Stephen's Statements A little bit of everything from Stephen Duncan Jr, a Programmer/Web Geek working in the defense industry

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Flowers At KU

CIMG1853


Pictures from someone else on Flickr of flowers at the campus of the University of Kansas. Check out all the KU Photos. Compare the pictures of flowers to mine.


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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Parker the Jumpshooter?

Very happy to see the Spurs step it up and win in the 4th quarter against the Rockets. I'm just surprised they managed to do it with Tony Parker suddenly deciding he's a jump-shooting point guard. I don't think he tried to penetrate even once all game. I can't figure out why, and I have trouble imagining it was by design.

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Flickr Notes

I don't know why I didnt notice before, but Flickr has a very cool "Notes" feature that lets you associate a note with a section of your photograph. This picture is the first I've used the feature on. Plus I've got a comment partially describing the interesting situation.

Ryan has an even better example of using this awesome feature.


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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Flickr Pro

I just purchased a Flickr Pro account for two years. After I started to put in all the pictures I currently have here on the site, and noticing the limitations on free accounts, I decided to go ahead and shell out the money. It's a great product, and I don't mind paying for it at all. Look for my picture page to have thumbnails pulled from Flickr soon.

Of course, there was also the news today. On the one hand, "Pro account holders will get super mega bonuses, to be announced soon" sounds really good. On the other hand, I hope I didn't just waste money, based on "Free accounts will have more storage and uploads -- pro accounts too -- AND they'll be cheaper." I certainly hope any savings will somehow be passed on to those with existing pro accounts, on a prorated basis. Especially since I made the decision to purchase now based on this page which implies that current prices are for a limited time, and would go up when Flickr moved out of beta. Of course, I didn't remember the blog post mentioning prices being cheaper when I made the two-year purchase...

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Saturday, March 19, 2005

My Link Blog

"Links...of...Interest!"

I've finally decided to use Bloglines handy feature, the Clip Blog. I'll put all the interesting posts I find, but that I don't have anything interesting to actually say there. I won't bother to put a synopsis, or anything, so you'll just have to trust my judgment that the posts are worth reading. By the way, you need to imagine the title of the blog ("Links...of...interest!") as being said the same as "Tales...of...interest!" from this Futurama episode.

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Web-Apps vs. Smart-Clients

Scoble supports the Microsoft vision that so-called "Smart Clients" are the future, instead of web-apps. He says:

Why? Well, it isn't hard to see how an app that runs locally would be able to make users more productive.

Beware phrases like "it isn't hard to see" or "obviously". All it really means is "I'm not going to bother to defend my position."

His example? Bloglines vs. a client aggregator, such as Onfolio:

But, comparing the two approaches just seems wacky to me. It'd be like comparing Onfolio to Bloglines. They both have their advantages, but at the end of the day I'd rather have Onfolio or NewsGator.

I think it's a horrible example. I've tried Onfolio, and it didn't last a day on machine. I found it frustrating to use, and with no real advantages. All other client aggregators have met the same fate. Supporters of smart-clients are going to have to come up with some much more compelling use cases for requiring a rich client.

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Discussing Laundry and UI Design With Colin Powell

Amusing blog post from a Google employee who was doing laundry at work, when Colin Powell, who was touring the site, came in. He discussed her laundry techniques, and then she got to explain her job, UI Design to him. Talk about a unique experience!

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Deliberately Painful Death

I'm going to start using the political blog not just for partisan politics (which it mostly was during the Presidential election campaign), but for anything on matters pertaining to government, law, and politics.

Eugene Volokh on "Punishing Monsters". Eugene wrote an earlier post expressing support for using punishment that many would deem cruel in extreme cases, such as someone who raped toddlers. In defending his position, he manages to come up with a pretty compelling set of reasons why it's not necessarily wrong. As always, the devil's in the details, as his conclusion indicates:

One can certainly reach a different judgment than I do: Even if one thinks there's some moral benefit to executing the Eichmanns or even the serial rapist-killers, one might say that the benefit is small enough that it's exceeded by the risk of error, and the very serious moral cost of that error. As I mentioned at the outset, I am keenly aware that I may be wrong on this general question, and the matter that causes me the most trouble is precisely this one. Yet my tentative current sense is that for a small number of extraordinarily monstrous crimes, the need for retribution is so strong — and the risk of error can be made so low — that not just death but deliberately painful death is the proper punishment.

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Kansas Upset...

Wow. So that's it. That's the rediculously anti-climactic ending to the careers of 4 Kansas Seniors who have had so much post-season success in the past.

Bucknell played terrific basketball. I'd say they have a very good shot against Wisconsin. However, Kansas played plain-out awful. Langford was hurt; he just couldn't do the things he normally does. Aaron Miles rarely even seemed to try to penetrate. J.R. Giddens 3-pt shooting disappeared (as it had for most of the second half of the season). If it weren't for the always-great play of Wayne Simien and the impressive step-it-up performance by Michael Lee, this would have been a blowout.

That said, there were enough really questionable calls that make you wonder about a bias towards producing Cinderallas.

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

March Madness and the Stock Exchange

March Madness goes to market. The most interesting article about NCAA tournament predictions I've seen. Found via A Constrained Vision and from Yoco.

When the opening bell sounds at the stock and commodities exchanges around the country tomorrow morning, the traders will be buying and selling the usual products -- crude oil, gold, Treasuries, the S&P 500 index. Off the floor, after the close, they'll also be shorting Duke, going long on Kansas, buying back Pitt, and dumping Alabama. When March Madness begins, Longhorns are just another kind of cattle future.

While millions of Americans will be tossing a few dollars into pick-the-winner office pools on the NCAA men's basketball tournament, the traders will be playing a far more sophisticated game with much more intensity for geometrically higher stakes.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Freak Show

Go read a great article on Shawn Marion of the Phoenix Suns, and Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs. Or the Matrix and The Sickness.

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Friday, March 04, 2005

Feeling Old at 23

Today's "Ask Yahoo!" has successfully made me feel old, at age 23. Although, to be fair, my memory of the answer comes after the answer given. To me, the "B" drive was almost always the 5 1/2" floppy drive. I'm kind of surprised that wasn't mentioned in the answer.

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