Thursday, December 2, 2010

Setting goal


It never cease to amaze me that people sometimes would stumble at the most basic thing. The most important thing in life is happiness. The question is: what would make you happy?

Life is too short to be spent on a job you don't enjoy. So, the obvius question is: what do you like, and how do you make that into your job?

Sometimes the answer is: no one will offer me that kind of job. If that is so, then go the self-employed route! No one is stopping you.

The thing is, people would fail at the most basic step: setting goal.

When I ask people what they want, most people would say that they want to be rich. But there they stop. It is up to me to ask them: at what income level do they consider being rich? Some people make $150 K per year, but want $300 K per year to be rich. Others will be happy with $30 K if they don't have to work for it.

So the goal to be "rich", isn't a good goal. A better one would be "30,000 per year in passive income." or "a salary $300,000 per year or more." A good goal is objective, not subjective.

That way, you can make plans on how to achieve it. The goal $300K per year cannot be achieved by working low wage companies as servers, stock boy, or janitor. But you can make that amount by working as CEO, or stock traders of said companies. See how concrete goal making clarifies things?

There is an advice that I give people who is empowered, yet not happy:
1. Make plan
2. Do plan
3. God Bless You!

It's that simple, and it begins with setting a good goal.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Last Will


On second though, maybe "Nearly to die" isn't mean for my mortality. My gift is that of Telepathy, not Clairvoyance. So, maybe a lot of people are planning suicide instead. In case, I'm wrong, in case I die, I want all my possession to go to my father, else sister, else brothers. No time for formal will, so this will have to do.

Those Australian twin girls suicides reminds me that no everyone is planning to live a long and productive life. I hope you do live a long and prosperous live.

May you have a happy Thanksgiving. I know I won't be.

Nearly to die


I have another one of those dream. A warning light box, colored blue, say "Nearly to die". It lit up quite bright, and yes, it was directed at me, no question. I woke up soon after. What a way to wake up at Thanksgiving day.

Life's a pickle. It's easy to die because someone else screw up. You can be the safest driver on the road, but if other people want to hit your car, they'll be able to do so. Saw too many accidents yesterday, much more than usual. I wonder what will hold for today?

Ah, well. Nearly doesn't mean absolutely. It doesn't mean future or past. Who knows? Only God does. Life can be terminated at a moment's notice. Heart attack and all that. It's important to be prepared to go anytime. Got any sins that needs forgiving? Better do it right now!

It's too bad people are too focused on one thing. They don't consider side effects. They don't listen. John Pistole essay on USA Today for example, says that we need the procedure beause it is safe. He is deaf to the complaints that it is invasive. Yes, it's safer, but people aren't complaining that it isn't safe. People are complaining that it's rude, invasive, immoral, and in conflict with religious beliefs.

Muslims should've been provided with Imam approved inspector; Jews, Rabbi. Instead of aggressive pat down, how about just wear a swim suit and strip to that? Is there any exemption to pilots and foreign dignitaries? Is the hidden inspector viewing the image a certified medical professional? These would have alleviated most complaints.

Instead, John Pistole provided statistic that says 4 out of 5 like the full body scanner. That means 20 percent dislike it. Yet, 99 percent prefer to go through body scanner? Does that mean lots of people aren't flying anymore? That explains the fact that I see much more accidents than usual.

I'm also having trouble making the statement that "passengers are fully screened" with the statement "3 percent goes thru aggressive pat down." Seems to me that most people are going thru metal detector instead of the x-ray one. I thought the metal detector can't detect plastic explosive? People aren't screen properly, I think.

TSA need better management. It is rather shameful that the screeners can't tell what Nexus and TWIC cards are. It's obvious the mandate didn't go down properly, when it should have. This should've been a non-issue. I wonder if the managers are going to be replaced anytime soon?

If it was me, I'd have taken the privatisation issue as body blow. It'd be as if the airport fired me, which is the case. Even the hated FMCSA has it's rule challenged, not the organisation itself. When lots of people call for TSA to be abolished, including Congress, I think that's a clear indication that you screw up. If that isn't, then what is?

Monday, November 22, 2010



I had a dream last night, and it disturbed me greatly. In it, I was filling a computer form like I usually do, and at the first line, top of screen, it says "FAREWELL Y/N".

Obviously, this is travel related. I was surfing the web quite a bit, but especially TSA website, and what I see there does not please me. It seems that a lot of people are upset about TSA procedure, and will be driving up to 800 miles this weekend.

Folks, that is dangerous! I'm okay because I regularly drive long distance, but most people are bored silly. That is when accident most likely to happen. Not to mention that just this Sunday, shopping and picking up the mail, I saw no less than 5 dangerous drivers swiping at my car.

So, please, if you can fly this Thanksgiving week, please do so. It won't be pleasant, but it won't be pleasant for me as well. I will be packing especially light this week. I suggest you do,too.

If you choose to drive, here's a few tip:
1. Always be alert. Take twice as many breaks as needed.
2. Always obey the speed limit. And stop signs.
3. Buckle up, and turn off your phone.
4. Eat well. Drink lots of water. Easy on cofee.
5. Carry winter emergency kit. Be prepared.
6. Take your time. Be patient. Better be late than never.
7. Drive extremely defensively. Leave lots of room to maneuver.

Please be safe out there, and have a happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Big Christmas Toy Book


I am looking at ToysRus "The Great Big Christmas BOOK", where they have all kinds of wonderful toys listed inside. Wow. I can't even imagine the sophistication of toy industry when I was young. Kids today are so spoiled.

A few highlights:

TOMICA Hypercity Super Big Set
Hypercity! Super Big! Wow. And it only costs $59.99! Manufacturing costs certain have come down lately. Lot's of toys like that. $10 more for the Mega Station Set.

Zhu Zhu Pets/Kung Zhu Pets
I think this is going to be the next big thing in toys. No, I don't know why.

Elmo: Tickle Me, Rock&Roll, Potty
I can understand Tickle Me and Rock&Roll. I don't understand Potty. Since when Potty humor is appropriate for children?

IMAGINARIUM: Medieval Castle, Grand View Dollhouse
I find it strange that Medieval Castle costs $79.99, but Grand View Dollhouse costs $224.99. It's a 3 story, taller than the kid doll house. Kids today are so spoiled.

Lots of LEGO Star Wars, and MEGA BLOKS Halo. Am I the only person who is concerned that extremely young children are exposed to what is essentially a terrible, violent war theme?

MATTEL Mindflex
If this really works, I think some wheelchair bound people will be very interested in technology!

CRAYOLA Masterwork Art Case
200 Art supplies for $24.99. I'm not even going to comment on this thing. It's really cheap for the price.

Lots of Kitchen play set
I can't help but think that a similar set is sold by camping stores, but really usable, and packable for tailgating purposes, instead of just pretend play.

DIPPIN' DOTS: Frozen dot maker
I love DIPPIN' DOTS. But I thought those are chilled using liquid Nitrogen. If this really works, though, I'm thinking of getting one.

BARBIE: Digital Nail Printer
Ugh. I wish they put on a warning before turning the page. The pink is overwhelming! Anyway, they have Digital Fingernail Printer for $149.99. I don't know what it is with girls and painted nails, but they seem to be enjoying it. Don't you think sticker pasted on your face would be more eye catching? Larger size after all. Bigger is better! Why stop with fingernails?

BARBIE: Video Girl Doll
I am a REAL working video camera. You know, of all the product I think Barbie makes, I don't think that they'd actually put a camera inside a doll. I'm okay with Barbie licensed video camera, but somehow, putting privacy invasion device in a little girl's toy seems wrong.

SPY NET Video Watch/Snake Spy Cam
This is the boys' equivalent of Video camera and I think it makes more sense. The flexible cabling that is Snake Spy Cam is useful in finding out what's going on inside clogged plumbing, for example. Ewww. Did I just say that?

Paper Jamz Guitar
Silly me, I thought it was an expensive cardboard. It's real guitar sounding toy. Another best seller, I think.

AIR HOGS: Hawk Eye
I actually have this. Pretty cool! There is no hover, and it's no good in windy situation. Otherwise, it works well.

Various guns. I'm very much tempted to get the sniper rifle version. The longest Nerf ever. Probably just for show, though, as the weak spring means that the distance will still be limited to about 30 feet or so.

AIR ZONE Punisher
I admit that I'm somewhat worried about that mini-Gattling gun shooting 30 darts in 20 second. I think that there should be a line defining toys and non-toys.

RAZOR: E300 Scooter, Ground Force Drifter, Dirt Quad
Okay, these are no longer toys. I wonder what's the range on these things, and whether or not they make electric skate board?

Are you sure these are toys? FM radio, headlights, seatbelts. Kids today are SO spoiled!

APPLE: 32GB iPod touch
No, I'm not kidding. ToysRUs is selling Apple iPod touch for $299.99! FaceTime? I thought that requires phone connection? How does that work? Are these supposed to be for kids?

ASUS: Eee PC 1001 HA
Netbook for $269.99. I have to think about this. Laptop prices are so much lower these days, that I have to think about getting myself a netbook.

XBOX 360: Kinect
I know Microsoft has a tradition of having senior people use the product before releasing it to the public, but somehow I'm having trouble picturing Steve Ballmer jumping up and down in testing this thing.

Ted Price, California, Supreme Court, and a case of First Amendment

On USA TODAY, October 28, 2010, there is an article featuring Insomniac Games Ted Price holding a chimera mask on front page. Unfortunately, he wasn't announcing a new game. He was battling a Supreme Court case on First Amendment. "Can states keep kids from violent video games? Supreme Court case tests limits on art and speech."

This is going to be a somewhat long post, and I don't like it. Too much work for what amounts to just opinions. But I think that this is important, and it is my habits to support my statements with facts. Research is going to be light, though.

According to the article, Ted Price claims that "Many games today have deep stories and draw heavily from our literary heritage." That is, games are works of arts and should be protected under First Amendment. I agree. California Democratic Sen. Leland Yee, who sponsored a state ban on the sale of violent video games to minors that now is before the Supreme Court says that the interactive aspect of video games makes it more dangerous than a movie or book that provides passive experience. I agree with that, too.

So, the question is: Should we ban violent video games sales to minor or not? I think we should not only ban violent video games sales to minor, but also that of sexually explicit materials, be it video games, books, movies, or whatever. There are age restrictions for materials in place and it is for good reason.

My problem here is that Senator Yee, and to an extent, Zackery Morazzini of the California attorney general's office, are using what I perceive as half-truth lies in their argument. For example, "Video games are uniquely harmful," says Zackery Morazzini. Wow. I never thought Nintendogs can be so dangerous!

In looking at the California law, I am struck at its similarity with another law: Miller vs. California. I'm surprised that no news media mentioned this before. I think that this is an important element in Senator Yee's argument is pushing this case.

To be honest, I expect video game sales to mirror that of movies and books. That is, most will be sold normally, but Mature and Adult-Only materials will not be sold to minors. They'll probably be located on the restricted access back shelf, along with other adults-only merchandise, like they do on magazine. The books are normally sold open, but those with sexual content are wrapped in plastic. Video games should be like that, too.

The ESRB rating system works, and works well. Unfortunately, it is not cheap, costing several thousand dollars to acquire. Maybe the industry should allow self-proclaimed rating guidelines, in place of ESRB rating as to allow casual, independent, and hobbyist game developer a chance to publish their products without committing thousands of dollars in expenses. Something like a checklist of elements of items would work well, I think.

Senator Yee claims that it is impossible for parents to fully investigate a video game due to extensive branching of the program. That is true. However, it is also true that there are game reviewer websites out there. At YouTube, they even show game play! Although you cannot analyze the game exhaustively, you can read reviews of the game and see, easily, that Postal video game has been banned in several countries due to violent content. That should be your clue that the game is inappropriate for children.

If the game is incorrectly rated, well, that's what review board is all about. Games have been re-classified, either to higher rating or lower, depending on the situation. Waiting 30 days before purchasing a game for reviews to come in is a good policy.

To say that a certain video game is harmful, and therefore all video games are harmful, is obviously wrong. When I replace the words "video game" with avian-flu borne chicken, cows with mad cow disease, black, white, lawyer, and democrats, well, I'm not getting a pretty picture. For an attorney to use a statement that is so easily refuted bodes ill to California. It is like saying that YouTube users are full of hatred and posted explicit comments. Sure, a lot of them are juvenile, but not all. You can't blame everybody for the crime of a select few.

As much as I want to see Barney the purple dinosaur be banned on moral grounds, I understand that the same right that allows Hello Kitty to exist, also allows Barney to exist. I think Neil Gaiman said it best: “The Law is a blunt instrument. It’s not a scalpel. It’s a club. If there is something you consider indefensible, and there is something you consider defensible, and the same laws can take them both out, you are going to find yourself defending the indefensible.”

I find it distressing that people don't seem to care about this issue at all. "Banning video games? Didn't they try that on comic books, rock-and-roll, playing cards, and dice? That didn't go anywhere, did it?" Well, no. Not those elements, anyway. However, no one mentioned the Prohibition of Alcohol, which did get somewhere. Remember that? How can a nation enforce something that is so obviously (in hindsight) unenforceable? How stupid is that? If alcohol is outlawed, only outlaws have alcohols. Let's not pass a stupid law concerning video games, or First Amendment.

I wonder if Senator Yee would argue that video games are causing violence. Statistically speaking, it doesn't exist. Violent video games are sold in the millions of unit. If indeed violent video games cause death in children, we probably would be seeing a lot more of death of it. We don't. The top causing fatalities factor is, as I understand it, bicycles, at number 10. If that's true, then I'd argue that the dangerous states of bicycling in the country today (including California) is keeping the children off the streets, and into their homes, where they can do nothing but watch violent TV shows, play violent video games, and surf violent websites all day. Therefore, the real cause of violence is the lack of safe, alternative lifestyle such as bicycling. What has the state of California done to keep bicyclist safe from harm, I wonder?

As a taxpayer, I'm concerned whenever a public servant would pick issues that are down the list, and ignore the top ones. This "cherry picking" issues, and data, is rather rampant, unfortunately. But I certainly do not want to see it in Senatorial nor Judicial concern! Let's take the news item that a certain school kid is targeting the athletic department to be killed. Picked up a gun and kill other students. The news media all focused on the gun availability to minors. I focused on the fact that the athletic department is the target. What have they done so as far to be targeted? It turns out they are bullies and abuse the school, while the administrators look the other way. In that case, then I'd say the problem is that the administrators allows bullying to take place, and need to be replaced. That is the true cause of the shooting, not the gun.

It seems that the law has supports from several parenting groups. I wonder if the same parenting groups would support the notion that today's parent has done an extremely poor parenting job of raising children, as much as to allow TV and video games to be nanny/baby sitter replacement, while not monitoring the content of either. Even Sesame Street needs to be seen by both parent and children. Parents need to provide guidance to children from early age because irresponsible children will not magically turn into responsible adults when they turn 18.

Personally, I think Senator Yee, with all his training, got it wrong. It is not that violence in children is caused by something. It is caused by lack of something, namely proper parental supervision. Rather than spending time looking for something to ban, we should spend our time creating guidelines to raise children properly so that they grow to become productive, responsible adults.

For people to argue that video games "caused" violence, you have to include all factors that could conceivably cause violence, and rank them according to probabilities of affecting. How about violent news media? How about violent movies or comic books or RPG? How about the fact that McDonald used animal extract in their french fries and therefore unwittingly turned the docile vegetarians into violent carnivore? It's easy to blame. Nobody is perfect. If you want to find fault with somebody, you will always find it if you look hard enough, even if the fault needs to be imaginary. That is why we have courts.

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the name Jack Thompson of Florida, yet, as he is infamous in regards of violent video games. I wonder if the state of California has hired him, or someone just like him, to present their arguments to the case. Do you think that by selectively choosing evidence and painting worst case scenario as normal, maybe California is engaging the service equivalent to Michael Byron Nifong? The term "exculpatory evidence" is crucial to any lawyer's vocabulary. Has this been ignored?

"It is capital mistake to form a conclusion before one has all the data, for certainly he will shape the data to fit the conclusion." or so says Sherlock Holmes. That is true. Cherry picking data is quite rampant. Cherry picking solution not so rampant, but not unheard of. Remember the Russian scientists who discovered "super water"? Other researchers found out that it has the same characteristic of human sweat. Well, it turns out that in the process of improving the characteristics of water, they've successfully rediscovered anti-freeze. Not that such endeavor isn't worthwhile, but at least be honest about its significance. That is why scientists have peer reviews.

They are trying to ban video games? What are they trying to ban next? Nerf? Dihydrogen monoxide?


Miller v. California

Michael Byron Nifong

John Bruce "Jack" Thompson

Neil Gaiman’s Journal: Why defend freedom of icky speech?

Video games myth

Bike safety/The Dangerous Hamburger

Dihydrogen Monoxide

University of Colorado bans Nerf Guns: Zombies Game
Search for it on the Internet.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Election Survey?


Looks like I'm having more rants than usual. What can I say? I'm being bombarded more and more with spam. This election survey is one example.

First, they call me during dinner time, or sometime close to it. Then, after answering standard survey questions, in which the responses is sometime not sufficiently diverse (i.e.: "It's between mostly good and very little good! What do you mean you don't have a choice there?"), they started to say that this candidate bring job, etc.

I don't know about you, but it's very easy for somebody to bring jobs in with the economic stimulus. What kind of jobs are they bringing? Professional? White collar? Blue collar? Minimum wage part timers? Also, was there an incentive for businesses to hire or will they be taxed heavily for providing these jobs?

When I asked how long will this survey take, the answer she gave was, and I'm not kidding: "I don't know." What do you mean you don't know? Usually a survey have a definite list of questions! So, my guess is, either this survey is done by extremely incompetent person, or that this is really advertising pretending to be a survey.

I didn't bother to find out. Even cutting the survey short still clocks over 13 minutes. I shudder to think what the full survey would look like. Is there no one there to say to respect people's time? How about limiting the survey to just 3 minutes?

If this has been an advertising posing to be a survey, then it has a reverse effect than intended. It reminds me of Newt Gingrich who said that a certain politician is a "tax and spender". At first blush that looks bad. But thinking more about it, I prefer a "tax and spender" much better than a "spend and taxer", or a "tax and taxer", or a "spend and spender". Although I like a "do nothing" congressman best (because it means the country is in good shape that nothing needs to be done), we have to admit that with gigantic deficit, something must be done. A tax and spender means that we will spend no money unless we have it. I like that better than the current Congress whose motto seems to be "spend, spend, and spender! For tomorrow we may be voted out due to reckless spending!"

Yes, I will vote this year. Thank you for asking.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Stupidity, stupidity, stupidity.


I just had the most horrible experience where there is a wave of stupidity going on all at once. There must be an alien in orbit bombarding the earth with stupidity ray or something.

There is a thread of messages where I had a discussion with a CEO of some kind (who shall remain nameless), where he insisted that communication skill is very important. I mentioned how people nowadays are failing basic skills such as Show and Tell, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Looking from the Opposite Point of View. He replied that 2 of those things, Show and Tell and Writing, are part of communication skill. Huh?

Wait a minute. Reading is not a communication skill? Communication is defined by speaker and listener. In written form, that means Writer and Reader. Therefore, Reading is part of communication skill. Furthermore, I did mention that Opposite Point of View is a basic skill. What is opposite Writing? Reading, of course!

So, he failed in Reading. He failed in Opposite Point of View. And so he failed in Writing accurately. And it's not really Arithmetic, but still math. I mentioned that a student can get a second degree faster by transferring his college credit. He countered that getting another 4 year degree will take 4 years. Ummm... I just told him that college credit can be transfered. If the degree is close enough, you don't need more than 2 years. In fact, in this case, it can be minored, so I'm guessing just 1 year. It's not Arithmetic, but failing Algebra isn't too good, either.

You know, these kind of mistakes do happen, but I certainly didn't expect it to come from a highly skilled, highly experienced CEO! Especially one who insisted that communication skill is paramount. I will make extra effort to avoid his products in the future.

There was a letter to a newspaper, saying that a child was asking whether Grandma is related to Mother. Such a thing is to be expected from a five year old. Unfortunately, the child in question happens to be a soldier about to be deployed to Iraq! Whatever happened to common sense?

So, I had a discussion about the importance of college degree. Somebody went off tangent saying that school is important. For proof? He mentioned how he got his job BEFORE getting his degree! What's his job? Musician. What's his degree? English. I don't know about you, but that doesn't look like a school endorsement to me. Worse, when I asked for clarification, there's a mention of how a lot of his classmates went jobless after graduation! That is certainly not an endorsement, but a condemnation! So, why does he go around telling people to go to school? Is he stupid or something?

And I should tell you that his writing level, and intelligence for that matter, is only at high school level. Run-on sentences! Very coarse vocabulary intermingled with a few uppity, high noggin words (a few of which are rather off tangent). Yet, he didn't really say anything of substance. Just a bunch of opinions, packaged in poor diction. Sigh. Is that guy really an English major graduate? Please tell me where he went to school so I can tell people to NOT go there. Run-on sentences and English major are NOT compatible!

I mean, come on, don't you have a sense of responsibility to uphold the reputation of the group you belong to? Do you think that just because you joined a highly reputable organization, you automaticcally, without any effort on your part, become highly respectable? That's not the way it works. If you do that, the organization will die a slow death.

Witness the decline of quality TV show. It used to be that I can watch a few shows. Murphy Brown and Home Improvement are the two I like to watch. I can tolerate Everybody Loves Raymond. But now? It's all junk in there. I don't bother watching TV anymore. I pretty much just gave my TV away. I couldn't stand to watch any of it. The only non-news show I can watch is infomercial, where they show shapely ladies shaping away their buns in some exercise program. Sigh.

I guess that means I won't be working in TV anytime soon. I also probably won't be working in computer game anytime soon, as their quality has universally steadily declined. There used to be some great games out there. Lucas Arts used to make fantastic Star Wars games. Their last Star Wars game was an absolute pain. I couldn't believe it! Ditto for World at War series. Id Software used to make Doom, which I played endlessly. Their last Quake game? Rather annoying. I actually prefer the old Doom, what with pixelated graphics and all. Sigh.

You are who you are with. It doesn't matter if you're good. If the group you are in are terrible, then you are terrible by association. The commodity entertaiment industry has be in steady decline, and I'm very disheartened about it, since I plan to enter that industry. The way it is now, the computer game companies are so abusive that newcomers are expected to work 100+ hours per week without extra pay. Huh? Is there no one in the industry who sees something terribly wrong with that? Of course there are. Many of them, in fact. Unfortunately, a few big bad apples paints the picture. Now tell me, if you are smart, would you work for such punishing industry where early burnouts are so common, they are expected? Or would you work on normal job with better pay, respect, and balanced family life? No contest. The computer gaming industry is slowly commiting suicide, and as I try to be successful, I will avoid such industry until they get better. After all, the way it is now, only soon-to-burn-out-and-lose-their-job losers work there.

I haven't watched TV in a long time. I have curtailed my PC computer game purchase due to incredible amount of buggy junk out there. I will probably curtail my DS games purchase soon because, frankly, their quality is going down the drain there as well. Would you believe that my last dsiware download game froze on me? That never happened before! Well, it shows you how bad DS games has become. And that's not counting bad music you cannot turn off, which is 90% of the time, so that I end up playing the game mute, losing all sound effects. Sigh.

So, if any of you happen to look up to the sky, and see a flying saucer with green skinned alien waving around their stupidity ray gun, then please do me a favor and SHOOT THEM DOWN!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

KFC vs Popeye's chicken


I just can't help myself. When Popeye claims that their chicken beat KFC, I couldn't believe it! So, I tried it myself. I like KFC original recipe chicken, but comparing it with Popeye chicken is unfair, since Popeye chicken has crispy skin. So, I decided to try KFC crispy.

I prefer KFC crispy to Popeye's chicken. I think KFC tastes better, and they have better, softer skin than Popeye's. Popeye's skin is too dry for my taste. However, Popeye's cajun chicken is better than KFC crispy. In that view, Popeye is better than KFC. However, I do prefer KFC original to Popeye's. So in my view, KFC wins the taste contest. Better taste, better cooking, better chicken.

Nutritionally wise, KFC has less sodium and fat than Popeye's, which surprised me. OTOH, eating KFC reminds me of MSG. So, I don't usually eat chicken dinner. I usually eat rice dinner, with chicken on the side.

Kindle for PC


I downloaded Kindle for PC from Amazon. Looks nice. It has all the features I want, none of the extras I don't want. It makes it very convenient to purchase books, and carry them. Delivery is extremely quick! So far, I have been able to confine myself to just freebies book, but I am sorely tempted by some of the offerings out there, so most likely, I will break down later and will start downloading books like crazy.

The book samples pleased me. It's not just a single chapter, but a whole lot of them. My criteria to buy is simple: If I finished the sample, and still want more, then buy! If I finish the sample and not want to buy, then don't buy! Too many good books out there for me not to buy, though. Now I'm tempted to buy the actual Kindle device. Oh, dear.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Nnooo myNotebook Carbon Pearl Tan Review


I did a myNotebook review a while back where I decided that I'll stick with Flipnote and PhotoGrafitti instead. Nnooo has updated the program with new colors: Carbon, Pearl, and Tan. I can say that the new version is much better than the old one. Shall I use it?

The fact is, myNotebook has none of the functionalities that both Flipnote and Photo Grafitti have. They also have more than what myNotebook offers: Calendar and Colors. Nnooo has myDiary in the works that has calendar, but this one does not have calendar.

This new version has:
1. 128 pages, instead of 32 pages.
2. Export (but not import) pages to Photo Album.
3. New blank page.
4. More refinements, and bug fixes.

The old one has 3 fatal flaws that caused it to be near unusable for me:
1. Perpetual gray box you cannot turn off.
2. Having to flip the device to write on other pages.
3. Annoying music you cannot turn off.

I'm glad to report that complaint 1 & 3 are fixed. Still have complaint 2, though. At least the increased number of pages alleviate that somewhat, so the flaw is no longer fatal, just very annoying.

Speaking of annoyance, the toolbar is very annoying. Yup, you guessed it: You cannot turn it off! It is in the way often. Worse, if you flip the page, it got to be in the way from the other side! That means I cannot purposely write upside down to get away from the toolbar. Did I mention that it will ease-in and out everytime you flip the pages? That makes turning the pages very, very slow.

Regarding turning the pages: Nnooo put in skip 10 pages. They even allow double tap on it to skip 20 pages! The thing is: there's no option to skip multiple pages singly. What do I mean by that? Take a look at Photo Album, or EA Flips e-book. See how when you hold down the button, the pages flip without being loaded and just jumps to the page when you release the button? I want it just like that!

There's really nothing new that myNotebook offers. That means, to be successful, it has to offer convenience. Slowly turning the pages is NOT convenient. And the toolbar bug? I don't see how anyone can miss that.

The new offering is better than the old, but it is only decent. I guess it went up from student quality to amateur quality, but I'm hard pressed to get away from photographing various papers w/ Photo, and use Grafitti for notetaking. I can see how the blank pages allows me to doodle quickly, with notes on the side page, but do I have to flip the device over to do it!? Also, I do not see an option for vertical lines, wide ruling, or custom format.

Another thing you cannot turn off: time and battery meter. Huh? Do you have to have that on every page?

Also it would be nice if the START bookmark function takes you to the inside cover so you can write Table of Content there.

Should you download this and use it? I don't object if you do, but I suggest giving Photo Grafitti and Flipnote Hatena a try before you buy this.

Just a quick 15 min impression:
1. Toolbar does not stay hidden when flipping pages
2. This makes turning pages slower than necessary
3. No double tap on next page, like there is on skip 10 pages.
4. No multiple page turning when holding down button.
5. Did fix the music bug. Thanks!
6. Saved page when exiting via pressing the power button. Great!
7. Don't know why only one shoulder button will hide/show toolbar. No reason why both can't be active? Only one function, right?
8. Still have to turn device over to write alternate page.
9. Like the extra pages. That means skipping pages is fine, with so much capacity.
10. The loading/saving on every page turning does make it slow.
11. Vertical line on the side is too close to the edge to be useful. Maybe skipping it altogether is better. Is that one of the unlockable design?
12. I wish there is an option to skip 40 pages w/ double tap, though. It is a chore to get to the later pages.
13. Love the new export command. Thanks. JPEG artifact is there, but not a problem.
14. No tapping to quickly clear the "new unlockable" notice screen.
15. Last page location is accessible via the START button. Nice.
16. I wonder what would happen if I press the power button when data is loading at the start? It isn't doing any saving, right? So, should be no problem?
17. Did fix the perpetual gray box. Thanks.
18. Toolbar options are not saved. Pen/color settings are reset upon exit.

Next day impression:
1. Toolbar is in the way when the screen is flipped.
2. Hitting START button causes the cover to be shown instead of inside cover/page 1
3. White does not have blue underline in pen mode. It actually works better that way!
4. Eraser could be bigger in "big" mode.
5. The lines could be wider. Wide ruling.
6. Page turn can be faster, multiple page flip when holding down button.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Absolute Chess Dsiware Review


I downloaded Absolute Chess dsiware this week, and I like it! It's not usual chess by any means, more like pick up-and-play quick game of chess, and in that role, it does very well. The game engine is set for speed, and does not think too deep. At the advanced level, it can spot mate in 3. So, I think, it's about 5 ply, or 2.5 move deep.

It has 4 levels, and 8 characters for a variety opponent. Missing features are timer, auto play, hint, undo (somewhat). If you come in expecting the usual trappings of chess, you will be disappointed. This game is geared more toward blitzkrieg chess.

Some bugs are presents: Racheal instead of Rachael. b4 instead of d4. "wait" instead of undo. Minor blemishes to what an otherwise good program.

I appreciate the designers for injecting flavor by doing anime style character, even if they're not animated. There are different pictures showing different states: neutral, winning, and losing.

I really like the download play feature. Alas, no timers. At least the graphics are clear and pleasant. No worries about confusing pieces, that's for sure!

It's too bad you cannot turn off music or sound effects independently. If I want to listen to music while playing chess, that's what mp3 players are for. The majority of chess players prefer quiet solitude.

It also has challenge mode. Not a big deal, though. 1st level, win the game. 2nd level, win the game in 12 minutes, a casual game. 3rd level, use bishop to take 4 or more pieces. Easy, since pawns count as pieces. 4th level, leave 3 or more pawns. Keeping 3 pawns in castling does the trick just fine. 5th level, 70 moves, 7 minutes, Blitzkrieg chess with 2 extra minutes. Did I mention that the early level makes all kind of blunders? Just play a defensive game, and you'll beat the challenges no problem!

Here's a sample game that I played:
1. e4 e5 2. f4 xf4 King's Gambit Accepted
3. d4 Qh4 4. Ke2 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qg4 6. h3 Qe6 7. Nc3 Qc4 8. Kf2 Qb4 9. a3 Qd6 10. e5 Qh6 Harassing the Queen while developing
11. Nd5 Kd8 12. Nxf4 Be7 13. Nd5 Bh4 14. g3 Qe6 15. Nf4 Bxg3 16. Kxg3 Qh6 17. d5 g5 18. xc6 xf4 19. Bxf4 Qxc6 Clarifying position
20. Bg2 Ne7 21. Kh2 Rg8 22. Rg1 Qe4 23. Bg3 d6 24. Ng5 Qf5 25. xd6 Qxg5 mate in 2
26. xc7 Ke8 27. Qd8 mate

Friday, August 13, 2010



This is what I have to deal with on a daily basis. Sigh. If only it isn't so buggy!

Oh, yes. Do your job well, and this golden mouse can be yours! What an incentive!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

JetBlue Flight Attendant


First truck driver, now flight attendant? What is the world coming to?

I only saw this briefly on TV, so I don't have all the details, but apparently it goes like this:
1. Flight attendant got smacked on the head by passenger.
2. Passenger refused to apologize
3. FA snapped and quit after spewing tirades over the intercom
4. FA grabbed beer
5. FA deployed emergency slide, and departed the plane that way.
6. FA got into a car and went home.
7. FA got arrested.

I think that beer grabbing is significant. Why would you want to drink beer? To relieve stress. Why is the flight attendant stressed out? Because the passenger hit him on the head, and laughed about it. How can he do that and without any repercussion? I don't know, but I tell you that if the world is fair, that passenger would have been sued for assault. So, the question isn't how much punishment must this FA receive. I think these are relevant:
1. Why now? Why with JetBlue, and not Virgin?
2. With all these talk about rude FA, this one is actually pretty mild outburst. Thank you for not shooting people, BTW.
3. When will you stop rude passenger from boarding the aircraft? Or sue for assault as this is what it is.
4. I know hospitality industry is tough, but OSHA should enforce safety of workers from hazardous customer.
5. With trucking CSA2010, there is Respondent-Superior clause. I think the airline industry should have it as well.
6. FA got arrested? At home? After quitting? If the defense lawyer is any good, he will have a field day!
7. If I was a JetBlue owner, which I'm not, I'd have dropped everything and ran over and grilled everybody on the subject. There's no details to prove it so far, but this has all the marks of bad management crafting bad policy, causing good employee to be stuck in the middle. That's a pity.

There are many reason for workers to be disgruntled, but bad management shouldn't be it.

A footnote: shame on you, Jay Leno, to make fun of the situation. These people suffer mightily on the job. Is there any reason why you would be so cruel? Certainly not Johnny Carson, are you? Think about it. Had this been a pilot who snapped at 30,000 feet, then the outcome wouldn't be so harmless, nor funny. Will you make a joke out of it, too?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Amazon Publishing (Kindle)

FUN provides a method to upload and sell Digital Content to their Kindle. It's all extremely simple HTML format! This is something I must research further. I hope they do JavaScript as well. ProcessingJS would be extremely nice!

Now, back to dreaming of being a writer, yet spent all my free time playing Pokemon. Sigh.

Nintendo 3DS preview


I just read it in Nintendo Power Magazine a preview of Nintendo 3DS system, and I am extremely pleased. My main worry about 3D is "How do I turn it off?". I was thinking about taking the 3D filter on and off, but Nintendo did me one better! There is a slider on the side that will adjust the depth of 3D vision, from flat to extreme. I like that very much!

The current prototype looks like the current DSi, but with these difference
1. Accepts 3DS card, in addition to DS compatibility
2. 3D filter screen on 800x240 panoramic top screen
3. Adjustable depth slider
4. 3 cameras: 1 internal, 2 external, with possibly, updated Photo Viewer for 3D.
5. Slide pad, for analog movement
6. Accellerometer, and gyroscope.
7. Home button
8. Telescoping stylus

Overall, it's just like old device, only better! I hope that the shoulder button got fixed. They're broken on my DS.

I'm rather surprised by the depth slider, but happy surprise. The motion sensors worries me. If the game designer uses that to enhance gaming experience, then great! If they use it just because they can, then it's bad. Ditto for Slide pad. What? Touch screen control not good enough for you?

I'm ambivalent about Home button and telescoping stylus. I've never seen any telescoping stylus that isn't flimsy. There's also some networking function. Supposedly, there is some kind of background connectivity while you sleep. I don't like that at all. I like operating my device while I'm watching. Then again, there maybe a useful function to it, such as remote watching. Makes a nice, if expensive, baby monitor device.

It really surprised me about the games. There's quite a bit out there! Even the 2D games are enhanced. I'm really happy! Especially since I decided to not buy a Wii just to play Street Fighter IV. Yup, it's on 3DS! That makes it a must buy for me! PilotWings, MarioKart, StarFox, just to name a few that I will be splurging my lunch money on.

I am really excited about this thing. There is something 3D that just does not translate to computer screen. So much so, that I am considering picking up Miniature gaming. Now imagine this: You have a device that acts like a window to alternate universe. It's like you can see to another dimension (small screen, but we have to start somewhere). The motion sensors can be programmed to track device motion and position. That means Nintendo 3DS can act like a virtual camera, similar to James Cameron Virtual 3D Camera system! You literally have in your hands a device that lets you see into another dimension! You can use it to play games, or just do visualization program. The possibilities are staggering, so much so, that I can't trust other people to do it. I want a programmable language on this thing!

I do have some requests, assuming Nintendo is listening:
1. I want to watch movies on the device. Can you please provide official alternative other than Moonshell homebrew? Especially since you sue homebrew device out of existence.
2. I want a decent paint program, like Colors! homebrew. Arts Academy is fine, but a full fledge paint program will work great with portable mobile printer.
3. Family BASIC, or any kind of BASIC interpreter out there. WarioWare DIY is excellent, and I love it. But I have more imagination than what that program can handle.
4. Animation Studio. Excuse me. Please make that _3D_ Animation Studio. :) Or alternatively, VRML.
5. Some kind of wordprocessor, spreadsheet not a bad idea. Even if it's on the level of MS Windows CE kind.
6. And as long as I'm dreaming: Idol Master 3D, and Love Plus!

Workplace violence


Beer delivery truck driver went on rampage, killed 8, self. Insane Murderer or Vigilante Justice?

1. He never had trouble before.
2. There are accusations for racial harassment/discrimination
3. No incidents are filed with workplace/union/government agency (except noted below)
4. Some of the dead are accused harasser.
5. He was about to get fired for alleged stealing
6. He called 911 detailing the incident before killing himself (the government agency incident report)

I don't have all the details, and so will not judge either way, but I think these facts are true:
1. Worker is harassed, bullied, etc
2. Top Management/Owners are actually nice guys who don't allow harassments in workplace
3. Stealing is allegedly done by such worker, as reported by low-ranked manager/union
4. There is a discrepancy between Owner perception (as presumably reported by middle management) and operational reality.

My opinion:
And it is just an opinion, since I do not have all the details,
This reminds me of sexual harassment cases that was highlighted way back in 1990s. It was huge back then, so if you've been awhile, you can't miss it. I'm guessing the middle management/supervisor type are young people who either ignorance of such issue, or incompetents who cannot draw the parallel between the two. Specifically, THE VERY PEOPLE WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO STOP AND REPORT THE CRIME, ARE THOSE WHO DO THE CRIME!

The bosses provide reports to top management, right? The report would detail operational effects, employee problems, concerns and so on. When the boss sexually harassed the secretary (worker), will that get reported? Not likely. Most likely the boss will say that it's just "harmless fun", and then keep doing it. The boss keeps having fun, while the worker fumed, stressed out, and finally quit. And the cycle repeats, since the boss would obviously have the power to choose hiring candidates.

Unless the top management provides a way for the worker to bypass middle management, the only way top management know that there is a problem is through sexual harassment lawsuit. That is a lose-lose situation. The company loses in fines, the worker loses in career. Who wants to hire a trouble maker? The heavy-handed sexual harassment education in the 90s, highlighted the dire consequences that can result from such incidents.

But harassments are harassments. It can be sexual, racial, class, or anything. The point is, does the company condone such action? Of course not! That would be stupid. A lot of time, the harassment occurred without top management's knowledge. It is in my opinion that the owners of the beer delivery place are decent people, and that they truly did not know. But they should have! That is communication failure, and communication skills are necessary part of management skill set. Which means, that this incident happened because there is management failure.

Just my opinion, nothing more.

And now for my rant: It is not unheard of for bad management to provide false report to paint a worker as "bad". I made it a policy to leave such companies quickly, regardless to whom it was done. If you want to win, you have to surround yourself with winners. Bosses who provide bad reports are losers who cannot grasp reality. Good workers will not tolerate that and will leave. That leaves bad workers who in truth would be less concerned about profitability, and more about political survival. And the company will enter death spiral, where bad decisions cause more good worker to depart, leaving more bad worker to make bad decision and so on.

Ask yourself this: Do people in your department worry about maximizing income? Increasing revenue? Gaining marketshare? Profitability? Or do they worry about how to cut expenses to the barebone? Reducing worker's comp to a minimum? Survive yet another economic downturn? About how mistakes really hurt the company? If it's the former, that's good. If it's the latter, that's bad, and you should try to change the negative, crisis management technique to a more positive one.

I think it would help that if you fire people a lot, that you advise them that there are methods of resolution, other than arbitration that will favor a company or killing people. Although the word "lawsuit" can be expensive, the cost of human live is much more so.

A few questions:
1. What was stolen? It's a beer delivery place, mostly warehousing. There's nothing valuable in there!
2. Why forced resignation? No warning/disciplinary action for first offense? Sounds harsh treatment to me.
3. How come a trouble free worker suddenly became troublesome worker when he comes to this company?
4. Why does the worker feel that killing people, instead of suing for wrongful termination, a better solution? Did the company representative made any threat regarding such lawsuit?
5. How is the turnover rate? Are workers happy or stressed out?
6. Just how exactly do you evaluate management competence, anyway?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Know it all

"Those of you who think you know it all are particularly annoying to those of us who do"
- sign on the wall

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Striped Prairie Dog?

When I was at Des Moines, IA lastweek, I saw a strange creature by the FlyingJ turned to Love's fuel pump. it's a small prairie dog, shape and all. However, the back has this pattern.

There are some lines or stripes from head to tail, 5 to 7 of them, I couldn't count precisely. The stripes looks something a skunk have, except that it's black on tan, and they cover the whole back. Furthermore, there are blank dots on the stripes, all along the stripe, neatly arranged.

When the creature finally went back, I saw another one standing by a post. What a peculiar creature!

I've never seen such a creature before. How did that come into being? All others I've seen have plain backs.

Visions of newly found species jumped into my head.

Travel Trouble in Quincy, IL


My truck has developed odd vibration I can feel through the clutch, so I took it to the shop. "So, will it be about 2-3 hours?" I asked. "2-3 hours?", they said, "It's going to take all day!" Oops. I guess I'm going to be stuck here for a while. They're being nice about it as it usually a 2 day job.

I set out to get something to eat, but I was early. The hard working McDonald gets my money, not because they're delicious, but because they're available. I'll get something nice later in the afternoon.

The car died, BTW. It was an old Mercury car, painted dark red. No indicator on the transmission stalk. The driver side does not open. The button for headlights is nowhere to be found. And the car died on me next to McD.

As I was pushing the car off the road, a young sprighty lady ran over and helped me pushed. This was embarassing enough, but then came an OLD lady and helped us push. Okay, note to self: Never buy a car that you cannot push by yourself!

I was planning to go somewhere else, but decided to just go back immediately. I gunned the engine all the way back.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Star Wars Collection


Somebody has got the right priorities!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oregon Trail


At Eugene Oregon. Went through the mountain on Route 126 yesterday. Was pretty nice, with all the trees. I do wonder about smog in the mountain, though. It's as if the smog from the mainland all drifted to be concentrated thru the mountain peaks.

Saw Pacific Hikers Trail. A big tree lit with Christmas lights. Overall, nice and cold. I used my raingear as jacket, as I left my fleece at home.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Garden of Eden


Everytime I pass through Idaho, I stopped here. I84x182. Who else has a big snake on a tree in their food court?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010



There is too much negativity in this world today. I find it best to listen to only the positive ones. The negative ones tend to be misguided, misinformed, incompetent, or just off to the wrong direction.

"The prisoner who's looking for a guard is bound to find one."

Seek freedom, my friend.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Movie Review: Clash of Titans, Alice in Wonderland, Kick-Ass

Movie Reviews

I recently saw 3 movies near back-to-back. The Clash of the Titans, Alice in Wonderland, and Kick Ass. Of the three, I like Clash of Titans least. Wonderland and Kick Ass, I like equally but for different reason. I had wanted to see Wonderland in 3D, but unfortunately, the theater was taken by Clash of Titans, so I saw that in 3D instead.

The Clash of the Titans:
It's a well-made movie, but unfortunately, too special effect heavy. By that, I mean that the acting is put as secondary consideration. What was there is fine, certainly nothing wrong with it. However, I'm only impressed by the acting of two actors: Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes. Having seen Terminator 4 and Avatar, I know Sam Worthington can act, but it seems that his talent is under-utilized here. I also like the performance of that kooky old guy who put Andromeda to Kraken.

The special effect, however, is terrific. Unfortunately, the 3D special effect is wasted. I don't know why, but they fell flat, even though they shouldn't. There's enough scenes that should highlight the 3D effect. All other effects, though, is excellent. You can really feel the power of those gigantic scorpions breaking through the columns. Kraken is downright scary. The scale feels epic.

So, watch it in theatre for the effect, unless you have great surround sound system, because I believe the sound easily contributes 30% of the effect. The 3D effect is forgettable, so if you do have great sound system at home, you can skip the 3D effect.

Alice in Wonderland:
Down the rabbit hole she went. The story is kind of different. All the elements are there, but different. This one has plot. I'm having trouble judging the acting skills. I think Alice acting skill is actually sub-par compared to the rest of the crew, animated ones included! The rest of the cast is terrific. A pleasure to see Johnny Depp portray the Mad Hatter. Enough craziness to be mad, not enough to be silly. A very fine performance, indeed. Helena Bonham Carter is obviously typecast, but also put on an excellent performance. All the wonderland characters has this quirkiness that is just slightly out of this world. The physical proportion is off compared to that of the real world.

As far as the plot is conceived, I'm having trouble thinking why Alice can't eat some cake and crush the Jabberwocky with her fingers. Other than that, it is fine. A standard reluctant heroine plot. The environment, however, is marvelous. The costumes are terrific. The colors are brilliant. The movie really does transport you to another world, and I'm really sorry that I missed it in 3D.

Kick Ass:
I have to say that I wasn't going to watch this movie because it has a silly plot. But I did go see it because the performance of Chloe Moretz is rumored to be good. It's true. Having seen that movie, I can tell that she is a professional actress. And she was 11 years old at the time!

The story is that of Nerd-Turned-Superhero plot. However, it was presented in such a way that is believable, and generate sympathy, while at the same time, providing over-the-top fighting sequences. What other superhero do you know gained their power by being stabbed in the stomach and hit by a passing car? That is both painful and funny at the same time. That is the kind of humor this movie has, and it provides them by the buckets. Rumor has it, this movie is made with 30 million dollars. If so, that is 30 million dollars well-spent.

The acting skill and casting is superb. From Nicholas Cage down, everybody is terrific. Geeks act like geeks. Pretty girls act like pretty girls. Thugs act like thugs, and so on. The only one that I notice is sub-par is Red Mist. I know he's supposed to be stupid, but it seems like he's only stoic stupid. The role actually provides a range of acting skills, so there should be dumb-stupid, angry-stupid, bewildered-stupid, and so-on. I guess you can say Bruce Campbell Evil Dead series would be a good template. And yes, I am very impressed with Chloe Moretz's acting skill. I'm not a Nicholas Cage fan, but I have to admit, he's very good in this movie.

The story is good. The acting is top-notch. The special effects are flawless. Is there any downside? Depends. If you take the ridiculously violent movie "300", then you know how violent this movie is when I say that this one has more violence than "300". Also, the number of swear words seems to be there by the buckets. The humor, also, is not mainstream. Definitely adult-fare. If you're okay with that, and I am somewhat ambivalent about it, then yes, you should go see this movie.

And please, don't do that at home.

Marshall Mesa near Boulder Colorado


Sometimes it's best not to have a destination in mind. That is how happy accident can happen. I found this Marshall Mesa just by wandering around.

Biking, trail walking and other things.
Lots of bikers here.

Cherry Blossoms are Blooming!


One warm day past frost,
I saw a beautiful flowering tree with
pink and white all over.

Unfortunately, as I admired this
tree that was blooming, I had regrets
that I am no horticulturist.

What is this lovely tree?
I wonder what name it answers to.
Maple? Oak? Pine? Lemon? Orange?

Nay, I say, not those.
This peculiar tree has no green leaves!
How can that possibly be?

It is an oriental tree,
I later found out via the Internet.
A pretty cherry blossom tree!

Cherry Blossom trees are blooming!
How pretty! How charming! How truly magnificent!
A tree full of flowers!

As the wind picked up,
the whole tree swayed to and fro.
Petals detached from perched branches.

And I danced and danced,
taking the joy that this tree brought.
It was raining petals everywhere.

So, back to the Internet.
Cherry Blossom festivals are held in Japan
right around sometime this month.

I sat and I wonder.
Will I ever go there to Japan
and experience it for myself.

Will I ever walk along
the petal lined cherry blossom road
underneath their lovely, pretty canopy?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Terminator Salvation Arcade


969436. That's the score I got from Terminator Salvation Arcade, here in Whitestown, IN. I was reluctant to play it, since RawThrills is the one who made it. They made cool looking games, but gameplay leaves to be desired.

Well, I appreciate that most time, there's only one threat to worry about. Still, it took me about $10 dollars to finish the game. And having finished it, I'm not too eager to repeat the experience.

Power up makes a big difference. But House of the Dead 4 has better gameplay regarding crowd scenes. But my pet peeve is that the dollar receptacle has trouble recognizing my dollar! Since there's no mechanic to reset the game over countdown, I frequently lost out due to timer, instead of lack of money. Very frustrating, indeed, yet such a little thing to implement.

Apparently, people were impressed with my shooting. I did get the high score. :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A chess game


It's been a long time since I played chess. I played against someone who hasn't played in 20 years! I guess it's rather lopsided. I still haven't moved my king or rooks! Amazing what knight and queen combo can do, especially against limited mobility opponent. Do you see how much space I have? And how tangled his pieces are?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Microsoft Update


I recently updated my XP operating system. The update reads "Service Pack 3" that is out right now. It's nice to have current update available immediately. That's business at the speed of thought for you.

However, it comes with a new EULA. That's sounds like Microsoft is trying to slip a new agreement with automatic update. I wonder what the difference with the old one. There should be a "diff" output between the two, you know?

Also, the update takes a long time. I think that if the update is significant, then there should be a warning beforehand. Otherwise, people trying to catch up email in the morning before leaving for work will get stuck for two hours. That's not user friendly. Isn't there somebody at Microsoft who is experienced in these type of things. I mean, that happened with AOL a long time ago! Learn from experience.

And I hate it that the update process took a significant portion of real estate, yet only give one line status update. How about displaying a list of things to do, along with time required, and then put a check mark as each step is completed. That would be user friendly. Especially so if the user can say, "Pause the process until I get back from work." That would be terrific.

Unfortunately for me. The next time I use my computer, I get a message "Hard disk full". Apparently, I only get 25 GB partition on the primary. I moved all the data into secondary, and managed to free up 4 GB. Still, that means that I may need to get Partition Commander program and rebalance the partition.

And yes, AOL did have a case where a mandatory upgrade caused a situation where the program ceased functioning due to limited hardware. Which is to say, AOL forcibly kicked out their user. That was when the gold started leaving AOL, BTW.

It occurs to me that 100 percent back up is not enough. You have to have 100 percent seamless migration, preferably the one button kind. I hope Microsoft is working on it.

High Score


Got new high scores. Carnival King: I get more than 40,000 on all three locations. Memory Game: I kept getting First Place, and it kept giving me free game. The scores climbed up to over 700,000. The secret is to not use any hints. Each is worth 20,000 points!

Saturday, February 27, 2010



Reading this weekend USA Today, I sense a general feeling of depression. First, there was Joseph Stack who took aggresion to the government. Then there is Obama, who after being reminded by McCain of his campaign promise said that "The election's over". Also, there is Andrew Koenig, who apparently committed suicide after a long bout of depression. Then there is Otis McDonald of Chicago who fears of his life, and yet forbidden to carry a handgun in his home.

And let's not mention how stock market goes flat due to lack luster recovery. Jobs aren't up. Neither is spending.

Hurry up, President Obama, and give us the change you promised on the campaign trail! Health Care is important, but jobs is much more so.

I know that we are in trouble when hotels resort to advertising hauntings, ghosts, and other paranormal activities as tourist draw.

That's all in front page of USA Today newspaper Feb 26-28 weekend edition, and the fact that the page is dominated by Billy Demong's triumphant pose doesn't stop all this depressing going ons.

So much depressions, in fact, that Tilikum, the Orca Killer Whale of SeaWorld, decided to drag a trainer underwater to teach her a lesson, and Trainer Dawn Brancheau drowned.

I don't know about you, but I definitely seeing the after effects on people around me. One driver decided to retire due to insensitive treatments from his manager.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010



I saw so many cars in and around Des Moines, IA, on the side of the road. Apparently, the last snow storm was too much for them. That's unbelievable. Considering that this is mid-February, shouldn't they be used to winter driving by now? What's with all the accidents?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Extreme Hangman?


I was looking for a nice, new DSiWare. Saw "Extreme Hangman" by Gamelion. Alcohol Reference, Animated Blood, Mild Cartoon Violence. 2000 words vocabulary. Hmmm. Does this sound like "Combat Golf" to you? I wonder who the demographics for this game is.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Body Billboards


I came across this at Sapps Brothers truckstop in Denver, CO. This was on my Christmas wish list, but they sold out by the time I get to it.

The operation is pretty simple and you don't need a computer. I haven't even read the instruction manual, yet.

Maybe this is one of those toys that will wear out quickly. We'll see. Not a bad deal for $15, though.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bigger than small devices


There are 2 devices that caught my attention: Nintendo DSi XL (LL in Japan) and iPad. They represent bigger versions of Nintendo DSi and iPod Touch, respectively. I think I will get that Nintendo DSi XL. It is a very useful device, and not just for playing game. It functions as a multi-tool for the intellectual, similar to PDA, except minus the geekiness factor. Of which, unfortunately, makes it less convenient to use although most of the functionalities are there.

The must-have DSiWare list are:
Clock (Photo)
Calculator (Animal Crossing)
Art Academy (First Semester)

When I get that DSi XL, these DSiWare will be on it!

I really want to include myNotebook, but as long as it has bad interface, I can't really recommend it. I also fail to see the point of myPostcard. Can't you just do it with Camera Graffiti?

Now, about iPad. Do you think Steve Jobs is losing it? iPad is a very useful device, and I can see how it makes a great ebook reader. However, the positioning of the device isn't that of iPod Touch XL, but rather iBook Touch Lite. Which is to say, a lot of people are going to be disappointed if they expect touch screen computer, instead of a touch pad with better user experience dimension, but is really to big for your pocket.

I think iPad can be a killer device, but it remains to be seen whether or not the public understand the true potential of the device, instead of complaining that it is simply a bigger, more expensive unit than iPod Touch.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Avatar Face Reading Technology


So, I read in Popular Mechanics that Jim Cameron uses a camera mounted on a helmet to scan faces of the actors. Just one? He got guts. I'd have insisted on a minimum 3 cameras. Left-Center-Right. That way, I can use intersecting line algorithm to get 3D data from reference points, instead of interpolating 2D data into 3D performance. Reading the text, that must've been a painful experience, indeed.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Animal Puzzle Adventure Score, Help, and Walkthrough


Animal Puzzle Adventure (aka Chiiria no Doobutsu Koya)
Scores, Hints, Helps, and Walkthrough.

For those of you enjoying the game and just want to know what the par scores are, here are my scores:

Chapter 1, Stage 1-10: 8, 11, 15, 13, 15, 28, 19, 20, 26, 18
Chapter 2, Stage 1-10: 17, 29, 25, 22, 29, 54, 37, 28, 18, 44
Chapter 3, Stage 1-10: 20, 30, 19, 21, 23, 33, 36, 29, 21, 31
Chapter 4, Stage 1-10: 26, 38, 30, 32, 83, 51, 28, 32, 16, 40
Chapter 5, Stage 1-10: 19, 23, 24, 26, 42, 45, 71, 39, 33, 61

It is highly recommended that you do not read this document, lest your enjoyment of the program should suffer. It is in my opinion that the puzzles of this program isn't too terribly difficult. Although there are long solutions, the key diagram usually occurs between 20-30 steps, which is something a good puzzle solver can muster. In addition, there are patterns to be recognized. It is merely a case that if you are having trouble, it is a sign that you are doing it wrong and should change your approach. That is a good lesson to teach children.

That being said, there is a lot of people keep giving up and asking for hints. So, here they are. I suggest that you let somebody else read this. You simply ask for a solution to a particular stage. IF THERE IS A "(K)" symbol somewhere on the line, then that person should step through the solution until reaching it, and show you the diagram. It is a key position that will enable you to solve the puzzle. Wait 2 days before asking for more help, in which case, have him do it 5 steps at a time, every other days.

5 steps solution is only about 1000 combination at most, so hard work can certainly accomplish that, even if you burn through a lot of paper practising the skill. :)

Chapter 1 - Stage 1: (Par 8)

Chapter 1 - Stage 2: (Par 11)

Chapter 1 - Stage 3: (Par 15)

Chapter 1 - Stage 4: (Par 13)

Chapter 1 - Stage 5: (Par 15)

Chapter 1 - Stage 6: (Par 28)

Chapter 1 - Stage 7: (Par 19)

Chapter 1 - Stage 8: (Par 20)

Chapter 1 - Stage 9: (Par 26)

Chapter 1 - Stage 10: (Par 18)

Chapter 2 - Stage 1: (Par 17)

Chapter 2 - Stage 2: (Par 29)

Chapter 2 - Stage 3: (Par 25)

Chapter 2 - Stage 4: (Par 22)

Chapter 2 - Stage 5: (Par 29)

Chapter 2 - Stage 6: (Par 54)

Chapter 2 - Stage 7: (Par 37)

Chapter 2 - Stage 8: (Par 28)

Chapter 2 - Stage 9: (Par 18)

Chapter 2 - Stage 10: (Par 44)

Chapter 3 - Stage 1: (Par 20)

Chapter 3 - Stage 2: (Par 30)

Chapter 3 - Stage 3: (Par 19)

Chapter 3 - Stage 4: (Par 21)

Chapter 3 - Stage 5: (Par 23)

Chapter 3 - Stage 6: (Par 33)

Chapter 3 - Stage 7: (Par 36)

Chapter 3 - Stage 8: (Par 29)

Chapter 3 - Stage 9: (Par 21)

Chapter 3 - Stage 10: (Par 31)

Chapter 4 - Stage 1: (Par 26)

Chapter 4 - Stage 2: (Par 38)

Chapter 4 - Stage 3: (Par 30)

Chapter 4 - Stage 4: (Par 32)

Chapter 4 - Stage 5: (Par 83)

Chapter 4 - Stage 6: (Par 51)

Chapter 4 - Stage 7: (Par 28)

Chapter 4 - Stage 8: (Par 32)

Chapter 4 - Stage 9: (Par 16)

Chapter 4 - Stage 10: (Par 40)

Chapter 5 - Stage 1: (Par 19)

Chapter 5 - Stage 2: (Par 23)

Chapter 5 - Stage 3: (Par 24)

Chapter 5 - Stage 4: (Par 26)

Chapter 5 - Stage 5: (Par 42)

Chapter 5 - Stage 6: (Par 45)

Chapter 5 - Stage 7: (Par 71)

Chapter 5 - Stage 8: (Par 39)

Chapter 5 - Stage 9: (Par 33)

Chapter 5 - Stage 10: (Par 61)

Monday, February 1, 2010

SEGA 18 Wheeler game high score


Played SEGA 18 wheeler game. I get 1st place at 99070 points. Woohoo!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

YP 22 Biplane


YP-22 biplane. 2 versions. Small, Low speed old style biplane (2 seater). And medium speed pushprop biplane with post holding up engine behind single seat.

Unknown manufacturer. Yield-Penn?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Downloading 800 MB file


I don't see how people can just provide a link to 800 MB files and call it a day. I understand that some products are that big, but how about providing little bit of chunk of about 100 MB each? Even 100 MB is rather sizable. Even broadband, downloading 500 MB file (CD size) is rather excessive. I'd like to download a little bit, close off connection, then resume downloading another day. That's not too hard, is it?

Neither Internet Explorer nor Google's Chrome allows downloading to resume once the network connection is lost. Why is that? Is that too hard to implement? Kids today sure can't program like they used to. They are too dependent on libraries. If the programming library don't support it, they're helpless. Sigh.

Animal Puzzle Adventure DSiWare Score


It has been a week since I played Animal Puzzle Adventure. I have managed to lower some of my scores. No more 359 steps solution. The solutions aren't recorded, since there's no replay option. I'll probably make a computer program to do so later on.

Chapter 1: 8, 11, 15, 13, 20, 28, 24, 20, 38, 20
Chapter 2: 27, 35, 31, 58, 68, 63, 37, 29, 18, 53
Chapter 3: 25, 80, 25, 26, 37, 62, 71, 52, 31, 48
Chapter 4: 35, 82, 61, 32, 83, 74, 91, 34, 19, 47
Chapter 5: 30, 27, 42, 28, 44, 59, 104, 83, 63, 79

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I finished Animal Puzzle Adventure, BTW. Not too tough. I finished it in less than a week.

Communication Trouble


I'm having trouble updating my blog via my mobile phone. Could be the tower, but the software is supposed to be designed so it is fault tolerant, and not caused reset and lose my work. Sigh.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

DSiWare Review Animal Puzzle Adventure


I downloaded Nintendo DSi DSiWare Animal Puzzle Adventure earlier this week. It's a puzzle game similar to Robot Rescue where you have to guide the animals to the barn, except that all the animals moves at the same time and you have to use the terrain to change the formation of the animals to avoid falling into a hole.

The graphics are excellent and that is why I buy it. The music, I feel, has been designed to be inoffensive while retaining upbeat feel. It's still distracting, though, especially when trying to think multi step solution. Unfortunately, you cannot turn it off. In the end, I turned down the volume on the device, and while that stops music from distracting me, I also lost the sound effects. Why can't I turn the music off?

Speaking of levels, the later levels are hidden. You have to solve existing puzzles before you can advance. I don't see why the designer feels it should be so, especially since the later levels aren't easy at all. It took me a while to clear 2-7, 2-10, 4-5, 4-10. Who is the designer anyway? There's no credit screen?

In all, a good effort, with only minor blemishes. No hints, no help other than generic comments. Replay option would have been nice to have. Full screen level preview, as well. Level editor, had it been present, would have been terrific!

Here are some help for some of the harder levels:
2-7: When you get to the bottom, line up all the cats in a line of 4, then shape them.
2-10: This was a doozy for me. Ran into false hill. Only when I realize that I need to skip 5 square distance and go from 6 directly to 3, that I solve the problem. Rather counter-intuitive. Pair tops. Pair bottoms. Then slide top pair into top fence. Bring bottom up until they're close. 53 moves.
4-5: Use the fence shape to hold them at opposing sides, then jiggle them (also using the fence) to shape. Took me 359 moves although I'm sure it can be faster.
4-10: Group them into a tight square, then hook them one by one.

Update: I did a more thorough walkthrough on February 2, 2010 blogpost. Included is also my par scores. Check it out!

Movie Rating and Professional Quality Products


Looking at the movie scores from Critics (Professional reviewers) and User (Movie goers), I see that the Critics consistency score popular and good movies much lower than Users. Are we approaching the end of information era that professionals don't know what they're doing? I mean, what if come 2012 we can no longer trust our bankers and investment managers? Can you imagine what would happen? Oh, wait. We just had that last year.

But it seems I'm echoing more and more JFK's sentiment: "How can I be so foolish as to trust the experts!"

Looking at recent crop of games, what do I see? No level select. No difficulty select. No turning off annoying music. No control customization. No working shoulder button (Nintendo DSi, I'm talking to you!). You know. Things that were standard just a few years back. What happened? What's next? Leaving credits on who work on what parts off the programs?

I dreadfully await 2012. Prognosis is NOT good.

Monday, January 18, 2010

More Toys


I'm starting my old hobby, that is doll collecting. Those claw machines do work. Sometimes, though, the toys aren't worth it. I must have been out of practice. I used to be able to get these at about 2-3 dollars each. Now it's about 4-5 dollars each.