I got my address for my place this summer and looked into the place a little, and it looks awesome (it's in Downtown Seattle!). Amazon really takes care of its interns; we even get maid service! Anyway, sorry to have missed so many posts. Things have finally calmed down a bit for me. I wanted to talk a bit about a couple of videos I checked out on Vodpod and really liked. The first is an episode of the BBC show "World's Most Powerful," where a really annoying host compares the most powerful men/women in various fields. The information in the video is worth enduring the host for though, because it's a great synopsis of the rise of Apple and of Microsoft. An even more thorough look is Pirates of Silicon Valley, which is a mix between a documentary and a re-enactment of various events from the early years of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The acting isn't especially good, but the accuracy of the information is hauntingly accurate, despite being exaggerated at times. The main point is that anyone who doesn't think that the world would be a totally different place without these men is a lunatic. Someone else may have come along and done what they did, but it wouldn't have been the same. These two men did amazing things, and they're definitely one of my idols. You can say what you want about the cult of Apple or the evils of Microsoft, but there's no doubt that these men embody the heart of the beginnings of modern-day computing, despite their many weakpoints. Yes, Steve Jobs really is quite temperamental, but Bill Gates isn't quite as weasly as they portray him (though he isn't very charismatic, either). It's really fascinating how different they are, and how totally polar their succeses were. Steve Jobs enjoyed huge success as this hero figure, especially given that he popularized the personal computer, while Bill Gates is really just known as this incredibly talented businessman more than a visionary. What you get out of these videos is this drive within them (I know, the second one really exaggerates this) that has become more common nowadays (at least among people I've known). What's important to understand is that they became passionate about something where there was literally nothing there to be excited about and created something out of it. It's easy to believe in Jesus if you shake his hand after you see him crucified, and it's easy to get excited about computers once you see what they can do. Anyway, the videos are fun to watch if you're bored or need a break from whatever you may be working on. By the way, they concluded the most powerful mogul to be Bill Gates, but I don't know if I'd be able to decide because Steve Jobs has a lot of power over telling people what they want whereas Bill Gates just has ridiculous market share.
What's the difference between all these majors related to computers? I love this rundown of the six major ones, and it's fairly accurate. I do think it almost makes it sound like you can get software engineering without computer science. On the contrary, I think that the former just grows out of the latter. The reason that the top recruits in software engineering come from the top 10 CS schools is because these companies want people who know their stuff really well and love to think, not people who can just code. I'd feel really weird to get paid to program without having taken a course like Automata Theory, even though I wouldn't use that knowledge on a day-to-day basis, necessarily.
Google has rolled out a very interesting new service called Web History that logs all your web surfing habits so that you never forget what you did online that day way back when. Obviously, they're not going to give this information away, but I still see a major privacy issue. If their system is compromised, or your information is subpoenaed (no idea if that would be possible, but with all this Patriot Act crap I wouldn't be surprised), would it be possible? I think that the Search History thing is intrusive enough. How many people really want this kind of history to be logged?
A couple of one-liners: a new site is letting you buy your friends drinks over the phone. So if you're going to have to miss your friend's big 21st bash, just send him a gift card in the amount of a free drink over the phone and let the good times roll. I think it's a pretty fun idea. The other one is this site that lets you fill out PDF forms online. Very cool and useful; I've been wanting something like this for a very long time.
I know it's not technical, but I just have to remark at how freaky and ridiculous this AIDS poster is. We already have flyers around campus that literally say "FACE AIDS", which I think is funny because I definitely don't want AIDS on my face, but this is bad in a more serious way. It's kind of graphic in the sex positions it shows, and I think the turn of events is rather drastic. Maybe I'm just crazy, I just don't like this poster. I think there are better ways to communicate the importance of safe sex, like the fact that you can't test for certain STDs, which is really scary.
I just feel like talking about trailers, so that's what I'm going to do. AICN is raving about the movie Once, and I like the trailer. It definitely sounds like a heartfelt romance, which is a nice change of pace from so many contrived romance movies. I'm definitely a softie, but I hate movies that try to force you into feeling something for the main characters as so many romance movies tend to do.
You'll probably have more fun watching the trailer for The Bourne Ultimatum, but I don't know that it'll necessarily be a good movie. Still, I did like the first two a lot as action flicks, so if they really are stopping the series here, which would make sense, then maybe they really did put effort into making it worthwhile rather than just making it a cash cow.
I don't think there are words in this language to explain the awesomeness that is the trailer for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. These Harry Potter trailers never cease to amaze me, and I love how it ends with the line from the first one-sheet. I'm not even a Harry Potter fan and I can't wait to see this movie! I love how this series gets darker and darker, I really do.
Now for a Tuesday Twosome:
1. Mail-in rebates: A pain to deal with or worth the wait to get money back?
Worth the wait =P You can't argue with an Indian person about saving money: they're always going try to do it.
2. Warranties: Take a chance without them or a must have when buying high-priced items?
I usually just take a chance. Probably not smart, but I don't buy expensive stuff very often anyway, and I usually make well-educated choices.
3. Product knowledge: Research before you buy or rely on salesperson?
As I hinted at in #2, I always do extensive research. I don't spend money unless something is worth it to me.
4. Word of mouth: Base purchases on what your friends say or disregard because you know what you are doing?
I wouldn't say I base it off what they say, but I definitely take my friends' opinions highly because I respect most of my close friends highly.
5. New Versions: Must buy the latest version right away or wait for a while?
I usually tend to wait a while, but free upgrades I do immediately (like for Firefox and Gaim and such).