Sandy Chen

Over the summer, I made an attempt to try something new. Now, it wasn’t “geeky” as I’ve said I wanted to do as a resolution, however, it was quite different than what I would normally try, so I thought it was definitely worth sharing.

That’s right folks, it’s GOLF!

My partner has been golfing since he was young. Last year, he went out golfing a few times with his friends, while I was left at home. Now it’s not his fault that I was left behind, but a part of me felt like this poor little kid that wanted to play in the tree house but wasn’t invited. So back in June, I asked to join my partner at the driving range so that I can give it a try and see if I would like it.

First time on the driving range was frustrating. Swinging this iron rod at a small white ball seemed so darn pointless, if you can hit it at all, that is…and I wasn’t hitting. I was simply swinging at air.

I decided that I wasn’t going to give up, I was going to learn how to hit this stupid white ball with a stick, so I went back to the driving range a second time. Second time around, I had a little more success, for every 7 empty swings I was hitting 1, but this 1 wasn’t going anywhere beyond about 15 yards…nevertheless, having “improved” made me more determined to want to get better.

3rd and 4th time on the driving range, again with just a little more success. However, as an individual with selective ADD, I quickly found that standing in one spot and hitting balls became boring very quickly. I declared my boredom to my partner, and he suggested that we’d try an easy 9 holes next time.

And so we did. The Brae Ben Academy 9-hole par 3 course was my very first experience with the actual game of golf. My score was at an embarrassing 68 points, yet, it was so exciting! How silly is that??? I wanted to do it again.

So for the past 2 months, I’ve gone out on the course 6 times.3 9-holes and 3 18-holes. Until this week, I was using a loaner set of clubs. I decided that I loved this game so much that I actually plopped down a good chunk of change for my own set of clubs by Orlimar.

I now understand why golfers are in love with this game. It’s frustrating, challenging, yet, for some odd reason, the minute you hit a good shot, we get all excited, so you can’t help but to want to do it again. I have to admit, I have been bitten, I’m happy, but angry at the same time. I’m angry because it’s bloody addictive, and I loose so many balls…I have to go buy more balls.

Christmas is coming up guys, so you know what you can get me, balls and tees!


On Friday, July 23, 2010, I had the pleasure of attending the Nokia N97minitour finale party at the Academy of Spherical Arts, and it was fantastic.

The party itself wasn’t your typical glamour, dance, getting piss drunk kind of party, but it was a friendly, intimate, non-intimidating form of getting to know new people, and getting to know more about technology. I made my new year resolution 7 months ago to be just a little more geeky, and I have not steer astray from my goal, I just haven’t had the time to blog about it, since I’ve been so busy with things. But this one I had to blog about, and I think this event definitely contributed to my goal.

Now I don’t claim to know everything about phones, in fact, I know a lot of nothing about phones, and you would think that by attending a party that is completely dedicated to phones would be a total turn off, heck, how does a girl not stick out like a sore thumb and seem like a dumb chick. But this was definitely not like what I had expected. Everyone was friendly, lots to drink, amazing finger foods (hmmmm, mini beef wellington, my lust for it since watching Hells Kitchen was finally satisfied), and I even went home with some pretty awesomely cool Nokia swag (who wouldn’t want a cute phone charm)!

Thanks to my good friend Andrew Currie, who was part of the N97 Minitour itself, I wouldn’t have otherwise known about this event. Knowing he was going to be there for the event, I attended the finale party with gusto and met a bunch of wonderful people, I might even add that at one point during the night, I even abandoned my friend in order to chat it up with other very lovely individuals.

It was great to meet (twitter handles) @Whatleydude @SimonLR @Serosity and a few other fine folks as well. @acurrie being your friend seriously rocks!

Here’s the thing, it’s perfectly fine not to know a darn thing about phones because the point of these events is to promote and educate the everyday folks myself to know a little more about these fine little machines. You’re there to learn and touch and play with the phones, and what a fine piece of technology the Nokia N97 mini it is!

Damn you CRA!

There are people who want to improve their lives so they do so by finding better paying jobs in hopes that they would have a better life and less debt, yet you punish these hard working people with their hard earned money with MORE taxes! Yet those with less income are rewarded with amples of tax refunds, in fact they qualify for additional credits and benefits otherwise not available to the rest of us.

So what exactly are you trying to tell me CRA? That I really should have just saved the hassle of working my ass off last year to increase my income by more than 25%? Yah, I think that’s what you’re saying.

Thanks a bunch for making it very clear that it’s perfectly ok not to work too hard, because in the end, you’ll just get raped.

In an effort to find ways to save on monthly costs, I’ve been scrutinizing at our expenses and hope to find paths to shave an extra dollar or two.

One of the expenses that I’ve been looking at is our internet and cable. We downgraded our cable service to just basic cable, no channels past 20. It was hard at first, but we got used to it after a couple of months.

I received an email from a friend that had recommended internet service from Acanac. In doing further research, I found that Acanac rents their lines from Bell. I called Acanac to find out more information on their first year promotion. $24.95 a month for one year seems like a great deal in comparison to what we were paying with Rogers, that’s until I found out that in order to have companies such as Acanac, and Bell Canada be the provider of your internet service, it is required that you to have an active land line, otherwise, you would need to pay around $10 to activate the dry line.

No offense Bell Canada, but the rise in popularity for ditching your land line in favour of your cell phone is going strong, so this means that more and more people won’t be signing up with Bell Canada.

So get with the program, Bell Canada, and stop trying to charge people to “activate” a dry line. When you do, let me know, and I’ll consider your services.

Last week, my friend Andrew Currie helped installed Linux Mint onto Ryan’s laptop. Ryan’s not the most tech savvy guy, so installing Linux may or may not have been a good idea to begin with, but no matter, Andrew and I were set on giving it a new face, because Ryan had been mentioning that his laptop took forever to load, and its speed gets noticeably slower as each season passes, along with a few other little things that were problematic.

We had to give it a new hard drive, because the old one had issues with it, and any given moment, it could just crash. I honestly can’t tell you the process of installing Linux Mint onto the laptop, perhaps Andrew Currie would care to indulge on this.

Since bringing it home, Ryan’s been fidgeting around with it. His objectives with this laptop were to:
 
1) Surf the net
2) View documents that he brings home from work such as Powerpoint and Excel
3) Download, play music, and sync it to his iPod, which was given to him as a gift just prior to Christmas

Ok, so with these objectives, the first two were met with no problems. The third, however, proved to be a hell of a task for Ryan. Long story short, Ryan as no longer willing to invest his time any further with what he already spent on trying to figure out how Rhythmbox worked. By Saturday evening, he was so frustrated with it that he declared complete abandonment toward his laptop, and raised war on this poor iPod that barely did anything wrong except not have any music on it. So with that, I decided to make it my mission, since my desktop is still running on Windows OS, this was the perfect opportunity to start getting to know Linux, nothing better than baptism by fire, plus I enjoy a good challenge! So Ryan wants to play music on his laptop and put music on his iPod, I was going to make it happen if it was the last thing I do.

With the help of Andrew, we decided that perhaps there was something wrong with Rhythmbox, and therefore, let’s uninstall it and find another player.

Uninstalling it was easy, click on Software Manager, and type your search, and you can uninstall it a blink of an eye. Here comes the interesting part: I had no idea that within Software Manager, you can search for software that you wanted to install. As a female, the best way to describe it would be to flip through a Sears catalogue and ticking off the items you want, and the best part, all of it was free!

So here we are, music player-less, browsing through the list, first up, Songbird. We picked SB because Andrew has the experience with it and likes it. Installation complete, but how do we sync up this iPod? Find an Add-on, duh! So I did, but for some bizarre reason, still can’t do it, Songbird isn’t recognizing or picking up the iPod…oh well, let’s move on.

I uninstall it, and went back to the catalogue, Banshee was up next. I liked Banshee’s set up, it seemed really user friendly, I would definitely keep if, if I didn’t have this iPod issue I needed to resolve, seriously, why can’t I sync this damn iPod? Like Songbird, Banshee doesn’t want to recognize it either! Sigh, no luck, so we move on again.

At that moment, I contemplated on reinstalling Rhythmbox and finding out how far we can go with it, but wait, Andrew sees that perhaps Amarok would be our saviour! So, full of hope, I install it, boy does it take long to install in comparison to the other players we’ve tried so far, but hey, great big file could mean great big thing right? I start the application up, and omg, it sees my iPod and wants to talk to it! Woohoo! But wait, my attempt to import my music files into the player fails miserably! I would have tried to figure out what was wrong with it, however, the set up and navigating around the program was complicated that I don’t even bother, because if I’m finding it hard to navigate around already, I’d probably be seeing this laptop in pieces if I gave it to Ryan to use.

I do a little further reading, then finally I decide to give Rhythmbox another shot.

Perhaps this was the Tech Goddess taking pity on me, but the second time around, it was so easy! It’s as though whatever beef previously it had with Ryan or myself had completely disappeared. 

One of the biggest problems with Rhythmbox is that if it sources the music directly from the music folder you’re asking it to import from, and you decide to relocated the music to a different folder, Rbox becomes discombobulated and doesn’t like that. So I guess the key is to keep your music in a consistent folder and don’t move it. If you must move files around then make sure you update your imported files.

As for the iPod, as soon as i plugged it into the laptop, Rhythmbox found it, but it won’t sync on its own, you have to manually do it, takes a little longer I guess, but not at all complicated.

In this small session working on the Linux OS, I discovered that it is definitely worth your time to learn Linux if you’re the type of person who enjoys a challenge, and have some patience. The option to be able to customize your computer and make it uniquely your own is definitely quite the reward I look forward to. However, if you’re the type who likes to be smacked around, be told exactly what you need, and then be charged an arm and a leg after each bitch slap session, I suppose Windows is definitely the way to go for you😉

To embark on my geek quest, I’ve decided my first mission would be to learn about Linux. I’ve known and heard legends of Linux for quite some time now, but my understanding of Linux has always been “Linux users are strictly for computer programmers” or “Common folk don’t use Linux, common folk use Windows, and if you’re an artistic folk, then you use Mac”.

A couple of reasons why I have decided to embrace Linux: First, Ryan’s laptop was in need of an overhaul, and Andrew Currie was more than happy to help, but with the condition that it gets the Linux overhaul, plus he doesn’t have any Windows software anyways, he’s a former snooty Mac user. Secondly, I’ve always been frustrated by Window’s blatant strategy to make more money by coming out with a new version of Windows as soon as most people have upgraded to their last version. For eample, the new craze is the Windows 7, but what happened to Windows Vista, I swore I had just heard about it and saw it come out not too long ago. To upgrade to a new version of Windows, you need to pay for the software. If you don’t know me already, I’m pretty cheap and stingy, so I have a hard time paying to upgrade my software that I’m not guaranteed it’ll be better than the previous version. I’ve been pretty lucky to have always somehow scored my Windows for free, but I’m pretty sure my freeloader status is bound to expire any day now. My understanding of Linux is that it is open source software, and therefore, it’s el cheapo, in fact, it’s free!

So my very first experience with Linux is through Ryan’s laptop, and my second experience is with an Asus netbook that Andrew is kindly letting me borrow to take notes for a class, which I’m really digging so far, minus a couple of hicups, but otherwise a very good gadget to have. I think I’ll end up buying one myself. So far, I don’t have much to say about Linux, however, the one thing I’m seriously hung up on is the lack of anti-virus. Having been a Windows user for such a long time, it’s etched in my brain that anti-virus is a must and that if you don’t have it, then you’re an idiot. Over the course of one week, I think I must have asked about aniti-virus at least a dozen times, and each time, Andrew tells me that it is not necessary. I asked him once again yesterday about the lack of anti-virus on the latop, and out of irritation, Andrew accused me of having severe emotional Windows baggage and that this baggage will take a serious toll on my new relationship with Linux if I choose to take it with me.

To ease my paranoia, I’m guided to this article by techthrob.com. Truth be told, it’s hard to reverse the brainwash Windows has done, therefore, I’m still not 100% convinced.

Anyone a user of Linux? I definitely welcome your comments, discussions, as well as your expertise, if you so willing to share.

This afternoon I attended the anti-proroguing rally at Dundas Square. I originally agreed to go because my friend Andrew Currie asked me to go with him. I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t know too much about this issue until Andrew brought it to my attention a couple of weeks ago. Prior to the rally today I took some time reading up on what was happening, and with the information that I gathered, it was enough for me to attend this rally not because it was the cool thing to do, but knowing it was the right thing to do. By putting the parliament on hold, all bills, regardless of its state of progress, became invalid, therefore, all work put into it essentially was wasted.

My opinion, proroguing parliament simply makes Stephen Harper a big pussy.

Here are some articles to read up on and decide for yourself whether or not you think proroguing parliament is acceptable:

CBC News
The Globe and Mail
CityTV


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