# Begun the Clone War Has

So, after watching Episode III and having countless people all over the Internet tell me that General Grievous was totally lame in ROTS and that he was way more roxor in Clone Wars, I decided to have a look at it. I’m assuming I’ve downloaded the entire thing (volumes 1 and 2) since Episode III is out and the Clone Wars have finished now.

Anyway, I watched the first AVI. It is really, really well done. Massive battles are great. The only problem I have with it is the incredible gosuness of the Jedi. I mean, we all know Jedi are great, but Mace Windu crushing an entire army of droids? And then a few minutes later, we get four to five Jedi getting owned by General Grievous. Of course, General Grievous is much cooler, what with the saber in the foot and just ripping through the Jedi with his feet.

I did find Asajj Ventress annoying. She’s like Aurra Sing with Anakin’s “I’ll be the greatest Jedi on earth, I’ll show you all!! attitude. Not cool, especially when she’s like “HUR, I’m a Sith!” and proceeds to get whupped by Count Dooku. And then she dies in about half an hour, getting killed by Anakin. Nobody learns in this galaxy that it’s always the old men who completely crush the young ‘uns.

The other weird thing was the voices. I understand that they’re probably not going to get the actors in just to voice the characters, but man did they sound weird. Especially, Palpatine/Sidious. He sounded way off.

It seems like the Clone Wars is all about one side really getting it and then having the tables turn on them and back and forth like so: ARC Troopers own droids, droids jousting own clones, clones jousting own other droids, Mace Windu owns entire army, Grievous owns Jedi. I guess it’s too quick and action packed to have both sides fighting evenly.

# Oh hells yeah

I am number 1 on google for ‘blkmage.’ Beat that, imposters.
I’m also up high for ‘grep life’, and ‘less grep’, so if anyone were looking on how to use less and grep at the same time, they’d find my blog. BOOYAH.
Or, you could try a combination of my name (since it’s at the bottom with the copyright notice) and a word in the title of the blog and that should net some results as well.

# That Old-Timey Typesetting

A long time ago, back when there was none of this GUI madness, there was a different way of typing up reports and articles. Today, we just open the nearest word processor and type away. Back then, there was typesetting.

Word processors are the way to type up anything these days, be it a book, an article, or even posters. We can bold and italicize at will. We can place things where we want them to go. We can change how big the font is. We can change the typeface completely if we wanted to. Such is the marvel that is the modern WYSIWYG word processor.

However, there are some things that you just can’t do with ease in a word processor. Most students will find that math and science assignments are near impossible to type up because of all the equations and calculations. Back in September, I had to write a physics lab and I learned how hard it is to write a physics equation when there are no keys with vector notation on it. Exponents are nothing when you have to type out square roots and fractions.

My discovery of OpenOffice.org Math was an amazing moment. Finally, I could input those evil equations into my documents and they won’t look like crap! Arrows and radicals would finally submit to me. And so I had a blast writing up the math handout.

I learned recently of a time when typesetting was king and windows were made of glass. Typesetting works a lot like HTML in that it’s markup but once you put it through a processor, it’ll be instant beauty.

Linux comes with a TeX distribution called LaTeX. Basically, I have to write up a file that contains all the necessary information on it like so:
\documentclass[12pt,letterpaper]{article} \begin{document} \title{Chapter 3 - Financial Mathematics} \author{Timothy Ng} \maketitle \section*{3.1 - Compund Interest: Amount and Present Value} \begin{enumerate} \item \begin{eqnarray*} P &=& {1000000 \over 1.06^{35}} \ P &=& {1000000 \over 7.686} \ P &=& {130106.69} \end{eqnarray*} You would need to deposit \emph{\$130106.69}. \item \begin{eqnarray*} n &=& {\log ({3P \over P}) \over \log 1.08} \ n &=& 14.27 \end{eqnarray*} It would take just over \emph{14 years} to triple the principal. \end{enumerate} \end{document}And like magic, it’ll end up all formatted correctly and beautifully. I don’t need to specify any special formatting cues. Like HTML, typesetting is all about content and structure, not presentation. And so, just like that, I can have a clean, well organized report. I can see why this is still the way for academia to create articles and reports. It’s great. And I found this great University of Waterloo co-op work report package for LaTeX that will format it according to the work report standards. I can see it becoming a really good friend in two years. Not as random or clumsy as a blaster. It’s an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. # Obsobaleeted A few days ago, I posted a link to a story that outlines how a Detroit high school switched to using the open-source office suite OpenOffice.org. They’ve managed to keep older computers by converting them to Linux. They’ve managed to increase stability in using high quality software. They’ve managed to keep costs low because the software costs nothing and there are no necessary hardware upgrades. They’ve managed to save students’ money by not forcing them to use a$200 office suite. And they’ve broken themselves out of that nasty vendor lock-in.

The cost analysis was compelling — the Linux option could be implemented for around $21,000, more than$100,000 less than the Microsoft Windows alternative. The key to enabling the move to Linux, however, was the ability to provide an acceptable office application suite that would run on both Windows XP and Linux. It was impractical for the school to support more than one office application suite, nor was it cost-effective nor beneficial to remove Windows XP from the newer systems.

Back here in Toronto, I’m at a high school where the school board has just finished ‘upgrading’ our computers to a unified TDSB network system. Our computers are running on Windows 2000 and are making use of Office 2000. I’m interested in how the school is going to deal with upgrading their computers again soon, what with Windows 2000 going into extended support in July. So now, we’re forced to upgrade older computers because Microsoft can’t write software without it benefitting their partners in the hardware industry? So what’s West Hill going to do now? Scrounge up some more funding for new shiny Dells in the compsci labs? They’ve already spent a fortune on upgrading the library lab, the math lab, the tech labs, the main office, and the department offices. Good thinking there, TDSB. Not only will you have to get more hardware, you’ll have to get Windows XP licences as well! Oh, what was that? Longhorn coming out in a year or two? Darn. Gotta get those too, I guess.

And you wonder why schools in Toronto are so poor.