Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I've posted it before, but it may serve as a reminder to certain folk. I take a moderate amount of photos every couple days, not all of them good. Out of every ten images, all ten get saved onto my hard drive; about six of those get uploaded to a directory on and show on on my homepage; and two or three make it onto the photo weblog. So depending on your time and interest in my photography, you can choose to view them in a couple different places.

And note the themes running through ninety-percent of my photos: food, and the absence of other people.

Another feature the Gmail should implement: sometimes, it misses that two messages are part of the same conversation. Users should have the ability to associate messages manually.

From the COM chat room on SDF:

[caelun] So what do you use UNIX For I'm quite new to UNIX any suggesttions on what it is useful for? [caelun] games,hacking,programming,chatting [alterego] [alterego] That's pretty much all I'm doing at the moment. [alterego] Though I also use Unix for web- development. [alterego] C/C++ programming. [alterego] Everything really. [alterego] It's the only operating system I use. [caelun] really? [alterego] Yes [caelun] I use XP pro [alterego] How wonderfull. [alterego] I'm sure Bill Gates is laughing his way to the bank. [caelun] Yeah right like I payed for it [caelun] WAREZ UNITE!! [alterego] Someone always does in the end.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I walked into the computer lab in the Education Building, and the blast of air hit me like an enveloping cloud of summer. It's like a sauna in here and I love it. That is to say, I'll love it as long as it lasts—a girl just adjusted the thermostat, lower, I suppose.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Kroger-brand froot loops are teh nasty.

Google now has search in pinyin. That means that you can search for a word in romanized form, and at the top of the results Google will suggest the characters you probably meant to search for. It's explained better in the Chinese FAQ.

Tower Records's Japan site has had something like this for a while: search for the last name of Pizzicato Five front-man Konishi (Yasuharu), and it will present you with a list that includes 小西康陽, his name in Japanese (along with a few other choices, including superstar sumo wrestler Konishiki; don't laugh yet, come over to my place and you can watch the episode of Hey Hey Hey Music Champ where he sings My Hula Wahine while strumming an ukelele).

Another cool Google feature found in the Chinese FAQ is simplified-traditional switching. For example, if a person searches for “计算机”, a common word for "computer" on the mainland, it will also return results for “电脑”, a term for "computer" that may be more used in Taiwan or Hong Kong. Not only that, but when it returns the search results it will convert the title and page abstract of each result on the search results page into the character set that the original search was performed in. Pretty neat!

One of the upsides of getting a really bad cold is that, when my nose clears up and my sense of taste comes back in full force, I am able to appreciate good food more than I did before the cold. Good food like a bagel toasted just the way I like it, with dollops of cream cheese and just a little peach or rasberry jam.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Background music: Deep Mix Moscow Radio, Monkey Radio:

Some call it "Trip-Hop." And some call it "Acid Jazz." Some call it "Downtempo" or "Abstrakt Beats." Now take the intersection of all these. Stir in groove. Dust with sexiness. Simmer. Voila. Serve chilled.

Via Milov.


Thursday, April 22, 2004

X-UL-lent Mail: I was playing around with my GMail account today, which I got through Blogger (for being an "active user", whatever that means). Several things to note:

  1. The never-thrown-an-email-away feature, when you think about it, is pretty intuitive. What do I do with my old mail now? Since I use Pine to read my e-mail, the mailboxes are just flat text files. At the end of every few months, I move all the read-mail and sent-mail folders into a directory specifically for email archival. If I ever need to find an old e-mail, I change into that directory and search by content (grep). Google has replicated this: select a read e-mail and click "Archive", and it's removed from your Inbox. When you want to find it, either search through the "All Mail" box or do a search for the sender's name, e-mail address, or some keyword that relates to the body of the e-mail. This isn't a revolutionary new idea, it's something we already do that Google has taken one step further—a genius step further.
  2. On the internationalization front, GMail is encoded in utf-8. This means that it can handle all sorts of foreign languages. For example, it had no problem displaying a message in Chinese that I sent to myself. But GMail still lacks the ability to search for non-Western characters. It just spits out some Unicode code and returns no messages. I'm guessing this is why it's still called GMail Beta, and I'm looking forward to see how they take care of this feature.
  3. Attachments launch in a new window.
  4. The category labels are nice. You can attach multiple categories to each e-mail. I'm still thinking about the idea categorization system. I think it will follow the way I name my digital photograph files: places, organizations, groups of people, and perhaps a special category or three for special individuals.

Now I'll explain the title of this post, an idea I came up with in that place where inspiration always strikes: in the shower. I think GMail is a chance for Google to become even more ubiquitous on the Internet. In fact, this is almost a predetermined fact. The opening of GMail will strike to the heart of Google's main competitor, Microsoft, by stealing away thousands of Hotmail users. But there is a way in which Google could kill two birds with one stone, using GMail to steal market share from Microsoft in another area. Over this summer, Google should put a couple of interns to work building an XUL front-end to GMail. When they go back to school in the fall, have a few usability engineers polish it up, and release it on the sly, as an alternative to the Javascript/XHTML interface. Yes, users would have to download Mozilla or Firefox to use it, but that would be a small sacrifice to make for a slick e-mail client using native GUI widgets. A recent Slashdot thread mentioned that Oracle is going this direction for some of its database adminstration utilities, and that Lowes hardware stores use an XUL app for their inventory front-end. If Google did the smashing good job that they've done on the rest of their products, this could really draw people away from Internet Explorer, bring more people to use GMail, and be a boon to the FLOSS community, all at once.

Those are my ideas on GMail. Now, if I could just get somebody from Google to read this...

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

These expressions are priceless.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

No Swordphoto tour of Tokyo clubsposter of BoA and m-flo → my downloading the new BoA/m-flo collaboration

Available for a short while in the media folder.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Reminder to self: bake cheesecake for Elisa.


Saturday, April 17, 2004

Bad news from George:

I just went by Cafe Zola and it looks like the bulletin board has disappeared. I wouldn't be surprised if the one on the NW corner of Liberty and Ashley is gone to.

I rode by Cafe Zola a few days ago and noticed the same thing. I'm eyeing an alternate spot, a site that's already been targetted for random street art, the wooden fence on the edge of the empty lot next to the Center for the Education of Women, near Liberty and Division. Now, I just need me some pushpins.

Friday, April 16, 2004

From a comment AAIO, look up On-line Assessment and Property Tax Data for homes in Ann Arbor. I live here.

A quickie because I should be writing my paper.

Kip Fulbeck, videotape and performance artist, author, and surfer, passed through Ann Arbor and I went to his talk tonight at the Michigan League. From his book, and from the confidence he exhibits "on stage", he appears to be a guy who really has it together. He didn't have much constructive to say about Asian American identity, and he ran out of time to talk about the problem with manhood as it's created in the US today, so I was a little disappointed on both counts. But that is because I expected more from such a confident guy, and he's so young and already a professor at UCSB. Kip has a website, and is working on The Hapa Project.

He asked if anybody knew what "rice rockets" were. Nobody knew. I didn't raise my hand.

Goodspeed Update points out the Michigan Daily Best (and Worst) of Ann Arbor. On one count, they fail miserably: the best Asian restaurant is China Gate?? It's the most Americanized Chinese food in Ann Arbor, worse than Diner Sty. Spot-on picks happened in the following categories:

  • Best Hot Dog: Red Hot Lovers - I just had lunch there today, Coney Island dog (chili and onions on a poppy seed bun) and a "small" order of fries for $4.56. And now that the weather has turned decent, the picnic tables outside are a great place to relax and people watch while you eat.
  • Most Underrated Restaurant/ Food Restaurant: Frank’s Restaurant - John G introduced me to Frank's, a little diner behind the Nickel Arcade that, truly, is stuck in the 1970s. Which, among other things, means that they dish up a great breakfast of french toast and hash browns, have a smoking section, and the original owner still mans the grill every morning.
  • Most Overrated Restaurant/ Food Venue: Pizza House, Jimmy John's - The Pizza House is overpriced, and Jimmy John's is a lower-quality Potbelly.
  • Best Blog: Goodspeed Update - Great site for socially aware UMichiganders; coming in a close second is the AAIO weblog.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

As I sit here taking a break from reading, I'd like to reflect on the good things in my life right now.

First off, the weather has taken a turn for the great. As you can see from the current background picture for this page, the sun has begun to appear more frequently, the air is warmer, flowers are beginning to bloom across the city, and the light feels more more pure and lasts longer in the evening. It's a habit of mine to spend a lot of time indoors so the weather hasn't affected me as much as it could have, but I'm still trying to encourage myself to think of the weather as a reason for being cheerful and optimistic.

Another nice thing is that the house has filled up: all the rooms are rented out, and the number of people living here has maxed out. It's curious the effect that this has had on the people already here. When there were four of us left after Joongeol returned to Korea, the house seemed empty and people kept their doors closed. Now, there is always somebody pounding the stairs, using the kitchen, playing music in the living room, things that give the appearance that the house is alive. Not only is this a result of the number of people, but when I am aware of the constant presence of other people it makes me feel more social and more willing to leave my door open, pop my head into somebody's room and say hi, and I think it does the same for other people.

These are the things that make the current time special.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the fields toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I was watching a movie about the Opium War (early 1800s), and it called the United States 美利坚, which I had never seen before. There are a lot of things in Chinese that I have never seen before.

Monday, April 12, 2004

The following commented css code is in my Mozilla's userContent.css:

/* for xanga sites, I tried to make this specific as possible */ /* Gets ride of the ad */ div[id][style] table[width="100%"] td[style="text-align: center;"] { display: none; } /* moves everything else up to compensate */ center div[style] + table.header, center div[style] + table.header + table.navigation, center div[style] + table.header + table.navigation + table.main { position: relative; top: -65px; }

Updated to work with the pages of individual entries.

NPR hosts with Friendster profiles:

Check out the comments from Ira's fans: finally, proof that there is hope for geeks.

George's feedback has some good leads on these hypothesized "bulletin boards":

I've seen bulletin boards around town, one on Ashley at Liberty by the gardening center and another on Washington between Main and Ashley on the side of Cafe Zola. I'm sure there are more around town but that's where I wander for lunch and coffee.

The fortuitous part is that both of these fall nearly exactly on my daily commute to school. (where, disclaimer, I use fortuitous in the more popular sense.)

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Jobim and Getz, together again... for a limited time in the media folder.

Taxes... done.

I'm interested in starting a non-traditional collaborative weblog, one with a physical presence. Maybe I'll call it a "bulletin board", but it would be a real board, maybe made out of wood, or cork so that "users" could staple or thumbtack posts to it. Does this idea have a future?

In all seriousness, I think it's time somebody took weblogs out of their traditional medium (movable type, custom built, &c). Explore novel ways of maintaining weblogs. A couple ideas I came up with:

  • Update the HEADER.txt file in an indexless directory on a webserver running apache (comments in README.txt, comment script as a file in the directory, rolls-over at midnight by creating a new daily archive directory).
  • Staple posts written on paper to a wooden telephone pole or fence.
  • Leave daily photocopied rants about capitalism lying around in the Social Work building (oh wait, somebody already does this).
  • Write entries with Sharpie on walls of abandoned building(s) or stairwell of Modern Languages Building (already been done, with great results).

At Caltech I lived for two years in a dorm called Page House that had a tradition of painting the walls of the Page hallways every year and throwing a big party to show off the Escher murals, paintings of giant super-heroes, and what-not. My senior year I lived in Marks house, a more conservative dorm full of kids who wanted a life that was a little more sedate than the one they had in the dorms. Suitably, the walls of Marks were painted solid beige, and had been that was for who-knows-how-long. Somehow, I got the idea into my head of painting something outside my room, so I sent an e-mail to housing, who resolutely vetoed the idea. Undaunted, I floated the idea round my hallway and received positive feedback. I printed out a PDF map of the world, made a grid on it, used string to make a large grid on the wall, approximately seven by twelve feet, and set to work with a pencil and eraser. Over several weeks, I worked on the map in short half-hour spurts and outlined all of the continents, spending lots of time on the Indonesian islands (who knew there were so many?) and Antarctica in particular. When the pencil outline was done, I took a Sharpie and traced the whole thing in black. It came out looking very sharp. I think I meant people to mark their hometown (Marks was very international) but I never got around to that. Besides, I didn't want to publicize it too much for fear of coming back one day and finding the wall covered in a brand new coat of beige.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Reviews of Ann Arbor restaurants, in Japanese?!

Friday, April 09, 2004

Xingmei made me learn the Three Represents today during our conversation time. That's about the only way to get met to speak Chinese, is to talk politics. Let's see how well I remember...

...represents the advancement of productive forces in China.

...represents the forward development of culture.

...represents basic benefits for the widest possible range of people.

Now I'm ready to 立党为公、执政为民 (build the Party for the public, and govern for the people)!

In more general news, I'm keeping pretty busy with classwork, reading, meetings, etc. I've been neglecting church a bit, as a result of being so busy catching up on work as dealines loom on the horizon. It doesn't help that this weekend is the "Rethinking the 19th Century" workshop; a gaggle of those names that we've been seeing on our syllabi all year are coming to Ann Arbor to talk about China's 19th century and how it should fit into the larger historiography.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

You learn something new every day: Brian takes indentation a step further in his CSS file.

h1 { font-size: 3em; font-weight: normal; } h1 a:link, h1 a:visited { text-decoration: none; color: #ddd; display: block; } h1 a:hover, h1 a:active { background: #888; }

(Please don't look at my current CSS, I threw it together in about 10 minutes one night on a whim.)

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Too sweet.

Sucumbed to the sweet beckoning of reading for pleasure this morning. Two books lying around in the Center for Chinese Studies Annex: Kip Fulbeck's Paper Bullets (which had a great chapter on being a man), and Korean Americans and Their Religions: Pilgrims and Missionaries from a Different Shore by Kwon et al (interesting because I'm a member of a majority Korean American church).