Sunday, September 29, 2013

@ Poulèt

The amazing French Roast Chicken is a must try.  So tender !

Recent Reads


 Both books are fast-paced and engaging. The book of fate is a political thriller with "Freemasonry conspiracy theory" undertones, and basically revolves around the main character - Wes Holloway, a personal aide to president Manning trying to figure out what really happened eight years ago when he was grazed by a stray bullet, disfiguring him for life.

As for The book o lies, it attempts to draw a connection between the story of Cain and Abel and the murder of Mitchell Siegel (father of Jerry Siegel, creator of Superman). Definitely interesting.

The best part is that I did not recall to have already read this book in the past.  Only half way through it, when the narrator Cal visits the Superman's House, where young Jerry created Superman, with the only copy of 1932 Action Comics No. 1 with an address on it. The attic, next the museum, and then the wallpapers that were hidden in Jerry's old bedroom.  Finally, it did ring a bell.  How can I have forgotten the first half ? Either the scenes - where the nine-year-old Cal witnessed how his mother was accidentally killed by his own father, where his father re-entered his life after 19 years of disappearance, how he got himself involved in the quest - in the first half are really not that important, or my memory is sadly declining ?  Better not to think about it.

Like the way he described how the rain falls.  Rhythmic.
A helluva lotta happenstance ? Everything just happens to be ......
There's the life you live and the life you leave behind. But sharing with someone else, that's not just how you bury your past, it's how you write your future.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Antique Brass Sundial Compass

Received this beautifully hand crafted, solid brass antique style sundial with magnetic compass from my BF. It comes with a rose wood box.  It also features a scale for latitude angle setting. Lovely !!!




Sunday, September 22, 2013

Use USB External DVD Writer for Mac







My internal DVD writer broke down on my Mac, so I replaced it with an external USB LiteOn 8x External CD/DVD writer.  Everything works fine, Music CD plays well, burns with Toast are alright. However, DVD player in OS X 10.5.8 was having problem when trying to play a DVD.  The error message is "a valid drive could not be found error-70012."  What the heck!

After some searching online, I found the solution.  A big thank you. To patch the DVD player software so that it agrees to launch without an internal reader, go to System » Library » Frameworks » DVDPlayback.framework » Versions » A. Make a backup and a copy (i.e two different copies) of DVDPlayback on your Desktop.


Open the copy with a Hexadécimal editor such as HexEdit 220. Find the word (ASCII) Internal and replace with External or (hex) 496E7465726E616C and replacing with 45787465726E616C. There will be about 4 to 6 matches that need replacing. Save the file and replace the original with the edited version. So it is important to make and keep a backup copy of the original, in case you need to revert the changes. Because after the changes, any internal reader will not be supported any more.

For my case, I go Find & Replace in HexEdit (see below). Then Replace All.


Voilà! Now DVD player works with the external writer.

Applause for me. I am no pro, yet managed to settle it at once. Ho Ho !

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pomelo Helmet

This cartonese pomelo helmet is by my creative colleague.
Lovely, right ?!





Sunday, September 15, 2013

RWBY

Recommended by my incredible, I have watched this CG-animated web-series RWBY created by animator Monty Oum from The Rooster Teeth Productions thru youtube. 

Plot [extract from wikipedia] 
The story takes place in the world of Vytal, which is filled with supernatural forces and shadowy creatures known as the Grimm. Prior to the events of the series, mankind waged a battle of survival against the Grimm before discovering the power of a mysterious element called Dust, which allowed them to fight back against the monsters. In the present day, Dust is used to power magical abilities and weapons. Those who use these abilities to battle the Grimm are known as Huntsmen or Huntresses. The series focuses on four girls, each with their own unique weapon and powers. Together, they form a team at Beacon Academy in the city of Vale, where they are trained to become Huntresses alongside other similar teams

I quite like the graphics and visual effects of the series, especially the four trailers.  Just that some episodes are simply too short to satisfy my appetite.

 Don't you think the bad guys are pretty snazzy ? 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Benefits of a Library Card

September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month and the folks at The Pinal County Library District have come up with a novel way to promote the benefits of a library card. They compiled a list of 30 unique benefits offered by the public library and then transformed the list into a visual feast based on the minimalist, and retro design style of Penguin and Pelican classic paperback novels.

Nice works !












All graphics were done by Pinal County Library District Emerging Technologies Librarian, Ann Leonard, September 2013.

A Day Late, A Dollar Short

Come across this lyric from Hanoi Rocks, a Finnish rock band that I never heard of.  I like the lyric, but not the song.  Sorry.


Late at night as I lay down to sleep
I think of all the secrets people keep
like how I feel for you
Do you feel it too
or is it something we have to resume
We're just two people watching time fly by
In a world in its obvious decline
But we are young and strong
We can carry on
Find a little Paradise of our own
'COS NO ONE SAVES THE DAY
IT'S NO ONE ELSE'S FAULT
IF YOU'RE A DAY LATE OR A DOLLAR SHORT
Just think about how lovely life could be
Excluding all the man-made misery
If we're too far behind
And really out of time
Is there another world they plan to find?
TOO MANY DREAMS OF YOUTH
THAT WE NEVER CAUGHT
JUST A DAY LATE OR A DOLLAR SHORT
We're all just lonely people
Only dyin' to fall in love
FEELINGS THAT WE THOUGHT
DREAMS WE NEVER CAUGHT
JUST A DAY LATE OR A DOLLAR SHORT
THE LONELINESS, THE BLUES
FEELING SO DISTRAUGHT
WHEN YOU'RE A DAY LATE OR A DOLLAR SHORT
TOO MANY DREAMS OF YOUTH
THAT WE NEVER CAUGHT
JUST A DAY LATE OR A DOLLAR SHORT
AND NO ONE SAVES THE DAY
IT'S NO ONE ELSE'S FAULT
WHEN YOU'RE A DAY LATE OR A DOLLAR SHORT


There is something I am pondering all these while .......
Life is short.  Shouldn't one not to worry or burden oneself with too many things, and just go and do something that one always wanna do and not yet get around with ?




Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Little Book of Language









Start reading this book last night.  Only gone through a few chapters, I like it already. It is simple and intriguing.  It offers quite a good introduction to many language-related topics.

So enjoyable.











LISTENING BEFORE WE'RE BORN
Yes.  Everyone knows this fact.  But it is so sweet to be told again.  Especially this passage :

Babies don't have to wait to learn what mummy sounds like.  They know already.

HOW THE ADAM'S APPLE GOT ITS NAME

The story goes that, in the Garden of Eden, Eve gave Adam an apple to eat. He wasn't used to apples, of course, and a piece stuck in his throat.  Eve didn't have the same problem.  That's why men's Adam's apples stick out more than women's do.

It is a beautiful mistake in translation from Hebrew language.
Read on to find the truth.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

This book by Robin Sloan is really charming.


Storyline (from NYtimes)
Clay Jannon, an unemployed Web designer, takes a job working the graveyard shift at a 24-hour bookstore, owned by the strange Mr. Penumbra. The store is just as inscrutable, with two kinds of customers — random passers-by who stop in so rarely Clay wonders how the store is able to stay open and a furtive “community of people who orbit the store like strange moons. . . . They arrive with algorithmic regularity. They never browse. They come wide-awake, completely sober and vibrating with need.” These customers borrow from a mysterious set of books, which Clay has been warned not to read. He surrenders to his curiosity and discovers that the books are written in code. With the help of his roommate, a special effects artist; his best friend, a successful creator of “boob-simulation software”; and his romantic interest, Kat Potente, who works for Google in data visualization, our likable hero goes on a quest. He solves the Founder’s Puzzle, the origins of which are never clearly explained, using data visualization and distributed computing and stumbles upon an even bigger mystery: Mr. Penumbra has disappeared. Clay tracks him to New York, and in the city, the friends locate the Unbroken Spine, headquarters of a secret society.

They match wits with the Unbroken Spine as both groups try to decipher a text; the secret society using old, rigorous research methods, while Clay and his friends harness the power of current technology. In the end, both are right and wrong. Working together is the only way they will find a solution.


This book is love letter for books, bibliophiles, but also technology.  It combines the wonderful world of stories (typography, printing press, hidden messages/codes in stories), manual crafting (props for movies) and technology (smartphones, e-book readers, Mac, data visualization, GOOGLE! , programming) and creates a fascinating adventure out of all these.  One of the character, Clay's housemate, is an prop maker for ILM.  Don't know what is ILM ?  It is Industrial Light & Magic, an award-winning motion picture visual effects company that was founded in May 1975 by George Lucas = Star Wars!

It mentions  :

Ruby - a real open source programming language with a focus of simplicity and productivity, which has an elegant syntax that is natural to read and easy to write. ~ pg41

XKCD - a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language. ~ pg69
First

Hadoop - a software that breaks a big job into lots of tiny pieces and spreads them out to lots of different computers at the same time. ~ pg92

Grumble - a secretive programmer who operates at the intersection of literature and code, and who come out with the cool portable book scanner made of cardboards, GrumbleGear 3000. Its pieces can be harvested from old boxes; run them through a laser cutter to carve slots and tabs all the right angles. Lock the pieces together to make a frame, then break them down flat when done.  There are two slots for camera.  It all fits into a messenger bag.  ~pg156
 (Cool! How I wish this scanner does exist.)

Most of all, it introduces a font named Gerritszoon.  We are told Gerritszoon is included on the Mac. The iphone comes loaded with Gerritszoon. Every new Microsoft Word document defaults to Gerritszoon. The Guardian sets headlines in Gerritszoon. The Encyclopaedia Britannica used to be set in Gerritszoon; Wikipedia just switched last month......

Of course, you wont find this font anywhere. So what typeface is Gerritszoon supposed to be?

According to ThoughtStreams :

Griffo Gerrtiszoon is almost certainly a merger of Francesco Griffo (the designer of typefaces at the Aldine Press) and Gerrit Gerritszoon (aka Desiderius Erasmus, who worked for the Aldine Press as a Greek scholar).

There is one typeface inspired by Francesco Griffo that has long been included on the Mac: Hermann Zapf's Palatino.

Interestingly Zapf considered Palatino a display typeface and designed a book weight complement for Palatino called ...... Aldus.

As such one could argue Zapf's Aldus is really Gerritszoon and Palatino is Gerritszoon Display. Though there is a believe that Palatino is most likely the typeface Sloan intended Gerritszoon to portrait.
However, confirmed by the author himself, the actual font used on the book cover is Monotype Poliphilus, which is based on the work of Francesco Griffo. Nice.

Poliphilus


The book also has such a realistic and detailed description of the Googleplex - the corporate headquarters complex of Google, Inc.  Ah yes, the book scanner.  If I have the opportunity to see it and touch it.

I don't want to be a spoiler, but couldn't help to reveal that the codes are actually those tiny notches in the edge of the Gerritszoon metal punches. All one has to do is count the notches, the kind of code one learns in a comic book : one number corresponds to one letter, It's a simple substitution, and can use it to decode Manutius's codex vitae in no time.

Only thing is that it does not elaborate more in details how exactly these codes are applied in order to reveal the secret messages.

All in all, I like books and technology. They surely can coexist peacefully.