Too much information

Recently I find myself unhappy with browsing the web. Mostly because there is just too much crap out there. It seems to me like the tubes have taken on the philosophy that the greater the output the greater the success. To add to the fact that there is too much information out there, now everybody has an opinion too. And since this is a 2D environment everybody tries to make their opinion the “loudest”.

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Faith, Religion and God

The most talked about subject on and off the internet. The one that ruins marriages, strains family relationships, alienates friends, starts flame wars and accomplishes nothing. Yes I’m talking about the debate between Atheists and Theists.

Today’s post (long overdue and it’s been kind of dry lately eh?) was inspired by AngryLittleGirl. Jessica, as she calls herself, is an attractive 18 year old from some part of the US (as I can only guess?). The way I found her was because of her response to the Blasphemy Challenge posted on their site.

Jessica is a “proud Atheist” and has made more than a dozen videos mocking and poking fun at religion and people’s faith. Which exactly where my gripe lies. While I know all too well how annoying it is when religious groups try to force on you their religious beliefs, at the same time I know that I couldn’t force myself to take the Blasphemy Challenge. Not because I fear God, I’m not even religious, but because I can acknowledge the fact that we know and understand very little of what is around us.

Do yourself a favour and on a clear night look up at the sky. Look past the dots of light and realize that there is something at work all around us. Something much bigger than ourselves and our silly debates.

I have friends who are quite the scientists. Studying DNA and molecular biology. The consensus is that the world around is far too complex to have happened by chance over millions of years.  So I’m not ready to denounce anybody just because of their beliefs.

Truth

Being nice is easy, being indifferent is hard.

How do you act indifferent to a girl that you fancy? Seems like an impossible task. For a lot of people it makes more sense to accommodate for her every move in hopes of getting her to like you. People are odd. I’m sure you’ve had the experience of when you found out that somebody had a crush on you. If that person is very open about it, complements you on your every step and tries to make you see how they are willing to do anything for you, you will have lost interest instantly.

Guys reside in only two categories, as far as women are concerned. You’re either dating material or you’re everybody else. Initially every guy has a shot at the dating material zone but for the majority of us that quickly changes. Once you’re exiled from the dating material category, you’re a goner. There have been documented cases of returns however they are as rare as reincarnations. The reason that most guys get a shot at the dating material category is because, despite what you think, she has no idea about who you are, what you’re like and what you are about. Yes that’s right, mystery is your strongest weapon.

Say too much, too soon and you have been demystified. It doesn’t matter if you think so or not. You have to remember that people judge each other constantly. Whenever we get a new piece of information about someone, it shapes our feelings about them. The more we know, the less we care. Just like when reading a book, you start at the beginning and work your way through.

This obviously relates to my post yesterday, less is more young grasshopper, less is more.

A lame sort of day

Today I woke up in one of those moods. Those moods where everything seems bland, you’re tired the daily grind and really the only remedy seems to just keep sleeping because thinking about anything is just annoying.

This feeling comes on the heels of yesterday, a day which was full of too much emotion. I called her to setup our date, so as you can imagine being at work all day, I spent too much thinking about the wrong thing.

The rule is that such a phone call should really only last about 10 minutes max. I managed to even fuck that up. I knew going in that I would have to keep it short and sweet but somewhere I lost track of things. I ended up talking to her for around 50 minutes. I was quite pissed with my unacceptable performance, but that’s ok I tell my self today. You live you fuck up and you learn. Gotta remember, failure is key. That thought certainly still does make you feel better. Suddenly failure is an accomplishment all to itself. Everybody likes to accomplish something. Anyways I digress. Towards the end of her questions and stories and my willingness to answer them I finally remembered what I called her for in the first place. So she ran through her week and apparently she’s busy pretty much everyday with one thing or another. In the end it was going to be Friday but I bumped it up to Thursday night. That gives me two days to spend thinking about anything else.

Honestly today I woke up wondering why I care so much. I still don’t know, feels like there is stuff that has to get sorted out. The lesson being of course, keep it short and sweet, around ten minutes maximum. I doesn’t matter if you’re having a good conversation, make some shit up and say that you have to go, make you plans and get on with it. You will not only feel proud but your ego will be strong. Yes it may not be easy, or seem like the proper thing to do, but trust me, you have to leave people wanting more. Being satisfied is boring, being thirsty is what propels us. Obviously don’t think that it’s a big deal, I mean just look at me, I messed it up but I live another day. So if you don’t believe me, please feel free to do it your own way. Of course the main reason that I say all this is for the simple fact that you don’t want to invest too much time into a relationship away from actual dates. Remember everybody’s best game is, and what actually counts the most is on the dates themselves. However if you talk to her on the phone for way too long, or on msn, you risk ruining your first impression.

If you do “mess up” and talk to her for an hour instead of 10 minutes be ready for a whiplash of hindsight. You will look back and think, had you only done this or that differently then the outcome will have had a much more positive potential. Ignore and don’t dwell on hindsight. Yes you could have, yes you should have but at the end of the day you might still get lucky. Even if you don’t (chances of getting lucky are not really all that high) then make a notch on your experience belt, straighten yourself out and move forward. Because if there is anything I learned, it’s that to be happy with anything, you have to earn it. When we get things for free, or without effort we do not appreciate them because we do not understand what it takes to obtain them. So the biggest gift of all, is the experience that you gain on your way to the goal. Your goal is just the light at the end of the tunnel that is the icing on the cake.

You are the prize 😉

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.

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.

Free Tuition

Today was my second attempt at delivering a cheque for CS GAMES 2007. Long story short, yesterday I manged to forget to sign my cheque, slide it under the door and then realize moments later what I had done. So today I had to make take the drive to university again before going to work.  First of all I really really had to go and couldn’t hold it in anymore. I even ventured the idea of pulling over on the highway but realized that would not be such a hot idea with the subzero temperatures and all. In the end I finally made it but when I was about to park temporarily without paying, realized that campus police was checking windshield tickets. I said f’ it, parked and ran to my destination. Did everything I had to do, dropped off my cheque, ran back and made a slick get away, bruning rubber and all.

However this post is more about the things I picked up on, on my way to Carleton. I was listening to Kiss FM and they were talking about how Carleton students  are on strike today on Parliament hill trying to stick it to the man, so that he’d pay our tuition. At first that sounds like a good idea, because $6k yearly tuition is kind of a drag. I even recall signing my name for a petition to lower tuition fees. However as I kept on listening, people started calling in to the radio show with their comments. Some woman called talking about being really happy she is 30. I think she was on drugs. Anyways others called in raising the point of, if tuition is free to get into university what’s going to happen to the service industry? The radio-caster followed up by saying something like, “where do you draw the line, should government also put money down when you buy a house, and help you secure a job? after all where do we take responsibility for our own life”. I think that is brilliant point but that my opinion is biased. Yes tuition is a lot and yes it is hard to make it through university when you have to work to be able to pay your way through but that is what separates the strong from the weak, determines from the lazy. If everybody gets free tuition then there will be no difference between secondary and post secondary education, just another step in the ladder. When you pay for tuition (your parents’ money doesn’t count) you feel responsible, grades matter and you try harder. If it’s a free ride we will have a country of servicemen with degrees and that’s just not right. Having a degree will no longer mean anything because anybody can get it.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.