Blogging

Indonesian Embasy: My First Day Playing Gamelan

Jon Singer taking me to the Indonesian Embassy for the first time.

I have probably done my last gamelan performance for the time being in the DC area.  It was what felt like an impromptu lesson/performance at the embassy for a day when many embassies in DC were having open houses.  It was great fun.  Of course, I played an instrument I had never played before…once…and during a performance.

That is just how gamelan seems to roll.

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Me & Micah having a drink

Me (left) pretending to be crazy & Micah (right) pretending to be tough. (We both laughed at the pic, but we were each crazy and tough in our own ways.)

Yesterday I was informed that my brother’s ashes were scattered at sea.

This was the end of a phone conversation with my father regarding other non-related topics, so it came as a bit of a surprise even though I knew it would be coming soon.  The family couldn’t bare the emotional scarification of being there for the event, so we allowed the kind people at The Neptune Society to take charge and spread his ashes at sea out on the Pacific Coast.

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I will be performing with the Indonesian Embassy Gamelan today at the Walters Art Museum.

Javanese Gamelan Performance

April 25, 2010
Time: 01:00 PM – 02:00 PM

Continuing our ongoing celebration of the arts of Asia, the Central Javanese Gamelan Ensemble of the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, D.C., (an ensemble of nearly twenty musicians led by Pak Muryanto on kendhang drums) will present a casual concert of classical Javanese gamelan music.

Price: Free
Location: Sculpture Court

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Tastee Diner in the Winter

Tastee Diner: Open all hours and all weathers.

Tastee Diner
118 Washington Blvd S
Laurel, MD 20707
(301) 953-7567

[map] [web] [yelp] [my pics]

I don’t feel like I’ve arrived in Laurel, MD until I have a hot cup of coffee filled by someone at Tastee Diner who thinks my name is “Honey“.

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Post image for User Interaction Distortion

User Interaction Distortion

by Tobias on April 20, 2010

In a previous article, I equated using a physical keyboard in tandem with the touchscreen interface of the iPad as a User Interaction Distortion.

Sine Wave

Let us say that User Interaction is like a waveform.  A nice smooth waveform is a sine wave (pictured left).  Smooth changes from all positions.  A good user interaction should be smooth and flow from all points to the next no matter how basic or advanced they are.

Distortion in the audio world is when the signal becomes altered and more “harsh” from it’s intended sound.  More jagged edges, more randomness, and less commonality between states.

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Dear WordPress,

I am using your iPad application right now to update my blog. I am not breaking up with you, but I wanted to let you know that I am keeping my eyes open for something better while I hope you improve.

Back when we were together on the iPhone it was OK. I understood your limitations and I was working with them. I didn’t blame you. I knew that when we wanted quality time together we had to go back to my laptop.

continue the love letter…

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I have been making a point to really use the iPad that my father got while I have been visiting the Bay Area. To really understand a new device you have to use it. Not just play with it in the store, look at it on the web, make assumptions based on blog reports or tech details gleamed off the Apple website, but really use the damned thing.  To be absolutely clear, this goes for any new device; sorry iPad, you aren’t special in this department.

I have been surfing the web, poking at applications, writing a bit (as I did in my initial review of the iPad), reading books on it and the real test: Taking it to bed.

It did not call me back in the morning.*

“It is as if typing on a real keyboard has released my mental sphincter so that my mental flatulence is able to throttle the screen.”

iPad + Keyboard

For this follow-up review, I am again using the iPad to write the review with the WordPress iPad native application, but with a key difference: I am typing on the small Apple bluetooth keyboard tethered to it. I just finished tethering it and am testing this use case by writing this review. I can tell you right off the bat that my voice is different than when I was using the on screen keyboard. It is as if typing on a real keyboard has released my mental sphincter so that my mental flatulence is able to throttle the screen.

What I have come to realize is that the iPad is a wonderful Content Consumption Device™. [click to continue…]

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Ribbed for No Pleasure

iPad: Meh

by Tobias on April 6, 2010

I am writing this blog post on the iPad. (I am also going to try to use it in landscape mode while I try to touch type.)

[NOTE: I have made some edits to the post on my laptop as the WordPress app for the iPad wouldn’t let me do everything I needed to. All embedded links have been done on my laptop and some other formatting.  I will try to keep this clear. I was only able to type in content & insert an image.  All other controls were missing.  All modifications will be in italics whenever possible so it is apparent what was done on the iPad verses on my laptop. All hypertext links were done on my laptop and NOT on the iPad. All formating changes, such as bold text are done via WP on my laptop.  Note that WordPress on mobile Safari was not useable enough to do this.]


My general conclusion is “meh”.

As I Type on the iPad

This is me writing this post on the iPad.

The first thing I noticed was that the screen PPI is far lower than the iPhone. [Editor’s note: The iPad is 132 ppi and the iPhone is 163 ppi.] I would have expected there to be an increase rather than decrease in that department. The second thing I noticed, because I am a UI nerd, is that once a menu item is activated, clicking the same button does not deactivate it. Some apps have apparently noticed this and fixed it while others have not. A small thing, but definitely a sad oversight on Apple’s part.

It is indeed a nifty device, but nifty doesn’t cut it for this price range. The WiFi model does not include GPS, so have fun getting directions on the go (not to mention there is still no way to save maps locally on the device, neglecting the obvious GPS downloadable apps that would be useless anyway). The lack of a camera is by far the largest problem as I have mentioned before.

My review of the iPad

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Instant Noodles: Bowl_01

by Tobias on March 21, 2010

Post image for Instant Noodles: Bowl_01

Instant Noodles: Item #1

I have decided to post a review of every bowl of instant noodles I eat.  I went to the local pan-Asian market and randomly grabbed a big stack of instant noodles that were self contained and did not require refrigeration.

The first brand I tried is called King Cup Kimchi.

It includes a bowl, egg noodles, powdered soup mix, and dried vegetable mix. [More pictures here on Flickr.]

Notes of interest:

-“open lid to this place”
Instant Noodles: Item #1

-Energy is given in kilojoules (kJ) instead of calories.
Instant Noodles: Item #1

The package lists it as spicy kimchi soup.  It tasted mildly spicy, had small chunks of what appeared to be kimchi, had the umami of MSG in the subtle way a nail penetrates your scrotum, and did in fact taste like soup.

It remarkably tasted entirely like instant noodles.

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Borrowing Without Asking

by Tobias on February 23, 2010

For some reason, this video has played in my mind a few times lately in seemingly unrelated context.  If you did not grow up in the Bay Area, then it is likely you have not seen it.  If you did, and within the right time frame, then you most likely remember Charley and Humphrey.  They taught me lessons as a child I’ll never forget: Get lots of glue if you want to really get high after you steal something.

Their creator, Pat McCormick, was a staple for those who landed on KTVU in the 70s whether it be for Dialing for Dollars or Charley and Humphrey 1 minute interludes of puppeteiring and moral lessons.

Check out more videos of Charley and Humphrey here on YouTube.

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