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Jun. 3rd, 2008

07:30 pm - Rain versus Colbert

Thursday May 10 2007
He's Singin' In Korean [skip to 1:40]
To prove he's more influential than Korean pop star Rain, Stephen made his own Korean pop video.

Tuesday Jun 5 2007
South Korea lashes out at Stephen for his Korean R&B music video.

Thursday Apr 10 2008
Tip/Wag - Rain [Skip to 2:15]
Stephen needs your vote to show that he is more influential than Korean pop star Rain.

Wednesday Apr 23 2008
Rain Rivalry Challenge
Stephen challenges Korean pop star Rain to a dance-off, a cuddle-off or a spoon-off. [after rain dissed stephen]

Monday May 5 2008 [almost all segments of this show mention Rain]
Time's Top 100
Episode: #04060
Views: 107973
Stephen loses Time's Top 100 most influential people to Korean pop star Rain.

Monday May 5 2008 [almost all segments of this show mention Rain]
Rain Dance-Off
Rain shows up at the studio for an after hours dance-off with Stephen.

Current Music: He's Singin' in Korean

Feb. 6th, 2008

06:01 pm - Null Pointer Exception

Azureus has been pretty crap for months now, from not downloading well to nigh unusable, and giving me a file read error ("Null Pointer Exception") [in a robotic voice on a cheezy Buck Rogers wannabe black/white double feature). I've been too lazy to troubleshoot.

I finally did a cursory search on the Ubuntu forums, yielding a lot of n00bz sorting though Java shenanigans. Didn't Sun GNU-ize its (seemingly superior) Java so can't we stop using (crappy) gjc? I'm not a programmer so maybe there's some technical/philosophical reasons for this, but I don't care on my machine -- free as in beer is good enough here.

See, I long ago installed Sun Java as soon as Azureus hiccups were evident, so I'm trying to figure out what else went wrong this time: I ssh'ed in and lo and behold:

$ java -version
java version "1.4.2"
gij (GNU libgcj) version 1.4.2 (Ubuntu 4.1.2-0ubuntu5)
Ew, emphasis mine. That's it? Sigh, "sudo update-alternatives --config java" and I guess all those annoying months are what I get for being lazy. Something must have switched it back (because Sun's stuff was still installed, just not used); maybe Eclipse installation did me in. Damn those free-as-in-speech commies:
$ java -version
java version "1.6.0"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0-b105)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.6.0-b105, mixed mode, sharing)
I've also been too lazy to research a headless replacement/modification for proc/mem hogging Azureus. And I've been too lazy to see why my other computer (spare desktop, former workstation) won't boot up anymore. It seems to have a hardware failure on the the mobo, but if I just took the time to confirm that, I could salvage that 'puter's RAM and harddrive for my server, which scarcely has enough to run Azureus with the wrong Java.

Maybe it's a good time to stop being lazy.

Jan. 30th, 2008

07:00 pm - Transliteration Misunderestimated

The yen has at times beguiled me and I finally gleamed the answer from the ever-wise never-wrong Wikipedia:

In standard Japanese, the yen is pronounced "en" but the spelling and pronunciation of "yen" is standard in English, due to a historical Portuguese transliteration. The inclusion of the letter y is based on romanization of an obsolete writing of the word which included the kana ゑ (ye/we), examples of which can also be found in such words as Yebisu, Iyeyasu, and Yedo (it was still pronounced, however, as e). Like the spellings of names of people outside Japan, the romanization of yen has become a permanent feature.
Essentially the unit is pronounced like the letter N. It would a help a great deal if their currency symbol integrated that letter instead of the Y. And it's not like N is hard for non-Japanese to pronounce.

But seriously, can you imagine that throughout the long and glorious history of the land of the sun's origin* -- from Meiji restoration to postbellum economic miracle to today's mammoth trade surplus con los Estados Unidos -- no one bothered to mention, "Please forgive my humble yet selfishly rude interruption even though you weren't saying anything and were looking bored, but we pronounce it "EN," not "YEN."

This is more annoying than the Korean [soon to be former] president and his name that's spelt Roh Moo-hyun but pronounced "Noh." Because the ancient (and might I add not the current) pronunciation of the Chinese character in this Korean dude's name (노) had an R-esque sound (in other words, "the romanization of an obsolete writing of the word"). Yeah, you just didn't want to be President No.

* "Sun's origin" is a somewhat more direct translation of the rising sun moniker and thusly bound to confuse, leading to more annoying badly researched blog entries no doubt: 日本 (Nihon, Japan): 日, sun; 本, origin.

[This post is brought to you by a confusing conversation about a movie called "Yen Town" which in some parts of the world may be pronounced N-town.]

Dec. 18th, 2007

08:55 pm - In Libraries We Trust

The lie-berry is my Netflix de facto and I manipulate holds to achieve a regular queue of entertainment -- aiming for enough diversion to survive the holidays. The major pro is that it's free, and I'm not paying a dime to Big Content nor am I doing anything illegal (until They finally defeat fair use and public libraries). What also makes this somewhat doable (and more convenient than peer-to-peer downloading) is an urban-ish well-funded library system, but there are cons:

The playland of commercial warehouses, web interfaces, and to-the-door delivery this is not. I have to find my own recommendations or the next best thing, making do with what's available and/or not popular -- and that's the hard yet rewarding process. I certainly welcome counsel on my strategies thus far:

And it would be more productive if I brought these DVDs to the exercise room and furthered my cultural education on the treadmill or bike. But I'm out for holiday survival, not self-improvement.

Nov. 15th, 2007

04:03 pm - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle -- Rince, and Repeat

Mum found a local company in Chantilly that collects and recycles ewaste from consumers without charge a few times a year. My family and I provincially still use the noxious cathode ray tubes, prone to burn out as they are. (And we are not graphics professionals whom advantage ourselves to CRT's higher refresh rates and better color rendition.) I console myself feebly with DIY power-saving schemes that involve plugging in all accessories into a power strip that can shut them (and their silly 3-watt sucking "power-save" modes) all off definitively.

I'm also picky about my flat-panel displays, and I'm going to wait here in the 20th-century until the mercury-free LED-backlit high-contrast 22-inch-or-higher second-tier-EnergyStar-certified monitor is an affordable replacement for my freecycled CRTs.

Mum was pleased to find a free and feel-good way to rid herself of old dead hunks of crude '90s manufacturing, but was somewhat horrified when I asked whether the company outsourced the junk disembowelment to developing countries.

On Nov 8, 2007 9:58 PM, [mum] wrote:
> This is the place I recycled. Please don't tell me they have child labor
> picking bare handed globs of liquid mercury...

Probably "third-world" children (flies landing on their faces) orphaned
by misguided bunker busters and living under totalitarian regimes that
were put in place by the CIA.
So maybe the mercury is the best part of their day.

[Disclosure: This post is somewhat influenced by a read on energy efficiency in the home office.]

Oct. 29th, 2007

03:20 pm - openSUSE

I'm getting too old to format my hard drive and reinstall the OS.

But over the weekend, I installed openSUSE 10.3 on a spare partition on my desktop. I upgraded Ubuntu on the same machine to "Gutsy" earlier this month, and the first partition has XP just in case. The only reason I've had to boot up in XP is to test how something looks in IE7.

I've been using Ubuntu for years now, but I figured I should give another distro a test drive. I was looking for something different enough from Ubuntu (i.e. not Debian-based) to be worthy of comparison. I've heardSUSE is polished, with Novell's more professional/corporate oversight of a Linux/GNU community than Canonical's relationship with Ubuntu.

And it is different at first. I feel old and helpless initially because my usual ways of doing things don't work or exist. It took me a few minutes to find a terminal. I didn't do much after that though, not enough to really compare or contrast. But after first glances and gropes, I'm impressed enough with openSUSE that I might ditch my plans to fill that partition with Ubuntu Studio. Then again, maybe all the major distros are this good now out of the box and I'm just now catching on.

I should also mention that my desktop is seven years old and I have no plans to upgrade. The free operating systems work well on it, even with visual effects. Clearly, Leopard and Vista aren't options for my antiquated hardware, but even if they were, I'm not sure they offer anything compelling that can't be had for free.

I may be a somewhat power user, but I'm increasingly thinking these free operating systems should be taking over the desktop market -- at least taking it from XP (and anyone unfortunate enough to be using anything before) because they give not just renewed life, but advanced modern features even to older computers. With the annoyances of the click-to-add-restricted-codec/video-driver and minus the annoyances of viruses or spyware, the only people who'd suffer with Ubuntu or openSUSE would be the pseudo-power Windows users and of course the gamers.

Oct. 25th, 2007

05:49 pm - My Va. Political Roundup

Two weeks to election day, and my arm is sore from a flu shot yesterday.

Congressman Tom Davis (R-Va.) -- who represents Stephen Colbert's favorite district and the one between me and my parents geographically -- is giving up a run for the 2008 Senate, leaving it to a matchup between former governors, Jim Gilmore and Mark Warner. Had Davis sought his party's nomination, it would have been two Northern Virginians -- two moderate centrists from the New South, both born out-of-state, smearing each other for the glory of Ex-Confederate Richmond. Maybe that tickles me only because in college in the Shenandoah I was more than once accused of not being a native Virginian (a la George Allen welcoming "macaca" to his America and "Real Virginia"). The punditry is already handing the seat to the populist Warner partly on account of Gilmore's staunch[ly unpopular] conservativism in what now is a purple state.

Sadly, I'm not alone feeling that this election will be more about deciding who gerrymanders after the 2010 census then anything else. The Republican gerrymander in 2001 consolidated GOP control of the Commonwealth through the decade (notably excepting positions elected statewide, i.e. all governors since). Whoever in control this time around decides for the next decade. Like, we need another reason why our votes don't matter.

Turning locally, I'm disappointedly not participating in any of the hot races, such as Jeannemarie Davis (wife of Tom Davis) on the State Senate ticket trying to halt the retreat of the Virginia GOP from the D.C. suburbs; her ads even air on the Korean radio station: jeoneun Jinmari Dabiseu-imnida. I think she's quite shrewd, showing up at Korean American seniors events, courting the Asian American demographic that Allen insulted last year -- a margin that may have decided his fate and could decide hers. The immigrants don't normally vote, but they could.

The ballot here in Arlington is rather sparse without even any Republican candidates -- another reason my vote doesn't matter.


Sep. 20th, 2007

04:41 pm - Form Letters Are Fun, Technical Difficulties Aside

My notebook computer was randomly losing power while plugged in. I even timed it (collecting sets of data), from chime to power loss, to see if there was a pattern. There wasn't any (generally between 1 minute to 2 hours, rarely it lasted longer), but if it failed before 2 minutes, it would continue to fail in less than two minutes if successively tried. After a break, it would go back to less predictable power losses. (I had to back up the entire home dir to my Ubuntu box, which is fun under such conditions, but props to rsync for getting the job done eventually and despite adversity.)

I tried a new AC adapter, resetting the PMU, and I even ran the extended hardware diagnostics without any result. Apparently there was a failure with how the computer deals with its power management, on what (I just recently learned) Apple calls the logic board (and what rest of the industry calls a motherboard). The "Genius" agreed with my diagnosis.

My battery can't hold a charge beyond ten minutes, but that's not what's wrong, so when I sent the computer for repair to an Apple-authorized service center, I didn't include the battery. I didn't want to confuse them.

Upon return, a note:

Our analysis has determined that although your battery no longer has the capacity to function at a level necessary for the optimum operation of your unit, it is not defective.
But I didn't send them a battery. Unless that blank slot on the bottom has been has been determined to be "within Apple's specifications."

The repair invoice doesn't say what they did (besides analyzing my battery), but it does mention part numbers "631-0342 SVC,ECN,Q72B,REED SWITCH" (sounds electrical!) and "631-0124 SUBASSY DC IN Q72B" (sub assembly having to do with direct current?). Those sound promising, unless they're just tools used to examine non-existent batteries.

The computer's been up and running since I brought into the office, but that's hardly an adequate test of anything. There's no way it's going to lose power unless I open some documents and make changes and not save and then we'll see if the thing's been fixed.

Feb. 2nd, 2007

07:06 pm - Gnucash

I've finally surmounted the hurdles of installing (via Macports) and learning Gnucash (not to mention resolving QFX import issues), so this is the year I'm financially and maybe meticulously organized. Gnucash, somewhat a geeky miscegenation of Linux users and accountants, is a bit less intuitive than your Quicken, your MS Money, your Java-based cross-platform Moneydance yearning to breath market share, so I kinda had to learn Accounting 101 to get started (but I hope someday such knowledge may prove useful).

As of 2007, I even have my salary as split transactions (splitting to Fed, State, pre-tax deduction accounts, etc). Right now, I have my FSA set up as an asset credited from pre-tax salary splits, but I'm not sure how to arrange the company contributions (per pay) other than in a (totaled annual credit) initial balance.

It's February now, so let's see if I can keep this up another eleven months.

Aug. 30th, 2006

03:10 pm - Mad Max Dream

I slept in to 11am for a much-needed change, awakening amidst a dream about some kind of post-apocalyptic or disaster scenario where I was talking to my mother about which car we should embark upon together as family in the Mad Max world. I hate the van intensely even if it does offer the most cover for shotgun fire -- it gets terrible gas mileage. I suggested we keep the smaller car in tow, thinking we could unhook it for more economical scouting or during battle where we flank enemies with its maneuverability.


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