Wednesday, December 28, 2005

[report] Guitar Hero Game codes

I am so hopelessly stuck at that Ozzy song on Guitar Hero. I gave in to look for a way to make the song stay on so I can at least attempt to practice it.

Rock meter will always stay green
yellow, blue, orange, orange, blue, blue, yellow, orange

And this is definitely something I want to check out.

Crowd has Monkey Heads
blue, orange, yellow, yellow, yellow, blue, orange

And, dear Santa, please make them make a sequel disc with Sweet Child of Mine and Hotel California.

[sql] IP to Country

Notes on my recent pet project to lookup country name from IP via SQL:

1) Download the IP to Country mapping data from here:

2) Load the data into a table, let's call it IP_to_Country

3) Add two columns to the data tabe, IPNumber and Country

4) Update those two columns to get country name

update DataTable
set IPNumber = (16777216.0 * parsename(client_ip,4)+
65536 * parsename(client_ip,3)+
256 * parsename(client_ip,2)+

update DataTable
set CountryName = (select I.CountryName from IP_to_Country I
where I.IPRangeStart <= IPNumber and I.IPRangeEnd >= IPNumber)

Sunday, December 18, 2005


I just got the leather coffee table ($409.95) that I ordered from, and I am absolutely in love with it.

God bless the internet. How else would I be connected to some great craftmen in Peru?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

[eats] Mr Cecil's California Ribs (West Los Angeles, CA)

I found a little piece of heaven last week. It's called Mr Cecil's California Ribs.
- Serves the softest and best tasting ribs I have had in a very long time
(The ribs are so good I don't even use BBQ sauce)
- Is on my way home from work
- Fill take-out orders and fill them fast
- Super cool and low-key outfit with reasonable prices
- Dishes out absolutely amazing hush puppies

Ah .... I win.

Mr Cecil's California Ribs
12244 W. Pico Blvd.

(corner of Pico and Centinela)

West Los Angeles, CA 90064


[tech] Convert Word to PDF online and for free

Just so I don't have to search for this again -- PDF Online provides a fast and free way to convert less than 2MB Word docs to PDF.

PrimoPDF looks like a promising full-featured Word to PDF solution that I should try next time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

[find] Learn Spanish with live tutor via webcam

Now this is a great idea that I should have thought of -- SpeakShop -- Learn a foreign language by working with a live tutor who live in country that speaks the language. Since the tutors are in Guatamela, the starting rate is just $5 per hour, which is a great deal for us, and probably a good chunk of change over there.

Gotta love a win-win idea.

Monday, November 28, 2005

[tech] Free classes from Brainbench. Free software from Microsoft

Just in case I find myself a pile of free time.

- Free Brainbench classes

- Free Microsoft SQLServer and Visual Studio 2005 classes

- Free Microsft SQLServer and Visual Studio 2005 downloads for "hobbyist"

- Free Branbench classes about the real world that I will surely do miserably at.

[tech] Tweak FireFox browser

Enter "about:config" in the address bar. And up comes all the configurable parameters.

Some performance hints from Mike:
- Set the value of network.http.pipelining to "true".
- Set the value of network.http.pipelining.maxrequests to "100".
- Set the value of network.http.proxy.pipelining to "true"
- Right click and create an integer value nglayout.initialpaint.delay to "0"

Saturday, November 26, 2005

[find] Notable items scoured from holiday gift guides

- Leet Tiles: Must get this for E when it's in stock again.

- Guitar Hero Game: Japanese music video game? I am so there.

- Ben and Jerry's Pint Lock: Keep you safe from the highly dangerous Cherry Garcia!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

[find] ESPN Voice of the Fan

ESPN is bunch of smart cookies. Voice of the Fan -- a program so successful that the projected number of members exceeded expectation by 10 times.

I suppose the writing was on the wall. It's basically an avatar-based voice-enabled version of AmIHotOrNot. Ha.

[find] The Million Dollar Homepage

The world never tires at surprising me with what people will actually pay money for.

Take the Million Dollar homepage and the KissMyAss service. Their viralness" is painfully obvious in hindsight. But I must admit I would have just said -- No way. That's just absolutely absurd!

[find] Welcome to the age of Everything Custom

CafePress started a whole new era of custom shirts, lunch boxes, coffee mugs, books.

And now, we have eMachineShop. Talk about whole new set of possibilities.

I thoroughly enjoyed this Wired article. The writer field tested the custom design and manufacturing process and made himself a guitar.

And other places like CafePress I came across today: Zazzle, PrintMojo, iD©lE.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

[find] Grand Challenge

The Grand Challenge. Not 1, 2, 3, but 4 robots completed!

What an amazing demonstration of the accelerated speeds of technology evolution. Last year, the robot that went the farthest completed 7 miles. This year, four robots completed the more difficult, 132-mile route, all right around the race limit of 10 hours.

Or is it that, $2 Million dollars make for an excellent motivator? Whatever works!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

[report] Run Hit Wonder

Event: Nike Run Hit Wonder
Distance - Race Route: 5K
Distance - To/From where car is parked: ~3K+
Chip time: 00:34:27
Pace: 11:02.5
Date: 2005 Sep 24
Color of race t-shirt: grassy neon green

- Running through the tunnel and ending the race in the USC Coliseum football field
- Being cheered on through frat row
- Watching a racer stop to enjoy a beer bong
- Counting the number of fastfood restaurants on race route and thinking about fries
- Mounds of perfect bananas
- Joan Jett finally singing "I Love Rock And Roll"

What a great first 5K of my life.

Monday, September 05, 2005

[tech] Proxy Server

Instead of your computer going directly, say, to CNN to request a page. If you are using a proxy server, the proxy server will request the page for you, and then pass you the result.

But what's the point of that? Sounds like rather pointless middle-layer management. Well, here are some reasons:

1. Caching. Proxy server can save a previously requested page and serve it back faster. That is of course really only relevant in the Compuserver and America Online days.

2. Filtering. If your organization really cares about censoring your surfing activites, they can use a proxy server to control access.

3. A proxy such as The Cloak could provide "anonymous service", which would then allow you to hide your info. This, is the much more interesting application. Privacy is a double-edged sword ...

Sunday, September 04, 2005

[eats] Johnnie's Pastrami (Culver City, CA)

There are few things better in life than a late-night Johnnie's Pastrami sandwich. This place is an authentic 50's diner. Complete with synthetic rubber seats on the inside, antique jukebox, even the waiting staff feel like they are from a different era. There are kick-ass fire pits outside, which makes for quite a different experience. Of course, the main show is the Pastrami sandwich. Do not be distracted by anything else on the menu. Just ask for a double-dipped Pastrami sandwich.

Trust me.

Johnnie's Pastrami Restaurant
(310) 397-6654
4017 Sepulveda Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230

Saturday, September 03, 2005

[tech] Python

I read that code blocking by indentation is really old school. I suppose this goes to show that everything old eventually becomes new again.

What fun with data structures. And not forgetting the very nice regexp package.

Here is a very nice tutorial. You can always start from the official python site.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

[tech] mod_Rewrite for IIS

mod_Rewrite is such a smart feature. Fortunately there is a way to get it in IIS too ( Here is sample usage right from the ISAPI Rewrite site:
RewriteRule /doc(.*)\.htm /XMLProcess.asp\?xml=$1.xml

Now to access documents use URL like Search engines will never know that physically there is no somedoc.htm file and content is dynamically generated.

How cool is that?

Later I learned that you can achieve the same effect by creating a customized 404.asp. Options = Good.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

[happy hour] Barney's Beanery (West Hollywood, CA)

Who's the genius who thought up such a cool place? Many a Monday nights, I have spent screaming and cheering for my football team of the week. Jeans and t-shirt, beer and fries. The crowd is always low-key and energetic, and the happy hour menu very generous.

If you have friends who like to hit on cute waitress, this is the definitely the place to take them. Don't forget to check out the massive menu of international beers. It can easily inspire a drinking challenge or three.

Barney's Beanery
8447 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, Ca 90069

Monday, August 22, 2005

[report] Virtualization technology

Once upon a time, server hardware was so hard to come by, each data center can only have a couple of mainframes. Now, you can order servers like McNuggets, and data center are glutted with hundreds of servers. So we lament about the management and utilization, and we want to go back to the world of fewer, larger servers.


- InformationWeek's Article
- Intel's doing it
- And of course, these days, there is bound to be someone is doing it OpenSource.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

[report] Lego Star Wars

Lego Star Wars. Now that's entertainment. If seeing mini-maul and mini-obiwan running around can't make you laugh, then you need medical attention. The cinematic sequences are so smart. I couldn't put the game down because I must, see, the, next, cut-over scene. And the co-op play --- is just Absolutely Delicious fun!

Here is the official site.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

[find] Google envy

Google does Earth. This is just out of control. Rather, this is making my Google envy grow totally out of control.

Google Maps in Hybrid mode. They overlay street and landmark names over satellite maps. It is incredibly cool.

Google's tribute to the first moon landing. I really envy the shadow that they put with the "info bubble".

Google on Yahoo Group. This is very old news, but still, the Google guys are so smart for using the best that is available before they have their own. Even (especially?) if the tool comes from their number 1 competitor.

[tech] DOS batch notes

Ask for user input
echo Enter the report date in mm-dd format ...
set /p ReportDate=

Print a blank line

Verify with Y/N
choice Continue?
IF errorlevel 2 GOTO End

Assign and use of variable
set ReportDate=%1
echo Downloading reports for 2005-%ReportDate%

Call multiple batch jobs from one batch file
call [batchfile1]
call [batchfile2]

Check for null
IF "%1" == "" GOTO :Ask-for-date

Dedupe lines in a sorted file
FOR /F %%i in (requestlog.all) DO (
FOR /F %%j in (requestlog.tmp) DO (
IF not %%i equ %%j echo %%i >> ToDo.%TargetDate%.txt
IF not %%i equ %%j echo %%i > requestlog.tmp

Delete files only if they exists (so you don't end up with the error msg)
FOR %%F in (requestlog.*) DO DEL %%F

Great reference site

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

[eats] Guelaguetza (Los Angeles, CA)

Ole Mole! This is the real (Oaxacan) deal. Instead of chips with salsa, it's chips with red mole sauce and fresca cheese. I find the mole sauce terribly addictive. The tortilla soup, excellent. The tamale, super smooth (but the chicken is a bit dry, so I'll go for the vege tamale next time).

In the end, it's all about what vehicle you choose to deliver that mole sauce with. So doesn't exactly matter if its chicken, rice, chips, or just a plain spoon!

p.s. The $6 giant goat burrito is pretty darn good too. But still. I'd go for the mole.

11127 Palms Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(Palms and Sepulveda)
(310) 837-1153

Monday, July 25, 2005

[happy hour] World Cafe (Venice, CA)

Free pizza during happy hour. Yes, it's awesome. The atmosphere, the decor are also awesome. The lounge area is actually, really a lounge. With cool ottomans and sofa chairs around the room. There is also a parking lot down the street which costs $5. Not cheap, but hey, you can make it up in free pizza. A great place to relax with my local friends, and to show off Santa Monica coolness to my out-of-town friends.

2820 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 392-1661

[report] Sid Meier's Pirates!

I have been sober from real-time-strategy games years since I nuked Age of Empires from my computer after playing for eight hours straight (and it was just the demo version).

Until last Sunday when Pierre brought home Sid Meier's Pirates. Since then the days have been unusually long and blurry. We finally retired our Pirate from his successful career tonight, winning a happily ever after ending for our little guy. I'm free at last! Raarrrgh!

For the record, here are the fan and the official sites.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

[find] Social network analysis

Thanks to Friendster, everyone knows what social networking is. But to make it a business app and process that can bring considerable ROI, now that's really interesting. The CIO magazine did an article on this very topic.

[tech] Favorite free software, util, and services

File Explorer

Xplorer2 Lite: Finally found a great little file explorer that gives me tabs (Tabs really are your friends). Its memory footprint is a fraction of the regular Windows Explorer and its packed with all kinds of goodies on its menus. Just lovely.

Text Editor

TextPad: New Winner as of Aug 2006. Reason: RegExp search-and-replace that works on multiple documents at one time, plus, deeply flexible macro recording and shortcut assignments. (Thanks Serge)

PSPad: After hours of searching and reviewing. I declare PSPad the winner! It has all my required features: RegExp Search, Document Tabs, FTP Client, Column Mode, Customizable Tab Size, Syntax Highlighting, Code Explorer .... I can even type in a URL and have it open up the HTML right in the editor. And of course, it's Free.

Another highly worthy contender is the Crimson Editor.


DeskView: This tiny program make your desktop actually usable. It turns those awful icons (that take up way too much space and doesn't show you the full filename), into a wonderfully pratical "list" view. I can't track down the original author. But I am oh-so-very-grateful.

Screen Capture and Edit

FastStone Screen Capture and Photobie: I'm a fan of software that does a boat-load on tiny footprint. These two programs combined are less than 2MB installed. Use FastStone to capture the screenshot, then drop it into Photobie to do quick annotations.

System Maintenance

CCleaner: This great tool shows me how much junk all those uninstallers leave behind. It cleans. It's fast.

Website Stats

StatCounter: Shows refers and extracts search engine keywords that directed traffic to your site.

System Monitoring

FileMon: Monitors file system activities.
ProcessMon: Way better than your good'ol Windows Task Manager

Hats off to all the amazing developers who put these tools together. You make software cool.

Audio Recorder and Editor

Audacity: Record audio right from your PC mic input. Can record and edit multiple tracks and host of other features.

Bless the freeware developers!

Monday, July 11, 2005

[find] Keyword toolkit

- Google Keyword Analysis
- Overture Keyword Selector Tool
- WordTracker

[find] A story on caffeine

Great story in the National Geographic about Caffeine, and the fun history of Red Bull.

Things I didn't know:
- Red Bull was created by an Austrian who was a toothpaste salesman in late 1980s.
- Red Bull's success came from the brilliant marketing strategy "You don't drink Red Bull. You use it"
- Red Bull came to US in 1997 and now sells 2 billion cans a year.
- Diet Coke has way more caffeine (46.5 mg) than regular Coke (34.5 mg), says the CSPI
- Tired: Caffeinated water. Wired: Caffeinated panty hose.
- Red Bull + tequila = Bullgarita

Sunday, July 10, 2005

[eats] Zankou Chicken (Los Angeles, CA)

The bad news is, since I've had Zankou's chicken, it's been really hard to go back to Costco's roasted chicken. Zankou is a fast food restaurant and they serve the food good and fast. Their chickens have crispy skin with a lemony flavor. The rest, just tastey. And their hummus is terribly addictive. You can pass on the beef selections though. They are too dry and not nearly as good as the chicks, I mean, chickens.

1716 S Sepulveda Blvd
(Just south of Santa Monica Blvd)
Los Angeles, CA

[find] Interactive real estate map

Nice summary view of the State of Market by WSJ. You can also go back to see historial trends across the nation.

Monday, July 04, 2005

[report] Scrabble

After watching Word Wars, we were inspired and fascinated by Scrabble.

As soon as we read through the Official Rules, we immediately set out to enhance them. Here are the additional rules (have only been tested on two-player game so far)

1. Take 1 drink if your opponent makes a 6 letter word. Take 1 additional drink for every letter beyond 6.

2. In additional to rule 1, take 1 drink if your opponent makes a 10-point word. And take 1 additional drink for every 5 points beyond 10.

3. Challenge: If you challenge your opponent, your opponent can choose to either:

3.1 Admit the word was b.s. and take the drink penalty according to rule 1 and 2

3.2 Or, accept the challenge and look the word up in the dictionary. Obviously, the loser of the challenge drinks, and the loser shall drink twice the regular drink penalty.

Can you think of much better ways to sharpen the mind?

Thursday, June 30, 2005

[find] UltraMon

It's cool to see things slide so smoothly across two monitors.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

[find] MIT World

These guys are so great. Everything to the web for free. Nirvana for a nerd-head like me.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

[find] The Long Tail

I have been fascinated by "the long tail"

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

[find] I.F.O.C.E

What could I.F.O.C.E. stand for? Why - International Federation of Competitive Eating!

Check out the skinny asian guy and a skinny asian gal are in rank 1 and 2. Could this be the next Olympic sport dominated by asians?

Sunday, April 17, 2005

[eats] Gyu-Kaku (Los Angeles, CA)

I gotta hand it to the Japanese - they got a Japanese version of the all the popular world cuisine, and they are all sooo good. Be it French dessert, Indian curry, Italian pasta, Chinese chow-mein, and last but not least, Korean BBQ.

That's what Gyu-Kaku serves up - Korean BBQ with a Japanese twist. The restaurant is wonderfully intimate, lit with a warm darm glow. Definitely a great date place. Another reason that makes it a great date place - Dollar Beers. Yep. 1 dollar. Gotta call again to check the hours on that offer.

Like Korean BBQ, you grill the meat DYI over hot coal. But you get Japanese Ponzu sauce to go with it. Yum. They also serve cow tongue (also yum), which I suppose could make you wonder a bit ...

My advice: When at Asian restaurant, do as Asians do. Really, the cow tongue can't hurt ya.

10925 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 234-8641

[eats] Neptune's Net (Malibu, CA)

Probably one of most casual restaurant you'll find along the Malibu coast. When I think of Neptune's Net I recall:

- Harleys, Harleys, Harleys
- Kids, Kids, Kids
- Shrimp, Shrimp, Shrimp

The line was ridiculously long and the place ridiculously busy, but I gotta admit, when we were finally chowing down the pound-o-jumbo-shrimp (which were alive until the minute we ordered them), our smiles were sure ridiculously wide.

And hey, why wouldn't you be happy. Welcome to Malibu!

42505 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, CA 90265
(310) 457-3095

[eats] Taqueria Chihuahua (Santa Monica, CA)

Ha! The place where my co-workers called "dangerous Mexican" got a 8.5 on CitySearch! (And, yes, I specifically looked for that "A" sign out front the other day)

The name Taqueria Chihuahua does somewhat make you wonder if they serve dog burritos. But, let me assure you that their All Meat Burrito ($4.25) is da bomb. Both chicken and carne asada are terrific. It is like a Mexican "street" restaurant. No fancy decor. No waiting staff. Just order, grab plastic bench, eat.

As much as I love my vegetables, an All Meat Burrito sure goes a long way.

1922 Olympic Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90404-3816
(310) 828-5003

[recipe] Pigs-in-a-blanket

One of my favorite (and probably one of the most fattening!) apperteasers:

- 3 cans of Crescent Rolls (store brands are fine)
- 1 package of Lil-Smokies (I like the beef ones)
(Makes 48 of them lil-beauties)

Making them lil-pigs:
- Heat oven to 375
- Get two big cooking sheet / tray. Line with foil and light light layer of Pam.
- Layout the Crescent Rolls. Each can has 8 triangles. Slice each triagle in half along the long side, to make 16 triangles from each can.
- For each triangle, put a lil-smokie in there and roll it up.
- Do this until you have no triangles and no lil-smokies left.

- Put in oven for 20 minutes until golden brown. The tray on the top will be done first.
- Take out the top tray and put the bottom tray on top. Let it bake for another 5 or until golden brown.

Enjoy (and don't forget to go to the gym!). BTW, this is the by far the best fragrance one can ever have in the house.

p.s. Thanks to Corinne who taught me!

Monday, April 11, 2005

[find] Schoolhouse Rock

Wow. Schoolhouse Rock. Thank god I finally learned about this gem in the American pop culture history. Love it!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

[find] CulverCity interactive maps

Cool map tools for CulverCity. Real estate for sale, detailed property info, satellite photos, and more.

[find] My favorite Apple II Games

Oh my. What a happy day! (and more reasons to not finish my taxes)

A Whole Lotta Apple II Games

- Download the Games (old) 5.3M zip

- The page has an index of what the games out. Pick out the ones you want. My favorites:

gms8-2 ChopLifter

ms89 LodeRunner

AppleWin Emulator
> log in: anonymous/
> binary
> get pub/apple_II/emulators/applewin/
- Unzip everything into the same directory.
- You must run the AppleWin.exe from DOS prompt.
- The emulator might take a while to "calibrate" to start. Just let it do its thing.

- Once it's started, click the "Joystick" icon on the bottom right, and change the joystick option to mouse.
- Go to your Control Panel and slow down your mouse speed to the slowest setting. Otherwise you'll be trashing your chopper.
- Click the first "disk drive" icon on the right hand bar. An "open file" box will pop up, click on the file to load, and then, click the "apple" icon to reboot the emulator
- For LodeRunner, remember the J-I-K-L keys control directions, and U-O keys dig holes.

Now, enjoy the rest of your day, feeling like you are 8 years old again!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

[tech] PHP Designer 2005

I love people who write great freeware. Just amazing. I found this one today. Super light, fast, and functional PHP / HTML editor. Only 3MB fully installed.

The company MP Software also makes another thing called HTMLGate. Haven't tried that yet.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


Just learned about the other day. Very cool.

Monday, February 21, 2005

[recipe] Stir-fry shredded pork w/ bean sprouts & straw mushrooms

This worked out well today.

- 0.7 lb of pork cutlet (very cheap and comes in thin slices)
- a big handful of bean sprouts
- one can of straw mushrooms

- Cut the pork cutlet into very thin strips
- Put three tablespoon sherry and dissolve a teaspoon of corn starch. Sprinkle salt and sugar on the pork and marinate in the sherry for 3 min.
- Stir-fry the pork, and then whatever sauce you like (today I tried the "Fish Fragrance Shredded Pork" sauce) and then stir-fry in the bean sprouts and mushrooms.

Quick and easy.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

[find] Print photos and designs to canvas and acrylics

Came across these services today that lets you print your own photo or designd to stretched canvas, or, if you want to be ultra modern, to acrylic panels. Very neat.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

[info] California real estate broker license

As in most states, CA has two types of real estate license. A Salesperson license and a Broker license. Only a broker can independently conduct a real estate transaction.

Interesting thing is, normally you would have to get a Salesperson's licenese first, then accumate 2 years of working experience in real estate to qualify to apply for Brokers license.

But if you have a 4-year college degree, you can skip right to applying for Brokers license. Who knew that diploma has some use? (These guys let you borrow the text books for a fee and course prices are the cheapest that I can find so far) (The California Department of Real Estate)

[tech] Dr Watson log

Learned more about debugging on XP today. After Dell sent me a new internal wireless card, I decided to upgrade the network driver. I went to the Dell website and downloaded the latest Broadcom utility and driver.

The package installed and the computer rebooted. All is fine for about 20 min. And then, boom, the hard drive kicks into churning mode and my computer completely locked up.

I started up FileMon (what a god sent), though it was locked out and took a few minutes to start, it showed me immediately what the problem was: bcmwltry.exe (Broadcom Wireless Tray) and drwtsn32.exe (Dr Watson) kept on starting.

Now Dr Watson, that's something I hadn't heard in a while. After a little research, I learned that Dr Watson is still well and alive in XP, and it writes a log file:

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Dr Watson\drwtsn32.log

I love log files! It was 35M when I got there, and as I opened the file, I noticed that it kept on growing. The log file confirmed that bcmwltry.exe keeps crashing.

I went to services.msc, and shut down the Dell Wireless LAN Tray Service -- that shut down wltrysrv.exe, which was the thing that kept trying to start bcmwltry.exe.

And of course, my wireless card still works without the service. So indispensible service, do you suppose, was provided by "Dell Wireless LAN Try Service"?

[info] Estimated tax payments

This is what I gathered from combing through

The required estimated tax payment for the year, is the lesser of:

a) 90% of your current year tax obligation, or
b) 100% of your last year's tax due, or, 110% of your last year's tax due if your adjusted gross income exceeded $150K.

So to be safe, best to look at your last year's tax return, and go with option (b) to avoid penalty.

Since the government wants your money early, they want you to pay through out the year. If you don't pay the correct amount, you get penalized for underpayment.

I am still trying to understand the underpayment situation (Form 2210). More to that later.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

[muse] Stock investing and horse racing

I have long believed, that investing in individual stocks, is like betting on horse racing.

- You get past race/earning results, which give you the illusion of knowing future performance.
- You find all kinds of information about the horse/company, which give you the illusion of knowing what the horse/company is up to.
- The performance of the horse/stock can flip and change overnight (often followed by SEC investigation), without any prior indications.
- And finally, everyone talks about how they won. No one ever talks about their losses.

Yet despite my firm belief in this, I haven't liquidated my shares in individual stocks, and am still constantly tempted by Why?

Maybe it's because I like to gamble? Well, no, not really. I do like making small bets on football games, but that's only because that makes watching game so much more enjoyable when you are passionately cheerleading for someone. That's about it.

However I found this article today that sure explains a lot. About what we choose to remember, what thrills us, and how we tend to make long-term decisions based on short-term data. Interesting read.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

[muse] Intuitive user interface

In my acting class last week we did an exercise, which I thought was a accidently a great study in user interface (yes, my nerd hat is always on).

Here is the setup: Five "performers" line up next to each other. A "conductor" stands facing them. When the conductor points to a performer, the performer say his name. However, the conductor can gesture and hint how the performer should say his name.

For example, if the conductor raises his arm, and the performers pitch will go up. If the conductor does a very brief pointing motion, then the performers says his name very quickly.

As I watched them, I see how much the "conductors" are enjoying themselves. Of course, making your friends do goofy things like saying their names in funny voices is always cool, but there is an aspect of play and ease of use, that I wish I have when I use the computer or search the web.

Only if I am still working at the Media Lab! This would be a really cool user interface study.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

[news] How to get burned in real estate

Everyone's talking about the Vegas real estate these days. This story here is a good reminder to make sound, rational investments, and do it slowly. This couple bought 19 houses in Sun City, with the builder and mortgage lender working together to make it easy for them to spend the money.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

[find] California real estate data

Great site for up-to-date and historical real estate stats in California.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

[find] Los Angeles county tax assessor map

I'm continuously amazed by what you can find on the internet.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

[find] Tutorials in Law

Law is definitely something I don't know anything about, and something that I need to know more about. I came across these sites for newbies in law.

Law for Laymen (

Abraham Licoln Univeristy (

Sunday, January 02, 2005

[recipe] One chicken and two pots of soup

Soup is so great for rainy days. We made two pots of soup out of one little frozen spring chicken (which was on sale for $1.50)

Sake Mushroom Chicken Soup
- Rinse the frozen chicken clean
- Stick the whole chicken into a pot of water
- Bring to boil then simmer. You can let it simmer until the chicken self-disintegrate, or, if you miss high-school dissection classes like me, you can separate the meat from bone yourself. But the idea is to take out all the bones and leave the meat in there.
- Once the bones are removed, pour in sake. Probably a cup or two to taste.
- Throw in shitake mushrooms and whatever other veggies you like. I found bamboo shoots in the pantry, but I think carrots would be nice.
- Add salt and soy sauce to taste.
- Now the trick is to not eat the chicken meat, since boiled chicken meat is simply not pleasant. Cook some noodles and pour over only the soup and veggies.

Creamed Corn Chicken Soup
- Now that you are left with a pot of boiled chicken meat. What to do? Why, make another pot of soup!
- Add the chicken meat into 1/2 pot of water
- Blend the chicken meat using a hand-blender (aka ThunderStick) until chicken is in drink-able state.
- Add 4 cans of creamed corn
- Blend the soup a little more to the preferred consistency.
- Bring to boil and serve!

Not bad for one little frozen chicken.