Archive for the 'UCSD' Category

San Diego Firefox party

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

I had a great time at the San Diego Firefox party, organized by numist. Most of the people at the party were a lot of UCSD computer science students, but there was also at least one Cog Sci major and an English major. Many of the computer science majors were juniors who had just finished struggling with difficult OCaml assignments in a Programming Languages course.

Not everyone who was at the party uses Firefox as their main browser. While some of them use nothing but Firefox trunk builds, the host uses Safari for most of his browsing.

Lawrence Eng, a market researcher at Opera Software's San Diego office, also joined the party. We discussed differences in anti-phishing approaches: Opera's default protection involves contacting the server with URLs you visit, but Opera promises to only use the URLs it collects due to the feature in specific ways. He also admitted to having tried out Thumbs, saying that "Firefox has Opera beat there".

Some people at the party were disappointed at the lack of Firefox t-shirts, but said they weren't going to switch to Opera or Safari as a result. I replied that it was a good thing Lawrence hadn't brought along any Opera shirts.

I brought my copy of Apples to Apples. It is one of my favorite party games, along with Taboo and Scattergories. About half an hour into the party, I tried to start the game. Not many of the partygoers knew the game, so we started with four players and let others join gradually.

Like any good party game, Apples to Apples is fun even if you're not winning; it's possible to play without keeping score at all. This was good for me because I'm not an especially strong player and many of the other players had the advantage of already knowing each other.

Perhaps in part due to my overall low score, I was very satisfied with how I won the last round. The adjective to match was "Frightening" and I played "A sunrise", initially hoping to win on irony. But after seeing that my "sunrise" was up against the Anne Frank card, I had a flash of insight. I explained: "You've been up all night working on a project, you're not even close to done, and you look out the window and see the sun rising." Another player had been in exactly that situation the morning before the party, and the judge picked my card.

Don’t sound stupid, stop saying like.

Friday, June 3rd, 2005

These posters were posted around UCSD this week. I don't know who designed and posted them.

No likes

I, like, love you

Is it, like, because I, like, say 'like', like, so much?

Why they’re called “scrollbars”

Friday, May 6th, 2005

Chalkboard drawing: a web page on a paper scroll.

Drawn by Prof. Goguen in CSE 271.

My plans for Summer 2005

Sunday, May 1st, 2005

June 17 - June 23: Hiking in Havasupai Canyon, a tributaty of the Grand Canyon. I will hike with my mom and brother, two 3rd cousins, and their parents.

June 30 - September 9 (approximate): Mozilla Foundation internship in Mountain View, California.

Before and after the Grand Canyon trip, I'll probably spend time at my parents' house near Los Angeles, California.

What I will do after this summer is up in the air. I might return to UCSD to continue the computer science PhD program, which I'm not enjoying much so far, or I might try to get a job at the Mozilla Foundation, Google, Yahoo!, etc.


Friday, April 1st, 2005

I walked out of my apartment yesterday and was greeted by thousands of butterflies. After admiring them for a while, I grabbed my camera and took dozens of photos.

Many of my photos were blurry due to the camera auto-focusing on bushes rather than the butterflies on the bushes. I don't know whether my camera has a manual focus feature.

Updates on my life

Monday, January 17th, 2005

Graduate school

I'm the TA for a discrete mathematics class. My responsibilities include running a Monday discussion, holding an office hour, and grading tests. I've led one discussion so far, and it wasn't as hard as I expected. One student even commented that I seemed to be prepared (hah!). In addition to TAing, I'm taking an undergrad class in cryptography and a graduate class in computability and complexity.

Overall, I'm not enjoying graduate school. I don't have many friends here, classes aren't particularly interesting, and I don't know what I'm going to research. I enjoy thinking about the computational complexity of puzzles and games, but that doesn't mean computational complexity research is for me. I'm interested in what it takes to write secure software and design secure user interfaces, but I don't know if those are real research areas.


I'm no longer listening to Claremont Shades, USC Sirens, Blackmore's Night, Sting, Sixpence, Alanis, No Doubt, Vienna Teng, or Máire Brennan continuously. Instead, I'm listening to Evanescence - Fallen (mostly Bring me to Life, Whisper, and Imaginary), Joan Baez - Play Me Backwards (especially Stones in the Road and Through Your Hands), Strunz and Farah - Americas, and James Taylor - Greatest Hits continuously. I discovered Evanescence after hearing three college a cappella groups perform versions of Bring me to Life at two concerts in one weekend.

I found out that the song from Final Fantasy 6 that I feel like I've known forever is called "Terra's theme" or "Tina's theme".


I'm addicted to a puzzle game by Pāvils Jurjāns called Net. I discovered it by reading Selene's game notes, which mostly covers RPGs. I think it is NP-complete, but I haven't thought about it carefully. I haven't played much Minesweeper (NP-complete) or Marble (I don't even know if it's decidable) lately.

I've also been playing RPGs. I played Wild Arms (ok) and Chrono Cross (good) over Christmas break. I tried Vagrant Story but didn't like it. Now I'm playing Xenogears. I like it so far, but it's very easy to get lost in 3D areas such as cities and forests. I will probably play Final Fantasy 9 next.

All of the RPGs are for the Playstation, so I've been them using an emulator called epsxe along with Pete Bernert's graphics plugins, some of which are open source. Playing games using an emulator has several advantages over using a console system: I can change the game's speed on the fly, save or load at any time, and play at the same time as my brother. It also has several disadvantages: I have to tweak the emulator settings for each game to keep it from freezing, and I have to choose between pirating the games and Playstation BIOS (illegal) or buying a Playstation and the games and then downloading them anyway (ridiculous).


Cal Animage Beta has been showing one episode a week of Midori no Hibi, Bleach, Samurai Champloo, Kyou Kara Maou, Phantom Memory Kurau, and Tactics. Midori no Hibi is my favorite of these series.


I loved Kinsey. My favorite scene was the one with the lesbian woman (not a sex scene). The religious right's response to the movie made it even better (more Kinsey-related links). I liked The Incredibles and Garden State. I didn't like Team America, and I found Mean Creek confusing.

Keepers of Lists

I contributed high-scoring items to Signs You Are Not Drunk Enough, Reasons To Move To Canada, and Signs You Should Stop Writing Items For Keepers. I contributed more items to Signs You May Be A Terrorist than the person who started the list. Over half of my items have been getting getting positive scores recently, which is a welcome change. I submitted five new lists, which will be accepted or rejected for publication over the next few months.

Existing personal projects

Pornzilla and Thumbs have been getting a lot of hits, even though I have not put much effort into them lately. The top five search phrases that bring people to are "porn" (150/day), "pornzilla", "thumbs", "best porn", and "free porn". (The next two are not porn-related: "bookmarklets" (25/day) and "burning edge".) I've only been updating The Burning Edge once a week, in part because the Firefox trunk isn't very exciting right now.

I'm way behind with incorporating feedback and submissions for bookmarklets and Thumbs.

Tsunami survivor

Thursday, January 13th, 2005

I ate dinner with a student from my crypto class named Ishani. As we were walking toward the food court, she told me that she is from Sri Lanka and survived the tsunami by holding onto a tree.

StarcraftGamers on UCSD Starcraft flyer

Tuesday, October 5th, 2004

The Starcraft flyer I photographed and blogged made its way to a site called StartcraftGamers. The site has an article about the flyer and the associated research.