My Deck View


Dark Clouds


Melting Ice

(p.s. More on this movie later!)

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My Bowl Rankings

Now that the full bowl schedule is out, I've done some rough analysis, ranking the bowls by their computer ranking. Since the human rankings don't go as deep as all the various bowl-bound teams, I've used the Sagarin computer rankings to do my mathematics. Simply, I added the Sagarin number for both teams, and also took the difference between the two teams. The first is supposed to roughly gauge the quality of the bowl, and the second the competitiveness of the two teams.

Skory Rankings

I've lowered the totals (in true USA Today front page style), so the worst bowl, the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl between Rice and Troy, has a value of zero. The bowls are arranged in order, with the national championship on Jan 7 on the far right.

In my opinion, the bowls should get better towards and beyond January 1. New Years Day has always been the day for the best bowls -- the Rose Bowl, for example. This graph makes it clear that bowls don't get better in any kind of pattern. In particular, the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas bowl between BYU and Oregon is way too early for its quality. And the two bowls right before the National Championship (a grand canyon of stink in the graph above), the International and GMAC bowls, are in fact two of the worst bowls of the season.

My team, California, plays in the Holiday bowl on December 28 against Texas A&M. There are 11 bowls after that until there's a bowl of better quality (the Outback bowl between Tennessee and Penn State on the first). By far the best bowl of the season will be the Rose Bowl (between USC and Michigan), which has quality only second to the National Championship, but has a much smaller difference between the teams.

There are all kinds of people out there complaining about the BCS, arguing for a playoff system. I'm on my soapbox asking for the schedule to be changed. Awful bowls don't belong in January, and good bowls don't belong in Mid-December. Especially when my Bears play way too early!

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Red Shoe – 1996

Red Shoe

Red Shoe, by Elizabeth Murray, is situated near La Jolla Vista View in the far South corner of campus. This is probably the least-visited of all the Stuart Collection items. Not only is this item blocked by two large parking lots from the active part of campus, it is buried in a grove of Eucalyptus trees. It is one of my last Stuart Collection items for this reason.

It is made up of cedar and paint using a technique similar to boats. It is open so one can look inside and see its simple construction. The heel is high in the air indicating that the person wearing this shoe would be taking very long steps, and this would be the trailing foot. There is a yellow shoelace tangled on the side, but there is only one eyelet. There are odd, angular rocks littered near the shoe which, frankly, I don't understand.

I have strong feelings about this piece. I don't like the randomness of it (rocks?) because it's half-hearted. If you're going to be random, you should go all the way. Here, Murray has mixed children's fables with Dahli-like solid object manipulation. It's just not well done in my opinion.

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Fun Pics 2

I saw this out on a bike ride recently. Just how am I to cross at the intersection without going past the closed sidewalk?

Bike Hater

Someone parked this awesome Buick Eight in the parking lot next to my building on campus. Here is more information about the Buick Eight, which featured an inline 8 cylinder engine and an early automatic transmission called Dynaflow. Here's a great print ad for the car on Plan59, a for profit repository of historic American print advertisements. The car doesn't change color from one picture to the next, it's my cell phone camera trying to white balance the image. The perspective photos have more accurate color than the close-ups.

Buick Eight

Buick Eight

Buick Eight

Buick Eight

I want portholes on my Volvo.

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La Jolla Income Bell Curve

I got a mailer today from a publication, the La Jolla Blue Book, which lists local businesses. They're taking some demographical statistics of their readership (which are the people they send the book to -- for free). I had no intention of filling it out, until I saw this line:

I'm poor

Let me emphasize: I cannot truthfully check any of these boxes. What's astounding here is they didn't even consider that someone might make less than $25,000 and live in La Jolla, but they spend a whole checkbox on $1+ million bracket.

My new Krups waffle maker (thanks Melissa & Mom!) comes with a warranty card, with a similar demographic-culling intention.

Waffles

Since Krups sells their products nation-wide, they have to cover all income ranges, which are quite a bit different than La Jolla. I'm thinking maybe I'll fill out the LJ Blue Book form now, but make my own box so I don't have to lie about my income. That'll show 'em poor people live here too!

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Most Time Ago

Last Played

I have a playlist on my iPod that automatically updates to include the 25 songs that have gone the longest without me listening to them. (Huh. Can you think of a better way to put that?) I made it some time ago on the idea that songs would migrate there, and then I'd look at the list and listen to something neglected. It doesn't actually happen that way. Today I noticed that the songs at the top of the list had been unlistened to for over three years! I think the time would have been much longer if it hadn't been for an iSight-firewire related hiccup that forced me to reformat the iPod sometime in mid-2003.

I bought my 20 GB 2nd Gen iPod in January 2003 at the Macworld show. According to the Wikipedia page linked previously (a dose of NaCl crystal, of course), since I last listened to these songs, 65.5 million of the total 67.6 million iPods have been sold. Put it another way -- these songs have sat unused on my iPod longer than most people have even had their iPods.

Below is a graph of Apple's stock prices over the last five years, since the introduction of the iPod. When I first heard the name, "iPod," I actually thought it was pretty stupid. Perhaps that's why I'm not in marketing. The red arrow shows when I bought my iPod, when Apple's stock was below $10. As always, Apple's death was right around the corner. Coincidentally, I purchased a good deal of Apple stock around this time, which I have yet to sell.

AAPL

What were these songs neglected for so long? Well -- a few of the longer and slower Dave Matthews songs and some of Stevie Wonder's poorer licks.

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Fun Pics

I've got green mouth! Where's medical science to save me? (It's just a green laser pointer.)

Green

This doesn't look too comfortable, in my opinion. I guess they're madly in love because I'm not sure I could stick with this contorsion very long. And what's up with his right hand?

Kissy

Vegitables doing the nasty. Maybe I'll get banned by the p0rn filters now. Sweet.

Veggies

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Cell Panorama

Check out the panorama I made using my cell phone camera. I would have though the distortion would have been just awful, due to the pinhole lens, but it's not too bad. You'll notice that there are some strange pinkish hues in the sky. Is MCAS Miramar releasing pink dye into the sky for this weekend's air show? My more logical guesses are: A.) dirt on the lens; II.) something funky with the CCD; or 3.)something funky with the JPEG compression algorithm of the cell phone. A.) is likely always the case, but I suspect that II.) and 3.) are also quite likely.

Cell Phone Pano

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Yahoo! Mail Beta still stinks… less

Three months ago I wrote that Yahoo! Mail Beta still stinks. I said that Yahoo! had fixed two of my five main quibbles with their newest email interface. Sure, they fixed two, but they were the ones I cared least about.

Lo and behold, Yahoo! came out with an updated version of Mail Beta a month ago, and more recently my server farm received the update. Let's see how Yahoo! fares this round!

  1. Fixed-width fonts. Huzzah! Numbah one gets addressed. This is big. Fixing this almost is enough for me to start using Beta every day. But only almost. Yahoo!, you get a nice green check:

    x

  2. Message replying format. Nope. Nothing new here. Same, lame behavior as before. Give us some freedom, Yahoo!. Stop putting the minority with good etiquette down! This earns you a Big Red X, and red is never a good color for anything.

    x

  3. Message quoting. Nope, again. There is still no way to differentiate the message I'm replying to and what I've written. Another BRX.

    x

Yahoo!, you're getting beat up, down, left and right by Google. They just took YouTube out from under you this week! Shape up!

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$408,510

I came across this transcript of the Chancellor (link broken) of UC San Diego, Marye Anne Fox, answering students questions during an online chat. The questions were not very interesting. Missing is a question about the vowel shortages in Bosnia, and why she's not helping them out, because she's got some extra "e"s to lend.

I guess in the chatroom format, complete answers aren't really called for. Sometimes I think she hits it just right:

beebop> Hey, Marye quick question: I was just wondering, what is your favorite sandwich?
MA_Fox> that's easy. a cheeseburger

On the other hand, sometimes she doesn't answer at all, in full politician mode:

fitfreak> I'd like to know more about the upcoming vote to raise fees to help pay for Division 2 scholarships. Why is this necessary?
MA_Fox> I encourage you to get involved with student govt so that you may weigh the pluses and minuses of expanding athletic scholarships.

And there's the people with their little problems:

maricket> I'm a cheerleader on campus, I am wondering why we do not receive priority registration. We are now considered "athletes" and I think we do more than our part to contribute to UCSD's spirit and athletic program. Having practice at least 12 hours a week plus games, rallies, and fundraisers, I believe that we deserve a chance to plan around those events with that priority registration. What do you think?
MA_Fox> I was not aware of this issue and will discuss it with the VC for Student Affairs.

I wonder how MA_Fox would have answered if maricket was a cheerleader off campus?

Overall, I get the distinct feeling that she's not really earning the $408,510 she's being paid as the Chancellor. Honestly, do her answers strike you as concise and to the point? She really doesn't know what students care about. If she was being verbally grilled by a thesis comittee, she'd be flunked. And since this is a university, I think that's a fair measure of her performance.

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Mud Machine

I went over to a nearby bike shop to get a quote for my damaged bike (ask if you're interested), and I had some time to kill while I was waiting for the manager, so I wandered over to a nearby dead-end street. Parked there was this very odd machine (which I took photos of, now that my cell phone has been fixed):

Mud Machine

The only hints I can provide is that this machine is parked next to a marshy area, and a 40 food deep hole in the pavement with a pump pumping water out of the hole. Perhaps the machine is a mud processor/filterer/cleaner of some sort?

Mud Machine

Mud Machine

Can you guess what this machine does? I can't.

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[W]hack a Phone

E815

I've had my Motorola E815 phone for about a year. It has bluetooth, a camera, and other cool features, like many modern phones. Bluetooth enables you to transfer photos, movies and ringtones on and off a phone. All these things seem like a useful feature set for a phone. However, Verizon, the carrier for my current phone, disabled a number of bluetooth features, such as file transfer.

Why would Verizon intentionally cripple a phone? Money, of course. Turning off the file transfer abilities of a phone means that if I want to get the photos I take using my phone onto my personal computer, I need to use their not free services. Also, if I want to get a new ringtone, I need to pay for them (often over a buck for 30 seconds of music!), instead of uploading a simple, free, MIDI I found on the internet.

Ever since I got my phone, I've been aware that it is easily hacked to allow all bluetooth function, but it required a special USB cable. I never got around to buying the $10 cable, and hacking the phone, until now.

Phone

The camera actually takes farily decent photos in a wide range of light conditions considering it's just a pinhole lens. It also takes short movies, with sound. I can also upload MIDI sound files, or even MP3s, and make them my ringtone. I've always wanted to pull out my camera phone whenever I saw something cool, but never bothered because I couldn't get them off the camera for free. Now that I can, I'll be more willing to snap a pic of whatever.

Phone

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UCSD Celebration of Abilities Month

I got this in my "Spam" mail folder today:

UCSD
CAMPUS NOTICE
University of California, San Diego

OFFICE OF THE CHANCELLOR

September 28, 2006

ALL ACADEMICS AND STAFF AT UCSD (including UCSD Medical Center)

SUBJECT: UCSD Celebration of Abilities Month

I am pleased to announce and encourage faculty, staff and students to participate in the Celebration of Abilities Month events during the month of October 2006. Featured events will be held at the Price Center Plaza on October 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and consecutively on October 5 at the grassy area between Torrey Pines Center North and Torrey Pines Center South.

The purpose of these activities is to increase the awareness of and sensitivity to the abilities and needs of people with disabilities at UCSD. Details and a complete schedule of events can be viewed at: http://blink.ucsd.edu/go/disabilityawarenessmonth

In recognition of this annual event, I am approving one hour of administrative leave with pay that employees may apply to their
attendance at a Celebration of Abilities activity. Supervisors are encouraged to allow employees one hour of administrative leave with pay to attend a Celebration of Abilities event when the absence does not infringe upon the performance of required job duties.

Inquiries regarding the events may be directed to the Human Resources Department, Employee Rehabilitation Program at (858)534-6744.
Marye Anne Fox
Chancellor

Now read this excellent article from the Onion: Congress Passes Americans With No Abilities Act. Now go back and re-read the above email. If you've ever dealt with Academic Computing Services here at UCSD, you'll know who will be getting the biggest cheers at this celebration.

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