Archive for January, 2005

The Switch

Warning: What follows could be considered extremely “geeky”. If you feel above it, or you simply do not have an interest in it, you might as well skip this lengthy entry. You’ve been warned.


Instead of being a good student, this weekend, I watched keynotes given by Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. I know it’s a bit late, as they both occurred in early January, 2005, but I can’t resist commenting on them. I’ve provided links to streaming video of both of them, below:

The contrast between the public speaking abilities of each is like black and white. Steve Jobs has a couple segments where he gets guests to come in to do their own bits, or help out with a section – like having a band come in to play music which is recorded onto the mac to later demo editing capabilities. Other than that, Steve Jobs holds up a two hour plus presentation extremely well; he’s a great public speaker. Bill Gates, on the other hand, has to go out of his way to hire Conan O’Brian to host him on his own keynote. Obviously, a desperate attempt at making his presentation more interesting. While some of Conan’s commentary was funny, it ended up just adding a lot of fluff to the keynote. Add to that, the nature of a late-night show, and the sheer size of Conan next to Bill Gates, and Conan appears to dominate Bill Gates’ own keynote.

That brings up another issue: actual content. According to Microsoft, everybody wants to watch TV and watch recorded shows on portable devices. Most of Bill Gates’ presentation talked about integrating next-gen TVs with home networks, phones, and portable media players – nothing about their bread and butter: Windows. Steve Jobs introduced new products and updates to existing products, providing demos on each. Bill talked a lot. In a chair. Without much visual aid or demos. In a chair, talking.

Let’s not forget that Bill encountered TWO bugs in the course of the event. One was resolved at a later point in the show, and the other was simply ignored. Steve Jobs encountered ONE bug, and he simply segued to a backup system stating, “This is why we have backup systems.” People clapped. Not so much clapping for the Microsoft side of things.

So I wasn’t that interested in what Microsoft had to sell. I could be biased, though: I don’t watch much TV, and I don’t see the point of hard-disk recorders. Nothing shown at the Microsoft keynote made me go “Woah, that’s cool….” However, after watching all 2+ hours of the Apple keynote, I would seriously consider a couple Apple products: Apple Mini and iPod Shuffle. The only thing I didn’t like about Steve Jobs’ presentation was that I had to watch it on my Windows computer – I still haven’t figured out how to get streaming Quicktime working on my linux box. Go figure. Every time I have to use my Windows PC, I cringe. I should really spend some time cleaning it up… something Windows requires every now and then. 🙂

Watching both of these keynotes reminded me of one of my favourite movies: Pirates of the Silicon Valley. I must buy that DVD. If you’re interested, you should check out this video (~21MB) of Steve Jobs introducing the world to the Macintosh computer in 1984. Excellent video. So will I make the switch? Well, I’ve already stopped using Windows, so it’s not that big of a jump for me. We’ll see.

ears.. ringing…

Went to a sake tasting event, today. Got to try quite a few different kinds of sake. But I must reference the paper we got before listing them… Well, the three I tried for the first time and I enjoyed the most were Pearl Momokawa Sake, Yoshi Organic Sake, and Wakatake “Onikoroshi.” At the end, during “last call,” I was one of four people that did a line of shots. I was the only one to “down them” relatively quickly, but I thought that was the idea.
After that event ended, I walked into the hall (this was in the UBC student union building) and heard live music. Had to investigate. The Science Undergraduate Society was putting on an event, as well. So I paid my 10$, got my 2$ cider, checked my 1$ bag/coat, and went to look for familiar faces and listen to music. I was pleasantly surprised, much later, when Default took the stage from “Stabilo!” But with all that sake and those couple ciders, it was by no stretch of the imagination that I rolled on my ankle in the mosh pit. I hope it’s not sprained. 🙁
They tossed out stuff to the crowd after they finished.. the singer tossed out jeans, the drummer tossed out drum sticks, and the guitarists tossed out picks that read: fuck you, i don’t use a pick – Default.

Shoulda stayed at home

I had a retardedly stupid day, today. I got out of bed and eventually decided I’d skip my first class, and go later for my second (and only remaining) class. I got a (very) little bit done, and left for my class. Everything was going fine until I arrived at MacDonald and Broadway.
Waiting for the 99. Wow, it’s really late, considering it’s supposed to come every 5 minutes. Maybe 20 minutes pass, and a 99 bus drives right past us, with its marquee reading: “Sorry, bus full.” Damn. It starts to rain. It stops. It starts again. I eat a bun from my bag. Another 20 minutes later, another bus finally comes! I catch the last 30 minutes of class and head home. About 2 hours later, I’m back at home. Gee, that was worth it. :-/ I’m definitely looking forward to living w/my friend, Jesse, downtown. I’ll probably be moving in and seeing how it goes for a month or so, sometime in February.
Yesterday, I finished All Tomorrow’s Parties, by William Gibson. I’ve never read a book by Gibson, before. I can see why people say he’s talented. It was a nice break from the WoT series… but I only ended up reading it because it was on my PDA when I finished book 4 of WoT, and book 5 of WoT was not. Now I have no books left actually ON my Zaurus (that’s my PDA), and I’ll have to transfer them. I’ve transferred some class notes (PDFs), though…. *sigh*

One more year. One more notch on the belt.
A little more wisdom and a little less hair.

Local Mudslide!

Just saw on the morning news that there’s been a mudslide in North Van! 😯 From what I remember, it happened around 3:30 in the morning near Riverside Drive and the Parkway. One house has been destroyed, 2 people have been rescued, and 2 are still missing (search and rescue in progress). The area has been evacuated.
UPDATE: After all the bustle finally blew over (what with the news reporters, the police cars, the ambulances, firemen, and water mains breaking), I was just about to get on with the regular scheduled program, when my friend Anya called me. Apparently, not only do I know the single person that died in the mudslide, but she was one of my computer science teachers at Capilano College! Somehow, Eliza Kuttner made me enjoy the quirky language Scheme. She cared about her students, and was an excellent teacher. I’m sorry for the loss of her students, the college of which she was head of Computer Science, and most of all, her family. Her husband, who is also a computer science teacher, is in serious condition. Their daughter is at a School in the United States. Insurance will not cover the damages.

Deadly Mudslide – The Vancouver Sun

A Chilly Beginning

I woke up this morning and it was so cold my nose very nearly fell off! It was more of a shock for me as I have recently taken to sleeping in later, and allowing the the house to heat up a bit before I attempt to escape the warm safety of my bed. But now, with school, I must face the elements and travel one humongous metre to my clothes five times a week! (Saturday and Sunday are clearly optional). I took a screenshot to prove the recent drop in temperature in Vancouver… yeah, that sounds stupid, but anyways….
it's cold!

Cold, hard proof! And it might even snow soon! My computer tells me so. This is Vancouver, people!
Yesterday, I also had the opportunity to get together with the Gifu Crew for some good ‘ol fashion’d takoyaki, or “octopus dumplings.” I made one of my favourite bean dips, and no-one could stop Alex from making miso soup if they tried. We ate, drank, talked of things both old and new, and yes, we even played gamecube. For the record, I trounced John in Super Smash Bros, but we didn’t play enough truly have a good match… that takes hours! Ben dominated in Double Dash, and Monkey Ball was all over the place. Oh, and congratulations must be sent to Ben and Mayu on their recent engagement. 🙂
takoyaki party!

It’s probably evident, I’ve taken a liking to putting a bunch of pictures on one image. It’s just more convenient when distributing either to other people or on the web. 🙂 Used the “create index image” tool in gthumb.