Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ninja Town (DS)

Its one of those castle defense games. There is something innate about games like these. Its in our genes. Protecting your territory brings out the animal in all of us.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

About as good as Indiana Jones 4. What made it more enjoyable was that I wasn't expecting anything from this movie. Indiana Jones 4, I keep thinking that Lucas made this movie bad on purprose so that the studio stopped nagging him to do any more of Indy movies.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rock Band 2 (X360)

I got an amazing deal on this. I've moved on to Expert.

Guitar Rock Tour (DS)

Its kinda like Rock Band to-go on the touchscreen. Its not bad. I think I can finish it relatively quickly.

A Christmas Story (Movie)

This one is a classic. It reminds us of our childhoods and how the way we viewed the world as children was naive but it also made sense at the same time.

The Universe (Latest Ep)

I've seemed to have lost a lot of interest as quickly as I gained it. I've gained a lot of knowledge from it. String theory, black holes, unlimited dimensions, the understanding or (the lack of understading) of gravity, electromagnetivity, etc. I'll watch a few more eps and see if I'm gonna keep watching because its suddenly become a little boring.

CSI (Latest Ep)

Fishburne was not as dark and cold as I was imagining him out to be. I think I'll give him a fair chance before I make any decisions to where I'm going to stop watching the show because its become different in any way.

Bourne Identity (Movie)

I think I saw this movie in the theater, but the reason I watched it again was because I saw part 3 on cable, and wasn't really sure how Bourne came to be, or why he was seeking the truth. I'd have to say part 1 was the best because of the mystery and the surprise of finding all those super abilities. I don't remember a lick of part 2, and part 3 was too dark.

Top Chef (Latest Ep)

This episode was too predictable. But this means that we can look forward to a double elimination. I first though Eugene was a badass when the show started, but now I don't think he's good. He'll be going home soon.

Korean Ramen with Cajun Audioulle sausage

My favorite brand of ramen is called Samyang. Translated, it means 3 flavors. The secret is putting a little bit of saffron to give it an amazing booth in body. I throw the sausage in there when the soup is still boiling, but its already been taken off the heat. I crack an egg in there. And in about 5 minutes, you have a hearty meal.


Soba is so simple, yet totally satisfying. I've been boiling some butterflied shrimp to eat on the side just to have something else. I guess tempura wouldn't be bad either. I wonder what else might complement it.

Banana Pancakes

I've been using Purple Yam tea mix, but I took that out, and found that after I took that out, it was a little dry. So just banana pancakes itself needs syrup whereas the taro pancakes didn't, and was delicious by itself.

chicken piccata on top of pesto tortellini

Topped with parmesean cheese with some green beans on the side.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas comes early

Stan sent me a link to a thread at at 9:25 PM tonight. A Rock Band 2 set for $109 + $25 Gift Cert on purchase. Effecitively $85 for the set. 55% off for something in relatively high demand at MSRP ($189.99).

I saw the message at 10:43 PM. On the forum thread, people posted that 10 were in stock (last time they checked at 10:30 *AM*) at Tustin, and that it should be open untill midnight. I programmed my GPS for Tustin, but since I live in Huntington Beach (and mistakenly thought that the person didn't bother to check the availability at Huntington Beach (he did mention on the bottom that Huntington Beach was out of stock, I just didn't see it), I just did the Store Locator on the Huntington Beach location. Not knowing they were out of stock, I was out the door by 10:46 PM, on my way to the Huntington Beach Toys R Us. My chances of returning home with one at either store? I'd say close to 0%.

The traffic lights were on my side as all 2 dozen traffic lights I needed to drive through to get on the freeway were all green. I got to the store by 11 PM. I got to the game department, and the guy told me that they haven't had it in stock all day. I asked him whether he can look up for me if other stores had it in stock. And he said they can do it for me at the Customer Service department.

I get to Customer Service, and there is one box of Rockband 2 Special Edition for the XBOX 360 on the floor!! I puzzlingly point and tell her that I'm looking for "one of those" and wonder if she can help me get one, already resigned to the fact that they are out of stock, and everything that they have in stock is either a defective return, or something she's holding for somebody. And the lady tells me someone had just returned it, unopened because the dad didn't know XBOX 360 games didn't work on PS3s. I verified it was new and unopened. And interestingly enough, she had just got off the phone with another person who was looking for one. She told the person that they had one in stock (the one I was buying), and she wasn't sure if that person was on their way right now.

I checked out after paying $109 + tax. And she gave me a $25 gift card to boot. As I made the short walk to my car, I saw someone pull up to the store at 11:07PM. She seemed to march with determination into the store. I wasn't sure if she wanted the rockband 2 set, but I drove off quickly to avoid any possible confrontation (i.e. a woman running after me in the Toys R Us parking lot). You see, people get crazy at this time of the year.

Surprisingly, I hit about a dozen traffic lights on the way back (the universe rights itself), and I was back at home at 11:30 PM. Still on a high from the excitement. Reading more of the thread on the forum after I got back, I was told that the Huntington Beach location had been out of stock at least since 8:30 AM this morning. And it seemed as though most people in the forum had resorted to price matching at Walmart since most toys r us were out of stock after this morning. The price matching at Walmart was a good deal, but not as good as they did not give you a $25 gift certificate. Score! I literally can turn this around and make an easy $75 by tomorrow, but I'm gonna have to keep it.

Stan asked me if it would have been better if he just called me next time he saw a deal, but the irony is that if I had gotten there right after he called me, I would have gotten there before the guy returned it, and I would have walked away empty handed.

Until now, I've been playing with my brother's unused PS3 Rock Band when I was at San Diego, and after that, Stan let me borrow/have his RB1 drums, his guitar hero xplorer guitar, my brother's PS3 mic that works on the xbox as well, and Stan's RB1 game as well since he has RB2). It was kind of my makeshift Rock Band for Po' People kit. But now, I have the shiny new black RB2 drums, game, guitar, mic for $85. I'm totally stoked!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rock Band (X360) Moved On

Trying to 5 star everything in Hard.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dark chocolate to milk chocolate with almonds

I had picked up this brick of baking chocolate at fresh & easy when I was in SD. They had a milk chocolate with almonds there, and it was good for straigt up eating. The dark chocolate was definitely baking chocolate. It needing a little more sugar, I decided that I as just going to experiment. The chocolate was dirt cheap, so I didn't even bother reading information online. I decided to just go for it.

And what do you know, working with chocolate is actually takes some knowledge and experience with the product.

First things first, you cannot add sugar to melted chocolate. I roasted the raw almonds in peanut oil and set that aside. That itself was pretty tasty after it had rested a bit.

I set up my double boiler, and when the chocolate melted, I decided to add some sugar. After giving it more than enough time to mix into the chocolate, I decided the sugar wasn't ever going to mix into the dark chocolate. So all I had left was melted dark chocolate with gritty sugar in my double boiler. I imagined the tasted to be something unplesant. I did remember that Alton Brown from Good Eats saying you can't do this or that with chocolate. And maybe adding sugar was one of them. I had raw sugar, and that didn't do anything either. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I now had raw sugar and white sugar grittyness in my melted dark chocolate. Maybe it needed some liquid to mix the sugar in? So I decided to add some Hazlenut non daily creamer. And it instantly had a chemical reaction and turned into a solid.

I admit defeat and put the solid into a zip lock bag. The next day, I decided to dissolve the solid into boiling milk. I was hoping to boil out the milk as everything seemed to be dissolving fine into the liquid. But unfortunately it wasn't ever going to return to a solid state. But what I did end up with was pretty good fudge. Unfortunately, I don't like fudge, but I was happy that I was able to turn something that I thought would have been thrown out into something commonly consumable.

It turns out that if you want to turn dark chocolate into milk chocolate, you have to use sweetened condensed milk. If you want to turn baking chocolate to sweet dark chocolate, you need to use chocolate liquor. And you can add other things to enhance the flavor or chocolate.

Overall, it wasn't a complete waste. And I did buy the brick of chocolate for $2 primarily to play with it. I'll just eat the rest as is. Its not too bad. Maybe I'll go get some sweeted condensed milk if I have some left over.

I've created 3 miniblogs on the side

Things I've cooked, games I'm playing, and tv shows and movies I'm currently watching. I've created them separately because I would like to keep these on a list, separated from everything else as I seem to blog about anything. At least these will be categorized. I got rid of my workout blog. I haven't stopped working out. Its just that I realized it wasn't interesting enough to blog about. But food, tv shows and movies, and games I'm playing seem more interesting to keep updated.

n+ (DS) Passed

This game is painful at times, but it is great. I'm worried I may break my DS again because i'm pushing so hard.

I wonder if this game would have done better if it was called something like Ninja Moves or something like that. n+ is meaningless, but anything with the word Ninja has some coolness to it.

Hell's Kitchen (DS) Passed

This game was awesome. Unfortunately there were 2 levels that you couldn't get 100%, other wise it was cool. The arcade mode was unexpectedly great as well. Like any great game, I found myself having to find creative ways to get higher scores. Anyone think they can beat 120 in arcade mode?

Order Up! (Wii) Passed

First passed it in Normal, then passed it in Hard. This game was so fun and addicting. I hope to see Order Up! 2.

GTA IV (PS3) Passed

The game itself was not great because there was a very small amount of weapons, no planes or parachutes or jetpacks. But I know that they built a solid engine and it can only get better from here.

Punisher: War Zone (Movie)

I warned my roommate that the first Punisher was really really violent. This one was about 10x more violent. But some violent scenes was hysterical as well. Like the one scene where the parkour guys gets blown up by a rocket launcher.

Top Chef (Latest Ep)

Haha, team rainbow is looking awfully foolish. One member left, and she keeps ending up on the bottom. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But for some reason, I want to see team rainbow go down.

Get Smart (Movie)

This was one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. I did not expect much, but I'll remember this line for a while:

Maxwell Smart: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
The Chief: I don't know. Were you thinking, "Holy shit, holy shit, a swordfish almost went through my head"? If so, then yes.

You'll have to watch the movie to get it.

CSI (Latest Ep)

I can't believe Gil is no longer going to be in CSI after the next ep. I'd rather they put an end to a good run and end the show with a bang then see it go downhill. I hope Fishburne can carry the show. It'll take more than a few good eps to see if he can do that or not.

The Ultimate Fighter (Latest Eps)

Junie, what a dumbass. But, he's very young, and I'm sure seeing himself on TV will help him mature. And maybe one day, he will fight in the UFC. He is an interesting person and possibly a gifted fighter as they initially made him out to be.

Dana really made it interesting though. With moves like that, how can people hate Dana White? It was genius. Screw the technicalities of having to kick people off the show because a "rule is a rule" nonsense. He made Junie eat his words. I wanted to see Junie get beat up and his dreams shattered. And that's exactly what we got. I can't really remember being this fulfilled watching TV.

House (Latest ep)

A part of me doesn't like the fact that they'd made House and Dr. Cuddy get into that position where everyone's going to wonder if they are going to hook up or not, and maybe keep it going on for years. That by itself has been overdone, but then again, it keeps a show interesting. Lets see where it goes.

Thai Red Curry

Prep time: 5-10 min
Cook time: 5 min

I've been making green curry last few weeks, and since the paste for the other curries are so cheap, I decided to buy the red and the panang pastes as well. I had been getting the frozen seafood mix and the asian frozen vegetable medlies from Trader Joes, but this time, I decided to do everything from scratch.

Unfortunately, it didn't turn out as well as I hoped. While it seemed like you couldn't possibly ever make a bad batch of thai curry, I found one key mistake you can make that can mess up the whole thing. When I was buying coconut milk at 99 ranch, I saw that this other brand of coconut milk on sale at half price. Not thinking twice, I bought that instead of the ones I had already put in my basket. I soon realized as I was cooking that the coconut milk that was on sale sucked. The biggest factor was that it was more liquid and had less of that cream. Checking the Nutritional Facts, it was obvious. the cheap coconut milk had 7g of fat, while the good one had 14g of fat. Lesson learned.

Red curry paste
Fish sauce
basil leaves
peanut oil
thai chiles
bamboo shoots
baby corn
chicken stock
coconut milk

It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but considering there is no real cooking involved other than sauteeing the garlic, and everything is added to taste, its one of the easiest things to make. To be honest, I can't see myself going back to a thai restaurant any time soon because I've discovered its so cheap and easy to make thai food at home.

Walnut pancakes

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 5 min

Pancakes for breakfast have been a routine thing for me at the moment.

I have an awesome basic recipe.

1 cup flour
1 cup milk
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp veg oil
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg slightly beaten
mix the wet ingredients first, then mix into the combined dry ingredients.

From then on, you can do whatever you want. I put some taro tea mix in there sometimes. At other times, I have tried putting things like green boba tea mix, a ripe banana, and this time walnuts. Other than the color, the taro or the green tea mix doesn't seem to affect any noticable flavor, which is unfortunate. The banana however is a very strong banana taste. If you love bananas, you'll love the pancakes, if you hate bananas, it will not be edible. When I have some rip bananas, I'll put them into the walnut mix, and make banana walnut pancakes. I really can't see how this can turn out bad.

I've experimented a little to try to bring the green tea flavor out. And the way I was going to do that was to add a heavy amount of mix into the maple syrup. It did kinda work, but it became a lot thicker than I was hoping. Maybe I could have thinned it out with water.

Things I've learned, if you don't compltely mash the banans into almost a syrup, when its cooked, you'll have these pockets of soft banana goo inside your pancakes. I really thought it gave the pancakes some x-factor.

Also, walnuts...raw walnuts were ok into the pancake mix, but I think if you toast the walnuts first, it may even better. I'll have to try that next time.

Lastly, I always made the mistake of oiling the pan first before cooking pancakes. Especially because they are on the directions of every pancake mix I've ever bought. And if you do this you get really ugly pancakes. The trick is to not use any oil at all. Any oil that is in the recipe should be part of the mix. All you need is medium heat and a good very non stick pan. When you flip them over, they'll look perfect every time.


I am going to log the things I watch for gits and shiggles. Why does blogger's logo make this theme look like the North Korea flag?

Sunday, December 7, 2008


On my spare minutes, I play games on my DS, Wii, PSP, and 360. I would also like to keep a list of the games I pass.


Working at home, I find myself cooking a lot. So I created this blog to log what I cook, the but more importantly the observations so I can improve on the dish next time.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Blackberry Storm's first impressions: A huge disappointment

I've been holding off on getting a iPhone until I tried the Blackberry Storm. So I went to the Verizon store, and I can't remember the last time I've been so disappointed due to high expectations. Well.....not counting Indiana Jones, Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls.

But the whole clickable LCD was a total mess. They never explain in the commercials how it really works. The entire LCD presses in. So for example, the amount of pressure needed to press the G key is a lot more than to key on the edge like A. That problem compounded by the fact that you have to press in for the key to register made it awkward. The pressing in feature slowed down typing.

There are positives and negatives. For example, before you type in a word like "The"

On the Storm, the key will light up, and once you realize you are on the right letter you have to press in.

On the iPhone, it registers when you just touch the key (or maybe when you lift up, not sure). That might sound like it'll take some precision touching but the iPhone seems to have incredible word recognition software where it seemed like I typed a 6 letter word completely wrong (6 out of 6 wrong characters), but since all the letters were approximately near a commonly known word, it corrected it after the 6th character.

Doing the Storm and iPhone typing head to head, the iPhone blew away the Storm.

When I first asked about the Storm to the Verizon rep, the first thing she said before anything was that the Storm's firmware that was on their current models are their old versions and that the response on the new firmwares are much improved. A stiff warning before we actually got to see the Storm with the old firmwares. And she wasn't kidding when we tried it out. The old firmware wasn't boarderline unbearable. It was beyond unbearable. Any person who actually saw the Storm in this form I would imagine would be running to the apple store. It was worse than my first encounter with the Motorola Q on its day 1 release.

Because of my love for Blackberrys, I'll have to give Storm just one more chance with the new firmware before I rule it out completely. But the Storm's better firmware is going to have to be about 10x more responsive to have the same responsiveness than the iPhone. I don't like the typing, which was my biggest reason to even consider the iPhone. My verdict until then will is that the Storm is a total miss.

Friday, November 21, 2008

TVersity, the greatest thing I've found on the internet in a long time

What is it? Basically there's a new standard for streaming content called DLNA. And things like ps3, xbox 360, and portable devices that have internet are supporting it. This means that you can basically watch any video you have downloaded (regardless of format, but divx/xvid/mp4 preferred so there is no transcoding involved) can be watched anywhere you go. I have collected over a terabyte of video of things that I considered had some replay value. This means that I have access to that collection without actually having it on me. On top of my own content, you can stream video over RSS feeds that are publicly available (some by tv networks). I've tried programs like that in the past, like orb, but could never get over the lack of quality. TVersity doesn't seem to have that problem. And one of the greatest things about tversity was it it installed, and it worked great from the start. There are not too many free software that does that.

DLNA is the future of video content on portable devices. In the future, we won't need a local copy of the video, or even a copy at home. You may need to pay for a subscription, but you can probably watch any show at any time on any advice. It will stream without transcoding, be high quality, and be at the right frame rate. We are almost there, and it can only get better from here. Imagine, you need to kill 15 minutes, you whip out your cell phone, and have every movie, every tv show, every video content you can ever dream of. Can't wait!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Anyone else tired of these Mac commercials?

I'm pretty sick of them. I once thought they were witty and funny. Now I think they are just a big lie with presuppositions that Mac can't seem to back up.

If you are a Mac user, do you ever find yourself needing a piece of 3rd party software, then find it on google, have it sound like exactly what you need, then discover its Windows only? See, Windows users don't have this problem. While Mac users probably encounter this on a daily basis, it is safe to say Windows users have never encountered it. Run it on a virtual machine you say? Yeah, real convienient and efficient. Why run one operating systems when you can run 2 at a time? Why run it at full speed, when you can run at virtual full speed? Why consume a few megs of space when you can consume a few megs of space plus 2 gigs for the virtual OS, and a few more gigs for the virtual enviornment? Why consume 15 megs of memory to run an application when you can consume 384 MB of ram isntead? Why use hardware acceleration when you can use software acceleration? Yeah, think of that when they tell you that you can still run all PC applications. Why are you buying a Mac again?

The truth is Windows OS is not that bad, and Mac OS is not that good. All software has bugs, and Mac OS is no exception. Apple users assume that Windows is worse because that's what they are lead to believe as they point to problems Windows had with BSOD 8 years ago. Sure you still encounter that maybe once a year for each computer you own, but its because you're probably running buggy cracked 3rd party software, or some generic cheapo hardware that costed your $2 less at Fry's that came in a white box. I don't think Macs crash any less frequently than that.

When I'm on a PC I am doing 15 different things at once (a few chat programs, often Firefox and IE at the same time, a suite of Microsoft Office applications, a suite of adobe applications, at least 3 virtual machines all running server OS, multiple instances of visual studio, and a few applets like uTorrent, Daemon Tools, and VLC.) When I get on a Mac, I feel like I am limited to doing what the Mac is capable of doing. And some things that it does, I'm only doing the *lite* version of them as the open source programmers with their busy full time jobs (as artist or unix wiz) haven't had time to add the feature that PC users had since the application of that type first became available.

Being a Microsoft hating fanboy is a sick disease to where someone like Jerry Yang, the now former CEO of Yahoo! would rather see the worth of his company drop down to half price, than make a deal with Microsoft. Get off the bandwagon already. No one likes a hater. I'm done with the commericials that say "buy me because my competition is horrible." That does not really say you are any better.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wii Game Review: Order Up

I like Diner Dash like games (Diner Dash, Cake Mania, Hell's Kitchen). And I thought I'd give this game a try. And to my surprise, I found Order Up to be one of the gems in the flooded Wii game market. I found myself unable to put this game down for a week, until I finished it. And then played it again in hard mode. When I finished that, I was left wanting more.

One common critique about this game is that its just like Cooking Mama. That may be true to some point, but Order Up is a lot more. There is a progression in this game. As you get more money, you can hire additional and more qualified help. You buy recipes, ingredients, better equipment, and evetually higher class restaurants. The cooking gets more complicated as the games progress. You must learn learn your customers and sous chef's to manage your time wisely. There is a tremendous amount of attention to detail in this game and the effort they put in to give you as much variety as possible without leaving the realm of what this game is all about. At being on the boarderline of overly ambitious, I say they pulled it off in spades.

The only critique I have about this game is that it could have been a little harder. By the time I finished the game in Normal mode, I was at a point where Hard mode was too easy. And there were many things to make this game a bit more challenging as line cooking would be in real life. I hope there is an Order Up 2. I would highly recommend this game if you like dash games or cooking games.

Basic Pancake Recipe: This one is a keeper

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
milk, just enough to make pourable batter


I had been using premixed stuff all my life, but after this recipe, I would never go back. The premix stuff always seems dry, off color, or just never able to be cooked where the pancakes actually look like pancakes (that flat dark brown color). It always just looks like a mess. Anyway, this is a really good basic recipe where you can just about add anything, and I think it should turn out delicious. I made some red bean soup today. I think I'll even experiment that in my pancakes and put less milk. Make some sort of asian pancakes. Now if I can somehow figure out how to make warm green tea syrup, I may be onto something. I'll have to go pick up some green tea powder.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Aspi32 service failed to start due to the following error: This driver has been blocked from loading

Trying to do a cleanup of the installed programs on my computer, I made the mistake of uninstanlling Roxio Media Manager that was packaged with my Blackberry Desktop Software. After the uninstall, I started getting one of those "One of the services failed to start on startup" messages.

My immediate response was to go to the Administrative Tools -> Services but that offered no indication of anything failing to startup. Searching through my event logs, I found that aspi32.sys was failing to load.

Trying to reinstall Roxio Media Manager actually did not help. During the reinstall, the installation failed. So I just decided to just take Aspi32 out of HKLM...CurrentControlSet...Services (and other control sets). That seemed to do the trick.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post election comments

How can we elect a black president, and at the same time, have multiple states ban gay marriage? It seems like we take 2 steps forward, and 2 steps back.

The mormon church has nothing better to do with their money than trying to take away rights from people that has nothing to do with them. And notice the key word in all this is marriage. While the catholic priests treat the boys choir as their own private halloween basket, as long as marriage isn't involved, it must be okay. I haven't been to church in a long time, but I don't remember the sermon where we're told we're supposed to impose our beliefs on people. We can influence and let people make their own decisions. God will judge them at the gate. Us preventing them from getting a certificate is really meaningless, and is a downer for all the civil rights progress we have made. Mormon church probably could have spent that money and actually accomplished something useful, not this garbage.

What do I remember from church? I remember that divorce is just as bad as gay marriage in church. But what if Prop 8 was about banning divorces. Would it pass? Would it ever get the support from the church as it did? No it wouldn't. Why? Because it would take the rights away from the heterosexual couples. And no one wants to lose rights. And this is why this is so messed up. They are fine banning people from doing something as long as it doesn't take away their rights.

Anyway, I'm glad Obama won. I'm all for investing for the future, not protecting the little that we have left. I forgot where I heard it but there are 2 types of people in this world. One of the types of the people are the people who have a high amount of negativity to losing their money. For example, they would feel worse losing $1000 than feeling good making $10,000. And this was the basis for McCain's campaign. He brought the feel of loss in people, especially in the people mentioned above who hates losing money, no matter any amount, down to the core. His campagin of "If you're rich, hold onto your money tight, and lets see what happens" didn't sound like a good plan. And "vote for me because Obama sucks" wasn't a good campaign.

Is there something about republicans that democrats don't understand? Are they all making 250k a year farming corn living in $40k mansions? I always thought they made less, but it didn't matter because their cost of living was low? Maybe they live the good life, but don't try to convince the others on the continent to switch over. Because to me, if I made less than 250k a year, it would not make sense to be republican. Further investigation on this is necessary.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Huntington Beach, my new home

I had been planning to move to LA for some time. An opportunity to move to HB came up that I couldn't pass up. The rent and util rates are really good, and I would be sharing the place with one of my good friends from college. The place is on the top floor, so there are vaulted ceilings (it makes a huge difference), and its a mile from the beach in a nice area. The rent is month to month. I had planned to move up further north, but for the time being with the cashflow, I couldn't say no to this place. As an added plus Trader Joes is across the street. That itself should help me save money.

The move went well. The challenge was that I had to move stuff to a place on the 3rd floor with no elevator. Where 2 people could easily load the truck, I needed about 8 people to unload it. I had to really call in some favors. Just like how it was in a seinfeld episode, asking a guy friend to move is kinda like asking a girl friend to go all the way. You can't ask friends you have just met or someone that you don't know that well to go all the way. That just would be a ridiculous proposition.

Anyway, I discovered I had about 4x the amount of stuff that I thought I had. It doesn't appear that anything got damaged. The only bump in the road was literally a bump in the road. While on the way to the u-haul in huntington beach to return the truck, I was trying to make a call, and I hit a center divider/island, and we rode that one for a good truck length. It gave the truck a good jolt, but luckily nothing that would cause any noticable damage to the exterior and probably to the interior of the truck. It was a lot more humorous than I'm describing it. Especially for my brother who was driving behind me. I did say no to insurace because I would be covered under my regular insurance, but during a move where you are trying to coordinate so many things, it would have been an absolute nightmare.

After 12 years in San Diego, it hasn't hit me that I have left just yet. First things to do here is get a network switch and a coffee grinder.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Vote No on Proposition 8 in California

I hate to go back on what I just said one week ago, but I have found something that I think is going to be worth my time to vote. This time, I went out of my way to register. Why? Proposition 8. I would have never thought something like this could ever have the chance to pass, until I saw all the people campaigning for it (especially my neighbors). And I really think there is some chance my vote will matter. And I have made some effort to spread the information so its not just my singular vote that I'm trying to make a difference with.

What really pushed me over the edge was a (most ridiculous) TV commerical. Basically, it was implying that if you don't vote Yes on Proposition 8, they will teach your kids to be gay in school. No, I'm not oversimplfying, spinning, or misinterpreting the commercial. It was that blantly stupid. But looking at the signs my neighbors have posted on their lawns, they must believe it. The commericial is paid for by the Momon Church who believe being gay is wrong because God says so. Nothing wrong with that (believing in what your religion tells you, its how religious operate), but why do they have to lie to the public? I am disgusted.

Do they really think that someone can learn to be gay in school? If they really believe that, they must be living a lie. Because they must have *learned* to be straight in church, and they believe their *problem* was corrected.

For rest of the normal people out there, including myself, I strongly believe you are born with your sexual preference. And being a heterosexual male male myself, I would vomit at the thought of someone trying to change that because its flat out impossible. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I also believe that its unfair to vote against something that you have nothing to do with. Its trying to enforce Jim Crows laws all over again. We have come a long way from banning people's rights on things that doesn't have to do anything with you. All the arguments I've heard against it are rubbish. More taxes for local gov? No there are not enough gay people to make a significant impact. If they really want to save a few dollars, there are a billion other things that are more effective than prop 8.

Another dumb argument for prop 8 is that if gets passed, churches will no longer be tax exempt. This is a flat out lie. And it is a lie by so called christians which is more sickening. If Prop 8 doesn't pass, and all the churches and religious organizations lose their tax exempt status, I give them the right to stone me to death. But in return, all the ones preaching that they are going to lose their tax exempt status should kill themselves if they don't lose their tax exempt status when Prop 8 doesn't pass. Do we have a deal? Come to my door on your bike with your white shirt & black tie, and we can shake on it.

How would Mormons like it if non-Mormons had the right to vote if they can have Sunday service on Sundays? It would be outrageous. Outrageous just like Prop 8. Vote No. It is unclear where I am with my Christian affiliation these days, but at least with the little bit of affiliation left in me, I would be very disappointed if regular Christians and Catholics were buying into what the Mormons were preaching, and where they have taken it with these campaigns. Don't Mormons believe that it is a sin to lie? I know that the officially recognized Christians (Prebyterian, Baptist, Lutheran, and even the non-denominational and also the Catholics) don't believe that Mormons are going to heaven because they really are not real Christians because their beliefs are out of whack, but I would have thought Mormons would believe it is a sin to lie.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The worthlessness of a singular vote from a non-advocate

I've registered to vote maybe half a dozen times during college. But I never went out to vote. Maybe if there were some people standing outside the markets with a pen in hand approaching me to take my vote, then I may have done so.

I have never seen a presidential debate. I don't bother to learn or read about the candidates or any of the propositions. So I don't/can't get involved in any arguments/discussions about a candidate or a proposition. Discussions (especially arguing against something I disagree with) usually take a tremendous amount of time and energy. And I don't think anyone will disagree with me that time and energy is our most precious resource.

Lets just think of this as a math/probability problem. What are the chances that in my lifetime, my single vote is gonna tip something in my favor? And say that I did hit the jackpot and "I" did tip something in my favor by a 1 vote margin. What is the probability that the one that I made all the difference in is something that's really gonna make a serious impact on my life where if it swayed the other way, it would not be something I can't just shrug my shoulders about? Lets say that luck was on my side, and I am 2 for 2. What is the likelihood that whatever got passed or whichever candidate that got elected is all that I was hoping it would be? (The candidate kept all his promises (like healthcare for the masses?), or the proposition got got passed wasn't veto'd or nullified shortly after.) I would say that likelihood of hitting 3 for 3 is boardering on 0.0%.

By not participating in these activities, I save myself generally 10 hours a year. Possibily 40 hours during an election year. I base that on the amount of time and energy I generally spend on arguing with people on points I disagree with, not necessarily politics.

I do believe that advocates for a candidate or proposition who spawn other advocates are indeed effective. I have not come across anything or anyone where I am willing to do that just yet.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The BEST headphones/earbuds period.

I've found them again. They are marketted as the Sony MDR-E828LP. And sells for $10. Yes, you read that right. I bought the same ones about 10 years ago at the UCSD bookstore for about $20 (everything is overpriced there). There is something magical about the Twin Turbo circuit for enhanced bass response. Earbuds in general usually do lack bass, and these don't boost the bass. It just seems like it accurately reproduces them. And for some reason, these are the only earbuds that Sony seems to make that has the Twin Turbo circuit inside. And I do remember my brother listening something with my earbuds and him saying how good they were.

One day, when my dad was driving me home from college, I must have closed the door while half the headphone was still outside the car. And it wasn't salvagable after about 100 miles of driving. I've gone back to the UCSD bookstore more than a few occasions to see if they still carried the same ones years later. But all they sold were the cheaper versions without the Twin Turbo circuitry. And I must have bought those a few times and were disappointed every time. Since then I have gone through about 8 different pairs of headphones and earbuds, spending hundreds of dollars of trying to find something I once lost. Why? The earbuds are that good. You experience music at a much higher level. You can literally close your eyes, sit in a dark room, maybe close your ears to ensure no other sounds escape, and you can get lost in your songs. Its a moving experience.

So just yesterday, I was walking through Walmart because I had just gone through my last pair of descent earbuds, and lo and behold, the only Sony ones they had were the ones I had failed to find in the last 10 years. Maybe I had found them on amazon before, but I had gone with their higher priced earbuds that do not have the twin turbo stuff, and after paying more and more thinking I was going to get something better each time I bought something, I gave up. I have the perfect headphones once again, and I had forgotten how much I used to love being totally immersed in music.

Next time I'm at Walmart, I'm just going to buy 3 or 4 more of these because for some reason Sony is not putting their best technology in their newer earbuds. And even in amazon, they are almost impossible to find if you don't know exactly what you're looking for. They may disappear one day, and earbuds having a life of only a few years, it will be a worthwhile investment.

The only negative thing about these earbuds is that every imperfection in the mp3 is exposed. All the mp3's I got while I had these headphones years back are perfect because I used to download 10 of the same songs, and choose the perfect one. But recently, I hadn't had anything of this caliber to judge the minute differences so all my mp3s are not perfect, and I can hear all the imperfections now. You can hear the differences between the Fraunhofer, Xing, LAME encoders. You can tell differences between 128 vs 160 vs 192 vs 256kbps bitrates.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TV Season is back!

Shows I watch as soon as it becomes available:
The (Celebrity) Apprentice
The Ultimate Fighter
World Series of Poker
Top Chef
South Park
CSI (Las Vegas)

Shows I like having on (I like falling asleep to, or watch in the background while I work).
No Reservations (Travel Channel)
Man Vs. Wild

Shows I plan to watch on an extended vacation (whenever that may be)
Apprentice UK

Shows I'll watch when I retire
CSI Miami

Shows I thought I would never not stop watching, but do not watch currently:
The Simpsons
Family Guy
American Idol

All FOX...Interesting

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I recently turned 30 a weekend and a half ago. Big three oh.

What is it like? To tell you the truth, I cannot tell. When I'm not brandishing my crows feet (only happens when I really have an authentic smile on my face), I feel like I look about the same as I did in my late teens. Unfortunately, people who can tell that you are older than say a 21 year old is practically everyone else. I can't remember the last time I got genuinely carded out of me looking too young, not because of obligation from the law or management.

I don't know what age your age becomes a factor in your cognitive abilities, but I feel as though I'm sharper than I've ever been. What I've learned (unfortunately after college) is that to learn something, you need to first learn how your brain learn something new. My ability to learn something or solve a problem is always being improved and fine tuned. Its all about maximizing the gain of a new skill and minimizing the time you put into it.

As for strength, today, I bench pressed 145 lbs 8 reps without a spotter. That might sound like a little (or a lot depending on who you are), but I've never been able to bench close to 135 no matter how hard I tried in the past. It was discouraging. But things have changed. I've always read in Men's Health how it is easier to gain muscle starting at 30, than at 25. Something about testosterone. You produce more of it starting early 30's. Thinking back to the caveman days, it makes sense. When you are in your 30's, you gotta build a home for your family, hunt and kill wild animals for food, and protect your family (from predators, enemies, and natural elements). Before you're obligated to do that, all that testosterone probably just makes you an annoying person to be around.

As for my tastebuds, bitter things have more appeal as expected. I used to hate all bitterness, even till my late 20's. But now, I don't mind it at all. I may be even attacted to it. I find myself at the market sometimes exploring new tastes that are dark, rich, viscous, and often pungent. Things you generally hated as a child.

I would have to say that 30 is 10 times better than being 20.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Why I like to eat natto

Natto has an acquired taste. I eat it just about every other day. It may be the most foul smelling Asian foods you can eat, #1 being stinky tofu, #2 being natto, #3 fish sauce and durian being somewhere in the mix, I'd say natto probably isn't that bad. Natto smells pretty much identical to stinky feet. Stinky as put on your running shoes with your gym socks on, you accidentally stepped in a puddle, and you decided to just not do anything about the dampness for the entire day. And say you had pretty sweaty feet in general so it just keeps your foot moist all day long. After a long day, you take off your shoes, the smell hits. That is what natto smells like. Right there. I can't describe it any better than that. I can say that the smell of smelly feet can have a high variance, but the exact smell of natto is in that spectrum.

So why do I eat it? Aside from the smell, it is fun to eat. The level of salt is perfect when you're looking for something to snack on. There is a whole process involved in eating natto. The first step is to prepare it with the 2 packets it comes with. The hot mustard and the soy sauce. Separate the top so that you have a discard pad for your packets. Squeeze the hot mustard and soy sauce onto the natto. The second step is the to mix in the soy sauce and hot mustard. And the more you mix, the more frothy it gets. The trick is to mix it up, get it froty, and have a few soy beans. The mixture of froth and some soy beans is what you want to get in your mouth (3rd step). Why? I am not quite sure. But if you don't make the froth, its not the same. When it gets to your mouth, you've undoubtably ended up with some strings of natto (kinda like spider web) on the chop sticks. You really don't want this to hit your chin. The mouth has a ability to clense itself, your chin doesn't. A dry wipe will not do it. So the fourth part to eating natto is to not let the natto strings hit your chin. Use your chop sticks to guide the strings away from your chin. 5th part is keep up the frothyness. The froth will die down when its not constantly stirred. Keep mixing it so you can keep eating it.

-Fun to eat
I also found out today that its good for you. From wikipedia:
-Supposedly it helps your blood not clot.
-High in nutrients that helps bone growth.
-May lower cholesterol.
-May prevent some cancers like any soy products.
-Is filling (probably something about its consistancy, frothyness, and gas that makes you think you ate more than you did).
-I can personally verify an unverified claim noted in wikipedia that it does help with digestion.
-Good for your skin.
-Its probiotic.

-Gas. They are beans afterall. Also, they are fermented. You can do the math. But in all honesty, it probably smells worse going in.
-Soy has something in them that bonds to estrogen receptors in your body. I have not found conclusive one line statement saying soy will have identical effects to the body that estrogen does, BUT...doctors do recommend that a heavy diet of soy products for young boys is a very bad idea, and there are products like estroven which is like a natural estrogen supplement that is made with soy products. They must exist because they are not a total waste of money. They probably won't give you man boobs (moobs) because if it did, Asia would be the land of moobs, but that is not the case.

So its almost the perfect food. Except the estrogen like effects and the smell. May require more than trying once to acquire the taste, but you may start loving it like I do (and the millions of people in Japan).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nikon D90, a camera that bridges the gap between beginner to the first time dSLR owner

A phenomena was unleashed today when Nikon released information that the new D90 will be able to shoot 720p video 24fps.

First things first 24fps is the fps used by film/movies. Real film can be shot at a low 24fps because each frame can be motion blurred by having long exposures so that each frame will be seamless into the next. Long exposures takes an insane amount of processing power. To do it right you would need to process something like 24 images shot with 1/25s exposures every second. Looking at samples, on Nikon's website, they are ok, but it still looks like a movie with low fps. In other words, more choppy than cinematic. It is no mistake why they chose more slow moving objects, than say someone briskly walking with arms swinging back and fourth.

A good assumption to would be fair make about users who think video is the next breakthrough in dSLR technology is that they probably don't own a dSLR. Taking pictures with a highly specialized (and expensive tool) was never something they were completely sold on, which is why they don't own one. They might have been on the boarderline of buying a dSLR, but after the video feature was added to the D90, it was the feature that pushed them over the edge. So kudos to Nikon for making it happen.

So today, in the dpreview forums, there was a massive amount of people who were more than in-your-face about the fact that they have finally not chosen Canon in the Canon forums because Nikon made the right move. Is there any point to arguing with a person who wants to buy a highly specialized photography tool with a plan to shoot video? Especially when better video equipment has been around forever. These people are neither photographers or videographers. They are just proud that they've finally made up their mind whether to go with Nikon or Canon.

Seriously, when is the last time you picked up your dSLR and thought "damn, I wish this thing had video?" It just doesn't click.

The phenomena itself wasn't the camera, but the barrage of soon to be first time dSLR owners who all collectively made up their mind that D90 has the extra something they have been waiting to jump on when it comes out. If a Canon one day comes with video, maybe I'll use it once in a blue moon because its there, but I really can't see someone who has photography in their mind giving any weight to the video feature.
Update: After reading the D90 reviews, I take back a lot of things I said about the camera. The video indeed does suck, but the camera itself is awesome, more so than anything Canon has announced recently. Nikon is still in the photography business, Canon seems to be changing their focus so that their features are more appealing to the everyday consumer which is ultimately going to be disadvantageous image quality. Please Canon, no more megapixels. 15 is too much for the APS-C, and I can't imagine what a pain a 21 megapixel raw file will be to handle.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

My first experience at Marie Calendars

When I was young (elementary school/Jr. High), living in Koreatown, my friends always told me how they went to Marie Calendars and how they relished the experience. I used to ask if it was a restaurant, and they'd tell me that they'd have desserts. So it was a place you went to get pie and coffee? It just didn't make sense to me. And that cloudy vision of Marie Calendar remained with me for the next 20 years. What do you do there? Its like a cafe, mostly for desserts and soups? Why would anyone go there for that? And how could it be that good? Well, I went there for the first time on Friday. And it turns out that its pretty much like a Denny's, but of higher quality. Since it was my first experience, I went for the full Marie Calendar experience. That's right. I got the chicken pot pie. That's what they are known for. Just ask Costco. At one time of my life, I really liked chicken pot pies although I've only had one kind of chicken pot pies in my life. I never had a Marie Calendars frozen chicken pot pie (I always thought they were expensive, and one took at the Nutritional Facts sealed the fate that I would never buy one). I only buy the $1 kind with light blue packaging. It was cheap, and I can enjoy it.

So what was the Marie Calendar's pie like? Well, I can say for sure that it was probably the best pot pie i've ever had. But to be fair, its not hard to beat a $1 pie with a $12.85 pie. There is some magic in the crust (probably butter or shortning). When the crust is broken off and dropped into the white cream on the bottom, the stars align. Earth stands still. You spoon the combination of crust and pie center into your mouth, and as you press your tongue to the roof of your mouth, an explosion of goodness happens. The tonge has taste buds for sour, salty, bitter and sweet, but trust me on this one, we have taste buds for fat, and it is revealed to you when you eat something like this. The fat dissolves instantly when it makes contact, and its like someone turned on a switch in your brain, that hasn't been switched on for a long time. And you think "huh....yeah, there is something special about this."

Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling like chicken pot pie, so I didn't savor the experience, but I ordered it anyway to get it out of the way so I never have to wonder. To finish off the original Marie Calendar experience, we ordered individual pieces of lemon marange, cherry, and banana cream pie.

The entire experience itself was ok. I'll go back when I feel like eating some chicken pot pie.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

RSS feeds, and the ridiculousness of the update frequency

I'll admit I'm not an expert at RSS and I haven't read the ISO doc or anything like that. But what I can say about RSS feeds is that its ridiculously slow to update.

Are some of the servers providing RSS feeds on a 2400 baud modem? Is that the problem?

We're at an age where we no longer should have to wait for anything if we don't have to. How about a RSS relaying service for something like iGoogle? For example, say you have a popular rss feed, and you don't want a million people that have added the rss feed to iGoogle (Google's news aggregator) to request from your server with limited bandwidth. So instead, Google's rss relay service checks your rss feed every minute, and when people update their iGoogle page, it displays what Google's last update was.

Maybe they are already doing that. And if that's the case, there is no excuse for slow updating RSS feeds. A slow updatting RSS feed is as good as day old newspaper.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


You know what would be really good at Chipotle? If they had lamb steak (like the steak they have now) sauteed with some cumin. That would make a damn good soft taco.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Week 5: Day 1

Making huge improvements on the fly machine. I could probably do a set at 160 by next time. Was able to do some jump roping on my off day. I must keep that up by doing it tomorrow.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Business is on the up and up

I gotta hand it to my sales guys. We got deals in the pipeline, some already closed (just going to take some time to get a PO). Our new website is fantastic and highly tuned for any kind of adword campaign and every SEO optimization we want to do. Software is improving. We've been approved to bid on government contracts which is one of the sales guys' specialties.. And last but not least we now have a new process in place to get additional leads at any time. It involves "selectively emailing" some target indivduals (we've purchased 25k email addresses of people with selective job titles in specific industries), but its effective. We invite them to a webinar on a topic they want to hear more about. And we've been really surprised at the conversion rate.

Just a few more sales and we're hoping it should be for me to finally to make the move up to LA, and get a better sales office so I can work in person with my sales guys. We would always be making a lot of progress. It would also make us work more and more efficient. Working from home is great, but slacking off is too easy. When you work for your own company, it is a joy and a curse at the same time. That is why I have not bought Rock Band, a game I find immense joy playing and improving on the little of it that I play at Stan's house. Which seems to be maybe once a month, if that. I haven't bought GTA: IV, a game I had been waiting for a since it was announced 2 years ago. I did manage to re-mod my Wii to get a mod chip with an updatable firmware so that I can play the 3 new Mario games. Luckily, the games did not prove additing. It could be that I have a new hobby now, which is 55+5. And for once, its a hobby that is not a waste of time.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Does cheap gas burn faster?

I've always thought so but was it can never be more than speculation.

I filled up on Saturday at Costco, I drove to Stan's house, then I drove home. Then I drove to LA Fitness and back. After not driving until Monday night, I got back in my car I noticed that the tank read at 2 lines below the Full line. And with the amount of driving that I did, which was less than 15 miles, I expected it to still exceed the Full line. Usually after I've burned through 2-3 gallons of gas, I would expect it to be where its at.

I think we need mythbusters for this one. But that's pretty friggin amazing how quickly the gas burned off. Even if they pumped a gallon less into the tank to make me think I filled up my car for a lot less, it would still not make sense.

San Diego

Knock on wood, but the weather has been exceptionally exceptional. 73 degress, all day and night.

Can you ask for anything more?

How about if a thousand dollars fell into my lap.



Nothing yet....

Still nothing...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Cuil, the world's biggest, and slowest search engine

I definitely wanted to check it out, but after 10 tries in 2 hours, i finally got the message saying they've taken the service down due to overwhelming demand. Is this thing running in someone's garage? It reminds me of the time when I was using my roadrunner connection as a web server when i lived in international gardens. And I had posted pictures of Jeff's Skyline GT-R Spec Nur. And he had given the links to Motorex. And Motorex posted the pictures on their website, and then people posted that link on some forums. And I was wondering why my internet connection was so slow.

Google has really wrapped itself around every user on the internet. Not sure how Cuil is going to compete. Its no longer about search engines any more. Google is my news aggregator, my email client, a calendar for some, I use their analytics, docs, its my blogger, and i use it as my primary source for advertisement for business.

Its not like Google has a problem finding stuff on the web. I would say a lot of people would be eager to try it out and give them a benefit of the doubt, but they'll soon realize that 90% of all their other activity will still need to be done on google.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Week 3: Day 1

Because the machines that I wanted to start out with were full, I did barbell curls first, and it wasn't a bad idea. I did up to 50lbs on the 3rd set, actually completed it, and it relatively didn't affect most of my workouts.

On my way to the gym, I ran into one of the biggest idiots on the road. he/she gets in the left lane to turn, then changes his mind, then he stops right in the middle of traffic (the light was green, but the turn was red) so he decided he was going to turn after all. He's way past the line about a full car length and a half, but he's still in my lane. It pissed me off because this was putting me in danger, and I couldn't change to the other 2 lanes as cars were passing through them because I was behind him the whole time. Although it really didn't bother me that much, I used this as my motivation to do more intensive lifting.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Week 2: Day 2

I went to the gym today and had a pretty good work out.

I did 130 on the fly machine which was an improvement over last time.

Instead of pull downs, I did skull crushes.

A guy at the gym saw me using the preacher curl machine and told me a better way to sit on it so that i don't put pressure on my back.

If only I could do some cardio in the morning.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

UFC Vs. Affliction

Who's gonna win?

I would watch UFC Fight Night, download Affliction. The Fedor fight is the only one I would want to watch, and you know 5 minutes after it airs, it would be on all the video sharing channels anyway. It may be a good and profitable live event, but probably a poorly rated PPV event. Just my guess.

My prediction, UFC wins by a wide margin.

Update: After the bell
All I can say is, wow, they put a lot of money in this thing. There were a lot of surprises. First one being Noguira. Brother to the Interim (and current) heavyweight champion of UFC. He wasn't even on the card, and he showed up and fought Edwin Dewees. Maybe Donald thought he kinda made it look like a last minute fight and people would mistake him for his brother. Clever. It feels like everyone left at once. Couture, Sylvia, Arlovski, Cro Cop, and Fedor who ufc was close to signing with. Who is left? Wanderlei has moved down to light heavyweight, Gonzaga doesn't seem like the guy after Randy just owned him, Frank Mir never got his groove back after his bike accident, Kongo is on a losing streak... The future is uncertain. Smaller fighters are exciting to watch, everyone assumes the heavy weight champion is at the top of the food chain, and although there is a strong argument that weight and size doesn't matter in MMA, its not a bad assumption to make either. As for Affliction, it looked like they had a full packed arena, and they knew how to put on a good show. But it is uncertain that they made enough money to keep on going. It was a do or die event. And we won't know until the next event is announced. Megadeth opened the event, Big John McCarthy looks like he now become announcer (how does that happen? I thought the only thing he knew how to say was "are you ready? are you ready? let's get it on! c'mon!), the 2 PrideFC Commentators were the commentators, Randy seemed to be involved in a lot of the event although he hadn't fought (yet). Tito was probably humping Trump's leg, telling him how he wants to fight in the next Affliction event because how much he hates Dana White. Herb was the ref. Lets not forget Michael Buffer was there as the announcer which was a nice touch. I always thought UFC's business practices were shrewd and its made them really successful, but they are going up against Donald Trump and he's showing them that he be shrewd too. He understands the business, and he knows business tactics.

I think this all happened because UFC made a mistake holding their ground with Fedor and the exclusive contracts. Fedor just wanted to fight in his sambo matches. They should have been ok with that because it really doesn't effect MMA. And after the deal died, Randy stated that it was a big reason why he left. Arlovski and Sylvia, UFC doesn't really miss them, but with them all being there, it just makes the UFC look that much worse. If I was Dana, instead of not signing someone because of exclusivity, he should have put a clause like that stated that people like Fedor can fight in other MMA events, but if they lose, the UFC could have a say in whether they want to keep the contract with the fighter, and if they do, they would have to fight with a smaller purse. Because its all about leverage. You get them on your side, and make it look like a bad decision to even consider it, even though they think they are not in an exclusive agreement. EliteXC has been the laughingstock of MMA, but I have to say that Affliction Banned was a solid event that did everything right. I'll be watching closely to see what's going to come out of this.

Week 2: Day 1

I went to the gym yesterday after about 5 days off. It was a busy weekend and with Tommy in town till Tuesday (and a sore shoulder from the weekend). Stan said the picnic would not count usually, and because of that, maybe i'll just go tomorrow and do cardio and then work out again before the week ends. Doesn't seem out of the norm since I'm used to alternativing between cardio and lifting. and right now I don't lift enough to where the cardio works negatively for me.

Definitely with 5 days rest, I already notice a difference in the amount I can lift.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Los Angeles Photographer

Tommy Shih, a good friend of mine, quit his job a while back and has been a pro photographer for a while. His stuff on his website looks amazing. He has shot Arianny Celeste and Anne Rivera (from UFC) to name a few. You can check out his web page at Los Angeles Photography. Give him a call if you need a photographer. He shoots primarily in Los Angeles and Hawaii.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

When poker is better than sex

I don't play ring games because you just can't beat the odds of the guy who is multi-tabling 12-24 tables looking for great implied odds. Its no longer poker. Its just work. You play cards like suited connectors against the guy who is representing rockets, who just can't seem to get away from an all in when there is a straight or flush possibility. Even on a .01/.02 NL table, you may make a dollar with AA, or lose all your chips to a guy who caught a flush while you were trying to slow-roll him. That's what a lot of people who are willing to plunk down some money at online poker don't realize. There is someone with a bigger bankroll than you and he's just waiting to call your meaningless 4x bb raise so he can strike when you least suspect it.

I've found my niche. The 45 man Sit & Go at Pokerstars. Like anything, you start at the bottom (like 1 + .10). You will undoubtably lose your first dozen or two games, maybe get lucky at a few times. You can learn from your mistakes and pick apart the game so that you learn how to finish later and later, increase your odds of making it to the final table, and then aim for the top prize. The more you play, the better you get at it. And when you've reached the point where winning at the level seems clockwork, you can move on to the next level which is double the stakes (and agression it seems) to keep it interesting. This is how a lot of people have chosen to play online. Whenever I move levels, it feels like I'm learning the game for the first time. Coming from a level where it seems like 9/10 of the hands I flip over, I got him beaten or even dominated, and then suddently realizing that you are now getting eliminated by flipping over the weaker hand, its a hard transition. My immediate reaction after getting owned at the new level after 4-8 games is that I should just go back to the level where I was just cashing at every 2 to 4 games.

Its exactly like learning a new skill. There is this uneasy and stressful tension hovering over you at all times. It feels like you need to jump back to where you were before. Jump back in the security blanket where are comfortable and happy. But just like anything in life, stay in the comfort zone too long, and staying there becomes meaningless and soulless. If you stick with the new level and master it just like you've mastered the other levels, you will not only have mastered the level itself, but you will have also gained other abilities along the way. You've somehow become smarter. Gained a microgram of new knowledge that further reveals to you the how the universe functions. You can apply this new knowledge and be one step ahead to mastering something new that you've never tried before. This is what essense of life should be.

Today I placed 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, and 2nd on 5 out of 10 games at 11+1 45 man Sit & Go's. 1st would have been nice, and I deserved it on at least one, but its not necessary. (one of the 3rd place finishes I would only blame the slip of a mouse to not finishing 2nd.) It was a rough first few dozen games. And I can't say I've mastered this level yet, but I feel that I've finally arrived at this level. It will be tough to beat what I've accomplished today at this level but, I can only get better, and I'll be looking forward to moving up once I've increased my bankroll to do so.

Dear Blogger, fix your bugs

Any fellow bloggers out there feel like blogger has some weird persistant session bugs?

For example, I got to my blog, and then I want to edit a post, if I look on the right hand corner, it lets me Sign in and Sign out.

When I click Sign in, it signs me in automatically. Not bad but not good either. Either keep me signed in, or keep me signed out. If I'm signed in, why not give me a link to the Dashboard?

I think the mistake is that blogger assumes people will be going to the dashboard at the first page they go to when they want to do something blog related. But what I do, and I'm sure other people do, is start by opening up their main blog. Check for quirky comments and such.

If I want to add a post I press sign in, and then it takes me to the dashboard. Its something I've gotten used to doing. But if I want to post to my side workout blog, I immediate head towards the top right corner, and then it gives me the option to sign out?? because i've signed in to my main blog? It just doesn't flow at all. How about a Dashboard link? Is that too much to ask?

This is nothing like the bugs 5 years ago when I would publish a post, then my post listings would get messed up. So I would have to repost or something like that. At least they got that figured out.

Week 1: Day 3

I went to the gym today.

I thought that the preacher curl machine could be us for my deltoids, but was too lazy to unload all that weight off of there. its a poorly designed machine for loading weights, but great for biceps.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

stockxpert sucks, dreamstime rules

How I've come to hate stockxpert

I used to love their site. Everything was perfect until I decided it would be best for me to get the subscription. Then the site became a nightmare to use. Now I'm just counting the days until my subscription is over.

It all started when I decided to research further into other micro stock photography sites. It looked like stockxpert was the best one, and really I was just looking for confirmation because I had already paid for the subscription. But after wrapping up my research, I found dreamstime. At first impression, I thought dreamstime was a pretty small time operation. What I think is hurting dreamstime's business is their confusing pricing plans. Like everything is separated into levels. So they subjectively rate your images and give it a level, and then you can download depending on up to what level you bought? How does the size factor in? Are credits involved? Ditch the levels. Use credits only. If the image is very good, then make it cost more credits. And if you want higher quality images, increase the credits required. I have been using their site for close to 2 weeks now and I have no idea how the levels work still. Is Level 1 more valuable than Level 3? Or is it vice versa. How does $20 translate to a image at a certain level at certain resolution? Its just horribly confusing. Their front page is very amateurish and confusing. And add the confusing name, I was wondering if I should even look further into their site. But its a good thing I did. They have the same images but are better because:

Vector files costs extra with stockxpert
-Vector files don't cost extra on dreamstime. Say you wanted to download a cover for your document. Stockxpert will let you download the image at a very high resolution, but in all reality, the vector files are infinitely better always, and stockxpert will want you to buy it for $15 even if you have the subscription, unlike dreamstime. If you have the subscription, you can download any resolution or even the vector file. A huge plus.

You cannot download some (sometimes the best ones) with your stockxpert subscription.
-You have to pay the per image fee even if you have the subscription. The reason I ended up with both dreamstime and stockxpert subscriptions is stockxpert's own fault. I had 10 images that were not covered under subscription. I was able to download on dreamstime the 9 out of the 10 same images I couldn't download on stockxpert. I'm sure that stockxpert has some images that dreamstime doesn't have and vice versa, but majority of the images are the same, and dreamstime is not going to change you extra for the image that you have your heart set on.

Stockxpert goes out of their way to make it inconvenient for you to download after you've paid for your subscription.
-They make you type in a CAPTCHA which is purposely buggy (its a theory of mine). Yeah you heard that right. They purposely make the captcha fail if you download maximum you're allowed to download. Your account gets flagged, and you have to clean up your cookies before you download the image. You can also push refresh before you do the captcha to get around this "bug". If I pay for up to 25 images a day, I'm going to get 25 images a day. And since they've even made it harder for me, hinting that I shouldn't do it, it makes me want to do it more out of spite. To download 25 images in my lightbox, it takes me at a minimum 10 minutes. It used to take me an hour because of the CAPTCHA failing every time and I couldn't figure out a better way other than clearing my cookies. Dreamstime to begin with has nothing like CAPTCHA and their Lightbox actually makese sense. You can just choose the lightbox, then just say I want to download all of these, and just choose the highest resolution for all of them, and that's it. You get a zip file. You can't ask for anything more streamlined. Stockxpert makes it harder for you on purpose because they don't want you to download images after you've already paid. Dreamstime makes it easy for you to download images so you can get as much out of the subscription.

Dreamstime has better prices on subscription and single images
-There is only one price for a monthly option on stockxpert which is around $220 (25 pics a day), whereas dreamtime will let you download 10 a day for ~$90 a month. If you wanted 25 a day, I think it costs like $180 or $190. I've seen images cost as much as $15 on stockxpert whereas dreamstime, I think they only go up to like $6. Don't quote me on that one. I may just be confused with their "levels". But its a huge difference for the subscriptions. So for $90, you can get the highest quality images, and vector files for your brochure covers (up to 300 images/files) for your entire company. That's a pretty sweet deal. And in my opinion, any company or organization is missing out if they are not willing to pay $90 to put another level of professionalism by using dreamstime.

Dreamstime charges you a download when you actually download an image. Stockxpert charges you when you come to the download page without actually having downloaded. 1 out of 25 times, in the process of getting my images for the day, I actually forget to click to actually download after I've done the captcha, managed the lightbox, etc. But I still get charged. Pretty shady.

In conclusion, Stockxpert is out there to make money for itself and the sellers, by making inconvieniencing paying customers by implementing some questionable tactics. I will be glad when my membership is over. I look forward to a day without having to use their "buggy" CAPTCHA. Just a few more weeks...

In stockxpert's defense, their prices do seem right. Dreamstime's prices seem like the prices are too cheap. If I was a photographer, it would seem a little unfair that the customer has only paid $90 for 300 of my best images and illustrations. And out of the $90, I would only get $60. I would always be muttering the phrase, "What happened to the glory days when I used to make $100-500 per image?". But as a customer, with dreamstime out there, I would never choose stockxpert over dreamstime. I hate the fact that stockxpert makes me feel like they are trying to prevent me from downloading what I should be able to do which is download 25 images a day, every day after I've paid them subscription (along with additional dollars i've spent on their site for pics not covered under the subscription). They should know that after paying money up front like that, some customers like myself will be downloading images they need now and all the images they'll need in the future. If the price is too cheap, then charge more so you don't have to worry about implementing tactics to discourage downloading.

Minor update: So it looks like vector files on stockxpert are covered under your subscription. Possibly (maybe its a glitch, or maybe they changed it, or it could be its always been this way). I never bothered to click on the vector file as it didn't have the "sub" graphic. But I accidentally clicked on it today, and it let me download it under my subscrption. Interesting.

My road back to fitness

I've gained more than a few lbs of body fat over the last few months. It could be that I've lost that constant track of my metabolism and my willingness to always keep it high. It could also be my new appreciation for French cooking techniques and the agreement that just about every dish (except korean) can be improved with a little bit (or a lot of butter). It could also be that I've been baking for amusement. And when there is a lot of flour, there usually is a lot of (yes once again) butter and sugar. And I've gone back to averaging eating about twice a day. That is never a good thing. And I no longer try to eat in the zone (40-30-30).

Probably the worst thing of all, I've only averaged going to the gym a few times a month for for almost this entire year. That might sound fine to a person that doesn't go at all, but when your office chair is about 6 and a half steps from your bed, it also means that the most physical activity is the walks to the kitchen.

Stan wants to encourage me to get back in the rhythm for the benefit of my overall health. We made a small bet that I would go to the gym three times a week for the next 6 months. With an added condition that during those 6 months, I can take 4 weeks off. So I plan on working out for 4 weeks. Taking one week off. Then work out for another 5 weeks. Take 1 week off. Then work out for 6 weeks and take a week off. Then work out for another 6 weeks and take a week off. Thats roughly the schedule. Should be easy, and at the end of 6 weeks I'm sure I'll be back to my normal shape. Right now I feel like tub of fat. I've created another blog just to keep track of the status for my amusement. Mike's Workout Blog feeds will be one of the items on the side of this blog.

Week 1 Day 2

This is my first post. Week 1 Day 1 was before 3 days ago Sunday, and I couldn't complete any of my 3rd sets. I ran out of gas at about the 3rd or 4th rep.

As for today, I did better as I finished my 3rd sets on some of my exercises and then some. The others I couldn't finish. But this tells me that next time I work out I know where to start and end to make gradual gains.

I was supposed to go yesterday, but as with the microtears in my pectoral muscles from not working out at all to working out for the first time in a long time, I needed an extra day of rest. Workout was good today. Found a really good way to stretch my hamstrings. Looking forward to my next workout. Which will probably be Friday night or Saturday afternoon.

I'm also thinking about jump-roping in the garage to get my metabolism going in the morning. I bought the jumprope a while back. And its an awesome high quality jumprope that has ball bearings, that came with a technique DVD, a music DVD for like $10. It was a steal.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Review: Mahjong for Nintendo DS

What is up with the assumption that people outside Asia don't want to play real mahjong? Instead they give us this crap. This isn't mahjong. Its "Concentration" for people with brain damage. Its like buying a game called poker, but it turns out to be Indian poker, and all cards are visible, including your own.

Overall: 0/10

Saturday, June 28, 2008

stock photography sites reviewed

I decided to review the stock photography sites for my needs. I used the following keywords: computer servers, security, business, businessmen

The baseline I used was Its because its the site I'm the most familiar with and I have a subscription and bought single images with. Stockxpert has an excellent selection of images, the prices are reasonable, subscription is nice. The only thing I don't like about them is every now and then you run into an image you want but you realize its not covered under your subscription.
image and selection similar to stockxpert. Higher priced but you don't necessarily get more.
a site very much like stockxpert in selection, they don't offer subscriptions, but cheaper images if you want to download it in maximum resolutions.
a site very much like stockxpert in selection, cheaper subscriptions than stockxpert.
dirt cheap subscription up to a large (but not X-large) resolutions, but you mostly get what you pay for, but worth a look.
a site very much like stockxpert in selection, same subscription price, but cheaper highest quality single image price like
same selections as stockxpert, not limited to "subscription-only" photos,,,
I think these sites are for magazines where you need one image with a lot of x-factor that's going to leap off the page. Their pics with people have that about them, but they don't have much of a selection in the technology area. For other uses, its completely over priced. We're talking hundreds of dollars per image. And just because you're paying 1000x more, doesn't mean your images are necessarily any better. They got a lot of crappy looking photos too.

If I were to do it again, I would go with dreamstime. Their interface is not as nice, pricing and navigation is a bit confusing, but you get the same selections as stockxpert without the limitations for paying less for the subscription.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

TxEff Review: The Best Professional Flash Text Animation Effects Period

Yesterday, I spent a long long time doing manual text animations by hand. And after 3 hours, I thought it looked cheesy and not professional enough. For a minute, I thought, well, that's the limit to what I'm capable of. Then I realized, there is probably a tool out there that will do it for me, and it'll look a hell of a lot cooler than what I just spent 3 hours doing. So the first result I pull up is TxEff. And I'm blown away. Wow, I could tell immediately by adding this simple text animation, the professional look of the website will go up, instead of it going down with the animation that I did. Seeing what TxEff's competitors are, let me say now, don't even bother. The 2nd best I found to TxEff was still laughably bad. If I had to rate the similar products, I would give TxEff a whopping 10 out of 10, and the runner up a 5 out of 10. And 3rd place, probably 1 out of 10. And the rest, even worse.

Its not to say that TxEff doesn't have problems. It could use a lot of refinement if you want more than one color or formatting for a single block of text.

But for all the pain this component has caused me, it is totally worth it because its uber cool and powerful.

So here is where my troubles began. I did what everyone probably does in the beginning. Use the UI interface. Their tutorials worked great.

The first gotcha I ran into was that you couldn't apply a drop shadow or any other filter on the text unless it was encased in a movie object. Easy work around, and it probably is cleaner that way.

Then i realized I wanted different colors in my text. And unfortunately Dynamic Text (a requirement set on the text field) doesn't support more than one color. Surprise! Time for a work around.

The solution to that is to use Action Script (only 3.0 is supported for txeff) if you actually wanted to use the "render text as html" option. I found some code on the web where this guy was loading a text file, and a css file. Sounded simple, but it wasn't. The sentences were spaced too far apart. It took me a long time to figure out that you first had to A) put it in html format[p][/p], and B), you cannot ever use carriage returns. (make sure its set to multiline btw). So it worked, then I realized it didn't really work for firefox or IE7. So actually, I had gone to sleep thinking I got everything figured out, then I realized I didn't solve a damn thing when I woke up the next day. It had some strange bugs like it would not load the text until the 2nd time around in IE7. And it just would not work at all in firefox.

So I decided to work around that problem by just plugging the html text string within the Action Script. And guess what? Now the CSS styles no longer work. I lost the color, but at least it loads in both browsers.

By this time, I realize I gotta do everything via action script. No more messing around with the UI and the text boxes/drag and drop.

So instead of loading a CSS file, I figure out how to write in the css styles using the Action Script css syntax. Use commas instead of semi colons, and even though the style doesn't need to be in quotes, all values need to be in quotes. Also the style names...instead of using dashes like "font-family" or "text-decoration", you have to remove the dash and capitalize the second word. How did I figure this out? Fortunately, I googled "fontFamily" (quotes required) and I found 1 hit. A Romanian flash discussion forum. And I knew of the "font-family" -> "fontFamily" thing because I had found a page that talked about this, but unfortunately it was just unrelated information that I didn't care for at the time, and that page could not be found again. Like it never existed.

Could I have done without CSS? Probably, but I'm such a css nazi now I figured it would be worth the investment sometime down the line. Even though my guess is that txeff won't support the style I would have liked to use it for.

Next gotcha was the embedding of text. The easy embedding of letters option was no longer there (no longer using the GUI textbox) so I needed to embed the font/weight/decoration as a symbol. The sizes of the text doesn't really matter, but the family, weight and decoration matters. If you don't have that embeded, nothing shows up. After you add the font style to your Library, right click on the font, and select "Linkage". Make sure each font style has a unique Class or you'll be wondering all day why different styles like bold or italic isn't working. Make sure the "Export for actionscript" is checked. By default it isn't, and you'll be wondering why nothing appears on screen.

Another gotcha was that the css needs to be applied to the textfield, while the actual htmltext string needs to be set on the txeff object. That doesn't sound intuitive to me.

Another annoyance is that the centering is off. So for example, if I drop a movie into my timeline, the textbox would be 300 pixels to the right and 100 pixels down. You can correct this by setting the textfield x and y to -300 and -100 respectively.

Next up, there was a problem with only 2 lines of text showing up. For this, unlike what the documentation was stating, you should set the htmlText of both the textfield and the txeff object to match. Why? Apparently, you need some kind of text in there that gives it the estimate of how many lines of text there will be. And you need to do it using html syntax. So if you have 4 paragraphs in the txEff.htmlText, then you need 4 paragraphs or 3 linebreaks in the txtField.htmlText.

Next, there was a centering issue. I wanted to center my text, and the autoSize = TextFieldAutoSize.LEFT didn't do squat. To center, you must set the textfield width, height, set multiline, and lastly set wordWrap to be true. Even though there is no word wrapping that needs to go on, you still need to set it to center the text. To center the text, you have to set it in the css (textAlign).

And very last, there was a 3 second delay. When you set text on both the txtField and the txtEff objects, the 3 second delay happens before the animation started even though the textChangeDelay was set to 0. So what fixed it is to change the transitionType to "hide" instead of "show". This is a real work around. If you don't set the htmlText in the txtField, you run into the bug where the "show" transitionType only displays 2 lines. It would be nice to see them fix this bug, although, it would break all of my scripts. :)

Long story short, I got everything working, but it was a long way there. It seemed like a downward spiral one work around after another, but now I have a good reference code I could work with. If you want to use different colors and the underline, you probably should figure out how to do everything by Action Script 3.0 from start to finish. If you don't mind keeping everything in one color, then the UI works great.

A few more additions... (I keep adding to the issues list every few days)

So after doing everything listed, I realized I only had figured out how the text would fade in, but not scripted on how it would fade out. in addition to that, I'm telling it to "hide" the text when I need to "show" it to get around the only to lines being displayed bug when the htmlText property is set on the text field. So what I did was download some refrence code in their FAQ that showed how to change styles after a fade in so that it would fade out with a different style. I had to tweak it so that it would not redo the fade in, and only do a fade out, but still kept the delay. Before the fade out, you can apply the different effects for maximum coolness.

It looks like you can still run into the only 2 lines "show"ing if your paragraphs are specified a css class. So what I did was I defined the default p tag in css, and for any special stylings, I use a span (and specify a class for that) inside the [p][/p] tag. If you don't have more than 2 lines, you can specify a class for paragraph tags. Otherwise, don't assign a class to the p tag. And lastly (once again) you can still run into blocks of text where your text gets chopped off if your text box is not big enough. But you can't fault the TxEff people on this one. Although the text only gets chopped off when its showing text, and not hiding it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Software Review: MagicISO vs PowerISO

MagicISO & PowerISO are pretty much identical products, probably by the same people.

People need these products because it looks like they hired some people (more likely them selves) to upload torrents of popular software using their propietary format (so people will need their software unpackage it). Where is the proof? Well, lets see. We have had compression methods like zip and rar, and iso formats like iso and bin/cue for the lat 10+ years. Yet people posting these torrents use some format no one has heard of for what reason? It looks like people distributing warez has finally figured out how to make some money.

So why can't PowerISO/MagicISO be distributed like warez? They are, but what is funny is that whenever PowerISO/MagicISO gets uploaded, the same guys probably trying to sell the software post on the comments section and tells people not to download because it has a virus.

These guys are hilarious. I wonder when Microsoft and Adobe are gonna catch onto what is going on.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

T60 wireless radio constantly switching off after vista upgrade

Within a minute, my wireless would disconnect, and switch off. What was happening was that my wireless router would be seen twice by my laptop. One with and the other one without the SSID. And once it flipped to the one with no SSID, it would obviously drop off. So after I changed the router so that it would broadcast the SSID, the problem was gone. I suspect the problem is not with my router but with the ThinkVantage Access Connections software. There is another problem with the ThinkVantage Access Connections software. It would momentarily disconnect the wireless for a split second. Which some people might not notice, but it disrupted some of my connections, most notably Synergy. So I had to change the Global Settings in my Access Connections so that it doesn't control the wireless radio.

Followup: It turned out to be my Belkin router not vista or thinkpad related. I restored the factory defaults, and then put the security settings back in, and that did the trick. What made the problem so hard to solve is that the 2 likely culprits (Vista known for "not-ready-for-primetime-ness" and thinkvantage software "buggy-as-hell-ness") weren't the causes of the problem afterall. And it didn't make sense that it only did this with my laptop. Another funny symptom was that my laptop and my desktop would crash the router whenever i uploaded anything in port 80. A bizarre problem. But that got fixed as well.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Vista...take two

XP is officially hosed on my laptop. How did it happen? Long story short, I thought it was IRQ sharing that was causing my VGA output to a third of the screen would vertically shift a pixel for a split second. So I disabled ACPI in Device Manager, and my laptop did not like it at all. I thought I hosed the machine for good. Until I got a recovery image to actually work. everything came back, except the start menu. It would just delete any new shortcuts to new applications installed if they were not in their own folders. After that, the copy of xp has been on a slow trek to total failure. After I upgraded my Dell at my old job to Vista when it first came out, it was a miserable experience. 2 months later I quit my job there, and one of the benefits of quitting the job was not having to ever see that machine again. Needless to say, after that experience, I wss convinced Vista was the new Windows ME. The blacksheep of operating systems. Since then, I haven't touched Vista. I've been hearing how they smoothed out the rough edges, and after having scored a free copy of Vista (only pay shipping to Lenovo), I decided it was finally time.

I first tried the upgrade from XP....and after 2-3 hours, it said it couldn't find drivers for some hardware, and it took another hour and half to roll back to XP. The rollback to XP actually worked. The 4 hours of my life, I'll never get back.

So I cleared out my USB drive, dumped all my data, then did a clean format and install. No big problems yet. I don't know it like the back of my hand like I do XP. I had to disable User Account Control because Synergy (awesome keyboard and mouse sharing program) just stops working anything User Account Control intervenes. It feels as though it takes a while to startup and shut down. I actually like all the ThinkVantage stuff as it needs to be used to get the most out of Power Management, finger print, and wireless options. And to my surprise, that wasn't too hard. Its mostly automated. The first major pain was getting the fingerprint reader to work with the TPM nonsense below, which is good because its not a show stopper, but its stupid because its such a stupid problem Lenovo should have fixed years ago. Things are running smooth. It seems to eat up all of my 3 gigs of ram instantly. At least I know buying that ram didn't go to waste... We'll see how she flies.

One word of advice for MS. Improve Windows Media Player 11. Does anyone really use that crap? Undoubtably they've spent an enormous amount of money developing something that is hurt by wrong priorities. Here is what is important:

-Support for Divx and Xvid and other popular codecs. License it already. Can it even do H.264? I don't even know because I don't even bother with Windows Media Player. The automatic codec detection failure just tells me your software doesn't work.

-Keyboard navigation controls. I would like 5 second skips and 1 minute skips with the keyboard minimally. More options would be better. Don't bother trying to mimic FF and RR on the VCR. Its useless, and doesn't work for most codecs.

-Aspect ratio correction and cropping options. I hate watching videos that are stretched in one way or another. Another thing I hate is watching videos with thick black borders from top to bottom (this is where cropping comes into play).

I can say for sure that my top 3 requirements for a good video players is top 3 for a lot of people. What is surprising is that these top 3 things are Windows Media Player's top weaknesses. Microsoft just doesn't get it.

Vista Upgrade Pains: How to clear your TPM in the BIOS.


1) Activate a disabled TPM / Clear the TPM ownership:

- Power down the laptop if necessary; a reboot will not be sufficient
- Power on the laptop
- Enter the BIOS setup menu:
- Press the blue ThinkVantage button to bring up boot menu
- Press F1 when the boot menu appears
- The BIOS setup menu appears:
- Enter the "Security" section, then "Security Chip";
- Set the state of the "Security Chip" setting to "Active"
- Choose "Clear Security Chip" to revoke the current ownership
ATTENTION: This will delete all keys the TPM; Any data that has been
encrypted using the TPM beforehand will become inaccessible!
- Leave the BIOS setup menu, choose to save all the changes you made

2) Power off the laptop

3) Power on the laptop; the TPM should now be active and ready for take

If you ever upgrade from Windows XP to Vista, this will happen. You'll get some message saying when you run Client Security Solution that you cannot enroll any users for fingerprint authentication because the TPM data is from another operating system than Vista. And it instructs you to go to the BIOS to reset it. The above instructions actually worked, but this article itself was pretty hard to find. So I'm double posting it on here. Its hard to find because Lenovo's Client Security Solution seems like it gives you specific directions, but when you make it to the bios, there is no "Clear TPM" option. There is a "Clear Fingerprint Data" which when toggled to clear fingerprint data, it actually doesn't even clear fingerprint data. And it doesn't clear the TPM either. How you clear it is to set the state of the security chip to Active. Even though it is probably already set to Active. Once again, speechless on how ridiculously stupid this is. Its just text. Change it Lenovo.