Thursday, November 02, 2006

Angry Nintendo Nerd

This is hilarious!! Just to give you a warning though, it contains some strong language and extra nerdiness. Watch at your own risk!

Watch more awesome videos of awesomeness at

What's Taking Up All That Space?

Have you ever sat down and checked to see what was taking up all your hard drive space? And then you find out it's some random files that you don't even use anymore.

Okay, so I was looking through the contents on my iPod in iTunes and I was curious how much space each type of digtal media was taking up to fill my 60GB HDD. I was shocked to discover how much space has become dedicated to various podcasts over the past year or so.

First off, my 60GB ipod really only has about 55GB of usable space... you know, because of taxes. Haha, okay bad joke. It's funny though, I actually remember a news story about someone who sued a HDD manufacturer because they said it was false advertising, since their hard drive didn't actually come w/ all 200GBytes or whatever.

Here's the breakdown:

° 3.87 GB is free space
° 15.14 GB is actual music
° 18.91 GB is Audio Podcasts
° 2.34 GB is Video Podcasts
° 5.31 GB is Audiobooks
° 8.42 GB is Video
° 1.69 GB is photos

Now, 19 GB seems like a lot of podcasts, until you actually break down how much I listen to each week. Here's a breakdown of the average number of hours of new audio content I get each week:

° 4 hr Best of the Left
° 45min Diggnation
° 1hr
° 90min Filmspotting *
° 90min Lostcasts *
° 45min NPR Wait Wait Don't Tell Me *
° 45min Sidescrollers *
° 1hr Security Now! *
° 1hr That's What She Said *
° 1hr Dharmalars
° 2hr Jay and Jack *
° 30min Official Lost *
° 30min Word Nerds *
° 1hr TWIT *
Grand Total: 17 hrs 15 mins each week. Maybe this is why I never get to all of them each week. Or usually, I have regulars that I always listen to (signified by an asterisk*), and then I will play catch up on 1 or 2 extra podcasts for several episodes at a time.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Look Back at the Past Five Years

Since the 5-year anniversary of 9/11 is already here I thought it might be nice to take a positive look back on all the progress we have made since that tragic day in 2001. For starters, I would like to thank George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and all the other important contributors in this current administration for the work they have done in fighting terrorism and keeping our nation safe. Without your unrivaled intelligence, never-ending dedication and diplomatic grace, we would never have brought the terrorists behind 9/11 to justice. When on May 1st, 2003, Bush proudly displayed that glorious banner stating "Mission Accomplished ," he spoke the truth.

And as we have moved forward, riding on such waves of success as the immediate response of FEMA to Hurricane Katrina victims and, of course, capturing those responsible for bringing down the Twin Towers, we continue to provide our citizens with the freedoms that are their birthright. Freedoms such as free speech and privacy without being hindered by a spying government, the protection from unreasonable search and seizures in airports or on subways, and also the protection from cruel and unusual punishments in situations where they were never formerly charged with crimes. We should be proud of America and all that it now represents to the rest of the world. An infallible beacon of Democracy, whose formula should be applied to every nation in the world, Third World or otherwise.

The attacks on September 11th may have been devastating and emotionally shaking to many of us, but our government has certainly proven that it can stay focused when it has the appropriate motivation. In this respect, our nation's "leaders" have done everything its people have asked them to do. We brought Saddam Hussein to justice for his terrorist acts against this nation, we found the honest connections linking him to Al Qaeda, which is exactly why we justifiably invaded Iraq. And now, we want to bring the "miracle" of Iraq to other Middle Eastern nations like Lebanon and Syria.

In looking back at these last five years, it makes me glad to think of all that we have accomplished as a nation. Thank you George W. Bush for all the hope you have given us. If I could name but one flaw in our governmental system, it is that we do not have the power to re-elect you for a 3rd Presidential term. A pity that is.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Jesus Camp
(watch the videos on the website)

"I wanna see young people you are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as the young people are to the cause of Islam. I wanna see them as radically laying down their lives for the gospel as they are in Pakistan and Israel and Palestine...because we have the truth!"

This documentary is amazing. It's only showing in a limited number of theatres, but it will be playing in a few theatres in CA on September 29th. The film investigates a summer camp that Christian parents send their born-again kids to, where they are brain-washed into believing all sorts of radical ideas, turning them into war-mongers who will die for their religion.

Theatre List and release dates:

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Loose Change

With the 5-Year Anniversary of September 11th on its way, I thought I'd share an extremely controversial video regarding a conspiracy theory plot perpetrated by our own government. "Loose Change" is a mind bending argument that is definitely worth a look. Despite all the propaganda and Bush administration anti-sentimentality, the fact that no hard evidence of a Boeing 757 was found at the site of the Pentagon certainly makes you wonder what other lies were told concerning 9/11. However, when the video went into the details of doctored cell phone calls, my disbelief began to settle in. Naturally, everyone is entitled to their own opinion of what happened. The sad reality is that we may never have conclusive proof of what actually took place on the event many have called the "Pearl Harbor of Our Time".

My only suggestion is to never stop asking questions of our government or anyone else in a position of power or authority. I find it completely ridiculous for anyone to be labeled as "Unpatriotic", "Treasonous", or "Un-American" just because they don't agree with those currently in power. After all, the citizens of these United States need only be loyal to this country, not our President. Government is supposed to support its people, not the other way around.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Emmys Were Lost On Me

At the start of the Emmys last night, the show opened with this skit about Lost:

My favorite line:

Conan: "I've gotta get to the Emmy's. You wanna come with me?"
Hurley: "Well.. we weren't exactly invited."
Conan: "But you won last year! Nothing makes sense anymore."

It's apparent, the process of Emmy nomination is in need of some serious tweaking. Unfortunatley, shows with a more serialized approach were penalized since the voters were only required to watch one hand-picked episode by each show's producers. As a result, programs like Lost were snubbed and ignored due to its inherently complex storyline.

Ironicly, this is one of the main reasons why I like this show so much. Since Lost has so many interweaving storythreads, one episode could never do it justice. So much depends on your understanding of the characters' past experiences and internal struggles. On top of that, the mythology of show adds even more layers to the convoluted puzzle that is Lost.

But then again... we don't watch it because it gets Emmy's. We watch because we appreciate it for what it is: One of TVs smartest dramas on television today. But I can't blame the Emmy nomination committee for not getting it. Their loss. Besides the ratings and online fan community speaks for itself.


Stay tuned for Wednesday, October 4th, 9pm.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Ethics of Stem Cell Research

A new scientific study has found a way to extract stem cells from human embryos without destroying the embryo itself. This is obviously a notable breakthrough that will hopefully turn the tide of legislature concerning stem cell research in this country.

Link to article

However, the response from the White House indicates that they are ignoring its findings, stating:

Response in the New York Times

"Any use of human embryos for research purposes raises serious ethical questions.
This technique does not resolve those concerns.”

How can they say this when the primary argument against this research conveyed by opponents of stem cell research is no longer an issue?!? This reaction reminds me of a child who covers their ears, and repeats the phrase "I'm not listening!" over and over so they can avoid providing a cognitive rebuttal.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Vote Now for the Stephen Colbert Bridge!

This is a funny story...

There's a contest to vote for the name of a bridge in Hungary. So Stephen Colbert of the "Colbert Report" urged his viewers to name it the Stephen Colbert hid (hid is bridge in Hungarian), after himself . The first phase of voting concluded with Stephen Colbert as the leader with over 17 million votes. In a distant 2nd place, the Nicholas Zrinski hid had 4 million votes. And the Chuck Norris hid was bumped from 1st to 5th. The funny thing is, Hungary only has a population of approximately 10 million.

Now they're asking people to vote in a second phase, for one of the 25 top choices so far. The Stephen Colbert hid currently leads the pack w/ 8000 votes, with the Jon Stewart hid trails in 2nd w/ 3000 votes. You can view the current tally here.

The truth is, this isn't the first time Colbert has rallied the blogosphere into a public prank. On the July 31st, 2006 episode concerning Wikipedia, Colbert made outrageous claims that "the population of elephants tripled in the last six months," causing many to alter elephant-related Wikipedia pages, which ultimately led to the temporary lockdown of all these pages.

Recently, Colbert provided a "Star Wars Kid"-like video of himself in front of a green screen. He proposed a contest to submit the best modimodified version of this video, complete w/ lightsaber effects and anything else the creator might like to include. Update: Here is a list of notable entries.

Honestly, I think this type of audience involvement creates a fun, inclusive form of entertainment. Just like how taking part in message boards, blogs and providing podcast feedback allow us to extend our voices further than tradional media outlets has allowed in the past, Tso too does this style of television. The fact that Stephen Colbert does a wonderful portrayal of Bill O'Reilly is also a plus.

So in order to join in on the action, use the link below to vote for the bridge, the Democratic way...

To vote, go here:

UPDATED! Phase II Voting instructions: Walk-through of the voting process

  • Click on the "Regisztráció" link on the top left-hand corner of the page.
  • Write in your email, and your password, and a repeat of the password (your password confirmation) in the three blank fields (IN THAT ORDER).
  • In minutes, you get a mail with a confirmation link and your password. Click on the link included in the e-mail.
  • When you click on the link in the e-mail, you will get redirected to the voting page.
  • Type your e-mail in the E-mail cim field, and your password in the Jelsó field.
  • Select the radial button by "Stephen Colbert híd" and click the Belépés button. You will be taken to a screen with the vote tallies. To vote again, click on the Kilépés button.
  • "Belépések száma" means "Number of logins". It does appear that you can vote unlimited times, but you have to be registered to do so.
  • "Összesen" on the bottom means "All votes", and the Toplista tally page seems to be working again if you would like to see the tally of all of the votes.
  • And, in case you're wondering, yes the Colbert Nation has already found a way to cheat stuff the ballot box on this round of votes, too. But Colbert has requested (via the forums) that everyone play nice so that we don't block out all of the other people from around the world who might want to vote. In other words - don't cheat. Do it the long way.

Monday, August 21, 2006

We're Not Leaving...


Well, you heard it straight from the horse's mouth: "We're not leaving So Long As I'm President". Up until at least January of 2009, we are literally screwed. It's time for the impeachment proceedings to begin! The NSA Spying Scandal, the unwarranted detainment of Guantanamo Bay prisoners; the constitutionality of these offenses needs to be examined much more closely and this administration must take responsibility for it's actions.

Cuz let's face it, do we really want these people running our government for the next two and a half years?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Now and Then

Just a word of warning, this is going to be less about Technology and more about Knowledge..

So, I was listening to The Best of the Left podcast this morning and this one overarching theme of the Bush Administration's policies hit me: "Terrorism is the new Communism". Just like how, in past decades, the US has taken a vicious stance against eradicating Communism from the face of the Earth, we now take that same stance against Terrorism today. The evils of Communism that forced us to orchestrate uprisings and quell political dictators have been given a modern face-lift, a new "Terrorist" branding, and a Middle Eastern spin. We are chasing the same ghosts today as we did during the Vietnam War. Terrorism is being used today as a scapegoat for nearly everything. It has clearly become the magic word used as political ammunition for obtaining anything our government desires. Are we still so blind with rage from an attack that happened 5 years ago that we should stumble into a conflict we have no business interfering with? The war mongering has got to stop.

...At least until we can deploy large mech armies to do the fighting for us. Okay, so I sprinkled a little technology in there. I couldn't help it. Come to think of it, here's what would be ideal... Instead of mounting our forces for that inevitable WWIII, what if, alternatively, all the world's superpower leaders join in a Battlefield 2 game. It can even be that one Middle Eastern map. See this way, at the end of the day, we can all go home to our respective houses/huts, watch a little tv, and remain breathing.

Problem solved!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Lego Star Wars II

Despite the fact that the first game was a little kiddie and also wasn't based on the greatest of movies, the nerd-friendly combination of Star Wars and Lego-everything was almost too good to be true. Now, they're applying the Lego Star Wars treatment to the original trilogy. I'll probably play this just for the wonderful memories of the Empire vs the Rebels. When The Force was still just The Force, not some midichlorian crap! When Darth Vader was the badass of the universe, not some whiny show-off who misses his mommy. Maybe they should really think about making those Indiana Jones and Rocky sequels...before they tarnish another perfectly good movie franchise. Matt Dameon as Captian Kirk, anyone?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Free Music from Google

Okay, so it's not really "from" Google. That was just a ploy to catch your attention. But the part about free music was correct. Bascially, just enter the following search into google (replacing "ARTIST SONG_NAME" with whatever search criteria you want), and mp3s!

intitle:index.of "mp3" +"ARTIST SONG_NAME" -htm -html -php -asp "Last Modified"

Recently, I got a song stuck in my head and I wanted to hear it, so I used the above search method with the string "be sedated" as in The Ramones "I Wanna Be Sedated"... When I finally got to the mp3 link, this is what I heard: link to mp3.

Turns out there's a website that has a bunch of these songs, called Dictionaraoke. All the songs sound like horrible midi cell phone ring tones with added Microsoft Sam vocals. It's hilarious! Try listening to "Bohemian Rhapsody" without laughing out loud! I dare you!

For some reason the phrase "boom shakalakalaka" comes to mind right now...weird.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

310 Area Code Woes

If you have a 310 area code, be prepared to dial it from now on. Effective today, July 26th, 2006, this new change will affect all those living in Westside, South Bay, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Compton and Inglewood. Here's an excerpt from the LA Times:

Residents of the 310, get your fingers ready. Starting today, everyone who lives within the boundaries of the 310 area code will have to dial 11 digits — 1 plus 310, then the seven-digit number — when making a local call.The new dialing procedure is another step toward implementation of the state's first area code overlay. Service providers are scheduled to begin distributing numbers with the new 424 code Aug. 26. Existing customers will keep their 310 numbers.
(taken from the LA Times article here)

This is just ridiculous! I feel sorry the people who didn't store their cell phone or phone directory numbers this way. Hopefully no one in that area has had to deal with blackouts too.

The Real News

Yesterday I left my iPod in my desk drawer at work, so I decided to listen to a little AM talk radio (my FM doesn't work) on the drive home. I was immediately overwhelmed by the various US and World news stories. Suddenly, the more superficial tech news stories from Digg and Twit seemed trivial and small. Don't get me wrong, I'm still interested in the next rumor about the new ipod or the next mud slinging critique on the console war, but those things have seemed less interesting recently.

These days, I find myself salivating more on tidbits concerning stem cell research, mapping the human genome, net neutrality, nano-technology, digital rights management, global warming, the energy crisis, and petroleum alternatives. Granted those last three are all linked together. But these are the issues much more likely to affect us in the future.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Office: The Accountants

The free, online-only webisodes of the NBC Comedy "The Office" are now available. These short (two-minute) episodes center around the accountants of the Dunder Mifflin Scranton office and their antics in discovering the plot behind some missing company money. So far the first two episodes are ready. The short story arc will come to an end on September 14th with the airing of the 10th webisode. If you don't want to sit through the ads, I'm sure these will hit YouTube soon enough.

Too bad there's no Mike, Pam, or Jim...but I hear Dwight will make an cameo appearance.

Even though it represents very little content, I think the whole webisode concept is a breath of fresh air. Just like The Office's previous PSA's (watch this one about friends not letting friends buy expensive beer), or to an extent, the online Lost experience, the change in format is a welcome addition to the tried-but-true tv delivery method. IPTV here we come!

FYI, they're showing the Pilot again tonight, Thurs (7/13) at 8:30pm PST.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Firefox 2.0 Beta

Despite my previous entry's disdain for desktop apps, I must hold up the latest beta release of Firefox (aptly labeled 2.0) for the update that it is... further improvement on what was already a good thing.

The 2.0 version of Firefox (you can download it here, btw. or here if you want a portable version, that won't interfere with your profiles folder) isn't a major overhaul, so much as a minor facelift. All the tab switching goodness is still here.

First off, a session restore feature was added. Now, after a crash or when some other abrupt action halts Firefox, you will be prompted at the next startup whether you would like to restore all the tabs you were browsing. Also, any recently closed tab can now be reopened using the History menu. Another tweak you may notice is that the integrated search bar is now much wider and boasts and Manage Search Engines feature in the drop down menu. In place of the separate "Extensions" and "Themes" dialogs, "Add-ons" now resides, each one with clearly visible options, disable, and uninstall buttons, and even provides a restart firefox button when updates are applied. The browser even has a new rss feed reader, but will still allow any external feed reader of your choosing.

On the security side of things, there are a number of important fixes. The biggest addition would have to be an anti-phishing protection.

The only downside I see to upgrading to the 2.0 beta now is that some of the Extensions will not work and most of the Themes will be incompatible. There is a way around most of this, by using the "Nightly Tester Tools" extension (download). This allows you to force all your add-ons to be compatible with all versions of Firefox.

Though most of these feature additions are popular extension ideas adopted by the Firefox team, it's nice to see the application evolving in little bits here and there. Even if you ignore the security advantages of using Firefox over IE, I don't think I could go back to using IE simply because of all the extra features extensions can bring. It's those interface updates that really make it feel old. Much like playing an ancient RTS will feel frustrating next to Warcraft III's many helpful automations and AI tweaks.

True, IE7 is coming. But we Firefox users have had an IE7-level browser for ages. IE7 is almost as funny a joke as Vista... almost.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Evolving Web Apps

Web applications have a distinct advantage over their desktop counterparts. Namely, the ability to unnoticeably evolve and grow much more seamlessly. Unlike desktop applications like MS Word or Mozilla's Firefox, web apps can have features added from day to the next, without your knowledge of these changes. Their developers can add a functionality or graphical improvement on the fly, and you can experience that change the next time you visit that website.

In the case of Google Maps, these improvements are a welcome addition. For example, today, I casually looked up some directions by querying my location and destination. When I attempted to refine my view by zooming in, I was pleasantly surprised by a more fluid animation. This was a new feature or at least a refine improvement. Did I have to download an update to the software? Did I need to restart my web browser, or god forbid, restart my computer? No. The update occurred behind the scenes at Google somewhere. And that's the beauty of the web environment.

Imagine, sometime in the not-too-distant future... Instead of those naggingly annoying Windows Update prompts, begging you to restart your computer, the whole thing will be web-driven. An entire OS maintained on the server-side. True, some future, insanely powerful web browser would need to run the OS, but any security update, code improvement, or added feature would infuse itself automatically. The need to restart due to a newly installed software component would be a thing of the past.

Granted this centralization of our OS might pose unforeseen security problems. However, new security holes undoubtedly arise whenever something new takes hold. The OS serving company better be damn secure is all.

One day, an update might only require a push of the F5 key and a refresh of the bits on your screen.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Guantanamo Bay Prisoners

Stephen Colbert argues with himself regarding the politics of holding Arab prisoners at Guantanamo Bay without fair trials. It's hilarious, just watch!


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

DS Lite + M3 Lite > DS Lite

The M3 Adapter is a flash-based add-on card that fits into the Game Boy Advance cartidge slot of the Nintendo DS (Lite & Phat). When used in conjuncture with a passme device plugged into the DS cartridge slot, the M3 allows the DS to play movies & music, view pictures and e-books, and most importantly, run DS and GBA roms as well as any homebrew applications made for the DS.

This is actually a pic of the EZ4Lite, a different brand, but similar product

The M3 adapter accepts many different types of flash memory cards, including: Compact Flash (CF), Secure Digital (SD), and MiniSD. But next month, the folks at M3 are releasing a special M3 Lite version, made specially for the DS Lite system, using the new MicroSD memory. Due to DS Lite's smaller design, the current M3 adapter would stick out the bottom by a good couple centimeters. However, the new M3 Lite will appear almost identical to the included, glossy-white dust cover that all DS Lites possess. And with its wi-fi capabilities, tons of available roms, and a slick, asthetically pleasing look, the add-on makes a great portable device a whole lot better.

The only drawback is the relative infancy of the new MicroSD flash memory format. Since the memory is so new, it will be significantly more expensive than more common CF or SD formats. So the question is...should I wait another month or so for a more expensive, but ultimately nicer looking solution, or do I buy a MiniSD M3 and go nuts right now?

Decisions, decisions...

M3 Website / G6 Website
M3 Forum
M3 Wiki

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Spiro Dance

Check out the cool flash-based interactive spriograph at I made a little video of me playing around with it. All done in less than 20 mins. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Congress Debates Video Games Rating System

Jon Stewart keeps the Congressmen sounding like out-of-touch, old windbags, as the Daily Show critiques the recent Congressional hearings concerning the ESRB video games rating system.

"I'm a gamer myself...I was an expert in Pong. That was a great game..(makes beeping sound effects)." ~ said one Representative from Michigan

Hmm, seems YouTube was down Thursday night. Hopefully it will be back up soon! Use the following link if the YouTube video is unavailable..

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Man Will Remember Unanswered Prayer

An area man will remember an unanswered prayer the next time God needs his help. Local account executive Scott Fields says, "The Lord should remember that devotion is a two-way street." Fields won't soon forget the time the Lord decided not to answer his prayer for a promotion at work.

"I felt pretty good with my relationship with the Lord. And now I feel like I'm being blown off, and I think it's bullshit."

Fields added that he can't wait for the Creator to ask him for his help so he can throw it in his face.

~taken from the Onion Radio News

Friday, June 16, 2006

It's Official...Summer is Here!

Three weeks ago, it was Memorial Day and it was BBQ crazy! Last weekend it was Vegas for my roomie Van's 24th b-day. This Friday (tonight) the party continues with my other roommate Josh's b-day (which also includes Tiffany's b-day/graduation as well) at the Shark Club down here in Costa Mesa. Not that I'm complaining or anything.. But I guess since work has become an all-year-round gig and you can no longer count on those nice 3-month long (though they never felt long enough) summer break hiatuses, the weekends are sometimes all you have.

Though the summer has started in full swing, there are a few activities that I'd like to do to fill out the rest of the summer:

- Six Flags...haven't been to an amusement park in a while and I'd really like to try out X.. I hear it's pretty good.
- Paintball...this one's already on the schedule for July. if anyone else is willing to go, please contact me.
- Golfing again...i'd like to play another round of 18 holes and hopefully do better than the last time.
- Beach/'s a shame how ridiculously close I live to the ocean and how little I actually go.
-'s funny how I've started reading so many books and have yet to finish them. So far, I gotta wrap up Watership Down, Eragon, Narnia, The Thrid Policeman, The Firm, and Needful Things. Note to self: no more buying books until every last word is digested from the above list.
- Inject computer virus into the accounting system so that it will round down fractions of a cent created by compound interest and wire transfer the remainders into personal account.

Another summer woe is the lack of good TV programming. I guess this is the first time I've been really into a tv show (ie: Lost) and had to face the harsh realities of off-season withdrawal. It seems like October won't come soon enough. Oh well, cue the endless stream of summer reality shows...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

What Do You Mean They Blew Up the Death Star?!?

Props to Russ for finding this gem... Robot Chicken from Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Trouble with Web Apps

Web applications are great! You can do pretty much anything on a website that you can do on your computer now. From checking your email (Gmail, Yahoo! Mail), to Word Processing (Writely ..which, btw, I use to write my blog entries), Spreadsheets (Google Spreadsheets), Online Bookmarks (, Photo Sharing (Flickr), and even watching videos (YouTube, Google Video), you can do it all. It may not look as pretty or have all the features of their desktop counterparts, but they're getting there. And what's more, you never need to reboot your computer when a new patch is added to Gmail. No need to install software...everything can be run through your web browser, which means added security. till, there's something missing here. Something that needs to be addressed before any web apps truly become mainstream.

The fact that these programs and services are "online" is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they're usually free services, supported by web ads. They're incredibly portable, allowing access from anywhere you have an Internet connection. But, herein lies the problem. You need a constant connection to the Internet for these applications to work properly. Any hiccups in your broadband connection, and you can't access your files. Granted, in 2006 we have much better broadband than even a few years ago, but it's still not perfect. If the connection is laggy, it can be quite frustrating. What we need is an way to avoid over reliance on this connection.

For now, the switch away from desktop apps like Word or Photoshop is still not a reality. For some functions, such as email, web-based mail services have become almost second nature to use. If only we had the broadband networks that Korea and most of Europe has... Oh where are you city-wide wi-fi?!?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Wi-Fi + Mario Kart = A+++++++

Damn, just played Mario Kart Wi-Fi for the first time. It's a lot of frenzied action and good clean fun. I finally setup a connection to one of the nearby wi-fi networks (yes, I am a leecher) and figured out how to join a match. The whole matchmaking process is pretty brainless and simple, though there is a small amount of waiting required. My second match included someone from Japan. You could tell cuz their name was in Japanese characters. I proceeded to sent a friendly diplomatic greeting in the form of an ass whooping! Let's hope my 3-3 record improves in the future. Still no good way of solving the universal "disconnect-to-avoid-loss" problem. At least now I may be able to get by without buying the $40 usb wi-fi connector (that's more than I paid for the game).

In other news, I finally beat New Super Mario Bros w/ 100% on the ride home from Vegas on Sunday. More about the trip soon...

Btw, apparently Japan Airlines is offering DS Lites to first class passengers. Now you can challenge rich Japanese businessmen on a race around Rainbow Road.

FYI... Here's my Friend Code if you wanna play Mario Kart DS with me:


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Life as a Video Game

This is a cold, hard fact of life, "life does not have a reset button." But, what if it did? Think about it. What if the things that could be done in video games, could also be done in reality. Here are just a few noticeable differences you might encounter...

The Save Game (ie: Reset Button). You gotta love the fact that you can revert any mistakes, bad judgment calls, and/or any other social missteps you might make. Just reload your last conveniently saved state and you're ready to make things right all over again. Don't get me wrong, you're definitely learning from your personal mistakes, you just don't need to spend so much time making up for them anymore. And now that the fear of bad decisions no longer exists, you can be more free to be bolder and more creative with how you tackle things. Go nuts! Thank God for the reset button! Just don't overwrite the wrong slot, or you'll end up starting from the very beginning...well, enjoy high school again!

Just Pause It. Need a break from life? Want a little extra "me" time? Well then, pause it. Don't worry, we'll all be here when you get back from whatever it is you wanna do. You can have your own personal monologue while the world stands still, a la Zack Morris style! Just remember to say "Time in!"

Extra Lives (ie: The 1Up). As long as you've got some spare lives, be reckless and live a little. It ain't game over 'til you run out of continues. If all else fails, just reload.

Victory Dances. Why let awkward dancing become reserved for dark, crowded night clubs and moments of drunken bliss? Show the world like a bad "So you think you can dance" reject audition. Anytime you win a battle, whether it be an argument with your five year old cousin, or the moment your boss remembers your name. Be proud and dance like your victory fanfare is playing in the background.

Special Moves. Why do everything with a normal effort and technique all the time? Once in a while, when it's really necessary, bust out the big guns and show off your special move. Just make sure you have enough energy/mana/stamina, otherwise it's cookie cutter sales pitches and average joe love making from here on out.

Keep the Change. Never will you have to worry about using fractions of a dollar ever again. All monetary transactions can be made using the primary currency unit. And marvel at the bottomless pit that is your wallet. No matter how much money you end of carrying around with you, it will never take up anymore than a trivial amount of space. Now go buy some clothes. I hear Gap jeans give a +5 to invisibilty. Don't worry, you'll blend right in! And if you're getting low on cash, look around. Any random animal ought to have some sort of sellable items on hand...once you dispose of it first.

Carefully Read the Dialog Trees. If your speech isn't strung together in an uncontrollable linear fashion, then you must have a dialog tree of speech options available. Just be sure to consider every multiple-choice verbal exchange carefully. But hey, look on the bright side. At least you know you have a 20 or 30 percent chance of saying exactly the right thing. Do try and avoid any infinite loops though. It's terribly embarrassing to get stuck in one of those, for both parties. And remember, you can only talk to one person a time now.

Movement is Relative. Don't be surprised if you can only walk in 8, 6, or even 4 different directions. Are you really saving that much time by walking north-northwest anyway? And if you're being chased and you need to lose 'em, try entering a different room. That usually works!

That's all the "what-ifs" I've got for now. But don't worry. I have a movie/tv version for the future. I mean wouldn't it suck if you found out your life was a series of bad sequels and prequels?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Lite Brite!

I don't mean to brag...but I will, just a little. I finally got my very own Nintendo DS Lite. Picked it up today, this morning actually, at Target in Southgate , CA. It was all because I decided to impusively check out the 'ol DSLiteAvailability map. Apparently, this guy named Dan said there were 13 units available on Saturday night. I would like to take this time to personally thank are a model for all the Dan's of the world to follow.

As soon as I found the electronics department, I was paused by the sheer beauty of seeing those simple, white boxes, sitting behind the glass. I was still sceptical though. It wasn't until the register approved the transaction that I was officially convinced that the DS Lite was mine. I got to my car and couldn't resist opening the box, right there in my air-conditioned driver's seat. C'mon, don't tell me you've never opened up the box of a new game, only to read the instructions manual on the car ride home. I fired up the system, and got as far as completing the setup wizard before I decided to drive home. I don't know what seemed to take longer: the anxious car ride there, or the ride back.

Once home, I wasted no time. I poped in Mario Kart and started racing. And let me tell you, this baby's is a sweet piece of plastic. The picture is very crisp and bright. Although there are 4 levels of brightness, each with an increasing level of battery usage. I think I'll probably use the 2nd or 3rd level most of the time (maybe using the lowest level only on long outings). I love how the white stylus tucks into the side of the unit itself. The game cartridge (yes Nintendo's still using cartridges; my guess is to preserve battery life though) is ejected via a spring after you push it in a second time. The touch screen is quite responsive, especially during the New Super Mario Bros minigames and written exercises of Brain Age. The microphone seems to work most of the time (there are some instances where it can stutter). The sound is excellent (although it could be slightly louder; headphones can always remedy this) and the soft control pads are precise and gentle on busy thumbs.

It's been so long since I last played a hand-held game console (OG, 4-shades of green Gameboy, anyone?). What I do remember is that they were all about fun. The games were easy to just pick up and play, for anyone. That's what I think the DS is all about.

As it turns out, I was showing my girlfriend, Thao (who plays the Sims, and not much else), some of the minigames and she really got into it. So now I will be buying one for her too, and we can battle each other, or compare our "brains' ages". All in all, I'm glad I waited for the Lite version. It's worth every penny.

Btw, I'll post pics once I extract them from my cell phone.

Hole in One

This shot is incredible. Just watch it. Kinda reminds me of a chip shot into the cup by Tiger earlier this year.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

All About Podcasts

Podcasting (taken from Wikipedia ): a portmanteau of Apple's "iPod" and "broadcasting", is a method of publishing files to the Internet, allowing users to subscribe to a feed and receive new files automatically by subscription, usually at no cost. It first became popular in late 2004, used largely for audio files.

Still tuned in?!? Okay. Let me explain it a little bit more. Basically, podcasts are free audio (or video) programs made by anyone, which are then downloaded by everyone, and then listened on any electronic devices you may have. True, the original concept was made popular by ipod users and the easy-to-use iTunes app, but there are many different ways to access the multitude of podcasts out there. For some, this means burning each set of episodes (usually the average podcast lasts 30 mins to an hour or so) onto a CD. I even occasionally listen on my computer straight out of iTunes. The majority of podcast listeners use more portable mp3 players to keep up to date with their favorite shows.

So, first things first. You need to find what podcasts you want. Since I like to know what's up in the techie world, I subscribe to This Week in Tech (TWIT). Led by Leo Laporte, it also features a panel of regulars, many from the disbanded Screen Savers show from TechTV, and highlights the week's technology news. Diggnation covers top stories from the social tech news site Other notable ones are Inside the Net, Security Now, and Engadet.

If you're into Lost (and I mean really into Lost), check out some of the many Lost podcasts out there. Though this is probably more for September, when Season 3 begins again. Theres the Official Lost podcast featuring two of the writers on the show. Lostcasts is a really good in-depth theory-based show. The Lost podcast with Jay and Jack is another good one with a father/son dynamic. Others worth mentioning include: Generally Speaking: Lost, MYOKOMSAS, and Delta Park.

Then there are the miscellaneous ones like movies reviews with The Onion Radio News, Ebert and Roper, NPR: Story of the Day, and the President's Weekly Radio Address (fake of course).

Lastly, there are the video podcasts. Tiki Bar TV teaches you how to make a different cocktail every epidode. X-Play allows you to download reviews for all the latest videogames. Ask a Ninja is a pretty popular one, where a guy dressed as a ninja answers emails (a la Strong Bad). Others include: Despair Inc (like those awesome demotivators), Strong Bad, InDigital, and Happy Tree Friends.

Once you've subscribed to your shows (or RSS feeds), iTunes will automatically download new episodes as they become available. Sync your iPod or burn you cds and you're ready to go! Trust me, once you get into it, you'll come to love always having custom radio programming that is always fresh and new. It really makes my commute to and from work a lot more bearable.

So, if you're still new to the whole podcasting universe, I'd recommend using iTunes to browse and download podcasts. Here's a simple guide to get you started. And here's a much more detailed guide from the editors at ilounge. Or you can always ask me and I'll gladly get you started. Once you get your feet wet, it won't be long before you take the plunge.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Nintendo DS Lite

that is one sexy pocket-size device!

So I've decided to get the DS Lite when it comes out on June 11th. It's quite a nifty, little device, and it does have that Apple-design feel to it (iGameboy anyone?). But the main reason I've decided to finally get a DS big surprise here, the games! Despite the highly inferior technology of its graphics components (basically two N64 GPUs), it's a profit-making machine for the Big N. What's it got that the PSP doesn't have? I'll say it again...Games. There are lots of incredible games for the clamshell handheld. For the DS, I'm planning on getting New Super Mario Bros, Brain Age, and Mario Kart DS. I'll probably pick up the stylus-only controlled Zelda Phantom Hourglass when it comes out at the end of the year. In comparison,Sony's sleek, pocket-sized paperweight has a very limited amount of titles I'd be interesting in playing, let alone buying.

So when the news hit that the new Nintendo DS Lite was coming out for only $129 on June 11th, I was pretty excited. The thing is, I'm gonna be in Vegas that weekend. No problem, right. I tried pre-ordering it from EBGames. No deal. Turns out you have to actually go to the store you're going to pick it up at. I was kinda disappointed, because I know how quickly these things flew off the shelves in Japan this past March. And just when I gave into the fact that I might have to wait a couple more weeks for something that was probably already in the back of retailer storage rooms, news broke out about the "broken street date" fiasco.

The general routine when any big product is released works like this: The manufacturer (Nintendo) usually ships their product (DS Lite) to the larger retailers (Target, Wal-mart) a few weeks early. The stores are then supposed to sit on the products until the official street date, upon which time they can sell like crazy. Usually there are heavy financial penalties associated with breaking this contract and selling early. I remember when this happened to bookstores that sold advanced copies of Harry Potter. The stores actually asked the customers to return them after that (c'mon, that's pretty ridiculous!).

Well, as it turns out, today it was reported (by various ppl across the country..see frappr map) that various Target and Wal-mart stores were selling the DS Lite early (11 days early, in fact). I did my best to try and snag one up myself, but I guess the employees at the store I went to were more competent. Either that or I just wasn't as lucky as some other fortunate souls out there. If you want to know how "competent" we're talking about, here's a posted conversation someone had with a Wal-Mart worker drone:

me: Did you guys get the ds lite?
walmart: Look over there
/me looks at DSL routers perplexed
me: Not DSL products, the >NINTENDO<>
walmart: what is that?
me: Its like that thing right there *points at fat ds*, but newer... It's called a nintendo DS LITE
walmart: all DSL products are over there.
/me leaves

Well, 'nuff said. I think that answers a lot of my questions. Here's to lining up at Fry's!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My Own Lost Theories and General Predictions

These are some of my theories for Lost, made one day before the Season 2 Finale, for Season 3 and beyond. I just thought it would be fun to post some crazy theories now, and then take a look at how they stand up at the end of Season 3 next year (kinda like this post). Well, here goes...

Disclaimer: The ideas below were formulated with the knowledge of all the episodes up until the end of Season 2. For this reason, the following may contain spoilers...

- The sickness that Danielle speaks of is not a biological sickness in the normal sense, but rather a mental sickness. The visions that the Losties that have seen on the island (jack's Dad, Kate's horse, Hurley's friend Dave) are examples of this mental illness. However, the Others are using some method of psychic communication to influence the Losties' actions, by sending images into their minds.

- If the button is not pushed, an incredibly strong magnetic field is generated in the Station 3 bunker. This magnetic field has the power to lure airplanes, boats, or anything else in the general vicinity, into crashing onto the island. We will come to find out that Desmond did indeed forget to enter the numbers once, and that event directly coincides with Oceanic Filght 815's tragic crash.

- Walt is being trained to hone his psychic abilities. He has many abilities, including remote-viewing (can see into the future, ie: see that the hatch shouldn't be opened), he can give the Losties visions (Shannon seeing Walt in the jungle telling her to be quiet), and he also has the ability to will events to occur just by thinking about them (the bird hitting the window). For obvious reasons, the Others will never give up Walt. Therefore, either Michael must join the Others and their experiment/research group, or he will be killed off (since the Losties will never be able to trust him again).

- All the inhabitants are slowly being divided into two camps: good and evil. This war has been going on long before the Losties ever came to the island; even before Rousseau was shipwrecked. Both sides have been trying to build its sides up by using any newly stranded survivors brought to the island. Maybe both groups have their own ideas for how to best save humanity, which is why they are manipulating and testing everyone, to see where they might stand before actually explaining the situation to them. The smoke monster/security system could have been created as an automated way of weeding out certain types of people, but now no one has control over it anymore.

- The flashbacks are actually implanted memories (psychic or otherwise), created by Dharma/The Others to shape the Losties' beliefs of who they are and how they should likely act. Those survivors that break free from their mold and can get past their perceived problems are deemed too strong willed, which is why they are killed off. The "good" people are the ones that fit the Other's ideals and would eventually add something to their community. Much like the later Matrix movies, people are given a choice in the world, but they are ultimately being controlled.

Well, those are some of my big-picture theories that I've pieced together from the multitude of theories floating around out there. Not that i think they are all true and that they all work together somehow. I just wanted to create as vivid and over-the-top ideas as I could, but while still maintaining faintly plausible scenarios, based on what we have seen so far in the first two seasons (minus the Season 2 Finale).

And for a few slightly more out there theories...

- Jack's Dad, Christian Shephard, is actually alive on the island, and he is also the "Him" (ie: leader of the Others) that Henry Gale was referring to.

- The Losties are really just clones in an experiment. This is would actually go hand in hand with the implanted memories theory mentioned earlier, and also explains why there are so many flashback crossovers among all the Losties (because they actually share some similar memories).

- No, they are not in purgatory. No, they are not already dead. No, the whole thing isn't playing out inside the delusional mind of a mentally retarded person in some hospital.

- No, the creators are not making it all up as they go along. =)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Fast Food Nation

The completely eye-opening, true story of the fast food industry. Looks like it's being turned into a movie drama. If you want a good non-fiction read, pick up the book by Eric Schlosser. It will help shed some light on the ugly world of the fast food industry.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bush's Approval Rating Remains Strong on eBay

The White House reports today that President Bush continues to enjoy a 94% positve feedback rating on eBay. Something no modern U.S. President has been able to achieve in or out of office. Press Secretary Tony Snow told reporters that the President recently received an "A" rating, followed by an unprecedented eleven plus signs.

"U.S. eBay users know this is a President you can trust. Who's gonna package your goods with care. He's gonna send 'em via UPS. In a timely manner."

However, the President's critics say they are still waiting on a collection of miniature glass owls they bought in March and have not yet received.

~ taken from The Onion Radio News podcast

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My Very Own Cryptex

I just got my free cryptex in the mail for the Da Vinci Code Quest contest. It's actually pretty cool. It's has some weight to it, and feels like some sort of metal. There are five plastic, alphabetic dials that run around the cylinder.

My roommate and I were fiddling around with it, trying out various combinations like "Vinci," when Josh began to test out the reverse ("icnvi") and suddenly it opened.

Turns out, only the last two reels had any sort of locking mechanism on them, and the combination needed was "_,_,_,I,L". (Edit: I looked inside and noticed that indeed, each of the reels had a notch cut out to represent a five letter combination. The entire code is "ORJIL".)

Inside is a tiny scroll of paper with the following inscription:

you have proven worthy of the Da Vinci Code Quest on Google, visit to see if your journey continues.

But the contest doesn't really start until May 19th (opening day for the movie), so I guess I will have to wait to begin the final round. All in all, even though the majority of the puzzles weren't exactly challenging, I think it was worth doing just to get this "Easter egg" cryptex in the mail.

* pics courtesy of my somewhat new Sony Ericsson W600i

Look how small it is! Alas.. no sign of a even smaller cryptex or gurgling glass bottle of vinegar inside. Oh well.

Update: I looked inside and noticed that indeed, each of the reels had a notch cut out to represent a five letter combination. The entire code is "ORJIL". I think it was supposed to actually read "GRAIL". Perhaps the rumors on the googlefact blog were correct in stating that it was a manufacturing error.

Show Your Work

Click the image to view..

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Da Vinci Code Quest Finalists Announced

Freakin' sweet! I'm a finalist. Though some may be contemplating how much the cryptex replica will snag on ebay, I will be saving mine. Congratulations to all the winners. And good luck on the final round.

Here's a link to the congratulatory video from Ian Mc Kellen and a special sneak peek of the making of the Da Vinci Code movie:

Friday, May 12, 2006

Why the World Needs the Big Three

In a perfect world, progress continues without the presence of competition. Innovation comes naturally. Prices remain modest and products are affordable. Old and stagnant ideas are replaced by new and exciting developments. But we do not live in a pefect world and so such struggles do not always occur so easily.

But there is still hope for the video game world. With a market that rakes in over $30 billion a year, there's plenty of the pie to go around. And with this latest E3 showing, we can clearly see the three major game companies are here to stay for at least this generation, and hopefully the next. But why do we need three different console manufactures with three partially-overlapping game libraries?

The answer is simple.

Diversity. Innovation. Competitive pricing. All these qualities come from the saturated video games market. Imagine if there was only Nintendo. Sure, there would still be plenty of innovation. But the push for next-gen graphics would take an extreme backseat. Mature content would limited, which would severely limit the overall user base and key video game demographic (males age 18-25). GTA and Metal Gear Solid would be replaced by cute and cuddly. Trust me, even the most loyal of Nintendo fanboys do get tired of the endless stream of Mario-inspired games that include his cast of merry friends and enemies.

What if Sony was actually did drive all its competitors out of the business with its all encompasing Playstation system? We would still have lots of third-party software developers, but we'd also probably have very few exciting and new game mechanics. We'd probably also have the same game hardware for several years longer. And you can expect we'd also be still waiting for an online answer to what pc gaming has had for years.

Now, take Microsoft's XBox system. Yes, it has a terrific online component in XBox Live. Yes, it definetely appeals to an older age group than Sony and Nintendo. But it also has that distinctive PC feeling to it. The original XBox was in fact, a plastic box with off-the-shelf PC components inside. It may just be too prematrue to draw conclusions from Microsoft's comparably short game console history, but XBox's software hits have for the most part been few and far between. 90% of XBox owners might have bought the fabled Halo 2, but then again, they didn't call it the Halo-Box for nothing.

All three complement each other nicely. They keep each other in check as well. Almost like some weird, capitalist "Separation of Powers". Each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Far from stagnant, the game industry is swiftly moving ahead into the HD era. It's a world of 1080p resolution, built-in wi-fi, harddrive storage, motion sensitive controllers, and of course, yearly EA game sequels.

Truely, there's something for everyone. So hold off on that mutual fund a bit longer. Let your World of Warcraft characters rest a bit. This is the year of the Big Three. So, aren't you glad you can take your pick?