Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Experience Troubleshooting AT&T Internet



I got a new modem from AT&T. I installed it, and it worked. The next day (today) midway in the evening, the internet would stop working, and I would receive a "service down" message and a 1-800 number to call if the problem persisted for more than 15 minutes.

After a few hours of downtime, I decided to call the number.

CALL #1

1. Went through menus to reach high-speed troubleshooting.
2. Told by technician I've reached the dial-up section. They transfer me to high-speed section.
3. Silence. Then... "if you'd like to make a call, please hang up and try again."

CALL #2

1. Went through menus to reach high-speed troubleshooting.
2. Again told by technician I've reached the dial-up section. They want to transfer me to high-speed section. I explain I don't want to be hanged up on again, and they assure me it won't happen.
3. I reach high-speed section but am told I need to be transferred to an equipment technician instead.
4. Silence. Then... "if you'd like to make a call, please hang up and try again."

CALL #3

1. Went through menus to reach high-speed troubleshooting.
2. Silence. Then... "sorry, but our offices are closed."

Aiya!

Then 15 minutes later while sitting on my computer, the internet suddenly comes on again. And now I'm typing this blog post.

Aiya!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Food in San Francisco

Whenever I eat out, I take a picture of my food. Friends always ask me why. I tell them that if the food is poisoned and I die, the police have a record of the last thing I ate in my phone's pictures.

Of course, the real reason I take pictures of food is so I can share it on my blog. (^_^)

So here's a select few from the last couple of months:

All you can eat at Moonstar. Big ass buffet place. Tons of Asian food. Long wait time to get seating.

Loco Moco @ L&L Hawaiian Barbecue. Good place for inexpensive BBQ w\ rice + macaroni salad.

At Pizza Hut, always get "pan fried" crust. It has a fun, crispy, oily taste that separates it from other pizza places.

Bibimbap @ Dong Baek. Around $11-$12. Your rice is crispy if you get it in clay pot. Hard to eat with chopsticks. lol.

Whopper. Often sloppily made, but it all tastes the same in my mouth.

Angus Burger from McDonald's. Pretty good and almost worth the price.

Indian food. Don't remember the place, but it was delicious and inexpensive. Also... VERY SPICY! To quote Lisa Simpson, "I can see through time!"

Nothing like a San Francisco burrito. And I can't eat a burrito without tortilla chips.

Donburi. とてもおいしかった。


Whenever we do stuff in downtown, we usually go to Lori's Diner, and I usually get Lori's Signature Burger. Burger + garlic fries + drink + tax + tip = $20. Meaning these pictures cost me $100! Ouch!

Roundhouse Buck @ Buckhorn Grill. The best tasting meat you can find at a fast food-ish place. My ex introduced me to place, and now I go there whenever I can. Of course, not with my ex. lol.

House rice at New Ming's. When I was in art school, my friends and I always ate here after classes. Cheap price, very good taste and selection. Lunch special is the best: 2 items + fried rice for like $6.

Jack in the Box. West coast fast food chain. I had a good view of downtown pedestrians. They had a good view of my meal.

Shabu shabu @ Bushi-Tei in Japantown. $32 a person. We had a going-away outing. That was a fun night. Price was worth it.

Subway after work. This is the healthiest food that I eat. =)

The one time we went to Lori's and didn't get the signature burger.

Buffet at a Mexican restaurant out of the city. Best meat ever.

Indonesian food from a festival. My first time. Very good flavor. Quite spicy.

At SF Center, Ajisen Ramen replaced Steak Escape (I used to always eat there). This ramen place looks fast foody, but the price and taste is like a restaurant. And they sit you down.



And I saved the best for last...




I'm never not in the mood for a Big Mac meal. =P

Eh, I shouldn't have put this together because it's made me freaking hungry.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

All Web Browsers Look Like Google Chrome Now

Google Chrome has always looked like this:

Chrome

Notice the lack of title, menu, and status bars. Stop\refresh is consolidated into one button. And the top area is dedicated to tabs.

In turn, other browsers have made similar changes:

Firefox

Internet Explorer

Opera

And yes... I also used this as an excuse to show off my website in different browsers. (^_^)


My Browser Usage History

Like everyone who's had Windows, I started out with Internet Explorer (I also used Netscape back in the days too). However, Internet Explorer had a lot of problems, and Firefox had a lot of cool features so I switched to that. After awhile, I realized Firefox was slow and so I switched to Chrome.

As of 2011, Internet Explorer has gotten a lot better and Firefox probably still has the most add-ons, but I still mostly use Chrome.


So Why Do I Use Chrome?
  1. Cleaner interface.
  2. Faster running program.
  3. Faster surfing.
  4. The Omnibox.
  5. More stable and less buggy.
  6. Has most of Firefox's extensions.
  7. Apps.
  8. Translate page pop-up bar.
  9. Built-in functions like Flash and Acrobat.
  10. Download status bar.

Google Chrome's Omnibox


This is a very cool feature of the browser. All searches are done from the address bar, and it automatically adds search engines for sites you visit frequently (for example, Wikipedia, Amazon, Craigslist, eBay). And there is no drop-down menu selection step.

So if I wanted to search "tea" on Wikipedia, I would:

1. Type "w" (for Wikipedia) and press tab to select the Wikipedia search engine.
2. Type "tea" and press enter.

Immediately, I am sent away to Wikipedia's page for tea!


Browser Usage Share Trends

I will end this post with a boring looking chart. lol.

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    「二ヶ月前」Animation Production Notes

    Finally, some new Adrenaline animation!


    I know everyone is waiting for the next episode already. I'm currently working on another series so I figure I release this in the meanwhile.

    There is one major improvement in the visuals compared to episode 1. Can you see it? 0:38 onwards shows it off quite nicely. The major improvement is... lens focusing!

    In episode one, I only had lens focusing for the character scenes and not for the racing scenes. It's a long explanation why that was, but I found a good technique for pulling it off without adding any rendering times.



    First, I render these images at the same time, and it doesn't add any extra rendering time to render a depth map image. Note image #1 has no lens focus. While LightWave (my program) supports lens focus, it takes extra time to render and also, I prefer Sony Vegas' version.


    If I throw my render in Vegas and enable defocus, notice the effect is life-like and is reminiscent of photography or film. However, I don't want the whole image to be defocused, just the background buildings.


    Using the depth map render (image #2) as a mask, we can isolate this effect to just the background. And with absolutely no extra rendering time, we've created a racing scene with full camera focus!

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    YouTube Friend Invite Spam


    I have a somewhat active YouTube Channel, and so I get a lot of friend invites.

    Some invites are from people that have a sincere interest in my channel. Additionally, we may exchange a few comments, and they may have some cool videos to share. These invites are legit; I appreciate and accept all of them.

    Some invites, however, are just pure spam from people trying to promote their channel. They have no interest in your channel and send hundreds of invites a week to random people in hopes that a % watch their videos and subscribe.

    Check out the subscribers and friends of someone who spammed me:


    For every 40 friend adds, they get 1 sucker to subscribe. This guy has about 40k friends; I wonder how many invites he has sent out? 400k? 4,000k?

    Check out his channel comments:


    99% of the comments are along the lines of "thanks for the invite" and "thanks for the add". lol.

    Listen, I'm all for promoting yourself and your work. But does invite spamming make you any less of a douche than email spammers? What if everyone who had a YouTube channel did this? How annoying would that be?

    Whenever I get invite spams, I just ignore them. I'm very tempted to leave a hateful message on their channel but... that's not going to do anyone any good.

    I think if we all ignored these invites, they'll see it doesn't work and stop spamming. And then they'll have more time to do something more productive: make YouTube videos!

    Saturday, October 29, 2011

    The Texas Rangers Don't Win the World Series


    I am a Giants fan. I was happy we won the World Series in 2010. But at the same time, I felt sorry for the Rangers. The team made the World Series for the first time only to lose it at home.

    I wanted the Rangers to win it this year. Additionally, I have a hard time cheering for teams that already have multiple championships like the Cardinals.

    Up 3-2 in the series, it seemed like the Rangers had a chance. But the Cardinals came back and took the series. It reminded me of 2002 when the Giants were up 3-2 but did not win the series.

    For a fan, losing a championship is already an awful feeling but losing back-to-back ones is worse.

    Here's hoping the Rangers win next season...unless the Giants make the World Series too. =P

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Why do people always empty their Recycle Bins? (rant)


    I often see people do this move on their computers:
    1. Delete file(s).
    2. Immediately empty Recycle Bin or Trash.
    They empty their Recycle Bin every time they delete something. My question is this...

    Why?

    Are they low on disk space? Are their deleted files private? Does it make their computer go faster?

    I think the reason why most people do it is because it just makes their computer "feel" cleaner. They do it purely for psychological reasons.

    For the 15+ years I've had Windows, I've emptied my recycle bin this many times...

    Zero.

    It's great. I don't have to take that extra step every time after deleting files. I am able to undelete files when the occasion arises. It doesn't make me run out of disk space (the Recycle Bin's size is capped by default). And my computer runs the same, filled Recycle Bin or not.

    Ultimately, it's your computer and your time, and you can do whatever you want with both. But if you're a constant Recycle Bin emptier, try leaving it filled for a week and see if it makes a difference.

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    K-POP : 2NE1 5-Star Songs

    This is my first "5-Star" post. In these segments, I will pick an artist\group and five songs I like from them. The songs will be ordered by release date and track number.

    This being my first K-Pop post, who better to choose than... 2NE1!


    Someone commented on a forum that they looked like they dress themselves in the dark.


    If SNSD represents one end of the K-Pop spectrum (cutesy, bubblegum pop), then 2NE1 certainly represents the opposite end (electronic, hip pop).

    The group is very big right now in Korea and throughout Asia. Their style is very edgy and represents one side of K-Pop which includes hip-pop beats, auto-tune, and rapping pop singers!

    How I Discovered Their Music: I didn't know much about K-Pop back in 2010 (except for BoA and Ivy). On last.fm, I was listening to the J-Pop station which sometimes mixes in K-Pop tunes. When I heard 2NE1's music, I was thinking wow, what is this non-Japanese language? lol. But I was also thinking, wow, this music is really different & cool sounding.


    Members
    Minzy, Bom, Dara, CL

    - CL is the leader and mostly raps but does some singing as well.
    - Minzy also often raps and does a bit more singing than CL.
    - Dara often sings but does some auto-tuned spoken parts.
    - Bom frequently sings the chorus and major vocal sections but occasionally does spoken parts.
    - In my head, I group Minzy\CL together because they often rap and are quite young (17 and 20). And I group Bom\Dara because they often sing and are older (27 and 26).
    - Languages some of the members can speak are Korean (obviously), English, Japanese, Chinese, Tagalog, and French.

    A song layout I've seen them use more than once is:
    • Verse 1st half = CL
    • Verse 2nd half = Minzy
    • Pre-chorus = Dara
    • Chorus = Bom
    But they usually mix it up. CL rapping a verse and Bom singing the chorus is very common though.


    Favorite Member

    In this pic, her eyes remind me of my ex-gf's. =/

    Sandara "Dara" Park is my favorite because of her career background, personality, and sound of her voice. Unfortunately many people, including her fans, say she is the weakest member of the group in terms of singing and dancing. And she isn't many people's favorite member either. Despite that, I still like her singing (but I do feel Bom is the best vocalist of the group).

    In regards to her career background, before 2NE1 she was a singer, actress, and spokesperson in the Philippines. And she speaks Tagalog...

    OMG, she sounds like a freaking Pinay.

    And the last reason she's my favorite member is because... I kinda' like her smile. (^_^)

    Anyways, on to the music...


    DJ PJ's 2NE1 5-Star Songs (2009-2011)

     Pretty Boy 
    The edgy beats go hand in hand with auto-tuned verses. But I LOVE when the contrasting, melodic vocals come in.



     Can't Nobody Some songs, you don't like at first but end up liking the more you hear it. For me, this song had the opposite effect. lol. However, I still list this song here because I think it's a good representation of 2NE1's style.


     Love is Ayaya 
    I like how this song showcases each member's singing. In most of their songs, 2-4 of the members are auto-tuned and have only rapping\speaking parts.



    ★ You and I ★A solo track showcasing Park Bom's vocals. Makes me think of graduation-type music. lol.




    ★ I Am the Best ★
    Although I like this song, I wouldn't say it was one of my top 5 fave's. However, like "Can't Nobody", this song was one of their hits and is a good representation of their style so I list it here.

    But I do really like the layout of the song. In the first verse, each member singers four distinct melodies. In the second verse, the four melodies are repeated but by a different member.


    Overall, this was a hard list to make as I had to leave out songs I loved. If you don't listen to K-Pop already, hopefully this post got you interested in the genre! However, I feel 2NE1's music only represents one style (out of three) of "K-Pop" music. I will cover more styles\artists in the future.

    I can't look at this picture without smiling.

    Note: More pictures on last.fm!

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Video Commercials WHILE Watching!? (rant)

    First off, I'm not one of those people whom regularly complain about YouTube or it's advertisements. Some level of advertising is good; it encourages companies and individuals to post more content.

    BUT... the other day I was listening\watching a music video and simultaneously, a freaking Air Wick commercial was playing at the side!


    Video commercials WHILE watching? How am I supposed to listen to two videos simultaneously?

    This type of advertising is pointless. Everyone is going to find a way to mute the ad that's interrupting their video. Additionally, it makes everyone hate YouTube and advertisers that do this.

    I've also seen this type of advertising on website articles. How am I supposed to read your article when a video is playing on the side? The first thing I'm going to do is mute it! It's completely pointless and detrimental.

    Overall, this is a very surprising move by Google. If you use any of their services (search, Chrome, Gmail), Google's 100% about user experience. I predict over time, they will come to their senses and get rid of these type of ads.

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    Thank you Deep Explorer!

    This is a guide\story about repairing corrupt 3D files.

    Maya users are always telling me about their 3D files becoming corrupted. I've never had that problem with LightWave except for today. My program crashed while I was working on a model. However, the program was still open and half-functional so I made the foolish decision to save the model and then close the crashed program.

    Big mistake.

    I re-opened the program & model, and long & behold, it was corrupted!

    (What the heck is this? This is supposed to be a full character!)

    Hours of work gone, I thought! However, even though most of the model was missing when I opened it, the file was 470kb large meaning that the data was still there! It just needed to be repaired someway, somehow.

    So here's what I did to try to repair it:
    1. Checked the LightWave temp folder for a backup copy (there was none).
    2. Opened the file in other 3D programs like Modo and Cinema 4D (open failed).
    3. Use un-delete software (didn't work for overwritten files).
    I was about ready to give up and just make the whole model again. However, I read on a forum that someone was able to repair a LightWave file using Deep Exploration. So I downloaded the demo, installed it, crossed my fingers and opened my corrupted model...


    My eyes popped out of my head; the file opened FLAWLESSLY! The entire mesh was there w\ all the material assignments. I then saved it as a new lwo file and got my girl back into LightWave.

    Chizu-chan says「ありがとう」!

    So if your 3D files ever get corrupted, fix it with Deep Exploration! The program supports tons of other 3D file formats and can do file conversions too.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Dynamic Range Compression; Make Your Songs Sound LOUD!

    All songs I've done have some level of "dynamic range compression". Essentially, it's process that evens out the volume level of your song throughout and makes it sound consistently loud. Below are a few examples from commercial music...

    Very little (or no) DRC:



    Tight DRC:




    OMG, extreme DRC:



    Without DRC, there are sections of the song that will be considerably quieter than other parts; the song is more "natural" sounding. With DRC, the song is constantly loud and is great jam for parties, exercising, or driving.

    Obviously, ballads and non-pop songs use minimally or no DRC. Pop and hip-hop songs use tight DRC while heavy rock genres use extreme DRC. Surprisingly, techno & trance music uses minimal-to-average amounts of DRC.

    You can apply DRC to your songs with just about every audio and music program and some (like FL Studio) have it on by default.