Entries for September, 2009

While a solid film, there's nothing remarkable about JSA. I will, however, say the end scene is one of the more impactful endings I've seen in a movie. Not just the idea, but the execution and the symbolism of the scene... this one photo encapsulates the whole movie, and the relationship of all the characters at once.

Posted by roy on August 31, 2009 at 10:57 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments

A project, 10 months in the making with a strategic partner. Five public phased launches (numero uno from January!). In synchronicity with the phased launches of WRG, the engineering team at MindTouch developed one of the most compelling features of MindTouch; the fruition which was launched tonight in the form of a public, moderated wiki... just as MediaWiki announces they're gonna do the same thing.

The ending to these projects always seems so anti-climatic. They always seem to end at 1am, and everybody is just too exhausted to care. There have been more late nights than I care to count lately.

The whole project was incredibly informative; not only in opening up our eyes on how far our platform can be pushed, but also in exposing places where we need to focus more attention. It's also been quite informative in how to grow and manage a professional services team and how we should try to structure our partner relationships in the future.

Working on projects like this just reinforce the fact that I work with some amazingly talented people. Of course, these projects also manage to sap a ton of energy - trying to manage these strategically important projects with a limitd team while running the engineering team wasn't so easy. Even now, I know there's a lot of work that needs to be done on the product side... And now that this project has (nearly) ended, I'm looking at even more projects in the pipeline I need to manage. It never ends.

On a more pessimistic note, it has also underlined how unsustainable my current work levels are. Already this week I've had one 4am emergency, coupled with two late nights. Thoughts of life sans-MindTouch have been popping up with far more frequency lately (hit an irrationally dangerous level last week - almost threw in my three weeks notice - bad stress!). I've probably been reaching a burnout point on and off for the past year - I didn't realize how bad it was until I took that trip to China back in May. I had to be forced away from my computer to realize how pervasive this job had been. That feeling of the freedom afforded by traveling (well-timed weddings!) is probably why I've been flying around so much.

I had a nice chat last week with one of the uppers last week, indicating that it was probably wise of the company to limit the risk of my departure by more actively devolving me of my responsibilities - I'd be remiss in my duties if my departure left things in a tenuous state. We'll see how it goes; I guess I'll be on the hiring warpath over the coming few weeks to fill as many roles as possible (a process which has been rather disappointing - craigslist seems void of quality developers).

Guess that even with the sweet, you get a lot of bitterness...

Posted by roy on September 2, 2009 at 01:54 AM in Personal, MindTouch | 2 Comments

Can't believe I only just saw Starship Troopers for the first time.

Posted by roy on September 3, 2009 at 12:55 AM in Ramblings | 9 Comments

One of the great assets of having such a huge community like the one around MindTouch are its participants. When I started, I only thought code contributions were important from developers. To be honest, we haven't received much (if any) patches to the core product - what we have seen are people writing a ton of apps on our platform, instead. We receive a steady influx of bug reports from community members which keeps us quite busy.

In the early days, when our product's direction was simpler ("it's the best wiki in the world"), we also tapped our community for feature suggestions. Constantly interacting in IRC & the forums was critical in helping us stay ahead of the curve - the technical folks always seems to anticipate the needs pretty well.

When we made the switch over to a commercial version, we lost that. It may have also been the fact that we had reached the limit of features we wanted to add to the wiki (at some point, the law of diminishing returns makes each feature useful to less and less of your target market).

At that time, we worked on a lot of technical features with little community feedback.

Recently, I have been constantly pushing the engineering team to write functional specs. Functional specs are important because they are easily understood by a large group of people, which means you can open up a discussion with non-technical users as well. These non-technical users quite often have the most insight into what makes a feature fantastic.

Our first functional spec was for the drafts service, which was a great first case. While it was still technical (we had actually hammered out the use cases earlier on, so they didn't need a discussion), it still provided to be a great reference point during the development. It also helped people understand exactly what we were trying to deliver.

The second functional spec (that I've been driving) is the attachment reservation (file check-in/check-out) feature we are developing. I have to say that the activity on that functional specification has been most promising. The comment thread has been incredibly informative in refining the direction of the feature; even little suggestions like "adminstrators should be able to lift reservations" which were missed on the first pass.

And the best part? The iterations around functional specifications are far cheaper than "trying it in code." If you're running any type of software shop, you really want cream-of-the-crop engineers, and their price per hour ain't cheap.

One process I'm implementing at MindTouch to return product development back to a bottoms-up approach is to force engineers to write functional specifications and present them at our weekly engineering meetings. These give time to gather feedback from the rest of the engineers (who shouldn't be discounted - they have seen over two years of active MindTouch development, and they interact with MindTouch community members constantly).

Without a strong spec in place, engineers can oftentimes overengineer solutions that don't solve any problems - the thing was simply engineered. Talking it through in committee and gathering feedback clarifies where we need to end up. I originally though technical specifications solved this problem of engineering development creep, but unless the technical spec had functional use cases to keep it contained, things could quickly spiral out of control.

That's not to say that I don't think paying down technical debt with code clean-ups isn't important, but they must be accompanied with some commercial end-goal in mind. In the attachment reservation implementation, we'll need to clean up a chunk of the front-end code (long overdue from legacy days) ... but it's for a commercial purpose.

So to get back to the point: the attachment reservation spec is awesome (check it out!). I hope the functional spec process sticks!

Posted by roy on September 3, 2009 at 11:24 PM in Web Development, MindTouch | 5 Comments

I am fundamentally opposed to unpaid internships (you get what you pay for, and frankly I don't want to work with people who value their work as free), but there is an interesting blog post from Mark Cuban about the illegality of free internships: The U.S. Department of Labor has outlined a list of criteria that ALL must be met in order for an internship to be unpaid.

The Dept of Labor outlines what a free internships should entail:

  1. The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school;
  2. The training is for the benefit of the trainee;
  3. The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under close observation;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees and on occasion the employer's operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the completion of the training period; and
  6. The employer and the trainee understand that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.


Posted by roy on September 5, 2009 at 03:43 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment

Here's a graphic (I found online) which breaks down England vs. Great Britain vs. UK vs. ... well, you get the point:

Posted by roy on September 6, 2009 at 01:58 PM in Ramblings | 3 Comments

Exhibit A (little kid rocks out to a booty-shaking club song):

Exhibit B (supposed to be 15 years later):

I love it!

Posted by roy on September 7, 2009 at 11:29 AM in Ramblings | 2 Comments

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Desecration Smile

All alone, not by myself
Another girl bad for my health
I’ve seen it all thru someone else

I celebrated but undisturbed
Serenaded by the terror bird
It's seldom seen and it's never heard

Never in the wrong time or wrong place
Desecration is the smile on my face
The love I made is the shape of my space
My face, my face

Disintegrated by the rising sun
A rolling blackout of oblivion
And I'd like to think that I'm your number one
But I'm rolling blackout of oblivion

I wanna leave but I just get stuck
A broken record runnin’ low on luck
There's heavy metal coming from your truck
I'm a broken record runnin' low on luck

We could all go down to Malibu and make some noise
Coca Cola doesn't do the justice she enjoys
We could all come up with something new to be destroyed
We could all go down

I love the feeling when it falls apart
I'm slow to finish, but I'm quick to start and
Beneath the heather lies the meadowlark
And I'm slow to finish but I'm quick to start

Download or preview:

Posted by roy on September 7, 2009 at 12:49 PM in Music | 4 Comments

For the whole day, one of my neighbors has had a bag of M&Ms and a note sitting outside their door. I have been dying to know the circumstances of said candy and notes, but respect of privacy has kept me away.

I just went to took the trash out, and I noticed the note is still there, but the bag of M&Ms are now missing.

What kind of word do we live in where bags of M&M are stolen like that?! (I'm pretty sure I know who it is - one of my neighbors loves to smoke up - nothing makes me <sarcasm>happier than coming home to the stench of weed in the hallways</sarcasm>. Open up a window, man!

Posted by roy on September 7, 2009 at 11:06 PM in San Diego | 2 Comments

I have a huge cement column in the middle of my loft - it was painted with chalkboard paint and I left it up to people to write whatever they'd like. I'm not sure when it started happening, but it turned into a guestbook of sorts - people left all sorts of nice messages after I hosted a couple of people, dinner parties, etc. It's starting to fill out nicely:

I was reading some of the notes tonight at dinner (I actually hadn't noticed a couple of them until quite recently), a few things struck me:

  • Nearly nobody signed their messages (although from context, I know who signed what)
  • I have a lack of "OmG Had a greaattt time last me, call me, xoxoxoxox" tags. If I had a few of those, people would be all like, "Dag, he's hot stuff." But they're all innocent postings, like, "Thanks for the dinner party!" Shame, shame. 

By comparison, last February:

Posted by roy on September 9, 2009 at 01:01 AM in Loft | 12 Comments

Can you really boil down the next six months onto a single sheet of paper?

A first pass on the MindTouch six-month product roadmap... we'll see how well this passes the "sleep on it" test. Now I can get a solid four hours before conference calls, work, and everything that falls between those two.

(Today was an especially rough day - Guerric and I left the office at 11:15PM, which is a personal worst)

Posted by roy on September 9, 2009 at 05:06 AM in MindTouch | 4 Comments

This made me laugh today: (emphasis mine)

An embattled, recently-elected Democratic president delivers an address to Congress to resuscitate his health-care initiative. Reports on new fall fashion call for "vibrant colors, longer skirts and asymmetry." And a TV network whose desired demographic might buy some of those fashions runs the program premiere of "Melrose Place." It's the '90s all over again.

The parallels -- and the perils -- are eerie: President Bill Clinton, elected by remembering "it's the economy, stupid," makes the dumb mistake of outsourcing his health-care bill, only to see the woman who came to represent it torn apart by talk radio. Substitute the first lady with the first female speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, and President Obama finds himself having some of the same unhealthy political problems. In fashion, The Wall Street Journal notes this season's new looks "channel the late '80s and early '90s," which the industry hopes can pull it out of a nationwide shopping slump.

Better bust out the flannel shirts - I can stay ahead of the curve this time!

Posted by roy on September 10, 2009 at 08:47 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment

Urban Dictionary is supposed to be a discreet way for adults to figure out the new-found slang (I myself had to look up scene today). But apparently it works awesome as a shortened Wikipedia, as this WWII entry from UrbanDictionary demonstrates:

  • Germany invades Czechoslovakia.
  • Britain & France tell them to stop that bullshit.
  • Germany invades Poland. (Russia also invades Poland from the other side: everybody forgets this.)
  • Britain & France declare war. This is the 'official' kick-off.
  • Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, & Romania all join the German side. (Everybody forgets the last three.)
  • Axis forces go through Europe like vindaloo through a colostomy.
  • Nazis exterminate Jews, gays, gypsies, & the disabled. (everybody remembers the jews but forgets the rest.)
  • UK holds out.
  • Russia & the USA don't do shit.
  • Entire divisions of Danish, Belgian, Dutch, Norwegian, French & Serbian volunteers join the Axis armies & SS. (everybody forgets this & to listen to them now, they were all in the fucking resistance, which must have been MASSIVE.)
  • Axis forces invade Russia. Suddenly the Russians don't think it's funny any more.
  • Japan joins the Axis & bombs Pearl Harbor.
  • Suddenly the US doesn't think it's funny any more.
  • The USA tools up the world, 'cause it's got more factories than everybody else put together, & they're out of bomber range.
  • Axis runs out of steam in Russia, cause Russia's enormous & bloody freezing.
  • Allies invade on D-Day... 5 landings: 2 British, 2 American, 1 Canadian. (everybody forgets the Canadians.)
  • Hitler ends up smouldering in a ditch. Russians find the body & confirm he only had one ball. Seriously.
  • The US decides invading stuff is a pain in the ass and invents the atom bomb instead. Drops two buckets 'o sunshine on Japan.
  • Russians steal half of Europe.
  • UK's spent almost every penny it had. 
  • US starts telling everybody how it was all about them, & 64 years later is still doing so.

"Some of the World War II guys in 'Call of Duty' have, like, foreign accents... what's up with that?"

Posted by roy on September 10, 2009 at 11:20 PM in Foolishness | 2 Comments

On the heels of a discussion with Max about my skepticism about the electrical motoring revolution, the Economist has published a fantastic briefing which brought me up to speed on some of the particulars.

My criticisms (which are largely addressed in the article about), are as follows:

Car makers are assuming ~65km (~36 miles) is enough to cover "most" use cases for driving per charge. The Economist points out that 80% of use cases are covered - but that seems oddly wrong to me. A drive to La Jolla for me is roughly 13 miles. That means a trip there and back is going to utilize 3/4 of my battery power (excluding a range extender). Factor in traffic, and running errands, and local traffic (finding parking), do I really feel safe with an electric? In any case, the last 20% of the use cases are what is important to me - the drives to Vegas or LA - what do electric drivers do then? (The Economist proposes multiple solutions)

Given the limited range, electric cars are being built for city people. I'm curious to know what class of city people are buying these cars, though. If you live in a city, you most likely park in a garage. If you're unfortunate like me, you are paying a third party for parking. Even if you had your own spot in your garage, will the infrastructure exist to allow for charging?

The argument that you pay less for electricity because it's "off-peak" hours is ridiculous. Start plugging in hundreds of thousands of cars into the electricity grid, and we'll see how long that argument holds.

The Economist utilizes the story of digital cameras to sell the car story. The story being: digital cameras were, at first, more expensive and had less resolution; but in time, they got cheaper and more effective. The article tries to draw a similar conclusion with cars, but I don't think it'll hold. Digital cameras lack of quality actually was actually a net-plus when they first came out. Remember back in 2000/2001, broadband still hadn't completely penetrated the US market. Having smaller image sizes was actually a benefit.

The pricing/resolution argument is a bit bunk as well. Most consumers only need to print, at largest, 8x10 prints. That is a 3.9 megapixel camera, which have always been within reach. I remember my first camera, the Fuji Finepix 6900 was one of the first cameras to break that 3 megapixel barrier, and it was about $400. $400 for a bleeding edge camera is not the same as a $40,000+ investment into a car.

Digital cameras also had the killer application: instant gratification. They were also much cheaper than film cameras (film + printing + time) - digital cameras really came in and disrupted the market rather rapidly, because they offered consumers a superior product at a cheaper price.

I'm not so sure about that on electrics. What is the killer app of electrics? The acceleration? Saving the world? Even the hybrid adoption (with government subsidies to soften the blow of the additional costs) has been lower than I imagined - this report says hybrid sales will cross 1 million mark in 2012 (not sure if that's per year or total). That seems remarkarably low, especially if average passenger car sales in the US come out to be about 8 million.

So with electrics, I get a crapper version of a car (anytime there's a risk I can get stranded, that's pretty crappy - and like my point above, it seems I'd get stranded often) at a higher price point with no clear benefit.

Sounds like a recipe for disaster. But hey, that's me ... what do I know?

(I will say that one of my favorite parts of Bald Head Island in NC is the fact that you take a ferry over to the island, and can only get around on electric golf carts. I LOVE the concept and knowing that it's being efficient makes me feel good - but the island is designed for that purpose. I do hope that this becomes a trend, but I don't think it's going to happen from the auto industry - it will require retrenching the American living/shopping mindset away from suburbs, downtowns, and shopping areas.)

Posted by roy on September 13, 2009 at 02:45 PM in Ramblings | 3 Comments

Here's my once-every-few-months-clearing-out-my-links-I-want-to-share-post:

I find this Digg comment hilarious:

Absolutely beautiful outtro for the Beatles Rock Band game: (I must pick this up!)

An Audi commercial (I swear, I want my next car to be an A5):

Beethoven's Fifth visualized with all the instruments (you have the marvel at the intricacies):

Some reads:

Posted by roy on September 14, 2009 at 09:13 PM in Ramblings | 4 Comments

So watch this incredibly touching video about a Danish mother seeking the father of her child:






Touched? What if it were a viral video? How do you feel now? I mean, come on... a girl like that? Please. I remember the first time I saw that video, I was totally like, "Oh crap, I wonder how much tickets to Denmark are RIGHT NOW."

If I met a girl like that while I was traveling, I'd never return home; MindTouch would get a terse email along the lines of:

From: Roy Kim
To: MindTouch Engineering
Sent: July 18th, 2009 04:25AM GMT


Currently feeling: amused
Posted by roy on September 15, 2009 at 12:11 AM in Ramblings | 5 Comments

I saw a ridiciulously dumb post today. Now, if this was some random blogger, it'd be nothing ... but this was posted on a company blog, and I just have to point out its stupidity.

Why do only "executives" deserve summaries?

The phrase "executive summary" is strange.

"Oh, you're the most important person? You only need to read this. Everyone else: Go ahead and waste your time with the full thing!"

Why should only executives be spared the task of reading fluff? If the important, power-wielding, DECIDER only needs to read a few paragraphs to get what's going on, that should be enough for everyone else too.

Sure, the real context of these summaries is usually "If you don't have full bandwidth right now, read this." But if that's the real meaning, why not have a title which accurately reflects that?

Either the author does not understand the purpose of executive summaries, or he does not understand why we use adjectives to help describe nouns.

There is this misguided notion that "executives" somehow have complete insight into everything that's happening. That is impossible to do. If you ever work with other people reporting to, you'll quickly understand that you trust the people underneath you to do the job to the best of their ability. In the case of software managers, there is a real tendency to always fall back on your software background to "dive back in" and do the "better job" - this has to be resisted. You grow the people underneath you by mentoring them, even if they don't do as good of a job as you used to do. (MENTOR!)

An executive is not expected to understand in-depth every aspect of every person he or she manages. That is information overload. The people who report to the executive's jobs are to vet and research, then make a recommendation for execution through an executive summary. When things are summarized in such a manner, it is not about removing fluff, it's about removing the nitty gritty details that aren't relevant to the exeuctives' decision making, but were relevant to the specialist who compiled the report.  The executive modifier has little to do with seeming exclusive, and indicating the summary is related to execution. This is also why when rulings are summarized, they are called judicial summaries. Or when laws are summarized, they are called legislative summaries.

That's not to mean that executives can claim ignorance when bad things happens. Whenever someone who reports to the executive fails, that executive has failed too. It is as much the fault of an executive as it is of the person who committed the error. It may not be in the same direct way as the person who committed the error, but the executives' blame is more indirect - why was there nothing in the process to help this person succeed? Why was this failure bubbled up to that level? (But sometimes, shit just happens and it's really nobody's fault)

I don't know what got this guy's panties in a twist - it just seems like has a vendetta against the notion of executives ... but I'll give him more credit than that.

The post was clearly just pandering.

Posted by roy on September 16, 2009 at 01:42 AM in Ramblings | Add a comment

I've been on a huge RHCP kick lately. The latest is a lovely wedding song.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Hard to Concentrate

Hustle bustle and so much muscle
Our cells about to separate
Now I find it hard to concentrate
And temporary, this cash and carry
I'm stepping up to indicate
The time has come to deviate and

All I want is for you to be happy
And take this moment to make you my family
And finally you have found something perfect
And finally you have found...

Death defying, this mess I'm buying
It's raining down with love and hate
Now I find it hard to motivate
And estuary is blessed but scary
Our hearts about to palpitate
And I'm not about to hesitate

And want to treasure the rest of your days here
And give you pleasure in so many ways, dear
And finally you have found something perfect
And finally you have found...
Here we go.

Do you want me to show up for duty?
And serve this woman and honor her beauty?
And finally you have found something perfect
And finally you have found... yourself
With me...
Will you... agree... to take this man... into your world..
And now... we are as one...

My lone ranger,
The heat exchanger
Is living in this figure 8
Now I'll do my best to recreate.
And sweet precision.
And soft collision
Our hearts about to palpitate
Now I find it hard to separate.

And all I want is for you to be happy
And take this woman and make you my family
And finally you have found someone perfect
And finally you have found

All I want is for you to be happy
And take this woman and make you my family
And finally you have found someone perfect
And finally you have found...

Download or preview:

Posted by roy on September 16, 2009 at 02:02 AM in Music | 2 Comments

Does anybody else find football lines to be far more exploitable early in the year rather than later? I think it has to do with preseason expectations and carry-over from the previous season - people just can't fathom teams like the Patriots actually sucking. There were some weird lines this week, which got me out of the woodworks to start my annual football gambling hobby: I'm off to a great start (only lost 1 bet out of 10 today, which included a 3 team parlay!). Let's see if I can make it past Week 9 this year.

Posted by roy on September 20, 2009 at 07:15 PM in Sports | 3 Comments

I signed up for Mint.com, and it's pretty awesome. I love the concept, I love its execution, and I love the information it provides for me. After spending so much on traveling over the last couple of months, I've had to tighten up the spending habits a bit, and Mint is serving that need perfectly! After tying in all my credit card, bank accounts, and investment funds into a single interface, I was easily able to see the net ins/outs and where my spending habits broke down.

It also lets you set budgets based on your spending habits, which is really neat.

I was pretty surprised that in under an hour, I had it all setup and was able to play around with it all.

A shame Intuit bought this company; let's hope it doesn't get lost in the corporate machine!

Posted by roy on September 20, 2009 at 10:00 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment

A big part of my job has lately been project management. While I've found to be generally competent in this field, it is not something I want to do the long-term, as it tends to be incredibly draining (I have a newfound respect for good project managers).

So lately I've been busy looking for project management hires. Surprisingly, LinkedIn is an excellent source of hiring for business-oriented people. (It was, however, a GINORMOUS bust for engineering hires... hello, Dice.com!)

As soon as I posted, I got flooded with resumes. I spent a couple of days filtering through 43 resumes. (Even today, I continue to get tens of PjMs resumes ... but I've decided not to even try to keep up with them anymore) I whittled this list down to 13 for a first-level phone screen. I tried to get a good cross-section of resumes for phone screens: ranging all the way from really technical experienced PjMs to completely green PjMs.

I will wrap up my last phone screen tomorrow, and BOY is it tiring to do phone screens. Each one of them took roughly 45 minutes ... that's like 10 solid hours of talking on the phone! It's hard for an anti-social geek like me to remain so lively, interested, and charming (I gotta sell MindTouch as much as these people sell themselves!)

From this list, I think I've found maybe four viable candidates (two realistically, and one I'm really rooting for).

Now I can't lay claim to any type of hiring victory yet - that'll be determined months after the hiring - but I will say that hiring a PjM has been much easier than the search for developers. (I've always found it incredibly hard to judge the quality of developers when hiring.)

For this process, I got roughly 14 questions about project management together and went through most of the questions with all the hires. I scored each answer roughly by the following metric: 70% - knew less than me on the question; 80% - knew about the same as me; 90% - knew about the same as me, but provided some new insight; 100% - blew the question out of the water.

Surprisingly, when using this method, the range of scores I got ranged from 70% - 88% (the range was a lot more than I expected). Apparently I value my own skills too much, or I'm apparently a decent project manager (I could probably do a lot better if I didn't have to focus on running product/engineering, too).

In any case, having a structured format for phone screening interviews seems like something that's pretty obvious, but surprisingly, this is the first time I created a format and stuck with it. I'll be looking to do the same with hiring developers...

For anybody who wants the following project manager questions, here are the ones I used (I feel safe posting these now since I'm done):

  • Describe the key concepts of waterfall and agile and their tradeoffs
  • What is a project baseline, and why is it used?
  • What's a scrum master, and what is their role? (I rarely asked this question)
  • What is scope creep, and how is it handled differently within waterfall and agile?
  • How do you motivate team members:
    • who are burned out?
    • who are underqualified?
    • who are disgruntled?
  • How do you earn the respect of engineers and other team members?
  • How do you ensure quality in the project you're working on?
  • How often do you generally ask for status reports from your team members? How do you like to receive statuses?
  • How do you present status reports to your management team?
  • Assume you're two weeks away from a project deadline/release and you've learned that the client thinks a major feature was missed in the dev cycle? What do you do?
  • What tools do you use to manage your:
    • project lifecycle?
    • project documentation?
  • Assume a client or an engineer (or both!) are working on what you know from experience to be a really bad idea. How do you approach this situation and resolve it? 

My one regret with this list is that it mostly contains things I already know how to answer - are there more "advanced" project management questions to even ask? (Or is it like poker, where knowing what to do is obvious, but doing it well is nearly impossible?)

Posted by roy on September 22, 2009 at 02:22 AM in MindTouch | 8 Comments

The only thing I could think about while I was reading this blog post in my RSS feed: "Holy smokes the girl in the app screenshot is pretty." The second thought in my mind: "Man, I'm really too old to be thinking things like that."

And there is your random Tuesday post.

Posted by roy on September 22, 2009 at 06:16 PM in Foolishness | 15 Comments

I loved this xkcd:


Posted by roy on September 22, 2009 at 10:15 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments

There is this song on Rock Band for a band called "Bang Camaro." I had never heard of these guys, but their style is totally '70s-'80s heavy metal... I thought they were from that era, until I found this video of them on YouTube:

From Wikipedia: "The band is composed of a bassist, a drummer, two guitarists, and anywhere from eight to twelve vocalists comprising a full choir of lead singers." That is so awesome. I believe their song names are rather ironic, as well... what a celebration of that music era!

Posted by roy on September 22, 2009 at 11:12 PM in Music | 2 Comments

From G:


Posted by roy on September 23, 2009 at 11:50 AM in Ramblings | 5 Comments

This post is going to be rather ironic, as I was just talking to Aaron not more than two days ago about my success in overcoming my past insomnia problems; I find myself unable to sleep tonight. Even when I was going through a rather rough work phase the past couple weeks, I had no problems with sleep. Now that those issues seem (largely) resolved, it's a bit funny to me that I can't sleep.

Anyways, I feel that wanderlust streak in me getting kicked off. While I have a trip to NC in October and Vegas in December, I have an urge to get out of country sometime in 2009... and wouldn't you know, Singapore Airlines has roundtrip tickets to Seoul for $550 out of San Francisco...

... That got me thinking about my past two trips there in 2002 and 2004, and thinking of all the people there and wondering what happened to them. If I went back to my favorite restaurants, would they still be owned by the same people? All those kids I taught in 2004 ... how are they doing? Christ, most of them must be close to graduating now... how time flies! I wonder if the hakwon I taught at is still owned by the same lady, and if the same staff works there... And my extended family ... how are they doing?

In my mind, I replayed a trip back to Korea - the random stench of sewage, the hustle & bustle of the subway systems, the fantastic food, the late night trips to Walker Hill Casino, the stench of cigarettes in the PC rooms, the long subway rides I took to visit my paternal grandparents outside of Seoul, the same pop songs playing everywhere you go, the wonderful ice desserts places, the joy of visiting those markets and trying to find fake watches, the visits to "restored" historical monuments, the forced drinking (social rules are very different there)... I do miss the whole experience.

This was my more advanced class ... I was trying to remember their names tonight, and for the life of me, I can't. I remember what they looked out and their personalities, but I can't remember a single one of their names.

Now that I'm writing this post and I'm looking back at pictures, I guess what I missed the most was teaching in 2004. The kids were great, and some of them were unintentionally funny.

I remember the exact girl who wrote this note (the note itself is rather nonsensical; most of it translates to "I'm tired, I don't like studying" with some really nonsensical phrases in there) ... I wonder what happened to her.

The students did like me, though. We shared a wonderful, honest rapport.

I wonder if going back is worth it. I know every time I go back to NC, the sadder I get - people (including myself) just move on with our lives. It seems that every time I go back to NC, things change a little bit more, and it's tougher to remain as connected to that part of my life. I wonder if in Korea, I'm hanging on to some semblance of the past that is no longer there...

Ah, sentimentalism. <shakes fist>

Posted by roy on September 24, 2009 at 03:26 AM in Travel, Ramblings | 4 Comments

I feel like things are starting to fall back into place again. A sense of movement; a direction. Still a ton of work left to do, and executing will always be a challenge. But I feel much better than I have in a while.

Posted by roy on September 25, 2009 at 12:22 AM in MindTouch | 3 Comments

Be prepared for massive dweebery.

A lifetime ago, I used to run a site called Jaymee.org, which was a fansite for the actress Jaymee Ong. Unfortunately, I never owned the domain name, and although I had requested ownership of the domain so the site would never be lost, the owners felt they would "never not renew" the domain... and of course, one year they stopped paying and I lost the site.

And for the record, so people don't think I'm one of those obsessive fan club types, the site had some pretty strict rules about NOT posting or pursuing personal information about Jaymee.

Around 2002, somebody started feeding a lot of information about Jaymee - her upcoming work and photos from her shoots. At the time, I figured it was her agent or something; the user ("denise_truscott") was rather mum about her relationship with Jaymee, so I never pushed it.

I did know she was legit, because as a "thank you" for my work on the site, denise_truscott actually got Jaymee to call me over Christmas break (in 2001?). I'm sad to say that this was the highlight of that year, and I've not had much luck in getting hot women to call me since. Oh, the pain of peaking too early! (jk)

Fast forward to last week, and through a rather non-sensical comment thread with HK1997, I was curious about who that user was; HK1997 managed to find both of them on Facebook. I messaged Denise (turns out that's her real name and not an alias) to find out who she was...

Well, the answer's in! Turns out denise_truscott was actually Jaymee's mom. That's pretty cool that eight years ago, her mom was out on the intarwebs, promoting her daughter's career. And it's doubly cool that she got Jaymee to give me a call to thank me for my work on the site. I'm sure Jaymee was pretty freaked out about talking to her dorky fanbase.

One life mystery solved.

Currently listening to: daft punk - alive 2007 (live)
Posted by roy on September 26, 2009 at 12:48 AM in Ramblings | 13 Comments


In 1961, New York Post columnist Leonard Lyons contacted John F. Kennedy after seeing Presidential autographs for sale in a store. At the time, George Washington’s was priced at $175, Ulysses S. Grant's at $55, Franklin D. Roosevelt's at $75, Teddy Roosevelt’s at $67.50, and JFK’s at $75. Below is the response mailed to Lyons.

Posted by roy on September 27, 2009 at 12:31 AM in Ramblings | 1 Comments

Following up with the previous post...

Lookie, lookie. (Although it looks like I need to upgrade phpBB... sigh)

(Nothing else on that site works - galleries and fanclub sign-ups... all broken!)

Posted by roy on September 27, 2009 at 11:59 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment

Quote from Fake Steve Jobs:

Look at Sony, or Microsoft, or Google, or anyone. They still don’t get it. They’re still out there talking about chips, or features, or whatever. Or now they’re all hot for design. But they think design means making pretty objects. It doesn’t. It means making a system of pieces that all work together seamlessly. It’s not about calling attention to the technology. It’s about making the technology invisible.

. . .

Found out a high school acquaintaince (friend would be a strong word) passed away today. It's a weird feeling... doesn't feel real.

Currently feeling: weird
Posted by roy on September 28, 2009 at 09:29 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment

Metric's new album kept me great company for most of today:

Metric - Collect Call

If the fire's out baby
How you gonna keep me warm
Supposing you let me
With the door wide open no one can leave

I know it's a lie I want it to be true
The rest of the ride is riding on you
Over goodbyes we'll buy some place

For wishing you could
Keep me closer
I'm a lazy dancer
When you move I move with you

If somebody's got soul
You gotta make them move
Make them move

I know it's a lie I want it to be true
The rest of the ride is riding on you
Over goodbyes we'll buy some place

For wishing you could
Keep me closer
I'm a lazy dancer
When you move I move with you

Posted by roy on September 28, 2009 at 10:05 PM in Music | 2 Comments
« 2009/08 · 2009/10 »