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.