➟ Your Day As A Freelance Writer

Great humor piece from Connor O’Brien (that’s Connor) over at The Bygone Bureau. Runs from 7 AM to 6PM. Here’s a taste:
7 A.M.
Wake up. You’ve set your iPhone alarm clock early because this is going to be a big fucking day. You are going to write so many fucking words. So. Fucking. Many. Like, tens of thousands of words. Hundreds of thousands? How many words did Kerouac write all hopped up on Benzedrine? You’re gonna, like, double that shit.
[…]
8 A.M.
Wake up again.
Link [bygonebureau.com]

➟ Ploom: 21st Century Smoking

Behold the Ploom, an amazing new device created by engineers, designers, and brilliant university people from San Francisco. It’s the cigarette, redesigned for a more elegant age. It’s the Nespresso of smoking.
A slender gas-powered tube heats (not burns) prepackaged foil pods of custom-blended tobacco – six varieties available now, with two others purely herbal –releasing only rich flavor and a light vapor. No smoke, no ash, no acrid smells. Just look at the thing, it’s beautiful. Unfortunately I don’t think this is due for export anytime soon.

Link

➟ Dan The Man

One of the best animated shorts I’ve seen on YouTube: Dan The Man by Studio Joho of Brisbane, Australia is about the life of a 16-bit videogame character after he saves the princess. I laughed out loud.

Link [YouTube]

➟ The Lost World

I stopped watching Lost over a year ago for many of the reasons articulated in the rant linked below. Far as I can tell, there are no spoilers for the finale; it’s more of a general look at how the show’s writers don’t respect their own internal rules and disown association with SF when convenient.
I personally remember the time back in the first few seasons when they claimed all the island’s mysteries had logical, non-magical explanations. That was the hook. A few bizarre situations amidst the very real drama of being stranded on a desert island. The impossibility of reconciliation was an addictive drug, and like all drugs: a lie. Keeping an audience for six seasons demanded a ramping up of mysteries, each new one another obstacle between the current episode and a satisfying conclusion.

Link [Rules for Anchorites]

MacBooks updated, but even consumers should go Pro

Image: Apple.com

Apple has just updated their entry-level MacBook models to match the recent 13″ MacBook Pros in terms of speed, battery life, and graphics performance, whilst maintaining a fair-sounding USD$999 (SGD$1488) price point.

That money will get you a 2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, a Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics processor with 256MB of memory, and a non-removable battery capacious enough to last 10 hours of typical use. That’s really the best feature here; five years ago you’d be happy to get three hours out of a low-end machine.

But if you upgrade a MacBook to have 4GB of RAM ($1648) and compare that to a 13″ MacBook Pro (with 4GB of RAM as standard, $1788), it looks like a much poorer deal. $1648 vs $1788, for a difference of $140.

Here’s what that $140 gets you:

  • A sturdier aluminium body that’s slimmer all around and just a bit lighter
  • The option of upgrading to a maximum of 8GB of RAM, instead of 4GB for the MacBook
  • An illuminated keyboard that dims in response to ambient lighting conditions
  • Firewire 800
  • An SD card slot
  • The appearance of not being a cheapskate/noob/student.
Jokes aside, I can’t see why it would be in anyone’s interest to buy this model over a MacBook Pro. Sure, mainstream consumers will appreciate the SD card support when dealing with digital cameras, and the metal body probably handles heat better, but the ability to install RAM past 4GB is the closer for me. If you buy your computers with the intention of using them up to the three-year mark and beyond, you’ll want that upgrade path in your future. A little extra memory in the later years can go a long way towards rejuvenating an old computer and preparing it for the demands of more advanced operating systems.

➟ The girl who conquered the world

“What keeps Salander from turning into a cartoon like the Bride from ‘Kill Bill’ is the unedited-documentary-footage texture of the novel’s narration. It’s this integration of the mundane and the mythic that enables the trilogy to hold its readers in thrall.”

Laura Miller writes about Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy (those “The Girl With/Who…” books) on Salon.com, noting the ability of his curiously dry and overly descriptive writing style to drive some readers away screaming, while keeping others locked in for the course.
Whatever you may think, these books have become a phenomenal international success of Dan Brown-ish proportions in record time. The difference is that, having read two of them after seeing the film adaptation of the first, I can quite readily recommend them as fun and engaging thrillers. I haven’t read more than a few pages of a Brown novel and don’t intend to.
Link [Salon.com – minor spoilers]

➟ Working overtime increases heart risk

Granted, it’s only the findings of one inconclusive study, but working as little as ten hours a day on a regular basis can increase one’s risk of heart disease by nearly two-thirds. The study was based on 6,000 British civil servants, a significant pool I wouldn’t quickly dismiss.
Most people I know work overtime on a regular basis; it’s fully accepted as a necessary evil to get all of the day’s work done in many sectors of Singaporean business. And as an article in the Straits Times [subscription required] today noted, wages are unfairly skewed towards what would be expected of a Third World economy, although the cost of living is firmly First World. I recall Chicago was named as a city with a lower cost of living than Singapore.
If there’s any truth at all to this study, the path we’re on is going to cost us dearly someday.

Link [BBC News]

➟ Iron Man 2 Deleted Scenes

I’ve been wondering what happened to the scenes from the trailer that weren’t in the final movie. Stuff like Pepper tossing his helmet out of a plane, with the “you complete me” line, and Scarlett Johansson’s Natalie shooting off a repulsor cannon shot at the birthday party. Finally, i09 has a post detailing all the missing stuff that will be on the DVD.
Favreau claims they took that helmet tossing scene out because it messed with the flow of the intro. That is total BS, because the intro had no flow to begin with, starting in mother Russia with a Russian version of “Khaaaaannnnn” and vodka spilling all over the place, and then furious blueprint unfurling + metalwork. Ugh.

Link (via HijiNKS ENSUE webcomic)

Google Search Trends for Singapore, 14 May 2010, 2AM

Google publishes statistics on popular web searches the same way Twitter has its trending topics. Some of this stuff stays up on the charts for days, while other vague, ungrokkable keyword combinations burn brightly and then mysteriously slip away. Let’s have a look at what’s hot now:

Far as I can tell, Habib Ali is the name of a 96-year-old “shaman” who lives in Batu Pahat, Malaysia. Why his name is trending, I haven’t a clue. Either he did something awesome or he bought it. The top result is a site that tries to explain why he’s a shaman, but it’s just stuff like not turning his back on guests, to the point of shuffling backwards out of a room. To me, that just says he’s a respectful host or he’s had some valuables stolen in the past.
A local online shopping site that lets you set up a virtual store of your own, or subscribe to a list of your favorite merchants. The company calls it building your own virtual “mall”, but I refuse to acknowledge that kind of marketing BS until someone actually pays me rent. It does have some cool social features though, like showing your friends the stuff you want to buy and asking them repeatedly if you should get them. Should I, huh? But, if only, then again, maybe, how?! It’s just like shopping with me in the real world. The ever-sunny, floral-scented Sheylara has a blog post on it.
The MediaCorp Radio DJ has done something newsworthy, but I can’t figure out what that might be. A Twitter search didn’t turn up anything either, but did you know she was at Provence in Holland Village two nights ago and has really nice legs?? Alright, I’ll stop now. I feel like the AsiaOne home page.
This has something to do with a video of a male student from Siglap Secondary School repeatedly slapping a female student across the face. Some links suggest the male student has an association with a gay dance group I’d never heard of before, called Voguelicious. What a name! It conjures up images of Glee, Madonna, Beyonce, Women’s wear floors in major department stores, shoulder pads, patent leather, and that giant Sephora store in Paris! So gay.
The name of a hot Chinese girl, what else? I think she’s a forehead model.
—–
Okay, that’s all! Tune in next time for more insight into what Singaporeans use this internet thing for.
Update: I posted this last night, and now I have a Jibapan ad appearing on my site. So, uh, go get started on those virtual malls!