Monday, October 30, 2006

Home theater, teaching, some rants

Home theater
Took me a while to decide on what home theater speaker system to get. As I'm only in a small apartment, I didn't need to spend too much money, as a little "oomf" is plenty.

Anyway, I decided on getting the RCA 2390 from XSCargo (great store, only problem/good thing is their stock is like entirely different every week.) It's a receiver (amplifer) and speaker set only, no included DVD player. Which is good for me, since the included DVD players in HTiB (home theater in a box) suck, and you don't get any extra inputs/outputs.

Hooked it up last night, sounds great. "Tested" movies included "Dazed and Confused", and a I tested the digital 5.1 surround sound with "Pirates 2".

It's funny how they want you to buy a "digital coaxial cable" for a heavily marked up price for the digital audio in/out connection. They can't fool me though.. the god damn cable isn't digital. Therefore, regular RCA/composite cable I had worked just fine :)

Part 2

Anyway, over the past few weeks I've been trying to sort out some administrative issues in my application for teacher's college next September. I'm leaving teaching open as an option - it's definately got it's +'s and -'s, like any other career I suppose.

Anyway, I had to make sure my credits would be applicable to teach math/physics (the problem being that few of my courses are actually "physics" courses for purposes of transfer.)

So, I went to the education dept, who told me to go to Registrar's. Registrar's tell me Mechanical Engineering are setup for transfer credits, but not EE. So I give a copy of my transcript, highlight the physics type courses, and the next day I get a message "no deal, you need to get support from the Dean".


SO I try the same procedure with another individual in Registrar's, and the next day, I get an email "You are a-okay."

My conclusion is that some people in Registrar's don't know what they are doing.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

FireFox 2

Let's hope it's more stable then the previous builds (the previous builds, from my experience and many other users I talk to, had the problem with memory leaks and hogging all cpu resources.)

Anyway, good new features
+ auto red underline spell check in any web form (nice, since I suck at spelling now a days.)
+ Slightly better looking and functional interface
+ New links now open in new tabs, instead of new windows. (I like tabbed browsing.)

I'm sure I'll discover more. As usual, Firefox is way ahead of IE in terms of features.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I think Microsoft, but especially Sony, are missing the point entirely

Aren't games, ultimately, about fun?

Yet the focus of the past nth generation of systems has been on essentially the enhancement of mainly 3d graphical capabilities, only.

Some of the games I grew up with were classics and extremely fun because they had great artistic direction, yet left enough to the imagination, and above all, great, and not overly-complex for the sake of being complex.

I suppose having more power is nice: a lot more processing capability is required for High Definition resolutions, but come on now. I suppose a lot more people will get HDTV's perhaps after buying them, who knows. I figure if you can spend $699 CND on a PS3, you can probably afford atleast a $1500 42" HD plasma.

Nintendo seems to be on the right direction, I want, atleast: make the graphics a bit better, but concentrate on the gameplay.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Ah.. Canada's legal system fucked up, again. Big surprise.

Well, I have a proposed fix for it, too. Seems so logical to me, I don't know why no one else has tried to push for it.

It concerns the whole BS of "youth offenders act".
Sure, I think for some smaller crimes, if a person is a youth, they should get a bit of privacy, and a less severe sentence.
But for 1st degree bloody murder, just because someone is 18, does not mean they should get off scotch free.

Case in point:
I saw on A Channel news today, that a 17 year old teenager raped and murdered a 15 year old teenager. He has shown no remorce whatsoever since the crime.

His sentence? 18 months. He's now 19.

Maybe there's something I'm missing, but they didn't mention a reason for this ridiculous light sentence, besides the fact this guy was a youth when he committed the crime (which is utter an complete bullshit.) You know what's bullshit about this idea? Once over a certain age (it's like 7, not 18), a person knows the difference between right and wrong, to kill or not kill.

It's almost as bad as Carmen only getting 8 years for stabbing a kid right in the heart. The fact that they think he has a good chance for rehabilitation makes me chuckle a bit.

Anyway, let's just apply simple logic to the problem:
"the younger you are (<18), the less your sentence should be for a crime"
"for extremely violent crime, there should a more significant penalty, with less variation for age"

This suggests a straight approach:
Make, for instance, 1st degree murder(Base Years in Prison) = 10 + age (where there is a minimum age and maximum age this applies to)

This type of idea makes a lot more sense then "well, you are under 18, you get 1 year. Over 18, you get 25 to life". How the hell does that make any sort of sense?

That way, a 17 year old goes into prison for a violent crime like this, for a base amount of 27 years (could be slightly adjusted either way).

That way, the young guy who committs this haneous crime, learns a lesson. He might eventually get out of prison, but not till all of his best years are spent away in a prison. He deserves no less.

Song lyrics

To tell you the truth, I never really payed attention to lyrics much before in songs. I just always listened the tune/singing (but not the words); I always sing the lyrics incorrectly (not my fault ofcourse, a lot of rock singers hardly pronounce their words well.)

Some song lyrics are awesome because they deal with issues we can all relate to, or they have a message that isn't the obvious. Here's a few of my favs:

Sympathy for the Devil, by the Rolling Stones:
Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long long year stolen many a man's soul and faith
I was around Jesus Christ had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate washed his hands and sealed his fate
Please to meet you hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you is the nature of my game

Stuck around St. Petersburg when I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the Tzar and his ministers; Anastaria screamed in vain
I rode a tank held a gen'rals rank when the blitzkrieg
raged and the bodies stank
Please to meet you hope your guess my name, oh yeah
Ah what's puzzling you is the nature of my game, oh yeah

I watched the glee while your kings and queens fought for
ten decades for the Gods they made
I shouted out "who killed the Kennedy's?" when after all it was you and me
Let me please introduce myself I'm a man of wealth and taste
And I lay traps for troubadors who get killed before they reach Bombay

Please to meet you hope you guess my name, oh yeah
But what's puzzling you is the nature of my game, oh yeah

Please to meet you hope you guess my name
But what's confusin you is just the nature of my game

Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
'Cause I'm in need of some restraint

So if you meet me Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I'll lay your soul to waste, um yeah

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, um yeah
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, um mean it, get down

Tell me baby, what's my name
Tell me honey, can ya guess my name
Tell me baby, what's my name
I tell you one time, you're to blame

What's my name
Tell me, baby, what's my name
Tell me, sweetie, what's my name

Time, by Pink Floyd
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day

Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
And you are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run, you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans THAT EITHER come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say

Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
When I come home cold and tired
It’s good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spell.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ahhh... gotta improve my basic presentation skills!

Well, I didn't do to bad for my "practice" proposal type (1st) seminar.
I've worked on it quite a bit over the past few weeks (well, I came up with some good ideas right at the end there, so the 2nd half of the slides were a bit rushed, but still had lots of figures ) , and basically had to give the presentation on the fly.

Well, I asked for his critique afterward:
+ My supervisor thinks I know what I'm talking about now. Oh, so I'm not full of shit now, great. :)
+ He liked my use of many relevant figures
- He didn't like that I used so much damn text (easy to fix)
- Needed to concentrate more on the end proposed block diagram solution (that's a good point. Came up with some of the ideas too late to make a good diagram, though. Definately needs to be made, though).

Watched Lost last night, couldn't believe that Locke is a gigantic pot head. Well, ofcourse, that's not what actually is implied (well, he does that wierd drug induced hallucination in the tent thingie, but I'm not sure he does that on a frequent basis). Locke was thinking "gotta have all these guns to stop the people from stealing my weed!" is what he wanted to say to the police officer, I think. :)

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Good motivation for me to find a part-time job: I want me and Dani to get a car together, a new one.

The 2007 Jeep Compass. It's Jeep's newest model. Unlike the Liberty (starts at $30K), this one is smaller, but looks as roomy, and nicer price tag (starts at $17K). Of course, "starts" at is just that: basic package we would want starts at $20K (power windows/etc, sunroof). Add a CVT (continously variable transmission) (which is neat, ultra smooth operation, neither of us wants to drive a stick) makes it a bit more. However, her dad works at Chrysler's and we'd be trading in her car, so the price isn't as bad as it might seem.

Anyhoo, this car's got everything
-nice jeepish look (especially front design)
-fuel efficient engine (with variable valve timing)
-sweet audio system (with built in mp3 jack and cd storage)
-all folding down seats
-CVT as mentioned above
-drives real nice (I imagine) :)
-comes in nice earthy colours. Some of the standard colors available on cars now a days is awful.
-lots of safety feature (air bags, ESP (electronic stability program, not mind reading capabilities), etc)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Aerosmith: rockin' concert, but I left a bit dissappointed

The performance of Aerosmith was top notch, don't get me wrong. There was even a very well setup A/V, a huge screen projected behind the band, so even those in the nosebleed could see the concert well.

My problem was: not enough of their hits, and not enough songs in total (which may be related). They played a total of 13 songs, only I think only like 6 of which were big hits or songs that I recognized (I also listened to their first 5 albums, which contain a majority of their hits, over the past few days). I also thought there were too many, too long guitar solos (though I bet some people really dig that.) The Stones are older than Aerosmith, and they played 21 songs at their concert. The Stones played some of their new stuff, sure, but they still played most of their bigger hits. Ah well ;)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wow, Tom Cruise really does have all his screws very,very loose

Watched this clip on YouTube just now. It's not the interview where he claims psychiatry and Brooke shields are full of shit with Matt Lauer, but actually defends his position.

"Mental illnesses caused by brain chemical imbalances do not exist , psychiatry is all about zapping people with electricity , ritalin is a street drug, Matt, YOU don't understand the history of psychiatry, YOU need to read the research papers..." and he goes on and on and on. ;)

Ritalin helps a lot of people, as do other anti-depressants. Like any other drugs, they can be over-prescribed, but does that mean they should be banned all together? Sure, zapping people with electro-therapy shouldn't be overused, but Tom should read some medical literature (oh, I'm sorry, although he claims to have read some medical research, I bet he only reads Scientology pamplets), that electrotherapy has been the only source of help for many people with certain nervous and mental illnesses (as in one case where electrotherapy stopped the continous siezures a child was having, misdiagnosed as somethign else.)

I think Scientology should be banned, or atleast forced to change it's name. Having a cult with "Science" in the name is a bad thing. Science is based on research and hard work. Scientology, like many other cults, is based on crazy people's delusions. I still find it hilarious that the founder of Scientology has said he was just making it all up. :)

I feel bad for Matt, having to interview this guy, AGAIN :)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Is the world taking a spin for the worst?

It seems lately lots and lots of horrible stuff is happening, closer and closer to home.

- In US and Canada, 3 school shootings in a week. This most recent one, was a quiet family man with 3 kids, who tied up and shot firing squad style a group of young girls.
- A friend of mine is being sent off to Afghanistan soon. Canadian soldiers are seemingly being killed at an alarming rate by suicide bombers.
- increasing amount of rogue nations (like Iran and North Korea, currently being run by fundamentalists (read: fucking insane people)) who are developing nuclear capability. I don't mind countries having nuclear power, as long as they aren't run by such nuts. If you understand how to make nuclear power, you can make a nuclear bomb (since it's technically easier). All that's missing is a better grade of radioactive material.
-Increasing terrorist plots.

The list goes on and on. This resulted from watching Canadian and local news, to boot.

Well, the easy thing that, in the past 4 years, people have voiced is to blame everything on Bush, and the Bush administration. Sure, having a complete moron backed by rich corporate oil mongrels run the most powerful country in the world certainly isn't a good thing, I do think it goes deeper than that.

How deep, I'm not sure.

Well, at least I don't buy into the "permanent" global warming effect (with only 100 years or so of weather data, we really only know relatively transient conditions in predicting weather on a global scale), yet, at least. With the current state of affairs in the world, I think it's more likely we'll blow the planet to pieces before weather becomes an extremely deadly factor.

To Wii or not to Wii

Ahh.. I've owned every Nintendo console since the NES (well, except for the 18 different alternate versions of Gameboy, and the Virtual Boy, remember that one? heh.)

The Wii comes out this November at $250 USD ($280 Cnd, atleast we aren't getting ripped off in conversion.) Damnit, those $0.99 US deals shouldn't be $1.59+ here, given the almost equivalency of the currency.

It's $50 USD more expensive than I and many others expected (although it is packaged with Wii sports, which is hardly a $50 game.) The controllers are expensive ($40+$20 nunchuck attachment), however, this isn't too bad compared to XBOX360's and probably PS3's insane controller pricing (charging $60 for a normal wireless controller shows MS is pricing like that just because they can). Afterall, the Wavebird is only about $40. Atleast Nintendo's new Wii controller has significant technology to justify the cost.

I'd wait to buy the system until more games are out (ie. the new Super Smash Bros, Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3,etc) but the Zelda: Twighlight Princess comes out at launch, which is a must play for me. Of course, I could just buy that and play it on Gamecube.. hrmn. Decisions, decisions.