Friday, March 16, 2007

Desperate people with money spend money desperately

I found this quite strange:

Microsoft: Use our search, we'll give you incentives

Microsoft using the fact that they have leverage with companies to get what they want. The question is whether companies have enough power over their own employees to do anything. But I'd have to admit that sometimes I do use Live Search and... I can't say I've been satisfied with the answers that it gives. This is not a scientific conclusion, but subjectively there is a lot of room for improvement yet. I do like that they have done a lot on trying to understand some types of questions and provide dictionary/encyclopedia answers to them, but the search itself is just not too good.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Getting back to a world that has changed

I will have to admit that this weekend I haven't done much. My neck has been really bothering me and I haven't been able to do anything for any length of time. I could be able to lie down and watch TV for some time, but I don't allow myself to do that.

So, in these brief periods of going around and trying to do something, I went around online and checked how PC games are doing. It's been sometime that I don't look at what is out there and I felt that it would be a fun thing to look.

In this looking around, I found some suggestions that I should try the Supreme Commander demo. So there I went to download it...

The first thing I realized when I wanted to download it is that all websites require you to register to download (with exception to a couple that allow you to do the download anonymously but with a restricted bandwidth). And then they would put you in a queue if you don't pay for the service.

I found this very strange at first. After Google, the Internet for me was free and anonymous! But when I realized that the demo that I was downloading was actually a 1 GB file I started to understand it. 1 GB download!? That's very ridiculous! No wonder if they don't restrict what people download they will spend a lot of money on bandwidth so that people can get a software that contains no advertisement (except from the reminder that it's a demo and you should buy the full version). Tough business model.

In any way, I did download the game (in about 20 minutes) and played it for some time. It's not bad, but I found that I needed some more knowledge of the keyboard shortcuts. It was hard to organize an offensive (or defensive force) without being able to select all, or a well-defined part of all my bombers or interceptors, and so on.

But in general it does fall in the basic build and attack type of game (at least in the first campaign level). You have one type of foe at a time: airplanes that you need to use the interceptor for; ground troops that kill your airplanes that you need to use ground troops for (and move them using a transporter); ground turrets that decimate your ground forces that you need bombers for; ground-to-air turrets that you need ground forces for; and so on. So the idea is: find what you are up against, build the forces and deploy them in order.

Anyway, time to move. I have a LONG day ahead of me. Things this weekend didn't work as well as they should and my hurting neck is just making me tired and not very productive. I have no time to be unproductive! (you might be thinking - if he had a lot of work to do, how come he played games this weekend? Well, most of my work right now is to wait and monitor a build that is taking an amazing 10 hours to break... Not very exciting)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Learning about Kaplan and Geiger

Time is going by and there isn't much I have to talk about. I've been busy doing a lot of random things, like buying stocks a couple of days before the market dropped, working on the garden, having so many meetings in a day that I don't even have time to have lunch... And life keeps going on.

One thing that I've been paying attention to lately is a very interesting lecture I'm listening to: Jewish Intellectual History: 16th to 20th Century. I guess what is interesting me the most is not really the "religious" or sociological side of it, but only that I'm now starting to make sense out of names that were used during some informal conversations with some friends in the past. Suddenly I know what they meant when they were discussing Abraham Geiger or Mordecai Kaplan! It's interesting how Brazilian Jewry is so different from all this. It's so much more conservative. Even some synagogues that are considered "Reform" make it the norm for men and women to sit separately and there are no women being part of the service itself. This has been abandoned a long time ago every in the Conservative movement in the US and Europe.

It's been interesting. Not really life-changing, maybe because I'm not in the right mood for a life-changing decision right now, but definitely I've been learning things.

Alright, time to accept that I'm falling asleep on my keyboard right now and go to sleep.