Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Old icons are going away

First, it was David Carradine. Then, there's Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and Ed McMahon. It seems that a lot of people I know growing up has ended up dying recently. Not only recently, but close to one another.

It makes me wonder if there's a corelation between economic depression and times of death. Probably not since DC and MJ were active at the time of death.

You know, dying like that isn't so bad. To die while you're busy is better than to die while doing nothing. I'm glad these people continues their life full of activities up to their time of death. Even Farrah Fawcett who was dying of cancer, contributed by sharing her life. What could have been another death, becomes a meaningful, inspirational passage to the next level.

I should take up Tai Chi once more. As Kwai Chang Caine (David Carradine's character in kung fu) once said: "You life a full life, until one day, your heart fails you, and you die quickly, and in peace." or something like that, I don't remember the exact line. Since that was true in DC's case, then I guess DC is KCC.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bubbling Hot Dog


Saw this at a travel center: Sausages with bubbles! I associate bubbles with soap instead of meat. I kind of passed on it. Is this normal?

Iowa 80 Truck Museum


I was visiting Iowa 80 truckstop at exit 284 Walcott, Ia. I finally decided to visit their truck museum. It's a pretty good collection. Talk about low horse power, some of these trucks only has 32 hp. It's amazing how much travel technology has come along since then. Don't forget to check out the electric truck in the corner. That's what the world needs. More electric truck, less Segway Tesla.

I put a donation of $20 as I'm sure keeping these trucks alive costs money. A couple of the trucks sports antique license plate, so I'm sure they were driven as late as 1986.

Friday, June 26, 2009



I got some flu. Actually, I think I caught two: One from travel, the other from home. I was getting better from the first one, but getting out and move about made me sick again. Sigh.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stocks & Gambling


Apparently, poker is considered gambling, despite the fact that it's proponents considered it skill based. I agree with the skill based evaluation. Certainly, a skilled player can make a living at it. Just like Blackjack players can make it, that is, assuming the Casinos would let them.

Speaking of gambling, state lotteries, such as PowerBall, is pure chance, with no skill involved. They even go so far as to change the balls frequently to prevent people from recognizing patterns in numbers. Not to mention the cut is 50%. Consider that Craps, Blackjacks, Roullettes, and other popular games features some of the lowest margins, you have to admit that rules prohibiting on-line gambling is simply a government decision to remove potential competitors.

However, I doubt that all those money will be plowed to state lotteries when there is a legitimate avenue for it: the stock market.

I know that some people insist that stock market requires highly developed talents and skills. Having analyzed the stock market, I agree. However, that doesn't mean that you can't approach it like a gambler would.

I mean, where else but in the finance industry can people get a lot of money, respect, and power simply by taking stock of all companies, sorting them by capitalization, and say: Here's how you can make a lot of money!

The amount of cut-off isn't even relevant. 30, 100, 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, 5000. Insert-Your-Name-Here Index promises to give you the most money for your retirement! Just see how much money you would have made had you started with it from March 9, 2009. You could have made a bundle! And if it has been going up so far, then imagine how much money you could be making 10 years from now! Just sign at the dotted line, please.

Just kidding. The title of this piece is gambling, and that's all it is. Yes, you can analyse stocks, but can you do better than monkey-with-dart stock investing? The proliferation of these indexes says that you can't. And thus, gambling.

So, knowing that it is gambling, how would you do it? Simple. Scan the prices on the newspaper. If it is mostly up, then buying a spread will most likely result in a gain. If it is mostly down, then buying a spread will most likely result in a loss. So far, that's just index. No rocket science there.

Let's improve this a bit more. Of all the stocks you buy, it can go up, down, or stay the same. Just ask any technicians. So, using the rules "keep the winners and sell the losers", we will hold those that rise in price. The rest, we will trim out. Simple. Eventually, all risers will top out. We will sell them then.

The proceeding money then will be used to buy more stocks, if conditions are favorable, or buy short term bonds if not. Re-evaluate when the bond matures. Simple. This will keep you out of the down market, let your winners ride, and cut off your losers.

You may wonder how to choose a stock spread. Remember, we are buying chance, not skill. So, not to put a fine point in it, tape the newspaper to the wall and throw darts at it. If you want to get fancy, you can use double blind shuffle technique, but any sufficiently random technique will work. I would number the stocks and pull playing cards out to see which stocks would get picked. It is just like the birthday lottery drafting process for the Vietnam War. Hey, if it is good enough for the competition-hating government, then it's good enough for me!

How is that different from Craps?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Pixar Up Movie Review


Reading a news article of how Pixar gives free rein to the director makes me want to see this movie. Obviously, not everything can be good. However, I've been wanting to see a good 3D movie, and this is the first potentially good one I see so far.

I saw it in Chinese Theatre. A good place to see 3D movies, the glasses kind. About the thing that annoys me is that the 3D glasses didn't fit too well with my eyeglasses. It fit decently, but not really secure. Not enough to distract me from enjoying the movie, though.

As far as story goes, the premise is terrible. Pretty much about an old man living his dream of going to South America, and does it via ballons. The title didn't give me any hope either. "Up" didn't really excite me. However, the implementation is excellent. There's still too many physical impossibilities for my taste, and if I nitpick, the timings are slightly off. It is, however, an excellent movie. The best one I've seen in a long time.

If you're at all like me, then you'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll be glad you see it in 3D. And that's just in the first 20 minutes. After a terrific start, there's some slowdowns in the beginning, but starting in the middle, the adventures picks up and never missed a beat. The tempo really picks up once they meet a talking dog. What did I say about physical impossibilities? But I tolerate it since it moves the movie right along and seeing the dogs interactions did make me laugh. Some incredible action near the end. It gave me vertigo. I have to go back way back to Star Wars' Death Star's Trench run to get the same intense feeling. It's that good and intense. I'm really glad I saw it in 3D. Star Trek tried it, but due to it being 2D, it felt flat. Definitely catch this movie in 3D!

I hope this movie does well. It's different. It spans generation, and is a good clean fun. I just hope people understand that this movie is every bit as good as Spiderman, but simply without the brand recognition. Definitely see it in 3D if you can. It's that good, and easily worth the extra couple dollars for the experience.

Terminator Salvation Movie Review


The first thing I noticed about the movie was that it was directed by "MCG". Huh? What kind of name is that? It doesn't even have a vowel? I feel so alienated with the industry. Apparently, there has been a trendy thing with using nicknames as professional names and I missed it. I'm rather uncomfortable with it. I didn't feel any better seeing "Jadagrace" and "Moon Bloodgood" on screen either. I know don't watch TV all that much, but huh?

I actually was rather reluctant in watching the movie. I didn't think I'd be impressed all that much, and the near $10 in food is very punishing in light of mediocre entertainment. Especially considering that I recently watched and was rather disappointed with Star Trek. I was wrong. This is a good movie!

There are too many explosions and ineffectual pistol shootings at Terminators. Overall, though, the special effects are varied, well done, and relevant. Plenty of eye candy, yet all fits right in. I was particularly impressed with the landscape. It felt VERY real. Obviously, a lot of thought went into the design. Kudos to the designers. The environment is such that you really feel like it could happen. I couldn't believe it. I kept thinking, where did they shoot that at? It didn't feel like blue screen environment at all, although the animals were missing.

I also like the fact that there's no nudity. It's the part that ruins it for the Matrix and Underworld Revolution. PG 13 rating is fine with me.

This movie actually has a good coherent story. The question "What's the difference between human and machines" is an age old question, yet has many answers. This movie puts out several answers. I like that very much. You can tell different philoshophies of the different characters in the movie. Such thing is a rarity these days. It makes the characters felt real.

Really, I have no complaint whatsoever. Well, other than the talent of Christian Bale being wasted. I kept thinking that Marcus Wright character is a better character than John Connor. I wonder why Mr. Bale didn't take that role? It's challenging, evocative, with multi-dimensional factor to it. John Connor is straight-faced freedom fighter.

All the Terminator movie elements are there and then some. The special effect enhances the movie, as does action sequences. Acting is normal. Nothing great, but nothing bad, either. All in all, I like it.

Monday, June 1, 2009



I guess I really don't take to Twitter too well. I know lots of people taken to them well, but 140 characters? Looking at my posts, I exceeded that by a wide margin. Excuse me, but I like to explain my statements. Still, I wonder how well I'd do with brief messages. Let's try a few:

Always Innovating TouchBook: Detachable Keyboard. 15 HR battery life. Magnet on back! Stick it to refrigerator, iron cabinet, or car!
(Lose a lot of messages in that)

Websites suck! 400kb page! 16 cookies ads! Forced Flash and JavaScript! I want text only and I want it now! Give me Browsable Web Twitter or off to brick book store I go!
(Really doesn't explain the significance of the problem)

Google Map: Forced upgrade. Cool feature. GPS compatible. Must avoid temptation. Area 51. Akihabara. Kawai! No! Must-Resist-Temptation! Maid Cafe! Oooooooh!
(Ok, that one might work. But original post is short also.)

Random Life Lesson: Never take a turn signal on a big 18 wheeler truck as a challenge to race your car to pass it before the truck initiates lane change when your car is located behind farther than 3 truck lengths, regardless whether your car is a Formula One racer or an overloaded SUV.
(Yes, that's real. I saw it happens often. Suicidal maniacs!)

Random Life Lesson: Touching the Ground plug hole will not save you when you decide to touch the Positive and Negative plug holes with your fingers.
(No, that's not real. I just made that up.)

Always Innovating Touch Screen Netbook


I just read this in. Always Innovating is launching a very cool Touch Screen Netbook. It's still in production, and I believe they're still ironing out the production bugs. However, enough is leaked out that I think I should be watching for this closely.

It's $299 tablet or $399 if you want an optional detachable keyboard. Yes, I want that detachable keyboard, since it also contains extra batteries that allows it to run for 15 hours! I can get a lot of work done with that kind of performance. I can just imagine taking it camping and enjoy some fresh air and nature, and doodles, write poetry, and not have to worry about battery life.

I do hope it has some kind of programing language built-in. Even if it is a simple FreeBasic or TrueBasic. Computer programming really isn't that difficult, unless it's Microsoft Windows programming. That's the result of Window's complexity. Linux isn't that difficult. I hardly ever have to drop to terminal mode anymore. Then again, I haven't been using my drawing pad with it much ever since I got Colors on my DS. I'd like to have it with NDSi so I can just connect to the Web and upload images without having to pull the card out of the device. Having a Basic programming language on DS would be desirable, also.

Annoying Tech


You know, it starts to annoy me terribly. All the delays that is caused by technology. I think the point of having all the newfangled gizmos is supposed to make our life easier. Unfortunately, a lot of people either don't think so, or so stupid that they don't know that what they're doing is actually harmful.

Take, for example, surfing the web. JavaScript annoys me terribly. There ARE ways to do it properly, unobtrusively. However, more and more, I see the message "JavaScript is not ready. Please wait until the whole page is loaded." What these so called "highly skilled, experienced professional" web designer fails to notice is that I cut short the loading process because the loading times takes too long!

In advertising MiFi, they say that I can download 35,000 web pages with only 250 MB bandwidth. Hogwash! The sites that I go to averages 400 kb per page! Excuse me, but last time I check, 250 MB divided by 500kb is 500 pages! Oh, and these web pages has up to 16 cookies per page. There's just not that many advertising in a page! Why all these cookies. All these ridiculous, extremely abusive cookie pumping will simply result in blocked cookies. Is that what you call desirable result?

Do you know that not only Nintendo DSi is selling quite well, but also that it has a FREE downloadable Opera Web browser? I use it a lot. It's kind of slow, but that's the point. These webmasters are basically turning away potentially hungry net browsing people. Load up the web page with mandatory JavaScript, Large Screen, Tiny font, Flash, and other "Next Gen Coolstuff", and I can tell you that NDSi Web browser will NOT load the page!

Obviously, I tried to get the next best thing. Text Only Web pages. Except, none of these "cool" web pages have them! Huh? Last time I check, not only putting graphics and animation takes extremely long time to do, while text is pretty much instantenous, but also that in designing a GOOD easily navigable web site is best done with text only implementation. The reason you want to design a text only website is so that the layout is clear, and the appeal would be concentrated upon content, instead of pretty pictures.

Admen may disagree with me. To them, a web site is nothing more than a vehicle to deliver advertising, but as you can see, Google does allow text ads, so you have no argument there about needing pictures to deliver ads. What is the true point, is that these sites are turning people away like me. People who is busy, and want to digest large amount of data on the Net, on the move, with available device, such as NDSi. There's quite a lot of us, and we're practically can't surf these sites because they don't have text only option. Then they say, "See? Not many of those people surf our sites. Our audience is different!" Self-fulfilling prophecy in action.

If I was their boss, I would insist on a graphic lite/text only button that takes the user to Javascript free HTML. Then we'll see whether or not those fancy graphics and flash would be worth the money spent on them. As it is, there's no accountability. You don't know whether the improvement is worth the money, simply because there's no baseline comparison. It's not rocket science, folks. Anybody who argue the text only site costs too much money is an idiot. Pipe the output through Lynx if you have to. You shouldn't have to, though. Design it right! No Delays!

And speaking of delays, I fail to see why my 1.46 GHz computer, one that is 20 times as FAST as my old Pentium 75 Mhz, took 10 times as LONG to boot up. I swear I can see the graphics updates line by line. I still remember DOOM updates 3D graphics screens in real time. How come displaying little flat 2D icons took 3 seconds? And unlike my old Amiga, I can't go in there and tune the start up scripts. Not with 75 different processes, and who knows how many other services? All my future computer will NOT be the powerful desktop. Give me NDSi any day. Boots up quick. Does the work, rather slowly, but still faster than my GHz computer.

If you want my money, then remove all the delays from the process. I'm no longer a teenager willing to spent hours surfing the web. I'm a busy professional who wants to get in, buy stuff, and get out. I have too much to do already. I'm not going to give these annoying website my business. If they're that ignorant, who knows what's going on behind the shop front?

All these struggling companies: It's not the economy, stupid. It's YOU!