Archive for November, 2012

“It’s a fucking miracle!”

November 24, 2012

I don’t know if there is another movie that is so moving and inspiring, and touches so many important philosophical aspects such as the meaning of life and work, the relation between body and mind, the ethics of life and death (or waking and sleeping), and the question of conscience and unconscious, etc.

This movie is the 1990 movie Awakenings, with Robin Williams and Robert De Niro as the leading actors.

I first watched it in 2005, the first year when I started the PhD study, and my advisor showed me this movie, obviously with the good intention of arousing curiosity and passion for neuroscience in me. My English was not that good that time, but it did not need much language to understand the story and feel the emotions of the roles. I was deeply touched at that time.

Years later, I read the booked on which the movie was based, Dr. Oliver Sacks’ Awakenings, a collection of stories about his work in the 1969 summer involving a group of severely mentally damaged patients. They were great stories, but the way Dr. Sacks told them was a little overacted and too wordy. So I skipped probably one or two chapters. I do think I grasped something important from the book, about the powers of love, family, music, and work, powers that could awake individuals in deep sleep, with some help from a good doctor and a transformative drug.

It’s 8 years since I first watched the movie. Tonight, I was again deeply touched by the movie. More than one times my eyes became wet, and in other times I laughed my heart out. One line can be used to summarize my feeling of the story: “it’s a fucking miracle!”


No windows 8

November 22, 2012

I have tried Windows 8 a few times. Installed it on my big laptop, on my Dell laptop, and on my Toshiba ultrabook last night. And I feel that I have to say NO to this version.

It is just too awkward to use. The UI is not intuitive any more. I have to google answer for a lot of simple actions, like “how to close an app,” “how to restart your computer,” and “how to search for apps in the apps store,” etc. There might be a steep learning curve and after a certain time it would not feel so painful to use Windows 8. However, I have already tried a few times, although each time I had to convert to Windows 7 in just a few days, and I have not gained the confidence of using Windows 8.

So I called Microsoft to ask for a refund. I am done with it. I will not try to waste more of my time.

Another deep consideration to support this idea is about the purpose of having a computer. Is it for productivity, for entertainment, or both? I have a big laptop dedicated for gaming and productivity, and this laptop should be used mainly for productivity, which requires fewer distractions. Windows 8, by combining apps and traditional programs, seems to be a weird combination of productivity and entertainment. The apps are very distracting, I have to say, which makes Windows 8 not a good product for productivity.