Archive for April 9th, 2007

Cool Kung Fu videos

Check these kung-fu videos here. Especially the “Kung Fu vs Yoga” and the “Kung Fu Monkey”. The Shaolin Kung Fu Monks is cool too. I hope that I will be able to see them live once in my lifetime. They are apparently touring the world sometimes.

Marvel Vs DC Comics

Haha, here is proof why DC Comics were never as popular as Marvel Comics. Obviously not teen material. Check this front page of a Superman comic. Also as appropriate.

Best LOST theory I have ever read

This is a theory mostly about the Smoke monster. You will need an IMDb free account to be able to read the theory.

Update: If this theory gets to be somewhat real, it means that in the series finale we will have a big showdown between 3 characters: the person who wants to control Smokey in order to achieve power (Ben or Jacob), the person who wants to free it & worship it (Locke) and the person who wants to save his peers by destroying it and get the hell out of the island (Jack). And while not everything in the theory linked above might be on spot, it looks plausible. Maybe the title of the 2×01 episode “Man Of Science, Man Of Faith” was named as such for a reason.

I mean, this is not much different than a medieval story of trying to capture the mighty dragon. The ruler of the kingdom (Jack) wants to destroy it, the misguided wizard (Locke) wants to free it and the bad guy (Ben) from the neighboring kingdom wants to capture it and use it for his own, selfish reasons and eventually “rule the world”. Old & tried recipe, shrink wrapped in a new, shiny chocolate paper.

Same goes for Star Wars btw. In fact, Star Wars is even more “medieval-like” in nature than Lost is.

The death of optimization

Back in 1995, I remember the conversations I was in about the “death of x86 assembly”. New programmers straight out of college did not learn assembly anymore. Back then we were noting how strong C was in the market. Today, it is the end of C itself. Most new programmers never learn to code in C anymore, and some of them never even learn C++. My husband has a hard time finding good C programmers to hire for example. It is all about .NET and Java these days.

While personally I am a proponent of .NET & Mono for desktop applications, I still prefer my heavy and CPU-demanding applications to be written in C++ with some assembly optimizations when needed (e.g. 3D Studio Max). And then, Sansa is just releasing an mp3/mp4 player that its UI is all written in Mono. While this is cool for the project, I just can’t stomach the fact that they used something as heavy as Mono (or .NET or Java or PyGTK for that matter) to do an embedded device. For me, when I hear the word “embedded device”, I can only accept assembly and C (and maybe some C++ if the compiler they used is good). But anything more than that, it is a waste of speed and RAM, which is something that I, the consumer, will have to pay for.

I mean, come on, if my husband had to develop their web browser in Mono or Java, they would have had ZERO customers right now, because the browser would need a lot of RAM and cpu speed which is something that does not fly in the cellphone industry (and no, Opera Mini is not a Java-based browser, it is a java-based client). Even on the desktop Java apps are slower to load and consume lots of RAM, and similarly pyGTK apps do too (and in fact the maintainers know of this issue but it’s nothing they can do, as they say).

Ah, where are the days where everything was optimized to the bone? The ’80s might have bad music to offer, but programming was really an art and meant full commitment.

The AppleTV

We were at a party on Saturday night and the host had just bought an AppleTV and so I had a look at it. The only thing I did not like in it was the fact that when you move out of the artists menu and you go back in, the focus is on the start of the list again instead of where you were left browsing before (the iPod “remembers” where you were before moving out of that menu). Other than that, I was cool with the AppleTV.

The rest of the people there though had other concerns, for example, you can only browse one “media server source” at a time, you can’t record from the TV etc.

Personally, I was a bit indifferent about the AppleTV while checking it out, until the moment I stumbled on a digicam-shot video from some vacations the owner had taken. Then, it was clear to me that I would like an AppleTV just for my personal videos rather than commercial movies and music. You see, I got a camcorder and all, but it takes absolutely ages to encode in mp4 or h.264 a 2 hour movie straight from DV. While if you are cool with just small snaps of videos from your digicam and maybe your mp4/qvga-capable cellphone, you will only need to transcode a video. For example, our Panasonic LX2 camera can shoot EDTV video at 852×480 as a .mov motion-jpeg video. All I need to do is get the clips from the SD card, transcode them to mp4 using QuickTime (so they take less space while retaining the original quality/resolution) and then put them on iTunes and get them sync with the AppleTV. This procedure is much faster than trying to pull the DV video and then edit and then encode and then maybe burn DVDs. Sure, if you instead need animations and menus and subtitles and stuff, you go the camcorder/iMovie route, but if you are cool with just some clips in the right order, you go with the digicam/Quicktime route instead.

One nice addition would be Dashboard support in the AppleTV btw, because it would look really nice on a 720p TV.