Monday, April 30, 2007

[tool] JS-Kit

Absolutely slick one-line Javascript comment, rating, and poll module. It took 5 seconds flat to install a comment module on my twiki. Just add
<script src=""></script>


Sunday, April 29, 2007

[buy] Guitar Hero II

Where: Costco Online
What: Guitar Hero II for Xbox 360, $75

- The evil achievements system
Damage so far: 31 achievements - 450 points
- 30 points: 300K Club - Get 300,000 points in a song 04.29. X-Stream. Hard.
- 30 points: Hard Tour Champ - Beat the Hard tour 04.28
- 30 points: Medium Tour Champ - Beat the Medium tour 04.27
- 30 points: Most Likely to Succeed - Earn five stars on all songs in the Medium tour 04.28
- 30 points: Sandbox Hero - Earn five stars on all songs in the Easy tour 04.29
- 30 points: Perfectionist - Get 100% notes hit on a song 04.19
- 30 points: Eddie Van Halen - Get a 500-note streak 04.26 567-note. Heart shaped box. Medium.
- 10 points: Scenester - Beat all the unlock songs 05.06. On Hard.
- 10 points: Dimebag Darrell - Get a 100-note streak
- 10 points: EasyTour Champ - Beat the Easy tour 04.29
- 10 points: 100K Club - Get 100,000 points in a song
- 10 points: 200K Club - Get 200,000 points in a song
- 10 points: Roadie - Unlock Rat Cellar
- 10 points: New Kid - Unlock Blackout Bar
- 10 points: Young Gun - Unlock RedOctane Club
- 10 points: Axe Grinder - Unlock Rock City Theater
- 10 points: Shredder - Unlock Vans Warp Tour
- 10 points: Rock Star - Unlock Harmonix Arena
- 10 points: Guitar Hero - Unlock Stonehenge 04.19
- 10 points: Big Spender - Spend $10,000 at the store
- 10 points: Life of the Party - Buy all characters 04.28
- 10 points: Record Collector - Buy all songs
- 10 points: Fashion Plate - Buy all outfits 04.26
- 10 points: Scoremonger - Get an 8x multiplier
- 10 points: Hendrix - Beat a song with lefty flip on
- 10 points: Saturday Morning - Beat Trogdor and Thunder Horse 04.19
- 10 points: Rock Snob - Refuse to play an encore
- 10 points: Long Road Ahead - Fail a song on Easy
- 10 points: Extra Credit - View the credits
- 10 points: Rock School Grad - Complete all tutorials
- 10 points: Teacher's Pet - Practice three different songs

- The even more evil real-time xbox live leaderboards system

[play] Unsecured security cameras

Came across this article on unsecured security cameras and tried it out.

1. Go to Google or Yahoo, and search for inurl:ViewerFrame?Mode=
2. Click on the search result (FireFox 1.5 works just fine)

Voila. Yet another way to relax for hours on the internet: A bird table in UK, a balcony in Japan ...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

[log] Guitar Hero II achievement tips

Tips from discussion boards on getting these achievements:

300K - Freebird - Medium (4.29 - Got this on X-Stream. Hard)
400K - X-Stream - Hard
500K - Freebird/X-Stream - Expert
1000 notes - Freebird - Medium, or, X-stream - Hard

[outing] Engineering Happy Hour

Where: Yankee Doodles, Santa Monica
Who: zzAll Engineering
When: Thursday, 2007 April 5

- Mike tackling Pierre on Broadway
- Where did you get that bottle of Ketchup!
- Looking for coffee at midnight

[outing] St Patty's in Santa Monica

- Where: The Victorian and World Cafe
- Who: Alan, Maureen, Gray, Zee, Robert, Rita, Jessie, us
- When: Saturday, 2007 March 17

- Sweet potato fries at The Victorian
- Gray paying up his bet with three back-to-back Irish Car Bomb
- Gray, Zee, Robert, and Rita all in matchin green t-shirt. Aww.
- "This place doesn't have any TVs?!"
- "Hey the manicure place has a big TV"
- Pierre fast asleep in World Cafe
- People posing with Pierre, who was fast asleep in World Cafe
- Go Bruins!
- Maureen and I sharing the suspect hot dog
- Climbing over the fence to fetch a cab

(Thanks to Gray for reminding me to post this)

[outing] Drink Fest in WeHo

Where: Barney's and Red Rocks
Who: Gray, Zee, Scott, Adam, Jill, Mike, Shelbey, Jeff, Bill, Josh, Jessie, Shiela, Melissa, Ron, Maria, Fiona, Natasha, Natasha's boyfriend, Steve, us
When: Friday, 2007 April 27

- "Natasha's place is walking distance" from Barney's" -- right. maybe for Forest Gump.
- Pierre's stellar performance at air hockey
- De--fense! De--fense!
- Posing with Melissa's behind
- Four-dollar Steve (and Pierre finally remembering that it should have been four-dollar Cody)
- Davis: "You are the other Melissa Stein?!"
- Killer home fries and corned beef hash
- "How much @#$% further do we have to walk?"

Thursday, April 26, 2007

[log] I'm hot 'cause I'm fly

Pierre sent me this article today:,harvilla,76021,22.html

I forwarded to Paul who responded with:

I have a few concerns with Mims deductive argument "I'm hot 'cause I'm fly/You ain't 'cause you not."

he’s saying that “I’m fly” implies “I’m hot”. But then ads that “You not [fly]” implies “You ain’t [hot]” as a flawed deduction – common mistake for rappers. 1st order logic would suggest that the correct following deduction would be “You ain’t [hot]” implies “You not [fly]”. This would require Mims to change his lyrics to make them consistent with basic logic “I’m hot ‘cause I’m fly/You not ‘cause you ain’t”.

I sent Paul's comment to Pierre, who then came back with:

Well, if Mims led with the statement that “all who are hot are also fly”, then all Mims would have to say is “I’m hot and you’re not.” That would then imply that Mims is both hot (and, by default, fly) and the recipient of his statement was neither hot nor fly.

How I love nerd jokes!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

[log] Freebird

... is killing me. Full extend of my mysery.

And the full Guitar Hero Note Charts. Another example of astounding work that the rest of us gets to enjoy for free (how did they ever charted out all those subtly off-beat notes? @#$%!)

[code] Keeping mininum table column width

Learned this trick from Dana today on how to have a table column stretch wider when one expands the browser, and yet maintain a minimum width (say, 500px) when shrinking the browser.

- Make the column stretchy, then stick this in the column:
<img class="MinWidthPix" src="/images/pix.gif">

- And stick this in the stylesheet
.MinWidthPix {width:500px;height:1px;}

- pix.gif is a 1x1 transparent gif

Dana also mentioned that, instead of a 1x1 pix, a HR tag could also work, but that the HR tag is prone to result in inconsistencies in different browsers.

Monday, April 23, 2007

[code] Make internal links scroll smoothly

Wonderfully instructive article on this Javascript trick:

And just in case that article should get wiped out from sitepoint. My backup.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

[outing] Audition! The Musical

Where: Santa Monica Playhouse
Who: Corinne and I

- Three ladies, nine characters, amazing skills and great performance
- Wonderfully historical building
- And a light complimentary dinner!

[outing] Cafe Laurent (Culver City, CA)

Where: Cafe Laurent
Who: Corinne, Andrew, Deb, Bill, us
When: Sunday 2007 Apr 22, 11:30am

- Gorgeous patio area with live music on Sunday
- My order: Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding with whip cream and ice cream (not the most cardiovascular friendly choice, but, it came with some fruit)
- Pierre's order: Chocolate waffle, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, potato au gratin, fruit
- Corinne's order: Frittata with apple chicken sausage served in a croissant, side salad, potato au gratin
- Andrew and Deb: Les Oeufs Bénédicte
- Bill: Omelete La Complète (but without the meat) - brie, mushrooms, avocado
- Was it 11 or 11:30?

Cafe Laurent
4243 Overland Ave
(Overland, one block south of Culver blvd)
Culver City, CA 9023
310. 558. 8622

[log] Coghead

Spent some relaxing time on Coghead, exploring some ideas and needs for our SEO projects. It totally reminds me of the earlier days of TenFold's Universal Application. I have absolutely no doubt that Coghead makes for a beautiful demo, where one can create a database app in minutes. But creating a complex, mission-critical business app? I couldn't find at least these features:

- Adding new row to a child table from a "parent form" (TenFold calls it "AutoAdd")
- Multi column "drop down" that populates a foreign key or data in mulitple fields (TenFold calls it "SmartPicks")
- Auto Generated Incrementing ID -- They must have this? I just couldn't find it.
- Joining to fields that are multiple tables (or "collection" in Coghead speak) away
- Scheduled Jobs
- Testing Tools

Complex apps just make for complex problems.

But, I do love the idea of the web-hosted app, with built-in user authentication and access control. And using Flash means I can edit the app from anywhere. It's impressive what one can do in Flash these days.

Disclaimer: Of course, I didn't read the user manual. I only read manuals of video games ...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

[tool] SQL Assistant

Just a couple of days after I posted the entry about SQL Prompt, Google AdSense shows me a ad for SQL Assistant -- Another tool that code table and column name completion, but it's free.

God bless the technology that is contextual keyword targeted text ads.

SQL Assistant v1.0 uses a slightly smaller memory footprint (7mb vs 12mb), so far it is feeling faster to use all around. Though it does not appear to have the "only run when I ask" mode. So we will see. I do always appreciate great free software.

And the all important "how to turn off auto-casing":
- Right click on SQL Assitant from the System Tray, and click "Options ..."
- Go to "SQL Assistant" tab, click on the text "SQL Server" to select it
- (Here come the totally not obvious step) Click on the blank cell next to "Keywords ..."
- A whole lot of stuff now appears. Click on text "Uppercase", to the right of "Convert keywords to", to enable a dropdown menu
- Select "None"

2007 Apr 19 Update -- SQL Assistant is the winner over SQL Prompt. I've uninstalled SQL Prompt.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

[trip] Cabo San Lucas

Accomodation: ME by Melia Cabo
When: Sun April 15 - Wed April 18
Who: Daryl, Natalie, Raheem, Eliza, us

- Chaise lounges at the gorgeous lobby
- Working on laptop in the shaded pool side cabana
- iPod docking station
- Strawberry Daq + Pina Colada = Miami Vice
- Surviving rounds of hearts (and shots) and losing the first and only hand
- Tortilla soup ranking:
  1. Las Quesadilla (great tomato-based soup base with fresh cilatro)
  2. Stop Light (tasty melty cheese in smokey tomato-based soup)
  3. Edith's (good soup base but otherwise can't remember much)
  4. The Sand Bar (not bad but not memorable either)
- $6 Voss Water at Edith's
- Fire pit at The Sand Bar
- Getting Daryl up for dinner -- "Ahhh! Close your eyes!"
- El Squid Roe, Giggling Marlin, and great cover band at Cabo Wabo

[muse] Policemen and Paramedics

Can't remember who told me this, but it's always been one of my favorites:

At every scene of crisis, there are policemen and paramedics.

Are you a policeman or a paramedic, at your daily "scenes of crisis" at work and at home?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

[eats] Sushi Central (Los Angeles, CA)

- Excellent Ono (Escobar) with Phillip's special sauce
- Excellent Spicy tuna handroll
- Excellent Beef short ribs
- And really, everything is excellent. But I will always go for the three above.
- (actually, maybe except for spicy shrimp handroll, which was the only thing that we've had that we were not thrilled with)
- Laid back casual family atmosphere with great sushi. Convenient in-lot parking and few minutes drive. Bring your own booze (or buy from 7-11 next door)
- Can't really ask for more.

Sushi Central
3500 Overland Ave. #100
(Corner of Overland and Palms)
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Saturday, April 14, 2007

[code] Long Spaces

In writing the last post, I just learned about some special characters for long spaces. Now I can be a little smarter than writing multiple &nbsp's.

  * &nbsp;
  * &ensp;
  * &emsp;

- * regular hyphen
– * &ndash;
— * &mdash;

[tool] SQLPrompt

Ben tipped me on this nice utility: SQLPrompt

However, upon install, it wants to practically write my sql code for me, which was annoying because it slowed me down so much. But, with these tweaks in place ...

- From the SQLPrompt menu of SQL Query Analyzer, select Options
- In "Availability" tab
 - set "Candidate List" to "Manual"
 - set "Schema Panel" to "Don't show"
- In "Candidates" tab
 - uncheck "Include variables in the candidate list"
- In "Style" tab
 - uncheck "Surround with brackets []"
 - uncheck "Insert parentheses for built-in functions and data types"
 - set "Reserved keywords" to "Leave as is"
 - set "Build-in functions" to "Leave as is"
 - set "Built-in data types" to "Leave as is"
- In "Auto Insert" tab
 - uncheck "Enable TAB to expand columns after SELECT *"
- In "Aliases" tab
 - set "Alias Assignment" to "off"

Now, it only comes up when I want to -- ctrl-space brings up the box to help me complete long table names and long column names. Love it!

[log] Drew's Script-o-Rama

Never ceases to amaze me what just one person can accomplish (or is he just joking when he says "This script is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings"?) Either way I am grateful.

Monday, April 09, 2007

[muse] Muscle Memory

I was practicing Bach's Invention 13 last night, and noticed this:

I've always learned a new piece of music by playing through it for a while first. So that's what I had done with this piece. I could play through it, but with many pauses and restarts.

Once I'm ok at the play-through, I practice to get rid of the pauses and restarts. That's what I was doing last night. I suddenly realized, that all I was doing, was trying to reverse all the wrong muscle memories that I had developed in the "playing through" phase.

And it was really hard.

It then occured to me, how easily and unknowingly it is to develop these muscle memories in all parts of our lives -- be it finger positions on a piano, to how we organize mail, how we split the bills at dinner, how we laugh at the movies, how we deal with a bad day at work ...

Much of what we called "personality" and "character", is the collective muscle memories that we had accumulated and settled into as we age.

Now it really makes sense to me, why most people can't change. I can barely fix a couple of fingering mistakes in one evening.

Beware of muscle memories. They creep in.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

[outing] Pippin

Where: Morgan-Wixson Theatre (Santa Monica)
Who: Corinne and I
Tickets: $11.50 Row B. Sunday 2007 April 1 2pm

- A prince looking for true meaning and fulfillment in life ...
- The most excellent morality tale, that is also incredibly clever and funny
- Fantastic choreography
- Beth and Henri were great!
- Love, love, loved it.

[story] The Sweetheart Tree

I made up this story to go with the song The Sweetheart Tree. It's a simple love song, with a beautifully sad melody.

Long ago there were two warring countries -- Han and Chin. They had been at war with each other for so long, that no one really even remembered why they hate each other so much.

One day the Prince of Han went hunting in the forest. He shot an arrow at a bird that flew by, and missed. But as the arrow came down, he heard a loud cry:

"Ah! Oh my god!"

The Prince followed the voice deeper into the forest, and came upon the most beautiful lady, sitting under a tree; and his arrow, planted on the tree trunk, just above her head.

The lady was very frightened and very angry. But the Prince apologized profusely, and after a good number of "sorry's", the lady finally had a smile on her face again. The Prince introduced himself, and to his great surprise, she turned out to be the Princess of Chin.

They spent the rest of that day together and had a great time. They set a time to meet again, and soon they were meeting in the forest every week. They were madly in love, but they also knew that they could never be together -- Their families would never allow it.

But the war between the countries went on, so they finally decided that their only choice was to run away, even though they would be leaving their beloved families and countries behind. They set a date to meet by the tree.

When that fateful day came, the Princess left a note on her bed, and headed for the forest to wait by the tree. The palace guards found the note in no time, and reported the Princess missing to the King. The King did not believe the note: "There is no way that my princess would leave us -- Those Han bastards must have abducted her! Get her back!"

The Chin army quickly assembled and took off. As they were charging towards the Han territory, they saw the Prince flying towards them on horseback. "Look! It's the Prince! Get him!"

They shot a hundred arrows at him. The Prince was very, very hurt, but he wouldn't stop. Then someone noticed that the Prince really wasn't heading for the Chin army, but that he was heading for the forest. "Look! He's trying to get away!"

So they shot a hundred more arrows. And this time, they stopped the Prince.

As for the Princess? She never stopped waiting. She never left the tree.
They say there’s a tree in the forest
A tree that will give you a sign
Come along with me to the sweetheart tree
Come and carve your name next to mine.

They say if you kiss the right sweetheart
The one you’ve been waiting for
Big blossoms of white will burst into sight
And your love will be true evermore.