New Jersey

Enough is enough. It is time to add a full fledged category to my blog chronicling how often New Jersey pop-ups in my life. I realize of course that there is higher chance it is simply all coincidental but where is the fun in that?

I’ve thought about doing this before, but today, while in my boss’ office, we were on the phone with Bill. Not exactly sure who Bill is or what his role is but the thing is that he was talking to us from his car as he was driving somewhere. Towards the end of the conversation he mentioned he was in New Jersey. Now for you there’s nothing remarkable about that. For me however New Jersey and I seem to have been bumping into each other for a while.

To be honest I’m not exactly sure what about New Jersey triggers these feelings in me but ever time I think back to the summers (now like 4 of them) spent in New Jersey, this odd and peculiar sensation comes over me. I want to say I love New Jersey but somehow I know that love doesn’t describe the emotion well enough. Perhaps it is because all my memories of New Jersey are from the summer and I’ve always been there with my family, on break from work, school, and the other daily hassles of life. Maybe it’s those magical beaches where you can spend your whole day just soaking in the rays and not worrying about anything, well except maybe sunscreen on the odd occasion.

It is odd but I feel a strange pull towards that state.

Previously unmentioned references to New Jersey in my life.
– In the book “Conspiracies” by F.Paul Wilson, Lew a character lives in New Jersey.
– others I can’t recall at this very moment

Adobe Flex confusion

I had a rather interesting weekend. Not by the standards of acitivity but by the standards of arguing. I think I carried on at least two heavy debates/arguments over the weekend. I will split each one into its own post.

First one was on Saturday afternoon. It involved me and my Dad arguing over Flex. I won’t be transcribing the argument but instead will talk about some of the points that I felt strongly about while in discussion. Not to mention this morning there was a story on Digg pretty much about the same thing as we talked about.

To be clear this is not a post to make Flex seem inferior. It really is a powerful and unique product.

Flex swfOk let’s start at the beginning. ASP.NET is not a direct competitor to Flex. Just like neither is PHP, Ruby, Coldfusion or any other web development language. I cannot believe that people actually think that comparing the ASP.NET and Flex is a valid backdrop for showing how much Flex rocks. Asp.NET unlike Flex is a server-side executed page which yields XHTML or Javascript as its output for the purposes of generating a web page. Flex on the other hand makes its life as a swf file which is loaded and rendered by a proprietary plugin (flash plugin). Flex does not generate XHTML or Javascript or CSS. It is completely self contained. Remove the flash plugin and Flex seizes to exist. So to begin with how can a proprietary plugin based rendering compare to XHTML rendered by your browser? The short answer is it can’t. Just like you don’t go around comparing apples to oranges.

I noticed that a lot of people target Microsoft pretty much every time there is something they want to complain about. For example, many claim that Microsoft released the AJAX library to compete with Flex and clearly Flex is whooping ass and taking names. However while Microsoft may be trying to “compete” with Flex that does not justify the argument that ASP.NET is comparable to Flex. You can compare Asp.Net to Coldfusion, PHP, Ruby, CGI because all those are valid server-side executed languages focused on providing renderable XHTML content for the browser.

You must acknowledge the idea that the Web 2.0 market is brand new. Nobody has developed anything new yet to make web applications look and feel more like desktop applications. Except Adobe and its Flex of course. Now don’t go telling me that AJAX is anything but Javascript. It is not a new language or a new concept, just a feature that browsers support.

Other companies are definitely worried by the prospect of Apollo though. Apollo promises to unite Web and Desktop applications and they probably will. But they have a completely new and different approach to the whole web experience. Flash started out as a vector bitmap application which was quickly loved by arcade game designers and casinos alike. In light of their success and the propagation of their plugin, Adobe realized that they have created an opening which they could pounce on. Unlike ActiveX controls and Java Applets which never took off the ground, the Flash player did. Hence it is only natural that they would expand. So if you want to compare Flex to anything, compare it to Java Applets and ActiveX controls, but understand that when both Applets and ActiveX was born Web 2.0 was but a dream. Comparing Flex with anything is like comparing the Bugatti Veyron, a 1001 horsepower power house, to Davinci’s Ford’s first crankshaft car. You can do it, but you’ll only end up an ass doing it.

In short, Flex truly is a unique product with a uniquely pretty and powerfully dynamic approach. The possibilities are endless but it is still rather too new, too rough around the edges. Testing Flex components from a remote server are a dread due to the load times. As you can imagine each time you load your page, the flash plugin loads the swf file. Whatever happened to layout managers? Flex kind of lacks those. Even the ability to drag a TitleWindow around a screen does not exist but must be implemented with simulated code.

As time goes on and Flex matures I think we will see a lot of new technologies emerge to fill the gap in the market and create competition.

Special thanks to SaviourMachine for his icon.

Conspiracies by F. Paul Wilson

A few days ago I finished reading a novel by F. Paul Wilson called Conspiracies. It is one of the many books in FPW’s collection of Repairman Jack novels. The book was an interesting read. I didn’t like it as much as the Hosts book by FPW that I read first. None the less, the book dealt with these creatures known as “the otherness” (weird Lost reference?). Jack (the main character) has to deal with them. One of the things that happens is a big hole opens up in the ground which links their world and ours. I wasn’t quite able to imagine a whole of such dimensions while reading the book. I was never going to even write about the book, but then I bumped into this story. Not sure what language it is in (apparently Norwegian), but that hole (in Guatemala ) is fascinating. As soon as I saw that I decided it deserved its own post!

Wild photos, the more I look at them the more scary the book’s plot seems. At a different link the story mentions that two teenagers were swallowed by that sinkhole. Which is sad but is also weird because in the book two “Men in Black” are lost to the hole. Creepiness.

Guatemala Hole

More images after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

Stranger in a Strange land

A rather interesting episode. I don’t feel like it was shocking, and it really didn’t make me think but I believe it was lased with small hints. I don’t pay attention the hype that ABC puts out, so luckily I was not disappointed when the three supposed questions were not answered. Personally I didn’t feel like any questions were really answered, if anything more were definitely introduced.

JackThe plot of Lost is rather curious. It is full of mysterious powers and events that could only be taken on with fate. Though at the same time there is this parallel plot line that involves these “others” which is not really that mystical and is very concrete. Sure there are questions left unanswered but for me the show is divided and I try hard to connect the supernatural side of Lost with the Others. Thus far I have failed. I personally prefer the supernatural side to Lost a lot more. I think it would be disappointing if the Others weren’t somehow connected to overall plot line. What is it that connects ties the Others into the plot line?

In this Wednesday’s episode we do find out quite a bit more about the Others. We find out that they don’t live the Hydra station island (guess we already suspected that). Apparently they even have “backyards”, which seems to imply a level of sophistication that is not seen on the island(s). The Islands are, in my opinion, left over from the Dharma initiative and yet who are the Others and what is their role? The kid who Sawyer and Freckles rescue says that the Others only work on the island but live somewhere else. In fact they don’t seem to like the island at all. That is of course understandable but what kind of work do they do that is so important? As I write this I just had a flashback to the beginning of Season 3. When Juliet burns her hand while making muffins and we see that their “village” is situated in the middle of an island. Is that where their backyards are? It seems so very remote and isolated. I keep hoping that the Others serve a higher purpose. It would be really disappointing if they were simply some nomads. At the same time there are a very strange bunch. We saw how they branded Juliet and maybe more judging by the bandage that she covered up while Jack put aloe on her mark. They seem to be a rather small group of people and marking somebody on their back certainly won’t produce humiliation so what is the purpose? Being marked definitely didn’t seem like a big deal to Juliet so what is its purpose? My mind fails to create an interesting scenario where the marking would play a role and still feel like Lost. Maybe the mark is not important but then why give it such a focus?

Marking does play a different role with Jack. Or perhaps it is not so different after all. While Jack is in Thailand he meets that girl while trying to fly a kite. While I was watching the episode I had a feeling that there was significance in the kite. The girl that he meets seems to live a questionable lifestyle. We really do not find out much about her, even when she says she reads people and marks them that doesn’t seem like a profession that would yield envelopes of cash. When Jack finds out at first she refuses to mark him, saying that that would dishonor her people. I wonder what people she is referring too. The wording that gets branded on Jack translates (from Chinese) to mean “Eagles high, cleaving sky”. Relating back to the kite that Jack flies in the beginning, is that of an eagle’s silhouette. However Isabel (the apparent sheriff) translate his tattoo to mean “He walks among us, but he is not one of us”. At least that is the impression we get. Not to mention that she seems to be fluent in Chinese.

So by the end of the episode I was left asking myself, “so what does this all mean and how does it add and relate to our story?” Oh and who is this damn Jacob? I’m pretty sure that he’s a real dude.

Links of interest:

Episode Easter Eggs

Episode Screencaps

Lostpedi Article

Posted in Lost. 1 Comment »

Top Notch Hockey Game

Thursday, February 22’07 – Ottawa Senators vs. Buffalo Sabres

Not much to say except, “Ray Emery what a guy!” 😀

The need for Art courses

chris writes:

There are most likely things in math that you’ll learn that you’ll also never use. It’s give and take sir. Learning how to be a real person, rather than virtually a human robot, can take you a long way. There’s more to life than your career/degree, and alot of people I feel actually NEED the art courses to step away from the math and junk to learn there’s more than integrals and matrices in the world. In high school, everyone needs to take math up until grade 11. At least half of those kids will never need to use a parabola in their lifetime, but it’s developing a portion of their brain that isn’t developed in straight art courses. It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be learning about parabolas and so forth. If that was the case, math wouldn’t be mandatory all the way through high school.

You would be surprised in how many countries Math is in fact required all the way through school. I can definitely agree that there is more to life than Computer Science. However University is not a joke. University is where I pay money to study. I study in University because I have picked a career path. I am all for being able to take courses while in University that help you grow as a person but I am totally against being forced to take courses just because some believe that Art courses will bring nerdy kids out of their shells.

Not to mention that I highly doubt that forcing kids, who spend 90% of their time playing StarCraft and forget to wash themselves, to take Artsy classes is going to change them. Believe it or not, personal change is a personal choice. You either want to change or you don’t. Nobody can change you. You can be forced to reconsider your present situation in life which pushes you towards a goal but taking an Art courses isn’t going to make anybody grow by itself. You have to want it. So going back to Math being offered too much. Math is one of those things that yes you probably won’t use everything you learn but its about more than that. It “changes” you from the inside (assuming you try at it). The most important part of us is still the brain and it needs all the hard stimulation it can get to develop abilities like decision making, judgment calls and so on. Which of course can directly impact how people choose to lead their life.

Plus what is with this attitude of changing other people? I get it, you feel like taking the Art courses that you have has really affected you in a positive way and that is great. Really. But You have to remember that you can’t save the world. Nor should you try to save the world. Not everybody can enjoy your situation. That is why we have choices in life. Which people make for themselves. Do I want to go to University? Do I want to work in service? Do I want to improve myself? And so on. Everybody should not be forced to mold to one shape, we are past those days of high school and elementary school. We are now (for the most part) adults who need to make our own choices in life.

Life is what you make it. So let those nerdy kids mature and maybe when they are 30 they will be able to relate to your thoughts of today.

“Vista Sale Slow” So?

People are like parrots they keep repeating the same bullshit stuff they pick up day in and day out. They are rather intelligent parrots though, because when the attention is on somebody they like, suddenly they stop their yapping and bow at the feet of the great One.

Browsing WordPress’s top posts today, I came upon a post about Pirates, Vista and something about Steve Ballmer. The post was an entertaining read however I did not agree with some all of his points.

  • WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) already is a bitch – yeah maybe if you own a pirated copy of XP it is, but then you would apply to the “arr I’m a pirate” category. In fact out of the 4 computer’s that I am in constant contact with, all of which are activate and WGA installed, none of them have ever caused me so much a flinch. On second thought I must be a very rare case, because everybody else seems to be complaining like it is going out of style.
  • EULA and gnawing off your arms – something about transfer of licenses being difficult. Seriously though, you make it sound like you buy a new a computer every year and need to transfer your one holly copy of Vista. That makes no sense considering every new computer comes with Vista so where is the problem?
  • UAC, red pixels and Russia – ok so Russia isn’t one of Vista’s issues but apparently the User Account Control is. First of all it can be turned off, second of all it is put in place to protect the abundance of people who STILL randomly click on pop-ups, download shady applications and are completely ignorant of viruses and the like. If you’re so smart turn off the UAC, or customize it, DUH.

Then when you’re done reading the article that you begin to wonder why the words like “Linux” or “Mac” and phrases like “Mac > Windows” or “I ❤ Linux” have not yet appeared. Because if my experience on the tubes has taught me anything, its that where ever there is bashing or complaining aimed at Windows, there are always Linux/Mac fan boys. Then out of nowhere it hits you that they are all conjugating in the comments section.

I am yet to figure out why people hold such a distaste for Microsoft. However I’m pretty sure that deep inside, past all their parrot instincts their lies envy. I’m sure some of them actually do believe that Linux will “beat” (they were in a fight?) Microsoft but I mean that’s why I drive an Infinity and you drive an Acura different styles, different preferences, different opinions. But lest you ignore the idea that your opinion might be incorrect.