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April 28, 2006

It's Hard To Blog Without A Computer

After six years of hacking away at the same old Pentium III desktop, Bonnie and I and took a trip down to Fry's (the Mecca of Electronics shops), ready to buy components for a new machine. They had a motherboard-CPU combo for one low low price, so I picked up an AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (running at a cool 2.2 GHz), 2 GB of RAM and a case. The motherboard has onboard video and sound, and I was able to cannibalize my old machine for a wireless network card, DVD RAM drive and 250 GB hard drive.

After putting it all together and installing Windows (32-bit... I'll wait for Vista 64 before making the great leap into the world of large address spaces), something was wrong. Disk access was unusably slow, and any disk activity meant sound would come out garbled, and even the mouse pointer would be jerky. I scoured the Internets for people who had similar problems, but no luck. I tried reinstalling drivers, defragging my hard drive, and even lighting scented candles, in the hopes to get the computer "in the mood", but nothing worked. Finally, I bit the bullet and formatted my C drive and started over.

Things seem to be working alright now. I haven't finished installing the myriad of software I use (Office, Visual Studio, Civilization II, etc), but I was sure to throw on a web browser so I could bang out this blog entry so my sister would stop nagging me.

But what about my old computer? Luckily, I had enough ambient computer parts lying around the apartment to keep the old Funkbox up and running. I plan to make it into a server of some sort, perhaps even use it to hone my mad web programming skizillz and serve up some dynamic self-indulgent tripe.

My first computer, a black rack-mounted Pentium 166 MHz I got at Corel's fire sale for $20, was affectionately known as Blackie. My second was the self-assembled 850 MHz Funkbox. Today I announce to the world: Hulihee.

07:42 | Nerd | Comments (0)

April 21, 2006

The Land Where Expo 67 Never Ended

The Canadian Design Resource Gallery has an incredible collection of objects of uniquely Canadian design. Many of these photos bring back all kinds of childhood memories for me, including the Project G Stereo (my uncle had one), my dad's pair of old Muk Luks, the Montréal Olympic Logo (my parents were living in Montréal in the 1970s when I was born), and the ubiquitous Contempra phone.

Is it just me, or do the majority of Canadian design look like it's forever trapped in 1972?

18:27 | Canada | Comments (0)

April 18, 2006

Three Years In The US of A

Friday marked my three-year anniversary of working at Microsoft and living in the United States. As is the tradition, I brought in three pounds of candy, and still have lots left over (despite the disembodied candy-loving arm's best efforts).

My three years here have been great. I'm still very happy at Microsoft. We're working on version 3 of the .NET Framework, having shipped version 2 in November (you have downloaded it already, haven't you?). I'm still waiting for my green card (my application is sitting in a backlog pile in a concrete bunker three miles underground), so I plan to stick around for a while.

23:07 | Work | Comments (0)

April 17, 2006

Totally Gay

I go to the barber shop just down the street from my apartment. Living in Capitol Hill, which is also the gay neighbourhood, it should come as no surprise that most of the staff of this barber shop are gay. One day as I'm sitting in the barber's chair, I overheard two of the male hairdressers talking:

Hairdresser 1: "I was reading this magazine that listed the Top Ten Gayest Things You've Ever Done."
Hairdresser 2: "Really? What was number one?"
Hairdresser 1: "I don't remember... wearing some kind of gay outfit or something."
Hairdresser 2: "That's funny. The gayest thing I've ever done was have sex with another man."

08:30 | Seattle | Comments (0)

April 11, 2006

Another Canadian In Japan

I got an email last week from another Canadian intern living in Japan, and he has a blog: Adam's Life In Japan. About once a year I'm honoured with an email from a new Waterloo Gaijin who stumbled on my Japan blog. Adam is actually planning a trip to the Japan Alps, and will be stopping in the beautiful city of Matsumoto. I'm glad to know that painstakingly describing every Japanese adventure continues to amuse, confuse and waste the valuable office time of other travelers.

Someone asked me recently if I'd be willing to drop everything and ship myself off to a foreign country for a year again. Whenever I get asked this question, I like remind people that I'm already living in a foreign country, and usually get rolled eyes as a response. But seriously, if I were offered a one-year contract in, say, Turkey (for randomness sake), and had my current job to come back to, I would probably take it.

Luckily for me, this part of North America has a large Japanese population, so I can get my Hello Kitty products at Uwajimaya, sushi in Seattle's International District, and, if I'm feeling brave enough to try one of my favourites from Japan, basashi in Vancouver!

22:10 | Stuff | Comments (1)

April 5, 2006


For those of you who dig comics, I strongly recommend you check out Johnzo's latest creation: Greeter:

On Earth, the retail wars ended long ago. Tera-Mart now reigns supreme over billions of customers.

But beyond Earth, the struggle continues. The emergence of a sufficiently advanced retailer on our planet has drawn the attention of competitors. Today, Tera-Mart is all that stands between us and the ravening galactic hyperconglomerates.

It may not have the stern sensiblility of Mary Worth, but I enjoyed it all the same.

22:55 | Entertainment | Comments (0)

April 4, 2006

Car Seats Too Small For American Babies

This is the most disturbing piece of news I've read in a long time. American children are becoming too fat for car seats.

According to the study published in the latest Pediatrics journal, more than 282,000 overweight children under the age of seven cannot fit into most child safety or booster seats in the market and they remain improperly restrained inside the vehicles. "As the number of obese children in the United States increases, it is essential to develop child safety seats that can protect children of all sizes and shapes," says the study's author Lara Trifiletti of Ohio State University in Columbus.

Yes, car seat manufacturers will have to start building seats in larger sizes to accommodate obese babies. I really want to make a joke here, but am too disgusted with this news to think of a good one.

07:48 | America | Comments (3)