Entries for November, 2006

i wonder if other couples named tom and katie are offended that those latecomers are known as "the" tomkat. i know i would probably be slightly miffed.

i'm taking a vacation day tomorrow (first in FOREVER!). i'll be going up and taking some time away from the computer for the weekend ... yay! seeeeeee ya on the flip side!

Posted by roy on November 2, 2006 at 04:11 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments

Head-to-head league with 20 slots with 8 players. My team:

  • Guards: Ridnour, Deron Williams, Ben Gordon, Szczerbiak, Andre Miller, Redd
  • Forwards: Harpring, Zach Randolph, Dwight Howard, Duncan, Dirk, Kurt Thomas, Caron Butler, Bonzi
  • Centers: Eddy Curry, Marcus Camby, Nazr Mohammed (I'm super weak here, obviosly)

I'm gonna have some trouble with 3-pointers and I may run into trouble with blocks ... I'm really banking on Curry and Camby to have solid seasons (that sentence doesn't read so well...)

Let another fantasy season begin!

Posted by roy on November 2, 2006 at 11:18 PM in | 6 Comments

"How did you get up here so fast?" I finally saw Nacho Libre.

I never thought going away for a weekend would set me so far behind. Tomorrow morning = massive catch-up time.

Posted by roy on November 6, 2006 at 12:03 AM in Ramblings | Add a comment

I crowned Amazon S3 as my coolest technology service site of the year (sorry, I can't stop plugging it); now I've discovered the coolest economic service site of the year: Prosper.

Prosper revolves around the concept of microloans and microcredit, which is starting to raise its profile (Microfinance recently 'won' an Nobel Prize). Basically, the site allows people to finance other people's loans.

It's a very simple concept - you're essentially taking the bank out of the equation in loaning; people loan directly to other people. Since most of us can't afford the risk and capital to fund huge loans (like 25K), Prosper allows lenders to aggregate smaller amounts to fund these larger loans.

Here's how it works in a nutshell: Someone who needs a loan (let's say Bob) creates a site on Prosper and provides financial information (home ownership, credit rating, bank information, identity information). Prosper validates Bob's information (to lower the risk of loan defaults and fraud) and then allows Bob to create a request for a loan. Bob may request $10,000 at 20% to pay off a high-interest credit card debt.

Lenders then come in and bid however much they want and the rate they want to submit. A lender bids $100 @ 20%. By the end of the loan request time period, if enough lenders have submitted bids for the loan, the loan is created. Prosper takes a small cut from both sides and then the lendee pays off the new loan (all loans have a length of 3 years) with a monthly fee.

This is really cool for people who can't go through traditional methods to loan money (those with bad credit ratings) or people who want to consolidate their loans. I can see how somebody with a high credit debt would create a Prosper loan at a lower rate and then pay this off. This could also be really useful for raising funds for high-risk ventures that banks would normally not back.

Of course, there's always risks with these sites. Prosper takes one step to protect lenders by providing a credit history and by creating the concept of groups (you can visit the site to see how this works). They also work with collection agencies to try to resolve defaulted loans, but the success rate of these collection agencies seems pretty low (~10% of defaulted loans are recovered). You have to remember that with Prosper, there will be a lot of people who could not get loans from traditional methods (banks) because they are higher risk. Caveat, lender.

For casual lenders like me, this is a great opportunity to make some extra income on some spare cash by loaning it out to people at higher rates than I could get from a bank CD or even investing in the stock market. (Remember that if you can return 15% per year over five years, you've *doubled* your principle) I got my account cleared this past weekend and I've put in a few bids for loans at an average rate of 21% per loan. I've spread the risk by bidding a low amount on many individual loans (the lowest amount you can lend is $50 per loan), thus removing the risk of an individual loan defaulting which would hurt my principle.

I've seen lots of different postings on Prosper - there've been loan requests from people trying to rebuild their credit ratings, buy a second house, pay off a medical bill, consolidate all their loans into one payment; when you read the math behind each Prosper loan and see how much people can save from not paying exorbitant rates on credit cards, you can really see how Prosper benefits a lot of lives.

Microfinancing, as a concept, is a fascinating study on how individuals can impact developing nations by offering an avenue for financial support where most corporations won't dare go. I'm hoping the idea behind Prosper can extend more globally in the future. The UN Capital Development fund has a good site with some microfinance information for those of you who want to read more on this.

In any case, I'll be watching Prosper with some interest; this could really be huge.

Posted by roy on November 7, 2006 at 01:13 AM in Finances | 2 Comments

Yesterday, the stupid "Upgrade your Java" icon appeared in my taskbar. When I clicked it, there was no option to ignore the upgrade - I had to upgrade (the longest I could go was 3 days w/o a reminder), so I upgraded. Now, Java no longer works correctly in FF 1.5. Java is fucking retarded. Look at how helpful the help site is: "Cannot Verify Installation". Hey, how about a little quality control before pushing out a required upgrade?

Posted by roy on November 8, 2006 at 06:23 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment

whoa i sound a little grouchy. could be because i'm sick. i have a pounding headche and a nasty cough, and everytime i cough my head hurts again. great combination there. i also get really warm with my robe on, which is pretty bad because it's freezing in my room. woooooo for being sick. i hate it. worst of all, i can't taste a darn thing :( i couldn't even taste my toothpaste! arrrgggghh!

Posted by roy on November 8, 2006 at 08:46 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments

Sponsored post: So there's a new site in town that lets you get paid per post called ReviewMe.com. This site takes a slightly different tack from PayPerPost.com by setting your site's value according to a combination of Alexa and Technorati rankings; if your site is worth more on those sites, then the value of your posts will be greater. For example, I'm (supposedly) getting paid $30 to write this post with two star rankings. ReviewMe also forces bloggers to disclose that htey are writing a sponsored post (i like) which will hopefully let people filter out the wheat from the chaff.

It doesn't seem to be much better than PayPerPost; what will differentiate these two is which ones can get a better group of advertisers - I stopped using PPP because the sponsors on there were lame. I like money, but I'd like to have some fun/interesting things to write about. If anything, I want to get paid for something I was going to write about anyway ...

By the way, can anybody figure out WHERE on ReviewMe I'm supposed to get a listing of advertisers? I can't seem to find it anywhere... confusing ocnfusing...

P.S. The $30 I make from this post will be donated to Carolina for Kibera since I have no intentions on monetizing this blog.

Posted by roy on November 9, 2006 at 05:18 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment

On the way back from the mountain trip, I picked up an AWESOME set of shades for $8 at a gas station, but the only way I'd wear these AWESOME shades is to get $3,000 LASIK eye surgery (I hate contacts).

Hmm.... how much longer will these AWESOME shades remain lonely?

(the alternative is before entering any party or residence i could put on these AWESOME shades and make my entrance, cause first impressions = CRUCIAL. this would be the economically feasible alternative...)

oh little roy, he loved those sunglasses (they'll say ...)

Posted by roy on November 9, 2006 at 06:19 PM in Ramblings | 19 Comments

This Tabulas is like a sandwich. The boring parts are the bread and consist of most of the "real" content, while the stupid entries filled with narcissism and self-deprecation are like the delicious inner burger. Sometimes you just want to RIP out the burger and eat it with your hands, even if your hands would them be covered with ketchup and mustard and your sister looks over at you in disbelief and covers her eyes with her hands and tries to tell everybody that her brother is just a bit hungry and not really that crazy and just starts crying and then the little kids get sad and start crying and ... wait. what?

Oh yeah. So I've been knocked out of commission this past week due to an illness... I could only spend what little waking hours I had for my job, so I had ot wait until I got better (yesterday) before I could tackle some of my personal projects. Right now on the plate is swarmf ...

Tonight I wrapped up work on inline editing (so all clippings and page edits are done from inline dialogs, although the actual saves trigger reloads, I can change that later too) and a HUGE feature: dynamic columns. You can specify in the new version how many columns you want and you can DRAG them to specific widths. This doesn't sound important, but it's HUGE in being able to control the layout of your swarmf topic pages. The more I work on this, the more I realize I'm simply building a layout editor for clippings. It's a lot of fun, in any case.

I had a cool idea: if in the future the layout editor gets pretty stable, it'd be cool if suggested clippings appeared in a horizontal scrollable strip; an "editor" (swarmf topic owner) could simply drag and drop these items into the existing layout ... how SWEET would that be? You could even automate the horizontal strip so it pulled from an existing RSS feed or something.

In any case, I'm going to make a quick listfoo of items left to do with swarmf before I hit the sack. It feels good to not be sick.

Posted by roy on November 11, 2006 at 02:10 AM in Projects | Add a comment

we haven't even been hit with the first frosts from father winter and already i'm thinking of the beach in the springtime... but then again, there's something alluring about beaches in the wintertime... (like the whole mood during the beach trip scene from eternal sunshine...)

this was a pretty good weekend.

it's been only seven months since this picture has been taken, and everybody has grown up so much... wow. i can barely remember how different i was two years ago ...

Posted by roy on November 13, 2006 at 12:54 AM in Ramblings | 4 Comments

Hey everybody, a serious post lies ahead, so if you don't want to ruin your beautiful Thursday afternoon reading drivel, I suggest you stop here :)

So, I've been asked to join the company out in San Diego. I've been wanting to get out of Chapel Hill for a while (talk is cheap), so this presents an excellent opportunity. But there's a huge part of me that's reluctant to this change ... it's so odd. I'm young, single, no real commitments anywhere (of course, being a commitment-phobe has a lot to do with this) - wouldn't anybody jump at the opportunity to live in sunny San Diego?

Now, I love what I'm doing. I love my job, I love the people I work with, and I have a strong belief in the success of what we develop. Whether that translates into business success is the big question for me.

The company's offered full relocation and a lateral pay raise for the move to SD, which is very nice of them. However, when I did my calculations, I'd have even less disposable income than I have right now (living at home = 0 rent), which isn't very appealing. I've also had the inkling that I've been getting severely underpaid for the 18 months or so I've worked for the company, and having to live with even less free cash isn't an appealing situation for me.

As lame as this is also going to sound, I don't want to leave my mom here. My dad had to relocate cause of his job to Kansas City a while ago, and he flies back every two weeks, but with my sister also off to college, my mom's gonna be lonely. True, I don't see her very often (I'm locked up in my room most of the day), but I think it'll be tough for her to see me go across the country. I would feel a bit better if she had a bunch of close friends here, but she doesn't have as many friends as she used to (and there's been some MAJOR church drama lately that's been stressing her out). I also don't want to leave my sister behind ... I don't see her very often, but I still enjoy seeing her once a week or so and teasing her about boys. Who will I tease if she's not around?!

The whole family situation aside, it's also tough for me to wrap my head around the financials of the move. I'm running large server bills which I haven't worried about since I'm not paying rent - I think I need to sit down and calculate exactly what this lateral move is gonna cost me and see how that works out. I'm willing to take a small pay cut, but not much. I already get the sense I'm not getting remotely close to what I should be making, but I'll ignore that feeling.

Not to mention that a start-up isn't a sure thing. I could be busted out on my ass in a few months with less money than I started. But it's all for the experience, right?

What bothers me more is that in a sense, I'd really be committing myself to MT. When I get frustrated with MT work at home, it's easy for me just tell myself my upside is linked more to my own projects and brush off those frustrations. If I'm working there, I feel I'll be investing a lot more to the company and a lot less to my own projects ... in a sense I get the real feeling that I'll be abandoning my own stuff and my own future for a future linked with MT.

And this isn't even mentioning the fact that I'll be leaving behind a very close group of friends whom I've gotten to know quite well over the past few years. I'm not one to make new friends very easily, and starting over in San Diego will be tough. When I was living in Korea, I made 0 new friends outside of work. I feel it'll be the same situation here.

And what of my beloved Tar Heels? :(

Well, lot's to think about. My home for 14 years ... for an uncertain and tougher future across the country.

Posted by roy on November 16, 2006 at 01:33 PM in Personal | 10 Comments

This past weekend: Spent lots of time away from computer to think.

I installed IE7 and FF2 last Friday. Wow, this spell-checker utility seriously kicks ass ... how long until we have native WYSIWYG support inside of the browser? (Dealing with it with Javascript is horrendous to say the LEAST)

I realized a few days ago that I hadn't closed my experimental HSBC savings account - I opened it a while ago when they were running some promotion. I had put in $100 in it and forgotten that it had existed until this past weekend. That got me thinking, how awesome would it be leave $100 and have your great grand-kids find it (100 years later). By my calculations, if you leave $101 at 7%, in 100 years it'll be worth $87,000 (101 * 1.07 ^ 100). Sure, with inflation it won't be worth as much, but it'd still definitely be something cool to find out about.

It's like that episode of Futurama where Fry remembers he had a bank account with $0.93 in it before he got frozen - after a thousand years, he ended up being worth $4.3 billion (at a low rate of 2.25%!).

Perhaps it's time I open up a bunch of random bank accounts with random low amounts of money ... ;)

Posted by roy on November 20, 2006 at 09:02 AM in Finances | 2 Comments
hannypoooh: but she's cute right?
thug4liferoyboy: she is very cute
thug4liferoyboy: the type of girl i'd marry
hannypoooh: right?
hannypoooh: clean, nice looking pretty.

that's right, ladies. one of the top priorities on han's list is CLEAN. not smart, not kind, not godliness... clean.

thinking about skipping that shower?




Currently listening to: Say Anything - Alive with the Glory of Love
Posted by roy on November 21, 2006 at 12:20 AM in Foolishness | 2 Comments

Ahhhhh, boogiesan, your 'Zags won this round, but if we see you again in March, we'll whoop y'alls butts then :)

Posted by roy on November 22, 2006 at 09:56 PM in Sports | 4 Comments

So let me say that I finally understand why Nintendo called their system "Wii." The commercials for the Wii have been fantastic (two Japanese guys going around saying "We (wii) would like to play"). Catch it on YouTube if you can (another great commercial has been Ellen DeGeneres' new American Express commercial with the animals).

Now the one thing I don't understand about the Wii is this hubbub over the 3-dimensional "Wii-mote" which lets you play games in 3 dimensions. For example, if you were playing a tennis game, you would actually have to swing. Or you could bowl ...

Where is the appeal for the gamer? How does acting out the actions add to the gameplay? Am I missing something? I guess I really aren't a gamer if I don't get it.

The PS3, from what I read, is really disappointing. Looks like Microsoft is feeling pretty comfortable with their 360.

Posted by roy on November 23, 2006 at 12:02 AM in Ramblings | 6 Comments

I almost forgot about this, but Slashdot had a contest a few months ago to redesign their front page. Apparently I had some free time that night and whipped up an entry. Looking back, this is actually not very bad:


Posted by roy on November 23, 2006 at 03:09 AM in Web Development | 1 Comments

A preface: Bert, I think you played such a prominent role in one of these scenes because of that jackass voicemail you left last night - I listened to it before I went to sleep, wondering what the heck that was about ;)

I had a vivid dream last night:

It started off with meeting this beautiful girl who I fell in love with. She started hanging out at the cabin (from our last mountain trip) with me and asked to use my computer. After she was done, she gave it back, but her email client was open. In it was an email from one of my acquaintances who was pleading with her to return - she apparently had just left him and disappeared. I told her that she should return to him because I felt their history together was so strong ... as she was leaving, a party started at the house with lots of people I knew (which included a lot of younger kids like my sister). During the party, I could hear some bloodcurling screams.

A group of men (none I recognized) were killing everybody at the party, including all the young kids. I ran around frantically (not helping), and then I noticed the SWAT team was outside the cabin. They came in and swept the house and arrested two men, but noted that one of them had escaped.

Fast forward to that evening, and I'm hanging with Bert and somebody else (assumed in the dream to be his friend, but I didn't know who it was) ... I suddenly realize Bert was the last guy. I run up the stairs; Bert realizes that I've caught on to him and he chases me up the stairs. His friend goes downstairs (presumably to get a gun). I'm then jump out of the second floor and start flying away.

My flying abilities is sorta like gliding, it's nothing active I do to fly. I have trouble controlling my flying abilities; I can get the general direction, but it's very hard for me to actually control the smaller mechanics - a lot of it involves the wind direction. I take out my cell phone and pretend to fly the cops as I hover above Bert's red BMW (which actually resemble's Hao's old car). Bert comes out and we start yelling at each other - I claim that I was recording our conversation in the cabin where Bert confesses to the crime, but I really don't. I start flying away, pretending to call the cops on my cell phone. I see Bert get in the car and he starts following me. At this point, the bad guy stops being Bert and morphs into somebody I don't know.

From above, I see as the BMW sees a cop .. and then rams the cop. The bad guy gets out and starts pumping round after round into the cop car until it explodes. He then starts killing all the eyewitnesses to the crime. He gets this huge gun out of his car and starts shooting at me with it - I then try flying away. We're in an apartment complex, so I hide in one of the apartments to avoid detection. I'm hoping the bad guy gives up and goes away.

The bad guy then morphs in Colonel Tigh from Battlestar Galactica, and I'm stuck in this hallway; the apartment complexes had turned into bunk beds in this dank barracks-type building. I hear Tigh walking towards my side of the barracks, talking about his history and why he wants to hurt me. I fly silently along the top of the hallway and hide behind a large wooden beam. After he passes, I try to fly away from him, but there's this huge machine which shoots this web which captures me.

I'm sent to this jail, but somehow I escape when there's a commotion in the jail (I fly away).

I fly outside, and I'm in this huge city. Suddenly I'm transformed into this superhero that people expect to help, but all I end up doing is just flying around.

Then I woke up feeling very depressed. Everytime I was flying, I was escaping some imminent danger; and even when there was no longer any imminent danger, there were expectations heaped upon me which I failed to meet.

I guess I don't want to admit I've been under a lot of pressure lately with the need to make a decision ...

I spent this morning trying to make some sense of the dream, but I could only come up with bad interpreations.


Posted by roy on November 23, 2006 at 07:09 PM in Dreams | 5 Comments

Phrase of the day: information overload.

Thoughts of the day: It's really weird seeing your crushes from high school at your informal 5-year high school reunion. It's also comforting to hang out with your friends and have a nice night out, even if it involves awkward moments of trying to avoid people. One thing this whole night has made me realize is how my life totally didn't turn out the way I expected it to be at 16. It's reminded me of what I wanted to accomplish and who I wanted to be, and now I feel that passion for success once again. I still have plenty of time, experience, and know-how now... it's time to apply myself once again. Inspiration comes from the weirdest places.

I still haven't made an official decision regarding San Diego yet. I'll be making it this week though. One thing this whole decision making process has made me realize is how much I appreciate my position professionally. Talking with people, it's a really rare position that I get to work with such bright people in a small company with a lot of say in what happens with our product. I hate the hours, the pay, and the situation sometimes, but overall it's something I'm very happy with. I guess that's the yin-yang of life: it's hard to love anything without also hating it completely.

Posted by roy on November 25, 2006 at 01:17 AM in Personal, MindTouch | 7 Comments

Quoting from this article:


Who gets the $17,430?

Directly and indirectly, $17,430 is what the Federal government takes each year, on average, from each American who works, not to mention the big chunk out of their lives taken through regulation. Who gets this $17,430 after it is extracted from working men and women?

  • $3,690 goes to people on Social Security and Disability.
  • $3,492 goes to people in war industries.
  • $2,166 goes to people on Medicare.
  • $1,767 goes to people on Medicaid.
  • $1,505 goes to people on food stamps, welfare (assistance), housing, and income payments.
  • $1,297 goes to lenders for interest.
  • $1,028 goes to people in transportation, environmental, space, science, and regional building industries.
  • $ 708 goes to Federal employees for their retirement.
  • $ 688 goes to people in educational industries.
  • $ 495 goes to veterans.
  • $ 402 goes to people in the Federal government for their services.
  • $ 244 goes to people overseas.
  • $ 187 goes to people in agricultural industries.


Posted by roy on November 27, 2006 at 06:18 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments

I ran into this CAPTCHA test today:

Are you serious? What the heck does that say ... paledolurt? Paledolum? Seriously? This is how the Internet has progressed??? Frustrating users to no end with stupid tests to prove they're human??? Seriously??????????????

Email and the lack of authenticated SMTP also pisses me off. I wake up in the morning, download 200 emails to my personal email account and find 190 are spam that are picked up by my filter, 4 are emails with a big image (thus defeating the spam filter), and 2 are in a foreign language.

The lack of centralized identity solution also pisses me off (although OpenId is very promising). Instead of me having to fill out my title, first name, last name, email address, home phone, work phone, street, city, state, country, and zip code every time I want to register/buy something, can't i just give the new registration form a URL that tells you who I am?

Posted by roy on November 28, 2006 at 12:15 AM in Ramblings | 8 Comments

I know I was supposed to post about this a while ago, and I think I might have forgotten. If I did, I can at least cover my butt by posting this link: MindTouch wants you to suggest features for DekiWiki!

Basically, you go and suggest some features that should be added into our wiki. If you have the best feature, you win a video iPod. This involves some level of understanding our software (e.g. I hope you've used it).

Go give it a shot if you've got time, cause the deadline is December 1st (oops).

Posted by roy on November 28, 2006 at 12:30 AM in MindTouch | 5 Comments

warning: pdf link ahead: allofmp3.com is being shut-down. :(

. . .

This sounds so wrong:

BTong97: hannah doesn't like me =)
BTong97: she's just jealous of my wii


Posted by roy on November 28, 2006 at 03:22 PM in Ramblings | 5 Comments


i'll say it again: we're so deep it's nasty. we had 11 guys score!!!

this is the first game i've watched in a while where i was truly impressed with everybody's play. normally i mutter a few expletives cause danny green makes some bone-headed move (is he the new melvin scott???), but he was friggin' solid during the minutes he got.

Posted by roy on November 29, 2006 at 09:27 PM in Sports | 5 Comments

A few months ago, I got hit by the biggest ice cream craving EVER (Is there a behbeh in my belly???) at like 1 in the morning. On the long-shot that Harris Teeter carried Baskin Robbins' , I drove to Harris Teeter on a mission to get a tub of Rainbow Sherbet. Failure.

A few weeks ago, Han and I met for dinner at Taco Bell (next door to Baskin Robbins). Because I wanted to finish off my delicious 2 soft tacos and 2 crunchy tacos with some ice cream, I walked over to Baskin Robbins prior to the meal to get their closing time. 8pm. Excellent. Han and I finished our meal at 730, and I walked over. Closed. Failure again.

Two weeks ago, I met up with some people at China Buffet for dinner. I wanted to get ice cream again, but I decided against getting it before since it was too warm for the sherbet to remain yummified 'till I got home. Dinner concluded, I drove over to Baskin Robbins. Closed. Rats.

I seriously am going to die if I don't get Baskin Robbins' Rainbow Sherbet in me. Maybe tomorrow I'll take an extended lunch from work, drive over to Baskin Robbins, and buy a few gallons of their Rainbow Sherbet (AND BUY SOME SPRINKLES TOO!!!).

Just watch them not have any. I'd be so pissed.

BY THE WAY, McDonald's (in this area at least) HAS THE MCRIB AGAIN!!! Their stupid "farewell tour" crap from a few months ago was complete BS! What's up with this? It reminds me of that classic 90s song, "Quit playing games with my heart." I love that rubbery junk; it reminds me of eating cafeteria food in middle school. So yummy. You should go try a McRib sandwich from McDonald's if you haven't had it before. It's an experience.

Posted by roy on November 30, 2006 at 12:16 AM in Ramblings | 3 Comments
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