Archive for January, 2009

Living in the cloud

Cloud computing is taking off. That’s like the first sentence of some recent “introduction” mumbo jumbo I wrote for some paper. There are of course different models of this.

One is to use all services that Google provides, which are entirely built on web applications. I don’t believe this is the right model.
(Read the article)

On Penmanship in Chinese

I suppose good penmanship is the basis of good calligraphy, since calligraphy is mainly the addition of (variable) brush width to the structure of the characters. This bulk structure is really the key and it is particularly difficult to get correctly without muscle memory. That’s why they tell you to trace character books over and over.

However, there is a way to figure this matter of structure from first principles (and perhaps generate a more unique style as a result), albeit with the tradeoff that you cannot be quick, you must be careful.
(Read the article)

Windows 7, again

Got it installed and seems like a clean update on Vista. Somebody must have cracked the whip on simplicity, since nearly everything involving user interaction got simpler. Since it is mostly feature extensions on Vista, it is quite stable.

Some less noticed changes:
* IE8 now runs all tabs and windows in separate processes, so there is no longer a distinction between tabs and windows. There is also (finally) a Mozilla style jump-highlight in-page search. There is a convenient “In Private” mode that leaves behind nothing, but it is kind of stupid in that it doesn’t sandbox in cookies to delete them afterwards but in fact doesn’t appear to store them at all, breaking some sites… or maybe it’s just a bug. There are also these “accelerators” to web services (like smart tags on crack), not that useful in my opinion.
* English ink input in continuous mode now displays recognitions in-place, rather than in typeface underneath.
* Services for Unix (the POSIX subsystem) is much much improved and is actually usable for compilation.
* Monad (or PowerShell), which got dropped from Vista, is in. Very nice.
* Desktop backgrounds now come in sets of images, rather than one image.
* Yet another new directory structure for user home directory. The “data” folders in the home directory like Pictures, Music, Movies, Documents are now symbolically separated into a “Libraries” indexing structure (kind of like in WMP), and apparently you can create multiple libraries. Not sure if this is implemented cleanly enough, but intersting.

That’s about it.

Smith chart

In my undergraduate EM class, I didn’t particularly pay attention to this part of the course, because it wasn’t on the test. I ended up never knowing what the heck the Smith chart is supposed to be — always thought it was some kind of polar to rectangular complex number conversion chart. Today through random browsing I found this simply excellent explanation:

Turns out it is not quite what I thought, and it is pretty neat. It does convert between two complex numbers, but the relationship has nothing to do with rectangular to polar. It’s the real and imaginary grid lines of normalized load impedance (the circles) layered on top of the real and imaginary grid lines of normalized reflection coefficient (the straight lines). Normalized load impedance and normalized reflection coefficient are functions of each other, so the Smith chart is used to convert between them. Very nice!

fake inaugural performance

Didn’t know what the big deal was so I took a listen to this “Air and Simple Gifts” piece. So not only was it performed to recording, the piece itself is a cheap knockoff, quoting almost verbatim Copland’s use of a pre-existing shaker melody (“Simple Gifts”) down to instrumentation, plus some other less than appealing thematic fluff and unoriginal variations thereof.

Yo-Yo Ma told NPR’s All Things Considered that the piano keys had been decoupled from the hammers, and the bows of the stringed instruments had been soaped to silence them.

So much trouble for a … meh … piece. I’m disappointed. This isn’t even as good as the 40′s movie music “At Last” performed at the Ball in the ‘Hood.

Windows 7

Seems like only good reviews so far.

Not sure if that just reflects the psychological relief due to the mediocrity of Vista or what…

Whatever the case may be, the comments below the article provided some comic relief due to multiple Linux trolls jumping in with non-sequiturs. Nothing against Linux, but it is kind of funny that anything having to do with Microsoft is like a sh– magnet for Linux trolls.

by TrakerJon January 22, 2009 1:26 PM PST
Well, I’m not sure what you downloaded Don, are you sure it was Windows 7 and not Ubuntu 8.10? Windows 7 is nothing more than Vista SP2 with a couple of GUI changes that look a lot like offerings from Linux distros. Windows 7 is a huge install requiring 16Gb and I’m sorry Don but maybe you should curb your enthusiasm until you actually tried the latest release of Ubuntu…fully loaded with all the bells and whistles coming in at 4Gb hard drive space, better security, remarkable connectivity and start-up speeds and all the apps you could ever want for free.

And a response that gave me a good chuckle:

by weedmonk January 22, 2009 1:37 PM PST
When will FOSS advocates learn you can’t shove Linux down consumers throats with the zeal of Bolshevism. People have a choice and the verdict is that they’d rather pirate a 8yr old OS than deal with Linux distro’s.

Oh yes, Microsoft layoff rumors were true. Gone is the title of never having had a layoff.

A call from King County Jail



“This is a collect call from [buzz buzz, anytime]“.

Finale… what a POS

In my quest to find a decent notation program, I have failed yet again. But I’ll have to stick with this one for the time being, just for its mouse input (and hence pen input) capabilities.

This is hilarious

(Read the article)

Just had a random Latin moment

Random being the fragments that I apparently still remember, and surely imperfectly, but hey, with correct grammar…

Gallia est divisa in partes tres…

Quo usque patientia nostra abutere, Catalina…

Arma virumque cano Troiae qui primus ab oris, Italiam fato profugus Laviniaque venit…

Conticuere omnes intentique ora tenebant…

Cenabis bene mi Fabule apud me…

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