Sunday, October 23, 2005


I'm The Operative:

You scored as The Operative. You are dedicated to your job and very good at what you do. You've done some very bad things, but they had to be done. You don't expect to go to heaven, but that is a sacrifice you've made for a better future for all.

The Operative


Kaylee Frye


River Tam


Capt. Mal Reynolds


Shepherd Derrial Book


Hoban 'Wash' Washburne


Jayne Cobb


Zoe Alleyne Washburne


Simon Tam


Inara Serra


Which Serenity character are you?
created with

Monday, October 10, 2005

Fame, part IV

Man, this is getting to be a lot:

Our lego logo lives on! Woohoo! And the top right pic is from our Dave & Busters trip :-)

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Pretty much everybody has heard I'm a fan of Google, but it is important, as Al Franken puts it, to love things like an adult - seeing its flaws, willing to help it grow - rather than like a child, who loves blindly, never seeing fault.

This is one case where I must point out a divergence between Google-say and Google-do: they keep saying they don't focus on what the competition is doing, yet their index size stayed the same for quite some time (not sure how long, but at least since the end of spring when I started paying attention)... til right after Yahoo's announcement of a bigger index size came out. Lo and behold, a few weeks later, they announce a bigger index size.

Now, maybe this shouldn't be taken badly - I mean, competition should, as the basic idea of capitalism goes, be good for both businesses and consumers. Maybe this should just be looked on as Google being motivated by competition to help its users... that doesn't sound too bad.

Fame, part III

Hah, I beat the jazz musician!

Finally, when I google my name (first and last), I am not only the first, but the first two hits to come up - my UA CS webpage and my blogger profile. (At first I thought I was the first three, but that was only with personalized search... oh well. Third hit on personalized search was a mention of me on the page of a TA whose class I took (vector calc)).

Friday, October 07, 2005

Fame, part II

I may have heard about this before (some time in the summer, when it wouldn't have seemed like a big deal), but it just came up again:

It's cool, because those are my peeps... Gwendolyn & Laura rule :-)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Inside Jokes

I'm really a fan of inside jokes. I started to wonder why this is - some desire to feel separate and 133t? Maybe I'm just shielding myself from an ugly truth, but I don't think that's it - I think there's a deeper, more honest explanation: it's another form of puzzle-solving. Like math problems or coding or many other activities techies are drawn to, making inside jokes has that critical element of pulling together diverse pieces of information and following several steps of connections from clues that are just barely enough to make the next jump. It's a matter of liking it as an intellectual exercise, of enjoying the thought process that falls out of it. And I think this really is the reason, since I'd rather only make jokes that everyone around will get, and feel bad if anybody's left out... so it's really not a desire for separation or exclusion; rather, it's a form of inclusion and bonding.

For note, when I say "inside jokes", I mean anything that fits that above description - movie/show quotes, references to lesser known scientific anecdotes, past experiences of the people around... anything that's not immediately obvious and requires following some specific chain of non-general references. Spiders without legs not being able to hear, for example.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Another crack in the armor...

Anybody see the beginnings of how Google might take down Microsoft?

Better batteries

My dad has been saying as long as I can remember that somebody needs to come up with better battery technology... looks like they're starting to:

Escaping the tangle of wires is good. Think of what you could do with really good batteries... if you had a battery that lasted long enough in its purpose (months, say), you could have stations in rural area for things like signal repetition and only have to stop by a couple times a year (or less) to recharge them. In places with unreliable distribution networks and low power needs, people could just run off batteries. It'd be great for camping. Now, granted, it's not as convenient (like taking a propane tank in to be filled rather than just having gas lines), but there are plenty of situations where running lines isn't practical or desirable. Anything mobile that you can't really attach lines to... like cars, for instance :-) If you had a battery with enough capacity and short enough recharge time, electric cars would be a fine idea.

At any rate, yay for new toys... especially new energy technology.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Standards & quality

In many cases there is a tradeoff between standardization and performance - take, for example, Cray's choice not to implement IEEE 754 floating point arithmetic: it made for some compatibility issues, but performance needs won out. I think we may have another case coming up here:

A couple of things strike me about this article: first, and most important, that the reason Microsoft cites for not wanting to go with Blu-ray is that it is "several years away from delivering on the media" - so what? Why build on something that's not as good? If the technology isn't ready, then work on it and have a tiny bit of patience. If this is a standard we're going to have for a while, let's not mess it up. If HD-DVD becomes the standard, it might be irregularly followed and implemented because it was taken up too hastily.

The other thing that I find curious is the statement "Microsoft sees it as critical that all next-generation DVDs can be ripped onto a computer." Hmm, funny, considering all the paranoia about sharing. I prefer having my media (especially music) on hard disk rather than having to swap in and out optical disk, but I'm rather surprised that Microsoft takes this into consideration, especially over copyright concerns. I guess they're planning to do really good DRM. That may turn out to be a good thing, but I'm still wary.

And what are my two cents about the formats? Well, Blu-ray is a cooler name :-)