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Archive for July, 2003


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I’m sorry I haven’t been responding to e-mail or to general invitations to fraternize. I’ve been tired, busy, and I’m doped up on Lariam. But I’m trying to see people on my way to and on my way back from things.

And if I don’t see you in the next two days, it will have to wait until late August or until mid-September. I won’t have any e-mail access from August 2-25. I’m going on vacation with my family, and as usual, my house will be like a hostel while I’m gone — which I like. I just wish I could be here to hang out, too. :)

But if you want to write me anyway to tell me how you’re doing, I’d love to hear from you. :)

Actually. If you’re out there, leave a comment. I’m at the same time attention-phobic and attention-philic. Funny how that can work.

| link | trackb | 6 comments » | Jul 31, 2003 03:11:27

Storms, Vienna Teng

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Was anyone else out there awake for that huge thunderstorm on Tuesday night (I think it was around 3am)? It was so unusual for San Francisco that I woke up this morning thinking that it had been a dream. Speaking of dream-like states, during the middle of the day I suddenly remembered that Livia called me this morning at 7:54 am. She asked, “Are you ok? I had a dream that you DIED! Wait… are you in California? (the whole time change thing) I’m so sorry! I’ll talk to you later.” And that was about the extent of the conversaion. I think she gets back into town the day I leave. It’s nearly impossible to keep track of classical musicians during the summer, and I miss her and Geoff very much.

I took a bit of time off on Tuesday to see Vienna Teng open for Shawn Colvin at the Saratoga Mountain Winery. The winery is breathtakingly beautiful; I’m not sure how its existence escaped my attention for all of these years. It’s just four miles from the valley, and it feels like it’s a world away. Well, until you look around at the clientele, I mean. After watching people for awhile, I felt like doing a survey to find out the Blackberry-to-person ratio. Steve Wozniak and two friends were there, zipping around on their Segways. (read more »)

| link | trackb | 10 comments » | Jul 31, 2003 01:01:12

Sony PCG-TR1A and Windows XP Professional

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I’m selling my Thinkpad A31. Anyone want to buy it? It’s an amazing system, but it’s heavy. P4 1.8GHz, a really sharp, bright 1400×1050 screen, 40GB HD, Windows XP, DVD/CD-RW, 802.11b, extra battery. E-mail me.

For a replacement travel machine, I got a Sony PCG-TR1A (like the PCG-TR1AP, but with XP Home instead of XP Professional), which is gorgeous. But I bought the TR1A and not the TR1AP (cheaper!), and installed Windows XP Professional on it myself. All of the drivers on the web site work fine with it (despite what they will tell you if you call support), but the included Application Recovery CDs barf when you try to run them. I tried to get a replacement set for XP, and was denied. Support told me that the TR1AP doesn’t run XP Pro, but they’re stupid, because it says that it does right there on the Sony website. Instead of complaining, I hung up. By the way, Sony support’s voice recognition system is amazing. Fast, and accurate. I almost wanted to talk to it more than I did the woman who picked up afterward. (Although, John Adams tells me that it does not understand British accents).

So… here how you get the bundled Sony Applications installed with XP Pro (some of which are important for setting your computer up). I hope search engines find this so people don’t have to go through the Sony support black-hole. (read more »)

| link | trackb | 13 comments » | Jul 29, 2003 17:23:46

“You must have a nice camera.”

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“You must have a nice camera.”

That’s the number-one thing I hear when people see my photographs. It’s too bad that it is analagous to telling a chef, “You must have a nice oven!” (this is what Jim Abernethy says all the time) :)

| link | trackb | 22 comments » | Jul 29, 2003 00:26:20

4 Things

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1) I put some scans online (scroll to the bottom of that page).

2) I put a recording up. If you wanna hear it, go to my music page and look for “July 27, 2003 – I’ve put up a recording” (update: new version uploaded on 8/1/03)

3) It’s cold and windy here! The Peninsula is much nicer. Well, the weather there is, anyway.

4) Pull My Finger

| link | trackb | 5 comments » | Jul 26, 2003 23:06:11


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It sure is amazing how long a mobile phone battery lasts when no one calls you. (Wallow, wallow, wallow).

I’m done now. :) Have to play a wedding today. We’re playing the slow movement of Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in d minor, a Mozart piano trio, and some other stuff like the Swan (super cheesy!). Yeah!

| link | trackb | no comments » | Jul 26, 2003 12:16:49

Jeremy’s Birthday Party

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Happy Birthday, Jeremy! I hadn’t seen Jeremy in months. It’s not his fault, though. I’ve just been out of town a lot. Jeremy made chili, lasagna, and cobbler, which we devoured with wine and ice cream.

There were a lot of people I didn’t know there, and I still don’t know some of them. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet everyone, and my short-term memory is getting pretty crappy with my old age. ;) It was good to see Munira; I hadn’t seen her for months either. And it was also nice to see the folk that I only see at Jeremy-events (Toli, Catherine, Ruth, and Betsy). [see some photos]

I’d also like to embarrass Jeremy for a moment and show a photo of him with a HUGE FRO, taken just two years ago. :)

And finally, for those of you at the party who wanted to see what I shoot, go here and click on either “Underwater Photography” or “Travel Photography.”

| link | trackb | 1 comment » | Jul 25, 2003 23:46:24

Trio Reunited

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Ben and I went over to David Park’s place to practice piano trio repertoire for a wedding we’re playing this Saturday. Dave was a Steinway snob for 20 years before he discovered that Bösendorfers are wonderful pianos and can be had for half the cost of a nice Steinway. His new piano is very nice. :) He, Ben and I have been playing chamber music together since 1997, although we’ve all taken the last few years off from each other. While we were playing, Dave stopped and turned to me:

“You sound good! You sound a lot better than you did before. Cuz… cuz I remember how you sounded.”

And then he stopped. I wasn’t sure how to take it, but that’s the way Dave is. I had forgotten, and it was actually quite refreshing to see that he has not changed. :) Oh, and Dave is a wonderful player. Those of you who are local to the Bay Area and were into the kiddy classical scene here probably heard him play ten to fifteen years ago.

Other photos in this entry include photos of food and of Elliot, who dropped by today between checking out residences in the city (yay!!). I’ve been busy these past few days. Haven’t even seen any friends, really, and have been distracted when people call me. I’m glad Elliot stopped by. [see some photos]

| link | trackb | 1 comment » | Jul 25, 2003 03:07:08

Dinner with Tom

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Wendy and I had dinner with our cousin Tom, who actually refers to himself as “Cousin Tom” when he calls, after which we both feel transported… oh… somewhere into that great corn-and-wheat-filled mystery between here and New York. ;) You can’t be “Cousin Tom” without wearing a big hat, and having wheat sticking out between your teeth, can you?

Anyway, so we went — along with his two kids — to Squat & Gobble to have some food. Evan and Allison are crazy and make a mess wherever they go, but they are very cute. :) Allison seems to have progressed past the chronic shyness she exhibited last year and is babbling all the time now. It doesn’t seem to faze her that she sometimes uses words that only she knows the definitions to… ;) [see some photos]

| link | trackb | no comments » | Jul 25, 2003 02:59:02

Referrer Logs

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I’ve added a script that tracks the last 200 referrers to echeng.com. To find it again, scroll down to the very bottom of the page and click on [Referrers].

| link | trackb | no comments » | Jul 24, 2003 19:19:49

Informing Ourselves to Death

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Here’s an extremely interesting speech given by Neil Postman in 1990 (found it on the other Eric’s blog).


“The message is that through more and more information, more conveniently packaged, more swiftly delivered, we will find solutions to our problems. And so all the brilliant young men and women, believing this, create ingenious things for the computer to do, hoping that in this way, we will become wiser and more decent and more noble. And who can blame them? By becoming masters of this wondrous technology, they will acquire prestige and power and some will even become famous. In a world populated by people who believe that through more and more information, paradise is attainable, the computer scientist is king. But I maintain that all of this is a monumental and dangerous waste of human talent and energy. Imagine what might be accomplished if this talent and energy were turned to philosophy, to theology, to the arts, to imaginative literature or to education? Who knows what we could learn from such people — perhaps why there are wars, and hunger, and homelessness and mental illness and anger…”

Much of what he writes about resonates within me, which might seem strange because I’m the first person to be excited about the progress of technology. The problem is that at the same time, I both love and hate computers and the drive to produce/manage/make money from information that is simply of no use to anyone but the privileged. Yes, it’s hypocritical, but I’m not sure yet how (or if) I will change as a result of what’s going on in my head these days. I want to leave this entry public, so I’ll stop there.

I’ve reproduced the text in this entry, in case the link goes down. (read more »)

| link | trackb | 7 comments » | Jul 24, 2003 17:03:46

Google Adsense Progress

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Man. Alex, I owe you dinner. :) At the risk of making some of you out there feel ill because I am making a bit of money from “nothing,” I’ve decided to share my Adsense results up to date. I actually feel bad that I’ve made $100/week just by adding some code to my site. Anyway, this program is incredible. Highly recommended, if you run a high-traffic site. :)

Results so far: Wednesday, July 9, 2003 – Thursday, July 24, 2003

Date Impressions Clicks Clickthrough rate Your earnings
Wednesday, July 9, 2003 906 23 2.5% $34.24
Thursday, July 10, 2003 930 24 2.6% $35.35
Friday, July 11, 2003 1,181 20 1.7% $16.36
Saturday, July 12, 2003 1,000 9 0.9% $3.90
Sunday, July 13, 2003 1,194 20 1.7% $10.56
Monday, July 14, 2003 1,560 23 1.5% $21.69
Tuesday, July 15, 2003 1,387 21 1.5% $6.59
Wednesday, July 16, 2003 1,029 9 0.9% $6.70
Thursday, July 17, 2003 1,327 23 1.7% $19.09
Friday, July 18, 2003 950 14 1.5% $9.68
Saturday, July 19, 2003 724 6 0.8% $4.59
Sunday, July 20, 2003 1,086 11 1.0% $4.10
Monday, July 21, 2003 2,027 40 2.0% $24.75
Tuesday, July 22, 2003 1,584 18 1.1% $9.76
Wednesday, July 23, 2003 1,114 16 1.4% $9.52
Totals 17,999 277 1.5% $216.88

Just think! If every one of the 100 or so people who has access to the private section of my site clicks on a link (e.g., you read this, get excited, and go clicking around. ;), I’ll have enough to… take Alex out to dinner to thank him for introducing me to Adsense. :)

It’s too bad I can’t see what links people are clicking on. Even I’m confused as to who is clicking through from what parts of my site. Amazing, this internet thing is.

| link | trackb | 5 comments » | Jul 24, 2003 00:28:18

Depth of Field

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Here’s a useful tutorial on depth of field for cropped-sensor cameras like the current batch of “consumer” digital SLRs (all of the existing dSLRs save the Canon 1Ds). It’s worth reading. Not too technical. :)

Here’s a fairly technical one that is good reading, too.

And finally, the original link spawned a nice thread about DOF at wetpixel.com.

| link | trackb | no comments » | Jul 23, 2003 17:43:11

Cosmo Media Man

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Hey, everyone! My buddy Adam Nash’s brother Jonathan is up for one of Cosmo’s 50 hottest guys in media. If you have a minute, vote for him! :)

Unrelated: why do consumer digicams lose all of their settings when you remove the batteries!? stupid! Digital SLRs have little lithium batteries for persistent storage of things like date, default settings, etc. yargh.

| link | trackb | 5 comments » | Jul 23, 2003 00:52:31


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Despite all of the things that I run around doing, when strangers ask me what I do, I always feel like saying, “nothing.”

Something is missing — you know, the light at the end of whatever tunnel I’m sliding through. I can almost see it, but it’s not yet defined enough for me to describe. And all around me, others are lost as well. I envy those of you who can see the light.

Yeah, I know. The grass is always greener…

Perhaps when I can sit down and relax — and actually enjoy the relaxation, I’ll know that I have “found” it.

| link | trackb | 9 comments » | Jul 21, 2003 00:02:43

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Hitomi

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Monterey Bay Aquarium, with Wendy, Hitomi, and Lilli. I don’t think I want to venture to the aquarium again on a weekend. There are long lines to get in, and the place is so packed that one feels guilty lingering at any one exhibition window for too long. But we had fun, anyway. Hitomi is gone already, back to Japan. Too bad.

My to-do list is getting really, really long. Ugh. [see today's photos]

| link | trackb | 2 comments » | Jul 20, 2003 23:26:34

Sucky Seaquarium

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July 17: The Miami Seaquarium ain’t so hot. It was described by a prominent scientist I know as a “geriatric Sea World,” and even that might be too polite for a proper description of the place. Marta and I had paid our $23.95 each for entry, so we went around to all of the trained marine mammal shows, which were entertaining anyway. I am always impressed and amazed when I see trained marine mammals — lots of involutary smiling. How can you not be impressed?? But it still sucks to see a 20-foot orca in a little swimming pool.

“Shark Channel” ranks up there as one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen: it’s a scum-filled moat surrounding a playground. I think the playground would have been fun if I was 10 years old, but a scum-filled moat filled with some jacks and nurse sharks is just embarrassing. Keep the thing clean!

Hmmm. Now I’m thinking that I might have missed something because the Seaquarium web page has a photo of a reef shark underwater. We didn’t see any sharks from below the surface at “Shark Channel.” Oh well.

July 18: Went to visit Doc and Marie and had dim sum with the two of them for lunch. Then, drove to Miami International Airport and parted ways. Marta is headed back to Milan, where she will try to remember what it is like to be an Italian for two months before heading to Plymouth for her masters program (where she will be with Kristene and Alan!). [see today's photos]

Hitomi is in town, staying with me and Wendy for the night. It’s good to see her again! I wish she was local. Also, Cindy wrote me to tell me that she was chosen as one of Glamour Magazine’s Top Ten College Women of 2003! Look for her in the October issue. :)

| link | trackb | 2 comments » | Jul 19, 2003 03:23:46

Miami Beach and UW Photo Reunion

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I had originally planned to stay in New York for a full week, but with $70 JetBlue fares to Miami, I decided to swing down here to finish off the week, instead. I spent most of Tuesday in Ft. Lauderdale; i picked up SharkLab buddies Alan Reeve, Melissa Yencho, and Marta Calosso at U.S. customs at the Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport, and we drove Melissa to her hotel and Alan to Miami International to catch a flight to London.

Man. I live in all these weird bubbles that have no intersection between them. I sometimes envision myself as a hamster in a bunch of little plastic spheres. The only problem is that none of the spheres connect with each other, and none of them have “the answer” in them. Every once in awhile a portal opens up in the plastic sphere I live in, and I hope in, entering another enclosed plastic sphere world. Yep. Hamsters and plastic spheres.

After dropping Alan off, Marta and I drove to our hotel in Miami Beach to check in before heading over to the Gruber residence to dine with Tim Calver and Marie Gruber. Check out Tim’s photos. He is currently a National Geographic Fellow and has an artistic touch that I really would like to acquire myself. While I was over there I fixed Doc’s computer. It seems that I’m always fixing computers.

We spent most of Wednesday roaming around Miami Beach and taking crazy infrared photographs. The infrared photographer within me has been dormant for some time, but I feel it awakening — and it helps to have a model around who is comfortable in front of the camera. While lounging on the beach, we cut up a mango using Marta’s slightly-rusty dive knive. I loooove mango. Marta has a weird phobia of pigeons, so we had to keep throwing things at the ones that approached. I hit one of them twice with little shells, but it didn’t even flinch. Too bad there weren’t heavy rocks around.

At 7:30 we met the UW photo crew at Mondo’s for a little reunion (it took us over an hour and a half to get there from Miami, but it was worth it). In attendence: Andy Sallmon, Douglas David Seifert, Jim Watt, Anna Abernethy, Jim Abernethy, and Ronda Allen. I get to see most of them individually every once in awhile, but it was so great to see them all again in the same room. Jim and Anna tell me that Zoe still says my name all the time in the shower. At least they’ll never forget me. :) [see today's photos]

| link | trackb | 11 comments » | Jul 16, 2003 23:29:53

Uncle Nick’s

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Spent much of the day resting. I was just so tired. Karine came over before dinner, and we roamed around trying to find a copy of the July 2003 PDN Magazine on the way to dinner at Uncle Nick’s, a Greek food place in Hell’s Kitchen. Dinner guests: Mollie Knox (Mandy‘s sister!!), Victor, Justin, Peter and Karine. After dinner, Mollie went back to work, and the rest of us wandered to Times Square in an attempt to have ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery. The line was out the door and down the sidewalk, so we scrapped the idea and had dessert elsewhere, fighting our way through crowds of tourists who seemed to be going nowhere. We finally found two copies of the July PDN at the big magazine shop in that area! That was exciting. :) [see today's photos]

Joe and Rachel returned from San Francisco this evening. It’s nice that both my arrival and departure from New York involve the two of them, because I thought I would miss them completely.

The car is coming to get me in 3.5 hours. I’m going to feel pretty crappy, I think. :)

| link | trackb | no comments » | Jul 14, 2003 22:53:06

John Cho look-alike

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John Cho (left) and Scott Lu (right)

Is it me, or does Tony’s brother Scott look like John Cho? Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo that properly illustrates the likeness, but they look alike enough that Ai-Jen’s friends called her up after seeing Better Luck Tomorrow to ask whether Tony’s brother had been in the film. When I saw the movie, I kept leaning over to my sister and whispering, “Look! It’s Scott!” With certain angles and expressions, it’s uncanny. Someone should use him as a stand-in.

| link | trackb | 7 comments » | Jul 14, 2003 13:17:57
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