Sunday, December 19, 2004

scenes from a waiting room

For those of you who wonder how anyone could ever mispronounce my name, let me just say that during my last visit to the doctor, the nurse retrieved me from the waiting room under the sadly uncommon "ush-kaya" ('ush' as in 'slush').

In other little-to-do-at-home fronts, there's been a lot of interesting news recently, esp. for bittorrent users, as partially chronicalled in my list of interesting news stories. For the most part, MPAA is not only suing sites but launching electronic attacks on them as well. All of this while p2p networks from the napster-era try to market themselves to content providers as the new, legal, distribution channel.

Also, I've been playing about with ObjectDock in an attempt to get over my OSX envy (final conclusion: bit buggy and sucks up power on laptops, but certainly very very cool).

On a more cultural note, I've recently become a big fan of Ann Telnaes's political cartoons. Check her stuff out if you're bored and cynical.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

web celeb

I was going to make a facetious comment about me being a "web celeb" due to yatta, but when I went to go link the Google results page, I discovered my site is no longer the number one hit. In fact, it doesn't actually appear in the results at all anymore. A quick check to my counter showed that starting Dec. 9th, the site daily hits halved in number (600 to 300)... a moderate Google effect, I guess.

Anyways, the unindexing of the site is probably a good thing; now when you Google for the family name, dancing japanese men in their underwear are no longer hit #5. On the downside, my actual website, wings that work seems to have been unindexed as well....

Sunday, December 05, 2004

ass in ascii

it's been inquired if the title of this blog is meant to signify an ass in ascii. no.

it's a statement about confined expression. i like the aesthetics of an exclamation in parens just to begin with... it's also is a mild allusion to a Piet Hein grook:


Talking of successful rackets
modesty deserves a mention.
Exclamation marks in brackets
never fail to draw attention.

I seem to have a bad habit of creating titles requiring explanation -- the hallmark of a bad writer, but now you know.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

my yahoo updated recently -- including rss feed aggregation. Worth scoping out, but still not as hot as bloglines. On the other hand, yahoo can display lots of other types of information, like ticket fares and their calendar. So it's still spicing things up.

state of the union

I had some time to reflect and watch some non-primetime television this weekend. Some strange and pessimistic musings resulted:

  • Britney Spears is releasing a "greatest hits" CD/DVD entitled "My Prerogative". Greatest Hits. This is a performer in her young 20s (no, I don't know how old she is, and I'm happy that I don't) who puts words like "prerogative" in album titles. How does she have a greatest hits album already? I'm left flabbergasted.
  • My favorite gelato place in the country used to charge $2.25 for two scoops, no charge for the cone. That was August of 2003. Now it charges $2.75 for two scoops, $0.25 for the cone.
  • The number one movie in the US this weekend features a plot line focusing around a character named "Benjamin Franklin Gates". How serious a lack of creativity do you suffer from that you go about naming a character that? Let alone your main character. Runner up, Sponge-Bob. They should just re-release "Kangaroo Jack" and ban everyone who shows up to theaters from ever buying a movie ticket again.

Not to mention, I forgot poland.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

10 x 10

another cool way of digesting the news -- 10x10. Very graphical and does news-correlating so you don't read the same story in 4 different manifestations. Heard about it from my man rich. Screen shot courtesy of Josh Rubin's "Cool Hunting"

Sunday, November 14, 2004

feeding my information addiction

I've recently become hooked on using It feeds my information addiction like no other website.

The story:
I surf the web more than I should. I read The New York Times online, sometimes browse BBC World to get some outside takes on international news, read some online comics, and try to check out blogs for a few friends. Squinting at pages to figure out what's new, or spending time loading up a blog only to find out your friend hasn't updated recently is annoying.
Well, it turns out that all of these things put out RSS feeds. RSS = online format that makes it easy for computers to understand website content. You can then use an RSS aggregator to watch all these RSS feeds for updates. This way, You just open up one window and immediately see the state of all websites you care about.
So, anyways, bloglines does that for me. There are other nice aggregators out there, but what's nice about this one is that it keeps track of what i've seen across all computers, so when I open up my page on another computer, it still only shows me the stories I haven't seen. You can see all the sites I keep track of here. (Note, that if this was your account, it wouldn't show you all stories, just the stories that have been added/updated since you last logged in.... don't be scared by the information overload. Embrace it)

Thursday, November 11, 2004

crazy like a fox

Get Firefox! Firefox 1.0 launched February 9th. I'm a great fan of the web browser and use it (along with thunderbird) all the time.

One exceedingly useful feature of Firefox is the ability to add extensions to the program. My all-time-favorite is AdBlock which squashes website advertisements. For some reason, the default download doesn't include a list of filters, so I'm publshing my filters list here. enjoy!

my hero

A website saved my laptop's life today. If, when booting, you get the error:

"Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM"

then How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting will have you tear-ing up in gratitude.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

visualizing our nation's political landscape

This is nothing new, but it's certainly still interesting.
Since election day, there have been a number of attempts to rationalize and visualize the policial landscape of our country. I've been pointed to a number of useful visualizations which are worth noting:

purple america

this map loses the "red/blue state" menality and shows just exactly how each part of the country voted, to the highest resolution possible. It was created by Robert J. Vanderbei using information publically availible through USA Today and the US Census's Tiger Database. Click on the image for more details as well as variants on the map.

Another interesting technique is to weigh the political map by population density. There have been two different approaches which have caught my eye:

warped view

The first is this cartogram approach which actually distorts the map to make area match population. This graphic was made by Suresh Venkatasubramanian.

The second is the "dotty" approach by the New York Times. They don't have a screen shot imeediately availible, but you can view their visualization via this plug-in

a first whisper into a noisy net

Inspired by the ever informative, useful, and surprisingly well read web-log of my friend Jesse Ruderman, I've decided to overcome my long distaste for the "xanga" and take a stab at blogging in what has certainly become a very crowded and noisy net. Hopefully this blog "revolution" of sorts has not peaked and there is still room on the self-publication bandwagon for one more quiet voice of self-proclaimed reason.