California, here I come!

Okay, this time there's no turning back! I have booked my Flight! I'm off to San Francisco on October 4th! B)

Wow! It's actually been 12 years since I left Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania. And I've not been to the US once ever since. Despite my constant and renewed interest for the American culture. How could I let it slip away for so long?

This time it will be California for 3 weeks.

It's been pretty hard to decide for how long I would stay. I originally wanted to get an open ticket and stay until it got bored (or my VISA ended, or I ran out of cash, or I got homesick...:P) but it turns out that any open ticket costs 5 to 10 times the price of a fixed date round trip.

I settled for Air France which would conveniently fly me non stop from Paris to SF and back from Los Angeles to Paris, non stop again. 699 €, pretty hard to beat. (and yes, I chose to come back through LA on purpose! ;))

Now, of course I'm very busy evaluating the housing situation! A hotel inside the city costs somwehere between $70 and way too much. Of course, when reading the online reviews for the $70 hotels, I rapidly began to think that the $200/night offers were worth the price. :-/

I also checked Craig's list but I got bored really fast. Looks like there is no way to do any flavor of advanced search on this site! And if I have to browse through all the offers one by one, I'll never find until too late. That site may be extremely popular, I don't get it...

One of the most useful resources I have found is Orbitz. It is incredibly useful for targetting a specific area of the city. It also allows to narrow down on hotels with WiFi access.

Ironically, $70 hotels near the airport tend to get better reviews than $150 hotels downtown!

So I figured it would be cheaper to get a hotel out of town and rent a car than to try to get accomodation inside of the city. Actually I think, I'll stay downtown for a few days, and then get a car to explore the rest of the Bay Area. At that time, lodging off town might be more convenient anyway.

Haven't decided yet when and how I would get down to L.A. though...

Defending the word "suck"

Seth Stevenson tells you more than you ever wanted to know about the word "suck" in Slate (via Anil Dash).

"We could argue all day about whether sucks is an obscenity or not. [...] What's far more interesting to me is the word's utility.

Sucks is the most concise, emphatic way we have to say something is no good. As a one-syllable intransitive verb, it offers superb economy."

Read it though and you'll admit that it would suck not to have the word suck available in daily conversations. ;)

Now, I can't help but remember Adam Curry citing his daughter pushing it to the next level:

"It sucks so bad (that) it swallows!"

Ouch! :>

Jack Bauer wasn't born, he was unleashed.

Due to Jack Bauer, no one looks forward to the weekend anymore, they look forward to the weekend being over, and watching 24 on Monday.

If everyone on "24" followed Jack Bauer's instructions, it would be called "12".

When someone asks him how his day is going, Jack replies, "Previously, on 24..."

Jack Bauer is the leading cause of death in Middle Eastern men.

Don't beg Jack Bauer to shoot you. He will simply shoot your wife. No man tells Jack Bauer what to do.

Jack Bauer could strangle you with a cordless phone.

Killing Jack Bauer doesn't make him dead. It just makes him angry.

Jack Bauer sleeps with a pillow under his gun.

Jack Bauer was never addicted to heroin. Heroin was addicted to Jack Bauer.

Jack Bauer played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won.

Jack Bauer once won a game of Connect 4 in 3 moves.

During the commercials, Jack Bauer calls the CSI detectives and solves their crimes.

When Jack Bauer was a child, he made his mother finish his vegetables.

Jack Bauer can get McDonald's breakfast after 10:30.

The Black Eyed Peas were just The Peas until Jack Bauer heard their music.

Jack Bauer doesn't speak any foreign languages, but he can make any foreigner speak English in a matter of minutes.

On a high school math test, Jack Bauer put down "Violence" as every one of the answers. He got an A+ on the test because Jack Bauer solves all his problems with Violence.

Simon Says should be renamed to Jack Bauer Says because if Jack Bauer says something then you better fucking do it.

Superman wears Jack Bauer pajamas.

When Google can't find something, it asks Jack Bauer for help.

Jack Bauer teaches a course at Harvard entitled: "Time Management: Making the Most Out Of Each Day."

Sun Tzu once wrote, "If your enemy is weaker, conquer him. If he is stronger, join him. If he is Jack Bauer, you're fucking dead."

Jack would never have given up the wet list... no one takes potential kills away from Jack Bauer.

Jack Bauer once killed so many terrorists that at one point, the #5 CIA Most Wanted fugitive was an 18-year-old teenager in Malaysia who downloaded the movie Dodgeball.

Quentin Tarantino was asked to direct a biography about Jack Bauer. He passed. It was too violent.

Tony was once shot in the neck, rushed to the hospital, underwent emergency surgery and was back on the job in just a few hours. Jack Bauer still can't believe that pussy went to the hospital first.

If Jack Bauer was gay, his name would be Chuck Norris.

You can lead a horse to water. Jack Bauer can make him drink.

All men are created equal. They are all vastly inferior to Jack Bauer.

Finding Nemo would have been vastly more exciting had Jack Bauer been looking for him.

Jack Bauer was conceived by torturing the other sperm until they gave up the location of the egg.

Jack Bauer has been to Mars. Thats why theres no life on Mars.

24 hours with an iPod video

I just surrendered to my geekyness again. I'm passing my iPod photo over to my girlfriend, so I had to buy a new iPod for me. Or maybe it was actually the other way round? :roll:

Oh well... let's just pretend I got an iPod video for my birthday! :D

iPod photo and iPod video
iPod photo vs. iPod video

First contact at the dealer: I was really surprised by the size of the packaging! It's barely larger than a double CD jewel case! I first found it pretty cool because it optimizes shipping... thus uses less fossile energies... okay I disgress... the point is: later in the evening it dawned on me: Apple just did it again!

Since the 4th generation, Apple has been removing stuff from the package all the time. They took away the remote control. They took away the dock. Then they took away the firewire cable. Now they just took away the power adapter! Hence the slim packaging...

This is how they manage to keep the same price tag when adding core functionnality... and they raise their margins at the same time!! (Those accessories are so insanely overpriced when purchased separately!) Guess, there's yet another Apple marketing lesson to be learned here...

I have to admit that I barely ever used the power adapter on mt iPod photo since I've been charging it via the USB connection all day long. Still it was comforting to know that if I ever took a vacation (yeah like that's gonna happen anytime soon...) I had what is needed to get uninterruped music... (though not uninterrupted podcast streams, but that's another story...)

Also, I'm a little bit worried that with watching videos which keeps the screen backlight on for significantly longer periods of time, it will drain the battery even faster than before. On the other hand, the new battery "might" last longer than before.

And it doesn't stop there: Apple has also removed the user manual from the box and the remote controller port from the iPod itself. And you know what else they removed? Firewire! Yes, that's right, they removed firewire support completely. When you connect your 19 € worth firewire cable, the iPod screen will turn to "You can't use a firewire cable with this iPod!" :(

The sad thing is that my 35 GB of music are stored on my older PC which has large ard drives, but no USB2 port. It had a firewire card though... which made the trick pretty darn well until now!

So I had to sync the iPod via USB1! Oh no... it would normally take about 10 hours to copy the 35 GB down to the pod at USB1 speed... so I've left it transfering overnight...

Then of course Murphy's law kicked in: Windows Update decided it would be a good idea to reboot in the middle of the night. So I had to do it all again and leave the iPod at home today (with Zone Alarm's internet lock ON so ). I wasn't finished when I got back from work... but eventually completed all right. Let's see the bright side: I finally found a use for Zone Alarm's internet lock: preventing Windows Update from attempting any funky update when you don't want it to! :P

Okay, nuff said about what's missing. Here's what's added! :)

First there is a sleeve included so you can protect that scratch-me-baby-I-love-that plastic when the iPod is in your pocket:

iPod video in sleeve
iPod video in sleeve

I'm not sure it's very convenient to adjust the volume with that thing on though... I'd like to rant about how much I'd like a volume control on the headset but I said: enough! :-/

First thing I tried, even before synching my music was to put some video onto the pod. That's a pain in the pass. It didn't accept any of my quicktime MOV files. And although iTunes could play them well it wouldn't even attempt to convert them so the iPod could.

So I subscribed to a video podcast... and... several... dozens... of... minutes... later... I finally had a 5 minute clip to look at on the iPod. Awesome! Really nice screen! Really fluid motion. And easy navigation control. B)

I'm definitely going to enjoy those videos... but again... why isn't there a video cable included so I can connect to my TV? Bleh... I know... marketing...

The coolest stuff anyway is the new form factor: same 60 GB capacity but thinner! Same overall width and height but larger screen! I wonder why they made the click wheel smaller though... is it easier to manipulate? Or does it just make the screen look bigger??

The larger screen is the killer feature for me: easier to locate podcasts (or songs) in long lists, larger pictures/cover art... and... you can finally see the lyrics for the song you're currently playing. Yeah! :D

Conclusion: this upgrade from a 4 months old iPod is totally not worth the price for anyone with reason... but it's just as exciting as my first iPod for the geek inside of me. I fear I'll upgrade again when the next one comes out... (WiFi anyone?)

Happy birthday to me!

Oh boy, last time I remember I was 28... and today I'm turning 33! :/

What has happened to the last 5 years?

Well, thinking back, I can list a lot of places where I've been and a lot of people I've met. Even a lot of people I've talked to online. But on the other hand, it still doesn't feel like 5 years have passed...

I wonder if this is just because I'm getting old(er) or if it's because a lot of my world has virtualized in the meantime...

Hum... gotta roll anyway! ;)