Friday, July 25, 2008

soo envious!

Snoopy found this gem on youtube. It is this guy matt that made a video of him doing very geeky dance all around the world. I think he first just started doing it and then some company sponsored him. The video is so cute and the music is perfect.

It gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling, you should see some of the outtakes too. Some of them are hilarious.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Los Angeles Trip

I went to visit my friend Kirason in her hometown LA this past weekend. I really had a great time there especially since I haven't been there since I was like 10 years old. Kirason's parents fed me ridiculous amount of food and showed me around some of the spots that LA is famous for.

Los Angeles 2008_07_20

Above are some of my pictures. They are actually in backwards chronological order. As the first night I went to check out Hollywood Boulevard. I was somehow extremely surprised at the humougous Scientology sign on the boulevard much to Kirason's amusement. We went to visit Chinese Theatre the Kodak theatre and read through all the stars on the sidewalk. It was pretty touristy even at night, choked full of people taking pictures, street performers with loud speakers trying to attract some attention, weird people dressed as comic characters (including one extremely well done Joker, I was too afraid to ask for a picture) and many hot dog stand that smelled super good. Kirason and I ended the night with some Italian Yogurt (whatever that is).

The next day I went to visit Universal City Walk. It is this really fun walking shopping center outside of Universal Studios which I didn't go. The entire place is full of vibrant colors and interesting novelty shops.

Last day I did a quick tour of Rodeo drive. The place where rich people shop. ALthough I suspect now a days it is more of a tourist attraction then an place to star watch. They build this small walking street on the corner that resembles an European Alleyway, complete with an outdoor cafe. But of course it is really just an pale imitation. I am mostly interested because of the movie Pretty Woman haha.

Then I visited my favorite place yet. The Getty Museum. It is this magnificent building composed of marble and steel that is situated on top of a hill overlooking the greater Los Angeles area. There is only one way up and down by tram. The museum itself is quite good, filled with valuable paintings and sculptures. I was only able to make through one wing out of four before we ran out of time. But the most beautiful thing about this museum is the architecture. There is an incredible view around every corner and framed by every gateway. The grounds are surrounded by beautiful gardens. I can totally just spend an afternoon there lounging on the grass.

Monday, July 14, 2008

our E3 press conference

I watched our E3 press conference this morning. It is mostly 2 hours of self congratulatory rhetoric accompanied by carefully manipulated sales data. But some of the previews for games are pretty cool. We also got to see our VPs doing some silly things on stage like acting in B movie in that new movies game so that is always fun. So here are some interesting notes:

1: The BIGGEST NEWS of ALL of course: Final Fantasy 13 is going to be released on Xbox360. This is a huge coup for Xbox since FF is basically PlayStation's bread and butter. This also means there is no need to buy a PS3 ever muhahah.

2: Resident Evil 5 is going to be online coop- I think it is only going to be 2 player. But killing of Zombies in teams is better than alone!

3: Fable 2 is also going to have online coop. Or rather it is more like MMO, where you can just randomly invite another friend in his/her own single player game in the same area and then quest together :)

4: The Last Remnant, Square Enix's FF clone (imho) is going to be released for PC. hmm maybe I should get it just test out my PC ;)

5: The battle for the ultimate Drum Kit set is starting to get ridiculous. $300 for the new Rockband 2 that has like 7 pads on it. I might as well buy a real drum set humph. Oh and it was also really funny and awkward to see Guitar Hero III guy and Rockband 2 guy taking the same stage one after the other and all very "excitingly" announcing their own proprietary artist release. This is gonna get ugly real soon folks.

6: for the portal fans, they are releasing Portal : Still Alive for the Xbox Arcade. They had GlaDos announce the news. Oh GlaDos, how I missed you.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

some real Lightning

You have seen my sad attempt at capturing the lightning storm last week. Now for you to get the full effect, look at my friend's album. He took these pictures at about the same time.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

computer woes: the conclusion!

I am now up and running again! It is good to be among the land of the living! As you probably have guessed, I finally assembled my uber machine after nights of anguish and tribulations. As Velius will attest since he listens to me whine all through it. Despite having everything already chosen for me, making this pc work proved to be surprisingly difficult! It is Murphy's Law at work. Basically everything that could go wrong went wrong and I am still shocked at all the crap I had to go through to make this uber machine load BF2142 in 2 seconds.

The actual physical assembly went relatively smoothly, especially after I figured out the front panel can be opened like a door so I can insert my harddrive in it. But then everything just fell apart from there.

Chapter 1: Hardware difficulties
So with much anticipation, I plugged in everything and pushed the power button. The light came on, there is power, the fans are on. Everything is going great. Then the Asus splash screen where it says "press Delete to enter Setup" came up and then nothing... It didn't accept input, it didn't go through hardware check. NOO! SO I had to call up Velius to whine. Fortunately, Velius is much calmer person and told me to check all the connection. That is when I realized that the CPU fan is not working. The 12volt Power plug goes directly next to it (bad design if you ask me) and it is obstructing the fan. After much assurance from Velius that my CPU did not just die from overheating. I was able to tie the power chord somewhere else. Then Power... Nothing.... noooo!!! This time, Velius suggested I remove one of the memory. Power... YES!! moved passed splash screen, did hardware check. Then I realized it is still not accepting keyboard input. Call up Velius again and ask him if I needed ps/2 keyboards. Velius informed me yes. NOOO!! I think I threw my last one away!! But after much searching, I realized i did have an extra one in the closet. So got passed that part. Next in line is XP install.

Chapter 2: XP madness
Now I have an authentic XP OS disk with an authentic key. You would think it would go super smoothly. But of course not. As soon as it got passed the partition part, it was completely stuck at Loading Windows screen pretty much frozen. You just see that annoying progress bar goes back and forth forever. NOOO!! This is right before I left for Vegas. So imagine my frustration knowing I won't be able to debug it until I come back. Velius was again the bearer of all my whining lol. So continuing after the weekend. After I perused a million online threads. I narrowed down the problem to missing SATA drivers. Since I am using the old XP disk it doesn't support SATA. Now ordinarily the solution would be to make a driver floppy and install it before Windows. Unfortunately, my PC didn't come with floppy drives!! So next solution in line is to slipstream it into my disk using Nlite. Since I am doing that anyway, I decided I might as well slipstream in Service Pack 2 as well. Nlite is actually remarkable easy to use. It is an awesome tool. So the sequence of events following is pretty much:

disk 1: burned using simple ISO burner, burn failed.. Trash!!
disk 2: success, would not boot in DVD drive, Trash!!
disk 3: burned using Nero with specific boot settings, STILL would not boot, Trash!!

Then, an epiphany occurred. I have an DVD drive and a CD drive in my PC with my DVD drive as master. I bet the DVD drive doesn't like CD-r boot disks!! ok. back into Bios, switch it all around, picks out disk #2 from trash and Voila boots!! Ok. continuing to install XP. Got passed the progress bar screen in no time. OMG so excited. Then.. failed during actual install. Error says non authenticated something or another. NOOO!! I wondered if maybe it doesn't like boot discs? But people online did it all the time. Then I think maybe I was messing too much with Nlite unattended settings and it somehow fails install.

disk 4: burned using ISO burner with no setting changes. SUCCESS!!
Finally was able to install XP SP2. Then I spent the next 2 hours installing drivers. Asus, graphics card. Oh and I put the second memory stick back in and it still worked!

Chapter 3: USB fail!
So now that Window is installed and nothing can ever ruin my day. I realized that my USB ports didn't work. Neither the ones in the front nor the back except for ONE. God, now I am thinking I have motherboard failure. I can't go on using the PC with only one usb ports! I am gonna have to use ps/2 keyboard forever! After much anguish, ( refrained from whining to Velius cause it was like 3 am in the morning). I found out that when the Asus CD says it has installed all drivers, it didn't mean the SMBus driver. I had to go to Nvidia website and install the latest driver pack for the motherboard that actually made USB work. Thanks ASUS!!

Chapter 4: Microphone setting is where!!??

Now that computer is actually working. The first thing to do is of course to install BF2142. See I got my priorities straight. After you install BF2142 for the first time, it pops up a settings dialog asking to test out the voice chat for the multiplayer. So I break out my Barracuda headphones that I won at WCG last year. It is so fancy, it can simulate 5.1 channel. The plug resembles a DVI plug it's ridiculous. Then to my horror, I realized that my microphone is not working. Now, I have done this enough with M to quickly realize it's probably driver issue. So I went to download the newest Realtek HD audio driver and installed it. It totally didn't help at all. So after another 50 pages of Internet research later, I found the answer. Apparently, even though the Realtek HD audio gives you two sets of volume controls: Playback and Recording (normal so far). Everything is actually in the Playback setting including Microphone volume! WHAT!!?? So even though there is two sets of volumes. The Recording is all grayed out and unusable. How is that even logical? So I searched out the microphone control in the playback section, and sure enough it is muted. Unmute and everything is fine again.

So in the process of creating this PC, all kinds of random problems happened but fortunately I was able to find answers somehow. Now I feel very close to it *pets PC* So I am thankful to the Internet and to Velius for listening to me whine patiently hehehe. I spelled checked this post just for you!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

camera fail!

There was a humongous lightning storm tonight. This is super rare in Seattle since despite our rainy reputation, we almost never get anything bigger than a drizzle. When I was on my way home from work, I saw these giant lightning bolts flashing right on top of our Highlands mountain. It was so bright it lit up the entire sky even though it was so far away i couldn't even hear the thunder. I had this whim to try to capture it on my camera. Now a SD 700 IS is really not the right camera for this job I think. Tochicam would be much much better. I was not really sure what settings to use so I kinda fooled around with it. I think I set exposure to +2 so it will capture the maximum light. Then I set ISO to 80 because there is this street lamp right outside my house and I didn't want to be blinded. Although It took me a while to figure out if smaller number is better. Then I set it on continuous shot until I ran out of batteries. the first picture I took above was on ISO 800 so it didn't look that great :( The second is on ISO 80 but the timing wasn't perfect and I only got the end of the it. so really I only got this one pic that came out ok. But it really failed to capture the majesty of it all. Next time I will be ready!