Archive for 2004
I usually prefer my holidays to be times of rest. Times to be free from work and stress, to indulge in things I like to do. I’ve just realized that Christmas is a rather stressful season. For one thing, there’s the multitude of Christmas gatherings one has to attend. With family. With relatives. With friends. With friends of family. With coworkers. With coworkers who are friends. It’s not that I don’t enjoy myself at these gatherings mind you.
The Christmas season has been hellacious. Deadlines to catch up with at the start of the next year meant crunch time for most of the past two weeks. So, for my first blog post on my first rest day in a while, I’ll bring home some work. I have a problem with Excel. I’m writing a web app that generates HTML files which are exported to Excel. In most cases, it’s easy, I just follow the template generated by using Excel->File->Save As->HTML
Evil illegal loggers have been in the news lately, mainly due to their being blamed as scapegoats for the rash of flooding during the last two typhoons that left hundreds, maybe thousands, dead in their wake and strewing devastation upon this blighted land. I’m not here to talk about whether the loggers are indeed to blame, or how it’s silly for the government to try to implement a total log ban when they can’t even implement a selective log ban, or how chances are everyone important will forget about this in, say a month tops, while the victims continue their struggle to recover even a fraction of their once-normal lives.
And that explains why this blog’s layout has changed again. I would have posted this (and some other stuff) earlier, but I was in AN ETERNITY OF PAIN for the past two and a half hours. I would like to take this time to berate my stupid, stupid impacted molar, and the stupid, stupid painkillers that took over two hours to kick in. Along with my stupid, stupid thyroid gland, which, because of hyperthyroidism, prevents me from having dental surgery on this sucker.
_ Mike: I thought you were broke? Me: That’s just a lie I tell people who ask me for money. _ I forgot to talk about this. We played Champions of Kamigawa Team Sealed a couple of weekends back. For the uninitiated, ChK is a Magic:the Gathering set, and Team Sealed is our favorite limited format! I think it’s mostly because if we lose, I can blame my teammates for screwing up, unlike in regular tournaments where it really is my fault.
A new hand has been dealt, the game has changed but the stakes remain the same. Fate tempts me with its’ winds of change, and what once was thought lost forever may once again be within reach. This time I tread carefully however, as my recklessness may once again be the bane of my quest. Hold my hands close to my chest, bide my time, and see what the fates have in store for our hero…
Sir Alexander Alix, quintessential Pisay trigo and calculus teacher, passed away recently due to cirrhosis of the liver. There’s a service for him at Pisay tomorrow, Dec. 3, Friday. Since I doubt I can go, I’ll say my piece here. Alix was a helluva guy. Friendly and gets well with the students. And he gave high grades. Seriously. He gave me flat 1.0s (highest possible grade) for all four quarters of fourth year math.
I went to the dentist yesterday (irrelevant), and at National Bookstore Shangri-la, I found a copy of The Waste Lands, a day after I blogged about looking for it! They also had a copy of the fourth book Wizard and Glass, but I only had enough cash for one. On a website note, if you’ll notice, I added entries from my del.icio.us account to the blog. It’s done using the excellent Feed2JS tool.
Really. I’ll read most anything. Books, comics, magazines, newspapers, leaflets, articles, essays. Well, anything well-written at least. When I first got access to the Internet, I was overjoyed. “Wow! Lots of stuff to read!” And I read a lot online. I started mostly with anime fanfiction, but pretty soon I enjoyed reading discussions on mailing-lists, message boards, news sites, etc. The internet is a treasure trove for one who always strives for information.
Interesting story about a guy who had to shell out 350 dollars to quote Radiohead lyrics in his book. Even though he was able to quote from many other bands, books, and even a separate Radiohead album for free. Even he had personally met the band before, and had freely let them quote his own works in their concerts. Gives a good idea of how fucked-up the worldwide copyright system is.
The evolution of the web as a gaming platform seems to be coming along lately. With games often serving as pioneers into new frontiers, I believe this is merely signifying the trend of software products transforming into services instead of commodities. Anyway, what I mean to say is, I’ve been spending quite some time with web-based games lately. Mostly it’s the fantastic and funny web-based parody RPG Kingdom of Loathing, which I’ve mentioned before.
The other day, while waiting to get a blood test at Clinica Manila, Megamall, I managed to finish about 2/3rds of Paolo Coellho’s best-seller The Alchemist. I finished the last 1/3rd during a 15-minute bathroom break back home. It was a short book. Lots of people have raved about how good it is. What do I think? It’s okay, but nothing overly special. Maybe I didn’t get too much of it because it didn’t have much new material for me.
I am a man of many things, of many passions. I work as an engineer, remodelling space shuttles so that they don’t crash and burn on reentry. I play the piano, the trombone and the harmonica. I am a columnist for an internationally acclaimed newspaper. I produce and direct award-winning movies. To relax, I write full-length novels, solve transcendental math problems and practice karate, taekwondo and aikido. I save people from drowning, I protect children from danger, I patrol the streets for litterbugs and jaywalkers, I go to government offices and streamline their processes.
Interesting read: There’s this spouse of an EA developer who’s taking it to EA’s supposedly unfair labor practices on livejournal. Cool thing: A chess program that shows you the computer’s train of thought! Interesting English Trivia – yes it’s geeky 😀 Tech news: Winamp is dead, long live Winamp! I actually like Winamp, especially version 5. There are quite a number of things I’d like to change with it, but it’s a lot better than WMP.
… or maybe just distracted. After putting in some fifty hours over a four-day period last weekend, I thought I’d cool off for a few days, doing nothing but what needs to be done, and some surfing and sleep when I get home. But I’m back! And I’m going to get my gaming groove on! I got a new copy of Star Ocean: Til The End of Time, hopefully this one’s a good copy, I haven’t tested it yet.
It’s 1:30 in the morning, and I plan on being at work by 8AM, so I’ll just throw out a quick book review before I buzz off to meet the sandman. Neil Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon is the only book I managed to finish out of the three I took with me to Bicol. And I actually started reading it about a month and a half earlier. In a word, the book is wordy.
In a fit of awe-inspiring common sense, I want swimming with my eyeglasses on. And, as expected when one makes such a gargantuan mistake, the Sea was aware of my folly. It sent its minions, one after another, to take my precious away from me. Again and again I bore their onslaught, as wave after wave came after me, yearning to knock me off my feet loosely planted upon the sandy earth some four and a half feet below water level.
As I’ve mentioned before, Daet is a small town. When I was there, I was mentally comparing it to the UP Diliman campus. Main reason being, we had a tendency to walk everywhere we went. Just like in UP, everything was literally within “walking distance” – the beach, the church, the cemetary, etc. So in my mind, the UP Diliman campus and Daet, Camarines Norte occupy roughly the same area, even though technically, one is a university campus and the other a full-sized town.
This internet shop is using Windows 98, apparently. And it looks like Firefox’s icon doesn’t show properly in 98? Oh, and Yahoo has a new front page.
Well, not really, seeing as how there aren’t really any mountains anywhere near here. I’m in Daet, Camarines Norte, if that means anything to you. It’s great to be back here — apparently the last time I was here was in 1996. Some things have changed, but mostly things are still the same. There’s some sort of minimall now, and a Shakey’s, and a Jollibee. 😛 And there’s internet! I’m posting right now from a dingy internet cafe near my grandmother’s house.
I need to escape from this madness, this constant flow of unfinished tasks. I am leaving for the land of my ancestors, returning to my roots, seeking the tranquility that has eluded me these weeks past. For seven long years have I not ventured there, and yet now I find myself seeking its warm comforts. What will I find when I return to those shores? Will it be the same simple, quite town I once knew?
http://www.grandtheftendo.com/ Nuff said. Man… I want to do a project like that. 😛
Okay, so I didn’t perform very well at the recent company bowling tournament. It’s quite embarassing, considering both my parents are pretty decent bowlers. Which is why, ** I vow revenge! ** This I declare, with my nice guy pose, I will practice, and I will win next year! The embarassing thing is that by the last day my right hand was tired from all that ball-swinging. When I told my mom about it, I found out she actually used a ball one pound heavier than the one I was using!
Joel Spolsky, of Joel on Software, is collecting nominations for the best software related essays of 2004. A lot of them are interesting reads. Reading these essays make me realize that, well, I like being a coder, a programmer and a developer. (These are different things, figure it out :D)
Never Outshine the Master Never Put Too Much Trust in Friends, Learn How to Use Enemies Conceal Your Intentions Always Say Less Than Necessary So Much Depends On Reputation — Guard It With Your Life Court Attention At All Costs Get Others To Do The Work For You, But Always Take The Credit Make Other People Come To You — Use Bait If Necessary
I was bored. And I was going through the Sinfest archives. But then I thought, why should I bother going through these comics manually over the net? I’m a programmer, I’ll make a SinfestDownloader! I’ve left it running for about 4 hours now. There’s a lot of Sinfest strips… around 40MB worth have already been downloaded! I wonder if this violates any sort of copyright? … Update: Done in a little over 4.
In case you haven’t heard, Firefox, the little browser that could, is scheduled for the official 1.0 release on Nov. 9. There’s a large promotion campaign going on over at SpreadFirefox.com, including a campaign to gather donations for a large ad of some sort on the New York Times. I’m still using 0.9, despite the availability of 1.0PR, but I’ll surely get the official 1.0 come November 9. 😀 BTW, there are some cool Firefox wallpapers available.
There’s a new, official Windows XP Theme out. Supposedly meant for Tablet PCs, it works for regular desktops too. Cool.
I passed the JITSE.
People have been raving about Google Desktop lately. I didn’t like it. Aside from the obvious problem with multi-user computers, apparently there are some other issues. I wouldn’t use it for my everyday, personal stuff, but I think it might be okay at work.
First day of company bowling today. I got 101 and 87 in the two games. Bleah. The dinner was at Max’s. The chicken was dry. I really don’t like Max’s. :( So much for raw talent :p
Sometimes the best stories come from the strangest places. Tonight, I was tired, I just wanted to get home quickly and unwind. So I took a taxi, just outside Megamall. The driver had to ask me where I was going, and luckily my choice of destination was favorable to him. Now, to be honest, I really hate taxi drivers who choose passengers based on where they’re going. Not only is it illegal, it’s annoying.
Well the week before was supposedly preparation for the JITSE (although I think a lot more time was spent on SF3… ) And this week, there was a lot of overtime to be had (quite a bit of food too). Oh, and I’ve been having medical problems apparently; After some days of experiencing dizziness, I had myself a check up (free! I now think company-sponsored health care is cool :D) at Clinica Manila in Megamall.
Alright, so it’s been a week since I took the JITSE, over at the Philippine Christian University in Manila. Like all other exams I take, I finished it unhumanly early. If I didn’t have any kind of shame, I would have submiited the AM exam a whole hour-and-a-half early just so I could get some sleep before the PM part. (Some people noticed I was dozing off anyway :P) I don’t get the big deal though.
Dear Content Producers and Owners: We lied to you. In the golden 80s and 90s we told you micropayments and content protection would work; that you would be able to charge minuscule amounts of money whenever someone listened to your music or watched your movie. We told you untruths which we well knew would never work – after all, we would’ve never used them ourselves. Instead, we wrote things like Kazaa and Gnutella, and all other evil P2P applications to get the stuff free.
It’s a puzzle. or a game. Or both. Link
This is one of my favorite desktop wallpapers, I’ve used it several times, I always like bringing it back: However, I always forget where I got it from. It’s from RPGamer’s Theme Central
In order of priority: Study for the JITSE ** -- I'm terrible at this. Frankly, it's quite boring to study, and it reminds me why I'm not taking any post-graduate studies. By all accounts, I'll probably be cramming those last few days before the exam, as usual. It doesn't help that some of my coworkers convinced me to tag along for a trip to Fontana 7 days before the exam proper.
Note to self: Don’t forget to check out the games at Liberated Games sometime in the future. They host commercial games which have been released for free to the public… some with source code. I mean, c’mon, they apparently have the source code for Star Control 2! (I say apparently because their download page seems to have a problem right now, hence I will get back to it later.)
For some reason, I keep looking for things to do online. (I guess I really want to distract myself… I really should be studying for the JITSE though.)
I’ve known about nationstates.net for a while, but only recently decided to give it a try. (Mostly because I got bored while waiting for my Kingdom of Loathing turns to regenerate.)
It’s been a while, I got a lot to say, some personal things, some random stuff from the internet. Let’s start with the easy stuff, random linkage: First up, the Kingdom of Loathing, it’s an online Stickman RPG! It’s MMO (well, not really massive), it’s wacky, and you can be a pastamancer! It currently amuses me… and I hate waiting to get more turns! My account there is “hungry roy” It’s Quentin Tarantino’s diary!
Spent some cash this weekend. First thing was a 256 Mb Kingston flash drive. Nothing too complicated, just something to transfer MP3s to and from work with. =) Next up was a digital camera. A Kodak CX6330 to be exact. We had been planning to buy one for a while. Pics? Not now. Funny story though. There was this promo where we could get a P5000 discount (less than US$100) if we could show a receipt for P200 worth of Pampers (a local brand of baby diapers)… so I had to explain to people why in the world I was carrying around some diapers…
Found this on kuro5hin: it’s a fairly well-written science fiction piece. Link
Some of them are hard.
RP troop pullout not cowardice, at least not according to Malacanang. The whole world knows by now that the Philippine government has capitulated (or intends to, at least) to the demands of terrorists kidnappers holding Filipino truck driver Angelo dela Cruz hostage. Even Jay Leno took his shots at our country, with the following quote from opening monologue of Wednesday night, July 14, 2004: For the 2nd time in the past few days, a new world record has been set in the 100 meter dash.
Arguably the greatest PC RPG of all time, Fallout is now in the (hopefully) capable hands of Bethesda Softworks (Elder Scrolls, Daggerfall, Morrowind). Are you excited? Link
I’m not particularly fond of internet quizzes that attempt to plunk you down into a category – but sometimes they’re damn accurate. [ Take this one for example]1. My results are: You are an SEDF–Sober Emotional Destructive Follower. This makes you an evil genius. You are extremely focused and difficult to distract from your tasks. With luck, you have learned to channel your energies into improving your intellect, rather than destroying the weak and unsuspecting.
I suppose everyone and their mother has had a chance to voice their opinions on Spiderman 2 by now, so here’s mine: Some parts are hokey, some parts are cheesy, some parts are gratuitous Hollywood crap, it has quite a few inconsistencies and plot holes but overall, it’s a hell of a ride, and I found it considerably more ‘fun’ than the first one. That being said, I’m not entirely excited about the Goblin making an obvious comeback in Spiderman 3, but the only other Spidey nemesis worthy of being in a movie would be Venom… and bringing alien symbiotes in the equation would completely change the feel of the movies.
Maniac Mansion Deluxe is a 256-color remake of the original Maniac Mansion, done by a group calling themselves LucasFan Games. I’m not sure how legal this is, but hey, it’s Maniac Mansion! Any adventure gamer worth his salt knows about the Mansion and Dave’s efforts to save his girlfriend Sandy from Dr. Fred and the evil meteor. The great thing about Maniac Mansion (or not so great, maybe), is that unlike later adventure games, your kids can die, you can accidentally blow up the mansion and you can get work yourself into an unsolvable situation.
… I mean, take that dream I had a couple of nights ago; after going to work I was wondering whether I should tell that particular person “Hey, I dreamt you were a bag of chips.” What sort of psychological message could thinking a person was a bag of chips possibly have?
Yup, it’s a Japanese-only PS2 game based on the currently popular Naruto anime/manga. If you’re not aware of Naruto, it’s pretty much like Dragonball Z, except with better animation, actual reasons for fighting, and ninjas instead of aliens. It tells the story of a young boy in the Hidden Village of Konoha, cursed with being the living incarnation of a feared nine-tailed demon fox spirit. Simple enough eh? The game itself is cool; it’s one-on-one fighting featuring characters from the anime/manga.
… that disgraceful slow-count of an election canvass that is. I can’t help but wonder whether anyone actually bothered to follow the last few days of the canvassing on TV… I mean, the proceedings are boring as hell! You know what would have been better for the country as a whole? When I saw a small portion of it, the only thing I could think of was that we should have WWE’s The Rock on the National Board of Canvassers!
N s a nice little slightly-addictive flash game about a ninja trying to get through doors. Check it out.
Literally translated as “I dare you to touch his ear”, the phrase is commonly used by elementary school boys prior to starting a fight. It’s similar to the more well-known Western scenario where one boy draws a line across the sand and goes “I dare you to cross this line” This phrase came to me today because we were talking to two girls (well okay, ladies) at work today and they weren’t familiar with the phrase or it’s usage.
As I’ve mentioned before, I was sent to HK a couple of weeks back, for the rollout of a project I’ve been involved with for about a year and a half. I’m not sure if it’s right for me to be talking about the project here, so I won’t delve into any specifics. I will however, bore you all with stories from my first trip anywhere remotely far from home.
God, it feels good to be goofing off. After having to spend six days in HK (well, more like five-and-a-half, more on that later) and then proceeding to conduct SQL training sessions for the latest batch of recruits, I was kinda tired and stressed out from work. Good thing I had the common sense to file for two days leave after the elections last Monday; don’t have to come in ‘til tomorrow.
I’ll probably leave for the voting place in a half an hour or so. Anyway, my choices are already made: PRESIDENT : Roco, Raul VICE-PRESIDENT : SENATORS : Alvarez, Heherson T. Barbers, Robert Biazon, Rodolfo Chavez, Francisco Escudero, Salvador Gordon, Richard Herrera, Ernesto F. Hussin, Parouk Mercado, Orlando Pimentel, Aquilino Jr. Q. Roxas, Manuel ‘Mar’ II Yasay, Perfecto Jr.
I’m not sure yet. I obviously don’t have much time to maintain it. I’d like pretty much to have a “professional” website, with the domain name and everything, but I’m afraid it would fall into misuse as well. Arrr… .I’ll figure something out.
Yup. This week, for the first time ever, I’m leaving the country, and flying down to HK to provide support for the rollout of the project I’ve been with for the past year and a half. First time to leave the country, and I’m gonna be flying alone to a country where people speak a language I can recognize but not understand. I’m understandably a bit freaked out; who wouldn’t be, right?