Entries for February, 2004

Iraq Govt. Papers: Saddam bribed Chirac.

And for those of you wondering what the US government has been up to ... you can rest easy knowing that your tax dollars are going to fight such causes such as using more "modern fonts" in all official correspondence.

(I can just imagine the poor government workers bemoaning how they actually have to write more now that the font doesn't take up all the space ...)

P.S. Times New Roman is "modern?"
Posted by roy on February 1, 2004 at 03:33 AM in Ramblings | Add a comment
Without a doubt, the best Super Bowl I've watched since the Giants-Bills Superbowl....

But it's so sad to watch my Panthers fall short.

But congrats to the Patriots. Good job on a game well-earned.
Currently listening to: Alien Ant Farm's Smooth Criminal
Posted by roy on February 1, 2004 at 08:37 PM in Sports | 1 Comments
Posted by roy on February 2, 2004 at 12:53 PM in Foolishness | 3 Comments
The new Britney song is rather catchy. I love the semi-porno of a music video she made ... lovely.

I have a lot of MULTIMEDIA COMMERCIALS lovin' to share here.

I loved the Clydesdale Horse Budweiser Commercial... it's so inspirational! I also enjoyed the Fedex Alien commercial ...

My favorite commercials of *all* time have to be the "Leon" series from Budweiser. If you haven't seen these commercials, they are absolutely HILARIOUS. Leon is a fictitious football receiver who is way too confident about his skills. His commercials usually center around how awesome he is (when he really isn't).

My favorite Leon commercial is an "interview" that Leon does after losing a big football game ... he says, and I quote, "since football is a team sport, I've gotta place the blame squarely on the shoulder of my teammates."

There's another Leon commercial where he convinces his coach that he would be better off on the sidelines playing the role of the "suffering" athelete ... great stuff. I've got a few more videos; if you want, I'll post the rest.
Currently listening to: Britney Spears's Toxic
Posted by roy on February 3, 2004 at 02:23 AM in Foolishness | 16 Comments
I have gotten 2000 people today looking for "Janet Jackson's boob" from Google. Lovely.

I am not one to shy away from obligation and responsibilites, so I will direct you to a page with all the links.

I'm not sure what the big deal here is ... but whatever.
Posted by roy on February 3, 2004 at 01:30 PM in Ramblings | 8 Comments
Websites should be accessible. I guess this is why so many sites are opting to use CSS; this helps separate content and presentation so blind people can easily navigate websites.

In any case, there is a great simulation for what a blind person has to do to navigate a website.

This really opened my eyes ... gotta start designing better sites ;D
Posted by roy on February 4, 2004 at 12:33 AM in Web Development | 2 Comments
I've been busting my ass on a new project for some time now, keeping it under wraps for some time. Instead of announcing it and setting a timeline, I've decided to take my time and full mature this product before launching it.

I've had a helluva time learning about standards compliancy and UI design. I'm really aiming at creating the perfect product from the start, which is a difficult task.

One of the most nitpicking issues is how the templating engine for the site; I'm torn between making a completely powerful templating engine that is hard to use or a less-powerful templating engine that is easier to use ... for now I've gone with the latter; some of the data outputs in a standard format for all accounts that you cannot modify. But I've left a lot of CSS classes in it so you can customize some of the data that gets output.

I've also been doing a lot of reading on UI design ... this article on consistency has been a huge boost, although what it states is simply obvious, it's motivated me to pay attention to every last detail.

Column Two has been a big boon for me ... it focuses on usability, accessibility, and other important things you should consider.

As for the product development, I've really taken things up a notch in terms of compartamentalizing my functions and writing cleaner, more commented code. I gave Borst a quick look at some of the new scripting and he was impressed with the formatting/commenting.

I'm hoping this new site will be more financially successful than Tabulsa. As much as this is my baby and has been a great personal boon for me (giving me a sense of accomplishment), it has been a financial failure. The turnover for paid account has been more than abysmal; this is entirely my fault and it's a lesson well-learned on the pitfalls of offering too many free features.

Another problem with Tabulas is that its infrastructure is inherently weak. I've talked about this before, but I really feel that Tabulas requires a complete overhaul in its templating and styling engine (moving to standards-compliant default templates and a better CSS parser on its admin end), but this is close to impossible with so many people using customized layouts and such.

I would tackle this problem, but it's turned somewhat into a Catch-22. I'll soon be out of college and I have to legitimately worry about how I'm going to make a living. At this point, for the amount of hours I put into Tabulas, I'm just not seeing myself cutting a living; I can barely pay off server fees on a monthly basis as-is. This makes it very discouraging for me to try to revamp such a critical component ... I just don't see it being a very cost-effective use of my time. If I spend another few weeks overhauling the templating engine, is it gonna convince people to buy more paid accounts? Probably not.

I'm really hinging a lot on the success of the new site; hopefully it will be a financial success (the pricing on it's pretty 'steep' compared to Tabulas, with pricing from $28 --> $100/year for an account) so that I can come back to make Tabulas much better ...

But as much as I gripe about how Tabulas doesn't "pay off," I still love working on it; I feel that I've built a solid product that I can continue to develop; people will all accept STANDARDS COMPLIANCY IN THE FUTURE WHETHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOT! muhahaahahahahahahaahahah

victory shall be mine :)
Currently listening to: Ashley Ballard's Forever My Love
Posted by roy on February 4, 2004 at 12:47 AM in Web Development | 4 Comments
So apparently Google launched their version of Friendster, called Orkut. You need an invitation to join, so I haven't gotten to use that system, but I did sign-up at Tribes and Friendster.

This whole social networking thing is very very interesting but I haven't really seen it work very well yet. The main problem is that social networks are inherently implicit; I don't go around saying to people "you're a good friend," or "you're just an acquaintance;" these things are implied.

The problem with sites like Friendster/Tribes is that there is no way to distinguish the various people in your life; someone is your friend or they're not.

This causes a problem; I have people I would consider "real" friends while others are mere locational friends (friends because they attend UNC, etc.). If I wanted to really analyze my social network, I would be able to distinguish the two. Don Park gets it somewhat close with the friendship circles, but that's still explicitly defining your relationships (albeit if you built a desktop app you could do drag and drop with thumbnails).

What I want to see is some sort of superproject (by Ph.Ds) that implements FOAF and uses some sort of program like Dashboard that constantly trawls your workspace and stores data.

For example, you could easily use the FOAF files to associate IMs/e-mails with existing users; if the program could also remember when these interactions occur, it could also remember the frequency of the contacts.

For example, if user "ABAlex " messages me in AOL Instant Messnger, a Dashboard-like program would pick up on this, grab my FOAF file and do a quick search of my friends to see if it can pick up on who ABAlex is. It would quickly find out that it's Borst ... and then store some data saying "Hey, Roy chatted with Borst on this date..." Everytime someone new messaged me or e-mailed me, the program would pick up on this and then implicitly remember that I am a "friend." Perhaps the engine might start using a simple frequency analyzer (# of interactions over a time span) to say that this person would be a "closer associate."

Of course, the downfalls of this? It's only limited to computer interaction; a lot of my 'real' friends don't bother with computers ... and how do you factor in phone conversations? Etc. etc.

Ok I'm not really making sense here. I have an exam in 5 hours and I'm up rambling about stuff like this again. Gotta go study ... gonna post this entry to the future. Cya in the future!
Posted by roy on February 4, 2004 at 02:08 AM in Web Development | 8 Comments
People watch NASCAR for accidents, people watch hockey for the fights ... what do people watch the Shop At Home Network for?

Click the video link below and find out ...

"The nice thing about these practice (clink) katana (clink) blades (clink clink clink) are that ... OHHHH OWWW THAT HURT."
Currently listening to: Yellowcard's Way Away
Posted by roy on February 4, 2004 at 10:49 PM in Ramblings | 5 Comments
I feel like my gambling is under control now; it took a lot of willpower and time for me to get over the impulses ... the urges I got to "just load up PartyPoker," but I finally have better control over all of it.

Of course, everytime I load up Kenny Roger's "The Gambler" or OAR's "Crazy Night of Poker," I feel a twinge ... and then the rush ... but it's really nice to not be at the mercy of a game, even if it's the best game in the world :)
Currently listening to: Kenny Rogers's The Gambler
Posted by roy on February 5, 2004 at 03:06 PM in Personal | 1 Comments
Ok, I'm about to bust a fucking nut over here, so I'm going to outline the MECHANICS OF A GOOD RIVALRY.

1.) Both teams must be good. This immediately discounted the past two years of UNC-Duke rivalry as we went through some .. "coaching" difficulties. Do not talk smack when one of the teams suck (this is why there is no Clemson-UNC rivalry although we keep losing there; Clemson is not considered 'good' enough for a rivalry).

2.) If you want to talk smack after the game, YOU MUST TALK SMACK BEFORE THE GAME. When you do this, you open the door to some cross-smackage and you're saying, "hey's both invest some personal stake in this game." IF YOU DO NOT TALK SMACK BEFORE THE GAME, DO NOT TALK SMACK AFTER THE GAME. This was a mistake many UNCers made a few years ago when we beat Duke. Most thought we weren't going to win, but when we did, they tried to talk smack. WRONG.

A good example is the smack Sung talked about Philly before the NFC championship game. He opened the door to smack-talking when he constantly made references to "running up the score." I counter-smack talked him, so this allowed me to make merciless fun of him after the game.

3.) If you are talking smack to someone and they are obviously not reciprocating, discontinue the smack talk. This person has excluded himself from the rivalry post-game smack talk. In other words, LEAVE THAT PERSON ALONE.

For whatever reason, this PERSON may be going through difficulties that GO BEYOND A SIMPLE OF BASKETBALL. For instance, I may have bigger issues on my mind for the week, so I may try to indicate to Hao Zhang that I'm not interested in involving myself by 1.) ignoring IMs relating to the subject, 2.) deleting multiple comments in my journal regarding this message and 3.) generally ignoring anything regarding this subject. However if you continue onwards and talk smack after that game, I will get f'ing pissed off.

If some random Dukie comes up and starts talking smack about the game, I will blow a f'ing gasket.

Sorry, it's been that kind of week.

:takes a deep breath:

It was a good game though. Good tenacious defense on both sides ... Duke showed a lot of weakness tonight, not their usual "run up the score by 50 points" good. I still don't like Redick very much, but Ewing has sick game. Deng was pretty quiet ...

I gotta say the more I watch Manuel, the more I like him. I am starting to really really really dislike Melvin Scott. He jacks up threes but he misses most of them. It was like he was trying to imitate Redick with that 28-footer three. What the HELL? And the final shot ... the moment Scott touched the ball, our whole room groaned. We knew he was going to miss it.
Posted by roy on February 5, 2004 at 10:22 PM in Sports | 2 Comments

Edit: Yush just looked up in the Oxford dictionary and found out (officially) that "tits" is short for "titmouse," which is a type of small bird with long tails. It also means a small horse as well as a nincompoop.
Posted by roy on February 6, 2004 at 03:19 PM in Ramblings | 4 Comments
I'm currently in Borst's office in Sitterson (3am!) working on the new project ...

I've been working on the support ticket system, and for some reason I'm getting a nice warm feeling inside. It could be indigestion from the all-you-can-eat-shrimp at Red Lobster, but I think it's actually a feeling that I will be helping people out.

One of the things Tabulas lacks is a real support system; the documentation is weak and there's almost no community to help you out. So all correspondence is basically done via the Tabulas journal.

I'm building a solid support ticket system in the new system from the start, although I probably won't need it. It will allow multiple users (anyone I appoint) to respond to tickets and such ... should be a nice flexible system.

I'm also going to actually learn PayPayl's authentication API so I can automate billing; I'll also build in an account management system so granting "gift certificates" will be easy and stuff.

I'm getting more and more excited as I work on this site ... WHEEEEEE.

(P.S. I added RSS support for the new site; I'm thinking of also implementing ATOM, but that might be a bit far-fetched with what I'm trying to accomplish ... I might save ATOM for the full-fledged syndication formats since the new site will have a "short" syndication format and a "long" syndication format; "short" will be for people who want to quickly grab data from one's account, while the "long" syndication format will be used to sync an off-site account with an on-site account.
Posted by roy on February 8, 2004 at 12:44 AM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
I was getting ready to shower, so I stripped down to my boxers (ladies, control yourselves!).

As I'm leaving, Sung goes, "Man, that's a LOT of hot sauce!"

I reply, "Sung, no need to complement me."

Posted by roy on February 8, 2004 at 05:02 PM in Foolishness | 2 Comments
Ah, broken down so I don't take up real estate on all my friends' pages ;)
(Read More)
Posted by roy on February 10, 2004 at 04:14 AM in Personal | 4 Comments
How college applications really work. I always did think it was BS when people would say that "extracurriculars help." I had none in high school and got into college just fine (I'm guessing based purely on my numbers).

. . .

Here's a quick snippet about Desert Storm II:
Okay, well, outtakes: went back to the microfilm today to February 1998, when the Clinton adminstration was making the case for attacking Iraq. How things change. Clinton was arguing that Saddam not only had WMD, but that one day he might want to make more WMD, and this wasn’t acceptable. Interesting to read between the lines - the Clinton administration seemed to be arguing that the potential for future production was itself a valid reason to strike. Military force is never "the first answer,' Clinton said, “but sometimes it’s the only answer.” “It Saddam isn’t stopped now,” the AP story said, quoting Clinton,“’He will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And someday, someway, I guarantee you, he’ll use that arsenal.’” Thus spake Clinton in 1998. He went on to note that the strikes planned could not possibly destroy Saddam’s arsenal, because A) they didn’t know where everything was, and B) they didn’t want to kill Iraqis by unleashing clouds of toxins. And it gets better: a sidebar noted that this war plan – Desert Thunder – had been prepared weeks before, in case Saddam stiffed in the inspectors.

Bill Clinton had a plan to go to war before the crisis flared! What does that tell you? Obviously, he was looking for any excuse! Halliburton! We all know about the ties between Clinton and Halliburton – he gave them a sweet no-bid contract after his Balkans war, you know.

Anyway: it's deja vut all over again. You want to talk imminence? WMD? Democratic concern and conviction? Go back to the papers of 1998; it’s all there, right down to the terrorist links: Hezbollah, for example, swears it will strike Israel if the US attacks Iraq. (A poll of Palestinians showed that 94% supported Iraq, and 77% wanted Iraq to kill Jews if the US attacked Iraq.) Bob Dole was quoted as supporing the strikes but urging Clinton to seek Congressional Authorization. A story on Bush 41’s reaction said that the former president would completely support Clinton if he decided to attack, but noted that Bush 41 urged Clinton to get more international support - which was lacking at the time.

And indeed, Kofi struck a deal. Which fell apart by summertime. Which lead to cruise missile strikes. Which lead to boredom and disengagement. Which lead to half a decade of Saddam on the throne and the dissidents in the shredders and the tots in the gulag and dead people heaped in ditches and oil-for-palaces deals and Uday and Qusay pleasuring themselves in Rapeland Incorporated and Abu Nidal putting his feet up in a Baghdad apartment, pouring a nice cool glass of tea, and thinking: ah. This is the life.

I’m so old I actually remember when the Democrats cared about Iraq.

- Source from James Lileks

I remember telling my roommates that the US military has plans for every possible contingency, including an invasion of Iraq. Looks like I was right about Iraq ;D
Currently listening to: The Ataris's In This Diary
Posted by roy on February 10, 2004 at 07:08 AM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
A great article that looks at the pitfalls of implementing a content management system that addresses the problem perfectly.

I'm not a big fan of premade CMS systems liked phpNuke mostly because they _don't_ work. They try to incorporate as much as possible which usually leads to bloatware.

If you think about it, the whole internet is all about content management software; Tabulas itself is a content management system (a highly specialized one). The trick is to find code monkeys that will develop your highly specialized CMS (although you can sure save a lot of time by building off a proven platform).

This is exactly why small webshops are flourishing every since sites like marchFIRST and Razorfish went belly-up. Small webshops are more cohesive and can deliver a better product much quicker to a small-to-medium sized business.

I would like to eventually get back into developing websites for medium-sized businesses now that I can also provide backend services. I have a good idea how to manage content workflow in a site ... maybe one day when I have some time away from my projects I can undertake a serious freelancing project...
Currently listening to: Radford's Fall At Your Feet
Posted by roy on February 10, 2004 at 08:52 PM in Web Development | Add a comment
I should of known better than to trust critics. "Lost in Translation" is by far the worst movie I've ever seen. Halfway through I was half-tempted to just stop watching, but I (foolishly) thought the movie would start sometime.

The acting is great, although there really isn't much substance to work with. The cinematography is wonderful, but for what purpose?

I would really like to see the screenplay for this movie. What is it like?

"Bill Murray walks onto golf course. He practices his swing, then takes a shot." There goes 3 minutes of the movie to a completely pointless scene.

And where was the message in the movie? I'm reminded of a quote from "Adaptation," which unlike this pestering piece of crap actually WENT somewhere after a while:
At a seminar, Charlie Kaufman has asked McKee for advice on his new screenplay in which 'nothing much happens'.

Robert McKee: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day. There's genocide, war, corruption. Every fucking day, somewhere in the world, somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else. Every fucking day, someone, somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else. People find love, people lose it. For Christ's sake, a child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church. Someone goes hungry. Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman. If you can't find that stuff in life, then you, my friend, don't know crap about life. And why the FUCK are you wasting my two precious hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it. I don't have any bloody use for it.

I feel that Sofia tried too much to steal from her father's styles, which some would criticize to be slow. But unlike her, Francis Ford Coppola actually wrapped things up. The last 10 minutes of the Godfather had resolution after resolution; there was no such resolution in "Lost in Translation."

Is the kiss supposed to be a conclusion to a 2 hour movie? What bullcrap is this?

I've watched movies and said they were bad, but this is utterly horrible. At least Judge Dredd was entertaining; this movie has NO humor (the "Japanese cannot speak English and have a wacky culture" joke gets old after the 10th time our characters run into a Japanese person), it has no message, and it sure as hell has no plot.
Currently listening to: Brad Mehldau's Paranoid Android
Posted by roy on February 10, 2004 at 11:12 PM in Ramblings | 9 Comments
I'm going to espew some more hatred for this movie. Understand that I have very very low standards for movies; I have never "not liked" a movie. Sure, there were dissappointments, and I know which movies are B-movies (and C-movies), but I've never outright hated a movie.

But this is one of those movies.

Now, everyone goes, "But Roy, it has audio/visual effects... and the feeling of the movie is so great. Sure, it has no plot, but that's ok! The movie has great technique, yes. But technique is not everything.

That's like me saying, "Sure, that song has great recording quality and uses great instruments. Sure, it has no rhythm or harmony, but that's ok!"


A movie requires either a story or a message. Lost in Translation is a superficial movie, no one even argues it's a deep movie. As a superficial movie, we can deduce it has absolutely no mesage. Since Lost In Translation obviously had no message (except perhaps Sofia exclaiming "I'M RICH, BIIOOTTCCCH"), we must then infer that perhaps this movie has something of a tangible plot.

BUT IT HAS NO TANGIBLE PLOT WHATSOEVER. Someone *please* enlighten me what the plot is. Anyone who says "This movie is so life-like and realistic" is also missing the point.

How do two strangers run into each other 3 times (even if they're in the same hotel?) before being properly introduced? That's not realistic. A girl sending over a drink to a strange man at a bar while her husband sits next to her is not realistic.

The two people I talked to said this movie "gripped them" and the "story drove forward." Drove FORWARD? What kind of forward is this?

A guy cares about a girl and starts hanging out and eating out with her. They go clubbing and karaoking. They go to the hospital when she shows him his toe (which is followed by inane references made to Japanese people possibly liking "black toe" while a Japanese man stares on).

This is ordinary. Perhaps so many people are so f'ing bored with their mundane lives that they find excitement in a movie that THEY MIGHT POSSIBLY BE IN ("oh, maybe I could be like Bob Harris), except for the fact that it requires CHANCE COINCIDENCE and a married woman opening up to a strange man.

God. I don't understand how anyone even thinks it's a decent movie. No really, I don't.

So now i know most of you are just itching to click the "Leave a Comment" and flame away at me. Go ahead. I'm ready for you.

Edit: I found a quote that I love and does summarize everything I want to say about the movie:
In both films [VIRGIN SUICIDES being the other] I feel that she has a strong sense of film texture and mood, but in both films I get the sense that she basically doesn't know what she really wants to say, or how to dig deeper into her subject than surface-level observation, and can only provide poster art imagery to conceal her uncertainty.

Perfectly said.
Posted by roy on February 10, 2004 at 11:52 PM in Ramblings | 20 Comments
I just finished all the features that are going into the first public build for LB7.

The new project will go into public testing in two days. I'll be clearing out the database of all the test data in 1.8 days and test it for myself a bit. =) Happy me.

I've asked a few people (who based on my experiences with Tabulas and personal respect) I've asked to help me test this site strenously. Let's hope these people can help me out =).

My plan is to test the site until Sunday, then launch it Sunday night to the world for general consumption (I'm expecting no bugs). The site's official release version will be 0.8. I'll have an explanation of why it's not 1.0 once I get the site out (it relies heavily on somebody named Borst, no pressure).

Once I get a bit more of the site done, I'll make an announcement (probably later today, but more likely tomorrow evening) about what this site is and why I did it and etc. etc.
Posted by roy on February 11, 2004 at 08:17 AM in Web Development | 3 Comments
Wow, a nice real implementation of Atom for mobile handsets.

Looks like I'll be hopping on the Atom bandwagon very soon.
Posted by roy on February 11, 2004 at 07:51 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment
Disclaimer: I'm not a teenybopper, I swear.

That new Hillary Duff song is so darn catchy!!

Currently listening to: Hilary Duff's Come Clean
Posted by roy on February 11, 2004 at 08:35 PM in Music | 2 Comments
(for chris, yush, neeraj, and allen regarding LiT)
I'm getting tied down in the details of my arguments about Lost in Translation, so I'm just going to put it all out:

I had high expectations for LiT. Perhaps this is too much. But this movie didn't just miss my expectations, it completely flat-out derailed the expectation train.

The film has been described as:

"You'll think. You'll laugh. You'll be marvelously entertained. And you'll be touched." (I did not think, I did not laugh. In fact, I'm not sure many people did after the first few minutes)

"Tart and sweet, unmistakably funny and exceptionally well observed." (Where are the observations? What is so funny?)

"One of the year's best films." (right)

Now these statements are pretty bold. Chris said that I'm attempting to make "grand sweeps" of the film, but that is simply because the world seems convinced this is one of the best films of the year.

As I've grown older, I've grown quite accustomed to seeing people trying to pass off obscurity and enigma as art. I've seen photographers who don't quite have direction try to pass off something that seems cool as "art." This is what I feel Coppola is doing.

I feel she had a nice idea for a short film, but somehow lost her train of thought when making the movie and got too tied up trying to make it "cool."

Quite simply put, I feel this movie missed its mark and tries to make up for it entirely by deflecting attention onto its cinematography. This is why I keep bringing up random scenes; some people say this "builds the mood." I think Coppola is trying to distract viewers by showing them pretty scenes of Japan.

The reason why I continue to focus on the plotlines (besides the obvious lack of character development), because if I can prove that there is no plot, then people will have to accede that the cinematography and Bill Murray saved the movie, and nothing else. It is a horrible failed attempt at a great movie.

And to deflect any comments about the plot, what occured in LiT is not a plot. Chris says that's my opinion, but this movie is doing a grave injustice to real cinema if it tries to pass itself off as having a real plot. What happens in LiT are interactions between characters, NOT a cohesive PLOT.

Yush commented that this was an internal movie with a lot of internal turmoil, which explains the presence of a tangible plot. I'm aware of this; Bill Murray does a good job in showing the conflict of his career and family and finding yourself as an older person. Coppola could of developed this theme a lot more, but instead chose to just scratch as his surface. What could of been a great character realization/development movie is cheapened by the Scarlett's story. But what exactly *is* Scarlett Johannsen's struggle? She's a lonely wife stuff in a new culture. Is her struggle with finding herself? Is it finding companionship because her loving husband is away all the times? These questions are never answered. These are both very important premises for the movie. If Coppola's purpose in this movie is to not know what to say, she does it perfectly.

This movie fails at character development, character realizations, an interesting tangible plotline (background, conflict, resolution), and a message. It doesn't even provoke thought.

The only attacks I've seen at these arguments are that "well the lack of a plotline is your opinion." That might be true, but it still begs the bigger question...

"Why is this a good movie?"

Posted by roy on February 11, 2004 at 11:14 PM in Ramblings | 8 Comments
This morning, the scene in 305 Lewis at 11am:

(Roy casually looks over a syllabus).

"Hey Yush, is today Thursday, February 12th?"
"Oh crap, I have a midterm today."

I pulled an all-nighter last night. I thought I had three hours to relearn Plato, Aristotle, and Machiavelli while in a sleepy haze.

But alas, thanks to the snowstorm a few weeks ago, our midterm is actually Tuesday.

Posted by roy on February 12, 2004 at 09:04 AM in Foolishness | 1 Comments
Posted by roy on February 14, 2004 at 07:56 AM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
Ok sorry about that last post. Let's just say I got about 4 hours of sleep before my neighbor's alarm clock went off for at least an hour. It really irked me. I couldn't sleep. And I couldn't shut it off.

Thanks to Borst for linking me to this comic.

(A Friday the 13th story involving a chem lab)
In any case, I have an interesting story about Friday the 13th. I had chem lab (polymer lab) on Friday the 13th; I didn't even realize the date until the lab had ended.

The lab started off as normal; we got a lab report back, we turned one in, we took a quiz, and we got started on our lab.

But things were not to be good. First off, for whatever reason, the argon gas tank was broken. We had no argon gas, and since we had to cannulate and put stuff under positive pressure a few times, we needed the gas.

So we called over the lab manager, who said that she needed to "boys" to "open" the tank. So I got shafted with holding the tank while another guy got a huge wrench to try to open the tank (we tried to open the tank with our hands but our hands kept chafing; the thing was stuck hard).

Now, the tank is located in a really ackward place and holding the tank while someone uses a wrench to open it was really straining on my back; this is how I threw my back out yesterday. After a while, they realized that "hey maybe the tank is broken and won't open!"

After a half hour of waiting, a new tank was brought in. And then we got to start cannulating. As I mentioned earlier, we had to put stuff under positive pressure (e.g. just put stuff in capped containers to higher pressures than the atmosphere). Of course, one of the cap ends wasn't tightened enough, so air started escaping when we cannulated, which started making this high-pitched noise, almost like an alarm.

We were so embarassed.

Anyways, this lab then required the injections of two chemicals that are water sensitive. This inherently means the chemical is air-sensitive (since there is water in the air) ... which means there is a really specific method you have to use in order to extract the chemical from the vial and then inject it.

One group managed to inject the first chemical alright. Then the second group that got the chemicals screwed up.

The method involves you putting the capped original chemical vial under positive pressure with argon, sticking a syringe in, then extracting the chemical, pulling the syringe out, then pulling the argon gas out. Unfortunately when they stuck the syringe in, they left the part of the syringe that goes up and down in the syringe; it should of been left out so it doesn't fly out.

Because the top part FLEW out ... into a bucket of ... ice. Remember this is the water-sensitive chemical. This basically meant that this syringe was wasted and had to be washed with acetone and dried in an oven forever (since that was the only syringe we had).

And to make matters worse, when the top part of the syringe flew off, the group kinda just stared at the set-up. Out of syringe was now the water/air sensitive chemical ... bubbling out. It looked like all those nasty chemicals in movies; it was yellow and bubbling out, and then it would just turn into smoke ... it was pretty scary. (Look at the picture attached to this entry below).

But this isn't the end! No sirree!

The first group, if you remember, managed to get their first chemical in. But they couldn't get their second chemical in. The syringe for that kept bending; it could penetrate the rubber top on the second chemical jar! Ha ha! Then the lab manager came over and was like "just stab it in there and extract the chemical; don't worry about the air.

And then my TA was like, "Uhh, the chemical is air sensitive." The lab manager's just like "Oh, it's ok. Just pump it a few times in the jar when argon's flowing in.

That doesn't make much sense it seems. In any case, I'll cut this story short cause I'm getting hungry. We ended up giving up on all 4 groups trying to make the polymer; we decided to just let the first group try. But as it turned out, the step that the lab manager "helped" on leaded to no product being yielded.

Fun stuff.

Currently listening to: Hoobastank's The Reason
Posted by roy on February 14, 2004 at 04:18 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
A little late, but I share with you this awesome (funny) commercial ...

Kids, be careful. Love can be painful. But you should use BRIDGESTONE tires!
Posted by roy on February 16, 2004 at 09:16 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment
I really wish I hadn't stayed up all night programming; I'm reading Plato's "The Republic" and it's so darned interesting. Just wish I was a bit sharper mentally for it ... for those of you who haven't read it, give it a read. The stuff he puts forth ... quite interesting.

Edit: I just got back from my exam. I could of written the essay *lot* better (it was unfocused and meandered from topic to topic), but overall I'm pretty satisfied, considering I managed to read the Republic and Politics by Aristotle in about 6 hours...

Did you know that if Plato had his way, women could have more power back in the day? Plus he'd have all those women work out in the gymnasium with men (They used to work out nekkid in the gymnasium).. YEEEEEPPPPPPPPPPPP.

But some random brain farts before I crash:
- Does absolute power corrupt absolutely? Although I feel that sometimes Socrates/Plato have a very negative view of people (inherently born bad?), I think that both would argue against absolute power corrupting absolutely. They claim that each person is bound by three characteristics: reason, emotion, and intellect. Since corruption is allowing your emotions (selfishness and greed) get ahead of reason and intellect (you *know* you shouldn't be getting corrupted), having reason and intellect control emotion will prevent this from happening.

This brings up an interesting point. Could there be an ideal government led by a smaller group? I've never been a fan of true democracy (the United States is a republic, not a true democracy) and I've wondered how a more centralized government would work. Of course, for a large country like the United States this would never work; I think these smaller governments could only work on smaller countries with the maximum size being a country the size of North Korea. Cuba would be perfect (I'm not trying to be funny here).

I'd like to see something like China's government (a Premier with a party that helps ruling) without the bureacracy ... and America's free market systems. I'm not sure who said that centralized power and free markets couldn't coexist, but I'll have to read up on why. Checks and balances are overrated if your executive branch can govern well; this requires the training of Plato and Socrates; "do it for the good of the whole."

Oh god, I'm a closet Socialist, aren't I? Damnit.

Things to do tonight:
- continued bug fixes at lb7 (presentations esp.)
- roadmap doc for audiomatch
- roadmap doc for tabulas
- coordinate api development for lb7 with borst
- ensure that paypal ipn is integrated with lb7
- send ben logo for tabulas/description
Posted by roy on February 17, 2004 at 07:47 AM in Ramblings | 14 Comments
In case you haven't been following economic news, Comcast recently made a $54-billion bid for Disney. Eisner and Co. rejected this bid (it's actually pretty low); Wall Street also cast its vote by having Comcast stock fall and Disney stock rise, which made things worse for Comcast (this was to be a stock swap).

Roy Disney and Stanley Gold just issued a nice letter to the shareholderes of Disney urging them to overthrow Eisner. This comes on the heels of Steve Jobs' Pixar announcing they would terminate their partnership with Disney (makes sense, since Pixar was doing almost all the work anyways).

Whoooooo. I love a good corporate battle. I doubt Comcast will end up buying out Disney, but I have a feeling this will be Eisner's last hurrah. Eisner really has that company going into the shithole. Remember Go.com? What a joke.
Posted by roy on February 18, 2004 at 01:05 AM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
book added to my neverending list of "books to buy."

gah. need... money...
Currently listening to: NoFX's The Decline
Posted by roy on February 18, 2004 at 03:00 AM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
The new project finally announced: Lightbox7.com.

This is the product of me busting my ass for about 3 weeks. All-nighter after all-nighter, rewrite after rewrite, planning after more planning.

This is the official successor to TokkiProject, so all of you who had accounts will have to move them (sorry, but I've made it real easy to transfer accounts!).

Now you may be wondering: "What the hell? All this work for ... what essentially amounts to TokkiProject?"

Yes and no. This site is technically a LOT more solid ... but I've covered in more detail the differences between the two sites.

You can't register for the site yet, but you can poke around and read about what the site can do =).

YES! :)

So for those of you who have Tokki accounts and are wondering what's going to happen, I'm going to (very shortly) shut off access to Tokki. You will need to move over to LB7. There are import tools which will make the transition painless. I ask that you delete any albums you migrate over, but keep the ones you need for hotlinking purposes; I'll keep all images on the Tokki site active for about a year.

Edit: I redid the top navigation header images... I was never happy with the groupings. Although I've always felt the need to make a distinction between Preferences and Styles (Tabulas makes this distinction), I decided they could be grouped under one heading; now there's a "community" tab that'll help you manage your friends, comments, and community. Makes more sense.

Man, I'm really liking this site. I took some time poking around Pbase and Fotki; honestly these guys are going to have _nothing_ on me once I launch this site :)
Currently listening to: Everclear's I Will Buy You A New Life
Posted by roy on February 18, 2004 at 01:48 PM in Web Development | 7 Comments
The first public release of Lightbox7.com!

Go register an account and have your friends register ... and have some fun :) YES, TELL YOUR FRIENDS. REGISTER REGISTER.

If you have a Tokki account, this will be replacing Tokki; DISCONTINUE USING TOKKIPROJECT! Lightbox7.com has an import feature that will import all your Tokki galleries to save you a lot of work. There is also a Tabulas gallery import feature.

I'm hoping to beat the living daylights out of some of the other unnamed photohosting sites... the site's still quite young, but it's really stable!

Now I can take a 24 hour break before I get cracking on some of the missing features.


P.S. my lightbox account
Currently listening to: John Denver's Take Me Home Country Roads
Posted by roy on February 19, 2004 at 10:12 AM in Web Development | 15 Comments
REALLY IMPORTANT: Polaroid Warns Film Users Not to 'Shake It'.

And also: US bans timed-honored typeface from diplomatic correspondence. I'm glad that our government is spending a lot of time doing important things.
Currently listening to: Eagle Eye Cherry's Save Tonight
Posted by roy on February 20, 2004 at 02:51 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
Sometimes I wonder if I'm pregnant.

My roommates will attest to this, but I get _the_ most specific food cravings. I don't crave general food groups like chocolate or fish, but I crave a specific brand of food.

Sometimes this is the result of advertising (yes, I am a mindless lemming which can be persuaded by TV commercials), but oftentimes it's just random cravings.

For example, while I was playing poker the other night, I started craving McDonald's and sushi. Specifically a Big Mac Combo (not supersized) with an orange Hi-C and a side of Chicken McNuggets ... and some sushi (no specificities there).

So today for lunch I trekked all 15 minutes to the local McDonald's, and let me tell you, their new chicken nuggets are ... pretty much the same. Ha ha.

Seriously thought, they do taste a bit better. They don't have those "chunks" that the olds ones used to have ... and they do taste a bit better.

But soon I will be going to Kurama's for some SUSHI and my cravings will be fulfilled.

Currently listening to: Kenny Rogers's The Gambler
Posted by roy on February 23, 2004 at 03:15 PM in Ramblings | 4 Comments
One thing you don't want is to walk into your room to find your roommate (Sungjin) watching porn on the TV ... and of all types, it's rhinocerous porn ... on the Discovery Channel ... and he couldn't stop laughing at the poor rhino.

Currently listening to: 2PAC's dear mama
Posted by roy on February 24, 2004 at 03:51 PM in Foolishness | Add a comment
I was looking through some old CDs the other day and found the raw scans to all my summer 2002 pictures from vietnam and korea.

So I uploaded all the pictures, created quick thumbnails, and then released all the pictures under a Creative Commons license to the web.

So if you have some weird fetish with 15 megabyte TIF files, go download them. :)
Posted by roy on February 24, 2004 at 05:26 PM in Photography | Add a comment
Things aren't looking so good for our neighbors up north.

And of course, we musn't forget our "other" neighbors up north (link is the Triumph Quebec skit).
Currently listening to: Cassidy Feat. R. Kelly's Hotel
Posted by roy on February 25, 2004 at 08:12 AM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
A message to all NPForums and Jaymee.org visitors:

I've had to temporarily shut down both forums to save up on CPU usage on the primary server; I *am* in the process of purchasing a new server and moving sites off of the overloaded server, but it's going to take time. The server company I'm with is currently in the process of opening up a new data center so they don't have new servers for sale...

Until then, please be patient with me ... I hope to reenable both forums by this weekend.

Edit: Tuvix asked this, but yes, once I move everything from Tabulas over to a separate server, I *will* reopen applications =).
Currently listening to: Kanye West's Through the Wire
Posted by roy on February 26, 2004 at 10:03 AM in Ramblings | 37 Comments
Do you know how certain smells remind you of something? Well I'm in the computer lab right now and the girl next to me wears the lotion that my ex-girlfriend used to wear ... it's invoking old memories...

Gah. I cannot sit here any longer... it's reminding me of the past!!!!!
Posted by roy on February 26, 2004 at 01:05 PM in Personal | 6 Comments
Wow, setting up a new server is painful. Maybe I've used Ensim for far too long, but Cpanel is close to impossible to use. It has the most horrendous control panel ... it looks like a 5 year old made it. They've got frames with no margins ... so the text sticks to each frame. Ugh.

But it's not just the fact that it's ugly; it has horrendous UI. All the features are just linked along the left... reading all the features is a 10 minute task at hand.

In any case, I've been setting up the new server for Lightbox7 and Tabulas; this server's sole purpose is simply to serve up images (and process them) for lightbox7 and tabulas =). I've disabled all features except httpd so this server should be superzippy :)

Phew... I'm almost done setting hte server up. Then I gotta install the Lightbox7 script to make sure all the settings work properly (the inter-server communciations that is) ... then I gotta rewrite some of the Tabulas scripting to handle the interserver support (shouldnt' be hard, I'll just steal it from LB7's codebase).

Edit: I feel the same way...

Edit 2: I came home and my family got a NICE 19" flatscreen monitor. I feel so out-of-date with my crappy craptop which is incapable of doing anything ... :(
Posted by roy on February 27, 2004 at 10:41 AM in Web Development | Add a comment
I used to be able to pound out features within a few days ... but it's getting longer and longer before I can get stuff done now. I think this has something to do with the fact that I am getting more picky with my coding; I've decided that spending a week doing one thing right is so much better than getting 10 things done ... wrong.

In any case, I just finished up my "quick" work on Tabulas to alleviate the load on the server by moving the image server to a separate site ... and now I need to sleep so I can wake up and study my butt off for an exam tomorrow :D

In any case, hope your "leap year days" are coming awesome... I'm gonna take a quick nap, do a bit of work on lightbox, then study all night.

Sounds like fun.
Currently listening to: Tupac's Lord Knows
Posted by roy on February 29, 2004 at 10:44 AM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
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