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Archive for September, 2005

small project

Started yet another small project today. The deadline is shorter than I originally thought, but I think I should still be able to finish it ;)

Add comment September 29th, 2005

late at work

Stayed late at work today. Took this with my phone camera.

Upgraded my powerbook to 1.25Gb of RAM. Application load time has a noticable drop, esp for photoshop. It works like a charm.

Add comment September 26th, 2005

being nice

I had a one on one with my boss the other day. He said, “Kavin, I notice something. When you first met somesome, you make judgement on if that person is smart or not. You started of at the baseline. If the person is smart, you get nicer and nicer to to them. If they are stupid, your response to their question gets more and more cryptic; and you get really harsh on them” I was like, “Yeah?”.

So, my new thing at work is being nice.

Add comment September 24th, 2005

Grand Challenge


Let me explain why this is so cool. For the longest time people have been trying to develop car that can drive itself. Darpa is espcially interested in that technology for obvious reasons. But since combat usually happen on rough terrians, the stuff that’s in your Mercerde wouldn’t work. (Mercede can drive itself? Yes. The commercial release was a watered down version call lane departure warning, originally developed in 1996 and runs on a 486. But I digressed).

GPS system can get you to certain resolution, and is helpful on route planning, if the route is all mapped out. So you need to add in satellite imagery if there is no route at all, and process the image to pick a route. But that only give you certain resolution. So you go in, and built a stereo camera vision system to see the road condition. But the range is limited, and it can be blocked by dust. Laser can see through dust, but have a scanning cycle time. Morever, extreme contrast such as shadows can thorw it off. The variation of light intensity a dent is much less than that of a shadow, so you on board camera can only do so much. After the heavy computation to calculate the route, you need to know when to do replanning to anticipate what’s in front of you.

After working on it for a few years, CMU produced this.

Add comment September 24th, 2005


When you get a stuff animal, do you remove the tags, or do you leave them on? Is there any reason why?

Add comment September 23rd, 2005

Cocao and Atom

My penpal V‘s blog finally got a RSS feed ;) But it only comes in atom. I was playing with it all night to try to get Ben Kazez’s newsreader widget to take it, but it seems like it doesn’t support atom yet. So I decided to e-mail the author to contribute code to it. The widget is written in Cocao and Objective C, so I did some reading on it. Can’t be that hard. At the mean while I got feedburner to convert the atom feed to RSS feed. But still I’d like to code something up for fun for a change,

Now I see why the open source movement work ;) For every feature, there’s a relatively hot chic behind it.

Add comment September 20th, 2005

St. Peter’s Basilicae

Went to lunch with a acquaintance the other day. My friends have been telling me things about her for a while, but I didn’t really know her until recently. The cool thing about her is that she does dorky things at times, which probably most people won’t think is cool. But for someone like me who calls a receipt a “formula”, this is kinda cool ;)

Coming from NY I jay whenever its safe. I got this “are you trying to kill me” look and a 2 minute question on I could get ran over flat like a pancake. Yadayadayada, yadayadayada. She was particularly impressed by the arts in the Vatican, so I shared my view that art in the Renaissance period are very limited with their artistic freedom. Perhaps my argument was a bit too strong, I got this look on her face like I just slage hammered the Pieta. Alright, alright, I was trying to impress her but now that I think about it, it was totally unnecessary. I feel bad for being a jerk to her. Couldn’t stop thinking about it all weekend. I wasn’t really trying to be a jerk. But the more I think about it, the more I sound like a jerk to myself.

It was interesting listening to her. She is the animated kind, and can jump from subject to subject. I can hear the proudness in her voice when she was telling me about her work. She was humming a song when we were walking back. I wanted to ask what song it was. I’ll have to remember to do that next time.

Add comment September 16th, 2005

Social Enturepenureship

I was talking to V couple of days ago of what I wanted to do. I was telling my cousin that today over lunch. I was suprised hearing myself say it would help me understand more about the idea. I brought up a term I read a couple of weeks ago in “The World is Flat” called Social Enturepenureship. Basically a social enturepenure is someone or an organization with a goal of improving the quality of life for a section of a society who is getting left behind using economic means.

If you look at rural China for example, people who were farmers for generation get stuck in vicious cycle of provety because they weren’t provided an opportunity to lift themselves out of that situation. When a kid is born into a farmer’s family who is renting land, they were put to work at an early age to support their family so going to school becomes difficult for them. Not having aquired the skill necessary, it becomes even more difficult to find a different job that allows them to have more time to re-educate themselves.

One of the example that Friedman talked about in his book was how technology allows people to be able to distribute work more efficiently. One of the partner from KPMG setup a data entry shop in Cambodia providing data entry services to firms in the States. The only requirement from the locals were to recognize the English alphebets, which can be taught in a day or two. Spell checker will take care of the rest. They would have two person entering the same article to improve accuracy. They would then be employed at 2 times the local farmer salary to work from 8:00-2:00. A matching scholarship is provided if they choose to go to school, since it also improve efficiency at the job. Or they can choose to work back at the farm. That education and the work experience they gain at the shop would increase the employability of the individual, lifting their next generation off the vicious cycle of provety.

One can argue that sweatshops, if ran properly, is a form of social enturepenureship. It provide a higher wage and a more stable working hours comparing to local standard, providing an opportunity for the workers to lift themselves out of provety. But most importantly, this opportunioty comes with dignity. These people are unfortunately enough to be born poor. It is a crime to rob them off their dignity too. I am fairly convinced that free money and international aid is not the solution.

When I was visiting Peru, our bus was driving by a fairly old man, pushing a wooden cart. His skin is weathered, his shoes are worned, and his clothes looks like they were the same piece he has been wearing since he was 18. By looking at his cart, he looks convincingly to me as a farmer who is walking to the nearest town. On foot, he has no means of reaching the next town for a better price. With the product on his cart, he has no means to get educated to employ morden techniques to getting better crops. With what he can produce, he has no means to afford insurance to protect him against nature’s misfortune. What he needs is the freedom and means to move up and down the social ladder economically. It doesn’t matter how hard it will be. If there is a mean and there is a will, people will do it. It is a freedom a lot of people in the world current don’t have. Social enturepenureship provide the opportunity for social mobility, and to a lot of people in the world, it is a more important form of freedom than our first admenment.

I can tell you that I want to be a global citizen and all. But at the end of the day, it needs to be a sustainable business. And social enturepenureship is all about that. Be it a sweatshop, a data entry shop or a micro loan shop, return on investment allow people to continue to contribute into the system. But the most important part about it is that I can be doing something to provide hope for social mobility to people who cannot previously afford them.

Google “Social Enturepenureship MBA program”. Guess what pops up first? Standford.

Add comment September 15th, 2005


Couldn’t sleep. So I did some work and read a friend’s blog. I’ll ask her to share it with you.

Like me, she was born in HK. Like me, her family wasn’t too wealthy. Like me, her parents worked hard trying to provide the best they could to her and her sister. Like me, after growing up in HK, her family moved to NY, to find a better education for her and her sister. Like me, she had to struggled to adapt to a brand new place. But unlike me, she realized how hard it must be for her parent to watch their kids to grow up in a different place, having to miss all the important moments in her life.

Life is made up of small wonders, and sometimes, sacrafices. Needless to say, I am touched today.

Add comment September 13th, 2005

Junichiro Koizumi

Junichiro Koizumi rocks! I wish Bush have half his balls. On reforming Japan’s postal system, he ran into opposition with a few members of his cabinet. He dissolved the entire house of representatives and called for re-election, in a atmosphere that his party might not get the majority. Which mean he’ll probably resign if they don’t. Although I didn’t like the fact that he consider Japanese veteran war hero, I admire his guts. Reminds me of the British prime minister in Love Actually.

1 comment September 13th, 2005

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