Posts with mood chipper (33)

Windows Phone: performance of parsing different file types
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2014-01-09 22:26:00
Tags: windowsphone projects wpdev
Words: 1033

When I started to work on Baseball Odds I knew I was going to have to worry about performance - the data set I have for the win probability has right around 15000 records. So I thought it would be neat to compare different file formats and how long it took to read their data in. Each record had the inning number (with top or bottom), how many outs, what runners are on base, the score difference, and the number of situations and the number of times the current team won. Here's a brief description of each format and some sample code:

This was actually the format I already had the data in, as it matched Phil Birnbaum's data file format. A sample line looks like this:

and there are 15000 lines in the file. The code to parse this looks something like this:

const bool USE_AWAIT = false;
const bool CONFIGURE_AWAIT = false;
var resource = System.Windows.Application.GetResourceStream(
new Uri(@"Data\winProbs.txt", UriKind.Relative));
using (StreamReader sr = new StreamReader(resource.Stream))
string line;
line = await sr.ReadLineAsync().ConfigureAwait(false);
line = await sr.ReadLineAsync();
line = sr.ReadLine();
while (line != null)
var parts = line.Split(',');
bool isHome = (parts[0] == "\"H\"");
_fullData.Add(new Tuple<bool, byte, byte, byte, sbyte>(
isHome, byte.Parse(parts[1]), byte.Parse(parts[2]), byte.Parse(parts[3]),
new Tuple<UInt32, UInt32>(UInt32.Parse(parts[5]), UInt32.Parse(parts[6])));

line = await sr.ReadLineAsync().ConfigureAwait(false);
line = await sr.ReadLineAsync();
line = sr.ReadLine();

(what are USE_AWAIT and CONFIGURE_AWAIT all about? See the results below...)


To avoid having to write my own parsing code, I decided to write the data in a JSON format and use Json.NET to parse it. One line of the data file looks like this:

This is admittedly a bit verbose, and it makes the file over a megabyte. The parsing code is simple, though:

var resource = System.Windows.Application.GetResourceStream(
new Uri(@"Data\winProbs.json", UriKind.Relative));
using (StreamReader sr = new StreamReader(resource.Stream))
string allDataString = await sr.ReadToEndAsync();
JArray allDataArray = JArray.Parse(allDataString);
for (int i = 0; I < allDataArray.Count; ++i)
JObject dataObj = (JObject)(allDataArray[i]);
_fullData.Add(new Tuple<bool, byte, byte, byte, sbyte>(
(int)dataObj["isHome"] == 1, (byte)dataObj["inning"],
(byte)dataObj["outs"], (byte)dataObj["baserunners"], (sbyte)dataObj["runDiff"]),
new Tuple<UInt32, UInt32>((UInt32)dataObj["numSituations"],

After I posted this, Martin Suchan pointed out that using JsonConvert might be faster, and even wrote some code to try it out.


To try to get the file to be as small as possible (which I suspected correlated with parsing time), I converted the file to a custom binary format. Here's my textual description of the format:
UInt32 = total num records
UInt32 = num of records that have UInt32 for num situations
(these come first)
each record is:
UInt8 = high bit = visitor=0, home=1
rest is inning (1-26)
UInt8 = high 2 bits = num outs (0-2)
rest is baserunners (1-8)
Int8 = score diff (-26 to 27)
UInt32/UInt16 = num situations
UInt16 = num of wins

To format the file this way, I had to write a Windows 8 app that read in the text file and wrote out the binary version using a BinaryWriter with the Write(Byte), etc. methods. Here's the parsing code:

var resource = System.Windows.Application.GetResourceStream(
new Uri([@"Data\winProbs.bin", UriKind.Relative));
using (var br = new System.IO.BinaryReader(resource.Stream))
UInt32 totalRecords = br.ReadUInt32();
UInt32 recordsWithUInt32 = br.ReadUInt32();
for (UInt32 i = 0; i < totalRecords; ++i)
byte inning = br.ReadByte();
byte outsRunners = br.ReadByte();
sbyte scoreDiff = br.ReadSByte();
UInt32 numSituations = (i < recordsWithUInt32) ? br.ReadUInt32() : br.ReadUInt16();
UInt16 numWins = br.ReadUInt16();
_compressedData.Add(new Tuple<byte, byte, sbyte>(inning, outsRunners, scoreDiff),
new Tuple<uint, ushort>(numSituations, numWins));


Without further ado, here are the file sizes and how long the files took to read and parse (running on my Lumia 1020):

TypeFile sizeTime to parse
Text (USE_AWAIT=true)
278K4.8 secs
Text (USE_AWAIT=true)
278K0.4 secs
Text (USE_AWAIT=false)278K0.4 secs
JSON (parsing one at a time)1200KB3.2 secs
JSON (using JsonConvert)1200KB1.3 secs
Binary103KB0.15 secs

A few observations:

So since I had already done all the work I went with the binary format, and Baseball Odds starts up lickety-split!


See all my Windows Phone development posts.

I'm planning on writing more posts about Windows Phone development - what would you like to hear about? Reply here, on twitter at @gregstoll, or by email at


Interested in developing for Windows Phone? I'm the Nokia Developer Ambassador for Austin - drop me a line at!


link friday: pay employees more!, gamifying relationships, free co-pays are probably good
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2013-08-16 13:32:00
Tags: links
Words: 368

- Sorry, It's Not A 'Law Of Capitalism' That You Pay Your Employees As Little As Possible - a good article by Henry Blodget discussing the trend for business to maximize profits at the expense of their employees. With graphs! Lots of depressing graphs.

- When a Relationship Becomes a Game - I'm not sure how to feel about gamification of relationships. On the one hand, it sure seems wrong. But it's easy (for me, anyway) to let a relationship just kind of coast along and not put any thought into it, and this is an imperfect way of prodding one's self into doing more. (and this idea isn't new - I remember people in World of Warcraft logging off saying it was time to grind some rep with the wife...)

- When a Co-Pay Gets in the Way of Health - free markets are great, but health care is not a free market and we should stop treating it as such. The article details a case where eliminating a co-pay made more people actually take their prescribed medicine and probably saved their insurance company money overall.

- A Deeper Look at Austin Plans to Bury I-35 - this plan sounds pretty neat, although expensive. It's similar to what Boston did with the Big Dig on a much smaller scale. I've read a few articles about it so maybe it's more likely to happen than I think? (also, kudos to the headline writer - didn't see the pun until the second time around!)

- 'Less Costly Struggle and Bloodshed': The Atlantic Defends Hiroshima in 1946 - very interesting to read the perspective so close to the actual events.

- Math Advances Raise the Prospect of an Internet Security Crisis - looks like it's possible people are going to make progress on the discrete logarithm problem. (which is the basis of RSA and other encryption algorithms, although not all of them)

- When Power Goes To Your Head, It May Shut Out Your Heart - feeling powerful can suppress your mirror neurons.

- How phone batteries measure the weather - whoa, awesome! Go big data!

- Google Maps Has An Incredible Doctor Who Easter Egg - I'm pretty mad at Google this week, since they blocked Microsoft's Windows Phone YouTube app for ridiculous reasons, but this is pretty neat.


link friday: terrible charities, sleep is important, VR sistine chapel
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2013-06-21 14:16:00
Tags: gay links
Words: 288

Honestly, I went a little crazy with links this week. Some of these may not be any good. Try to guess which ones!

- America's Worst Charities - some truly terrible stories in there. Interestingly, GuideStar, Charity Navigator, and others are joining together to point out that a charity's overhead ratio isn't a good metric for judging it. (one non-profit's story along the same lines) It sounds like they're working on other more useful metrics...

- A reminder that not getting enough sleep is really bad for you. Also, sleep deprivation can be a real problem when you're in the hospital.

- Introducing Project Loon: Balloon-powered Internet access - this is a real thing that Google is doing! Wow. Very curious to see how this pans out.

- Are You Smart Enough to Be a Citizen? Take Our Quiz - I think knowing what all of the Supreme Court justices look like may be a bit much. I scored a 46 (without cheating!), 4 points short of earning my citizenship "with distinction".

- A cool VR "photograph" of the Sistine Chapel - very nicely done!

- America's Landlords Are Far Less Likely to Rent to Gay Couples - well, that's sad, and it was a fairly large (7000 landlords) study.

- Exodus International (the biggest "ex-gay" group) is shutting down -'s not often you see a group admit that it was wrong like this. Also see an interview with the the group's president.

- The 4-Minute Workout - take that, 7-minute workout! And it's still backed up by science!

- Silver makes antibiotics thousands of times more effective - neat, although the article points out that silver can be toxic...

- The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science - long article but I found it interesting. We (humans) are very good at lying to ourselves!


link dump: tax deductions, paid apps are not like cups of coffee, video streaming copyright laws
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2012-08-30 14:17:00
Tags: taxes links
Words: 332

- When I talked about Paul Ryan's tax plan, one of my complaints was that the plan talks about closing tax loopholes, but didn't specify which ones. Here's a handy list of the deductions and how much they cost, and you see how hard this would actually be. Two of the three most expensive ones are pretty popular (mortgage interest and 401(k)), and of course one of the the fourth most expensive one is "lower rate on dividends and capital gains", which the Ryan plan would actually make a bigger deduction by taking the rate down to 0%!

- Speaking of Paul Ryan, there were a lot of lies in his convention speech last night.

- Stop Using The Cup of Coffee vs. $0.99 App Analogy - a good article on paid apps. Apparently a lot of people are making money with apps by making them free with ads (and in-app purchases). Maybe I should aim for this model more, but I'm apparently atypical because I like paying for apps and am not a huge fan of ads in apps. But getting people to pay is a big hurdle, and "free" is very enticing...

- Why Johnny can't stream: How video copyright went insane - a good Ars Technica article about how ridiculous streaming/time-shifting laws are.

- New Zealand is taking a step towards legalizing same-sex marriage, and they say the catalyst was Obama's endorsement of the same!

- This is old news, but SpaceX got a NASA contract to work on the next Space Shuttle and take people back into space. Congratulations to them, and I heart SpaceX so bad it hurts!

- Gotye made a "Somebody That I Used to Know" mashup of YouTube performances of the song, which is pretty cool. (and features Pentatonix's a capella version)

- Did you know you can totally buy a 3D printer for under $2,000? I did not.

- Another awesome Old Spice ad - this one's interactive!

- Astros Not Even Good Enough To Play For Pride - from the Onion, but still, the truth hurts.

1 comment

playing with Windows 8, 80k steps last week!, cold fusion
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2012-04-23 10:38:00
Tags: windowsphone projects programming
Words: 374


monday morning links: wall street, cat parasites
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2012-02-13 10:14:00
Tags: links
Words: 245

Because I meant to post these on Friday but ran out of time...

- The governor of Washington state is going to sign the marriage equality bill today! Woohoo!

- Loooong article on how Wall Street bankers are no longer "masters of the universe" because of, among other things, the Dodd-Frank legislation. Bonuses are way down, etc. This seems like a good thing, not least of which is the quote:

“If you’re a smart Ph.D. from MIT, you’d never go to Wall Street now,” says a hedge-fund executive. “You’d go to Silicon Valley. There’s at least a prospect for a huge gain. You’d have the potential to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. It looks like he has a lot more fun.”
Fun aside, I think Silicon Valley creates a lot more value for the economy than bankers do.

- How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy - I've read bits about Toxoplasma gondii before and how it changes our behavior, and apparently there's a little evidence that getting the flu will make you more sociable (presumably so you'll have an opportunity to spread the virus). Crazy!

- Obama the Moderate - the graph is a little tricky since the 0.2 line looks (to me, anyway) bold while the 0 line does not. That aside, Obama's definitely more of a moderate than we've had since LBJ or Eisenhower.

- The new OK GO music video (teased at the Super Bowl) is pretty neat, if you like cars and driving and crazy musical instruments.


tripline - decent way to plan a trip
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2010-09-11 17:35:00
Tags: reviews travel
Words: 374

David and I are going on vacation to San Francisco, so we went through a guidebook and marked a ton of possible activities. We've never been, so I was looking for a good website where we could put them on a map and organize our days. Actually my first thought was to roll my own, but then I thought surely someone must have thought of this. And behold - Tripline!

The website itself seems more organized around making presentations of places you've been or lived, but it works decently well for our purposes. I could enter in attractions or addresses and it would plot them on the map, or I could add a custom marker and drag it wherever. A few annoyances:

- Every time you mouseover a marker the info about it pops up, which is really annoying when you have a lot of markers.
- The markers you put down are in an order and it draws lines between the markers. This makes sense if you're talking about a trip, but if you're planning a trip it's very distracting. So I had to arrange the markers so that the lines were not zigzagging through the center of town all the time, which worked out to be a convex hull kinda shape.
- It seems to get slower when you add too many markers - drawing the map is fine, but when I add a marker all of them disappear and then show up one by one. Once I got up to 25 markers this was a noticeable delay. Similarly, reordering a marker took a little while when there were a lot and sometimes didn't correctly update the numbers so I would have to drag and drop it in place again.
- I'm not a huge fan of the Google Map view they use - it's a terrain one which is helpful to see parks, mountains, etc. but I found it a little difficult to find addresses just browsing around. (maybe it's just me?) Also, you can't zoom in past a certain more zoom level would have been nice.

Anyway, it was very useful once I worked around some of the annoyances and it's definitely nice to see locations on a map rather than just writing down neighborhoods. Kudos!


linky linky friday
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2010-02-26 14:10:00
Tags: links
Words: 222

- More than you wanted to know about that awesome "I'm on a horse" Old Spice commercial. It was all done in one shot! Also, the guy played in the NFL for 4 years, which explains why he's so ridiculously well-built.

- Bloom Energy came out of hiding this week with an appearance on 60 Minutes and a big press conference. They sell "energy servers" that produce electricity from either natural gas or biomass. At first, I didn't understand why this was a big deal, but producing electricity right next to the building that uses is it considerably more efficient than having to transmit it over power lines. Wal-Mart, Google, and eBay are already using the servers.

- Terry O'Quinn (plays Locke on Lost) is pitching a primetime show with Michael Emerson (plays Ben on Lost) where they're suburban hitmen or something. The rational side of me thinks that there is no way this will happen and be any good, but the more optimistic side thinks this could be super awesome!

- Home energy assessments are awesome, which makes me a little irritated because I've been trying to get one through Austin Energy and they never email or call me back. Sigh.

- Decoding the manifesto of that Austin guy who flew his plane into an IRS building last week.

- Very sweet ad for wearing your seatbelt


stuck at work links
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2009-12-21 10:24:00
Tags: links
Words: 189

This is a 70 minute video review of "The Phantom Menace" (some NSFW language). The voice is a little weird, and there are some weird offtopic bits, but overall it's entertaining and pretty spot-on. The bit at the end of Part 1 where he asks people to describe the characters in the original trilogy vs. the prequel is pretty awesome.

'Tis the season for cable company disputes. Here's Time Warner's take on the issue versus Fox's. I find it amusing that they think that setting up websites is going to lead to consumers reading both of them, weighing the facts, and deciding who to be mad at or something. Hint: I get my cable through Time Warner, and if all of a sudden I can't see shows on Fox, I'm going to be mad at Time Warner, regardless of whose "fault" it is. I better be able to watch Lost in February!

The health care bill in the Senate passed a critical test early this morning and it looks like it's going to pass on Christmas Eve. Now to the conference committee!

Heading out to Houston tonight. Happy Christmas!


no-longer-quite-as-rainy link friday
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2009-11-20 14:59:00
Tags: 23andme gay politics links
Words: 233

I finally took the plunge and ordered a 23andMe kit. I got the kit in the mail last night and spit into the tube (they wanted a lot of spit so it took 5 minutes to do), sealed it up and sent it off this morning. Now the waiting begins...

- The District of Columbia is proposing a same-sex marriage law. (yay!) The Catholic church, upon hearing this, warned that they would stop providing social services for DC if the law passed, despite the fact that they law specifically exempts religious organizations from having to recognize the marriages. They would, however, have to obey city laws preventing discrimination against gays.

- In other church news, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church leaders have signed the "Manhattan Declaration", saying they will not cooperate with laws about abortion or same-sex unions that they don't agree with. Again, every same-sex marriage law that I'm aware of carves out a pretty wide exemption for religious groups, so I'm a bit put out by this. HRC responds along the same lines.

- In other other church news, the Catholic Church has found that gay priests were not a factor in the sex abuse scandal. Who woulda thunk it?

- Gay Marriage & Marijuana: You can't stop either. Why that's good. I agree, although his timetable for 10 years having all states recognize same-sex unions seems a bit optimistic given the current state of affairs.


a lotta links
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2009-11-06 12:11:00
Tags: gay politics links
Words: 146

Washington voters passed Referendum 71 which gives same-sex couples the right to domestic partnerships. So at least that's good news!

A bird with a baguette damaged the Large Hadron Collider - apparently it's not going to delay it going operational later this month, but it does bring to mind the whole fate bringing down the LHC theory. Alternatively, as someone near me at work commented, it sure makes the fears of it destroying the planet seem overblown if a bird with a baguette can damage it :-)

Austin extends COBRA benefits to partners of city employees - apparently Austin is the first city in the US to do so.

Since it's been so rainy, the drought in Texas has gotten much, much better.

Big Ben is on Twitter!

A crazy idea to build a dome over Houston (a la The Simpsons Movie) to protect it from heat and hurricanes.


links...on friday
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2009-10-23 13:07:00
Tags: gay politics links
Words: 158

Why CDC says this year's flu season is "very sobering" - the graphs show way more people getting the flu so far than in previous years.

The Large Hadron Collider was completed last year, but there was a problem that required it to be shut down until around now. It's designed to try to find the elusive Higgs boson, which some physicists call the "God particle" because the current theory is that it's what gives all particles mass. The Superconducting Super Collider was a similar project that was canceled back in 1993. Some people have taken these facts and concluded that God or fate or something must be conspiring to keep us from finding the Higgs boson, which is crazy but also kind of neat.

Apparently New York Governor David Paterson is planning to push the same-sex marriage bill next week...hoping to turn NY green on the map soon!

A neat graphic of 50 years of space exploration.

1 comment

who wants free stuff?
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2009-08-22 11:41:00
Words: 79

- A copy of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures for PC, still in its original shrinkwrap. (apparently Gamestop doesn't want used PC games or something)

- A Gamecube with power cable, video cable and even a component video cable. Still works but no controllers. (Gamestop won't take back game systems without a controller, and with a controller the guy offered me $10 which is frankly a little insulting) Lots of happy memories with this guy!

So, reply and let me know!


fun times at the bank!
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2009-03-30 15:00:00
Tags: dollarcoins links
Words: 462

(these are only "fun" compared to normal times at the bank. You have been warned!)

Fun bank story #1: I wanted to stop by the bank today to deposit a check and get a new roll of $1 coins, since I'm almost out. Then I realized I'm actually wearing my $1 coin shirt today. I went ahead and did it anyway but felt pretty self-conscious about the whole thing.
Fun bank story #2: As I was leaving, the teller pointed out that I had a lot of money in my bank account and asked if I usually kept this much around, presumably to pitch a savings account or something. I said no, and that I was getting married in a few months, to which she said "Congratulations!" and quickly dropped it. Later I realized this might have come off as saying my new wife was going to spend all my money or something.

- This TinEye "reverse image search" is pretty neat. You can get a Firefox extension and then do a search any time you see an interesting image to find variations of that image.

- I'm gonna go ahead and excerpt this article because it makes a good point and maybe summarizes how I think I feel:

This may sound strange, but I don't consider myself a real abortion foe. I have friends and sparring partners who think abortions should be illegal or at least heavily restricted. To me, that's the chief dividing line in the debate. I don't feel comfortable crossing that line. I don't think a regime of abortion restrictions enacted in the name of life would make this world a better place. I think it would cause a mess—hypocrisy, deceit, interrogations, amateur home surgery, moral crudity backed by the force of law—as ugly as any war fought in the name of peace.

I don't equate abortion with murder. I don't even think it's the worst option available to a woman facing unintended pregnancy. Every abortion dilemma is different, because every situation is different. The person best situated to make the right decision is the pregnant woman. A few years ago, I wrote a whole book on this point.

So why do I keep bringing up abortion as a moral problem? Because it is a moral problem. It's the destruction of a developing human being. For that reason, the less we do it, the better. When I say abortion is bad, I'm not saying it's necessarily worse than bringing a child into the world in lousy circumstances. I'm saying it's worse than avoiding unintended pregnancy in the first place. That's why I keep pushing contraception. If you cause an unintended pregnancy and an abortion because you didn't want to wear a condom, you should be ashamed.

Contraception is good, mmmkay?


adieu genetic Mona Lisa
Mood: chipper
Music: The Lonely Island - "I'm on a Boat"
Posted on 2009-03-09 10:58:00
Tags: projects
Words: 260

That project I was working on? Yeah, not so much. After running it overnight, here's what I got:
The target imageA bunch of colored polygons
Um, so it seems to have figured out the image is mostly pink. Hooray?

Things I did learn:
- I originally tried crossover for breeding (specifically cut and splice) and that was just terrible. I think the algorithm really needs lots and lots of new polygons to be tried, and the weakness of crossover is that you're just combining existing ones.
- Originally I had a generation size of 500, and I implemented the image difference calculation in Python. This took around 500 seconds, which is way way way too long. After some optimizing, I got it down to around 280 seconds.

I had planned to wait until I had things working to write a C module for Python to do the difference, but I figured I couldn't really make progress until I could actually do the difference in a reasonable amount of time. After writing it in C (not even with MMX or anything) the total time went down to 1 second. Win!
- The best results seem to come from having a very small generation size and randomly mutating, which is pretty much what the original guy did.

Wanna see something else cool? Virgil did these: Books that make you dumb and Music that makes you dumb by correlating popular books and music at universities (found on Facebook) with average SAT scores. Obviously correlation is not causation but it's still pretty interesting. Guster, Ben Folds, and Radiohead fans should feel good, I suppose :-)


psychology is weird
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2009-02-09 15:34:00
Tags: work
Words: 35

It's weird that I started the day in a meh mood, got very frustrated this morning, and now that the source of the frustration doesn't apply anymore I'm happy. Mood is not a conservative force!


getting back in the lj habit
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2008-12-01 11:36:00
Tags: health wedding links
Words: 361

Thanksgiving was nice with djedi's family. We went to the mall on Friday and didn't buy much but got a lot of ideas for people. Apparently we're in a recession that started last December, but you wouldn't know it looking at all the people that were there. I managed to screw up my shoulder something fierce, but staying dosed on Advil helps a lot, and indeed it was feeling much better this morning.

As I mentioned angrily before, I need a root canal. I decided to switch to the better dental insurance at work since apparently my teeth are fairly crappy, genetically speaking or something. The new plan takes effect Jan 1 and I'm trying to decide whether to put off the procedure until then. The tooth has only hurt a little since I went in and got a cleaning, and I have some antibiotics in my back pocket that I can take for 5 days (and they'll be effective for 10), so I could wait until it hurts a lot and take those. The downside is that if it doesn't work, I'll know mid December which will both be too late to schedule something before the holidays and Christmas will be filled with tooth pain.

Rice football is 9-3 and hopefully I'm gonna see them in the Texas Bowl! (which is in Houston)

We finally got around to asking the rector at our church a few weeks ago if we could have our commitment ceremony there or have him officiate. We heard back last night - nope and nope. (because of the rules for the diocese) He was very nice in the email and I understand that rules are rules and I'm really not surprised, I guess, but I am disappointed. Honestly, we're lucky that we live in an age where we can just be a couple most of the time, but it makes the times when that's not the case more jarring. We'll have to find somewhere else to have the ceremony, and someone to officiate...blah.

One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex - sounds kinda sketchy. I didn't realize the Pentagon used military analysts to push favorable media coverage of the war, etc.


talk went well!
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2008-11-22 12:58:00
Tags: math
Words: 38

The talk went well! The kids seemed to understand, and in some cases jumped the gun on stuff (which is fine). Here's the talk in ppt format (and in odp format) and the worksheet in pdf format.



back from beach, more Palin
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2008-09-02 10:21:00
Tags: travel politics
Words: 176

Port Aransas was fun. I got sunburned but they're mostly gone by now. Better recap will follow at some point in time. But, for now...

I'm feeling a lot better regarding Palin than I did on Friday. Turns out she's more conservative than I thought especially on abortion and sex education - she supports abstinence-only education, which will prompt an angry rant sometime this week.

And it turns out her 17 year old daughter is 5 months pregnant and will marry the father. I don't think her daughter is fair game, but it gives a slight "hypocrisy" angle to the abstinence-only education which is enough to give the story legs. As Atrios says, "Policy matters".

And she hired an attorney today in that trooper scandalish thing. And...well, here's a list. (was a member of a fringe group wanting a vote on Alaskan secession, did actually support the "bridge to nowhere")

Anyway, announcing the pick on Friday seemed like a good idea at the time but now it seems like these stories are gonna overshadow the Republican convention.


house-buying tips
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2007-10-23 14:50:00
Tags: house
Words: 162

It is gorgeous weather outside!

Since our apartment will be converting into condominiums at some point in the undetermined-yet-apparently-not-too-distant future, we're looking into buying a house. (or at least pricing houses so we can compare, but more likely actually buying a house) Obviously we've never done this before, but here's what we think we know:

- Rough estimate of size, location (north of here but not too far), and dollar amounts that we're happy to spend and able to spend. I've checked on trulia and they seem reasonable enough.
- A list of things about the house that are important (storage space, etc., etc.)
- ???

You'll notice this is not a long list. Do we start with a buyer of some sort and tell them this and have them suggest houses to look at? Do we talk to the bank first about a mortgage or is that after we have a house in mind? What other important questions don't I even know to ask? Help!


me 1, logic 0
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2007-09-11 09:24:00
Tags: cluesolver
Words: 58

I almost entirely finished the clue solver backend last night, my second day of working on the new approach, and it works correctly and quickly. Take that, first-order and propositional logic!

Started looking at GUI stuff but I really doubt I'll have it done before we disconnect our cable modem here. Something to do in October, I guess :-)

1 comment

For your amusement
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2007-06-08 10:37:00
Tags: links
Words: 28

A "map" of North America from a Japanese RPG. (via digg)

Also, if you like crazy programming goodness, check out the entries to the calculator contest at


passing the time...
Mood: chipper
Location: work
Posted on 2006-04-27 14:05:00
Tags: palmtogooglecalendar links
Words: 173

(compiling can take a while)

Senator Specter threatens to cut off funding for secret wiretaps - wow! Good for him. This could be a major battle...

David Copperfield robbed after show - the amusing part is that when the robbers got to him, he pulled out all of his pockets to show they were empty...except he had his cell phone, passport and wallet. Man, that's cool!

A reasonably entertaining interview with Matt Groening where he talks about the Simpsons movie and Futurama straight-to-DVD movie-like things.

Google released a free 3D modeling program today. (more information) There's some sort of integration with Google Earth where you can, say, build a house and put it on the Earth, which sounds a little weird but like a lot of fun. Wow, they sure do crank out (or in this case, buy other companies and release) the free software!

djedi gets home today - yay!

Still working on my project to upload data from my palm to Google Calendar...maybe I'll have some more time to work on it someday.


workin' for the weekend...
Mood: chipper
Music: Aural Pleasure - "Enjoy the Silence"
Posted on 2006-04-19 12:47:00
Tags: music links
Words: 182

(apparently today is "play songs Greg has a capella versions of" on Austin radio...on the way home from Jason's Deli I heard "Rosanna", followed by that Beverly Hills song I'm sick of, so I switched stations to hear "Come Undone". Neat!)

LiveJournal just announced a new account level (Sponsored+) that gets you most of the benefits of a paid account for free, while showing ads on your journal. I'm not huge on advertising, but this is the right way to do it - it's up to each person whether to show the ads or not (and there is incentive to), while free accounts maintain the same abilities they've always had. And paid accounts don't see ads on any pages to boot!

Angry/negative people can be bad for your brain - interesting article!

Play Syzygy! The creator of the game emailed me after seeing my Syzygy pictures (random!) I didn't realize it was created and distributed by one person - good stuff! It's a good game, although one I haven't played too recently...

Work is frustrating, but I'm not gonna let it get me down! (hopefully!)

1 comment

spring break! civ4! weird nightmare!
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2006-03-15 09:23:00
Tags: dreams civilization4
Words: 492

So I took yesterday off from work to have my own Spring Break. It was great! I finished installing my new hard drive (*grumble*) and things seem to be working fine. I also played a lot of Civ 4 - djedi and I started a new game at Chieftain (difficulty level 2 of 9), since I had played a few games at Warlord (difficulty 3 of 9) and been trounced pretty well. It was fun, I learned a lot from playing with him and also manually controlling our workers, and we would have won big time (I was way ahead when I decided to stop). The next game I play will be back on Warlord! Anyway, we also took a walk and generally had a very relaxing day. Good stuff!

Nightmare: So I was at Rice with my mom - I had made the trip down to see a keynote by Steve Jobs, which took place in an Astrodome-like building where Rice Stadium really is. Near the end of his presentation, he announced some new environmental initiative for something or other, that involved using CFC's. My mom took a look at that and said, "That won't work!" - in fact, it would be pretty bad for the environment. They gave us CDs of the presentation on the way out as a memento of sorts or something. So, erm, something happened to make them aware of this, and it became a big deal because it would mean all sorts of bad press for them. Meanwhile, I went to a Phils concert, except due to illness and stuff there were only like 5 people singing, and they were accompanied on the piano, so I didn't stay too long.

So for some reason the next day we were at the Astrodome-like building again and Steve Jobs was talking again, and after he was done talking and people were leaving, it was pretty clear he was going to do bad stuff to us to prevent the word that this new initiative was bad for the environment get out. I responded that I had already send copies of the CD to my friends and distributed on the Internet, so the jig was up anyway, so he had to let us go. This was in fact a lie, although I thought as I was saying this "Man, I totally should have done that! Crap." But he believed us, and before heading back to Austin I popped the CD in a computer to try to actually send it to someone. Except there was this weird UNIX-like operating system on the computer I was using (there were UNIX commands, but they did different things - I like "df" did "ls" or something), so I was confused and a little nervous about the whole thing. But then I guess I left or something.

Anyway, I woke up and was totally scared to get out of bed because Steve Jobs and his goons were after me :-)


it begins...
Mood: chipper
Music: Depeche Mode - "Just Can't Get Enough" (Pandora)
Posted on 2005-12-30 12:43:00
Tags: links
Words: 300

So New Year's has kinda started, so if anyone needs to get in touch with me, probably the best way is my cell phone for the next few days. Looking forward to the festivities! has posted his Best Links of 2005 and The Rest of the Best Links of 2005 - if you're stuck at work and have some time, there are some very interesting articles in there. Like capturing an identity thief, or the story of a fake bathroom attendant at McDonalds, or even how to destroy the Earth, if your tastes swing that way.

I had a scary two hours this morning when the power blipped at work, and then my computer turned on, but nothing showed up on the monitor. Tried switching video cards and monitors and booting into DOS - nothing. So I tracked down the warranty information (still under warranty, hooray!) and called Dell Support, expecting they'd have to ship me a new motherboard or something. After waiting on hold for a little while, a guy (sounded like he was from India) talked me through some steps, and he got it working again to my great surprise! There must have been some static left in the AGP slot or something - he had me unplug the computer and hold the power button for 25 secs to discharge, er, something. Anyway, it worked fine after that. So that was nice, although I did waste my morning...

Happy New Year!

Pah, I forget again. There's an interesting story at the New York Times about the SNL video "Lazy Sunday" - it includes the fact that "chronic" is slang for marijuana (which I didn't know). So that makes the "chronic(what?)cles of Narnia" chorus part make sense, and funny! Also, an idea from a Boing Boing reader for a related T-shirt. Hehe!


holidays, book reviews
Mood: chipper
Music: Everything but the Girl - "Walking Wounded" (Pandora)
Posted on 2005-12-28 10:59:00
Tags: reviews books links
Words: 520

Quick summary of holidays: they were good! I had fun at home, wonderjess made me delicious mochas. Funny things happened, played a lot of Taboo and some other games, and watched a fair bit of Arrested Development (and read about the Simpsons (one of my presents), so I have a lot of quotes in my head. Watch out!).

Outrageous Firsts in Television History (not entirely SFW)

Christmas is a bad time to try to lose weight. Also, weighing one's self right before bed can lead to having an angry sleep. Ugh.

I got a lot of books for Christmas, so I'm going to review them. Here are the ones I've read so far:

The Scorpion's Gate by Richard Clarke. The tagline for the book is "Sometimes you can tell more truth through fiction", and the book seems fairly realistic. It's a tad...idealistic, maybe, that a few people could stop such a major thing from happening, but then again maybe that's how it works. The secretary of defense is evil, and although his name isn't Rumsfeld, you get the idea. It's a pretty good thriller, similar to Tom Clancy but a lot shorter.

Bait & Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream by Barbara Ehrenreich (borrowed from my mom, who had checked it out from the library). I liked her other book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, where she tried to live off of the salary of very blue-collar jobs (working at Wal-Mart, being a waitress in a diner, etc.). In Bait & Switch, she tried to get a white-collar job by hiring image consultants and resume guidance counselors and things like that, but I didn't quite see the point. Overall it was mostly depressing and I didn't get much out of it except being worried about losing my job. Not really recommended.

Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter. I don't know why, but I wasn't expecting too much out of this book (maybe because in my copy the pages weren't cut correctly, which irritated me at first), but it blew me away. He talks about lots of things that have changed under this administration that he credits the rise of fundamentalism to, and although the list of things that have changed wasn't terribly new (science vs. religion, separation of church and state, etc. - you can see the table of contents at amazon), he presents his case very well, and manages to maintain a sort of composure while still conveying a sense of urgency. He includes a few chapters on foreign policy and nuclear proliferation which had material that I wasn't familiar with. Also, the writing style is very straightforward, and he often talks about what the Carter Center (nonprofit organization that he and his wife started) are doing to alleviate the problems he lists. Overall, I was highly impressed, and would definitely recommend it.

I really like Pandora when I want to listen to music but nothing in particular. You should try it if you haven't!

Oh, and this SNL rap video about the Chronicles of Narnia has been making the rounds - quite amusing!


good day!
Mood: chipper
Music: Clandestine - "Babylon"
Posted on 2005-10-25 13:53:00
Words: 102

Things are going well! I had a bunch of stuff at work to take care of this morning, which flustered me a bit, but I'm done with most of them. Yay!

The "Firefly" theme was IMH most of yesterday. Luckily listening to music today chased it away. I want to start talking like they do in Firefly, but it's hard to come up with examples when I'm not watching. I'll need to work on it.

When I get old, I want to have white hair. It looks so...distinguished or something. Is that weird? The shepherd on Firefly has white hair.

Go Astros!


pictures, rehearsals, and movies! oh my!
Mood: chipper
Posted on 2005-08-27 13:22:00
Tags: pictures charlottesweb
Words: 225

I put pictures from the musical up. Next up, pictures from vacation! And then I'll be caught up. Which will be nice.

So for two consecutive nights, I've almost been in a car accident on the way back from Charlotte's Web rehearsal. This is not good. The first wasn't really my fault, but the second was, sorta (I was passing someone even though I had a feeling that he/she wanted to get over, which turned out to be correct). I really need to be more careful. Hopefully catching up on sleep and relaxing more this weekend will help.

But rehearsal last night went really well - we ran the whole thing in 62 minutes, and we're aiming for about an hour show, so good stuff! I only missed one of my cues (starting Monday, no more lines from the stage manager, which will be interesting...), and I felt pretty good about it even though Ron gave me in particular a lot of notes. And he let us out early!

So I went up to destroyerj's and met djedi there (and wildrice13 showed up later) to watch "Garden State" and "I (Heart) Huckabees". Both weird movies. I liked them, though. Especially Zach Braff. :-) After that, I was so tired I slept way late today, which is why I feel grrrreat!

That's all I got. Thanks for reading!

1 comment

weekend post
Mood: chipper
Music: Linkin Park - "Faint"
Posted on 2005-07-06 10:17:00
Words: 287

Back from the weekend! I had a good time. Friday and Saturday were spent with destroyerj playing (and passing) two gamecube games - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Battle Nexus and Fantastic 4. The Ninja Turtles game was pretty good, especially b/c the three of us could all play at once. Although some of the battles were pretty tricky. And the game got a tad repetitive after a while. But, good stuff.

Fantastic 4 was pretty fun - you got to control the various people and use their nifty abilities. Unfortunately it was only two player, but we switched out and whatnot, and eventually beat it Saturday night. Also, waffles Saturday morning (well, early afternoon...) were good!

Sunday was a well-deserved day of recovery. Monday we played some FFX-2 with wildrice13, then headed over to destroyerj's for burgers and general July 4 celebrations, at which I met a few of his friends that I hadn't met before. Meeting new people is good.

Yesterday I ran some errands (djedi's birthday is coming!) in the morning, then met him on campus for lunch. Came back home and finished Metroid Prime 2 (finally...stupid boss battle), and made a Fry's run. While there, we saw Tales of Symphonia for $20, which is a good price, so we got it. It's an RPG for gamecube that's supposed to be quite good (according to reviews and some of Peggy & Igor's housemates). Went to gamenight at Doug & Teresa's which was fun and tasty (there was fudge!), then back home to start Tales of Symphonia and sleep.

Now I'm back at work, which is...well, not going terribly well in general. Hopefully I'll have some sort of breakthrough this week and I'll stop dreading coming here. That would rock!


<your subject here>
Mood: chipper
Music: Penn Six-5000 - "Conrad Bain"
Posted on 2005-05-18 11:20:00
Words: 427

<clever introduction here>

Last night, as djedi mentioned, we babysat his two nephews. Wow. Wow! Kids have lots of energy, as it turns out. Wasn't exactly the relaxing night at home that I had thought it was gonna be, but it was fun. Brodie just makes a beeline for things, and more often than not, he ends up pushing buttons or messing up a puzzle or just generally getting into things that he really shouldn't. I played ball with them a lot, which involved lots of juggling balls flying around the apartment. Luckily there were no casualties, and the boys seemed to have fun. Then djedi and quijax and I worked a few crosswords. Some of the answers to the first one (the theme was "TV Dinners") were really bad, like "Cherry Falwell" (which seems cute enough now, but not easy to come up with!)

For all those interested, my iTunes analysis is updated whenever I back up my iTunes database, which these days is quite often so I can see my new favorite bands and whatnot. :-)

It's a coworker's last day today, so we're getting Chipotle and eating at a park, which sounds like a lot of fun!

Going to go on vacation with my family, and so I have to change my Delta tickets. Luckily the customer service is pretty good - called them up and asked a few questions with very little hassle.

wonderjess gave me the soundtrack to Spamalot, which I listened to yesterday. Funny stuff! I highly recommend it.

Also started reading another birthday present, The Wisdom Of Crowds. It's OK so far, but I'm expecting the second half of the book to be better (the second half is case studies). The basic thesis is that given the right characteristics (independence, etc.), a group of people can make a better decision than almost all of its members could individually. Very similar in style to The Tipping Point, which I also liked a lot.

Going to get together with wildrice13 tonight (I think) and do more FFX-2. Good stuff!

I like djedi's penguin icons a lot. Maybe I'll change mine.

Thus ends my series of disconnected thoughts. Peace out!

Oh yeah - forgot to add that I started playing with a bit (you can find my bookmarks here). It's a social bookmarking site that's all the rage these days - the idea is that you bookmark interesting places and tag them, and your bookmarks and tags are visible, and so anyone can search for interesting tags and find your bookmarks. It's cooler than it sounds!


Happy Easter!
Mood: chipper
Music: none
Posted on 2005-03-25 15:27:00
Words: 152

I'm headed to David's place this weekend for Easter, which will be my first Easter away from home. Which I guess isn't really that interesting :-)

We went over to wildrice13's place last night to watch "Donnie Darko". I liked it a lot, although I'm still scratching my head a bit (which is good - I like those sorts of movies!). Then we played a little Timesplitters, and then David left to go babysit for his nephews (he'll be back soon, and then we'll go down to his place).

Work is a lot less stressful - I've made some progress, although there's still a long way to go, and irritating issues keep popping up. But, just getting something done is a big relief.

I got my new phone (a Nokia 6800) that's super-31337. Fun stuff, and hopefully it will hold a charge better than my old one.

Happy Easter to all! Have a good weekend!


paid member!
Mood: chipper
Music: Timesplitters 2 music
Posted on 2005-03-21 23:21:00
Words: 40

I'm now officially a paid member. So, you'll be seeing more silly pictures like this one. Be warned!

(this picture was from when I was in the Austin Summer Musical for Children - you can see more pictures at my website!)


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