Monthly Archives: January 2009

DTV and Formats

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First of all, I can already predict that the switch to Digital Television will be a complete disaster. Half the people in the country probably don’t know that it’s coming.

The next topic is about media formats. There are literally hundreds of them. Almost every company has, at some point, released a proprietary format. Microsoft is the worst offender here, as it still uses its own formats. WMA and WMV come to mind in particular. I say all the proprietary formats should die. There should be two formats for music- one lossy and one lossless. Same with video.

That’s all for today’s post. It’s a little bit short, as I’m not in a writing mood.

Facebook and AIM

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Before I start, here’s a great quote:

“The problem with America is stupidity. I’m not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don’t we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?”

Source: bash.org
The first topic of this rant will be the whole Facebook vs. MySpace debate. Facebook is cleaner and more organized, but it’s real selling point is the lack of customization in profiles. That’s what I like the most. Call me OCD, but I like consistency in everything. MySpace is a mish-mash of poor coding, terrible colors, and blinky garbage, whereas Facebook is all clean and standard, with emphasis on the content. Now if Facebook had band pages then there would be no reason whatsoever to use MySpace.

AIM is the next point of discussion. I despise the official AIM application. Know why? Customization. People put their own annoying sounds which cut into my music listening, and they add annoying backgrounds which either render the type illegible, burn my eyes out, or both. And the fonts…. that alone is enough material for a separate rant. Why must people choose Comic Sans and/or neon colors for their font? I know most of this trash can be turned off in the AIM preferences, but there are other reasons I loathe it. The advertisements (In the Windows version, at least) are annoying, distracting, and only serve to further clutter up the already messy UI. While installing it, you have to be quite adept at computers to stop AIM from installing tons of bundled crapware. The conclusion? Use Adium, iChat, or Pidgin (if you’re unfortunate enough to be using a PC).

I still haven’t found a job… damn recession. I’ve made little improvements to the blog. For one, I’ve cleaned up and organized the CSS file. The pagination actually works now, it kind of got messed up in the move from the test directory to the root. Using WordPress conditional statements, I’ve cut down on load times by including the Flickr stream only on the homepage. WP-Cache has been installed, which will speed up the blog even more.

Regents and Job Hunts

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Regents week begins tomorrow. For half the kids in my school it means torture, mental anguish, and suicidal thoughts. For the other half “Regents Week” translates to “Vacation.” Luckily, I don’t have any regents until June. And those are the English and American History regents, which I don’t even consider as threats.

Tomorrow, I start my job hunt. While the recession may have caused massive layoffs throughout almost every industry, cheap workers are always needed. That’s where I come in. I have no idea where to get started, though.

In browser news, Stainless will be developed as a full browser due to its popularity. It’s a Mac OS X Leopard-only browser, but it works quite like Chrome, with tab processes, Webkit, and private browsing. Once bookmarking and history are added in, it’ll become a viable browser. Another plus is Stainless’ more up-to-date Webkit engine, which gives better CSS3 performance. Maybe Google will decide to save some time and just buy out Stainless instead of porting Chrome…

Ars Technica has gotten a complete redesign as well as a complete backend overhaul. They’ve moved from a custom backend system to Movable Type. The new design is a bit darker, but it incorporates more Ajax and loads faster. What I really like is that they finally added some feedback to all the links and buttons. The previous version felt too static, with no hover effects at all.

And before I forget, Happy Chinese New Year to all those who celebrate it!

IE Testing

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Have you  ever needed to test a site for IE 6 but didn’t feel like booting up a clunky PC or waiting for browsershots to work? Well this is where IE NetRenderer comes in. It’s kind of like browsershots, but it only deals with IE 5.5 – IE 8. It loads almost instantly, with no waiting time. Here’s what the blog looks like in IE 5.5:

IE 5.5 Render

IE 5.5 Render

And in IE 6?

IE 6 Render

IE 6 Render

Surprisingly, IE 5.5 messes it up less than IE 6. Anyways, happy sunday to you all.

Free Week Ahead!

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Thanks to NY and its pointless Regents examinations, I have next week off from school. Since the semester ends on Monday, that means there’ll be no homework for the whole week. I have no idea what I’m going to do for an entire week at home, but it’s gonna be awesome.

On the subject of politics, Obama won the right to own and use a Blackberry-esque smartphone. Here’s what it’s going to look like:

Obama's New Phone

Obama's New Phone

It’s the Humvee of smartphones, and is estimated to cost around $3000, give or take a few hundred. It’s manufactured by General Dynamics, the same company that made the F-16.

In other news, when Obama’s media team came to the White House, what they found was a bit shocking…

“The team members, who were used to working on Mac systems, found computers with very old versions of Windows installed and in fact not enough computers for use. Laptops were also assigned to only a few people.”

Source: Neowin
That’s a bit scary, to know that the White House still has computers with Windows 98… Hopefully Obama’s team will get some nice new Macs into the White House.

Standardized Testing Sucks

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I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. The SAT is the example that I’ll be using in this rant. The SAT is a terribly pointless examination in my honest opinion, as it does not accurately mesasure one’s intellect. The test only covers English and Math, meaning if your skills and smarts are in another field, you don’t do very well. For example, I can make websites and I know more about computers than your IT specialist. Does that count for anything on the SAT? Of course not. You could be a brilliant artist or programmer, but if you get a less-than perfect SAT score, people and colleges will look down on you. That’s one reason why the SAT fails.

The next problem is the amount of time alloted for each section. It’s completely insane how little time you get. The sadistic people who thought up the SAT gave about 20 minutes (give or take 5 minutes depending on which section) per section. It’s simply not enough time to do anything. Now if they gave 40 minutes per section, I’m sure people would get much higher scores. I mean, where in life will you need to calculate a complex equation involving square roots in less than a minute?!

The only people who get really high scores (2000 +) on  the SAT are either people who: A) Study for 3-4 years, memorizing everything by heart or B) People who can afford those insanely expensive SAT tutors. It’s not fair for the rest of us slackers.

On a different topic, web design education is way outdated in most schools. While I’m lucky that my school doesn’t teach design with tables anymore, a lot of other schools still do. Some even go as far as teaching Micrsosoft Frontpage. Bleh. The main word in web design class is “Dreamweaver.” It’s a truly dreadful program that is entirely useless and produces horrific amounts of junk if you use the design view. Even though Adobe keeps making improvements to Dreamweaver, the quality of the generated code will never even come close to what is possible with hand-coding.

I have a whole week off from school next week, so I might just get something done. Athough I’m kind of unsure about the 3Cogs layout… at this point I’m thinking of scrapping the design altogether and  starting from scratch.

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