Silly PowerPoint Slides

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 1:05 PM | Filed under

I came across a PowerPoint presentation I made last summer when I was extremely bored. It's about cats and dogs, and which we should love more. It's supposed to be stupid. Here are two slides from it.

The Ol' Stuples Gag

at 11:28 AM | Filed under

I got the latest issue of Mad a few days ago. You might remember the news that last month, someone working at Circuit City overreacted about Mad's "Sucker City" spoof. I personally thought that it was very funny, so that's why I was delighted to see Mad do another spoof. This time, the victim was Staples.

Stuples!! I told my dad about this, and he thought it was a little funny, but he was too busy to look at it, so I left it open and set it on the bar. A few hours later, he returned and started looking through it. He had forgotten that it was a spoof! He told my mom how crazy this staple gun was.

He was actually considering getting it, probably because of how awesome it looks. Then he noticed the required 5-day waiting period, and that's when he began doubting how authentic the ad was. Then he flipped the magazine closed and realized that it's Mad!

My favorite product in the fake ad was the Crayola box of crayons.

Spore Is Given One Star

Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 9:57 AM | Filed under

It looks like there are several people who are disgruntled about the new Spore game, which came out on Sunday. A look at Amazon's customer ratings breakdown should point out that many people seem to be dissatisfied.

Wow, 93% of reviewers gave the game one star. The number of one-star reviews increases by the minute.

Nearly all of the one-star reviews I read mentioned Spore's digital rights management (DRM). The point of DRM is to obviate piracy of electronic software. It sometimes works, but it also sometimes hurts the honest software users.

For example, if someone downloads music from the iTunes Store, he can put it on his iPod, but not his Zune. If he downloads music from the Zune Marketplace, he can put it on his Zune, but not his iPod. This means that if he wants to have a Zune and an iPod (or if he is replacing one with the other), he'll have to pay twice for songs he wants to put on both devices. I think that's crazy. Nobody should have to pay twice for the same song.

In the case of Spore, this means that people can install the game only three times. They must activate their software online, and DRM software installs itself on their computers and apparently cannot be removed. Each of these brings some limitation to the installation and use of this game, and this is what has irritated these reviewers.

I can relate the most with the last of the reviews I posted above. When my family was beta testing Windows Vista, Microsoft would often take our computer and reinstall the latest version of Vista. Every time, we would have to reinstall all our programs. I would have to reinstall Adobe Photoshop. Eventually, Photoshop failed to install because I had reached the installation limit, which I didn't know of. I called Adobe, and they gave me a new activation code, but it's crazy that I had to go to such lengths.

I applaud that people are using Amazon's ratings system to tell others what they feel about this game. A lot of people say that if you don't like something, then don't buy it—I'm glad to see that people are leaving reviews warning others of potential DRM problems they could come across with Spore.

Zebra Keeps Its Stripes

Monday, September 8, 2008 at 5:52 PM

I was at Woodland Park Zoo today. It's a great big park, so a map is necessary to ensure that you see everything. Something I saw on the map was that animals are represented on the map by silhouettes. This isn't true of the zebra, however!

The zebra keeps its stripes! (This is also true of the tiger on the map.)

You can see more pictures in my Facebook album, whether or not you're a Facebook member. (If you're Facebook friends with me, you can comment on my pictures!)

Are zebras white with black stripes, black with white stripes, or is it all just an optical illusion?

Spaces Between Sentences

Sunday, September 7, 2008 at 12:16 AM | Filed under

I grew up typing two spaces between sentences. I guess it was my mom who had me doing this—she said it was the proper way to type. This was more true back in the old typewriter days, where every character was the same width (monospaced typefaces): I and W would take up the same amount of space. Using two spaces between sentences made it easier to tell when one ended and another began. Now that we have digital printing and proportionally spaced typefaces (where I is less wide than W), two spaces between a sentece look weird. I found some illustrations if you want to see this for yourself.

Typing two spaces between sentences was never really a problem until I took Journalism in eighth grade. Our teacher didn't have much of a style guide (in fact, he wasn't really even concerned that his students would misspell all kinds of words), but one of his rules was that we had to use one space between sentences. I found this surprisingly hard to abide by. It was a force of habit: after I pressed period, I would automatically press the space bar twice. After writing an article, I would have to go through the whole article and remove all the double spaces. (There was no universal replace tool.)

Another issue that would occasionally crop up would be whenever the end of a sentence reached the right margin of a page, or the right edge of a text box. If the software wasn't set up correctly, it would handle the first space just fine, but the second space would sneak to the beginning of the next line and indent the line by a space! Totally unacceptable.

I suppose there was no real need for me to switch to using only one space, but there was no reason for me to be using two.

Text messaging probably helped me make the conversion to being a one-spacist. My cell phone would automatically capitalize the first letter of a sentence only if I used one space before it. Using two spaces would result in having to press buttons three times (space-space-shift) instead of just once (space).

What probably helped me the most was when I started learning a new keyboard. Tired of the boring old qwerty keyboard, I decided to learn the more comfortable Colemak keyboard. Being forced to slow down while I learned the keyboard gave me the opportunity to also adjust to typing just one space between sentences.

Now it feels natural to type just one space between sentences. It feels silly to use two, now.

Turn Over, Hook Up

Saturday, September 6, 2008 at 1:29 PM | Filed under

My sister is preparing her things to take with her when she moves into her dorm later this month. She decided to leave behind her 7-inch Aluratek digital picture frame so that I could load it with pictures and display it here at home. I planned to insert a SD card full of pictures, but first, I wanted to remove all the silly pictures of her friends goofing off.

The frame has built-in memory which can be accessed by connecting to a computer with a USB cable. This is where she had copied her pictures. I connected the picture frame to the computer with the USB cable, but the picture frame wasn't showing up in my Computer folder. I also tried my laptop, but it wouldn't show up there, either.

I started searching through the picture frame's built-in menus to see if there was an option to delete everything, but I couldn't find anything like that. I turned it over to see if there was a reset button on the bottom, but there was nothing like that. When I set it back down, however, I noticed a message on the screen: "Disconnected with PC, please restart!"

That means it must have been connected at some point! I also noticed on my laptop that it said that it had found a new device, or something like that. I figured out what I had to do to access the picture frame.

I had to hold it upside-down. I held it in my left hand and used my right hand to delete all the files saved to the picture frame.

I Like My Aquarium!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 10:29 PM | Filed under , ,

What do you think of my new aquarium? My fish sure look realistic, don't they? Well, actually, the fish aren't real at all! They are video game characters!

Actually, I wouldn't really call it a game, but it runs on a game system. My Aquarium was released Monday morning as a download for Wii. It cost 500 Wii Points ($5), and I was a bit reluctant to buy it at first. After I watched a few videos online of it, I caved in and decided to get it.

There's a lot to do in terms of customization in this game, which is good news for me because I love tinkering with things. You can choose what every aspect of the tank looks like: what fish populate the tank, what decorations fill it (unfortunately, there are no underwater castles or plastic scuba divers), what the floor and background look like, and even what kind of lighting illuminates the tank. You can create up to six tanks. My first looks like a generic tank. The second has a riverbed theme.

The fish seem to swim around realistically. It probably wasn't very hard to make them swim convincingly because they just swim around. If you point the cursor at a fish and give the Wii Remote a little jerk, the fish will wiggle and squirm around. The fish start small and grow over time; if you don't feed your fish, they don't die, though. At first, the selection of fish you can have in the tank is limited, but it seems that more will be unlocked as time passes.

I'll probably get bored with My Aquarium before next week, but at least when we have company over, we can have a huge, vibrant, TV-sized fish tank.