Thursday, September 30, 2004

Bush-Kerry Debate - Round 1 - Clip 2

full text transcript: at Thanks, Oakley!

this is an audio post - click to play

Here's the second clip.

Anybody with links to textual transcripts, feel free to leave comments and I'll surface them with credits in these posts.

Bush-Kerry Debate - Round 1 - Clip 1

full text transcript: at Thanks, Oakley!

this is an audio post - click to play

I didn't capture the whole thing, I'd say I missed at least the last 45 minutes.

Check out Jeff Jarvis's blog for thoughtful commentaries and round-ups of other opinions.

Note to the fine folks from If bandwidth usage gets outta hand, lemme know and I'll mirror the clips on my .Mac.

New Search Engine:

It groups stuff. And lets you preview sites in an iframe when you click on the magnifying glass next to a site.


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Hoder Reports

Hoder Reports:
Kayhan, the famous newspaper, close to hardline conservatives and the representative of the most radical supporters of Khamanei (i.e Revolutionary Guards and unofficial security organization run by the Leader's office), has published an editorial by its editor-in-chief, Hossein Shariatmadari, "exposing" a network of Internet journalists and bloggers, inside and outside Iran, who have shaped a CIA-led, sophisticated network in order to undermine the Islamic Republic of Iran and organize large attacks against it.


Here's the e-mail i just got from Apple:
Dear .Mac Member,
We're excited to announce that every full .Mac membership now comes with 250 MB of combined .Mac Mail and iDisk storage. We want to say thank you for your past purchase of additional storage by immediately increasing your total storage to 1.2 GB for the duration of your current membership.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Hermosa Beach Loves Wi-Fi

Yup, we sure do love Wi-Fi. The signal is not yet reaching my home but the council is slated to vote on its extension soon. Michael Keegan rules. This article outlines how the city is subsidizing its free Internet Connectivity and how this bold, risky venture is even set to save the city money.

Via Om Malik's Broadband Blog.

Good Eats in Hermosa Beach

Last night we had dinner with Tom and Laura at Jackson's Village Bistro. Tom and Laura had the ravioli stuffed with leek and portabello mushrooms, Brandy had the butternut squash soup as an appetizer, followed by tomato garlic basil with linguini. I had the Filet Mignon. All home-runs. We were most notably all flabbergasted by the soup, it was out of this world. Brandy and Laura were driving themselves crazy trying to reverse-engineer the soup, until they broke down and begged the waitress for the secrets. She kindly smiled while hinting we weren't the first ones to ask for it. Later, the owner and Chef sat by our table to tell us the amazing tale of how he prepares his soup. Their homemade desserts Chocolate Soufflé, caramelized bananas with french vanilla ice cream covered in a chocolate fudge, Crême Brûlée were a heavenly culmination for a delectable evening.

Friday night Brandy and I had dinner at the local temple of blues, Cafe Boogaloo. Get their Flat Iron Steak. I'd say it surpasses in taste many of the Filet Mignon steaks I've had at fine dining restaurants. We got to watch the band play, and be the first couple dancing. On our way out, a Lady asked us about learning swing dancing, so we plugged Rusty's joint.

Right now we're all headed to Creme de la Crepe! Rachel's guna join us! Good times :)

Saturday, September 25, 2004

GMail Invites, New Batch

I've added a dozen more you're free to pick-up here. Look at number 82 and up.

Tom and Laura are here! we're headed out to see the sunset. w00t :)

FireFox Evangelism - a whole new level

Here's a link to a trivial piece of firefox-promoting code that anyone should feel free to paste on their website or blog.

What this code does: If you are not viewing the page in a Windows / Internet Explorer browser, all you will see is the FireFox logo. If you are on Win/IE you will also see a little diatribe below the logo.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Rejection Line / How to Court Chicks

Another reason why begging for phone numbers is for girlie-men.

Real men court chicks over e-mail. As soon as a girl gives you an e-mail address at a bar, excuse yourself to the bathroom, while on the throne, pull out your SideKick II or WAP/GPRS-enabled device to send a test-email. If you don't get a reply from a guy named "mailer-daemon", you're looking okay. Extra geek points for those who can access a terminal from their device, and SMTP via a telnet session using a bogus MAIL FROM: header. Saves on the overhead of interfacing with a mail client or web/WAP-based system.

French Men court chicks ... are courted by chicks.

*glances at Brandy, reaching for her gun*.

... GOTTA G...


This post was brought to you by Daniel ... and a frenchman pulling bee bee gun ammo out of his @ss.

Holy Crap! Kit's going to Japan!

He'd been working towards this move for a while. He's going to be an English teacher!
He guys,
It is official, I'm leaving for Japan, Osaka to be exact (Japan's second largest city, located in the south of Japan) to be an English teacher.
My official departure date is October 27.
take care,
Here's to a new exciting page in his life :)

Thursday, September 23, 2004

movie reviews - en vrac

update: Linda mentions in the comments that two post-production houses used Daryll's FrameThrower to check their work while working on Sky Captain. Here's to some more street credit 8). He's got cool enhancements coming down the pipe. The guy doesn't sleep. He's relentless. What's really cool about his system is that it's a rock-solid integrated hardware + software solution he's engineered, built, and coded from scratch on-top of a highly customized version of Linux and his own high-performance file system. All bits going through the FrameThrower are accounted for. Yo Daryll, how's that press kit coming along? :)

obligatory caveat.


Awesome movie. Very effective romance, nicely acted, healthy dose of humor, action, and naked women. Take a girl to see it, it's sure to help you move through those bases.


Magnificent. Exciting. Moving. By many of the same dudes who brought you Crouching Tiger, you'll recognize the style. I was very pleased to see the fierce and beautiful Zhang Ziyi.

Manchurian Dude

Very intriguing thriller, lots of suspense. Some action. We really enjoyed it.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Entertaining. Comic Book aficionados ought to enjoy the style the movie was shot-in. Fun, action-filled.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Okay. I'm really not one to dislike a movie. I'll like just about anything that's thrown at me. In this case however, Rule, meet Exception. My goodness, it sucked. Not just a little either. To this day, I still mourn those 94 minutes of my life I'll never get back. I find this movie to be an insult to the original. The first movie had an interesting plot, thrilling action, nail-biting horror, nerve-wrecking-suspense, and some smart dialogs. This one ... pretty-much fell short on all counts. Even the healthy dose of gratuitous luscious nudity of the beautiful Milla Jovovich wasn't enough to get a mental rise out of me.

An absolute must-see!.

GeekStuff: A Case for Mac. Mozilla.

Jeff Fansler and I started a fun geek-out session over at his blog. This particular entry mentioned his inability to do certain things on a Mac, which interested me in learning more about what those things were.

I've learned that among other products, Jeff develops Windows software in .NET. It would therefore make no sense for him to switch to a Mac if he couldn't more comfortably perform his work.

I find it frustrating to restrict ourselves to a given platform when developing desktop software. The Mozilla/XUL framework is giving me good hopes. I tippy-toed into it 2 years ago, while building a sample "xFly" application, but got quickly frustrated by how hard it was to run a standalone Mozilla app on OS X. I hear things have greatly improved. I'm feeling an itch for another late-nights project. FireFox (top-right corner of this page) was built in Mozilla/XUL, and is rapidly becoming one of the most popular web browsers out there.

Java also offers a compelling alternative for cross-platform applications. Take a look at JEdit. My problem with Desktop Java applications with a Graphical User Interface, is that they don't have the ability to inherit some of the graphical components and interfaces offered by the operating system. They've however come a long way from the early days of the Swing API.

The Mozilla/XUL framework, on the other hand, runs as a "meta-application" native to the operating system, that inherits and surfaces all of its typical application controls.

The best way I can rationalize all this is that Java was designed to offer a very low-level cross-platform run-time environment. Mozilla/XUL was designed with user interface in mind.

GeekStuff: CSS display inline-block

If we want a div's width and height to "shrink-to-fit" to its contents, CSS 2.1 defines a property for that:
This would be a very useful feature on many applications I'm working on. However most browsers I've tested don't support it.

So for now, a fairly decent alternative for building a visual block that shrinks to fit its contents, seems to be using a good ol' table. *gasp*. Yes. A table! :) I'll live.

Anybody else with better alternatives? Experience using inline-block? I'm all ears.

Monday, September 20, 2004

*knock-knock* Mr Scoble!

Dare I also link to the Scobleizer in a desperate attempt to get noticed?.

The Voice over IP Insurrection


Daniel Berninger wrote the most informative article about Voice over IP I've ever read, over at Om Malik's blog. It outlines in great details the history behind the evolution of traditional communication technologies framed within the convergence of various Internet-related technological advances, and the challenges PSTN telcos are facing to hold-on to their shares of this lucrative pie. Beyond mere technological issues, Berninger offers great parallels and insights on past, current, and future governmental regulatory policies. A must read for anyone who's ever talked on the phone.

Daniel's article sheds additional light to some of the thoughts I've outlined in this blog entry.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Greek theatre - 45 mins till Aretha!

Greek theatre - 45 mins till Aretha!

Aretha Franklin at the Greek Theatre!

this is an audio post - click to play

The air was cool and humid at the Greek Theatre's elevated location, quite a challenge for anybody who sings with such a wide range as Aretha Franklin. After a little bit of struggling on the first couple of songs, she lit-up the fire and boy did she bring it. She was simply breathtaking. A stage presence that's larger than life, a soul-shaking voice, the treats didn't stop here: Ali Woodson, formerly from The Temptations, made a surprise appearance on stage for a stirring Gospel song. They were later joined by a full-blown Gospel Choir.

The audience was electrified, wild roars and standing ovations greeted nearly every song in the night's repertoire, everybody was clapping, dancing, wiggling in their seats, the way it ought to be.

This was Brandy's birthday present to me. She bought the tickets a day after they went on sale right around my birthday. We've been looking forward to this moment for months.

I still can't believe it. Aretha Franklin is no-longer to me just a collection of CDs, an iTunes playlist. She's a legend, The Queen, I actually got to see in real-life, in the flesh.

Coming out of the concert I started lamenting at the state of today's popular music. Maybe I was born in the wrong decade. I see very talented artists such as Beyoncé stuck in the traditional rut of pop songs that don't nearly show-off their musical abilities, while focusing more on the "Music Video" aspect of the performance. One day I bought the "Fighting Temptations" soundtrack, which shed a whole new light on Beyoncé's amazing talent.

Broadband, the FCC, the Internet, the Future

This article by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. is quite an eye-opener and an excellent summary of our country's lack of progress in the DSL-powered broadband arena.

The article mentions an oft-repeated statement that DSL prices revolve nowadays around $20. I would like to qualify this statement. If you want real broadband at speeds of no-less than 1.5Mbps downstream and 128Kbps upstream, all prices across all ISPs are essentially the same: you're looking at $50/month. This, to me, really is the most basic entry-point into today's interesting broadband applications. Many ISPs will lure customers with promotional deals and lengthy contracts, while making big marketing "hooplas" of their $26.95 prices. Those deals usually last 6 to 12 months, during which the non-telco ISPs lose money. After the initial promotional deal, you're back at $50, unless you switch ISP.

With all this in mind, I wouldn't say we have made that much of a progress in the DSL-powered broadband arena since the original $70 offerings.

It's furthermore quite a challenge to switch DSL providers, as there typically are 3 entities involved: 1) your current ISP needs to release your phone line and register that with your telco company. 2) your new ISP must snag your line after your original ISP releases the line. 3) steps 1) and 2) depend on your local phone company registering those transactions in a timely fashion. You're looking at a non-negligible hassle and significant downtime in your home broadband connectivity.

I believe proper FCC regulations would enable ISPs to better streamline those processes.

On a semi-related note, David Beckemeyer, a Distinguished Research Engineer at EarthLink points in one of his blog entries at how we may well have "broken the Internet". The main idea I took out is the fact that current broadband offerings were crafted around the current most popular applications: Web Surfing and e-Mail. These applications require very little "upstream" bandwidth and shine with high "downstream" bandwidth. Hence today's typical $50/month 1.5Mbps downstream/128Kbps upstream offerings.

128Kbps upstream allows a user to enjoy an Internet Phone Call (VoIP) with one person. However, while that "phone call" is in progress, forget about browsing the Web at anything but crawling speeds. You also cannot initiate a "conference call" with a 3rd person. Not enough bandwidth.

We need prices to come down, and bandwidth to go up. This will be achieved through competition. Competition will be enabled through proper FCC regulations.

France is ahead of us with far more appealing offerings: ~$30-$40/month for 512Kbps upstream, and 6Mbps downstream. Korea is leading the pack: Koreans are watching their favorite Soap Operas on-demand, over IP, in near-broadcast quality, through their broadband connectivity.

I'm hoping ISPs such as EarthLink, SpeakEasy, and Covad are actively lobbying to bring us out of the bandwidth stone age. Meanwhile I see ray of hopes in wireless technologies such as WiFi and WiMax, and wired alternatives such as Broadband over Powerline.

To me, the future lies in most form of communications being powered by the Internet Protocol. Text, Images, Sound, Video. We're moving too slow.


Friday, September 17, 2004

GeekStuff: Piped List in CSS

Dimitri Glazkov just blogged about a simple, effective, elegant way of showing a list of pipe-delimited links. HTML lists combined with savvy CSS are a typically underrated way of showing "collections of things" on web pages.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Rudimentary TrackBack Bookmarklet (GeekStuff)

Since I've really been sucking at doing trackbacks lately, I figured I'd take 5 minutes to look-up the spec on the movabletype site and build myself a rudimentary bookmarklet:
TrackBack <-- drag this below your browser's URL bar
  1. copy to your clipboard the TrackBack URL for the other person's blog entry
  2. go to the page for the blog entry you just wrote
  3. first prompt: paste what's in your clipboard
  4. second prompt: just hit return or edit the title for your blog entry
  5. third prompt: type an excerpt
  6. fourth prompt: verify the URL to your blog entry is correct
  7. fifth prompt: type your blog's title
  8. ...
  9. Profit?
Feel free to post suggestions, modified versions and/or more convenient alternatives to this quick hack.

On an unrelated note, I've still got a buttload of gmail invites to dish out. Just pick one-up here. A bunch were left out in the "70's" range. Please snag'em. Thanks. I've got a few dozens I'm waiting to add to the list.

Iran cracks down on reformist web sites

Hoder reports government crackdowns on reformist websites and bloggers.

If you are reading this and have a blog, please link to Hoder's blog in the same fashion I, and many others, just did. It might be worth someone's while to mirror Hoder's blog entry too.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Motion-Triggered Sprinkler System

My house is small. It's also got a small backyard. Cats sure love it. They love to own it too, by repeatedly spraying it. Brandy and I were brainstorming about this tonight while walking back to my place from dinner. We then both started musing about how cool a "motion-triggered water sprinkler system" would be.

Back at home, we set ourselves to Google for such a technological marvel. Lo and behold, the first sponsored result pointed me to K&M Industries' web site.

We watched the videos and were sold right-away. We ordered two systems: While I would love nothing more than to see those little f*ckers getting wet, I'll be trying out the stealthier "Cat Stop" that yields an ultra sound. This should avoid aggravating the neighbors with a loud sprinkler that goes off in most dramatic ways. But Brandy will be trying out the "Scare Crow" in her much bigger yard, to prevent Simon from peeing all over the lawn.

I'll be standing-by with the PV-GS120 for some action shots.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

GeekStuff: GMail JavaScript Autocomplete Functionality


Once upon a "gmail" PubSub RSS Feed, I stumbled upon Brian's contest. I figured this'd make a fun late-nights project. And it was! Turns out, I won too. :) Thanks Brian!

I'm not planning to dump out the code, as it'd be of little interest to developers out to have their own fun.

A more interesting exercise would be to elaborate on Brian's requirements and explore in more details some of the use cases Google's paid attention to, in random "order" for now:
  1. properly handling comma-delimited lists while preserving carriage returns users may enter after each entry.
  2. after the last entry's following-comma, hitting the delete key should bring back the helper with the one matching selection, entirely bolded, while each character gets un-bolded upon subsequent delete key presses
  3. clicking outside the textarea makes the helper go away. clicking back inside, brings it back
  4. a user needs to be able to pick a suggested entry using keyboard up and down arrows, or using the mouse
  5. when pressing the up arrow to cycle thru the various suggestions, the cursor must always stay put, at the end of input box. This is important as this gives a user the ability to keep typing letters even after cycling thru suggestions.
  6. ... there's much more, which I'll try to cover in subsequent updates. Feel free to participate in comments, below
I'd also like to explore a couple of browser quirks. But I need to isolate them in simpler code samples, and scour open-source BugZilla archives to see if they've already been addressed. Support for event.preventDefault() comes to mind. And some weird Safari issue tied to setting a layer's display to none without mouse movement.

Feel free to grace my insignificant blog with your thoughts n' questions in comments below.

Jessica Callahan

I've had the chance to watch Jessica perform for her friends at Fat Face Fenner's in Hermosa Beach 2 years ago. Her voice was enchanting, we were all mesmerized.

Rumor has it, she's got a blog coming.