my personal blog

May 30, 2008

Google Android: Suck it, iPhone

Filed under: business,rants,technology — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 11:05 am

I was just reading about the latest demo of Google’s Android mobile operating system. The Android Community site got an exclusive live preview of the latest version, and posted plenty of pictures and video, most importantly, this:

In a nut-shell, this system is already looking like it can do whatever the snazzy iPhone can dish out, with two key differences: it’s free, and it’s open. Where the Apple software, even with the new App Store and iPhone SDK, is crippled by being under Apple’s lock and key, Google Android will let developers do whatever they want, on their own terms.

May 29, 2008

Silver Lining (Buried Under Bad News)

Filed under: business,news — Tags: , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 1:08 pm

While reading about the unsurprisingly bad consumer confidence numbers, I came across this article focusing on the Florida consumer confidence numbers.

In the midst of the numbers, and the suggestion that the stimulus checks (as I expected) had no effect on consumer confidence, I found a glimmer of good news:

Although most economists foresee price declines extending into 2009, [director of UF’s Survey Research Center at the Bureau of Economic and Business Research Chris] McCarty said he expects many Florida housing markets to bottom out by July based on price patterns so far. Once these declines stop, consumers and lenders will know what homes are worth, as will potential buyers, he said.

There it is: Despite the fact that the U.S. is still in the middle of this long tunnel, Floridians can soon begin seeing the light at the end of it. Looking at the charts at Zillow, you can see that although both lines are still trending downward, the green line (FL average) is moving downward at a more steady rate, where the yellow line (U.S. average) is actually starting to dip at an increasing rate.

Oh, it’s minor, but it’s there. If McCarty is right, then the Florida housing market is going to hit that low point this summer. Just looking at it, I think July is a little too optimistic; September sounds about right. I’d say, we’ll see another $15k drop over the summer, but that will be the end of it. Meanwhile, it looks like the U.S. average has a long way to go, yet, and when it bottoms out, it’s going to be a slow climb back up. I think Florida’s going to come out on top, just like California did in the 1990s.

May 28, 2008

The Sunset Glint

Filed under: artwork — Alfonso Surroca @ 9:16 pm

The Sunset Glint, originally uploaded by ASurroca.

Still at the artwork in Photoshop… I started off with this piece, took out all the ribbony bits, and focused on turning the photos into this abstract piece here. I did add a few new ribbony bits that (purposely) make a screen-door effect.

In Rainbows

Filed under: artwork — Alfonso Surroca @ 1:53 am

In Rainbows, originally uploaded by ASurroca.

Why the title? Duh. I started making something bright and airy and with a white background, and I ended up with this instead.

Reminds me of the Stanley Donwood’s artwork for Radiohead’s current album. I’d say it’s inspired by it, but it really isn’t; this is just the way this bit ended up looking.

Full disclosure:
I used a few of my old photos for this.

May 26, 2008

MFU, by HC

Filed under: humor,technology,thoughts — Tags: , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 4:24 pm

“When I walk down the street and only 3 or 4 shots are fired at me, I find it hard to stay awake.”

That’s the quote that stood out, among numerous outstanding quotes from this excerpt of a book of post-modern stream-of-consciousness madness by an author known only by the initials H.C.

It’s not new, especially by internet standards. In fact, by said standards, it’s ancient history, and I’m almost positive an entire generation has completely forgotten about it by now. It’s a relic of the days when WIRED was not yet a respected institution, and anything with .com at the end was automatically invaluable. Much of what the original C3F site spoofs, such as Pathfinder and the original incarnation of MSN, are bygone relics that the Sidekick generation has never seen or heard of.

I guess you could say it’s something like The Catcher in the Rye meets Snow Crash meets any post from Maddox.

Note that you can read the whole book by starting here and replacing the numbers in the URL until page 6, where the author makes things a little less maddening (most of the time) for the reader by providing links. Enjoy.

May 25, 2008

Old Words About A Sunday Morning

Filed under: personal,thoughts,writing — Tags: , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 10:48 am

One day, years ago, I wrote the following, stream-of-consciousness style, immediately upon waking. Something about crapping out a sort of story out of my subconscious while still in a half-asleep daze makes me smile. Here it is:

She wore a robe of burgundy and gold. Her home was made of felt and porcelain, satin and ceramic. It was too small, as if caving in on itself, and stuffy, though not suffocating. I felt as if I weren’t there.

“The doddering old fool”, I heard from my left. Out of a cupboard-like cubbyhole of a room came a slinking, slimy hag. Pot calling the kettle black, indeed.

“She’s dropped her wishes,” the old lady continued, as if I knew her, what she spoke of, and that it was somehow of great importance. “Go on!” she continued, with more urgency, “pick it up, before she realizes she’s lost it. You don’t expect to get to market empty-handed?”

I was in a dreamlike state, but even from a logical perspective, her words were confounding. Speaking of wishes as a tangible, singular object? Going to market? None of this made sense to me, and this house was beginning to feel like an attic in a dollhouse.

I glanced down the hall and saw a small staff made of white ceramic, delicately painted with complex scribbles of gold paint, and with a bright pale blue robin’s egg—or what outwardly seemed like one. No, a stone with an egg-like appearance. As the cupboard-dwelling hag vanished into the ether and her babbling ceased, the hall became bright, and a draft of a spring morning wafted in.

It was sunny, and glowing; it was Sunday morning.

I picked up the object which purportedly held the wishes of the lady of the house.

She wore burgundy and gold, and held a gold and blue and white staff of wishes, and now she was gone.

“Sunday morning tea and cake, everything methodically laid out.” As I ambled downstairs, that’s what I thought. Rattan chairs with pillows, tea cups of the most ornate sort, delicately prepared pastries, laid out on golden tray, and a view of a wood outside. Everything was methodically prepared.

I sat down, and I ate the pastries, and I drank the tea—both cups—and made my way outside.

May 24, 2008

One Drive Cable

Filed under: artwork — Alfonso Surroca @ 1:41 pm

One Drive Cable, originally uploaded by ASurroca.

I’m still on a color kick, and filled with much linear love. Once again, I headed over to COLOURlovers to make myself a five-color palette and got to work.

If you cannot tell, this is a hard disk drive cable; well, it would be an HDD cable, were HDD cables less boring in real life.

May 23, 2008

Job Listing Poem

Filed under: humor — Tags: , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 8:53 pm

It seems you can’t hit Craigslist for even a few moments without coming across something hilarious. Today, I was browsing the local job boards for freelance graphic design or web development work, and I come across this post:

model wanted artistic photography

Model wanted: prefer nubile fresh petite
and willing. Artistic photographer
compiling book on petite models
adding to portfolio. Serious
inquiries only. Nudity included.
Art students welcome.

Really? What is this, a job listing or some kind of creepy poem?

May 21, 2008

Thanks for Nothing, Badly Worded Dialog Box

Filed under: rants — Tags: , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 6:07 pm

Here is a dialog box I’m often greeted with in Adobe Dreamweaver while working with XHTML/CSS files that have linked graphics:

[name of file] has changed on the remote server since your last get or put operation. Putting the file may overwrite changes to the file. Do you wish to put the file anyway?

In the case that led me to write this, I had FTP’d the most current copy to the server using a separate FTP program; therefore, the server copy was the same as the PC copy. This is how I understood the dialog box:

Since you last put this file on the server, the server copy has changed. If you choose to put this file onto the server, the changed server copy will be overwritten with the PC copy you are putting there now. Is that OK with you?

I have no problem with that. Except, this is what actually happens:

Since you last put this file on the server, the server copy has changed. If you choose to put this file onto the server, despite telling you otherwise, I’m going to copy a previous version of the server copy over to your PC, overwriting your PC’s copy of the file and fucking up your day. Hope you made a backup—oh wait, I guess that was your backup. Fuck you!

Dreamweaver proceeded to take a previous cached version of the file (not even the most current version on the server) and send it to my PC, overwriting the most current version. Then, apparently, it took that now-old version and steamrolled the server’s current copy with that too, leaving me with old copies of the file on both PC and server. Whee.

This is kind of like being transported back in time in a time machine, except just one hour back in time, and without a way back to the present. Thank for making me go back in time without a way back, badly worded dialog box.

At least I didn’t get a disease that would be easily curable in the present, but is incurable in the time where I was sent. Even if I had, I’m quite sure any disease that’s curable right now was equally curable an hour ago.

May 20, 2008

Such a Colorful City

Filed under: artwork — Tags: , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 9:03 pm

Such a Colorful City

Just finished a new little bit of really colorful artwork… from my flickr photostream

I sat idly for a couple hours, and came up with this in the meantime. Since I wanted something colorful, naturally, my first stop was COLOURlovers, where I used their palette design app to come up with the five-color palette used here.

I’ve been drawing in black and white for ages; it’s been a long time since I put some color in my work. I think it’s a welcome addition. God, I love color. How could I have stayed away for so long?

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