Entries for July, 2005

I wish I had known about character encoding before I wrote Tabulas. I need to make a clean shift to UTF-8 (Tabulas is currently using iso-8859-1), but I'm not quite sure how to do this without basically taking the whole site down and converting all the text over. I may do this when I manage to write some sort of compression scheme on the text because the uncompressed text in mySQL is taking up more than a gig of hard drive text. Or should users be allowed to set their own charset? Are there any benefits/pitfalls of this (besides the obvious problems when someone wants to switch charsets and their previous data gets screwed up).


. . .

It's weird that while I'm developing something, I'll have a cool idea for a new feature (this happens every day), but then a day later, I'll think "that's really stupid." Of course, being incredibly scatterbrained also means that I tend to forget new feature ideas ... which I guess also means I'll ultimately save myself from calling myself a moron...

One of the problems, as I see it, is the lack of linking between entries. If I want to help foster communication, I need to start really examining the entries for hyperlinking information. One of the little ideas I'd like to steal from LJ and wikis is the ability to link to someone else's Tabulas using a command like the in-line image command that Tabulas uses. So maybe you'd type [User:roy] and it'd automatically link to my Tabulas, but the link wouldn't go bad (as it would if you hard-linked it) if my site URL changed. Since I'd like to (in the future) be able to allow users to use subdomains and domains, the site URL may change.. wouldn't it be nice to have your links follow you? Or is that not even the right way to view the web... ho hum.

. . .

In any case, it would be fantastically cool if I could write something that would analyze public entries for links; if the site finds a link that references another Tabulas' entry, Tabulas would store this information. The idea is that: (1) it will let you know who is linking to your content in Tabulas and (2) you can build threaded conversations based on debates.

Commenting, it and of itself, is simply not enough to foster debates of much worth right now. The box is too small, and there are just not enough options. However, if one could write an entry with a link to an existing Tabulas entry that would automatically show the reference on the other end ... that would be incredibly beneficial.

This already exists in the form of trackback/pingback, but what I'm thinking of doing for Tabulas is slightly different. It is trackback/pingback, but it also automatically threads the idea as it spreads around, kind of like a message board. As more people join a specific topic of conversation, the thread grows larger... this could be quite useful in specific cases like Ed's recent posts as I write posts that agree with him while Kris writes posts that disagre; meanwhile there would be one page (somewhere else) that would list the threaded conversation.

It would also be incredibly useful in these "favorite 5 books" memes that are spreading around. How useful would it be to see on ONE page everyone's response to this meme ... in a threaded format? Not only could you trace who started a specific meme, but you could also see random people's responses.

Sorry if this is a bit unclear, but it's just random braindumping.

Not like it'll make it into Tabulas, but it's fun to theorize:)

I'm almost done with rewriting all the old functionality for 2.1. I'll soon start writing the new features (which isn't as tough as a task as it sounds, since my new libraries let me pump out new functionality with amazing efficiency) ...

Posted by roy on June 30, 2005 at 06:58 PM in Tabulas | 2 Comments

To those who got my protected entry, thanks for your responses. Ultimately, I think the problem is with me - lately I've felt a fundamental shift in my thinking ... haven't been exactly grateful for my blessings nor have I been really unselfish. This must change. I've spent so much time trying to set good habits (me me me), that I've shifted largely to a me-first viewpoint (bad, bad Roy).

In any case, hope everybody had a good 4th. I needed a day off, so I woke up late and played Rise of Nations until dinnertime. Then I watched some TV, and now I'm going to hit the sack early cause I've got to do at work tomorrow :)

I've never been able to fold my t-shirts properly, but this video simplifies folding t-shirts .... I literally spent about 10 minutes practicing on my t-shirts once I saw this video. And now you will, too.

Posted by roy on July 4, 2005 at 10:57 PM in Ramblings | 9 Comments
thug4life royboy: do you remember that "everybody's free (to wear suncreen) song?
kmartshopper1282: nope
thug4life royboy: MAN
thug4life royboy: NOBODY REMEMBERS IT
thug4life royboy: i thought with our starting line connection
thug4life royboy: we would share this song's connection
thug4life royboy: :-(
kmartshopper1282 wants to directly connect.
kmartshopper1282 is now directly connected.
kmartshopper1282: ask me again
thug4life royboy: do you remember that "everybody's free (to where suncreen) song"?
kmartshopper1282: YESSSSSS

So does anybody else remember this song? The one that was produced by Baz Luhrmann, written by Mary Schmich, and spoken by Quindon Tarver? Come on. I thought this was a huge song, but it sure doens't seem so.

Posted by roy on July 5, 2005 at 03:22 PM in Foolishness, Music | 12 Comments

Posted by roy on July 7, 2005 at 09:21 AM in Ramblings | 7 Comments

Yesterday I went to Wendy's and paid for my meal with a crisp new $20 and received a raggedy old $10 bill in return. I was quite surprised to find that the $10 bill was the old $10 bill - it had been quite some time since I had seen this $10 bill (maybe 5 years now?). Given how the old bills were to be taken out of circulation when they reached a bank, I wondered how this $10 bill had managed to survive and still remain as legal tender. Did some lone bachelor clean his sofa and find it tucked away? Did a man in his late 40s, who finally could fit into the pants he wore in college, reach into the pocket and find this $10 bill tucked away ... change from a long night of partying years ago? Either way, this bill is obviously a survivor.

I have a soft spot for survivor and fighters, so now I'm torn into not spending this $10 ... just to keep it for the sake of keeping it. It's by no means in good condition (I used to collect coins and bills when I was younger. As well as Beanie Babies; I actually still have like 30 Beanie Babies in my closet from when i used to sell those suckers on eBay), but now it holds some sentimental value for me.

. . .

Today was the first time since I've started working at Barnes and Noble that I got almost nothing done. Starting to feel a bit burned out last week, I started to move my Tabulas development time away from my room (since I spend roughly 8 hours a day for my job in my room) so I could have a change of scenery. It did wonders the first week when I started working at Barnes and Noble. Their wireless internet isn't free, but $20/month for wireless is something I'm willing to shell out to get a change of scenery - the productivity boost is worth that to me.

Another tip for developers: the best $10/month I'm spending is on a remote SVN server. I'm currently hosted at CVSDude.org, and the ability to remotely sync Tabulas development is awesome since I work on my tablet from home, my Stinkpad from Barnes and Noble, and theoretically I can also work from my Powerbook (although I hate the Powerbook). It's also a remote backup facility in case my servers die and my compuetr physically explodes on the same day. The peace of mind is well worth it.

. . .

Thought I'd share this for the few of you who don't know: middle clicking links opens tabs in Firefox; middle-clicking the tabs in FF closes them. This speeds up browsing incredibly. You can also have multiple homepages load in tabs in FF by using the '|' to separate URLs in your homepage preferences page.

Posted by roy on July 7, 2005 at 09:56 PM in Ramblings | 6 Comments

This guy at Barnes and Noble keeps giving me the evil eye. I'm so scared :(

Edit: Oops. Jennifer has pointed out that my nonchalant vague usage of the verb "work" has confused people. I am not employed by Barnes and Noble - I just bring my laptop and do work at Barnes and Noble. Apologies.

I have no intentions of moonlighting as a Barnes and Noble employee, although one of the girls that works here is pretty cute...

Posted by roy on July 9, 2005 at 06:45 PM in Ramblings | 11 Comments

Had two cups of coffee at Barnes last night. I'm not a coffee drinker. And.... my body hates me for it. I tried going to sleep for three hours last night!!! Couldn't do it. Damn this weak body of mine. In any case, I'm headed out now to DC to meet a friend ... supposed to meet around noon-ish, so I would have to leave around 8 am anyways ... I figure I can leave now and take a nap at a rest stop along the way.

Damn you, coffee. Damn you for not letting me fall asleep!!!!!

See y'all tomorrow!

Posted by roy on July 10, 2005 at 03:06 AM in Ramblings | 5 Comments
The Bangles - Manic Monday
it's just another manic monday
i wish it were sunday
cause that's my fun day
my "i don't have to run" day
it's just another manic monday

Since when is Sunday ever anybody's "fun day?" I always thought Friday was "fun day." For school kids, it's the last day of school. For TVphiles, it used to be the case that TGIF was something to look forward to (Boy Meets World, Step by Step, etc.). For college students and young professionals, Friday is the day you usually get wasted partying. For professionals, every other Friday is (usually) payday.

So tell me why would anyone confuse your 'fun' day with Sunday? Sunday is the day that people wake up early to go to church (not really fun in my book), and also the day you spend dreading the upcoming week.

They could have gotten clever and said 'Satr-day' so it wouldn't be three syllables. Or just knock off that 'i' and say "wish it were saturday."

This has boggled my mind for quite some time. Any insights?

P.S. After the caffeine debacle this past weekend (driving back from DC was not fun during the 36th hour of my 'day'), I am giving up soft drinks and coffee for the month of July.

Posted by roy on July 11, 2005 at 11:06 AM in Foolishness, Music | 2 Comments

Since a few people asked, the server decided to take a dump the one day I take a break away from the computer in months (literally).

I'm not sure why it did, and I'm not particularly interested in finding out why. I wish I could promise that I'm actively doing something to fix it, but given the rarity of the problem (i've never had to actively monitor the servers on the CPU end since 2.0 was implemented), the only proper solution is for me to run a fail-safe network of multiple load-balanced servers. Of course, there is a financial limitation right now, so I haven't been able to purchase new servers.

However, once 2.1 launches, I will look more seriously into purchasing more hardware to power this site - you guys deserve better than the crappy speeds that the database server spits back.

. . .

I just finished reading David McCullough's 1776. It was an alright read: the jist of the book is that George Washington wasn't a legendary leader because of any special managerial or military prowess ... he became a legendary figure because had persistence and heart. The one thing I didn't like was the abrupt ending - one moment it's talking about the victory at Trenton ... and then the book fast forwards 6 years and ends. Not cool.

I highly recommend Jeffrey S. Young and William L. Simon's "iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business." It's a fascinating look at the mercurial character of Steve Jobs. As I continue to learn more and more about the lives of these successful characters, one factor always seems to come into play - their general arrogance and lack of character (not to be confused with a lack of personality). Of course, I also always hear my friends saying those "driven" folk up in NYC are awfully rude. Is a "successful" lifestyle and a laid back approach to life mutually exclusive? When I think about it, I can't think of many wildly successful people who seem well-humored, humble, and generally laid back. The story time and time again with people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates is that they generally surrounded themselves with incredibly smart people and simply pushed them to their absolute limits, whether it be through fear, sheer strength of will, or by exploiting the willingness to create something great.

Posted by roy on July 11, 2005 at 11:43 PM in Ramblings, Tabulas | 5 Comments

Five car names that I think are retarded:

  • Sebring
  • Esteem (Suzuki)
  • Nova (conveniently translates to "it doesn't go" in spanish)
  • Tempo
  • Tacoma

That is all.

Posted by roy on July 13, 2005 at 10:43 PM in Ramblings | 7 Comments

I think I know what modifications I need on my Ford Taurus (which has been having transmission problems lately, blech):

The ebay auction for:

Posted by roy on July 15, 2005 at 12:26 PM in Foolishness | 7 Comments

What a Saturday. Last night, watched the Wedding Crashers, which I thought was absolutely HILARIOUS. The movie has also led me to become enamored with Rachel McAdams, which means that I will soon be renting The Hot Chick and The Notebook quite shortly. I woke up roughly around 230pm today, taking full advantage of the fact that I didn't have work. I'm fortunate enough right now of being free from responsibilities which would normally force me to wake up early on Saturdays.

. . .

Han has a wonderful postulate (theory, whatever) that basically states: "Your stomach is not directly wired to your brain. Therefore, when you eat, the effects of eating are not immediately noticeable." The reason I bring up this postulate is I found myself at Taco Bell (my absolute favorite place to eat), standing in line to buy more soft tacos after consuming two soft tacos and two hard tacos (I love combo #8!). Almost immediately after sitting down to consume these two tacos, my brain suddenly said, "Oh Roy. This is a HUUUGEE mistake." But being prideful, I forced them down. I now find myself at Barnes and Noble, feeling quite uncomfortable. If this had been a healthy dinner, I wouldn't worry so much ... but I fear for the people around me. Luckily I'm sitting somewhat isolated from the main group ... sooooooo...........

. . .

Being a freshman at college was a horrifying experience for me. I've never been the most gregarious character, so meeting new friends was quite difficult. However, one of the huge upsides of being a freshman in college was that you weren't expected to have any friends. So during those first three weeks at Lenoir Dining Hall at Carolina, it was OK to ask people if you could sit with them and eat. Unfortunately sophomores, juniors and seniors couldn't engage in this activity ... because why the hell don't you have any friends by that time?

I remember always having a "Lenoir buddy." These people were people you'd see constantly at Lenoir dining hall during your designated breakfast/lunch breaks ... other people who shared your schedule. There was one person in particular, Jeff, whom I would sit with and eat everytime I saw him. We didn't share anything in particular (except maybe taste in girls, because he ended up dating my freshman year crush!), but we always had the most random conversations during our Lenoir meetings.

I bring this up now because there is a Duke med school student who I keep running into at Barnes and Noble. Normally this wouldn't be anything to note, since there is a group of people who are "regulars" here, except I saw this guy at Taco Bell today as well! What a coincidence. So perhaps hes me, had I stuck with school and gone the medical school route. I shall name him... "Leroy."

. . .

Reason number 1 to not wear sandals in the summertime: Getting bit on the bottom of your feet is HORRIBLE.

Posted by roy on July 16, 2005 at 05:59 PM in Ramblings | 3 Comments

Apologies to those who read the RSS feed and now have a huge cluttered post. This is a pointless entry which you can skip. Unfortunately I've been on HYPERNONSTOPMODE for the past hour or so listening to Otis Knight's rendition of "Shout" so I'm not myself.

The most pointless waste of electrons ever:(Read More)

Posted by roy on July 16, 2005 at 10:55 PM in Ramblings, Foolishness | Add a comment

If I am to ever define my life by one word, that word would be "unrealistic." Unrealistic expectations for myself, unrealistic expectations of others, others unrealistic expectations of myself, and a generally unrealistic outlook on life.

I just feel like I'm spinning my wheels here.

Patience, Roy. Patience.

Posted by roy on July 17, 2005 at 09:53 PM in Personal | Add a comment

MySpace.com has been bought out for $580million by News Corp.

* Actually, the company that owns 30 others sites and only owns 53% of MySpace.com has been bought out for $580 million. But still.

Posted by roy on July 18, 2005 at 09:29 PM in Ramblings | 9 Comments

I guess it's time you to know. I'm in love. I have finally found the girl of my dreams. I didn't think it would be possible, but ... ::sigh:: I've become a cliche. Oh, Rachel McAdams... you hold the key to my heart.


Ever since seeing "The Wedding Crashers," I can't get her out of my mind. In fact, the depths of my love for her run so deep I even tested my masculinity by going out and renting The Notebook. How can any man watch The Notebook and not fall in love with Rachel McAdams? I dare any of you .... watch it. DO IT. And if you don't fall in love with Rachel ... well I question your taste in women!

Tonight I felt like I was ready to take our relationship to another level, so I bought the Notebook on DVD. Who can question my loyalty to her?

To be honest, I feel like this is the real deal. I have never felt such a connection with another soul ... I just long for her soft embrace every minute of the day ...

Some of you may be wondering ... what about your flame Jessica Biel? As I have told my close circle of confidants ... the Roy Kim Gravy Train only stops at one station at a time. I was waiting at the Kate Beckinsale Station and Jessica Biel Station for quite some time. After some time, the train must leave, with or without its passengers. I cannot help it if they never returned my calls or emails... they're missing out. Now the Roy Kim Gravy Train (which is headed UPPPPPPPtown) is waiting at Rachel McAdams Station. All she does is have to get on.

Oh, how the pangs of love have awakened my soul...

I dedicate this poem by Billy Shakespeare to my new love:

But love is blind and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit;
For if they could, Cupid himself would blush
To see me thus transformed to a boy.

. . .

Ha ha. Just kidding. Seriously though, when I saw her in the Wedding Crashers, I thought she was quite cute. She has that gorgeous smile and those sparkling eyes (although that could be camera trickses the tricksy hobbitses in the movie industry are playing on me) ... but when I saw "The Notebook," I was amazed how great of an actress she is. Did anybody check out her audition on the extra features? WOW.

Wooo, got all the silliness out of my system now.

Posted by roy on July 19, 2005 at 10:48 PM in Foolishness | 11 Comments

I've picked up a totally useless hobby (as I usually do from time to time). I've started golfing.

It's amazing how much I've changed in a year - last year I couldn't give a rats ass about golf ... never watched in on TV, didn't care if people played (although I always think people who played golf were by definition snobs, I mean, really, who has time to go around paying vast sums of money to hit around a little golf ball?), but now that I've started hitting around ... you can watch cognitive dissonance in action!

Seriously though ... today was either the 3rd or 4th time I've been out to the range, and I'm learning real slow. But there were two shots I hit which were absolutely beautiful ... the went about 200-ish yards (Han knows the exact number) and were exactly where I aimed.

Man, when everything comes into place ... your grip, your stance, your swing, and contact with the ball ... the little whoosh clack ... and the ball goes perfectly where you aimed .... it's such a relaxing feeling. A great stress reliever.

Posted by roy on July 20, 2005 at 09:34 PM in Ramblings | 7 Comments

If given the opportunity to lead an inebriated crowd in a fun song to sing in front of a live band... the songs I would sing would be on this list:

  • three dog night - jeremiah was a bullfrog
  • otis day - shout
  • gloria gaynor - i will survive
  • the kingsmen - louie louie
  • elton john - tiny dancer
  • chumbawumba - tub thumping
  • fountains of wayne - stacy's mom
  • beatles - twist and shout

Lately I've just wanted to veg out and make some music. I think it'd be so nice to just jam out with a cool band to some oldies. In any case, trying to channel my inner musician by going back to my original musical love, the wonderful piano. I've set a general repertoire and a rough date that I want to get these songs polished up by. Then what? I don't know.

Currently listening to: The Foundations - Build me up buttercup
Currently feeling: worried
Posted by roy on July 20, 2005 at 11:44 PM in Music | 7 Comments

Finally, I'm glad those guys at AOL have figured out a great social networking tool that can determine whether I need to get a life.

Aimfight returns to you a popularity score based on your AIM id. Luckily, I found two people (one of them being sung) on my buddy list who have higher scores than me, so I'm not a complete loser ... although my relatively "high" score makes me reconsider spending so much time on AIM...

Posted by roy on July 21, 2005 at 09:22 PM in Ramblings | 5 Comments

From Wikipedia, on Generation Y:

Generation Y in the United States, the children of the “Baby Boomers”, have been carefully parented and groomed toward success, partially due to the guilt of the Baby Boomers over their own rejection of their parents. This overparenting and indulgence, combined with perhaps overly adult and mature relationships with their own parents, has led to them becoming adults with their own hopes and dreams. Sometime they feel they have their life made out for them by the time they are eighteen. Constricted in the most evolved bubble of “teenager-hood” ever, they tend to lead mini-adulthoods while still in high school and facing adolescence. They were raised to expect success and have already had some of it provided for them by their parents and grandparents. Some sociologists predict a backlash against this is coming, although many do not see that trend. For the most part, though, they are far less rebellious on the whole than either Generation X or their parents, the Baby Boomers. They desire to change the world, whether it be for them or for the good of mankind, and often it is somewhere in between, but most of them have very high hopes to change the world and alter it to their making. They like social groups and working together, but usually do not evolve extracurricular families like "Generation X."

They also tend to be very competent with technology and in people skills, although they may or may or not use abilities for good. Few seem to be content to simply lead youthful lives, instead opting for greater things. They have mostly been fairly sheltered, exposed to great amounts of knowledge through a feeding tube. Many of them have become somewhat self-centered, although some would say they are merely appreciative of their skills, and note their tendency to joking self-deprecation. Most cyclical predictions and their desire to change the world, along with their lowered capacity for or interest in rebellion, would predict that they will become the first truly establishment generation, wholly ambitious, since the G.I. Generation. It is possible they will go through guilt over the "War on Terror" and its ambiguities, especially those born in the earlier part who fought in it, and the current strength of political divisions that they have grown up or are growing up under. The current Generation Y celebrities show the greed for success and for influence, influence more than anything, even more than money, that consumes this generation. However, on the other hand, they are more conservative and establishment than the last two generations, and do not rebel against authority, but work with it. They will undoubtedly have great influence on all areas of American life. Most examples of Generation Y are fairly unconservative and unrebellious in practice, which perhaps will make them more successful and influential, putting them into establishment positions.

As much as I've made fun of sociology in the past, I still find it immensely fascinating how the times in which we are born can have such a huge effect on the way we live and think. I am a product of my generation (I mean this in a positive manner).

Posted by roy on July 23, 2005 at 12:33 PM in Ramblings | 3 Comments

Stuff I learned today:

  • It is quite advantageous to take advantage of serialize() to store large amounts of options in a database without having to create a separate column for everything. For example, you could store all crossposting login information as one array in PHP, then serialize that data to a string, and store it in one column.
    • It's even MORE advantageous to compress that string using gzcompress() to save on hard drive space. In Tabulas' case, the database server is physically separate from all the other servers, so compressing the amount of data required to travel between database server to other servers is A Good Thing. However, when you compress, you want to make sure your column type is a BLOB since gzcompress() seems to return a binary string. Of course, when you do this, you don't want to forget to use mysql_escape_string_real() for the binary data; using addslashes() is useless!
    • Of course, if you are like me, you are very paranoid about user input, so to be on the safe side, Tabulas strips out all HTML tags by default (unless specifically overriden). But running strip_tags() on binary data ... can strip crucial characters out of your binary string, meaning it can never be uncompressed.
  • PHP has built-in EXIF functions; just reconfigure PHP.

Things I've gotten done the past few days:

  • Nested albums
  • Square thumbnails just for the control panel (you have no idea how much more aesthetically pleasing it is)
  • Image backups
  • Thumbnail regeneration (allows you to recreate all your thumbnails and images)

I'm about one or two days away from finalizing all the features I want in the control panel for galleries. The only gallery-related feature that probably won't make it in to 2.1 is smart image conversions.

It also looks like I'm not going to hit my August 1st launch date for 2.1. Looks like I'm off by at least two ... three weeks. At the earliest. Apologies to anybody who's waiting (doubt it).

Alright, enough of this foolishness. Time to pass out.

. . .

Currently listening to: Gorillaz - Feel Good, Inc.
Posted by roy on July 24, 2005 at 02:42 AM in Web Development, Tabulas | 9 Comments

Finally, my years of masquerading as a student are finally over, as I got this from the mailman today:

What's truly amusing is that I pulled this off with the lowest possible GPA possible, which I hope is a school record. I graduated 7/1000 of a point above the minimum requirements, which was largely the result of me going down the wrong academic path. I was pushing for a BS in Chemistry, when I finally woke up during junior year and asked, "What am I going to be doing with a chemistry degree that is making this all worth it?" The answer, obviously, is "Nothing." So I copped out and just got a BA in Chemistry and a BA in Economics (Economics is one of those courses they should encourage everybody to take cause it is truly fascinating, although the real-world value that it holds is somewhat questionable since everything is based on theoretical "pure" models which can never exist).

What an accomplishment (Not).

. . .

But it all wasn't a wasted experience. Fortunately for me, I still have my UNC OneCard (ID). This saves a whopping $1.75 everytime I go to the theaters ($8.50 for a normal movie ticket, $6.75 with a student ID). As far as Southpoint Movies is concerned, I never graduated.

Posted by roy on July 27, 2005 at 08:48 AM in Personal | 11 Comments

Driving up to the Big Apple from Sunday - Wednesday morning, then will fly out from Baltimore on the drive down to go to Minnesota to finally meet the rest of the Mindtouch crew until next Friday night.

You kids behave yourselves.

. . .

It's Friday! In honor, I give you the music video to the Cure's "Friday I'm in Love." (36meg, MPG)

Have a great Friday.

Posted by roy on July 28, 2005 at 09:04 PM in Ramblings | 6 Comments

Jennifer forwarded me this complaint letter (It's a PDF) that had me dying of laughter.

Speaking of which, if your Adobe PDF reader takes forever to load in Windows XP, go to C:Program FilesAdobeAcrobat 6.0Reader (or wherever your Adobe is, I think this is the default location) and move everything from your plug-ins directory into the Optionals folder. I left EWH32, printme, and Search in the plug-ins folder, but everything else is pretty much bloated crapware you don't really need. This makes PDF load REAL fast ... and it doesn't crash!

Posted by roy on July 29, 2005 at 11:40 AM in Ramblings, Foolishness | 18 Comments
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