Saturday, October 25, 2008

Organically grown software

I've come up with a pretty good idea (at work) and I have been working on it on-and-off since March '07 now. I'm going to chronicle my experince here for mostly my own amusement. 

The timeline for the project is something like:
  • September'07 - faced with a problem I decided to come up with a generic solution that a few of my coworkers can use
  • October '07 - Priorities/focus shift and the problem I am faced with is no longer urgent. I put this on the back-burner and drift off to several other side projects
  • Oct'07  - March '08 - a few code contributions here and there. The project is overengineered to the point where the focus is kind of lost
  • Febuary '08 - talks with another co-worker from a different group spark some interest and I do a 30 minute presentation for about 15people from 3 different offices
  • after the presentation I realize exactly that this project is way to ambitious and over-engineered to be feasable, useable and stable so spent some time ripping out bad features
  • March '08 - I hold an office-wide naming contest to come up with a name for what I'm doing
  • July '08 - more refactoring, test cases, and narrowing of focus
  • August '08 - the problem from Sept '07 comes back into focus but is assigned to an employee on my team. Since I am able to dictate the terms of the project, my side-project comes into play
  • August '08 - Another employee is confronted with the same problem and succumbs to using my work as well
  • October '08 - I woo yet another potential user
My immediate goals are these
  • release into production a working version as soon as possible 
  • leverage the oodles of existing code that others have written for similar tasks
  • elicit as much feed back as possible
  • advertize the product - entice more users
  • keep the design flexilbe and robust

Assassin's Creed

Just beat Assassin's Creed on my PS3

The plot was a little weak and slightly predictable. The protagonist aggressible alluded to something being wrong and thus the plot twists were fairly obvious throughout the whole game.

The fighting action is a little mundane and only gets hard in the last 3 missions. The jumping and climbing is fun but also very repetative.

As negative as the above sounds, the game has some pleasant predictability and is visually pleasing enough to play. 
Overall I'd give it a B+ and would buy the sequel after a year. 

By the way, the trailers on YouTube for Assassin's Creed 2 are fake

Monday, October 20, 2008

Netherland - Joseph O'Neill

New Yorker book review seem to speak favoribly about this book. I picked it up from @fanatoly.

It offered a glimpse into Dutch / English upper-middle class culture, rare glimpses into early 2000's i-banking and talked alot about familiar to me parts of Brooklyn.

There were 3 different tracks of thought in this book.
A portion of it discussed cricket, a large parf of it involved divorce and brooding over life, and some slight bits of a Londoner's impression of Brooklyn


This was just a terrible movie and a big waste of time. It had none of the Anchorman funny I excpected.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My policy on facebook hack-spam

Every time I see one of these on my Facebook wall I remove the person from my friends. Clearly if you cannot manage to use the internet, we should probably not be on speaking terms.
I think everyone should follow in this example, thus imposing a social ban on people who are unable to come to terms with not clicking on everything they see.

Edited 11/14

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Your name in comments in Word

Sometimes specs are necessary and require some formal written documentation. When documents are shared ( email / sharepoint / network drives ) I really wish people would figure out how to change thier comment name/initials from Default. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Songza / Metallica - To Live is To Die

awsome song. thought I'd share

5ive things i've been doing instead of posting

  • going to work
  • Half Life 2
  • Half Life 2 Episode 1
  • the beach

Friday, August 29, 2008

Twitter as usual

I kind of missed these.
Apparently its not the RoR

Thursday, July 31, 2008

5ive shows I'm waiting for new seasons of

  1. Heroes
  2. The Office
  3. Burn Notice
  4. 30 Rock
  5. House

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Strange Wilderness

Grandma's Boy was hilarious. This was not.
Memorable quote:

[sic] "Here are the sea lions. They're getting out the water because of the sharks. Good thing there are no tigers on the rocks. Otherwise they wouldn't know what the f*ck to do"

Peter Dante was funny in this film. I liked him in Grandma's Boy more. Justin Long sucked as a stoner. Or as an actor. He should go back to Mac commericals.

Hipster PDA Week 1 Results

I've been using my hPDA for a week and it's mostly been a positive experience. Aside from taking some flak from my less tech savvy friends it's been well received by my peers. In a short list, here are some negatives:
  • Limited multimedia capabilities and no mp3 support
  • Not a very 'rugged' device. My BB Pearl survived the thunderstorm by managing not to partially disintegrate
  • Bulky - again, the Pearl has a smaller and more attractive form-factor
  • Does not sync with Lotus Notes
  • No internet apps or the ability to install $10 Apps ( like MonkeyBall )
What the hPDA does offer is a very good experience of reflecting on the various tasks and to-dos of my life. Sitting down with a pen and paper beats the BB Pearl hands down: Whenever I have attempted to do this on the Pearl I end up mostly fiddling with the device, pressing random buttons and eventually end up playing BrickBreaker. I find the pen&paper approach a lot more productive

Monday, July 28, 2008

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco By Bryan Burrough, John Helyar

Barbarians at the Gate is probably the latest and latest in my streak of finance related literature. This was a very long and sometimes boring book. Overall I felt it is a worthwhile piece of literature that offers a glimpse into the lives of corporate CEOs, bankers, lawyers and PE firms. The book is set in the late 80s, which offers some hindsight into who made it out alive and who collapsed.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Trying out the Hipster PDA

According to Merlin Mann on in
is a fully extensible system for coordinating incoming and outgoing data for any aspect of your life and work. It scales brilliantly, degrades gracefully, supports optional categories and “beaming,” and is configurable to an unlimited number of options. Best of all, the Hipster PDA fits into your hip pocket and costs practically nothing to purchase and maintain.
Pictured here are some initial attempts at using my hPDA.

Monday, July 21, 2008

5ive PS3 games I want to play

  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
  • FIFA 08
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare / Call of Duty 3
  • Grand Turismo 5: Prologue
  • Bourne Supremacy

Friday, July 11, 2008

5ive shows to watch on Netflix/Hulu

  • Weeds Season 1&2
  • Dexter
  • Arrested Development
  • Burn Notice
  • Highlander

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monkey Business Swinging Through the Wall Street Jungle - John Rolfe and Peter Troob

This books seems to be as much IB gospel as M.Lewis' Liars Poker. Perhaps my expectation for this book were a bit high because my friends built it up, but it seems a little weaker than previous banking literature. Perhaps this is because you can only convey so much misery through text. This book walks a thin line of suffering for a paycheck so it cannot turn into a sob-story without turning into one of these.

The more amusing realization about this book and the way by which I came to read it is the following: everyone who recommended it after reading took an IB job and is as misearble as the characters in the book.

5ives: Banking books I've read

  1. Liar's Poker
  2. Monkey Business
  3. When Genius Failed
  4. Ugly Americans *
  5. Den of Thieves *
* denotes books not read yet

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

5ives: 5 awsome open source/freeware programs

  1. Mozilla Firefox & Thunderbird
  2. Dia
  3. Emacs
  4. Winamp
  5. BSPlayer

5ives: 5 excused I've used to avoid going to the gym

  1. Intoxication
  2. Laziness
  3. Too much work to do
  4. Golf
  5. Laziness

Gone Baby Gone

I'm a movie critic by no means but I felt this movies to be a little drawn out and little 'scattered' towards the end.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

5ives: 5 blogs I like to read

  • Joel on Software
  • The Leveraged Sellout
  • Freakanomics
  • Coding Horror
  • Brownstoner

5ives: Things I do like about the subway

  • the 'entertainment'
  • successfully racial profiling that results in me getting a seat: guessing which Chinese people get off at Canal/Grand, yuppies and hippies at Park Slope and anyone with a flat bill hat between Prospect and Church
  • utterly lost tourists
  • getting a running start and shoving everyone into 4/5
  • early morning BlackBerry email productivity and a round of BrickBreaker

5ives: Things I don't like about the subway

  • running nose and no tissues. I end up combating snot for 45minutes. Sometimes I ask strangers for tissues. Rarely does anyone ever take pity.
  • dudes in expensive suits on the 4/5. If I had a $5k suit, it'd cab it to client meetings
  • the riff-raff
  • people who have not yet adjusted to the daily violation of their 'personal space'
  • people who stare back, thats just uncomfortable

I'm starting 5ives

Much like Merlin at, I'll be posting some 5ives here: Random musings, with five thoughts at a time. These mostly happen as an expansion of thoughts I have on the subway. Also, I've read somewhere that bullet points give credibility.

You can see them all here (via search)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Made To Stick - Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Made to Stick

some really good ideas in here about all the common traits of ideas that worked out.

I'd like to have kept a summary of this.

will post back with findings

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pandora ... it's full of leaks

Maybe not Pandora but Flash in general. My computer grids to a halt after an hour of Pandora usage.

When it starts, the memory footprint looks like this:

And over the course of an hour worth of usage turns into:

This will keep increasing and eventually thrash my computer to death. I'm switching to winamp/ShoutCast.

update: Two hours into usage:

Monday, April 21, 2008

Onslaught ( Yet another awsome Tower Defense game)

The folks over at have an awesome tower defense game called Onslaught. By far this has the most advanced game features and 'cleanest' feel. Good work !

Friday, March 28, 2008

Canyon Defense

Canyon Defense can be found here on MiniClip

It's an awsome but hard game. The graphics are neater and the enemies are more annoying but there is no 'upgrade' feature. Enjoy

Friday, March 21, 2008

Desktop Tower Defense

Desktop Tower Defense is my time sink right now.

Here are some of my attempts to play the Fun-10k mission.

This is probably my best strategy to date

Some tips/ideas
1. maximize range/exposure of towers to creeps by placing upgraded towers in central locations
2. slow the game down with freeze and bang towers
3. mazes help
4. ink/dart towers do not need to exposed to creeps directly. It's possible to attack from afar.
5. My previous strategy included combining the 'creep-flow' into a single heavily guarded channel. It feels like being able to reuse the endpoints somehow extends game play by having the creeps traverse the field in opposite directions, thus continually exposing them to upgraded tower clusters
6. don't forget to take care of Flying attacks. These usually get me

Monday, March 17, 2008

Some bad books and movies as of recent

Rant was just too boring and confusing for me to 'get into'. Maybe I'm just Palahniuk oversaturated. This lived under my bed for a month and went straight back to the NYPL. Some books just don't catch on.

Vanilla Sky was one of those movies that fell through the cracks and I never got a chance to see. Seems like I should have left it there.
In retrospect, the movie is split into real and imaginary halves by the events following the nightclub scene. Every 'present time' scene in the movie, as well as some flashbacks during the 'jail time' scenes occurs in a dream.
There are some enjoyable cinematic effects, such as the use of sets and color to distinguish between real flashbacks, real dreams, and the surrealistic dream reality of the present. The blurring of these events is also very enjoyable.
However, the great disappointment here is twofold: a shitty deus ex machina and a missed opportunity for a decent movie.
What seems to be strange surrealism turns into uncalled for science fiction. It felt like the writers couldn't come up with an explanation for what's going on so they thought up some corporation that would freeze people and let them dream whatever they wanted. There are subtle hints of this during the film (appearance of tech support, few anachronistic scenes) but overall I would have preferred a more plausible ending.
There was a great opportunity for a 'Fight Club' like jamais vu that would make the viewer reexamine every scene with a completely different idea of who is who, when and what. Instead, we're quickly clued into the fact that David is having what surmounts to a bad trip.

Other bad movies I will breifly mention:

My expectation for Dan In Real Life were pretty low, but this movie managed to outdo itself in the crap department. The only thing this movie was missing is a holiday theme to serve as a pivot point for the plot. Then I could have made my girlfriend watch Rambo: First Blood Part II instead.

The Reaping spiraled from interesting, to creepy, to scary, to creepy and scary and suddenly collapsed to ridiculous. Somewhere between the little girl jumping out of tree bark, scary houses and creepy southern towns this movie aquired a Satan worshiping death cult and a 12year old that wields lightning bolts. How and why did H.Swank decide to act in this ?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Choke - Chuck Palanhnuik

Also accordng to IMDB, there's going to be a movie based on the book, although it looks like more of a 'film short' rather than a movie. I can't quite see enough plot here for an hour and a half of watching and $10+tax.

This is my second to last (and most amusing) Palanhnuik book. After 3 books and a movie, he's begining to sound repetative. The author follows a very straightfor

Survivor was probably the farthest departure from the standard Palanhnuik genre.

up next: Rant