Thursday, September 29, 2005

Whoa!


At first I thought it was Photoshopped, but unfortunately for that guy it seems to be quite real.

*One PS-session later*

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The reason I read Slashdot

The comments.
When I started engineering school, all freshmen had to take some orientation lectures to learn about the profession that is engineering, etc. After going over some starting salaries for engineers, the dean who was lecturing said in closing, "But, no matter what, knowing what you'll make after graduation is not enough to get you through it. I promise you that. If you're here for solely the money, you will not make it. You need to be here because you enjoy it."
-pyite

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I want a DS

For those not in the know, that's a Nintendo DS.

Even though everyone says it's a "dead system" and that it'll get pounded in the behind by the PSP, I still want one. Looking at the games for it, they appeal very much to me, with stuff like Another Code 2, Touch! Kirby's Magical Paintbrush, Electroplankton, Ouendan and Super Mario DS (I was a big fan of Super Mario 64). What I've heard of the games for the PSP is that it's mostly a PS2 in your pocket, not much new in terms of concepts or gameplay. Of course there are (probably) a couple of good games for the PSP too, but they don't seem as interesting to me as the line-up for the DS.

Having played games for about 10 or so years now, I guess I'm getting into that age where graphics are not the most important thing anymore. I guess having spent the last couple of years with the "check-box line-up" of the Xbox has also left me longing for a good old Nintendo-made game. (Before I bought the Xbox I was a longtime fanboy of the big N, having owned the NES and the N64 [though skipping the SNES, oddly enough].)

There's a good quote from the latest Edge magazine (154) concerning the difference between the two portables:
The PSP: a handheld for people who know what they want. The DS: a handheld for people who want what they don't know.
And for those following all the links I gave to the games, you will notice that they're all Japanese versions, which is another motive I have: to learn language through games. I could really see myself trying my hand at the Japanese version of something as text-based as Another Code 2, with a dictionary beside me, working through the game...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Re: Insanity of the RIAA

Sho wrote a really nice piece about the RIAA that popped up in my mind again after someone from IFPI Finland (basically Finlands RIAA) said that if you can't listen to your purchased copy-protected "CD" on your Linux or Mac system, then tough noogies, buy a CD player. (The irony, for those who missed it, is that the copy-protected discs are not real Compact Discs.)

There was also a very interesting comment on it too:
The interview from which this was quoted is about the new Finnish copyright law, which is basically a Finnish version of the DMCA, following the EU directive on national copyright laws. (The interview was originally published in the Tietokone magazine; rumor has it that Mr. Kyyrä was less than amused at being quoted verbatim, and a cleaned up version was put up a few hours later.)
The high points of the law include (these are mostly quoted from Electronic Frontier Finland's FAQ on the law at http://www.effi.org/tekijanoikeus/laki/tekijanoike us-faq.html (Finnish only)):
  • prohibition on sale, distribution, possession and "organized discussion" (yes, it says this; no, "organized discussion" is not defined; yes, it's hard to see how this isn't against the Finnish constituion) of products whose purpose is the circumvention of DRM (this would include all non-sanctioned DVD players using something like libdvdcss);
  • prohibition on copying of "efficiently" protected music or other copyrighted material to, for example, MP3 players; this is sort of allowed in one clause and expressly prohibited in another (this has been the major point seen in public discussion in the last few days);
  • prohibition of "parallel" import of goods from outside the EFTA; individuals can still order goods from outside the EFTA, but all (including private) resale is prohibited; it doesn't actually matter whether the import is "parallel" or the only import, it must still be sanctioned by the copyright holder;
  • possibility of expansion of the "cassette tax" (currently paid for recording media such as audio tapes and CD/DVD-Rs sold in Finland; money goes to the record labels based on how many records they sell, IIRC) to other media that "may be used to store copyrighted material"; this potentially includes all hard drives.
There is also a neat little strip on the EFF page that I tried to translate to English.
I really don't have anything of significance to add that hasn't been said before, I just thought I'd post something.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Bad is the new Good (literally)

Watching a couple of Japanese TV shows, where food is one of the seemingly mandatory elements, you could easily be confused.

There seems to be a big part about the report you give from eating: is the food good, really good or super-duper good? There are various phrases to convey the message that the food is good, and the one that often has me confused is ヤバい ("yabai", for those not able to see Japanese). According to WWWJDIC, it can mean "awful (young persons' slang); terrible; crap", so would that mean that the food tasted bad? No, because it can also mean "terrific (young persons' slang); amazing; cool". Young people can be so contradictory sometimes...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

DrunkBot, 04:32 AM (GMT +2)

Since yesterdays (or rather, Fridays) test didn't go too well, I thought I'd go out and drown my sorrows with drinking and dancing. Alright, so that had been planned for a while, but still.

Why don't I talk about some stuff and you read. Good deal, no?

My absolute favourite drink would be something called "Virtanen". It's probably called something else elsewhere, but it consists of vodka and Battery (don't know the proportions). By the way, is it morning in Australia yet? Anyway, the Virtanen then contains alcohol, caffein and sugar, which to me is a pretty nice combination. (Yes, people die from it, I know, cheers.)

The nice thing for me is that it really keeps me going. When I go out, it's mainly to dance and have fun, not to "pull". A good night out for me is when my feet and legs are as sore as my head the next day. Unfortunately, the mates pulled out on me towards the end, heading for the lamer part of the club where some older music was played.

If I ever get to Japan, I'd definitely want to check out Velfarre...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Rhyme of the restless student

Tomorrow I'm having a test,
I'm attending not only in jest,
I intend to pass,
if only the points I can amass,
so's to again put my mind at rest.
fin.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Relief

It's always a little adventure ordering stuff from YesAsia. Since I don't have a credit card I need to pay by cheque (aka "check"), which means that for about a week after I send it (through ordinary mail) I worry about if it will get there safely or it will be snatched by some less-than-honest postal worker. (As a sidenote, YesAsia is really good to order from with their free shipping for orders over 40 USD.)

Once again the payment reached them, but I can't help to think that it's inevitable, from a probability point of view, that one of the letters will eventually get lost...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Deja-vu, or just spam?

I was surfing across blogs, and one blog with a post about Castro and Saddam seemed to come up way too often... Going back a couple of time revealed that it was in fact the same text, posted on multiple blogs with the same template! What the heck?






Just on a lark I did a Technorati search for "castro saddam", and can you guess what came up?

Learning through movies

I watched Battle Royale again today after a suggestion from my brother. Having a Japanese movie suggested by my brother is a bit out of the ordinary since he usually never watches any "foreign" movie (ie. a movie with subtitles), but BR is one of the few foreign movies he's managed to watch to the end. Even my sister started watching it!

While watching, I was pleased to note that I could understand a lot more of what was said than last time I watched it, which means that I am progressing in my learning...

Last time in Japanese class we dealt a bit more with pronunciation, and we also learned a bit about how some words that are spelled the same have slightly different intonation. We have for example (hope you can view Japanese text) 開く, "open", and 悪, "evil", both pronounced "aku", but the word for "open" rises in tone after the "i" while for the word for "evil" the tone falls after "i". There were 78 of the examples in the compendium we got...

Speaking of movies, Takeshi Kitano's Hana-Bi was what really sparked my interest in Japan/Japanese... (As far as I recall, anyway.)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

A weird story

I came to think of a rather strange incident while reading a comment somewhere.

This happened a winter some years ago when I was walking home from clubbing on a Saturday night. There was a number of kilometres I had to walk from the center of town to the place I was going to crash, and after walking about halfway I came across a guy (about my age, by the way, not a bum or anything) just laying on the sidewalk. And this was wasn't in any sort of logical place to sleep either, especially in the winter. So I looked him over a bit, fearing first he was dead (he had a really nasty looking bump on his head), and tried to wake him up, ask him if he was alright. I started in Swedish since, well, I was a bit intoxicated and didn't come to think of that he might be a Finn. Anyway, he came to, and through some strange exchange we started to speak English with each other, even though I probably spoke better Finnish than he spoke English.

I asked him why he was laying in the middle of the street, and he starts going on with some weird story about him being attacked by some black dudes, and when the police showed up they had supposedly done something to him too. I say supposedly, because in the state he was in, he probably could have imagined the whole thing. Seeing as he was going in the same direction he tagged along.

As we were going along and speaking in English, he asked me where I was from. And for some reason I thought that "I'll just say that I'm English", and spun up a whole story about my father being from England and grew up there and later moved to Finland. I said earlier about the state of drunkenness he was in, and while we were walking I could tell that he was pretty out of it; he asked me repeatedly how it was that I spoke English and from where I was. Since I didn't want to upset him I went along and gave him the story again... Though I do wonder if he wasn't confused since I said I grew up in England but spoke with the more American accent I've gotten from watching TV shows. If he was, at least he didn't call me on that one.

He did wan't to stop and beat up a random person we passed by on the other side of the street, but I managed to talk him out of that. We went our separate ways eventually, but for some reason, that incident has stuck in my memory.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

America(n politics)

I don't usually discuss politics, mostly because I just don't like it. Politics is for the most part just boring bureaucracy, completely uninteresting to me. But it's also a subject that can get really serious really fast, with people getting upset as soon as you speak any sort of opposing viewpoint. As I said, I don't like politics, but recent events across the pond in the USA has me scratching my head at what is really going on there.

While surfing the web it seems as if I've come across more and more blogs by Republicans or Conservatists. (Before I go any further I would like to clarify that I don't know politics, I'm not in the loop with the party system in the US, I don't even live there.) Let's take one I came across just now, called Forward-ho. In the post I linked to he basically tears apart any opposition, saying the Democrats have sunk into "dog poop".

It's like there would be this eternal grudge between these two parties, and the Bush administration has just served to bring them further apart from each other. Was it always like this? I didn't really pay much attention to American politics before (this) Bush, but it seemed to me that Clinton did alright except for those "extracurricular activities" he was into.

And then we have a whole group of "patriots". In America everybody is a patriot... Here's a confession: I'm really tired of hearing the word "patriot" or "patriotism". In a way it's quite telling of what USA is really about; the "us against them" mentality that seems to be ingrained in all but the most open-minded over there. It's like it's all about which team you're on in the US. Democrat or Republican? Cleveland Indians or NY Yankees? "Either you're with us or with them." Make your choice.

It might sound shocking for some, but I wouldn't call myself a patriot. I have no specific "love" for my country; I'm fond of it, yes, it's the place where I grew up and all that, but if I was given the ultimatum of going half way around the world to fight whoever the government had designated as the enemy or leaving the country to avoid the draft, that wouldn't be a hard choice for me.

I value humanity as a whole more than any nationality. Or at least that's what I want to strive for.

Sounds a bit sappy now that I read through it, but what the heck.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Aphelion

The point on the orbit of a celestial body that is farthest from the sun.
-Dictionary.com
In the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, the author decribes the mans interest like a planet in orbit around the sun (where the sun in that analogy is the woman, but can be applied to anything). Or maybe it was a rubber band, I forget. The point is that the interest in anything goes up and down along with time, like when how a planet in an elipsical orbit around a star is sometimes further away and sometimes closer.

Right now I feel a bit further away from blogging. (But I do know the interest will eventually return.)