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A dinner is more than just eating

November 27, 2011

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Yesterday, I had the pleasure of celebrating my birthday with a dinner at Black Angus with some friends. My birthday passed a few days before but tradition called for a friendly get-together the Saturday of. I actually didn’t plan anything this year up until the night before because I was not really interested in doing anything this year. But why not, it’s fun and it’s what’s kind of expected.

When we finished our meal at the restaurant, the waiter brought out a small cookie platter and everyone sang happy birthday to me. I always find it funny because I always wonder what exactly should the birthday person be doing while everyone is singing. Should they sing along? That’s weird, it’s your birthday, they sing to you. Should you eye everyone up? That’s ok, better. Should you laugh or cry or start saying incoherent things to yourself? Be careful there. Haha, I usually just smile, look at the cake/candles, and slowly look at people.

I know, there’s stigma about not telling your birthday wish in case it might not come true, but I’ve seen it enough where people just ask right away what it is so it should be fine revealing it. Before blowing out the candle (just one, haha) last night, I made a quick wish. I didn’t tell anyone there what it was, even though they were speculating it was for computer parts (I wish, nah). My wish was for those that were sitting around me to forever remain my best friends. That’s right, those at the table were my best friends. I usually invite large groups to dinner on my birthday, but I decided to go core this year. I know, it’s a little cheesy, but give me a break, I’m 24 now. I can be cheesy if I want. For those that did make it to the dinner, it meant a lot to me. Even if I wasn’t planning to hold it, this yearly dinner is important. And no, not because you guys pay for my dinner, haha.

Raj, John and Zain are all far, far away at the moment, but I know they’d have been there in a heartbeat if they could. Along with those that were there last night, I consider you all to be my closest friends. I don’t care whether I’ve known you since I was 4 or if I met you during high school, you are all my best friends. People who accepted me for who I am and I’m surpremely grateful for it. I can say that I wouldn’t have gotten through much of my life in such good condition without some of you by my side. We go through ups and downs, get angry at each other, make each other laugh and cry, and just live it up like insane people. There’s an Asian saying along the lines of, “In your life, you need one best friend.” I’m beyond proud to say that I have a group of you. Anyone of you would be an amazing friend to any random person. I’m blessed to have you all at once.

I want to say that we’ve had a crazy, exciting, funny, amazing, astonishing, blasphemous, delirious, insane, unbelievable, and just all around comforting bunch of years. You all made it that much more special. My birthday wish was for all my best friends to remain my best friends and I can safely say, this will be a wish that is bound to come true. Here’s to many more years of awesomeness together.

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More boring tech news, I suppose

July 23, 2011

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You know, that was the first interesting image that came up in Google Image search. People sleeping, no doubt lulled unconscious by the boring drivel of some guy as he went on and on with his tech news. Sound familiar? Oh yes, that about to happen here! What a coincidence.

My solar keyboard that I got as a gift from Logitech stop charging, so I emailed them and they sent me a brand new one! Logitech still is an amazing company. In the interim period, I actually went out and bought a Logitech Wireless Wave Keyboard. I kept so many good things about the keyboard, about it’s ergonomics and how comfortable it was. Well, I thought why not, let’s give it a go. What I was presented with was a very comfortable keyboard, indeed. It took me about 15 minutes to get fully comfortable with the keyboard and got up to speed with my typing. And I was able to continue with typing on it for hours without any fatigue. However, there was a problem. Not with the keyboard itself, but me. You see, I hate soft keyboards. The kind where the key are mushy and soft. That is what’s on the Wave Keyboard and I loathe is so much. A great keyboard for comfort but not for typing enjoyment. It’s like if I had to buy a keyboard for a workplace for typing long hours, this would be it.

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I got my replacement solar keyboard back and I’m happy. But, if I were to go out and spend a lot of cash on a keyboard, it’d be a mechanical keyboard. You may remember those, the heavy clicky clacky keyboards that were supremely loud but amazing to type on. Well, just for kicks, I did. Thanks to a sale at Fry’s, I was able to get a Razer Blackwidow Ultimate for $90. Pretty intense name for a somewhat simple keyboard. Ok, not too simple with it’s custom font, blue backlights and extra macro keys. But simple as it’s still a qwerty keyboard. But simple in looks really doesn’t explain how amazing it is to type on mechanical keys again. The last time I typed on a mechanical keyboard was at Arthur’s house for a few seconds as I test his Das Keyboard out. And before that, years ago.

Amazingly, it took me pretty long to get back my typing speed on it. Usually, I can go to almost any keyboard and type easily, reaching full speed and comfort in 10 minutes or up to an hour at the most. On this mechanical keyboard, it actually took me nearly 4 hours of continuous typing to get my speed back without an insane amount of typos. Surprising, when typing is something I’m so used to doing. Even now, when I’m fully comfortable with the keyboard and I’m blazing along, I still don’t feel right. It just feels like something is off, something wrong, and something not complete. I’m giving the keyboard the weekend to play out any funkiness. If it’s still giving me some trouble, it’ll have to go back. Hey, not all mechanical keyboards are created equal, so trial by fire is just the way I’ll have to go about it.

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Bingo for me?

May 12, 2011

I’m not really a fan of Bingo. Sure, I played it in school when class required. I even went through bingo nights with the family. It’s weird, everyone likes playing Bingo except me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate bingo, I just didn’t see the excitement that people got from playing a game that was all based on luck. Well, that probably all changed after yesterday.

I spent a couple hours hanging out with my cousins and then we went to bingo night at Applebee’s. It takes place during happy hour, so cheap alcohol and appetizers abound. The used a loudspeaker system and passed out paper bingo boards and crayons for people who wanted to play. It was interesting because nearly everyone there wanted to play.

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They played three rounds, each with a different win stipulation. First round was just one row, vertically, across, or diagonal. Then, the second round required two rows and they didn’t need to interest either. The third and final round was blackout, of course that entails winning the entire board. Each round we got new boards, so you always started from scratch.

The first round, I basically had a fail board. I think I marked in maybe 4 before someone got bingo. In the next round, I basically came down to just two numbers before bingo hit for someone else. It wasn’t until the blackout round where I was really excited. Right off the bat, myself and my cousin’s boyfriend started filling out our boards super fast. At the end, we were both down to just two numbers. I even got down to one final number! But alas, luck wasn’t with us last night, because somebody else hit blackout. Winners of each round apparently won a $10 gift card. Hey, it’s free to play and you’re in a fun environment. Good fun, too bad it was at the Milpitas Applebee’s and not the Fremont one where my friends and I usually go to. Maybe the Fremont one will throw these events in the future.

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After playing last night with my cousins, I found that bingo can be fun and exciting. Plus, throw in munchies like quesodillas, cheeseburgers sliders, and a Long Island Ice Tea and you’re almost guaranteed to enjoy whatever game you’re playing. All in all, I had a great time and I’ve finally seen the light. The appeal of such a basic game on Bingo isn’t about trying your luck or beating down someone else in the game, it’s about enjoying the company around you and flowing with the suspense between draws.

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Logitech Customer Advisory Panel

May 6, 2011

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This Wednesday, I attended Logitech’s Customer Advisory Panel. It’s an event where they invite some customers who use their products to come and give their opinions. Everything from what we loved to what we hated to what we wished were available as feature. We would be able to meet and speak with the design team that works directly on their mouse and keyboard products. It’s actually pretty cool to know that the input from myself and the others at the event would be taken directly into the process for the next series of devices.

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Pictured here is Logitech’s S510 Wireless keyboard and mouse combo. I bought it years ago and it was awesome. I’ve since replace the mouse with a Performance MX as my mainstay but kept using the keyboard.
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About the only keyboard I wanted to replace it with was Logitech’s own K750 Wireless Solar Keyboard or one with mechanical switches. Well, at the end of the event, this was what I received as a parting gift.

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That, my friends, is the K750 Wireless Solar Keyboard from Logitech. It uses photovoltaic cells to generic an electric charge for a button battery in the keyboard. It’s able to do this with direct sunlight or even ambient light. That’ means that it can use the light coming off from an indoor lamp even. What this really means is that this baby basically almost never needs new batteries ever again. Incredible. Couple that with it being wireless, chiclet-style keys, and Logitech’s switches for comfortable typing while maintaining low noise, this guy is pretty awesome. AND it was a gift, so FREE. I loved Logitech before, liked them more when I met the people who work there, and will now probably be a fan for life. Good people, good design, good products.

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You smell like meat

April 18, 2011

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Pictured: Goodness.

That’s exactly what my mom said to me when I came into the living room on Friday. I remembering laughing, nervously saying hi, and then walk quickly into my room. From there, I proceeded to strip off the outer layer of clothing and change into some fresh clothes. The lump of wound up shirt-and-combo ended up in the washing machine pronto. So, what would make me act erratic and dispose of incriminating evidence that would lead copious amounts of grilled animals? Why, a trip to Palace BBQ Buffet. A Korean barbeque joint in Sunnyvale that I don’t go to often but always enjoy my time there.

John, Rick and myself met up with one of John’s friends, Ethan, to munch. the buffet can be intimidating if you’ve never really been around such an environment. Instead of rows of cooked food, you instead get raw meat laying slathered in flowing levels of key Korean BBQ marinade. Instead of the usual siders of fried stuff, you’ll get a whole kiosk devoted to banchan, Korean side dishes that are extremely tasty and great to much along with rice. A staple item you’ll know from banchan is kimchi and it’s great palate relief when your mouth is starting to feel burdened by the meat march.

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The four of us each grab a plate and declare our poison. Beef, pork, chicken. Each person knowing full well that the amount they grabbed would be too much for just themselves, but that’s what sharing is all about. Everyone also grabs another clean, separate plate. This is your haven, your home, the place where the cooked portions will fall after their stick on the hot bars. Once prepped, tread lightly as you’ll weave back through buffet traffic with load arms. You don’t want to drop anything, it’s precious.

At each table is a built-in grilled plate and a set of tongs. Of course, I encourage more than one set of tongs if you’re party involves a few people because there will be someone who wants to cook fast for themselves and there will be some who just enjoy cooking for others. Waiting for tongs just sucks. Grab an extra or ask for one from the waiter, it’ll come in handy. Then, start piling on the goodness. Beef, pork, chicken, tripe, squid, and many others were available. Flip, wait, and take in the wonderful odors released. Pick off the grill and place onto your plate. Your hard work has now paid off (maybe 2 minutes?) and this action stakes your claim on this piece of nourishment. The only thing to be wary about now is that it’s hot. These the thoughts rushing through the four minds of my lunch party. That and I wanted more kimchi.

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Oh yeah, a post about a generic tradition of grilling an abundant amount of food. Needless to say, great conversation ensued. About 3/4 of the way through, people started falling out. Rick resigns to finishing his rice punch, John soon follows to nibbling on lots of honeydew. I finish up with who-knows-what-round of banchan. Ethan, who came late, continues with another plate of food. The rest of us just start cooking for Ethan so that he can focus on eating, haha.

This is but a cheap description of what really boils down to just what men do. Gather in groups, cooking raw meat over a fire and then wolfing it down while laughing, sometimes about the fact alone and sometimes about jokes. Sure, ladies can join, too. But, this tradition shines best here.

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More computer troubles and Blockbus-who?

April 6, 2011

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First, surprising news on olde BB. The last time I wrote about Blockbuster was a few years ago and they were planning to buy Circuit City. Well, the deal fell through and CC is long gone. BB itself has been struggling in the waters for quite a while now as it’s getting it’s butt kicked by Netflix and Redbox. So, who swoops in and nab them up at their bankruptcy auction? Dish Network. Woah. I get the whole “we got a movie service” thing but seriously, why? Dish, you guys are most likely eyeing up BB’s streaming and disc rental service. But doesn’t it feel a little late to try and get in this game? With Hulu now also offering a premium service along with Amazon rounding out the killer trifecta ala Netflix, this just doesn’t seem viable. Sure, you guys are getting BB for $228 million instead of the valued $320 million, but you should have saved the cash and spent it on licensing fees and getting more content for your own service.

Anywhoo, onto to my (endlessly turning up, it seems) computer troubles. I tried to turn on my computer today and get greeted with a system that won’t boot past POST. Great. I figured some hardware probably bit the dust and was just stalling it. After unplugging my HDDs and through the process of elimination, I came to the conclusion my OS drive bit the dust. To make extra sure, I brought it over to John’s house and plugged it into his computer. With hopes that it would be readable and maybe even drag off a list of installed apps, the drive just spun up but never entered a readable state. BAH. I knew the drive was approaching the end of the line but I was hoping to ride it out till some good SSD deals hit. Guess the bugger just wanted to call it quits.

So, I spent most of the rest of the night resizing another drive’s partition so that I could install Windows back on it. I also had to install as many of the apps I used all from memory. That’s pretty tough considering that just the week before my count was 104 applications. Wonderful. Obviously, I would not be able to get them all installed. Oh well, I’ll install them as I need ‘em. I just need an SSD now.

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Not liking April Fools

April 1, 2011

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Normally every year I’d have a small laugh when it came to the first of April. The holiday almost bequests every one to revert back to 12 year-olds and pull pranks. For internet folks, it was always interesting to see what crazy kookiness websites would pull. It would be pretty obvious everything would be a prank and people would get it over. However, this year I’m just not feeling it.

After only a few hours into April Fools’, tons of websites started putting their pranks into action. Almost immediately, fake news popped up everywhere. Webpages started changing their layouts. And some claimed to be shut down. This is all fine and dandy for a prank, but I just want real content. In the process of trying to be funny, some of the websites are just totally neglecting their posts entirely. It’s become increasingly difficult to actually find truthful material on sites today. And frankly, I’m actually annoyed by it. It’s obvious there will be April Fools’ jokes, please give me a way to filter it out.

Friday is the last day of weekday and basically the last chance to get anything in. I’m glad there are certain websites out there who are choosing to forgo any pranks so as to maintain any sanity we have let on the interwebs. And Hulu makes it’s prank blatantly obvious and gives you a button to switch back to normal.

Please, just make this holiday end fast. Nearly every piece of information I get today is suspicious by default. Even stupid product release dates.

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