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Month: September 2006

“ouch! I just shot myself in the foot”

“ouch! I just shot myself in the foot”

That must have been Bruce Chizen’s reaction four months ago when he found out the crack legal team at Adobe decided to sue Microsoft for including the export to PDF function in Office 2007 Beta. As a result Microsoft has removed this function entirely from Office 2007. However, you can still do it by downloading a plug-in (thank god!).

Adobe has long touted PDF as the “standard” for web documents. I guess Adobe didn’t look up the definition of “standard” in the dictionary.

For those unfamiliar here is the definition of “standard”: Commonly used or supplied

Adobe is capitalizing on the fact that it says “or” instead of “and.” If you want your file-type to be the standard you can’t start suing people for trying to propagate its use. Imagine if Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders started suing everyone who used Arial type-face on their website. They’d eclipse the wealth of Bill Gates. I guess the aquisition of Macromedia went to the big A’s head. Talk about the real King of all Media.

See original article here.

SFO

SFO

Thursday morning I left Burbank soil and touched down left of the bay. I arrived early at the Bob Hope United terminal expecting long lines due to recent travel regulations – and the fact that I had to check a 60 pound blue metal cube (which I’m told didn’t always have rollers on the bottom). I had parked at the tip end of parking lot A, directly under the control tower which my plane would coincidentally drive by before taking off. Check-in took all of fifteen minutes. This left me with two hours of watching The View in HD, possibly the longest part of the trip.

Upon touching down at SFO I proceeded through the long corridor to the baggage claim area. A normal airport would have filled this space with ads. Instead SFO features a variety of very well laid out x-ray photographs of marine life, marine life skeletons, “of the sea” artwork, and real dead sea animals in large glass jars. I had to actually stop and stare a few times. Being San Francisco there were also quite a lot of good looking Asian women around. I had to actually stop and stare a few times.

Once I reached baggage claim and watched everyone else claim their luggage and not seeing my cube anywhere I waited twenty minutes in the service line to find out that my cube had been misplaced 100 feet to the left of us at claim area 3 (it was supposed to be at 4). From there I rendezvoused with Aldo (one of our advertising partners) and Dan (president of our educational services division). We rode the BART to Powell Street and rode the escalators up to Powell and Market. From there we proceeded directly to the Moscone center (across from the Metreon) to set up our booth. Once done we went to the Daily Grill for vittles. Pooped from traveling we decided to end the night at our room at the Marriott by watching the Da Vinci Code “on demand.” An hour into the movie it suddenly shut off. Room service couldn’t do anything except offer to let us start it over for free. Since it was already 10pm and the movie is three hours long we opted not to… so I STILL haven’t seen the DaVinci Code.

The convention was admittedly slow and got slower each day so I won’t do much describing of the events in the convention hall, but simply skip to the evening activities. It was a typical convention with booths large and small, overpriced junk food, and lots of standing around waiting. I knew a little more about what we do (okay a lot more) this time, so I didn’t feel like such a fish out of water when I was asked a technical question (compared to the 2005 Anaheim CDA). I did notice a large amount of northern California dentists, hygienists, and assistants are moderately attractive Asian women though (albeit most of them five to ten years too old for me).

Friday night our group (Dan division president, Steve division president, and Diana – manager of a partner company) went to The View Lounge at the top of the Marriott. The lounge is famous for having all glass walls on the north and south sides of the bar – which give you a spectacular view of the city. $74 worth of drinks later (of which I only accounted for a $5 sparkling water) we were ready to head a few blocks north to La Scala Italian Bistro. From there we took a slow walk back to Diana’s hotel (the W) and had more drinks (of which I had an orange juice) at the XYZ bar over a rousing conversation of the positives and negatives of past drug usage and romantic relationships

Saturday night I was able to ring up my friend Aaron from Ohio State art college. He is now living in San Francisco working on a masters in sculpture at the San Francisco Academy of Art. Yes, this is the same Aaron that showed me around the last time I was in town (February 2005). We headed to little Italy and ate at Figaro restaurant. It was about a 20 block walk from the hotel. I had a “Caramel Pyramid” for desert. From there we walked about ten more blocks to Aaron’s apartment. The apartment building was old (as is most of the non-business area of the city), built shortly after the 1906 fire. Aaron actually lives in apartment number 666. I took a photo for proof. While there he showed me a room the size of a walk in closet that they were renting out for $500 a month. We then walked four flights up the outside stairs to a spectacular dusk view. From his back porch he can see straight ahead to Alcatraz and all the way north to Lombard Street, with the Golden Gate arcing through the middle.

Next was a trip up to Coit tower, which was only a few blocks south (although up hill all the way). On the way we passed a long black Cadillac. On the way back from Coit tower we passed the same Cadillac and had a conversation with the owner when he saw me photographing it and offered to sell it to me for $5,000. The car is a 70s black Cadillac that had to be at least 22 feet long. The kind of car you’d expect to see Robert Plant come out of before a show at Madison Square Garden.

Then it was getting late and it was time for my 60 minute 30 block walk back to the hotel.

The show ended (officially) at 2pm on Sunday, but by 2:10 Steve and I were already on the BART to SFO. We were able to get an earlier flight out and I was home by 6:30. On the plane back we had to be diverted because of the ongoing forest fire in Castaic. The fire was visible from the air; it was quite a site and reminded me of the aerial shots of atomic bombs.

My car was covered in sludge. No doubt runway dirt blown up by jet engines and spat through the wet air in the early morning hours. Nasty stuff.

After cleaning up a bit, checking email, and tallying up my credit card receipts (over $220 that I’ll have to seek reimbursement for) I received a call from the other Aaron. If I came over “right now” I could have six cases of Fuze drinks. I high-tailed it a mile across the valley and made off with no less than ten cases – that is 120 bottles if you’re counting!

Sadly – I missed the entire OSU vs. UC game Saturday, but, judging by the score, the buckeyes didn’t need my cheers anyway. Notre Dame could have used them – but (for once in my life) I would have been rooting for Michigan.

For photos of all this and more click here and download the zip file.

I’m retarded

I’m retarded

Okay, so apparently I’m not all that bright. I bought two big boxes of granola cereal this weekend. I checked the ingredients as I always do to make sure there were no nuts.

About ten minutes ago my head started hurting. My joints felt funny and I started having pain behind my rear jaw and in my chest. I’m feeling a little light headed (still) and I feel like my pulse is quicker.

I looked at the cereal box. Sure enough – “almond powder.” How did I miss that? I suppose one slip up in 25 years is okay – thank god it wasn’t peanuts! Okay, so now I have an answer for those people that say “but are you sure you’re STILL allergic to nuts?”

Yeah, I feel like crap right now and I finished eating about half an hour ago. This can’t be a coincidence. Looks like somebody here at the office is going to take home a free box of cereal today…

That is what I get for trying to eat healthy – I won’t make that mistake again!

the brothers

the brothers

A few weeks ago I received a card in the mail from Warner Brothers studios. The card was an invitation to a free tour of the studio lot.

At 9:45am Saturday morning myself and two friends (WB said I could bring up to three other people – Chi stayed up too late Friday and decided not to come) proceeded to the parking lot next to the WB general building. Normally parking is $5 in this lot – for us it was free. Upon getting our tickets we found out that these free tours are a dry run for future paid tours. There will be two levels – a 90 minute tour for $45 and a five hour tour for $150. Our sample was of the former. We watched a short promo film in a small theater to introduce the tour. Then it was time to hit the stretch go-kart for a ride around the lot. We first went by an exterior casino set that will be used this month for shooting Ocean’s 13. Next was a tour through the exterior town (Chicago) locations for the tv show ER. After that it was over to the outdoor town set for Gilmore Girls. Boy, a certain somebody would have paid big bucks to see that, too bad (for her) she didn’t think I was useful enough to keep around! We even got to walk around the set (which has also been used for countless other movies and tv shows like the Waltons and Dukes of Hazard). Then we passed by some actual filming being done for a commercial. After that we were told to put our cameras away for the majority of the rest of the tour. Some things included were more sets for Ocean’s 13, the metal shop, the wood shop, the plumbing department, the Friends set building (which had a blue “racing” viper parked in front for some reason), the entire indoors set for the new show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, a small museum of movie cars (featuring two batmobiles, the General Lee, Cricket – from AI, the Mystery Machine, and the Harry Potter car), the television museum, the Harry Potter museum, and more.

Having never gone on a studio tour I wasn’t that impressed (after all – I haven’t even seen any of the Harry Potter movies – so why is a whole floor full of memorabilia supposed to make me tingle?). My comrades let me know however that they’ve gone to the tours offered by the other studios and this one was actually a bit better.

They saved the best for last though. The stretch golf cart’s next stop was a back-alley on the “New York City” outdoor set. In the street they had set up several tables (with shades) and a lot of food. There was even a live band – DA Bookman & Air Tight. The food was great. They had fresh grilled burgers, really good fresh hotdogs, watermelon wedges, gourmet fresh grilled pizza, lots of drinks (including San Pellegrino Limonata), and even an ice cream cart full of goodies for desert. The band was a very good modern jazz group. I knew right away they were some serious musicians when I saw the bass. The bass player was playing an eight string bass guitar. I’m not even sure if I’ve ever seen one being played in real life before. We actually sat there listening to the band for about an hour and a half.

All for free because I’m a Burbank resident.

To see pictures of the things I described above (that we were allowed to photograph) – download the zip file here.

TOOL

TOOL

Thursday night Aaron and I met up for a Tool show at Staples Center.

I felt really old waiting in line next to a bunch of chain smoking goth kids with tattoos and piercings. “Studded” belts were not allowed in the building, and by the time I made it to the metal detectors each security guard had their own personal belt collection. Way to be unique children, way to be different.

We actually ended up having great seats about 50 feet from the left side of the stage. Perfect view of everything (albeit from the side).

The only problem was the set list. The set was heavily dominated by songs from the recent release 10,000 Days. The reviews (and my own friends’ opinions) of this release are so low that the album has been out for four months now and I still have not bothered to pick it up. Now, most of you know what a rabid Tool fan I am – so that should tell you something. And it should also tell you how disappointed I was in the show. They even changed the set list from the Bakersfield show – removing Sober in favor of yet another “new” song. In fact, they didn’t play anything older than the Aenima release. The only songs played not on the new album were Stinkfist (extended version), 46&2, AEnima, Schism (with new “fast” bridge part), and Lateralus. I have to admit the visuals for the show were very good. The actual footage wasn’t that great (they haven’t really had any new ideas for the video footage since the Lateralus tour), but the presentation was interesting. The entire stage was coated in white and even the stage hands had to wear white lab-coats. This enabled the band to project imagery across the entire stage – to the benefit of those in the nosebleed seats who couldn’t see the five-foot high projected video screens that spanned the back of the stage. This same video footage was also showed on the four-sided jumbotron hanging from the ceiling. For the last four songs a giant grid of LEDs was raised behind the band. The lights would sometimes resemble the video footage and other times simply pulse rhythmically. There were also three “UFO” lighting rigs that raised and lowered and tipped in various directions throughout the show. The last element they added was a Floydesque laser light show complete with fog machines to increase visibility and perfectly placed mirrors on the stage floor to redirect the beams when called for.

The presentation worked perfectly for the performance of Lateralus. The video footage for this was the same as in the actual video for the song – which is a CG reinterpretation of a few Alex Gray paintings.

Maynard was sporting black bubble-eye sunglasses, jeans, a Mohawk, and no shirt. Our seats were close enough this time to get a good look at that infamous tattoo. I spent most of the time watching Danny Carey’s hands (still a blur even at close range).

my little problem

my little problem

After the post three weeks ago about my emergency room visit I got a response from one my friends. The friend will remain nameless as she told me someone in her family has the same problem. At first she told me this through myspace, but she sent me a more detailed email today. I’ll copy it below.

–unfortunetely this might not be what I have as they looked for a “pocket” during the x-ray process. Although – since the food had technically passed by then – maybe it just didn’t show up…

“asked my dad about his swallowing difficulty. He told me that he had never been to the doctor for it since his brother went and got diagnosed with a hiatal hernia. The way dad explained it to me is that there is a little pocket in his esophagus that food gets caught in. Basically, there isn’t a whole lot they can do for it. Surgery is an option in extreme cases, but for the most part, it is tolerable for most people. My uncle actually had it happen at work one day and was in tons of pain from it. This lasted for almost an hour. I guess they ended up calling a squad because everyone he worked with was freaked out. My uncle was humiliated when, just as the medics walked in…the food went down and he was fine! My dad says that the only prevention is to know what foods get stuck easier than others. He said that chicken is the worst for some reason, but if he drinks water before each bite and continues to drink water, it can prevent it sometimes. Rice and carrots are bad too. Anything that is kinda jagged can get caught. When it does happen, he said that the best thing to do is to keep your esophagus as straight as possible and bounce on your heels. It sounds silly, but he says it works. Just tilt your head back, chin up, standing up as straight as possible and bounce…(think a bouncing sword swallower). He said that he used to try to puke, but being bent over like that almost totally prevents it from dislodging because your esophagus isn’t straight. I looked up some info on this for you.
Here is the web site : http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001137.htm
Then, there is another spot on it that talks specifically about difficulty swallowing:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003115.htm
Hopefully this is helpful to you. Of course, this may not be what is going on with you, but maybe it’ll at least point you in the right direction. I didn’t read all of the info on this site, but I skimmed it a little, and it seemed to be what dad was talking about. When I actually talked to dad about this a little more, he was telling me how painful it can be at times. I’m sorry that you have to go through that 🙁 Maybe if you learn what foods trigger it, you can prevent it all together. I guess my great-grandma had the same thing as my dad and uncle too…I hope I don’t get it. Oh, just thought I’d mention too, that I think I read at one point that obesity, smoking, etc, makes these things worse. You aren’t alone though, my dad, uncle, and great-grandma have never been fat, and never smoked either as far as I know.”