Wednesday, February 23, 2005

smugmug hacks

I have been a mostly satisfied smugmug user for some time now. As time went on, I got used to all the good things smugmug provided, and began to be annoyed and bothered by some of the things it did not provide. Like what? Like more detailed statistics and absence of RSS feeds. There were other things I was not crazy about, but these were the two main ones. Does the link in the title fix these problems? Not in the least. It does, however, make a strong point about some of the things that clearly bothered other people and were addressed. And that is nice to know.

I definitely plan to try out the WebDAV and some of the uploader apps listed on that page. Thanks smugmug!


Following some of the weblogs I read, here is a sample of articles I found interesting today:

A funny ad on craigslist

play part of officaint,my wife and i are already married.(6 months) family don't know about it,so we want to do the wedding over,we are looking for a good actor to do this.this will take place in a hall.will take up maybe one hour of your is good,will pay $100 an hour,will give min. of 2 hours pay,plus travel time, can do interview over phone or in person. contact Larry

A pair of interesting New Republic Online articles: "The Ends" by Leon Wieseltier and "The Revolution Will Not Be Computerized" by Paul Boutin

A strange article from CNET titled: Spyware infiltrates blogs which claims that:

Hackers are using blogs to infect computers with spyware, exposing serious security flaws in self-publishing tools used by millions of people on the Web.

The main thrust of the article is to commingle what experts rightly say:

"...malicious programmers can use JavaScript and ActiveX to automatically deliver spyware from a blog to people who visit the site with a vulnerable Web browser."

with the fact that since weblogs are webpages they are just as good of a delivery mechanism as any other webpage. I do like the new [for me] feature of "context" that summarizes the "news" part of the story and the "bottom line" (the impact of what's "new", I imagine). The more interesting part seems added as an afterthought:

Visitors to Blogger's network have complained that they were exposed to infected sites when they used the "Next Blog" link.

There is not much made out of this, and no follow up is offerred. How many people were infected? Did someone create blogs with infectious code on purpose? Are there widely-used tools out there that are infected? That would actually be useful to know, but I guess we have to settle for a short dose of IE-bashing and quietly return to our rooms.

An interesting story titled "Creatures Frozen for 32,000 Years Still Alive. If this is not more sci-fi channel plot lines revealed in real life, I do not know what is. Do we really want to revive an alien life-form that survived for millions of years? I am not sure.

And finally, BBC tells me that on one hand "The world is now in the gravest possible danger of a human flu pandemic triggered by the [bird flu] virus" and on another "An outbreak of what tests suggest is pneumonic plague has spread to a second town in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a medical charity". C'mon guys - take your pick. Is it going to be the repeat of the 1918 Flu or 14th century black death. Where can I find the bookmaker's odds on this?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

When is Time to Add Another Person?

very interesting article When is Time to Add Another Person?

There are two major components to the decision to hire another person:

1. Remember that everyone's productivity decreases when you add a person into the organization.
2. You need to add in your overhead costs to salary (the overhead costs are a little less with a contractor).

interesting numbers in there.

Tresure Map Posted by Hello

Friday, February 18, 2005

as expected -- Marital rowing 'good for wives'

from BBC NEWS | Health :

"Women who argue with their husbands are warding off heart disease and other causes of death, researchers believe."

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Cool: New Zealand unveils Stonehenge replica

New Zealand unveils Stonehenge replica :

Located roughly 90 minutes from the capital city of Wellington, Stonehenge Aotearoa is designed to educate the public about astronomy and the technical capabilities of the ancients, as well as draw tourists. It doesn't look like the present-day, crumbling 4,000-year-old stones in southern England. Rather, it tries to re-create how the structures may have appeared at the time of their ribbon cutting.

read the whole thing.

Monday, February 14, 2005

How long before this ends up on eBay?

DPReview reports:
Canon Japan has this morning sprung a surprise on everyone with the announcement (in Japan only so far) of the EOS 20Da. This specialized version of the EOS 20D appears to be identical except for the removal of the 'hot mirror', the filter in most digital cameras which removes the InfraRed part of the spectrum. This camera would be especially suited to astrophotography as well as InfraRed photography, in use as a 'normal camera' it would probably require an external IR cut filter on the lens. In addition the camera has a partially transmissive mirror which enables live focusing on the LCD monitor.

When I looked for my current camera some digital cameras were sold as "see-through clothes" cameras, because of the IR capability built into the night-vision mode. I do not think it is going to take very long to get that type of ads to show up on eBay with this new Canon. I can just the pitch:

"illegal in US and Canada, the long-awaited xray-vision camera from the country that brought you walkman and manga."

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Deep thoughts: study proposal

A new category of postings devoted to random thoughts of what is surely studied somewhere, but I do not know anything about...

Lotus Notes, and I imagine other desktop email programs, allow the users to customize the header of their emails with little icons. There is a library of icons available, and you can upload your own. This is the same type of functionality that allows people to upload their photos or representations to IM applications, or choose their icons in Windows XP Home edition. So much for the introduction.

Deep thought: Would not the icons and avatars people choose be a great and obvious psychology resource? I am sure people choose primarily something they associate with, or would want people to associate with them. In my daily Inbox I see short, harried emails from a "rider on a horse with a saber", from a soon-to-be-married bride - a burst of confetti, a great, if somewhat introverted, developer has an wrought-steel-with-rivets shield, and so on. This was from literally looking at the last three messages in my Inbox...

I am sure this is not surprising, but does anyone make use of it? For good or evil - people use graphologists, why not email iconographers? At the very least -- this is a therapy goldmine. I think every psychoanalyst should ask their patients to bring in their email stationary.

There has got to be a grant to study this somewhere [I think this is going to be the way I will always end these posts]

big news: Fiorina resigns as chief of HP

Should not this be a pretty big story?
Fiorina resigns as chief of HP

If not because HP is so important, but at least because she really was one of the most visible and powerful - in terms of the company size and revenue she managed - women in the business world?

I do not know, seems like waves of this resignation will reverberate strongly through a game of musical chairs of shuffling positions throughout the industry as well as possible serious changes in strategy and direction for one of the largest, and [formerly] revered companies in the country and the industry.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Tools - Mind Maps as a Software Design Tool

In a short article Mike Gunderloy talks about light and easy tools for requirements gathering and brainstorming. In particular, he mentions MindManager product as a useful tool. I could not agree more. Most of the brainstorming, agenda-creating, and multi-task tracking I have to do I process through this tool. Whenever I have to think of a new module for my product - I first turn to Mindmap to sketch out the contours, then onto Jude UML to work out use cases and basic model outlines.

I would not mind if MindManager had a UML extension for creating use cases and some simple class, sequence, and activity diagrams. While that is not what the product is about, it would make it rather suitable for purposes I use it for -- quick software module prototyping and brainstorming.

Monday, February 07, 2005

once it was new 

Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 03, 2005

"I knew it" or "How I learnt to stop worrying and like the NYTimes"

A friend is sort-of featured in the NYTimes Arts section article. Very exciting. Since to see the article you have to get registered [for free], I am going to excerpt relevant passages, perhaps with some comments.

As dusk fell on a recent afternoon in Morningside Heights, Dasha Shishkin, a 27-year-old Russian-born artist, was awaiting Mr. Biesenbach and Ms. Heiss in her tiny cubicle of a studio on West 115th Street. As she greeted them in a heavy accent, their eyes fell instantly on a drawing on the only work table in the space.

It was a large pen-and-ink drawing of shapes so tightly composed that at first glance it seemed to be an intricate wallpaper pattern. But on closer inspection, the shapes of cats emerged, in different, often violent poses. Ms. Shishkin, a graduate student at the School of Fine Arts at Columbia University, explained that it took her one day to create, drawing nonstop for about 10 hours.

Why cats? "They're a domestic animal that's a familiar shape," she said simply. She sketched it for a School of Fine Arts show at Columbia titled "After Goya," a reference to Goya's series of etchings "Disasters of War."

"I used cats instead of people as a way of removing the subject of war from the immediate," Ms. Shishkin said. "They look harmless, but they're not harmless at all."

She is also a painter: on a nearby wall and a portion of the ceiling were figures rendered in what she called "poisonous yellows and greens."

"It's like my diary," Ms. Shishkin said. "This is where I capture my thoughts."

The curators departed after about an hour, a longer visit than most. Mr. Biesenbach was impressed. "There's some tough stuff, some images between Goya and Bruegel," he said by phone a few days later. Both he and Ms. Heiss agreed that their favorite work in Ms. Shishkin's studio was the drawing of the cats.

Alright, Dasha has an accent, but is not "heavy" - it is charming. Her Russian is flawless though, with a slight Moscow accent. She is an incredible artist with a unique vision and style that has been her own for as long as I have known her, nearly 9 years now. When I first saw her work, I immediately thought that she is going to be a fine artist before she becomes an illustrator - her undergraduate major. Since graduation she worked tirelessly to support herself and her artistic [read: expensive and time-consuming] habit.

I, for one, am certainly very excited for her. Of course, unlike her *I* do not have to worry whether she will get in to this show or that. I am just quietly confident of her success.

mix, print, eat

RDK writes in with:

we *are* living in the age of science fiction!

Indeed. The articles talks about

... the sushi made by Mr. Cantu, the 28-year-old executive chef at Moto in Chicago, often contains no fish. It is prepared on a Canon i560 inkjet printer rather than a cutting board. He prints images of maki on pieces of edible paper made of soybeans and cornstarch, using organic, food-based inks of his own concoction. He then flavors the back of the paper, which is ordinarily used to put images onto birthday cakes, with powdered soy and seaweed seasonings.

very cool. read the whole thing.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

J.Shwartz on computing and computers as commodities

Very good write-up on why computers are not a commodity, and may never be.
my conclusion was that despite the self-interested rhetoric of some vendors (and gullibility of a few pundits), computers weren't the commodity - computing (and bandwidth) was. Just as power generators built by my friends at GE aren't the commodity, electricity is. It's not even close to a subtle distinction.

read the whole thing...

news to make waves - BBC NEWS - China had role in Yukos split-up

Should not this be making bigger news among the conspiracy theorists and geopolitical analysts - BBC NEWS | Business | China had role in Yukos split-up?