Twits and Such for 2008-05-29

  • OMG 10.5.3 & the iPhone SDK at once. #
  • @jreighley we’re all die hard Microsoft fanatics over here. Got a tattoo of Ballmer tongue-kissing Gates on left shoulder. #
  • @Pistachio thanks so much. I’ve moved on … to caramels. LOL #
  • Doing the 10.5.3 thing #
  • @coffeecupkat it’s just a Leopard OS X update that didn’t fix a damn thing for me #
  • @gf3 yeah, that was a nice touch. Now I’ve got random spammers in my address book. #

If Lost was an IT Company

After watching Lost the other day I was taken by all the similarities that the island of Lost and its characters have with an IT company.


Jack Sheppard as the CEO

A solid runner who came up in the ranks starting with the code.  He’s a hands on type manager who’s not afraid to get down and dirty with the code.  He makes good judgement calls though he’s sometimes too conservative and always places too much faith in his employees, except the shady types.  His skills really shine as the fixer upper.  Data loss, server failures, security breaches, office politics, whatever.  Any crisis you bring, he’ll take it head on even if it costs him his marriage.  He still likes to think of himself as the coder so he finds it hard to accept his position as a leader and the one who makes decisions.


John Locke the Vice President

At heart, John’s a good man who strives to do the right thing.  He’s got the right skills and saved the day quite a number of times.  However, his fascination with the new and unknown coupled with well-meaning but frustrating indecisiveness and general bad judgement spell disaster.  He’s vice president because he could come in handy at certain times of crisis but as the captain in charge would be more than a disaster.  He’s made more than one bad decision that nearly cap-sized the whole company.  They want to give him a golden parachute but can’t.  He’s also led quite a few promising recruits right off the cliff because they simply took John at face value.


Sayid the Chief of Security

Former black hat now applying all his skills for the good of the company.  Sayid comes from a developing country where his brilliance quickly earned him a scholarship abroad to one of the prestigious Western schools.  However, he gave in to the dark side of cracking and hacking because he thought he was fighting for the right cause, against establishment.  However, weary and shook up from his early days, he’s hung up the black hat and traded it in for the white one.


Kate Austen the Senior Developer

Kate definitely has the skills to pay the bills and knows about all kinds of stuff, in fact a lot of stuff she shouldn’t know, the problem is that nobody knows anything about her credentials or her past.  Her attractiveness and natural sexiness also creates all kind of office turmoil amongst the males.  Though female and very feminine, her coding skills firmly keep her “one of the guys”.


Hurley the Junior Developer

Nobody really knows what he’s good for but everybody likes him.  He tries to help in little ways but still has a long way to go before people can entrust him with projects.  However, he’s good people and has some good ideas.


Sawyer the Consultant

A total mystery as to how he got his contract but the company’s stuck with him.  Always trying to sell more of his services to the company at exorbitant prices, he does still manage to prove his worth when the going gets tough.  Despite looking like a burly version of a grunge band vocalist, he knows how to code and came up the hard way with little to no credentials.  Unemployable, unmanageable, and hated by co-workers he still manages to woo the ladies with that sometimes vulnerable look and careless smile.


Charlie the Web Designer

Free spirit and nice guy.  Also a great designer but some claim his best days are long behind him.  The trouble coders have with him is that he puts his nose into the development side where it clearly doesn’t belong and can even sabotage the project.  Things could be better if he simply stuck to design and do something about his drug habit.


Survivors as the Company

The merger happened like a bolt of lightning.  Suddenly they were part of a new company.  Only a select few survived the hostile merger and now the survivors need to piece their lives back together.


The Others as the Parent Company

Nobody knows who the hell the “others” are.  Just that they show up when they shouldn’t and randomly poach the best talent and kill the ones deemed useless.  They’re scraggly-looking, ruthless and generally refuse to acknowledge subsidiary employees as human beings.


The Dharma Project as Stock Holders

These people obviously have power but not much is known about them aside from the fact that they provide the resources needed to keep the company going in the form of care packages dropped from the sky.  Although, they are nominally running the show, they’re absolutely useless when survivors really need help.


The Island

The island is so much like a typical IT company.  It’s small but obviously important to the world and there are all kinds of people involved in different subsidiaries scattered across the domain.  Too bad that there isn’t really any cohesion aside from the fact that all of them are in the same geographic region.


Lost (TV series)

Twits and Such for 2008-05-28

  • Just ate a WHOLE bag of chocolate chip cookies. Must be stress. Shoulda got drunk instead #
  • @BlkDragon96 that’s what I’m here for #
  • Feel a bit nauseous this morning after yesterday’s cookie binge. At least alcohol hangovers don’t make you fat #
  • Lately, each day brings a new low to my life #

Twits and Such for 2008-05-26

  • Lost can be so depressing that you forget it’s shot in Hawaii #
  • @PatrickTulskie LOL obviously not Manhattan #
  • @Rammi yeah they’re probably saving a lot too without places to spend it. #
  • @liljan98 I’m nearing the end of season 2 #

Lessons Learned from a Hard Drive Failure

If there’s anything you can guarantee in life, one of them would be hard drive failure. The good news is that in the future, hard drive failures will become less and less likely once solid state drives become larger and cheaper (like the ones in your iPod or the pricier MacBook Air—if your friend has one, ask them if it’s the solid state drive model and watch them squirm and cringe). Unfortunately, that’s about a good decade away. Until then you can count on disk failures happening sooner or later.

Some Risk Factors and Signs

  1. Do you carry your laptop around a lot?
  2. Are you a heavy torrent user?
  3. Did you buy a cheap hard drive?
  4. Do you notice funny sounds coming out of your computer?
  5. Computer suddenly slows down or acts erratic.

Obviously, carrying around your computer a lot is a risk factor. Especially if it involves a lot of walking. People don’t realize that the hard drive is probably the most delicate part of most existing laptops today. The reason why Apple can market Nike+ and people can wear their ipods on their workout wear is because without hard drives with read/write heads, the only danger ipods need to be protected from is sweat. It’s why you can jog with your ipod and not miss a beat. So yes, those little shocks add up in terms of risk. It’s just that most people will buy a new computer before the mileage adds up.

Another risk factor is torrent use. Downloading torrents involves a lot of read/write operations in large volumes that ultimately adds up and may even spell doom. Yes, it is true. All those high definition downloads might come back to bite you.

Aside from that, don’t be overly optimistic if you notice your computer making funny noises. These noises are at most mildly irritating but in reality are very grave warning signs that something is gravely wrong.

So yeah, I basically ignored all of the above. The joke was on me. Oh yeah, and one more thing:

Don’t force shutdown your computer unless you absolutely have to.

My hard drive, may it rest in peace, in retrospect was probably a lemon the day I got it because read/write was rather a loud affair. In its final days you could practically hear it crunching. I was well aware of the risks I was running not taking advantage of the TimeMachine feature that Apple was kind enough to build into Leopard because to be honest, I managed to fill all available hard drives, including external storage, up to the brim. Such is life. On the fateful day of its untimely demise, the mac was acting up and I force shut down the computer a couple times only to find it would respond no more.

You can protect yourself from total disaster in the event of such a failure by basically backing up frequently and to an external source. Of course, most of us come to this conclusion only after a massive hard drive failure. Fortunately, most of the stuff that mattered was backed up good.

Things that Saved the Day:

  1. I kept my old hard drive exactly as it was (this also helps while you wait for a new hard drive to arrive)
  2. I had a .mac account.
  3. I used Flickr and uploaded all my photos
  4. I used version control (Subversion) for my code and various docs.
  5. I had an ipod synced up with all my music.

Web services are great because they more or less follow all the best practices when it comes to backing up data. My flickr account ensured that getting my photos back was only a download away. My .mac account ensured that my contacts, mail settings, calendar and even application settings (starting with Leopard) were backed up.

The only thing missing right now is a good, fast, reliable remote backup. There are many cheap hosting services but despite all the crazy promises of unlimited space, many of the explicitly forbid you from using it as an external backup. Maybe if I was rich I’d seriously rent a dedicated server but that’s not going to happen any time soon. Hopefully, someone will address this issue sooner or later because if something like hurricane Katrina comes along, I’ll lose my mac and its backup.

Twits and Such for 2008-05-20

  • Supernatural S02E18 “Hollywood Babylon” was classic. You could tell the writers had fun poking at the entertainment industry. #
  • ordered another cheap hard drive. My warranty was only 3 months! living dangerously as always #
  • @Punterjoe yeah, I feel like Google in their garage years #

The Hunting Party

The Hunting Party is a film starring Richard Gere and Terence Howard about a washed up journalist and successful cameraman hunting for war criminal in Bosnia. Richard Gere plays Simon Hunt, a war correspondent addicted to war, covering conflicts from one country to the other with Duck, played by Terence Howard, his cameraman capturing every moment. Simon’s success comes to an end when he flips out on national TV while Duck gets promoted within the network. Now, quite a few years later, Simon has a hair-brained scheme to capture one of the war criminals still at large. Benjamin, is a budding journalist and the son of a network executive desperate to become a real journalist.

The opening moments of the film were really good, a journalist and his cameraman walking right through war, covering all the action. They are part of it yet detached. Not fighting but not exactly on the sidelines either, expertly dodging explosions, bullets and soldiers. They are high on adrenaline and loving every moment.

The film is a mix of adventure, thriller and dark comedy. I actually enjoyed this film a lot because it was light-hearted yet well put together. I think the main detractor of this piece is the fact that it doesn’t run with any single element enough or go deeper into the mind of Simon. It’s hard to find faults with the film as far as the package goes, I think it just lacked more comedy (something funny yet satirically stinging). Still, it’s a lot better than some of the other drivel I’ve seen recently.

The Hunting Party (2007 film)

Dead Poets Society

I loved this film. Of course, I avoided it with a passion when our high school English teacher was raving about it. He more or less judged the class based on how much they would take to the film. I suppose that if I had seen it then, I would probably write it off as a misguided attempt to capture youth with too many helpings of cheese. Yet, when all is said and done, as an adult the film is a brilliant ode to youth.

The story takes place at an elite boarding school for boys sometime in the 1950s. Many of the kids there are rich while others have made their way into the school on academic merit alone, while their parents sacrifice to pay the tuition. The boys are smart and wholesome but like all boys have a natural rebellious streak stoked by their abundant hormones. They are really nothing more than tadpoles soon to become lawyers, doctors and business men. They are all more or less resigned or maybe even content with the lives that lie ahead of them and somewhat self-aware that even with the course load that comes with going to a prestigious school, these are the last of carefree days as they approach adulthood and get shouldered with heavier expectations and responsibilities.

Robert Williams is an unorthodox teacher who comes to the school to teach English after his predecessor retires. Though an alumni of the school, he refuses to conform and begins his tenure by taking the boys to the hall of fame, showing them students of ages past, making them aware of the fact that many brilliant young men have passed through these halls, bright-eyed and invincible, never to fulfill their destiny. He gradually wins over the students as he leads them to see literature not for stale classics but as words to capture the zest of life and nourish their soul, by first ripping out the introduction of their textbooks outlining a misguided way to “scientifically” grade works of literature according to a fixed scale plotted along a graph.

The boys go on to resurrect the Dead Poets Society after finding an obscure reference to it by digging up their English teacher’s yearbook. Though nothing more than sneaking out at night to a secluded cave to read poetry, prose or original compositions and mull over love and life, the secret club creates an awakening that gradually changes their lives and “seize the day (carpe diem).”

Yet this awakening ultimately acts as a catalyst to a great tragedy as their new found freedom clashes with authority.

It’s one of those movies where everything just comes together. All the actors are young but extremely talented (and amazingly the lot of them don’t seem to have done much of note since this film), the script is good, and the setting is perfect. Just like America in the 1950s the boys are awakening from a more innocent era into unknown territory. The final moments of the film were priceless. You almost want the movie to end happily, to see them all blossom into manhood with their newfound freedom. But like many good films, it’s not meant to be.

Dead Poets Society