Categories
General

thoughts on Technology and Movie updates

I just realized I haven’t ranted about what I’ve been ranting to people in real life about for months so.. here goes

2016 Macbook Pro:
if its anything that proves that Apple has turned from a formerly innovative company to a company that just cares about making money here it is.
-$300 more than previous generation
-only 2 USBC ports on 13 inch, and 4 USBC ports on 15 inch. No HDMI, No SD, No USBA. I realize that USBC is way of the future but cmon.. at least be like other manufacturers and have a mix of both USBA and USBC! nope now we have to carry dongles for everything…
-no extension cable for adapter anymore
-no bootup sound anymore
-no glowing mac logo anymore
-no MagSafe anymore
-touchbar is a gimmick
-new butterfly keyboard still doesn’t feel good to type on

.. all this to make the Macbook Pro thinner. WHY? thats the goal of the consumer Macbook or Macbook AIR, not the Pro model! The Pro model is supposedly to have more ports and features and be for professionals.. as it is the new Macbook Pro is simply an upgraded Macbook Air Retina. The defense for the removal of the ports was that Apple has always been future forward “but they removed optical, floppy drive, etc’ here’s my rebuttal to that: In the case of floppy drives, it was replaced by optical media. Optical media in turn, was replaced by thumb drives + downloadable content. What is HDMI and SD replaced with? Well? Does your 4K TV come with a thunderbolt port? Does your DSLR come with a thunderbolt port? until then, there is no replacement for HDMI and SD. Which makes this move kind of baffling and definitely not something Steve would have done. I get that he had obscure connectors like mini-DVI or mini-VGA but never would he suddenly ditch all data transfer ports and video ports and combine them into a single port while *reducing* the number of total ports as well. This is all based on greed of course. Apple increased the prices of MacBook Pros by $300, took away things like the glowing logo, startup chime, and extra extension cables that you used to get in the box, and does not even provide a cable to connect your iPhone (nor does the iPhone provide any cables to connect to your MacBook Pro).

Let’s not mention that USBC is also a very confusing port, because not all USBC ports are created equal: There’s USBC ports for data only, USBC ports that support power delivery, USBC ports that support DisplayPort and USBC ports that are Thunderbolt 3. The latter is the most powerful and Apple has chosen to implement the latter on all their laptops which is great, but not all computer makers are like that. PC makers have generally mixed these up. My Alienware 15 for example, has a USBC port that is data only and another USBC port that is T3, on the same laptop. They look the exact same. Now that is confusing isn’t it?

Apple watch / Air Pods:
-Yeah Apple Watch and smartwatches in general still look stupid. But hey I’m a traditional watch geek so I’m conservative like that.. I don’t want to have more things to charge
-Air Pods look like Qtips and you couldn’t pay me enough to wear them

2017 iPhone X:
-first off, I still hate that Apple enlarged their phones with the iPhone 6 and got rid of the headphone jack in iPhone 7. So many things still require a 3.5mm connection for example DACs, audiophile headphones and old cars only have aux jack. You could lose the dongle when carrying it around, and bluetooth is still something else you have to pair and charge all the time. A hassle. And you can’t listen to music and charge at same time with the dongle.
-its $1k. I mean cmon.. Essential Phone, Razer Phone, Oneplus 5T, Samsung Galaxy S8, Google Pixel 2 / XL, those are all great options for way less
-Wireless charging is a gimmick. Its not really wireless. You just put it on a pad, which actually decreases the usability since you can’t use it while it’s charging.
-no TouchID. There’s no doubt that TouchID is faster and more convenient than Face unlock + swipe. One is one action the other is two.

New ThinkPads
I’m a huge ThinkPad fan so this one gets me as well. Lenovo announced in their 2018 CES the new X280 would be thinner, lighter, but also remove the PowerBridge feature, full size Ethernet port, and have soldered RAM. Basically its become a budget X1 Carbon now.

The ThinkPad line to most hardcore ThinkPad users, has been slowly dying off, in favor of becoming more and more like consumer laptops. The X220 is a great example. The pinnacle of old school robustness and design. Old school 7 row keyboard, tons of ports, etc. The X1 Carbon on the other hand (introduced in 2011) is a computer that seems like its meant for mainstream users than for business users, then ever since Lenovo has been slowly transitioning ThinkPads to be more and more mainstream. Gone is the old keyboard replaced by a new chiclet style with less travel. Gone is the ThinkLight. Gone is the VGA port. All to make the chassis thinner. Now with the X280 they removed the PowerBridge feature, made the RAM soldered instead of slotted, removed the 2.5″ slot for M.2 slot, removed full size Ethernet port for a dongle. I can’t see how many business users would actually be pleased by this, just to get a thinner and lighter laptop.

Ok so thats my tech gripes now onto the movies…

Star Wars The Last Jedi:
The one movie I really have to complain about this year is Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi. This much anticipated movie got GREAT reviews from critics but polarizing reviews amongst fans. For me, I really didn’t like this movie. I liked the action and visuals and sounds those were all great, but the actual storyline and the way they treated the characters especially the ones from the original trilogy, really made me angry.

So first off, I don’t like Force Awakens either. I thought it was a poor rehash of a New Hope and I thought that Rey is a Mary Sue character who became too powerful too fast. I thought that Rogue One was a pretty decent movie in comparison.. very original plot and well executed.
Now Last Jedi is even worse than Force Awakens. It basically took a lot of pre-established points from the Force Awakens and threw them away. Also, the storyline is messy and incoherent. A lot of new characters introduced were just thrown away. Here are just a few grievances:

-Luke Skywalker fundamentally changes his character. The Luke that thought that Vader was redeemable somehow thought that his nephew Ben Solo was worth killing, if only for a moment.
-Luke dies a hermit instead of going out in a blaze of glory. I felt this was in poor taste and disrespectful to Luke.
-There’s no one on one lightsaber battles at all.
-Snoke and Rey are random beings who are randomly powerful without explanation. Snoke dies quite easily and quickly. This makes even less sense when we consider how Rey was built up in the Force Awakens. Like how did Maz find Luke/Anakin’s lightsaber? Why did Rey get visions? Where’s the Knights of Ren? What about that vision of Rey’s parents flying away? makes no sense.
-How does Rey an untrained force sensitive beat Luke freaking Skywalker in combat?
-How does the First Order have so many more resources and able to construct things like Starkiller Base? At the end of ROTJ the Galactic Empire had been defeated.
-Finn doesn’t know how to pilot in TFA but knows how to pilot just fine in TLJ.
-Leia floats back to the ship and no one says a thing. (this makes even less sense when you consider Ebony Maw from Avengers Infinity War dies from the space vacuum despite being 100x more powerful than Leia)
-Prank call at the beginning went on for too long.
-Rose falls in love with Finn in less than 12 hours. They both should have died when their speeders crashed. And the walkers should have killed them while they were making out.
-The codebreaker they were supposed to get is in a brief scene but never mentioned again.
-The replacement codebreaker is never seen or heard from again either.
-Why did Admiral Holdo not tell Poe her plans causing a mutiny? just.. why?
-Captain phasma is useless (actually she had some badass moments but this was in a deleted scene).
-They went to canto bight to free some animals basically.
-Apparently gravity exists in space.
-Luke milks some space aliens for some reason.
-Luke throws away his dads lightsaber without even blinking.
-Luke never reacts to Hans death (actually he does, but this is in a deleted scene).
-Porgs are completely useless.
-Rey went down a dark hole and.. nothing happens.
-Why don’t all spaceships just use a droid to pilot it and use lightspeed to ram it through capital ships?
-Rose tells Finn he is selfish for trying to abandon the Resistance at the beginning but selfishly crashes into Finn’s speeder later on because she has a crush on him, endangering the Resistance survivors
-Kylo ren has a brief moment where he could become good but then goes back to bad again.
-Leia is never killed off even tho Carrie is dead.
-Admiral Ackbar dies off screen while a new character we see for 10 min gets sacrificed instead.

Those are just few grievances. This movie has all the action and cast but it doesn’t do the right things with them… thankfully I did watch a much better sci-fi sequel a month before (Blade Runner 2049) so not all my childhood scifi franchises were destroyed

Dragonball Super
DBS has so far proved to be underwhelming to me as a DBZ Fan. The animations are very childish and simple, it focuses too much on Goku and Vegeta, the power scaling is messed up, the transformations are lackluster (SSJ4 in GT > any DB Super transformation), and a lot of things don’t make sense (Trunks x Mai? Goku is reduced to an idiot outside of battles, Future Trunks hair is blue while kid trunks remains purple, etc). SSJ Rage is completely unexplained, as is Super Blue Vegeta / SSJB2 Vegeta and how Goku/Vegeta got SSJ Blue. Frieza becomes super powerful in just 4 months, as does Android 17 in 6 months. Stamina is apparently not an issue in the ToP for Goku/Vegeta since they keep regaining it back. Caulifla & co get super saiyan transformations like they’re nothing. Future Trunks pulls a spirit sword out of his ass. SSJ3 Gotenks was beaten by a copy of Base Vegeta, at one point.

I think its odd that Future Trunks got rage boosted in Super and Gohan never did. But lets face it – Z is a better anime than Super.
I dont think anyone is going to disagree with this. Out of DB, Z, Super and GT, the gold standard and what makes the Dragonball franchise so popular and helped make anime popular worldwide is DragonBall Z. And part of that reason is that Z was so good at focusing on various characters, not just Goku and Vegeta which is what Super was up until the ToP… until all the other universes dropped out, then its back to the Goku + Vegeta show again (at least Frieza keeps things interesting). In DBGT, At least Trunks and Pan got their moment.

In the Saiyan Saga, we got showings from Piccolo, Gohan, Krillin and even Yajirobe got his moment. In the Namek saga, Piccolo, Gohan, Krillin, Vegeta and Finally Goku again all had a turn against Frieza. The Cell arc is what really got interesting because probably for the first and last time ever, a character that was not Goku, was the most powerful character in the show. That was Gohan. To this day, I think SSJ2 Teen Gohan in the Cell Arc + Bojack Movie was the most badass character in all of Dragonball. He just didn’t give a F about anyone. He toyed around with Cell, kicked Cell Jrs in half, and punched his fist through Bojack. That was Gohan’s peak. I don’t think that Gohan is ever coming back.

In the Buu Saga, Goten + Trunks got their moment to shine with Gotenks, and of course Vegeta redeemed himself, all while saving the galaxy from Majin Buu. Gohan had his part in there too briefly until he got absorbed.

Super doesn’t come close to any of this. Except for Ultra Instinct I don’t think any of the other transformations really had the same impact as in Z. The focus is mainly on Vegeta and Goku. Gohan and the others get left behind. Goten+Trunks are completely forgotten about. I feel the same way about this anime as I do about Star Wars the Last Jedi: the visuals are exciting and the nostalgia kick is great, but it ruins my childhood in a lot of ways. I feel like they disrespected some of the characters that we grew up on. TLJ disrespected Luke Skywalker in the same way that Super disrespected Gohan. What I’m saying I guess is that I want more fan service. I don’t want my character kicked to the curb like a weakling.. but I guess childhood nostalgia can only last for so long…

Video Games
Video games have just gotten worse and worse over the years. Back in the day, we just had to pay for one game, ONE time and that was it. We could play with a friend using LAN, local multiplayer, just set up an ad-hoc network and go. Or we can play hotseat or split screen. Expansions only came when they were necessary, like in Doom II or Diablo II or Starcraft. And they were great expansions. And there was always a great single player mode in there too. Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Goldeneye 007, Rise of the Triad, Quake III, Unreal Tournament, Halo 2, these are all great games I played with my friends.

Now these days, all video game companies can think about, is profit. They sell you a half baked game, sometimes with no single player at all (see: Star Wars Battlefront), and sell you season passes because they already planned out the DLC. There’s usually no co-op or LAN support at all, and you have to get your friend to buy the same game (or if they are on console, buy the same game, same console + sign up for Xbox live or PS Plus), and then connect over the laggy network and jump through a lot of hoops to play with them. And even then, the gameplay is still limited by the fact that they try to sell you DLC and Microtransactions else you are at a disadvantage. No better example than the new Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Destiny 2 games. Even The Sims 4, which was a great video game franchise, has gone all downhill selling you ‘stuff’ packs every chance they get. Its ridiculous, and unfortunately the days of good old video games you can just play on a couch with your friend over is gone.

Categories
Tech

Comments on recent news and trends

I haven’t done a commentary on current or slightly old events for a while now… about time I did this! Maybe I will v-log it as well (also something I haven’t done in a while).

Edit: v-logs are here!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtfPZdRCx8s

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oo6IVaXZ3rM

Tech trends…
Hmm. Let me give me opinion on some tech trends.

regarding VR, I think its really cool that Oculus Rift has some competition, now that Valve/HTC are entering the VR market, Microsoft made something awesome, and I hope in the future we can all watch first person porn. (Seriously tho, VR movies will probably be better than those 3D glasses).

regarding Apple Watch, It’s overpriced for what it is. I mean, you’re gonna pay $350-17k for something that will be obsolete in 2 years, and needs an Apple device to function? I’ll just take the Pebble Time Steel instead, which lasts 10 days, looks similar, works with both Apple and Android, can go swimming with it, can use any normal 22mm band, etc.

iPad Air 2/iPad Mini 3, yeah I know they came out last October but I want to make a quick note that the iPad 2, a tablet that was introduced by Steve Jobs before he died, was still being sold until very recently. In that keynote they introduced like 5 different iPads being sold at the same time! Including the iPad Mini 3 which was barely different than the Mini 2. Steve would have been rolling in his grave!
This is the clearest example of Apple caring more about profits than innovation now. You think Steve Jobs would have sold the 5th generation iPad Nano alongside the 6th generation and the previous generations of the iPods and iPhones at the same time as the new generation?? He hated confusing consumers. Thats why I miss Steve.
On a side note, how are anyone going to keep selling tablets? For what most people do with tablets, reading books, surfing the web and watching video, a 2011 tablet is good enough and there’s no reason to upgrade like there is with laptops and phones (which we do more things with). It’s an interesting conundrum.

MS killing off IE…, well I’m glad that IE is dead (even though Asia will keep on using it), and I’m sure most people are, even though its fall from grace from 95% market share as IE6 to now is well documented, I’m still worried about Having another new browser to support, which still uses Trident I believe. And also, I hope Win 10 is at least as good as 7. (I haven’t touched Win 8 with a ten foot pole since it came out).

Sony…, I love Sony and its products. I’ve always thought that they were the Japanese Apple. Great design, but high prices. Unfortunately they can’t market their products well and its sad to see them slashing so much, because a lot of Sony’s products are great. I love the PS Vita, I love my Xperia Z3C phone, I loved the Sony HMZT3 headset (which I did a review of), I love their headphones, computers, TVs, Alpha cameras and Walkmans as well, but I guess people don’t really appreciate them, which is too bad.

Steam games, I’ve bought a lot of them lately and I hope to do some gameplay videos soon. If people see my youtube, they know that I’m a big fan of Starcraft 2, Magic Online, Hearthstone and NBA 2K, but I also played Diablo 3 a lot with my friends, and Dungeon Defenders as well. Someday I can post some gameplay on those games, as well as some more obscure DOS titles or something. I love this new game though, its called Toxikk and it’s about bringing back good old school FPS action back! Like Unreal Tournament and Quake 3, which I loved to play back in the day. I will do a review of this game soon.
Also, probably the best mobile game I’ve played in a while, Monument Valley, probably ranks up there with The Unfinished Swan and Journey as the most visually beautiful games I’ve ever played.

regarding drones…, Drones are a new fad just like VR is these days, and I like the idea a lot. I’ve always wanted a little drone who auto follows me whereever I go and helps me shoot pictures and video. I’ve been on many trips where I wish I had someone shoot video of me because I was always the one holding the camcorder, so I couldn’t shoot myself. I guess the main things are a drone needs to be able to follow you using accurate GPS and bluetooth connection, and have good battery life. The Drones from DJI and Parrot I’ve seen can’t go beyond 30min of battery which is too short. Thats the main improvement that needs to happen.

Swift code, I love the idea since Apple came out with this last year. I’ve always wanted to make iPhone apps, but didn’t want to learn Objective C. Now I got a JS-like language to work with, and it should be easier to transition to it. If I have time and a good app idea, I would definitely use it.

Raspberry Pi 2, I love how the technology has made it so that a computer board is now $35. I’ve always been interested in small computers, gadgets and robots, and this makes it so that any hobbyist can make a computer now if they get a case and some parts from Amazon. (Shed a tear for Radioshack though), it was one of my favorite stores when I was a kid. Someday I will build a portable UMPC-like computer, and the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Beagle Board, and co definitely helps.

The New Macbook, what do I think about it? Hmm.. it has potential, but I feel like they could have stuck another USB-C port in there. I like the idea of having a port that does everything, but I don’t like that they only put one. I guess I’m a little old school, since my Thinkpad still has an old 720p display, non touchscreen, and has 10 different ports including an old VGA port. But I am very impressed by how far technology has come along, fanless and decent performance, and 10 hours+ of battery life.
I remember back in the days of netbooks when every computer had a noisy fan, 3 hours of battery life was average, and was pretty thick and bulky. My classmate carried around a 17inch 10-pound beast of a gaming laptop (a Dell XPS 17). Now Razer is making Macbook Air-sized Gaming laptops (Razer Blade). Crazy. Now I really wish OEMs will start making UMPCs again. They died out in 2010 because they were underpowered and expensive, but now I believe you can make a UMPC that is tiny, fanless (Core M processor), good battery life (10hrs+), good performance (4GB+ RAM), and only needs one port (USB-C)! Somebody get on that!

Spiderman is coming to Marvel. YES. Spiderman is my favorite superhero since I used to watch the animated series when I was young, and he should have been in the Avengers all along. Can’t wait to see him fight alongside Cap and Iron Man.

Favorite movies…, I watched Kings Men a few days ago. Violent, but overall pretty good movie. My favorite movies from last year were Guardians of the Galaxy (fantastic, better than Avengers), Interstellar (on par with Inception), and Big Hero 6 (better than Frozen and other Disney movies IMO). Hope Avengers 2 does not disappoint!

NBA MVP.., I know I should probably comment on NBA events now. The MVP should be James Harden. The guy is averaging 27/6/7, and yes Russell Westbrook puts up better numbers right now, but he isn’t nearly as efficient, and Stephen Curry has a lot of help. Anthony Davis or Lebron James in a vacuum, would be the MVP, but MVPs aren’t voted in a vacuum, else Jordan would have won 8 straight. Also, I’m glad that Kobe is out. He’s still overrated and inefficient, and selfish, and I feel that both Iverson and Kobe’s MVPs should have gone to Shaq and Chris Paul, respectively. This is MVP we are talking about here, not the scoring leader.
As for NBA Finals, my predictions are Memphis Grizzlies vs Atlanta Hawks. I’m hoping the Hawks and Warriors will put to rest the misconception that you need ‘superstars’ to win. The 04 Pistons won without a superstar, and arguably the ’11 Mavericks as well since Dirk was out of his prime.

Other news…
I found a website that can clone your pets as a plushie for you. Good idea. I will definitely do that for my cat.
This guitar pedal. A band in a box? Sign me up!
Also, still awaiting the release of Fallout 4, SC2 legacy of the void, Rock band 4, Yakuza 5 in English, and Just Cause 3. Get working on these games people!

Thats all the updates I have for now, in the meantime I made some guitar videos for fun:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gWHUR-7eVo

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsqhVvMIld4

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpkUPI0oOxg

Categories
General School/Work

Thoughts about introversion, leaving BT, Ladies Code, Tech

Work
Today is my last day at BitTorrent. I enjoyed working there, I had a cool manager, smart co-workers, I learned a lot of technologies like NodeJS, EpoxyJS, more Backbone and especially payments systems like Paypal and StripeJS, but in the end I guess I was still tired of the monotony. I needed something new and invigorating, I needed to move someplace new. It’s been 4 months already since I was in Korea, and I’m dying to go back already. 2 weeks a year of vacation simply wasn’t enough. It was like being in jail for 50 weeks and having freedom the other 2 weeks.

Tragedy
The tragedy that happened to Korean pop group Ladies Code deeply disturbed me. Two members died in a car accident, the other 3 have to undergo surgery. Still, the fact that they were so young, just beginning their careers and with so much hope to the future, and their sudden death made me realize how fragile life is, that anyone can die at anytime, and I hope we can learn to cherish our loved ones knowing this in the future. Yes, people die all the time, even young people, but the fact is these were celebrities and they were Korean, which hit me hard. Parents should never have to bury their children.

Smartwatches and Smartphones
The Apple Watch finally came out, and as always my opinion on smart watches are, if they have a long lasting battery (> 2 weeks) and is waterproof then I’ll buy it. If not, then they aren’t better than my current watch (a Seiko Kinetic), which charges automatically and is 100m waterproof. Also, I prefer round to square faces. My opinion is that smart watches should only do basic functionality, like show notifications and basic PIM-like functions. Anything more than PDA-like functionality is too much. We use smartphones to do complicated tasks, we’re not using to interacting with a watch other than just looking at it, so anything more than a glance is overdoing it. The only area where I think complicated functionality might be good on a watch is a voice assistant (Siri/Google Now/Cortana) but it shouldn’t respond with more than just the basic answer. The Apple Watch is an example of doing too much (viewing photos on a watch is just ridiculous), but the Meta watch gets it right. Looks good, with basic functionality at a glance. Anything more, just pull out your phone from your pocket.

As for smartphones, I wish more manufacturers would make two sizes, a smaller size and a bigger size. I think 4.7″ is a little bit big for me, coming from a 4″ iPhone 5S, but right now there’s no more options for smaller sizes. Every manufacturer now including Apple has moved to making phones at least 4.7″ in size, and that’s too bad. That’s like saying, lets only make laptops with 15″ screens and discontinue smaller screens because most people don’t like smaller screens. Some people do want smaller screens (either for portability or battery life) and we don’t need the bigger screen.

Introversion
I have always been an introverted person. It’s just built into my DNA. From a young age, I had a hard time making friends. In high school, sometimes I would hide in the school bathroom just to avoid talking to people. I am very awkward in social situations. I don’t like to start conversations. I purposely take longer routes sometimes to avoid meeting people. Sometimes I just like to stay at home and not talk to anyone. I am very much a loner, close friendships are hard to make, and long lasting romantic relationships have never existed for me.

That said, this sort of changed in 2010 when I joined AIESEC. Since then, I’ve been involved in meet ups, couchsurfing, and conversation clubs to meet people. But that’s more or less because I am forced to. In America/Canada, it’s very hard to meet someone unless you actively make an effort. You have to actively join clubs and meet ups and network with people. This is in contrast to Asia, where most people meet from introductions or services.
I am Asian to my core. I dislike having to make an active effort to meet people, and it feels very forced to do that. I’d rather have my friends introduce me to someone, but that culture doesn’t exist here. What’s more, I’m not a very good conversationalist, I don’t know how to keep conversations going. This is something most Americans are good at, and I’m not. I’m very good at following orders, and not very good at leading. I’m very good at listening, but not talking. All this just means, I’m probably a better fit for Asian society (where I was born) than Western society. I just feel like a fish out of water in a society where people constantly reference pop culture, makes jokes, come up with random topics, etc. This has always been the case for me. That’s why most of my friends are Asian or international students.

Pictures
I try to take more pictures these days, because I regret not taking more pictures before. Its sad that I can’t remember anything that happened 4-5 years ago because I have no pictures. Also I have no pictures with my good friends back in Toronto, which is kind of sad. It’s regretful, but better start logging these later rather than never.