April 29, 2006

Beauty in the Average

There is great beauty in the common everyday things within our lives. All the average little things that we take for granted are actually wonderful, if only we could slow down long enough to recognize them. The sages of the world have always known this.

  • The great scientists know this by realizing that the greatest advances are within the specialization of a field that no one is paying attention to at the moment.
  • Photography artists know this by concentrating their subjects on moments of average people within their daily lives.
  • CSIs (crime scene investigators) excel in their trade by noticing the small things that everyone else misses within the context of a crime scene.

compass.gif So before you go looking for the next great thing, realize that you have already seen it. But have you truly seen it? Take a moment. Adjust your eyes. And have another look.

Posted by Hoang at 09:46 AM | 1 Comments | Common Sense

April 27, 2006

April 22, 2006

Art from the South

Tattoes are quite the rage in Miami. Women are truly smitten with the ink, even more than the men.
tat.jpg Obvious places for the marks on women are: the small of the lower back and behind the neck. The ones that are on the lower back go well with tummy-revealing T-shirts as well as low-cut pants. Some ladies can get away with a small mark high on the breast. With guys, it's typically on the arms and chest. The portrait above is from Kat Von D of Miami Ink

I feel like a virgin with unmarked skin.

April 21, 2006

Strangers

I spoke to someone at LA Fitness yesterday. I apologized for not knowing Spanish. He is Colombian and tells me he is starting to learn English. We stutter on in broken conversation. He has lived in America for 17 years.

It feel like I am in another country.

That's Miami.

April 20, 2006

Revenge

    There is no such thing as revenge
    You will not give as good as you got
    There is no such thing as an eye for an eye
    If you think you're the giver, you're not
  
    There is no such thing as regret
    There is no point in placing the blame
    Hate destroys the one who hates 
    And everyone suffers the same
  
    What you see
    Is not necessarily what you get
    Eyes are the window to the soul
    Take your judgements
    And let them go

by Madonna

Posted by Hoang at 04:12 PM | Add the first comment | Music

April 19, 2006

Articles to Read

Programming

  • Seven Habits of Highly Effective Programmers
    Very good article from someone who has been at the coding helm for a while. It doesn't talk about specifics but rather general habits. This is good so that people who work in computer languages can easily relate. The author comes from a 3D graphics background so many of his examples tend to migrate to that end of computing. The advice the article gives is well worth the read.
  • The Fine Art of Programming
    A list of online programming guides.
  • MSDN: Doing Less
    The working-smart-rather-than-hard movement. Some companies just don't get that. Although it's on MSDN, I'm not quite sure Microsoft gets it either.

Other Topics

  • discussion on Godin's permission marketting
    I have read one of Godin's books and liked the idea that advertisers provide people with an opt-in method of marketting. This shows a small amount of respect for consumers. This approach is quite different than the traditional media's approach of bombarding consumers with vast amounts of useless advertising. There are many other points which I don't necessarily agree with.

April 14, 2006

Being mindful of your footsteps

kitten.gif There was a time when the entire realm of computers fit on a 64K memory footprint. The operating system, the main running program, as well as any stay-in resident programs must all fit in this limitted space. Software people writing new programs have to be wary of the amount of code space and run-time space that their new program will incur on a computer. Over-allocate and your program won't run; worse yet, you may crash the machine. Those were the older days of DOS and 80286 machines. Those were the days when expansion isn't an option and you can't get more by just swapping out a SIMM, changing CPUs, or swapping out a board.

You think those days are gone but today's real embedded developers face the same constraints. Hardware is sold to a customer with a fixed set of resources. Once it is out in the market, there is no painless way to upgrade unless you are willing to take the hit of the customer doing an RMA (Return to Manufacturing) for the swapping out of parts. Software for these devices are all over the place, it is just that you don't easily recognize them. Things such as: MP3 players, routers, TVs, DVD players, cell phones, etc... abound with realtime software.

With the advent of virtual memory and process/thread spawning, new designers don't even think about the problem of limitted resources anymore. Today's programs that run on our spanking new Intel or AMD dual-core chips have a tendency to:

  • allocate more memory than they will ever need,
  • link in libraries that are most likely never used,
  • litter their processes all over the place.
  • they also litter the services space and install useless or near useless processes that just hang around claiming precious memory and CPU timeslices. (start/stop services)

All these things are what lead a user's computer to be a literal trashcan. This is what slows a person's computer down no matter how much memory or Gigahertz a person might throw at it. For computing, this is a major step in a wrong direction. A gentle plead to other program writers: A user's computer is not your playground. You are a guest in their computer: play nice and clean up after yourselves.

Posted by Hoang at 11:16 AM | 3 Comments | Software Development

April 05, 2006

An observation in Public

I see cell phone use everywhere: on the streets, in cars, in the gym, in public places. People aren't discreet with conversations either, they tend to be very loud. So much so that strangers 10 feet away can clearly hear the discourse. It is as if being engaged in conversations give people a sense of self-importance. This is increasingly or already have become the norm in our society.

Contrast this to my experiences of living in Paris many years ago. Back then, I would use the Metro ( RER ) as my main source of transportation in the city. There, the trains are so full of people that (what Americans call) personal space was non-existent. However, it is very common to have a sense of quiet in public. People keep to themselves mostly. Chit-chat tend to be very discreet and kept to a whisper. There is a sense that we share the public places with others. As such, we should be mindful of our own interruptions upon others who share the same space.

Americans visiting the European city are very uncomfortable with this behavior and immediately brand that the French are unfriendly. It is certainly not so, rather... it is just a different point-of-view. (I won't go into what the French think of Americans.... suffice to say that it is not complementary)

In short, I do feel that the loss of respect for being in public places as well as the loss of general courtesy in our society to be a sad state of affairs.

Posted by Hoang at 12:52 PM | 2 Comments | Common Sense