Monday, December 27, 2004

From Beyond...?

SMS messages in Finnish received on a phone with an account used only for testing are totally disturbing. Even if the account is with a Finnish operator.

I am sure it was a mis-key of the number by the sender.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Foreign Workers

Immigration and outsourcing are two different things.

As for immigration, the USCIS checks on whether immigrants are qualified, have sufficient education, and do not displace US workers for every visa longer than 3 months that they approve. If you think people are working as immigrants in the US while underpayed or displacing qualified US workers for the job in their local market, let USCIS know. They don't like fraud.

Curtailing US immigration will only make outsourcing of US jobs to other countried go faster, as departments that cannot work effectively due to lack of personnel are the easiest to make a business case for displacing to a low-wage country.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Well, That Was A Novel Lunch

Today for after-lunch conversation, we examined the differences between the household guns.

I approached it from an ergonomics point of view, especially the use of guns by senior citizens with arthritis.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Just A Hint

Dear person from Sierra Leone now living in Ghana who needs my help to transfer $18,000,000million dollarst to 'my country' for investment:

No local Christian brother told you about me and assured you of my reliability and trustworthyness in this matter. Trust me on that, ok?

Monday, November 08, 2004

America! You Levelled Our Cities, And Now We Have To Come To Cutify Your Culture Beyond Belief!

Building object from Hello Kitty Online Game , the upcoming multi-player online role playing game based on the Hello Kitty character and related Sanrio intellectual property.

Image is © 2004 SANRIO WAVE CO., LTD.

You can thank for pointing me to this.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Amusing Anecdote

Did I mention I could upgrade on the SF -> Memphis leg of my flight? I dipped my credit card into the check-in machine, and after confirming I was me, it told me I could upgrade to first class for a hundred bucks. Was it worth it a hundred bucks not to stand in the very long security line? To have more leg- and arm-space? Who cares, I was just so thrilled at being selected I instantly punched yes. So then of course I rationalized it was worth it. Cuz it was.

So after passing the plebs in the normal security line (now stretching miles), I end up in my comfy spacious seat next to this MD specialist in thrombosis who is about to meet up with his girlfriend and give some lectures in Berlin, who becomes very talkative and proceeds in the space of two hours drink four or five glasses of Shiraz, served to us by a flight attendant so wide-eyed perkily enjoying her job of doing first class by herself and finding time to help out in the main cabin that we both suspect she's on crystal meth. Especially when she started saying she thought she was hearing a dog in the unheated parts of the cargo bulkhead.

My seat neighbor then proceeds to tell me how he loves going to Amsterdam to get stoned (I get that a lot when people find out about my history, since I am Dutch and lived in Amsterdam stoners always figure I must be totally down with the chronic and that they can tell me anything because of course I am a member of the club) and that he is actually just doing the stop-over in Amsterdam to pick up some grass and then take a plane to Berlin. Because with the EC they don't do customs checks and stuff, right? As we fly over the heartland of the US I proceed to tell him that I think trying to take weed into Germany by plane is just a stupid idea, and he should just buy some in Berlin already.We eat nice food and he asks for another glas of Shiraz. And a refill.

Some time during this flight he shows me his new cellphone which is on. As we get ready to land he tries to switch it off, but it is so new he doesn't know how. I know the FAA is 99% full of shit when they say cellphones will interfere with cockpit equipment, but I decide that we are so not taking the chance I am wrong during This landing, and offer to shut the thing down for him. I shut that Motorola down the only way a Nokia engineer who doesn't know how they work and where the on/off switch is, knows how: yank off the cover and pull out the battery. I put it back together and give it back and he considers my cleverness to be a sign I must be his new best friend. He thinks we should find a way to upgrade me the second leg of the trip. I tell him I doubt it will happen, he says he will just ask when they get on the plane, and I then think the wine is indeed doing its magic.

After we land it won't switch on again. Oops. Of course, I am not sure how it is supposed to switch on, but it doesn't. I make shit up and tell him it will in Europe, since he told me that is where he bought it for. My actual guess is that its battery was low in the first place and it doesn't have enough charge for the initial power-up. We have to hurry anyway to make our connection, and while he fiddles and gets stuck in the gate check, I hurry into the cabin. Ok, so I'll be stuck in Economy class for this Memphis -> Amsterdam flight, while he is in First or Business or whatever, which sucks because I would have loved to that longer leg in more luxury. But at least some relief was mixed in.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

No Really, Get Grounded

People who make mo-blogging proposals should actually have a blog. Especially if it includes a business development angle. Else the "you expect to charge for that?" angle really obscures the technical merits.

And that's all I can say in public.

Fortunately, 's vast research career includes knowledge on how to collaborate with proposals like that that I can draw on. Funny, he left research for consulting and now I am in the middle of it.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Video Punks

After Mike's brilliant find yesterday, I offer you this campaign contribution. Not because I think it is good -- in fact I think this one is counterproductive crap -- but because it is complete punk ethos in  the video era: no rules, no barriers, but everyone gets to play and create, skilled or not.

Of course, it is not like punk music ever started flowing forth from a bunch of 40-something neighbours in Minnesota, but somehow punk guerilla video seems to be doing it.

This exact phenomenon, incidentally, is what we were being told we had to make happen about 20 years ago by the likes of Laurel and Tognazzini in their UI books. Good stuff will happen when we take all these computer-based tools for video and music and writing and creation out of just the hands of technologists, and make them easy enough to be put in the hands of everyone else. This is why we have to study and make good user interfaces, no matter how much we feel we are 'dumbing down' these incredily powerful tools for computer neophytes who 'don't deserve it if they are not gonna put in the time to learn all this stuff right' -- a sentiment one can see expressed by technologists on Slashdot a lot when it comes to the user experience. Because by doing empowering everyone, we technologists give not just ourselves power to create on par with the big boys, but everyone else too, and the more gets created, the bigger the chance something really good will come forth.

And also massive, massive amounts of crap of how people had milk this morning on their cornflakes and their cat was so cute. But crap the creators at least get to like. And while they are sitting behind their Macs editing video, at least they are off the streets.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Just A Standard Reminder

One of the things you learn as a UI designer* is that people hate change. A mediocre familiar UI will be rated higher than a new UI that allows the user to do the same task faster and with less errors. This is especially so if the users have no control over the which UI is put in front of them. Over time they will learn to appreciate the new UI if it is indeed better. The lesson is to not get discouraged by negative reactions when a new UI is rolled out to users outside of the beta- or test-groups, few are the UIs that are so radically better that they have instant appeal over the familiar one.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


One of the things you can do with a landline phone you can't with a cellphone is quickly decide whether you want to take a call, or send it directly to voice mail. Verizon has made a computer program that allows you to do just that as a Verizon residential customer. Leave it on, and at the same time your phone rings a little window pops up on your screen with Caller ID and some buttons to allow you to say what to do with the call, including a button to block a number from calling you forever. Add a webpage that integrates an address book and a calendar and lets you manage and email your voice messages, and you have got iobi. Now your home phone can be slightly more convenient than a cell-phone with an address book and a calendar built in.

I am especially intruiged by the integration of having the Caller ID pop up on your desk and allowing you to manage the call from your home desktop computer real-time, as your home phone is ringing. Expensive office switchboard phones allowed you to do that, but the 12 button keypad UI on the home phone did not. Now here it is.

I predict this will be really really useful for people who work at home, but I do not see it taking off as a must-have, even for 'early adopters'. Not at 8 bucks a month.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Well, He Did Ask What I Thought

To: My Hotjobs Account
Subject: searching for a Applications Developer: Concord, MA

Hi F.J.V***********,

I thought that I would let you know that I am working on the following search that could be of interest to you or someone you know. Have a look at the description below and let me know what you think. If you are interested, please send me your latest resume and I will call you to discuss further, otherwise please feel free to pass it on to others.


Our client is an enterprise software company dedicated to helping companies, which spend tens of millions to billions of dollars per year on marketing, leverage these investments to measurably improve revenue and profits. Their product, a Marketing Resource Management system, automatically links results across sales channels back to the marketing investments that drove them, so you’ll know quickly what’s working, what’s not, and what will work better, across all media, all channels, and all segments. 

Due to plans for aggressive growth, we need to hire the following professional. This is a great place in which to work. They value teams, support individual efforts and reward success. 


Applications Developer : $ commensurate w/ exp.


Role Summary

-        To perform the overall application installation and configuration activities in support of the product to our customers


 Core Responsibilities

-        Install and configure the software and supporting technologies such as application servers and database connectivity software

-        Develop reports, templates, folders, and other end-user functionality used in support of business reporting, marketing analytics, and decision support

-        Configure software metadata to leverage data and statistical models in data warehouse; provide data to statisticians for modeling purposes

-        Design and develop algorithms used in support of the business analysis requirements

-        Set up end-user access and controls

-        Provide technical expertise (or perspective) in analyzing business needs and objectives

-        Assist in the analysis of data sources that will ultimately be loaded into the product

-        Assist in the creation of the logical data model

-        Perform all necessary quality assurance and testing

-        Provide technical training to customers’ IT staff, author technical documentation, provide feedback to product engineering/product marketing teams and help create best practices for professional services.


Experience and Skill Set

-        Very strong working knowledge of applying statistical /analytical outputs via a software framework

-        Very strong working knowledge of XML

-        Very strong working knowledge of database management systems (i.e. Oracle, SQL Server), Windows 2000/NT/XP OS, Unix (Sun, HP, IBM), and/or Linux

-        Very strong SQL and database-specific stored procedure skills required.

-        Outstanding data analysis skills required.

-        BA/BS or advanced degree in CS or IS or other relevant discipline desired

-        Outstanding written and verbal communication skills and the ability to work directly and effectively with technical and business clients on projects.

-        Other desired skills and competencies include:
o        Analytical, team oriented, problem solver, organized, flexible, good follow-through ability, ability to prioritize, multi-task oriented, able to work independently
 Pluses include: 

-        Systems integration experience with business intelligence software, knowledge of SAS, SPSS, or other statistical tools, familiarity with modeling techniques such as time series linear regression and experience designing and programming mathematical algorithms used in business intelligence applications

-        Experience in syndicated marketing data sources such as ACNielsen, IRI, CMR, POLK, JD Power, and Donovan as well as experience in Automotive, CPG, Financial Services, Retail, and Pharmaceutical industry.


Best regards,

David K****

From: fj@*********
Subject: Re: searching for a Applications Developer: Concord, MA

and let me know what you think.

Well, since you asked...

You want someone to do installation, configuration, customization,
business-analysis, consulting, QA, and training. You want
executive-staff level business insight and script-monkey coding skills.
In other words, this is another job description for a semi-startup too
cheap to pay for a well-rounded team to get the job done properly, and
instead is trying to find the one-off wizard who will work late nights
and do it all.

If I got it wrong that is not the case, you need to rewrite the ad,
because that is what your copy communicates to me. If I got it right and
that actually is the case, my answer is No Thanks, and that there's no
way I will pass an 'opportunity' like that on to any of my colleagues I
hold in any esteem, as an ill-defined situation like described is a recipe
to become a scape-goat when an installation goes south because of the
demands placed.

But hey, thanks for asking. Especially since my resume doesn't
mention any of the skills in the first place besides the ubiquitous 'XML'.

FJ v**************

Monday, August 30, 2004


My two-day conference trip has now morphed into two days of conference with one day of meetings and an extra night in London for a discussion with a researcher for a major mobile phone operator. I am still in denial.

I just got the ticket delivered to my desk. A paper ticket. It feels super strange to me. I barely know how to read them anymore. I remember how terrified I was of my first e-ticket, how unsecure. What if no-one or no system at the airline would remember me? What would I do? Travel with my bank statements that I did pay? Now I feel burdened, worried about another thing to lose. Tickets just don't fit pockets well, in contrast to credit cards.

In other news, my subnotebook is at the repair place to be checked out. Email is now being done through phones or webmail, and if you see me logged into an IM system, the messages are most likely going to my phone, so I will be slow and terse. A dead give-away that I am working from the phone is that I don't capitalize the word 'i'. Too much work.

Updates I do just on my work computer, though.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Minor Hotmail

My 9-year-old nephews have hotmail accounts. One of them is sending me email. I think they are typing in directly -- my sister would never allow these spelling errors.

Do hotmail's TOS even allow for under-13 accounts? And as Jackson pointed out to me, are they getting V!agra spam now?

Dismaying fact: they are top-quoting.

Thursday, August 05, 2004


Your browser cache may become evidence in a trial against you.

You may want to set your browser to record less history, or, when the latest Safari comes out, set that to 'Personal Browsing' which will record no trail at all.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

PAYG Killer

Commenting on a journal I suddenly realized that if Wal-Mart went into the Pay-As-You-Go (also known as Pre-Paid) cellphones, they might make a mint. It would be perfect: they could bulk order huge amounts of handsets from Hong Kong or Korean OEMs, and resell left-over network capacity from any US GSM carrier for probably peanuts considering their projected volume. They have outlets and sales-points everywhere, they could outsource all the billing and customer support to someone else, and the physical product is so easy to ship it is ludicrous, and their market would be so conservative with regards to features their handsets would have a shelf- and production-life measured in fractions of a decade.

In fact, as soon as the merger with Cingular has happened and Cingular has absorbed the subscribers and the infrastructure of AT&T Wireless Systems (AWS), the current owners of that AT&T Wireless brand, which will not be owned by Cingular, actually wants to use their brand-name as a network reseller, using their brand to resell to consumers time on whatever cellular network they can buy blocks of capacity on for the lowest price, like Virgin Mobile currently does. They could do worse than partner with Wal-Mart. "Wal-Mart now brings you pay-as-you-go cellphone service from AT&T, the name you trust with telephones. No plan, simple phones, clear calls. Wal-Mart, always low prices."

I'm a genius. Enough of a genius that if my current company asked me if it was a good idea to supply for this venture, I'd tell them to stay far away, even if we already have whole design- and production divisions for low-end markets in developing countries. Besides having to compete with Taiwanese suppliers ripping our phones apart and Wal-Mart's near-homicidal terms for their suppliers, the level of service is just not one we should want to be associated with: it has been my experience thathowever bad the network is in dropping calls and under-prioritizing roamers and re-sold airtime, consumers always blame their phone first.

Monday, June 28, 2004


The problem with working at this company is not that when you're taking a wizz in one of the men's room unrinals the accompanying muzak is a stream of inane little tunes of beeps and midis that emanates from a stall where someone is obviously cycling through the list of ringtones to find the one that suits him best.

The problem is that this vignette is unremarkable. Or almost a source of corporate pride. "We're empowering individuality!"

Tuesday, June 15, 2004


You know, the complications of poly-amory get a whole new dimension once you enter the realm of cloning.

Well, it would be just like poly-amory with twins.

Oh yeah, like that simplifies things. "Honey, no dinner for me tonight, I am going out with your twin brother! He's just like you, but different!"

Thursday, June 10, 2004

JavaHMO On FC1 With SUN JAVA 1.4.2

I have a TiVo that allows streaming of music files from computers that know how to talk to it. That functionality is called TiVo Home Media Option (HMO). I have repurposed an old laptop with a broken screen to be my MP3 server, running Linux RedHat (FC1), and uses JavaHMO to stream the music to the TiVo. Except that from time to time the music will just stop, wait, pause, and start again from where it left off. And other functionality is flaky too. I diagnosed the link, the disks, everything working fine, until I finally looked at JavaHMO itself with 'top', and found out it will happilly eat 80% of all memory available, and during streaming will spike to 90% of CPU time usage, often co-inciding with one of the pauses or other functionality problems. From my intuition of 5+ years of JAVA development, I'd say that during the pauses  it's... garbage collecting. Or there's a thread problem somewhere, but does JavaHMO need multi-threading? My guess: SUN's JAVA 1.4.2 for Linux must suck ass, since no-one reports this problem on Windows boxes running JavaHMO, and JAVA is supposed to be over these garbage collecting stutters thanks to many optimizations.

Now what? Find a a better JAVA implementation? Did I misconfigure JAVA somehow upon installation -- eventhough it didn't give me any options? How do I tune it? Wipe the server and make it into a Win2K box -- but what about my perfect DNS/DHCP server, dnsmasq, run that under cygwin? The option I'd like most is find another HMO streamer for Linux that doesn't use JAVA, but nary one seems to be out of alpha stage.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Not Saving The World Unless You Are With Me


So I launch an idea on one of my intranet webpages  for a developer toolset in a certain area, months ago.

I can sense it does some internal rounds.

So the overall product manager of the developer tools division that would implement this idea sends me email out of the blue that a project for the idea is starting up, would I like to help steer it? Attached is a critique of the idea and why it is a so-so one, and why it only a minor solution to the bigger problems of development in this area.

I respond to the critique. In return my points are answered with more data that people in the target audience aren't really waiting for my idea anyway, and that it is not the best use of resources.

I then decline to help do the steering work, since I do not believe the manager is committed.

The response to that is that saying he is not committed is 'a tad unfair'.

I am sorry, but I am not going to spend time on a project that does not have enthousiastic buy-in from the product manager. Not if it needs to be a cut above previous efforts and would require exceptional performance of the organization to succeed.

I now both regret telling the manager he was not committed, and don't regret it. It was good of me to cut those ties, I don't need to get involved in a side-project where I see my idea slowly get bogged down in compromises because people didn't push hard enough to make a spectacular product that is a cut above the rest, ending up with the same product quality that all our developer tools end up with. I left developer tools; they were too ready, top to bottom, to compromise.

Yet here I am thinking that if I just got involved in the steering, maybe, just maybe, I could push the project towards what it needs to be, if only I were convincing enough in my reviews, creative enough in my solutions to problems people would bring up...

What, like I can move mountains? I can't let myself enter this crap-shoot of  what may end up rolling out of that process, of how a team I won't lead and can only advise will counter with point after  point why we need to make a product just like the ones we are trying to replace, because getting rid of the legacy deicions that led to the previous horrendour products is jut too hard...

I actually told a product manager point blank in email that he wasn't committed to an idea. I actually chose not to be involved in a mediocre product creation process. I have learned that I alone in a consulting capacity can not make a difference to a remote contracted team making an outsourced product. I have declined to be involved with mediocrity that isn't part of my job anyway.

I am not saving the world. Go me.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

My TiVo Is Running Out Of Suggestions

It seems the damn box, as a suggestion, decided to spontaneously record an hour of one of the music channels that come with digital cable.

Classic Rock. Classic Rock, of all things.

I'm a modern, hip, gay dude, already. Whatever Happened To Baby Jane. Inuyasha. Home To Go. Full Frontal Fashion (to make fun of). And it suggest opening an hour starting with The Doors?

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Here's A Thought...

Putting your MP3 server in the furthest closet in the condo whose walls are internally lined with a metal mesh is bound to create throughput problems for the wireless network. No kernel tuning necessary.

Yup, barely any signal inside that closet. Now what? Like one can add an external antenna to a PCMCIA card?

Friday, May 14, 2004 Rocks

4-Star Hyatt, 80 bucks a night.

The Hotel fleeces you on parking, though. Still way ahead of the guesthouse a weekend ago.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Print Boarding Pass

Well, on advice of the panel (do keep filling out the poll, I love knowing your attitudes about this) I decided to go to Song (Delta)'s website to find the 1-800 to confirm my flight.

I found something better than that: I now have printed my own boarding pass.

I even changed my seat assignment to an exit row. Had to fill in a little questionaire about how I am big and strong and not encumbered by pets and children, but I got it. 10F.

Friday, April 30, 2004


I have a professional public blog on a specific topic. I should link it to something so Google starts indexing it already and it can be found, because, after initially happily toiling in the dark, I could use some community there. But that's not important right now, what is is that, because it is on, and is owned by Google, and Google has a new service to try, I got a test account at the fabled You know, free email with a gig of storage space.

Oh who cares, like I could ever want to fill a gig of mail on someone else's server. Never delete? I have had email so stressful I not only deleted it immediatly, I went though auxilliary filing mailboxes like 'Sent' to delete my response to it too. However, here's something that has not gotten attention: from my first tests it seems like Web email Done Right. I am really digging this UI, and am dreadfully jealous of my friend there who gets to work with these people where stuff like this can be done, and comes to fruition.

(But could I get Nope. Hmpf. Hey, I am a D-list Usenet celebrity! I have had a price put on my head! I just found out I have a stalker! I demand my preferred email name! Would gmail not offer Huh? And besides that these people made something, what is the difference between them and me? What is it with this 'at least 6 letters' requirement?

Bonus points to the first person to figure out what my gmail address is by sending me email there.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2004



- I wish you could pick up hard disks at CVS[*]. Then again, I need a harddisk to replace the one that blew itself up months ago, with Dean's complete music collection. So maybe I wish you could pick up reliable hard disks at CVS.

[*] Voor onze Nederlandse kijkers: de DA drogist.

Friday, April 16, 2004

At Least They Are Staying On Top Of New Releases

I use as an Internet radio service at work -- damn Nokia's network use policy. I upgraded to the no-commercials service. I get to grade sogns as they play, in the web interface, to say which I like and which I hate, and the system tries to give me more of what I like and less of what I may not like, repeats things I really like, and throws in new stuff so I can keep making decisions and stay on top of things. I am always wary of these stations: how recent is their catalog? How often do they update? Launch seems to be doing pretty well, as I expect from a property owned by a juggernaut like Yahoo. But really, how pretty well?

When I started it up just now after lunch, it played the William Hung version of She Bangs for me.

(For our non-US readers, or those lucky US-readers that managed to live under a rock for this one, Mr. Hung is an American Idol reject, bigtime reject, who was so bad, so very bad, but so high-spirited, he got a record contract. Mainly as a novelty quick-cash cow for the record company, I suspect. One has to wonder what the terms are for Mr. Hung. His album debut charted at nr 30 in its first week. Mostly, according to Tower Records spokespeople, from people buying it who wanted to know just how bad it was.

Let's just say those buyers have gotten their money worth.)

And because of a glitch the web-page to grade it did not appear. I did not have a chance to ban it from my playlist. It may get played again.

I wonder if Launch has the video.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Hackers Reading Your ATM Card And PIN Number From Across The Street?

Techno-thieves layer tech upon tech to tap YOU out! Next on Sick Sad World....

No wait, it's actually for real. Read the page to know what to look out for.

Friday, April 09, 2004

5 AM Is A Context

My fire-alarm needs to not start telling me ... something! ... something! ... something! ... whatever it is, at 5 AM. Just these single loud beeps every minute or so. Once I had localised it was the fire alarm -- a chore in itself for something beeping once every minute -- all I could do was get a ladder and pull on the one idetifiable moving part. A battery compartment opens for a 9V mini-brick battery. Fortunatly I had previously seen 9 volters in the tool chest a week ago, and had wondered "Why do we have a package of 9V batteries?" I don't even know if that is what it was complaining about. The battery tester that came with the new batteries tells me the old one wasn't even really seriously depleted. The alarm seems to have shut up now.

In the jargon of the particular field of software I work in, it would be said that my fire-alarm needs to be context-aware. Know what people are like at what they do. Don't wake people up when they sleep.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

In / Out

SMB to share a printerIPP to share a printer
Cuisinart (4 cups)DeLonghi Food processor (12 cups)
black, white, grey clothes I seem to be ordering ... color ... on Bean's website for summer. I bought an orange T at Target. I don't know what this about either.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

I Know I Am Going AIM-Speak Here But This Is How It Feels

OMG!! I just made my cellphone browse Amazon's catalog without using a browser! With a J2ME program! OMG! OMG!!!11 It works! I wrote it in three days from the first time I saw Amazon's WSDL! Un-fucking-believable! This WSDL / SOAP thing's really simple, even from a phone!

(Ok, so it is not really "browsing", more like it made contact with Amazon with a keyword in a SOAP message, and Amazon sent it a proper SOAP message back. Telling me the keyword I entered, "sly", has 102 results, and here they are.

Now I just need to make it automatic.)

[cloned from my Slashdot Journal]

Monday, March 01, 2004

Nostalgia Hits

Went through a drawer to organize some stuff and found my Apple Newton MessagePad 2000 (upgraded). Turns out it works if I let it sit plugged in enough. Awesome, I went through the whole thing exploring that fantastic integrated user experience it provided, the software I had bought for it and installed, the 5 year old address list that made me all nostalgic for everything. Man, did you know you can shove a specific wireless networking card in it and get it on a WiFi network? There might even be a browser for it.

This morning I am like, what, so I am going to spend hours updating this thing? It still has a strange monochrome screen and no processing power. My laptop already has a touch-screen fro me tp draw with. My phone carries all my data. So what am I supposed to do with it?

I'll probably stuff it into another drawer tonigt.

Saturday, January 31, 2004


So I was talking to this recruiter in California earlier this week, who has his work cut out for him: for a startup in the SF Bay Area he's looking for a senior software engineer who has gone through full commercial product cycles on Symbian Series 60 (Nokia's smartphones OS). Good luck: I know of around four people who could possibly qualify on the whole continent, and that's because they all work for Nokia, and they are not going anywhere. All the Symbian programmers with commercial experience are in Europe, where there is a market for programs on Series 60 phones.

So we were talking around because he wanted to know what I liked for gigs -- he does some international placement -- so I asked him how long he has been a recruiter. Recently. Before that? Two year hiatus after being a project manager. So what did you do in the meantime?

"Well, you know these Aeron chairs--" he starts and I shriek with laughter.
-- "No way. You sold leftover .com Aeron chairs?"
"eBay. I mean, when the company folded that was 800 alone."
-- "You must know shipping rates to every zip code."
"Oh, FedEx and UPS make it so easy these days."

Now he's a survivor. Company crashed? Find the cash.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Best use of 35 Businesscards Ever

When I came accross the site, I somehow couldn't help but print it out. Then, noticing there's scissors and tape amongs the supplies here in my cube, I couldn't help myself but build it. It made me feel 7 again, all safe working in my own room on origami, and took my mind off many annoyances that are making this a bad day for me.

It's bigger than I thought.

Dead Again

Ugh. Hit a powerstrip powering a USB disk just as the laptop was writing to it. Now when I attach the disk to a machine the result is the same: all the drivers get mounted, the hardware is recognized, the read light on the disk lights up for what seems a lot of accesses, but the end result is that the volume does not show up either under My Computer or any of the administrative disk tools. Thus I can't even scan for errors. My data was backed up, but I fear we'll have to re-rip all of Dean's CDs, and we now have a very expensive doorstop. I am so tired.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Play Music

The joke used to be that every program expanded until it could read e-mail. Now it seems no piece of consumer electronics will rest before it can play MP3s and MPEG2s off your network's harddisk.

[Cloned from my Slashdot blog]

Tuesday, January 06, 2004


Am watching the webcast from Macworld, mesmerized by how beautifully Quicktime is streaming this to an incredible amount of viewers, more probably with every webcast. Yet this is the smoothest Macworld Keynote I have ever watched. Steve has spent most of his time talking about iLife so far: integrated apps to buy/organize music, organize pics into slideshows with your music, edit videos with your music, burn the slideshows and videos to pro-looking DVDs, and a virtual studio to record your music and mix it with other tracks you record or pre-made loops. And they all work together to end up with a video, a track, a presentation of your pix. And upload it to your personal .Mac webpage.

Obvious but as yet missing link: make your project on iLife, and then one-button upload it, not to .Mac homepage, but to iTunes, for sale. No publishing intermediaries except for Apple's website. All royalties yours.

(He's about to announce something new about iPods.)