More Syndication Fun

Tobin added my feed to LiveJournal as the hyperionab_feed user. I had created the user hyperionab a few months back to place the ‘hyperionab’ marker over there in case people tried to find me (as unlikely as that probably is). In any case, I left an entry in that blog to point to the hyperionab_feed user and added it as a friend. LiveJournal’s syndication is so freakin’ cool. This is how the hyperionab friend list looks with hyperionab_feed as a friend. RSS as a beautiful (and suprisingly seamless) integration. So, to all you LJ’ers out there, add my feed as your friend. Now, if only Xanga had such a feature (or do they?).

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I Got a Gmail Account!

G G G GMail!

Man, this thing is slick. It is so fast. It’s a totally different way of operating mail. It’s as quick as a client side application.

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Me & My Work Email

I’ve been working here at Hotmail for about 7 months or so. Over the last month or so I’m finding myself having trouble keeping my mailbox under the server side quota (200 megs). I seem to bump against the quota every 2 or 3 weeks, so I have to archive my mail on a regular basis these days. Yuck. My total mail size for my time here is around 700 megs (500 megs in my archive and 200 on the server), so it looks like I’m doing something like 100 megs of mail a month. Yesterday I recieved 202 messages (not all directly at me, but from the lists I’m on and direct, etc) and I sent around 60 messages. So, to help solve my problem I’m trying Lookout to search and index my archive and server folders in to one comprehensive search box. If this little trial experiment works for me, I think I’ll switch to the two folder world: my inbox and my ‘done’ folder and get out of the managing all my various project and release folders.

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Papers and PubMed

Jamus reaquianted me with PubMed, a site/service of the National Library of Medicine that keeps an archive of all the papers published in the field of medicine. Now I have a definitive list of the stuff I worked on in my last job. Check it out here for abstracts on all four papers.

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Exhausing and Fun Weekend

Dan, one of my old roommates from San Diego, came up to the Yay Area to visit. The weekend started out when Dan arrived late Friday night and we made our way to the neighbourhood pub, the Duke of Edinburg, which was relativly uneventful. We went over to Santana Row and went to the bar/resturant Straits, after which we went to Blowfish. Straits was so-so, but Blowfish was cool. We met one of the bartender/waitress ladies and had a drink with her. After that we headed up to V-Bar and ran in to one of my classmates from CogSci in UCSD and hung out with her friends for a while.

Saturday was spent in SF. We first hit up Fisherman’s Wharf, then went over to Chinatown. In Chinatown we ducked in to one of the off the main street bakery’s and had a couple of custard tarts while watching a bunch of old Chinese men playing the video lotto. It was totally amazing, being there, it felt like a different world. I was totally unable to communicate with the cashier, the only language being the value exchange of money for product. Awesome, I love the city. After Chinatown, we went over to Haight and browsed through the vareity of thrift stores and Amoeba music. I picked up three CDs: Princesses Nubian by Les Nubians (French jazz/R&B fusion), A Los Cubanos (Spanish rap) by Orishas, Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer by Ibrahim Ferrer (Cuban soul). We had dinner at this place called Crepe Express that was run by a French guy, who (of course) Dan had a grand old time speaking to in French as well as discussing our music selection (he owned all the albums I had bought). After Haight, we went over to North Beach, and hit up San Francisco Brewing Company, Vesvio and ended the night at Sake Lab, which is a new ‘hip’ bar/lounge where I had best sake I’ve ever tasted.

Sunday was watching the Lakers game (who won in over time), visiting and hanging out in Santa Cruz, watching the movie Punisher and dropping Dan off at the airport. All in all, it was a great, incredibly exhausting weekend with far too much partying.

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Growth? What Microsoft (Stock) Growth?

Sure, revenues continue to climb and profits grow, the cash hoard enlargens. But what about the stock? The graph below is the MSFT stock over its max timeline on a linear scale. Notice all the growth until 2000, then look at the deep drop in 2001, then see how its stayed relativly stable for the rest of the century? Yuck.

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I’ve been working on this project I call ‘WebSync’ (a very unclever name). The goal of it is to have all my machines, regardless of location be in sync. A quick count of how many computers I use on a regular basis is something like: work desktop, work laptop, home laptop, home desktop, home server, so 5. It’s becoming a nightmare for me to keep all of these in sync with each other and I can’t use something like Windows Offline Folders since my machines are in different networks and I don’t like the copy of having a ‘master’ copy of my data. I’d like to be able to roam as much as possible.

Thus, WebSync. WebSync is made up of a client side app and a web service. The web service gets over the fact that my machines are in different networks but they all can speak HTTP to a central box. A WebSync client runs on each of the boxes that I want to have a copy of the data on, and they speak with the web service in order to get up to date information on the status of the data store. The clients have a file watcher that monitors changes in the local store. When one is detected, it puts it in a queue and lazily dequeues the changes up to the web service. During this lazy dequeue, all the clients are also asking for updates. Thus, when one client updates the queue, all the other clients then pull down the changes as well. I haven’t quite figured out exactly how to communicate the changes to the clients. I first tried doing a version number on the store and having the clients pull down everything from their current version to the most recent version, but that method was taking to long. I think for now, I’m going to reimplement it so each client sends up its list of files and the server checks what in that list has changed, then send those changes back down.

In any case, the project is almost done. I need to figure out the version notification stuff more, but the client which watches the files and performs updates is pretty much done. It even knows how to deal with the wierd way Office documents do incremental saves (a pain, I’ll describe some other day)! Once this is all polished and ready, I’ll make it available to friends & family so they can also use it if they have the same issues with multi machine sync that I do.

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Bible Translations

In last night’s Family Guy there was a reference to John 3:16. I looked it up to see what it was about and was amazed at different the translations of the Bible were:

  • King James Version: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
  • New International Version: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Not so bad, right? Nice, proper, godly English. Let’s see how we’ve gone wrong since:

  • Contemporary English Version: God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.
  • Worldwide English: God loved the world so very, very much that he gave his only Son. Because he did that, everyone who believes in him will not lose his life, but will live for ever.

God loved the world “so very, very much”? VERY VERY much!? Very is not allowed to follow very in English. Poor Christians.

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Buying Air Tickets Online

I travel within California all the time, around two times a month or every other week. I almost always fly Southwest, paying usually the full fare price for fully refundable tickets (find myself needing the flexibility, plus Southwest seems to sell out of its cheap tickets all the time). Flying cross country is another thing. I’m planning on going to New Jersey May 20st – May 23rd, so I went about checking out Expedia to see flight schedules. I found the flight I wanted on Continental, which was the cheapest and the airline I prefered since I have a bajillion miles on Northwest:

San Francisco, CA (SFO) to New York/ Newark Liberty, NJ (EWR)
Depart: Thu., May 20, 2004, 9:15 p.m.
Return: Sun., May 23, 2004, 7:15 p.m.

Price on Expedia:

1 Adult $249.31
Taxes $37.40
Booking Fee


Total Price $291.71

Price on Continental:

1 Adult $240.00
Taxes $36.70
Total Price $276.70

Both tickets are the same flights, same day, exactly the same. The base fare is $9.31 higher on Expedia, the taxes are $0.70 higher on Expedia, and there is that $5.00 booking fee. Fifteen dollars! That’s quite an amount considering these sites are supposed to have better/cheaper inventory than the agents and direct bookings. Needless to say, I booked directly from Continental.

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Published Another Smoking Cessation Paper

I’ve published another paper on smoking cessation in the Journal of Americain Medical Informatics (JAMIA). I designed the system that is used to send and create the “ITEMs” that are described back when I used to work in the VA. Check out the abstract.

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