Entries for August, 2009

As I was doing some early morning scanning of news, this particular post struck me as being interesting. In particular, this quote: "Slide and RockYou are doing exactly what all smart, well-funded emerging companies do when their original business models aren't turning out as planned: Switch horses."

In search of revenue, is it best to become so niche that you can't redefine your business direction?

This touches on what I was writing about Facebook a couple of weeks back ... one way they have impressed me is in how they constantly evolve the site and the interactions users have with it.

Does this mean that applications which become incredibly strong players within a market ("the best blogging software") are doomed for failure?

. . .

All my guests are gone ... now I have my place to myself once again :) While I had a great time hanging with everybody, a huge relief washed over me after I dropped the last of the guests off today at the airport... time to finally be ... alone. (Inside joke) Haha.

Posted by roy on August 5, 2009 at 06:31 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments

I absolutely love the album cover for his new single:

Posted by roy on August 6, 2009 at 07:08 PM in Music | 7 Comments

What's going on?

Posted by roy on August 10, 2009 at 02:32 AM in Ramblings | 2 Comments


Currently feeling: frustrated
Posted by roy on August 10, 2009 at 11:09 PM in MindTouch | 5 Comments

Bonfires are dangerous for me, but not in the way you'd expect. You see, I have a tendency to overshoot when planning events like bonfires, so I naturally got three boxes of graham crackers, three huge bars of Hershey's chocolates, and three bags of ginormous marshmellows.

It was my intention to abandon the leftovers on the beach, but I had overly kind loftguests who brought back two of each item.

And now the marshmellows and graham crackers and chocolates stare at me. I should probably throw them out, lest I end up eating them all.

Posted by roy on August 11, 2009 at 02:26 AM in Ramblings, San Diego | 5 Comments

I love 7-11. Yes, I do.

Posted by roy on August 11, 2009 at 07:58 PM in San Diego | 7 Comments

so facebook buys friendfeed? i wonder when google is going to own up and buy twitter. google's gotta realize that facebook is the real threat, not twitter. if i were facebook, i'd be working on stealing all the good ideas from google wave, because it fits their needs perfectly. of course, i guess you can never count microsoft out of the game, either...

Posted by roy on August 11, 2009 at 08:34 PM in Ramblings | 4 Comments

One huge burden is off my shoulders (temporarily). WhoRunsGov.com is running with MindTouch's new content moderation. In a span of 3 weeks, their site went from running 8.08.2 to 9.02, and now to 9.08 (Minneopa). Pete and Damien are two rockstars for working through such a tight schedule and getting things done so well! Great job to Guerric and Max for working on the new content moderation feature and doing such a fantastic job with it.

Posted by roy on August 11, 2009 at 10:53 PM in MindTouch | Add a comment

My awesome coworker, Corey, has started SupportAwards.org. From the site:

SupportAwards.org was established to give recognition to Customer Support/Service departments and representatives across the world.  Customer Support is a critical part of business and facilitates the adoption, retention, and growth of a company.

Amen to that. Corey and Brian do a fantastic job at MindTouch at cleaning up engineering's mess with our customers. :)

Go nominate a company now!

Posted by roy on August 11, 2009 at 11:23 PM in Ramblings, MindTouch | Add a comment

Users of Tabulas, feel proud! I have shut down new user registrations. Fighting spam on Tabulas has been an evolving battle - first they targeted comments (which has largely improved). Then when I shut that down, they wised up and started registering new sites and actually posting spammy journals. I've written tools that aggregate new posts on a daily basis on Tabulas - I manually review sites and ban them. On average, there were about 20 sites per days I had to ban.

But the number seems to be increasing. I ban them the day they sign-up (I even send them a nasty automated email), but they keep seem to register new accounts. I don't know if they're stupid or just trying to piss me off, but enough is enough.

When I get some time, I'll open up Tabulas user registrations by limited invite-only; that way, if a spammer gets into the system, I can figure out how he got invited and kill that tree.

A shame that spammers have to ruin this for everyone.

Posted by roy on August 11, 2009 at 11:40 PM in Tabulas | 8 Comments

Ran into this hilarious comic site that pokes fun of business-type people: http://businessguysonbusinesstrips.com/

Then, as I started reading....

Wait a second...



Posted by roy on August 12, 2009 at 09:48 PM in MindTouch | 2 Comments
Posted by roy on August 13, 2009 at 11:03 PM in Ramblings | 4 Comments

Here in Atlanta for a friend's wedding... aw, shucks.

Here is an upside: I ended up getting a convertible from the rental agency (not what I asked for, but it was the last one left... sweet (also got free GPS), and I'm pretty sure I want my next car to be a convertible. Even in the humid heat of Atlanta, it's a lot of fun.

So, a quick story. It was bound to happen, and I'm sure it's a rite of passage for all travellers.

My flight yesterday required me to take the airport bus from my place. I took the 12:13 bus, which was supposed to arrive at 1230 at the airport (in time for my 1:05 flight). Instead, it got in around 1245 instead. I got to the check-in counter 15 minutes before the flight (which is pushing it), where I was immediately denied boarding access (although the family next to me was allowed to board, ok!). I then asked for help in rescheduling the flight, and I got no help from the Delta representatives. In their defense, their next flight was full, as (apparently) was any connecting flights.

This is where I started getting kind of pissed. The two representatives did nothing to make me feel better about the situation - they didn't try to look for other flights, they simply told me nothing was possible, and that the best they could do was re-book the flight for the next day (in which case I'd miss the wedding).

So with Max's help (thank you!), I decided to buy a one-way ticket from American to get into Atlanta (only two hours later, not so bad).

With a connecting flight into Dulles, I decided to make sure the second half of the flight was not cancelled.

Now here is where the WTF comes into play. Apparently, because I had "cancelled" the first half of the flight, to take the same return flight back would cost me $300 ($150 "reissue" fee and the fare difference for a one-way ticket).

Wow. Now, as I called them, I tried to understand the reasoning, besides, "a one-way ticket costs more, so we need to do the difference." The two pricks I talked to on the phone were unflinchingly unhelpful.

Let me re-iterate their company policy: miss one half of your trip, and even if you figure out a way to make your trip, you have to pay in addition to take the same flight back. Wow. I mean, really, wow.

I am never flying Delta again, ever. They treat their customers like crap, and have absolutely no sympathy for situations like that. Screw them. (I'm pretty sure all the legacy airlines probably have all the same policies - will need to do more research when I get home).

I've been so spoiled lately flying Southwest and Virgin Airlines that I forgot how bad the legacy carriers really were. Why can't we let these companies go out of business, again?

In any case, this trip is getting quite costly. Paying in addition for two more last-minute fares ain't pricey, plus I had to tack on another hotel/rental car day. (I booked the return on another airline back, even though it was cheaper to take the $300 on such short notice, I'm not giving Delta any more money on principle). Blah.

But such is the lessons learned - had I just taken a taxi from my place, none of this would have happened... oh well. My fault...

Posted by roy on August 15, 2009 at 01:38 PM in Travel | 5 Comments

hello, all. i am updating from a public terminal - it is the first keyboard i've ever used with payphone-like keys. it is nearly impossible to type on this.

long story short: flew out of ATL to connect in PHX to SAN via us airways. an hour into the flight, the pilot diverted us to land in memphis due to plane troubles. it didn't seem so serious - we landed, they let us out (yay) and brought mechanics to fix the plane (they had to get northwest mechanics, as this is not a us airways hub). after about an hour, they had "fixed" the probem, and said we were ten mins away from reboarding.

i called my sis, and i was sure i could catch the 8pm from PHX to SAN. all cool. 

20 minutes later, they said that during the startup sequence, the engine failed to start up. oopsie daisies. so they'd have to fly in a new plane from PHX (est departure: 7pm local). being that memphis is a delta/northwest hub, us airway only had a skeleton CSR reps here - sucks to be them (a plane full of angry people descend on them from nowhere!). it also made taking alt flights out impossible (i think they only had two flights today or something after we landed)

went to dinner (meal voucher, yay!), came back. now the flight's pushed back to 9pm. a little while later ...945pm. defintely not making it home tonight. (i am now out of clean clothes)

(a little while ago, they warned us that the "airport closes at 7pm so use the bathrooms before then... lulz!)

thankfully, they offered hotels to everybody, so that's not a huge worry. although if i had known at 3pm this was going to happen, i would have taken their memphis hotel offer and enjoyed beale st. alas.

so this trip had two first for me: missed flight (my bad) and bad plane (their bad). but you know what? in an impossible situation, the CSR reps did pretty good, and i'm not pissed at us airways.

not like delta, at least.

hopefully, i can get on a plane at 930 tonight - they have an early flight to SAN from PHX at 745 am ... lets hope no more hiccups!

Posted by roy on August 17, 2009 at 04:56 PM in Travel | 1 Comments

I'm pretty sure this is fake, but it's still hilarious nonetheless. Guy leaves on vacation for two weeks, girlfriend doesn't quite know, and ... well...

This reminded me of a "mythical creature" that comedian Demetri Martin used in one of his skits; the "paradoxotaur":

(For the record, these are both jokes)

Posted by roy on August 18, 2009 at 09:55 PM in Foolishness | 3 Comments

I saw this at the Memphis airport, and it totally reminded me of the Flight of the Conchord's New Zealand tourism posters:

(I discovered a few weeks back that my crappy Nokia 6555 can by synced via Bluetooth, so I can start getting some pictures off my phone)

Posted by roy on August 18, 2009 at 10:43 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment

Seeing this quote from Alex Russell (of dojo fame) almost makes me want to adopt Dojo into MindTouch (although it's too late for that decision...)

JavaScript cannot save you. Even if it could, you should not let it, for the price of this short-term salvation is the end of what you like about the web.

I have long been a huge roadblock inside MindTouch for pushing too much logic into JS due to the sentiments above. In my experience, Javascript has best been used to connect different pieces - if you try to make it do more, you will run into a lot of headaches (not to say it's not possible, but are you SURE it's the best way?)

Read his whole list of orthodox heresies.

Posted by roy on August 19, 2009 at 12:07 PM in Web Development, MindTouch | 1 Comments

Posted by roy on August 19, 2009 at 05:59 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments

i've got this energy beneath my feet
like something underground's gonna come up and carry me,
i've got this sentimental heart that beats
but I don't really mind that it's starting to get to me now

- the killer

Posted by roy on August 19, 2009 at 09:33 PM in Music | 1 Comments

So to finish my story for US Airways Flight 407... last you heard from me, I was waiting to get on a 9:45 flight. When I say Memphis airport is a small airport, I'm not kidding. This is what the airport looked like at 7:24PM:

Anyhoos, the airplane actually got in "early" at 8:45! Yippee! We all pile onto the plane and make it out to the runway, when all of a sudden, there's a bit of a commotion two seats behind me. A middle-aged man starts yelling at the flight attendent; apparently he was not too interested in having his cane stowed away.

The captain then radioed in and notified that we were returning to the gate to escort a passenger out. The guy next to me, "Asshole." My sentiments as well... we've all been trying to get to Phoenix, and this one guy decides to ruin it.

In case you're wondering what happens, the police come on the plane and quietly escort the passenger off. They take statements from the flight attendents and any passengers. This turns into another half an hour of sitting on the plane. FINALLY, we close the door and back off.

And then the captain radios in again: "Uhh ... you're not going to believe this, but we're having some maintenance issues." While the passengers had been (generally) patient, the mood definitely shifts.

Apparently on the Airbus A380, the 300 or so computers will suddenly "stop talking to each other." Apparently, the solution for this is to do a "hard reboot" of the whole system. The captain was very insistent that the computers are not oftentimes shut down, so doing a hard reboot should "fix it." (Roy goes off and shorts a whole bunch of Airbus stock)

Fortunately, the hard reboot fixed the problem, and off we went to Phoenix!

We got into Phoenix airport around 1145, and I got shipped over to the Clarion Hotel to get a nice 5 hour nap before waking up, catching the shuttle back to the airport, and catching the 745am flight back to San Diego. (Speaking of which, the Clarion Hotel was quite possibly one of the worst hotels I've stayed at in terms of quality in the past couple of years, but the staff was amazingly helpful. Normally at hotels like that I tend to get crap service.)

I got in at 9am, went home and changed/showered (I cannot stand that film of travel that covers me whenever I fly) and went to work.

And to think, all of this would have been avoided had I just made my first flight.

Posted by roy on August 21, 2009 at 12:31 AM in Travel | Add a comment

I kid you not, this is a LEGIT photo; I did not photoshopping or setting up of this photo at all.

A few weeks back, the Juice decided to go into the "closet" (what we call the front conference room) to cut some audio for a video. I walked in to see this:

At first, I didn't notice anything. But upon closer inspection ... wait... a second:

Yes, that is a IBM Thinkpad, which is serving as a mousepad for the Juice's mouse. Quite possibly the most expensive mousepad ever. And really indicative of what most MindTouchers think of IBM and its ilk (I myself, am a fan of Stinkpads - I still use mine!)


Posted by roy on August 21, 2009 at 12:47 AM in Ramblings, MindTouch | 1 Comments

With the recent spate of traveling, I hadn't had a real "San Diego" weekend in a while. Well, that changed this weekend!

ith some fresh friends from Las Vegas in town, I finally got to hit up the San Diego Zoo (I kept trying to go with people with visited, but it never worked out) this weekend. Had a good time there (pandas are so awesome); next up - the San Diego Wild Animal Park! (Although I'm discovering that I enjoy aquariums more than zoos).

We watched Inglourious Basterds, which I thought was OK, but not fantastic. The movie seemed to drag in certain places (I wished there were more Aldo Raine scenes).

We went sailing today - first time I went out without a safety net - I took the 22-footer out and it was very smooth sailings (Surprised even myself!). Now that I have no trips for September, I foresee a lot of sailing weekends ahead :)

I was a bit ill on Friday, and I was worried having people in town would exacerbate it, but it seemed to have gotten better... maybe all I needed was some nice San Diego sun :)

Every time I have people over, I'm more grateful that I ended up in San Diego - there's so much to do here! It's a shame it took me so long to start to really appreciate it...

Posted by roy on August 23, 2009 at 08:38 PM in San Diego | 5 Comments

walking away from a bad situation is pretty easy. but walking away from a good one...?

Posted by roy on August 24, 2009 at 08:08 PM in Personal | 5 Comments

From "50 Photos of Air Travel's Glory Years":

A stewardess from Southwest Airlines, circa 1973


Posted by roy on August 25, 2009 at 09:27 PM in Ramblings | 6 Comments

From a paper on the economies of scale of living together (cohabitating):

Both partners in married couples require about 80% of total household income in order to be as well off when living alone. This percentage is much smaller for cohabitating couples, where the female partners only need about 52% and male partners about 63% of total household income.

I can tell you one of the most annoying things about being single is the cost of eating. It's wasteful to cook for yourself, unless you want to eat the same thing day in and day out (I don't like eating leftovers).

. . .

This site claims that the following data is from the Federal Reserve Board’s 2004 Survey of Consumer Finances but I could find no references to it in the actual data, so take it with a grain of salt:

Net Worth Statistics by Age

Age: 20-29
Median Net Worth: $7,900 
Top 25%: $36,000 
Top 10%: $119,300 

Age: 30-39
Median Net Worth: $44,200 
Top 25%: $128,100 
Top 10%: $317,800

Age: 40-49
Median Net Worth: $117,800 
Top 25%: $338,100 
Top 10%: $719,800 

Age: 50-59
Median Net Worth: $182,300 
Top 25%: $563,800 
Top 10%: $1,187,600 

Age: 60-69
Median Net Worth: $209,200 
Top 25%: $647,200 
Top 10%: $1,429,500

Posted by roy on August 25, 2009 at 09:56 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments

I had forgotten how much I loved Gattaca:

Posted by roy on August 26, 2009 at 09:38 PM in Ramblings | 3 Comments


There's a very interesting video of the world's largest mall (twice the size of the Mall of America!) called the South China Mall. With retail square footage of 6.5 million square feet, it sits largely deserted, with a vacancy rate of 99.2%. Check out the documentary about it.

This was similar to my experience when I was in Beijing - I visited the very stylish (renovated) Qianmen Street, but found it was largely deserted of tenants (picture courtesy of Flickr). I thought the street had just opened, but Selina told me it was renovated for the summer Olympics... it was still largely deserted almost a year later! The only real store I could remember being there was the H&M... 

There's also a similar slideshow about the decline of Dubai...

Posted by roy on August 28, 2009 at 02:02 AM in Travel | 2 Comments

Features are not the end-all goal of product development. They are the delivery mechanism in completing the story to solve problems. With features, you need to make sure they integrate well into the main story of your application. Look at Facebook - they tie in all their features together into one cohesive message. That's why they haven't turned into an also-ran like MySpace - MySpace just tagged on these stand-alone features to achieve feature parity.

ALRIGHT! Weekend time! :)

Posted by roy on August 28, 2009 at 06:28 PM in Ramblings, Web Development | Add a comment

"biweekly" has to be one of the most ambiguous phrases in the english language.

Posted by roy on August 30, 2009 at 09:42 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments

Work emergency led to this conversation:

(I'm guessing about 0.0001% of my readers get it)

And yes, Brian and I have given each other the nicknames of Akon (me) and Young Jeezy (Brian).

Posted by roy on August 31, 2009 at 05:18 AM in Ramblings, MindTouch | Add a comment
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