It's disturbing to read that a relatively obscure web design firm has gone and patented an invention involving rich media apps like AJAX. What's also disturbing is how they were even awarded the patent in the first place. This would definitely hamper the development of more innovative web services.
February 2006 Archives
Of all the things I forgot to do ... I forgot to renew my domain name. Things started looking funny this morning, and people got redirected to some commercial portal selling sun tan lotion. At least it didn't point to a certain nudist club.
Fortunately my web host managed to rectify things. Thanks to ML for alerting me first about my site ;-) muah!
Things are getting busier at work (like it wasn't already busy enough), with a few projects that need to be completed by next month. At the same time, I will be at SXSW Interactive. Watch out for new developments in this area.
I popped by HMV and found that it was still having a sale. Anyway I did want to pick up a few albums.
Since A L and Krisalis mentioned Kings of Convenience a while back, I thought they should be worth checking out. I and picked up two albums, 'Quiet Is The New Loud' and 'Riot On An Empty Street' for $16.95 each. I think I can 'space out' listening to them.
Seal IV was going at $14.95 and since I liked 'Prayer for the Dying' from his first album, I decided to buy his fouth as well.
Jamie Cullum's 'Catching Tales', with bonus DVD, usually sells for $22-23, but in this sale it was only $16.95. So, why not! There's a certain charm to these fresh-faced Jamies ... Oliver and Cullum. Anyway, I will be singing one of Cullum's songs for my company's Idol competition, so I might as well listen to more of his music to get used to his singing style.
I like this excerpt from the CD sleeve:
The songs came together over a fertile period in the first half of 2005. "Some days I would just get out of bed," Cullum says. "I would wake up with an idea, and hammer it out on my Mac at home, and then my brother Ben would come round and I'd still not be dressed at four in the afternoon."
I can so empathise with that. I used to be like that until I started ... working :-P Now when I listen to this CD I'll imagine how some of them came about on his Mac, in his pyjamas.
A Christian friend of mine, GV, mentioned she likes listening to the Parachute Band. So when I saw their albums 'Glorious' and 'Amazing' I decided to try it as well. And it's playing as I'm writing this - truly amazing! I'll listen to this while I sleep.
Here's a tip: HMV has been having a sale for a while so if you plan on getting some bargains, walk around the store to make sure that there isn't another stack of the same albums going at a cheaper price. Cheers.
Since I'm suffering from an ailment that begins with the letter 'D', resulting in frequent trips to the loo, I'm back at home. Anyway, it's about time I updated this blog!
Movie review: Brokeback Mountain
Last week, I watched Brokeback Mountain with some friends. Interestingly it was an almost all-girl outing. I often wonder why some straight guys shy away from any mention of the word 'gay'. Jesus ate with tax collectors. We shouldn't marginalise other human beings just because they're different.
Anyway, the movie itself was what I had expected it to be. The acting was riveting, and silences spoke words. Personally I thought it would have been better if they had either lived together immediately (and risked getting lynched), or forgotten about the whole thing and brought up their own families. Trying to have their own cake, and eating it every four years or so, is kind of difficult, especially for simple-minded cowboys who think their wives don't know what they're doing.
Based on my little knowledge of psychology, another thing which interested me was the family background of the two men. Both felt unwanted, and had low self-esteem. I haven't read the book but it sounded like a lot of thought went into crafting these characters.
I succumbed to the Mixed Grill offer two weeks ago, but am still waiting for my Strongspace and Joyent accounts to be set up. On scouring the forum, it appears that most of us just have to wait a bit longer.
The reason why I decided to sign up with Dean Allen and team was that when things go wrong on my current server, my queries are 'outsourced' and sometimes the answers I receive are not so intelligent. To be fair, things have been pretty calm in the last couple of months, but the next time something major happens, at least I know I have a permanent space elsewhere that I can move all my stuff to.
Book review: A Whole New Mind
Which leads on to a long-overdue book review. I greatly enjoyed reading Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind because he has a lot of foresight and gives advice on how to adapt in this new Conceptual Age. Essentially, the Information Age is over. Some jobs can be done more cheaply overseas, at the fraction of your salary. How do we adapt ourselves, so that we can still remain relevant at work? He shows you how, in an open-minded way that doesn't involve Machiavellian tactics.
My favourite chapter is on 'Design' - how we should strive to look at ordinary things in different ways, and improve on them. My own work experience has been a melting pot of different trades - designing, consulting, writing newspaper columns and software reviews, producing music, blogging. So I relate well to it. Another chapter I liked was 'Story'. How people remember stories better than numbers, and how you can make them remember things better by using the former.
'Empathy' was another thing we could have more of. I've had my fair share of mindless cold calls from people who don't really care about you - and many customers can sense if that's the case. Kindness and understanding is increasingly rare in cut-throat industries, where only the bottomline seems to matter.
Pink's writing style is also easy to digest. Busy people can appreciate that they don't have to plough through this book. For its delightful insights, and for making me read it over and over again, A Whole New Mind is my favourite book for 2005.
(Yes, this review is slightly overdue, isn't it!)
This happened about half an hour ago. It's weird but funny at the same time. Numbers and names have been obscured to protect the guilty party, whoever he/she/it may be.
vantan: who's that? [At this point, I thought it was an old friend, but on checking this person's info, couldn't find any nickname]
vantan: that's so useful to know.
vantan: i don't know you! bye bye.
271734XXX: i know
you dont want to know me?
At which point I blocked the fella.
And continued my own inane chatter with Messrs Ramblinglibrarian and Tribolum. (ironic? :)
What's been going through my mind the past couple of months, and especially so, now.
Temptor (in my mind): Go on, get it.
Me: I can't. It's too expensive.
Temptor: It's OK. Your travel expenses are now covered. So you can use your own savings to buy a shiny new laptop!
Me: But it's still too expensive. I already have a PowerMac at home.
Temptor: But it's not portable. Wouldn't it be cool to sit there in your hotel/conference hall, surfing wirelessly on a MacBook Pro? It'll be such a conversation piece!
Me: (thinking, yeah right, not in SXSW ... Apple notebooks are probably almost as common as iPod Nanos and other thingamageeks).
Temptor: Imagine, you can give daily updates on your blog about SXSW and make your readers think you're really cool.
Me: Yeah, like they read my blog every day. And like it's worth spending over S$3K for several days of 'cool'.
Temptor: But I know you've always wanted a laptop in your own room - just like in the good ol' Uni days when you discovered the Internet. Why, you got your first job based on what you learnt on your laptop!
Me: (fights off fond memories of old, now deceased, laptop) No! I can still surf the net on the family iMac! And my PowerMac! I ... don't need a MacBook Pro now... maybe next year when everything stabilises ...
Temptor: You'll regret waiting. It's now or never.
Me: I'll ... upgrade my O2 mini so I can do wireless surfing!
Temptor: Ha! On that tiny little screen?
Me: Er, I'll buy a Bluetooth keyboard so I can type on it too! Then it'll be like a mini laptop for only a few hundred bucks!
Temptor: Waste of money! You know your O2 mini's Bluetooth can't even connect to a single DAMN device. The Sim Lim salesman was just tempting you... it won't work. You need a shiiiiiny newwwww laaaptoppp!!!
Me: (covers ears) Not listening! Not listening!
< < FOCUS, Vanessa. You have to book a hotel in Austin. Stop looking at the Apple website! >>
Breaking news: I'm going to SXSW!!!!!!
If I wasn't feeling a little tender from jogging three mornings in a row, I'd be doing cartwheels.
Austin, here I come!
SXSW veterans can send me their tips, just post a comment below!