Entries for November, 2005

While hanging at W.B. Yeats with Ignatius, we saw a drunk girl dressed (?) in revealing clothing (Ignatius surmised that she was dressed up as a "slut," which is a dissappointingly unoriginal costume), crying on the shoulder of a scantily clad fairy boy who was shorter than her.

Only on Halloween.

Thanks to ig for uploading the proof:

(Taken with his cameraphone)

We also have one helluva brainboggler later, once I get time to photoshop the situation.

Posted by roy on November 1, 2005 at 11:35 AM in Ramblings | 4 Comments

Reading 150+ sites every day, IMs (Skype, IM, MSN), emails (3 primary emails), real life, etc is not easy. Although I think some of these problems could be solved technologically, I much rather favor a social solution (e.g. one where I make a change in my lifestyle).

One of the issues at work that I've been seeing is the way groups organize content. The product I work on at Mindtouch is in essence a very open-ended content management system (in a nutshell, although it really goes beyond this). You can structure and organize your content in any way you want. Although we provide relationships between each item, we actually want the users of the system to determine their own hierarchies of data. This is an example of technology adapting to existing practices.

I've been struggling to deal with this "information overload," but I've finally worked out a system where I can manage my work, my friends, and my internet involvement without destroying my concentration (a big issue for people who work on the Internet). I've pared down the number of times I check email to 3 times a day (once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once before I go to sleep). I only check my Internet reading list twice a day. I sign off of instant messaging programs when I really need to get work done (away messages are so evil, because I'm always curious to see if someone's responded to my latest "witty" away message).

It also helps to get away from the house every once in a while - splitting to Barnes has been an enormous help for me in getting stuff done.

Posted by roy on November 1, 2005 at 10:01 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment

Jennhlin asked me today if I had a deep yearning to be incredibly "successful;" if I wanted to change people's lives, make lots of money, etc. The simple answer, is of course, a "yes." However, I made a note that in the case of MySpace, if I were in Tom's shoes, I would probably not be incredibly happy. I'm not only interested in financial windfall - I think one of the worst things in our society is the overriding importance we place on financial wealth. If I built a site that was a huge commercial success but really didn't benefit society in any way, I probably wouldn't view it as a success (even if it had a $560mil price tag associated with it). What's most important to me is that I build a tool that is successful, but also benefits and helps makes people lives easier/better.

Whenever you start any type of project, it helps to have an underlying philosophical mantra to help guide the growth of the site. When in doubt, you can always refer back to your original intentions and make your decisions like that.

Fuunk is very much philosophically-driven. This, obviously, does not solve the problem of "How do you monetize this site so it can support itself?" A site that can't support itself financially and folds is of no help to anybody at all. I'll write more on the financial aspects of Fuunk in the future, but for the time being, let me explain the philosophies that drive Fuunk.

  • Fuunk's purpose is to make the lives of its users easier without costing them a single cent. We want to do everything we can to simplify the process of managing your courseload. We give you the information, tools, everything... free.
  • Information should be free (nobody owns information). I'll save my DRM-rant for later, but in general, tools and information should be free. All the critical information on Fuunk (professor information, class data, etc.) will always remain free. We have no intention of doing what PickAProf did and start charging users a fee to access content. Getting users to contribute free information regarding professors, then charging for that information is flat-out WRONG.
  • Allow access to the data. This is related, but I will (hopefully) get around to allowing all data to be available in OPML (schedules), RSS (professor comments), and FOAF (friends information) formats. I'll also create a REST-based API for people who want to access this information. Furthermore, once I can figure out a good way to automate the process, I want to dump all the professor/class information and just let people download the database files so they can create their own site.
  • Don't succumb to fads. Fuunk is not FaceBook. I will be actively resisting any attempts to turn Fuunk into Facebook... this basically means that any feature we add, unless it adds value to the process of course management, will not be supported. In essence, we're building a very complex tool, but we want to keep a very narrow scope on what we focus on.
  • Humanize the user experience. I haven't yet set up a site blog yet, but I want to make the whole user experience in contacting us as personal as possible. I haven't written much about the Fuunk experience yet, but there's so much to write about (technically and the backstory).

Next post: technical stuff about Fuunk :)

Posted by roy on November 1, 2005 at 11:04 PM in | 6 Comments

Friends, I went to McDonald's today in hopes of getting Boardwalk (and thus finally fulfilling the American Dream). Unfortunately, the Monopoly promotion ended (boo!)... but I was SO happy to see a big picture of the McRib sandwich above the drive-thru menu.

But ... what was the fancy text underneath it...?

"The Farewell Tour" ?!

(I'm peripherally aware that this is a big publicity stunt by McDonald's, and if it is, I'm going to be quite angry).

According to their website, this is the last time they will offer the delectable McRib sandwich .... how could this happen?! Besides the Big Mac, the McRib sandwich is the best sandwich at McDonald's! In fact, I've always wondered why they only offer McRib sandwiches at random times during the year.

That makes me a sad panda :(

. . .

In another sign that I have far too much stuff occupying my little brain, I've lost the root password to one of my servers. Oops.

I also misplaced my password cheat sheet I used to carry around in my wallet. Double oops.

One of my biggest fears is waking up and forgetting the 6 or 7 random passwords I use for my servers, so I have them written down. And I keep it in my wallet. I'm sure this is a security problem of sorts.

Posted by roy on November 2, 2005 at 10:07 PM in Ramblings | 4 Comments

Realization #50698: Who am I? I feel a very fundamental shift in who I am. Would anybody from three years ago recognize me?

Realization #50699: I need to calm down. I've been WAY too hyper lately.

. . .

A few weeks ago, I was informed that my sister was telling one of my friends that "he [me, obviously] will never get a girlfriend." In essence, she was saying that I had NO GAME! Now, imagine the utter havoc this wreaked upon my self-esteem. My high-school sister was telling people that... I have no game.

LUCKILY, I have GREAT friends who invited me out to Raleigh last week to check out Weapons of Mass Distraction (check them out if you're in Chapel Hill, they cover a lot of good stuff!). While there, I was lucky enough to procure this item:


I have DEFEATED my high-school sister! I AM VICTOOORRRIIOOOUUUSSS.

. . .

Pictures taken with my cameraphone that I like:

no idea why, but i'm totally digging this right now. i could stare at it for hours.

Currently listening to: stellastarr - somewhere across forever
Posted by roy on November 4, 2005 at 02:20 AM in Ramblings | 8 Comments

People seem to be curious what this is (and nobody seems to be able to figure it out):

Put your guesses below.

K8, Kao, Nasty Nate, and Al Pal are disqualified from this contest (I've already told them what it is).

Posted by roy on November 4, 2005 at 01:18 PM in Ramblings | 24 Comments

Answer to my previous post where I asked people to guess what this was:

People guessed:

  • a fairy
  • radioactive mickey mouse
  • radioactive hummingbird
  • alien
  • traffic light
  • mountain dew logo
  • a neon green dildo that i apparently own
  • finger pressing doorbell
  • tail light of car
  • warning signal on your car's dash
  • advil tablet between two acorns
  • Customized PC with a Tabulas T shape whole and a green neon light inside
  • green straw

Very creative answers. Unfortunately the answer is far more utilitarian. The answer was given correctly by dsw and carecare... it's the wireless LED signal from my laptop (the one that determines if there's a wireless signal). For those of you who guessed a LED, you get no credit.

Posted by roy on November 6, 2005 at 01:38 AM in Ramblings | 3 Comments

8 year old kid admitted to University in Korea. Apparently this kid really wants to build flying cars (heh):

"It [Schroedinger's Equation] goes against Newton's law. Everything on earth gets drawn to the surface by gravity, but in the case of flying cars, it's different," Song said. "There should exist the same opposite magnitude of power as the earth's gravity-pull. So, a balance is formed between gravity and reaction, which makes flying cars float in the atmosphere," he explained.

Either I'm really dumb, or this sounds like complete BS.

This also smells of a huge publicity stunt.

Posted by roy on November 6, 2005 at 09:06 AM in Ramblings | 10 Comments

"During periods of discontinuous, abrupt change, the essence of adaptation involves a keen sensitivity to what should be abandoned — not what should be changed or introduced. A willingness to depart from the familiar has distinct survival value." - Peter F. Drucker

the answer came so clear to me last night. although everything is so uncertain, the one certainty i did understand was that i needed to get physically get away.

sometimes you just gotta walk away from a situation and let things work themselves out. i don't have the willpower to stop myself from getting what i need to deny myself, so i need to let it become impossible for myself to get what i crave.

i've packed my bags and i'm ready to go. i'm leaving chapel hill for an indeterminate amount of time. so see you in a few days, weeks, or whatever.


Posted by roy on November 6, 2005 at 11:48 PM in Personal | Add a comment

So I promised Moonie I would attend their first LOST party (since they all watched the Season One disc at the mountain trip), but (obviously) I couldn't...

Unfortunately they couldn't bear to not be around me... and I'll let the pictures speak for themselves (I'm stealing the captionings from Han's Tabulas).

Yeah... wow.

Posted by roy on November 9, 2005 at 11:43 PM in Ramblings | 5 Comments
The intellect of man is forced to choose
perfection of the life, or of the work,
And if it take the second must refuse
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.
When all that story's finished, what's the news?
In luck or out the toil has left its mark:
That old perplexity an empty purse
Or the day's vanity, the night's remorse.

Basically you're screwed either way. Awesome.

Posted by roy on November 11, 2005 at 11:47 PM in Personal | 5 Comments

Yesterday, I understood the question. Today, I accepted the answer.

Rock on.

vietnam, 2002

Posted by roy on November 15, 2005 at 12:59 PM in Personal | 3 Comments

On the highways, there will often be signs a few hundred feet in front of an overhanging bridge with the distance (something like 14'8"). I'm assuming this is so trucks that are taller than that size don't try to cram underneath the bridge.

But there's never enough space from the sign to the bridge for a truck going 60mph to stop. So what does this sign really do? Is it just like a "Oh crap, I'm screwed" type of thing? And if the truck DOES stop, what does it do?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by roy on November 15, 2005 at 09:15 PM in Ramblings | 4 Comments

If you like South Park, download last night's episode.

It's amazing.

Posted by roy on November 17, 2005 at 10:41 AM in Ramblings | 3 Comments

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaacccccckkkkkkkk (in more ways than one!). Many questions answered, many burdens lifted... smooth sailing ahead (figuratively speaking). The 19-year old Roy would be proud.

Cape Cod pictures:

And one last picture to make you really jealous:

Posted by roy on November 21, 2005 at 10:41 PM in Ramblings, Photography | 9 Comments

Holy crap. Apparently French director Claude Lelouch mounted a gyro-stabilized camera onto his Ferrari, then had someone drive the car through dangerous speeds (up to 140 mph) in Paris. I'll quote from wikipedia:

This cinéma vérité film was made in a single take with no editing, using a gyro-stabilised camera mount attached to the front of the car. The length of the film was limited by the capacity of the camera reel (under 10 minutes). There is no dialog, and the actors only appear briefly at the end; the driver's face is never shown.

Lelouch apparently sought an official permit but was denied by municipal authorities. Combined with low traffic, this probably influenced the early-morning hour of the shoot. The driver, purportedly an F1 racer, frightened unwitting pedestrians, scattered birds, ran stoplights, went the wrong way down one-way streets, crossed center lines, and ignored other traffic laws, in addition to speed limits. A close analysis showed the car at times approached 140 mph (220 km/h). Obstacles such as buses, garbage trucks, and small knots of traffic forced detours and abrupt downshifting. Though no police were encountered during the shoot itself, when Lelouch showed his film in public, he was arrested. Apparently no charges were ever filed, but as a result the film remained underground for many years.

The video is a 35meg quicktime, and there's a google map which traces the route.


Posted by roy on November 22, 2005 at 11:08 AM in Ramblings | 2 Comments

Is part of growing up seeing people get hurt and die around you? It seems in the past week alone, two friends-of-friends have died in tragic car accidents, friends of my friend's parents are getting shot... and the absolute worst... my friend (I'll leave him nameless for the time being, because I don't know the etiquette for type of thing, but needless to say I mention him in this journal quite a bit) got into a car accident tonight. I got a call that jolted me out of my ennui... spent most of tonight in the ER at UNC hospital for moral support. Wish I could do more for my buddy... generally tried to find out as much as I could from the nurses (they didn't know much, he was brought in via helicopter so they only knew information regarding his health) and tried to make him feel better and forget the fact that he was banged up. His parents drove in and I acted as the worst translator in human history ... blah. I'm totally exhausted and really feel very confused. I got home about an hour ago, and I've just been listening to some All-American Rejects and thinking about a whole bunch of random crap.

So I've never actually acknowledged what I'm thankful for on Thanksgiving, because I think it's totally lame, but I'm thankful that my buddy is safe, alive and (will be) well. I'm thankful that I have friends that I could rely on if this had happened to me, and I'm thankful that my family and my friends are generally of good health. I'm thankful that I have the opportunity to be frittering my life away writing this entry, and that I have people to care for.

Everything else is gravy.

Posted by roy on November 24, 2005 at 12:16 AM in Ramblings | 3 Comments

Exhausted, but doing well. Finally had a day "for myself" today and caught up with yardwork, tutoring, playtime, and a decent meal.

It's been an interesting few months for me overall, but as Alice noted, I'm finally becoming much more comfortable with who I am. Through all the thinking I've done, I've become comfortable with who I am, what I need to do, the relationships I have with people around me, and generally life.

I feel more mental stability. That's not to say my life won't be tumultuous, for I have a feeling it's going to get real interesting real soon, but I'm not searching so much for myself anymore.

Now to just pay off my credit cards...

Posted by roy on November 25, 2005 at 11:31 PM in Ramblings | 3 Comments

"and i heard 'em say, nothing's ever promised tomorrow, today ... but we'll find a way."

. . .

I was looking through some old unsorted images tonight and found this gem. One of the great things about Carolina is the beauty of the campus - there were multiple occasions I would go out on a walk at the oddest hours of the night. I really like this picture, but I wish I had used a tripod ... it would have been nice and sharp. Oh wells.

UNC-CH North Quad

Posted by roy on November 27, 2005 at 09:48 PM in Photography, Music | 9 Comments

It's always so much easier to create something new than to maintain something old. I'm always trying to replace instead of repair ... foolishly thinking that if I give it another go with a fresh start, it'll somehow be better than what I had before.

I gotta have the patience to stick it through; I have to stop this vicious cycle of self-sabotage. This time...

Posted by roy on November 29, 2005 at 12:11 AM in Personal | 2 Comments
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