Tuesday, August 31, 2004


... Listening to Nixon speak sounded more like a breath of fresh air ... To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: "Don't be economic girlie men!" ... We're back because of the perseverance, character and leadership of the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush.

bring back the hemisphere

iMac G4 is a tough act to follow. The design is practically perfect; the swinging monitor arm never stopped amazing me after two years. Yeah, the screen is small (I have the original 15" version) — but they made bigger ones. Yeah, it's relatively slow. But computers don't need to be fast, right?

Apparently, wrong. The new iMac G5 has a much faster CPU. It also has a more predictable design. What a let down.

I'll reserve my final judgement until I see the new iMac in person. (If you know of a way to combine a G5 and a hemisphere, do tell.)

Monday, August 30, 2004

Jane Rosen

I took a class with Jane Rosen while I was at Berkeley. But I dropped out quickly.
I wish I stayed.

Personify, 1997
Mixed media

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Czeslaw Milosz 1911-2004

I bought a used copy of The Captive Mind for a class at Berkeley. It is the best book on socializm I've read.
The man of the East cannot take Americans seriously because they have never undergone the experiences that teach men how relative their judgement and thinking habits are. Their resultant lack of imagination is appalling...
I haven't read the poems. Yet.
Obituary by The Economist.

The Hero

2 stars. As a typical Western viewer, I would have preferred more calligraphy and less fights.

Friday, August 27, 2004

define smart (an interview question)

1. smart -- be the source of pain
(from WordNet via define:)

Thursday, August 26, 2004

High School....yuck.

Don't feed them the cookies or they will die.: "Listen, everyone has figured out you still like her. Also, everyone has figured out she still likes you. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM HERE?! Here's my two words for the day: GO. OUT." I bet US high school experience is not adequately captured by TV shows.

auditory typos

I just misspelled "seems" as "since". I regularly misplace several letters while mostly preserving the way the word sounds. I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that English is my second language, or is it just screwed up wiring in the brain.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

supply / demand

Pepsi-Kola was relatively easy to buy, but Fanta was hard to acquire even in Moscow. Naturally I liked Fanta.

In the US, until recently Fanta wasn't on the market — probably to avoid competition with Minute Maid orange soda. However, you could buy Mexican-bottled Fanta in a convenience store in Santa Cruz, or even Russian-bottled one in a Russian deli.

And today, I discovered several bottles in the "free drinks" fridge at work. Cool! Got a glass. Took a sip. And remembered I that don't really like Fanta anymore.

from scientific american

The only consistent string theory originally had 26 dimensions, and then it got lowered to 10.
Vogue has better photographs.

Sunday, August 22, 2004


I can't view Yahoo! Launch with a recent FireFox.

We're sorry, but you must use Netscape 4.7x to use this application on a Macintosh. Download NOW. Please use the following error code when writing to Yahoo! Help. (Error Code: 4)

There must be a better solution to backward/forward compatibility problem.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

City of God

The story is chilling. The screenplay pays too much attention to the laws of the genre. Photography is beyond awesome. 3.5 stars.

Friday, August 20, 2004

almost sleeping

In my dream Harvey Pekar worked for Google.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Great Dictator, The

The Great Dictator vs. Triumph des Willens — I know which side I am on.

I can list imperfections, but that's not the point. The point is, Chaplin deserves a lot of respect for making this movie. 4 stars.

Bad and the Beautiful, The

I drove to Palo Alto mostly to charge my car battery, and ended up going to Stanford Theatre. The Bad and the Beautiful is well-made in an old-fashioned way, with good acting (it took me an hour to realize that Kirk Douglas looks like Michael Douglas.) But for the movie to work, you must firmly believe that the whole universe revolves around Hollywood, and that your worth is measured in Oscars and, to a lesser extent, in Pulitzer prizes. And it just didn't work for me.

One star to the bad, one star to the beautiful — 2.0 total. And my car died twice on the way home from Palo Alto.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

After the kickball game, we went to see Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. Our team preferred Manchurian Candidate — but we lost in the last inning.

2.5 stars overall: didn't like 10% of the jokes, didn't get 20%, the rest were ok — nothing outstanding. I'm not a big fan of the genre, but I'm glad to support it with company money.

it's all about the dopamine

Cure for laziness found, if you believe gazeta.ru. I'd like to read the original Nature article; all I could find with Google is this abstract.

Reverse-engineering the brain is fun. I wonder if neurologists consult with software hackers.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

constructive philately

I like stamps, although I stopped collecting them a long time ago because I couldn't afford it. That was not a problem for a friend of mine, whose father bought every USSR stamp that came out, in three copies. With PhotoStamps, you can now create your own designs — making stamp collection both easier and harder. (via lenta)

on sale for $20.74

It's nice when cheap things are well-designed. I am pleasantly surprised by Remington MB-70.

My all-time favorite design is H2O.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

first law of interface design

A computer shall not harm your work or, through inaction, allow your work to come to harm.
Trying to figure out what is the corollary for language design.

I, Robot

4 stars to robots: for acting, fighting and rational thinking.
2 stars to humans: for acting, screenplay, and starting a movie with an obnoxious product placement.
3 stars to Will Smith, since he doesn't really fit in either category.

Friday, August 06, 2004

good team

Chris, our current UI engineer, is literally a rock star. We need another one.

For this and other open Google positions you can send your resume to me. Most jobs are in Mountain View, some are in New York and other places.

Thursday, August 05, 2004


A server in Soda Hall hosts motd.public — a shared text file used as a discussion space. The content of the file could be recorded by anyone. In fact, it was recorded through the years. Now it can be searched and displayed in milliseconds.

And I can rediscover this entry.

the rocking chair test

Procrastination is an expensive hobby. Like most extreme sports.

May be the guy who looks like Rob Corddry can help.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

food for thought

In Team America: World Police, Kim Jong Il finally gets a role in a Hollywood movie. We should offer him a whole studio in exchange for North Korea.

Popkoff's Pelmeny can't be found on the web.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

...belongs to you and me.

So the JibJab cartoon is subject to a copyright threat. That's funny.
But not as funny as the ketchup reference.

Monday, August 02, 2004

kill all humans

In the mail: The Humane Interface, two seasons of Futurama, and Advance Wars.

I want to be an equal opportunity consumer.

Sunday, August 01, 2004


Action items for the next hike:
  • get a new backpack
  • get hiking boots
  • get sandals
  • get a water bottle
  • get in shape