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Apple owes you $25.00 - How to collect
Friday, September 30, 2005

If you bought an iPod in Canada between December 13, 2003 and December 21, 2004, Apple says you can you get your money back ($25.00 from levy) as follows:
    To request a refund, you must print out, complete, and sign a claim form (downloadable PDF). Attach your proof of purchase (sales receipt or invoice) to the completed claim form and mail it in. Received claim forms will be checked for validity, and qualifying purchasers should receive their refunds in four to six weeks from the date your claim form is processed. All requests must be postmarked on or before December 31, 2005.

    Money that is unclaimed by December 31, 2005 will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross.
Now, if I could only find my receipt, I'd be $25.00 richer - If not, I guess I will donate my money to the Red Cross (A first for me).

7:34 AM | 0 comment(s) |

Google Maps leads to Google Universe
Thursday, September 29, 2005

Diversification is a good thing:
    The internet search and advertising giant will now build a 1 million-square-foot complex of offices and accommodation at the NASA Research Park at Moffett Field and will join forces with scientists from the US space agency. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

But, when is too much diversification, well, too much?

There is a good reason McDonald's doesn't go into the car manufacturing business. They could - I mean, they have the capital to invest. However, they won't because it is not part of their core competency. If they did start building cars, shareholders will start wondering what's going on and how it will affect the bottom line.

I can see and understand (being a geek and all) how it is kind of cool to get into the NASA and space racketeering business. Though, I'm puzzled as to what Google is trying to do here - Perhaps they have too much money :)

Some logical chap may say the following (from the same article linked above):
    A pact signed by Google and NASA outlines areas of cooperation including large-scale data management and "massively distributed computing".
Ok, I buy that.

Lets just hope Google doesn't start indexing alien web sites and alien libraries around the Alpha Centauri star. I'm guessing their copyright laws are bit more strict and their lawyers meaner than earthling lawyers. Though our lawyers have been known to sue old ladies, children, and even presidents - All and all, it will be an interstellar debate of who is more wrong.

Leaving silliness aside, I wonder how this new move aligns with Google's core business: advertising and searching - I don't invest in Google, but I demand an explanation from Larry Page and Sergey Brin - As you read this, I'm still waiting by the phone for their call.

8:12 AM | 1 comment(s) |

Beauty of symbols
Wednesday, September 21, 2005

There is a certain beauty and elegance in Mathematical symbols. I, for one, think the creation of Mathematics is the aesthetical pursuit of truth.

In retrospect, one of the main reason I studied Mathematics was the symbols. I must look at the symbols, even if I don't understand them.

When I encounter an unknown equation, I first look at the equal sign and then parse the equation from left to right. I consider it a bonus if I get to understand the concept the symbols are trying to convey - In the end, knowing what an equation represents is the connection of the symbols to our objective reality.

Mathematical, or Physics, equations hide so much complexity, yet they display so much intellectual power that we truly owe reverence to their discovers or creators.

I guess we could consider ourselves lucky to still find new works from Einstein: the simplicity of strokes; the genius of each line; the intensity of thought put forth; the elegant curves of his fountain pen.

Was Einstein creating art? Well, no. He was writing physics. However, the equations look very pleasing to my eye.

The creation of art can be considered from two points of view: The logical and the non-logical.

First of all, when you take all the cheesiness out of creating art (ear cutting, et al) you end up with a very logical creation process. You have to worry about vanishing points, proper perspecitive, soft and hard lines, darkenss of shadow, paper weight, etc. On the other hand, Art could be considered to be nothing more than the expression of the inner self: the process of creation should hurt - Nothing logical about that.

Anyway, I find doing Mathematics equally consuming (if not more) as creating a drawing from scratch: both processes take an immense amount of concentration and dedication.

You'd have to experience doing both, to understand what I'm talking about: solving a Mathematical problem and creating art - At times, it feels like a chaotic process with no clear goal: your pencil moves with no specific direction, yet you end up with something that is satisfactory.

Now, does art need to be liked by someone to be considered art? It is my contention that, people liking anything that is produced by an artist is purely coincidental and most definitely accidental. I.e. If art is created to be enjoyed by someone else, then it's not art; If art is created to be sold, it is then called a commercial trade. No true artist would want to be called a tradesman. However, some like to call themselves commercial artists, which I think is an oxymoron.

I shouldn't hold such a purist view about the comercialization of a trade. Even the Monalissa had an original buyer. But, if we believe the stories, da Vinci never parted ways with his master piece - He may have felt untrue to his artistic integrity, hence, he kept the piece until his death. Or...Who knows why he never gave the Monalisa to Francesco del Giocondo.

As for the modern artist: I've come to the conclusion that the modern artist has to survive in our modern times. Gone are the days when the Renaissance families, like the de'Medicci family, served as patrons of the masters of yesteryear. Even though these masters were paid to create art, they did have some artistic freedom and left us with priceless marvels painted on old pieces of wood.

The artistic world has changed. Modern artists have to sell their wares and let their creations be critiqued by the non-artist connoisseur.

I wonder if it pains them? To see their creations hanging on some chic art gallery on some posh part of some downtown. Perhaps, the reality of our commercial world has woken within them the business savvy we all have encrusted in our genes: sell to survive, or perish in miserable poverty.

I'm not a professional artist - I personally don't create art to sell - It's probably unbuyable anyway. What I am is a tradesman of bits and bytes - I create capital (or help create it) out of abstract ideas and touches of Mathematics. I create Computer Software and Information Systems - The value added to our type of society is very clear: information makes the new world go round.

As per the value of Art: Art is very subjective and the value it adds is debatable. Some would argue that artists take snapshots of our current times to be left as testaments to future generations. I don't think so. It is this romantic view of art that makes us believe that artists' works are mirrors of society - Art, I think, is ego based and is the expression of the inner self, not a mirror of our real world.

Mathematical equations as art? It depends who you ask - If you ask me, I will have to say "yes."

Long live the creator - Of art and of capital.

9:08 PM | 2 comment(s) |

Google pissed me off
Sunday, September 11, 2005

I'm not really pissed off. What I am is very anoyed at google's new google bar.

Google updated my toolbar on the background without my consent. Well, I kind of gave my consent (without reading it) when I checked that checkbox when I donwloaded the software.

The new update has new colourful icons and some new functionality that I don't use.

Google, however, decided to take away the functionality I do use very often: the dictionary link. I.e. You used to type a word on the bar's entry field and when you selected "Dictionay" from the drop down you were wisked away to and by some sort of magic your word's definition appeared on the screen.

I was anoyed to find new cutsy icons and the drop item to gone. GONE, I tell you - I guess I will now have to go to directly.

It's not a big deal, but I will now have to change my working pattern.

I'm also worried about what else I agreed to when I checked that "do no evil" check box: my first borne? My future earnings? Google what do you want from me? Leave me alone...

8:59 PM | 1 comment(s) |

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