Archive for April, 2003

Date: April 30th, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Xi3 – Wash

我好討厭洗碗 – Wo3 Hao3 Tao3 Yan4 Xi3 Wan3 – I really hate washing dishes.

討厭 doesn’t actually mean “hate”. Zhongwen.com translates it as “disgusted with”, but we don’t think that’s quite right either. It’s kind of like a combination of dislike and annoyance. You might also say it if things aren’t going your way, or if somebody is bothering you. 討厭!

Also 洗碗 doesn’t actually mean washing dishes! It really means washing bowls.

Date: April 30th, 2003
Cate: Geekism
2 msgs

No solitaire on old iPods??!!?

NOOOOOOOO!!!!

iPod software 2.0 and its features are only compatible with new iPods.

iPod software 1.3 allows existing iPod customers to play back AAC music purchased from the iTunes Music Store or ripped from a user’s CD collection on their iPod.

Gayle
AppleCare Discussions

Date: April 29th, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Guai1 – Obedient, Well Behaved

乖乖 is what kids should be. I’m never .

Date: April 29th, 2003
Cate: Class

FINAL Exam… fight!

Today was my final. I think I probably did OK.

Now I have a few weeks vacation until the next one starts. Design Patterns in Java, I already told you that, right? The book is the famous one by the Four Amigos or the Four Horsemen or whatever they are called. And I, being a dork, already have it. I feel like I’m beating the system somehow.

Date: April 29th, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Xiu1 – Fix, Repair, Study, also part of Jenny’s name

They finally came around to 修理 – Xiu1 Li3 – Fix our phone, and therefore also DSL, today.

Also is part of Jenny’s name. Her entire (given) name is 孟修 – Meng4 Xiu1. Deja Vu?

Date: April 28th, 2003
Cate: Geekism

Unicode & Mr. Bray

Tim Bray’s weblog is always good, but his enties on Unicode have really been great. On the Goodness of Unicode | On Character Strings | Characters vs. Bytes. Very easy to understand and clear explanations of a potentially confusing topic… at least I was confused until now.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Date: April 28th, 2003
Cate: Geekism
1 msg

More on new Apple music stuff – and how to convert AAC to MP3

I’m disappointed that Solitaire isn’t available yet. The discussion boards say maybe Friday. That’s what I was really looking forward to. The wheel will be fine, who cares what the pseudonymous Mr. Van De Lay thinks, posting from poseidon.sears.com… I wonder, who could that be?

The music download thing is awesome, though. You can click and INSTANTLY preview songs. The interface is just about perfect. The music selection is not that great. Maybe it will improve. They don’t have Madonna. I finally found something I wanted, and I already had an account at apple.com so I could buy songs immediately.

It’s strange that you can convert the downloaded files to “protection” free MP3’s so easily, though. Just burn the AAC to a disk and then rip it as MP3. I can’t detect much quality loss. I did it with RATM’s “Killing in the Name”. (get it?) I think the service is flexible enough though that you wouldn’t actually ever need to do this.

Date: April 28th, 2003
Cate: Geekism

New, New and New

New iPod, new iTunes, and the new iTunes Music Store.

Date: April 27th, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Yin1 – Shady, Cloudy, Secret, Feminine

This is the famous of and – Yang2 – Sun, Masculine.

Yin Yang

This is related to the five elements stuff I mentioned before. I don’t pretend to understand any of it. I only mention it because today we went to see this Japanese movie, 陰陽師 – Yin1 Yang2 Shi1 – Yin Yang Master. In Japanese this is apparently pronounced Onmyoji.

Date: April 27th, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Hai2 – Still, Also, Even

Our phone 還是壞掉了 – Hai2 Shi4 Huai4 Diao4 Le5 – Still Is Broken. Thank you, whoever’s wireless connection this is.

Date: April 26th, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Huai4 – Bad, Evil, Broken, Useless

Posting from Walde’s place tonight because somehow our phone is 壞掉了 – Huai4 Diao4 Le5 – Broken. This wouldn’t be so bad, but it means DSL is down too. Very Bad.

Date: April 25th, 2003
Cate: Regular

Denis Horgan

I didn’t even know Denis Horgan had a weblog, and today I find it, and immediately find out that The Hartford Courant forced him to shut it down.

Booooooooo.

Date: April 24th, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Hao3 – Good, Very

Wierd. 女子 – Nu3 Zi5 means Woman. But if jam those same exact two characters into one word, you get , Good.

You also need to say 你好 – Ni3 Hao3 – Hello.

Date: April 24th, 2003
Cate: Class

Design Patterns in Java

Class for next sememster: Design Patterns in Java.

Date: April 24th, 2003
Cate: Regular

the Powers that Be

Just when we were getting used to the idea of Blogger + Google taking over the world, along comes this: Ben + Mena + Anil + Joi = TypePad (what is TypePad?)

Who is the third great power? Rael and Blosxom? The Winerverse of Radio and Frontier? LiveJournal?

Going by the data at Blogging Ecosystem, and by using link: searches at Google, and assuming that sites link to the home page of the blogging system they use, it seems like the popularity proportions break down this way:

MT 1 (MT gets a 1, the rest are relative numbers compared to MT)
Blogger 2/3
Radio 1/2
b2 1/10
Bloxsom 1/20

Interesting! I’m surprised that b2 is so high up. But that probably leaves out the scores of Frontier and LiveJournal based sites out there. LiveJournal says there are 471224 active users at livejournal.com alone, and that doesn’t count all the LiveJournal clone sites.

Dear LazyWeb: Is there a breakdown of the popularity of the various weblog tools out there? I’d like to see estimates for how many weblogs exist that run each one. Is NMAP for blogs required here?

Date: April 23rd, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Bang1 – Help

Date: April 23rd, 2003
Cate: Video Games

Helping

Who knew! It’s almost E3 time already! Nintendo has put up an E32K3 page with some announcements.

Secret of Mana

You mightn’t be aware of it, but possibly Jenny’s all time favorite video game is Secret of Mana. Do you know why she liked it? Helping. It was a two player cooperative game. Each person controls one character on screen and you fight monsters together and help each other. Jenny likes competetive games, but she LOVES helping games. Unfortunately they are few and far between. That is, until now!

Pikmin 2

The first Pikmin was a great game. You indirectly control a swarm of little aliens to do various tasks, like build bridges, collect stuff, push rocks around, and fight bugs. Now Pikmin 2 is coming out, and it features a helping mode! Both players control the little aliens. This sounds like lots of fun. “I’m going to lead the blue ones across the water to get the item, you collect as many yellow and red as you can and try to fight off the bugs until I’m done!” “ROGER!” But that’s not all…

Mario Kart Double Dash!!

Somehow Mario Kart is helping now too! This new version is called Mario Kart Double Dash!!. Kind of like the ancient game Fire Truck, each cart is driven by two players. One deals with driving, the other with weapons and fending off the other drivers. You can switch positions during the race to take advantage of each character’s specialties. This is great. I wonder why the sudden fascination with helping at Nintendo?

F-Zero

Also a new F-Zero is coming. How can you go wrong with an F-Zero game? This one is made by Sega and allows you to share data between the home version and the arcade version. That feature will probably take off in Japan but I doubt anybody will use it here.

Date: April 23rd, 2003
Cate: Geekism

Be like Bunnie

Hackers! Join us now and free the… Hardware? Notes from a presentation by Bunnie on Hardware Hacking at this so-called Emerging Tech conference, which seems to be where all the cool kids are this week.

During the presentation he scooped up the contents of a Gamecube’s ROM as it booted up and showed it to the crowd. Bunnie originally became famous by circumventing Microsoft’s double-super-secret encryption and layers of decoy code (really!) to find, dump, and post the Flash ROM of the Xbox. Within 12 hours Microsoft was on the phone, and they weren’t exactly congratulating him. He took down the ROM, but left up all the information about how he got it.

Date: April 23rd, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Fan2 – Annoy

My head (頁) was definitely on fire (火) for a while today. Those two children are really something.

(For those of you playing along at home: – Ye4 is another (maybe ancient?) word for head. Previously we learned . Jenny’s not here so I’m not sure if is ever actually used. I’ve never heard of it before.)

Date: April 22nd, 2003
Cate: Regular
1 msg

Finally! WE HAVE MOBLOGGING!

Moblogging

Date: April 22nd, 2003
Cate: Regular

Blogalization

I think I understand what they’re trying to do at Blogalization, and I think I like it.

Date: April 22nd, 2003
Cate: Regular

Evil Amazon

I went to Amazon today and on the home page, right under my gleaming Gold Box (probably full of belt sanders and cordless vacuum cleaners) was this sticker:

YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT

Those jerks! I could feel my mouse pointer being pulled in, but I was able to resist. This time.

Date: April 21st, 2003
Cate: Otherwhere
4 msgs

Seldom Asked Questions (and more)

From Geisha Asobi comes this: Japan Seldom Asked Questions. This is the site for you if you’ve ever wanted to know how the JR man gets home at night (he doesn’t), what does MOS Burger mean (Mountain-Ocean-Sun), why do we call it “Japan” when they call it “Nihon” (because in Chinese 日本 is pronounced “Zhr Pen”), and why do Anime characters have big eyes (because of Betty Boop!).

Somehow this reminds me of another site I found at MeFi recently, cultural and etiquette advice for countries all over the world. They even have tips for Taiwan! Also interesting are their tips for dealing with Americans. I could learn something here:

The only proper answers to the greetings “How do you do?” “How are you?” or “How are you doing?” are “Fine,” “Great,” or “Very well, thank you.” This is not a request for information about your well-being; it is simply a pleasantry.

Date: April 21st, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Bing1 – Ice

Prompted by a discussion this weekend on the origins of 冰淇淋 – Bing1 Qi2 Ling2 – Ice Cream. So we both did some Internet research today.

The first layer of sites support the theory that it was invented in Rome, or even by Alexander the Great. But it sounds like they’re talking about the Snow Cone, not Ice Cream itself.

The next level of sites say that actually it was found by Marco Polo in China, returned to Europe, and then popularized by the Medici family.

But then you break through to the core of sites that say that both stories are ALL LIES! In fact, there’s now doubt that Marco Polo even went to China in the first place! Apparently he is in doubt because he never mentioned tea, foot binding, chopsticks, or the Great Wall. But then again, the story goes that on his death bed a priest was trying to get him to repent and admit that all his stories were lies and his last words were “I have not told… half… of what I… AUUUUGHHHAHHCHACKCPHPTPTBPTPBTBTT….. . . .. SAW!”

Date: April 20th, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Xing4 – Surname

In Chinese, some sentences no verb. For example, Jenny might have said 我姓余 – Wo3 Xing4 Yu2 – I Surname Yu — My last name is Yu.

Now both of our is Minutillo. You can be cute and shorten that to – Mi3 – Rice. Sometimes 三喵 calls me 米先生 which means Mister Mi. I like that.

(Interestingly the way you say Mister is 先生 – Xian1 Sheng1 – First Born. I wonder why that is?)

(Also interstingly, inside the character you find – Nu3 – Woman and – Sheng1 – Born.)

Date: April 20th, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Ming2 – Name

This also can mean famous or well-known.

messy-78 沒有名 – Mei2 You3 Ming2 – (Has No) Name — is not well known.

Boing Boing 很有名 – Hen3 You3 Ming2 – Very Has Name — is famous.

Date: April 19th, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Gong1 – Work

If you combine with the character for strength ( – Li4 – Strength), you get – Gong1 – Achievement. Put that next to – Fu1 – Man, and you get 功夫 – Gong1 Fu1 – Kung Fu!

Mar's Villa

Date: April 18th, 2003
Cate: Regular
8 msgs

PHOBIA

Jenny is only afraid of three things.

SUNFLOWERS   RAGGEDY ANN   GUMBY

Sunflowers are too big, she thinks. “No flower should be bigger than your head.” She’s somewhat worried that Raggedy Ann might come to life. And Gumby is just all around spooky, to her.

I’m afraid of the dark. What are you afraid of that doesn’t make sense?

Date: April 18th, 2003
Cate: Otherwhere
2 msgs

Brave Firefighters

If there’s one thing you can count on me to do, it’s post links to people’s Japan pictures. Here I go again.

This guy, who is apparently really cool (evidence: he likes Amigas, and has a Net Yaroze page.), has two galleries of pictures from Japan.

This is the picture that especially caught my eye:

Brave Firefighters

Been there, played that! We put out the mayor. He was on fire.

Date: April 18th, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
2 msgs

– Xiu1 – Rest, Stop

I find it cute that is a picture of a person ( – Ren2 – Person) leaning up against a tree ( – Mu4 – Tree, Wood).

Date: April 18th, 2003
Cate: Meta

make all PRODUCTION=TRUE

OK, it’s done. I’ve got a new design, which looks about the same as the old one, but is more consistent among different browsers. And, I’ve got a new name. I’m no longer “Steve Minutillo :: weblog”, instead I’m “messy-78″. I’m trying on the new name to see how it fits. Why? Why? Why?

There’s still a few annoying problems with the new design. I don’t feel like fixing the PHP code so it doesn’t put an <hr> before the first date, so I just cause it not to be displayed with the magic incantation HR:first-child { display: none; } Everywhere except IE/Win, that is. It doesn’t support first-child or adjacent style CSS selectors.

Also IE5/Mac (somehow I thought it was 5½ but it’s actually 5.22) is showing a horizontal scrollbar, for no scrutable reason. I think in the history of my site there is only one person to ever show up with that ridiculous browser and he’s me and I only did it as a test. What self respecting Mac type person isn’t running either Mozilla or Safari in this day and age?

Finally I’m facing the “CSS doesn’t let you make two columns that are the same height” problem. I want the yellow and coral-y colors to go all the way to the bottom of the browser window, no matter which column has more content. Back in the good old days we’d just use a <table> and probably even a bunch of 1px transparent GIFs. That’s the way it was, and we liked it. We LOVED it! I tell you, when we first did the liquid-stretchy new layout for Outpost it was chock full of tables and spacers and crazy secret techniques of hiding <form>s in between <tr>s so they wouldn’t break up the display. It was invalid to the very core, but it worked.

But not any more, oh no, <table>s are bad now. Valid markup is “cool”. So guess what, I used an onLoad JavaScript to peek and poke values into the DOM, to force the main content area to be at least as tall as the right column! (if the main content area is longer, it doesn’t matter, because the page background color is secretly that coral-y color.) Anyway. Not a particularly satisfying solution.

I keep trying to find other sites that maybe have solved it: a.whole just uses a <table>. a.swartz uses the incredibly dodgy display: table CSS style. a.ponderful looks like it might have the problem licked, until you see a page where the content is longer than the sidebar. Boom.

Enough raving. I’ve still got to do word of the day. So let me know if you see any anomalies. By the way, I’ve turned the style off completely for 4.0 grade browsers, so don’t be surprised if you get time-warped back to 1991.

Next project: Something that actually matters. Cool URIs.

Date: April 16th, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Da3 – Hit, Make, Do

What happens when a – Shou3 – Hand meets a – Ding1 – Nail?   打!

This word by itself just means “Hit” but is used in lots of expressions. You 打工 – Da3 Gong1 – Hit Work — Work, 打賭 – Da3 Du3 – Hit Gambling — Gamble, Bet, even 打電話 – Da3 Dian1 Hua1 – Hit Electric Speech — Make a phone call.

Date: April 16th, 2003
Cate: Regular

Secrets of Antipixel

Local favorite Jeremy Hedley, of Antipixel, is interviewed by waffle.

Date: April 16th, 2003
Cate: Video Games

Enigmo

Enigmo is fun! It’s like “The Incredible Machine” except with water droplets. Go download and play it right away. That is, as long as you’re running the new official cool computer. But everybody must be by now, right?

Date: April 16th, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Shi4 – Try, Test

Have you been paying careful attention to word of the day?
試試看 – Shi4 Shi4 Kan4 – Try Try See — Try it and see!

Date: April 14th, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Zheng3 – Neat, Orderly, Rectify, Entire

This word, and probably lots of the words I give you, don’t really mean anything on its own. It is used in conjunction with other words to mean something.

For instance:

整理 – Zheng3 Li3 – Neat Arrange — Clean Up
整潔 – Zheng3 Jie2 – Neat Clean — Neat and Clean

Date: April 14th, 2003
Cate: Geekism

Safari v73 + Cookies = YATTA

Finally! Safara Beta 2 (also known has v73) now has working cookies!

This is good because it’s another nail in the grave of IE5½Mac. That stupid thing has been giving me so much trouble, I have a new secret design for this weblog (it’s exactly the same as the current one, but slightly cleaner HTML and more “semantic”) which works fine in all browsers except the aforementioned accursed.

Thanks Maciej and Hyatt!

(yes, this was posted in Safari. yes, I know there was probably a leaked beta like a month ago that incorporated the fix.)

Date: April 14th, 2003
Cate: Class

Yes, I’m bragging

We finally got back the midterm today. I got 117%. As a letter grade, I guess that would be a negative B.

I hoping to actually get an imaginary number as the final grade for the class. Or NaN! NaN would look good on my transcript.

Date: April 14th, 2003
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
2 msgs

– Luan4 – Chaos, Disorder, Messy

There’s a strange idiom with this word, 亂七八糟 – Luan4 Qi1 Ba1 Zao1 – Chaos Seven Eight Mess. Something that is in a complete mess with stuff scattered everywhere is 亂七八糟. Why the numbers 7 and 8 appear in there, I don’t know. Some sort of secret code only Chinese understand I suppose. There’s other wierd idioms and sayings that include numbers, too, like 三八 – San1 Ba1 – Three Eight — Silly (according to Zhongwen.com, “exaggeratedly feminine”).

Thinking about this today I was considering renaming this site “Messy 78″. Other names I’ve thought about at one time or another:

This Is Amiga Speaking
My Vital
Shadowblock
The Override
View Source
Still Alive Old Friend

Date: April 14th, 2003
Cate: Regular
1 msg

I broke down and decided to go to Flushing with Jenny, Susan, and their mom. I want to mention two places we ate at that are absolutely “THE BEST” and everybody should try… and I mean everybody. These are both in my top 8 restaurants on Earth:

THE ABSOLUTE BEST HOT DOG PLACE

First, on the way there, we stopped at Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield. This is the best hot dog place ever. How good is it? I don’t even like hot dogs. I actually HATE hot dogs. But I love Super Duper Weenie. Get the Chicagoan, or the California dog. Their hot dogs are all loaded to 110% capacity with chili or relish or pickles or whatever, all made fresh. They’re messy and great.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST KOREAN RESTAURANT

Then in Flushing we went to KumGangSan (금강산). Now, careful, don’t be tricked: They have two branches, one in Manhattan in “Korea Town”, and one in Flushing. The Manhattan one has fancier decor, but the Flushing one is way better. Better food, better service, and on a nice day you can sit outside by the waterfall. Somehow they’re open 24 hours a day. And, just about every time we go we randomly get some sort of bonus food. “Here, this is special Korean mumble-mumble.” Who knows what we’ve been eating, but it’s always good. And that’s besides the normal eight million little dishes of appetizery stuff they bring you before the main meal.

Nothing else too interesting today. I saw the dangerous water yo-yos on sale, but didn’t buy one. Jenny searched for a book by 魯迅 – Lu Xun but it was sold out. And Susan forgot to bring her fancy new phone with the built-in camera, so no moblogging for us.