Hobbies of Clyde A. Warden

Hobbies of Clyde A. Warden


 

 


Family

Anastasia out biking.Antony at top of Da Du Mountain (Killer ride up)!
Anastasia bike riding and Antony when we rode our bikes to the top of Da Du Mountain in Taichung.


Kids at the back of our home.Not a fun time!
Anastasia and Alissia out back, and the kids all ready to go to school during the SARS epidemic.


Photo of our kids in 2001. Anastasia playing the Chinese zither, take a listen .

This is Anastasia, Alissia, Mommy and Antony.

Sending me off to Washington DC conference, 2003.

Here is Judy with Antony. The person I admire most on the planet Earth!

Sandra and I in the D.C. subway.

Here I am with Sandra, my sister, for spring (2003) trip to DC.


Literature

History is my favorite subject with science fiction a close second (figure that one out). Living in Taiwan slowed down my reading quite a bit as the English book selction here is very small, but the development of ebooks and audible ebooks has really changed that (here is what I have been reading).

No one can write like Barbara Tuchman when it comes to history. She could show every side of history with all political revisions gone. A first class scholar and a darn good writer! My own favorite is A Distant Mirror, a history of the 14th century.

Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov make up my SF universe (SF links). I discovered Greg Bear's writing in the late 90s, which is a great combination of Clarke's and Asimov's styles (good science with great adventure and characters). Recently I've been turned on to the work of Kim Stanley Robinson, first through his Mars series, but then his alternative history novel, The Years of Rice and Salt.

Of course I am crazy about all things Star Trek! Kirk is my favorite captain, but Janeway is a close second. Check out a graphic of my kicking some Klingon butt (very cool pictures here) in the game Starfleet Command or killing some mean aliens in the game Homeworld.

Aligned with my SF interest, I've recently started to play an RPG (Role Playing Game, also defined here) with my three kids (weekly play time) that I first played in the late 1970s. Traveller is a hard-science ficiton genre game, meaning that it creates a universe not unlike what we live in, with all its human flaws and scientific limitations, but just set in the far future. I thought I would never play an RPG again, if only because getting the reading material in Taiwan is impossible (reading all the support material is half the fun), until I found DriveThruRPG.com where playing material is sold as ebooks online at very good prices. Playing this makes computer games seem totally passe and lame!

To round things out, I can never get enough of Shakespeare. Still relevant today, because people have not changed and never will!


Enterprise A Kirk
Janeway Voyager

Traveller RPG


Chris Foss' art is often linked with Traveller and reflects the hard-science fiction emphasis very well.


Film

Taking a fine art film degree would appear to be an exercise with little practical utility (my undergraduate degree), but with my later emphasis in business and research, I have never regretted the grounding that experience gave me (see some of my own video work from those college days). It would not be a bad idea for everyone to be required to take one useless degree that gives insight into who we are and where we come from.

The language of film is a rich and complex one that is directly linked to our modern lives, since it is a product of technology in a way like no other art form. For me the montage is what film art is based on, and what all other parts of film language are derived from. But what do I know?

Here is a list of what I think are the best films. You cannot go wrong with these, even if you don't like them, knowing their names and the directors will get you by in quite a few social occasions!

Film Director Comment
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari Robert Wiene Every horror film is based on this archetype!
Un Chien andalou Luis Bunuel Shows the power of film outside of story, in the realm of the surreal.
Potemkin Sergei Eisenstein Montage, Montage, Montage!
Citizen Kane Orsen Welles Perfect.
Vertigo Alfred Hitchcock All of Hollywood is based on Hitchcock, and they usually don't do a good job of it.
The Big Sleep Howard Hawks The dark side of society.
On the Waterfront Elia Kazan A film full of raw power.
Tokyo Story Yasujiro Ozu My favorite Japanese director. Total control over the frame. Each shot is a painting.
Rashomon or The Seven Samurai (Ikiru--To Live, is my all time favorite) Akira Kurosawa A story teller, Kurosawa was a pioneer in Japanese cinema and in turn influenced American directors such as Lucas.
Wild Strawberries or The Seventh Seal Ingmar Bergman Pure Beauty for the first film, and very deep thinking for the second film (some of the most famous images ever put on film).
The Four Hundred Blows Francois Truffaut Take American film style and add tight direction with deep emotional story telling.
Breathless Jean-Luc Godard Use of film language to get the message directly to the audience. The jump cut has become so standard, that post-modern audiences don't even notice it.
8 1/2 Federico Fellini Fellini shows how to capture a story that cannot be told in words. Without film, these ideas simply cannot be conveyed!
A Clockwork Orange or 2001 Stanley Kubrick Compressing a huge idea into a few characters shows Kubricks attention to every detail.
Chinatown or Repulsion Roman Polanski Chinatown is Perfect. Repulsion shows just how scary a film can be.
The Godfather Parts I and II Francis Ford Coppola American film, but with style and class.
Manhattan Woody Allen What can I say? Allen is the top of American film art. Many would say he is the only art. Manhattan is his best in my mind, but all his films are great.

There are many other good films, in fact, I like to believe that every film has some part, no matter how small, that is interesting. But there are only a few that combine the many different elements of a movie production into true beauty--Art.

 


Computers

This is an all consuming hobby. The complexity that results from combining software, hardware and people is just mind boggling. When you are able to get it all together and have something that works, it is very satisfying. Of course when it does not work out, it is very frustrating.

Right now I am running Windows Vista on an Intel Athlon quad setup with four GB of RAM, dual video cards, and more than two terabytes of HD space with four monitors. I still remember my first PC, a Sinclaire ZX81, and things sure seemed easier then (1K memory with a 16K RAM add on pack). On the road, I stick with ThinPads and I'm still using a Palm, PDA which is not nearly as cool as the Apple Newton I used to use, but certainly is more practical and really does fit in a pocket. Before the palm and after the Newton a Psion Series 5 was under my control. Nearly as good as the Newton, it also included a keyboard and sound capabilities, alas, the screen went dead and I gave up trying to avoid the Palm. In the end the Palm has lasted me the longest of all my PDAs, been very reliable, if only a bit boring. I want so much to move to some of Apple's new hand held devices, but they are so music centered and just suck at the business stuff--all just to aviod being a Newton. Come on Apple, get real!

Important Computers in My Life


Twinhead Laptop

Sinclaire ZX81 (1980). My first computer. I learned BASIC on this machine.

16K RAM Pack. WOW, 16K man! What will I do with it all???

Apple Mac Plus (1985). My second computer. Clearly the way computers should be! Apple Newton (1996). A great new product category (pioneered the PDA) and the best OS to date, but just too BIG. Psion Series 5 (1998). Very useful fly-out keyboard, and good OS. Got me hooked on voice notes with the sound recording. Just a bit too large and heavy. Twinhead laptop (1991). A major Taiwan inovator in the early 90s, I went from the Mac over to the PC, buying first this laptop then a series of Twinhead machines, 286-386s.

Twinhead PowerSlim (1998). One inch thick, great screen, PERFECT machine. I always wanted an IBM, but this is just as good (I tell myself) and the price around half.

PalmV (1999). A basic OS that really does nothing, but smaller and simpler do have their advantages. After many years, I finally gave in and went for an IBM (2002) X-21. A very compact machine, with a titanium coating that makes the machine feel really solid. I couldn't afford the newest model, so I bought an older one, but still very pleased. Palm Tungsten (2003). My Palm V was getting a bit old, after heavy use every day, so I made a choice between Palm or Sony. The Sony PDAs are great, and if it wasn't for the Tungsten being released just as I visited NOVA computer center, I would have a Sony now. This Palm gets back in front with many great features, and a very small form factor. Sony PDAs are big, expensive, and use that Memory Stick. I need another proprietary memory like a hole in the head! I was so happy with my IBM notebook, even though it was a year outdated when I bought it, that I will consider no other brand now. Add to that the fact the IBM/Lenovo has produced the notebook that has been my dream machine for the past ten years (tablet, good screen, long battery, cool design). It is all there in the X41 Tablet. Lucky for me NCHU gave me some funds to buy it (on my pay I could never afford this killer machine).

 

Picture of my home PC which finally has a nice minimal desk (that way less clutter), with an inx LCD monitor on top and a couple BENQ LCD monitors; HP 2420 Laser Jet, scanner, etc.
At my office I am running a Windows 2003 server , and two Linux Fedora/Apache servers .
Three other PCs on the local network run Windows. Here we are painting in the computer room.





Programming is a hobby of mine which luckily has many uses. Over the years I have learned a number of programming languages. What is most interesting is not the differences among the languages, but the differences in conceptualization over time. From line based programming (the old BASIC), to structured programming to today's object oriented programming.

My favorite language is Java (from Sun), but that may just be because it is new. The whole approach to object oriented programming is quite difficult to slip into, especially when one comes from the traditional linear approach to writing a program. Once you get it though it makes so much more sense! JavaScript is fun and can really do a lot for a little language. Pure Java is just beautiful, but I am really starting to question its usefulness over the Web. It seems the way to go is JavaScript and PHP programming in traditional HTML Web pages. The idea of having whole programs running over the Web sounds great but the reality is the wait time is WAY too long and it just gets darn confusing to have all these different programs all running different ways and with different interfaces.

From 1998 to 2001 I was using Windows NT with a Sybase SQL Anywhere database with the Symantec product dbAnywhere as the bridge to connect to Java applet SQL queries. Java applets are written in Visual Cafe (from Symantec). This set up works fine as long as the applet size stays very small and does not send too many requests to the database. Thus, my research projects, often survey/simulation Web pages dealing with consumer behavior, are heavy on JavaScript and use an applet to simply send the final data to the server. It was all a bit of overkill actually.

To simplify, around 2001, I set up a Linux server running Apache. This machine contains all my Class-related pages, but for database activity I have gone with ASP on my Windows 2003 server. Although I hate Windows, the ability of Macromedia products to cover all parts of Web design really was too much for me to resist. So I use Dreamweaver UltraDev, with Flash, and Fireworks. All my online teaching material was produced with these packages, including Flash Communication Server for the video and audio sharing programs.


Music

Go To Massive Attack

Massive Attack

Some space textured music very well produced. Good to get work done with.

Coldplay

Coldplay is one of those bands that can be huge in the UK but seem to make no impact in the U.S. In the same genre as Radiohead, Coldplay is not as political, not as smart, but rather more emotional. All good stuff!

Go To Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins

Newer music that has some great lyrics and really rocks but still keeps an experimental edge.

 

Go To NIN

 

Nine Inch Nails

One of my students brought NIN to my attention (an advantage of teaching is being able to keep up on new stuff). Trent Reznor's work is a kind of industrial heavy metal, with a brain.

Go To Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd

This must be some of the best music ever created that represents Modern Man (IMHO). I love the old stuff, Meddle, and the new stuff ain't bad too.

Go To Roger Waters
Roger Waters

The brain behind Pink Floyd and I think the best writer since John Lenon. Amused to Death album is by far my favorite. The human species has amused itself to death.

Go To The Cure

The Cure

Post Punk, Post psychedelic, what ever label you use, the Cure is full of raw energy yet reflects some of the Angst of life today. For the most part, not your easy listening music.

Go To Radiohead
RadioHead

Feels like Pink Floyd, but inspired by a different time.

 

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.