spew - what is it?
more spew
This is where I go to get things off my chest every now and then. For those of you familiar with my old rantings, this is basically the same thing, 'cept maybe a tad more risqué since I won't mince on cussing. ;-p But don't worry, I won't spit out shit for no reason. For those of you who've never been to my pages before, this section is here for me to make comments (mostly educated, sometimes not) about things that I've observed in my life and also just to keep my friends up to date with what I've been doing. Keep in mind that anything you read on here is pure opinion which might not jive with your own view of the world. If that's the case, friendly messages espousing your own views are welcome but flames will be cruelly mocked. So, without further ado.... > Current Spew
> A newcomer...
> Life goes on...
> Bend in the road...
> Strange times...
> Sittin' 'round da House...
> Unemployment Blues...
> Slowing down...
> Time Flies...
> Frivolous Thoughts
> Catching Up...
> Life as Usual...
> Changes in the Air
> Words Cannot Convey
> Almost a Revelation
> A Whole New World
> Beginning of a New Era
> Millenium Revisited
> Sticks & Stones
> New Millenium!
> Karaoke Madness!
> Conspiracy Theory

web hitokiri.com
Jun. 15, 2003 - Will it never end...

Hmm... it has been quite awhile since my last spew. Didn't really plan it that way but time flies I guess when nothing's really happening. Plus I just keep pushing it off. Is it just me or does it get harder to multi-task with age? I find that when I _really_ need to get something done I can't just arbitrarily tune out the tv or background music anymore. I have to physically turn them off and work in silence. I would've thought I'd be a lot better at it but my focus doesn't seem to be quite there anymore.

Anyhoo, I suppose there's a bunch of stuff I can blabber on about for a little while. One of my pet projects that I had worked on throughout May was . A site that I threw together to supplement a then-new feature that appeared with Apple's . Basically the new iTunes allowed users to share their music library over the Internet. Up to 5 people could connect to your shared iTunes and listen (not download), via streaming, to the music you had on your computer. The only sticking point was that you had to know the IP or host name of the computer that was sharing their music and iTunes itself did not have a feature to let you bookmark sites. Which in hindsight wasn't surprising since Apple claims that they had expected this feature to be used only sparingly by people amongst friends. Little did they suspect (which was rather short-sighted of them IMO) that people would latch onto this feature and try to expand its utility. So anyway, basically allows people to list their shared servers for public consumption. And it also included a bookmark feature so that you could keep track of sites that you liked. I figured it had to be useful for somebody.

So in late May, Apple finally wised up to what was happening with this iTunes feature and decided to disable it in their 4.0.1 upgrade. Not really surprising since in the span of that month, a couple of free programs had popped up that allowed people to take advantage of the DAAP protocol that this feature ran on to actually download the music instead of just listening to them. But, many people didn't upgrade their iTunes and are still using iTuneShare.org so I've decided to leave it up as long as people still find it useful. I doubt I'd get in much trouble over it since I've done basically all I could do to hide the IP/hostnames for every site listed so that someone just can't come onto the site and plug the IP/hostnames into the downloading programs. Of course, there're ways you can still find out the IP/hostnames in iTunes itself but iTunes isn't exactly my problem. Truthfully I think the whole issue had been blown the hell out of proportion anyway due the innate disadvantages of iTunes Internet sharing. First, you were limited to only 5 connections at a time. And songs that you purchased from the was safe because it could not be shared without tough restrictions. And most importantly, if you actually _had_ 5 users connected at the same time and trying to listen, it'd pretty much eat your entire bandwidth. Heck it'd do that even with only 3 or 4 connections. So unless you were sitting on a fat T1+ backbone, you'd be so peeved at the sudden loss of broadband speed that you'd probably just turn the damn sharing off. So the next major P2P music sharing service it definitely was NOT going to be. But anyway, it kept me busy on and off for about a month so I guess that was good. I'll still keep tabs on it every now and then but I don't see too much of a future for it.

Anyway, while we're sort of vaguely on the subject of music pirating, RIAA has been again. I hope they feel proud of themselves for taking the entire life savings away from this college kid. Way to go.

Awkwardly segueing into politics now, the Republicans are at it again. Breaking rules where they see fit as long as it benefits them. There was a very good article about it at the Anyways, back to me now, not much else happening in Ben town. Still job hunting as the first 2 solid leads I had didn't pan out for one reason or another. This is starting to get depressing. Unfortunately job hunting online is no longer effective so I've gotta figure out some other ways. Networking would be helpful but too bad I suck at it. If anyone out there has any leads or ideas, let me know. Greatly appreciate it.

May 2, 2003 - My day in court...

Early in April I was notified by the Jersey City Superior Court that I was going to be a lucky contestant in the widely renowned "The Jury Game" at the end of the month. So, being the civic-minded fella that I am (meaning I couldn't find a legal way to weasel out of it), I mosied on down this Wednesday to get my first glance of our justice system at work. Now when you're called to jury duty, you're pretty much signed up for 2 days or the length of 1 trial. Here in Jersey we get paid a measly $5 per day for the first 2 days and then $40 per day if you actually get snagged in a trial that drags on for more than that. Needless to say, the prospect of having to waste possibly more than 2 days at the Superior Court was not particularly appealing. But I consoled myself by saying that at least it'd be an interesting experience. Uh huh.

So I get to the court at about 8 and wait around for 20 minutes for the jury management office to open so I can get a parking pass so that I can legally park in the streets around the court. After receiving the pass, I run back out and drive around for another 15 minutes trying to find a parking space. No mean feat in any city during a work day. After rushing back to the jury waiting room, us newbie prospective jurors were shown a welcome video (where we were reminded that jury duty was pretty much the only civil service that was mandatory, besides paying taxes... unless you're rich) and then we were told that a judge was ready to call us up to be filtered through for a criminal case "any day now."

So half an hour later, we finally get the call and a big group of us get called up to one of the courtrooms. Within, we were welcomed by the judge presiding over the criminal case where he proceeded to stress repeatedly that he thought the US justice process was the best in the world. After his ra-ra speech, he then proceeded to tell us about the particular case (2 guys killed another guy) and introduce to us the prosecutor, the 2 defendants, and the 2 defendant's attorneys. Which was a little bizarre. Then they called in the 15 jurors that were chosen for the case the previous day. So basically they had called up like 50 of us just to choose 1 remaining seat. Oh, the judge also gave a brief rundown on how they determine how many jurors they needed. Civil cases usually take only 6-8 jurors. Criminal cases range from 12-16 depending on how long they expect the case to last. This particular case was estimated at 2 weeks. Yikes.

Then they had us fill out this 4 page questionnaire. Basically just basic info along with yes/no questions like "Do you know anything about this case," "Would you have any problems believing cop testimony," "Do you read the news," "Do you know any of the witnesses that might be called to testify, " etc. Then they let the computer pick people at random. Once called, you gave your questionnaire to a guard who then gave it to the judge. The judge would then look it over and then call you over next to him where you were then questioned by him while the attorneys listened in. This was where you were given the opportunity to come up with an excuse to not be in the jury. If you passed muster, you were then told to take a seat in the jury box where you were questioned again by the judge. Stuff like what's your name, your marital status, do you work outside the home, any kids, any grandkids, favorite color, favorite Pokimon, blah blah. Now, once they filled up all the jury spots, the attorneys get to kick your ass right out of it. They don't need to give a reason and the judge does say to not take it personally. So in this particular case the prosecutor kicks off the only Asian on the jury. They then pick another name at random which turned out to be IRS worker sitting next to me. She was accepted and the attorney's are happy with the final jury group so the show's over.

The rest of us get herded back down to the holding pen where we get scanned back in. Then we proceed to sit around for about an hour and a half. The waiting room isn't half bad. Consisting mostly of padded pews with some tables here and there. Computers line 2 walls but there's no net connection those bastards. And there are racks of magazines and shelves of books and board games. So they do try to keep you decently occupied if you were stupid and didn't bring anything to keep yourself entertained. So anyways, at 12:30 we break for a one-hour lunch. Afterwards, we sit around for about an hour when the lady in charge tells us we can all go home and don't even have to come back for the second day. Everyone's thrilled and there's a mad stampede for the door. So out of the 70+ new jurors that started our term that day, only 2 were picked for a 2 week trial and the rest of us got out scotch-free. Sucks to be them.

So my first jury experience turned out to be bust. Not that I was really looking forward to being chosen for a case but I didn't even make it past the first round to be rejected by an attorney. =p Ah well, 3 more years to ago till my name gets put back into the pool.

For those of you who are Mac users, I highly suggest downloading the new iTunes 4 which allows you to browse the new online music store. Heck of a lot of fun digging up ol' 80's music. And at 99 cents a tune I have no problem spending normal CD prices for a CDs worth of music that I actually like.

Some gender humor below. Why men hate going shopping with women.


For those who don't read Chinese, the image is a generic layout of a mall. Guy's path in blue, gal's path in red. Objective is to buy a pair of pants from the Gap. Men complete the task in 6 minutes and spend ~$25. Women take about 3.5 hours and spend ~$570.

Apr. 26, 2003 - Future site of my new spew...

I remember when I was back in high school and college and it seemed like every freakin' Asian student besides me could do the whole pen/pencil twirling thing. Know what I'm talking about? Where you loosely hold a pen in writing position and spin it 360 degrees on a horizontal axis while it's balanced on your index finger? Never quite had the manual dexterity for that. Course I had my own bastardization of it but it was never quite the same as the real thing. Anyway, apparently some people are pretty darn serious about it. Here's a Windows Media Player file of some guy showing off his moves. The guy's got a dexterity of 19. Or you could try visiting this site. Couldn't get through when I tried just now (too many people accessing at this time, stupid Microsoft IIS) but hopefully they'll fix it later.

Caught Identity yesterday which turned out to be a decent flick. Well, presentation-wise it was ok but I really enjoyed the twist and premise behind the story. If you liked stuff like the Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects, then you might enjoy the premise here. Ah well, one good thing about being unemployed; I get to see the matinee shows at $5.25 per pop instead of $9-10 in the city or during the evenings. =p

"Bonehead of the Week" award goes to Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania for stating for the record that he has nothing against homosexuality, just homosexual acts. And this was said in an attempt to defuse criticism on his comments earlier about gay rights. I on the other hand, have nothing against stupidity, just stupid people.

For those of you who use or have used earbud-type headphones, does anybody know where I can get replacement pads for them? You know, the soft mesh dealie that you're supposed to put onto the earbuds before using them?

Hmm.... maybe I should stop updating my site and just point everyone to The Apathetic Online Journal Entry Generator.


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