Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Singapore's 1st Fantastic Film Festival is over. We never got the response we weren't expecting, but we forgive all the people who went to watch Initial D instead. To everyone who did turn up -- a big Thank You! Your support mattered (and umm... we're still friends right?).

And now for the post-festival paperwork. And bills. Ugh.

There's a good amount of paperwork to do after the festival

Now, why didn't I read this before agreeing to work with Dave? So, You Want To Start a Film Festival - Don't.
Hello :)

You realize the sun don't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world
Spinning 'round

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Faster Talk: Apple in Their Eyes

Six companies talk about how they're building products to rival the iPod. All of them agree that just copying Apple is a bad idea, and all six have different strategies to tackle the market leader. Well, four actually since the Sony and Dell representatives say nothing useful whatsoever -- skip those. Sim Wong Hoo from Creative weighs in at the end; he's the only one who laments Apple's multi-million dollar marketing budget.
So the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Big Media in MGM vs. Grokster:

"We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties," Justice Souter wrote.

But there's a fine silver lining, as noted here: Hollywood triumphs in piracy fight.

Eric Garland, the CEO of file-sharing tracker BigChampagne who has followed the Grokster case closely, said Hollywood & Co. was looking to the Supreme Court to rule that peer-to-peer technology is illegal because it's used mostly for illegitimate purposes.

But the court, said Garland, sidestepped the issue in Grokster by focusing instead on how Grokster and StreamCast marketed themselves to potential customers.

"The entertainment industry really needed this to be about the technology. What they didn't get was a decision that said 'tools that allow people to exchange files freely on the Internet, without permission, are illegal,'" said Garland.

Not all is lost.

Friday, June 24, 2005

BBC's In Our Time is running a poll for the "Greatest Philsopher" . The Economist also weighs in. Don't let Marx win ;D

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

As Belle & Sebastian sing softly in the background, I'm making up a story. This is a tiny part of my work for now.

I'm being reminded of how good it feels to be writing something fictional.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The appeal of Star Wars is really a reflection of society's uneasiness about geeks, scientists and techies? Neal Stephenson on Star Wars: Turn On, Tune In, Veg Out.
Time travel has always had a major loophole -- that a time traveller going back in time can change the present such that he/she wouldn't have to go back in time to begin with. Researchers suggest a solution -- New model 'permits time travel' -- but it all smacks of Baron Munchausen to me still :p

Well, as a sticker on a door in my old dorm read, "Wherever you go, there you are."
Bought a PSP 2nd hand over the weekend, with 3 games: Wipeout Pure, Ridge Racers and Minna no Golf (Hot Shots Golf). I can see how Minna no Golf can be interesting -- it's like a golf RPG with chibi characters that you can customise, but I'm not a fan of golf at all. Although every review out there says that Minna no Golf is plain fun it just doesn't appeal to me. Maybe I should play it a little more?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

As promised, the scan of the 1st Singapore Fantastic Film Festival brochure cover. Kudos to Don Low for the visually-arresting art! If it doesn't look as great as it should, that's my scanner's fault and not Don's :)  Posted by Hello

Friday, June 17, 2005

Margaret Atwood on why we need science fiction: 'Aliens have taken the place of angels'
Thus, the utopia and the dystopia, which have proved over and over again that we have a better idea about how to make hell on earth than we do about how to make heaven.
Inspired by the folks at DVZine, I'm trying to touch-type in Dvorak. The layout is more intuitive than the Qwerty one, but the learning curve is still steep. Wish me luck.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Brochures for the Singapore Fantastic Film Festival are out, and they look bloody awesome. That little picture on the SFS website does not do justice to Don Low's gorgeous artwork. The all-colour layout's a joy to behold too! Pick up your free copy at Library@Esplanade, GV Marina and The Substation. I'll see if I can put up a scan.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

From The Nation: a slightly rambling commentary on the literature concerning Billie Holiday. The writer also talks about Holiday's colourful life, the people who knew her, her music and of course, Holiday's unforgettable voice.

The Nation -- "The First Lady of Song"
Wired magazine discusses the OECD report on digital music -- Wired News: Come On Music Biz, Embrace P2P. The OECD report finds that there isn't a clear link between piracy and falling revenues in the music industry, contrary to what that industry wants you to believe. Moreover, it also affirms the potential of P2P networks for legitimate uses. Lastly, it exhorts record companies to adopt online technologies instead of trying to ban them right away.

Read the report for yourself. .
Royksopp's new music video: Only This Moment.

Oh, and I got Tomorrow-ed yesterday! :D

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Presenting Singapore's very first Fantastic Film Festival - SF^3, a celebration of the versatility of the human imagination. Sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and all the good stuff Hollywood won't touch with a 10-foot pole. We also have a character concept design workshop, and a showcase of work from local filmmakers.

So do something different. Do something Fantastic. 23 - 28 June 2005
If you don't know already, Neil Gaiman will be in Singapore 4 - 6 July. According to *ahem* sources , He'll be at Kinokuniya Orchard on the 5th, 4.30 - 6.30pm, and at Borders on the 6th, 6 - 8 pm.

Friday, June 10, 2005

I didn't think when I saw Belle & Sebastian's collection of B-sides -- Push Barman To Open Old Wounds -- at HMV. Pushed the necessary buttons, plucked the headphones off the peg, and waited. As the strains of Dog On Wheels flowed, I remembered how familiar the band once was. Once, when I was still with you.

The album cover stared me in the face, and the title was ironic. My thoughts turned inward. Yes, the scars are still there. I notice them often, but they've ceased to itch for a long time.

I listened to the Tang Quartet's first album The Art of War right after, thinking they should have recorded in a proper studio for the acoustics and -- Would you agree, if I asked you out for a drink?
There's going to be an International Joyce Exhibition on the life and work of James Joyce here. 13-17 June, Singapore Art Museum Glass Hall. All part of the celebrations marking "Bloomsday".
Do you remember apartheid?

Obituary | Hamilton Naki |

He should have gotten the accolades and rewards he rightfully deserved, if not for the racist, oppressive social framework his government enforced with guns and laws.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Who says self-pity doesn't pay? From the NYT: The Case Against Coldplay

Unfortunately, all that sonic splendor orchestrates Mr. Martin's voice and lyrics. He places his melodies near the top of his range to sound more fragile, so the tunes straddle the break between his radiant tenor voice and his falsetto. As he hops between them - in what may be Coldplay's most annoying tic - he makes a sound somewhere between a yodel and a hiccup.
Female orgasms may serve an evolutionary purpose: Genes key to women's ability to reach orgasm - Study.

Which is interesting, but I wonder: since women have not had the power to choose their partners for most of recorded human history, what evolutionary purpose would the female big O serve?
The porn industry is largely responsible for fueling the explosive take-off of many new communications technologies. VHS, Cable TV, DVD (and going way back maybe even books and languages). So will porn do the same for the PSP and Sony's UMD proprietary format? ;)

Wired News: Call It the PlayStation Porn-Able

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Speaking of epidemics and pandemics , there are of course simulations of epidemics and how they spread. The largest individual-based epidemiology simulation computer model right now seems to be "Episims", and the findings drawn from running Episims are quite interesting. One of these findings is an illustration of how diseases spread exponentially, such that isolating individuals is not as effective as how quickly authorities act.

Take a look: If Smallpox Strikes Portland...
The UK government wants to extend copyright duration on pop songs to almost 100 years: Plan to extend copyright on pop classics - Sunday Times - Times Online. This is similar to what the Americans already have -- 90 years of protection for corporations artists.

Isn't this overkill? The common argument for copyright is that the monopoly power it confers encourages creativity, but there is so much evidence to show that these laws, in their present form, stifle creativity.
Someone's proven that cold fusion reactions are, indeed, possible: Coming in out of the cold: Cold fusion, for real

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I stopped blogging for so long because I thought I could put the time spent typing, editing and re-editing, to more productive uses.

Well, sadly that hasn't been the case. I don't think that I've accomplished very much with my "extra" time. Besides, I'm on the Internet all the time in my new job.

So here I am. If you've been coming back to this page over and over again, only to be frustrated by the lack of new entries, I'm sorry and I thank you. Please continue sticking around.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Higher Risk: Crystal meth, the Internet, and dangerous choices about AIDS -- a lengthy article from The New Yorker that's a bit unfocused. I think it's worth reading, especially from a public policy perspective, because it illustrates the complexity and messiness that lurk behind statistics.

Crystal meth use, the Internet and certain characteristics of the gay community (including the effects of stigmatisation by the rest of society) are all factors in the explosion of HIV infection rates among gay communities in large urban areas. They all interact in non-linear ways (a bit of an understatement really), suggesting that at the very least an inter-agency approach is necessary to even begin tackling the problem.

What's also interesting (alarming or depressing or disturbing -- depending on your point of view) are the mathematics involved -- how a tiny window of infection can still fuel an epidemic -- and how people in general fail to properly manage risks.

Say, think Dr Balaji might be interested?
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), responsible for the treaties that governments use to coordinate their IP laws, has organised an online forum from 1 -15 June 2005: Online Forum on Intellectual Property in the Information Society.
Salman Rushdie slams a toothless atheism: Just give me that old-time atheism!
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later: Japanese company to publish erotica for PSP
For me, being drunk feels like being sleep-deprived and vice-versa. One of the commonalities between the two states is that I start using bigger words and form more complex sentences. Another is that I start getting more particular about, well, everything.