January 2005 Archives

Photo Contest


I submitted a photo I took crossing the bridge to the Metreon while I was at MacWorld to a digital photo contest. Of course, all of you all with good photography skills should enter the contest, as there is a Nikon D70 up for grabs as the prize for this month's winner.

for my photo in this month's DigitalCameraInfo.com photo contest.

Hosted by DigitalCameraInfo.com your source for Reviews of Digital Cameras.

The entries for the contest will be put up tomorrow for voting.

New PowerBooks


Apple quietly released
New updated Powerbooks today
, upping the processor speed and adding iLife '05 to all models and a backlit keyboard to the higher-end models. This latest speed bump means probably another 4 to 6 months before the next bump. Traditionally, Apple announces new products on Tuesdays -- I believe that this Monday announcement might be because of their recent award of most recognized brand, and the publicity generated from this, as well as all the PowerBook G5 rumors that have been swirling about lately. Apple might be considering this the "last chance" to unload their inventory of G4s before the announcement of the G5. In any case, my 3 year Applecare coverage lasts until July, and hopefully the release of the G5 won't be too far after that.



The list of nominees for the 2005 Oscars is out.

I haven't seen a majority of the films up for nomination, and having been largely avoidant of the cinema as of late, I haven't managed to see a single film up for Best Picture. I am glad to see that The Incredibles is up for nominations in a number of categories.

As I was browsing the list, I noticed that some categories only have 3 nominees while others have 5. For instance, looking at the "Best animated feature film of the year" category I noticed that neither Home on the Range or Polar Express got pity nominations in that category. OF course, this may be because the movie studios don't want to split the votes between two films.

Neglected TiVo


This recent post from Neil Gaiman, had me thinking about TiVo. My TiVo, for all intents and purposes, has been off for the last month. Since I've moved into my new place, I haven't bothered to resubscribe to cable.

Being without the TV has freed up some time (although not much, since TV seems to be something I multitask to). TiVo (when it's working) becomes a time displacer -- rescheduling my shows so that I can watch them all in a block.

While I've missed watching some of the shows, I also realize that the turnaround time for TV shows to make it onto DVD is so fast now that I don't really feel like I am missing very much at all. There are some exceptions to this rule, but in general, TV shows come out almost immediately onto DVD before the start of the next season.

Running Towards Karma

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I took the belief-o-matic quiz today, inspired by
honeyfields' recent post
on the subject. I compared it with my results from last year, and things have shifted over the past year. I appear to have grown more Buddhist. The bottom end still remains largely unchanged, showing I am still not Islamic, Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic.

I have a dream...


Today is Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. I thought about staying home, the I thought about going to work, then I started to think about staying home again. We always used to get it off when I was in school. I don't have today off. But I might take it off anyways.

I think it's important to honor the memory of the man who started the civil rights movement in this country. Without him and the fight for racial equality, it is likely my parents would have never come here. It is likely I would be a doctor in Taiwan, rather than the techhead I am.

Being in the U.S., there's a lot that we take for granted. Our ideas of personal freedom and free speech, equality between genders and different ethnic groups. The land of opportunity, and the ability to choose how to live is something that I think gets lost in the everyday bustle of our lives.

Read the entry on I have a dream at Wikipedia, or the
text of his speech
, and reflect that in the last 40 years, so much has changed, and yet so much still has to be done.

Update: I decided on going to work today. The weather is kind of overcast, so I'd rather save my vacation day for another more cheerful day.

Who gave this Tare Panda a license?



A Series of Unfortunate Events


One of the books that I've been wanting to read for a while is "A Series of Unfortunate Events", and by chance, the last time I went to the library, they had the first one, so I borrowed it. I haven't seen the movie, which stars Jim Carrey, who I have a love-hate relationship with. Basically I love him in serious movies, but like him less in more slapstick roles, which is what the movie looks like. I've only briefly read a bit of the book, but what I've read so far is positively delightful, and I can see why the publisher picked it up:

"If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle. This is because not very many happy things happened ub the lives of the three Baudelaire youngsters. Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire were intelligent children, and they were charming, and resourceful, and had pleasant facial features, but they were extremely unlucky, and most everything that happened to them was rife with misfortune, misery and despair. I'm sorry to tell you this, but that is how the story goes."



Back in September, I blogged about a massive 6lb burger. Now, a 100 lb woman has finished the 6lb burger. The big surprise? It's not Sonya Thomas.

Is the G5 Powerbook around the corner?

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This recent article in DigiTimes about expected shipments for this year, has the Mac community all abuzz, particularly because on the chart are two long-awaited products -- the iBook G5 and the PowerBook G5. Some have speculated that this is a typo, and it was meant to say G4, but if this was the case, why bother to make the differentiation between iBook and iBook G5 in the chart below?

Italy's newest discovery


Notes from MacWorld

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While I probably could have blogged from MacWorld, I didn't. I left most of my tech gear at home with the exception of my Canon Powershot S200 (2.1 Megapixel Camera with 3x Zoom) and my Nokia 6820 (which is what I took my notes on).


I've never seen SF so empty in the daytime before. Note the MacWorld ads in the kiosks.

I only had an "exhibit hall only" badge, which meant that I could get into the expo, but I didn't get to see the keynote, so I had to go down to the exhibit hall to see what Apple's new products were.

More photos and commentary in the extended.

New Camera


I decided to get a new digital camera. It's a Canon EOS-20D.

Ever since this camera was announced in August, I've been debating whether to buy it to replace my Sony digital camera that I purchased almost 4 years ago. The Sony was one of those purchases that was great for the time. I'm still planning on using the Sony in limited capacity, but the 20D will now be my main workhorse camera.

MacWorld SF


Going to MacWorld in the city tomorrow. Should be fun. It's at Moscone. Pray I have parking goddesses watching over me.

A Wiki Runs Through It


This past week, as I was typing out an entry about the IPodMini, and CelicaIpodding, all of which I never did get around to finishing, I thought, wouldn't it be great if I could attach all sorts of other bits and pieces of information to the entry. It's quite possibly because I've been reading JonathanStrangeAndMrNorrell, which is filled with these wonderfully crafted footnotes relating to the content of the book, that I wondered if it wouldn't be possible to do something like that on this blog.

A few years ago, when I was reading BeggarsAndChoosers, the author, NancyKress presented an idea of a software which was basically a representation of a thought process which could be shared amongst others. At the time, I had thought that what Kress was describing was an advanced form of the WWW, but actually what she was describing was a Wiki (albeit highly advanced).

Now, we use MoinMoinWiki at work, which I wasn't terribly impressed with, but I searched around, and I found a couple of plugins for MovableType that worked with TWiki. I installed TWiki onto my server, and I've spent the last week or so trying to configure it to work properly. TWiki also has decent Plugin support (at least more so than MoinMoinWiki) It still doesn't quite work exactly the way I want (heck, I still haven't really modified the templates for TWiki yet), but it works well enough that I'm comfortable presenting it. Wikipedia is going to have way more detail in their entries than I ever will, but for me, this Wiki seems like a good idea to record and share my annotations. I'm hoping that you, the reader, will also contribute as well. A Wiki is actually more useful for something more collaborative in nature, but it was a good exercise in combining webtools.

At least in the immediate future, expect to see a lot more WikiWords in my blog entries.

List any Problems you encounter at ProblemsWithWikiBlog.

Will Eisner (1917-2005)




The Tsunami in the Indian Ocean killed over 156,000 people (that was the last number I heard). Consider for a moment how big a number 156,000 is.

156,000 - 1.5 times the population of Berkeley.

156,000 - 1.6 times the seating capacity of the Rose Bowl.

156,000 - 2.2 times the population of Mountain View

156,000 - 3 times the population of Cerritos.

156,000 - 4.7 times the student population of UC Berkeley

156,000 - 5.4 times the population of Foster City

156,000 - 57.7 times World Trade Center-related deaths

156,000 - 117 times the number of Americans dead in Iraq

156,000 - If you said one name every second, you wouldn't finish saying the names until after 43 hours had passed.

156,000 - If you filled a olympic-size pool with the blood from the dead, It would be 80% filled.

Container Mania


As I've mentioned previously, I'm currently cleaning and organizing the apartment. When I woke up this morning, I looked online to see what was on sale at Target. Last night, before I fell asleep, my sister had mentioned that there was some good stuff on sale,and I noticed a couple of items that seemed like they'd be useful to have, including these storage containers, which were 3.33 each. So I bought three of them, filled them, and realized that these might be kind of handy to have around. I went back and bought four more. My sister wanted to go to Target to pick up something that she had missed, and we returned. I purchased seven more. Then I found out that one of the lids didn't fit, so I returned to Target to get the correct one, and also ended up purchasing five more. All told, a total of 19 of these containers now reside in my apartment, in various stages of use.

New Year


Happy New Year everybody!

Since returning to San Jose yesterday afternoon, I've spent most of the time unpacking and settling into the apartment. I've made good progress today, finally unpacking all the books and organizing them on the bookshelves. I've just finished a massive de-boxing, turning all the empty legal-size boxes into a foot high stack of corrugated cardboard. I'm still far from completely unpacked, but I'm making good progress.

I've been so busy with unpacking, I haven't even made any resolutions yet. Seeing today's Foxt Trot comic reminded me that I should make some before I end up forgeting about it altogether.

I definitely like the one book a week resolution. Seeing all the unpacked books made me realize just how many books I have yet to read still sitting on my bookshelf! Full list of resolutions in the extended entry.