Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Racial Riots in Sydney

Ho. ly. crap.
I only just found out about this a few hours ago, thanks to my aunt. Those of you in melb here with me, who've been busy partying and/or preparing for graduation and not keeping up with the news might not have heard about it yet, so I figured I'd better post about it.

Apparently, there's been a spate of racial riots up north in Sydney over the weekend. I'm still trying to absorb all the information myself, so no analysis for now. Instead, here's a bunch of links to articles in the Australian regarding this issue.

If any of you have friends and/or family in Sydney, now's a good time to ring up and make sure they're alright.

Read in order:

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Greetings from...Melbourne...?

Well, for those of you who don't know yet, I didn't go to Tasmania this week as planned. The rest of my family's over there now with Uncle Dave (family friend), but I kinda decided I wanted to spend a lil' more time with my friends here in melb before heading back for good (if you're one of these friends, that was your cue to start feeling honoured =P).

And for those of you who weren't aware...yeah, I'm supposed to be in Tassie from Monday to Sunday this week. If you feel out of the loop, that's only because no one likes you.

So...I've been up to a lot of stuff this past week-or-so. One of my chief reasons for hanging around (you didn't really think it was for friendship, did you? -pfft!-) was because I wanted to look at my exam script for Tech&Soc. So, I went and looked up Prof. Berreen and asked about it. He said no, because you're only supposed to look at it in Feb, which is standard department policy.

But hey, I'm graduating on Tuesday; what's the use of checking my exam script in Feb if I've graduated by then?! And I know for a fact that final year students are allowed to check their scripts after the results have been released. But he refused to let me check them, and the department won't over-rule him (which I guess makes sense), so I guess I'll never know if I really did that badly for the paper. Thanks, Terry, you've been a real help. Fuck you very much.

So besides not being able to check my exam script, what have I been up to? Well, I've been packing up my room, for one. It's a slow-moving process, considering the amount of rubbish I've managed to accumulate over four years. Still, I'll hopefully be able to move my furniture over to no.3 tomorrow. My landlady also decided to purchase my bookshelf, clothes drawers and the two single-seater couches from me, which helps ease my burden. Shyboy also did his part by buying my TV and desktop.

The rest of my time has been spent with my friends, mostly. We held four intensive drinking sessions from Sunday night to Wednesday night; once at gnuheeK's, once at dar's and twice at siao-eh's. We learnt some interesting stuff about each of us, especially the fact that Dodge really can't hold his drink. ;)

So, besides the multiple liver-wrecking sessions we've been having, I've also been out and about with various other activities. Shyboy, sketch, mei and I headed to Mornington last Thursday (Dec01) for a bit of horse riding. All in all it was pretty fun, especially watching the flies infest shyboy's entire body. For some reason, that guy is a natural fly-attractor, which was undoubtedly to the benefit of the rest of us. ;)

My horse, Harry, really liked me as well. He was a very affectionate horse,and kept nuzzling up against me. Very easy to control too, he basically did everything I asked him to do. One of the best parts of the trip was the excellent scenery. Really, really beautiful, especially after we emerged from the foliage onto the beach. Breathtaking, even.

A whole bunch of us gathered at Alamak!'s place on Friday night (Dec02) for a DVD-athon, followed by fun-and-games at siao-eh's place. When I say fun-and-games, I mean we played games like hide-and-seek, police-and-thief, and so on. Y'know, games normally played by six year olds. Who would think some of us are actually about to graduate, eh? I also suffered a nasty gash to my right lower ribs region while playing police-and-thief. See, I was the police and was chasing siao-eh around the house (he was one of the thieves) and he got a little over-enthusiastic and slashed me with a knife. No, not really, but that version's more exciting than what really happened. ;) Oh yeah, while we were at Alamak!'s place, we got distracted for a good fifteen minutes (at least) by these christmas tree-shaped chips we were eating (see picture). -sigh- All four of us in the picture are done with our uni education. Imagine that.

Sketch, dar, mei and I decided to hit the Hard Rock climbing gym on Saturday (Dec03) for a spot of...umm...rock climbing. That was pretty cool, considering I haven't climbed for a really long time. I really miss the old climbing days. Dar and mei had both climbed before, but this was sketch's first time, so I paired off with her, and dar and mei climbed together. The walls at Hard Rock are a decent height (about 5 stories) and on my first climb, with sketch on belay, I started chanting to myself "trustyourbelayer. trustyourbelayer. trustyourbelayer." as I approached the top. I decided to climb the shorter walls (around 2.5 stories) after that, and only so she could get more belaying practice. =P Here's a picture of me not trusting sketch's figure-of-eight. ;)

Alrighty, that'll have to do for now. I'll try to write another post soon about our continuous misadventures here before embarking on the Great Journey Home. Oh yeah, and look into uploading my photos as well. If I can be bothered. ;)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

There are two big moths in my room

Sorry for the extremely random post title, but just as I was about to title the post, I noticed my two new room mates who have taken it upon themselves to bug me. -sigh-

Today has been a relatively up-and-down day for me. The day started beautifully, with a wonderfully blue sky and great clouds (yes, I'm a sky person). Headed over to Seascape in the morning for a morning run with sketch and the no.4 jaggar (:P). That actually felt pretty good. I kinda overdid it on Monday and felt like puking, so I was careful not to exceed my limit today.

We then headed over to Glen for lunch. TUP came over to no.4 and gave us a lift, and we met up with dar, tkh, alamak!, win, siao-eh and shyboy. Sketch decided to go get a hair cut (or trim,or whatever), and the rest of us pretty much just waited for her while drinking bubble tea. It actually came out pretty nice; I like the new fringe. But bald would still have been better. ;)

We then decided to head over to no.4 to chill (we being sketch, jaggar, TUP, tkh, alamak! win and myself). Only they couldn't decided what they wanted to do. So I ended up dropping home to pick up the PS2, mahjong set and the poker set. And a bunch of DVDs for good measure. When I got back into the car, they told me the exam results had been posted.

I checked my results in sketch's room. She insisted that I should go first, and said she was going to brush her teeth. I jokingly asked whether brushing teeth would bring good luck. As it turns out, I got some pretty crap grades, while she did pretty well. Dammit. I knew I should've brushed my teeth.

Good news is I'm definitely graduating this semester; bad news is my results were quite far below what I expected. I didn't think I would get more than one Credit, with the other three units Distinctions or High D's; as it turns out, I got HD for Systems Integrity (which was a shocker, since I never expected it to be my highest scoring unit this semester), and D for the thesis. Was hoping for an HD, but what to do.

The crappy part was the two Passes I got for my teaching gig and Technology&Society, mainly because of the amount of time I spent on the teaching reports and presentation. Tech&Soc's also disappointing because I got really high marks for the assignments, which means if the results are accurate, I failed the final exam. -sigh- Looks like I'll have to call Michelle at Department and request to have a look at my exam scripts.

The results hit me pretty badly. While graduating would not be a problem, I was in danger of losing my H2A honours. Problem was, I didn't have my spreadsheet with me, so I couldn't actually calculate how these new results would affect my honours weighting. I did some rough calculations, but it was going to be too close to call, unless I checked with the spreadsheet. That's actually even worse than knowing that I'd definitely lost the honours: not knowing.

I joined the rest in the lounge and we ended up playing mahjong, poker andeyetoy, although we didn't watch any of the DVDs. I was dealing with it pretty okay, I thought. Went outside for a smoke and had a chat with StupidBoy which kinda put things slightly in perspective.

We later went to RK for dinner, and I was still handling it pretty well. I guess it really only started weighing down on me when we proceeded to AS for coffee. By the time we moved on to siao-eh's place for more fun-and-games, I was already fighting depression mode. I was okay at first, playing Blind Man's Bluff (which I hadn't played for maybe 15 years?), then Dad called and I told him the news. I went outside to take the call, and for some reason, I didn't feel like heading back into the party after that.

I've been fighting off this deep feeling of upcoming loss lately, trying to avoid thinking about how much I'm going to miss my friends, and even the place (though I hate to admit it) once I return home. I thought I had it handled when I figured there wasn't much to be done, and to simply make the most of my remaining time here. I guess that's why I decided to go on the trip to Adelaide with three crazy jokers, and why this entire week's been packed full of activities (like horse riding tomorrow).

It's not so much the fact I didn't do well that pisses me off; it's that I never expected it to happen. I thought I was over the "passing" phase, and it turned around and slapped me full in the face on my final semester. These are probably my worst results in two years. So I guess it's an accumulation of pent up feelings and this new thing.

So I sat around outside siao-eh's house for nearly three hours before I decided to walk home. It would have been a nice, cool walk in the summer's night breeze, but I wasn't really in the mood to appreciate it. As I walked past the field near Seascape, I noticed the field sprinklers were turned on, and had this sudden whim of walking through all of them.

So I did.

By the time I was done, I was pretty much soaked through, which means I froze most of the way home, and seem to be coming down with slight sniffles. Felt good though.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Home and Away

Haven't posted in almost a week, mainly because I was away in Adelaide. I meant to leave a quick post before I left, but kinda forgot. Oops.

Anyway, Adelaide was good. Went with Trs, Rong and Renzi (aka Sketch). May write a little later about the trip. May not. We'll see.

Interestingly enough, I actually avoided connecting to the net after returning home on Sunday night. I haven't even checked my email yet. Hope nothing important in there. Not sure why I did this, but for some reason it felt kinda good. -shrugs-

Gonna be really busy in the next few days. Horseback riding, rock climbing, clubbing, gotta pack up my room and move furniture and get ready to leave this place for good. And then my parents will be here on Monday and we're off to Tassie. Then back here for graduation, then back to Sg permanently.


For some reason, I feel a lot less "whee" than I expected.
This is what I want, isn't it?

Anyway, going for a run (ok, stop laughing).
Busy day.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Not another one of those...

Got this survey off Em's blog. Figured "what the hell", so here you go.

Name: Too many aliases. Stick with Scott. Or whatever else you might know me as.

Birthday: 19 September 1981

Birthplace: Singapore

Current Location: Clayton, Victoria, Australia

Eye Color: Black

Hair Color: Copper brown (Original: black)

Height: 171cm thereabouts

Right Handed or Left Handed: Righty

Your Heritage: 0.5(Hakka/Cantonese) + 0.5(Hokkien) = 1(Chinese)

The Shoes You Wore Today: Black Fila slip-on trainers

Your Weakness: Procrastination

Your Fears: Any form of mental illness/degeneration

Your Perfect Pizza: Chicken & mushroom

Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year: Graduate with second-uppers

Your Most Overused Phrase On an instant messenger: "lol", "indeed", "you suck", "stupid renzi"

Thoughts First Waking Up: Do I really need to be up yet?

Your Best Physical Feature: Eh?

Your Bedtime: Errr...five...?

Your Most Missed Memory: High school days, Army days

Pepsi or Coke: Whatever's cheaper (No Home Brand!)

MacDonalds or Burger King: Burger King (Maccas in Aussie; Aussie BK sucks)

Single or Group Dates: ...dates...?

Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Pokka

Chocolate or Vanilla: Chocolate

Cappuccino or Coffee: Coffee

Do you Smoke: 'Fraid so

Do you Swear: &%$# yeah

Do you Sing: Sometimes

Do you Shower Daily: Err...sometimes...

Have you Been in Love: I like to think so.

Do you want to go to College: I want to graduate...

Do you want to get Married: Eventually, I suppose.

Do you believe in yourself: Too much, I reckon.

Do you get Motion Sickness: Rarely

Do you think you are Attractive: Above average, I hope.

Are you a Health Freak: Nope

Do you get along with your Parents: Yeah

Do you like Thunderstorms: Not when I'm camping/trekking; otherwise, yes.

Do you play an Instrument: Does beating the trashbin with a stick count?

In the past month have you Drank Alcohol: Yep

In the past month have you Smoked: Uh huh

In the past month have you been on Drugs: Never

In the past month have you gone on a Date: Not that I recall

In the past month have you gone to a Mall: Yeap

In the past month have you eaten a box of Oreos: Nope

In the past month have you eaten Sushi: Yep. Yum.

In the past month have you been on Stage: Nope

In the past month have you been Dumped: Nope

In the past month have you gone Skinny Dipping: Nope

In the past month have you Stolen Anything: Nope

Ever been Drunk: Heheh. Yes.

Ever been called a Tease: Not to my face.

Ever been Beaten up: Define "beaten up".

Ever Shoplifted: Nope

How do you want to Die: Doing something I love, for something I believe in, or among friends and family, in order.

What do you want to be when you Grow Up: Wise.

What country would you most like to Visit: Africa.

In a Boy/Girl, you like...

Favourite Eye Color: Err...no difference.

Favourite Hair Color: No difference.

Short or Long Hair: Depends. Should match "look".

Height: 160+

Weight: Dunno...

Best Clothing Style: Sports/casual

Number of Drugs I have taken: Never

Number of CDs I own: A few

Number of Piercings: None

Number of Tattoos: None

Number of things in my Past I Regret: Too few to mention...

Monday, November 21, 2005

Tech: yes or no?

So, I've been thinking lately whether I should start writing about tech issues and developments once more. I'm not sure how many of you actually read those posts.

And if I do start writing about tech again, what kind of stuff should I write about? I'm aware that most of you guys aren't extremely tech-savvy, so I'm not sure if I should post up the more "advanced" stuff I come across while surfing.

I was thinking I might start writing a few articles explaining what various bits of tech are in layman terms, maybe a few tutorials of sorts explaining how you too can implement these things on your system/blog/whatever. Maybe talk about what these things are and why you should care (or not care).

What do you guys think?

Working for the opposition

I've come to the conclusion that most people who read my blog (that means two out of the three of you) pretty much agree with most things I write about.

Since I'm a big fan of intellectual debate, I'm actually considering writing from the opposite point of view in my future posts, just so there's actually something to discuss.

I mean, there really isn't much point in writing stuff that people simply agree with, much less reading a blog that pretty much restates your own viewpoint.

Without debate, how do we grow? How do we question ourselves if we're all agreeing?

The tricky part is determining which issues I should write in my own opinion and which ones I should write from the opposite point of view.

Any thoughts?

Our House

Today, I'd like to talk a little about Nguyen Tuong Van. In case you've been hiding under a rock for a while, he's the 25-year old Australian Viet who's about to be hanged in Singapore for smuggling 396g of heroin.

The Australian government's been trying its hardest to plead for clemency, with everyone from John Howard to Alexander Downer chipping in to try to persuade the Singaporean government not to hang the guy.

Obviously, it's not working. You didn't really expect the Singapore government to just go "Oh. No hanging? Oh, okay, sure thing" did you? Of course not; both sides know what has to happen. And y'know what I think? Good on them; everyone's playing their parts and in a few weeks, this whole mess will be over.

If I seem insensitive, do forgive me; I confess I don't even know the guy. What I do know is this, though: Singapore cannot afford not to hang him, for a few reasons.

Firstly, it must establish that anyone who traffics more than the "allowed" amount of drugs will be hanged. Anyone. Whether you're black, white or asian, Singaporean or Australian, you will receive the mandatory death penalty.

Secondly, it must show that the law will not succumb to external pressure. Once you're in our jurisdiction, you either play by our rules, or suffer our penalties. And no amount of pleading and prodding will help you.

Thirdly, the law must be upheld. A law is not a law if there isn't absolute certainty that penalties for infringement will be carried out. For example, there's no point having a law against corruption if corruption is tolerated. You know what I'm talking about.

What I really enjoy reading, though, is reports/opinions that state with absolute certainty and steadfast conviction that capital punishment is ineffective as a deterrant. Most of these then go on to point at "examples" like trafficking in Indonesia, and heroin production in Afghanistan.

Now, I don't know about Indonesia and Afghanistan, but in Singapore, you can be hung for drugs, murder, kidnapping, treason and firearms. Ever wonder why you can't just buy dope off the street in Singapore, like you can in Melbourne's Chinatown? Or why we don't get that many murders, or kidnappings? How about robberies involving guns? So yeah, I don't know about all those other countries, but it certainly seems to be working for us.

Also, is it just me, or have a lot of Australians been arrested for drug smuggling lately? Just from recent memory I recall the Corby chick in Indonesia, the so-called "Bali Nine", and that other Australian lady who was bouncing back and forth between Canada and the Carribean. What's up with that?

Anyway, this Nguyen guy. Some people say he should be let off the noose because he's a really decent guy. Apparently, he agreed to be a "mule" to pay off his twin brother's drug-related debts. Others are saying he should be given leniency because he confessed to the crime. The second one's a little ridiculous since he was pretty much caught with the drugs strapped to his body.

Now I'm not saying it wasn't a really noble thing for him to do, risking his own life for his brother's. Hey, that's what blood's about, right? It's the epitome of brotherhood: placing your brother's life before your own. He really is a genuine hero.

The only problem is that he knew. He knew what was going to happen if he got caught. He understood the risks he was taking, yet he chose to go ahead anyway. And while I admire his courage, he has to face the consequences of his decision. Hell, that's what makes it so admirable in the first place.

So yes, honour him as a good brother and a brave hero, but let him face the consequences of his choice.

And let it forever stand as a testimony to all: Our house, our rules. No negotiation.

Other opinions: UncleBeng, Dodge, an Australian

Tags: , ,

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Are we still here?

Is it just me, or has mainstream adoption of tech been really slow for the past year?

I'm not suggesting that tech development's been slow (though even that does seem to have slowed down slightly), since this year we've seen the launch of dual-cored processors, nVidia's 7800 graphics card, and Intel's new Viiv line of processors, among others.

But just a little earlier, as I was walking home from dinner, I thought to myself, "Hmmm...if I were to get a new desktop today, what specs would I get?" I'm the kind of guy who likes to stay in the know, but happily settles for the mainstream specs (no money), and as I was thinking this to myself, it suddenly hit me.

When I bought my desktop three and a half years ago, I settled for an AthlonXP 1700+, with a GeForce MX400 graphics card backed by 256MB of RAM. Pretty standard in those days.

December last year, I asked the same question and came up with: Athlon64 3200+, 6600GT graphics card and 1GB of RAM. That's quite a leap from the old system, and to be expected seeing as two and a half years had passed.

Today, as I was thinking that to myself, I realised that if I simply followed mainstream adoption, I'd probably get an Athlon64 3500+, a 6800GT card and 1GB of RAM.

That's barely one rung up the ladder from one year ago. Has mainstream adoption slowed down, or is it just me?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Your responsibility as the consumer

Before reading this post, it is advisable you read the following:This post represents my thoughts on the issues raised in Shelly Palmer's article (found through Jan's blog).

For those of you who can't be bothered to/are wary of registering for yet another website you may not have heard about, here's a quick summary of the article:

Palmer basically restates and consolidates the age-old gripes of consumers regarding the content industry's pricing and marketing of its content, by questioning the validity of consumers having to pay for what is essentially the same content multiple times: once off iTunes, once for a ringtone, once for a ringback tone, once for the music video, once for a still-image of the artist for use as a wallpaper, the list goes on.

How many times can you sell the same master file? There doesn't seem to be any limit. You just have to keep the walls in the walled gardens up and keep the formats incompatible.

How many times will you buy the same master file? That question is being answered every day on P2P networks, via email and podcasts. Obviously, some consumers are willing to pay for the convenience of not having to bother converting their own files to be used in all of their devices. But there are far more consumers who would rather not pay for the same thing over and over again.

My take:
Firstly, I'm not going to go over the Why do I have to pay again? issue anymore. Read my previous post.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: with the current pricing model the content providers have come up with, it is now your responsiblity (and mine), as the consumer, to choose.

If you want the music for listening on your iPod (or other assorted portable device), then get that; if you want the music on CD for playback on your home/car stereo, get that; if you want the music video so you can check out [insert latest pop sensation]'s cool new dance moves, get that; if you want the music as a ringtone for your mobile, get that; and if you want the artist's ugly mug on your mobile as a wallpaper (for whoever knows what reason), you can get that too.

But for goodness' sake stop complaining that you have to pay for every single one of them. Because, you know what?


We complained that records were too expensive and that only a few songs on each one was actually any good and why can't we get them separately? Well, now we can. The music industry has made it available to use via online content stores. And still we're complaining.

I'm sick to death of all the whiny babies who keep crying that they have to pay for the stuff they want. Learn to choose, for heaven's sake. Instead of succumbing to the knee-jerk mentality of going out and getting every single format of the latest "big hit" that's available out there (and then complaining about it), decide what you really want first.

Is that really so hard?

Is being responsible for how you spend your own (or your parents', in some cases) money really that difficult?

A wise man once wrote: Choose, and act.

Notice that choosing comes before acting, not the other way around. So stop being childish, and start being the responsible consumers you're meant to be. And if you can't even manage that, at least have the decency to stop blaming others for your inability to choose.


As a side note, there are, naturally, other ways of getting content, without having to pay a dime for it, and you are, of course, free to pursue these alternative methods. Just pleasepleaseplease remember that sharing of copyright files is illegal, so when you get caught, for goodness' sake don't act so damned surprised, and above all, please don't complain again.

It is illegal. If you get caught, you're fucked. I really can't express it more clearly than that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Never say never

Gamespot just released a First Look at the upcoming Neverwinter Nights 2, currently in development by Obsidian.

Loved the first game and all the expansions and modules. Hopefully Obsidian will do a great job on this one; KotOR2 was...fun but slightly disappointing.

I want this game. Now. ^^





Ahem. Excuse me. :P
I've just completed my very last uni assessment ever.

Can anyone say "Muahahahahahahaha"? :D

Gonna take a short break, then I'll return us to my somewhat erratic posting schedule. :D

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Batman and Vader

This is really a reply to this post on Moosie's blog that I couldn't fit into his comment limit. If you're not interested in Batman and/or Vader, don't bother. :)

Moosie, while I enjoy (and agree with) your comparisons between the two Dark Knights, I feel there are several other factors we have to consider.

Firstly, Anakin Skywalker's talent is a gift; he never had to earn his abilities, and boy does he know he has some abilities. As a kid, he won his first pod race, then considered impossible for a human being. Yet because he never actually had to earn his skills, because he was just so naturally good at everything, it made him proud. It made him wonder why he had to follow all these dumb teachings when he knew everything already anyway. And pride doth come before a fall.

Batman, on the other hand, had to earn everything. Granted, he was incredibly rich, and incredibly brilliant, but all his talent, all his ability, all his skill, they all boiled down to one thing: training. This guy never had any midichlorians; yet he could jump higher, move faster, hit harder than nearly anyone he cared to face, and only because he earned it. Every. Single. Punch. His only real talents are his brilliant mind, and stubborn determination. And earning his abilities never made him proud. It never made him think "oh yeah, I'm so badass; I could take on Master Yoda anyday". It only served to make him realise that no matter how hard he trained, how good he got, there would always be someone who was better. Because he's just an ordinary man, after all.

Secondly, their situations are reversed: Anakin has try his hardest to be the goody-two-shoes Jedi Knight all day. And we love him because he does try. But that's not the real him, and it will never be. The real him is proud, and reckless, and even stupid at times, and he has to hide this guy deep within himself, because that is not the way of the Jedi.

Batman's the total opposite (and I'm going to draw more from the comics here). Batman is the real him; it's Bruce Wayne that's the facade. The night is a release for this guy, a time when he can remove his public mask and be who he really is: the Dark Knight, the protector of his city. And make no mistake, it is his city. But most importantly, Batman doesn't pretend to be Bruce Wayne because he has his Jedi brothers looking over his shoulder, because he tries to believe that this isn't the way a costumed hero is supposed to behave; Batman takes on his Bruce Wayne identity because it draws suspicion away from himself. It is a concious choice he's made, one that serves his purpose and no one else. Sure, he doesn't like it, but he's a brilliant guy, and he knows it's the best way.

Thirdly, is the difference in terms of the support they receive. Obi-wan tries his very best to teach Anakin the ways of the Jedi, but he can't be there all the time. In fact, he's practically never there whenever Anakin faces a critical decision. He wasn't there on Tatooine. He wasn't there in Palpatine's chambers. He just wasn't there. And this in no way means he's a poor mentor, it's just the demands of the circumstance. They are fighting a war, after all.

(Drawing from the comics again) Batman, on the other hand, has an entire posse. Has he never felt tempted to go over the edge? Sure he has. But his will is strong, and his principles are firm. And everytime, anytime he's even come close to doing the wrong thing, there's always been someone there for him, be it Alfred, Jim Gordon or Dick, or more recently Oracle, Robin and Batgirl. Someone's always been there to give him that little tap he needs to remind himself why he's dressed up as a big black bat when it isn't Holloween.

I know the post is really about the two movies, but this is just my two cents about the characters as I understand them. :)

Edit: Gah, no idea why I typed "Solo" instead of "Skywalker". :-P
Good catch, Dave. ;)

Monday, November 14, 2005

When three becomes two

Snowburn Pictures Presents

A Snow Brothers Production


Scott Snow as Housemate 1
Dave Snow as Housemate 3

Principal Photography
Double V & gnuheeK

Assistant Photographers
Pris & Christie

Written, Directed and Produced by
The Snow Brothers

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Snowburn Pictures Presents

A Snow Brothers Production


Scott Snow as Geek 1
Double V as Geek 2

Directing and Principal Photography
Dave (Demon) Snow

Friday, November 11, 2005

What style do you like your feeds?

Okay, here's a question for the few of you out there who use desktop-based feed readers (like Thunderbird). Do you prefer your feeds to come in text form or html form?

Here's a quick illustration of what I mean:

Thunderbird displays my feed like this:

While T's feed is displayed like this:

Hope you don't mind me using your feed as an example, T; it was the most recent one I got. ^^

Now, notice how my feed is displayed in plain text format, while T's loads the original webpage and displays the full html.

Feeds in plain text format obviously download a lot faster than those in html format (BTW, images are loaded as well, where applicable); it's basically like looking at another email. The downside is exactly that: it looks like normal email. All your cool CSS and layering and what-have-you doesn't actually show up. Also, only the actual post content is loaded, which means comments, trackbacks and the like are not shown at all. The opposite is true for feeds in html format.

So, my question is: which do you guys prefer?

Having asked that question, I have to confess I have no idea how to control which format the feed is displayed in. Unfortunately, I'm not that well read up on the implementation of RSS and/or Atom, so if any of you guys know more about this, please do leave a comment and let me know.

Oh, and I might be changing my feed broadcaster to Feedburner, so I'll post again if I do.

Tags: , , , , ,

Curriculum: Finito! (kinda...)

I've completed all the lesson plans for the curriculum package! Now all that remains is to format and edit the report and chuck in an introduction-kinda thing, then I'm done! Oh, and complete the other journal thing, of course. You know what that means? That means I will be seeing you peeps at Platform tonight!

Presentation and a new blog...

So, I had my presentation yesterday arvo. Think it turned out alright, as far as I can tell. Props to Dave, Pris, Kee, Vv and Mags for turning up to support me. Thanks guys, you rock!! :D

So, I turned up around half an hour early, and Mike was giving his presentation. The poor guy, you could tell he was soooo nervous. He kept stammering, and searching for words, and his slides were a little empty, I felt. But at the end of the day, his natural charm kinda helped carry him through, and he managed to convey everything he wanted to say, and I suppose that's the main point of the whole excercise.

Another guy went after Mike, and he talked about Solar powered vehicles, then it was my turn. I think I did okay; didn't screw up majorly, but nothing out of the ordinary. Definitely not one of my best presentations, but far from my worst, y'know? Again, props to all my friends for showing, especially Dave who took the time to come, then had to rush off halfway to go to work.

I have this tendency to talk faster than normal when I'm giving presentations, and this in turn sometimes causes me to stammer, so I was really trying to control my talking speed throughout the presentation. Robyne mentioned that I should have taken in more of the room instead of focusing on her, and that's a very justified point I sometimes forget. Especially when it's a marked presentation, I tend to focus more on the marker, and this may make the rest of the crowd feel left out. Gotta remember that.

So anyway, talked to Robyne after the presentation, and she was really nice in giving me an extension on the reports till Monday. Absolute lifesaver. I've been working on the curriculum package since last Saturday, and it's really been running my life recently. I should be able to finish up most of it by this evening, then do the formatting and editorial stuff tomorrow.

Besides the curriculum package, I'm also supposed to do a write up on my experiences and lessons learnt and so on. I actually managed to negotiate to do this in the form of a blog instead of a normal report. Those interested can watch the blog take form here. There's basically only one post on it at the moment, but I'll be adding more over the weekend.

This blog is designed to present my experiences in the form of a journal. Bear in mind that it's been a few months since the start of the elective, so this isn't actually a blow-by-blow account of what happened, but rather a fictional account based on my experiences.

Anyway, I set the new blog up late yesterday arvo, then Itchy (:P) came into the office, having just finished her exam. She bummed around the office for a while (as usual) while I continued to work on my curriculum package, until we were chased out by the security guard (the mean one, yesterday) at 7+.

Interesting note: The mean security guard seems slightly less mean recently. Itchy thinks it might be because she's been giving him dirty looks, hahaha. I still prefer the nice guard though.

After we were kicked out, I walked with Itchy back to her place at MonashAccom. First time I've actually been inside. It's actually quite a nice place: single room, fully furnished 'cept for kitchen stuff. Quite spacious. I wouldn't mind a bachelor pad like that. Only thing is that it's really quite a rip-off. It's nice, but not worth the price.

She also passed me the office keys, since she's heading off to Lorne(sp?) today, and I'll probably want to do my work in the office over the weekend. The silly girl's only coming back to melb on tuesday morning, and she's flying back to Bn on Tuesday night! After a vigorous and spirited debate, we decided that she should come back on Monday so that we can go for dinner on Monday night. While I'll probably still be able to see her when she stops over between Bn and Aussie, it's actually quite sad that we won't be able to hang out anymore.

I'm really gonna miss all my melbie friends when I go back. I'm starting to feel like Jan (whom we still miss, btw!)...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What the...?

Took a break from the reports and logged into Friendster for a moment. Says there that I've had 150 profile views since Nov01. Who on Earth has been looking at my profile?! More importantly, why on Earth would a). so many people want to look at my profile, or b). a few people look at my profile so many times?!

Move along, people; there's nothing to see there.

I'd actually much rather people I know sending a message instead. Just a simple "hi" is more than enough.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Yesterday once more

I've been quite preoccupied recently, and not with my usual philosophical wanderings. Now that I'm finishing up here in Aussieland and about to embark on the Great Journey Home, I've been thinking about all the friends I once knew, especially the ones I've lost contact with one way or another.

Anyone who really knows me (and I use the present tense here, since I've presumably changed somewhat from the person I used to be) would probably know that I try as hard as I can to live in the present.

It's not that I don't miss the old days.

Nor is it that I don't wonder what the future brings.

I just feel that while it's my past that has brought me here, it's the choices I make right now that will get me anywhere in the future.

So entrenched am I in the present, that slowly but surely, my past starts slipping from me. Even memories start slowly fading away. Just ask wen; she'll attest to the number of people I've mysteriously forgotten.

And while keeping my attention on the right-here-right-now makes me more flexible and responsive to the events happening in the present (so I hope), it irks me that this seems to be a by-product of such mentality. Because these people used to be my friends.

I'm actually quite worried my long-term memory may be failing. My mind is my most prized possession, so any kind of brain defect scares me to the core. Maybe I should go see a doctor about it...

So here's my current wish list. I'm not looking forward to a new desktop, or for Stover to finally finish writing his latest novel, or even to discover new ideas that can make me question myself (which used to be near the top).

Instead, I just hope to meet up with these people again, have a chat, find out what they've been up to, know they're doing great (no particular order):
clive+wen+xing, shaun+adr+yj, ailing+zhan+koksiew+angie+zhiyang, shijia+diah+meiyun+sloem, daniel+yy+jianming, tcw+frankie+skum+nick+leonard, edmond+archer, boba+butterfly+ewok+yoda+maul, yp+zy+maomao+tk, woon+ghim+sotong+brian, fee+shu+xiaohui, sert+merv, boo+des

Mish-mash Mix-em-ups

Man, I screwed up pretty badly this time.

If you've read the second-last post (or actually, y'know, talk to me), you probably know that my last exam is over, but I've got 2 reports and a presentation due this week. They're pretty much all for the teaching gig I was doing over this past semester, teaching Dreamweaver at one of the local primary schools.

Well, the reports haven't been going very well. I'm basically supposed to do a write-up on my entire teaching experience, which I haven't even started yet. That one's the easy one. I've been busy with the other one, which is to develop a curriculum package for whatever I was teaching (web design). Think of it as a teacher's handbook. The main problem is, it's so much easier teaching web design than it is trying to explain to someone who knows nothing about web design to teach web design. It's like trying to write-up a whole instruction manual. Suffice to say, it's been going very slowly.

But that's not even the part where I screwed up. See, I thought the reports were due in on Monday and the presentation was on Friday (you know where I'm going...). There was no way I could hand in the reports on Monday, so I figured I'd hand them in when I give my presentation. I would probably get a penalty for it, but that can't really be helped.

Well, I just found out (a few hours ago) that I got the dates mixed up. The reports are due on Friday, and the presentation was supposed to be yesterday. Which I didn't attend. And I only realised after my supervisor emailed me asking where the hell I was and why didn't I turn up (she actually phrased it much better than I did, but you get the point). Thankfully, she managed to slot me in for Thursday arvo.

Man, this is just so depressing...
(Well, not really, but you get my point. I hope.)

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Student-Run Bar: Is it really such a good idea?

First off, a couple of pictures I find amusing. I know I've mentioned it to a number of you, but hey, I'm bored. And yes, these were also taken using my mobile, so picture quality sucks...

Near the entrance to the Bar:

Then when you walk around the corner...

Now, is it just me, or is that a little contradictory? ;)
(Yes, I'm well aware that it's just graffiti. I just find it amusing, is all.)

So anyway, as I'm sure most of you are aware, the Bar has been operating without a license ever since the student takeover. I'm pretty sure, since the alcohol license is owned by the uni/Monyx, and these guys are pretty much squatting there. It also occurred to me recently that they never ask for ID when you go in and get a drink, no matter how young you look. I guess, in a way, I've known for some time, but I just never really saw the implications (I have better things to do, most of the time).

Now, the MSA has done pretty radical things before (like a certain student demonstration last year when the demonstrators stormed the administration block and caused A$10,000 worth of damages), but they frequently manage to pull off good things to, like better food on campus and pushing for better transport services. MSA Transport Div is even helping take a stand in pushing for transport concessions for us internationals, though I doubt it'll make much difference after 14 years (I think) of failed protests.

So they do quite a lot of good for the students, even for us internationals. And the unreasonable, irresponsible or sometimes downright idiotic stuff they do (in my opinion, of course) is oftentimes no more extreme than most other Aussie unions. But seriously, running a stolen, unlicensed, underage drinking bar is not just stupid, it's illegal.

Last year, I expressed my disappointment about the demonstrations to some of you. This year it's The Bar. How do we fight Voluntary Student Unionism when our very own representative organisation is taking part in illegal activities? Won't this just go right ahead and prove the government's point that student unions are more trouble than they're worth?

I know that, at the end of the day, we're (MUISS) a department of the MSA. But this isn't the first time we've had conflict of policy, and I dare say it won't be the last. Should we really be condoning actions such as these? Can it be that MSA hasn't considered the implications of such actions? Aren't there any legal approaches that can be taken instead?

I guess it doesn't really affect me since I'm leaving soon, but I felt someone had to point it out.

Note: A brief explanation of what's happening, for you folks who have no idea what I'm going on about. Monyx is a uni-owned, largely autonomous company that was set up to run some of the commercial services around our campus, like the sports center. They also own and (used to) operate The Bar, which is a bar in uni for staff and students (duh). Around mid-year, they decided to shut down said bar and run it as a function room, presumably because it wasn't making any money. No one actually knows the real reason behind this. This action angered (some of) the student population, who weren't consulted before the decision was made. Supposedly, more students would have started patronising the place if they'd known, but that's highly debatable.

So anyway, a bunch of students, supported by the Monash Student Association (MSA) decided to physically takeover the Bar by squatting there and refusing to leave. I think some of them still stay there overnight just in case. The Bar was reopened and is still under student control to this day. Negotiations are supposedly being carried out with Monyx.

MUISS is the Monash University International Students Service, which is a division of the MSA. I'm not going to link to them because the website is a disgrace. (Seriously, do something about it, guys.)

Disclaimer: As always, all this is based solely on what I've observed and what I understand from the situation. If I've been misinformed, or am just downright wrong, feel free to let me know. :)

Tags: , , ,


Here's a photo diary of the last 24 hours. (Sorry about the poor quality; most of the shots were taken with my mobile.)

Last night: Studying at Ben's place

0930: Today's 4D winner...1032!


1116: Remembering I still have 2 reports and a presentation next week...

Afternoon: Recuperation in the MUISS Exec office


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

We've still got it...

Over Gtalk not two minutes ago:
Janz: man...no hot water...and i cant take cold water
sth wrong with the heater
how r u
Scott: how're you?! i think i'm the only one who hasn't talked to you since monday :P
Janz: man
Scott: hey...was that a housemates moment? :P
Janz: was that a housemate gtalk moment
Scott: lol!!!!!!!!!!

Edit: Okay, apparently some people (read: Pris) don't get what's going on in the conversation above, so let me elaborate. The Happening Housemates (TM) define a Housemate Moment when two of us (and rarely, all three of us) say almost the same thing at the same time (see red words above). We've also had a few (extremely rare) True Housemate Moments when we say the exact same thing in the same tone, such that you're not actually sure whether the other person actually said something. Those are extremely rare and definitely a 4D/Tattslotto-worthy event. We attribute these occurrences to the fact that we spend way too much time with each other.

I hope that helps to clear things up.

On a separate note, this is making me miss you even more... :-/

The Student's Psalm

Just dropping by for a really quick update as I take a break from preparing for Friday's paper. Thesis has been completed and submitted, and I've had one paper so far. Just one more paper to go on Friday, then two reports and a presentation next week and I'm home free. In other news, Happening Housemate Janz has returned home to Sg for good. We miss you, so hurry up hop on the next plane and come back. Quickquick!

And now, I present y'all with the Student's Psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not flunk;
He keepeth me from lying down when I should be studying.
He leadeth me beside the water cooler for a study break;
He restores my faith in study guides.
He leads me to better study habits for my grades' sake.
Yea, tho' I walk through the valley of borderline grades,
I will not have a nervous breakdown; for Thou art with me.
Thou givest me the answers in moments of blankness;
Thou annointest my head with understanding,
My test paper runneth over with questions I recognize.
Surely passing grades and flying colours
Shall follow me all the days of my examinations;
And I shall not have to dwell in this university forever!!


Good luck, boys and girls. ;)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ironic, isn't it?

That the last post was the one to get the most number of comments so far (that I can remember, at any rate). Perhaps I ought write such posts more often, since they appear to have such mass appeal. ;) I actually spent all of ten seconds pondering why that might be, then decided that it was probably due to "Big Brother" syndrome; we love to watch and partake in conflict of any kind, no matter how mundane, especially if it's people wailing at one another. At least, that was my conclusion to "Why do people watch Big Brother?" But, as they say, that's another story for another time.

So, another fortnight later (or thereabouts) and I'm back with another post. Will this become my new posting schedule? I don't know, but I wouldn't bet my lunch on it. Anyhoo, I'm still busy as ever, between my thesis and other distractions (like a certain box with an "X" on it, plus my leisure reading). In fact, between those two, I've barely had any time to spend online at all. Which means I haven't been checking anyone's blogs out lately, and for that I apologise. I'll try to catch up when this pesky business of graduating with a degree is over and done with.

Anyhoo, I was bored with looking at spreadsheets and all that typing stuff that seem to largely be what writing a thesis is about, so here I am with a response to the responses of the previous post. Now that I look back, it doesn't even seem to be as harsh as I remember. Must be getting old. :-/

Anonymous (1st Comment):
Thanks for your kind words, and good luck to you as well.

I did know you were joking, and still do, but truth be told, the joke kind of wore thin after the first dozen times you used it. Like I said, I'd like to think I'm not normally like that. I guess the comment was just ill-timed, and you can hardly be blamed for that. I'm sorry for the outburst, but I still mean what I said. Needless to say, I think no less of you as a friend, and hope you feel the same way.

Thanks for your repeated encouragement over the years; I've always cherished your kind words and advice, and still have fond memories of when we used to hang on the boards. Perhaps someday I'll find my way back. :)

You'll always be an asshole, but you know you'll always be our asshole. And that's all I'm saying. ;)

Anonymous (5th comment)/rahm emanuel:
Of course I care what others think; few are the ones who can honestly claim otherwise, and I'm afraid I'm not as wise as that. As far as I can see, I never even claimed not to care; I said I don't give a shit, which is different. What I was reminded is I don't have to care. I don't want to bore my friends with another spiel about the philosophy of choice, but to summarise it, I do care about what others think, but I have been reminded that I can choose not to be bothered by it.

In any case, you appear to have missed the point of the last post, which was not a statement of my disregard of how others viewed me, but a rant about being angry that crappy comments started coming when I was merely absent for a while. No less immature, I'll grant you, but a different point all the same.

This, in many ways, was the comment that troubled me the most. Firstly, to ask what has happened to me is to suggest that you know me personally. Now, I'm extremely sorry, but I can't seem to place your name anywhere (assuming you're not using a pseudonym). I'm apologise if this happens to give offence, but I can't, for the life of me, recall your name. If you truly know me, there are only a few ways you could know my blog address and doubtless you are able to contact me. Please do.

Also, to ask what has happened to me is to suggest I have changed in some form from what you remember. This is no surprise, since we change all the time, but the tone suggests this change has been for the worse (good and bad being, of course, arguable concepts at best). Unfortunately, being unable to place your name means I am unable to understand which me you are referring I have changed from. I am very interested in what you may observe to have changed for the worse (from your point of view). Once again, please feel free to contact me.

Additionally you state that "its probably the only entry he has posted with material that hasnt been rehashed from some other website or newsfeed". Seeing as how this was meant to be a log of tech news and happenings that interest me, I don't quite see a better way I should have gone about doing this. I certainly was never personally on hand at any of the press conferences, and have no way of reporting directly from them. Most of the reports say largely the same thing anyway. What I do try to accomplish, though, is to highlight happenings that I feel are of interest, and to gather the various reports and opinions about each issue (sometimes adding my own) and form them in a way I hope is cohesive and easy to comprehend. Of course, I also try to keep with factual reporting and present as balanced a view as I can manage. Once again, if you feel there is a better way to be doing this, please do let me know and I promise to consider any constructive suggestions carefully.

I don't have a day job, by the way. Not one I'm paid for, anyway. ;)

To cap off this already long post, I apologise to the few of you who may possibly be checking in on a regular basis. I understand the frustrations of going to a site and realising it hasn't been updated recently (not really, but I try to). To these few friends, I would like to suggest trying out a feed reader. Wikipedia has a good explanation of what it is, as well as a comprehensive list of the ones available. If the list is too long (or confusing), I use and recommend Thunderbird (if you use an email client as well) and Google Desktop (for simplicity of use. No advanced features though). Alternatively, you may prefer to try the various web-based ones available.

To add a blogspot blog, simply enter the url of the blog with "atom.xml" at the end. For example, mine is http://scottsnow.blogspot.com/atom.xml.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

This blog sucks.

Well, that seems to be the general consensus around here. Normally, I'd just think to myself Screw all of you and carry on with whatever, but I really don't know.

So, I obviously haven't been posting for about a fortnight now. Not that it's really anyone else's business, but I've been a little busy with my thesis. My time is normally divided between research, being online and hanging out with friends/gaming. When my research load increased, I made the decision to temporarily give up online time in favour of continuing to hang out with my friends, and that's kinda why I haven't been on lately. Anyway, I don't know why I'm bothering to explain myself.

Thing is, why I got back from my hiatus, I didn't really know if I wanted to continue this thing. Firstly, pretty much 100% of comments posted so far about the blog (as opposed to a particular post) have been negative. And this from people I don't even know. The fact that no one else can be bothered to say anything speaks volumes for itself.

Also, the main reason I even started this blog in the first place was that I normally follow tech news anyway, and figured some others might appreciate it if I summarised the current happenings. Guess I was wrong, because nobody ever comments on the tech articles anyway.

Then I come to the blog page and saw StupidBoy's tag and just got pissed. I'd like to think that's not normally like me, but in any case, it didn't help. Dave being his usual assholic self wasn't a big assist either.

I guess the main point of this post is that I've lost the reason why I bother doing this. If people want to read about tech stuff, they're sure not letting me know. And they have thousands of alternatives anyway. Sifting through the mounds of articles might take more time, but tough.

And I don't like the idea of being obligated to write on my blog just because my friends are going to be idiots whenever I decide to take a break. It's my damned blog, and I'm pretty sure I don't owe it to anyone else to write here. I don't tell anyone else how to blog, so who are you to tell me?

So I guess there it is. I might go back to posting tech news daily; I might not. I might post once in a while about stuff in general (I've started reading philosophy stuff again) when I can be arsed. And if you don't like it, fuck off somewhere else because I've stopped giving a shit. It's not like I actually get anything back to begin with.

And I guess I should give credit where it's due, so here's a big thanks to anyone who posted negative comments (without suggesting how anything might be improved). You helped remind me that I really don't have to care what you think, and to just blog the way I feel like blogging. You might still want to stay clear for a few days, though.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The million dollar homepage

Quite a bit of press coming in the last couple of days about the million dollar homepage. I have to admit it's quite a brilliant scheme: advertisers pay US$1 for each pixel they want to advertise on, and there's a million pixels for sale, cut up into 10x10 chunks (i.e. $100 per block).

The site was started by an English bloke, Alex Tew, to "pay his way through college". To quote off the site FAQ:
First and foremost, if I make enough money, I will pay my way through University. That includes 3 years worth of tuition fees, accomodation fees, textbooks etc, and [god forbid] - having a social life!

After that, I would like to pay for my parents to have some time off because they work so hard and they deserve a break. I would like to return some of the support they have given me over all these years.

Thirdly... socks! I definitely need some new socks. Whenever I buy new ones they seem to disappear, or they disintegrate. So I want to buy some really expensive, long-lasting socks.

Finally... if I reach the $1m target and still have money left over after buying my swanky new socks, then I have a couple of interesting business ideas I would love to invest some money in. So watch this space!

He's sold 39 blocks at the time of writing, but it's likely many more will be go. He's said the site will stay up for at least 5 years. Worth checking out, if just for kicks.

As is typical, there are already a few imitations up on the web, like the million penny homepage, but this one appears to be the original. The one dollar homepage also attempts at an interesting twist to the idea.


PBS launches "Nerd TV"

The Public Broadcasting Service (creators of Sesame Street) recently launched Nerd TV, a web-only weekly one hour TV show featuring interviews with technology inventors and executives. This week's (episode 1) interview features Andy Hertzfield, the original Mac systems programmer, who talks about Mac history and OSS.

Each episode is available for download as a video file with/without subtitles, as well as audio-only files, which come in mp3, aac and ogg formats. Transcripts for each episode are also available for those who are restricted by download caps. The episodes are distributed under the Creative Common License, which allows users to legally share them with their friends, or even edit their own versions.

The schedule is as follows:
  • September 6
    Macintosh operating system programmer Andy Hertzfeld

  • September 13
    PayPal co-founder Max Levchin

  • September 20
    Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy

  • September 27
    Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak

  • October 4
    Internet publisher Tim O'Reilly

  • October 11
    Autodesk co-founder Dan Drake

  • October 18
    TCP/IP inventor Bob Kahn

  • October 25
    Computer mouse inventor Doug Engelbart

  • November 1
    Former Lotus chief scientist Jerry Kaplan

  • November 8
    Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle

  • November 15
    Amazon CTO and former Apple chief scientist Larry Tesler

  • November 22
    Google CEO Eric Schmidt

  • November 29
    The father of Linux, Linus Torvalds

Tags: ,

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Intel enters anti-virus market via Grisoft

Intel announced Tuesday that it has signed an agreement to acquire a $16M stake in Czech Republic anti-virus firm Grisoft, subject to approval by the Czech competition council. Grisoft is the developer behind the relatively popular AVG Anti-Virus, which is among the leading security products in terms of widespread adoption with a userbase of around 25 million worldwide.

AVG Anti-Virus has gained popularity as a stable, frequently updated, easy-to-use security product, which doesn't hog all your system resources when it's running. Arguably the most important reason for its widespread adoption is that there's a free edition available for home or non-commercial use.

Hopefully, with the backing of Intel, Grisoft will be able to achieve greater market penetration and be able to integrate even better features into their already great product. Even more hopefully, Intel's involvement won't see the end of another great and free product; those two words don't appear together often enough.

Cross your fingers, folks.

Tags: , ,

Microsoft is Roadkill(?)

Steve Gillmor over at ZDNet has just put up a post on his blog with an interesting take on everything Microsoft is doing wrong, and everything Google is doing right.

Nick over at ThreadWatch has put up a post emphasising the key points in Steve's article (for those lazy to read the whole thing). Scoble has also posted a rebuttal, as well as warning us that it's Y! we have to watch out for instead of Google.

Tags: , , ,

More music products from Apple

Apple Computers should consider changing their name to Apple Music Players.

At yesterday's invitation-only Apple press event in San Francisco, Steve Jobs (Apple CEO) revealed the new ROKR (pronounced Rocker), a mobile phone capable of playing music and accessing iTunes. The phone is produced in collaboration with Motorola and will hold around 100 songs.

Also revealed at the press conference was the new iPod Nano, a super-slim version of the iPod that is reportedly thinner than a number 2 pencil. This new offering will come in 2GB and 4GB versions.

Look! Pictures!

ZDNet is also running an article discussing whether the time is right for such music-phone hybrids.

Read: C|net, ZDNet

Tags: , , , ,

More on Intel's strong-arming

C|net is running an article investigating further into the history of Intel applying strong-arming tactics on both comptition and partners alike.

(Read about the current AMD v Intel antitrust lawsuit)

Tags: , ,

What motivates a virus writer?

BBC Techdesk is running an article about the recently arrested creators of last month's Zotob virus, which talks about how the motivations of virus writers are changing. While the majority of virus writers used to be kids and teenagers, writing viruses for kicks or just to prove they could, more and more modern virus writers are motivated by a very different aspect: money.

Tags: ,

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Is WoW hurting the gaming industry?

There have been a few analyses lately that seem to indicate the spectacularly popular World of Warcraft (WoW) MMORPG appears to be hurting the gaming industry.

Read: CNN, NYTimes

The reports mainly cite how WoW, with its subscription-based model, has made it difficult for other developers in the gaming industry to compete in the already tight market, either with other subscription-based games, or with one-time-payment games.

That's honestly a little ridiculous. WoW isn't the first overwhelmingly popular MMORPG to hit the market; EverQuest did that years ago. Just as EQ eventually died down, so will WoW eventually be replaced with another game. That's how the industry cycle works.

The more important issue here is the lack of quality games to compete for the gamer's dollar. Back when EQ ruled the MMORPG world, there were still plenty of quality games being released to compete for the gaming dollar. Nowadays, however, there just aren't enough good games being released.

Don't compare games like Matrix Online and City of Heroes with WoW; MO was never good to begin with, and City of Heroes started its slow slide into oblivion when the developers couldn't keep up with the demands of their hard core gaming customers. Even non-subscription-based games have seen a slump (50 Cent: Bulletproof?! Seriously, now).

Additionally, games are taking longer, and requiring more resources, than ever to create. Once upon a time, a game might have been created in a matter of months; nowadays, any serious effort seems to require developers upwards of three years to complete. This is largely due to the additional complexity required in new generation games. However, this means that each development company will be working on less games now than they would have, say 5 years ago, which again contributes to the lack of quality alternatives out there.

So, here's my take on things: Does WoW's success make it harder to compete for the gaming dollar? You bet it does. Is this bad for the gaming industry? Hell no; it just means developers have to work harder, and more importantly smarter, to create good games that will attract the gaming hordes away from WoW. When did competition ever hurt the industry? What we really need now is for developers to step up to the plate and start looking at the gaming public as customers who demand more bang for their buck, and not just cash cows looking for the next hot game.

GuildWars tried to be the WoW-killer, but the reception's been very mixed. So, who's next?

Innovate, or get out of the way.

Tags: , , , ,

Firefox says goodbye to SSL 2.0

The Firefox team has decided to discontinue support for SSL 2.0, and only support SSL 3.0 and TSL 1.0. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is basically an encryption protocol that provides security for internet connections; it's what creates that little "lock" icon at the bottom of your browser.

Janz was slightly miffed by my excitement over this seemingly trivial news. Let me explain: the SSL 2.0 protocol has been outdated and vulnerable for years (SSL 3.0 was introduced in 1996 by then browser-king Netscape). However, a number of websites still use the old protocol.

The effect of Firefox's discontinuation of support for the SSL 2.0 protocol is it effectively puts pressure on web administrators and designers to upgrade to SSL 3.0 or TSL 1.0, and such pressure will only increase as more users (hopefully) flock towards Firefox.

You can disable SSL 2.0 in Firefox with current versions by going to Tools>Options>Advanced and unchecking Use SSL 2.0 under Security

(What is SSL and TSL?)
Read: Mozillazine announcement

Tags: , , , ,

ARIA 1 : Kazaa 0

Meant to post this last night, but got a little lazy. So anyway, the Australian Federal Court ruled largely in favour of the ARIA camp (led by Universal Music), determining that Sharman Networks was infringing the copyrights of the music industry by means of its Kazaa peer-to-peer software.

Specifically, Justice Murray Wilcox stated three reasons for ruling against Kazaa:
  • Although notices have been put up on the Kazaa website and in the EULA warning against the sharing of copyrighted files, it has long been known that such measures are ineffective, and that the respondents have known that Kazaa is widely used for the sharing of copyrighted material.
  • Technical solutions exist, which would help reduce the sharing of copyrighted files, and none of these have been implemented in Kazaa since it would be in their financial interest to maximise such sharing.
  • The Kazaa web page openly encourages users to increase their file-sharing using such taglines as "Join the Revolution" and creating the "Kazaa Revolution" targeting record companies, which effectively encourage the predominantly young user base to think that it is "cool" to defy the record companies by ignoring copyright constraints.
Justice Wilcox also identified two matters that the case was not about:
  • Whether the record companies should make their copyrighted works available on a licensed basis for a fee;
  • Whether it would have been possible for the record companies to make their CDs less vulnerable to being ripped by issuing them in a DRM instead of open format.
The result of the judgement were that six of the ten respondents were found to be infringing on intellectual property rights. It was ordered that they be restrained "from authorising Kazaa users to do in Australia any of the infringing acts". However, Kazaa would be allowed to continue, provided that any new users be provided only versions of the software include non-optional keyword-filter technology designed to protect the copyright works of the record companies, all future versions of the software contain such filtering technology, and "maximum pressure" be placed on existing users to upgrade to the newer versions.

The infringing respondents were also to pay 90% of the costs of the proceedings for the applicants. The applicants had to pay the full cost of the proceedings for the four dismissed respondents.

A seperate hearing would be held to determine damages in the case.

The Kazaa camp has said (naturally) that they would appeal the ruling.

Read: Court Judgement
Reports: Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian IT, C|net, Reuters UK, Copyfight

Tags: , , , , ,

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Ballmer loses his cool

Apparently Eric Schmidt (Google CEO) isn't the only one with a hot temper (the Cnet incident); in a sworn testimony made during the ongoing legal battle between Microsoft and Google over Kai Fu Lee, Mark Lucovsky, a former MS engineer, alleges Steve Ballmer (MS CEO) hurled a chair across his office when he found out Lucovsky was defecting to Google.
"I'm going to f------ bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again," the declaration quotes Ballmer. "I'm going to f------ kill Google."
Hmmm. Having an explosive personality appears to be a requirement for a tech CEO these days.

Original Source: Threadwatch

Tags: , , ,

Zoom zoom splash!

I want one.

I'll settle for this.

But no DIY, please.

Trivia: Did you know Richard Branson used the Aquada in his 2004 record crossing of the English Channel?

Tags: , ,

From Mambo to Joomla

Mambo, one of the most popular content management system (CMS) packages available, experienced difficulties recently when the development team left en-masse from Miro International, the company that founded and commercialised the Mambo project.

The development team stated disagreements with Miro over the governing of the software and the control of its intellectual property, while Miro insisted the dev team had been attempting a power grab. Whatever the reasons for the parting, it is the results that interest me.

Miro has since transferred all intellectual property rights of Mambo over to the Mambo Foundation, which was originally created to manage the Mambo project. They have also started a recruitment drive for a new development and forum moderation team.

The multi-award-winning original Mambo development team (which just last month beat the Firefox team at the LinuxWorld Expo to win "Best Open Source Solution") have created a new entitiy called Open Source Matters, and have developed a new CMS called Joomla!, of which version 1.0 is based on version of Mambo. Joomla! is governed by the General Public License (GPL) like Mambo, which basically allows anyone to modify, redistribute and use its code.

Read: C|net (split, Joomla)

Tags: , , ,

Friday, September 02, 2005

Intel replies to AMD's charge

AMD sued Intel on June 28, claiming the world's largest semiconductor manufacturer was using scare-tactics and "under the table kickbacks" to coerce computer manufacturers into not using AMD processors. Responding to the antitrust accusations in a filing with the U.S. District Court in Delaware yesterday, Intel denied its business practices broke any laws and dismissed the claims as "factually incorrect and contradictory".

Read: MSNBC, Macworld, BetaNews
Also: AnandTech readers' comments

Tags: , ,