Yahoo Hack Day 2007 At Cal

October 22nd, 2007

I’ve just glanced at my web stats, and it looks like a reasonable number of people are visiting this blog. I’ve got to be honest, though; I’ve been pretty busy lately, however, I’d like to get this thing going again.

One quick thing: Last Friday, I competed in Yahoo’s Hack Day at UC Berkeley, and our team won 1st place! We built a psychic hot-line in 24 hours using the Skype API,, AT&T’s Natural Voices, and Java. We all won Nintendo Wii’s (thanks, Yahoo!). Our team will be representing Berkeley at the University Championship held at Yahoo Headquarters on Open Hack Day in the coming months. If you’d like to know more, I’m setting up a mini-blog for our hack at (which itself is a domain hack).

More blog posts coming soon, hopefully!

April Fools On Facebook

April 1st, 2007

The Facebook staff are not without a sense of humor:







Facebook Gets Ready To Change Again

March 27th, 2007

Facebook has learned from its mistakes – a little bit. They have created a “sneak preview” group to get opinions about the changes they are about to roll out. Here is the latest from the group:

Fear not – “View More Photos…” is back in:
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The Last Harry Potter Book: Deathly Hallows

February 1st, 2007

I just got word from Barnes and Noble that J. K. Rowling’s seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series is scheduled for release at 12:01am on July 21, 2007. Mark your calendars! You can pre-order it here: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.


From the editors: In making the announcement, Lisa Holton, President of Scholastic Children’s Books said, “We are thrilled to announce the publication date of the seventh installment in this remarkable series. We join J.K. Rowling’s millions of readers — young and old, veterans and newcomers — in anticipating what lies ahead.”

So muggles, get your lightning bolt temporary tattoos ready – this is the last time you can really use them – and save the date July 21, 2007!

Nintendo Wii Replacement Straps – Arrived!

December 28th, 2006

I received my replacement Wii controller wrist straps yesterday, absolutely gratis from Nintendo of America. The old strap has the thickness of fishing line, while the new strap is about twice as thick (and about four times as strong). Photos below:

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I hate my heater in Telegraph Commons

December 6th, 2006

Among other things wrong with Telegraph Commons (dirty, noisy, mail delivery problems, bad security, issues take three weeks to get addressed, etc), the heater is really terrible. It is operated using steam that flows through pipes up to a radiator in each room. To activate my heater, I needed to pull a lever next to the heater to let the steam through. My landlord seems to prefer the term “red leveler:

red leveler

The heat is on a timer, so when it’s off, my room is about 62°, and when it’s on, my room is about 82°. This is not the worst of it. My R.A. (who was awesome, by the way) told me that it is normal for the heater to occasionally spew steam through a relief valve. That was an understatement. I came back from dinner one night to find a fountain of scalding hot water shooting out of the valve about four feet in the air. It was spraying my carpet, bed, printer, and various other nearby objects.

Now comes the really fun part. The red lever (seen above) is located underneath the heater, and far, far back behind my desk. By the time I was able to reach the lever, the valve had stopped spraying its geyser of boiling water, and I ended up burning my hand on the lever, which was very hot by this point. What good is a heater that can’t be shut off if it malfunctions? When the timer in the building finally shut off, I waited for the lever to cool down and I turned off the heater for good, then I asked to borrow a space heater from my R.A.

So long, Ol’ Faithful.