Sunday, December 31, 2006
Monday, December 25, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
"No." - Me
"Oh, I was wondering what these spots were" (pointing to the little white specs covering the engine) - MINI Rep.
(looks over) "Road Salt." - Me
"They do that?" - MINI Rep.
"Yeah, like I said, I'm from Chicago, it was snowing the day I left." - Me
"Oh." - MINI Rep *laughing* - Me *funny look* - MINI Rep
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Friday, November 3, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
- 1. Went to sleep at 10pm, woke up at 4am.
- 2. Slept okay.
- 3. Went to sleep at 1am, woke up at 7am.
- 4. Went to sleep at 1:20am, woke up at: 1:54, 2:45, 4:10, 5:24, 6:11, 7:12, 7:34, 7:55
- 5. Went to sleep at 10pm woke up at 4am . . . after taking vicodin even.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
- I will rapidly use up the 50k frequent flier miles I've racked up on these crazy trips to Taiwan.
- I will be living in a box in a city. I am hoping for a refrigerator size box and am looking at spending only around $2500 a month. Hopefully my loan request will be accepted so that I can afford the double layer cardboard boxes. If you know anyone in San Francisco who is looking for a box roommate, let me know; I'm interested. Said location needs to have a fast Internet connection. Preferably 15mb/s
- I'm going to be driving across the country in my car. I'm going to need some help. I'll cover: food, fun, drink, fun and sleeping and a flight home. My Dad already volunteered though. I'm thinking I'll need another two people if my moving doesn't sync up right with another Googler's (Francisco) move.
- I've never lived in my own place before. I will have to do my own cooking. This sounds like disaster.
- San Francisco has terrible weather. If you come visit bring pants and jackets, not just shorts and t-shirts.
- I'm moving in late November. Sorry its so sudden, I've only been talking about moving for two years.
- I will be selling/giving away things. Yay!
- Tech support from cali is almost as difficult as tech support from Taiwan.
- I will have more things to say later.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Monday, September 18, 2006
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
- Go to my house. Find my "... And the Battle Begun" CD in my car.
- Rip it as 192 bitrate mp3s
- Upload them to my server joelapenna.com
- Anticipate a tasty dinner.
Friday, September 8, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
- Don't stay in Taiwan an extra day. As cool as it might be . . . Don't. I had no choice, otherwise flights would have been twice as expensive, but the stipulation that I cannot enter Taiwan without a real VISA is a pain. Good thing thats the reason I came back to the States (to get a visa that is).
- Don't buy tea with the intent to drink it at the gate before boarding the airplane. They make you throw it out before you're even near the gate.
- If you go to bed early the night before, try and wake up early. In this case, I woke up at 4am. My goal is to be tired by the time I get on the NRT->LAX leg of my trip.
- Pack multiple laptop batteries. Makes mouths happy.
- Mmmm.... Smoked Ham & Mozz w/ pesto sandwich. Del.iclo.us
- Thanks for the carry on Andy + Sarah!
- Who doesn't get jet lag? This guy! Who didn't kill himself the night before the flight so he didn't get jet lag? This guy!
- Going to see a show Sunday night. Interested in going? http://www.wearethedead.com
- When your final destination involves three forms of public transportation, find a different way. You may end up staying at the bus station for 2 hours.
- The Mt. View CalTrain shuttle is not a shuttle. It is a large bus. It goes in the bus lane not in the shuttle lane. Caution the sign is small (10 inches tall by 30 inches wide.) so its hard to miss . . .
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
I'm not sure why but the past two weeks I've felt pretty burned out. At work i get bored, at home all i want to do is sleep. I cant wait untill i come home next week. Its hard to believe the summer is over already; I miss my family and friends in Illinois.
I haven't done much programming as of late and even at work i struggle to concentrate; this is especially bad because im heading to Mountain View to work on a big project and thy to transfer teams.
On another note, I just finished reading Cryptonomicon again and I think as a result im going to go to manilla next month for a weekend. I picked up On Intelligence again and will finish it this weekend. Then when i get to the states i have a $150 amazon books order waiting at my doorstop. On the plane home i think i'm going to "sprint" a project and see if i can get a demo together for one of my project ideas.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Thursday, August 10, 2006
One of the more interesting but unknown features of Google Talk is "Shared Status." This allows multiple signons to have the same status message, so if you're logged in at home and at work both of your sign-ons can say "Hey! look at me." An added bonus though, is that if you set one of your clients to "Listening to Sinatra!." all of your clients will change.
The result of which is the ability to automatically change the status message of your normal signin with some automagical pythony goodness.
Wednesday, August 9, 2006
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
Friday, July 21, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
Terminal Menu List
When I find that I'm frequently doing something like opening a terminal, then sshing into a specific machine, I'll usually add it to my terminal quick menu.
Key T A M Menu MenuTermList DestroyMenu MenuTermList AddToMenu MenuTermList + "Terminal" Exec exec urxvt + "chibox" Exec exec urxvt -e ssh chibox + "joelapenna.com" Exec exec urxvt -e ssh joelapenna.com + "dexter" Exec exec urxvt -e ssh -fN dexter + "Python" Exec exec urxvt -e python2.4-ipython
I used to have Key T dedicated to opening a terminal window. I changed it up so that I am presented with a menu of different terminals I can start. This is so I can do something like: Alt+T,t and start a regular xterm; or Alt+T,p and start an ipython session. Say I wanted to add another menu option to the pop-up, opening a root window for example:
+ "Root" Exec exec urxvt -e su -
I use vim, so I'm used to the hjkl keybindings for fvwm too.
key h A M GotoPage -1p +0p key j A M GotoPage +0p +1p key k A M GotoPage +0p -1p key l A M GotoPage +1p +0p
This says move down with j, left with l, h with right, and up with k.
Koolade man alt+tab
DestroyFunc WindowListFunc AddToFunc WindowListFunc + I WindowShade False + I Iconify off + I FlipFocus
Don't move the mouse cursor when I alt+tab to a window. I like my cursors moving around without my permission about as much as I like my kool-ade wearing tights. WindowListFunc is the function that deals with responding to an alt+tab selection.
Because using a mouse is so 1999
Key V A CM FuncPasteXBuffer DestroyFunc FuncPasteXBuffer AddToFunc FuncPasteXBuffer + I Current (!HasPointer) WarpToWindow 50 50 + I FakeClick press 2 wait 10 release 2
Fake a middle click via keypress. Press middle button, wait 1/10th of a second, release middle button.
Colorset 10 TiledPixmap $[fvwm_wp]0.png Colorset 11 TiledPixmap $[fvwm_wp]1.png DestroyModuleConfig FvwmBacker: * AddToFunc StartFunction I Module FvwmBacker *FvwmBacker: RetainPixmap *FvwmBacker: Command (Desk 0, Page * 0) Colorset 10 *FvwmBacker: Command (Desk 0, Page * 1) Colorset 11
I can't make up my mind about which wallpaper I want to use, so instead I have two wallpapers. One for the top row of my desktop and another for the bottom row. The Colorset lines allow fvwm to keep the pixmap of the background in memory so that its just a bitflip to show the wallpaper when you cange pages instead of a reload. . . . MUCH FASTER.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Since I missed the past few weeks:
Choke, by Chuck Palahniuk: Pretty cool idea, gets a little screwy about 2/3s in but redeems itself at the end.
Upgraded to Ubuntu Edgy, now my laptops broken
Went to Hong Kong
Ate some really really salty bad Hakka food
Tried squid eyeballs
Got puked on
Went to Luxy, Room 18, B1 and 9%. Room 18 and Luxy the first time were the best times out since I got back.
Spent a night at work. (Ugh, so busy)
Wednesday, July 5, 2006
It had been 30 days and my time was up in Taiwan. Time to head someplace new: Hong Kong. The trip was planned by one of my coworkers, Ray who along with Bill and Abe; accompanied me to the land of good Dim Sum, bad night life (well, the kind that we found) and sore feet. And some other things.
If you go to Hong Kong, it does not matter how many people you have. I would suggest that you do not under any circumstances take a taxi cab to your hostel. It costs about 90 USD and takes ninety-seven years.
We stayed on Hong Kong Island in Causeway Bay at Hong Kong Hostel. Our four bed room actually consisted of three beds and a cot so that was unfortunate. Luckily people were drunk enough that sleeping on it was not a problem.
When we got to the hostel, the attendant asked us if there was anything we were interested in doing that night. He suggested some area points randomly over there where we could watch Football. None of us were entirely excited about that prospect and one of us exclaimed that that was true. Instead, he asked the attendant if he knew of any places for dancing, "you know, girls music..." Now in most circumstances we're accustomed that could probably be a good description of a club. I don't think this is what the attendant interpreted our compatratiot's decription to mean and unbeknownnst to us we were soon on our way to (as per the corse when I'm traveling) the red light district.
When we arrived it was all too apaprent to us where we had found ourselves. We dropped into the most reputable bar we could find and started asking poeple and were directed to Wan Chan (XXX).
This place was pretty cool. Take a full city block, all four sides and have sit on a hill so that each side seems to sink lower and lower towards the bottom. We spent the majority of our time in a "Braziilian" place where I sucked down a few pretty decent mohjito.
Then it was decided that "we" were done with that place and it was time to find a club. When we found a place as per the usual people were apprehensive about going in. When I decided to break the "should we, we shouldn't" debate I approached the entryway and enter but I was far too uncool for them. In any case most of us (me at the peopel, others at the lack of dance clubs.) were ready to call quits on the evening.
I woke up around 9am and spent the next few hours trying to get myself a VISA for mainland China so that when I go I'll be able to get in without worry. This didn't happen because I didn't have the right documentation although I did get to see 4 different China Travel Services offices.
I spent the rest of the pre-lunch-after-failed-visa-attempt time walking around without aim. My feet weren't even hurting yet at this point.
to be continued . . .
Monday, June 19, 2006
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Maemo is the software platform the Nokia 770 runs on. It is based on Debian and gtk with lots of great modifications for a handheld device. Nokia just recently released a beta version of its new software on maemo.org. There are a great number of detailed reviews already written.
There are screenshots in the above links for people looking at seeing the apps in action.
I am very pleased to see how well integrated presence/IM is into the existing functionality of the n770. For starters, I think the presence interface in the menu was a stroke of genius. It has an easy factor, which will make signing in not a chore. Though, I would like to be able to set available ("On") messages though in addition to Away status messages.
I also like the integration of contact management into the side menu.
Having been using the IM client (haven't tried voice yet) for the past day I would have to say that the following are my most desired features.
Although maemo integrates all my jabber contacts into my contacts database it does not populate that data with vCard information, which would be amazing. Instead I have to manually type people's names into the contact window. When you have hundreds of contacts this becomes quite a burden. Additionally, the left hand column in the chat view should contain all contact details for that user, their status message and other pertinent information.
-Worked . . . A LOT! -Bike Ride! Sunday I took a morning ride for a couple hours around the area I live. I've never really explored it before. -Maemo 2.0 . . . Starting futzing with my n770 again -Read: Started reading On Intelligence, by Jeff Hawkins. Cool insight about how the brain works! -Action Figures! I bought some!
Saturday, June 10, 2006
It's hard to imagine someone writing an interesting book about math. Everyone is used to dull text books, fall asleep lectures and the unending hatred of a subject so complex that no other topic in the world has more students screaming "I'm never going to need this in real life." (Please excuse me, the preceeding statement is incorrect; there are people who enjoy math and don't find it incredibly frustrating but ask just about anyone and they'll say they will never need it in real life. wink).
Two years ago, while on a trip to Virginia, I read "The Code Book". by Simon Singh. It was a fascinating read about cryptography through the ages. When you have subject matter covering ancient greece, war, esponiage, royalty, politics and the future, its not difficult to imagine someone injecting color into a subject generally discussed in terms of prime numbers, diffie hellman and keys.
Tonight I read another of Singh's books: "Fermat's Enigma". The book is a tale of dedication, history, mysticism and even some P.T. Barnum circus antics all leading up to the 20th century's most important mathematical theorem solving the 17th's century most intreging mathematical hypothesis.
I'll spare the details of Fermat's theorm a^n + b^n = c^n, n > 2: No Solution, and instead jump inside the book.
What I liked most about this book is its willingness to both simplify mathematical concepts that most people (including myself) will never fully understand while always provoking the reader to go examine things on his or her own at every chance. There are numerous appendicies elaborating on a number of tricky concepts including Pythagoras's Theorem (a^2 + b^2 = c^2) through the proof that there are an infinite number of triples satisifing the previous equation. Singh's carefully crafted explainations continuaully led me to diverge from the book and take a look at some of the things he presented in just enough detail to make me do a little thinking on my own. Like in "The Code Book," Singh engages his reader and succesfully implores them to go out and learn on their own.
Another strong element in "Fermat's Enigma" is history. Again, like the last book of his I read, Singh prints a good picture of history covering mathematics over the ages while always converging on Andrew Wiles' quest to resolve Fermat's taunting suggestion.
I will assume that like myself reading "Nudist on the Late Shift," or other internet history books, Mathematicians may find Singhs analysis not nearly stimulating enough and at times wrong but for me, reading "Fermat's Enigma" definatly broadened my understanding of math, made me appreciate the work those smart people do and expaned my understanding of history. I would definatly recommend this book to anyone even minimally interested in mathematics from either a numerical/theoretical aspect or as an interesting thread of human progress.
Wednesday, June 7, 2006
hands tied with fools pride.
in a slowly fleeing summer.
empty rooms don't have pictures to talk to.
brickwall views demand uninspired afternoons.
the days are flooding into months.
the nights are staring into centuries.
i've got some older pictures of people i see once every couple years.
intrigued or unamazed.
"you were so much different back in those days." and now this smile has a bitter curve.
now these eyes are unenchanted.
and all we see is a faded image of what we used to be.
how can we relate when we don't know a thing about each other anymore?
is there a gesture i could use to clearly express i'm at an utter loss for words.
I've frequently seen people post to their blogs, random lyrics to random song, by random artists. If anyone really wanted to have this information, I bet they could type "lyrics" into Google and waste tons of time. To you out there, that person who randomly posts song lyrics onto your web site I offer you two suggestions:
- Write why you're posting said lyrics. The lyrics mean nothing if you can't put up the effort to write about what they mean to you, why you like them or why the band who wrote them sucks.
With that said...
I was driving to work today and in my CD player where I have: three Lawrence Arms, one Nekromantics and one Benny Benassi CD, track six of The Lawrence Arm's "Apatthy and Exhaustion" album came on, excepted above. I felt it really captured a lot of what I was feeling in Chicago when I visited last.
Six years ago, we were all very different people. Some would say we weren't people, or that we're not very good people and even that we were terrible caricatures of grown ups. Thats what happens when you're a teenager. You're this funny looking creature created by a street artist taking aspects into your own of all sorts of messed up big nosed, giant forheaded, crazy eyed wierdness. We all were ignorant of this fact and went about our lives.
In this time we found in eachother companionship and compassion, as time progresses we all change and a lot of us have changed in vastly differing ways. We found solstace in our assocaites and friends. There are people who years ago I felt I couldn't live without whom today I feel absolutely disgusted with seeing. This is not a fault of those people . . . entirely, nor mine . . . entirely. We change, and as the story goes the glee from ages ago is being replaced by bitterness and anger. It sickens me to see things this way and I don't want anything to do with it. I won't even ask if "its too much," that people can spend time in the same universe as one another without bitterness, hatred and cruelty soaking up every last iota of worthwhile conversation, debate or discussion. There is no question about it. Sometimes people are human and those are the people I like to spend time with.
I don't want this to seem like a jab against anyone because all I am doing right now is writing about an observation I saw while spending 7 days in Illinois. This does not make anyone a "bad person," to anyone but me. Everyone can continue about their lives, unhappy or not and choose whether they want to let their lives be defined by the hours they spend holed up in a bitter, uninspired and unworthy corner or if they want to suck it up and find ways to enjoy life. When you'r enjoying life, that is when I'll want to see you, even if life isn't entirely happy as long as you have something besides the various forms of "I hate my life," I'll be happy to make conversation with you. Hell, if you want to grab a pint, a coke or a slushie and watch a movie I'm game.
Back to the Chicago trip.
Thanks to everyone who I had a chance to hang out with, too long or too short I'm quite sure it wasn't the ratio I wanted. To the people I didn't see, sorry about that. Next time! Next time! Thanks to everyone for taking time out of their schedules to see some crazy guy from Taiwan who was visiting Illinois for an odd spell. The movie was cool, not drinking at a pool hall was fun and man-o-man, I didn't think a not-a-picnic could be so awesome. By the way, there are still over sixty architecture tours in Chicago I haven't been on, so if you're interested feel free to sign me up as long as I'm in the state. De will attest that it is fun to walk around the city and look at interesting buildings! Special thanks goes out to my family for not minding too much when I spent too much time with my friends and not enough with my blood.
P.S. There is another song by The Lawrence Arms where they sing a haiku. It is quite clever and I dare you to find it out!
Tuesday, June 6, 2006
I skipped last week's snippets just as I did for work . . . What have I been up to the past two weeks?
- Read 1/2 of "Nudist on the Late Shift," Not good, find something else to read
- Started and finsihed "Fermat's Enigma"
- Flew on a plane, landed in America . . . many action packed hours later found myself back on a plane, with a free Sinus infectin to go with it.
- Worked hard (tonight is the second night since I got back to Taiwan where I left work before midnight)
Monday, May 29, 2006
I just completed Where Wizards Stay Up Late, by Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon. I found the book entertaining; interesting; a bit confusing and at times, a little insulting.
The book starts out a little slow, spending a lot of time explaining how budgets contracted and expanded over time in government agencies and I think it focused too much on the "big thinkers," in government upper management while relegating the engineers involved in the background until the book begins the BBN story.
Above all, the thing that irked me most about the book was its lack of attention to technical detail. Odd you'd say, in a book about the creation of the internet, but its true. The authors in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience made sacrifices in explaining the technology of the day leaving me confused when my (limited) understanding of the past conflicted with the terms and conventions Hafner used in writing the novel. There was at least one occasion where an acronym went unexplained that I understood because of my technical background, it would have left the reader in a dazed state. I was disappointed with this whole aspect of the book, but I suppose I can always look at the RFCs to see the things I had wanted to see in the book.
Another thing that irked me was the authors' frequent attempts to show that the wizards were eccentric and unique. Haffner frequently mentioned that there were members of the arpanet team that would do such drastic things warrenting multiple mentions like . . . wear sneakers.
I felt that I lost out on a lot of personal insight into the project by there being so little self-reflection from the teams involved in making the internet a reality. The author tried to create this feeling by elaborating on the behavioral ticks of the Wizards but without ample quotage I felt distant from the sitation.
In the end, if you're interested in the origins of the internet and are not very technical, I'd suggest you pick up this book. Learn about the great people who allow us to everyday communicate with, share with and help the multitudes of people all over the world connected to the internet.
Friday, May 19, 2006
- Open VIm
- Write post
- Exit VIm
- $ cmd_blog.py path/to/entry
- "Shoot! Its wrong!"
- Load Firefox
- Go to blogger.com
- Clickity Clickity
- Load just posted article
- Click submit.
- Entry List - When you first load up the script, it will connect to blogger.com and download the articles stored in your blogger account. The limit is about 100, per blogger.com's limitations.
- Load Entries - Double Click on a line in the Entry List and a window on the right will open allowing you to see the xhtml contents of the entry, properly highlighted.
- Edit Entries - After you double click on an entry, just edit it to your heart's content and then (figure out how to easily do this, keybinding?) go into command mode and type:
- Post new entries. Open a new buffer, type away, then type:
- Fame - Be the envy of your vim or blogger using friends!
export PYTHONPATH=~/src/code:./:$PYTHONPATH; load vim :so vim_blogger.vim
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
- Read: Candide, by Voltaire
- Wrote Python: top secret
- Ate Food: Mmmm Thai food in Taiwan. (please note, Thai == Thailand, not Taiwan) Chinese food, American food (pizza!), beer: Asahi!
- Taipei! Went to the National Palace Museum, 3rd largest in the world, 1.5 hour tour.
- Correspondence: Wrote people emails, I had bad response times, at least worthwhile things to say though
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Saturday, May 13, 2006
This is directly for you, my audience of four (if that).
If you are interested in what I write about, you might be interested in what I read. I've mentioned the "Reading" bar on the side there -> but I bet you didn't know that if you use Google Reader you can add those articles to your list via this link: Joe's Starred Items. If you don't use Google Reader but use some other sort of news aggregator, like MyYahoo or Bloglines, the ATOM feed for my reading list is available.
Additionally, I have another feed, my "Link Blog," also there -> that has articles that I've already read but found interesting for some reason or another. You can view that list or use the feed elsewhere
At Google, each week people are expected to turn in a quick end of week report on the things they've done in the preceeding days. Its a great way to keep abreast of things going on outside your day to day interactions. It also serves as a great way to keep track of what you've personally worked on; things that were/are/is important but not gigantic enough to warrent remembering.
I've been ultra lax out here in doing these snippets, so in an effort to make sure I actually do this for work, I'm going to start doing it here too, but related to my free-time excusursions of the mind, body, soul and beer.
Batman is cool.
Remember that time you were wearing all your clothes backwards and were like "I missed the bus?"
That was wiggidy wiggidy wiggidy wack.
Sunday, April 30, 2006
I've finally set up squid caching on my server. After trying to set it up for my dialup connection five years ago and failing miserably I pretty much put squid to the wayside. I've never considered myself paranoid enough to want to tunnel all my traffic over a secure connection but living in a house with curious networking/security geeks makes me a bit nervous so I set up squid on joelapenna.com. Right now its not opimized to do anything special aside from do some basic adblocking and to get it that way was amazingly simple especially compared to when I last tried setting squid up so long ago.
- (on server) apt-get install squid
- (on client) ssh joelapenna.com -L 8888:localhost 3128
- Works now. The end!
Adblocking (optional! but recommended)
add to crontab
10 * * * * wget -O /etc/squid/adservers 'http://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/serverlist.php?hostformat=squid-dstdom-regex&showintro=0&startdate%5Bday%5D=&startdate%5Bmonth%5D=&startdate%5Byear%5D='
edit /etc/squid/squid.conf to do some adblocking:
acl ads dstdom_regex -i "/etc/squid.adservers" http_access deny ads
- add to crontab
- All done!
Saturday, April 29, 2006
This title was a bit suspicious. I don't speak Mandrin so this is not going to help you any and it seems that my time here in Taiwan hasn't helped much either. You would think after 60 days here that I would be able to do more than simply count to ten, say Thank you and say hello.
I really need to stop slacking on this. I've been learning a bit more this past week, and I've even attempted to communicate once or twice with my ultra limited vocabulary.
Today I found online a free chinese dictionary I could download. Now I have a good reason to learn python + Hildon + gtk. This way I'll be able to have a dictionary right at my fingertips at all times. The use of a Nokia 770 is endless!!
Thursday, April 27, 2006
I flew to Hong Kong today to fulfil my VISA requirements. Because we were having some difficulty getting semi-perminent work visas for us we instead recieved 30 day visitor VISAs. When you are staying longer than that this limitation poses a problem. I along with two others have been making monthly trips outside of Taiwan in order to reset the clocks on our 30 day visitor VISAs. (Fixed now, this is my last trip for VISA purposes.) Today was my send 30th day in Taiwan so it was time for me to leave.
I woke up this morning and packed for the trip. Made sure the eseentials were in my bag. (laptop, passport, power cables) and took off to work. When the work day had nearly ended I took a taxi from Taipei to the airport, borded a plane and promptly took off. The flight to Hong Kong was only an hour and fifteen minutes so no bother really.
When we landed I sprinted to the China Airlines service desk and quickly explained my situation: I have to get my passport stamped so that I can return to Taiwan. Normally, I think, people do this with a stayover in Hong Kong: A day or more. I on the other hand had a flight to catch in 45 minutes. After some confusion, and LOTS of running. (Up the terminal and back down) I hopped on the same plane and made my way back.
/I/ went to Hong Kong and I didn't even get a stupid T-Shirt.
On this topic, if things like this can be so easily circumvented, and so often are (there were at least 5 other people doing the same thing I was), why even make it a consideration? Is it to support some sort of airline economy? To harass people and be able to laugh at them from behind security monitors? Even in a government as new as Taiwan's the system it seems is plagued with those off-kilter practices and rules that we see so often in the States. I think we should all just give up this restricted travel thing and just open up all the borders.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
- Notice a large crowd, at least 1000 people standing in a line waiting to enter a building. Hear the loud noise eminating from inside.
- Approach said commotion with curiousity and confusion.
- Find yourself in the VIP section of the show, drink free beer.
- Take good pictures.
As Saturday evening was ending early due to an exiting Friday night and Andy, Ray, Maarten and myself were heading to our car near Taipei 101. Despite our lack of energy when we heard the loud bassline eminating from a building nearby we approached. In front of us were at least 1000 people in line trying to get into what seemed to be a big concert.
Being confused Americans we approached the event trying to figure out more. It turns out that the famous MC Hotdog was playing a show. There was no way to get inside to check it out . . . or was there?
We stood around outside for a few minutes trying to figure out what we could do to get in and came up with a solid plan: Look confused and try and go in the front door.
That didn't work.
We stood there a few more minutes and as we were about to leave one of the prettiest girls I've ever seen in Taiwan asked us if we wanted to get into the show. Stunned we all stammered a resounding "yes." She grabbed Andy by the wrist, I followed and we were in the front doors. The bounces though rejected Ray and Maarten. That would simply not do.
We stood inside for a minute and tried to figure out a way to get them back in. We couldn't just leave them there so we decided to leave, and see if we could get wristbands to get back inside. When we went to the banding booth, Ray and Maaren came up from behind the attendant and we told the attendant that they were with us and had just exited the show too. As a result, they needed bands too. The four of us, now equipted with bands walked up the the first door we tried to enter. After waiting a few minutes we were admited into a swarm of people; Asians as far as the eye could see! We were now inside the show, it was nice, but well with the luck we'd already been having it was time to infiltrate the VIP area.
Again we huddled, again we made a daring plan. Andy would squeeze between the barrier's bars and would try to pull us into the vip area via the door trying the oh so typical "they're with me approach."
Andy didn't fit. New plan. Break in. Rip the barier apart and enter. I first scouted the area looking for a set of weak links in the barrier and upon finding one I queued the guys to follow me.
The gates being well stuck together budged but not enough in my first attempts. It was the person standing to my left that was causing the lack of movement. I tapped him on the shoulder and did my best to communicate using grunts, hand gestures and eye movement. Luckily the guy understood dumb american speak and knew what I meant.
Lift, pull, sneak. . . FREEDOM!
We were in and security was fast approaching. Luckily we had evaded detection and although there was a guard standing there until the end of the night, we were in the VIP area at a show that until 30 minutes prior didn't even know existed. Girls were dancing on bars, people were dancing and there was free beer.
Not bad for a band of Crazy HWOps-Ren walking around Taipei.
Pictures coming soon!
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Parsing Wikipedia is going to take two steps. The first of which is parsing the XML for the wikipedia datadump.
In python, as is in most other langauges, there are two approaches. The first, DOM is typically characterized as an object model for access where you parse the document, and the result is an object that contains other objects representing onodes in the XML structure. You must be able to parse the entirety of the XML tree and store it in memory. When you have a 5GB xml document this becomes rather impossible. The second approach, consists of handlers that are called upon reaching a particular node, attribute or property of the xml document. The benefit to this method is that you don't have to store the entirety of the document in memory, making this process ideal for text parsing on the wikipedia scale.
In order to process the amount of data found inside wikipedia, I'm trying to follow the MapReduce approach to data processing. In a nutshell, you pass a Map function some data and it yields a set of key value pairs. Then you Reduce the key/value pairs into a smaller subset of data and return a composite value for each of the keys you generate. A good example is finding student grade averages. You take a series of scores from a series of students to compute the average like this:
John, 67, Sally, 50, Jim, 88, Jim, 9, John, 86, Mike, 63, Mike, 61, Joe, 100, Mike, 11, John, 31, Sally, 64, Sally, 83, Joe, 15, Jim, 96, Jim, 4, Jim, 15, Mike, 41, John, 18, Sally, 33, Jim, 77, Mike, 27, Sally, 27, Sally, 86, Joe, 36, ...
In the map phase you create a series of key/values where the key is the student's name, and the value is the grade. So the map could produce a series of keys like this for each student.
('Joe', 57) ('Joe', 23) ('Joe', 58) ('Joe', 67) ('Joe', 0) ('Joe', 93) ('Joe', 33) ('Joe', 55) ('Joe', 39) ('Joe', 16) ('Joe', 57)
Then lastly, in the Reduce phase, you aggregate the data such that you get one value, in this example, the grades of each student.
In : sum(fs)/len(fs) Out: 56
So in applying this idea to wikipedia, the source data is the entire Wikipedia XML doc. The key/value pairs emitted by the first map would be ID to article content mappings, the reduction would would the number of links inside the document. . . . something like that.
This is a new concept to me, so I dont' quite know exactly what I'm going to do.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
I've added a number of things to my website. As you can see on the right hand column, there is a variety of little modules to let you know a bit more about my current state.
The first module is "Looky," which should be the newest image added to my blog from my cell phone camera. Everybody is doing it, I had to too.
The second thing you'll see is Music, if I've been listening to music at all recently, these are the songs I've heard. If you see a little speaker icon next to the song, you can probably listen to it if you click on it.
The third, reading, is a list of blog entries that I'm currently or just about to read, or that I'm keeping a list of for future reference. Click on an entry to read what I'm reading.
Fourth, Location is a not-live Google Map pinpointing my exact location on the globe. Clicking on it will take you to http://joelapenna.com/whereami.html a page with at the moment, simply a bigger version of that map. It will contain cooler things in the near future.
Last, I have a Links module. These are blog entries I've tagged as something you might be interested in looking at that I have run across already.
Monday, April 10, 2006
Friday, April 7, 2006
Thursday, April 6, 2006
I awoke refreshed Sunday morning hungry for some Sushi. Following the suggestion of wikitravel, I made my way to Tsujuki. It probably wasn't the best day for me to go there; afterall the Fish market is closed on Sunday; thus the best sushi places were closed. Nevertheless my trip to this region of Tokyo was not disappointing.
I think that this palette was trying to say something about NZ.
After emerging from the subway I turned left; there was a sign which told me the Hama-rikyu Gardens. A long time ago, this was the personal gardens of 17th Century shoguns, sitting right near Tokyo Bay. This garden, like the shrine in Harijuku was quite an interesting contrast of modern versus historic. As you cross a bridge to enter the gardens skyscrapers stand tall over the tree line.
Even inside the garden, you see the buildings peaking from every angle.
But even with the surrounding modern buildings, the first part of the garden was serene and the 400 year old pine tree I saw was quite a competetor for the area's-coolest-big-thing award.
I would suggest going to this garden when its a little closer to summer, I could only imagine the beauty that this big field would have with the right amount of sun.
If you didn't already know, I like buildings. I can appreciate a cool bridge when I see one, in this part there were a few. One of which was the Tokyo Bay bridge:
But, if you turned around, there was another pedestrian bridge crossing the little salt water pond that flowed through parts of the garden.
The destination of one bridge was a little teahouse, where you could pay a small fee and get a cup of tea and a small piece of a cake or something. Still excited over the prospect of sushi and fearing making a fool of myself by not knowing proper ettiquite, I skipped this event.
Sometimes, when you looked at the right place, the modern world just disappeared.
I found this site interesting, it is a "Duck Mound," a shrine to show respect for all the souls of dead ducks, lost in the creation and subsequent use of the gardens. If you turn around though, you'll see the duck hunting field. Quite Ironic.
It was time to leave at this point, having seen most of what was avaiable in the gardens.
I left the garden and began walking. 45 minutes, I found Sushi:
It was heaven. I was pleased. Afterwards I did more walking around, stopping in a store for some shopping. (Some of you are getting gifts from there) I also walked past this building it looked old, and pretty cool so I took a picture. There was another guy trying to take a photo too. He also almost got hit by a car.
Shortly after this picture was taken I was assaulted by a 12 foot talk blue and white inflateable beer can. I did not get a picture of the perpetrator, I was simply too stunned to think about it. Needless to say, it was quite windy.
Some people will celebrate St. Pat's day even in Tokyo.
And some people will dress in wierd costumes and stand on the street corner.
And other people will dance to some happenin rockabilly:
I watched the rockers for a little bit, it was quite a trip and probably the highlight of my day. I continued to walk around the park that was near by and saw a number of street performers. Some were good, some were bad. One I even bought a cd from: the band had horns, I'm a sucker for the brass. I also saw a band of teenagers covering the Rolling Stones. The lead singer was doing a good Mic Jagger imitation and they didn't sound half bad. There was also a young girls dancing troupe. It kind of reminded me of the scene from Donnie Darko where his younger sister peforms a dance to a Pet Shop Boys hit.
There was also a crazy man spinning CDs on a portable turntable and doing paitings while dancing a little bit. Fun to watch.
It was pretty windy and kind of cold at this point, I bet if I went there with nicer weather the place would have been packed! On the way back out of the park, there was a fight! It looked like one of the rockabilly folk got into a tusle with a man wearing a cape and a tiger mask. No, i'm not kidding. A man with giant hair attacked a man wearing a tiger mask in the middle of a downtown park in city of 12 million people. A FONZ LOOKALIKE ATTACKED A MAN IN A CAPE. weird.
After this fiasco, it was time to do some shopping. I wanted to buy a hat. I started wandering and found myself in a sea of people, including spiderman.
I walked and walked and found a hat. I bought the hat, and I am glad I have th ehat. But this didn't stop me from going back to the hotel for a spell before heading out to Odaiba.
Disappointing to say, but my Sunday evening ended on a not so exciting note. Odaiaba was neat looking, but was void of people. It was pretty chilly, and VERY windy so I can understand why. I did get a picture of the statue of liberty though.