Browsing the blog archives for May, 2005.


The AMD PIC

Web/Tech

Here is a link to a product that AMD is working on. I believe it is still in the testing stages, but it would make sense that it is getting close to release. It is called the AMD Personal Internet Communicator. What it is, is a computer that is very small that is made for the simple tasks and makes it more possible for people in lower developed communites and countries to have internet access and a computer to do the daily tasks that we take for granted in our internet use. It has:
A 10 GB hard drive
Standard input output channels (sound, mouse, keyboard, video, modem, etc.)
4 USB ports
400 MHz processor
Integrated DDR memory
Microsoft Windows CE

I think this is a great idea. I know I take the flow of information for granted. I love the internet and am hooked. This would give people who don’t have a lot of money to spend on a computer the chance to get a computer that would do the word processing, web surfing, and communication that we have all grown to love or hate. No more reasons to not have a computer, unless you don’t spend the money for internet access. I don’t know why I haven’t heard anything about this. It is a great idea that should have come to pass a few years ago. The price is set at $250, which includes a monitor, mouse, and keyboard. I do think this is a little steep since you can really get a cheap computer minus the OS for about 300 and it be upgradeable and everything, but it is a great concept nonetheless. If they dropped it below 200 it would fit a little better I think.

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Invitations

Web/Tech

So we have My Yahoo that everyone knows all about, but now Google has Google Personalized. It is still in beta, but it is a step in the right direction. As soon as they put RSS feeds in, it will be really nice. But the reason I put this is that you can now get a Gmail account. You don’t have to have an invite from someone or anything. You just have to go here and then go to Sign in and get an account. Gmail is nice and getting nicer.

The next thing I have is about Yahoo 360. It is a neat little service that integrates with your Yahoo account. You get a free blog, a Friendster type interface that lets you connect to other people who have Yahoo 360 pages, you can also make lists that let you connect with people that have simliar interests. You can put up reviews of places that are local to your area, and you can share you launchcast station for letting others listen to your rated music. I have mine here that I have done a little work on, but if you want to get in on this, it doesn’t cost anything and I can invite you to get an account. Just email me at alm776@yahoo.com if you want an account.

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Movie Stuff

Movies

So I have some movie sites that I think everyone should check out.
First is a couple of Star Wars Episode III sites. The first is an easter Egg site for the movie that has some little tidbits for fans. Second is an episode III movie mistake site that has mistakes from the same movie.
There is a new trailer out for Fantastic Four that looks awesome.
There is also a new trailer out for The Island that looks so good. I am really pumped about this movie.

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Back From Portland

Current Affairs

I made it back. It was an interesting trip. I’ll go ahead and say that this is the first of a few posts I am planning on doing tonight. Whether they get done or not, i don’t know. But this one is about my trip.

So I went to the Intel Jones Farm campus in Hillsboro, Oregon this week and it was an experience. The place was beautiful. I have pictures of the place up so you can see those by checking out my Portland Trip album at the right. It was really cool how they did some of the landscaping and the house placement. The people were really nice as well, which reminded me of home. Oh yeah, and for those Desperate Housewives fans, I drove on a street named Wysteria Lane. It was funny. I really did enjoy myself. I had a lot of time to myself, which I don’t normally get to enjoy because of studies, but I didn’t pickup a book the entire time I was there. I did go to the movies to see Unleashed, which was amazing. And they fed us like crazy. It was like being at a Baptist church on a holiday. It was good stuff too.

Okay so I am being kind of scattered so let me start from the top.

I got up at 5 on Monday and dad took me to the airport for my 35 minute trip to Atlanta. It was pretty smooth. Nothing really special, but I sat in the middle of two other people (which was the theme for my plane rides). So I had about an hour and a half layover in Atlanta before I flew out to Portland. It was nice to just sit down and relax and watch tv between flights at this sports bar that was serving breakfast. I didn’t realize how many people wanted a beer or some liquor before 9 in the morning. I swear there were about 5 people that wanted something from the bar that didn’t open til 9. I was amazed. They weren’t mad or anything like that, just ready for a drink. That kind of makes me sad that people have to resort to drinking that early in the morning because their lives are that hectic and difficult. Makes me a little upset for them. So anyways. My flight to Portland.

I got on the plane first because of my seat placement in Zone 1. I got on and was the first to sit down in my row. I was pumped because I was in the front row. And you know what that means. LEG ROOM. I was so happy. I never get good seats like that. I am always having troubles with having room for my long legs on planes so I was excited that I got a good seat. A guy came right behind me and sat next to me. He sat right down and started on a book. So I knew there would be no awkward conversations or anything like you run into on business flights. I was thinking "If only an attractive girl would sit in the other seat", because I was in the middle again. And then, lo and behold, she did. This very attractive brunette starts putting up her stuff. I thought, "it’s a good day". So after we both get settled in, I make a little comment and she gives a response with a smile and I thought, alright this is going well. So we talk a little bit on small stuff. She asks why I am going to Portland and I tell her a business trip and I ask her the same. And of course, her response starts with "My boyfriend and I…". Well, there goes that one. But she is still attractive and nice and easy to sit next to. So I am fine with it. We talk a little more and I ask about school and she says she just graduated high school. So there is two strikes. I am still comfortable though, so it’s cool. Then the boyfriend who is sitting more toward the back talked the guy next to him into switching seats with her. So we know what that means, no more girl. So I see this very broad shouldered guy walk down the aisle. Dangit. I knew it was too good to be true. So for the next 4 hours I sit forward because both of the guys flanking me are about 300 pounds each and very stocky so I have no shoulder room. I had flashbacks to high school as I slept with my elbows on my knees. But one good thing about the plane ride was that I got to see "In Good Company" again starring Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, and Scarlett Johanssen. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s a good quality movie.

I get to Portland and go get my rental car and they upgrade me to a Pathfinder from a compact car for free. I was pumped to say the least. I am more comfortable in an SUV than in a strap-on car. I got started driving and have very specific directions from the airport to the hotel and try to find where it is talking about as a starting point, but it doesn’t reference anything I can see. Did you know that there is a Portland International Airport and a HIllsboro Airport? I sure didn’t. So I was coming from the Portland airport and had directions from the HIllsboro airport. A lot of good that did me. Dangit. Luckily the rental place gave me a map of Portland so I think I am okay. What I didn’t know was that I was going completely the wrong way in Portland. It is a huge place. I drove for about 20 minutes East and Hillsboro is about 15 minutes West of Portland. Yeah, I didn’t know that either. So I drive for awhile and get off on an exit and think that I have found where I am. I still didn’t know that there were 2 airports. So I get off on, like 132nd avenue and try to use that as my marker for the map and didn’t realize I was completely in a different part of the city. I was about 30 minutes from the 132nd avenue that I needed to be on. But I did get to see some beautiful land out there. It really is gorgeous. After driving for 2 hours trying to find my way, I get to the hotel, which was great.  I loved it. It was a Marriott Townplace Suite. If you ever have the chance to stay at one, go for it. It is like a little apartment with a kitchen and everything.

I get up the next morning and go to the conference and realize that I am out of my league with this stuff. The material is above my head. I understand the basic concepts of it, but it is way more in depth than anything I know. And I also realized that these are the IT guys everybody envisions. They were the types of guys that tried to let you know how much they know and make sure you know that they know more than you. That is one thing I hate about this industry. They may know computers, but they have zero social skills. Now, not all of the guys in the industry are like that, and not even all at the conference were, but the vast majority fall under this umbrella. So rather than be like them and try to show them up on this stuff, I barely said a word to any of them. Each of these guys were at least 15 years older than me and had been in the industry for about the same amount of time if not longer. But at least I could focus on my objective and not be swayed by other people.

After finishing up the conference Wednesday night, I went to see "Unleashed" starring Jet LI. Expect a review on it. I also went to eat at a Jack-In-The-Box. I had never eaten at one and thought it  was something I should do. I wasn’t very impressed though. I really expected it to be better. It was alright, but nothing special. It wasn’t near as good as Hardee’s or Burger King. I get back and watch the season finale of Lost, which was really good. "You’ve got some Arnst on you" was my favorite line for the night by Hurley. I have so many questions for next season to try and wrap up. Even though I know it won’t happen.

So I get up at 4 in the morning the next morning and drive to the airport, which until I got to the rental return place I thought was setup pretty well for navigation. I could see the place, but could not get there because there were 2 signs pointing different directions as to where you were supposed to go for returns. Then I finally get there and there are the little spikes that won’t hurt your car if you go forward over them and will bust your tires if you go backwards so I thought, that couldn’t be the place to go, but it was. I was afraid of going over them since I didn’t see other cars and I thought that it might be because of the spikes. But it worked out and I got there.

Then flying to Cincinnatti from Portland, I get put in the middle again but between two small ladies so it is an easy flight. We flew by Mt. Hood and Yellowstone National Park which were both beautiful. They showed "Because of Winn-Dixie" which I didn’t take part in. I could really do without seeing that one. I get to the Cincinnatti airport and have like, no time so I run from one end of the airport to the other where my connecting flight is and is already boarding. I walk up and get seated on a little Delta Connection plane for my 1 hour flight to Knoxville. It was nice. I even got an aisle seat. Of course, there were only aisle and window seats to choose from otherwise I would have gotten a middle seat I am sure. But I just put my head back with my headphones on and took it easy. I think I slept most of the flight, so it went quick.

I know it is kind of anti-climactic, but that is how it all ended. It was a nice trip and a beautiful place. Mostly it was relaxing more than anything just to get away and not have the normal stuff to deal with.
The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.  ~Attributed to both Jim Goodwin and Sydney J. Harris

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Scientists discover sarcasm area of the brain (not a joke).

Uncategorized

No, it’s true — many of you don’t go a day without dishing out several doses of sarcasm. But some brain-damaged people can’t comprehend sarcasm, and Israeli researchers think it’s because a specific brain region has gone dark.

read more | digg story

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Portland

Current Affairs

Well, it is about 9:20 on Sunday morning and this time tomorrow I will be on a plane to Portland. I get to travel to the other side of the country for a company trip. I am heading to the Jones Farm training facility owned by Intel for some Server training. It could be a lot of fun, but it could also be kind of boring. It is all according to how it is presented. I am hoping for the former instead of the latter. I will get there at about noon thier time and not have anything to do until Tuesday morning. At least, I am hoping, I will come back with a greater knowledge of the Server platform. Plus it is right at the edge of the Oregon/Washington border. And Washington is the only state I have left in the continental U.S. that I have not visited. So I will probably drive up that way to see a movie or something since it is like 5 miles from the border. It should be interesting. Oh yeah, and I am going alone, so I can do things at my pace. I love to travel. I just don’t like the traveling.

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Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Review

Movies

Well, I just got done seeing it, and loved it. If you want to read my review, I have it up on my reviews site here.

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Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Movies

Okay, let’s start with the previews.Episode_3

So after enduring about 10 minutes of commercials, not previews, but commercials, we got to something that was at least somewhat enjoyable. The price on these previews was not cheap i’m sure. And they were all movies that I want to see.
The first preview was the Chronicles of Narnia. It looked amazing. I have seen the trailer over at Apple, but it just looks so good on the big screen. This is going to be an amazing movie. It is what I like to refer to as a mix between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Because you have the children and their points of view, but with the epic feel of the LOTR series.
The second preview was of Madagascar. This is the newest animated film to come out of the pack. With the voices of David Schwimmer, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, and Jada Pinkett-Smith, it ought to be fun to watch.
Next on the list was Mr. and Mrs. Smith. This is the a movie that I wasn’t too enthused about at first, but the more I see the previews, I think it will be a good movie. Not for the storyline or anything, but it will have good actors in it and will be very action-oriented.
Nope, still not done. I was told there would only be 5 previews and that Lucas was very adament against putting anymore in, but that doesn’t mean that all theaters abided by this rule of his.
Fourth on the list is War of the Worlds. I don’t know that I would call this a preview really. It was very weak. All it showed was fireworks going off in the distance as a war was breaking out and then something happens to the people watching. I liked the other preview I have seen before that included the bridge getting blown over right behind Tom Cruise.
We’re almost there, don’t worry.
Batman Begins. This looks so good. I watched the 10 minute featurette on Wednesday along with the Smallville Season Finale and it looked awesome. The only thing I worry about, is the one thing I always worry about when comic books get translated to movies. Dialogue. The acting is normally very good, though sometimes over the top. But it all comes down to the writing of the dialogue between characters and how comic booky it is at times. But the action in this movie looks phenomenal and the storyline is so strong anyways, so it should be just ridiculous. We’ll find out in a month, right?
Lastly, we have The Fantastic Four. This is going to be a fun movie to watch. Now, I didn’t say that it was going to be a good movie. Are the effects going to be good? Yes. Is the acting going to be good? Yes. Is the storyline and writing going to be able to stand up though? I don’t know. That is the big question isn’t it? But I still want to see it. It will be a lot of fun to see how this movie does at the box office and how the critics go after it with the recent onslaught of comic book movies.

Alright, now on to the movie

It was great. I really enjoyed it. I was a little afraid going into it that I had built it up to be more than it was capable of, but it didn’t disappoint. The acting definitely surpassed the previous 5 movies. I was definitely worried about Hayden Christensen and how he would handle this role compared to the one in Episode II. I was pleasantly surprised. From the opening scene, I knew it was going to be much better. He seems to have matured in his acting abilities. He was very solid and definitely did not have the problems that he did in the first one. He seemed a lot looser in the way he presented his lines. Looking back, I think that it very well could have been Lucas’ fault that Hayden didn’t do well. Lucas does not direct actors, he takes the storyline and the visual effects as his babies, not the actors. They are presented with the lines and are told to act them out. With the rest of the cast being so phenomenal, he did not have to deal with that except with the young actors that played Anakin in the previous two movies. Which I believe is probably why it has gotten better, Hayden has gotten more under his belt and can have more direction for himself.
What can I say about Ewan McGregor? He is amazing. He can do any role and do it with ease. He really is one of the most amazing actors out there and I do not see why he doesn’t get more praise than he does. I mean, this guy really has some serious acting chops. He was in a great movie that, if you haven’t seen it, you should, named Moulin Rouge. Him and Nicole Kidman really bring this musical to life and make you care about the characters and it is the same attachment he brings to the Obi-Wan character. He is one of my personal favorite actors and solidifies his place on my DVD shelf everytime he puts out a new movie. Plus it gets me pumped that he is out again this summer in The Island.
Natalie Portman. Okay, I have read some reviews of this movie and they have said that she is just unable to act in this movie. But I have to disagree. I think the writing for her role was just very weak. I mean, in the first 2 movies, she is this strong politician who would just as happily wield a blaster as she would pass a bill. But this time around, she is pregnant, and apparently that takes away all sense of independence. And I know that George Lucas can’t write love scenes, but these were atrocious. I mean it was really bad in a couple of spots where I physically laughed. But there were also spots where she was very believable. After seeing her in Closer and in Garden State, I expected more, but I really think that it was the writing for her role and not her acting abilities that hindered her character. And I thought it was funny that in the first scene where she is allowed to dialogue, I was critiquing her acting and the kid next to me looks at his friend and says "Wow, she’s hot". So I thought, okay when you aren’t even thinking about how hot a girl is like her, then you are thinking way too much about it.
Ian McDiarmid. I am so impressed with this guy. For those of you who don’t know who it is, this is Supreme Chancellor Palpatine/Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious. He really does a great job. He makes you think about how the Jedi think and approach the things going on and you can really see how Anakin could be duped into becoming a part of the dark side. He makes you hate him and really believe him at the same time, which would be an amazingly hard job.
Really quickly I will talk about Samuel L. Jackson. How can a guy who does such a great job in movies like the Star Wars prequels and Pulp Fiction pick such bad movies so often. He is an amazing actor and I think he should fire his agent ASAP. Because someone is picking some atrocious roles like the movie he is working on now that they almost named Snakes on a Plane about, yep, you guessed it, snakes on an airplane. How far do you have to reach before people will say, "That’s enough". Please Mr. Jackson, get a new agent.
Then there are the characters that you love from all of the movies that show up in this movie. There is Yoda, who kicks some serious tail. R2 who also kicks some tail. Skeenes commented that R2 is a lot cooler in the prequels than in the early films, and I would have to agreee. C3PO who is his always jovial and talkative self. Even Chewbacca shows up in this one, which was great. I just wish he would have fought more. I wish all of the wookies would have fought more though. I was a little disappointed in the wookie scene. It looked amazing and the reason for it is pretty clear, but I wanted more, because I am greedy with my wookies.
There were also a lot of questions that got answered in this movie from the previous 2 and the following 3 movies. You find out how and why Anakin becomes Vader. You also find out a few transition points that move the prequels into the earlier movies. A few things that aren’t explained that I would like to know though, are why Yoda chose to move to Degobah and why R2 isn’t as cool later on. I am really trying to stay tight-lipped on the details of the movie for those of you who are trying to stay spoiler-free, so that is why I am being so general in my comments.
So let me wrap this up by saying it doesn’t disappoint. If you are a Star Wars fan, go see it. That is, unless you are under about 12. It is a really dark movie that might have the little ones having nightmares and questions that really can be avoided by not letting them go. But I would say older than that should be fine. But it was just a great movie. It even had me choked up at one point after Anakin and Obi-Wan’s fight. Go see it. That is about all I can say. I give Revenge of the Sith 4 out of 5. Only because of a few plot points and some of the writing. But I would say a 9 out of 10 is a little more accurate.

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Neat Internet Stuff

Web/Tech

Alright, so here are a few things I have been testing out recently to see if they are better than their counterparts.

First on the list is the Yahoo Music Engine. Okay, I know what you are saying. "But I like my music service." Well, you don’t have to use it to download music. Yes, it is cheaper than Napster. Napster is 15 bucks a month, whereas Yahoo is 5 bucks a month. But that’s not why, or how I am using it. What I like about it is that it is a really neat organization tool. It also integrates well into the Yahoo Instant Messenger. Plus, it has taken a cue from the Firefox Browser and left thier code open enough to where developers can make plugins so the application can be used in multiple ways. I think this is neat. You can use it to make a podcast, or as a video player, or make your own smart playlist like in iTunes. It is a really neat little app, I normally use iTunes for my music needs, but this may takeover for listening to music at the PC. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to move the music I would download from Yahoo to my iPod since they use WMA. Stinky!!!!

Okay, number two on the list is just something I found a few days ago and I thought some of you might enjoy it. I am a Googlaholic. I use Google’s multiple tools for a lot of stuff. From Gmail to Picasa, I love Google. And this could be really good. They are taking a cue from the My Yahoo page and making a customizable Google page. It is a personalization of Google. You can put a preview of your Gmail account, local movie times, news feeds, and driving directions. And what I like that isn’t here yet is the ability to add any RSS feed, which is to be coming in the next month. So I am ready for that. But it is neat and I am sure it will get better as they listen to their consumers.

The last thing I am going to talk about is the desktop search stuff. I know I just said that I am a Googlaholic, but their desktop search is just bulky. I soooo wanted to like it because I would love to just use one engine/ company for everything. But it just doesn’t do it for me. So I thought that maybe I could go all Yahoo then and try the Yahoo desktop search. And again, it is just too bulky. I want something quick, easy, and that I can use without it conflicting with the other programs I am running at the time. So I tried the last ditch effort of using MSN desktop search. And I must say, I was very sad when it actually worked really well. I didn’t want to branch out to another company, but I had to as it was extremely useful, quick, and it even had autocomplete. It is really good. It indexes your entire hard drive so that it can keep up with where everything is so you don’t have to. Here’s the deal. Rather than having to look for everything in a certain spot. You can just go down to your taskbar and just type in what you want to look for and it starts to appear. Then if you want, it can integrate into XP, or it will open a list of items that fit your criteria. It is really neat. And I use it a lot. it is a whole lot better than using the integrated windows search.

So, those are the things I am using at this point. They all work extremely well. If you haven’t downloaded these yet, you should. I am used to them, and will let you know if anything changes. Enjoy.

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Cheap LCD TV

Web/Tech

Okay, i was looking over a guy’s site today and found this killer deal on an LCD TV. It is a 30" LCD, which is huge. It isn’t the highest quality, but being that cheap, it would clear clutter, and look pretty dang good. It might be for you, or not.

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