Monday, June 16, 2008
I've always been stickler for organization and coherence. That's exactly what I found when I finally acquired a Mac. For years, I've painfully lived with my Windows computers. Their file structures always seemed very awkward to me. Eventually, with the release of XP, the "My" folder setups in "My Documents" convinced me that there had to be a better way. Little did I know that a Mac would allow me to fulfill my organizational ambitions. On a Mac, all of your files are kept in a more practical and organized structure. The greatest difference is that your "Pictures" and "Movies" are separated from your "Documents." This was the greatest problem I had seen in Windows and one that bothered me for numerous years. Some may find this matter trivial and I can totally understand (I am a self-diagnosed organizational freak.) Just to bring my point home, another characteristic of Apple's operating system that I REALLY find great is that all of your native applications (Safari, Mail, iCal, etc.) work seamlessly with one another. For example, when you receive an email with a date included, like May 7th, Mail automatically gives you the option to add it to iCal when you mouse over it. When I first experienced this feature, I was blown away. As a long time "PCer" it was hard for me to fathom the idea of my applications actually working together. It was as if my entire computer was working to help me and not just individual applications fighting for my absolute attention. These small but enormously helpful features make a Mac a much clearer, organized computer for the more elegant crowd, that demands a machine that works together as one coherent unit.
at 6:54 PM
Sunday, September 30, 2007
The Catcher in the Rye, a book of hypocrisy and mediocrity. I've recently finished this book on a very satisfied note. I know it is rare that I ever dislike anything, however, I cannot retain my passion for positive expression. Frankly, I only blog on things that I do like, as I imagine most people do. Anyway, back to the book. The life of Holden Caulfield's dismissal of mediocrity was very fascinating. He tried to run from all things he saw as "phony" with society, while, eventually, maturing and reforming his views. It really raises our awareness on what our society values and sees as important; it clearly expresses this adolescent's maturity as he finally reaches adulthood with a firmer understanding and acceptance of life.
at 12:06 AM
Monday, August 20, 2007
I recently came back from a trip to the Florida Keys to get my PADI Open Water Diving Certification. In other words, I got certified as a SCUBA Diver. Honestly, it was one of the best things I've ever done in my life. The moment you enter the water and take your first breath is probably one of the greatest sensations a person can experience. And only when you start to descend and get immersed in the fish and underwater life does it hits you that you are actually visiting another world. I saw schools of fish, Sergent Majors if I identified them correctly, and lots of huge groupers and Butterfly fish making there way through the reef. The most lively reef I dove in was Alligator Reef, supposedly one of the popular dive site in the USA. Along with the fish, we saw Brain Coral and Southern Sting Ray and the occasional Nurse Shark (always a thrill.) While in the Certification process you have to complete numerous "confined water dives" in a pool. During these the instructors teach you the basics along with important safety skills. You gradually get used to the equipment and soon everything seems natural. According to the numerous divers I've talked to diving never loses its thrill, which is easy to understand once you take your first "Open Water Dive." Theres a written part of the certification class that you have to take along with studying a diving textbook. It seemed overwhelming at first but once I really started getting into the sport I was easily motivated. I am proud to say I got a 98 on the final exam. I highly recommend this as a goal for anybody interested in the ocean, its creatures or anybody that just wants to try something new. Here is a pictures I took at Alligator Reef.
at 12:35 AM
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I recently went with a bunch of friends to see Transformers, a film by Micheal Bay involving the popular robots that transform into everyday vehicles. When I first heard of the movie I assumed it was going to be an animation because of the TV show. In fact, I didn't realize it was a "real" film until well...the opening scene. So right off the bat I was impressed. I am also going to add that I am not a die hard fan of anime or action cartoons. So to impress me from the beginning is a real point scorer. Besides that the effects were amazing and the story surprisingly simple to understand with the famous Optimus Prime as the big, good guy robot and Megatron as the bad guy robot. Throughout the film they fight against each other to obtain the "Off Spark," a mystical cube of shear power that supposedly could wipe out mankind. The two teenagers who the transformers have befriended destroy the cube and Megatron and the good guys are eternally in there debt. The story ends with Optimus Prime making a comment about how the transformers with be disguised and among us, always on guard and always protecting. At first I was skeptical about the actual story line and thought they would add some "mumbo jumbo" as they typically do when it comes to anime. However, the plot was well delivered and very enjoyable. A very fun film.
at 6:32 PM
For my English class, I had to read Dispatches from the Edge by Anderson Cooper. It is a memoir of Anderson Cooper's travels as a journalist during and before his days with CNN. He tells of how the images and stories he has covered have affected him. It is truly a remarkable story and one that takes you for a ride through them in a way that is so authentic that you can picture yourself standing in the middle of it all. The book is divided into four main sections: Tsunami, Iraq, Niger, and Katrina. In each he describes his encounters with the people and situations, such as the sadness of the aftermath of the tsumani in Indonesia and the daily life in Niger with the starvation, malaria and AIDS. While doing this he ties in his own life's journey and how it has affected him in his personal life. What I found most intriguing was the clarity of the stories hes telling, as he describes not only what is happening but what he was thinking at the time. You get a real glimpse of things you have seen frequently in the news from someone who is not tied down by it as if he were on the air - a mixture of opinion and journalistic thinking. A strange phenomenon...
at 6:22 PM
Saturday, June 16, 2007
I'm currently reading The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. It's a classic book written during the time of the Renaissance. It was a gift to the Magnificent Lorenzo de' Medici the Younger from Machiavelli himself. He states that you are supposed to give a prince something that is special to you (normally jewels, gold etc.) Since he didn't have anything of that sort he gave him all that he had learned in his life about governing. In the book, Machiavelli explains numerous things pertaining to government like how to acquire new provinces and keep them under your rule. It is laid out almost too simply that you eventually feel like a prince yourself, often pondering at and simulating the many situations Machiavelli uses as examples. Even though most of us are not in that position it is still a fascinating read.
at 7:06 PM
Sunday, May 27, 2007
I just wanted to share a new site that I've found quite useful and...well ...just fun. It's a music site called Pandora. The site is built around a tool that recommends music to you based on an artist you submit. At first, I was skeptical but I've found that it actually works amazingly well. It chooses the music based on a series of characteristics it has found the music to have, such as, "minor key tonality" and "subtle use of vocal harmony." Not only is the tool accurate but it is like a radio station and continually searches its music databases and plays music. I'm not embarrassed to say that I've wasted away many hours staring blankly at my computer screen just listening to music. One other useful feature the site has is a bookmarks list that lets you bookmark songs or artists. When you find a band that you've never heard of (and I guarantee you will) and you want to save it you can just add it to your bookmarks list and have it forever. Great site!
at 11:39 PM
Saturday, May 26, 2007
I recently finished reading the play, A Doll's House. The play was about the relationship between two people, Torvald and Nora, and how Nora copes with her wealthy, easy going life. After she illegally forges her father's signature to save her husband, she begins to question the society she lives. She could not believe she was being prosecuted for something she did with good intentions. Furthermore, after Torvald found out about what she did, he yelled at her and told her that they had to worry about how they "appeared" in the eyes of their peers. Nora decided she could not be played with anymore in this "doll's house" society and left the family.
at 12:08 AM