Friday, April 29, 2005

reverse Michael Jackson?

Spotted today in the elevator, a white male holding a stack of books, on top of which is this: No Lye : The African American Woman's Guide To Natural Hair Care.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

outlook feature requests

  1. When I block a day in my calendar as Out of Office in outlook, it should automatically send OOTO (or OOF) messages when people email me. A cursory dig through the "Rules and Alerts" and "Out of Office Assistant" doesn't do anything like that. I don't want to have to remember to select "I'm out of the office" before I leave, it should just know, that's why we have calendar programs.
  2. It should know to disregard OOTO messages when I send email to a mailing list. I hate seeing 100 OOTO emails when I send something to a popular list. I can't create a rule that's generic enough that will catch all OOTO emails when I send to a list, but NOT the ones when I send to an individual.
  3. Give me back the eye for "watching" a thread (or was that only in outlook express?), and give it a different colour beside the folders (so blue signifies new mail, red signifies new mail in a "watched" thread).

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Things that go well together: a phone, a digital audio player, a PDA. Why? They all need: storage, input, and screen, and that's it. So if you can merge the input for a phone, a PDA (already sorta done through T9 and up/down buttons/joysticks), and an audio player (should be easy with up and down buttons), you're done. Everything else is software.

Things that don't go well together: a phone and a camera.

I should clarify. Little 1 and 2 megapixel camera phones are fine, as long as people realize that they're useless.

Why? There's this thing called light and optics. It doesn't matter how small electronic components get, a tiny 3 mm plastic lens will never give you the pictures you want. Sure, it's fine to email your friends with evidence of how bad his beer goggles are, but it's another story when you want to take vacation pictures.

But really, in the end, it comes down to what you want to carry around with you all the time. Having a cellphone with a music player won't add significant heft, especially as cellphones are now smaller, with more built-in memory. But putting in a quality lens and zoom will add significant size, and I'm just not prepared to carry that around with me everywhere I go.

Monday, April 25, 2005

More T&S

After standing outside the Moore Theatre for almost an hour with no scalpers at all, we decided to skip the Killers show, and went to catch Tegan and Sara at Neumos (who coincidentally opened for the Killers before heading to their own show).

They needed a couple of Red Bulls before the back to back show, but it was still good, with lots of their trademark banter. I think they really like playing their own show, especially when they get so much more attention (as opposed to opening for someone else). They even played a cover of Cyndi Lauper covering Prince.

This is the third time I've seen them in Seattle since moving here. They have quite the following here.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Summer is brilliant

From the OC last week:
these people are annoying
they think that they're so smart, they're so cool
with their messy hair, their dirty clothes, that they bought that way
they play their retro board games and
they drink wine, for fun

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Who knew the Liberal Party was in such dire straits.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Habemus Papam

As of right now (12 noon, PST), Joseph Ratzinger (aka Pope Benedict XVI) has 10 books in the top 25 Top Sellers on

I guess being Pope helps sell your books.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

google double news

I regularly go to google news to check the headlines. This morning, I saw this (click for larger version), which I thought was odd. Not odd that a pope was elected, but that two news articles with nearly the same content and title occupied the top two slots, and weren't categorized as related. I guess that's why they're still in Beta.

Monday, April 18, 2005

men stink

There are no less than 8 air fresheners on the ceiling of the 5th floor men's bathroom, along with an open window, and you can still feel the putrid stench infiltrating your skin as soon as you step inside the door.

I guess this is what happens when you work in a male-centric environment. I'll wager that the women's bathroom gets very little use, and probably smells like roses.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

no foresight

Just read an article on the San Francisco Chronicle, which gave me a couple of reasons not to be a Verizon customer.

1. Their CEO has no foresight.
The head of the country's largest phone company ridiculed San Francisco's interest in building a municipal Wi-Fi network that is designed to offer cheap or free Internet service throughout the city.

"That could be one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard,'' said Ivan Seidenberg, chief executive officer of Verizon Communications, ... "It sounds like a good thing, but the trouble is someone will have to design it, someone will have to upgrade it, someone will have to maintain it and someone will have to run it."
One could have said the same thing about city roads and interstate highways back when the model T just came out. The fact is, what residents expect is constantly evolving, and having a municipal wifi is not inconceivable as a public service (think about inner-city kids who can buy a cheap $300 computer, and not have to worry about monthly internet charges).

2. He's out of touch with customer needs - i.e. I need my cellphone to work at home.
"Why in the world would you think your (cell) phone would work in your house?" he said. "The customer has come to expect so much. They want it to work in the elevator; they want it to work in the basement."
The fact is, there are a lot of people out there now (> 50% of people I know in Seattle) who use only a cellphone as their communication device. One of the major criteria when I look for an apartment is cellphone reception. It shouldn't be too much to expect. If cellphone coverage can extend to subways in Europe, I should get at least 4 bars in a residential neighbourhood. Having their CEO make idiotic remarks like that just make me want to not do business with them (not that AT&T is any better).

Sunday, April 10, 2005

gone mainstream

Sometimes, when I'm bored, and nothing's good on network TV, I turn to the likes of VH1 and MTV. I especially enjoy shows like Cribs and Pimp my Ride.

Normally they play a variety of mainstream hiphop/rock songs as part of the soundtrack. But today, during an episode, there it was, Tegan and Sara.

Oh, and they also seem to be a favourite on Grey's Anatomy, my new favourite show.

Saturday, April 09, 2005


I loathe text messaging. It's an unreliable communication medium, and absolves the sender of all responsibility.

If you want to know something, just call them.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


This is the forecast for the next 10 days in Seattle:
  • Showers
  • Showers
  • Few Showers
  • Showers
  • Showers
  • Showers
  • Few Showers
  • Mostly Cloudy
  • Light Rain
  • Showers
How depressing.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


I try to keep up on my gadget news, and as such, I read a lot of websites that report on said news items. But I feel that there's a lot of bullshit being sprayed around like cheap butter from a butter gun. So I thought I'd address some of them. This is not Apple bashing, it's just setting the record straight.

  1. Apple's market share is insurmountable.

    Anyone who's followed anything about technology in the last 15 years knows that this is an overly bold statement. Yes, Apple has a huge first-to-market (with a good product anyways) advantage right now, with a (disputed) market share of anywhere from 50% to 80% (in the US). According to CNN, they sold 4.5 million units during the holiday season. But surely people remember IBM's PC business during the early 90's (which they've recently sold), or Netscape's early lead in the browser wars. The point is, this is the beginning of the curve, and no one can predict who's going to come out on top. It could be Apple, but it could also be any one of the 50 other competitors. No lead is insurmountable.

  2. New players need to play AAC because that's what iTunes rips CDs to by default.

    I don't think apple's competitors are necessarily targeting existing iPod users. The number of non-iPod users (and thus non-AAC using people) out there are exponentially more than iPod users. Most new players support wma on top of mp3, which could be troublesome for Apple (since Microsoft is notorious for getting market share while being a late comer).

  3. No one else but Apple innovates.

    This is blatantly false. Apple's main innovation was its industrial design, and the scroll wheel. And don't get me wrong, those were great innovations, but they haven't really added any significant features since. Their latest "innovation", the colour screen, is way behind times (in the tech world anyways), and they still don't have: FM radio, build-in voice recording, removeable battery, USB on-the-go, mp3 encoding ...

  4. The iPod has the best design.

    Everyone has different aesthetics. The iPod has its minimalist appeal, but that doesn't necessarily attract everyone. Obsessives like me will quickly get annoyed at the "scratchability" of the shiny stainless steel, and in their latest models, the gray scroll wheel mars the smoothness of the white. This, on the other hand, is beautiful, but not necessarily useful.

  5. The iPod is the smallest and lightest.

    Clearly false.

  6. iTunes is the best music management program.

    Software usability has been studied for a long time now, and Apple has always been on the forefront of usability. For small flash players, a good music management/transfer program is important, and iTunes (depending on your listening habits), is probably one of the best out there. But what about hard drive based players? Here's what I see as the basic usage pattern of a 20 GB player: person buys player, person loads entire library, person adds more songs every week or two. If you're not transferring and deleting songs everyday, it's not really a deal breaker if it takes you 5 minutes more to figure out how to do it. Having software like iTunes is also highly restrictive, since in the past they've changed the way you can interact with songs you've paid for at their music store (like reducing the number of times you can burn it, and further limiting the number of people streaming from your computer). This means that while you could burn your songs 10 times when you bought them, they can change the policy at anytime, and a month later, you may find that you can only burn them 7 times. But I'm going on a tangent here.