Tuesday, March 27, 2007

[tool] Web-based Diagramming Tool

Vargo tipped me on this fabulous web-based diagramming tool today. Excellent for those of us who don't want to pay for Visio.


[story] Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries

Story I made up today, to go with the song Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries:

My grandfather worked in a coal mine. And like everyone who worked in a coal mine, he dreamed of becoming filthy rich. But of course, no one was rich. Everyone was just, well, filthy. But since my grandfather had nothing to lose, he lived a simple, carefree life.

One day he was working in a corner of the mine by himself, pulling overtime to make a few extra bucks. Suddenly, something sparkled in the dark. He leaned to look closer, and there it was -- a big handful of perfect pieces of diamonds!

His hearts was pounding and his palms were sweating. But as calmly as he could, he picked up the diamonds, and put them in his pockets.

For the next day and next night, my grandfather couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, couldn't talk to his friends, and couldn't even have a beer with them anymore. So he left. For the next few months, he lived in the mountains. Now he was not only filthy, he was also lonely and scared -- paranoid that people would discover his diamonds and take them away.

One afternoon he was taking a nap by the river, clutching tightly to his little sack of treasure as usual. Suddenly he heard a woman scream, "Help! I can't swim! Help!"

He jumped up, and without thinking, dove into the water. In the most heroic fashion, he saved the lady.

As they were making their way back to the shore, a beautiful eagle appeared out of nowhere. They looked up to admire the bird. And suddenly, it swooped down, picked up the sack of diamonds, and just as quickly as it came, it was gone.

My grandfather's jaw just dropped straight through the floor. And the lady was concerned, "Is everything okay? I hope you didn't lose something important?"

Now you would think that at this point, my grandfather would be desperate, angry, bitter ... He just saved a life! And he's rewarded by losing the biggest jackpot of his life? But strangely, he wasn't desperate, angry, or bitter. Instead, he felt a great sense of relief, as if a huge burden just disappeared.

He turned to the lady, and with the most gorgeous smile he said, "Oh, it was just some rocks. I am glad you are okay."

The lady was so grateful, "Thank you so much for saving me. My father owns the coal mine up the river. Would you like to take me back? I am sure he would want to thank you in person."

That lady, ended up as my grandmother.

Life has a funny way of working itself out, doesn't it?
Life is just a bowl of cherries
Don't take it serious,
Life's too mysterious
You work, you save, you worry so
But you can't take your dough
When you go, go, go

So keep repeating "It's the berries."
The strongest oak must fall
The sweet things in life
To you were just loaned
So how can you lose
What you've never owned

Life is just a bowl of cherries
So live and laugh at it all!

Monday, March 26, 2007

[tool] Taiwan Map

My sister just sent me the link to google map equivalent for taiwan.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

[muse] RSS Feeds Lessons

Suddenly, I am reading RSS feeds every day. Lessons learned:

1. Small tweaks turn Blah into Great
Google Reader is not so different from Bloglines and others. But small differences in UI features make Google Reader so much more pleasant for me compared to Bloglines.

I love stories of small key differences that end up in huge impact -- think adhesive tape on diapers.

2. I need editorialized news
I had always found it difficult to stay focused to read general news feeds, and for a long time it also stopped me reading rss feeds altogether. I finally realized what I needed, was editorialized news like TechCrunch.

I could have all the news articles in the world. But that doesn't make them all interesting.

In fact, most of them are not very interesting to me at all.

I suppose that's why people watch news on TV. Though I find myself seriously disagreeing with the editorial taste of most TV news. Please, skip the slow-car-chase story.

3. Don't waste my time
I nuked CNN and BBC news feeds. They only provide headlines and would force me to go to their site to read the full story. Why would I do that?

I can't stand "dead time" spent waiting for page to load.

Let me scroll and scan, please.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

[muse] The Manhattan Effect

Just read this article titled The Manhattan Effect. Great article about giving and receiving feedback, ideas, and suggestions. He said:
Getting the message across doesn't depend on articulation, or eloquence, or the impeccable logic or your argument, but on the emotional context in which the message is being heard.
I have the same rules, but my version uses only small words (though doesn't come with a wonderful story like his does):
1. If someone doesn't want to listen, you can't make them hear you.
2. Once you realize that they don't want to listen, pretty soon you'll stop trying.
3. Once you stop trying, both of you end up at a worse place than before.
I live by this set of rules everyday, and am therefore obsessed about delivering the utmost positive experience to anyone reporting through our internal feedback system --- I cannot risk having our staff "stop trying" to tell us what's really going on out there.

But every once in a while, we all find ourselves feeling like we want to stop trying. What to do then?

When someone doesn't want to listen, the only strategy that has worked over and over again for me is --- Time.

Time really does change everything. A little patience goes a long way ...

[story] Alice Blue Gown

Cathy wanted "something tragic". So I made up a story to go with the song "Alice Blue Gown":

Once there was a poor village. Hardly anything grew out of the ground, and the rivers were empty. But the villagers were kind and generous. They never hesitated to offer what little they had, to anyone in need.

The Gods saw this and thought they were good. So the Gods said to them: "We can offer you a wonderful, wonderful life. But you must promise, that every year, you would give away one third of everything you've earned, to those less fortunate than you."

The villagers happily agreed. And suddenly, everything bloomed. There were fruits, grains ... and fish in the river!

The Gods sent me down to be the guardian of this agreement. The villagers welcomed me with love, and they made me a beautiful dress. "It's in the color of the sky," they said "So that we may always remember where all the gifts came from."
In my sweet little Alice blue gown
When I first wondered down into town
I was both proud and shy
As I felt every eye
But in every shop window
I'd primp, passing by
Then in manner of fashion, I'd frown
And the world seemed to smile all around
Til it wilted, I wore it
I'll always adore it
My sweet little Alice blue gown

Thirty years passed, and the village was more prosperous than ever. But the younger generation couldn't understand. Why did they have to give so much away, every single year, to total strangers?

I tried to remind them, that everything they had was a gift -- All they had to do was to share some of it.

But they wouldn't listen. And year by year, they gave less and less. Until one day they stopped giving all together, and actually wanted more from their neighbors.

The Gods saw this and they were furious. Overnight they took everything away. Fruits shriveled and the rivers dried up. The young and the elderly were sick and hungry.

The villagers were mad, and they were mad at me. They called me a witch, and threw rocks and bricks at me. I begged them, "Please, remember the promise!" But they wouldn't listen.

And as that last rock hit me, my dress was no longer the color of the sky; instead, it was the color of dirt, blood, and tears.

The village perished forever. And all that's left, is this story.
Til it wilted, I wore it
I'll always adore it
My sweet little Alice blue gown

Sunday, March 11, 2007

[outing] The Full Monty

Where: Carpenter Performance Center
Who: Corinne and I
Tickets: $50. Row D. 2pm. Sunday 2007 03 11.

- Bunch of out-of-work steel workers finding their way through life ...
- Go August!
- "I need a rock, a big ass rock"
- "Let it go. Let it go ..."

Sunday, March 04, 2007

[buy] Wii

Where: Target, Best Buy, and Toys R Us
What: Wii System $250, Raving Rabits Game $50, Extra Wiimote $40, Extra Nunchuck $20

- Look! I can shake you around!
- Wii Boxing. And more Wii Boxing. And more Wii Boxing. Knock out!
- Raving Rabits
- Not possible to keep the damn rabits in the bathroom for 50 seconds! My record: 39s. Pierre's: 46s.
- The impossibly adorable Mii's.
- Readings news on the Wii definitely beats watching the KTLA 11 News.
- Can't wait to download Mario Kart and Super Mario Brothers.
- "I am definitely not turning on the Wii after dinner"
- Pierre playing Wii Boxing 10 min after we got home from dinner.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

[tool] Browser Simulators

http://www.wannabrowser.com/ - Super fast with all essential features!

http://www.hashemian.com/tools/browser-simulator.htm - Pre-set options for fetching pages as Googlebot, Yahoo Slurp, and MSNBot, there are also options to show Header, Meta Tags, Source, or viewin gthe result page as rendered in a browser. But has 5 minute timeout limit.

[outing] Hollywood Roosevelt

When: Thursday Mar 1st
Where: Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

- Which 5th floor of Hollywood and Highland!?
- iPod, Yahoo Ice Cubes, Poolside Cabana
- Vin in the pool. $1000.
- Heineken in the room. $7. Heineken in the bar $9.
- Adam's Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Gone.
- Adam's Champagne and JD. Amazingly, not gone.
- Adam learning about stick-on bra. Priceless.