Entries for December, 2003

"I wonder if they'll laugh when I am dead."

- 2pac/Biggie "Runnin'"
Currently listening to: 2Pac Ft. Biggie's Runnin' (Produced By Eminem)
Posted by roy on December 2, 2003 at 01:57 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
I don't know who this guy is, but he is uber-cool in my book, just like this guy.
Posted by roy on December 3, 2003 at 04:06 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
Guess who's back?
Guess who's back?
Nuh uh uh uh Nuh uh uh uh uh...

I'm back. Back to get cracking on CE, Tabulas, Tokki, and everything else.

I just went through a pretty rough patch in my life (well, not really *that* rough). I fell to temptation and wandered off the path for a bit.

I don't really feel like dealing with it now, so just know that I am back. I started cracking on some Tabulas coding (I'm gonna tackle CE tomorrow) ...

First task for Tabulas? Get per-category RSS feeds. This is gonna kick ass. I had to revamp the whole RSS feed generation method to do this (the old method had huge holes and suckiness) ...

Hopefully my renewed enthusiasm for Tabulas will convert to more paid users. You may have noticed the server going up and down; this is simply the server not being able to cope with 9000 users (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

I'M BACK!!!!
Currently listening to: Eminem's Without Me
Posted by roy on December 3, 2003 at 10:28 PM in Personal | Add a comment
Haha. Check out this thread about me ... very interesting to see how much of a fake celebrity I've become.

Reading some more into the thread, I noticed that somebody wrote a theme song about me? It's a bit dark ... the original "song" was in Latin, but here's a rough translation:
Roy is our great leader.
He Shall conquer the earth.

First, Roy will conquer the web.
Then the earth.

Bow before Roy.
Or Die.

Bow before Roy.
Or Die.

Bow before Roy, oh you earth.
So be it.

Those guys at NPForums crack me up to no end.

But, yes. I will conquer the world. Fear me. FEAR ME.
Currently listening to: U2's In A Little While
Posted by roy on December 4, 2003 at 03:16 AM in Ramblings | 3 Comments
To all of you who always wonder what I'm talking about when I talk about RSS, there's a pretty darned good article by a layman (non-technical) that explains why RSS rules.

Go to the article; you'll need to get a free day pass from Salon by watching an advertisement.

The whole concept of syndication is just coming about; in the future, you won't even need to visit the website to see if they've updated; you can just view one site and it'll keep all your sites in one place.

I currently keep track of about 20 different websites from just one single website (Bloglines). It means that instead of visiting 20 different bookmarks, I visit one page, and all new content is up there!
Currently listening to: Oasis's F'ing in the bushes
Posted by roy on December 4, 2003 at 02:33 PM in Web Development | 3 Comments
Stolen off of Eugene's Xanga ...


Have fun, guys!
Currently listening to: Semisonic's Secret smile
Posted by roy on December 5, 2003 at 02:25 AM in Foolishness | 2 Comments
Chris, Yush, Borst and I went to see the Last Samurai (a movie I had been dying to see forever).

It's totally a guy flick and would probably only appeal to guys (so girls, avoid this flick).

Now, in this movie, there is a woman character named Taka. She is a strong but servile woman ... she is the wife of the man Tom Cruise ends up killing in battle yet she falls in love with him.

This led to a discussion which basically turned out to be a whine-fest between Chris, Yush and I that there were no more women like this.

I'm all for the feminist movement, but in all honesty I want to marry a woman who is subservient (not in a bad way) yet strong. It's not that I have some sort of self-esteem issues that require me to be the one in power, but the old ideas of man as the patriarch with the woman as the homemaker seem more comfortable to me. With clearly defined roles, you can concentrate on what you do well.

Of course, this doesn't mean that life is easy for the man; being the patriarch does not mean he can do whatever the fsck he wants. There lies a great responsibility to the man to make the proper decisions and to act with honor; his decision should be in the interest of the family and not to himself.

In relation to the movie, the man of the house was the dominant one in the house, but was expected to make the ultimate sacrifices and to act with self-restraint and abide by the laws of honor.

But yeah, I guess I'm just kinda building my hopes of for that cute, smart, strong woman who sees things my way. This is probably why I developed a huge crush on the actress who played the servile wife in The Last Samarui; the concept of a subservient wife is something that is so rare today. Feminism has stripped it all away (although I'm not saying this is a bad thing; I just have a preference for someone who sees things "my" way).

Chris was talking about how he wants the exact same thing as me when he grows up; he thinks the only place left in the world where girls are subservient and accept this readily is Japan. I think Korea still has a few gems ... but we shall see ;)

But seriously ... if I ever find a girl like the Taka chick in The Last Samarui, I'm going to hold on and never let go ;)

(Thus ends the most chauvinistic post on my journal thus far!)
Currently listening to: Elton John's Tiny Dancer
Posted by roy on December 6, 2003 at 02:03 AM in Personal | 7 Comments
Lately I've been tussling with the concept of user identification online. We've seen the rise of Friendster and other social networking sites and how it affects people (people find old friends and such).

I sometimes wonder why there isn't a centralized "yellow book" directory with all up-to-date contact information for anyone who wants to add information.

I guess it would build upon the FOAF idea more than anything ... but imagine if there was a central website where you input your name, your address, phone, e-mail, website, AIM, MSN, etc... and this is the _one_ place you keep all your information up-to-date. You would give your identification to your friends, and this central location would be where you keep your contact info updated; if you moved, you would simply update it here once.

The advantages of this are manyfold; if you build the proper API system and document the data format (XML), people can build third-party software to access the data and build apps off of it. You would also not need to keep notifying your friends whenever your e-mail changed; you would simply update it once on the site, which would then send the data out to all your "friends" (which you've specified on the site).

Imagine building a plug-in to some e-mail program; you write your friend's name in the TO: field, and it automatically accesses the central site and grabs the e-mail address, even if your friend has changed his or her e-mail in the past 24 hours.

I'm guessing this data would be useful on a lot of levels; a lot of companies and projects revolve around getting that metadata involving people into one area and then doing something with it.

Of course, the obvious downfall to this is spamming. People will that much access to data ... it's bound to be abused. So I'm guessing the best thing to do would be to only give your personal data out to people you've specified as 'friends' within your system.

More than anything, it's Friendster without the dating crap involved. It's just a method of keeping in touch with friends as well as managing their contacts.

Food for thought.

Edit: 2 minutes later:
I'm thinking one could actually use the FOAF spec to develop a centralized site for keeping all that data ... hrrrrmm. Maybe I'll think about it some more and develop it for fun later. :D

Edit again:
While searching for more FOAF material, I found out you can embed RDF data into JPEG images ... this is gonna be huge if I implement that for Tokki. (Link)

I think as soon as I get done with CE, I'm going to start messing around with FOAF in Tabulas (actually make use of that profile page).
Currently listening to: Yellowcard's Way Away
Posted by roy on December 6, 2003 at 05:29 PM in Web Development | Add a comment
An interesting project that I've taken an interest in is BlogMatch. From the site:
If you enjoy reading personal blogs and wish to find more interesting people online through reading their blogs, BlogMatch is the perfect tool for you. Once you joined BlogMatch, it will search for blogs that contain your interests. It also will search for blogs contain unique terms which you are talking about on your blog. It will notify you by email if such matches occur. You can decide whether you wish to read the matched blogs. We hope this service will help you find more personal blogs that better fit your interests.

Although the site is far from done, the 'search' feature went up this past weekend; I had some fun searching for 'tabulas' and finding a lot of returns ;)

The site (I believe) utilizes RSS feeds (full ones) and archives it all so you can match words and phrases.

I wonder how interesting it'd be to add a 'keyword' description to tabulas (add a keyword to your post to define it); you could easily search by keyword or use the keywords to generate a "similiar entries" features. In essence it'd be a cross between categories and autolinks.

Of course, paid users could have an auto-generate keyword feature; a quick algorithm could be developed to parse an entry, lift unique words and see their frequencies. For example, my last entry (would ideally) find the keyword "FOAF."

Even more food for thought.
Currently listening to: Burlap to Cashmere's Basic Instructions
Posted by roy on December 6, 2003 at 05:51 PM in Web Development | Add a comment
Finally. It's done.

CampusExchange is now *done.* Alex helped me test out some key bugs tonight, and I pulled off a marathon 6 hour session of programming by cleaning up some of the messy UI and broken links.

I still have to write up the tutorials/help section, but the site is ready for registrations.

So what's new with CampusExchange this year?

Extended textbook transaction features
We learned a lot of lessons during the first few semesters of CE ... namely that people will _NOT_ check the site for updates to their postings. So we've taken things to another level and actually have a lot of built-in notifications; you basically get e-mailed anytime someone responds to one of your textbook ads. This means that you don't have to check the site ever; you'll get a nice message in your mailbox when you get a message.

I've also expanded the renegotiation and user messages features; it's tied in nicely to a single control panel interface (all your site actions are on one page) so a quick one-click will be all that's necessary.

Each textbook listing also has a quick link to the Amazon page so that you can check quickly the used/new prices of the book.

Grade Distribution Data
I'm trying to expand CE's offerings to beyond simply textbook exchange. I want it to be used whenever people are registering for classes. To that end, I imported (with the help of some programs I wrote) the Spring 2004 class list, Student Store's book listing for Spring 2004 classes, AND grade distribution data from Spring 2003 (I have the previous semester's but haven't had a chance to import them).

So now when you search for a class on our site, you get the list of professors (with a link to their grade distribution data) as well as the books that are being used ... Check out this page to get a better idea of what I'm talking about. If you click "Martin W. Doyle," you're directed to his professor page, which shows the classes he's teaching in the upcoming Spring as well as the grade distribution for his classes (he seems to be a nice teacher).

On this page, you also can see comments that are left for this teacher from registered users; I've also added the ability for users to add their own rating (out of 5) ... hopefully this will serve as a good tool for those people looking for good teachers.

It's obvious I'm trying to break PickAProf's stranglehold on the Carolina campus; hopefully this site remaining free will be a good incentive to register.

Automatic Notifications
I've planted the seeds for a complete schedule manager; I haven't yet developed that wonderful schedule feature for Pickaprof ... but you *can* input the classes you'll be taking in the upcoming semester. Whenever someone posts a book to the site that is being used in your class, you will be e-mailed with a link to that listing.

I don't know if this site is going to scale ... at all. My servers are already crowded with Tabulas nearing its 10,000 users (yay me!) ... and this site was *not* designed to limit CPU consumption; it was designed to offer the maximum ease for the end user (which came
at a cost of added scripting complexity).

There's no scheduling feature. I'll have to work on that.

Professor names are inconsistent. This is UNC's fault.

Book listing isn't complete. This is Student Store's fault.

Thanks to Borst for helping me test the site late tonight ... thanks to Dodo for letting me steal (well, I never really asked =/) her BlogMatch navbar CSS (hope you don't mind, I had to fix up the UI last minute and I was too lazy to make my own =/) ... and finally ...

I must thank the original developer's of CampusExchange. Ben, Tatsu and Phil. You guys laid the groundwork for the site. Seriously, long live Tensize!

(I gave Tensize and you guys some props on the about page of CE.)


Currently listening to: Tupac's One Day At A Time
Posted by roy on December 7, 2003 at 01:31 AM in | 1 Comments
It was 36 degrees outside today. So what was I doing wearing shorts and sandals the whole day?
Currently listening to: The White Stripes's Seven Nation Army
Posted by roy on December 8, 2003 at 02:46 AM in Ramblings | Add a comment
There's a new nasty vulnerability out that basically lets you spoof any URL you want. Want an example?

Notice in IE says in the webaddress ... and my blog is obviously NOT yahoo.com.

There's no fix for this yet (and probably won't be for a while).

This is pretty scary because spammers can make websites that look exactly like the real site that ask for your CC information ... and then abuse the heck out of the CC cards. Very scary.

So if you get ANY emails asking you to "visit" their site to re-input CC information, DON'T DO IT.

As a side note, I hope all of you are keeping updated on your Microsoft Windows patches; installing the "Critical Updates" will help virus prevention.

. . .

In what seemingly seems to becoming the story of my life, I fell short when I ordered my chinese food; I only took down $7 when I meant to take down $11.

Then when I went back downstairs to buy a drink, I only took $0.65, when I needed $0.75.

Posted by roy on December 9, 2003 at 06:54 PM in | 9 Comments
It's finals season. Fun.

I just added FOAF files to all Tabulas accounts. More fun. Check out my FOAF file.
Currently listening to: Xzibit's X
Posted by roy on December 10, 2003 at 01:05 AM in Web Development | Add a comment
Two things to break the monotony of my day ... a day I have spent sitting at the computer instead of reading books. I shall start soon ... yes ... soon.

. . .

Sulhye on sending people to CampusExchange ...

itzme0ju: ok, now i've told about 15 ppl and about 8 of them asked me why i am sending them such stupid link and i didn't understand why. and now i know ... it's the name... they think it's something to do with sex change

Great. GREEAAATTT. People need to get their heads out of the gutter. Why would anyone confuse CampusExchange for a sex change site?! Grr.

. . .

My pseudo-roommate Crispdawg borrowed money from me so we could order pizza.

Now, logic would entail paying someone back ... in cash. Possibly a cheque form.

But NO, not in TECH-SAVVY 305 LEWIS!

Crispdawg decided the best thing to do would be to wire the money from his PayPal account to mine ... . Even with something as simple as buying pizza ... we turn to the Internet.

We rule. So badly. So, so badly.
Currently listening to: The Beatles's Strawberry Fields Forever
Posted by roy on December 10, 2003 at 07:08 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
the 10,000th tabulas account was created today. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Currently listening to: American Hi-Fi's The Art Of Losing
Posted by roy on December 11, 2003 at 12:37 AM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
Hrm. I decided to finally get a real AIM account that I can give out to the public ... You can grab my AIM name in my profile and chat with me... don't be afraid; I know those of you who contacted me on my other IM usually got snippy responses; I try to keep that one for personal friends :D

I've also been hanging out on IRC a lot lately ...

Finally dowloaded Pud's talk at h2k2 ... great talk. Didn't tell me anything new, but did give me motivation and inspiration to keep pushing Tab and Tokki.

I spent a good chunk of time today rewriting a lot of coding. You'd be surprised how crappy some of the coding that powers Tabulas is. I'm slowly rewriting it.

I also got a chance to start working on more advanced shared journal features (fun). I'm gonna implement Atom feeds soon; hopefully Atom feeds will also allow me to implement more powerful off-site syndication tools (tabulets?).
Currently listening to: Blink 182's Going Away To College
Posted by roy on December 11, 2003 at 03:04 AM in Ramblings | Add a comment
Today I was trying to be a studious student ... but my conniving roomates were determined to draw me into a verbal battle ... a war of the wits.

Just kidding. In reality, they were watching Friends ... as I was about to leave (to go to Undergrad Library to "study" the hot girls), they asked me if they thought Ross' new girlfriend was hot.

"She's alright," I replied.

"Roy, quit being racist," they retorted. "If you don't like her because she's black, just say so."

"Yeah, right. yeah, if her skin tone was a lot lighter she'd be a lot hotter."

Apparently my voice was not dripping with enough sarcasm because they just wouldn't drop it. Sung even put the quote in his profile!!!

QUIT TAKING THINGS OUT OF CONTEXT, JERKFACES! I hope the next time they play basketball, they ALL suffer life-threatening injuries.

. . .

Later on that night, I was watching Law and Order while Sung was trying to "study."

The show basically had a retarded dude whose lawyer was trying to justify his crime by arguing that he was retarded.

So the prosecutor in the case decided to ask the man, "Are you retarded?"

The (retarded) dude replied, "NO, I'M NOT RETARDED."

His lawyer immediately replied, "I'd like it noted on the record that mentally retarded people deny their mental retardedness."

Immediately I turned around at Sung and asked, "Are you mentally retarded?"

Later on Sung remarked how lose-lose of a situation that would occur if he answered that question.
Currently listening to: Matchbox 20's 3AM
Posted by roy on December 12, 2003 at 01:02 AM in Foolishness | Add a comment
It is infinitely easier to sell a bulk package of paid Tabulas accounts to an organization than to cater to individuals...

Rethinking Tabulas' strategy ... hrm ...
Currently listening to: Tupac with Eminem's One Day At A Time (Em's Versio
Posted by roy on December 12, 2003 at 12:33 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
I wonder what this obsession over rich text editors are. On one hand, they do "dumbify" the ability to edit text ... but I really don't think a journal is about the style of the journal ... more about the writing.

If you're one of the early adopters, you'll remember that we did have a Rich Text Editor format, but I scrapped it. It just didn't seem to fit with the Tabulas feel.

Maybe in the future I'll bring it back.

In any case, Tabulas is growing (good). But the financials are not (bad). I know a lot of people like Tabulas because of the "small" community. So this begs the question, "What happens when there are 100,000 people on here?"

I've started to think about the future ... and realized that in order to succeed, shared journals (which I'm going to rename to "communities") need to be the defining feature of Tabulas; people need to be able to interact with each other via communities. Or else Tabulas will crash and burn, just like Diaryland, Xanga, etc.

Let's hope I can do it :)

Yesterday while "studying" for my finals, I spent the time to write out a 5 page "to-do" list for Tabulas ... I'll get cracking on that as soon as finals are over :)
Currently listening to: American Hi-Fi's The Art Of Losing
Posted by roy on December 12, 2003 at 04:15 PM in Web Development | 1 Comments
Just had to quickly write about my experiences at Lenoir Cafeteria ...

Apparently because the semester is winding down, students feel obligated to use the rest of their meal credits (they reset at the end of the semester). Because of this, everyone and their mother was up at Lenoir tonight.

Of course, had it simply been crowded, things would of been okay. But noooo, not tonight. First off, it was impossible to find a seat. I was lucky, as I was eating by myself; finding a single seat wasn't that difficult. However, for groups ... it would be at least a 30 minute wait.

Part Two: Finding a tray. There were no trays!
Part Three: No plates. Each line was missing plates; people would go off until they found a plate, then come back to their original lines and CUT (?!) ... as if leaving the line gave them a right to come back and cut. Bastards.

Of course, no mission is complete without having to find a CUP. Yes ... they were also out of cups.

Luckily I managed to survive all this ... this 1949 Kiev-esque situation ...

Oh well. Time to quit procrastinating and go study some ORGANIC CHEMISTRY. WEEEEEEE.
Currently listening to: Eminem's Lose Yourself
Posted by roy on December 12, 2003 at 05:10 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment
"One student for Love Actually."

"One ticket for LOVE ACTUALLY?"

Jeez, you pimply movie theatre worker, let's broadcast it to the world. It's bad enough I'm going to see Love Actually alone, but to announce it to the world?! AHHHHHHH. Jerk.

What made it even worse is I saw some UNC freshmen at the theater ... I quickly ducked my head. If word got out that me, the infamous THUGLIFE Roy was watching Love Actually ... well, I wouldn't know what to say.

In any case, I just came back from one of my favorite movies this year. It really was a great feel-good movie ... and didn't focus on one story for too long (good). Great acting, CUTE GIRLS, and lots of BOOBIES (haha, JUST KIDDING!!!!!!).

Man. I don't know what to say. I just love it. I'm gonna buy it on DVD.
Currently listening to: Lynden David Hall's All You Need Is Love
Posted by roy on December 13, 2003 at 11:09 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.
It's easy.

Nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
It's easy.

Nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
It's easy.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

I love the Lynden David Hall version from Love Actually of this song ... but the original by the Beatles is great, too :)
Currently listening to: Lynden David Hall's All You Need Is Love
Posted by roy on December 13, 2003 at 11:50 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment

What, Al Gore? Iraq is a "quagmire?" Democrats just got completely fscked for 2004. They've been running such an anti-Iraq campaign, but unfortunately for them, US forces just caught Saddam. Of course, US support has been actually growing for the war in Iraq.

Of course, let's not forget the wonderful French reaction to this whole situation. I enjoy the British reaction much more, thanks.

An Iraqi's reaction to the news ... so worth reading.

Of course, now we must decide how he must be tried. I hope the US isn't arrogant enough to try him ourselves; let the Iraqis put him on trial and deal with their own problem.

Where is Osama?
Posted by roy on December 14, 2003 at 12:55 PM in Ramblings | 5 Comments
I'm working on some new templates for Tabulas (trying to phase our Krabby because it's a POS template) ...
Currently listening to: Lynden David Hall's all you need is love
Posted by roy on December 14, 2003 at 08:31 PM in Web Development | Add a comment
... will he starve to death before choosing one of the bowls?

Tonight, I have an English paper to write. I'm not really taking it seriously (it seems to pale in comparison to my chem and econ exams). Of course, I COULD BE BSING YOU GUYS. So I'll give you an example story:

I was getting hungry while "writing" my "paper" (which seemed to consist of a lot of watching Swordfish (the movie) for inspiration.

This is never good. It was especially not good because my wallet contained exactly $4.00. In the lovely town of Chapel Hill, it is impossible to get cheap food delivered after midnight.

So the first choice was obviously Domino's Pizza. I can pay for their food with money from my One Card (an ID card that has money on it). BUT THEY WERE CLOSED!

So the quandary was as such:
1.) Papa Johns: Good food. But really expensive. And I would have to go to the ATMs. And it's freezing outside (33 Fahrenheit!). And I'm lazy.
2.) Order from Gumby's. Cheaper, but I'd still have to run to the ATM.
3.) Eat the ramen packet that's been sitting in my room since the beginning of the semester. I would still have to go DOWNSTAIRS to boil the water. And then clean up.


So I ordered from Papa Johns. Of course it's pretty sad that in a 10-minute span (forreals, ask Sung), I really did spend the whole time debating what to do for food.

womanizer! (that is a google bomb for oliver!)
Currently listening to: Britney Spears's I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet
Posted by roy on December 14, 2003 at 11:10 PM in Foolishness | Add a comment
I've never really asked for help, but this is a plea. Please read this post and let anyone know who hasn't added tabulas as a friend. I really need this money to help Tabulas grow ...

Thanks guys. 8)
Currently listening to: Robbie Williams's Come Undone
Posted by roy on December 15, 2003 at 01:59 AM in Web Development | Add a comment
Whoever decided the exam schedule should be 6 days from beginning to end, including a reading day, should be fired.

What kind of idiots decide to cram finals into a week?

Sorry, I'm just really bitter and frustrated.
Currently listening to: Black Eyed Peas's Where Is The Love (Album) feat
Posted by roy on December 15, 2003 at 08:20 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
In the process of running any semi-popular website, the owner of the site will come to the realization that there are a ton of assholes in the world.

There are so many people in this world who think they are entitled to free service. To free things. And the moment someone decides to recoup some losses by trying to push people, who in their right should be paying for the service that they love to use, they get a string of angry comments. People need to realize they are not entitled to free things - there is too much of "me me me" attitude on the web. There are real people with real lives behind every website, and they work their asses off out of their personal time to maintain the site, whether it's uptime or just managing the site.

And to think that people think they are entitled to free stuff ... ugh. I just get so angry.

Again, sorry for these angry rants. Finals schedule is tearing me up.
Currently listening to: Black Eyed Peas's Where Is The Love
Currently feeling: pissed
Posted by roy on December 15, 2003 at 08:23 PM in Ramblings | 8 Comments
I guess this is primarily a response to godwin's post on the same topic ...

I think the purpose of journaling from person to person varies. Some people like the idea to announce their lives to the world, while others do use it to vent. But I think there are a lot of people who do use journaling simply as a method of relieving stress. Of course, there come additional benefits, but I don't do journaling for those additional benefits. It's done for me. Not for you. Not for everyone else. Me. Me me me me me.

Prior to my adoption of Livejournal, Xanga, and Tabulas, I used to blog on various different sites. Most of these sites did not have a commenting feature or any type of feedback. This is really rudimentary, but it's how it used to be. People in those days really did it to relieve stress. I've been running various journals for years now (the earliest is 1998, but I can only find a 1999 cache) ... and a lot of those journals were kept private (but still available on the Internet). I even created an alter-ego for some time where I could blog "privately."

So this begs the question, if I'm ranting for myself, why don't I keep it private? For availability's sake. Private entries have a tendency to get lost. I've left my archives online so I can read them at any time. I'm sure if I made them private, I would of lost them. Would I be better off taking these offline? Probably. There's a lot of stuff on there that's really private, but I don't mind. If someone can read it and it helps THEM relieve THEIR stress and problems, then there's another reason to keep it public.

Of course, there is some comfort when you're down to know you can scream your feelings and thoughts out into the void of the Internet. It's just like screaming into your pillow - there's absolutely no reason to do it, but sometimes it feels better to just do it.

Now, this isn't to mean that everybody does this - but "hardcore" journalers understand where I'm coming from. The "hardcore" journalers are not interested so much in the community and feedback; their readership will follow them wherever they go - which is why they tend to migrate from domain to domain and service to service. This is a hard concept for a lot of people to understand (especailly newer people - "how can you just journal? don't you need feedback?"), but the longer you blog, the less important comments and feedback are. You do it just to do it. It's natural.

Now my "beef" (notice the quotation marks) with Xanga is not that it's a horrible service. I think it fills a very specific niche (that luckily I'm not trying to fill). My "beef" is that Xanga somehow makes people think they are hardcore journalers. There are a few real journalers on Xanga, one that I've been following for some time now, but as a general whole, Xanga is *not* a journaling service. It is, in essence, a glorified popularity contest. Xanga promotes features that actually push the popularity contest features over journaling features. That is my "beef" with Xanga.

I know my friends laugh at Tabulas' gay catchphrase, "Chronicle Your Life," but it really is what Tabulas was meant to be. Tabulas is meant to be your digital diary. Your digital scrapbook. A place you look back in a few years, read through your stuff, and go, "Damn, I grew up."

When I was younger, there were no services like this. You had to learn how to manage websites. You had to do all the HTML by hand. But now with my computer skills expanding, I have created these tools so you don't have to go through the learning curve that I had to go through - just to journal and keep a record of your life. It should be everyone's right to keep a log of their life.

... by using Tabulas and give me assloads of money in the process. HAR!

P.S. I love journaling cause it makes me practice my writing skills on a daily basis. I know some of my entries are grammatically shit and are incoherent, but as a whole, journaling has improved my writing skills dramatically. My roommates keep saying that i have a "voice" on my journal that's distinctly mine.

See? Good!
Currently listening to: Jessica Simpson's With You
Posted by roy on December 16, 2003 at 12:04 PM in Ramblings | 6 Comments
Expecting a few people to bite on the special deal for Tabulas, I went ahead and ordered another server. The specs?

Hewlett-Packard P4 2.0 Ghz, 2-80gig HD, 1.5-gig RAM.

Yeah, it's pretty puny. But I'm slowly working my way up. Before that, I was running 2 1.3-Ghz Celerons and 1 1.7Ghz-Celeron. I'm going to try to phase out my 1.3-Ghz Celerons as I get better hardware to manage the various services I run.

This is my first 'true' server; the others were desktop towers being used as servers; this is an actual 1U server.

Now the funny story is the company I rent servers from had to call to confirm my order. I had to give them all sorts of random information ... until I got caught up on my address. I gave them both my current dorm address and my home address, and both failed. So I was asked them, "Well, how can I confirm it?"

The guy goes, "Give me a minute. Let me transfer you to Customer Service. They can change your address, then you can come back and confirm your order."

Seems kind of self-defeating, no?
Currently listening to: Simple Plan's Perfect
Posted by roy on December 16, 2003 at 12:32 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
The more I read Orson Scott Card, the more I respect him.

His latest op-ed? Let me quote a snippet:
Instead, their platforms range from Howard Dean's "Bush is the devil" to everybody else's "I'll make you rich, and Bush is quite similar to the devil." Since President Bush is quite plainly not the devil, one wonders why anyone in the Democratic Party thinks this ploy will play with the general public.

There are Democrats, like me, who think it will not play, and should not play, and who are waiting in the wings until after the coming electoral debacle in order to try to remake the party into something more resembling America.

So rational. Ok, while I'm at it, let me throw in some more political links.

Dennis Miller has an interview with Time magazine, and here's a quote:
I'm left on a lot of things. If two gay guys want to get married, I could care less. If a nut case from overseas wants to blow up their wedding, that's when I'm right. (Sept. 11) was a big thing for me. I was saying to liberal America, "Well, what are you offering?" And they said, "Well, we're not going to protect you, and we want some more money." That didn't interest me.

Read the whole interview, there are some good other snippets.

Exactly why I was so pro-right during the war. I'll probably head back towards the left now that the war has cooled off. This is something the Democrats are losing out - there are so many "swing" voters like me who do believe in defending our country but will coincide with the Democrats on *some* of the social issues. They need to stop bashing Bush (who I do like) and start focusing on their strong points. Howard Dean is the epitome of what I hate. He's all about bashing Bush and trying to gain an political edge by pointing out his predecessor's supposéd faults.

Of course, maybe I'm just a Republican at heart. There's a new term coming up for people like me - "South Park Republicans" - it's an interesting definition that I do see a lot of people calling under.
Currently listening to: mercy me's i can only imagine
Posted by roy on December 16, 2003 at 12:48 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment
My pupils are currently very dilated due to a long eye examination. But the opthamalogist was hot. Yes, indeed ...

... time to get to work on Tabulas.
Posted by roy on December 19, 2003 at 02:56 PM in Ramblings | 3 Comments
What a crappy present! ... here's what not to get for Christmas ... hahahahaha.
Currently listening to: All-American Rejects's Swing Swing
Posted by roy on December 19, 2003 at 03:50 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
Winter break. Such a glorious time. A time for relaxation. A time away from college life and it's (lack of) drama (at least in my life). A time away from studying.

I am thoroughly enjoying break. I hope you guys are all enjoying ... and have a happy holidays to all!
Posted by roy on December 21, 2003 at 11:55 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
Have a safe and happy holidays everyone. I'm taking a break from a lot of things right now, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it :)
Posted by roy on December 23, 2003 at 11:37 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
Sometimes I feel like this journal should be used to benefit my readership through public service announcements, kind of like NBC's "Now You Know..." campaign. So I've decided to finally benefit my loyal readers with important information:

When driving on I-85 N/S, do NOT stop at the Ashland Taco Bell (in VA). Being a big fan of Taco Bell, I've come to expect a certain quality to Taco Bells. Or maybe I'm asking too much.

Being the road-wearied warrior (haha, talk about melodrama!), I wanted to recharge my batteries by stopping at Taco Bell. What a horrible experience.

#1: The pricing. At our local Durham Taco Bell, you can get a combo #9 with 3 crunchy tacos and a drink for under $4. But not at the Ashland Taco Bell! NOPE! They have another combo ... a combo with 2 crunchy tacos, a drink, and fries for MORE THAN $4! What the HECK. Talk about jacking up the price. I remember back in the day when tacos were $0.59! (Or even less, I forget)

#2: No sauce. At this Taco Bell, you have to request the sauces. And of course, when I asked for "Hot" sauce and "Fire" sauce, the idiot behind the counter gave me 2 hot sauce and 2 mildare, but I cannot eat 4 crunchy tacos with only 4 sauces.

#3: No ice. There was no ice in the drink machine. Which wasn't so horrible, except my Pepsi went warm after about 2 minutes. I need a cold drink to wash down my tacos, not warm soda.

#4: No napkins. Yes, there were *no* napkins. Amazing. Eating tacos is a messy business, and I *need* napkins.

#5: Broken tacos. Of the 4 crunchy tacos I ordered, 3 of them had broken shells. Couple this with the fact that I had no napkins, and this created a really messy situation. You know, you would think that these guys could learn how to prepare tacos without breaking the shells.

I was about to write an angry letter to Taco Bell management, but my lazy side got the better of me, so instead I present to you this public service announcement. Enjoy.
Posted by roy on December 27, 2003 at 10:22 AM in Foolishness | 5 Comments
Finally I see a solution to spam that I like.

I've never been a big fan of blacklists or whitelists, simply because they require too much work. Baysean filters work nice, but I really think that we needed a solution that restricts the senders; even if the filters filter out your message, there's an associated cost (bandwidth and such) in getting the message received.

Basically the new solution would require each e-mail to solve a crytopgraphic puzzle in your e-mail client for about 10-20 seconds. If it solved it, it would be granted a high priority (your e-mail client would have to download a patch that would support this new prioritizing method); if not, it would not be granted high priority.

Give the article a read and you can understand how it works. Good idea.
Posted by roy on December 27, 2003 at 12:01 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
#1: I am dominating our fantasy NBA league. Soob, where you at?

#1.5: Ever since AI's been out, esnow's been putting up sick numbers. He put up 22 points, 5 boards, and 10 assists on 73% shooting. Esnow shooting accurately?! YEAH!

#2: How did Minnesota lose? 4th and 25? Oh well, I really feel like with all the sh'it Favre had gone through, he deserved the playoff berth. Perhaps we'll see Favre win another ring this year?

#3: The Midwest in the NBA is stacked. San Antonio, Minnesota, Denver (one of my new fav teams?), Dallas, Houston AND Memphis are all in the Midwest. That is one sic division.

#4: Congrats to the Pack for beating Virginia.

#5: Watching Celebrity Poker on NBC is painful.

Phew. Now that's all out of the way ...
Posted by roy on December 30, 2003 at 01:36 AM in Ramblings | Add a comment
One of the problems I've run into is managing the hard drive resource on Tabulas. The galleries are getting huge ... and are extremely poorly structured.

When I originally made this site, I was limited by PHP Safe Mode, so I had to (in essence) put all the images in one folder with weird filenames.

However, since purchasing new servers, I've been trying to set up a network where one server just simply acts as a fileserver for images. Now, the problem is, how do you build an API over HTTP for accepting images? Some images can run up to a few megs, and it seems very memory intensive to accept the binary data in PHP and save it.

I may have to learn more about the HTTP protocol; there may be something already built-in for this type of data. Or something.

But this is also important for when Borst ever gets around to developing a Windows program that lets you drag-and-drop images into the program, which would automatically add it to your gallery at either Tokki or Tabulas. There needs to be some "receiving" script to do the work ... hrm.
Posted by roy on December 30, 2003 at 02:03 AM in Web Development | Add a comment
So those of you who are standards-compliant designers know that there's been a big move recently away from tables to CSS designs, which is all good and dandy. Of course, there are also a lot of uses still of tables ... for ... tabular data (that's right!).

Now, there's always been a problem with sites that use tables; how do you sort it? You *can* build in server-side solutions (e.g. "click here to sort", then the script orders it in the database).

However, ideally the burden of sorting would be placed on the client. That's where things get really interesting.

I've been recently building in new features (unannounced yet) and expanding on current features. One of the most important things I've been doing is using standardized functions for display on the administrator's section (e.g. the way tables are display, the ways forms are laid out, the method in which success and failure messages are returned).

Part of this is generating tables of data (like your entries) that are easily sortable. However, creating a modification of a SQL just to sort by date or whatnot is ludicrous.

Then I found out there is an easy client-side solution to creating tables that organize themselves.

I've been abusing this, so expect it to show up in Tabulas soon ... and check it out. It's beautiful and clean.
Posted by roy on December 30, 2003 at 02:37 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment
Michman767: what are the max dimensions for a user icon?

Auto response from thug4life royboy: Michman767: sometimes i wonder if i'm mildy dislexic

Michman767: I MUST KNOW

Michman767: oh thats right, tabulas resizes them
Michman767: oh snap
thug4life royboy: yes
Michman767: oh snap
thug4life royboy: i've tried to make it as idiotproof as possible
Michman767: oh snap
thug4life royboy: *cough*
Michman767: OH SNAP
Michman767: hey wait a second, what are you saying?
Posted by roy on December 30, 2003 at 04:01 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
I spent the past two days trying to revamp the new Tabulas entry display engine. The one I'm using right now is really outdated and has been hacked so many times it's rather inefficient.

The old method used one massive function; you would pass a variable $pagetype (like $pagetype == "main" or $pagetype == "friends"), which the function would then read, extract the proper SQL statement and execute.

Now the problem here was that there was no real method of doing a prior check to see whether friends-only and private entries should be extracted. They aren't being displayed, but you'll notice on some of your friends page (or even your main page), if you don't have the proper permissions, you'll notice that less than X (X being the number of entries per page you want to display) entries are being displayed.

This was a big no-no. So I decided to try to write a new method of handling the entry display.

It took me two days, but finally I'm on the right track. I knew that with the new system, I would have to have two separate functions: the first one would take the pagetype and then determine which entryids to display, calculating the status of both the entry and categories. The second function would accept an array of entryids and then display those entryids.

The second function was rather easy to write since most of it was prewritten. However, the first function gave me a lot of trouble.

Originally I was using a rather simple SQL statement like :

SELECT * FROM entry WHERE userid = '$userid' ORDER BY timestamp DESC LIMIT 5

I would then loop through each data, checking to see if the entry should be viewable to whoever was trying to view it. But the problem as I mentioned above is that this doesn't take into account entries that are viewable. So on a given page, if an entry that was selected was unviewable to you, then you would see 4 entries instead of 5.

So the logical next step was to try to build a really long SQL statement (hitting the DB only once would be preferable) that would look like this:

SELECT * FROM entry WHERE (userid = '4' AND status = 0) OR (userid = '5' AND status <= 1 AND status >= 0) ORDER BY TIMESTAMP DESC LIMIT 5

This would be generated by looping through the friends table and determining whether each user was allowed to view public entries (status = 0) or also friends-only entries (status <= 1 AND status >= 0). (as a side note, "Community Postings," or "Shared Journal Only" postings have a status of -1).

This seemed to work nice, except when I analyzed the EXPLAIN SQL in mySQL, this SQL resolved horribly. Optimization is the key when you're running a site with thousands of users ... even the slightest bottleneck can balloon out of control and take the whole site down (which happened with AudioMatch before I figured out how to manage bottlenecks).

So the compromised solution is to do a while ($i < $viewable) loop that goes through the entry table once, determines which entryids are viewable on a entryid by entryid basis, and then ships it to the second function for output. The SQL statements are kept rather optimized ... so it's all good. I'm doing a fair share of memory caching on a per-request basis (esp on the friends page; whether you're a friend of somebody is stored in memory while the script executes so it doesn't keep hitting the database).

This was a rather simple solution in retrospect, but the time and experimentation it took to get there took 2 days. Now that I *have* a solution, it's a matter of actually scripting the whole thing ...
Posted by roy on December 31, 2003 at 12:35 PM in Web Development | 3 Comments
To honor the new year ... I bring you ... WILL SMITH!



oh god, i need a life
Posted by roy on December 31, 2003 at 04:24 PM in Foolishness | 4 Comments
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