Results tagged “bp” from kwc blog

Omigosh, bp posted a blog entry


Congratulations to bp on his second blog post of 2007... as well as his public announcement of accepting to the CMU HCI program.

Wedding photography


Joy and BP-01 Bryan and Joy Wedding-07 Bryan and Joy Wedding-04

Joy and BP-02 Puffer Kelly-06 Puffer Kelly-03 Puffer Kelly-01

I thought I'd share a few of my favorites in this entry because weddings, Comic-Con, and the Tour de France pretty much dominated my July, and I've already blogged plenty about the latter two. (I can't share some of the Iowa ones, as they are still marked private).

Suddenly my Flickr photostream makes it looks like I'm a wedding photographer, which couldn't be further from the case. If you told me last year that I would be credited as a wedding photographer, I would probably have laughed my butt off, in fact, I still do, but somehow that happened twice this month with bp/joy's wedding and another in Iowa. It helps that d and I did this together: I was lost through it all while she seemed to fall into role directing people around -- it probably isn't all that different from managing kindergartners.

I'm used to outdoor sports photography, so it's taken a bit of getting used to shooting in low-light indoor settings, but I think the hardest aspect is the logistics of it all. Admittedly, shooting bp and joy was rather easy, as we just had to sit back and let them be happy and kiss while we photographed it all. Shooting in Iowa with bridesmaids, groomsmen, mothers, fathers, grandmothers -- that was tiring, especially when people keep wandering off or are running late. You spend the whole time searching around to find better lighting or checking out the ceilng to see if you can bounce your flash or scanning back through the photos you've taken to make sure that you have good takes of all the shots you've been requested to take. You're sweating in your suit in the 100 degree humid weather and you're trying to think of something clever so you can get something better than the tired smiles from all the shooting.

Shooting cycling is so much more relaxing in comparison. Even with the additional challenge of shooting fast-moving objects, it's nice to know that you have no control over the situation: I don't have to tell a cyclist to smile or move a little to the left or go find his grandma. I just point my camera, click, and wait for the next lap.

I'm going to a wedding in Chicago on Thursday -- I think I'll leave my camera in the suitcase for that one.

Congrats bapp and jlpp


Bryan and Joy Wedding-04

'tis a bit belated, but I wanted to say it with a photo, because they were so much fun to shoot. Sometimes photography can be hard, sometimes easy. With them it was too easy: there wasn't a second they didn't look like this was the best moment in their life (trust me, my new camera shoots 5 frames/sec -- there wasn't a second, or even 0.2 seconds... okay, maybe during that one testimonial ;) ). So, congratulations, and thanks for sharing a wonderful moment in time.

Breaking news on DVDs


bp has sent me a bit of good news. One of our side projects while we both worked at PARC was researching stress deformations and fractures of DVD substrates. We demonstrated that DVDs with Microsoft logos had a higher incidence of fracturing than other DVDs, though we were unable to conclude a causal relationship. It appears that Gizmodo has used our initial findings to build towards this important announcement: Gizmodo Announces Support for Some Form of Higher Definition DVD. We wish them the best of luck in their research.

SF bike ride


On Sunday, bp, d, joy, ota and I went on a ride from the 4th and King Caltrain station in San Francisco to Sausalito. Along the way we passed by the Folsom Street Fair (heralded by naked man on bike), the new de Young museum building, and the Golden Gate Bridge. We ate lunch in Sausalito, drank wine, got ice cream, and then took the ferry past Alcatraz back to the Market St terminal. The weather was oddly terrific -- it was the weather I had been waiting for all summer.

I highly recommend the ride -- the more adventurous can do an additional leg from Sausalito to Tiburon and catch the ferry there. Make sure you know the bike lanes in SF: I failed to print out a map and we had some additional adventurous path finding as a result.

The photos from the trip were a bit of sadness to go through -- I had my camera set on ISO 800 by accident, so they are all pretty noisy. I can always take similar photos on later trips, but having to wait for such great weather again might take awhile.

San Francisco-07 de Young Alcatraz San Francisco-01 Alcatraz San Francisco-06

San Francisco-11



I got my schwag on at tonight's Flickr Fiesta: food, beer, t-shirts, and magnet toys. I now know what Caterina Fake, Heather Champ, Jason Shellen, Stewart Butterfield, and Simon Willison look like in person, but I couldn't really decide what one talks to such people about while greedily grabbing anything not bolted down and stuffing it into my jacket. There was also the entrancing live-flickrstream display on the wall that seems capable of inducing seizures or hallucinations. I forced myself to look away.

I brought my camera but decided not to partake in the warfare. There was constant cross-fire of SLRs, as evidenced by the growing photostream of 'flickrfiesta'-tagged photos. I seem to have escaped capture in the currently posted photos, though I did spot ota. I'm sure that every it's only a matter of time.




MT + S5 = No more Powerpoint


bp showed me S5 today, a tool that Eric Meyer has been working on that allows you to do presentations in a Web browser that feel very much like a Powerpoint presentation. bp knew about a presentation I had done awhile back using MovableType as the presentation tool and suggested that a meeting of the two (MovableType + S5) might be in order using MT's category archive templates.

The old idea (just MovableType): * each blog entry is a slide * each presentation is tied to a category * links at the top of each slide advance you from one slide to the next

The new idea (MovableType + S5): * each blog entry is a slide * each presentation is tied to a category * each slide is formatted using CSS to look like an actual presentation slide * you can use the arrow keys to advance between slides * there are alternate presentation formats for printing, handouts, etc...

I coded it up and it was remarkably simple. The category archive template is straightforward (much cleaner than most MT templates), and you can see the results over on my presentations blog.

It's still a work in progress. I have to work out issues like commenting, RSS feeds, and some layout issues, but for the general functionality is there. For extra goodness you can throw in Markdown to make it easier to do bullets and font sizes.

I'm in a hurry right now, so I'll post more details on it later, but for now, feel free to leave comments/questions/suggestions.


Reprising an old last-minute costume, though my jacket was more appropriate this time. I blame bp for not having more costumes at the ready when I arrived unprepared :).

Ken as Pepe Le Pew
Well, it *was* better than nothing...

view profile

Thanks for a fun marathon


Night three of three was completed for the Star Wars marathon. Thanks to all those who came -- you all made the movies far more fun and entertaining than George Lucas is capable. Thanks to bp and joy, whose sangria still has me a bit tipsy, and thank you all for witty, insightful commentary, and for stocking my fridge.

As a follow-up to bp's entry on RSS Comments, I now give you a bookmarklet for bloglines and My Yahoo! users that will let you subscribe to RSS comments:

Subscribe to Comments (Bloglines)

Subscribe to Comments (My Yahoo!) (NOTE: you must add the RSS Headlines content to your My Yahoo! page)

Of course, bp's site is the only site supporting RSS comments right now, but I plan to add that feature to every movabletypo site, as well as (when the real server comes back online).

Update: added My Yahoo! bookmarklet.

RSS Comments


Moving means that I don't get to help bp with setting up RSS comments with MT other than exchange links and ideas over IM, but I'm hoping to have support for this soon in the feed aggregator for (currently disabled due to DSL being shut off).

Side note: I have the code for the feed aggregator on a flash drive, so hopefully all systems will return to 'normal' by tomorrow.

For the istuffers


bp and meta had a project where they were going to build a button next to your computer that you could press that would order a pizza for your (credit for the idea goes to jeffb). I believe one of the more difficult chains in the process was actually ordering pizza. This might help, though it will only get you Dominoes:
Pizza Party - Command Line Pizza ordering program
(via kottke)

We have a winner


Five people entered the free dinner contest to guess the date of my 1000th entry, which ended up occurring April 5th. Of those five, two people had the text of their original submission available, two didn't have the text but honestly submitted answers that weren't winners, and one was unrecoverable. (Note to self: when you have people submit entries for a contest that involve using MD5 to hash the entry, make sure that they know to save the original text of their entry :) ). This isn't the best result you want in a contest, but we can still announce an undisputed champion, a prognosticator supreme:

bp, with your guess of April 1st, you have won a free, all expense paid trip to a restaurant of your choice! My checking account salutes you!

Comments on Markdown


bp left an opening in his entry for me to offer my viewpoint, and seeing as I can't resist commenting, here are my thoughts on Markdown.

Markdown is a fairly simple way for people who write blogs to write their entries without using HTML. For example, "_this_ is markup. I **really** mean it." becomes "this is markup. I really mean it." There are other features for including links, images, lists, quotes, etc... that are, in general, really elegant for people who don't know HTML, and even for people that do use HTML, as it saves both time and effort. It's a whole lot easier to type *bold*, than it is to write <b>bold</b>, and you don't end up with problems where you accidentally forget to close an HTML tag.

Despite this, I don't entirely like it. You can still include HTML in the entry. Initially, this sounds like a good feature. You're typing your entry and you decide that you want to paste in an HTML table, so all you have to do is paste it into your entry. You get the best of both works. Markdown for the simple stuff, HTML when you need it.

In my opinion, this is bad. Markdown takes the characters *, _, [, ], #, `, and >, and gives them special meaning. HTML takes the characters <, >, and &, and gives them special meaning. With Markdown, you have to be aware of both. To me, this is the worst of both worlds, and if you happen to be a user of Markdown that doesn't know HTML, doesn't it defeat some of the benefits if you have to know whether or not you're writing something that looks like HTML?

The ability to include HTML is there for people that know HTML who want to pop out of Markdown when the what to do markup more complicated than Markdown can provide. It's an understandable crutch to provide, but one that hurts users that don't know HTML. I would have preferred this feature not be in Markdown, or for there to be a special switch to go between Markdown and HTML. The benefits would be:

1. You would never have any bad HTML generated by Markdown, which is one of it's goals. You could paste whatever you like in Markdown, and it would guarantee something valid.

2. Users that don't know HTML don't have to, not even a teensy bit.

3. No confusing grey areas where you have to guess what Markdown is going to do. (bp and I got into a discussion as to how to write '-->' in Markdown, which was only solved once we played around with the online Dingus tool. The correct answer was '--&gt;', which is most likely a bug in the current release.)

4. Bonus: it would be an excellent tool for writing HTML tutorials, as it's hard to write HTML in HTML.

BTW, those interested in Markdown might also be interested Textile, which has similar markup, but is geared slightly more towards people that know HTML/CSS. It includes escapes to switch between it's markup and HTML, but as bp pointed out to me, it doesn't have as nice of syntax for doing blockquotes.

Talk: Research cultures


I was part of a four person panel that gave a talk on research cultures at non-PARC research center. bp posted his notes, where it should be obvious that I had very little to say. The questions focused a lot more on high-level/process questions (e.g. "when do you decide to terminate a project," "what about outsourcing research development to India"). I've only been at SRI for five months working on a single project, which probably didn't make me a very good panel member to answer questions about the research project lifecycle. I was hoping for more "culture" questions so I wouldn't sound so mute. At the very least I had a good time seeing everyone again.

Simplified photo sharing


headsets + computers


bp knows why I think this is important...</cryptic>
J : Da Blog: Apple Bluetooth Update

Community MT server coming to life


I kept talking about doing a community server, and, at last, it's actually breathing a bit of air. Granted, the breaths are more gasps right now, but with a little bit more CPR it should be healthy and on its feet. The final motivation came when I was talking to my friend Kenji, who was about to setup his own Web site. Both he and redchilipepper will be the guinea pigs for this, when everything is finally ready. The rest of us (pqbon, meta, and myself) will sit on our vanity domains and watch, as the following experiment demonstrates:

For now it's called, but the name will change as soon as I pick one from the list, or someone comes up with one that's absolutely brilliant.

All this happened with a ton of help from bp, who provided:
a) the server
b) apache config
c) mysql config
d) daily backup scripts

My biggest concern with a community server was making sure that the data was properly backed up out of the mysql database, and it turns out bp's server already has a rsync script running on it, that, with a bit of modification, should take care of the task quite easily.

So, in other words, I pretty much did nothing. And bp, I owe you a case of beer, or beer alternative.

meme propagation


popout thumbnailOne of the things I was noticing in my feed aggregator was how the "visited US states" meme has been propagating into the various blogging communities I am part of. BP was nice enough to generate a thumbnail for me so that I could view this at a macroscopic level. (He used PARC's Popout Prism to quickly generate the image).

Unfortunately, there's so many other entries in the feed reader that the maps end up squashed, but if you look at the bottom, you can see the first cluster of maps, which is mine, then BP's two maps, and tonya's. After that, there is a slight lull. honeyfields and I bugged meta to do a map as well, so then you see meta's near complete map, followed by jrc's (who reads meta's blog), and ginfiend's (who also reads meta's blog). You can tell by the amount of red in the images that meta clearly wins the contest :). You can see the full feed here (link no longer valid).

popout exampleAs Popout Prism has this neat (and central) feature that highlights keywords in the thumbnail (example of this on the left), I was thinking that it would be interesting to integrate this feature into a feed aggregator. As people in your community start talking about visited states, orkut, or a party you went to the other day, you'd be able to quickly see how hot a particular topic was. If you aggregator was especially smart, it could show you a list of what topics seemed to be hot and let you click on them to highlight them in the thumbnail and on the page. If only there were a freely available server-side toolkit :).

BP makes the Wired 40


Congrats BP! You're on Wired's "Wired 40" list:

[26] BP
Expanding gas giant

Not a very flattering description however.

Wired 11.07: THE WIRED 40

Caples Lake


Arrived at Caples Lake. Joke of the night:

Knock knock

Who's there?

Interrupting Bryan





My friends have turned on me - Bryan served me a subpeona to testify about a purse snatching we witnessed.

Puzzle: The Game: Buffyphilia


Original puzzle:

Buffyphilia solved (well, almost):
One word unsolved: "TEN EFFS" or "STEFFEN"
(the 'S' should have been an 'I', giving FIFTEEN)

Description of puzzle: seven pages of screen captures of Buffy and Gilmore Girl episodes. On each page the screen captures are arranged in a cross. The first page serves as a link to each of the other pages. On the other pages, it is noticeable that the sizes of the images don't line up perfectly, this turns out to be the key to the puzzle (it turns out that the names of the episodes is not meaningful). The other key to the puzzle is to ignore Gilmore Girl episodes. The baseline dimension of the images is 240x180. The encoded character is determined by the offset from that size, so 241x180 = A, as does 240x181.

X - Gilmore Girls episode, ignore

Index 0: establishes baseline for character decoding
240 180
240 180
240 180
240 180
240 180
240 180

Index 1
BLVD (If you include Gilmore Girls, you get BEDEVIL, clever)
244 180 D
240 182 B
240 202 V
252 180 L
X 240 185 E
X 245 180 E
X 249 180 I

Index 2
FIFTEEN (originally decoded wrong as TEN EFFS/STEFFEN)
240 185 E
240 186 F
240 186 F
240 185 E
260 180 T
254 180 N
249 180 S (This should be an 'I')

Index 3
240 183 C
240 200 T
249 180 I
265 180 Y
x 248 180 H
x 240 199 S
x 258 180 R

Index 4
254 180 N
240 185 E
240 184 D
240 188 H
261 180 U
258 180 R
244 180 D

Index 5
260 180 T
240 181 A
240 185 E
240 196 P
258 180 R
255 180 O
259 180 S

Index 6
258 180 R
240 195 O
240 195 O
240 184 D
263 180 W
244 180 D
245 180 E

The Game: Letter


We received the letter clue from the game. The one was pretty easy. The clue is encoded in the -ly adverbs, which stand out because they seem very out of place. The extracted adverbs are:


Which gives the clue: "url plus phodroma"

PDF of letter

Plain text of letter is in the extended entry.

Sonoma County Bike Ride


~30 mile bike ride

Rich, Bryan, Martin, Brianna

Started in downtown Sonoma next to the bike rental place. Headed down First towards Sabastiani. Got on bike trail, past Denny's, towards Valley of the Moon. Rode past Glen Allen up hill 1/2 mile to Benziger. Joined Wine Club. Headed down (almost hit by car, top speed 35 mph), stopped at Wellington. Free port chocolates. Stopped at Kenwood (disappointing). Headed back to Glen Allen Village Market. Goat cheese + tortilla for the Girl Scouts. Back to the bike store.