Sunday, May 30, 2004

My week in Indiana in 9 photos.

The Google Zeitgeist for May 2004 shows that internet surfers conduct twice as many Google searches in Chinese as in Dutch, and yet the International Zetigeist section reports on top search terms in the Netherlands, but not in China.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I'm in Indianapolis on a book-buying trip with John G. Over the past two days I've seen...

  • a deer
  • an Amish
  • lightning
  • root beer on tap
  • American flags (God bless... farm subsidies!)
  • a wheat field

I've now driven a 24 ft truck.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Found it! I'd been wondering for a while what "MM" means in a Chinese language context. It was really obvious, I can't believe I didn't guess it right off. I knew it had something to do with cute girls, from seing it in contexts like these:

[MM热图]一组特别出色的NEC MM照片
Hot MM Pics - Outstanding Photo Collection of NEC's MMs(Source, see SFW photos)

Help a brother out; I really have no idea where to take an MM to profess my love.(Source)

But it wasn't until I was reading through a dating-advice thread on the MIT BBS that I realized, "mm" means 妹妹, literally "little sister". Correspondingly, "gg" is 哥哥/"big brother" and "dd" is 弟弟/"little brother":

看看他对你们周围的中国人是否也特热情de关心中国文, 特别是对ggdd, 已婚中国mm
Look and see if he's also interested in Chinese culture when he's with other Chinese people, especially Chinese GG, DD, and married MM.(Source)

(Based on the information she gives, I think she should dump him. If he has kids, not many other friends, and has to be so insistent on setting up a date (showing up at her house unnanounced!) then he doesn't deserve her. I think she will find better out there.)

The next mystery is to figure out what "么" means in sentences like 安全第一么。. Hmmm...

Yeah, there was a big 'ol storm in Ann Arbor today. Highlights:

  • Tornado warning sirens.
  • Lightning-like fireworks.
  • The power going off a couple times before I finally unplugged the computer and radio.
  • Jonathan getting caught in the storm on his bike, coming back soaked but free dinner from the hot dog lady.
  • Taking a shower with a lingering memory of something about lightning travelling through water pipes.
  • Water streaming off the eves and being thankful for a solid roof over our heads.
  • The incredible way a fresh coat of raindrops accents the lush green of the Eberwhite Woods.
  • Post-storm check-in at this Livejournal thread.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

I put aside my academic work for a couple of days and polished off two books from the Westside Bookshop: Graham Greene's Our Man in Havana, and Kobo Abé's The Woman in the Dunes. Gosh, it feels good to do some casual reading for a change.

Here's a problem with the new Blogger profiles. Only recently in the US Census has the government been forced to relook at the classification of citizens by ethnic group. Many Americans identify themselves as multi-ethnic, so the census process had to be reworked to allow people to check off multiple boxes in that category. I think the same thing applies to geography, especially for a service on the Internet that has a lot users in the college-age demographic. If I can be from Ann Arbor : Michigan : China (the only way to get Chinese date headers), and this guy can be from detroit : mi : armenia, then why can I do a search for Bloggers from China or Armenia, but not Bloggers from Ann Arbor regardless of the country they identify with? This suggests that Google is trying to categorize users into a tree-like hierarchy. That's old school thinking.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Brian's comment tipped it, so I'm enabling Blogger comments. I had mulled it over previously:


  1. # of comments listed on each post
  2. links to commenter profiles
  3. HTML


  1. closed source
  2. data recoverability
  3. HTML
  4. "anonymous" posters

Either way:

  1. comment functionality
  2. e-mail notification (for me)

It was a close call. I figure I can screen scrape to archive comments (I already do this with posts). But this means that folks who don't have a Blogger account will either have to register with Blogger or post as "Anonymous", neither of which I'm happy about. Will this drive me to Wordpress? (or more likely, Blosxom?) I'll leave the old-style comment links up for a short transition period.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Fate is building a bridge of chance for the person you love.

My Sassy Girl

Monday, May 17, 2004

<serena looks at kenscann in a weird way> [14:17:17] ramancho@sdf has left lobby [14:17:23] ramancho@sdf has joined lobby [serena] Netris is so boring.... WANNA PLAY!? [ramancho] s[3~[3~v

Just another day in COM.

The day I buy "the small car with the big speakers" (Geo Metro or Civic hatchback with a custom system) is the day I'll cruise down South U with the Beatnuts turned to eleven. Bringin' a little bit of the westside to A2

Ugh, the Michigan Theater website is just begging for a redesign in valid XHTML & CSS.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

`I asked one of my patients to bring them back from Miami,' Hasselbacher said. He took from his pocket two miniature bottles of whisky: one was Lord Calvert, the other Old Taylor. `Have you got them?' he asked with anxiety.

`I've got the Calvert, but not the Taylor. It was kind of you to remember my collection, Hasselbacher.' It always seemed strange to Wormold that he continued to exist for others when he was not there.

—Graham Greene in Our Man in Havana

Last night was a night for music. At 8:30 I caught Mark & Matt's guitar performance the Expresso Royale Cafe, and talkd to Chris who mentioned that Fons Tuinstra stayed at their Eugene Debbs co-op during his time in Ann Arbor. On the way to the Blind Pig, I stopped by the West Side Book Shop to pick up a copy of Our Man in Havana, and wolfed down a quick cheeseburger at the Fleetwood. When I arrived, John introduced me to his friends, we watched the last few minutes of the Pistons game, and then danced—maybe `swayed' is more accurate—our way through performances by jam band Nomo and indie rockers Saturday Looks Good To Me.

I had a good time over-all. We were all exhausted by the time the night ended, I think that the concert started late due to the triple-overtime of the Pistons game. I'm getting better at making light conversation, I think that's one of the advantages of going to a large public school where you meet new people every day.

If I haven't written in a while it's because I'm working on finishing up some reading and writing for a couple classes. It's been tough, I'm still not used to writing so much. I'm driving myself with Romans 13 (thanks Andri, though notice it says "submit to" and not "obey").

Monday, May 10, 2004

Three years of weekly Comics in Spanish (and English):

NANO: So, have you decided which to install on the laptop? Vim or Emacs?
BILO: In the end, I installed Vim. Keep in mind that we have certain constraints...
NANO: You mean limited hard drive space?
BILO: No, we're cartoons, we only have eight fingers...
NANO: (looks at his hands) Dude, you're right!

(Spanish, English)

How to install Realplayer9 in Linux.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Essential software.

I was in the Angell Hall computer lab this morning to print out some Taiwan apps, and as I walked out I noticed that one of the tech people had a big lavender-and-grey Sun monitor sitting on a trolley in the admin area. Suspicious because one of the Suns had already been removed a few weeks before, I wandered over to the corner normally occupied by the Suns and found that the boxes I had been logged into just a few minutes ago (and use to forward a connection back to my machine behind Woody's firewall) were being taken apart and carted off. Naturally, I was alarmed. Calmly, though, I asked the guys who were taking the servers apart what was happening to the Suns, and if they would be replaced. They said that the Suns were being taken down and replaced with Linux boxes running KDE. When I mentioned that I used the Suns to run Netscape and access campus-restricted journal databases from home, the younger guy agreed that he used them for that same purpose, and that the new boxes would in fact have Mozilla available. Sweet. I made sure to let them knew I was looking forward to using the new Linux boxes, although I'm likely to be out of the country next year. Anyhow, glad to hear that geekness still reigns behind the scenes at ITCS.

Two other tidbits of info: I learned that certain people were unhappy that the Suns sat around taking up space and not being used, and that they switch from telnet to SSH had seen a sizable drop-off in the number of people logging into the login.itd servers to read their mail—many people switched to webmail instead. On both counts, I'm perfectly happy: more CPU cycles for me.

John Yim, if you read this: I'm slowly going through Dive Into Python, it's a good introduction to Python for folks with programming experience.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

To undestand the novelty behind these tracks (oops, fixed link), you have to have been in Spain on Holy Week, watching the parades. Masses of people come out, crowding the sidewalks and palm-hung balconies. The hooded marchers carry candles that drip hot wax onto the pavement, miles of which they cover painfully in bare feet. The high pitched horns and marching drums add to the solemnity, urgency, somber mood of the event. Herds of sweaty young men with towels wrapped over their heads pile under the giant floats of the virgin Mary and crucified Jesus. It's been a long time since I witnessed the Semana Santa processions, but they impression they made on me still lingers: the sense of community, unity in mourning, the witnessing a passion unrivalled today.

(A few minutes later) Hmm, Micah, meet the internet; Internet, this is Micah. I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise that there are websites/forums online for discussing things related to Semana Santa. These include some pretty graphic pictures of the floats. The forums are great, it's a mixture of topics like whether a certain type of candle should be used on a float (in moderation, because the view of the Virgin's profile should not be obscured), rumors that a certain brotherhood entirely replaced their statue of the Virgin rather than simply restoring it, and whether a certain Byzantine-style float is a highlight of the Holy Week in Seville; cultured posts like these, but the language is street-Spanish mixed with internet shorthand. Ah, nostalgia.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

My mom sent me two clippings from TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People issue: a blurb on Hu Jintao, and a blurb on Linus Torvalds. My mom rawks.


Every month or two, Slashdot runs a story on the latest Microsoft worm or virus. By now, the replies are pretty predictable: links to reports from anti-virus companies and security firms, comments about how Microsoft is insecure and Linux/Mac OS rules, and retorts that a properly secured and update Windows box won't have problems with virus attacks. I usually have the luxury of chuckling and passing on to the next story; Linux worms are virtually non-existant, and anyhow I'm fairly conscientious about keeping my box patched up.

This morning I had a colleague call me and ask me to take a look at her laptop, which was acting weird. I don't have much experience with Windows, but I figured that I could at least apply some security updates and run Ad-aware to get rid of some computer cruft. By coincidence, I scanned Slashdot and realized that the problem was probably due to the Sasser worm, which I located, confirmed and removed. We went out for sushi.

I hear that the computer is now connecting to the internet again, which means my first real experience trouble-shooting a PC was, at least for the moment, a success.