Archive for October, 2009

They are here!

Thursday, October 29th, 2009


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Beating a dead horse

Monday, October 26th, 2009

[Mon 19:14] Frostii, I must know, is this screenshote reall:

If you really, really need to know, yes, it’s real. It’s en episode 9 of Nodame Cantabile Paris Chapter, at around 5:50.

I’m not proud of it. I know it’s going to haunt frostii forever. I can’t believe nobody caught it before we released it. It’s humiliating to continue receiving these questions, so here it is. Now, stop disturbing the dead horse.

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Paganini & Beethoven

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Once again, I attended our local orchestra, Wichita Symphony‘s subscription concert today. They really have pretty good sets coming up, and I’m really eager for them. A already wrote about my excitement about Rachmaninoff’s concerto from their last performance. Looking into their future concert… The next concert features our next music director (his last performance here, performing Respighi’s Pines of Rome was seriously awesome). The one after that is Mahler’s symphony, my favorite classical composer. Then they do Chopin’s piano concerto, which is Nodame’s orchestra debut piece. Etc. What a schedule.

Today’s concert started with Berlioz’s little concert overture, Le Corsair. I didn’t know this piece before today. I still don’t remember this piece all that well. It gave me pretty small impact to me. This piece actually had the largest ensemble of all the pieces performed today. That tuba player must have packed up and left the venue right after playing this 10-minute(?) piece. What a gig.

Next up was Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1, featuring violinist Ryu Goto. He’s the younger sister of Midori, and is equally amazing, IMO. And to know that he first performed this piece at age of seven? Simply unbelievable. But I didn’t know any of that before the performance of this piece. I was just amazed at his skill and the overall performance. I really couldn’t dig the piece itself, though. I love orchestral pieces. I love good orchestra writing. This piece did not have much of that. It really is a violin showcase piece. It’s a good piece for that purpose.

Nonetheless, the performance was amazing, and he was awarded with a big standing ovation. And he gave us a small encore piece – Paganini’s theme and variation on God Save the King. This was even more of a jaw dropper. I’m so glad I went to this concert, just to witness this performance. Right after this piece, someone behind me appropriately said “I didn’t know such thing was humanly possible.” I thought Ryu’s performance was even better than the guy in the YouTube I linked above, not forgetting to show some humor in different spots. Well done, bravo.

The concert concluded with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7—another piece featured in Nodame. I was pretty thrilled about this piece. After the concert, I’m more excited about Ryu’s performance than this one. It was pretty well executed. But I wasn’t 100% happy. Compared to the sample below, it was far more refined, but with less force. I don’t know what it was… but it wasn’t as exciting as I wanted it to be. It was still good to be able to hear this piece live.

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No more Lupin summer specials

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

We all know that there was no Lupin special this year. It probably didn’t bother too many of us because of Lupin vs Conan special that aired this spring. But the annual summer special lasted for the past 20 years. I know there are many people who look forward to it. But this one blog quotes some inside source that the 2008 special was the last one. He lists low viewership, bad reviews and lack of script writer / director who were willing to take it on. What a shame this is.

But then again… this gives me a perfect opportunity to catch up with some of the older specials.

And for those eager Lupin fans – no, I won’t be working on them any time soon.

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Nodame Finale Promo posted

Friday, October 16th, 2009

This is another fun with HTML5.

A promo video was posted on the Nodame homepage. Here is a version with quick subtitle. The video quality is pretty bad, but hopefully it’s still enjoyable.

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Lupin vs Conan – finally released

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

It took six and a half months to get here.  Translation was done on March 29th – 2 days after it was aired.  I thought it might take three months.  It probably was possible to release it faster.  But bad lucks after bad lucks…  and here we are.

So, what about the show itself?  Overall, it’s an enjoyable show.  It was pretty well made.  Perhaps they spent way too much energy on this show, and maybe that’s why they didn’t make the Lupin annual summer TV special.  Who knows?  At first, I thought there just wasn’t enough Lupin appearance overall.  But that really isn’t the case.  I think he gets as much screen time as Conan.  Because they had to split much of the screen time between them, everyone’s favorite series (whether it be Lupin or Conan) got less time allotted, and that might lead to initial dissatisfaction.  I still enjoy watching it after umpteenth views I’ve had (I’ve long lost my counts… at least 20-30 times).  That’s a good sign.

My favorite piece of this show is Mouri Kogorou’s speach.  Actually, it’s Lupin disguising as Kogorou, and Conan voicing over him.  That was a sheer beauty.  The interplay between Kurita Kanichi (Lupin’s VA) and Kamiya Akira (Kogorou’s VA) is a work of an art.  I don’t think it was conveyed perfectly well through the translation.  But how Kamiya able to talk like Lupin, and Kurita able to talk like Kogorou… it’s simply awesome.

I suppose this would be the closest thing I’ll see to Lupin and City Hunter co-starring a show.

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The survivor

Friday, October 9th, 2009

We knew this was coming since at least June.  Our department just executed a huge restructuring.  Two of my cubicle neighbors were walked out.  That’s some scary thought.

The team I belong to had 9 people at the beginning of the year.  I’m the programmer “H”.


By spring of this year, Project Lead “B” and programmer “E” retired, and analyst “D” and programmer “I” were laid off.


Today, they laid off programmer “C” and programmer “G”.

Within 10 months period, we went from 9 person team down to 3 person team.  66% job cut—that’s scary.  But at the end of the day, I was one of the survivors.

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Having fun with HTML5

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Yesterday’s post is the very first one on this blog that featured multimedia pieces other than images.  As a part media geek and a part web geek, I converted the site’s underlying technology from XHTML1.0 to HTML5.  It’s been fun exploring this area of technology that’s new to me.

My testing ground is same as always – Windows, Linux (Ubuntu), and iPhone.

Firefox 3.0, Opera 10, IE 7, IE 8

No support for <audio> tag.  I heard Opera’s had <audio> and <video> support for two years or so in their experimental builds, but the support is still lacking in the public release.  It’s a shame.

Firefox 3.5

<audio> tag is supported.  It supports ogg vorbis playback.  The interface features play/pause button, mute button, playback pasition bar, current time, and total time.  It’s a bit of bleh looking.


When I tried to load mp3 file, this is what I got:


Google Chrome

Support is same as Firefox – no mp3 support.  Maybe it does support mp4/AAC.  I’ll check it out later.  The interface is somewhat similar to that of Firefox, but missing the total time indication.  Also, it has no indication that a particular media is not supported for a playback, e.g. mp3.  When I tried to load mp3, the player looked virtually the same.


Safari on Windows

Safari does not support ogg vorbis playback.  It does handle mp3.  The player interface is nice and slick, but is missing any type of time indicator.  It looks exactly like the QuickTime plug-in on other browsers, with different color scheme.  Also, like Chrome, it does not have any indication about unsupported format when trying to load ogg vorbis.


Mobile Safari on iPhone

I was a bit shocked that Mobile Safari’s support of <audio> format.  Just like the Windows version, it does not handle ogg vorbis.  It does, however, have an indicator for unsupported content.  The indicator was so tiny that I had to zoom in a LOT to be able to see the difference.  When the button is clicked, the standard iPhone video player is opened, and music is loaded and played on that.  I have better impression of <audio> tag handling on Mobile Safari than on Windows.


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The symphony season starts

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Our local symphony orchestra started their 2009-2010 season last weekend.  I invited minisylf to join me, but she turned me down.  ○| ̄|_  It was still an enjoyable concert.

Barber of Seville by Rossini – one of the most popular classical pieces ever.  I’m not a big opera fan, so this is just like any other piece.  It’s still fun and exciting piece.  It’s a nice season opener. I’m sure most people know this melody:

Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 “Scottish” – This is a piece that I’ve listened maybe once in my life time.  There are some moments of excitement.  Some sound resemblance to his Fingal’s Cave Overture was fun to notice.  (No wonder, they both have Scottish theme in them.)  But otherwise, this was a low point of the night for me.

Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 – Of four piano concertos that Rachmaninoff wrote, no. 2 and 3 are better know than the other two.  No. 2 is more popular in Japan (I think that’s why it was included in Nodame).  No. 3 seems to be more popular in many other regions (and that might be why it was featured in Shine).  In fact, Shine was where I heard this piece for the first time.  As I watched this, I was thinking of Nodame’s concert hall debut with Stresemann.  Naturally, this pair of soloist and conductor were making this piece together too.  Yes, the pianist’s technique was amazing (and it was so good to be able to see it from the 3rd row).  But more than that, the whole ensemble was just amazing.  Sound wise, it was a pitty that I sat so close to the stage – the blend between the piano and the orchestra wasn’t the best.

p.s. The excerpts of each pieces were taken from the orchestra’s homepage.

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K-On! Chrome Theme

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Just couple of short months ago, I thought all the themes available for Google Chrome was generic, boring stuff.  I went back to the themes page, and found K-On! theme as well as Hatsune Miku.  Now I have some reasons to start using Chrome more often.

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