Sunday, December 26, 2004

Elaborate Christmas Scam?

After looking over magumbo_2000's eBay auction selling his kids' Nintendo DS Christmas gift, it's hard to believe that it's genuine. It may be because he made $5, 300 on products worth $700 and I'm envious, but the father chooses to remain anonymous. It's probably an eBay stunt to drive up bids, selling cute pink baby clothes doesn't turn much of a profit...

Monday, December 20, 2004

Cell Phone with Vanity Mirror

Forget GPRS, SMS, and ringtones, cell phones with vanity mirrors are what's next!

Watson 1.7.5

Watson is a Sherlock-like program for OS X that has various channels. I've just started to play with it so I don't know much about it, but it's cool. There's channels for weather, eBay, epicurious, phone numbers, etc. Karelia Software developed Watson, but sold it to Sun and can't distribute it on their site any more. I found a copy here along with registration info so download it now!

Baby Blog

Cute family blog about the Saunders Family with tons of baby pictures. I don't like children or babies, but this was too cute to overlook.

Sunday, December 19, 2004


reBlogging is what I wanted to do with my blog when I first started. Instead of creating content or writing a diary I wanted to compile content from other blogs that I found striking. A reBlog sounds interesting, but it's nice to write my own comments along with the links I find. I like keeping a regular blog instead of a reBlog, but reBlogs are helpful.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Reading Your Country's Travel Guide

I really wanted to spend winter break in London or Paris this year to go site seeing and take tons of pictures, but that's not happening. Instead I'll probably spend it working or sleeping, the latter's more likely. Even though I won't be going to Europe it's still fun to read travel guides and look at photos of all the beautiful places. I've discovered Wikitravel to be an excellent, though currently incomplete, source for general information on several destinations.

After looking through London, Paris, and Tokyo I decided to see what was written about the United States. It turned out to be an interesting read because things I didn't really pay much attention to were mentioned like what accent is portrayed in mass media and types of alcohol served at restaurants, if any.

My favorite facts about our culture:
"A degree of romance is attached to non-American English accents, and people may be friendlier to you because of yours."

"Unlike much of the rest of the world, tipping in America is essentially mandatory for polite patrons -- and, indeed, tips often form the majority of a worker's income."

"California wines are some of the best in the world, and are available on most wine lists in the country."

"At the college or university level the United States, by almost any measure, has no peer."

Reading about your own culture can be almost as compelling as another one.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Chris Webber Never Agreed to "Apprentice" Charity

I'll admit it, I watched the three hour Apprentice season 2 finale yesterday like many others. I was rooting for Kelly because he was a successful project manager three times while Jenn stayed on the sidelines until she was the only one who hadn't lead a team. Most people at Lincoln Center wanted him to win along with fired candidates from both seasons; Trump wasn't going to surprise us and choose Jenn when nobody wanted her.

I did applaud Jenn for finding another person to emcee her event at short notice though. Chris Webber backed out of a charity event at the last moment to go to a meeting instead. Or so it seemed. He claims that he had nothing to do with event and never promised to participate at all. On the show it was a bid deal that he didn't show up and it looked like the whole event would cave in because he wasn't there. The event went off smoothly, but now all those who didn't care about Chris Webber before now dislike him for slighting a charity event. Webber's lawyers are looking into legal action now.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


I think this was done on purpose to embarrass Bush...

The image URL keeps changing! Here's where it is now.

Update 2:
"Challenges" too much for the White House.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Ogo: IM, Text, and Email Machine

Cingular is offering a text only device called the Ogo that sends IMs, text messages, and email. It looks pretty snazzy and user friendly once you get over the learning curve. With a price of $79.99 it sounds like a good deal, but having to pay for each IM and email account does not. If buddy lists weren't stored on servers making them accessible from any device with an internet connection, then the Ogo would be worth considering. My advice, buy a PDA with wifi or a Treo.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Google + Amazon = Googlezon

Everybody likes Google, but is it going to take over our lives by filtering our news and collecting personal information based on our purchases? Maybe, but that's the worst case scenario according to whoever created this movie. Any company, even one as beneficial as Google, that gets too big has the potential to cause consumers pain. I like Google now and hope it continues to be innovative (make Hello for Mac), etc, but if it merges with Amazon then I'll be concerned.

Link Courtesy Yan Feng.

The creators of EPIC/Googlezon write about their project. Robin Sloan and Matt (doesn't have a website).

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Human Corporation

From DubyaSpeak,
Tommy [Thompson] was commenting on the fact that we're a large company -- country, with all kinds of avenues where somebody can inflict harm.
-- Not the first time Dubya has confused "country" with "company"... White House, Dec. 4, 2004
See! See, this is how George W. Bush is running our company country. I should learn how to run one of these large corporations because they all seem to be benefitting from Bush's policies. We should all take a look at Monsanto; after contributing to the Bush campaign they ended up on the Fortune 500 list for the first time. However, most people would get tired of being in court all the time.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Bush and Putin Absorbing Culture

In Chilean ponchos. Credit: Yahoo News.

Wearing something Chinese. Credit: apocalypse.

Is it me, or do they have a talent for making ethnic garb look like cheap Halloween costumes? But to me Bush looks out of his element in anything but a Cowboy hat, boots, and a chainsaw.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Because We Need Another Diet

A Minnesota professor has created the Northwoods Diet, so if you can't shed the pounds as fast as the participants on the Biggest Loser you can try the latest fad diet.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Getting the Extreme Close Up

Is it me, or is the macro setting on Sony digital cameras broken? Using a CyberShot DSC-V1 I've tried to take pictures of things really close up, but to stay in focus I can only get so close, and that's not close enough! This is supposed to be a good camera for easy point and shoot photography but I can't set it up right to get a simple macro shot. Using an old 2.1 megapixel Nikon Coolpix 775 I can get extremely close to anything I want and the images turn out perfect. What am I doing wrong?

I realized that the Coolpix has a closer range than the CyberShot, so it can get closer. I figured that since the CyberShot was newer it would have better everything, but that's not the case (it should be the case). Even the Coolpix 5200 has a slightly smaller (1.6 inches to infinity) macro setting than it's older cousin.

Monday, December 06, 2004

This is Capitalism

capitalism, originally uploaded by jimbouk999.

Capitalism represented in what was East Berlin? I like the caption the photographer gave for this photo.

aparently capitalism is cold and homosexual,this stutue represents this.Communism is sexy of course.

Yahoo Doesn't Like the Mac

Even though they discretely upgraded my mailbox to 250mb, instead of the standard 100, Yahoo isn't my favorite web service. Comparing the quality of their services between the two platforms, it's clear they don't like the Mac very much, especially OS X. Messenger on OS X hasn't been updated in a long time, and many of the tabs like Weather and News don't work at all. I'll admit that the Windows version of Messenger has too many bells and whistles that take up memory, but I'd like a program that works.

If you like watching music videos on Launch, then I'm sorry to inform you that it doesn't work with OS X, and probably won't in the near future. I wanted to watch a Destiny's Child video one time so I ran Netscape 4.7 in the Classic environment, but it wouldn't work! I download another version of Netscape 4.7x and still no luck. Why does Yahoo block access to this kind of media when the Mac operating system has been proven to handle this very well.

Somebody needs to write a letter or form some kind of petition to request that Yahoo upgrade it's services for Mac users. I think I'll ask Yahoo support services why they don't support the Mac platform as much as Windows. My guess was that it's a great conspiracy to subordinate Mac users.

I emailed the Yahoo Launch support team yesterday and they responded today. They said they may offer Launch for OS X in the future, but they still want to hear feedback from their customers. So, I guess if enough Mac users email Yahoo things may change.

Friday, December 03, 2004

King Tut to Visit U.S.

Well, not him, but all his possessions are coming to America for 27 months.
Showcased in the exhibition are 50 objects found specifically in Tutankhamun's tomb, among them his royal diadem, or crown; the golden, jeweled container holding his mummified organs; an alabaster sculpture of the boy king; a silver trumpet; and a gilded shrine portraying Tutankhamun and his wife. Visitors also can walk through a replica of Tutankhamun's inner burial chamber, which managed to escape looting by grave robbers.

This exhibition is supposed to be bigger than the 1970's one, but will be shorter, stopping in four cities. I'm definitely not going to miss this. Even if you're not into Ancient Egypt, archaeology, or museums you should go to see all the gold and artifacts from a real king's tomb. It's surely worth the $30 (on top of the museum flat fee) to explore a treasury worth $650 million.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


Today I checked my little Microsoft bcentral hit counter and found that I've finally logged 10,000 visitors. It may not seem like much compared to bigger sites, but when I first started I was happy with just 10 unique hits a day. Thanks to RSS, links from other blogs, and a few mentions here and there on blog memes I'm getting more visitors than when I first started. It's been fun starting my first blog.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Pronouncing Fashion Designer Names

Have trouble pronouncing high fashion designer names? has a guide with sound files to help you out. Jean Paul Gaultier isn't that hard to say after all.

The Beast

If the Da Vinci Code wasn't a big enough challenge to Christianity, coming June 6, 2006 (6/6/06) there's the movie The Beast. Instead of suggesting that Jesus Christ had a family, this movie challenges the very existence of Him. It's too early to tell if this film will be good or have any major impact, but there is a community to discuss the film's topics. I guess the whole point of the movie is to let everybody know that there's hardly any evidence outside of the Bible that Jesus ever existed. Historians know this, but still say that Jesus was real. The film probably wants people to question their faith, yet again... Hopefully it has a good plot and doesn't get over hyped.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Yuli Yang Geng

Yuli yang geng (玉里羊羹)is some kind of gelatin eaten in China and Japan (know as youkan). It comes in bar form and you eat it in small slices plainly. Last night I tried some and it was gross. This company makes the kind I have (last item) and it states that tourists are eager to bring some home for friends. My advice, bring them chops instead.

Denny's in the East

Yummy!, originally uploaded by kungfootv.

Wow! In Japan Denny's is so much classier than in America. I don't get it, with all the over weight people in this country they should sell these at McDonald's for a buck.

Monday, November 29, 2004


Where can I get a mouse cradle like this in the US? I first saw one of these when I was in Sweden, and it was surprisingly easy to use and more comfortable than using the mouse by itself. That was several years ago and I still haven't seen anything like it here. Where are they?

Friday, November 26, 2004

21 Thanks

My Thanksgiving wasn't that great, but we still have plenty of things to be thankful for. Surviving the next four years may not be as difficult as we thought, but the second term hasn't begun yet, so it's too early to let down our guard.

via 1gm

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Apple "Student" Blog

Apple has launched a Student Blog on their website in the education section. It's supposed to be "a new community site for students to hear from other students about their observations and Mac-related stuff," but so far it's off to a shaky start. First, Dave is not a student, so why is he blogging on the site for students to hear from students? His first two entries aren't very good; he'll probably get better, but that doesn't make him more a student and less an Apple employee. Hopefully real students will start blogging. Second, there's no permalinks, or maybe I just can't find them. It's powered by WordPress, so the permalinks feature is there, the student bloggers just need to turn it on. Third, the blog's to fold if they don't goose it up a bit, and I don't want that to happen. Don't they have creative interns?

via r-echos

Monday, November 22, 2004


I finally downloaded Skype for OS X yesterday. It allows you to make VoIP calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world for free. It does require signing up for a Skype account, but that's really easy. Convincing family and friends to sign up too will be harder, but it's worth it since Skype is for many platforms and you can also send instant messages if you don't want to talk. The Logitech USB headset I have has great sound coming out of the ear pieces but the microphone isn't good. Making adjustments on my computer hasn't worked either, so I need another headset (only USB).

The only calls I've made are to echo123 and echo-chinese, the Skype testing accounts for English and Chinese speaking users. They're just answering machines that let you test your sound setup, so I have no idea how good it is with real people. Everybody who's talked about Skype says the sound quality is better than on a regular phone and other VoIP software.

For a price you can call landlines too, perhaps a good idea if you're unhappy with your phone company. I don't think I'll use this much, but if you travel a lot (with your computer) it's probably a good product for you.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

French in My Reader

For some reason under the file menu in Adobe Reader 6.0 for Mac it says "Envoyer vers Palm." It's supposed to be "Send to Palm," but perhaps somebody forgot to translate it from French to English. When I select the message I get this:
Adobe Reader for Palm OS 3.05 semble endommagé, Réinstallez Adober Reader for Palm OS 3.05.
A strange mix of English and French that isn't even correct because Adobe Reader for Palm is just fine!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Don't Cook in the Dark

A bit of common sense we all should keep in mind. Cat puke is hard to see in the dark. >_<

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Electronic Organizer

Yesterday I blew out my ears listening to Movin' Out on my pda. Today I'm suffering from the after effects and will stay away from loud sounds until my ears stop hurting. It was the first time I listened to a song with headphones on my new Tungsten T5, and I tried turning down the already "low" volume as much as I could, but it wasn't enough. Who knew a little pocket organizer could blast so much sound out?

I've never had an electronic organizer before, but I've played hardball on my mom's a lot. The T5 brand new model, but it doesn't come with any games. So now I actually have to use the other features like the calendar, address book, and to do lists. I don't have many appointments since the computer is where I spend most of my time. There's five contacts in my address book, mainly because I just IM people, and importing my Yahoo address book didn't work. The to do list feature doesn't help me much because I'm bad at making them. The features included with the pda aren't useful to me.

I love making the most out of new technology (or technology new to me), so I quickly found other things to do with it. Adobe Reader, Noah Lite dictionary, Mapopolis, and some translating software, all for free, makes the pda useful for me. My pda isn't helping me stay organized, but at least I can have fun with it.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

AOL Snubs the Red States?

AOL will stop broadband service in several southern red states, including Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, and Mississippi. Perhaps they were told they should sign up for the "internets" instead.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Delicious Monster

I love this program! Delicious Monster allows you to catalog all your CDs, DVDs, and Books on your computer. But the best part is that you can use your iSight to scan the UPC codes and the program looks up all the information via the internet and Amazon. It costs $40, but if you don't use your iSight much it's probably worth it. You can try the program out and store up to 25 items until you register. Screenshot.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Indian Feelings on Bush's Win

Many people in the world's largest democracy are upset about the Bush win.
George Bush has pipped John Kerry to the post of US Prez. We don't want to get into the realpolitik of it all, but Indians at large aren't certainly happy with what has happened to the Candidate-with-his-heart-in-the-right-place, John Kerry!

Says fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani, who has just opened a designer mall in the upmarket Defence Colony, "I am disappointed. I was all for Kerry's win. I think Bush was a very retarded President. Have you watched the film, Fahrenheit 9/11 ? It has a lot to say about Prez Bush", said Tahiliani.
However, those in the tech industry are happy that outsourcing will continue under the Bush administration.
The Indian IT industry Thursday expressed delight at US President George W Bush's re-election, hoping he would continue to be a proponent of free trade and outsourcing.

"The US is a powerhouse of the global economy and the Indian IT industry is delighted in being a partner to US corporations, helping to make them more competitive," India's National Association for Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) president Kiran Karnik said in a statement.
I guess those of us who voted for Kerry should move to India.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Those Crazy/Violent Conservatives

Oh boy, conservatives will do anything to get people to side with them. They'll steal campaign signs, push old ladies down in the street, and commit other violent acts just to get their way. Why, when Stacey Silveira told her boyfriend, Steve Soper, she was voting for Kerry he nearly killed her! I can hardly believe this. What kind of democracy are we living in when one political party is using the oppression and violence of a dictatorship against well-meaning citizens who have a different opinion?

I hear this kind of complaint all the time, although the political parties or ideologies discussed varies. That only proves that this kind of argument doesn't work, and it's better off not used at all. There's plenty of violent liberals and conservatives all over the US. That's just a fact. But these people are just foolish and dangerous regardless of their political leanings. Calling everybody in another group violent or crazy is just a diversion from focusing on policy and an admission to lacking knowledgeable about real issues.

It's best to not label these isolated incidents as characterizing an entire group, but some writers/bloggers/commentators just refuse to do that. Many of us would like to pummel people with pies or worse, but few of us are actually going to do that. Nobody can get away with saying all Asians are smart and all blacks are thieves, so why are they still allowed to label all people with certain political beliefs in this country like that? First it's the labels, then it's boycotting, next it's just a slippery slope down the path of hate without a clue how one got there. I guess we're still in the Dark Ages of democracy in some ways.

What Went Wrong?

Many people, including myself, were shocked that Bush was elected legitimately. We were so convinced that the public would pick the right candidate because it was so obvious that Bush's record as president was shady. Something just didn't go right. As I think back to the Bush and Kerry campaigns it's clear that Bush had more money earlier in the race and was able to label Kerry. I live in a swing state so I got bombarded with presidential campaign ads of all kinds. In the beginning though it was all Bush. Flip-flopper, tax raiser, big government supporter were labels branded early on Kerry that wouldn't come off later in the campaign.

I kept wondering why Kerry was just waiting around taking this abuse. Did he think that everybody knew that Bush was doing a bad job and that anybody else would be better? No, he wanted to make the ads and remind people of Bush's actions, he just didn't have the financial support that Bush had. All the efforts Kerry made later were not enough to change many people's opinions about him.

Like Ralph Nader says, Bush is just a big corporation disguised as a human being. He used his corporate connections to fund his campaign while guaranteeing them tax breaks. Although married to a wealthy woman, Kerry needed the financial support of the anti-Bush citizen population. He got it, but he got it too late. As soon as those Bush campaign ads started playing people should have donated funds to the Kerry campaign.

Once again it was financial resources, not leadership policies, that decided this election. Even with a presidential candidate who "makes Nixon look like Lincoln" more people still voted for him. I have a strong feeling that people in Florida, but especially Ohio, will be regretting their choice in the future.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Surviving the Next Four Years

I need to purchase the handbook on surviving the next four years. We were so close to change and we thought help was on the way, but in end our efforts weren't enough. Judging from Bush's past performance, I can predict that things will stay the same or get worse. Now that he will start a second term he doesn't need to worry about making progress to influence voters.

So how are we going to weather the storm? Just like we always have. I doubt the fabric of American society will rip apart, but we have to be prepared. We're gonna need the help of allies, if only they'll give us a second chance instead of leaving us alone. They aren't obligated to do anything for us, so I hope Bush can persuade them to help.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Electronic Voting for the Sims

Now the Sims can vote electronically just like people in the real world! Only they get added headaches including spontaneous combustion and the option to vote or die.

Internets Vets for Truth

Internets Vets for Truth, a collection of political Quicktime media clips.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Ten Years Ago

It's unbelievable that George W. Bush debated like this when he was running for governor. What happened to him over the years?

Link via BoingBoing

The Boing Boing link now points to their original post on this story and here is the production information on it too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


After reading nearly 700 clientcopia quotes via Zanah, it's clear that an introductory manual of some sort needs to be written for people who work with web designers. Most of the stupid quotes were made by clients who had no idea about computers, the Internet, or web design, yet needed a website for their business. Inept clients hurt both the clients' businesses as well as the web designers, who sacrifice their time and energy. Somebody needs to write "What Businesses Need to Know about Web Design," or something similar because it seems like a lot of people don't have a clue.

A couple hundred silly quotes doesn't mean that every client isn't knowledgeable about these things, but there are loads of people who are new to creating websites and working with a designer. People believe that the designer is responsible for everything on the site and little is required from them.

I've outlined a few basic rules that people should know about web design. It's not complete, especially since I'm not a professional myself...
  • The Internet has limits and the designer is aware of them. If the designer says you can't have a 50-minute DVD quality video that takes up 10 megabytes on your site, then that's the truth. Trust the designer.
  • Words like fun, edgy, creative, corporate, loud, dynamic, etc don't mean anything, so using them to describe the site you want won't help the designer. Get specific.
  • You have to tell the designer what you want and don't want. If you say, "I'll know what I want when I see it," then you'll get exactly what you don't want.
  • If the designer says that changing a few colors, moving images, and adding text won't be easy to do, then that's right, it's not.
  • Read the contract you have with your designer, the one you signed. They usually work for money, so non-payment equals no work done.
  • If you want something done and the designer does it, but you're not happy with the results, it's not the designer's fault.
  • A white background with yellow text is illegible and the designer will tell you this. When something will look bad the designer will let you know, so trust him/her.
  • It's helpful to know some computer terminology, like operating system, browser, web address, etc. Both parties should speak the same language.
  • You provide the content, not the designer.
  • The designer waits for your approval. Keep in contact with the designer (reply to emails, voice mails, etc).
This is an incomplete list obviously, but I think I've covered many of the basics. Either the clients learn how to work with professional designers, or professional designers learn how to deal with incompetent clients while in design and art school.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Rapper Turned Terrorist

Is the FBI, Secret Service, or Department of Homeland Security onto this one? Rapper KRS-One is suffering from severe confusion because the WTC didn't keep blacks out of the buildings, 9/11 affected everybody in the country, and voting doesn't make society more corrupt. Can't he just date a movie star or singer like all the other rappers?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Monday, October 11, 2004

Low Temper Control

In Friday's Presidential debate Bush has some trouble keeping his temper under control, frequently grimacing while Kerry was speaking. One particular outburst stood out which involved interrupting the moderator and barking at the crowd. This was one of the more exciting parts of the debate, but had Kerry acted the same way the Bush camp would've jumped on it immediately. The expectations for Bush are so low, that as long as he doesn't fall off his chair or doze off he'll be fine.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Bush's Small Business

In tonight's debate Kerry charged that Bush counted as a small business owner because he received $84 from a timber company. Bush claimed ignorance of this, but it turns out it's true. has an article saying that he did get paid $84 from a timber-growing company counting him as a small business owner (Google Cache article).

Update: wasn't working properly when I found the article, so I had to use the Google cache article. The real article is here with a correction that they made on October 9, the day after I posted. It says that Bush does own the timber company, but the $84 came from an oil company. Either way, he would still count as a small business owner under his definition of what a small business is.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Snl Resources

I don't watch Saturday Night Live, but I heard a rumor that Ben Affleck, last week's host, was a half-way decent actor so I tuned in half-way through the show. The sketches I saw were okay, but not good enough for me to watch the show ever again. There was one that caught my attention since the words Bourne Supremacy were uttered by Ben during a Tina Fey news desk segment. What was that sketch? Where do I read the transcript? Some googling led me to Snl Transcripts, but it wasn't there. Today I found a great collection of Snl links called Snl Headquarters and in it a site dedicated to Weekend Update, the Tina Fey sketch. They happened to have the entire transcript of Ben poking fun a Matt Damon, in addition to a video sparing me from hunting down a full episode torrent.

Yay, the Internet does something wonderful yet again. Why can't we have the Internet run our country?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Racial Profiling During WWII

Last month I wrote about Senator Zell Miller challenging Chris Matthews to a duel. During the interview Miller referred to a previous interview involving Matthews talking over a woman saying John Kerry shot himself. I didn't pay much attention to this because I assumed that Matthews always did that. Yesterday, while idly surfing I found a blog post about a book written by Michelle Malkin called "In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror." After some more searching I found this high quality interview with Michelle Malkin.

So Malkin was the woman Miller was talking about. I immediately requested her book from the library and am eager to read her arguments. Malkin also keeps a blog and is an active writer on other sites.

Filling Out College Applications

Last week I finished filling out two college applications the day before the deadline. I'm hoping to transfer to a new college for the spring semester, so I'm going to fill out (at least) two more applications before the beginning of next month. Some require more time than others and I tried picking schools that didn't require essays or recommendations (lazy) since I waited to the last minute to do this.

I filled both applications out online. I had to sign up for an account for each college, which I loathe, but there were only a few hours before the deadline. It turned out to be easier than expected and I was relieved afterwards. The next application I'll fill out online too, but not the last one.

I'm not smart or well-connected enough to go to an Ivy League school and California and New York city are out, but I'm determined to have a good time wherever I do go.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Bardot a Bigot?

Brigitte Bardot has been charged twice with inciting racial hatred specifically about immigrants, Muslims, race mixing in her book. That puts a smudge on her charitable efforts, but I haven't read her book, so it could just be a judge's opinion.

Monday, September 27, 2004

The Daily Show v. The O'Reilly Factor

Proof that The Daily Show is more informative about politics than The O'Reilly Factor. Personally, I don't watch the Daily Show, but I do watch some clips on onegoodmove. I've never seen the O'Reilly Factor and don't want to based on what OutFoxed presented...

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Write Your Name in Different Languages

Write your name in various writing systems and languages.

Catching Up

Wow, it's been almost one week since I've posted something. Things have gone by so fast and work has piled up again. But this time I'll be okay by Monday, hopefully. After classes I'm not falling asleep and for the most part I can get things done on time. It's getting tougher though, but I think I can handle it.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Got Himself Into More Trouble

Poor Mr. Blair. He's into more trouble after some memos and other documents were leaked, pertaining to Iraq, etc. I thought he liked being PM, important, and photographed. But he's throwing it all away for a cause that's a mystery to all. When Mr. Blair loses his job he'll become a pseudo-martyr for those that do mindless things. Poor Mr. Blair. I really liked him since he was young and in good shape.

Disclosing Information

I hate telling people too much information about myself, whether it's on the internet or in reality, I don't do it. When they ask about me I prefer to give the no-meaning answers that are preferred in general conversation. "Oh, I'm fine, good. How are you?" People don't want to hear your life story when you greet them anyways, but I take it a step farther. When they start to ask more questions I'll give basic answers without going into much detail. That's my mistake. Always, people want to know more about me and my plans. The plans aren't very good ones, so I don't talk about them. If I do tell them, I feel guilty when the plans change.

It's rude to blow people off with, "Oh, just stuff," when they ask what I'm doing. Is it nicer to tell them, "I'm just living, taking one day at a time, or nothing much"? I'd like to think it is, but I'm so worried about status and opinions that appearing wayward and lost is unthinkable.

In the last few days I've lost direction yet again! Man, this happens too much and in the strangest ways. Opportunities from all directions show up and I get confused! Just when I was back on track and getting things done everything derails. And in come the questions. "Why did you do this? Why didn't you do this? Don't you want this, that, and the other?" I'll be so bold as to say, "I don't know, and I don't care."

What a sad way to end the week. Next week's going to be better, but don't expect me to tell much.

Digital Kimonos

Japan has applied modern technology to one of its most ancient symbols: the kimono. Instead of hand painting kimonos, artisans are using inkjet printers to create the designs on the robes. The results are whimsical and modern designs, cheaper robes, but of less quality than hand painted ones.

I hope this business takes off because I'd like to buy a real kimono from Japan without spending thousands of dollars. And, since I live in the U.S. where people really don't wear them, I wouldn't feel guilty about spending big bucks on something I never wear. Maybe I could wear it on Halloween though.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

@nonymouse Blocked

I think Anonymouse is blocked in China now. People were using it to get to blocked sites like this one and now it doesn't work. The site is kind of out of wack now, so it's not much help to anybody. There's other sites to try, none that I know of off the top of my head, but I'll worry about it next time I'm in China... They all get blocked in the end anyways :o(.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Kryptonite Bike Locks Defeated by Pens

You've probably heard already that the U-shaped Kryptonite Bike locks can be broken into using a ball point pen. It's bad news for bike enthusiasts who have shelled upwards of $50 on these locks. There's even videos showing how to pick the locks with the average Bic pen. Kryptonite is coming out with a new model that cannot be compromised so easily, but until then anybody using the older models should use another type of lock or just drive/take the bus.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Trump Fires Bush

Donald Trump will fire George W. Bush on an all new Apprentice.


A new Will Smith movie. I'm not interested in it, but it doesn't look tacky like many new releases. Personally, I'd rather see Smith in a sci-fi action thriller than a romance comedy.

MSN Messenger Disconnecting

For some reason I keep getting disconnected from MSN Messenger. It tells me that my internet connection has been lost, so I've been signed out. This doesn't happen with AIM or iChat, so I think it's MSN's problem. The internet company said it came out to my neighborhood because other people were complaining, and now everything seems fine. All except MSN!

I'm using version 4.0 for Mac OS X is anybody else having this problem?

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Hear Arnold Schwarzenegger Speaking German

I always wanted to hear Arnold speak his mother tongue, but most of the clips of him were in English. But, the Govenator has provided a clip on his own website. Unsurprisingly, he sounds virtually the same speaking German* as he does speaking English.

* He may speak an Austrian form of German, but I have no clue about this.

Funny Bush Videos

There never seems to be a shortage of these on the internet. Bush is always coming up with funny things to say. Will Kerry ever prove to be as humorous?

Monday, September 13, 2004

Egg Experiment

How are you supposed to cook a soft-boiled egg? I put an egg in a pan filled with water, waited till the water came to a hard boil, and ran cool water over the egg. It was hard to peel and the yoke may have been undercooked. What am I doing wrong? Maybe I should just stick to scrambled eggs and omelets.

Jessie Conners: The Mentor

This is what she's doing? I guess The Apprentice can't improve everybody's situation.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Cash for Surveys

Over the past two days two ads jumped out at me and persuaded me to click on them. GoZing Surveys allows me to complete surveys for cash rewards that can be used on thousands of sites, including, Napster, and those accepting paypal cash. I saved the page and decided to think about the offer later. A day later another ad about getting paid for surveys caught my attention. PineCone Research pays you $5 for each survey you complete. They're looking for people aged 18-24, but I think anybody can do it.

Both these services seem legitimate and I spend a ton of time on the internet, so I don't see how earning extra cash could hurt. I realize that I'll be bombarded with advertising, but maybe I could raise enough money to buy something nice. I would like to speak to someone who's a member though, just to see if s/he's successful or not.


Once again I've fallen into a funk and haven't updated anything substantial. There's always an excuse, but this one's a good one. To sum it up; I've fallen behind in school. It's nothing that will cost me immediately, but in the near future there could be dire consequences if I don't get my act together. I've been cursed with the mindset of the slacker since classes started; maybe I was bitten by something or hit hard on the head. Instead of studying I'm sleeping, watching TV, surfing the internet, or reading for pleasure. Hopefully over the weekend, my get-it-together time, I'll catch up, but I think I'm doomed to become a slacker for the entire semester.

Is once a slacker, always a slacker true? Or can I quickly change into the school addict I used to be? One way to reverse the behavior is to analyze it: Who, what, where, when, how, and why? Who: Me. What: Spending time on pleasurable activities, not getting much school work done. Where: At home: When: After classes, on the weekdays, not the weekends. How: Simply neglecting to open a textbook, notebook, or my backpack, choosing to take a three hour nap, watch TV, read a novel, etc. Why: I don't enjoy my classes, they are truly unstimulating and I've lost my will to fully participate as a student.

Ugh, I think I'm doomed, but I'm still going to try something to remedy my illness. I'll go to bed earlier so I won't have to take naps when I get home. Cut before-homework internet time to 30 minutes (no, I'm not cutting before-homework internet time period). Restrict reading for pleasure to before bed and on the bus. These things I'll try next week...

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


I am Frylock from Aqua Teen Hunger Force!!

You're the true leader of the Aqua Teens. You are wise and powerful, unlike your teamates, who are always getting into trouble. You keep everyone in line without pushing people around.

Which Aqua Teen Hunger Force character are you??

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Countries That Block Websites

I remember when I learned that all Typepad sites were blocked in China. Heather told Pketh, he told me and checked with other China bloggers to see if it was true. Sadly it was, angering thousands of bloggers, especially those in China. Before visiting China, the only experience I had had with a blocked websites was in grade school. I never had any problems with this, usually sites that were blocked by the school filters were non-academic anyways.

But being blocked from sites in the privacy of your own home? Vastly different and extremely annoying. Luckily, there are ways to get around these hurdles. However, governments have been known to do something efficient and come up with innovative ways to make people's lives difficult. According to Foreign Resources, the following countries are known to block websites.
  • Bahrain
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Jordan
  • Myanmar (Burma)
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Syria
  • Tunisia
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States of America
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen

Monday, September 06, 2004

Online Status Indicator

At the bottom of my sidebar I've added some buttons that indicate my online status on MSN Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger. I'm using a service called Online Status Indicator, which generates the code for me after I enter in my screen names. Then all I have to do is put the codes into my template and I'm set. If you post on message boards there's also codes for your signature. Now you can find out if I'm online while navigating the site and send me a message. I recommend this service instead of using the ones provided by the IM client. It's simple, clean, and easier using OSI.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Senator Zell Miller to Duel with Chris Matthews

Well, at least he wishes he could. During an interview on MSNBC's Hardball, Democratic Senator Miller stated,
"I wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel."
Fortunately for Matthews, we don't live in that day, but that probably won't stop Miller. Judging from the video stream, he looked hungry for a fight with Matthews using pistols, swords, or just plain fists. Miller obviously learned nothing from The Duel.

The Power of His Words

Jon Stewart's got it right about the power of George W. Bush's words. Ignore the facts and the filter, listen to Bush.

Link via onegoodmove.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Why Students Don't Do Well in Math

After only three meetings with my math instructor I have learned why many math students don't do well in the class. Math requires "thinking outside of the box," to use the common administrative cliche. You have to approach problems using all of the standard processes, but then you've got to come up with completely new methods. Students don't want to do this, it requires too much effort and can take up too much time. Why try and figure out a formula that some ancient mathematician has already done 1,000 years ago? Why prove something that's already been proven? These thought patterns alone hold students back from success.

To do well students need to be active during lectures and participate. Students should ask questions rather than accept what is given to them by the instructor without any thought. Give the teacher a problem to work out on the board. Do the problem along with the teacher, working out each step in a collaborative effort. Instead, students will just sit back and wait for class to end by watching the teacher write various runes on the board.

Math isn't just about completing homework assignments. When students are at home they should research on the internet topics that were brought up in class. The library has plenty of resources on the history of math, mathematicians, and the wide range of math subjects. Students don't want to do this, because again, it takes up too much time and effort.

Students forget anything they've learned, hoping that they will never see it again. Unfortunately, they do see it again, but they don't remember seeing it in the first place. In math, there are basic skills that students shouldn't forget. They should use these techniques and apply them to future problems. These methods serve as a springboard for solving a problem that the student hasn't seen before. If every problem is approached like it's an alien script then the student won't know where to start and what to try, ultimately failing.


I'm just like every other math student. Most of the time I sit in class, copy down what the instructor writes on the board, and accept whatever statements s/he makes. At home I do my assignment, skip the hard problems, check my answers (the solutions are usually in the back of the book or in the solution manual), and forget about what I've just done. However, I found that when I "cheated" on my lazy strategy of apathy toward the subject, and become more involved, I did better.

I have survived math courses by taking the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde method. Sometimes I'm the lazy student, other times I'm the active math pupil. As of now I'm the lazy student, probably due to the long summer. If only I could be one of those kids that just gets math automatically, then I'd be set.

Talking About Language

A few days ago I was looking for a great site I had found awhile ago that had sound clips of different languages. Specifically, I wanted to find the Mandarin Chinese sound clips that pronounced "ma" in the 4 different tones. After doing a Google search I found the site, called Fonetiks: The Online Language Laboratory. It's a service you have to subscribe to if you want to have free access to the entire site, but the free samples are fun to listen to. The Chinese sound clips show how difficult it can be to get used to a tonal language, but listening to them helps a lot if you're learning Chinese.

While I was searching for this site I found some other insightful articles and websites about language in general. The Linguistic Society of America writes about what an accent is, Phrasebase serves as a community for language learners to help each other, and a Microsoft blogger posts a article about German being a language of love, if not to love ( I loved the comments on that one). Personally, I've grown to enjoy how German sounds somewhat aggressive and forceful since I associate that with importance and authority, but the compound words are confusing.

My favorite languages would have to be Japanese, Italian, and Latin. I like the way Japanese and Italian sound, and Latin because it is useful for learning other romance languages. Arabic, Persian, and Hindi rank highly for me because they flow nicely together according to my ear.

The language I dislike most is French. It has nothing to do with the people, the country, the history, or the structure. It has everything to do with the teachers I had. I learned from them that if you have a bad language teacher you'll grow to despise the language itself for long after you quit learning. It's sad and I wish things had been better, especially since visiting Montreal, but French ranks low on my list thanks to my odious instructors.

Searching around the web, walking around town, or talking to friends; everywhere there is something about language! Good thing it's a topic that never gets old. It's boring, confusing, funny, dynamic, insightful, and powerful. Why didn't we understand this in English class??

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Montreal Pictures

Horse and carriage in front of Notre Dame.

Flowers at St. Joseph's.

Olympic Park.

View of Japanese and Chinese gardens and the rest of Montreal from the Stadium Observatory.


Some birds inside the Biodome.

Replica of Brother Andre's chapel near the Oratory.

Brother Andre.

Some bells at the Oratory.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Back Home, Back to Work

St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal Posted by Hello

I''m back from Montreal and feeling somewhat satisfied with the place. It didn't have as many people as I had expected, and they went to bed by a certain time unlike New York, but overall I enjoyed being there. Safe and clean unlike many big cities, it does have what is necessary and then some. There's something for everybody, including myself, with plenty of sites to see and food to eat. I had no clue about the presence of French, but we only met one person who didn't speak English. Most people could smoothly convert to English, many without the slightest hint of an accent. I guess everybody working there could speak French, however, two guys at an ice cream shop had American accents that made it hard for me to believe they could switch to French like everybody else.

Overall I had a pretty good time because there was plenty to see like St. Joseph's Oratory, the Olympic Park and Biodome, and Notre Dame. Six days is not long to see much, and I did spend three sleeping, but I saw plenty and would like to go back some day. I learned you don't need to travel far to see nice things.

Tomorrow classes start and I'm not ready for anything since I have no supplies. Taking things as they come will be my motto for tomorrow since there's not much I can do now. What will this year bring? Will I get lazy and neglect studying like most students? Will I find a permanent school by the semester's end? Right now, to me, these are the most unimportant questions in the world so I'll forget about them until they're answered.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Last Minute Vacation

I'm squeezing in another vacation before fall semester starts, so I probably won't be blogging for almost a week. I doubt I'll even have time to check my email, read other sites and leave comments, or respond to anything until I get back. This time I'm taking a camera with me, so I'll try and have some photos of Montreal up when I return.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

There's Always Plenty of Hate to Go Around

Just what we need in this world: More hate. People who hate other people, things, and concepts can now create a hatelisting, as opposed to a fanlisting. Their motto "Because sometimes you just need to express it," does little to convince me that this is merely an outlet for negative self expression. There isn't much expression in listing your name on somebody's website in the first place, and unless this hate is consuming joining some club about it is hardly worth the effort.

Joining a hatelisting carries more weight than mentioning that you don't like something, but takes less energy than writing hate letters to CNN. It's a pointless concept altogether and I'd rather focus my dislike for something in a more descriptive form.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

End-of-Summer Lag

Over the past few weeks I've been uninspired to write much of anything. It could be that I've been too lazy, but I haven't felt compelled to login and start writing. Every other day I'd post some information about a website or article I read, but nothing with any weight. I'm not the only one though, some other writers have taken a break from blogging to do anything but.

Perhaps we're trying to hold on to what's left of summer. Usually weekends are slow blog days, but now it seems like every day is like that. The blogosphere is stuck in some kind of funk and there's little telling when it will get out. Probably when the school year starts and people get back from their vacations.

When classes start up for me, the first week is accompanied by an absence of writing of any kind. It takes me about that long to adjust into my new schedule after a few months of not doing anything productive. Before classes do start I still have one more trip to make. I'm going to Montreal for five days with my family and I can almost guarantee that I won't be writing from there.

When will the lag go away?

Monday, August 09, 2004


Looking for tutorials for web design, digital imaging, and programming software? Tutorialized has member-submitted tutorials for Photoshop, Dreamweaver, PHP and more. Although you have to sign up to see all the tutorials, the ones that are on display for everybody are pretty helpful.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Crimson Room

The Crimson Room is a game where you are stuck inside a room with red walls and a red ceiling. You have to find different objects hidden around the room to help you find a way to escape. When you finally get out you can play the Viridian Room.

Link via Heather

Dual Nationality

Yes, the United States recognizes dual nationality. I was talking to the guy next to me on a plane one time and he said that dual nationality was not recognized in the U.S. or China. After coming home I forgot about the conversation, but I remembered it when I thought about a friend who is a U.S. and Chinese citizen. In the U.S. she's a citizen of this country and of China, but according to China she is only a citizen of the U.S.

I wonder how Chinese who are citizens of other countries become citizens of China again when they return. This is a situation my friend's family will have to deal with when they come become citizens of the U.S., but they made it sound like an easy process. Maybe it is as simple as denying citizenship of the other country and claiming citizenship of China.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

This Wasn't in F911

Saudis lavish gifts on Bush family
Saudi Arabia's de facto leader lavished nearly $US130,000 ($A185,000) of fine jewellery on US President George W Bush, his wife, children and top aides in 2003 but the weightiest gift presented to the first family last year came in the form of hundreds of pounds of raw meat, according to documents released today.
Raw meat? I guess that's not going on display at the National Archives.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Batman Begins

Hopefully Batman Begins won't turn out to be as bad as Catwoman is supposed to be.

Link via Listology.

Friday, July 30, 2004

One Year

Last year on July 30, this blog was opened to the public. Lots of things have changed since then, the template, links, and Blogger interface. I'm still going on strong and I hope things continue to change for the better. :-)

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Virtuously Evil

History Channel interviewee on "Punishment" documentary:
You can't kill very large numbers of people, except in the name of virtue.
We're brought up to believe it's a good quality from which only good things can come from, but the worst events in human history are the result of virtue.

Buy American

It's hard to tell what companies are American owned and which are foreign. Many companies don't make it easy to find out either. How Americans Can Buy American* does some of the work for us, but the site doesn't tell the whole story. For example, CompUSA is Mexican, but that's only half the story. In reality, CompUSA is being held buy a Mexican company (U.S. Commercial) probably so it can avoid paying some taxes. I wonder if this is making things cheaper for consumers. Whatever the consequences, it offers some insight into who owns what.

*Since American products are everywhere in the world, the site/book could be renamed How Everybody Can Buy American.

Fighting Terrorism and Fat?

From Yahoo! News:
WASHINGTON - A government scientist finishing a candy bar on her way into a subway station where eating is prohibited was arrested, handcuffed and detained for three hours by transit police.

Stephanie Willett said she was eating a PayDay bar on an escalator descending into a station July 16 when an officer warned her to finish it before entering the station. Both Willett and police agree that she nodded and put the last bit into her mouth before throwing the wrapper into a trash can...
Way to go! The heightened security in Washington D.C. is not only warding off terrorism, but helping people lose weight. I wonder if this policy would work in any other city in the country?

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Work of the Holy Spirit

Got this email from my dad a few days ago:

The Lord has a way of revealing those of us who really know him, and those that don't!!! Think about it!

Bush gave a big speech last week about how his faith is so "important" to him. In this attempt to convince the American people that we should consider him for president, he announced that his favorite Bible verse is John 16:3.

Of course the speech writer meant John 3:16, but nobody in the Bush camp was familiar enough with scripture to catch the error.

And do you know what John 16:3 says? John 16:3 says; "And they will do this because they have not known the Father nor Me".

The Holy Spirit works in strange ways.
This is a hoax.


There's Google for searching for web sites, images, and news, but for bit torrents now there is Bitoogle, the bit torrent file search engine. Search in English, German, Dutch, and Japanese. It's fast, efficient, and useful for finding torrent files.

Link via The Unofficial Google Weblog.

How Do They Stay So Slim?

According to this BBC article, the French stay slim because they eat smaller portions, sit down with family for at least 2 meals per day, and eat less junk food unlike the British and Americans. As a result, they are among the skinniest Europeans. This sounds plausible to me, but it doesn't explain why other groups keep the pounds away.

Scandinavians happen to be very svelte, but eat some of the richest food in large portions. When I was Sweden, it seemed like every meal was a huge smorgasbord with creams, butters, yogurts, and cheeses. There were no small portions, everybody filled their plates and returned to the buffet tables for seconds and thirds. How did they keep their weight down when they ate all this fatty food?

Now, Italy may have just held a Miss Chubby (Miss Cicciona) contest, but if you go to any mall, theater, or game in the U.S. you'd think you were at an American version. Besides Britain, no other European country can really come close to the size of many Americans. This leads me to proof (somewhat) of a theory I heard on public radio: Speaking English can make you gain weight.

Continents like Africa, South America, and Asia do not have an abundance of fat people, but other factors determine size including political and economic. When I was in China everybody was not only shorter but much slimmer. My friend said it was due to malnutrition and I also noticed how the only dairy really in existence was eggs (chicken and robin) and extremely bland ice cream.

But are the Australians (and others in Oceania) fat? I wouldn't be surprised if they were. Judging only from the hobbits in the Lord of the Rings films, who somehow managed to stay nice and chubby all the way to Mordor, it seems like there is a considerable chubby population.

Why English can make people heavier is a whole different issue. Learning the phrases deep fried, fast food, and take out in addition to seeing and understanding McDonald's and Pizza Hut commercials may contribute to the chubby complex in the mind, but who can be sure?

Monday, July 26, 2004

Book Vending Machine

Replace the candy and cappuccino machines with this. It's better for your health and good for your mind.


Joi introduced me to a new program that I've fallen in love with. RadioLover allows you to record your MP3 radio streams into individual MP3 files. You can put these songs on your MP3 player or burn them onto a CD. Sounds too good to be true right? The first question I asked Joi after he told me about the program was is it legal in the U.S.? He already blogged on that subject, but I think the RIAA is already trying to find a way to ban this program.

If you have iChat AV, you can download this script that shows your buddies what you're listening to and if you're using RadioLover.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Monday, July 19, 2004

Blogger Mozilla Problems Again

Blogger has updated it's posting interface now, adding more features including text colors, lists, justification, and fonts and sizes. However, it doesn't seem to play too nice with Mozilla. Sometimes it'll lose CSS(?) support and only the text will show up, and I have yet to publish a post and get confirmation that it was uploaded afterwards. Yes, I downloaded the latest Mozilla and no, I'm not going to download Firefox.

No clue what the problem is, but hopefully it'll blow over soon. Mozilla was the only browser that worked with Blogger on the Mac, so I'm depending on it to work.

I think it's working again now!

Fundrace 2004

Fundrace 2004 allows you to search for who is contributing to this years political campaigns. The Neighbor search lets you put in your address and see what campaigns your neighbors are contributing to and how much they have given. You can also search for specific people. I did a few searches for some well known people and came up with this:
Mr. William H. Gates, III - $2,000 to George W. Bush

Honorable John Kerry - $25,000 to the Democratic National committee (DNC)

Mr. George HW Bush - $2,000 to George W. Bush

Barbara Streisand - $25,000 to DNC; $2,000 to Kerry; $1,000 to Edwards, Sharpton, Dean, Gephardt, Graham, and Clark

Albert A. Gore - $2,000 to Kerry; $1,000 to Dean

Mr. BooneC. Pickens - $25,000 to the Republican National Committee; $2,000 to Bush
After putting in a few zip codes you can see that many businesses (especially large ones) contribute to the Bush campaign or the RNC. They know who to support to get their tax cuts.

Another feature of the site is a national map of what regions contribute to the Democrats and to the Republicans.

You can also see what Kerry and Bush spend on hotels and airlines. Truly U.S. campaigning requires some serious funds. Most of our presidents are rich white men from the East coast.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Chinese Triad Dot Org

Dan over at Chinese Triad has an amazing photo blog of his visit to China. I recognize many of the places he went to and highly recommend looking at all the photos for a good idea of what to expect if you're planning on visiting. He traveled during the cooler months, which I wouldn't mind trying since it was boiling when I went.

Brazilians Taking Over Orkut

If you have an Orkut account and still bother to read community messages you've probably noticed that there are quite a few messages written in Portuguese. If you've bothered to look at the profiles of the people sending the messages you would've seen that all their friends are Brazilian also. Orkut, Google's social networking system, is now over 40% Brazilian compared to being 20% American. Iran is in third with 5%. Now I've never taken any of these messages too seriously, but this has bothered some members.

I don't see why people are so mad since Orkut hasn't made many improvements since its launch. Few seem to pay much attention to in anymore except the Brazilians and Iranians. Rebecca Blood does offer some tips on how Orkut could be "saved", but it's not going anywhere currently and has lost much of its flare to those who joined it early.

I predict that people from other countries who have just discovered the service will continue to dominate it until it finally gets out of beta and becomes more useful.

Property in China

The BBC gives some details on buying property in China.
"I'm quite satisfied with it because I didn't have to accept what I was given by other people. I could make my own choice," says Mr Yang.

His words express how many Chinese feel about going up the property ladder, leaving behind dingy apartments allocated by work-units under China's defunct Communist welfare system.

His old home in the southern city of Kunming was doled out when he was a junior civil servant, low down the perks list.

Mr Yang is still no Donald Trump, despite his high-roller decorating habits. But like millions of middle-class Chinese, he and his wife are pouring their savings into a newly built flat and have taken on a hefty mortgage for the first time.
Buying a house for the first time. Sounds familiar, despite what I was told about Chinese culture. It looks like Chinese want to own their own homes and live by themselves just like Americans do, even if that means getting involved in a system barely a decade old.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


While I was searching for books on I noticed a new feature called Plog. I clicked on the "What is a Plog" link for the description and got this:
The Plog™ Service is a personalized blog. A blog is a straightforward and now widely adopted method of posting a reverse chronological diary on the Internet... Your Plog is a diary of events that will enhance your shopping experience, helping you discover products that have just been released, track changes to your orders, and many other things. Just like a blog, your Plog is sorted in reverse chronological order. When we think we have something interesting or important to tell you, we'll post it to your Plog.
At first I thought how could a personalized blog be any different from what I have right here? But this Amazon Plog is just a creative way to lighten your wallet, based on what you have purchased in the past. It's just a blog of reviews, written by Amazon staff, of products that they think you will like. It's not that I'm against product reviews or something/someone suggesting what I might like, it's the so-called blogging aspect of this. Instead of having someone from the company write blog entries (which are actually just directly copied from the products' review sections) why not have customers write the Plog entries? The staff can just pick a couple of the least offensive posts for each product. But I guess letting customers write product reviews is plenty for the company.

Blogging is supposed to give anybody a chance to post content to the internet, but Plogging is the opposite. The service is still in beta though, so there's still some hope for it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Flowers and watering can. Posted by Hello

New camera. A 5.0 megapixel Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V1 Posted by Hello

Monday, July 12, 2004

Novel for the Cellphone

Chinese author moves into texts
A Chinese author is writing a novel aimed to be transmitted in text message-size chunks.

Qian Fuchang has reduced his novel Outside the Fortress Besieged into 60 chapters of 70 characters each, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported.

Described as a "steamy tale of illicit love among already married people", the novel will be available exclusively to mobile phone users.

China's expanding mobile phone market already has 300 million.

Xie Wangxin, vice chairman of the Guangdong Literary Academy in southern China, told Xinhua that the mobile phone novel was no gimmick and would be "a real literary work".

Last year, Chinese people sent more than 220bn text messages, more than half of all messages sent in the world, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Now that's the kind of book I want to read. It's short, it's simple, and to the point. I suggest putting a Jane Austen novel in text message form. Sure, the books are enjoyable to read, but if you don't have time to curl up with them for hours then the cell phone version may work out.

How to Hotwire a BMW

My mom just got a new BMW 5 series on Friday. I wasn't too excited about this because she didn't get a navigation system or DVD player for the backseats, but mainly because I wanted her to buy me a new car. It's fancy enough for her and she hopes it will last 20 years. When I saw it I changed my mind about the car. The drive was so smooth and the interior had that addictive new car smell. However, my mom couldn't enjoy that for very long because she went on vacation the next day. I told her we'd drive her car and have fun while she had to eat nasty health food. She said that she'd take the key with her so we couldn't. Then I suggested that we wouldn't need the key, we'd just hotwire the car. She laughed at that idea because we couldn't even cook ourselves a full dinner.

Unfortunately, even if we knew how to hotwire cars we couldn't hotwire her's. The dealer said that her car couldn't be hotwired. I didn't believe this so I looked up some information with Google on hotwiring cars and more specifically, hotwiring a BMW. Couldn't find anything, except that "how to hotwire an[sic] bmw[sic]" is a dumb question.

House of Sand and Fog

For summer school I had to read Andre Dubus III's House of Sand of Fog. Overall I thought the book was well written, and I didn't mind the change of narrators, but the characters weren't likeable. Kathy Nicolo is evicted from her house by the county because she neglected to pay a business tax. Her husband left her several months ago, she has a meager income as a house cleaner, and she's struggling with an addiction.

The next day her house is sold to Colonel Massoud Behrani and his family for 45 grand at an auction. Behrani is an Iranian immigrant who was part of the overthrown Shah's army. After squandering money on furniture, clothing, and a "pooldar" apartment, he realized that without a good source of income he couldn't afford to live his lavish lifestyle. After spending the last of his savings on Kathy's house, he learns that he can sell the property for four times its worth.

The problem is that Kathy was evicted from her house by accident and she has no where to live. Infuriated by this news she bothers the Behranis about her situation and starts to drink. Behrani conceals this information from his family and further upsets Kathy. Also, the deputy sheriff that evicts Kathy becomes obsessed with her despite having a family and stable job.

It's a pretty interesting read and hard to put down, but by the end of the book you don't like any of the characters. They all make a series of poor decisions and in the end pay for their actions. You wouldn't want to be friends with these people because it could be a dire mistake. It's a modern Greek tragedy and I'd recommend it if you don't like people and don't want to.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

China Photos

Now that summer school is over I've run out of excuses for not posting and I'd better step it up. It's been some time since I came home from China, so I've finally uploaded my photographs from the trip. Most of them were pretty bad and just of me, so there's only 2 pages of photos. Here's China photo page 1 and China photo page 2. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

It's Okay to Download!

Michael Moore gave everybody the okay to download his new movie Fahrenheit 9/11 as long as they're not using it commercially. Imajes pointed out that Some people took this farther than Moore expected by putting the movie on the distributor's website, Lions Gate Films, for a brief period of time. It wasn't advertised directly on the site, but it was easy to find out where it was posted. I was on dial-up unfortunately, so I only got 10mbs of it.

When my cable internet was fixed I took advantage of it immediately and found a torrent file of F 9/11 and spent roughly 2 days downloading it. Last night I watched the film on the computer to see for myself what all the hype was about. I thought it would just be a film aimed at people already against Bush and the war in Iraq, positions I stood by so why watch this film? After watching the first 20 minutes I was hooked though. Not because it reinforced my positions, but because it asked questions that went unanswered from the last four years. I agree with Jimmy Dee, everybody needs to see this film.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Hi8 to DVD Updated

How and where do I convert my Hi8 tape to DVD? I've never dealt with this sort of thing before and don't know where to begin looking for the kind of place that will do this for me. Video transfer? Conversion? Duplication? All the major stores do digital photos now, not digital video. Walmart, Sam's, and Walgreens all do pictures, but not video. I will figure out how to do this.


I figured out what to do thanks to Kevin Marks. Walmart, Sam's, and Walgreens accept tapes for conversion to DVD through a company called YesVideo. You can take your tape to the photo counters at one of these stores (or several other ones) and ask them about converting the tape to DVD. It costs about $24.99 per tape and 2 hours of footage. Walgreens was offering a deal with coupon for a second tape converted for free, so we went there with 2 tapes for the price of one. The photo specialist said the tapes would be sent out 14 to 21 days from now. Why these companies don't advertise these services more is beyond me but I'm glad I'll get to see what's on my tapes using my computer.

44000kbps Dial Up

Our cable internet has been knocked out by a storm, so I've had to revert to using dial up. After unplugging the cable modem several times, gaining a connection, and then losing it two minutes later I decided to give our old dial up internet a try. Surprisingly it wasn't hard to set up, the old access number still worked, and I got to make use of our second phone line reserved for spam faxes. I give credit to updated Mac operating systems and Airport software. It's a slow connection, but faster than the one I was dealing with in China, so I can easily browse sites and check email. Navigating between websites isn't much slower than with cable; the commercials say cable is 50 times faster than dial up, but it doesn't seem like I'm going 50 times slower. Half has fast is more accurate.

I won't be able to upload my China photos until the cable starts working again, but there's still some things to do before I can start uploading. Instead of hosting my photos on my Geocities or Spymac accounts I'm going to sign up for a Hello account like Anji and hopefully it'll be a smooth transfer directly to my blog. However, after I do post these photos you'll want me to go back and take better ones myself.

My excuse for limited posting is summer school, but I'm only taking one class so I guess it's not a very good one. When I'm inspired to write something I'm either a) too tired, b) have reading to do, or c) a combination of both. Now the dial up connection is yet another excuse. I have a great talent for finding excuses not to write, not very conducive to being a blogger. It's something I do a lot anyway, a bad habit I have to get rid of. I pull through it, school, slow connections and anything else in my way.

Monday, June 21, 2004

China Cracking Down on the Internet, Again

The Chinese government is issuing more internet regulations.
China's Internet police stepped up an ongoing campaign to control the web by issuing new measures to crackdown on "unhealthy" Internet content, state press said.

A circular issued by the Ministry of Information Industry has unveiled a series of measures to regulate content, crackdown on unregistered Internet bars and step up controls over online bulletin boards and chatrooms, Xinhua news agency said.

The measures will also ensure that Internet information providers refrain from spreading "information threatening national security or social stability," or containing superstitious or erotic content, it said.


China last week launched a website,, entitled the Illegal and Harmful Content Reporting Center, for people to complain if they have seen something they believe is unlawful on the Internet.
I wonder what people get if they report something, because incentives are the only way people are going to participate. What's even scary is what would happen to somebody producing "unhealthy" content in China. A black mark on their secret file, loss of party membership, or jail time? Probably just more blocked sites :-(.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Where are the Identity Theft Commercials?

The best link I've found for the CitiBank Identity Theft Commercials is now gone. I guess Alora Ambiance got into trouble for hosting another company's work without permission. Another place that's hosting a few commercials is the company that helped make them, Fallon. Anyone posting the spots without permission has probably been forced to take them down...

Testing Out WordPress

Now that Movable Type (supported version) isn't free anymore the next best alternative I've found for blogging is WordPress. It's free to download, but I couldn't install it unless I had a host. Instead of buying a host and then trying WP out, Michel Valdrighi suggested I try a demo WP blog. The blog refreshes every 2 hours, so if it's not working you can try it out later. Now I can test WP out and see if I can handle it.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Color Wheel and Selection

When I started this blog I picked one of the templates supplied by Blogger. I wanted to customize my template, but didn't know any html let alone CSS. So I found the color hexadecimal codes and changed them till it was the way I liked it. Choosing colors for a website is just as challenging as choosing paint colors for a wall. It would've been helpful if I'd used a color wheel. This is a pretty good one to use for making a websites because it tells you what are good web safe, smart, and unsafe colors. Of course it helps to know a little about color theory so you don't have to keep testing color combinations. About has some more information on color theory here. Another really useful color theory chart lets you pick colors and see how they go together, and also see how they will look on a small sample webpage. All these sites and many more really help with site design.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Beijing Buildings and Air

Before I left for China I did not look at any pictures of what Beijing would look like. I had assumed that it would look like any other big city in America and Japan, so I didn't think I'd be too surprised when I got there. I forgot that China was still a third world, developing country, with buildings reflecting that. Actually, the buildings don't reflect anything because most of made out of brick, not glass. Brick and tile are the most common materials used for buildings of all kinds. Residential, commercial, government, and just about everything else was brick or tile. My guess, brick/tile insulates better by keeping the cool air in and the warm air out during the summer, and vice versa in the winter. It's much cheaper to that way.

However, there were some buildings that were made of glass, only there was something different about them. Some of the glass windows looked like they were coming off the building. Never having seen this before, I looked at them again and realized that the windows were open. A sleek, modern office complex with unsightly open windows? Yes, air conditioning is expensive and nature lets in cool breezes.

The breezes may have been cool, but I doubt they were very fresh. Air quality seemed to be below what I was used to where I live, which is supposed to have low air quality levels. My friend asked me I had any respiratory problems before we left and boy I was happy I didn't. Beijing's air is dirty, but it wasn't my breathing that was impaired. Once or twice daily my eyes would feel like they were on fire, yet they watered like pipes. I used my shirt to try to clean the filth out of them, but eye drops would've worked better. Man! The book never said anything about this.

Last, Beijing's buildings are not 90 stories tall like in Chicago or New York. The city seemed short to me, like it was still young. But that's exactly what I saw was. These buildings are developing, just as much as the country itself. I saw a poster for what I thought was a plaza complex that was being built of glass. This kind of building is a sample of what's to come in Beijing. The brick and tile buildings may be torn down in 30 years and replaced by sky scrapers competing with the rest of the world along with the Chinese economy.

For now though, Beijing's modern architecture is not the most flattering and its ancient buildings are loads more desirable to look at. One building that I remember seeing that I thought would be the kind I'd see all over was the Gloria Plaza Hotel. These buildings do exist, but they're a minority.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Google Beats Amazon

For the last few days I've been thinking about a book that I read many years ago in 6th grade. This book stayed in my memory all these years because it combined history, horror, archaeology, and travel all into one. An American teen visits his aunt in England where a bear/monster is mauling people. The stone circle Stonehenge is somehow connected to the monster, but I can't remember exactly how. The only problem was that I couldn't remember the book's title. I went to Amazon and tried to sift through the categories in the children's book section and then typed in a search for "Stonehenge", but no luck. After trying a few more categories I decided to try something that any Google power user would have done first.

I searched for monster, stonehenge, children's book and the book, The Doom Stone, was the first result; it's Amazon listing. Why didn't I do this first? I underestimated Google's abilities, including doing what sites can not do for themselves. Another way to search for a book in Amazon is to use Google instead.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

The Geek Test

I'm 23.66864% geek according to this test. That's the second to last position on the geek scale and I still feel like I should get out of the house more often. Link via SushiCam.