Archive for May, 2007

Jobs vs. Gates: Who’s the Star?

“Until recently, Bill Gates has been viewed as the villain of the tech world, while his archrival, Steve Jobs, enjoys an almost saintly reputation. […] But these perceptions are wrong. In fact, the reality is reversed. It’s Gates who’s making a dent in the universe, and Jobs who’s taking on the role of single-minded capitalist, seemingly oblivious to the broader needs of society.”

This is not a surprise for me. I always considered Gates the true geek and Jobs a weasel. Heck, not even Woz could trust him.

Fucking Greek Post Office

[?? ?a??µe????? a?a???ste? t?? blog e?a?????ta?]

Fuck, fuck, fuck. ?a?????ft?? t?? ?e?ata. >:(

According to the local post office guy in Greece, there is no way the parcel will ever arrive to its destination. It was stolen early on in Athens by Post Office or Customs employees. I’ve lived in several countries in my life, and this kind of thing only happens in Greece (I’ve had things stolen in an airport before).

And on top of that, Greeks think they are hip: “We know how to live brother, what did you think, that we are like the Americans and the Europeans, who are all wankers and work day and night like the dogs? We have history, they have nothing, they are animals.

??st, ?t??p?!

Sanctuary: Failed

It was a nice experiment. But it didn’t work.

The creator of Stargate(s) asked some of his friends (including easily-recognizable actors from Stargate and Atlantis) to put together a new live action series that would sell via the web, Sanctuary. They sell four 17-minute episodes for $10, and so far the first episode was released. The series is pretty cheaply-made (more cheaply than the average cheap Sci-Fi Channel series) and the actors are mostly acting in front of a green screen.

Personally, I don’t think that there’s going to be a second episode. The first episode was uploaded to YouTube already and even as a pirated series it doesn’t make as many waves as it should have. Too bad of course, as Internet is the future for TV too. They are a bit too early, I guess. Or, they should have gone through the iTunes market instead…

Update: My interview with the producer published!

Apple hides account info in DRM-free music, too

Dear Apple and EMI,
eat shit.

While I don’t mind my iTunes account details being embedded in the music I purchase, I have a problem when I want to share my purchased music with my husband (or vice versa). Being in the same family, we should be allowed to use/exchange products, as it’s already legal with DVDs and CDs. The last thing I want is a lawsuit from RIAA just because Apple didn’t know that a “Loli” can be married to a “Queru”.

Sizzling Fajitas

Fajitas is one of my favorites Mexican recipes, as long as I live in a country that stores sell the needed ingredients (e.g. easy in USA, but it’s tricky to find them in Greece).

Ingredients (for 1)
* 0.35 lbs (150 gr) of tenderloin or london-broil beef
* 1.5 tablespoons of salsa of your choice
* 1/8 of the big kinds of onions
* 1/4 of a green bell pepper
* 3 tablespoons of guacamole
* 3 tablespoons of sour cream
* 1 tablespoon of olive oil
* 3 tortillas

1. Cut the beef, onion and pepper in thin, long strips, like in the picture below.

2. In a big frying pan add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat it up on “high”. Add the beef and stir-fry it for 2 minutes.
3. Turn ON the oven to 400F (205C) and put the 3 tortillas in it. Bake for a few minutes just until warm, in parallel to the frying below.
4. In the frying pan add the onions and peppers and keep stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the 1.5 tablespoons of salsa and keep stir-frying until all liquids are gone and the onions/peppers now seem a bit softer (but not soggy).
5. Place the frying pan on top of a table-top protection. In a small plate put the 3 warm tortillas.
6. In your main plate take 1 tortilla, spread 1 tablespoon of sour cream and 1 tablespoon of guacamole on it, and then spoon on it 1/3 of the frying pan’s ingredients. Close the tortilla as in the picture below and enjoy! Repeat step 6 two more times until the rest of the ingredients are gone.

Tip: You can sprinkle some shredded mexican or cheddar cheese on the frying pan after step 5.

Palm Foleo vs Nokia N800

So, Palm introduced a “mobile companion” today, based on Linux, called Palm Foleo. The only similar product in the market today is Nokia’s N800. Here’s my take on it:

The Palm offering has a big 10″ screen and a hardware keyboard, but the N800 is smaller, it has a touchscreen and a real UI rather than an email/web interface and nothing else. You see, Palm’s Foleo –except few preference settings– does not have a full UI that enables third party apps or calendars or even music or video. It is simply, a web browser and an email client. Nothing else. Not even a solitaire game can’t be found in there. In the N800 instead you will find lots of different third party applications and a real UI rather than just a single front-end to email/web.

If you are JUST looking for web/email client to contemplate your phone, then the Palm Foleo is a good idea. However, it is a big device, you can’t slide it in your pocket as you can with the N800. If you are going to have a 10″ screen laptop, get a Fujitsu laptop instead which runs a full desktop OS. But then again, the Fujitsu laptop costs $1600, while the Foleo costs $600.

If you are looking at a mobile companion at a smaller form factor and with the ability to do more, other than web/email, then the N800 remains the best choice at $375. Besides, Nokia has licensed Flash and so the N800 can do YouTube, while the Foleo can’t! According to Gizmodo, the Foleo doesn’t do video at all actually.

Personally, I would be sold into a device that’s in between the N800 and Foleo. It should have a WXGA resolution (1024×600) at a 7″ touchscreen (rotatable, to look like a tablet) and a hardware keyboard like Foleo’s, but all other features should be as found in the N800. Now, that would rock because it is the best of both worlds between the two products and at the same time it would be much more “mobile” than the smallest desktop laptop available.

Heroes: crash and burn, you, stupid show

Amazing. Heroes was marketed as the answer to Lost, but not only it didn’t deliver, but it seems that its creator, Tim Kring thinks we are complete idiots. That’s how he thinks of us, the viewers (but then again, which professional doesn’t think of his/her customers as idiots?)

One of the plot-holes on the finale of Heroes was “why Peter doesn’t just fly away, as he does possess the power already?”.

Kring said that “we should not be thinking about that”, even if that was a glaring plot hole. Online, there were some Heroes fanatics on forums who said that “Peter can only use one power at a time”, but this was never established in the series and Kring does not claim that either. Instead, he suggests that we should be watching Heroes with half our brains.

What a glaring difference compared to Lost.

The Ten Most Powerful Movie Franchises in History

FilmSchoolRejects posted a top-10 of the biggest movie franchises ever. I would have put The Matrix & The X-Men in their list, and maybe, just maybe Star Trek, but overall, it’s a good list.

What really strikes me though, is that all these movies are either sci-fi or fantasy (even James Bond is pretty out of this world). Obviously, non-reality stuff sell. People love it. And yet, very few good sci-fi movies are made these days. Maybe, like, 6-10 a year. And the last space/starship-based movie was Serenity, in 2005. :(

Regarding taboos

As I was writing my previous blog post about my favorite foods, I was thinking how cool it would be to photographically document the whole Greek Easter Lamb experience the next time I am in Greece for Easter (I’ve missed it the last 10 years abroad). I would like to document how you find the right animal, how you kill it, how you remove its blood, how you remove its skin, how you season it & stuff it and how you roast it. My father knows how to do all that, and he is the de-facto cook of the family for the particular feast.

And then, I snapped out of it. There’s no big, fat disclaimer that I can put up there that will make it alright for me to publish images of how to kill an animal on an easily reachable page on the Internet (usually it’s a young goat or sheep). Most westerners are cool to buy parts of the animals at a grocery store, but from the moment someone shows HOW to prepare an alive animal for a feast from A-to-Z, suddenly they hit the wall with these (newly created) taboos of the Western World (instead, the Eastern World would salivate looking at the pictures). You see, up to 50-60 years ago, it would even be “ok” to show how to prepare an animal in USA and UK too. But after the WWII, things in the minds of people changed. Whatever was normal before, suddenly stopped being so. And whatever was wrong before (e.g. easily accessible pornography), now it’s normal. Heck, even the 60’s ultra-short skirts that women used to wear back then could invite a fine today for indecent exposure!

Taboos, ideas, ideals, all change through the years, so I would prefer if people were more open to other ideas instead of hitting the wall every so often. Open thinking is important.

For me, this food is associated with some of my best memories in life, the whole Greek Easter experience (the Easter for Greeks is more important than Christmas — Jesus came to Earth not to born but to die, you see). If I was to document the whole experience –no matter how cruel that might look to some animal lovers; I do love animals too btw– the truth is, I would do it because this is a tradition that’s fading away and I want to preserve it. And the Internet is a great way to preserve information and even teach things. Put yourselves in a situation of war or… surviving a plane crash in an island in the Pacific, where you have to hunt and kill in order to find food — 99.9% of the people today have no idea how to survive out there!

So, I need not any random reader to tell me that “graphically showing how to kill an animal is gruesome and cruel”. Because as he/she might feel insulted by the imagery, I would feel insulted in the exact same way for not being allowed to document an important part of the Greek Orthodox celebration that’s going on for centuries (no, I am not religious, but it IS tradition). Whatever might feel insensitive to some, it’s normal to others.

Great foods

This is a list of my top-5 foods ever, in order.

1. Greek Easter lamb (one of the best things in life, possibly because it’s only served once a year traditionally)

2. Barbecued pork fried rice (as prepared in this restaurant in Surrey, UK)
3. Lamb Biryani (Indian, when well-prepared and not too spicy)
4. Greek Patsas (my mother’s version, with avgolemono and lots of garlic)
5. Seafood-bean salad or Greek Yuvarlakia (can’t decide which)

Best dessert: Tiramisu (Italian)
Best drink: Orangina (French)

Special mention: Pita souvlaki (Greek)

Τίς κοιλοίας ή αγαλίασιν…