Mildly Hurtful Sarcasm

Meaningless ranting, just like everybody else.

Monday, March 31, 2014

You will get used to it

I just got a new Microsoft Surface, and it is really a piece of shit. It is very restrictive, it doesn't allow you to do many things, even though you own the device. The keyboard is really not intuitive. All in all it looks pretty but it is a very impractical piece of junk. But then again what do you expect from Microsoft, eh?

No, I did not just get a Microsoft Surface, but more on that in a bit.

I have just been wrestling with an iPad, with iOS 7. Look at how a side by side screen shot of the Surface's keyboard, with and without the Shift key pressed, looks like


What so special about it? Nothing. But do check out the same side by side from and iPad:



Pop quiz: which side shows the Shift key pressed? Is it the one with the white arrow because white looks like it has lit up? But the black one looks like it is "selected"? But then all the other keys have black labels too...

Don't look at me, I can't tell either.

The truth is, Apple's success is built upon its products being pretty. There isn't anything wrong for being pretty or selling pretty. What upsets me the most is its blind, brain-washed following, who would say anything to defend it.

No, I did not just get a Microsoft Surface, I just started using a MacBook at work, and it's only until I actually started using one when I realized I could dislike Apple products more than I already had. It's prettier than other laptops, it has a nicer screen, everything in the vanity department, I give you that; but the touchpad that has no buttons so you never know whether you are clicking left or right? The keyboard that is missing the Home/End/Ins/Del/PgUp/PgDn keys? In the age of Snowden revelation, no TPM (trusted platform module) no hardware buttons to turn off wifi and bluetooth? That's just lame beyond reason.

I asked my neighbor "On a Mac, how do you delete the text between where the cursor is and the beginning of the line", "Just hit delete (backspace) repeatedly". I showed my upset face and his response was "You'll get used to it". For us sane, we know that on any other platforms, a Shift-Home Del combo would have done the job, but that's beyond the point. While the Mac does have pseudo Home key as I've later discovered (though utterly unusable because they fn and left arrow keys are too far apart to be pressed with one hand) it highlights how forgiving Apple fans are when it comes to the Mac's many flaws; how people are willing to overlook the lack of substance in Apples' products so long as they are pretty.

That, I will never get used to.


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Friday, January 31, 2014

Pont de l'Archeveche

So it was our first day, after getting some sleep, in Paris. We saw the Pompidu and the Notre Dame and its time for lunch, but not before we head over to the other side of the Seine and get a picture of the famous Cathedral from across the river. That's we stumbled upon the love padlock bridge.

I thought it was Pont des Artes that had all the padlocks. It was, the city cleared out. But I didn't know that at the time. When we arrived at Pont de l'Archeveche and saw all the locks there, I just thought I read the map wrong!

We brought a lock from home just for this. It was a light small one. Beats paying 6 euro for one there. With the Notre Dame as backdrop, that was a perfect spot.


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Monday, December 09, 2013

Sticking it to the man II

So I was shopping for outdoor TV antennas. Patrick got his RCA for $55 from Amazon, it was compact, stylish, nice. But I wanted something better. I have a 3 story building behind my house blocking my line of sight to San Francisco. Besides, I am ditching Comcast home for Comcast Business, saving a bunch. So I went for a slightly larger Channel Master from Fry's for just a teeny bit more.

I got the antenna, and from online I got a J mount, a 50' RG6 coax with ground wire, and a whole bunch of F-connectors. I am ready to roll. But where to start.

First question is, how do you get the cable from outside the house to the TV. There's the flat 3" adapter that allows you to run it through the window, but that's ugly! Out of the question. There's also the option of drilling through the wall, but the wall is thick and I don't want to damage the house! Decision: I will connect through the cable box, my house comes with the wiring anyway.

Second question is, where to mount the antenna. I am a fair distance from the towers, with a 3 story building blocking line of sight. I need as little obstacle as possible so it has to be high up, higher than my fence.

So on a sunny Saturday, I removed the bug screen of my laundry room and stuck my body out to survey for an antenna site. I realized the spot right by the window frame was just the best position with the least obstruction. So I went to Orchard Supply Hardware, bought myself 4 very big screws, and just screwed the J-mount on.


... and a bit of a close up



I attached the big roll of coax to the antenna, and brought it out of the window, but not before I fold the metal arms - the antenna is too big for the window when unfolded. There is a U-ring that snug fits the J-mount after I screw it tight.


Then I just sort of threw the roll of cable out like a mountaineer, and lined it around the house to the cable box. Now all I need to do is unfold the arm, point it to San Francisco, put the bug screen back on, and run my TV tuner, and enjoy!


Surprisingly, the whole thing only took a couple of hours, it was so easy. An how's the picture quality you ask? With close to 100% signal quality (and 60% signal strength), there's simply no difference from cable, except, it's free!

Oh folks, don't forget, if your land lord gives you heart ache about putting up a TV antenna, just tell them about FCC's OTARD act. Its specifically forbids landlords, including homeowners' associations, to even require you to apply for putting up any device for TV reception (there are some exceptions in dish size or how high you can put them up, or whether your building is considered to be of any historical significance, but the chance of that applying to your case is next to zero). Tell them it's law of the land and supersedes even state laws/county/city ordinances, so suck it with those dated HOA rules.



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Sunday, December 01, 2013

Sticking it to the man I

The best things in life is free, that's why TV is the best thing in life.

Well, yes and no. Turns out there's something worse than the prospect of the "Big One" (earthquake) in the valley, there's the hilly terrain that makes TV reception next to impossible where I live. I tried many rabbit ears + foils + metal structure combinations the first few years I moved out here to no avail. I finally broke down and paid for cable.

Fast forward many years, the Comcast rate has nearly doubled, but I didn't think any of it cause I thought I had no choice, besides, I get $10 knocked off my internet bill because I had Comcast internet too, until Patrick enrolled himself in Comcast business (which didn't allow him a home TV service anymore), braved the ascend to the roof of his one story new home and erected a fish bone antenna.

"It's never gonna work." I assured him. I tried, rabbit ears, even with the digital converter, reception was flaky at best.

"It does, it's digital broadcast, there's clear picture." he politely explained.

I doubted, but he whatsapp'ed me picture of his 63".

So the next night I doubtfully hooked up the V shaped dipoles that came with my 19 year old Sanyo, stuck it out of the window, and ran the scanner. To my surprise horror (that I have been paying Comcast for this), it worked! I got clear pictures from Fox to ABC to NBC to CBS. Sure there were occasional jitters and I couldn't stand hear the set up, but it was over the air and it was free! Patrick wasn't lying!

My search for the perfect HDTV antenna thus begins...






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Monday, November 18, 2013

Pacific Rim (2013)

If I am to explain why I think Pacific Rim (2013) is a fantastic movie, I'd tell you:

  • Because you don't need a parade of helicopters/jets/carriers with an American flags and sun set as back drop, or any unauthentic military lingo (less the swearing), or any cheesy Hollywood score to make a good robot movie, its not about feeling good, suck it Michael Bay
  • Staring Heath... I am sorry, Charlie Hunnam
  • There are very very very big robots kicking up very very very big waves
  • Guillermo del Toro
And to those who disagree, I'd say:

  • Ron Perlman comes with Guillermo del Toro, just ignore him
  • The physics ain't matter, don't be a stickler, it's a robot movie
  • The fact that it is another movie about nomadic aliens eyeing Earth's resource ain't matter, it's a robot movie
  • The fact that the characters explain the story out loud ain't matter, it's a robot movie
  • All the other plot holes ain't matter, it's a robot movie
  • Be honest, don't you get a great deal of satisfaction out of watching giant robots punching giant monsters in face among sky scrappers? No? Go see a doctor.



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Sunday, October 27, 2013

The crime of Lay's

FritoLay, maker of my favorite chips, has just committed the biggest crime since retiring the KC Masterpiece flavor. For I've been desperately supermarket hopping the last 2 days, and came to realize my most beloved Garden Tomato and Basil flavor is no where to be found.

Within the sweet aroma of dried tomatoes there's just the right amount of mintiness blended in , it's not salty and the flavor is bold but not too strong, GTB has become my family first pick of snack since its debut. I was sure it was here to stay - aren't everyone tired of the Classics already? Who would have thought of its short existence, and the despair its disappearance would bring forth.

FritoLay, I hate you.




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Monday, September 30, 2013

Marvel's Agents of SHIELDS

I like the Marvel comic movies, and with Clark Gregg reprise the role of the lovable Agent Coulson, I thought it was something with potential.

But potential, that's it.

I guess the producers don't understand people watch super hero shows not just out of nostalgia. Oh yes, people actually want super heroes in it: the super power, the broken personality, the whole nine yard. There ain't none of those. What's there is the overused formula like having a new guy joining a team, a tech ignorant "in English, please" guy bring in the explanation of a bunch of made-up jargons, and some suffocatingly cheesy scores... I mean, they could have shot it like a movie, what a waste!


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