Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy New Year!

It has been a good 5 years since I started this blog. It's amazing how time flies, and how so much has changed (on the web and in the world) in half a decade. The internet has taken all of us to places we have never been before.

What will 2010 bring? An iTablet (iSlate?)from Apple? A trip to the Apollo 11 landing site? Awesome stories? The web browsers are just getting better and better.

Wishing all readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Closure (JS)

The Closure tools seem useful for building web apps. They include the Closure compiler, the Closure library and the Closure templates.

Check it out at

There is even a Closure Lite.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Flickr Photo of the Day: December in Central Park

December in Central Park, originally uploaded by Thomas Hawk

The Forth Paradigm

Dr. [Jim] Gray called the shift a “fourth paradigm.” The first three paradigms were experimental, theoretical and, more recently, computational science. He explained this paradigm as an evolving era in which an “exaflood” of observational data was threatening to overwhelm scientists. The only way to cope with it, he argued, was a new generation of scientific computing tools to manage, visualize and analyze the data flood.

Thomas Kuhn was the first to coin the phrase "paradigm shift". It is fascinating to see how the idea of "paradigm" (with respect to science) has developed in more recent times. Is there even a forth paradigm as suggested by Dr Jim Gray?

Monday, November 30, 2009

First looks: Microsoft Live Labs Pivot

I just got an invite to Microsoft Live Labs Pivot and I am currently testing it out. Although, I haven't found a practical use of it, it looks visually interesting. Other than that, this desktop application seems resource intensive.

Microsoft describes Pivot as follows: "Pivot makes it easier to interact with massive amounts of data in ways that are powerful, informative, and fun." It is difficult to pinpoint what exactly that means, because its doesn't seems like a search engine. Also, it is unclear if this has anything to do with the semantic web.

Pivot uses Trident, Seadragon and .NET. (In fact, this is quite apparent once you experience the app for yourself). It feels like a desktop version of Photosynth with images of data (as collections) instead of images of places.

Here are some screenshots:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fonts of the Web

Good typography is pretty important, even on the web.

The League of Moveable Type + Some cheap CSS hacking and a bit of work = Awesome looking site

Java 7

Java 7 JDK: September 2010
Here are 7 of the new features that have been completed:

* Language support for collections
* Automatic Resource Management
* Improved Type Inference for Generic Instance Creation (diamond)
* Underscores in numeric literals
* Strings in switch
* Binary literals
* Simplified Varargs Method Invocation

Read more about the new language features here...

Java 7 (Project Coin) is actually looking good! For a modern programming language to stay relevant, it is important to introduce new paradigms to make programming easier while maintaining a large degree of backward compatibility. It wasn't so long ago that Python made a gigantic leap from 2.6 to 3.0.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Unicode Fonts

3 Cool Unicode Fonts:
1. Arial Unicode (This rocks, of course! and its 22mb.)
2. Code 2000
3. GNU Unifont

More info: Comparison of fonts

Another interesting Unicode font: Bitstream Cyberbit

Download Unicode Fonts:

What was I doing with Unicode fonts? Trying to change the font on my Nokia handphone so that it could display other languages besides English.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009 Easter Egg

I was looking at the source code of when I came across an Easter egg! To see the Easter egg, head over to and type "eek".

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Jetpack: ready for takeoff

Mozilla Labs has released Jetpack, an API (add-on) for allowing the community to write Firefox add-ons using common web technologies.

Currently, Jetpack is still experimental and shares some similarities with Ubiquity, although both projects have different aims.

Mozilla Labs Jetpack - Intro & Tutorial from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Contig: Single-file Defragmenter

Instead of running a disk defragmenter on a single partition, it might be faster (and more optimal) to run a file defragmenter. Contig, from Sysinternals, is a a freeware that uses the native Windows NT defragmentation support to analyse and defrag specific files.

For instance, if you use a system-managed pagefile, your system performance may be slow if your pagefile is heavily fragmented. Hence, it would be wise to defrag the pagefile (normally hidden at C:\pagefile.sys). Defraging hiberfil.sys may also improve the time required to resume form hibernation. Hence, defraging heavily used files (which have high-tendencies to be the point weakest links), may generally improve system performance.

For those who prefer not to use the command line, PowerDefragmenter (combined with Contig), is the solution.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life

Surely, Facebook gives us a choice here:

Facebook: I support the right to choose one element from each set in a collection
Do you believe that an infinite product of nonempty sets should be nonempty? Do you feel that non-measurable subsets of the reals should exist? Or games of perfect information with no winning strategy for either player? Do you believe that every set should have a well-ordering, or that any poset in which every chain has an upper bound is entitled to a maximal element? Do nonzero rings have the right to a maximal ideal? Is every vector space entitled to a basis? Should fields have algebraic closures? Should products of compact topological spaces be compact, and countable unions of countable sets be countable? Do you want to be able to cut a sphere up into a finite number of pieces and reassemble them, with only rigid motions, into a sphere twice as large?

It's all possible if you're pro-axiom-of-choice!


Facebook: The Axiom of Life (aka Negation of Axiom of Choice)
Do you have nightmares of being split apart, reassembled, and finding two of yourself? Do you wonder just how large is a non-measurable set, roughly speaking? Then this is the group for you, advocating the negation of AC (or at least replacement by the axiom of dependent choice if you actually need to prove a theorem for some reason).

Think Different

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Wikipedia: The one-minute commercial featured black and white video footage of significant historical people of the past, including (in order) Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Branson, John Lennon (with Yoko Ono), R. Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Ted Turner, Maria Callas, Mahatma Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Martha Graham, Jim Henson (with Kermit the Frog), Frank Lloyd Wright and Pablo Picasso. The commercial ends with an image of a young girl, Shaan Sahota, opening her closed eyes, as if to see the possibilities before her.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Google Reader as Scheduler

Is it possible to use Google Reader as a job scheduler? (albeit an unreliable one)

According to Google, feeds with only one subscriber get updated every 3 hours, while the rest are updated every hour.

Monday, April 20, 2009

More Random

1. 24ways December 2008 archive
2. Shortest way to test for IE: IE=’\v’==’v’
3. 8-minute history of the Internet
4. Free Ubuntu Pocket Guide
5. Star Trek TV Spot #4, #5, #6, #7
6. Mozilla's Bespin is awesome
7. The new Google Chrome 2 beta is even faster.
8. Elements of Style (worth reading and mastering)
9. NYT's 100 days blog (very insightful)
10. Communications of the ACM

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Obama on Science

On The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, President Obama said, "We need young people, instead of -- a smart kid coming out of school, instead of wanting to be an investment banker, we need them to decide if they want to be an engineer, they want to be a scientist, they want to be a doctor or a teacher. And if we are rewarding those kind of things that actually contribute to making things and making people's lives better -- that's going to put our economy on solid footing. We won't have this kind of bubble and burst with the economy that we have gotten so caught up with in the last several years."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Is Obama using hypnosis?

Some claim so.

Or how about the Obama Code?

Memorable Quotes by Erik Demaine

Memorable quotes from Lecture 2 of SMA 5503, attributed to Erik D Demaine.
  • I have a feeling, by the end of the lecture, this blackboard will be totally stink.
  • This is, again, divine inspiration. And, if you have a good connection to some divinity, you are all set. But it is a little bit harder for the rest of us mere mortals.
  • It usually just works. That's the great thing about it. It provides you intuition for free. It tells you what the answer is pretty much.
  • There are three kinds of mathematicians, those who can add and those who cannot, and I am the latter kind so I need your help.
  • And, if we believe in fate and we see this three number recurrence, we know that we have the right answer.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A guide to virtual hosts in Apache

This is quick and dirty guide to using virtual hosts in Apache (on Windows). Included is an extra step on how to get a URL besides http://localhost/. There are several advantages to doing this, such as easier maintenance of various projects/apps etc.

1. Edit the httpd.conf file

In APACHE_PATH/conf/httpd.conf:
# Virtual hosts
Include conf/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf

Uncomment the line above.

2. Edit the httpd-vhosts.conf file

In APACHE_PATH/conf/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf




  ServerName subdomain1.local
  DocumentRoot "C:/wamp/apps/some_project/"
  DirectoryIndex index.php

  <Directory "C:/wamp/apps/some_project/">
    AllowOverride All
    Allow from All

  #you can even have an alias here
  Alias /blog "C:/wamp/apps/some_project_blog/"
  <Directory "C:/wamp/apps/some_project_blog/">
    AllowOverride All
    Allow from All


The ServerName is configured in C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts (see step 3). If you do not plan to follow step 3, comment out the line with the ServerName directive.

3. Edit your
hosts file

(This isn't really necessary, but it doesn't hurt to have some cool top-level-domain redirection.)

In C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts (or wherever it is), add an additional line: subdomain1.local

Note: you cannot specify a port number here. (this is not port mapping) E.g.: will not work.

4. "Debugging" purposes

You can do these in cmd:
ipconfig /flushdns
ipconfig /displaydns

The /displaydns command isn't necessary, but its useful for checking if you got your settings right.

5. Restart Apache

For more reading up, check out the friendly Apache docs.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


1. Chaitin's Constant. Scary? Here is a very interesting article by Gregory Chaitin too.
2. Django (Python) > CakePHP + Symfony (PHP) ??
3. Ubiquity really rocks. Its a Firefox extension. However, the current version seems to have memory leaks.
4. (formally at This website is a model for governments across the world to learn from.
5. Blueprint CSS. I will consider using this the next time I design a website.
6. InterfaceLIFT Wallpapers. Some really beautiful wallpapers here.
7. Official Windows 7 Wallpapers.
8. TypeFaster is a great tool for learning how to touch-type.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Macworld and CES 2009

Macworld Keynote by Philip Schiller
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Moscone Center - West Hall
San Francisco, CA
(Macworld: 5 to 9 Jan)

CES Keynote by Steve Ballmer
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
6:30 p.m.
The Venetian, Palazzo Ballroom
Los Angeles, CA
(CES: 8 to 11 Jan)