Monday, November 4, 2013

Done with XBOX 360. Next console for me will be PS4.

It is true that XBOX Live's paid subscriptions enabled Microsoft to give a richer online experience. And people saw value in that. But for me, I don't really care anymore (and I never really cared) about all the other stuff. It's just a lot of extra fluff that takes my time away from doing things I'd rather be doing. I just want to play GTA 5 online, and the fact that MS is essentially charging me to play a free game online, just makes the subscription absolutely not worth it. I don't think I'm the only person that feels this way. MS should be thinking of offering their XBOX Live Gold for free because the world is waking up to the fact that there is richer content outside of their paid services, and it can be enjoyed without having to give Microsoft any money. Their ploy on charging people for free content is up.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Why people love double entendres

A great double entendre is something of wonder. It's like seasoning to a lovely dish of phrases that adds a je ne sais quoi to the interpretation. It says something, without saying it directly. This gives the reader a chance to connect with the author in a powerful way because it's like a secret message, that is deciphered between the reader and the author. If anything, it is a clever way to deliver clearer imagery. So as in terms of human needs perspective, it is a 10/10 for connection, and maybe 8/10 for significance. That is like a magic bullet to the emotionally famished mind. It is a lethal headshot of a wide spectrum of synapses fired in the brain. Also, people just like being mentally stimulated of nothing in particular, which probably makes the brain work harder for a longer period of time rather than saying something smart that can be understood easily. It makes you look smart for coming up with something clever, and it makes you feel smart for being able to comprehend it. I wish I can infuse a double entendre in every paragraph I write.

fake crowd noise for UFC ppv events

Out of the 15 years or so of watching every UFC event, today was the first time I noticed fake crowd noise during the Kauffman Vs Eye event. I understand why they do it. It just looks really terrible when there is no crowd noise, but what is worse is people finding out that they are adding these sound clips for effect.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wallpaper in Windows 7 looks terrible, low quality, and colors are off

Set BMP bitmap file as wallpaper in Windows 7

How to set original BMP file a wallpaper in Windows 7
I can't believe it is 2013 and we have 8 to 16GB of RAM on computers, and we're still facing these problems.

The problem is that when you set any image as your background, windows will convert the image to a JPG with high compression.  It will place the file here

and it will just use that file to set your background from now on.  Unfortunately, you are likely to see jpeg artifacts.  Now, if you already have a JPG file, it will not do a conversion but there is an additional problem with JPG files even at the highest settings.  You are less likely to notice this with pictures, but when you are dealing with graphics with gradients, the JPEG formats are terrible handling smooth gradients.  

So the solution is to trick Windows to using a BMP as a wallpaper, not the JPG.   So what you can do is save your wallpaper to the size of your resolution.  Then simply change your extension of the file from JPG to BMP.  Then right click on the JPG file (disguised BMP file), and choose "set as desktop background".  This sounds like your computer would horribly crash, but the thing is, it is using the file extension to detect if conversion needs to be done, and it uses the mimetype of the file to read the image (your BMP file is still mime type "image/JPEG"), so it's safe, and works well.

And it's like when you put on glasses for the first time.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Video Copilot Optical Flares light flickering problem

Been learning a lot of Adobe After effects.  When I would render a video, the light flares would flicker.  It may seem normal at first, but when you see that it's a distraction, you realize it's not how it is supposed to work.  On my computer, I have a built-in Intel 4000 HD graphics.  And I had set After Effects to render using the GPU.  I changed it back to the CPU and the flickering is gone.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Adobe CC has earned my subscription

So I finally made the jump from Adobe CS6 to Adobe CC.  I hated the concept of CC, but honestly, they've earned my subscription.  Adobe is one of the only pieces of software that I can say has made a big impact in my capabilities and livelihood.  Although the changes might seem minor, I really do look forward to their smallest of updates.  Although I wish some of their programs were better integrated to suit my needs, I understand why they are not integrated to serve the masses.  Just a year ago I've become a heavy user of their video editing features of the suite, which I had never touched previously, but now it is what I spend the most time with.

Let's hope they don't come out with something like Adobe CC2 and jack the prices up every time they add a digit.

Speaking of videos, the Samsung Galaxy Note III will be announced in about 3.5 days.  Let's hope it stirs excitement like the Note II did.  Looking forward to making videos again now that I'm done with my summer Android programming class.

Icons not showing up in Windows 7.

I ran into one of the most obscure troubleshooting tips today on the Internet.  My icons weren't showing up properly, and although the instructions were obscure, it worked like a charm.  I thought I'd echo it on my blog just in case the link changes.

Here's a cut and paste from that link:
  1. Press Ctrl-Shift-Escape to get the task manager.
  2. In the Processes tab, click on explorer.exe and click End Process. You'll get a confirmation dialog. Click "End Process" to confirm.
  3. From the File menu (still in the task manager), choose New Task (Run...).
  4. Copy/paste/enter the following command in the run box:
    cmd /c del %userprofile%\AppData\Local\IconCache.db /a
  5. Open the Run box again with File --> New Task (Run...). This time, enter this command:
  6. All should be okay now. Open the Start Menu and confirm that your icons are fixed now.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Plants Vs. Zombies updated on Android with Zen (Flower) Garden! Finally!!!

Well, weeks before PvZ 2 comes out, they've finally gave the Android PvZ all the features that has been on the iPhone for exactly 2 years.  Well, better late than never.  You bet I'm gonna make the most out of this app, once again.  PvZ 2 on the Android will be coming out later than the iPhone.  I hope not 2 years later.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My thoughts on the iOS 7 icons...yuck.

The icons are a designer's nightmare. The gradients on stock apps go in different directions. I can't see how this got past Jony. 3rd party apps bevel when that doesn't fit the theme. The shadow are too light and too dispersed so it doesn't give any sense of floating icons. They should keep the size of the shadow around 15 instead of 50. At the end of the design phase, I think they should have put an Android phone next to it to see if they have a better design. At that moment they should have realized they should start over.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Say "No" to Director's Cuts.

Am I in the minority to be wary of director's cut of any movie?  2 movies particularly stand out in my mind.  The PG-fycation of "The Last of the Mohicans".  I got the sense that the director may have been pushed by the execs to make the theatrical cut more bloody, and he saw it as an opportunity to change it back to the way he wanted it.  Big mistake.  By changing what is possibly a few seconds of the film, the movie feels less satisfying and the thirst for revenge unquenced.  I'm not the only person that feels this way.  Read the comments of director's cut reviews, and you can see people keeping their old VHS copies after they've purchased the DVD or people in the forums talking about how they've gone through ordering theatrical cuts from Canada because they only were selling director's cut in the US.

Another movie was the director's cut of Amadeus.  I have no problems with this cut of the movie.  I think it is as good as the original.  But somehow the theatrical cut of Amadeus and the director's cut of Amadeus are entirely 2 different movies.  My only concern is for people watching the director's cut of Amadeus as their first time watching the movie.  It is impossible to communicate there is another cut of Amadeus that is better time tested, and there was a reason it won all the awards.  They got it right the first time.

These days, when I see how the directors have added extra footage back into the film, I no longer see it as a bonus.  I just want to buy the movie I loved the first time.  It's like going back to the restaurant and ordering the same dish you loved the last time, only to find out they've changed the ingredients.  What a terrible idea.

Monday, May 20, 2013

My experience running Mac OS X 10.8.3 on VMWare

Having recently upgraded to a i7 with 16GB ram and a top of the line SSD, I thought it was time again to try to run Mac OS X on vmware.  Initially, I was very happy that computers are finally fast enough to run a vm of Mac OS X at full speed with all the animations turned on and have it run buttery smooth as if you are running it directly.  Even video seemed to play at full screen and have it look identical to playing it directly on the host machine.  It kinda gave me the feeling that "I can get used to this".

But giving the OS a harder look, I can't believe that this is the latest Apple has to offer.  The design cues scream of web templates from 2005.  2005 was 8 years ago.  The skin of the OS is definitely showing it's age with it's overdone shadows (sometimes uneven), overly rounded curves, and and 3D buttons.  Maybe I'm scrutinizing here but I'm not getting that clean, simple, refined experience that Apple is known for.  Is there a Mac OS XI (11.0) in the works? Most people seem to think no.  One might argue "Windows isn't any better"  Whether that is true or not it should never be used as an excuse to keep it substandard, especially when you know it is outdated.

I had a difficult time trying to log in with my apple account.  I reset it about 5 times, and the process was really buggy.  It would email me links that when I click on them, it would say the session has expired.  It is obvious that timezones were the problem between the server and client.  Real rookie mistakes for web programming.  But the fact that Apple hasn't figured this out was pretty disturbing.  I would change passwords without fulfilling the password criteria, but it would not warm me that I was doing anything wrong and push through.  Then of course, it would not work.  Then I tried to log into Facetime and Messenger, which didn't let me log in because I probably haven't updated my credit card information or agreed to updated terms of service in iTunes.  But the error messages for logging in were no help.  When you Google search problems, all the suggestions pointed to pretty low level obscure solutions that seemed very disconnected from the actual problems.  I was also shocked at how messy the manual uninstalling of apps was.  I always thought Mac OS was better in that it didn't leave files all over the place like Windows.  That may be true, but not all apps respect this and uninstalling apps without proper uninstallers is shockingly bad.  

The OS itself reminds me of software written by only a handful of people who don't have the time or the patience to practice any thorough testing procedures.  I got the impression that Apple isn't even sure about the future of Mac OS.  

Friday, April 26, 2013

My latest encounter with Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless in the US, in my opinion, offers the best internet/celluar service whether it be call clarity, call stability, LTE, or FIOS, and Verizon seems to know this.  In the past, not sure if it has changed, but they have charged the most, got away with having just the rudest customer service you can ever imagine.  It is all flowers and rainbows when you sign up, but when you try to cancel, they throw you to the hounds.

I imagined their hiring practice to be that they had to be absolute killers when it comes to making people feel like they owe Verizon a favor for ripping them off one last time when they attempt to cancel service on a contract the customer has already fulfilled.  If you tried to cancel a contract you haven't fulfilled, then you are really put through the ringer.  It usually goes something like this.  They argue with you for about 20 minutes on why you're canceling service in a condescending tone, then they say they have to talk to the manager, and when they come back, they say they are doing you a favor by making you pay a slightly lesser balance you don't owe on top of your contractual obligations.  And when you try to pay, the only option they give you is to pay a service charge to pay over a phone, since they've blocked all convenient ways for you to pay such as paying online.

Well, that seems to have changed.  I had to get a Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE 4620LE  activated for a month.  And when I tried to do so, they conveniently mentioned that for 4G LTE, you have to enter through a contract that doesn't allow you to buy a prepaid SIM.  You have to sign up onto a month to month contract with a $30 activation fee, which you have to go through the trouble to cancel later, only through painful live conversation.  I thought "here we go again."  But since I really had no options that day, I signed up for service, thinking I will just have to endure a 30 minute hostile phone call later.  But that wasn't the case at all.  Signing up for service was easy as expected.  And the experience of cancelling was a surprise.  The woman on the phone was nice and friendly, and managed to cancel my service in a few minutes.

It is good to know that Verizon has adopted the motto, you can attract more return business with good customer service than trying to milk the customers for some cash on their way out.  So where have all these rude CSR people found jobs?  From what I recall from talking with the AT&T billing department, it seems that they are employed at AT&T now.  What a shame.  I used to like AT&T.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What is innovation?

My thought for today: Innovation is giving someone the ability to do something they should already be doing, without previously having the ability of doing it (as much as they wanted or needed to do it) in the past.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Expectation, Focus, Manifestation

I had a breakthrough thought when I was on the cruise watching people get seasick.  When people started hearing that other people were taking Dramamine because they always get seasick, people started focusing on how much the boat was moving, and the ones that believed that they were prone to getting seasick, eventually got sick.  Even though this is a bad example of something very positive I want to write about, it's what led me to this breakthrough in thought.  It's how we manifest our realities from expectations by focusing on the outcome.  Could everything we guide ourselves to (consciously and subconsciously) be broken down into 3 steps?

Step 1: Expectation
Step 2: Focus
Step 3: Manifestation

I am familiar with this pattern of behavior.  I've made a study of it for more than 7 years.  But being able to summarize it with 3 words is a breakthrough because the better we understand things is a step forward in mastering the principal.  It would be a nice book.  Although having just googled it, it seems like all great thoughts, it's not the first time someone has thought of it.

The more I go through this journey called life, I realize that life is surreal.  And it can be as surreal as you imagine it to be because the possibilities are infinite at any given moment.  The only time you really hit a limit is when you stop trying because you think something is not possible.

Relating this principal to my personal life, I remember 3 of the biggest challenges I've faced in life, and in those instances, I had to become someone who could move mountains because expecting any other outcome would be unacceptable.  I think since then I've let some situations get worse so I can transform into this being to get some amazing things done.

Instead of letting the situation get worse so failure is not an option, I should always have clear expectations of exactly what I want to create the momentum for step 2 (focus).  After that, step 3 (manifestation) is automatic.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The process has stopped unexpectedly bug fix.

Do you have this problem?

First, if you are rooted (you've hacked your device), most likely the ROM you've installed has the wrong permissions set for Google Play store.  Your solution is to simply remove it, and install a new version as a system app.  Case closed.

But the problem becomes difficult when you are not rooted.
Here are a few solutions that worked for many people, but NOT me:
  • Change your password for your Google account.
  • Remove all Google accounts, then put it back.
  • Enable Download Manager if disabled.

So what's the solution?  The problem is "Google Play services"

Go to System -> Application (manager) -> All (tab).
Find Google Play services, uninstall any updates (if they exist), and uninstall or disable the service.  Force stop.  Clear data.  Clear cache. 

You'll notice that the popups no longer happen.  But now, Google Play store probably won't run.
So go back to System -> Application (manager) -> All (tab)
Find Google Play (the app that you use to download apps) uninstall any updates (if they exist), and uninstall or disable the service.  Force stop.  Clear data.  Clear cache.

RESTART.  Leave it alone for a few minutes.  There is some kind of checking process that will automatically enable everything you've disabled.  That will force Google Play to be re-installed to the original version.  But most likely Google Play will still not work.  

So RESTART AGAIN.  Now when you restart it this time and leave it alone for a few minutes, Google Play will be updated and it should re-install Google Play services.  But this time, it is running fresh.

Everything should be fixed.  Maybe all these steps could have been skipped if you just cleared the data, cache, and forced stopped and started Google Play services, but these steps above is what I did and it worked for me.