February 27, 2007

The Age of Google

I can't imagine my day-to-day operations without Google. I use the search engine every single day, I use gmail for email, and gtalk to talk to Ina every day. I use Google Calendar to book and track my appointments. I use Google Groups to access usenet to browse various topics including Raptors, movies, television shows, programming and cooking. The Google search engine has changed everything.

Imagine if you could bring a laptop into a job interview. Any non-personal question could be answered with Google. All you'd need is a fast connection and the ability to type fast.

I have a lazy cousin, who, instead of researching things for himself, emails me or my other cousin for help. For instance, he wanted to know what laptop he should buy. Normally for me, if I'm about to make a "big" purchase, I spend about a month scouring the web for reviews until I find exactly what I'm looking for.

But instead of doing all that, my cousin would just email me and say "Hi, what laptop should I get?" and provide me a link to a bunch of laptops. Yesterday he asked me "Is Vista good?". You see, my cousin hasn't discovered Google.

Today he emailed me and my other cousin about a name of a song. He said the lyrics contained "at the cross". Now any Christian knows this is not an uncommon phrase in Christian music. But Google, being the uber search engine that it is, has this kind of information. Of course, my cousin doesn't know this because he lives in the dark ages.

Although he did eventually find the song himself, I suggested that perhaps instead of constantly asking me (and my other cousin) every question that pops into his head, he should just ask Google -- to which responded "You are better than Google."

Wow.. talk about flattery.. I mean, better than Google?! What a compliment!

Of course none of it makes sense because I answered all his questions by consulting, yes, Google, as did my other cousin. And likely, my cousin's sucking up exposes nothing more than pure laziness on his own behalf. Or perhaps what he's saying is that I am better at searching for information on Google than he is?

Half of these things I had no idea existed, but now that I do, I cannot get enough of it. If you think Google is great now, check out this article..

Data Mining using Google

February 19, 2007


If it seems like I have an obsession with USB devices -- I don't. I just find these very amusing.. Case in point, check out this amazingly useful USB Hub.
Marvel at this wonderful genius! A tape dispenser..AND a USB Hub, all in one! Did I mention it's 2.0? O yeah!

February 16, 2007

Reflection: Worship as a feeling

I've gotten a chance to reflect on my previous "controversial" blog about Spirit-filled worship. I cannot be convinced that being Spirit-filled does not result in and outward appearance of joy, awe, wonder, reverance and happiness. However, I can or have been convinced that my perception could be completely incorrect.. that what I see of a person could in fact be way off base.

Following my original blog, Kinson strode up to the pulpit and spoke about Joy, and how it's not necessarily an outward emotion, which kind of caught me off guard a little because, well, the other speaker preached about the contrary. However he spoke more about inward joy, and how to attain it, which did agree with my assessment of people, in general, needing to invest more in their spiritual lives to attain a higher level of spirit-filled-ness. So the sermon was more jiving with my blog than not. Shrug.

February 14, 2007

Review: Wii Play (Wii)

I pre-ordered this game and got it yesterday from the EB Games at Eaton Centre.

Wii Play is the game packaged with Nintendo Wii's, to my knowledge, for people in Europe and Australia and it comes with a Wiimote. It's $60, so really you are paying for a Wiimote and the game is a throw-in.

It has many games, similar to Wii Sports. But don't get these two games mixed up. Wii Sports has won many awards, including TIME's Best Game of the Year. Wii Play is a whole 'nother story.

Wii Play is kind of like a tutorial disc for the Wii system. It trains users on how to use the Wiimote. Each game is really just a test for you to see if you know how to use the Wiimote. Here is a review for each of the games.

1. Taanks

Tanks is actually fun, and it's quite challenging. You moved your tank around the screen that will often have walls and barriers, with the nunchuck thumbstick, or with the directional pad on the wiimote (if you don't have the nunchuk attachment -- since the game only comes with the wiimote), and you used the trigger B to shoot. The tank can fire up to 5 shots at a time, and then you ahve to wait for each shell to explode before you can fire more. Each shell bounces once off a wall before exploding on its next target. Each level pits you against anywhere between 1-6 tanks, and each of the enemies get progressively harder with themselves getting better and better weapons. After a few tries I got up to level 14. After every 5 levels you get a free life, and you start with 3.

This is a fun game, and I would almost say that I would have paid $10 for this game alone. And it's so simple. I'm sure I played a game just like this 20 years ago on my Atari 2600.

2. Mii Pose

Mii Pose. How do I explain this. Your Mii can pose in 3 ways, and you can switch from pose to pose by hitting A or B. Aside from that, you can tilt your Mii by tilting the wiimote. Now, bubbles start falling down with the Mii posed in a certain way and tilted, and you need to match your Mii (controlled by your wiimote) to the Bubble Mii.

This game is virtually unplayable.

3. Fiishing

Okay. You have this pole, right. And it has a hook. And you dip the pole into this pool, and the fish swim around. You wait, a fish bites, and you pull up on the wiimote and there! You caught a fish. The bigger the fish, the more points, and if the littlest fish bites, you lose points.

Another unplayable game beyond the first 30 seconds when you realize you have absolutely no control over that little fish that makes you lose points.

4. Find Mii

There are several modes that randomly appear in this particular game. Basically, your Mii, as in the one you designed yourself, will be on the screen with several other Mii's, some that you created, some that are just randomly generated, and you have 30 seconds to find him/her. The quicker you find it, the better, as you get more time added to your total for the next one.

The next one is a room of 15, or 20, or 10 Mii's, and you have to pick the two who are the same. It sounds easy but I got eliminated on one of these.

Another one is they are all walking up and down a street, and one guy is faster than the rest. You pick the fastest to move on. There was one level where they were all swimming and one was swimming faster.

Another one is to pick 2 who are not behaving the same as the rest. The one I got was, they were all watching tennis, heads going back and forth based on the tennis match, but two were looking in the opposite direction.

This game is somewhat playable. I could see it being fun in a party setting where two people are competing to find the matches.

5. Shootiing

This is duck hunt, only if you hit a duck, it's only a bonus. There's 5 levels:

1. Shoot targets.
2. Shoot clay discs
3. Shoot bugs?
4. I can't remember
5. 10 of your Mii's are running around a field, and UFO's try to grab them. You need to shoot the UFO's. You stay alive as long as there is at least one Mii left. Waves and waves of UFO's com.

6. Pool/Biilliards

This game has some really cool physics.. You can put some *unbelievable* spin on a ball. But I really can't see much fun in this beyond that. It is really crappy.

7. Piing Pong

This game had so much potential. Having played Wii Tennis, I really thought this would be THE GAME for Wii Play. I was wrong.

Ping Pong is nothing more than you moving side to side like playing Pong. You can't put spin on the ball, you can't even pick the direction really. You just act like the paddle and be at the right spot to have it bounce off you. It is really a complete waste of time.

8. Aiir Hockey

Imagine what I just described to you about Ping Pong. Add neon lights.

9. Some kind of cow race

You turn the wiimote horizontally. Twisting forward is accelerate, pulling back is breaks, and then turn it like a wheel for a car. To jump, you lift the remote up.

So you're a cow. And your goal is to hit other cows. And avoid hurdles. And finish the race. Again I'm sure this game is better with two players. It has to be.

I think that's all of them. If there was another, I forgot it because.. well, it deserved to be forgotten, much like these other ones.

Sound: 6/10
Controls: 8/10
Graphics: 6/10
Value: 10/10 (after all, it was practically free when you consider it game with a wiimote, which is btw, one of the hardest things to find in any store these days)
Fun Factor: 2/10

Overall score: 32/50.


I liked this particular review, from 1UP on Wii Play:
"Play is made for people who don't really like games, and if you're someone who really does, that's a problem. Sure, most of these minigames are fun...for about 10 minutes. But hey, maybe your grandma will want to marry it."

February 11, 2007

wiirkout, no thanks!

I have discovered a wonderful way to lose weight, and I'm willing to share this amazing tidbit of information to the world, right here on my blog, for nothing! Absolutely free!

In the last week or two, I've lost a total of 8 pounds. I'm 146 pounds! Can you believe it? I barely believe it myself, but it's true!

In fact, if you want to lose weight like I have, I would even be willing to give you the solution in person! Just come to place, I'll breathe on you a few times, let you use some of my snotty kleenexes, and VOILA! You can be sick like me, and lose tons of weight! Hurray!

February 06, 2007

Indianapolis Colts

I'd like to send out a big congratulations to the Indianapolis Colts for winning this year's Superbowl. This team has proved to me that exciting football can still exist in this league. After several years of Championship teams comprised of a "just enough" quarterback, heavily backed up by staunch defense, the Colts have bucked the trend and won it all with a pure offensive attack. Not since 2000 when the Rams took it, have we seen an offensive team win a Superbowl. It's about friggin' time.

Talk about injecting a little excitement into the league, similar to the new-NHL -- more offense, less defense approach. As I became tired of the Jersey's neutral-zone trap, I have grown tired of these just-enough teams. Hopefully this starts a new trend in football.

Anyway, again a big congrats to Tony Dungy and the Indianapolis Colts.

February 01, 2007

Review: Norah Jones' "Not Too Late"

This is a review of Norah Jones' latest offering, "Not Too Late". I read a review about this album on the Metro a few mornings ago and it noted that she had written most of the songs on this album, which is exciting to me because she's always just sung songs written by others. In fact, she's been criticized for that as well -- she's been labelled a good singer, but that's it.

I like her voice. She's got a really unique voice, and honestly I just like it a lot. The music is nice and mellow, and lyrics are meaningful. It's the kind of stuff you'd listen to while walking by a lake or on the street while it's raining lightly and seeing kids playing in a yard. It's a great "reminiscing" album, not that it's even about that, but it makes you think. That's the kind of mood I get from it.

In her first album, which is the only other album of hers that I own, I found every song catchy. This album is more of a mood thing, not so much a 'catchy tunes' album. It's relaxing, almost therapeutic at times. I think she's proven to any of her doubters that she can definitely write music, and write well.

I paid $14 for it after tax at Futureshop, which is decent except that I saw it for cheaper the next day at HMV. I hate that. Anyway, here's a quick breakdown:

Creativity (7/10) - There's a decent amount of variety on the CD. Different styles like jazz, country, and head-bopping-side-to-side beats. There's a song where she whistles, which I think is cool. Nothing ground-shaking though.
Worshipability (0/10 * 7/10) - I'll alter this category for the sake of not giving extremely low marks for secular music. Let's call this category "Singalongability".
Value (10/10) - Anything under $15 after tax is a good price.
Longevity (8/10) - I can see myself listening to this a lot because it's not very distracting.
Intangibles (9/10)- It's a nice little case, and not a hard plastic one. It's paper but it's sturdy and it's thinner than the average CD case. It's also got a neat cover and a different slot for which the lyrics come out.

Overall: 41/50