Archive for June, 2005

Waitaminute, new wha?!

June 28, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

So the Apple blogs were all abuzz about the new iTunes with podcast support (good enough to replace my NetNewsWire-iTunes combination), and then I noticed MacNN posted a notice saying the Apple Store was down with the customary “We’ll be back soon” message.

So I clicked on the link to the store, and lo and behold — new iPods! All the “bigger” models (even the U2) have been upgraded to colour displays, and the 60GB model cut in price to US$399. Nice! I don’t see any mention of this on any news site yet (nothing on Google News on “iPod”), so… lookit me, I am teh l33t [email protected]! I have breaking news! Waves arms frantically. Ow, pain.

Ah well, it’ll be all over the internet in a few minutes.

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Edjamacating the Edjamacators

June 28, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

So the one(ish — I didn’t have any classes last Tuesday and Thursday) week in NIE is over, and I’ve been bored out of my mind so much that I’ve racked up 3MB of GPRS usage surfing the web, checking email and using instant messaging (AIM/ICQ/MSN) services on the cellphone while in class. The instructors seem nice enough and really do teach rather well, but they don’t seem to have very much interesting subject matter to work with.

Next stop: four-week “Teaching Experience” in school. The Teacher Training Unit apparently decided it’d be amusing to post me to the school my dad teaches at. Very funny, guys. Can’t complain, though… free ride to work in the morning, and it’s only a few bus stops away, anyway, so I can rush home quickly. Since we look nothing alike, my dad and I have decided not to tell anyone about the connection (though it’d seem mighty suspicious for anyone noticing me driving my dad’s car off every now and then).

Nothing worth complaining about. Ask me again in a month (fuckin’ flag day for NIE orientation?! Fuck!).

Comics This Week

June 25, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

“Seaguy” (Grant Morrison, Cameron Stewart)
Grant Morrison gives us a tale of… umm… a superhero without any point for existence, and one of his adventures, loosely defined. Not much of it made sense to me, really. I mean, sure, some of the less-subtle themes stood out (the widespread Disney-ification depicted in Seaguy’s world wa particularly chilling), but the rest of it felt like Morrison throwing in random ideas all over the place just to inflict unbearable pain upon readers’ minds. As character Chubby Da Choona, the giant flying talking tuna who’s afraid of water, would say: “Da Fug?!”

“The Losers, Vol. 3: Trifecta” (Andy Diggle, Jock/Nick Dragotta/Ale Garza)
Not sure why I keep buying this series, it’s all very formulaic blowing-shit-up spy-intrigue government-conspiracy stuff. Not poorly written or anything — in fact, the Losers’ origin tale was quite well-paced and featured quite the payoff at the end — but I’m just not very into this series. Maybe I’ll change my mind when I re-read all three volumes, but I doubt it.

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Comics This and Last Week

June 20, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

Missed another week again. Oops.

“Batman: Broken City” (Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso)
First, a tangential review: Batman Begins was quite rather fuckin’ awesome, and Sir Michael Caine deserves his own movie as Alfred (Alfred Begins?). However, one thing annoyed me a little: Batman — too much focus, not enough crazy. The man dresses as a bat! He shouldn’t be halfway reasonable about the things he does! Ah well. Quite enjoyable, nonetheless.

Anyway, back to the comic. I don’t normally pick up Batman comics, but this one’s by the same creative team that brings us the Vertigo series 100 Bullets, which is some very hard-hitting crime noir, and totally suitable to the Bat-franchise. However, I was ultimately disappointed — I felt Broken City was a little underwhelming. Sure, it cut straight through Gotham’s seedy crime underbelly, but for what? The whole story seemed like an episode in pointlessness, and Batman came across as really rather silly for doing everything he did. Batman’s rambling monologues didn’t help either. Perhaps if I read the whole thing in one sitting, it’d make sense (100 Bullets felt pretty disjointed until I read every volume in sequence), or maybe I’m just not a fan of this crazy-introspective-Batman that Azzarello has written.

“Blue Monday Volume 3: Inbetween Days (Blue Monday)” (Chynna Clugston-Major) and “Blue Monday, Vol. 4: Painted Moon” (Chynna Clugston)
I don’t know why Amazon gives me different-sized images for each volume… Anyway, Blue Monday is one of my favourite guilty pleasures of comics. American teen drama with a large dollop of hilarious senselessness thrown in, riddled with innumerable 80s Britpop (mostly) references and even a suggested soundtrack to listen along to (the likes of The Cure, They Might Be Giants, New Order, The Smiths, The Who, Stone Roses are common. Also, I’m convinced I’ve used up my italics quota for the month in that one sentence). More of the same happyfun stuff in these two volumes.

We3 cover
“WE3” (Grant Morrison)
The story’s about three cybernetically-enhanced household pets engineered to become killing machines. Result? Escape, subsequent ultraviolence, and one of the most touching stories involving cyborg animals in recent memory. Well, fine, ever. Brilliant idea, well-executed story, and the art by Quitely is to die for (look at that cover! Aren’t they adorable? In a deadly/homicidal kind of way, that is). I don’t often buy graphic novels that I borrow to read, but I absolutely must have a copy (or five) of this.

“Ministry Of Space” (Warren Ellis)
Warren Ellis’ infectious obsession with space travel science fiction shines through in this graphic novel, essentially a “What if the British had gotten to space first?”. Mr Ellis is, of course, British (and hence, like most British comics writers who aren’t Neil Gaiman, not completely sane), though he claims the story isn’t about nationalistic fervour but about all that shining potential lost and reduced to the real-world NASA, a helpless shade of a once-great space program. And you know what? He’s so damn convincing it hurts. Great read.

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Werk, werk

June 18, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

Update on life:

  • ORD tomorrow (!!!), brought forward from the 24th. The countdown timer’s gone, having served its function, but…
  • Work starts Monday, and the even more depressingly long work-off-the-bond countdown begins. The length of this one’s too intimidating to make a countdown timer for it.
  • Took a secondary-level Math test for future NIE Math teachers — passed, thankfully, but I’m sure barely so. How the hell did I know all this stuff 9 years ago?
  • By passing the test, I don’t have to go for the Math “content upgrading module” next week — wah, like Army like that. Pass already get two days off. Can’t complain, really, who else starts work with two paid days of break?
  • Week after that, month-long attachment in schools. This could mean trouble.
  • Way too much poker on weekends. Quote: “We’ve been playing poker like everyday!!!” — i.e., every time we meet up on weekends — “No lah, we didn’t play Sunday through Thursday…” Oh, my brain hurts.
  • Uhhh… not much else, really. This is why I don’t mention the personal life much, it bores even me.

I’m sure there’ll be more nonsense coming up.

Just one more thing I need to mention…

ORD loh!!!!!

Shake a stick at it

June 14, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

Linky links links, consolidated this time and with less of that annoying “opinion” shit I sometimes have.

Boing Boing: Real life Counter-Strike reenactment: A video of real-life Counter-Strike. My sides, they are in pain.

New York Daily News – Home – Nerds make better lovers, linked from Slashdot | Nerds Make Better Lovers: The first article’s rather nonsensical (Tiger Woods is with that Swedish model because he’s a “nerd”, not because he’s horrendously loaded? Right, right)… Also, if the computer-geeks think they aren’t getting any, spare some sympathy for us computer- and comicbook-geeks. However, the /. responses are quite on form (the +5 moderated ones, anyway), e.g.:


Saturday, May 21st 2005

Saw him in the evening and he was acting really strangely. I went shopping in the afternoon with the girls and I did turn up a bit late so thought it might be that. The bar was really crowded and loud so I suggested we go somewhere quieter to talk. He was still very subdued and distracted so I suggested we go somewhere nice to eat. All through dinner he just didn’t seem himself; he hardly laughed and didn’t seem to be paying any attention to me or to what I was saying. I just knew that something was wrong. He dropped me back home and I wondered if he was going to come in; he hesitated but followed. I asked him again if there was something the matter but he just half shook his head and turned the television on. After about 10 minutes of Silence, I said I was going upstairs to bed. I put my arms around him and told him that I loved him deeply. He just gave a sigh and a sad sort of smile. He didn’t follow me up but later he did, and I was surprised when we made love. He still seemed distant and a bit cold, and I started to think that he was going to leave me and that he had found someone else. I cried myself to sleep.


Saturday, May 21st 2005

Apple switched to Intel.

Absolutely gutted.

Got a shag though.

Nokia to build phone browser from Apple tech | The Register: Safari for Nokia Series 60! Well, kindof… Safari Webkit for Series 60 browsers, at least.

Steve Jobs at Stanford Commencement ’05: After traditional Commencement antics, Jobs imparts straightforward advice (Stanford Report), Apple CEO hits serious note at Stanford / In keynote speech, Jobs tells graduates not to waste time (SF Chronicle): Ah, the memories. If only I’d finished NS before going to school — I’m still bitter we had the most boring graduation speaker ever.

Also, a great Wacky Walk picture from the SF link:

 C Pictures 2005 06 13 Ba Stanford741Bw

Damned peeing cats

June 12, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

Self-explanatory headline.

Cats use fax as toilet, spark house fire – Yahoo! News

Genius stealth marketing in Hell

June 12, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

So I’m still on the topic of the Mac switch to Intel, and I came across this very interesting article today:

The Shape of Days: Mac OS X on Intel: Try before you buy?

In summary:

  • Apple sends out developer kits for OS X on Intel with Pentium processors and hence an Intel-based version of OS X that isn’t locked to Apple-Intel chips yet
  • Once they get their hands on it, pirate kiddies will put OS X86 up for distribution on BitTorrent in, like, two seconds
  • This version, being for development use only, will probably be unupgradable but will run all iLife apps natively (assuming they’ve been ported to x86) and other programs in emulation (Rosetta software)
  • Anyone curious about OS X and who knows how to download-and-install an OS gets a taste and (obviously) never wants to look back
  • When the actual machines come out: Ka-ching!$$!!$!$!

Interesting. It might just work, too.

Hell: Really rather cold

June 7, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

So it’s all true: Apple is going to Switch to Intel (Google News search for apple intel). Intel x86, for that matter.

I guess the good news will be that faster Powerbooks will be out the door sooner than if we’d all waited for Powerbook G5s (and carried dry ice around so they could be used without exploding). The first new Macs running OS X86 will supposedly be arriving next June, which is just in time for my planned upgrade (though past the window for using a student discount to buy one). If prices start dipping before that, though, I’m not averse to using an older chip with the same good OS and software… maybe.

Otherwise, it’s all rather shocking, and just a little melodramatic. Here, to lighten the mood:

Apple to switch to Sun Chips

The company plans a rapid transition to the new chips. Citing a “ramp-up of production”, Jobs committed to personally eating 3,000 bags by next summer, and encouraged developers to do their part. “Although, from the looks of things, you’re all doing just fine on the snack front,” said Jobs, to stony silence.

Jobs then did a cartwheel before pointing both index fingers towards the crowd in a “dual handgun” gesture. “Zinger!” he exclaimed.

Apple’s stock fell 1.23% on the news.

 Mt Gfx Stevechips

DRM roll: Here are words. Eat.

June 6, 2005  |  Tags: ,   |  

So that last post on Friday, where I ended by concluding that everyone should switch to Mac because of the new evil-sounding hardware DRM on Intel chips? Oh dear.

On the same day, CNet broke news confirming a previous rumour heard all over the net: Apple to ditch IBM, switch to Intel chips, an announcement that will apparently be made at the WWDC on Monday afternoon PST (that’s tomorrow morning SGT). Next, the Wall Street Journal followed suit with their report on the same topic (no link because no WSJ subscription), citing confirmation from trusted sources. The Inquirer has apparently gotten independent confirmation of this information as well.

Now, Think Secret or Mac World getting a couple of rumours wrong before every major Apple announcement is one thing, but CNet and Wall Street Journal reporting rumours as news? Jon Gruber at Daring Fireball started off highly skeptical before Friday, changed his tune a little after considering the reliability of the sources over the weekend, and remained unsure of the news (no technical specifications leaked whatsoever, oddly convenient timing of the leak) after — though, in conclusion, he seems to think Apple is moving to Intel PowerPC and not x86.

That’d almost make sense, except Intel has never made PPC, and how would they spring up manufacturing plants to rival IBM’s in a year? Even if they could, would this help Apple get those faster chips that are purportedly the reason behind their break from IBM (re: Steve Jobs announcing over a year ago that 3GHz G5’s were on their way and being proven wrong by IBM’s inability to churn out new chips fast enough, or cool enough)? What about the ridiculous costs? (All these points being ones that Gruber has already brought up, actually.)

CNet posted a follow-up report that the Intel-Apple coupling could woo Hollywood, mentioning the possible distribution of Hollywood movies online through Apple’s well-established iTunes DRM model as a possible template. The article doesn’t mention why Intel is crucial to this, apart from how Intel has “expended extensive energy to woo Hollywood to IT technologies*” — why can’t Apple apply their DRM model with their current IBM PPC chips, after all? Isn’t it a software issue?

A natural conclusion, then, could be that the two announcements are linked: Intel announcing new x86 chips with DRM, and Apple making its move to these chips to take advantage of it. Movie-swapping probably isn’t the only reason for such a move that could potentially alienate all kinds of developers, but it seems like possible evidence that Apple will be switching to Intel x86 and not Intel PPC.

Ah, what the hell. Switch or no, x86 or PPC, I’ll just wait for the outcry tomorrow morning.

  • “Information Technology technologies”, apparently.