Duet

2012.10.20

I sit four feet away from the most beautiful woman in the world, and yet we’re worlds apart.
To anyone else she’s probably just above average, but to me the sight of her makes my heart ache.
The table in front of me separates us, keeping our drinks in a convenient location and keeping me from reaching her and holding her.

She’s still trying to pick out a song to sing.
For some reason she thinks that she has to beat me in singing.
It shouldn’t be that difficult; my singing voice isn’t that good.
I don’t really care about the singing anyways; I just want to spend time with her.

I asked her if she wanted to do a duet, but she refused.
I wonder if she refused because she wants to win this competition she imagined up or if she refused because she didn’t want to sing something that had the potential for romantic implications.
It didn’t have to be that way; it could have just been a song that we sang together.

The most beautiful woman in the world sits across from me, still trying to pick out a song to sing.
By this time next week, I’ll be across the world and she’ll still be here – trying to pick out a duet.


Objective: Clean my apartment.

2010.05.01

I’m not a very organized person. I think I might be affected by thought disorder, but that’s not related to what I want to say. Instead, I’ll say this: I want to clean my apartment.

I actually have a crapload of bottles put into garbage bags which would be ready for transport to a recycling depot, if only I had a vehicle to carry them. I don’t even have a driver’s license. Even though the bottles I have would net me a nice $50 or so cash refund, I have no way of making good on it. So, the only option I have is to put them in the bin shared by all my fellow apartment tenants. It sucks, but I’ve been putting it off for way too long. It will be a slow process, since I have many garbage bags worth of bottles, and the shared bin can only fit so much inside of it. Once a week, I will have to put just one bag into the bin.

My determination never lasts for that long (probably related to my suspected thought disorder). Nevertheless, it has to be done. I want to make this place clean. I wanted to be able to get it clean before the next semester starts, but since I can only move one bag at a time, I’m stuck. C’est la vie.

Another problem I have is the huge number of pizza boxes in my place. I tried giving up pop and pizza for a short time, turning to fruits and grains to eat with water to drink, but I quickly got sick (literally) and lost motivation. Even if I did give up pizza and pop, the remaining boxes and bottles would need to go. With the bottles, I can just move them by moving an entire garbage bag. With the boxes, I’m going to have to go through them one by one, dumping the remaining pizza matter and flattening them as best I can. It sucks. But since this is my objective, I need to do it.

I hope I can do it.


New Blog

2010.01.10

I have decided to create a new blog. Actually, “decided” here means that I needed to make a blog for a class of mine and don’t want to share this one with anyone I know.

This will be a short entry, especially considering how long I’ve gone without posting anything, but that’s life. The big news of the day I suppose is that I’m recovering from a cold. Maybe it’s swine flu, but probably not.


Aion

2009.12.14

A month or two ago I bought a game called Aion. I had never heard of it before the day I bought it, but I was looking for a distraction.

The graphics were good for a MMORPG, and I enjoyed making characters. I shamelessly admit that I made a bunch of hot-looking females. It can’t be helped; I really do appreciate the visuals in Aion. I even tried to reproduce Suiseiseki from Rozen Maiden (yeah, I’m a nerd). I named her “Desudesu” because “Suiseiseki” was taken, as was “Desu”.

The gameplay is straightforward. You get skills, and try to use them effectively. A skill has a casting time and a cool-down time.

Like other MMORPGs, Aion has its own economy. People can sell stuff via a private store, or via the trade broker. People can create items by crafting them. Learning how to craft takes time, and can be expensive because of the cost of the materials needed. Personally, I like to spot good deals so I can pick them up and resell them for a more reasonable price given their demand. Although in real life this would be considered profiteering, it’s hardly a crime to do so in Aion.

As for how fun it is… it’s fun enough. Learning to craft is painful in every MMORPG because of the necessity to limit the number of skilled crafters, but Aion isn’t too bad in that regard. The different crafts have set “work orders” for different levels so that you don’t have to go searching for materials. You can just pay for the basic materials in the crafting area, and go on with it. And the price isn’t terribly unreasonable to do so. In terms of PvE, grinding can be a pain (a lot of the quests are grinding quests), but it’s bearable. In particular, questing with a group can be quite an enjoyable experience.

Another facet of gameplay (the most important part in fact) is the PvP. Although you have to reach level 25 before you can even set foot into the Abyss (the main PvP area), there are some times you get to fight the other side before getting into the Abyss. Rifts tend to pop up once in a while which allow you to enter the other side’s area (or allow them to enter yours). The PvP is the highlight of Aion, and I can’t wait to play some more. After I’m done improving my crafting.


Government’s Three Branches

2009.08.15

There are different ways to look at the world we live in. Just recently I thought of a novel (to me anyways) way of thinking about government.

There are three main branches of a democratic government (in some countries there are more, but three branches are commonly identified): the executive, the legislative, and the judicial.

Anyways, I’m a computer science student, so I tend to think about things in computer-related ways. So my novel idea is this: governments have three major functions – (1) programming (and debugging) code; (2) executing code; and, (3) handling exceptions. (1) is the legislative branch. (2) is the executive branch. (3) is the judicial branch. Of course it’s people who throw exceptions. Occasionally an exception thrown falls under a broad set of exceptions and is handled as all exceptions before it (common law). It is up to the programmers to make it so that certain things are handled with more specificity. Everyone’s run through the program called ‘governance’ – mwahahaha!

Yes, yes, I’m boring. I had a 100-level politics course, so it’s been on on my mind a bit.


Cloud Computing

2009.07.08

Cloud computing seems, to me, to be a level between personal computing and the thin client model.

A thin client (or dumb terminal) is a computer which has limited capabilities, instead leaving the heavy computing to remote servers. Thin clients use less power as a result of their lesser abilities compared to an average PC.

With cloud computing, you would use your PC’s web browser (or standalone web application) in order to use the capabilities provided by many (not necessarily powerful) computers working together for that purpose. I believe that this is functionally equivalent to the use of a thin client.

The similarity is apparent, but the difference is the more important aspect. With cloud computing, you don’t deny the capabilities of your own computer. There is no reason why your data must be stored remotely, on some unknown computer. Using a web application might require that the servers have a working copy of your data, but that does not imply that they need to store your data permanently. Supposing that one can rely on the organization providing the cloud service to keep the working copy secure and in tact, deleting it completely only when done with it, then the reliability issue is trivial. Of course there is still the need for a reliable connection.

Then again, the door is opened for true thin clients. What is a netbook? It is a limited capability notebook. To cut costs, the use of less capable OSes made sense for netbooks. After all, a netbook was meant to do but a few things: web browse, word process, email and very little else. Think about it; who needs a powerful PC when a cheap netbook can accomplish the same things by use of cloud services? Word processing can already by done online (e.g. Google Docs), and the only non-online aspect of email is choosing where you keep your messages stored (e.g. use of Outlook vs use of Hotmail).

Cloud computing really isn’t anything special if you already use email. The trust you place in a web service like Hotmail is considerably great, depending on the content of your email. It might not be that special, but it is an important part of our computing experience. To be able to access and modify documents where ever we are, whenever we want is a great convenience. A more professional entity (e.g. a private company) would most likely want its own servers handling its own special purpose computing, but the idea is the same, so long as some remote client is utilizing those special purpose servers.

In essence, cloud computing means that computing becomes more convenient. It also means that hardware requirements for the end-user aren’t a concern. Consider the idea of “cloud gaming” (OnLive). Imagine playing processor/graphics card intensive games without even owning a discrete video card. Of course, the main concerns relate to internet connection; how much bandwidth (speed), and how much bandwidth (caps) do you have? If the computing part of gaming is off-loaded, then that leaves the displaying part (relay of video/audio), and – depending on the quality – can be very bandwidth intensive.

I haven’t really said anything interesting, but it is satisfying to lay my thoughts out here. To sum this entry up (tl;dr), the concept of cloud computing isn’t anything special, but its implementation makes for interesting conversation.


Washing Windows: Partitioning

2009.05.06

It’s been ages since I’ve posted anything. To be honest, it’s because I haven’t had anything interesting to post about. Well, it could be argued that I never had anything interesting to post about in the first place.

Anyways, I want to talk about Windows XP again. I didn’t really see the need to clarify that I was using XP before because the only obvious alternative to that is Vista, and… well, why would anyone talk about Vista? But seriously, with 7 on the way (and the release candidate sitting on one of my hard drives as I type), I think it is time to specify my version. Perhaps I did specify before, but I can’t remember (it’s been that long).

What I want to talk about is partitioning XP. Just a quick warning: don’t do any of this unless you’re confident enough. I take no blame for any loss of time or data relating to what I describe here on in.🙂

With any installation of Windows, you need at least one drive. It doesn’t have to be “C” so I won’t say it’s the “C drive”. I’d like to call it the “system drive”, but that’s not quite right.

Now, this might sound stupid to you (it certainly does to me), but XP itself calls that partition the “boot” drive (just check Disk Management in the Microsoft Management Console). When I installed XP on my laptop, I created three partitions; the third partition is the one that I chose to install XP onto. The first partition I created was 8MB large. (Yes, that’s MB, not GB.) The second was about 1.5 times the size of memory on my laptop.

Obvious the second partition was for the page file, but the first? You see, when I chose to install XP onto the third partition, XP couldn’t just use that one partition for its installation. It needed to place the boot loader (ntldr) in the first partition. That’s the so-called “system” drive.

So far, so good? First partition contains boot loader and is the system drive, second contains the page file, and third contains XP itself and is the boot drive. The two titles are swapped as far as I’m concerned. All three if you count the “swap drive”.

Now, when I got XP up and running, I decided that I wanted to create some more partitions for better organization. I made a fourth partition for temporary files (cache for internet files, temp and tmp folders, etc.).  My sixth parition was for my program files, and my seventh was for my documents and settings (well, at least the settings, but I keep documents elsewhere usually). The last partition was for my media files (videos, music, etc.).

Maybe you are wondering how I managed to separate my temporary file folders and program file folder from the “boot” drive. It’s quite simple, but can be very annoying if mistakes are made. Believe me – I screwed up the first time. The “trick” is to modify the registry. It’s easy to do, but many would perceive doing so as intimidating if not downright scary.

For the program files folder, the “obvious” way is to just copy the contents of the folder to the partition, and then make a change to the ProgramFilesDir value. The problem is that old keys and values with hard-coded references to the location of the old program files folder. Because of them, this simple change results in not being able to delete the original program files folder. Of course, the solution is to find those hard-coded references and change them to the new location. This is easy to do. Just export the entire registry, thereby creating a .reg file, then modifying that .reg file (which is really just plain text). Just use notepad or whatever and replace all instances of “C:\Program Files” with “X:” (if X is the drive letter). One thing to be aware of is that XP still contains 8.3 naming in some references. In short, instead of using “C:\Program Files”, it will be “C:\Progra~1”. In my desktop installation, there are still such references in the registry.

As for the temporary files folder(s), you should do the same thing using “C:\Windows\Temp” for your search. An interesting point here is that XP actually has registry values for both “temp” and “tmp” folders. There’s no real point in having two separate folders, but that’s exactly what I have.

The Documents and Settings folder can be changed similarly to how Program Files was changed. The one thing you might wish to know is that each user has a folder in the Documents and Settings folder, and in each of those is a folder for temporary files for that specific user. Why not relocate those to the temporary files partition already set up? That’s what I did. Wherever you have “%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Temp” you can change to “Y:\Temp\%USERNAME%”. Just remember that the system temp folder should be something like “Y:\Temp\system” instead of just “Y:\Temp” so as to keep the system temp folder separate from the user temp folders.

I won’t flesh out the details because if you’ve managed to figure out what I’m talking about and are confident enough to try this out, you should have no problem working it out by yourself.

I plan on re-installing XP on my desktop so as to achieve a nice partitioning scheme similar to that of my laptop. Maybe you are wondering why I would bother. The answer is that it makes things seem neater. One thing’s for sure: my laptop’s XP partition has only 1.13GB of data (fully updated) and doesn’t need to be defragmented as often as it did before. Of course, I’m using a stripped down version of XP with some services removed (nlite is your friend), but I’d expect similar results even with a normal version of XP.

Have fun!


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