Apple Is Parallels Shy

We went to the mall today to get Bryan’s picture taken for his Canadian residency application (long story). So I went to the Apple Store to check out the latest iPods and other toys. I was really amazed how thin and light the new iPods are.

One of the things I’ve always wanted to test out was running Parallels, a new emulation software, on an Intel Mac. It’s been widely reported that it is capable of running Windows at near-native speed on an Intel Mac. I really needed to see just how efficient I can be coding within OSX while testing my codes in other browsers under Windows. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t have any machine with Parallels installed. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was because Parallels did not pay Apple to install its software on Apple’s demo machines. That said, third party softwares are actually pretty hard to find on those demo Macs except for Microsoft Office for Mac.

Civilization IV for Mac

I saw that Civilization IV for Mac was finally released, and a demo version is now available for download. I checked out the specs needed to run the game and was sadly disappointed — it requires a G5 processor or an Intel Mac!

Simulation games are about the only thing I like as far as gaming’s concerned: The SimCity series, Civilization series, Age of Empires series and those Rainbow Six/Rouge Spear military/special forces games. Argh!… But then again it has been 4 years since I got my PowerBook… Damn old Macs…

Dream Toy

The much anticipated and rumored replacement of Fujifilm’s S3 Pro DSLR was finally unveiled today. But instead of the usual increment to “S4″, Fujifilm decided to call this upgrade the “S5″…. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Japanese don’t really like the number “4″?

Anyway… the features were a little disappointing for a high end toy. I was looking forward to this upgrade since the S3 was considered my dream toy when it was first released. At my wedding, two out of the three professional photographers there had the S2 (the other guy had a Nikon)! I guess that says something about Fujifilm’s professional cameras.

Even though the price isn’t available yet, I have a feeling it’s going to be at around $2500 to $3000. That was how much the S3 cost when it first came out. But then the price has been dropped to around $1500 after about 2 years being in the market.

Fujifilm S5 Pro DSLR

Crossover Office for Linux

Having having read some pretty good reviews on CodeWeaver’s Crossover Office for Mac, I decided perhaps I can give it a shot on my Fedora Core 5 running on an aging Dell hardware. After all, Internet Explorer 5.5 and 6.0 are all I needed. Having an emulator to run Windows 2000 and Windows XP seem kind of a waste of resources. And besides, my dual P3 450Mhz Dell run VMWare with Windows on top of it extremely slowly. Basically Crossover allows the host operating system run most of Windows applications at almost native speed without having the headache of having to install Windows at all.

The installation of Crossover Office trial version was actually very easy — easiest of any Linux software I have ever tried. It was truly just click and install… none of that configuration nonsense geeks like so much (not that there’s anything wrong with that). And installation of IE 6.0 went also fairly smoothly without any hiccups. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much where Crossover stops being useful for me as a web developer.

First of all, the CSS display mechanism in IE 6.0 sp1 under Crossover is all wrong. It’s nowhere near what the real IE 6.0 shows under Windows 2000 or XP. I was actually pretty freaked out to see some sites were rendered that I had to start up Windows 2000 and XP just to double check.

And then there’s the stability issue, most likely because of my aging hardware. Crossover crashed at least 4 times during the short 30 minutes I tested it. Configuration panels would freeze and configuration windows would go blank for no reason. I am pretty sure this had to do with my hardware more than anything else. But it was pretty frustrating having to issue “kill” commands on it.

If various versions of Internet Explorer work as they normally would in Crossover on the new Intel Macs, that’s another BIG reason for me to justify getting a MacBook Pro as soon as they come standard with Core 2 Dual chips. Better yet, Microsoft should just stop making software and become a hardware company — they are much better at that!

So I guess I won’t be paying for Crossover Office when the trial expires.

Goodbye to Grandma

My mom left last night, one week shy of having been here for two months. She had tears in her eyes as she held and said goodbye to Bryan. Bryan gave her a couple of kisses, not knowing it’d be a while before he’s to see grandma again. He innocently showed off his new-learned skills of “flying kiss goodbyes” as mom entered the security line. But of course, Bryan probably could not grasp what was going on and got distracted at the bypassing flock of flight attendants getting ready to go through security checks for the crew.

By now, mom had cleared the security checks; she turned around one last time, hesitated and looked at Bryan. She smiled. And then she waved her goodbye, hoping Bryan would be able to recognize her tiny body in the fleeting crowd and wave back. And then she turned and dragged her feet en route to her departing gate. What she didn’t see was Bryan finally raised his right hand, gaving her a kiss goodbye and waved.

Americana

The other day we came home to a mailbox stuffed with a huge USPS envelope addressed to “Bryan Yong-si Chu”. I was like, “Hey Grace, there’s a mail for Bryan!?”

It turned out to be Bryan’s passport (of the United States of America!). I opened and flipped through his passport with envy, joy, maybe almost a fraction of a drop of tear in my eye — Bryan was born with something his parents spent a good deal of fortune and their adult lives pursuing but could not obtain. I hope he will appreciate this gift that’s been bestowed on him.

Bryan's American Passport

With this passport and copies of my MFA transcript from SCAD, now we are ready for our interview with the Canadian Consulate in October.

Dethroning Taiwanese President

It seems like recent protests in Taiwan have garnered some international attention. Taiwan woke up one day to a corrupted president whose presidential campaign, ironically, promised to eradicate corruption from an corrupted era*.

It’s been estimated that as many as 750,000 people showed up in a demonstration, forming a human wall circling, and enclosing, the Presidential Palace and his residence. The images from the news were quite impressive as the demonstrators each wore red clothing and red flashlights that represent anger. Surprisingly (to me anyway), the entire demonstration was peaceful.

Depose President Chen

* KMT ruled Taiwan was often cited as a corrupted government; but then again, KMT took Taiwan from being one of the poorest nations, having been a colony of Japan for quite a while, to among the most prosperous in the world; KMT has also been “credited” as a reason China turned communist due to excessive corruption at the top levels of the party and government branches.

New Territories

Ah, the new era of crawling. For Bryan, his newly discovered mobility has lent him the ability to explore ever further in areas he’s never been to before — by himself. I try letting Bryan make his own mistakes as he continues his quests of discovering new objects and their uses (with adult supervision, of course), but these painful lessons sure take time to stick sometimes.

He has crawled pretty close to our cats water bowl a few times. But the kitchen seems like a bad idea for him to be around anyway. So we’ll be getting one of those adjustable gates to block his entrance to the kitchen for as long as possible, knowing fully that sooner or later he’s going to figure out how to dismantle the fence with brute force.

We’ve already moved our mini rack of wine collections near the entrance of the living room to where the bookshelf is. It’s a lot less accessible until Bryan discovers THAT part of the room. Until then, our 1997 Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti Classicos are safe.

Digital SLR Camera

Nikon finally came out with the successor to replace the successful D70… the Nikon D80. I think this is my camera for the price range… Now I just gotta wait for the price drop before placing my order… I am just glad I can finally reuse all the photo equipment I’d accumulated when I was a photo student (yes, there was a time when I was more artistic than techno-geek).

Nikon D80

I didn’t have much to complain about my Canon S230 until Bryan got way too active for the aging digital dinosaur. Almost every shot misses the “Kodak Moment” which really get me frustrated sometimes.

Yogurt with Toy

Bryan discreetly dropped his toy in my mug as he simultaneously concentrated on sucking the yogurt through the straw. It was pretty funny.

Everything in Bryan’s hands these days goes to two places: the mouth and the floor… Occasionally he tries to put whatever in his hand (or just his hand) in any open container.

Toy in Yogurt