BSG Returns to Sci-Fi April 4

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Dev Chair : A geek solution to the writers strike – Download Squad

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QotD: Education, Occupation

What was your major or field of study in college? Did you wind up working in that field or using that degree? If not, what field have you wound up in?
Submitted by sneuf.

When I was growing up as a child in Hong Kong, I was fascinated by the education programmes the government put on the TV in the afternoon. I kept watching the same maths and science programmes and amazed by how science seems to have an answer for every questions, or at least seemed that way to me back then.

So when it was time to pick the subject to study in university, there was never a doubt that I wanted to study physics. (Chemistry and biology are for wimps who can’t handle the maths!) I was (and still am) pretty handy with maths but some of the more abstract stuff bores me 🙂 Unfortunately this applies to physics too and when the last year of the course came around, I was more interested in computer programming than quantum physics, thermodynamics, and solid state physics.

But the analytical skills that the physics course had taught me had left me in good steed. It was exactly the right type of skills to have at the right time when I graduated. The computer industry started looking for scientists and engineers for programming jobs instead of just computer science graduates because we were perceived as more rounded.

So here I am, working as a software engineer with one of the leading edge software company in the US. Can’t be that bad, huh? I bet my uncle, who was actually a proper physicist and advised my parents against me studying physics, would have to eat some humble pie too.

Hung Identity

In the pilot episode of Smith, there was a scene where the main character Bobby drove up to an apartment garage in his boring suburban Ford and then walked into an empty apartment. There, he changed out of his boring paper cup salesman suit into an expensive designer one. He replaced his cheap sunglasses with a fashionable designer version. Did the same with his watch. Then he drove away in an Aston-Martin.

I was struck at the similarity when I was packing to come home last Friday in Bangalore. I had this routine on every trip where I would swap out my local identity with the destination one. So last week I was taking out Indian Rupees from my wallet and replaced them with US Dollars. I took out my temporary key card to the ThoughtWorks India office and my local cell phone and replaced them with my New York Metro card and my iPhone. I picked the clothes that were appropriate to the climate in New York when I land, as well as the 'identity' I want to project while I travel. (I picked a TW polo shirt and a khaki chinos)

Am I the only person that do this? Or perhaps I am a 'sleeper' secret agent?

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Apple TV and why I want one

I causally mentioned to my friend at work who is also an Apple user that I may get the Apple TV when it is finally out. His reaction was, "What? Why would you want to watch video blow up?"

I explained to him that I want to watch my video podcasts on the TV instead of in front of my computer, despite the fact I have a very nice 24" LCD monitor. My friend just rephrased his question and wanted to know why I would want to watch low resolutions video on my 46" HDTV.

Then I realised that he thought all the video podcasts on iTunes are sized for the video iPod. He did not know some video podcasts are in hi-def, such as MacBreak which is in glorious 1080p. Others such as Diggnation and Merlin Show are in decent quality 480p which should scale OK on the big screen. But the most important of all are the TV shows that we've bought from iTunes: Smith, NOVA, etc. which we would not watch unless it is easy to put onto the big TV.

Yes, there are cheaper ways to get video from our macs to the TV but Apple TV takes the hassle out of the whole equation. Do I really want to figure out how to stream video from my Mac Pro to my PowerBook (probably using VLC), then onto the TV using S-Video (i.e. no HD)? How would I control the playback? Certainly not through a remote control and an onscreen display that Apple TV would provide. Do all these worth $299? To me definitely, probably not for most of you geeks out there. But then, I just want to watch video from my computer on my HDTV, not doing my annual geek certification exam.

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Vox Hunt: Set Your DVR

Video: Show us a clip from your current favorite TV show.

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