Dec 8, 2005
Oct 22, 2005
Oct 10, 2005
Went to see the movie last night -- was not too bad, in fact might well be one of the better sci-fi movies I got to see in the last few months (that after a total dissatisfaction from watching The Revenge of a Sith). It's also sort of nice to see a movie that does not only rely on CGI to get the effects. I wonder what the budget was -- sure does not look like it was huge -- that with the sort of so-twentieth-cenury cockpit and a high reliance on projectile weapons.
Can't say that the idea of the movie is all that great -- but it shines by having well-written dialogues, as well as by borrowing a bit from original Star Wars and Indiana Jones' movies (the whole Indiana Jones/Han Solo look of Mel -- pretty nostalgic...) in style and little magic.
I suppose this may sound a bit lame and romantic-silly -- but I can't help but feel so amazed that the fall this year here in Moscow is just spectacular. In fact, I can't remember the last time it was so good -- all of September and most of October so far have been dry and sunny -- not your usual Moscow drizzle, lead-grey sky and low-hanging clouds.
As a prove to this -- here is a shot of a butterfly sitting on a window frame at Moscow country-side horse-riding club Otrada. Pretty amazing for Moscow in October.
Sep 28, 2005
When Palm ruled the handheld-computing market, few thought it would ever have to partner with Microsoft.
It is all downhill from here -- and one should have really seen the writing on the wall. The lousy performance of recent handheld devices (see my notes on T5) with memory leaks and sporadic resets... Then the news of PalmSource being sold (that after failing to put Cobalt onto any devices, taking down a pile of Be Inc. really wonderful IP with it) was sold out. Now these great news. I am switching...
Sep 25, 2005
This is not a food blog, even though cooking/food is one of my hobbies. Neither is it a restaurant review blog. (Nor is it an actively maintained blog -- but that's a whole different story). Yet I felt that sharing some nice restaurant experiences is a good thing to do, hence here it goes.
During my last few visits to London I have treated myself a trip or two to very nicce and not very touristy places. None of them were of a fish'n chips variety (although you could get some variation of these in all of the places).
First of a Japanese place called Yoshino. While by far not a cheap place, nor the most "authentic" looking, it is one of the best sushi places I have ever come around. A bit small (but there's additional sitting on the second level), it stays away from the big street (you have to turn into a narrow pass way right after Le Meridien Piccadilly hotel) and big signs (there's only a small neon light saying "Sushi"). On my first visit there the feeling of authenticity was emphasised by the fact that staff had a bit of problem with English -- this has (unfortunately?) been fixed now.
Rasa is another little gem. This is, in fact, a small network of restaurants -- four or so of them in various parts of London serving South-West Indian (Kerala) cuisine. It is a very nice departure from North India cuisine that is far better known around. This is also a place if you want to find out how can a person live a totally veg life -- Kerala is very veg (although there are beautiful meat dishes there as well).
Speaking of meat, my last little accidental find is Suze. They offer a great selection of meats coming from the New World -- New Zealand and Australia. These are greatly complimented by the same bias in wine selection (Suze doubles as a wine bar). I found service to be excelent, wine very much enjoyable, and the food to be delicious.
Aug 3, 2005
Paul Thurrott has posted an article on Windows IT Pro site on what to expect (or rather not to expect) from an upcoming new release of Redmonmd browsing experence. If you have not read this yet (linked from many places around the web and a plethora of blogs), then in a nutshell -- don't expect too much. Looks like MSFT team has spent all this time for naught. Only "most important" parts of CSS2, "highest requested features" and "most critical bugs" will be fixed.
While noone in his sane mind should feel very much surprised by this, it is interesting to see some of the comments posted to the article. Especially seeing statements of a sort like "give them some slack -- they're trying." They aren't trying. Having all the financial strength of MSFT, the crew of developers and a number of people in W3C and other standards groups and still not being able to deliver does not constitute trying.
Day in and day out when I run onto websites that can't display properly in Firefox or Safari I curse under my breath, but go on -- hoping that the day will finally come when this won't be a status quo anymore. Looks like the time has indeed come to take a morew active stance, though. Enough bullshit.
Emotions aside, one does not need to be a psychic to figure that one of the at least plausible reasons why MSFT might go this way is to ensure a hold on Web dominance of IE. What good is it if it were to pass Acid2? It'll be the point when IE becomes fully replaceable by any other of the browsers. It is not now -- there are all those "nicely" coded web sites that rely on this or that particular feature (or bug) in IE.
So, I am all with Paul. Boycott it!
May 5, 2005
- Grafitti 2 While the original Graffitti may have required a bit more from a user on a learning front, on-going experience was, IMHO, *much* more rewarding. G1 writing was more like a flow with each ideogram completed in a single stroke (prefix does not matter -- view it as a shift key of your PC keyboard). In contrast, G2 writing does not flow. It stumbles with pauses of expectation at various points, gets confused with loose usage of both old and new charcter strokes. Granted, it is nice to have td tap only once to put a period, but *I* would've preferred not having to wait after an 'L' at the end of each word before stoking a dash to get a space, instead getting a 'T'! Writing "fatal error" almost always when you are jotting ends up in "fataterror"... Character strokes in G2 are a lot more polluted then they were in G1. For instance, 'A', 'U', and 'D' are relatively similar and all get a 20-30% mistake rate. 'J' and ',' also get messed up at times. Even, somehow, a space and a 'W' get mixed up every once in a while! I know that if I dislike G2 so much I can get either a G1 lib back, or install TealScrpt to overcome this. But I think it shows how usability was sarrificed in favor of potential IP infringement ruling. This also leads me to our number 2:
- Software compatibility Seems like under-the-hood changes done in T5 are relatively significant. This has a result in how well even OS5-compatible applications work on it, or that not all of them worlk reliably. Historically Palm free-/share-/commercial software was a very strong point of Palm platform. The variety of applications one could choose was much greater than for PocketPC. I cannot comment on whether this has anything to do with ease of developing for Palm, but as a end-user that kept me from switching. I know very little about what's inside a .PRC file, but my guess is that it contains a byte-code similar to that of Java. This and also some sort of a compatibility/emmulation layer can explain to me how an app that was running on my IIIx (Motorola DragonBall @33MHz) also runs on my T5 (Intet XScale @416MHz). That would also sort of explain ocassional "M68Emu-bla-bla" errors.
- UNICODE support
It is 21st century out there, right? Globalisation and all such things. palmOne (or PalmSource?) seems to have a bit stuck in early 90's of the last one, though. Somewhere in California: there's no support for non-Latin languages.
I have never liked fully localized applications. A thought of MS Office in Russian repells me primarily because:
- It provides a completely foreign interface to an application I know.
- Russian is not very well-suited language for computer-related stuff. It is too long and many technical terms are too clunky.
- Memo pad and clipboard limits The former is limited to 4K for editing and somewhat more for viewing. "This editing operation cannot be undone!" error also seems a bit bogus to me -- if I can allocate 5Mb cache to Blazer, sure it should be possible to undo *any* changes to plain text files?
- Only one SD expansion slot This may be OK if you only using the unit in a desktop syncing mode or with GPRS for connectivity, but what if you'd like full access to your files *and* use the add-on WiFi card?
- No vibrating alert and all the same sounds. May I have an option what to wake up to?
- RealPlayer for multimedia: it'd suck less had it been an add-on application, not taking up space on a ROM chip
- A lot of apps, even Palm's own, don't take a full advantage of 320x240 screen, forcing an 80 pixel silk onto it.