Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Undercover marketing is scary!

I caught the tail end of a story on 60 Minutes about undercover marketing. It was creepy and reminiscent of Pattern Recognition. I wonder if people will every pay bloggers to hype something up?

Monday, July 26, 2004

California is fun

One of the neat things about the Mountain View office is that I can do my laundry for free. Unfortunately, there are not enough laundry machines. So I'm up rather late but uninterested in being productive. Hence, a blog entry! I had quite an exciting weekend. On Saturday, I drove to Santa Cruz and went running on Seacliff Beach. Finding beaches to run on is actually rather tough...the long stretches of sand sounded appealing, but it turns out that there was a lot of dodging of tide, people, and kelp involved. Nothing has quite matched running at Myrtle Beach. On Sunday, I went bike riding across the Golden Gate Bridge. Here's a tip: get a Bay City Guide from any of the vendors at Fisherman's Wharf and then use the $5 off coupon plus the price-match guarantee to get a $20 rental from Blazing Saddles. We also saved a bit by parking farther out and taking a street car. In any case, I can see why people like California. And happy post-birthday Vince!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Computer term etymologies

I was trying to figure out the etymology of i18n today, and I ran across this handy page of computer term etymologies (and computer company names). However, it didn't really explain how i18n came about. Eventually I found this detailed discussion, and along the way found a RFC about the origin of foo. Ah, etymology.

Friday, July 16, 2004

I know this was on Slashdot...

...but I feel compelled to log every interesting textual analysis of Slashdot.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Well, I've had my first few days at Google, and it's every bit as fun and exciting as hoped. And they feed us a lot. But there's a lot to learn. I haven't really had time to go out and do New Yorky things, but I was excited to find a NYSC open till 11 near my hotel. It's sort of strange that 24-hour gyms are common in the otherwise non-24-hour San Diego, but not in the very-much-always-open New York.

Speaking of hotels, I'm fairly annoyed with hotels.com. I had deliberately chosen them thinking I would have more flexibility than with Hotwire. But in the fine print they mention no "early checkouts." This has the rather peculiar result that once you check in on a reservation, you're bound for the duration, even though you have up to the time of the reservation to cancel with some penalty. This might possibly make sense if they cut some deal based on the duration of the stay, but they usually lay out the pricing as the sum of the prices of the individual days stayed (there are some duration discounts). Very stupid. I might as well have booked 7 individual reservations. Their customer support was quite rude. I do not recommend them.

I'm in the middle of reading The Wisdom of Crowds, which is a much more reasoned approach to the idea of emergent intelligence than other things I've read. Before that, I was in the middle of Six Degrees before I had to return it to the library, and it was actually very complementary to Wisdom. I think Six Degrees does a good job emphasizing the science, compared to Linked, although the explanation of percolation is kind of poor and the story of his rivalry with Barbasi comes off akwardly.

Wednesday, July 7, 2004


Egad. Between server hackery and momentous life events, it's been a long time since I've written anything! But I'm alive again, having had in the interim far more adventures (the Cape, Maine (pictures TK), the 4th, Barth's The End of the Road, Spiderman 2....) than I will ever manage to recount. I am also, for anybody who doesn't know, momentarily unemployed. I've left IBM to work at Google in New York, which was a really, really hard decision, since I really loved the people and the work at CUE. But, working at Google seems like it will be a fun adventure. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Speaking of search, I ran across this. My dream of clustering Slashdot is finally coming true! ;-)