Newer is not always better

April 24th, 2011 No comments

So, this week or two has been a good lesson that newer is not always better. I’ve actually known newer is not always better when it comes to software, but it happened once again. A couple months ago, when adobe flash player was updated to version 10.2, I jumped right on because I heard it has hardware acceleration enabled for macs (reduces CPU consumption). I know this is getting a bit technical so let me just inform you that when I watched Youtube videos afterwards, my full screen became extremely sluggish to the point it was unwatchable.

Problem being, I didn’t notice right away, so I didn’t figure out it was Flash 10.2 that did this for a long long time. Well, just a couple days ago, I decided I’ll track this down and finally figure out how to fix it, so I scoured the net using Google, which didn’t help much. Instead I decided to try to figure out exactly what was causing the slowdown in full screen mode. Long story short, I ended up looking for an older version of Flash to install and see if that would fix the problem…and it did!

On a similar note, I had recently ‘upgraded’ to Google Chrome 10 by force. It was actually really sneaky, I got no notification and before I knew it, I had the latest version of Chrome. I immediately began noticing small but annoying bugs, such as having to press enter several times after typing in a web page address such as This time, I noticed right away and immediately blamed Chrome 10, so I set out to try to figure out how to install an older version of Chrome, which was harder than I imagined it would be. Eventually I found a 99% similar browser called Chromium, and I installed version 8 as well as version 9 and tried both with several different versions of Flash. Finally, I settled on Flash 10.0 combined with Chrome 8 to feel the ‘snappiest’. Now, my web browsing experience feels a whole lot better! If I could, I’d remove Flash completely, but I cannot live without Youtube in my life (and the HTML5 option is not ready for primetime…trust me).

For that matter, I recently decided I would sell my iPad 2, as I found I don’t need anything newer than an iPad 1. The iPad 2 was to me, 99% identical to iPad 1 but nearly twice as expensive. I’ve since put my iPad 2 up for sale, although I don’t know if I’ll be replacing it with another iPad 1.

Finally, I was reading about this fragrance (cologne) that is a limited edition (seen above). For those curious, its called Windsor and it was released in a limited quantity in 2009 (right 4 bottles are 2009 edition). Apparently, it got rave reviews from the very few people who were able to try it. So much in fact, that it was re-released in 2010 (left 2 bottles are 2010 edition), but when people started sniffing and comparing the 2 different releases of the supposedly same product, almost everyone was able to tell the first one smelled a little different (and it is generally considered better). The maker of the cologne (Creed) apparently admitted that the cologne was reformulated! WTF they are selling a reformulated product and claiming it is the SAME product if that is true (and one thing for sure is the color is different as you can see, suggesting this is true). Seemingly off topic, I know, but just another example of an older version of something being better.

In other news, I have been fairly successful with investments lately, which is always good. One thing that kinda sucks though, is that in 2010 I bought a big batch of limited edition colognes as an investment. I found them at a good price and I knew they would soon be sold out and not reproduced, plus the cologne had rave reviews so no doubt the value would increase, right!? Well, same thing happened to this cologne (Thierry Mugler’s Pure Malt, pictured above in the re-release ad), they decided it was so popular that they had to re-release it to make more money. I sorta understand the need to make more money, but this is a fine line that could be considered lying by saying it will be a limited edition. Ask any Lamborghini owner if they would be pleased if Lamborghini decided to make a limited 20 car run into a 2000 car run and suddenly their expensive car was not only 100 times less exclusive, but also lost resale value? Well, if you bought the original Windsor cologne mentioned earlier in this post, at least the newer re-release doesn’t hurt your resale value too much as it is not the exact same product, but in my case, it seems as though the ‘Pure Malt’ product re-release is EXACTLY THE SAME, thus hurting the value of my investment. It can be kinda annoying sometimes.

The good news is, if I sold my batch of Pure Malts now, I’d still make some money, just not as much as before the re-release announcement. And for the record, it actually is quite a nice and very unique cologne.

I’ll try to write a less technical blog soon.

Categories: Investment, Life, Plans, Technology Tags:

You snooze, you lose!

April 1st, 2011 No comments

Hey, got a little frustrated today.

First of all, I got up at 8:30am, which is pretty early for me. The reason is I was actually planning to sell my shares of BIDU and reinvest in YOKU within a few minutes of market open today. This is not “considering” or “sorta thinking about”, I was REALLY planning to do this, but I overslept. While BIDU didn’t tank exactly (actually gained roughly ~1%), but in the same time, YOKU gained ~6% (so far today). 6% is a big amount to miss out on. Suppose you invested $1000 in YOKU, you could of made $60 doing NOTHING but predicting correctly (which I did, in this case).

While you can’t buy stocks one day at a time and expect to make any consistent money, people who know me know I’ve wanted to switch my investment to YOKU. With BIDU steadily rising the last few days, and YOKU dropping for 2 days in a row, it was a perfect time to switch over, so I just feel frustrated that I missed a really good, clean timing for the swap.

Eh, can’t be helped. Not like I lost money I suppose. You snooze, you lose!

Excited about video games!

February 9th, 2011 No comments

I figure its time for an update. The last time I posted was also when I updated my tech blog as well. Perhaps this will turn into a good trend for frequent updates. While I wanted to update every week over there, I feel I did well by not spilling over 2. Hopefully next time it’ll be 7 days or less, although I don’t want to overexert myself at the same time. Perhaps I should instead update once a day, but with smaller updates. Tech moves along fast enough that a summary every week may not be enough.

I’ve decided to try to get RSS feeds working on my blogs. I don’t know as much about RSS as I should, but I am pretty sure it is a method of “subscribing” to updates – which would be a useful way to keep an audience alerted of my site should they choose to do so. I am hoping I would make it easy to understand how to use RSS to my readers, as well as make it easy to subscribe to my feed. Hopefully I’ll start implementing this later this week.

While I was driving, I saw a double rainbow!! Sorry I forgot to take the video in landscape -.-

Still cool though!

I’m thinking of selling my iPad soon, since the iPad 2 is imminent, and I think it would hurt the market value of my current iPad. Hopefully I can sell my current one for nearly what I got it for and then hold that money and use it to pay 80%+ the cost of the next iPad. I was really looking forward to the double resolution screen, but in all honesty I think it’ll be unlikely until at least iPad 3. Nonetheless, I know somehow Apple is going to make me want the iPad 2 so, might as well get ready. For what its worth, I am also planning on selling my iPhone 4 in May, although that one is a bit harder to work with, since I would have to wait for an unlock again, it is a device I use everyday, and the iPhone release cycle is a lot more famous so everyone knows to expect a new iPhone around the June/July timeframe.

I’m also excited about Final Fantasy Versus 13! I don’t even have a PS3 but I haven’t been this excited about an upcoming game (far FAR in the future) since Dragon Quest VI! I remember for Dragon Quest VI, I used to have a world map torn out of an issue of weekly jump magazine in Japan and just take it out and study it in anticipation of the game. I even had my grandparents in Japan stand in line and buy it for me as soon as it came out so I had it within a couple of week of release! If you didn’t know, Dragon Quest realeases cause hysteria in Japan and VI was no different. I believe the game was one of the most expensive I have EVER bought, at around $120 at the time (12,000yen) which back in 1995 was quite the sum of money for ONE SNES game. Granted, games in Japan cost more on average than SNES games in the USA, with the most expensive SNES game in the USA that I could recall was Chrono Trigger for $79.

Anyway, I am very fond of RPG’s with beautiful graphics, especially scenery. Not to be mistaken with detail, beautiful graphics usually mean nice colors and expansive environments. My current favorite RPG of all time in the graphics department is Dragon Quest 8. The world map is simply stunning and better than any other world map I have ever encountered (exclude MMOs please). It is truly fun to walk around and explore the vast world of Dragon Quest 8. I Final Fantasy Versus 13, I am expecting the same, since one of the people familiar with the game described the world map as “truly vast” and expansive, with tons of exploration. Recently, Square Enix (the developers of the game) released a new trailer that shows off some of the world map, and I was beyond impressed! It feels like a more realistically colored and updated to be more detailed map compared to Dragon Quest 8, but otherwise similar to what I was hoping for! I really missed the world map in a lot of recent RPGs such as Final Fantasy X. They probably do this because it is much more difficult to create a full 3D world map compared to back in the days, but it is still sad that there is less environments to explore because they are harder to create. Anyway, I’ll embed the new trailer below:

I am still deciding whether to buy the Xbox360 or the PS3, with the Wii as a very distant 3rd possibility. The PS3 is recently leading, as I found out that Sony will probably offer a premium PSN service. One of my main concerns before was the lag I experienced playing Street Fighter 4 on PSN at my friends house. The same friend told me there is much less lag on the Xbox Live network, which costs money to play. To me, Street Fighter 4 is not as big of a deal as Final Fantasy Versus 13, but it was the only difference between the 2 systems since both systems have every game I want so far (Versus 13 is still up in the air, though it is confirmed for PS3). The Xbox360 also has the Kinect, which is considered the best out of current generation motion sensing technologies, but again I don’t think this is a huge deal for me, and PS3 has the guaranteed eventual release of Versus 13, which is a key KEY game for me.

Another reason I leaned towards PS3 lately is because I realized in Star Ocean the last hope, there is several DVD’s for the game that you have to swap once in a while as you play. In the PS3 version, you have one Blu-ray disc that contains all the data, eliminating the need for disc swapping. And finally, my friends all say the PS3 controllers are better, and I prefer the design of the PS3, plus I am Japanese so I feel ever so slightly better about supporting a Japanese company. Plus, the PS3 seems to be better hacked at this point, which may be interesting at some point. All of these recent thoughts have tilted my current preference towards the PS3, for now. I won’t actually be buying a 7th gen console until I can get a solid job, though.

Last Sunday I walked downtown with my friend after we parked a good 20-30 min walk away. Partially for exercise, and partially because there was no parking in downtown. At one point, we walked by a house with a VERY RED paint job, so we both took cell pics (below). We ended up eating at Ajisen, a respectable ramen chain in Japan that has recently made its way to the Bay area. Or so we thought, the Ramen was most disappointing. The strange thing is that I just had Ajisen ramen a week prior to that at the Fremont location and it was A LOT better, and I recall being very impressed with that one. I guess the taste is not consistent in this chain.

Note: The photo above is from Tokyo Shinjuku Ajisen.

At the end of the day we saw a real life Seinfeld as 2 cars were fighting over a parking space with both refusing to budge. One was halfway in the space and so was the other, just as you would picture it, at the end of a block. We didn’t stick around long enough to see the exciting conclusion, but there were people in their apartments yelling their votes “Hooondaaa!!” and such.

Until next time.

Categories: Life, Plans, Video Games Tags:

A day in the life of meeee!

January 29th, 2011 No comments

Hey everyone!

Today is Friday! What did you do today? As for me, I started the day by getting up at the sane hour of 10am. Since I am currently self employed only, I’ve gotten the bad habit of getting up at noon or even slightly later. I feel like 10am is a more reasonable time to get up and be fresh and productive with plenty of sunlight hours.

That said, did I really get much done? Short answer is yes, but only because of the big update post I just finished on my tech blog. Gonna just do a quick day recap.

Started the day a bit earlier than I’m used to, read about the market for a couple of hours on (probably one of my most frequently visited website lately). I’ve been eyeing this one stock called YOKU which recently IPOed. Long story short (long story available on the very same post I just mentioned), I ended up buying them and am now part owner of Youku.

Discovered that if you wake up earlier than you are used to, you still get hungry earlier than you are used to. Made myself my favorite avocado and natto with rice dish. I must of been either really hungry or out of it, because before I knew it, I ate all the natto mixed rice without even touching the avocado, which I must say is a rare occurrence for me.

Was gonna go down to SOBA today (SOBA = SOuth BAy A.K.A. San Jose area) but had a sudden change in plans, so ended up staying home. Good thing too, since I checked my books on to realize 2 of them have been sold now for over 4 days lol so I rushed out to send them today (I should ship within 3 at the latest, at least normally…). The good news is I sold a couple book that had no value to me whatsoever and will get ~80% of the selling price (the rest goes to commission and postage since their postage compensation is NEVER enough and they even take their 15% cut OUT OF THE POSTAGE!? I THINK!? I’m pretty sure they do!

My awesome packaging:

I also applied to go back to school. Thinking about taking ethical hacking course for beginners. I took the instructor before, and he is awesome. Problem is, I JUST applied to go back today, got confirmation too, but the semester has already been started for nearly 2 weeks…HAHA! Hopefully there is space in the class because if there is, technically I would have only missed one class if I go tomorrow (and will be a bit more than that behind in obtaining the textbook, unless the book is purchasable as an iPad compatible ebook). The class I want is a Saturday morning class so I really should be sleeping like…1 hour ago LOL this is bad.

Ok bi.

Categories: Life Tags:

An early few new years resolutions

December 4th, 2010 No comments

I want to share with you guys a few early new years resolutions I would like to make:

Honestly, overall, 2010 has been a ‘slump’ year for me, if that is even possible. You know how you feel as if some years are better than others, whether it be because of something you accomplished, someone(s) you met, or just a plain hard to explain feeling good about yourself over the year. For me, 2000 and 2001 were notable good years, and so was 2006. That doesn’t mean the others were bad, but I feel like those were good, and I happen to remember thinking that during those years. As it is now less than one moon to ending the first decade of the millenium and about to begin the next, I feel as if I need to take it upon myself to get myself out of this feeling of minor life slump and back to extremely awesome as usual.

One problem I’ve had at many points in my life is confronting other people. What does this mean? And no, I haven’t seen a double rainbow recently or smoked a pillar sized joint either. What I mean by confronting people is just simply approaching them or engaging in an interaction – whether its just a nod, a “hi”, or starting a short conversation. I often think twice about engaging with another human being. I avoid making phone calls for no reason I can think of, sometimes I don’t ask for something I want, don’t ask for directions that I need (which stereotypically is a male problem as well), don’t IM or post replies to people if I feel like I don’t know them well enough, and sometimes don’t talk to girls that I want to talk to. Admittedly, I KNOW for a FACT that the majority of the population is like me, especially if you’re a guy wishing to converse with an attractive lady(ies). That doesn’t mean or excuse me from not being like that. So I want to new years resolve (??) that I will engage interaction with other people whenever and wherever I feel like. There is no reason you should be afraid of other people in normal situations unless you feel a physical danger by engaging in interaction with them, since they are people too. The one exception I can currently think of for this if you want to make a good impression to a lady then the fear of failing will scare people. I think this is similar for the ladies as well, but seriously, no guy in their right mind should NOT want to talk to you unless you are a stuck up bitch. How often do you see a guy bragging about how few women they know? And if they are, they are generally failing at life. Just sayin’

You know, I may just make this a topic theme for December blog posts, since I can already think of 1 or 2 more resolutions that I would like to …resolve (is that even correct!?).

While I am at it, I would like to resolute another thing, and that is fitness. For people that know me well, you probably know that I do not like going to the gym. Its boring, and it smells bad, and you have to change clothing because you would look silly working out in street clothing…maybe. I’d still do it though because I just like street clothing and I don’t believe there is a rule against working out in street clothing at a gym. Anyway, point is, I’m very unfit right now. That doesn’t mean I want to start going to a gym, because I really don’t. I don’t desire to have guns the size of sewer pipes, as long as they are bigger than my buff lady friends, thats good enough. My arms are a pretty sad size right now, but they get bigger really fast. If I did 20 pushups once a day for a week, they would grow substantially. Thats all I desire in terms of ‘guns’. I do however, wish I was more aerobically fit. That means I want to be more cardiovascularly (real word?) fit, and activities I like to do that would probably make me more fit in that area is virtually any active sport (not golf or bowling, although I enjoy those as well) but what I mean is sports like basketball, snowboarding, tennis, biking, and even just power walking. I used to be EXTREMELY fit back in my senior year of high school. I don’t need to be that fit, but I’d like to be fit enough to where I could confidently say that I am fit.

Being on time. Ever since I became responsible for my own on time arrival to anything, I’ve had a chronic, dare I say genetic problem with being on time. I say genetic because my dad is just as bad as me at being on time to anything unimportant. Yes, I actually can be extremely prompt to anything important, such as a job interview or…a job, or to a very strict professors lecture. I don’t see that changing, because this is not only been a new years resolution for me nearly every year of my memorable life, but probably every week of my life. Nonetheless, it would be a significant accomplishment if I could achieve noticably better on time performance for non critically important things, such as meeting friends or sticking to a schedule. Actually, scratch the schedule, since I never make schedules. And I’m OK with that, no need to resolve there. I wish I was more on time in the interest of convenience to those that expect me to be somewhere at certain times, and to improve my own image as someone who can be depended on to keep his word. While I do consider myself to be extremely responsible at keeping my word (and I am careful to not make too many promises that I may not be able to keep), one area I’ve always (and constantly) wanted to improve is my on time performance. Which brings me to another point…

I have obsessive compulsive problems that make me take longer than another person may at things. A very good example of this is that I often write extremely long blog posts (such as this one) and then go back and correct things I want to say way too much in the interest of self satisfaction and quality of writing. The issue is this: THIS IS A BLOG, NOT AN ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITTANICA ARTICLE. I should ignore minor typos and gramatical mistakes I discover later and spend waaaay too much time correcting or tweaking. What I want to get to at the core of my OCD is this: I want to be able to keep 80% of the quality of my work and do it in 20% of the time. This is a ratio I actually learned in a book by Tim Ferris called “The 4 hour work week” which btw is a New York Times bestseller, and I personally think it is a fantastic book that possibly has changed my life. In fact, it is only 1 of 2 books I have read all year since I graduated college in a PREVIOUS year. The other book, for those curious, is called “The Game”, but thats another story for another time.

I wish I was more motivated and more competitive. As it is, I don’t care whether I win or lose at ANYTHING. Ok, thats not even close to true, but it IS true that I am MUCH less competitive than the majority of the population. I’ve always taken this as a strength in my being that I don’t feel I need to prove myself by being better than somebody else at something, and I think that is true, but nonetheless, being uncompetitive leads to less motivation to accomplish anything. And I happen to like accomplishing things. I like to believe that I am REASONABLY good at a LOT of things, but not exceptionally good at any one thing. If I had to choose one thing that I felt I was exceptionally good at, it is building and maintaining computers. I also believe I am extremely approachable and likable online – in other words, I am ‘good’ at chatting…if that is even possible. I am equally capable of being the same person in real life, since this is not some false alter-ego I created to try to be cool and accepted. Online I be myself and in my experience, people flock to me. Somehow I am not as consistently ‘this’ me in person, but it is there and it is still the real me. Did that make any sense? I believe (and adopted this belief quite recently, I might add) that everything is good in moderation. The same goes for competitiveness. I think being TOO competitive is bad, since you’ll go nuts if you are not better at something than someone, and there will ALWAYS be someone out there that is better than you at any one thing, since there is so many people out there to begin with. The odds are against you! Similarly, and back to my problem, is that I am too LITTLE competitive (caps is for emphasis, and has very little to do with ‘little’. If anything, its an oxymoron, and I think I know what oxymoron means, and I think I’m using it correctly). I think its healthy to be a little competitive and genuinely try to be better than someone else at some things. The crazy and hypocritical thing about me saying this as one of my resolutions is that I’m already at a 1600 word count on this post (or more), it is 5:20am as I type this, and I just thought of one more resolution that I wish to resolute in a following paragraph. Sigh.

So, I going to try to make this my last resolution of tonight before I hit the bed, and that is my desire to…have better sleeping habits? While that is true, that is not what I was thinking of. I have actually forgotten! Haha! I also want to swear less, and cut down on using the word ‘gay’ negatively or the word ‘god’ particularly in the phrase ‘Oh my god!’. But again, neither of those are the one I was thinking about. Gosh! I wish I could remember!

Never mind then, I’ll save it for a possible future post, if I ever recall it.

I’d ask you what you plan on for your new years resolutions, but I actually think new years resolutions are better prepared when you want to prepare them, and not force yourself to make them at new years or when people ask you. The same way I believe presents should be given when you want to give presents, and not necessarily on birthdays, valentines, and of course, Christmas. Although, I actually think its nice to give and receive gifts on Christmas. By the way, I remembered one of the resolutions I wanted to talk about. I think it was the final topic I wanted to cover, but it might be an alternative. Either way, I want to talk about it and funny enough I talked myself into remembering, because it is about consumerism!

As my hopefully final resolution I want to mention tonight, I want to become less of a consumer. Sure, it is said that consumerism is good because it helps the economy, but I still think not being too drawn by material goods that we likely do not need has many more benefits as a habit than loving to shop. I like to think I’d rather spend money on experiences than material goods. I have too much crap as it is (borderline swear, but I think its okay…) and I’ve been on a selling FRENZY in the last couple weeks. My reasoning is this: The earth has limited resources. The population is ever increasing, and almost everybody wants people to spend more and more money so that the economy gets bigger and bigger. Notice I didn’t say BETTER just bigger. As the stock markets reach new highs and we supposedly make more money from the BETTER economy, the cost of things increase as well. Suppose we made $10 an hour 2 years ago and that was the cost of going to a movie. Now that the economy is better, we might make $12 an hour, but due to inflation, the cost of a movie has also gone up to $12. Is this really a BETTER economy!?!? Of course, its only a theory, but just tag along and hear me out here. To increase the economy, we are supposedly getting people to spend more money. Sometimes it might be that we are getting people to pay more for the same goods (inflation?), but sometime it may be because we are selling MORE MATERIAL GOODS (and of course, services, but services on their own do not use resources). If a woman had 120 pairs of shoes (sorry…lol) that were made of plastic (just imagine okay?) and that helped the economy, that also means we created 120 pairs worth of plastic to make those shoes. If the shoes were perfectly bio degradable, I’m sure it’ll just go back into the natural cycle of resources, much in the same way that it rains, we use water, and it evaporates to rain again. The problem is the products we created (and we do create a lot of these type of products) that do not go back into the natural recycling system for hundreds if not THOUSANDS of years! Anyway, this is not a carefully planned out paragraph and is basically typed out on the fly from ideas I get as I’m typing, but don’t you see some truth in that? Rather than spew more unorganized points at you, let me link you to a fantastic and inspiring video I have seen on the subject, which was pointed out to me by a beautiful and very awesome person that I am a fan of on the internet named Shelyn (If you ever read this Shelyn, thanks for tweeting this!):

Good night.

Categories: Life, Sports, Theories Tags:

Giants win! Giants win!! And iMac or hackintosh?

November 2nd, 2010 No comments

…Aaaand actually I’m not as excited as I thought I would be. I was really into the Giants playoff run back in 2002 (which they were SO close to winning…sigh…) and I honestly think I would of been excited out of my mind had they pulled it off 8 years ago. I am happy they won this year, but the excitement I feel is really already died down. Its probably because I gave up on the giants and all bay area sports in general after an abysmal last 2-3 years (and don’t even get me started on the Warriors…). I generally can watch almost any sport and enjoy it (exceptions off the top of my head being golf, billiards, and bowling…which I have heard they pay the audience to make noise). I only started to notice the Giants very late on in this year when they started seriously chasing the 1st place spot. At the time, it was a long shot that they would make the playoffs with so much competition and down by a lot. I guess you never know.

I’ve been wanting to build a new computer lately. I guess I should say GET a new computer, since I might get an iMac – which is an all-in-one computer. Basically, its just a screen and everything is inside, no separate boxes, as shown above. While I think I won’t mind a little bit more clutter from wires, the iMac also can be controlled by a nice compact Apple remote, and has the camera built in. I also wouldn’t have to do any hacking, since it is a Mac. The downside is that the iMac would require extra money costing gadgets to be able to play Playstation on the same screen, and also that the screen is SO SHINY that it bothers me. I don’t even know how to ask for advice since the pros and cons are so opinionated.

Categories: Apple, Life, Sports Tags:

New Monitor that I’m playing Dragon Quest 8 on!

October 16th, 2010 No comments

Been a bit unproductive lately, but not out of motivation. I should at least try to keep posting updates though. I think some part of me is insisting on quality updates with at least some length, when in fact that is clearly not required :/

I do want to post more Youtube videos. In fact, just a week ago or so, I made a video, finished editing it and everything, and my computer REBOOTED while it was rendering and I lost all the edits, which made me cancel that video. The major problem being that I have a pretty old computer that is pretty slow by todays standards, and a camcorder that takes very good (read: very large files) footage! You would think I could use that camcorder and take lower quality shots right? WRONG! I can only record in HD. Period. I am actually considering making videos until I get a better computer by recording with my iPhone! Which btw, takes surprisingly good video. Really!

If I do update with a new video, I’ll be sure to post about it here too! Maybe I won’t even mention which camera I decided to take it on, and see if anyone notices?

Recently, I bought another big screen monitor with a large resolution. For those who don’t know, until June I used a 30 inch Apple Cinema Display, but I sold it right before I went to Japan (along with my Mac Pro…). When I came back, all I had was my 2006 model 15 inch Macbook Pro, and its built in 15 inch screen (which is not that great honestly…). I bought a reasonably priced 22 inch Dell, and after using a 22 inch screen for about a month, I finally found a good deal and bought the screen I had my eye on, which is the Dell U2711. Its a top of the line 27 inch monitor, so compared to other 27 inch computer monitors, it has a better picture quality, and a very high 2560×1440 resolution. Without getting too technical on you guys, its considered to be one of the best 27 inch LCD out right now. What made me switch from Apple is 2 reasons. The first and biggest reason is that Apple released their 27 inch screen as I anticipated (which is why I sold my 30 inch Apple in June, since I thought the value would decrease after the new one is out) and well, it was a big disappointment because its SO REFLECTIVE. In daylight the reflections really bother me. The other is that the Dell has a lot of connection options so I can easily hook up my Playstation 2 to play games on my monitor, which I’ve wanted to do since I switched to an LCD from my old CRT (CRT = tube style monitor).

So recently I got back into playing Dragon Quest 8 on my PS2, which I haven’t played for a year or two now. I really love this game! For those of you not familiar with Dragon Quest, it is a famous role playing game genre game in Japan. In fact, it is practically a religious experience in Japan, with Dragon Quest release days being REQUIRED to be on weekends due to the traffic and unproductively it causes in the country. If you think I am exaggerating, go google it. Unlike the Final Fantasy series (also hugely popular), the Dragon Quest series is more cartoony with vivid, over saturated colors. The characters are drawn by the same artist that drew the dragonball series, so they look extremely similar, which I like. The battle system is extremely classic turn based battle, only refined over the years with prettier graphics and subtle improvements and depth. The world map is really pretty and vast! And this is on PS2, so I’m really looking forward to if they ever make a Dragon Quest for PS3. Actually the next Dragon Quest (DQ10) is planned for release on the Wii, and 9 was released for the DS, unfortunately. If Dragon Quest is released for Wii and Final Fantasy 13 for the PS3, I would be torn over which console to go with!

With that said, I think I might go play some more Dragon Quest 8 right now!

Categories: Apple, Life Tags:

Last week and the Grand Canyon trip

September 2nd, 2010 No comments

So last week was a very busy week for me. Especially considering I’m unemployed, and not going to school. Speaking of school, I actually almost went back to school again just to take a couple certification classes, but ended up not going.

I probably should of signed up for classes at CCSF to get a few certifications in computer related topics, but I just got too lazy to reapply and register. Now its been a couple weeks since school started and I suppose its too late, plus I’m not all that motivated. The only class I was realistically motivated to do was the ethical hacker class, because although I think I’d enjoy the class about Windows 7 for the MCTS/MCITP or whatever the entry level Microsoft certification is called these days, I don’t really think it would add much to my resume. I’d rather go for ethical hacker or CCNA. I actually tried a CCNA class once halfassedly, but ended up doing nothing and going to Japan halfway through the class. I got a really good book for CCNA and will do it self-study instead, as I feel that will be just as good as taking the class (for me).

But really, no certifications are a big priority for me right now. Instead, a masters is more realistically a help in my career. Certs are nice but are very specialized and never can be as valuable as bachelors and above degrees. Even Associates (2 year) degrees I feel hold a better value than a lot of entry level certs like the A+ (easy computer technician certification).

Other than school, I did go to the Grand Canyon last week, which was clearly the highlight of the week. It was a super low budget trip split by 3 other good friends of mine. We decided enough people on the trip wanted it to be a low expenditure trip, so we shared a rental car AND a low cost room in Flagstaff. Since I used to work at a hotel, my expertise was called upon to book a hotel, and I ended up choosing a Travelodge which I feel was a good choice for the price. It wasn’t exceptional or anything, but more than enough considering it was $51 + taxes and fees per night, which is really low. It was roomy enough, and super clean and new. Apparently the room was recently remodeled.

I had actually been to the Grand Canyon 10 or so years ago, but that didn’t take away from what I believed to be one of the most memorable spots I have been to. The sheer scale of the canyon really makes you realize how small a single human being is compared to the entire earth. In some angles, the canyon looks smaller than it really is, so if you can, I’d recommend to do a little research and try to get your first glimpse of the canyon to be the full canyon. Every single person I have been with that saw it for the first time exclaimed something along the lines of “holy shit!” or “oh my goodness!”. Its really that awe inspiring, especially on first glance. If you’re asking me, I’d recommend the north rim, and go to Angellic peak to get a REALLY good panorama of the canyon. Hopefully you’re not too afraid of heights, since at some parts the path is only about 2 meters wide and falls off on both sides.

Although it was the highlight of the trip, we made short pit stops both on the way, and on the way back to the canyon.

On the way there, we stopped in Los Angeles. Actually we went to check out a ramen place called Orochon. I don’t know who said it was good or how we found out about it, but before we knew it, we were in Jtown LA. The temperature was shockingly hot to someone who is used to SF weather (90 fahrenheit compared to 65 typical in SF). No matter, we wouldn’t be there long, although there was a long line to get in (or out, as half the restaurant was actually a bunch of tables outside under big table-umbrellas (tablebrellas?)). The ramen, we all agreed, was an enormous letdown the likes of which have not been seen since the last airbender movie. I actually haven’t seen that movie, but I hear that some audiences booed and threw garbage at the screen when the credits started rolling. Thats sort of what I felt like doing after tasting this ramen. On the way out we stopped by Marukai and I bought a big bottle of Calpis and a swiss roll cake (Japanese style). I would later eat only a quarter of this cake before forgetting it in the fridge of our hotel room on the way back. I don’t know why, but whenever I am on a trip and I see Calpis, I often buy a bottle. Back in 2008, when I went to Japan with my best friend, I bought Calpis at almost every vending machine I saw that had a bottle of Calpis to offer (which, admittedly, was not as many as you would think). After Marukai, we switched drivers and went merrily on our way. We also made a stop to Las Vegas on our way back.

On the way back, we decided to stop at Las Vegas. We decided to see how much of a time detour it would be to go by Vegas, and it turned out that stopping by vegas would only add one hour of driving time on the way home (plus the time we actually STAYED in Vegas). We decided to go to the buffet at the Wynn, which was recommended by a sibling of one of my friends. My dad had also stayed at the Wynn once for business, and said it was a really upscale place. It was down to the Wynn or the Bellagio buffet, and the Wynn won out. It was about $25 + tip. 3 of us payed exactly $28 by creditcard. I did it first, and 2 of my friends whom payed directly after me apparently copied me. I didn’t even know until one of my friends asked us if we tipped, to which we all replied that we did (you prepay before you get in, and we all prepaid tip, except one of my friends). My friend didn’t believe us, so we all took out our receipt with a “boo-yeah!” and showed our untipping friend. Thats when I realized everyone payed exactly $28 except for the untipping friend. Hey, I’m not criticizing ok, I’m just pointing it out because its interesting! While we were paying and patiently waiting to be seated, there was a group of about 3 girls also paying and waiting, and I later found out all my friends thought one of them was cute. I actually thought so too, and although I haven’t told them, she looked at me several times while in line, and I talked to her VERY briefly when we saw each other again later on inside the buffet. As for the buffet, it was pretty good and a recommended meal for those who want to ‘treat themselves’, but nonetheless slightly pricey at $28. I actually got the meal for $9 though, and I’ll explain how in a minute.

After the buffet, we decided to walk around a bit. The Wynn is really nice, and there were plenty of the high end stores like ..uhm, Dior, Luis Vuitton, and Brioni. Most people don’t know Brioni, but they are considered a super duper high end brand and can be found at Neiman Marcus, for example. I like them for their quality, although styling is average IMHO. I saw signs for the ‘esplanade’ and decided to find out what it is. This lead us outside into an area with an artificial waterfall and 105 degree weather. OUCH. We walked across a bridge to a neighboring casino, but quickly turned back when one of us had to use the bathroom due to our familiarily with the Wynn and it was also clearly nicer than whatever neighboring casino we stepped into. I noticed one guy on the bridge between the casinos in the 105 degree heat selling ice cold bottles of water from a water chest. I assume he bought a big case for roughly 20 cents a bottle and was reselling trying to make a buck. While I don’t know and don’t think this was legal, I give him props for working hard earning money. I totally support it, although I didn’t buy a bottle.

This is where we went to the bathroom back at the Wynn. One of us went straight in, while I discussed among the remaining 3 of us if we should walk around a bit while we wait for everyone to finish. I checked if everyone had reception, which we did, and we went in, totally heterosexually, one at a time… One friend stayed outside and waited. I was the first to come out, so I offered the waiting friend to walk around. This turns out to not be the best idea in the world, as we ended up going further than I had originally planned, all the while waiting for phone calls from the friends that came out. One of the friends had earlier spent a good 20 minutes or so at the buffet bathroom, so I had assumed he had a stomach ache and would be another 20 minutes. I also assumed he had heard me discuss we may walk around a bit, forgetting to realize he rushed in first and didn’t hear that discussion. We didn’t get a call for a while as we walked around, but I didn’t find it particularly strange as I had expected the last friend to take a while. What sucked what when they came out, none of them decided to call us. The one that heard our discussion decided not to call, and instead enjoy himself at the slot machines. The one that didn’t hear our discussion thought we ditched him…which we effectively did. After we called around and met up with one friend, we called the other and told him to head to the Ferrari store and give us a call once he got there. While we waited, we decided to gamble to kill the time.

I got peer pressured into playing $1 slots and gambled in roulette as well. I later realized that because it was the Wynn, a 5 star casino, bet prices were a bit higher than usual. I actually don’t like slots, as I find them neither entertaining or fair, as you are totally at the mercy of the machine. I preferred roulette among all the games at the casino, since in roulette there are options to place bets on items that give you almost a 50% chance of doubling your bet. After quickly losing my dollar at slots, we walked around looking for a roulette table, which turned out to be right in front of us. I sat down and asked the ‘dealer’ a couple questions, as it was my first time. Turns out the minimum bet for betting “outside” or on one of the ‘high odds of win’ areas was $10. So I got $20 worth of chips and bet $10 on black. First roll landed on black, and I won $10. I was ready to take my winnings and run, but without a phone call and my friends looking on, I felt peer pressured to play another. In the end though, of course it was my own choice and I put another $10 but this time on red. The second roll landed on red and I was up $20 when the phone rang. Our friend decided to go to the parking lot where our car was parked, just 3 minutes walking from the Ferrari store, so I sent my friends off to meet him as soon as possible while I went to the cashier. With $1 lost on slots and $20 won on roulette, I was up $19 overall, and effectively got the buffet for $28 – $19 = $9. Ahahaha, I was happy with the small winnings.

We finally met up at the car and drove a long, long drive home. This concluded our trip. The trip total was about low $200’s for everyone.

Categories: Life Tags:

Room Cleaning – 10% complete (thats a lot!)

August 10th, 2010 2 comments
So after I got 3 humongous boxes recently that I have to store in my room for about 2 weeks, I was pretty strongly motivated to clean up my room. Keep in mind my room now has about 10 years worth of school papers and mail I have to sort through to see which ones I need to keep, which ones I recycle, and which ones need shredding.

First thing I did was borrow my dads huge buff shredder. Apparently some shredders can shred DVD’s – this one can puree a brick. The top part alone with the motor must weigh like 30lbs.

There is a huge list of things to do to completely clean my room, after/if I complete everything, my room would be completely transformed. Keep in mind I have been pack ratting huge stacks of paper and some boxes roughly on and off for nearly 10 years (with small mostly unsuccessful attempts to clean up thrown in here and there). There was basically 5 huge (and I mean HYUUUGE) stacks of paper that I know about in my room as well as organizing one of those clear drawer case container things, cleaning up wooden cart/rack space full of crap, and sorting out stuff under my bed. Oh, and cleaning up wires under my computer and one more smaller box I forgot about with some papers and boxes in it too. Once everything I just listed is cleaned, I would have to clean my roughly 10 spindles of backup CDs and DVDs, and clean up my harddrive (virtual organizing). Now, let me tell you, cleaning up data is a HUGE, ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE undertaking. This alone could be equal to cleaning my entire room TWO times or more.

There is a lot more things I’d like to do before I’d be 100% satisfied. I’d like to reposition my amplifier for my speakers so that it takes up less or no floor space, throw away my radio which I never use (its a hi-fi radio, so its huge!), reposition my gaming consoles and maybe consolidate to only one console (probably the PS2) instead of 2 (SNES being the other). I also would like to get rid of my plastic container drawer thingy entirely if I could by either throwing away stuff inside, or moving the contents I REALLY want to keep into space I freed from my other drawers. I forgot to tell you, but I had a lot of success cleaning up some drawers lately as well! I still have 2 to go out of 4 total, so halfway there on the drawers – they aren’t a big deal by comparison anyway. I also want to get rid of my huge tall wooden shelf like thing in the corner of my room by clearing the stuff I don’t need off of it (another “stash” to sort through).

Also need to sell a bunch of stuff. Need to sell whatever text books I have left that are worth anything, and throw away the rest unless I have a strong interest in the subject. I think its safe to throw all of them away if they have no market value, as I haven’t touched any of them in YEARS. Not to stop at text books, I need to sell everything I have that I don’t use but has value, and throw away or give away the rest. I need to gather all my electronics I’d like to throw away so I can go to the next free electronics recycling event at ocean beach. I want to be ready for it so I can just bring a buttload of stuff at the next one and be rid of more crap. I also don’t think I need a clock anymore, I’d probably use my iPhone or iPad in its place, in a dock to show the time. Why have extra crap when you have something else you’re going to keep that can cover the same functionality?

Let me tell you a little bit about my plushies that I have. I’ll be getting rid of my Pikachu plushie in the ultimate scheme of things. Unlike all my other plushies, Pikachu has the least emotional value, is the poorest quality, the ugliest, due to being flattened over the years, and is actually bleeding (has a hole in the neck, with stuffing visible). Unlike my 3 other plushies I will keep (a snoopy, an Eyore, and a small monkey, all of which were gifts), Pikachu is the only plushie I actually ASKED for (I suppose Pikachu was a gift too..). My Pikachu actually has a name, although it is often forgotten “Jello”. Funny enough, its the only plushie I own that has a name other than the default name (such as “Snoopy”, “Eyore”, or “Gumby”). Eliza, if you’re reading this, you actually gave me the Eyore and as I recall its from Disney World.

Back to the room, nearing the 100% mark soon after finishing a few more things on my checklist. I actually want to get rid of the wooden rack space thing in the corner of my room. The plan is the same as my clear container drawer thingy which is to clear off and throw away sell whatever the stuff currently taking up space on it, keep the things I really want to keep or need, and put those in areas where I cleared space such as my drawers.

I also want to get rid of my subwoofer. Although I built my own subwoofer from scratch (the amp and driver are obviously pre-made), and I am pretty proud of it, I do not use it at all, and its big and heavy and takes up a lot of space. While I did pay about $250 for the materials (MDF wood, sealing rubber, glue, spikes, screws, nuts, bolts, braces, stuffing, panel dampner, decorative wood vinyl…) it is still a waste of space if I am not using it at all. It pumps out good bass actually and really shakes things up if you want some oomph. Maybe I can work out some way to hook it up and have it “fit” nicely into my cleared up room.

Although buying new things would be a nice option to have in clearing up my room, I’m going to try to minimize purchases and work with what I already have. Even so, there are a few MUST HAVE things I am considering. First thing I will need to clear up my wiring is a surge protector. Not so much for the surge protection, but for the extra outlets it provides. I’ve actually been passively shopping for one for the past year, but every one I see in stores these days are ugly! What happened to the good looking ones from 5 years ago that were FAR (free after rebate) from stores like office max? Of course, if needed, I’ll need extension cables…to route wires along the walls whenever possible and not straight through the room like I have now (I once fixed this, but my mom came into my room while I was in Japan and messed it all up and put the big wooden rack space thing in the corner of my room without my permission). Next I think I really need to get an all in one WIRELESS printer that can do scanning, printing, and faxing – WIRELESS is the key feature here, because this allows you to put the printer anywhere you can get a power cable to it (and telephone cable if you want fax functionality). I think getting rid of my current printer and replacing it with a wireless all in one printer outside my room would be a great solution, and not only that, printers are MUCH cheaper than when I bought my previous one to the point that a good Canon all in one without fax is $30-50, and including fax is $70 from Frys, meaning it might be even cheaper online!

Finally, (at least I think so…) I also need to clean up my clothing. I have a bunch of clothes that I can’t or won’t wear. Why in the WORLD do I still have them!? I don’t even have a closet, and not only do they take up a lot of space, but they make it harder for me to search for the clothing that I actually wear. I actually have clothing in odd places in my room because I have no closet and no clear place to put them. I currently use a big box against the wall and just stack my most worn clothing on the top of that box (which btw, is overflowing to where my stack is 3 times as high as the height of the box). While I don’t really mind the box solution, the bottom of it is full of clothing I don’t use, and its just a used cardboard box…which I repaired like 2 times with layers and layers of duct tape. I think it would be reasonable to get a nice STRONG metal or wood box with a nice clean aesthetic to replace it. Finally, I would like to replace my current clothing hamper (is it called hamper? The tallish rectangular container where you put in dirty clothing, usually made of plastic?). Right now I use an old one that might actually be older than me. Again, I’d like to invest in a good, STURDY strong one to put dirty clothes into, and preferably fits into a bigger container with wheels for wheeling down to the laundromat, since I don’t have in room laundry machines.

Once all that is done, I’d say I’d be 100% done with room clean up. It would be pretty dramatic. If I could even do just the first couple paragraphs though, I’d consider it 50-75% done. The last 25% is “ideal” and would probably take months without extreme focus, motivation, and dedication. If lucky, best case scenario I could do it in 1 month if I spent 40 hours a week on it like a full time job.

One thing I wanted to add just for self-notes. New compact battery charger and maybe 12 or so Sanyo Eneloop “1500” AA batteries. Get rid of huge old charger and old batteries that don’t even hold a charge.

This would almost be like organizing my entire life it would be such a huge project and accomplishment. I’m getting hopeful as I’ve made the most progress I have ever made in the last ~10 years (9 years to be exact).

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July 31st, 2010 No comments

Recently, I have another one of my new theories about life. I’ve noticed that distracting tasks are anywhere from 3-10 times more enjoyable than usual when they help you procrastinate doing something else that you really don’t want to do.

Case in point, have you ever noticed how hard it is to wake up to go to work, even if you’ve got plenty of sleep that night? The blankets, the pillows, the comforter, the blow up do….whatever else you happen to have on your bed, they are anywhere from 3-10 times as comfortable. It takes the will power of Chuck Norris to get out of bed sometimes. I wish my bed were a magical flying bed that I can just ride into work. I’ll be sure to leave the house 15 minutes early so that I can float by the Apple store each and every morning and scream “magical MY BUTT!”

We have all done it; find other things to do when a big paper is due the next day. A 5 page paper that should take 3-5 hours ends up taking 12 or more, and basically all you are doing is spending time on Facebook and Twitter for the first 7 hours, and really spending only 3-5 hours writing your paper. Once I figured this out, I became 2-3 times as productive. I began to leave only 1 hour per page I needed to produce before I had to leave the house to go to class. No longer was I wasting time finding out how awesome web based flash games were or how great old Strongbad episodes were. Instead, I was spending more time actually doing my papers due to being worried and stressed out about how little time I had left to do it. Instead of staying up into the wee hours to finish my paper like I used to, I started going to bed 8 hours before the time at which I had to get up to begin my paper to have the bare minimum allocated time required to complete it.

Oddly, I recall getting out of bed on those mornings to be 3-10 times more difficult.

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