Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Where have all the flowers gone?

So, the deck has been cleared and cleaned -- well, cleaned of what I can but the darn wind keeps blowing more debris onto the deck -- I guess that's what Spring cleaning is for. Anyway, all the plants are inside and what a jungle it is. I think next year, I am going to be making some adjustments. Fewer small plants and more substantial planting. Less to have to carry in and out and water during the winter. I am already planning what I want to plant next year. I think Cannas would be a good choice but I don't know if I will have enough light on my deck. I would also like to consider some sort of a water garden/feature. I bought a large black tub for like ten bucks and would love to at leat have one water lily plant. Until next year! In the meantime, we'll have to wait and see what survived the winter.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Media Streaming using WiFi -- Why Fight?!?!?

So, got a new PS3 and been playing with it for a while. Decide to give the whole "entertainment media" hype a try after about a month of playing Oblivion. In any case, the set up is simple enough -- somethings worked and some don't -- don't ask me why. Documentation on this thing is spotty at best. So far, I've tried streaming music using Windows Media Player 11, TVersity and WinAmp Pro 5.5. While I have success to a varying degree with each of these applications, I wouldn't necessarily say that anyone is the best. Here's a breakdown:

Windows Media Player -- had limited successful with my laptop but could not get it to work with my Media Server (an old Dell 4200 that I wiped and reinstalled the OS). The Media Server doesn't see the PS3 and the PS3 doesn't see the Media Server. I guess the feeling is mutual. The limited success I have with my laptop means that I can stream the music but it doesn't play a single song in its entirety without breaking up or buffering. Also, if I even try to do anything on the laptop while the music is streaming, I immediately loose the network connection. Yes, I upgraded the firmware (version 1.4 from 2004) on my router but my router is first generation of Linksys's WGR614 so I am trying to decide if it is worth the money to invest in a newer router and give this thing a try.

TVersity -- probably one of the easiest software to use. Again, limited success on my laptop and no success on the Media Server. On the PS3, I would start streaming from the laptop for about three seconds and then the PS3 would lose its connection to the router. One the Media Server, the two system again don't "see" each other. Oh well. I guess we're headed to the divorce court.

WinAmp 5.5 -- limited success on both the laptop and the Media Server. Technology wise, this is a completely different solution. Apparently, the music is pushed over the internet. So, you run WinAmp Remote on your media server and share the location where your music files are. You go to the place where you want to listen to the music and use the Web Browser to go to a site, login and start streaming! Sounds simple enough but reality is a different story. Everything was accurate up to the point where you open the browser and start streaming. Well, on the PS3, I could see all 3000 of my audio files but when I tried to play any of them, it would take forever to download/stream the music to the PS3. By forever, I don't mean like 30 seconds -- it's more like 30 minutes and then it was still waiting. In any case, I got tired of waiting and never heard a squeak coming out of WinAmp.

So, after all these trials and errors, I have decided that while the idea behind media streaming is indeed exciting, the reality of it all is very disappointing and definitely not for the masses right now. I guess if I want to listen to music from anywhere in the home, I should just carry around my MP3 player or turn the music up really loud on my stereo (sorry, neighbors!).

Another gripe -- what's with the documentation these days -- have technical writers gotten so expensive that companies can't afford to hire them anymore? Any sort of troubleshooting used to be handled in the opeartion manual but now I had to go from forum pages to forum pages just to cull an ounce of useful information. There are a lot of people with the same questions I have but not many answers. I guess there is really no reason for people who have gotten it to work to visit a forum page after all, right?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Saturday Cards

So, went to a friend's home to play cards on Saturday. The name of the game -- Texas Hold'em Poker. It is an interesting enough game but it doesn't keep my attention for long. Once you are dealt your two cards, and the other three cards go on the table, your game is pretty much set. People with good hands are going to bet big money and do you stay in the game in the hopes that the last two cards will be in your favor or do you fold and cut your losses? Tough decisions to be made and could mean a landslide victory or a "clean your house" loss. Good thing we are not playing with real money. My game is MahJong -- the ever changing world of MahJong. Where every card that you draw or discard and the cards discarded by your opponents constantly changes the game and how you play it. Do you want to take that card that has just been discarded and could potentially mean minimizing your possible permutation or do you keep your options open and potentially never see the winning card? Again, tough decisions to be made and the decision is not entirely up to you -- you have three other people at the table that will help determine your fate. PLAY ON!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Anciet Chinese Poem Sings of Today's Feelings

So, in my quest for a relationship, these words struck me deeply. The lament of a forgotten love?


明月幾時有 把酒問青天
不知天上宮闕 今夕是何年
我欲乘風歸去 唯恐瓊樓玉宇 高處不勝寒
起舞弄清影 何似在人間

轉朱閣 低綺戶 照無眠
不應有恨 何事長向別時圓
人有悲歡離合 月有陰晴圓缺
此事古難全 但願人長久 千里共嬋娟

There are many translations for what the poet originally intended -- even in the Chinese version. To translate to English is a whole different story -- many subtleties are lost in translation. The title of the poem according to my translation means may we (or may our relationship) lasts forever. What I really like about this poem is the analogy that is drawn between the moon and human relationships -- the moon wax and wane as do people come and go -- nothing last forever. Also, the poet asks the speaks of how the Moon can be so full and round when love ones are far apart. Such irony.

If the poem is to be translated as a whole, it would be that the poet is lamenting the distance separating him from his loved ones; however, the fact that they could both be looking at the same bright moon brings them closer together (kinda like that animated music video for Somewhere Out There). The loved one in this case is his brother but you can adapt it to whoever you're missing at the time. That's just how I feel so don't kill me if other people disagree with you.

There are some really beautiful imagery presented in the poem as well -- In a red pavilion, through a low wooden window with beautiful carvings, the moon shines on a solitary person that is having trouble sleeping.

I raise my cup to toast the moon and ask, "When if the next full moon?"

Beautiful -- and always brings a tear to my eyes.