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A Tumblr Conversion

Hello again, WordPress!

I have a bit of a confession to make, if I will. Lately, I’ve been converted of sorts to using Tumblr. I find quite like the idea of the short-form blog. But! The tradition blog hasn’t died yet, and I have certainly not forgotten about it. Simply, for a hectic life, tumblr is easier to update on the go, and quickly at that. However, I certainly want to keep this blog alive, as life is anything but dull at the moment.

In the coming months, I will be using this blog to document my University-bound process, from essays to acceptance, to packing to departure and arrival. So, for the impatient, goodbye! For the patient, stay tuned.

 

–K.A.

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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Return

To start this off, I have one word to say: wow. I didn’t think it was humanly possible to neglect a blog for that long, and yet, here it is, June the 3rd. At least it wasn’t a case of “life’s so boring…forever alone…nothing to write about…” If anything, it was quite the opposite. As those who have read the previous post, I did move recently. Nothing big, but I like the place I’m in now…it’s definitely bigger, yet I don’t seem to have room for everything. I’ll have to look into that. Then, of course, I’m going to have university applications coming up…well, I wouldn’t say soon, but they’re on the horizon. This of course means that it, soon, will be time to start the dreaded essays. A little early, I know, but at least according to whom I’ve talked to so far, starting early is a good idea. Not to say that I won’t be doing anything interesting this summer… to be honest, here’s what my summer’s likely to consist of:

  • Avoiding family coming out from Illinois.
  • Taking summer session stuff
  • Going to Monterey Aquarium to see the re-opened outer bay exhibit
  • (Maybe) visiting some West Coast universities

Packed with action, right? I’m kind of glad it’s more laid-back now, compared with last summer…that one actually was spent with the aforementioned family from Illinois. Let’s just say that they didn’t understand the meaning of a day spent relaxing. I’d like to see their petrol bill now. Suckers. That’s what you get for being an SUV-family. Although…the area of Illinois they lived in was nice, I guess. There were a lot of nature preserves, though unfortunately not a lot of time to visit them. For anyone who’s familiar with Illinois, the trail by the Des Moines river in Lake County…I completely forget the nearest road…it’s a great, though long ride along the river.

As I like to do after a long gap, this turned out to be a pretty varied post. I vow not to let this gap happen again…at least until June 20th, when summer session starts up.

–K.A.

 

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Moving

So, first off I’d like to apologize for the gap in posting – it’s been a busy 2-3 weeks (can’t remember the date of the last post to be honest). But…something quite good/odd has been accomplished: I am officially moving. You know, there are a lot of good things about moving, and also a lot of bad ones. but I think no matter what, we can all agree: Moving sucks.

You know, for a while, I thought that I was pretty simple in terms of possessions. A computer here, some books, a bed, my desk, clothes but not much else. Well, I am astonished to say how wrong I was. Here I thought I had no attachments whatsoever in this world but now, after 16 years, I have accumulated so much stuff that it’s unbelievable. Piles and piles and piles of neverending stacks. The thought…I have to load all this in boxes, move it to the other side of the city…I guess, at least it’s actually that close. It could be worse, I mean I could me moving states.

So, about the new place, I’ve been over there a bit (obvious, right?). It’s in a great location, walking distance from the bus and a few trails and stuff like that. It’s more expensive yes, but the location is a bit better.

We’ll see how it works out. I think I’m going to go move now.

–K.A.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

On small tech

(The following post contains minimal structure, linkage, or other

Amazon is a very smart company, let me come right out and say. Way back when, in the e-ancient history of 1994, Amazon launched a basic service over this amazing new “internet:” selling books. Think of the concept: people could no longer have to get in their cars to go get the latest bestseller, they could now have it delivered to their door! As amazing as this was back then, let’s fast forward to where Amazon is now, 17 years later, in 2011. A quick search on Amazon reveals a plethora of goods: BluRays (a sidenote, those 17 years also spanned two generations of home video), computers, light bulbs, lawn mowers (who buys lawn mowers from Amazon?), hammers, potting mix, candy…you get the idea: one website now spans the role of bookstore, eletronics store, hardware store, gardening store, candystore…a Swiss army knife of a website. However, despite all of this expansion of convenient access to items, Amazon has made one decision that has influenced and surely will continue to influence tens of thousands of literature purchases worldwide: they introduced the wireless, internet connected E-book reader, the Kindle.

All over again, people were confronted with a “Amazon 1994” moment: now, who even needed to go to a computer to get a book; you could get one from my bed, and you don’t even have to wait for it. Now, I’m not implying that one day, we will all buy our lawn mowers and candy from a Kindle. However, I do think that Amazon has, once again, brilliantly tapped into the technological spirit of the times, currently centered on shifting people’s digital lives away from being centered on computers, moving it both into smaller and smaller tablets and smartphones, and even integrating it into utilities and homes. This expansion of small convenience will surely, one day, make our current digital lives look like the stone age to even the next generation.

However, I think it’s important not only to look on this as an advance in technology, but also to see it as a way to make further balance between our technological lives and the kinds of lives people led before the personal information wave. Facing the truth, our current information lives leave us sitting at a desk if we want to do a lot of modern leisure activities. However, with the advent of small technology, it will be able to reach places which, traditionally, computers haven’t taken as much of a hold, places like science field work and music performance. No longer will we have to look up on a computer and then print out a recipe, rather a portable tablet, taken into the kitchen could fulfill that role. A person hiking in the woods might use their portable device to help identify a potentially poisonous plant. I could go on forever with the examples, but for brevity’s sake I think I need to cut them off here.

So, there’s the kind of picture we’re looking at: a world where, by and large, very big computers have been scaled back in their home usage, small (and energy-efficient, I might add for those who prefer to look at that sorts of stuff) and ultraportable devices: tablets, phones, iPods, all of these things that can do what computers have recently done for our lives. I predict that, save for areas such as heavy home computing (such as gaming) and the entertainment industry, these small devices will ultimately supersede computers as the dominant driving force of our modern lives.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The No-Wikipedia Challenge

So, as any seasoned netizen will know, it’s hard to surf for a particular topic without landing at its Wikipedia page at some time or another. Indeed, one may quickly start going to Wikipedia for most or all of one’s research, bypassing the middleman that is Google. Now, I’m assuming that anyone reading this blog will know something or another about the basics of web research, but for completeness’ sake, here are some of the main, commonly-held grievances against Wikipedia:

  • It can be edited, and thus fabricated, by anyone. I recently came across this on an article stating that Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, was born in Tennessee
  • Even if its information is not false, it can sometimes be deceptively or unclearly worded, leading to confusion and possibly drastic misinterpretation
  • Even if its information is well-worded, clear, and unambiguous, it can still lack proper sources, possibly leading to confusion and plagiarism issues when using its information

So, fully confessing that I suffer from use of Wikipedia, I propose the following course of action for myself. For one month, that is until May the 4th, 2011, I will not visit wikipedia.org, in any language, nor will I use its information. This will have the effect of forcing me to look elsewhere for information, perhaps to where the articles’ many authors got theirs from. To ensure that human will and error is not a part of this challenge, I will use the Firefox add-on “LeechBlock” to ensure that I truly will have no access to Wikipedia in this timeframe.

I shall continue to update on this, if there’s anything worth putting out on the internet.

 

–K.A.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Terry Jones

OK, so I think this is a good time to rant. Today, I was checking up on the Florida Qur’an burning incident, just to see if anything had developed since then, and lo and behold, something most definitely has.

Back last year, Terry Jones of the “Dove World Outreach Center” in Florida aborted his Qur’an-burning plans, promising the nation that he would “definitely not burn the Qur’an…not today, not ever.” It would appear that Mr. Jones is a liar; he, on the 21st of March, oversaw a “trial” and burning of a Qur’an. Him and another pastor oversaw the trial of a Qur’an for various “crimes against humanity,” finally ending it after 6 hours of this by dousing the Qur’an with kerosene and setting it on fire.

This, I think, represents a good part of a problem we have in the United States today. There are, unfortunately, a number of people who remain blinded by hatred and prejudice of things about which they remain largely ignorant, Mr. Jones included. Aside from his clear total ignorance of the Qur’an (and Islam), Mr. Jones is lacking in basic respect and tolerance. Imagine for a moment if some ignorant person somewhere in the world decided to burn a Bible. Mr. Jones, and many other people around the world, would without a doubt practically take arms over it. No matter of one’s personal views on a certain religion, it is a horrible act to violently destroy that religion’s holy literature, held dear to a great many followers worldwide.

Mr. Jones also shows a lack of caring about the relations between the United States and the rest of the world. It is precisely these incidents, this blatantly ignorant Islamophobia, that alienates much of the Muslim world from the Western world. An even milder statement was issued by a Dutch man, Theo Van Gogh, and he ended up tracked down and murdered by an offended Muslim. Now, of course, I am in no way condoning this kind of senseless violence: those who commit these acts are no better than those who ignorantly incite them. However, to meddle with devout believers of any faith is a tenuous affair, and one that can certainly end in disaster, as it did for Mr. Van Gogh.

Mr. Jones, so far, is safe and well. However, the same cannot be said for several United Nations workers in Afghanistan. There, today, a group of angered Muslims tracked down and killed several UN operatives, as an alternate way of venting on Americans. This is the opposite of everything many people in the United States have long been working for. The general consensus is for improved Muslim-Western relations, not soured ones. Perhaps cultural differences prevent deep partnerships, but civility can at least be expected.

Now, as we live in a country with constitutionally protected freedom of speech, I am in no way attempting to say that Mr. Jones should not be allowed to speak his mind. However, I do believe that we are better people than this. The United States is not an inherently ignorant nation, and many of us have long worked to overcome deep prejudices of the past. However, it is acts such as this that hold us back. In an uncertain future, nothing is more important than civility and mutual respect. Mutual respect does not mean that everyone must like each other’s ways of life, but it does mean that everyone should be allowed to practice those ways in peace, exactly as prescribed in the Constitution of the United States.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Social Network

So, last night, I saw the movie The Social Network. I’d been meaning to see it for a while now, and when my family got a subscription to Amazon instant, I figured why not?

Now, when watching this movie, it’s very important to consider that this is not a documentary. It is a dramatization and a fictionalization of the story of the founding of Facebook, and it should be taken as such. Of course, some events were actually true, but there were by far a greater number of fictionalized elements to the story, far more than the true ones.

The story is told through a flashback from a lawsuit hearing. As the different people testify during the hearing, the film goes back and shows the events that they were talking about. I thought this was a pretty interesting way of doing it, far more interesting than simply telling the story end-to-end. This is a drama film, but there were definitely some moments of comedy interspersed throughout the story, for example: a hazing experiment on one of the supporting character results in him being forced to carry around and care for a chicken, for one week straight. Not wanting to ruin the plot, I won’t say more, but some interesting events ensue.

2010 definitely turned out to be a landmark year for film, a revival of originality of sorts. I mean, it gave us The King’s Speech, Inception, and this movie. Three films that I think will be remembered as some of the best of the early 21st century.

 

–K.A.

 

P.S. If the spacing/font of these recent posts looks odd, it’s because I’m trying out this client called Windows Live Writer, and so far I really like it.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in Uncategorized