Friday, December 29, 2006

Children of Men

I just got back from watching Children of Men at a theater. Incredible movie. Brings up some very interesting issues, and has some breathtaking scenes. I was also impressed with the sense of realism achieved (the movie takes place in the year 2027). I was considering giving it a 10/10 on IMDb, but ended up giving it a 9 instead. Perhaps I will change my vote later when I get a chance to see it again.

So far I have given a 10/10 to the following movies:
American Beauty (1999)
Donnie Darko (2001)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
The Matrix (1999)
Memento (2000)
Schindler's List (1993)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

I have voted on a total of 260 movies (I own 206 of them). A list of my movies can be found at

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Sickness

I had a pretty terrible Christmas, waking up feeling really sick. I spent the entire day lying down in a semi-conscious daze watching TV (12 hours of MythBusters). The sickness seemed to correspond exactly to the 24 hours of Christmas, since I was feeling normal the day before, and I am feeling fine right now. Other than Christmas, I have been having a great time at Stanford so far.

On Friday we went to Silicon Valley and spotted some of the major tech companies. We went to Intel and got a free tour around their museum. We then headed to TheTech Museum of Innovation in San Jose. The museum had some really cool exhibits. I also got to ride a Segway which was very fun. After touring around the museum for a few hours we went to an IMAX theater and watched Happy Feet. Although the movie had some good cinematography (which can be appreciated in an IMAX theater), I didn't really like the plot. I was hoping it would be more like March of the Penguins (which has less singing/dancing). That night I finally got a chance to play on a PS3. Although the game I was playing had great graphics and physics, I was disappointed since it had a noticeably slow frame rate.

On Saturday we went to San Francisco. It seemed like a very dense city, with lots of traffic and many steep hills. We first went to the San Francisco zoo. Although it was fun, I think I have been spoiled by recently going to the Singapore zoo, which is much better in my opinion. We then visited various places around the city such as Sutro Tower, the beach, and the Golden Gate Bridge. There were some great views while walking along the Golden Gate Bridge (including Alcatraz). That night we went to a decent dim sum restaurant for supper.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I will be spending two weeks with my brother at Stanford over Christmas. My residence (Place Vanier) does not allow anyone access to their rooms from December 19th to January 7th. I just arrived at Stanford last night, and encountered a few annoying problems on the trip:

1) While packing I realized I didn't have any plane tickets. Since this seemed like a fairly major problem, I spent about an hour checking and rechecking through all my papers looking for them. I had purchased the tickets over a month ago, so I assumed that I somehow lost the tickets. After doing some research online I finally realized that I had purchased electronic tickets, and all I needed was a reservation number in order to board the plane!

2) While boarding the bus to Seattle the bus driver couldn't find my reservation number on her list. She wouldn't let me board the bus if I wasn't on the list. After carefully going through the list for around 5 minutes, she realized that she misread one of my numbers, and that I was actually on the list after all.

3) My original flight from Seattle was scheduled to start boarding at 2:10pm. With no real explanation, they delayed the flight by an hour, and we started boarding at 3. After everyone was in the plane and it started heading down the runway, the airplane stopped and just waited there for about 10 minutes. Finally the pilot explains to us that there was some sort of problem with the rudder, and we had to head back towards the gate. After a full hour waiting in the plane while mechanics tried to fix the problem, they decided to cancel the flight. At least they found out about the problem before we were actually in the air. I got a booked on another flight that was supposed to leave at 8:30pm, but this flight also got delayed an entire hour without any explanation. I have decided that I will avoid flying with Alaska Airlines in the future.

One interesting fact about my trip is that I was playing music on my PSP nonstop for the entire 16 hour duration (on what should have been a 9 hour trip). I believe this may have broken some sort of PSP battery life record, since I was reading an article at IGN which claimed less than 11 hours of MP3 playback on the PSP [link]. Even after the trip the battery level was still at 9%. By the end of the 16 hours I was very sick of listening to the same Yoko Kanno songs over and over again.

I left my computer on in my room so I can use it for remote computing. Stanford and UBC share an Internet2 connection, so I get an excellent network connection to my remote desktop. My only worry is that they might power down my building's electricity over Christmas, which would prevent me from accessing my computer :(.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Xgl and Beryl on Edgy Eft

I spent most of the day installing and configuring Xgl and Beryl on my computer. Beryl is a compositing window manager for the X Window System which takes advantage of OpenGL acceleration. It has some incredible features such as wobbly windows, "the cube" (each virtual desktop becomes a face on a cube), and a new task switcher. Beryl is extremely customizable, and after tweaking some of the settings I bet that these features could actually lead to an increase in productivity. All of the new 3D effects also run really well on my graphics card (NVIDIA GeForce 6600 256MB). Although it was tough to set up, I think Beryl (and Compiz) will have an incredible impact on the future of Linux. While Mac OS X and Windows Vista boast about their new user interface features, I think Beryl proves to be superior in almost every way.