Thursday, June 12, 2008

Life as a Mirror... albeit a broken one?

How strange it is, that despite living with ourselves all the time, we never actually truly see our own faces. We see reflections in mirrors, and still photographs, and low-quality movies, but we will never actually see how our own face looks when first we come across a cute puppy, or when we are reunited with a loved one.

This powerful self-separation is the reason that we judge ourselves as others see us, rather than as we see us – because we don't. It is also true that just as we don't see ourselves, we don't really hear ourselves either. We hear what we are thinking of and what we intend to say, but our minds are often much to cluttered and distracted to actual hear the sounds our mouths are making.

To be honest, humans aren't very good at paying any attention to ourselves at all. It's not like this should really be surprising, though, as we can't seem to pay much attention to others either.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Deskurtain v1.0

Awhile back, I decided that it was imperative I have a curtain covering the back half of my desk. No. Actually, I had some purple fabric laying around and was bored. Our desks have a cavernous area, so I figured I'd cover it up so that I could make my desk appear less cluttered and be less distracting for studying.

The string used is all dental floss (braided together at the end). I poked little holes in the cloth in three vertical rows. I threaded the floss through, back and forth, then tied it around a small dowel. I ran the floss across the top of the desk and through a pulley (the yellow thing) of sorts (just to redirect it) and down to the hook (which is actually a part from the floss container) to keep it up.

Some pictures for those of us who can't bother to watch every single video (although it is only 21 seconds):

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tattoed Commitment

Being someone who is generally good for commitment, it amused me to notice that I don't like the idea of getting a tattoo. It's not about how people would judge me or anything like that. I've realized that the commitment with a tattoo is different than committing to a team or a partner. What I don't like is relinquishing my choice.

With a tattoo, you're committed to having it, forever (forgetting the imperfect removal techniques). Forever is a long time, and it doesn't leave much room for change. Even if I chose the perfect thing to get tattooed on me, theres still a chance that I would change and then no longer want it there. However, I can't get rid of it, at all, thus it is a restriction.

With something like marriage, there is still an implied lifelong dedication (although this is becoming less the case). It is different, though, for the exact reason that there is dedication. Making a marriage work over the years is fulfilling, because it's difficult. The tattoo, conversely, just stays on your body regardless. Also, like I mentioned before, you couldn't get rid of the tattoo even if you wanted to, which leads to a feeling of restriction and lack-of-control. By maintaining the other kind of commitment, the person gets to feel in-control because they have the determination to do it.

Tattoos, therefore, and other life-long commitments are very different. Don't confuse 'em!

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Numerical Limerick

Four equals 2 exponent 2
Yet also the sum of 2s too
The square root of four
Isn't just any bore
Tis also two 2s over 2

(that I wrote while/instead of studying for math, which is what I'm going to go do now)
(also, see LimerickDB, where I promptly submitted this limerick after writing it)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Download Firefox 3 to set a record!

Tell all of your friends! Download the amazing Firefox 3 during the 24 hours it comes out and it will earn the Guiness World Record for most software downloads.

Firefox is excellent – read the site to find out more. It also displays the internet properly, so as a web designer I ask you from the bottom of my heart to get it. If you use Internet Explorer, you are contributing to great pain and suffering on my part as I struggle to cope with its lack-of-standard-support.

Thank you and have a nice day. Pledge to download it now, and they will send you an email when it is time. I was a bit irked not to find the exact date on the site, but they don't know it yet. It will come out when it comes out. Be ready!

Download Day

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I was fine until you showed up

I once had somebody (an obnoxiously cheerful morning-person) ask me how I was just as I walked into the door at school. (this is 8am or so. I've been up for less than an hour)

My reply: "'Don't know yet."
Him: "Can't complain?
Me: "Not yet"

While I was kind of annoyed (and considered saying "Not until now") and also rather amused, it took me until now, when I was recounting the anecdote, to realize that there is an underlying principle demonstrated that it is important to remember:

Your day does not begin bad. It only becomes bad when you let it become bad.

The first bit is obvious but still important to remember; your day is innocent until proven guilty. The second part is harder to remind yourself of but is also very true: you are the jury of your own day (to continue the metaphor) and you can choose to determine it innocent. That being said, there are days that are bad and you have to accept that. Nonetheless, you have the power to choose how your day is.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Repetitive Task Reminder Flags

I'm really quite a jack of all trades. I dip into just about every blog topic... all of the popular blogs I read, really. This post is rather Lifehacker-esque, and might be seen in the ZTD section of zenhabits.

I'm very soon (once I can decide on a format) going to set up a system of little reminder flags for repetitive tasks I do so that I know when they need to be done. They will definitely include:

  • charge iPod
  • do laundry
There will be more, but I don't know what yet.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Why Linux Is Awesome

Way too late the other night, I was sitting at my desk and on my linux (Ubuntu Hardy) and I made an observation that I often make, which is that the SD Card icon is wrong. Well, at least, it's wasn't the same as mine. GNOME does two cool things (well, two that are relevant): the first is to make little icons of storage devices appear on the desktop when they are plugged in... that's not too exciting. However, GNOME also lets you choose the size for icons (it uses png files). Quite awhile ago, I downloaded an iPod Shuffle icon from PngFactory to use for my iPod, but I was always irked by how the generic SD Card icon didn't match mine (it was red and black and 128MB) so I got out The GIMP and (with great difficulty) made an icon to look like my card. Then I took a video! (there's no audio)

(My blog's first video post, just for the record)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Uni-Palette Colours

Palettes are great. That could be a post in itself except it's not original enough and I refuse to put much up here that I didn't think of. Also, the title suggests more. This observation is not one that I alone have made, but it is something I just thought of this evening when I learned (from ColourLovers) about wear palettes: a blog that documents the palettes of all colours used on some fashion site.

The term "Uni-Palette Colours" refers to colours that can be worn with just about anything and still look good. These are typically

  • Black
  • White
  • Denim

Off-white or beige works sometimes as well, as can navy blue, but they don't have the same ubiquity as those three main ones. The question is, why are these so prevalent, and why do they work? One can argue that for black and white it is a matter of being all colours or no colours. Denim, however, is just a vague shade of blue combined with a texture. I believe that it fits this category only because we're so used to it that we don't really ascribe any colour or importance to it anymore.

I'm now wondering about my term "uni-palette". It was derived from the term "unisex"... but I never liked that one anyway. Perhaps to be more accurate I should say "pan-palette" or "poly-palette"? They have better alliteration too.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I'm Not Saying a Single Thing!

I'm just waiting for you stop. I'm waiting patiently... in fact, I'm likely willing you to keep talking for hour, just so I can laugh about it later.

Genties and ladlemen, I have discovered an excellent way to see how self-absorbed or self-obsessed somebody is you see how long they will talk without interjection.

I once clocked somebody at over ten minutes!

I was, at the time, nodding and being very attentive, so it's not like he would have assumed I wasn't listening. However, unless somebody is outlining a detailed idea of theirs or something of the like, it takes a fair amount of self-obsession to talk for that long. This is a rather enjoyable way to see how much somebody actually cares what you think, and how much they're just talking to hear themselves speak.

Monday, June 2, 2008

You Have a Disorder

I've got a disorder. Everybody's got a disorder. A mild form of at least one, anyway. These days, we have so many disorders that we don't know what to do with them all. People almost need to carry around a second business card so that they can fit it all on – Mr. Joe Smith, BSc, Ph.D., ADh.D., etc!

So, I recommend a new method of classifying disorders so that we can weed out the ones that aren't important. It starts with looking at another phrase that means "important"
"life threatening".

The basic idea is this: classify disorders based on what would happen if there was an isolated group where everybody had that disorder. Would they...

  1. kill each other or something similar?
  2. get along as well as normal humans do?
  3. actually cooperate better as a result of their disorder?
All forms of disorders would fit on this scale somewhere. An example of the first could be OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) because the people would drive each other mad with their own idiosyncrasies. People with Paranoia would also be in this category.

It would be harder to figure between the latter two categories. ADD (Attention-Deficit Disorder now includes ADHD) and Schizophrenia would be harder to place. Unless the schizophrenics have the voices in their head tell them to murder the others, they would likely get along quite well. The hyper and easily-distracted people would have a really fun time and wouldn't violently kill each other, but if the cases were extreme enough, they wouldn't exactly be self-sufficient. Perhaps another category should be added, for "cooperative and friendly but not at all useful".

Seeing as it would be rather difficult to predict the outcomes of isolated disordered people, we could actually get volunteers to live in such a place. It would be a kind of retreat, which could actually be really neat because everyone else would be like you.

Additionally, this type of classification could actually be extended to general behavior and attitude, with the seriousness toned down to merely examine happiness. In these cases, it would likely just be speculation, but I've found that doing this in my head helps me to rationalize to determine what I want my morals and behaviour to be
– I just consider whether a world of people all acting like that could work and be happy.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Instead of Studying

I'm writing a blog post. Well, yes that. This, however, is about a PHP program I wrote last night (and polished up this morning) that helps me to study! Hypothetically, anyway.

You can find the program here. If you want to upload a text file, they use the following format:

This program basically creates flashcards out of study-material, without wasting paper! Also, it's really easy to let your friends use it at the same time, unlike real flashcards! It's the way of the future! Well, perhaps not, because this isn't as ubiquitous, but I might soon do it up so that there are categories and organization for all of the lists. A whole bunch of user-generated study-material, now available, thanks to the internet!