Expect a 213 Album

From Rolling Stone: “Superstar rap trio 213 never managed to get an album released before each of the three members – Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg and Warren G – broke out with solo careers. But the Long Beach, California, group has resurrected the name 213 (the telephone area code for their hometown) and will release a debut album, The Hard Way, on TVT Records on July 20th.” I wonder why Snoop isn’t releasing it on his own Doggy Style label?

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Virus Alert Toast

If you’ve used MSN Messenger (or even AOL IM these days), you’ve seen the toasts (small sliding popups) that come at the bottom right of you’re screen. I subscribe to the traffic alerts, stocks, news and some other stuff which keeps me throughly entertained throughout the day as the slide up and slide away. I got this really cool one today, which I think is a great example of how this concept should be used:

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Bay Area Hair Cuts

I have yet to find a barber or a salon in the Bay Area that I like. In San Diego, there were two places that always gave me good and consistent hair cuts. Roccos’ in UTC or Great Clips in University City. I went to the former when I was living on campus and the latter in my two years at Cather. Even in Laguna Hills, I knew exactly which barbers gave the good hair cuts. Now up here in the Bay Area, I’ve tried perhaps 3 or 4 different places to get my hair cut and have yet to be satisfied. Any suggestions from the Bay Area locals?

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More Whitehouse Orwellian Behavior

Reeves points me to an blog post covering an article on how the Bush Administration has removed and altered reports on various government web sites regarding women’s rights. Ugh. Anybody but Bush in 2004. I’d choose an inanimate tree stump over him.

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Vacation Planning

I’m trying to think were to take vacation next. It should be noted that this vacation won’t happen till sometime in December, but still, it gets me excited to think about it. I’m taking a Friday off later in May to go visit my parents, and the Friday before 4th of July to get a 4 day weekend. I’ve been running the idea of a weekend trip to Vegas by some of my friends for sometime in June or July (if you’re interested in joining, leave a comment). So that takes care of May, June (or) July. Then August, September (perhaps sneak a weekend excursion in here?), October, November, then vacation December. Where to go? Ami and I have been talking about a vacation to somewhere in Asia. Our last three vacations have been UK, Belgium, and Mexico, so a trip to the east I think would be in good order. Unfortunately, China, Japan and Hong Kong are ridiculously expensive in the winter. Roughly speaking, the cheapest vacation package during the Christmas time to Tokyo is $1,300/person, Beijing is $1,000/person and Hong Kong is $1,100. If I was able to go about 3 months earlier (say in September), it would be easily $300 cheaper. Maybe it’s just time to sneak away to the Galapagos (~$2,700/person!).

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First Glance Dissection of the Gmail Web UI

Wonder how the Gmail web UI is so blazing fast? I sure did, so I hooked it up to netmon spent some time dissecting it to see what makes it tick. In the end, I was awed by the genius and cleverness that is its technical design. So, I’ll go over the basics.


  • JavaScript — when Gmail loads, it loads in to a couple of frames, the most important of all being one called “js”, which hosts 200k+ of JavaScript, all of which gets cached (for what looks like 20 days)
  • Debug Hooks — all the debug hooks are still there in the code, such as Debug(“Cannot open window. Is there a popup blocker?”). Debug is defined as function Debug(){}, so it looks like the production builds don’t have the plumbing
  • Inbox is a Search — based on the URL of the inbox (http://gmail.google.com/gmail?search=inbox&view=tl&start=0) and the URL of a search (http://gmail.google.com/gmail?view=tl&search=query&start=0&q=google) it looks like the inbox is just another search view
  • Login Window is an IFRAME — this one I don’t get. It actually hurts page load times. I noticed this on a slow DSL line this weekend as the login box on the main Gmail page took a while longer to load than the rest of the page
  • XmlHttp— Gmail uses XmlHttp extensively to have the web page talk to the server. This prevents the page from having to roundtrip and can happen while the user is going something else
    • XmlHttp GETs
      • Main_LoadContacts — load contacts
      • SC_ShowSuggestionMenu — gets a list of suggestions based on a word. Also returned as a two dimensional JS array. If you use http://gmail.google.com/gmail?view=sc&sg=1&ms=cofeee, you get back [0,[“coffee”,”coffer”,”Coffey”,”Codee”,”cover”]
      • CV_SendAdRequest — sends the request for the ads on the side and gets them back as an array (notice a trend here?)
    • XmlHttp POSTs
      • DB_SendJSReport — sends a report of a JavaScript error to
      • SC_SendSpellcheckRequest — sends the whole draft of the message over and gets a two dimensional array of incorrect words (I think). It starts like: [4,[“”,”asf”,” “,”ljasldkj”,” “,”lfasdjf”,” “,”alskjdf”,” rnrnOn Sat, 1 May 2004 19:37:00 -0700
  • JavaScript as the transport — it seems like they move a lot of data back from their web servers as JavaScript. Digging thru their JS, it seems a lot like they do it in order to just be able to say “eval(blob)” and have it fill in to the context instantaneously. For example:
    • When loading contacts: new_contacts=eval(xmlhttp.responseText)
    • When spelling checking: eval(xmlhttp.responseText)
    • When loading spelling suggestions. var response=eval(xmlhttp.responseText);if(response[0]!=0){SC_ShowSuggestionMenu(win,idn,n,[]);


I won’t continue any more, but it’s really clever stuff, isn’t it? It’s a very novel way to build web pages. Basically (from my cursory analysis), they’ve taken a XmlHttp and used it as the high-speed interface to their web servers. By using JavaScript as the transport (instead of XML or HTML), they’ve offloaded the data parsing to the server so the client can simply take the JS blob and execute it to fill in the data structures and they can quickly then render the rest of the UI. Very impressive.

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MSN Messenger & Text Ads

Looks like the text ads fad has even caught on in MSN Messenger. Looks like they’re acutally images, but interesting to see a text ad in a client side app.

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