Monday, February 27, 2006

Change the channel, quick!

Hehe, kinda makes you wonder if there is softspot in all of us...even the hardboiled 'nothing-to-lose' type.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny

So, I was listening to one of my playlists, and the song by Lemon Demon - Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny came on. I reminisced of the first time I saw that famous animation and now want to share it with you. CHUCK NORRIS TO SAVE THE DAY...Here it is:

You can also see the cleaned up flash version on Newgrounds.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Graphical Evolution: The Elder Scrolls Series

It's amazing to look at how graphics in computer games have evolved over the past ten years. Take the Elder Scrolls series for example. This franchise has been growing since 1993 with the release of Elder Scrolls I: Arena :

Their next installment was Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall in 1996 catalyzing the so-called "RPG Renaissance of 1996-1999." During this three-year period, classics such as Baldur's Gate, Diablo, and Fallout were released. Also significant during this period was the creation of a brand new genre: the 'massively multiplayer online role playing game' with the release of Ultima Online and Everquest. Games in 1996 looked like this:

In 2002, Bethesda Software (creators of the Elder Scrolls series) struck gold with their award-winning third installment in the prominent series: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. This game was originally conceived during the time the released Daggerfall in 1996, but was put off due to creation of expansion packs and storyline add-ons for Daggerfall. Amidst beautiful scenery and intense, deep storytelling, the player was sucked into Morrowind. Conversations with NPCs, descriptions of objects, quests, journal entries...all of these were excrutiatingly detailed with pages upon pages of lore and mythology; they read like novels. This is also not taking into account actual books scattered throughout the game that are novels in their own right. This was the game that never ended. I've been playing Morrowind since it's release and still haven't reaped all that Morrowind has to offer. Morrowind represented a graphical feat not seen before. A true living world, so large, and so huge, that you can get lost and not find any hints of civilization for hours. All of pristine 3D:

One of the most anticipated games of 2006 wants to take this tried-and-tested formula and push it to its limits. In Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Bethesda works in over 1,000 non-player characters who come to life like never before with facial animations, lip-synching, and full speech (yes, they actually talk now, you dont have to read what they speak!). They even engage in unscripted conversations with each other and the player. According to Bethesda, "This groundbreaking AI system gives Oblivion's characters full 24/7 schedules and the ability to make their own choices based on the world around them. Non-player characters eat, sleep, and complete goals all on their own." And don't forget how pretty this game looks. And when I say pretty, my god, this game absolutely blows my mind. Featuring the high-end features of Microsoft's DirectX 9 technology, I'm hoping this game won't bring my system to its knees. I might just have to call up Dell and let them install a 7800Go GTX to replace my 6800Go Ultra in my laptop...which would cost me a pretty penny. (But it is essential!)

Warning: too cute to handle!

Animals have an uncanny ability to show us humans what the true meaning of 'cute' is. A blog called 'Cute Overload' knows this and barrages us with images too cute to handle! Enjoy!

From their main page:

"At Cute Overload, we scour the Web for only the finest in Cute Imagery. Imagery that is Worth Your Internet Browsing Time. We offer an overwhelming amount of cuteness to fill your daily visual allowance. Drink it in!"

V-dub representing Deutschland

Haha...peter stormare you crazy fool. pretty sweet commercial if you ask me.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

RANT: Think before you speak.

Ok, this has been bugging me for some time now. It may be construed over the course of this rant that I cannot take criticism…and that I hate people who point out things that are wrong. But, you will be mistaken, as I take all criticism to heart (maybe a bit too much) and I reflect on the reasons why someone pointed out something to me. All criticism is good criticism, as long as you know how to say it.

Now, when someone points something out that is askew to their own notions, you cannot help to be thrown off. This isn’t exactly criticism; it’s more like someone who thinks that their way of thinking is superior to your own. Keep that shit to yourself. I mean, come on, how hard can it be? Being of Asian-descent, I’ve been raised to keep my comments to myself and act nicely…all the time. Be polite. Be kind. Be generous. Don’t look at people in the eye. (there are extremes to this, which will not be discussed here.) Yes, that personality goes quite well with my soft-spoken nature; it might not go well with yours. You could argue that by keeping these thoughts to yourself make you look dark and reserved; even malicious. People will constantly be analyzing what you say…if you have a deeper meaning underneath the premium overt façade that they see everyday. And to be honest, well, maybe you should do that all the time. Maybe then you’ll choose your words more carefully or you’ll try to approach a conversation from a different perspective. Stop being self-centered and try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Have some empathy. Will he/she be offended? How might he take this, how might I take this if it was said to me?

Be careful when choosing your diction. There are slight nuances that people inadvertently show over the time that you interact with them. See if you can pinpoint and try to act in-sync with these idiosyncrasies. Believe me; it’s worked every time I’ve done it. Now, the hard part to detecting these behavioral traits is when that person is of a different culture. It’s kind of easy when dealing with people who come from the United States. But it still presents a whole new set of obstacles that you need to pick apart one-by-one.

Being “American” is such an ambiguous term. I’m white. I call myself American. I’m black. I call myself American. I’m Chinese. I call myself American. I’m from Germany, but I recently received American citizenship. I call myself American. I’m from India, yet I’ve been teaching here at MIT for over 20 years now, and even if I still haven’t applied for citizenship yet, I still call myself American. Being American does not have to do with skin color; it doesn’t have to do with race, gender, or anything. If you believe you are American, you are American. That’s the beauty of it. As testament to this just check out the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics: check out the United States team…the “American” team. Different races, different colors, people who just got their citizenship, etc. It’s a melting pot; and using it irreverently as comparing an American to an African just goes against the grain of society. It irks me every time someone uses the term in this way. Fuck you for labeling me because of my race. I’m just as American as you. You can attach little tags like “Asian-American” or “Filipino-American” to me if that makes you feel better. But the word is still there. I am American. This is hard to sense from a person. Especially if you are dealing with international people. Be accepting!

Another obstacle when dealing with someone on the domestic level is to acknowledge the kinds of environments they have lived in. People can be from the rural backalleys, suburbs, towns, cities, metropolises, and so much more. Growing up in each of these places gives you a unique perspective and outlook on the world. However, that doesn’t mean that if you grew up being indifferent to types of people you shouldn’t have to learn to adapt to how society works. I’m talking about political corrected-ness. It wouldn’t hurt to try and learn how society works as a whole. Don’t be ignorant. I’m not one to talk about “being PC.” I have done my fair share of stuff I am horribly ashamed of, but at least I acknowledge it as a problem and not go on being adamant about my horrid ways. (Yeah, that’s another thing. Being stubborn annoys me…but that’s another rant.)

Humor. You can get me to laugh easily. I’m one of those people who finds every little subtle thing funny. I think that contributes to my overall jovial inner-nature sometimes. Even if I may not look it on the outside; inside, I could be bursting out in laughter. I have no problem with criticism meant in a funny way. Sometimes, however, the use of the phrase “I’m just kidding” has a lot gravity every time it’s used. I think that phrase is something of a tool; a cop-out, if you will. You say something snide or derogatory. Wait for the person’s reaction. Then you say, “haha…just kidding!” Well, now that you’ve pointed it out, fool, I guess that’s how you truly feel. You just pointed out to me the kinds of things you think of inside of your head. Now I have this sense of paranoia and awareness. Each successive time I do something (that you said “Just kidding!” to, in an earlier occurrence) that should get a “J/K” from you, yet you don’t say it, wow, that’s a horrible feeling to have. Maybe you aren’t kidding. Maybe you are! Who knows? You know. I certainly don’t. But what good does that do to the people around you? Nothing, except place them in a constant mindset of fear. There are ways of being blunt that are unoffensive. But saying stuff to someone like, "you are fat kthx lose weight nau...justkidding!" is a condescendingly way of being blunt; and is not tolerated by me. First of all, you imply that this person is overweight. Second, you imply that this person is doing nothing to solve this problem (if it even is a problem to that person.) Judging from what I've seen, heard, and/or experienced throughout my life, when someone tells you that you're doing nothing about a problem, it stings. Thus, as a friend pointed out to me, being helpfully blunt is an art form. I could list several examples from high school and maybe even some from college, but I won’t. You know who you are.

Just be careful of what you say. That’s all I’m saying. Don’t be an idiot and blurt out stupid things. I sometimes speak out of line, and I’m not picking on anyone in this rant. Use common sense. I'm surprised at how many people lack this essential skill. And take this for what it is: a simple rant.

+5 to Charisma!!! Crap, it doesn't work in real life...

“Society has always scorned the truly that s a burden you choose to bear when you can bend the very laws of reality with the power of your imagination. That’s a gift to be respected…and feared.

It’s like we’re waging an epic battle against conformity.

That which does not kill you, makes you stronger. That pretty much describes high school for us…because we almost died.”

Ahh...the stereotypes of olde! This video should be hilarious to those of us who sometimes just want to lose ourselves in a video game, throw our sanity to the wind, and play games for hours upon hours on end. Too bad I cannot transcend my +50 to Dexterity Woolen Emerald Skullcap into the real world. BAH. MAGIC MISSILE!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Cat Piano

"In order to raise the spirits of an Italian prince burdened by the cares of his position, a musician created for him a cat piano. The musician selected cats whose natural voices were at different pitches and arranged them in cages side by side, so that when a key on the piano was depressed, a mechanism drove a sharp spike into the appropriate cat’s tail. The result was a melody of meows that became more vigorous as the cats became more desperate. Who could not help but laugh at such music? Thus was the prince raised from his melancholy." - link

Ahh, Vetrivious, what shall I do today? Hmm, cats you say? Scratching at our ceramic pots in our garden? MESSING WITH MY AZALEAS?! That just angers me, maybe I shall take those CATS and MAKE A PIANO OUT OF THEM?! Yes, it's brilliant. Go, now, leave me be in my workshop of horrors.

An Unmistakable Skyline

I saw this picture a week ago on the San Francisco Daily Photo blog (that I talked about before), and I just thought it was too good of a picture to not showcase.

Why is that mechanical-looking thing coming over to me...

Well, good sir, you've just spotted the US Army's brand new toy:

" unmanned flying robot that can take off and land vertically, fly for more than an hour, and drop a payload in a specified location without any human intervention. The bot was tested as a system for deploying a communications array dubbed WolfPack, which is used to jam enemy battlefield transmissions and block jamming of transmissions from friendly forces. The unmanned bot can reach speeds of up to 30 knots, and is able to drop its payload within one meter of a predefined target location."

Hmm, I don't think you'd want to see one of these things coming at you at a speed of 30 knots. Just a thought.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Yellow Fever

To my AzN brothers out there, this video is all too true...I mean, the whole movie is kinda stupid, but the Indian guy's inspirational speech at the end rivals Kumar's immigration speech from H&K Go to White Castle.

It's also one of the most hilarious google videos I have seen; professionally done!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

It's coming...just wait a bit longer.

For those of you that I've told, I'm still working on my review of the Cowon A2: Portable Media Player that I recently acquired.

It's so hard for me to review this thing! I mean, about every two weeks, something that just irked me (like audio codec support, video codec support, etc.) about the thing gets fixed in a firmware update by Cowon. Just today, they released a new firmware update which added FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) support for the A2 in addition to other big improvements (like a new graphical interface, a fix in WAV playback, among other things). You don't know how much I am overjoyed to see this come to fruition seeing as a sizeable chunk of my ripped CDs are encoded in FLAC format! I do have to congratulate Cowon as they are putting so much of their effort and resources into updating and improving their digital audio and video players on a pretty much weekly basis.

And, I've also heard that Cowon is planning to release a new peripheral for the A2: a DMB (Digital Media Broadcast, i.e. TV and HD radio) receiver in Asia, Europe, and Australia (seeing as the US does not seem interested in implementing DMB technology). So, people on these continents will now be able to watch TV in addition to listening to their music (mp3, wav, flac, ogg, wma), watching movies (AVI, ASF, WMV, DivX, XviD, MPEG4, MP@LL), listening to FM radio, viewing pictures from their digital cameras (JPEG, BMP, PNG, GIF), and viewing word documents...and don't forget its superb audio and video recording capabilities. Believe me, this thing plays pretty much everything.

I'll have a far more comprehensive review soon detailing its aesthetics, construction, battery life, audio quality, video quality, ease of use, included accessories, and more. Watch for it!

One more thing, Cowon submitted a proposal to the FCC which would bring GPS Navigation to the Cowon A2...::big thumbs up!::

Adventures in OS: Part 1

This is more of a heads-up, rather than an informational post.

As of late, I have very very very briefly delved into other operating systems other than Windows XP Pro. (In no way am I claiming to have mastered these operating systems and in no way am I claiming to be a technological guru. I just want to share my perception of these two particular OS'es as a person comfortable enough to actually do this kind of thing.) On my Intel Pentium M Dell XPS Laptop, I installed Mac OS X 10.4.3 DTK and Ubuntu Linux ver. "Breezy Badger." In a later post, I will document what I went through in terms of the initial installation and a very short playtime in them.

As a teaser, one major point of contention for both was hardware compatibility and installation...and I'll have more details later.

You + Waterslide + Rusty Nail = Ouchies

Hehe, a friend pointed me to this site that has some pretty hilarious pics posted by artist Natalie Dee. Go check it out!

I especially like the waterslide/rusty nail one!

SF University High School Day!!!

Lol awesome.

It has recently come to my attention that February 9, 2006 was declared 'San Francisco University High School Day' by SF Mayor Gavin Newsom. Hmmm....I guess that's what 27k a year gets you...a city-wide holiday and a totally sweet education from the "best high school west of the Mississippi." Amirite? I think so hehe. ;-)


Proposed Summer Project

Okay guys, here's the deal:

It took me...umm...let's see...about six and half months of living in another place to finally realize how beautiful the City of San Francisco is. Thus, as homage to my great home city of San Francisco, I plan to buy a DSLR camera before summer and document every single part of San Francisco through a photo blog similar to the San Francisco Daily Photo blog. Being a summer project, I only have a short time period of 2-3 months to take pics before I retreat back to the frigid wasteland of the Northeast. Planning will take a couple of weeks and I'm lucky to have some friends to help me with this project.

Notorious MSG is the sheeze...

Oh god, these guys are absolutely hilarious. The Notorious MSG, a Chinese hip-hop group.

"It's hard to be a g...we all from different ghetto; China."