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Archive for March, 2003

Charlotte coming to Stanford?

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My cousin Charlotte just called to tell me that she was admitted into Stanford University! This is exciting! The prospect of having a cousin I grew up with going to school in the area is very cool. Now we’ll just have to hope that a certain East Coast school doesn’t cause any decision problems for her… ;)

charlotte and her dad, on stanford campus

| link | trackb | 4 comments » | Mar 31, 2003 20:25:57

Federal Do Not Call Program

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Cindy Yu just sent this to me:
Pre-register for the national Do Not Call Program

Californians can now pre-register here for the nationwide Do Not Call list that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is expected to launch this summer. California is joining in the national Do Not Call registry which is FREE to consumers. If you sign up today, you can stop unwanted telemarketing calls beginning in October under the nationwide program. We will deliver the pre-registered California telephone numbers to the FTC as soon as the federal agency is ready to receive them – most likely in July 2003.

Only California residential and mobile telephone numbers are eligible for this program. Business telephone numbers are excluded. Beginning October 2003, telemarketers must stop calling consumers whose telephone number is on the national Do Not Call list.

While most telemarketer calls will be prohibited, there are certain exceptions. For example, charities, and companies that have an established relationship with a consumer will still be allowed to make calls.

More info: http://nocall.doj.state.ca.us/

| link | trackb | 5 comments » | Mar 31, 2003 13:47:35

“Hartichoke Arts”

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Sarah Pont invited Giancarlo and me over for dinner tonight. Since Pamina is in town for a few days, I thought it would be fun to surprise both Sarah and Giancarlo by having Pamina show up randomly. It worked. :) I have a precious photo of Sarah’s reaction. :) I used to see Sarah quite frequently, but since she started her new job (college counselor for Eastside Prep, in East Palo Alto), she’s been harder to track down. All I can say is that my college counselor didn’t work nearly as hard as she does. :) Anyway, we had a good time. :) [see some photos]

| link | trackb | no comments » | Mar 31, 2003 00:51:11

Infrared foothills

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On our micro-trek into the foothills, I lugged along my modified Nikon Coolpix 990 camera. A really, really nice biker-looking guy named Gary Traveis did a bit of surgery on my camera, removing the hot-mirror (infrared-blocking) filter that sits on the CCD, and replacing it with a piece of glass with similar optical qualities. My Coolpix is now extremely sensitive to near-infrared light, and with a #87 filter, is capable of recording fast-shutter near-infrared images. I haven’t really gone out exploring in infrared in more than three years, but it’s time that I start doing it again. :)

If you’ve never seen near-IR images, check this image out. I’m wearing a black hat, and dark sunglasses. Near-IR turns my hat white, and it can see straight through my sunglasses!
[see some photos] [more about infrared]

| link | trackb | 4 comments » | Mar 30, 2003 00:21:42

Justin, Stanford Foothills

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Justin is in town for a brief visit. Wendy, Justin and I went to the Cat Show today (in San Mateo, a few short blocks away from the E.piphany engineering building), where we saw many stunningly beautiful cats along with their owners, many of whom were wearing clothing with big cat drawings on them. Afterwards, we took Justin to visit Stanford University for the first time in his life. Being a New Jersey->Harvard->Manhattan boy, Wendy asked him, “could you imagine yourself here?” His reply (along with a burst of laughter), “ye-ye-yeah-ah! …a seven year Ph.D program in English?” I am reminded each time I walk the campus that it is like paradise, still (and, as paradise must be, it is necessarily sheltered from the outside world: both good and bad).

Also fun was a quick stroll through the Stanford foothills (the stroll was cut short by my sister’s and my incessant coughing). It’s unfortunate that the foothills are now fenced, paved, and patrolled by what looks like moon buggies, but it’s still beautiful — especially while lush green, at this time of year. Come late September when the incoming frosh are driven down the 280 towards campus from the airport, they will stare in shocked horror at the yellow-brown wasteland that are the fall foothills. “This is California?!” they will exclaim, “where are the palm trees… and the beaches!?!” [see some photos]

In the evening we watched “Waiting for Guffman,” a truly funny movie. I love Parker Posey.

I hate this cough.

| link | trackb | 4 comments » | Mar 30, 2003 00:04:00

Loaning stuff

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OK. Who has my O’Reilly CSS reference? You must be a computer person to have borrowed that book, and if you are a personal friend of mine and are a computer person, you probably check this journal. :)

In related news, my minidisc recorder has miraculously appeared in the bottom drawer of one of my cabinets. I’m losing my mind.

| link | trackb | 2 comments » | Mar 28, 2003 20:26:16

Nothing in particular

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What can I say? I’m still sick. I did leave the house today, which was novel. My sister and I discovered a cute little cafe down the street called Cafe Chloe (i think…). Two little kids were staring at us from right outside the window. It’s always fun to be stared at while you’re trying to eat. If they were cuter, it might have been … well, cute. However, being as things were, I was tempted to make sudden jabbing motions with my fork. Who’s got that powerful paternal instinct welling up inside him? That’s right: Me.

Jens left yesterday. I feel a bit of guilt because this stupid cold took a lot from my abilities to entertain and spend quality time with him. :(

Um. I guess I’ll bid farewell to this entry by posting some photos. :) –> [see some photos]

Also, if you are in MA, CT, NY, PA, RI, D.C., NC, or TN, check out Vienna Teng’s tour schedule. She performed at the Kendall Cafe in Cambridge tonight, and is on the move. Also watch out for Adam Tow, who will be dutifully capturing part of the tour on video and still images starting next week. [buy vienna's cd]

| link | trackb | 2 comments » | Mar 27, 2003 23:26:40

Your a looser [sic]

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This is HI-LARIOUS (I’ve ripped off a thread in the comments section of another really funny page, which I found on glenda‘s site). ok. now i’m really burning up. this fever is RAGING!

Ding youve got mail…ding your stupid as hell..ding your on AOL…rofl..oops
sorry morons that use aol…hehehehhe

Posted by: Death to M$ at March 25, 2003 02:36 PM

In response to:
Ding youve got mail…ding "your" stupid as hell??
..ding "your" on AOL…rofl..oops sorry morons that use aol…hehehehhe

whos the idiot now? i cannot believe people do not know the difference between "your" and "you’re" I guess thats why the pay is so low, this world is full of idiots who think they’re smart.

Posted by: 3rd grader at March 25, 2003 07:14 PM (read more »)

| link | trackb | 5 comments » | Mar 27, 2003 00:14:49

PBS: Becoming American

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And, in a strange departure from the deliberate superficiality that usually graces this site…

I just finished watching “Between Two Worlds,” the second in a series of three PBS specials called “Becoming American: The Chinese Experience.” I’ve had rudimentary Asian-American history (through text and lectures), but it really hit me hard to see video footage of people who could be my parents (grandparents, more likely) tell their experiences personally. The Chinese Exclusion Acts weren’t repealed until 1943, and it’s very existence is shameful for our country (as are numerous other things in our past). I am very happy that I was given life in modern times, and I hope that opportunity levels — for everyone — become even across the country sooner, rather than later. Sure, we can pretend that it’s like that now, but I still see my parents being treated like idiots because people have assumed that they can’t speak English — and these experiences were in California. Luckily, the only recent sources of racism I’ve encountered come from travel abroad and from cowards who leave immature messages online, cloaked by the safety of anonynimity. Growing up in a mostly-white community, I was subjected to it quite often, even though a lot of it was unintentional. (read more »)

| link | trackb | 5 comments » | Mar 26, 2003 23:38:07


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Cool! Just found out that one of my buddies from San Diego has a new web page/blog. Go check out his artwork, and see a photo of him grabbing someone’s crotch at Disneyland.

Unrelated: I opened up my computer today to install some more RAM (2GB, baby! It’s noticeable faster now, even though I had plenty before), and it now sometimes hums a middle C. I must have closed the case such that something is vibrating at that frequency. Periodically, I notice the hum and stick my head out of the study to see if it’s coming from outside, before realizing that it is STILL my computer that is making the noise. It’s driving me insane!

| link | trackb | 6 comments » | Mar 26, 2003 18:00:37

Random stuff

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I discovered yesterday that the best way to keep me away from my computer is to inflict me with a debilitating cold that keeps me huddled in bed, radiating heat while shivering in cold sweat.


1. Someone stole my trashcan yesterday.

2. I guess the friend who borrowed my minidisc recorder doesn’t check my website. It is still unaccounted for!

3. Anyone want discounted tickets to the SF Symphony tomorrow night? I’ve decided that I should stay in and recover.

| link | trackb | 4 comments » | Mar 26, 2003 11:10:50

Mac vs. PC – Adobe Benchmarks

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Mac user Alex just sent me two links to video processing face-offs between a dual-1.25Ghz Mac and a Dell P4 3.06Ghz. Who won? The PC, of course, by a huge margin. It’s cheaper, too.

I saw a similar test done with Photoshop some time ago (same machine specs), but I can’t seem to find it anymore.

The links:
Adobe – The Great Gender Race
Mac vs. PC III: Mac Slaughtered Again

Yeah, I know. The Mac is “easier” to use, and it is really pretty, and we don’t use it because it’s fast. That much is clear. :)

| link | trackb | 8 comments » | Mar 25, 2003 14:21:38

“The devil made me do it”

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—–Original Message—–
From: Jim Watt
Sent: Monday, March 24, 2003 5:04 PM
To: Eric Cheng
Subject: The devil made me do it


Never leave personal items in the wrong hands!


Watt Wildlife Library

[see what they did]

| link | trackb | 11 comments » | Mar 24, 2003 17:13:41

Tony Blair’s speech

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Wow. Watch this video of Tony Blair’s recent speech (fast forward 4 minutes in the clip). I can’t imagine our own fearless leader even completing a decent sentence, so seeing a country’s leader speak well — with thought behind the speech — comes as a shock. At least Brits can know that their government’s decision to support the war was well thought out, and that the considerations of its people were listened to. Can you imagine Bush making any sort of point or argument in a speech that seems well thought out? I know that he doesn’t write his own speeches, but it would still be something indeed. (I would recommend watching the speech, but if you can’t for some reason, you can also read the full text.) Thanks to Raymond for the link.

| link | trackb | 16 comments » | Mar 24, 2003 01:07:18

Windows backup solutions

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I’ve been using Retrospect 5.6 for my backup needs, but it is having issues with my Promise Connectstor II NAS box (it does not work, and neither Dantz nor Promise can help, apparently). This leaves me using Retrospect only for tape backups. I downloaded the trial version of LI Utilities’ WinBackup, which seems to be simple, fast, and effective.

Any suggestions out there for Windows XP backup software? I need the ability to schedule incremental backups to a network volume. That’s about it. :) Oh, and it has to be relatively fast. I tried another product (NTI Backup Now Deluxe 3.0) that was 10x slower than WinBackup and Retrospect; it would have taken 55 hours to back up 100 gigabytes (I have much more data than that), which is far from acceptable.

| link | trackb | 3 comments » | Mar 23, 2003 17:03:07

A strange photo

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When I opened the photo I took of Eric, Jim, Vienna, and Melissa in Photoshop today, I discovered that the image had become like this:

Any ideas why? ;) (If you don’t know, go watch “The Ring,” or “Ringu”). Man. I got chills just looking at the picture.

| link | trackb | 2 comments » | Mar 23, 2003 13:23:13

Jens visits; The “other” Eric’s housewarming

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James Wiseman (an underwater photo buddy) and his girlfriend Sarah are in town for the weekend, and I took them up to Sutro tower for a view of the city after having brunch at Miss Millies. Plainly visible were numerous helicopters flying over the intersection of Market St. and 6th St., where anti-war protesters had blocked the road. Police were out in riot gear, making arrests.

Jens is in town (from Germany) for a dermatology conference, and is staying with me for a few days. At around 5:30 we went to the other Eric‘s housewarming party, where we met lots of interesting, nice people and ate sausages and bread. Eric’s roommate Paula spoke to Jens in German for awhile while I stood by trying to figure out what they were saying.

Strangely enough, I think I’m developing a taste for dark beers. And, of course, I took some pictures –> [see some photos]

Also, Munira is back, after a year of being in Tajikistan and various other places. She and her sister successfully summitted Kilimanjaro last month! :)

| link | trackb | 4 comments » | Mar 23, 2003 01:55:12

RSS Syndication

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Thanks to Alex King, I have discovered Syndirella, and it is very, very cool. Now, I just have to harrass my friends out there who don’t publish an RSS feed and don’t have distinctive tags in their web journals to tag their entries in some recognizable manner. :)

Also very cool is IMatch. It may be the image management program I’ve been looking for (I really do not like Portolio nor Cumulus).

| link | trackb | 4 comments » | Mar 20, 2003 00:53:25

Kona – Day 7 – Day from Hell

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What a day from hell (I mean, for events not concerning the war, even). I didn’t get enough sleep last night because I was up doing something I thought was important. The strange thing is that I can no longer remember what was so important!

As I was preparing to enter the water at Turtle Pinnacle this morning, I realized that I had left my dive computer in Jim’s office. Since my pressure gauge resides on my dive computer, my options were to 1) not dive, or 2) be an extremely paranoid diver for an uncertain amount of time. :) I decided on option 2, but set a conservative time limit. The dive is relatively shallow, so I wasn’t concerned about getting bent.

All three of us got lost trying to find the pinnacle. (read more »)

| link | trackb | no comments » | Mar 19, 2003 22:14:34

Kona – Day 6

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Turtle Pinnacle is absolutely a world-class dive. Are there other places out there where you can get virtually-guaranteed photographs of turtles being cleaned by colorful fish? I was hoping for the canonical “turtle being cleaned by yellow tangs” shot, but yellow tangs usually take off as soon as you get close, leaving only the darker tangs behind for the photo. Maybe next time. :) We did, however, see a hawksbill turtle. While these critters are a dime-a-dozen in West Palm Beach, Watt has only seen two of them locally in his twenty years in Hawaii. The first time he saw one was a year ago, when I was here last time. :)

At 25′, Douglas discovered that his pressure gauge was broken while trying suck in a breath of air — and getting nothing. Luckily, he was already headed towards the surface, so the only effect was that he had to forgo a safety stop. I suppose it could have been worse.

The wind has picked offshore, so we’re taking the afternoon easy. More diving tomorrow! I wish I had more time here. I would like to get out to the lava flow on the other side of the island, but with only one more diving day left, we will probably spend tomorrow in the water, leaving us too tired to get to the other side of the island at night.

In the evening, Douglas, Jim and I met up with the Seapics.com folk (Masa, Tamara, and Sue) to hang out at Huggo’s. It is here that some rare photos of me with a Guinness were taken. :) [see some photos]

Re: the war thing. It was my OWN feeling of helplessness (and the associated guilt) that I was referring to; it seems to be causing mild depression. I know that many people in the States are pro-war. That wasn’t the point.

I still almost literally feel sick everytime I hear or see Bush in the media.

| link | trackb | 6 comments » | Mar 18, 2003 19:28:16
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