Thursday, May 05, 2005


All of us who work frequently with computers know the importance of having a comfortable, well-designed keyboard that can get the job done. I couldn't resist making a mention of this keyboard that Rob pointed out to me!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I have a rainforest on my desk...

I have to read a lot of technical papers to stay current. Reading on my laptop is painful on the eyes, and not really very convenient, given the form factor. I keep hearing about digital paper, but will it ever become a reality?

Monday, April 11, 2005

Insanity of Credit

I just received a disgusting marketing latter in the mail today. Household bank, which periodically tries to get me to sign up for their credit card. However, there was a friendly anecdotal letter with this one, about Todd and David. Apparently, Todd used his evil debit card (i.e., spent only within his means) and lived a horrible life. But David used his household bank Visa, and lived a full, happy life!

This is absolutely wrong. As it is, teenagers and college students are not given enough education on the details of financial matters. On top of this, credit card companies are now sending out INCORRECT information. This is irresponsible, and adequately shows off the piss-poor morals of the 7th ring of hell, also know as "Marketing Department."

That is all.

Friday, January 28, 2005

That's the music I like...

So, here I sit, listening to "Pulsradio," which is playing some typical trance-style electronic music into my ears. I'm really enjoying listening to this, but it's started to make me wonder: why do I find this music so enjoyable?

Much of the music that I like tends to have a very repetative nature. Furthermore, if you choose any two songs from the "Trance" genre, the chance of them sounding the same is quite high. Despite this, I love the music! I *do* find the subtle differences that exist, and I savor each and every one!

The repetition of the music is part of what makes it so amazing for me. It's something that I'd liken to an aural massage. When you get a massage, the fundamentals of the massage are incredibly repetative. However, there are subtle motions that add the variety. The same motion can be repeated a number of times, and just when the motion starts to bore you, a little twist might be added, which will re-stimulate your senses.

In my opinion, this is also what happens when you listen to trance music. The fundamentals are always the same. But the subtleties, and the addition of variations at just the right time, are what make the music what it is.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Being Interesting...

Why is it that when someone sings about their life experiences, they seem to be more interesting and meaningful? I mean, when you get down to it, there's rarely anything unique about the subject of a song, and yet, when it's set to music, it adds a whole element of magic.

This leads me to wonder... if I start singing about everything I do, will I find more motivation?

I always wish I'd been a performer, or a traveller, rather then just some engineering programmer who sits around reading boring papers and thinking up boring ideas.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Substandard Gadgetry

Why do well established companies insist on making shiny pretty new gadgets that suck? We are halfway through the "naughts," and digital technology has developed a pretty well-established user-interface paradigm that we should all be comfortable with. In spite of this, I still see new, over-priced items that seem like they might be really awesome, until you realize that they are missing *key* features.

This blog-thought was prompted while reading a review of one of those "media-streaming" devices. You're supposed to be able to connect this thing to your TV, and use it as an interface to digital media that is on your computer. This particular device had fatal flaws like that fact that if you leave the "song information" screen, and then return after doing something else, the song restarts! Blunders like this are simply UNACCEPTABLE, especially for something that basically amounts to $150 wireless card with a little bit of support circuitry.

Is it really so much to ask for that shiny pretty devices actually WORK?

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Success requires communication?

It's time that I start writing in my blog again. This was prompted by the reading of this article, which bestows the virtue of being able to communicate one's thoughts clearly. My reading of this article is juxtaposed with the fact that I just finished teaching the first class of the first course assignment of my teaching career. These two events together have made me realize that communication is something that I could really stand to improve on.

I'm not sure what my problems with clear communication are. It seems that I'm capable of it, at times. At other times, I quickly falter, lose sight of my point, or fail to find the correct words or phrases that accurately express what I'm trying to say. It's a bit easier when I'm writing as I am now, as a stream of consciousness. The problems usually occur when I need to communicate in a structured fashion, like writing a paper, or presenting a lesson to a class. Being able to identify where exactly I'm going wrong would be a great benefit to me, and would probably result in me being much more successful.

I believe that a lot of my problems stem from emotional reactions. The way I feel at any given time will strongly influence the way I express myself. For example, when I am teaching a class, it is necessary to include some amount of redundancy, and occasionally to state things that seem obvious. Ideally, this is done in a creative way, so that points are made. Unfortunately, I can't get past the feeling of "gosh, I'm being silly and redundant."

Another example of this emotional influence follows technical paper writing. When writing technical papers, it is difficult to remember all of the important details that should be included. One has been working on a problem for so long, that certain key points seem obvious, and not worth including, when in fact they are crucial for conveying the message. Additionally, I don't want technical papers to seem so BORING, but it is hard to keep a paper from being boring using normal literary tricks, because then you threaten the clarity of your message.

These communications problems are still a work in progress for me. Anyone who happens to stumble across this post should feel free to offer suggestions. :)