October 2008 Archives

Halloween 2008

Halloween is probably one of my favorite holidays. How can anyone not like dressing up, pretending to be something different for a day and eating candy? Tomorrow's costume will be fairly easy, and probably one of the most low-effort of my costumes, and here's a hint:


Every year, Halloween seems to sneak up on me, and while I have a ton of ideas, choosing one is always so hard. It really does make me wish there were more holidays which involve dressing in costume.

My Mom and Dad are Fobs...

When I was growing up, I always thought that my parents really should be their own sitcom. The entries on these two sites are almost as if they are reading my e-mail and listening on my voicemail from my parents:


Here's a choice selection that is re-enacted every time I go home:

    Mom: Keep play basketball. You will grow taller!
    Charles: I'm 29 years old. I think I've stopped growing by now.
    Mom: No you can growing! Everyone growing all the time!
    Charles: ...
    Mom: Also, keep jumping!

The Chrono Trigger Proposal

A gamer recently proposed to his girlfriend through a customized mod of their first date through the game Chrono Trigger:

Apple's Unibody Philosophy

With the release of the new laptops this Tuesday by Apple, I have been thinking about the rest of Apple's product line, and how so far, the design trend is actually following the example set about by the MacBook Air. Although Apple didn't announce it at the time, the MacBook Air serves as a template for all other products announced since January of '08 with a unibody design, and black bordered glass. The iPhone 3G follows this design almost to a tee, as does the new black-backed iMac and the new laptops. I would expect the new Apple Cinema Displays and the Mac Pro to also follow the trend.

Apple Announces New Aluminum Laptops and LED Cinema Display

Apple this morning revealed new models of their laptops just in time for the Holiday season. All the new Aluminum laptops sport new Nvidia chipsets instead of the Intel GMA chipset. In addition, they've replaced the the screens with LED-backlit glossy screens, along with a gesture-recognition, no-button glass trackpad.

Apple also released a 24 inch LED monitor for use for their laptops, with a multi-adapter cord which features MagSafe (for charging your laptop), 3 USB ports, and a DisplayPort connector. Also included in the specs is a built-in iSight camera, microphone and stereo speakers.

What I find particularly interesting about the feature set of this monitor is that it is equipped explicitly for these new laptops released today, indicating the direction for future product development along this line of laptops. While the glossy screen of the monitor is a detractor for professionals, it is also likely that for the majority of the audience who would be purchasing these monitors the glossiness is not likely to be of much concern to them.

Apple made a minor refresh of the 17 inch MacBook Pro and the models of the MacBook Air in the area of drive capacity, but do not incorporate the new designs revealed today. Today's announcements also lay the groundwork for the announcements to be made at MacWorld SF in January, which are likely to be announcements of new MacPros, Mac mini, AppleTV and iLife.

Intel's Nehalem chipset is due to be released in the first few weeks of November (the 17th, if the series of tubes is to be trusted), leading some to speculate that Apple may hold another event next month to announce the release of new Xserves and MacPros with this new CPU. I find this rumor to be highly unlikely, as historically, Apple has only ever announced new products in November twice in recent history -- in 2002 and 2003, when Apple was still utilizing the PowerPC architecture. I strongly believe that Nehalem-powered XServes and MacPros will be announced at MacWorld SF in January, and not before, as traditionally, while Intel has made their chips available in November, it is in the 1st quarter of the following year that the OEMs are able to release products that utilize these chips.

At the beginning of this year, Steve Jobs made the claim that 2008 would see more product launches than any in Apple history. Here's a short checklist of items released, which number twelve in total: 1/2008: MacPro
1/2008: MacBook Air
1/2008: Xserve
2/2008: iPod Shuffle (new colors, does that count?)
4/2008: iMac
7/2008: iPhone 3G
9/2008: iPod classic (120GB)
9/2008: 2nd Gen iPod Touch
9/2008: 3rd Gen iPod Nano
10/2008: Aluminum MacBook
10/2008: Aluminum MacBook Pro
10/2008: Apple LED Cinema Display

AppleTV, Apple's Cinema Displays, and the Mac mini are all in dire need of updating in addition to the iPod shuffle -- which was introduced in January 2005, and has retained the same appearance since September 2006. The Mac mini, likewise was introduced in January 2005, and has undergone slight revisions in the 3 years following. The last update was in August of 2007, which leads me to believe that if announced, a January 2009 Mac mini would sport the updated Nvidia chips instead of the Intel GMA 950.

Liaoning Ballet

Last week, I went to see the Liaoning Ballet perform The Elegant Ballet Galaxy at the Performing Arts Center in San Jose. This is not a traditional classical Ballet, but rather a Ballet anthology which showcases the different talents of the company. As the audience for this show is predominantly Chinese, the show announcements of the pieces are in Mandarin and English.

If you're wondering if the show is any good, it is fantastic -- some pieces bear a combination of Chinese traditions with Ballet, while other pieces are the more traditionally performed. The showcase piece for me during this performance was the visually stunning "The Moon Reflection in Two Ponds", which will be touring the U.S. in 2009.

BlizzCon 2008 Announcements

Here's the short list of what's been announced at BlizzCon 2008 this year:
  • Starcraft II: Three storylines, one for each race. (Um, who didn't see that one coming?)
  • Diablo III - Wizard character class
  • World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - your favorite money pulling MMOG gets an expansion pack in a month.

Toy Story recut as The Dark Knight Trailer


Nintendo DSi

Nintendo has announced a new DS, the Nintendo DSi, which can be seen on the Japanese Nintendo DSi site. It features a larger screen (3.25 inches as opposed to 3.0 inches for the DS Lite), a slimmer profile, and two 3.0 megapixel cameras. They are due to be released on November 1st in Japan, and if it's anything like their DS Lite release a few years back -- which started off as a Japanese exclusive and then became availabe in the U.S. about 6 months later, I'd expect Nintendo to do the same with the DSi. Priced at 18,900 yen ($180 US), I'd expect to see the DS Lite price fall as the DSi phases in.

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