Archive for December 1st, 2006

Jewellery

Ok, can someone please explain to me the fascination that some people (especially women) have with jewelery and “precious” stones? Why spend hundreds or thousands of dollars or Euros for a piece of stone that shines? What’s the point? Except that they look better that common earth stones they have no other usefulness.

Once a year I buy about 50 bucks of fake jewelery from Macys. I don’t despise jewelery per se (it’s nice to have something to wear when going to a party), it’s just that I would never pay for real ones, even if I do have the money for them (Macys’ fake jewelery are good quality anyways). Real jewelery are expensive gimmicks and a huge waste of money in my opinion.

I have seen friends breathing heavily in the sight of a $100,000 diamond stone in a Palo Alto store showroom, while I was literally yawning next to them. What’s the big deal about a shiny object that has no practical usefulness whatsoever?

BenQ ad infuriates online US readers

When I first read the report I thought that the Americans were just seeing ghosts where there were none. But after closer inspection, it seems that BenQ did use the WTC ruins as its basis for its music ad.

However, they did try to give a positive message (”Even if the world is destroyed to dust, I still believe in music” the Chinese text in the ad reads), but does this justify their action of using an open wound to advertise their products? Personally, I am torn. From one side, you could see this ad from the positive point of view of giving hope through music, and from the other side, you can see it as an American and get pissed off for using such a painful theme to sell a product. But then again, how’s that different from the Muslims getting pissed off over some Danish cartoons?

It seems that we all have taboos that get us ticked. The thing to do is get over them. Taboos are prison cells.

The end of Diva

Diva was a piece of software that I had put a lot of faith on. Its UI was amazing — exactly how I want to see UIs designed in general. But I don’t think we will ever see a new version of it. The Google/Novell-sponsored version 0.0.2 was released May 29th and since then we haven’t had any news at all — even its official web site went busted.

MDK, the developer of Diva, many times has made it clear that he is not happy with the way the GStreamer media framework works and it’s ultimately what keeps Diva back. This is exactly what happened with the supposedly-great BeOS Media Kit (a very common hyped opinion about BeOS). It was a proof of concept media framework and worked great “on paper” or for sound and video playback. But when you needed to actually do something truly complex with it (e.g. video editing), it was folding on its own. MDK said that he needed fixes that the GStreamer people would not or could not give him, and so eventually Diva has died. While this is not official, to my mind it’s a fact given several factors and email exchanges with people in the know.

Sure, Diva is open source and someone might pick it up, but thing is, I don’t TRUST anyone else to be able to pull off a great usability as MDK could. While a new developer might be able to pull it together and release a usable version, I am not confident that this person would be as good in UI design. There are not many people out there who have a grand vision about UIs. Diva was so good because MDK had it all (he would be one of my first recruits if I had a software company).

There are other video apps for Gnome, like Kino and PiTiVi, but none as easy to use and as to the point as Diva was. Diva was even better than iMovie, usability-wise. I had put lots of faith and hope in it and to me this was a big chance for the Linux desktop to shine over its competition in ease of use and completeness.

Do Not Pry Open Until Christmas

“Manufacturers say molded packaging protects goods on the long journey from Asia. Retailers say the heat-sealed edges keep shoppers from opening them in stores. And products certainly look picture-perfect in that clear plastic bubble.” But not everything is as rosy as it should be…

…’cause I can’t open these packages either! Each time I have to wait for JBQ to come from work to use our big scissors (that are meant to cut… roasted animal bones) in order to open some of these packages! Let alone that it can be pretty dangerous for your fingers if you are not very careful. Last time this happened was just last night, I just couldn’t open the real-flash addon I got for my husband’s W810i cellphone 2MP camera.

Star Wars TV Series

I somehow ended up in a page today with information about the upcoming Star Wars TV series that it’s supposed to air sometime between 2008 and 2010. Lucas said the plot will be steered by characters such as Tie-Fighter or Rebel pilots, most only briefly glimpsed in the six “Star Wars” films and the series will take place in the 18 years between Episodes III and IV (hopefully 5 years after Episode III, which is when the Rebel Alliance supposedly first grew big).

I think they are going in the right direction. Only element that’s missing is the Jedi one. You can’t have Star Wars without 1-2 main Jedi characters in it. My suggestion would be to use a “declined” Jedi, a kinda old person that was thrown out of the Jedi ranks for one reason or another (good example of such a character). A young padawan could be in order too, maybe a Rebel fighter who apparently has his way with the Force, or a teenager — a survivor from the Agricultural Corps planet (young Jedi washouts are sent to the Agricultural Corps where their Force talents are directed to tending sick crops rather than protecting peace and justice). Even Obi-Wan Kenobi was at the Agricultural Corps planet for a few years before finally Qui-Gon Jinn took him as a padawan. Basically, instead of using established Jedi Knights (who are supposed to be all dead at this point in time), the series could use padawan washouts and old failed Jedis, to illustrate that particular dark era of the SW universe. The hope must mostly come from the Rebel Alliance and their efforts instead.

Having said that, I think they could use Darth Vader’s character a few times throughout the series, as it’s easy to portray him under a mask and to do the voice over with voice actors & computer software (to match the original voice of James Earl Jones). At the very end of the series, I would actually kill off the old Jedi and depending on the storyline maybe the padawan too (making space for Luke Skywalker on Episode IV).

Sarcastic subconscious

I had a very vivid dream this morning: I died because a (bad) person shot me (events took place in a High Street cloth shop at Guildford, UK).

At the moment of my death, I see a light and an angel. But here’s the kicker: the light is actually a lamp that is coming towards me slowly from the ceiling, and the angel appeared in a cheaply-made wooden elevator that also used a motor at the ceiling. If this is not my subconscious going sarcastic on me, I don’t know what is.