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Category Archives: 2008

Speed Racer 2008

When I found out they’re going to make a Speed Racer movie, I know it’s going to suck. Why? It’s a movie based on a cartoon that was a localized version of an old Japanese anime. The least they could do was to use the original material, but nope, it has to be the US version. Oh well, at least there’s a reference for Mach Go Go Go (the original Japanese title) in the hip-hop Speed Racer theme song for the movie.

In any case, many girls are looking forward for the movie, not because of Speed Racer, but because of Rain, as shown in the poster:
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LOL Yeah, I don’t think I see this poster around here. Different targeted demographic.

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Posted by on May 11, 2008 in 2008, movie, rain, speed racer

 

Aluminum Penryn iMac

Just arrived.
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Unpacking.
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Setting up is fairly quick. There is only 1 cable in the box, the AC cable. 🙂
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The 20″ looks small in stores, especially when compared to the 24″. However, it’s pretty big on my desk.

First sweet impression is the smooth aluminum. Apple does know how to design this beauty. The aluminum and black frame + black Apple logo really makes the iMac look professional.

When I turned it on, I found the glossy screen to be very bright, too bright for my taste. All my previous desktop LCD monitors are not glossy. I ended up reducing the brightness to the lowest level. Yup, the lowest level, and it is still pretty bright. The glossy LCD doesn’t seem to have a very wide viewing angle.

One annoying thing I find is the lack of USB ports. Most recent PC desktops have at least 4+ USB ports on the back and one or two USB ports on the front. The iMac only have 3 USB ports on the back (one which is automatically used for the keyboard, leaving only 2 free left). The wired keyboard has 2 USB ports on its side, but the location prevents anything other than a USB cable or those super tiny USB key to be connected to them. I find this to be annoying. Jobs compared the iMac with a cable cluttered Dell PC during the aluminum iMac announcement. Well, the cable clutter is still here, considering the iMac is non-expandable. Adding storage means external drives, which means extra cables and AC adaptors. A USB hub is definitely a must, especially if you have many USB devices like iPods and digicams, thus more cable clutter. Then there’s the ethernet and audio cable. The location of the USB ports on the back is not really convenient. I hope the next iMac revision will have more USB ports, preferably on the iMac’s sides, and maybe add an SD card slot too.

Transferring my stuff from my Macbook is pretty easy. For calendar, email, and address book, I simply used my trial of .Mac sync. For my iTunes music, I simply copy the iTunes folder from my Macbook to an external drive, and then to the iMac. I use the same username so everything came out as if nothing has happened. Same thing with iPhoto. iPhoto 08 simply convert my iPhoto 06 library into a single file. Setting Time Machine cannot be easier. I use a Firewire external hard-drive. First run takes quite a while since Time Machine is copying the whole hard drive.

Setting up the iMac is not as quick as Jobs advertised (5 to 10 minutes), more like at least 15 to 30 minutes, including downloading and installing all the latest patches, setting up the firewall and other preferences, etc. At least Apple didn’t pre-install the Office and iWorks trial software anymore. Still better than a store bought windows PC where you will waste time uninstalling crap and installing firewall, anti-virus, anti spyware software, etc. The cable clutter is not going away, unless you’re going wireless with bluetooth and wifi.

The move to Penryn really makes the new iMacs cooler. I use a widget called iStat nano to monitor various temperatures on the iMac, and it never gets as hot as my Mac mini, and is definitely way cooler than my Macbook. Of course, comparing a desktop with a notebook is not really fair, but my Merom based Macbook can reach high temperatures fairly quickly under normal use.

A lot of people that only use Windows always complain about Macs being too expensive. If you compare spec per spec, Macs are priced quite competitively, considering all Macs come with wifi, bluetooth, Firewire, and gigabit ethernet, things that are not usually found on a typical windows PC. However, the difference is that you cannot configure Macs to be cheaper than what Apple already set for the baseline config. If you configure a Dell, you can configure it to cost as low as couple hundred dollars to as high as couple thousand of dollars, even on the same model. Not with Macs, you can only go up, not down. For example, you cannot configure the 20″ iMac to be cheaper than $1199. Also, certain configs can only be obtained on the next more expensive model. For example, you cannot get the 20″ iMac with the new GeForce 8800GS video card. For that, you have to spend more getting the 24″. If you’re looking for the cheapest barebone computer, or a computer that you want to expand later (without spending a lot of dough on Mac Pros), Macs are not the choice. However, if you are willing to spend enough to get a complete PC, Macs are definitely something to look at. The OS experience is just better than Windows.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2008 in 2008, aluminum, iMac, Leopard, MacOS X, penryn

 

Iron Man Movie

Very fun movie with tons of gadgets and technology. Stark’s basement itself is a geek’s dream. Robert Downey Jr seems to be a perfect fit for Tony Stark. One great thing about the movie is that the director didn’t waste the time introducing the story/characters. The movie started right at the moment Stark being ambushed in Afghanistan. No time wasted in introducing Iron Man either. The mark 2 only had a brief appearance before the final red/gold suit is out. Very fast paced as Tony juggles his time between business and developing the suit. My favorite scenes are when Tony is recording his tests of the suit’s flight components. Those scenes were hilarious.

The final fight with Iron Monger was not that great though. Not enough oomph. It’s the usual hero-almost-got-beaten-girl-saves-hero kind of fight. I wanted Iron Man to totally kick ass from the start to the finish. Maybe on the 2nd or 3rd movie.

The CG is simply awesome, especially Tony’s garage/basement. Alas, the high tech stuff is frequently contrasted with today’s “meh” techs like Tony’s LG cellphone and the Dell XPS M2010 “laptop.” Still, there is plenty of CG showcase, like the scene where Tony is putting on the mark 3 suit.

On another topic, the theater I went to sucked. The movie was out of focus! Terrible! Plus there was a bunch of asshole teenagers on the side that were yapping all the time. Another reason why I prefer watching movies at home. Can’t wait for the blu-ray release of the movie.

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2008 in 2008, iron man, movie

 

Penny Arcade @ Sakuracon 2008

Here’s an audio recording of the Q&A session with Penny Arcade at Sakuracon 2008

Edit: imeem doesn’t seem to allow streaming the full content, even though it’s original content. It assumes everything is copyrighted material. That sux. Anybody have any idea for a free audio streaming service, drop a comment. Youtube only allow 10 minutes max (this Q&A is an hour + long). I tried google video, but for some reason it failed.

2nd edit: imeem now apparently allows the full length to be streamed. Enjoy. 🙂

 

My Sakura-con 2008 Youtube videos

 

Sakura-con 2008 impression

*sigh Youtube is still logging me out. Oh well, I’ll start my impression of Sakura-con 2008.

This is my first time attending a convention like this. Overall, it was awesome! It’s amazing how many people came. What’s even more amazing is the dedication of the otakus in the US, and the amazing cosplay costumes.

1st day: I pre-registered, so going to pick up my badge on the first day was pretty quick and the line wasn’t bad at all. Opening ceremony was okay, but it was running late, thus delaying other panels/events too. Ali Project Panel was so so. The questions were not great, but it’s fun seeing the drag queens. They’re hilarious. Next to Penny Arcade Q&A session. I love their comics, but never see them in person. It’s great to finally see them. The questions were so so, but it’s great to hear their favorite things (mostly video games). Alas, I was expecting more info on their upcoming game, other than “It’s done.” Lastly Scandal autograph session. No raffle tickets, contrary to the poster posted outside. Line was long, and it went over the specified time, but I got my autographs and picture. =)

2nd day: Missed the Scandal panel. =( Went to a workshop about making a website. Disappointed. Knowing that many anime fans are students where money is not in abundance, I was hoping the workshop will show tools that are freeware and/or open-source. First thing I saw when I walked in was Dreamweaver on the screen. Sure enough, the next recommendation is Photoshop, another expensive program, overkill for simply resizing pictures. Adobe’s programs are the industry’s standard, but Dreamweaver is like $400. When asked about alternative programs, the answer was notepad. Well, at least he mentioned a hosting/blogging service called theotaku.com. Nothing is mentioned about Apple’s iWeb, free website builder softwares, free picture editors (picasa, paint.net, GIMP), various free hosting services by yahoo and google, blogger.com, etc. I dunno, it seems that the workshop opportunity was wasted. Next was ketchup mania/Ali Project concert. Very long line, and it was running very late. The concert itself was great! Next was the cosplay contest. As shown in my video, the line was even longer! The skits were okay. Some were funny, but others were only so so. There were quite a few audio glitches. I liked the Hanakimi skit with Bambino reference, though I had a feeling not many people were familiar with those doramas. Had to leave early due to snow. Oh, dubbed shin-chan sux.

3rd day: I came on the 3rd day only to attend the second Slants/Scandal concert. The line was much shorter. The room was not even half-filled. The concert was great, and the floor was really shaking!

Rants:
-This is an anime convention. Although I don’t mind the crossover with comics (Penny Arcade) and games (Microsoft research was there having their own room!), I don’t see the point of vendors selling Chinese movies. Nothing against Chinese movies, but I don’t see the correlation between that and anime, other than Hong Kong making a lot of anime bootleg DVDs.
-The staff need to at least learn to pronounce Japanese properly, especially if they’re the announcer (“How do you say Clannad?” Oh please).
-Another reminder to myself that US dubbing sux. (shin-chan, xxxholic).

Things to do for next year:
-Buy a digicam with at least 10x optical zoom and support for SDHC for taking pictures in concerts, and taking videos. My Canon SD700IS with 4x optical zoom without SDHC support (max SD card I could use is 2GB) just didn’t cut it.
-Pay more attention to the schedule. I didn’t realize there was a para para panel until a couple minutes ago! =(
-Maybe do a cosplay too! =D

Funny stuff: The guy selling yaoi doujins was hilarious! He’s shouting “Boys on boys action” and “It’s orgasmic!” Good thing Jack Thompson wasn’t here. LOL

 
 

Sakuracon 2008