Entries for December, 2005

What's interesting about keeping a journal online is the need I feel to have something exciting everyday. It really makes me feel unproductive if I don't spend a day very well since it manifests in this journal with a lack of entries.

Posted by roy on December 1, 2005 at 01:39 AM in Ramblings | 4 Comments

My iPod (3G) is currently maxed out at 15GB worth of music. I try not to rip full albums on there, but instead try to get a few tracks from a diverse group of artists (which makes my iPod ideal for road trips). Because I listen to my iPod primarily through the "Artists" list (I'm not huge on playlists), I have a tendency to listen to artists which are grouped together alphabetically. For example, because I listen to Tupac Shakur ("T"), I have a tendency to listen more to Twista's "Overnight Celebrity," although one would think that I would also listen to Dilated People's "This Way," which features the hot "K-West" beat as well.

This extends also to the letter G (I listen to Guster because of the Get Up Kids), the letter R/Q (I listen to a whole smattering of artists there because of Radiohead and Queen), and the letter A (lately because I've been digging All-American Rejects).

Posted by roy on December 2, 2005 at 06:59 AM in Music | 4 Comments

The Virginia Tech/Duke basketball game was simply AMAZING. Check this sequence of events out:

  1. ~11 seconds left, Shelden Williams is on the line for a 1/1 with the Hokies down 74-73. He bricks it, VT rebounds and brings it up court. The VT player throws up an UGLY shot, but somehow Collins (VT) manages to tip it in with 4 other Dukies surrounding him.
  2. This means 75-74 VT with 1 second left on the clock. After some deliberation, the ref puts up 0.6 seconds on the clock, so the time is 1.6 seconds on the clock. My sister and I are screaming out lungs out with joy, only because I love shutting up the Cameron Crazies (she hates Duke with a passion).
  3. Whoever is inbounding rifles the ball to midcourt... Dockery catches it halfcourt, takes one dribble, turns around, and shoots it. The arc looks good to me before the ball reaches the zenith...
  4. SWISH, Dockery lands a prayer and Duke wins ... 77-75.


Posted by roy on December 4, 2005 at 08:19 PM in Sports | 5 Comments

In any friendship, you reach that ideal point where this friend-person is truly fascinating. You know none of their flaws and know only their strengths. Of course, this is only a short-lived deception, because this friend-person starts doing crazy things that make you go "WHOOOOAAA HOLD YOUR HORSES THERE, THIS PERSON IS CRAZY, HOW THE HECK DO I RUN AWAY FROM THEM WITHOUT MAKING IT TOO OBVIOUS."

Unfortunately for me, I always manage to hit this point in a friendship pretty early, which may explain why I have to bribe my "friends" with free meals and drinks (speaking of which, anybody up for some free food this week? My friends seem to have magically gotten "busy" all of a sudden... har har).

Quite recently, while on a drive back from Boston to Cape Cod with Nora, Nora was fiddling with my iPod for songs to listen to. Due to her early arrival (9am) and me having to endure city traffic (Logan Intl is in the middle of Boston), I was somewhat quiet. Nora suddenly chuckled to herself and remarked, "I can't believe this song is on your iPod!"

Now, there are plenty of songs that one could make this remark about (Arethra Franklin's "It's Raining Men", Aqua's "Barbie Girl", pretty much anything by S Club 7, Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It", the list of hideous music goes on and on), but this song was to be special.

As soon as I heard the opening piano riff of Nora's selection, my body suddenly went into a series of convulsing jerks (which in my mind was a series of smooth-flowing sexy dance moves, but unfortunately I'm dancing-retarded). I felt a sudden surge of adrenaline pump through my system... in my mind, I was there. I was in the trashy Euro dance club, ready to get my groove on with any willing female (or male!) participants within the immediate vicinity.

"SING THE GIRL PART, NORA!" I demanded. Her laughter quickly subsided as she realized I was being dead serious.


Unfortunately, her "singing along" wasn't loud enough for me, so I joined along in my falsetto (which even by my own admittance is pretty bad). Then the guy part came along and I sang that part too!

I'm pretty sure I sang both parts to this song (which I will post below as my "song of the day") the whole way through. It got me so AMPED, but I'm pretty sure that was at the price of Nora being emotionally scarred for life.

After that, the number of "I can't believe this song is on your iPod!" selections by Nora stopped.

. . .

I really hope that any cute single girls who are internet-stalking me aren't turned off by this post. CAUSE I'M REALLY NOT THIS CRAZIES. I'M REALLY SORTA KINDA COOL. PLEASE BE MY FRIEND.


. . .

The mystery song: (MP3)

The Real McCoy - Another Night

Another night, another dream, and always you
It's like a vision of love that seems to be true
Another night, another dream, and always you
In the night I dream of a love so true

Just another night, another vision of love
You feel joy, you feel pain
'Cause nothing will be the same
Just another night, it's all that it takes
To understand the difference between
lovers and fakes, oh baby

I talk, talk, I talk to you
In the night in your dream of love so true

In the night, in my dreams
I'm in love with you
'Cause you talk to me, like lovers do
I feel joy, I feel pain, 'cause it's still the same
when the night is gone I'll be alone

Another night, another dream, and always you
It's like a vision of love that seems to be true
Another night, another dream, and always you
In the night I dream of a love so true

Just another night, another dream
Another vision of love,
And we are here to set you free
I am the lover, your lover
Hey, sister, let me cover your body with my loving
Is my loving just a number?

Vision of love that seems to be true
we will do all the things that only lovers do

In the night, in my dreams
I'm in love with you
'Cause you talk to me, like lovers do
I feel joy, I feel pain, 'cause it's still the same
when the night is gone I'll be alone

Another night, another dream, and always you
It's like a vision of love that seems to be true
Another night, another dream, and always you
In the night I dream of a love so true

I talk, talk, I talk to you
In the night in your dream of love so true
In the night, in my dreams
I'm in love with you
'Cause you talk to me, like lovers do
I feel joy, I feel pain, 'cause it's still the same
when the night is gone I'll be alone

Another night, another dream, and always you
It's like a vision of love that seems to be true
Another night, another dream, and always you
In the night I dream of a love so true

. . .

This song is awesome! Anybody that tells you otherwise.. is wrong!

Posted by roy on December 4, 2005 at 11:44 PM in Foolishness, Music | 5 Comments

Tar Heels are back in the top 25!

The ranking, to me, isn't horribly important. The reason I rejoice in this event is that I no longer have to click "College Basketball Scores" > "All Conferences" > "Atlantic Coast Conference" to get to the Carolina score/recap.

I miss the days when the score would be on the main page of ESPN.


Posted by roy on December 5, 2005 at 05:00 PM in Sports | 1 Comments

"It's amazing because, when you're a kid you see the life you want and it never crosses your mind that it isn't gonna turn out that way."

- from Love and Basketball

. . .

Lately I've been trying to appreciate the present a bit more - the people around me, the experiences that surround me... just trying to take it all in and enjoy it while I can. An appreciation for the present seems to go hand-in-hand with an appreciation of the past, so I've been doing some reflection on thus-far short-lived life.

I've been reliving some of the more embarassing moments in my life lately by reading my older archives, and there are so many things I wish I could have changed... it's surprising how many things I chose to forget; I literally felt like I was reading the journal of a stranger during certain periods. Just goes to show you life is written with a pen - I can scribble the bad parts out, but I can never erase them.

This got methinking to the permanence of a site like Tabulas. One of the drawbacks of the "convenient" digital journal is that with a few clicks, the whole thing can dissappear. One server crash, one bad burned CD, a drunk decision... you can literally wipe out someone's history with a few clicks. One of the best consistent decisions I've made is to never delete my journal archives - always keep them, even if it's painful to read them - I gotta remember everything I've learned. I'd hate to backtrack.

Ten years, in digital years, is a long time. Ten years ago, the Internet was still nascent - we were largely living in closed-off gated communities like AOL and Compuserve... ten years from now, how will the web look? I don't doubt the giants will be alive - Yahoo!, Google ... but how will smaller companies fare? How can sites like Tabulas ensure that the data stored within its ecosystem is still faring well?

If I am truly interested in developing a platform that can serve to document the aural, visual, and textual history of one person's life, the platform and the organization behind it needs to be able to survive 100 years. It should be developed with that in mind.

So many things to think about ...

Currently listening to: Radiohead - High and Dry
Posted by roy on December 5, 2005 at 10:55 PM in Tabulas | 4 Comments

remember pele from "life aquatic with steve zissou"? i thought his david bowie acoustic covers were beautiful... i didn't know that he's actually a musician! not only that, but they put his tracks on the soundtrack!

they are beautiful.

seu jorge - life on mars (adapted from david bowie, the lyrics are completely different except the "life on mars" line...)

Posted by roy on December 6, 2005 at 04:03 PM in Music | 1 Comments

Been really edgy lately. I need to take a chill pill.

Posted by roy on December 6, 2005 at 11:14 PM in Personal | 3 Comments

On the mountain trip, we ended up paying $40 to visit the Biltmore Estate (the largest private home in the United States). Somehow the best moment was when we found a series of large ramps; Han, Nasty Nate and I decided to exercise our thespian skills and demonstrate the ever-difficult "RIDING UP AN ESCALATOR", "TAKING AN ELEVATOR", and "ROWING IN A CANOE" acts.

Prepare to be amazed at these wonderful feats ... brought to you by the letter "Q."

Roy, Nasty Nate, and Han being great actors (20meg MPG). (Props to Yush for videotaping it and getting it into a digital format)

Posted by roy on December 7, 2005 at 02:48 PM in Foolishness | 4 Comments

I saw this, and it totally ruined my day: Some megachurches closing on Christmas.

Give me a break.

Currently listening to: Rockapella - Beatles Medley
Currently feeling: disillusioned
Posted by roy on December 9, 2005 at 12:23 AM in Ramblings | 3 Comments

The hits just keep on coming: The Music Publishers' Association wants to crack down on sites offering scores, tablature and lyrics.

He said unlicensed guitar tabs and song scores were widely available on the internet but were "completely illegal".

Mr Keiser said he did not just want to shut websites and impose fines, saying if authorities can "throw in some jail time I think we'll be a little more effective".

Let's become a cultureless society so a few people can get rich! YAAAAAYYYYY!

Posted by roy on December 9, 2005 at 10:33 AM in Ramblings | 10 Comments

Help me compile the best-darned Christmas playlist ever!

Comment with your favorite Christmas songs... not only just the name, but also the artist who does that particular rendition.

Posted by roy on December 11, 2005 at 11:30 AM in Music | 17 Comments

Lessons learned from eBay:

Let's say you have procured an item for $184. You wish to sell this item on eBay. Let's say, due to high demand, the item sells for $230. Being an honest person, you charge break-even on shipping/handling, not wanting to overcharge like some people ($10-$20 for S/H?!).

The listing fees from eBay:

  • Initial fee: $3.60
  • Bold/Image: $1.35 (something that everybody seems to be doing)
  • Final selling fee at $230: $6.95

eBay, in its infinite wisdom, purchased PayPal, so when you handle a $230 transaction via PayPal, they take a nice cut of: $7.95.

Doing the math, you're working up roughly $20 in fees to eBay, Inc. to sell a $230 item. Although you've made roughly a $46 profit on the particular item, you're still only breaking to about $26 profit per item after eBay fees (not counting opportunity cost of shipping it, obtaining it, etc.). You're still looking at a 10% ROI, which is not bad for merchandise that you've gotten from retailers, but still...

Now I know why the power sellers charge so much for S/H. Retailing has such razor-thin margins (besides this month) ... you gotta make it up every way you can.

Time to jack up S/H.

Posted by roy on December 12, 2005 at 12:36 PM in Ramblings | 7 Comments

If you're using Winamp and want to help me test out the bugs on my new project, please message me via Tabulas.

If you do, I'll send you some extra Christmas karma :)

Posted by roy on December 12, 2005 at 01:48 PM in Ramblings | 5 Comments

Can't sleep. I've fought for so long to get over my insomnia woes, and I think they're coming back full-vengeance. Sigh. Good thing I got me some health insurance!

Will I ever get to experience friendships like I did in college? Some of the most interesting friendships I had in college were the shallowest of friendships - the guy who I would always end up meeting with at the cafeteria every day; the floormate who would accompany me on the balcony while I ate my Subway sandwich; the classmate who always look hungover.

I don't feel any pressure to get married, but I do feel like it's much more difficult to get to know new people, because I view friendships as a springboard for something far more serious now. The defensiveness that accompanies getting burned, the fatigueness of just not wanting to invest a lot into a new friendship ... are all of these factors that limit my ability to make new friends? I do feel like when I meet new girls, there's the "possible-wife-o-meter" that goes off in the back of my mind, gauging. It's almost like I can no longer have friendships with girls; there needs to be some underlying reason for the friendship.

It's now gotten to a point where people are so far and in between that everybody in my life is either "somebody I know" or a "really really good friend." There used to be a huge grey area of "casual acquaintances ... but that area is a huge void now. The people I know, I find myself attaching myself to them; investing far more into those friendships than I would have.

I used to feel quite sad when a friendship waned due to lack of attention.... but with guys (at least), you can pick those friendship up after months of no contact, and things are usually pretty good. Friendships are so contextual - if anything, they're driven mostly by geographical convenience (proximity) ... so it helped me a lot to realize that as long as everybody realizes they are contextual ... and that losing those friendships is just as natural as the creation was ... things are OK.

Everybody is splitting up into new cities, so do I just accept the fact that the sun has set on that friendship? If so, do I continue to make an effort to meet new people? Or do I just lose myself in my work, knowing full well how temporary and how unfulfilling that is in the long run?

Is this why when people hit 25/26, they suddenly get married? The loss of friends, the loneliness of working, the biological clocks going tick-tock?

I wonder if technological advances like IM and email that allow people to remain connected are actually harmful for post-undergrads. These mediums allow just enough to give you the comfort zone without any real growth in the relationship ... so we never get the courage to go out and meet new people. We stick around reminiscing about the past with people who are far away ... and we miss out on the present.

Currently listening to: Sarah McLachlan - Do What You Have To Do
Posted by roy on December 13, 2005 at 04:12 AM in Ramblings | 1 Comments

When did I suddenly start relying so much on others and thinking so highly of what other people say?

I remember I used to do everything on my own - I didn't care what people thought about who I was, what I said, and what I did. Lately I've noticed that I really have been changing for people. Maybe this is a good thing, maybe this is a bad thing...

But I do know that for the rest of December, I'm not gonna care what anybody says or what they think of me. I'm gonna do my own thang.

Currently listening to: Lifehouse - Sick Cycle Carousel
Posted by roy on December 13, 2005 at 04:58 AM in Ramblings | 7 Comments

i was too late

"they say people in your life are seasons / and anything that happens is for a reason" - kanye

I'm about ready for a new season, so I can understand why things happened the way they did.

Posted by roy on December 13, 2005 at 11:17 AM in Personal | Add a comment

Today at 11:12 am: The fat man stares at me quizzically. He wipes the beads of sweat from his puffy red face from running around the kitchen. This is the first time I've seen him stop. In his mind, I see him debating whether to take my credit card and help me pay for my meal. He runs off to the back, and I'm stuck staring hopelessly at my quarter white-meat chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, and corn as it cools down. I just hope it isn't too cold when I get home.

Finally the manager gets off the phone and takes my credit card. As I'm paying for my meal, the fat man runs back in yelling, "WHERE IS THE CHICKEN?" For some reason, this amuses me greatly. I nearly catch myself laughing out loud. My face is frozen in a half laugh/smile. He notices this. The fat man stares at me quizzically.

. . .

One of the best pick-me-ups for any day are random acts of kindness. Getting up out of your seat to open the door for an elderly couple. Holding the door open for people and getting that genuine "thank you." What really sucks is the lack of acknowledgement from a random act of kindness.

I was sitting at an intersection this morning after I dropped off my sister at school. For some reason, the light wasn't triggering; the person who was walking across the street noticed this. After he crossed the street, he hit the crosswalk button so he could trigger my light. He looked back at me and grinned and waved as the light turned green. I flashed a smile and gave him a thumbs-up. And you know what? That smile stuck with me the rest of the drive.

Currently listening to: The All-American Rejects - Straightjacket Feeling
Posted by roy on December 14, 2005 at 09:54 AM in Ramblings | 5 Comments

"I'm not a businessman / I'm a business, man" - Jay-Z

Deep insights about building a business - it's all about the cult personality. You build the business around the idea of a person. The question is, does creating an image of a person change the person? I've made a strong effort to not let my work influence my personal life - even getting to a point where I simply don't tell people anything at all about what I really do.

The question is, when you finally accept the fact that "roy" = "tabulas" and promote this idea to people, what happens when "roy" moves on?

This is a one-man operation, but reading middle_aged's recent post about his one-man email operation shutting down makes me want to make Tabulas ... something more permanent.

For now, all I know is the "roy" is Tabulas' advantage.

Currently listening to: Kanye West - Diamonds Are Forever (Remix)
Posted by roy on December 16, 2005 at 01:07 PM in Personal, Tabulas | 4 Comments

I learned something very important last night:

Danger smells like clean socks.

Pass the word, people.

Currently listening to: Jedi Mind Tricks - I Against I
Posted by roy on December 16, 2005 at 04:49 PM in Foolishness | 10 Comments

(It actually took me about 10 minutes to figure out the title to this entry; I ended up writing a quick script do calculate it for me.)

Do you ever have a bad MP3 that skips in the middle? Or even worse, some evil megacorporation like AOL's decided to overlay, "AOL Music, Listen First!" right in the middle of the song?

I had a bad copy of Silverchair's "Ana" when I was younger... it would skip in a few places. At first, this bugged me, but after listening it fifty times, my mind started thinking, "hey, this skip is not bad!"

Of course, when I moved computers, I somehow lost this file. Somehow the new "correct" version just didn't seem right.

If Usher's "Burn" ever comes on the radio station when I'm with you, don't be surprised if I sing the "AOL Music, Listen First!" part. My sincerest apologies, but ... it's stuck in my simple brain :(

. . .

I've launched rykorp, which lists all of my projects in one place. There's also a blog on there which I'll use when I make updates to the projects... give it a look-see. It's a pretty simple site - made it in one day. Hopefully I'll be able to continue by writing case studies on each project...

Currently listening to: Daft Punk - Digital Love
Posted by roy on December 16, 2005 at 05:23 PM in Web Development, Music | 4 Comments

If you're helping me test out Audiomatch, please add rykorp as a friend (you can also check out the rykorp website for more information on all my projects); I will keep updates on the Audiomatch projects up there. I've literally spent all weekend working on Audiomatch-related stuff, so there's some new stuff for you to check out.

I'm going to soon open it up to a public beta (meaning each account can generate invite codes to get friends in), so that's something to look forward to :)

If you're using Winamp to listen to music, please help me test Audiomatch! It's pretty cool... trust me.

Currently listening to: Jimmy Eat World - Work
Posted by roy on December 18, 2005 at 09:51 PM in Projects, Web Development | Add a comment

A monster update ahead, since it's 5am and I can't sleep. This should catch my future self up on what 2005 Roy was up to (I do go back and read my old entries once a year or so).

. . .

I haven't felt this high in a while. High on life, baby! (I feel like a lame-o DARE commercial). I love that feeling that you're really getting something worthwhile done.

I'm not very good at accepting compliments because most of the time I don't think they're warranted. To that end, I'm pretty hard on myself - I rarely am happy with my own work output or the way I act, but I think that's a good thing. It pushes me harder to become better as a person. I think very few people actually understand how hard I am on myself - it's not so bad that it's self-loathing, but I think it can be troublesome at times.

Case in point: Tabulas 2.1. The next generation of Tabulas, for all intents and purposes, is ready for release, and has been for months. The control panel is done, and with about a week's worth of work fixing up the front-end, I could push it out. But I'm not. Why?

This troubled me for a bit, but I nailed it down to a few items: (1) I'm a perfectionist, and I'm still not happy with certain aspects of the user interface and the programming quality and/or (2) I'm honestly afraid that the upgrade will fail and the Tabulites will flock en masses to Xanga (or something far worse... MySpace). It's always very scary to risk something that works OK for something that could potentially be very kick-ass.

It also boils down to some left-over self-esteem issues from middle school, but we'll burn that bridge some other time.

In any case, the past few weeks I've slowly been gearing up the work engine so I can start getting lots of projects out of the way (and feeling confident enough to maybe tackle Tabulas 2.1, which is quite an ambitious undertaking, even by my standards).

Things are tougher now that I'm employed full-time, which sucks about nine hours a day, but I'm doing alright (for now). This is perhaps the second or third week I've been able to consistently work on my own projects outside of work.

I just wrapped up a HUGE weekend of personal project stuff:

  • rykorp now is my 'centralized' location for all my projects - I'll keep that blog updated with updates on each project. I'm leaning towards setting that up as the actual legal LLC entity (since I figure one day I'll actually be dealing with money and with that comes the necessity for legal protection), but we'll see. For now, you can visit that site to see all the projects I work on...
  • I'm roughly a week away from the first release of Audiomatch. It's currently in private beta, and I'm pretty pumped with its scalability, the featureset, and just the general coolness of the site ... I'll be pushing it to a public beta either tomorrow or Tuesday, so that's a huge feeling of relief.
  • A few months ago, I developed a totally Web 2.0 application called "Lists" (now called "Listfoo") which basically let you keep a todo list on a webpage. This, in itself, isn't remarkable. What was remarkable was that it was completely Ajax-driven; you could drag each todo-item around, edit items without reloading the page, remove/check items without reloading, add items, etc. etc; it was incredibly interactive for a webpage. I had finished a big bulk of the work back in June, but dropped the project. The topic of todo lists came up in a conversation a few days ago with Neeraj, and I mentioned I had prototyped a rough beta ... I showed it to him a few days ago and he seemed pretty impressed with it. This was enough to persuade me that after Audiomatch.net, I would patch up Listfoo and push it out. So that's scheduled to hit probably late January ...
  • And of course, I keep getting these really cool ideas for Fuunk and Tabulas that I keep jotting down in my little black book. I'm literally swimming in a ocean of ideas for all these little fun projects ... after Listfoo I'll tackle some fundamental Fuunk problems and then probably try to develop Tabulas 2.1 in parallel with Fuunk.

Now if I could only figure out how to make money from these durn things... oh well. I'm grateful that I can at least experience the joy from creating something new and watching other people use them and gain something from them.

. . .

While I'm here, a few notes:

Books: Philiip Pullman's Golden Compass is a great book! Thanks, Jenny for the recommendation! I still have not finished "Confederacy of Dunces" because the plot just isn't enough to draw me to read it. At this point, I'm just reading it to finish it. I started (as in, the first chapter) of "The Fountainhead," a book I've been told to read since high school.

Movies: "Just Friends" is a fun film. "The Family Stone" is a very solid film; totally wasn't what I expected (and I went to see it for Rachel McAdams!). "King Kong" should have been 30 minutes shorter, but it's still very good. I'm in love with Naomi Watts; enough that I redecorated my homepage with a message to her, in hopes that she'll read it. The hopeless romantic in me will never die.

DVDs: "Deuce Bigalo, European Gigolo" was much funnier than I expected. Someone keep me away from the Blockbuster used DVDs section, because I can't pass up 3 used DVDs for $25 everytime I go.

eBay: More notes besides the ones I wrote here. Auctions that end midday on the weekdays fare much better than ones on the nights and weekends (guess people would rather eBay from work than home). Charge at least $10-$15 for shipping/handling, because after PayPal and eBay both take their cuts, you're down roughly 10% on the total cost.

Random tech ramblings: Delicious was sold to Yahoo! for a couple million (nobody knows, 10 mil? 15 mil? 20 mil?). Yay for them. Looks like Yahoo! is snapping up great Web 2.0 companies... but I'm still not sold on that meaning anything for their future successes. Their homegrown projects seem quite lacking (Yahoo! 360?) ... I'm not sure why, but I have a feeling that the best Web 2.0 projets are gonna still come from small shops. (Got to do some ego-stroking, but I really hope with Tabulas 2.1 that it comes to replace Blogger as the de-facto blogging site).

Random tech rambling #2: Why is everybody and their mommas in love with widgets? Everywhere I turn, I either hear about Mac's widgets or Konfabulator or Google's widgets. Widgets, as far as I'm concerned, are more free-form versions of the late '90 portal sites. Remember those sites? You could choose to have your news appear hear, and your stocks appear there, and your weather appear there... It's like we keep repeating the cycles. I don't ever use my widgets on my Mac ever, and I hate using sites with their little portals. I tried using Google's personalized page, but that thing loaded so SLOW (syncing multiple services through the web = BAD BAD SLOW SLOW) and Gmail didn't load about 3/4 of the time. The news had 3 or 4 headlines; the only useful widgets on Google's homepage were the quotes of the day (which actually led me to wasting 20 minutes as I clicked for more).

People loved Google for its simplicity. More crap on UI real estate is a bad thing...

Personal rambling: This is the first Christmas I'm spending as a real working man. No sense of relaxation for me. Doh.

Ok, I'm spent. Maybe I can sleep now (probably not). I gotta wake up in three hours... WEE!

"I'm burning through the sky yeah
Two hundred degrees that's why they call me Mr. Fahrenheit
I'm travelling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic man out of you
- Queen "Don't Stop Me Now"

Currently listening to: Queen - Dont Stop Me Now
Posted by roy on December 19, 2005 at 03:12 AM in Personal, Ramblings, Web Development, Tabulas | 18 Comments

Just had to share. Hope you guys are having a restful break, just like this guy:

And one more, just cause this little guy gets me so bad:

I got these images from cuteoverload.com

Currently listening to: Cormega - The Saga (Remix)
Posted by roy on December 19, 2005 at 10:58 PM in Ramblings | 7 Comments

He stood on the train platform. As an observer of human nature, he always had his canvas, the weather-beaten Canon, readily accessible. His eyes glanced around the platform as businessmen busily hurried to their trains. A little girl was drawn to the newspaper stand with its wares of chocolates laid out, but her mother quickly jerked his hand as the Orange train approached.

He loaded his camera with Tri-X. The drabness of wintertime could only be ameliorated with the high contrast of black and white film. As he closed the film housing, his eyes caught a figure...

Could it be?

It was.

He darted through the horde of people getting on the Orange train and grabbed her shoulder to spin her around. Her face, initially filled with anger at being harassed, soon softened when the distant memories of her past came flooding back. She stuttered.


He didn't know how to feel. Her face, although beautiful, wasn't what brought back the youthful joys of his past. Seeing her face brought back a familiarity that reminded him of the memories of her. Her laughter of jokes long forgotten echoed in his mind. But, as had always happened in his mind, her laughter were quickly silenced with the guillotine of pain. The question that had haunted the past fifteen years bubbled furiously from his lips.

"How could you leave me? After everything we had gone through - just to leave me at the altar like that? And after everything we shared about our future? You know that everyone was worried sick about you? You just disappeared. No contact with anybody. You don't think your father and mother were dying to know what had happened to you? We issued a missing persons report."

He stared at her eyes for some recognition and acknowledgement. She glanced away, ashamed. He would get no answers.

"You know, and to not even call me up to talk to me in person? How dare you get your sister to tell me you had left town? You know, if that's what you really wanted to do, I would have supported you!"

He realized his voice had slowly been in a crescendo. What had started off as questions of despair quickly turned into those of anger. He had made a scene, and curious passerbys, sensing drama, had started listening in. His voice softened.

He darted a look towards her. She obliged, and they walked down the platform, away from the busy crowd.

"I'm sorry." The words, although not enough to take away the pain of the past for him, were enough to placate his raging soul.

"What are you doing here?" Although trying to stay firm, her voice wavered from the shock of the moment.

He was never one to answer questions directly, but not for her, especially. He owed her nothing. The burden of pain was overwhelming.

"You know, after you left, I wasn't too good. My dad helped me by getting a job in his shop scraping the paint off of hardwood floors. He said it was to get my mind off of you. It I was hoping you would come back. I've always still loved you. I never got that fresh start that my dad wanted me to get for years, until him and mom passed away in the tragic accident..."

His voice trailed off. What could she say? She tried to stare down at the gravel by the train tracks, hoping to find the strength to say something meaningful. All her years of training, and she couldn't deliver a line at the most important time in her life. He continued, trying to be more light-hearted.

"You know, I saw you late night on Conan O'Brien's show. And you looked so goddamn happy. I always loved the way you laugh, and to hear it again..."

His voice broke off. He didn't want to break down in front of her, and he sensed his voice wavering. She remained silent as well, and although to the passerby, it would seem like they were in a void of silence, there was much running through both of their minds.

"But you know," he continued, "I think that's when I started to get better. I saw you really happy, and you know all I ever wanted for you was for you to be happy. Your happiness was my happiness. And that's when I decided I had to quit moping around and start living my life again. But I couldn't love anybody else... you were just too goddamn beautiful to me. How can I ever settle for less?"

In her eyes, he saw a flicker of regret.

"I followed your career, you know. I'm sure you know. Why wouldn't you know? You're famous. Everybody knows what you're doing. You remember what you said about Polaris the night before we were supposed to get married?"

For a moment, her mind was racing back to the past she had tried to forget.

"We said that if we were ever to be separated, we would both look up to Polaris and know that it was shining on both of us for all eternity. That we should follow the path towards Polaris... that way we'd both always be going in the same direction in our lives."

Her eyes started welling up. He stopped. He didn't want to cause her more pain. He swallowed his pride and his inquisitive demeanor softened... he hated making her feel this way.

"Yeah, so anyways, I traveled around the world as a photographer. My dad saw some of my pictures after you left in the darkroom and was impressed with them. In his will, he left me some money he had saved up, telling me I should try my hand at photography as a profession instead of being stuck in his world. I only found out years later that when my dad was young, he had wanted to pursue photography, but then mom got pregnant with me..." His voice trailed off once again. Realizing he was rambling, he quickly got back on topic. "I've been freelancing ever since, trying to capture the beauty and pain of human nature around the world. I won an award, you know. I don't know if you've seen my piece about ..."

For the first time, she spoke.

"I saw those. They were beautiful. The pain of the situation ..."

"... don't think for a moment that those pictures would have come out the same if I hadn't felt the pain of being abandoned, too."

His response had been inadvertently harsh. The passerbys glanced at them once again. His harshness stung her pride. He kicked himself for it. He couldn't help but to strike out in anger. He looked away for a moment, and once again they were silent.

"What I meant to say is ... I spent the world trying to find something that would bring me the joy you did. Something as fucking beautiful. I wanted to take one picture that I could look back when I was old ... and know the world was beautiful. Because you fucking left me, and you weren't that for me anymore. So I tried to escape to the world of capturing human emotions permanently. Just one fucking picture. But I never got that. I've been searching the whole world. All I got was pictures of the pain and the suffering..."

His voice trailed off as he was reminded that the world was a broken place, and that he wasn't the only one who had felt the betrayal.

She spoke.

"I know I've made mistakes. I wish I could make the wrongs right. I just ... at the time... felt like being with you would never be that great. It's like I just couldn't settle on being partially happy. You know the hardest thing I had to do was risk something that was making me ninety percent happy ... for something that would make me a hundred percent happy."

"So are you completely happy?"

The question was rhetorical, and she knew it. She ignored his question and continued.

"You were always talking about working for your dad and taking over his business. And what was I supposed to be? The happy wife? I wanted more from life. You knew this. And honestly, although you said you would have supported me, I don't think you would have understood. How could you live with me cavorting with the hottest men in the world while you fixed up houses? But..."

Her voice trailed off for a moment while she grasped to find the words.

"But, I was young. And stupid. And I realized this years later. I wanted to call you up so many times. I almost did. I wanted to tell you everything that had happened in my life and ... I wanted to share the joys of my life with you. Just like old times, when you helped me become student president...but... I just ... couldn't. My pride... and whenI finally got the courage to call you, nobody knew where you had gone after your parents had died."

His eyes strayed to the diamond ring on her finger. She quickly covered the ring with her hand.

"That... I just ... it's been so long... and I found someone. In the business. After I tried to find you...Our wedding is next June. I found someone who understand what it's like to live this life. It's a hard life... Look, I'm not ashamed of you, if I hadn't found him and you had found me earlier..."

He was speechless. She was stabbing his soul with a million swords all over again. A train rumbled into the station.

"Look, I got to go... this is my train. I just wish... can you call me sometime, please? Jimmy..."

"I go by James now."

"James... please call me. Look, here's my number." She quickly jotted down her number and handed it to him. Still feeling frozen, he simply accepted the number without question.

She got on the train. His eyes were still staring straight ahead where her ring had been. She knocked on the window to get his attention. Broken from his daze, he glanced up at her and offered a smile. A smile broke out on her face and she waved back at him.

As the train rumbled off, his smile vanished from his face. He crumpled up the phone number and hurled it with all his anger across the train platform. With the throw, all his pain, all the memories of her, all his hope blazed across the station and landed on the gravel of the train tracks. Satisfied, he walked away from the platform and decided to continue his search for beauty. He would get his one shot.

Posted by roy on December 21, 2005 at 01:48 PM in Ramblings, Short Stories | 4 Comments

Looks like I picked the right major: Economics: Sexiest Trade Alive.

Currently listening to: Queen - bohemian rhapsody
Posted by roy on December 21, 2005 at 06:16 PM in Foolishness | 8 Comments

Hope everybody is having a restful, delightful, extraordinary, warm, and a merry Christmas!

Christmas has always been a rough time of year for me - being sucky acaemically meant I had to deal with identity issues every December when I was in school. Last year, there was a lot of family drama (my dad got laid off from the company he worked at for 20+ years because the company was managed by idiots, I had extended school yet another semester, etc.) ... but this year things are much better. Just goes to show you that no matter how shitty things get, this is another chance to take in the joy and the happiness that surrounds you and to change your mentality. Things do and will get better. I'm looking forward to see how much I grow up by next December...

. . .

There's a wonderful song by Switchfoot called "Twenty Four" which I'll post for those of you who are having less-than-stellar holiday seasons (those of you who are having a good break don't need this :P). The song was written on the eve of the 24th birthday of the lead singer for Switchfoot; it's about his personal reflections on his life up until then.

Switchfoot - Twenty Four (MP3)
Twenty-four oceans
Twenty-four skies
Twenty-four failures
And twenty-four tries
Twenty-four finds me
In twenty-fourth place
With twenty-four drop outs
At the end of the day

Life is not what I thought it was
Twenty-four hours ago
Still I'm singing 'Spirit, take me up in arms with You'
And I'm not who I thought I was
Twenty-four hours ago
Still I'm singing 'Spirit, take me up in arms with You'

There's twenty-four reasons
To admit that I'm wrong
With all my excuses
Still twenty-four strong

See, I'm not copping out
Not copping out
Not copping out
When you're raising the dead in me

Oh, oh, I am the second man
Oh, oh, I am the second man now
Oh, I am the second man now
And you're raising these...

Twenty-four voices
With twenty-four hearts
All of my symphonies
In twenty-four parts
But I want to be one today
Centered and true
I'm singing 'Spirit take me up in arms with You'
You're raising the dead in me

Oh, oh, I am the second man
Oh, oh, I am the second man now
Oh, I am the second man now
And you're raising the dead in me

I wanna see miracles
To see the world change
Wrestled the angel for more than a name
For more than a feeling
For more than a cause
I'm singing 'Spirit, take me up in arms with You'
And you're raising the dead in me

Twenty-four oceans
With twenty-four hearts
All of my symphonies
With twenty-four parts
Life is not what I thought it was
Twenty-four hours ago
Still I'm singing 'Spirit, take me up in arms with You'
I'm not copping out
Not copping out
Currently listening to: Switchfoot - Twenty-Four
Posted by roy on December 25, 2005 at 11:52 AM in Personal, Music | 6 Comments

NeoPages.net is back. After a huge hiatus due to a lack of time on my part (and also a huge server hack/crash), I finally had time over the break to get my stuff together and try to get the ball rolling again.

NeoPages.net is a free selective hosting service. Basically the lifeblood of the whole network is in its forums, where NP members vote in a new member each week. A member gets a "lifetime" (loosely definition: "as long as i can support it") hosting account with NeoPages.net (I think they get 50mb space, 5gb bandwidth per month, php, mysql, the usual works). It's a great social experiment in organic growth, which was really thriving before I had to shut it down last year (I think, does someone know the exact date?).

I created NeoPages.net originally (archive.org shows that by november 2001 the site was up, which is close enough) because I thought there was not a free host that was full-featured enough (and free!) for users that really wanted to become amateur webdesigners. Geocities, Xoom, Fortunecities were the only alternatives at the time, and these were hardly conducive to developing any type of useful skills. Furthermore, I knew that the people who were the most passionate about learning for the web were those who couldn't afford the tools (most parents weren't entirely willing to pay money so their kids could host a website, and most kids didn't have access to CCs).

The most exciting aspect of the whole project was how it organized itself so organically. I handled everything via email in the beginning, but as the number of people who wanted hosting grew, I had trouble fielding all the requests for help, so I created a forum. Then when server space started getting tight, I had to find a way to limit membership, and thus the whole 'applications' process was borne. More than anything, the applications process was merely a smokescreen to help screen me from people who obviously were just looking to freeload. There were plenty of times when I went through the weekly voting and just took everybody I felt deserved the hosting.

In any case, the community became extremely efficient; I had a whole nice command-structure set up (thanks, Quiller!) so I wouldn't have to deal with the grunt work of sorting applications and dealing with the voting. There were admins who kept phpBB patched and installed forum updates (thanks Brian!), and then all the existing members made sure the quality of applicants was strong (thanks to everybody!).

You'd be really surprised at what 15/16/17 year olds can accomplish... they managed to remain quite civil and open-minded across different cultures (NeoPages had a really spread-out community all across the globe, represented from India, Indonesia, the Middle East, etc. etc.; does anybody have that guestmap link still?), and managed to keep the organization from eating itself up (heh, hello Kyle!) and dealt with problems on its own. (And I haven't even talked about their design and webdesign skills!)

Of course, this all came to a crashing (pun!) halt when the server that everybody was hosted on got hacked ... I screwed up the backup of the HD and I ended up borking a bunch of people's mySQL dbs. After that, I just lost the will and energy to set everything back up again... plus it was a huge drain on my finances (at the time, I was still a student, so $110/month was a huge hit).

But, now I have a job! And we've moved the primary hosting over to Network Redux; because it's a "shared" server, Network Redux handles backups and keeps the server patched for me... so basically my role has largely been reduced to paying the bills and keeping things organized, although Quiller has been taking a huge role in keeping the forum organized and dealing with server set-up, although I would imagine sometime in the future he'd want to offload some of the responsibilities to other people as well.

And wow, I just wrote an incredibly long post when all I wanted was to say: NeoPages.net is back! Let the free hosting begin once again!.

Everytime the community crashed and burned (for various reasons), it came back quite strong. We've learned lessons each time, and now ... I think we've got a really good system for keeping things going indefinitely (keep your fingers crossed).

Currently listening to: Metric - Combat Baby
Posted by roy on December 28, 2005 at 02:47 AM in Ramblings | 5 Comments

One of the biggest problems we face with Audiomatch is data purity. Many different songs are labeled with different variations on names ("The Beatles" vs. "Beatles"). Recently, I turned on case-sensitivity for artists, so this exacerbates the problem quite significantly (for Audiomatch, "oasis" and "Oasis" and "OASIS" are all different artists).

When we first launched Audiomatch, Neeraj wrote a filtering algorithm that essentially looked at the long tail of obscure artist names (we make the assumption that the most common occurance of an artist name will be "correct" version) and consolidated what Audiomatch thought were the same artists. This works great, but the results are all automated so there will be problems. Any person could tell you that BRITTANY SPEERS and Britney Spears were meant to be the same thing, but the system would have difficulty figuring that out.

The second step we're taking to clean up the data is offering users the ability to fix their own items. (This feature isn't live on Audiomatch yet). Currently, the "My Music" page looks something like this:

The idea here is that people will be able to edit these values inline; you will be able to update the artist/album/song name using Ajax. Audiomatch will then store these changes; if the artist name differs, Audiomatch will remember this. The very fact that a human changed this value will be of significant value when Audiomatch goes through and refilters the artists name.

For example, if there's a song that is listed as: "metric - come back, baby", but the user realizes this is wrong and changes it to "Metric - Combat, Baby", Audiomatch will remember this, and whenever the former is played, the latter information will display. If enough people say "metric" is really "Metric," Audiomatch can determine with confidence that metric is actually Metric.

This can be expanded even further - an interesting idea Neeraj had was to turn the plugin itself into a retagging tool; if Audiomatch knew for certain the song playing had incorrect IDv3 tags (the stuff that tells you the artist/song/album), then Audiomatch would automagically retag the information for you. (Obviously how high of a confidence value would be a user option, and a log would exist so you could undo any changes).

. . .

Audiomatch, is at heart, a music suggestion engine. We're still building the platform for this (the problem is that in order to extrapolate any useful automated data, we need a HUGE dataset), but eventually we want to take into account both the keywords that users set as their favorite artists, playlists that are created (more on this future feature later), and our hypothesis (which I'll explain shortly) to suggest musical artists to users. I'm not even talking about obvious stuff like "If you like John Mayer, listen to some Jimmy Eat World" type of suggestions, but stuff that's really avant-garde. The idea is that we can take into account new artists and take a look at who they are similar to so that users can track new artists - not get suggestions on just older artists.

In any case, our general hypothesis is that on a large enough dataset, similar artists will be played in sequential order more often than non-similar artists. Obviously there will be people (like me) who listen to Beethoven then load up some Tupac Shakur, but there will be TON more people who listen to Britney Spears then Justin Timberlake. Neeraj has actually written an algorithm for this; I saw the rough output of it during the last iteration of Audiomatch and was quite impressed.

So, that's it for now regarding Audiomatch. If you want to try it out, feel free to ask me for an invite code!

Currently listening to: Metric - Combat Baby
Posted by roy on December 28, 2005 at 06:06 PM in Projects, Ramblings | Add a comment

Matisyahu is a Hassidic Jew reggae artist... and he's really good. I mean, really.

Check it: Apple Quicktime *.mov (~12 megs)

. . .

wanna know what makes me happy? to know that all my life, i've been searching for fulfillment of that one purpose... and that purpose is finally fulfilled. what's this purpose? saving the world? curing cancer? being a great son? being a good friend? making an impact in the world?


kdhound1: dude you make a nice webpage
HeY iTs ToNy LeE: dude you make a nice webpage
PubertY2K: dude you make a nice webpage
oohlalillia: dude you make a nice webpage
IIsuleenII: dude u make a nice webpage
Phatcrndwg: dude you make a nice webpage
Jandro44: dude your webpages are like your bod, so hot!
DJ HyperKnight: dude you make a nice webpage

please do not comment with a "dude you make a nice webpage." leave me something positive like, "roy, you are very good at making EZ-mac" or "roy you're very good at wearing a hat" or SOMETHING not computer-related, because i don't think girls are very impressed with webpages cause napoleon dynamite (and he knows!) clearly says: "Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills" and we all know i have absolutely no liger-drawing abilities.

Currently listening to: Britney Spears - Sometimes
Posted by roy on December 29, 2005 at 12:38 AM in Ramblings, Foolishness | 10 Comments

One, I finally got my teal star from eBay:

It means I have successfully completed transactions with 100 unique eBay members. I am awesome.

Secondly, I have decided to stop sporting the buzzcut. I am going to grow my hair out. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with it, though.

Thirdly, I have changed my default usericon. It is from AIM. I love it. Enjoy the negative whitespace.

Currently listening to: Queen - Another One Bites The Dust
Posted by roy on December 29, 2005 at 03:31 PM in Ramblings | 4 Comments

Quicken or Microsoft Money? Suggestions, please.

Currently listening to: The All-American Rejects - 11:11 PM
Posted by roy on December 30, 2005 at 12:35 PM in Ramblings | 8 Comments

I cannot believe how much I've grown in the past year. I got a job, I started reading, I launched Tabulas 2.0 (in Jan '05), I transitioned into the post-college life (very lonely!), I learned a lot about people, I quit playing poker semi-professionally, I became closer to the important people in my life, I started a Roth IRA, I abused credit cards, I started drinking, I finally had Five Guys, I went out to Chapel Hill Bloggers Meetups and met interesting people, I celebrated the Tar Heels men's basketball championship team, I went to the North Carolina mountains twice, I graduated college, I failed at launching Tabulas 2.1 mid-year, I restarted work on Audiomatch, I launched Fuunk with Yush and Han, I started writing crappy short stories, I finally decided being single is pretty nice, I experimented with becoming a more social person but ended up turning back to my projects once again, I took an impromptu road trip to New York, Richmond, and Boston, I took a bunch of pictures.

Basically I grew up. Before I wrote this post, I really thought 2005 was a pretty bad year, but now that I look back... all the crap that happened help me grow up as a person... and MAN did a lot happen! I guess 2005 wasn't so bad after all!

Here's to a new start in 2006. My resolutions are pretty vague - be healthy (eating), get my projects done, and meet new people. I'll figure some more specific goals out later (or maybe my resolution will be to figure out the specific goals themselves, lol!)

Happy New Years!

Currently listening to: Weezer - This Is Such A Pity
Posted by roy on December 31, 2005 at 12:58 AM in Personal | 4 Comments
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