April 21, 2002

Confessions of a Car Salesman

This is a good piece from Edmunds talking about the motivations of what goes on in the minds of a car salesman. It would give you a second thought on how you can expect to be treated and regarded in a car sales lot. The internal operations really sound like a Casino.

Home Networking

Networking used to be within the realm of experts. In today's age, that is no more and with the proliferation of PCs, networking seems a must for computer users. Today, we have a variety of options aside from the traditional 10 Megabit twisted pair. They include:

  • the faster 10/100MBit switchable ethernet
  • Broadband router - to share your broadband line between up to 4 computers. Typically this offering also includes a firewall to protect your local network from unwanted hackers.
  • Wireless networking
  • HomePNA - networking thru the phone line, typically up to 1.5Mbit

And now added to the growing list is Powerline Networking. If you own more than one PC, there really isn't any more reason not to network.

Posted by Hoang at 08:46 AM | Add the first comment | Technology

April 18, 2002

WebScraping

In our world full of technical jargon, there is a new one on the horizon: webscraping. Intel is spearheading this effort and this is a piece on WebScraping. Basically it parallels the concept of webservices but to a rudimentary extent. WebServices points to reworking of existing services and providing interfaces (new or existing)whereas WebScraping involves mining for existing (legacy) interfaces and reusing them in a modified way. Either way, both methods are essentially tools to allow reuse of services provided by the internet.

Where all the Work's Hiding

There is a new theory on Evolt: Where all the Work's Hiding . It does ring true because the Internet is here to stay. By Internet, I mean the fact of IP packets flying around the world. Whether which upper level layers will survive doesn't matter. That it exists will mean that people will find ways to make money from it.

Posted by Hoang at 08:14 AM | Add the first comment | Technology

April 11, 2002

from Bust to Boom then to Bust again


Make a million, lose a million, who cares?. This is a good spin on the phenomenon we just went through the last couple of years. Datacom, this is the area in which I specialize in too. It is sad to hear that the entire datacom/telecom industry is regarded as a bad taste in the mouth like yesterday's undigested lunch. I have had my share of working in a 10 people company. I had spent a short time at Kestrel Solutions in Moutain View back in 1998. Each engineer had a Costco table for his computer, another one for his stack of books, and a rolling chair. It was a garage-like setting in a building which was broken down and no facilities. Conveniently Costco was located next door and twice a week the marketting person would take orders of supplies and make a trip to Costco. At first glance it seemed like a hellish place to work in, but the comradery and the spirit of the place tempered that view quite a bit.

I didn't stay long enough to see how the company fared. But for a period of 4 months, I was the software guy making a difference. Although it didn't seem like much, it felt good being part of something, creating something. Financially, the experience didn't go anywhere.... but I'm sure that's not why we all got into engineering in the first place. To use our minds to create, to be respected for what we do, and to earn a decent living... at least this was my intentions for entering the business coming out of college.

April 09, 2002

Net software for free

Now that the dot-com bust is in full swing, everyone with software needs will want Net expertise for free. Sure, I suppose that it's the economy.... but then you get what you paid for too. It aint cheap to get a proper technical education and years (maybe even a lifetime) of experience. How then should it be cheaper than getting an oil change for your car?

Posted by Hoang at 03:36 PM | Add the first comment | Technology

The wheel of chance spins faster in Vegas

The Atlantic Online has a good article on how patterns and randomness affect society. Seeing Around Corners

This is particularly interesting in the context that Vegas casinos deal with chance and randomness every day. Although visitors here are exposed to and do get excited from the random throwing of dice or spin of the wheel, I don't know if anyone has ever done a directed study of how seemingly order is actually randomness and how arbitrary randomness can look like specific order. If you go deeper into this train of thought, there might be a religious debate brewing so I'll just leave it at that.

Unified theory of software evolution

Here is a good read on the topic of software evolution. A unified theory of software evolution
I do agree that to get a good view, you only have to look at the evolution of the other aspects of life. Whereas the comment of Software not following Moore's law: Moore's Law only predicts the physical aspects - the number of transistors thrown into a chip die versus the actual complexity of the die itself. Looking at software, you can make the physical size of the software as big as you want by including and linking with as many libraries as you like.... however, that does not necessarily make it any more complex than a simple HELLO program.

April 05, 2002

WB at the Joint

Anne (my girlfriend) and I caught the WB tour at the Joint within the HardRock Cafe last night. It was a publicity thing of course so they were giving away T-shirts and trinkets with WB labels for winning at cheesy games. That's ok, I mentioned that just to get the embarassment out of the way. It gave us a chance to get out so it was good in its own way. We saw Jamie Kennedy hosting on stage and Bob Sagat wandering around on the floor near the bar. Two bands were scheduled for playing, Nappy Roots and Course of Nature. We only stayed for the rapping of Nappy. I'm not a good judge of rap so I won't even try to comment but like any concert at the Joint, I was once again impressed by the sound system of the place. James van der Beek from Dawson's Creek was supposed to make an appearance but we didn't stay long enough to find out.

April 03, 2002

Apartment prices trending down

I have been noticing the sheer number of apartment complex being built near the verges of the 215 beltway. Additionally, the complex that I am currently in (The Tower at the Tropicana) seem to be facing a massive exodus of tenants recently. I used to think it was imperceptible since I see U-Haul trucks packing up only on the weekends. But now, the trucks are even there during the weekdays. A quick perusal of the current rent for apartments in the area seem to indicate a trending down of rental prices. Like anything else when supply is in abundance... there's a deal to be had.

Time to move?

April 02, 2002

Pay for Email


It looks like the grace period for Internet is over. Soon you will have the privilege of paying for internet services that have been free (up to this point). ABC News reports: Is the free ride over? Starting April 1, 2002, Yahoo will be charging for email access from the POP interface. That means those who have been using Outlook, Eudora, or any other POP mail clients will either have to migrate to using the Web-Email interface or cough up the amount required by Yahoo. Furthermore, Yahoo has decided to SPAM your mailboxes by setting your option defaults to Opt-In. Because you have been such a devoted user of Yahoo.... they will now use that fact to send you lots of advertisements about things you don't want or need.

With Hotmail, Microsoft has already moved in that direction long ago. If you have a hotmail account, you will find yourself getting 10 to 15 ** DO YOU WANT SEX or ***HOW TO BE A BILLIONAIRE OVERNIGHT messages a day. Within 2 days, you get a message: *** YOU ARE OVER YOUR ALLOTTED DISK-SPACE, sign up with us for more SPAM space or be kicked out. Frustrated at yourself for putting up with this everytime you log-in for email and at them for doing this to you, you vow to drop the account by week's end. Then at the end of the week, you get one real message from a friend. And you decide to keep the account because your friend might send you another one.

The cycle of vicious ritual goes on.