the deposit on my apartment for next school year, and it's a charming little complex called Juniper Springs just down the street from where I live. Hopefully, I can stay there for the remainder of my time at UT rather than moving around again, which is contingent on the management being good and the rent not going up. Anyway, I thought I'd cover some Apple news first and kill two birds with one stone. Way back when, I blogged about some reviews totally slamming Aperture, and I thought it was funny how much Jobs was promoting it at MacWorld since people seemed to hate it. Well, word is that Jobs killed that team off. Jobs "fires" people all the time because of his moods, so this may have just been a mood swing, or maybe that product will go away, or maybe he'll hire new staff for it. I guess we can wait and see, but I don't think anyone will hold their breaths with other great professional photo editing products on the market. Apple also held its shareholder meeting, and it really sounds like Jobs doesn't like his shareholders. Anyway, he managed to let slip out that they're well aware of the demand for a media center from Apple, which would imply that probably they're working on one right now. My best guess will be a better version of the Mac Mini optimized for all kinds of media and IP TV and such, but we have no idea how long it'll be before he talks about this again. It could be as soon as the coming weeks or as late as a year from now. All we know for sure is that they're launching some new ad campaign next week, and at least those are always fun to watch.

InformationWeek seems to be pretty smitten by IE7 Beta 2 and claims that IE7 will be better than Firefox! I think their views are somewhat biased since everyone else has to have mixed opinions, but at least they make some good points. Still, I'm not totally sold on it. How good are you at spotting adware? Could you pass a quiz on it? Then try this out, because it may surprise you. I got a 5/8 on it, which I guess is pretty decent. If you want to know what to avoid buying, check out PC Magazine's worst products of Q1 2006. I usually don't trust their opinions, but I think that when it comes to the worst products that they're probably pretty spot-on. I was actually just thinking about Facebook randomly today and how they could make more money and wondered what if they expanded it to companies. Well, I guess I'm psychic because they've done just that. I'm sure you'll find less pictures of underage drinking for these employee photos though. I never got certification for any technical skills, and always thought they were stupid. eWeek confirms that so do companies now, and not a single recruiter has even mentioned them (and I've spoken to a lot over the past couple of years). Bottom line: don't waste your time if you were curious to try one. Google has finally integrated SketchUp, which I covered the acquisition of a long time ago, with Google Earth. So you can like draw a 3-D model of your house and put it right on your map of your neighborhood. Probably unnecessary, but fun to play with. All I have left is game stuff, once again. Nintendo actually changed the name of their next generation console to Wii. Yes, I'm serious, and this short trailer proves it. They even distributed information explaining the title to press outlets, and the two i's are supposed to represent the gamer and the controller. I think it could catch on, but Revolution just sounded cooler. Game Informer grilled their PR manager about it, and I think they were a little too harsh, but better too much than too little. A little video sprung up on Digg of a reenactment of Super Mario Brothers in some University talent show, and it's really quite impressive. If you've played any of the NES or SNES versions, that video is a must-see.

Click to enlargeThat's the official poster for My Super Ex-Girlfriend, and it's not all that exciting, but it's Uma Thurman so I'll take it. I always wanted to read Atlas Shrugged, but I guess I can just watch it now that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will be starring in a movie based on it the Ayn Rand classic. I'll wait to pass judgement on it though. Mike Myers may be trying to make a comeback after a few lackluster movies with a film called How to Survive a Robot Uprising, and since he has a hand in writing it I expect good things. In case you care, Hulk 2 now has a villain, but I was never much of a fan of the original comic anyway, personally. AICN has another great review of United 93, and it sounds like this one will be a real winner! I'm glad that Paul Greengrass is doing good by those poor victims. Now I just have some videos left for you. IGN has a couple more clips from Hard Candy, but you shouldn't watch the if you want to be totally surprised and caught off guard by the movie. Yahoo Movies has the teaser trailer for Wordplay, a documentary of sorts on the New York Times crossword puzzle featuring Jon Stewart. I'm still not clear as to what it actually follows, but at least it has Jon Stewart. They also have a teaser for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which is unnecessarily long but I guess they figure they can get away with it since Brad Pitt is involved. The teaser didn't do much for me, so we'll see what happens with this one.

Now for the 3x Thursday meme:

1. Do you work better alone, or with other people? Why?
It really depends. If they're around my level of intelligence or not lazy, then I work very well with them. But I hate going to like study groups where everyone is dependent on me and no one has cared to study much. That's more of a high school thing though, as nowadays I find myself associated with people who really do the work and we can actually depend on each other equally rather than one person carrying all the weight.

2. Do you worry too much? Why/why not?
Probably, and I guess it's because I have so much going on. I feel like I'm missing out on a lot of opportunities socially, that I may not get what I want career-wise, and that I'll never kick this cluttering habit. But oh well, that's life.

3. Do you believe in life after death? Why/why not? If not, what do you believe?
I do, because I think it's important to have hope. And, of course, I believe in God. I just can't accept that we'd die here and that's it. There's got to be more to us than just what we are physically, and it has to go somewhere when we leave this world.

Bonus Question: When you leave your house and your car, do you make sure that the locks are locked? Why/why not?
Oh yes, because I'd be an idiot not to. I feel pretty safe in Far West, but our house in Houston has been robbed once when I was little and I've had my car towed, so I guess I'm more careful than others.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

DMCA Going Too Far

I've finally caught up on my podcasts, and so now I'm up with all the latest. Aside from the Digg fiasco (which was pure bull, Kevin Rose is a good guy and is not censoring Digg users unless they cheat the system), and this interesting little hoax from Marc Ecko, a big topic has been the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and how far copyright protection litigation has gone nowadays. Some are fighting it, like this awesome group of Canadian artists who think that alienating their fans is stupid, but American artists don't seem to share the sentiment. There's new legislation going to Congress very soon to expand the DMCA that would make the maximum penalty ten years for software and music piracy, which is worse than for child pornographers or assaulting a cop. What's worse is that if you even have the ability to circumvent their anti-copyright protection mechanisms, you could face this prison sentence, and they're allowed to use wiretapping to track you down. It actually makes me physically sick to my stomach that these people are so driven by greed that they'd go so far as to throw you in the slammer for more time than some guy who distributing media of himself fucking an innocent ten-year-old girl just so that you don't try to make sure that some rootkit doesn't compromise your computer's security. I hope that these fat cats in the recording industry, these dim-witted Congressmen, and that poor excuse of an Attorney General burn in Hell if this crap actually passes. This is the part where you all run to your pens or keyboards, and tell your representatives that you will make sure they don't get reelected if they even think about voting for it. This, my friends, is corruption at work right in front of our eyes, and this is the corrosion of the society we used to know that supported and encouraged the arts. If you don't do something about it, then shame on you, because what will you tell your children or grandchildren when they ask why things have gotten so bad?

Alright, enough bad words and anger for one post. If you're a Windows user (as I'm sure most of you are) and ever wanted to try life on a Mac, you should read this post, which provides helpful hints for making a smooth transition. If you're a dork like me, you'll probably get excited about the prospect of buying a new Mac because of all the added features you get built-in. Yahoo has launched its own DVR service, but I have no clue why. They're entering the market kind of late, they're facing a steep battle with Windows Media Center, and I don't know what they have to offer that's so special. Popular Mechanics put up a great article with a rundown of all the popular alternative fuels being researched right now, so it's a great place to get all your facts straight. I'm still rooting for hydrogen/gas hybrids. If you like colors, there's a fun color wheel here meant for web designers, but I'm sure is useful for other purposes (mostly on the computer though, since it gives you their hex values). You can also play a color game here if you're bored. Speaking of games, all I have left is video game news for all three next gens. PSM claims that the PS3 will drop in early November (in time for the start of Christmas shopping) for a surprisingly low $400. Both of these things would sound plausible, but I'm guess we'll have confirmation at E3 in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, Valve has thrown its hat in the arena for the Xbox 360, which isn't a big surprise, but could mean a new Half-Life for it (or possibly a port of the second one). Lastly, it looks like the Revolution controller will have force feedback, which means that when you strike some dude in Zelda with your sword via the controller wand, you'll feel the clang.

Click to enlargeThat picture isn't much, but it comes with a couple of words from Michael Mann about the film not being a remake, but rather something totally new. Not sure if that's just propaganda or not, but we can keep hoping. IGN has a fresh rumor of Jude Law being in line to play The Joker in the Batman Begins sequel, which I hope doesn't pan out or is false since I can't see him in that role at all. Please, WB, go with Hugo Weaving! If you're interested in QT Fest, you can read about day 1 here. All I have left is media for you. I didn't know that David Fincher is shooting Zodiac digitally, and now I know since he's doing a little promo for Final Cut Studio for Apple with a few clips in the background from the movie quiet on the PR front. Yahoo Movies now has the trailer for Pathfinder, which takes place in a time before Christopher Columbus and actually intrigued me though I knew nothing about it beforehand. IESB snagged a few clips from United 93, but they're all rather short and leave you direly wanting more. Lastly, the new trailer for Lonely Hearts is out, and it's surprisingly good. I may actually have more reason to see this movie than Salma Hayek.

Since I accidentally did the wrong meme yesterday, I'll do the Tuesday Twosome today:

1. Do you care what other people think? Explain:
Not really, to a certain extent. I mean I want to be liked in general, but if people just think I'm a nerd and write me off under some stereotype then the Hell with them. I like to spend my time thinking about the people who aren't so judgemental.

2. What two things do you sense you're supposed to do before your life is over?
Get married and buy a house. There's more that I want to do, obviously, but those just feel like duties I need to fulfill almost. Not that I wouldn't want to do them, but I just don't think quite that far ahead usually.

3. Is your family life the way you imagined it would be? If not, what can you do to change it?
Not really, but I don't really think I can change it much. We've grown together in this way, so we're a little distant from each other, except my brother and I. I'm on good terms with my parents and talk to them a few times a week, but we don't have the buddy-buddy relationship many people seem to have with their parents.

4. If you can go back to your childhood for one day. What day and age will you choose?
That's tough, because my childhood blew. I'd probably go back to when I got made fun of and outcast all the time in elementary school and whoop some ass. It'd be worth getting suspended or whatever to teach those punks a lesson.

5. What are two skills you've wanted but don't have?
To be able to play the piano and to talk normally without having to think about it!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

God of War and Mario Excitement

I have way too much tech news today (I can't remember the last time there was this much going on, actually). Hence, I thought it'd be prudent to combine the topic I had most of in this first paragraph, and that would be video games. I usually don't talk too much about specific games, but there's a new trailer for God of War 2 that totally blew my mind. I still don't have the first one, but I'm sure that I'll pick it up over the summer. This game is the very definition of violence, so doesn't it seem strange that no one is getting sued over it? So much more gore than GTA ever had, and it just goes to show how stupid people can be sometimes. Of course, wholesome old Mario is coming back in a big way on the DS, as we can now see in some footage at the official site, and I love the little upgrades they've given to it. For example, really big mushrooms make you a giant, and you can smash through everything. Speaking of the DS, that guy who put up videos reviewing the DS Lite has put up another answering some common questions and adding in a fun segment where you can see the DS Lite take a night on the town. It really tempts me because it's so small and neat. Lastly, we have something new on the PS3: apparently, it's using emulation technology to enforce backwards compatibility (just like the Xbox 360), whereas the PS2 could just read and handle PS1 discs natively. This means that not all old PS games will work, so they'd better work hard to get the best ones to work or else they'll likely lose a lot of interest from fanboys with lots of video game baggage.

I'm going to move on to Apple news since I have quite a few articles on them. The first one claims that Apple is trying to get Blu-ray discs to include iPod content, and that's all we know. I have no clue what that would entail, but I suppose we should look out for more on that very soon. I've mentioned before that they're likely to release a new Nano this year, and more word on who they're switching to as their chip manufacturer would also support that claim. Plus, they may feel that this company could better handle the demand than PortalPlayer did last year when the tiny music player was released. If you currently have an iPod, you should read this for more on how to keep its battery going until we get the new ones we know are probably in the pipe. Microsoft is pushing its Genuine Advantage program even further down our throats with more nagging reminders, a new logo, and less stuff you can get without a validated copy of Windows. I don't think they're really handling all this well, and should've waited to extend the program further until Vista comes out. John Dvorak, in his first editorial I've agreed with in a long while, explains that Microsoft has bigger problems than this in how they buy into propaganda campaigns and create products out of fear that don't do too well. Their Internet strategy was all unorganized, and IE has caused more harm than good. You'd think they'd be able to buy more corporate self-esteem with the dough they rake in. However, you also think that dough would attract more students to major in CS, which has apparently become more glaring by top US schools not placing well in the recent international ACM programming contest. I absolutely despite them for using this as a metric to judge how good US CS programs are doing. It's not our fault that these Russian kids have no life, and I'm sure as Hell not giving up the sauce to study more just to beat them.

I'd better start a new paragraph. Are you tired of the RIAA exploiting little kids for downloading with guerilla tactics? I can't believe they sink so low to feed their greed, and EFF has started a relatively successful petition against their practices. If they get another 15,000 signatures, they'll present it to Congress, so go ahead and sign it right now. I'll wait. Back? Good. If you're anything like me, you often find yourself using files on campus and at home (or at work and at home), and so you just keep e-mailing them to yourself. There's a better alternative, and it's called ThinkFree, a web-based office application created mostly in AJAX and Java. I tried it out and the GB of storage is nice and its support for all the Office formats (plus ability to convert to PDF), but its power editor is a little slow. Anyway, it's pretty nifty and very much free so you might as well try it out. If you have a USB stick, then you'll love this list of must-haves. I didn't know there was such a handy encryptor, file viewer, and photo viewer out there for free and in a self-executing format. You should definitely cherish that list. Click to enlargeLastly, Nokia has unleashed its new N series phones that they're actually calling "multimedia computers" because they can do so much, but I'm just not sure that they're worth the hefty price tags attached to them. I'll cede that this is a great step in the right direction for integrating some of our most important portable electronics needs. You can read a little more about each model here if you want to learn more.

If you thought we'd be light on movie news because of all the tech news, then you'd be dead wrong. The first thing to really catch my eye was the first 8 minutes of Hard Candy, and it's not much more than an exposition (they're not going to give you the juicy stuff, obviously). It's not representative of the movie as a whole though, so don't think it'll be that slow (from what I've read, at least). We also have a clip from Chan-wook Park's Lady Vengeance by way of IGN, which is quite a bit more exciting and brings out that haunting style we've come to expect (nay, demand) from him. What's also wildly interesting is multiple sources claiming that Quentin Tarantino may be directing a Jimi Hendrix biopic, which doesn't seem his style of film, but he's Tarantino so he can pretty much do whatever pleases him. I should note that the so-called announcement is from some no-name studio, whereas Tarantino probably wouldn't do anything without the brothers Weinstein since he's worked with them so much. I didn't think from what we've seen of Over the Hedge that it would be special at all in its genre, but apparently a reviewer at AICN with no biases regarding the film before seeing it seemed to really like it. Let's hope that the movie has better gags than the trailers and commercials let on. Latino Review reviewed the Iron Man script, which I thought was a weird hero to base a movie on and it looks like El Chavo agrees with me, but claims that it's a decent script at the same time. One more superhero item: AICN has another black Spidey picture, but it's very strange and I'm guessing that they covered him up to prevent bootleg shots (like that very one) from being taken. However, it's likely a photoshop from this picture, which actually looks better. Lastly, Al Pacino has joined the cast of Ocean's 13 as a wealthy hotelier, and I'm guessing that he'll be the antagonist. He does make a good bad guy, after all.

Now for a Wednesday Mind Hump:

Find a musician who was born on your birthday and give me a list of three or four songs by that artist. You can do this for as many musicians as you want.
Chuck Berry was actually born on my birthday in 1926, and "Johnny B Goode" is one of my favorite oldies. He also made that catchy tune "Route 66" though, and I used to love singing "My ding-a-ling" when I was really small. I just got a kick out of it, for some reason.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Another Theory: Windows on Apple in Phases

I'm getting started a bit late on this post, and yet I need to finish quickly because I have some NSC stuff to do (I'm going to have to get very comfortable with PHP and forms very fast). A former Apple employee has put up his theory of Apple's approach to getting Windows on a Mac as being a multi-phase campaign. I'm not saying that his opinion is so special just because he used to work there, but I'm sure he was exposed greatly to how they operate, and I'm sure that his guess is at least as good as anyone else's (everyone loves guessing Apple's strategy for some reason). I like his ideas though: what if they took baby steps up the ladder rather than go really fast and risk crashing in the process? So right now, they just trying to test the waters, but next they could let you install Windows on Leopard right out of the box, and then they could move to virtualization, which would really be blazing fast. All this stuff does take significant time and effort, after all, and would probably take as long as these phases anyway. But wait, he thinks more will happen. Then they can actually develop ways to keep Windows on Macs more secure than on normal PCs (like monitoring the kernel more closely and such). How brilliant would that be? The problem is that I'm sure Windows could easily make things a lot harder for Mac users in whatever its Windows after Vista will be to keep it from getting this far. In that case, Apple could try out Darwine. Why do we keep talking about Boot Camp? You all must think I'm nuts, but it's really like the unthinkable has come true, and now this opens the door to more impossibilities. This is a marked change in the personal computing market, and five years from now you'll wonder why you ever ridiculed how much I covered it back in 2006.

Remember that 17" MacBook Pro that has been heavily rumored? It has finally arrived. The only real difference other than the increased size (as far as I can tell, at least) is that it comes with a 2.16 Ghz Core Duo and it costs $2800. It's clearly not marketed to your average Joe, but it's something that people like me would hump a mule for, and of course the tech elite already have preordered. Do you also remember those free iPods loaded with Creative Commons content the IPac gave to Senators to get them to use the technology they're responsible for regulating? Well some, including Conrad Stevens, have been sending them back despite taking thousands of dollars from other multimedia PACs and it being totally legal. If your Senator is doing this, you should be trying to get him out of Congress because you have no idea how bad things can get if only these rich companies get their requests heard (think RIAA and DRM, but worse than we've had to face before). Microsoft has been opening up its Windows Live program to give e-mail accounts to students at certain colleges to get them hooked early and likely to help beta test. I actually think this is a good idea since our school's e-mail sucks and I'm sure other universities have similar issues. Google has massively updated Google Maps with better satellite data, but mostly for Europe. Still, it's fun to look at satellite photos of foreign lands. GamerDad has an interesting perspective on how the Xbox 360 is too cheap, and I knew what he would basically assert when I read the title: the price really should be higher. Consoles usually launch prohibitively expensive, and then are usually more reasonably priced once the really stellar stuff comes out. This would alleviate shortages, and still allow them to come out ahead in pricing when the PS3 comes out while not having to take such a severe debt on each unit sold. There's still the Revolution coming out as well though, and Joystiq has a listing of the only 10 3rd party games exclusive to it using the new controller so far. I'm sure the list will grow once we see more of the controller in action. Lastly, it's sickening that NFL player Ricky Manning, Jr actually assaulted a guy in a Denny's because he was using a laptop and was teasing him for being a nerd (the assault came when the guy complained to the manager). Maybe he shouldn't have complained, but I sure as Hell wouldn't stand up to an NFL player, and I wouldn't want to leave because I was being harassed, and I think it's sad how that guy will face no real punishment for this. What a moron.

Click to enlargeThat right there is the script cover for Tarantino's half of Grind House, and I just love how classic-campy-horror it looks. Fresh rumors have resurfaced in Batman Begins sequel casting suggesting that Hugo Weaving may be in the running for The Joker, but I'm afraid that reading all the rumors will get me too excited so I'll leave that to you. AICN got a couple of Spider-man 3 set pictures that probably won't get you quite as excited, but something is better than nothing. I wonder if we'll be able to tell which scenes were filmed in Cleveland? IGN has a clip from a movie called Art School Confidential with an actor who looks suspiciously like Cillian Murphy but isn't. Anyway, I think the movie could be another Garden State, but I'm probably just talking out of my ass. Oh well, check it out anyway and form your own opinion. Lastly the nominations for the highly coveted MTV Movie Awards (end sarcasm) are up with so much focus on young adults and teens that it almost sickens me. The fact that Crash isn't a Best Movie candidate but The 40-Year Old Virgin is really doesn't look good for the show.

Now for some Monday Madness:

Name 5 Things that:

1. Make you smile:

Freddie (my brother's puppy), being done with this semester, the prospect of landing a dream job right out of college, my new site design for NSC (I'm so proud because I've never actually had to create a site before), and other people smiling at me.

2. You can see on your desk right now:
My monitor, Ikea desk lamp, headphones, a fun freebie from VMWare (it's a rubbery toy that's hard to describe), and my scientific calculator (I spent a long time on Physics tonight).

3. Kept you busy this weekend:
Easy: Diffy Q homework (that was crazy), my Physics homework (didn't even finish it til tonight), CS 337 project (string matching), the NSC site, and my normal routine weekend stuff (working out, church, blogging, guitar, etc.).

4. You'll be doing this coming week:
Finishing that CS 337 project, turning in my last Physics lab for the semester (thank God), working more on the NSC site (it never ends), starting my CS 352 project (cache simulator), and starting my last Physics homework.

5. You've said to make someone else smile:
Look at the new NSC site, your puppy is beautiful, imitation of our Physics professor (thick Russian accent), I got a picture of you two dancing (she had a boyfriend, and was just dancing with a friend but was not happy that I was keeping a record of it), and if you keep telling him things are easy the final will be really hard (this was because a friend of mine in CS 337 remarked that some proof he gave us was really easy).

Whoops, so much for a short post. huh? =P

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Why Intel's New Path is Good and Bad

Did you all have a good weekend? I hope it was better than mine, where I spent way too much time working on homework. Oh well, I'm pretty happy that I got this done, and hope to add content to it very soon. I had a couple of Intel articles today, and they actually go well together so I'm going to treat them as such. I'm going to start out with the bad. Remember that Viiv thing I was jumping up and down about? Yeah, about that, I'm having second thoughts after reading this article. Apparently, it's nothing more than clever marketing at this point. That's not to say that it won't get better, but right now it really is just a low standard for a media-capable machine, which would be most new machines nowadays with more than one cores under the processor hood. Intel as a company is shifting towards lower power consumption though, which is good. Aside from our electricity bills getting higher, there's also the concern for laptop users tired of being limited by a cord for their laptop for a reasonable amount of usage. What's better about this though, is that they're ending their stupid clockspeed race, which confused consumers into buying more Ghz even though it really didn't help that much. The end of that article seems to suggest bigger things for Viiv, and for the sake of Intel's reputation, I hope so. Not to say that Intel's reputation is golden or anything, but they lose credibility if people pay extra for a pretty "Viiv" sticker with nothing but XP Media Center and coupons inside. One thing they've greatly succeeded at is covering up their shortcomings when compared with AMD with this media storm of the new Macs and, of course, Viiv. So they're on the right track in general, so let's see if they stay that way.

I'm going to get the Apple rumors out of the way right now since you know they're coming. Apparently, new 8GB and 10GB iPod Nanos are in the making and could come out as early as this summer, especially if they want to retain the public's attention until they're ready to release that shiny full screen iPod they have in some secret facility. This wouldn't be surprising since there's been strong speculation of dropped iPod pricing, and this would fill the gap. Apple has also quietly opened new features on iTunes to let you download songs from commercials and from tv shows (namely just American Idol right now, but I'm sure more will follow). It's a great idea because I've actually heard a few commercials with songs that drive me crazy (in a good way, not because they suck). Since I'm on music, I might as well plug PandoraFM, which integrates Last.FM with Pandora to give you a better online radio experience, and I think it's an awesome idea (with Pandora's full blessings). One more thing on Apple though: someone put up a video of switching between Linux, Windows, and OS X on a Mac, and it just blew me away. It's not that amazing of a video, I just never thought I'd see the day when it was possible and so fast. If you want to download that video, you should try keepvid. Do you remember when there was a lot of buzz on e-Textbooks? Well, they're actually around now, but being held back by pricing issues. However, they've been becoming more laxed with DRM, and I think that once laptops get cheaper that it'll really take off.

It was no surprise to me that Silent Hill came out on top this weekend, but I kind of expected better than just $20 million. It was a bit weird that American Dreamz bombed though with under $4 million despite having better reviews. It had a pretty weak mainstream publicity campaign though. AICN's Merrick got his hands on the Casino Royale script, and he doesn't seem to be too thrilled with it. It doesn't sound bad, just not really much of a change from what we've seen before (except for possibly less flashy action scenes). However, AICN's Massawyrm saw MI:3 and loved it. This sounds like the best Mission Impossible movie, and I'd expect nothing less from JJ Abrams, whose reputation precedes him.

Since none of today's news was really picturesque, I thought I'd put up a picture my brother sent me of what he saw on the street somewhere in downtown Houston. The quality is low because it's from is camera phone, but a pretty neat find (I wonder who did it, because it definitely wasn't me):

How neat

Now, of course, it's time for Unconscious Mutterings:

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

  1. Rising :: Tide

  2. Third :: Movement

  3. Disruptive :: Noises

  4. Surround :: Sound

  5. Distant :: Shore

  6. Suction :: Cup

  7. Fried :: Chicken

  8. Nuggets :: Golden

  9. Clip :: Paper

  10. San Antonio :: Texas

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Better Thoughts on Windows on a Mac

I was supposed to go see Silent Hill last night, but by the time we got there it was almost sold out and late enough that we preferred drinking to trying to find another theater. It hasn't gotten the best reviews anyway though, I'm afraid. The rest of my post will still stick to Friday news. Robert Cringely has weighed in one more time on all this Windows on Mac stuff, and his view may be the most radical but the most sensible of them all. What if Leopard implemented the Windows API to allow Windows applications to run natively on Macs without installing Windows at all?! His reasoning is great and claims that they'd allow for alternate options, but using WINE would be too risky (Windows could probably easily break it) and so this would probably be the better choice. This could be what all the "virtualization" rumors for Leopard actually centered around. It would actually complement the monolothic kernel change Cringely supposes, which wouldn't make a difference for most people, but the geeks out there would probably see a performance boost, and I'm not sure if they could implement the Windows API otherwise. If they want to do this, they have to do this now before the Intel Macs spread too much, but I think the added bonus of this is that developers wouldn't have to create versions of their software for Macs if the didn't want to and yet it would still work just as well. Hence, all the more reason to buy a Mac if there's nothing the average person wanted to do on it that they can't, and at the same speed. If you only read one opinion on this stuff, read Cringely's.

Apple may also be changing their chip maker for the iPod, but I doubt that this will affect anyone much (unless their new bidder promises better power consumption, which would be sweet). Poor PortalPlayer never saw it coming though. Another quite intriguing topic today is how eBay, Microsoft, and Yahoo are reacting to the dictatorship of Google. eBay may be ready to strike a deal with the other two companies (public or private) to fend off threats from the company, and while it sounds like just a rumor, would it really be so farfetched? Meanwhile, Microsoft hired the Chief of Ask Jeeves to lead their Internet Unit, which is clearly a move to improve MSN search. Their Live Drive may even launch before GDrive (not sure if someone has beaten Google to one of its own product ideas before). This situation gets curiouser and curiouser. Have you ever considered what things would be like if Microsoft released Vista for free? This blogger has, and while he admits (and I agree) this would never happen, it makes for some interesting coffeetable discussion. If you're a programmer then this little article is a must-read as it details tips on how to best optimize your code. It actually reminded me to download a profile to help out with a problem in a project I'm working on right now using some string matching algorithms, so I thought I'd share it. Lastly, I just thought it was interesting how Nintendo's DS and DS Lite dominate the Japanese console market and dwarfs the PSP.

I dug up some pretty good videos today. I usually don't fall for these sappy romantic movies because they're usually all the exact same, but I'm kind of intrigued by The Lake House because at least it has a creative plot. Moviefone has that trailer. There's also a new Bandidas trailer in another country, but it's all in English and makes it looks like a pretty fun movie. I'm sure it'll just be a B movie, but as long as it's enjoyable I doubt I'll care when I see it. The full American trailer for The Omen is now out, and I think it looks pretty good. Is it just me, or does it seem like we've had a lot of horror movies in the pipe lately? Yahoo Movies has a new clip from MI:3, and it's very teasing but good. They even have some commentary to boot. If you want to read a rather representative review of Silent Hill, check out this one. It sounds like it only appeals to fans of the game, and supposedly lacks character development and good dialogue. Lastly, IGN interviewed Eva Longoria (from Desperate Housewives and The Sentinel), and it sounds like she'd be doing so much more if she wasn't tied down to the shooting schedule of Desperate Housewives.

I just had a few little things to note. I registered for all the classes I wanted to take yesterday (CS 378 was actually waitlisted minutes after I registered for it), and I think it's a decent schedule. I would've preferred to have ended earlier on Fridays, but you can't have it all. BBC had an interesting article about how rock stars are increasing concert ticket prices to compensate for their lowered album revenue (ACL actually went up a few bucks itself), and the so-called rockonomics is actually endorsed by a rather famous economist who I remember from my high school days: Alan Krueger. One last thing, I thought I'd post an interesting postcard from over at PostSecret:

Click to enlarge

I'm going to try out the Great Pretenders meme today:

If you could spend 24 hours with a celebrity:

1. Who would s/he be?

Probably Jessica Alba.
2. Where would you expect him/her to bring you?
A copy of the Sin City 2 script!
3. Where would you bring him/her to?
My bedroom? A nice restaurant? Zilker at sunset? You pick.
4. What would you like to do with him/her?
This is way too obvious to answer =P Come on, it's Jessica Alba!
5. What's the one thing you'd been always wanting to ask the celebrity?
Do you get tired of people gawking at you?
6. If s/he didn't treat you well, would s/he be your favorite celebrity?
Probably not.
7. What would you give to him/her as a gift before saying goodbye so s/heÂ’d remember you?
Not really sure. I don't have anything all that special to give Jessica Alba.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

iTunes Prices Stay, iPod Prices Drop?

What it do, everyone? Sorry, I just felt like saying that because I think it sounds funny. I finally saw some other apartments today in Far West, and I liked a unit at Juniper Springs better than a place I liked in North Campus, which costs $11 more a month for 100 less square feet. I'll probably go with Juniper, but we'll decide soon enough. I'm definitely staying at an Extended Stay hotel this summer though, which I knew nothing about until now so expect my impressions on that in a couple of months. You came here to read about real news though, like rumors that the iPod may actually drop in price. I think their margins have reached a sweet spot, and so it would only make sense for them to drive up sales with lower prices. Here's the crazy thing though: you're going to pay the same for those FairPlay songs on iTunes! I guess technically it's still a stalemate, but I still consider it the industry blinking first (it was bound to happen one one side, and Jobs is a pretty demanding kind of guy). They haven't inked any deals continuing the pricing per se, which means that they could hold their content over Jobs head and put pressure on him later, but they seem pretty discouraged that they haven't managed to scare him at all. I'm not really all that surprised. If I was Jobs I wouldn't budge either. What does he have to gain from higher prices, or lose from them pulling content? They know in the back of their heads that the iPod is what popularized digital music downloads (you know it's true, don't pretend you're cooler than everyone else), and if their songs can't play on iPods then people are more likely to pirate it rather than try some other service. It's still a situation on the edge though, because you have to wonder what would happen if they all agree at once to pull their content from iTunes in a boycott of sorts. I agree with what Jobs said about them being greedy, but I'm sure he wants to keep the prices so low because he knows the mind trick it plays on people to only have to pay 99 cents for a song.

Prices are changing in video games right now as well, and for the better. The PS2 will be dropping its price to $130, which is actually the same as a 1 GB iPod Shuffle (I think the former would be a better value, personally). Nothing yet about the Xbox, which is still $150, but there are rumors that both Xbox 360 packs will drop in price (by $100 for the premium, and $80 for the core) this October. It may sound kind of far-fetched, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is just the length to which they're willing to go to lock in an early victory against the PS3 based just on a steep price difference. We all know that there's a war brewing between HD-DVD and Blu-ray right now, and GameDaily claims that Toshiba has the edge since they've managed to get their product out first. I don't think it's much of a lead for them, and I think most nerds (myself included) are hoping that both formats fail because they care too much about annoying DRM. Microsoft goes to pretty good lengths to test some of their products on Macs, and an employee there has actually posted pictures of their ridiculously large Mac lab (including racks summing to 150 Mac Minis in on picture). I may actually pass out if I was in that lab. Have you ever stumbled upon a site in another language and wanted a quick translation? I have several times, and now there's a Firefox extension that takes advantage of Google Translator to do just that. Lastly, I think it's awesome that Miller has been developing beer cans that actually employ "cold can" technology that would allow you to quickly cool your can when activated (I guess this would mean opening the can). It's quite environmentally friendly, and would greatly reduce the need for ice chests with beer when on the beach or fishing or something.

Click to enlargeCinempire has dug up a few new pictures from the Da Vinci Code, and I'm almost positive that this clue was in the movie but I can't believe that I've forgotten what it meant. I just read the book a year ago! It looks like Angelina Jolie is willing to do a Tomb Raider 3 now despite saying that she was done with the series earlier. It makes you wonder just how much money they threw at her. Masswyrm over at AICN got to see United 93, and he's given a glowing review for the Paul Greengrass take on the 9/11 flight that didn't crash into the Towers. He made some good points about why it isn't too soon, and I now totally agree with him and look forward to seeing it. Someone else at AICN saw The Notorious Bettie Page, and seemed to really enjoy it. His review wasn't as positive, but it still sounds like a solid movie. The Cannes lineup has finally been announced, and I just have two words of exhilaration for you: Southland Tales. I'm excited to hear about what Richard Kelly has been working on behind closed doors since the Festival is in the middle of May (just in time for when school ends, actually). Fox is going to be attaching a seven minute preview for X3, which will also be at Cannes (strangely enough), with the series finale of That 70s Show on May 11. I actually don't doubt that it'll be very well put together and make people want to see it, but I know better, unfortunately (and so should many of you since I've posted script information before). Lastly, IGN has another clip from Silent Hill, and this one isn't as great as what we've seen in the past, but I don't care at this point and am gunning to see it tomorrow night, actually. So if my post is very late tomorrow, you'll know why.

Now for the Thursday Threesome:

Onesome- Hey, good lookin': Makeover time! What's the one thing about yourself you would change if you could? From your hair style to your nose to your weight, you name it ;)
I'm not really sure. I guess I'd want a tighter butt? I'm not so dissatisfied with how I look anymore since I got my contacts. Now it's just how I sound (the cluttering).

Twosome- whatcha got cookin'?: Do you like to cook? What's your favorite meal that you cook yourself? Care to share the recipe?
I do like to cook, but I don't know how to cook enough stuff since my mom spoils me and sends me so much food. I make a sausage dish that I really like, but the recipe isn't all that great so I won't share it. When I actually come up with or acquire some stellar recipes though, I'll be sure to share.

Threesome- How's about cookin' something up with me?: If you like to cook, do you like to share the kitchen/grill? If you share, do you direct the goings on, or just let the other person do their thing? Or do you prefer to solo it, subscribing to the "too many cooks spoil the broth," theory?
I don't really mind either way. As long as the other people involved know what they're doing, I have no problem working with them/being led by them. I'm kind of a novice, after all.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Live Drive and Notes from a Microsoft Employee

I have so much work to do that I don't know how I'm going to get through it all. In addition to my normal homework (including two projects, each due in the next two weeks), I have to create a totally new NSC site (meaning that I need to learn PHP and CSS real quick-like). I don't mind the latter, but I just wish it was all I had to do. Anyway, I thought I'd squeeze my Microsoft articles into this first paragraph. Thanks to an accidental leak from Google about their GDrive, Microsoft has gone public with its Live Drive project to provide an online hard drive of sorts. No other details on it really, but they did mention in passing that they were looking to make Live a platform in its own right (I suppose similar to .NET). It's easy to attach a singular face to Microsoft (namely, Bill Gates) to these things when they're announced, but they're really the efforts of lots of people. One employee has posted his insights from working in the company, and it doesn't sound too bad. I don't want to work there for largely the same reasons he provided as not wanting to work there at first, and he confirms some of my fears. I'm scared to get into a large company because of dealing with annoying managers, and it sounds like Microsoft has a good number of these. It also sounds like things vary a little too much between projects, and I'd hate to get stuck at a bad one. However, the benefits of working there sound very cool (though not as good as the publicity afforded to Google's work environment). Who knows, maybe I'll apply for Microsoft again my senior year.

There's actually one more quick Microsoft item: they're planning on revealing more details regarding an HD-DVD attachment for the Xbox 360 at E3 in May. What's questionable is that if they can manage to get around the format's obligatory copy mechanism (since the Xbox 360 doesn't support them), who else can? Or will this mean a sub-par HD-DVD player attachment? There's no shortage of news from Apple: they're actually planning on building a new 50-acre campus in Cuppertino (their current home) because they're expanding too quickly to be supported by the buildings currently available, and it sounds like they could make a campus that would look cooler than the Google campus and attract better talent. They also may be announcing a 17-inch MacBook Pro at the National Association of Broadcasters conference next week along with some upgraded software and performance demos on existing software. No word yet on a 12-inch model, and I'm guessing that this isn't a priority for them right now for some reason. If you think that's all from your favorite fruit-enamored company, then you'd be wrong. They've now released Bonjour, their stellar network configuration application, for Windows. I don't get what they gain by this, or if it was easier to do this port now that they're on Intels, but Windows users with complicated home networks should be rejoicing. Meanwhile, Sony has created a DVD Walkman, and while it looks cool I just don't see people running out to get this unless they're yuppies. For just under $200, it's not much different from what's already out there, but Sony always seems to be behind. Lastly, AT&T has created a strategic partnership with Akimbo Systems on the road to providing IP TV services. I'm interested to see how pricing will turn out.

Click to enlargeThat's one of a few new pictures from Superman Returns, and I was just intrigued by the black Superman costume. Could Venom be in Superman Returns also?! (kidding, of course) A few new clips from MI:3 have sprung up, but I haven't gotten a chance to check them out yet. I'm pumped up about the movie enough as it is, no point in getting more worked up. Remember Jurassic Park 4 being in pre-production? Well it looks like they're just now writing a script (though it looks like they already wrote one and scrapped it, but that's not what the direct quote would suggest). I don't see why they would want to film this alongside Indiana Jones 4 though, because I don't see how Spielberg could multitask two movies of this magnitude. Tarantino may be working on a TV show pilot with Johnny Knoxville and some other person I don't care about, but I'm surprised that he'd be doing this while working on Grind House. I guess it's just not a very time intensive project? Or maybe his involvement in the show is limited? In a recent interview, Eli Roth talked a bit about what he'd like to explore in Hostel 2, and I didn't bother reading it since I still haven't seen the first, but I'm sure that horror fans will eat up whatever he has to say here. Lastly, JoBlo interviewed Roger Avary, which I hope helps remind you to go see Silent Hill this weekend (since Avary wrote it and helped with 3 Tarantino scripts). It's quite a long interview, but surprisingly fun to read.

Now for the Wednesday Mind Hump:

1. Are you the photographer in the family, or is it someone else?
I've actually just become the photographer in the family :) I started off excusing myself as "I just got a new camera," but now it's "I love taking pictures on my pretty camera, sorry." I don't know if we had a picture fiend before in the family.

2. What kind of camera do you have? Digital or film?
Digital: Canon Powershot SD 450 Digital ELPH, and I love it :) It's ultra-compact, so you're bound to get red-eye, battery life issues, and less than a full set of standard manual controls (namely, shutterspeed), but it's pretty solid for the purposes I've had for it.

3. Are you photogenic? Or do you run whenever someone breaks out the camera?
I don't think I take very good pictures, but I'm more photogenic now than I was before since I don't have to wear glasses, which are notorious for annoying glare problems.

4. If you could take a moment in your life, the best one you've ever had, and photograph it so that you could remember it forever, which moment would it be?
That's extremely hard, and I don't think I could possible answer it without a few minutes later thinking "Wait, what about that other time." I'll give a couple of really good ones. One was my first trip to New York City when I walked out of the subway station since we took the subway from the airport and my eyes got like 5 times bigger. Another was my confirmation retreat when I met someone very special. It was a girl, but we never went out, though she had a pretty big impact on me anyway.

This post wouldn't be complete without birthday wishes to my blogging buddy Lizzie :) Usually I had reading personal blogs, but I love hers and wish her all the best on her special day!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Dvorak's Next Piece of Advice for Apple

I have an amazing amount of stuff to talk about today, so let's just get right to it. I'm going to reveal a bias of mine right now: I've agreed with/liked very few John Dvorak articles in my time, and I used to subscribe to PC Magazine (before I realized it wasn't that good and Popular Science was a better use of time and money). I like him slightly more when I listen to him on TWiT, but I still think he's a nutjob (not a stupid one, but a nut nonetheless). You'll probably remember that not too long ago, he suggested that Apple would be switching to Windows for its OS needs. Now, he thinks that they should make Mac OS X an open source project. What's funny is how reasonable his editorial sounds until the last paragraph. I couldn't agree more that Boot Camp is just "test marketing" than anything else, and I think I've mentioned that in passing before. He's not the first to suggest that Apple should try putting OS X on a PC (as I posted about last week), and while I personally don't think that's going to happen any time soon, I agree that it's going to be the best way for them to eat at Microsoft's market share. However, therein lies the problem. How do you take on the 500-lb gorilla? Dvorak's school of thought would suggest that they should open up Mac OS X, let it duke it out with Linux, and subsequently pull the rug from right under Windows with the spotlight on OS X. I can't see how this would possibly help their situation. I think he's failing to see the claw-like grip Microsoft holds on the testicles of America's computers, and the sheer number of those people who don't know what Linux is much less what open source is or even care. I can't imagine any amount of press convincing people that this would make OS X any more viable for them, and so I don't see how Dvorak can endorse such a strategy. The challenge is to show people who believe that everything they use won't function without Windows can work in OS X, not to let them in on a battle with Linux (which also sounds inane, by the way).

Things aren't going all that well for Apple right now in actuality, with another lawsuit being brought against them from Burst for patent infringement. The also have sued Microsoft and settled for $60 million, but Apple seems to think the they've done nothing wrong, and this is probably going to hurt their current plans since there's speculation of a lot going on there. We do know that we'll get to take a look at Leopard in August at WWDC though, and one rumor that has already come through the pipe is built-in virtualization. The new rumor is that they may be abandoning the MACH microkernel, which I think may be a little too radical for their taste. I haven't taken OS yet so I'm not sure about this, but wouldn't switching to a monolithic kernel render all MACH-O executables useless? There's some good news for Apple: Tech Report is reporting that the Core Duo is quite impressive and has the best performance per watt of any PC chip on the market right now. That should give Mac users something to be proud of. Microsoft isn't lying down on the job either though, and CoolTechZone thinks that they're poised for a big leap. I don't know if I agree with that assessment, but they're really giving it their all with Office 12 and Live at least. TechCrunch has a little roundup of the big mapping sites out there, and gives its endorsement to Yahoo Maps. I see their points, but I think it's a matter of personal preference, and I actually like Google Maps best because it's the fastest and most reliable (usually). Lastly, if you've ever wanted to scan in documents using your phone, then you'll want to check this out.

Reviews are already in for the first HD-DVDs to hit the market, and it sounds like the video quality is amazing, but that's about it. Of course, they reviewed them on 1080p-enabled televisions, which are rare, and television broadcasts aren't even in such a high format as this blogger points out. Remember that bootleg Silent Hill clip I had last week? Well, the real version is now on Yahoo Movies, and the release of the movie itself is just a couple of days away. I only hope I can manage to see it Friday or Saturday night. There are minor rumblings that Julia Roberts may be back in Ocean's 13, but nothing has been announced yet and I'm guessing that most of you won't care until we get a script review. If you want a little more information on Lex Luthor in Superman Returns, then you can read this IGN article about his style. Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise now have a child they're calling Suri, and I'm guessing that she'll grow up to be pretty hot. I'm not a lesbian, but this is still a great postcardI'm not going to spoil it, but last night's 24 was off the hook, and I have a mixed reaction to Kiefer Sutherland's revelation of a movie script being in the works. I really hope it isn't a gimmicky, campy kind of movie. If you're a Kiefer fan, then be sure to pick up the latest Rolling Stone for a very interesting interview. My last item is actually an interview, and it's a humorous one with Rob Corddry of the Daily Show and now of an indie flick called Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story (I don't like that they imitated the Anchorman title, even if it was on purpose).

Now for the Ten on Tuesday meme:

10 Favorite Singers/Bands
10. Aerosmith
9. Rilo Kiley
8. Common
7. Incubus
6. Boyz II Men
5. The Roots
4. Kanye West
3. Audioslave
2. Coldplay
1. Red Hot Chili Peppers

Monday, April 17, 2006

Boot Camp Beats Parallels?

I promised pictures from my weekend, and so here are a couple of my favorites (not sure why it got so pixelated, but if you click on them you'll see the normal quality versions):
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
The top one is one of my cousins and the bottom one is my brother's fiance with their puppy Freddie (who was much more loveable this weekend). You can see all the rest from the weekend over here, and I think I took a number of surprisingly great shots. Sorry for the delay of this post (I fudged the time at the bottom), but I was knee deep in Physics homework (I know, what's new?). Moving along, HeraldNet wrote a little article about their experience with Boot Camp versus their time with Parallels Workstation, which provides a virtualization for Windows within Mac OS X, and it looks like the prefer Boot Camp! Sound kind of weird? Shouldn't it be better to run them both at the same time? Well, first off, Parallels isn't completed yet (then again, Boot Camp is still in beta itself), so maybe we can expect more out of the retail version. Their concerns seemed to be little annoyances: like not being able to play DVDs (yet), lack of native graphics drivers, and slight issues with installing XP on it. I would think another concern would be the memory management since I would guess there to be separate virtual memory address spaces, but the performance hit could've just been more from the graphics drivers. I don't think it should be such a big deal to have to boot between using either OS because it just sounds weird to use the two simultaneously since they're so different and would likely only serve to confuse and frustrate you as you have to flip through two sets of hotkeys and such. Anyway, the lesson to be learned here is to stick to Boot Camp until Parallels is actually read to release (they've just fallen into a lot of buzz talk with the release of Boot Camp, so it's really not their fault that they're getting criticized).

There may be more Macs to load XP onto very soon with strong rumors of an Intel-based iBook being announced as soon as next week, which would make sense since it would fall in line with their financial release. I would actually be more surprised if it wasn't announced since this has been something people have been quietly discussing for a little while now. If you use Microsoft Word, then you should definitely read this list of great tips since it's unlikely that you're truly the master of it you may think you are. Say what you want about OpenOffice or LaTeX, but MS Office is the best word processor out there (just admit it, already). Do you find it hard to keep up with the dozens of Google services that have sprung up over the past couple of years? A comprehensive list of them has actually appeared on Wikipedia, which Google would do good to imitate on their own site. At least they finally started up the Da Vinci Quest. If you want to see some really awesome looking blogs, then I refer you to this list of some really neat looking ones. I wish I had that kind of visual creativity! If you hate .NET, then you can use this as fuel to your fire to support Java instead. And lastly, I just think it's cool how cars are getting smarter with how you drive to balance out the car's weight distribution and such for a smoother ride.

I'm pretty sleepy, so I'm going to zip through the movie news. There's an official trailer for Clerks 2 available, and it's pretty good, but I still prefer the Internet-only trailer. There's also a trailer out for Disney's Meet the Robinsons, but it's really nothing special, in my opinion. Resident Evil: Afterlife is now definitely on its way to production, as confirmed by Sony Screen Gems. Never saw the second one myself, but I don't think the series will get much better since it didn't sound better than the first. All I have left is pictures. There are a couple at IGN of the ghost ship from the next movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean saga, and it looks a lot like the first one to me, but I haven't seen that movie's ship in a long time anyway. A mysterious LJ has stumbled upon a number of new pictures from Marie Antoinette, and they look visually incredible, but it's not like that says much about the movie itself (though I do hope it turns out well).

Now for some Monday Madness:

1. What was the highlight of your weekend?
Probably just relaxing late Saturday night at my brother's place when his puppy inched her way over to my lap and let me pet her without her biting me much (she was mostly just licking me).

2. What was the best meal you ate this past weekend?
Probably the barbecue at my brother's place complete with paneer, ribs, chicken, sausage, and fajita meat.

3. Did you spend time with anyone special?
Most of the family members who mean the most to me, so yes.

4. Did the weekend seem to drag, or go by too quickly?
Way too quickly! I knew it was flying by as it was happening, and I knew I'd feel sad to come back to all the work I had this week (especially that Hellish Physics homework).