The blog of KAO written in heart-wrenching broken English

About KAO

Poor excuse of a blogger, currently trying to get back to business plans after spending most of his time and energy in the past years on nonprofit assignments.


October 6th, 2011

Apple, Jobs: Why I Never Cared

| at 04:08 PM

It's making the headlines all over the world, Steve Jobs, founder and longtime CEO of Apple has died. Every newsprint and online publication is coming up with its own, stately obituary, praising him as an innovator, sometimes calling him a genius, never afraid to say he changed the world. And truly, the man was important for our modern preoccupations, a great business and technology leader. His tragic passing at age 56, from a virulent cancer that could never be eradicated, even after undergoing a difficult transplant, makes the news all the more poignant.

From a personal viewpoint however, Steve Jobs and Apple mean little to nothing to me. I merely witness the reactions (and overreations) to his death from other people, from the Mac and iAnything users. I do not own a single Apple product, never have and probably never will, and this for a very specific reason that I will explain in a moment.

I had three opportunities in my life so far to use Apple products. The very first one was at a friend's home, when I was a young teenager. His dad had what I believe was the original Macintosh, with a boxy, rectangular design and a narrow integrated monochromatic screen, on which my friend used to let me play games like Shanghai and some golf simulation. It was interesting but not exactly mind-blowing, even back then. Then, years later, at my second university, the computer lab had a separate, all glass-paned room that was the Mac room. As far as I remember these were classic desktop computers, which most importantly, had color monitors. Because the PCs in the larger room had not and were running old, clunky versions of Windows, I ended up learning HTML and designing my first websites on Macs. Later on, when they upgraded their systems and it became more and more difficult to do proper versatile work on the Mac, who also had an increasing habit of crashing, I moved to the PCs and enjoyed the transition. My last, and much shorter Mac experience, was when trying out the newest models in some luxury shops downtown.

And that is all. I've never had an iBook, a PowerBook, a MacBook or any Book that wasn't a book, I've never even tried an iPod, an iPad or an iPhone. The reason why is quite simple, Macs and Apple products, from the biggest to the smallest, have always been, and still are, luxury products. There's the keyword: luxury.

When I was young, we didn't have a computer in my household. A computer, in itself, was considered a semiluxury item. The most affordable models were 8-bit computers like the Amstrad CPC line and 16-bit computers produced by Atari and Amiga (eventually I would get an Atari STe, when their end-of-life came close and prices fell). PCs, which were all well into the 4-figure price range, were in the league above, the "dream zone". I dreamt of the IBM PCs but knew I could never get one. As for the Macs, they were not even part of the dream; it was a tool for the rich, for such an elite that they would not even sell them in any department stores or shops. I remember thinking at the time: where can you buy a Macintosh if they don't sell them anywhere?

I never got over this association of Mac and luxury, mostly because their pricing proved it still held true. "You will find a Mac where money is", almost became a personal saying. I knew my friend's family was affluent because his dad owned a Mac, I knew this crappy university wasn't doing as bad as it looked because it could afford Macs, I knew I was in a luxury store because they sold Macs. If you don't have much money, you most likely won't be spending it on a Mac product, unless you have luxury cravings (which, mind you, a lot of people have). You will buy the Creative MP3 Player instead of the iPod, the cheap and sturdy Nokia phone instead of the iPhone, you will go on living without an iPad, you will buy PCs and laptops that costs much less than a thousand dollars or euros, instead of anything with an Apple logo that won't perform significantly better but will cost you easily two to three times more. People buy Apple products for the same reasons they buy fashion items.

To me, Apple is luxury before innovation. It's true that in recent years Apple's innovation has been leading the way, but as always, only to those who could afford it. Even the tiniest Apple gadget on Amazon, the iPod Nano or the track pad, costs about $50 or 50£. The way Apple affected me most after all wasn't by using their products, it's by affecting other people, who would then in turn affect me. The best example of this is Nintendo, whose hardware has often been inspired by Apple's own. The passing of Steve Jobs is a sad event, but what I will remember most is not the company he represented, that has never spoken to me, it's the human tragedy behind, that all the money, all the support he had, could not save him from death.


June 20th, 2011

2011: Movie Year

Motion Pictures, Lists | at 11:40 AM

Here we are, the year is over! Goodbye 2010, hello 2011. I had so much fun keeping a list of the movie I've seen last year, and I watched so many movies thanks to my new TV, that there's no question about it: I'm doing it again this year. But this time I'll bump the present post once in a while; I had said before I'd do that but didn't because I thought it might look messy. I'll add some stats, too.




  • Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)


  • Micmacs à tire-larigot (2009)
  • Chakushin Ari (2003)
  • The Karate Kid (2010)
  • Vampires Suck (2010)
  • Sweet Home (1989)
  • Batman Returns (1992)rewatch
  • Scary Movie (2000)
  • From Beyond (1986)rewatch
  • Batman (1989)rewatch
  • Rachel Getting Married (2008)
  • Child's Play 2 (1990)rewatch
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989)rewatch
  • Uzumaki (2000)
  • Then She Found Me (2007)


  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)rewatch
  • Matilda (1996)
  • Monsters vs Aliens (2009)
  • Two Lovers (2008)
  • Rope (1948)rewatch
  • The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009)
  • The Killer Inside Me (2010)
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
  • Re-Animator (1985)rewatch
  • The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans (2009)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Coffy (1973)
  • The Hurt Locker (2008)
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)rewatch
  • Innocence (2004)
  • Greenberg (2010)
  • Brothers (2009)
  • Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)
  • Away We Go (2009)


  • The Golden Compass (2007)
  • Antichrist (2009)
  • Genova (2008)
  • Precious (2009)
  • 9 (2009)
  • The Birds (1963)
  • Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)
  • Invictus (2009)
  • The Ghost Writer (2010)
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)
  • Crazy Heart (2009)
  • Vertigo (1958)rewatch
  • Hot Tube Time Machine (2010)
  • Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)
  • Psycho (1960)rewatch
  • Shutter Island (2010)
  • District 9 (2009)


  • A Serious Man (2009)
  • Tropic Thunder (2008)
  • Metropolis (2001)rewatch
  • Fish Tank (2009)
  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)
  • Breaking and Entering (2006)
  • Frenzy (1972)rewatch
  • The Fountain (2006)
  • Ghost Town (2008)


  • A Single Man (2009)
  • I Love You, Beth Cooper (2009)
  • The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)


  • Hana-bi (1997)rewatch


  • Mary Poppins (1964)rewatch
  • Scream (1996)rewatch
  • Life Force (1985)
  • In the Mouth of Madness (1994)rewatch
  • Alien 3 (1992)rewatch
  • To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
  • Flightplan (2005)
  • Red Eye (2005)
  • Aliens (1986)rewatch
  • Alien (1979)rewatch
  • The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967)rewatch


  • Dick (1999)
  • Milk (2008)
  • Five Easy Pieces (1970)
  • The Mist (2007)
  • Miami Vice (2006)
  • Traffic (2000)
  • The Black Windmill (1974)
  • Speed Racer (2008)
  • Silent Running (1972)
  • Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
  • Blowup (1966)
  • Marley & Me (2008)
  • Starman (1984)rewatch


  • The Quiet American (2002)
  • Fun with Dick and Jane (2005)
  • Rembrandt (1936)
  • The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)
  • Bewitched (2005)
  • Moon (2009)
  • The Girl Next Door (2004)
  • Up (2009)
  • Bedazzled (2000)
  • Kung Fu Panda (2008)
  • Anna and the King (1999)
  • Clueless (1995)
  • The Man Who Would Be King (1975)rewatch
  • Angels & Demons (2009)
  • Twilight: New Moon (2009)
  • Torture Garden (1967)
  • Clash of the Titans (2010)
  • Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005)
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
  • Brüno (2009)
  • Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002)
  • Porco Rosso (1992)rewatch


June 11th, 2010

Taking a Break From Twitter

Life, Web Surfing | at 11:42 PM

When I first came to Twitter, I thought the whole concept was pretty stupid. Too simple to be entertaining. It was advertised as a micro-blogging site, and blogging is a bandwagon I haven't been motivated to jump on as you can tell from the present Tabulas page which I never remember to update. Telling my life in short sentences or in long paragraphs is just something I'm not interested in.

I kept coming to Twitter for a few days, posting immensely pointless messages, then starting to forget about it; one more name in the endless list of websites I've signed up to just for trying out.

I don't remember why suddenly everything changed, why I returned to Twitter and became so active, perhaps because I kept seeing the name and logo everywhere, even mentioned in serious newspapers, to the point having a well-kept Twitter account seemed as indispensable as having an email address. Or perhaps because I ended up using the search feature and adding people to follow, which is the key to get things started.

Whatever the reasons, in the past year I've been writing 4700 tweets, most of them replies, and reading practically everything that the 89 persons I follow wrote. In practice, a lot of them simply don't tweet and I'm grateful they don't; because even reading between 15~20 persons' tweets daily take more time than I'd like to admit. The other 70 simply forgot Twitter better than I did.

Twitter started to become a problem when I realized I kept checking new tweets in real time, as they were posted. I always had a browser tab set on Twitter to check incoming messages. And this the asset I hadn't figured when I came to this site, the real potential of Twitter isn't so much about blogging, it's the concatenation of at least three key social aspects of the Internet: blog, chatrooms and instant messaging. You're invited to talk openly like in a blog, you meet strangers like in a chatroom, you have conversations at all times like in IM.

Some people are addicted to online games, some others may be to social networks, for my part I was hooked on chatrooms. That's one of the first things I did on the Internet and I spent an awful lot of time on it in the first years. Eventually I wised up and quit, but I know how easy it is to get dragged into conversations that last for hours. And now I realize that, imperceptibly, this is what I've done with Twitter, I've turned it into a subtle yet highly efficient chatroom. Day in, day out. The reason why I've decided to take a break from it is to get my time back and not fall into this same old trap.

Coincidentally, I just read today a medical article (well, the beginning at least) from the New York Times on the effects of computers, websites and other virtual gadgets on our brain. I don't think I am as badly addicted as the family man who's interviewed but I did find some worrying similitudes. For instance, the effects that it may have on long term concentration as we spend more and more time fluttering from one application to another, from one website to another, from one tweet to the next.


March 1st, 2010


Waste | at 01:38 AM

I know the way I write English is wrong, unnatural, I can see it, I can feel it, but unlike when I'm writing French I don't know how to fix it. I should have studied more! Except I couldn't... oh well. I will have to!

(...whenever I have time and that may not be soon)


February 8th, 2010

All-time Oscar Winners for Best Picture

Motion Pictures, Lists | at 10:11 PM

I've always been interested in the Oscars even though I've had only one opportunity to watch the whole ceremony from beginning to end (in Europe, it is shown in the wee hours of the morning and, well, I don't even have a TV). The gathering of so many movie stars we all know, the newest movies being shown and rewarded, and just to think this grand celebration of the art of filmmaking is taking place in Hollywood (like it or not, the mecca of motion pictures) is enough to have me a little excited on that special day.

Naturally, another intriguing aspect of the event is to know who among the many nominees will win the prize in the various categories. This is often subject to disappointment but regardless, making predictions and encouraging his favorites has always been a gently addictive game, almost a tradition if it wasn't for the years when no movie stands out. The Oscars have a long history, the award for Best Picture was first given in 1927 and this year will be the 82nd ceremony. As a movie fan, one thing that recently got me thinking is how many Best Picture winners have I seen. There's my answer and I think I did pretty good though a few big names are shamefully missing from that list:


  • 2009: The Hurt Locker
  • 2008:  Slumdog Millionaire
  • 2007: No Country for Old Men
  • 2006: The Departed
  • 2005: Crash
  • 2004: Million Dollar Baby
  • 2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • 2002: Chicago
  • 2001: A Beautiful Mind
  • 2000: Gladiator
  • 1999: American Beauty
  • 1998: Shakespeare in Love
  • 1997: Titanic
  • 1996: The English Patient
  • 1995: Braveheart
  • 1994: Forrest Gump
  • 1993: Schindler’s List
  • 1992: Unforgiven
  • 1991: The Silence of the Lambs
  • 1990: Dances with Wolves
  • 1989: Driving Miss Daisy
  • 1988: Rain Man
  • 1987: The Last Emperor
  • 1986: Platoon
  • 1985: Out of Africa
  • 1984: Amadeus
  • 1983: Terms of Endearment
  • 1982: Gandhi
  • 1981: Chariots of Fire
  • 1980: Ordinary People
  • 1979: Kramer vs. Kramer
  • 1978: The Deer Hunter
  • 1977: Annie Hall
  • 1976: Rocky
  • 1975: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • 1974: The Godfather Part II
  • 1973: The Sting
  • 1972: The Godfather
  • 1971: The French Connection
  • 1970: Patton
  • 1969: Midnight Cowboy
  • 1968: Oliver!
  • 1967: In the Heat of the Night
  • 1966: A Man for All Seasons
  • 1965: The Sound of Music
  • 1964: My Fair Lady
  • 1963: Tom Jones
  • 1962: Lawrence of Arabia
  • 1961: West Side Story
  • 1960: The Apartment
  • 1959: Ben-Hur
  • 1958: Gigi
  • 1957: The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • 1956: Around the World in 80 Days
  • 1955: Marty
  • 1954: On the Waterfront
  • 1953: From Here to Eternity
  • 1952: The Greatest Show on Earth
  • 1951: An American in Paris
  • 1950: All about Eve
  • 1949: All the Kings Men
  • 1948: Hamlet
  • 1947: Gentleman's Agreement
  • 1946: The Best Years of Our Lives
  • 1945: The Lost Weekend
  • 1944: Going My Way
  • 1943: Casablanca
  • 1942: Mrs. Miniver
  • 1941: How Green Was My Valley
  • 1940: Rebecca
  • 1939: Gone with the Wind
  • 1938: You Can't Take It with You
  • 1937: The Life of Emile Zola
  • 1936: The Great Ziegfeld
  • 1935: Mutiny on the Bounty
  • 1934: It Happened One Night
  • 1932/1933: Cavalcade
  • 1931/1932: Grand Hotel
  • 1930/1931: Cimarron
  • 1929/1930: All Quiet on the Western Front
  • 1928/1929: The Broadway Melody
  • 1927/1928: Wings

« · »

Site powered by Tabulas, comments by Disqus.