Our Lucy Liu

In the Japantown parking lot, my girlfriend starts the topic:

Her: My roommate, Nora, moved down to Los Angeles the other week.

Me: Yeah?

Her: …and already someone down there stopped her in the street and told her she looks like Lucy Liu.

Even *I* get that a lot…

Me: Oh God! She looks nothing…

Her: Yeah, anytime white guys see a pretty asian girl, they say she looks like Lucy Liu.

Me: Ha! …or Michelle Yeoh.

Her: Because they’re the only two asian people they know.

Me: And if it’s a guy it’ll be Chow Yun Fat or Jet Li.

Her: White guys thinks it’s a compliment. But what they’re really saying is, ‘All Asians look alike to me.’”

DSC_5201

Nora and friend
Steak A5A, North Waterfront, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G, SB-900
1/24sec @ ƒ/2, iso2000, 24mm

Nora at her going away party. (For you white people, Nora is the one in the picture that looks like Lucy Liu.)

Me: I wonder which one they say I look like?

Her: Umm……

Me: …probably Michelle Yeoh.

(If she wasn’t parking at that moment, she’d have hit me.)

DSC_5203

Nora
Steak A5A, North Waterfront, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G, SB-900
1/25sec @ ƒ/2, iso2000, 24mm

Now that you mention it, she does sort of remind me of Chow Yun Fat.

We’re dying

From my cousin:

My mom forwarded me your presentation about your mom which was forwarded from your uncle which was forwarded from our cousin (haha!), and it was very nice.

I still remember when we came up to Pittsburgh for your mom’s funeral. I was only 12 and I remember only one story at the eulogy—so this was good to watch too—and I don’t remember if you or Ken said it but it was about…

Of course it was in a larger story where the people in the audience had laughed, but that was the quote I remember.

I forgot that story and that was one my mom liked to tell her university students. It was in the part of the eulogy where I talk about my mom and me (the second story). It goes like this…

Mom had a heart condition which made life tough on her and she sometimes, when she was tired or exasperated physically, she’d say, “I’m dying!”

“Terry, I’m dying!” She exclaimed one time when I was seven.

I was feeling irritable that day. “Mommy! I’m dying; you’re dying. From the minute we’re born, we’re dying!” I said.

Ever after that, when she’d want to say she’s dying, she’d follow it up with that quote: “Ahh! I’m dying …(pause)… ‘Mommy! From the minute we’re born, we’re dying.’”

And then she’d quietly smile to herself.

Continue reading more on “Broken Jewel” after the jump →

Payvment looking for API ninjas

Are you an API coding ninja? Are you enamored with e-commerce and social networks? Have you contributed to or want to contribute to open source projects? And most of all, can you bring it? If so, we want to talk to you!

Payvment, Inc, a growing San Francisco venture-backed startup, is seeking Software Engineers that want to take traditional PHP to the next level by writing best-of-breed, test-driven, object-oriented code. An ideal candidate will challenge the status quo and manage risk proactively as necessary. This position is not remote and will require a high degree of team work and initiative.

Continue reading about this jobs highlights, perks, and requirements after the jump →

Editorial wall my ass

The person next to me on the airplane was reading the Wall Street Journal. I glanced over and it took me about 15 seconds to realize that it was the editorial page. The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal has definitely got to be the largest: “I’m an ignorat douche” tags I’ve ever seen a person display.

A lot of people rationalize reading the Journal because of the claim of an chinese wall that separates their editorial board from the news board. The claim is their editorial board is right wing whackos (and that content is given for free online); their journalsm is impartial enough to make business decisions (and that content is behind a pay wall online).

Bullshit.

Take this recent example: McDonald’s May Drop Health Plan.

And then read the takedown by a conservative or the this New York Times article. There is really no excuse for sloppiness in this reporting other than a political agenda—after all the rationalization McDonald’s is giving for dropping the plan in the article is that they’re keeping too much money for themselves!

This is common sense: Murdoch bought the paper and changed its direction radically. If you are reading the Journal now to make business decisions, you are making really poor ones.

The first lines outside Apple Store

You may have forgotten by now, but the first lines outside Apple Store were for the openings…

My graduate school friend, Dave, called me that morning and mentioned that an Apple Store was opening up in the area and we should check it out. We casually showed up just before noon and were totally blown away by the lines.

The line for Apple Store

The line for Apple Store
Apple Store, Palo Alto, California

Olympus C-2500L
(3 exposures, 1/200-1/400sec, f/2.9), iso100, 11.8mm (47mm)

I took this photo nine years ago today (October 6, 2001) outside Apple Store Palo Alto. It was the ninth Apple Store opening, and the first street-level Apple Store.

The sign reads: “5 down, 95 to go.” It is a reference to the fact that Apple has only 5% market share and the retail store concept was trying to reach the other 95%.

Apple modeled the store after the Gap. The anticipation buildup was stolen from the first lines for Microsoft Windows 95 six years earlier. Apple’s nearest competitor, Gateway Country Stores failed three years later in 2004. Microsoft would copy this idea eight years later in 2009with impending failure?

I’d say the retail store idea worked better than Apple could have ever imagined.

Discouraged by the lines that morning, we had lunch across the street at Pluto’s. When we finished, there was no line and we walked right in. They still had some free t-shirts when we left.

That was a good day.

Update: Apple and Microsoft go head-to-head with Microsoft’s fifth store-to-be.

Borrow lenses (and sports photography)

I received this e-mail:

Trust this finds you well. I am hoping I can impose upon your photography expertise with a question. My wife has been shooting our son’s high school football games (played at night under the lights) with our basic Cannon SLR rebel and using a borrowed Sigma telephoto lens that I think is an 18-200mm and there were some other specs but I can’t find my notes.

Anyway – knowing that the prime purpose is to shoot football games at night where the lighting is ok at best – and wanting a good amount of zoom capability – can you recommend some options in the $500 – $750 price range for me? Also a good retailer or place to buy such an item?

There are really two questions here: what is the ideal lens to buy for night (from the stands) night sports photography, and what is the best lens to buy in a given price range. The answer to the second question may be…nothing at all.

You can read on, or read an four-year-old article on the subject here.

Continue reading about sports lenses and lens rentals after the jump →

PHP Without PHP—Automattic

Take a simple PHP trick and follow it on a huge tangent to the philosophy of good web architecture.

Presentation was given as Flash Talk at Automattic Meetup in Seaside on September 2010. Presentation originally a long form, but in the spirit of things, I have cut it down.

Automattic is the company I work for. The company is distributed worldwide and once a year we gather at a remote location and meet face-to-face. This year, all the employees are taking a little time during the meetup to compose and give at least one presentation for each other, talking about any subject we are passionate about.

This is based on a PHP Advent article I wrote almost two years ago and formed a low key presentation I used to give in 2009 at conferences. I thought it’d be nice to give a more “traditional” PHP talk—but one which I felt the audience at large could relate to—at the meetup

I hope you enjoy it.

Update

Broken Jewel—Automattic

Presentation given as Flash Talk at Automattic Meetup in Seaside on September 2010

Presentation is supposed to be Pecha Kucha style. But due to preparation constraints, it’s given as a short form.

Automattic is the company I work for. The company is distributed worldwide and once a year we gather at a remote location and meet face-to-face. This year, all the employees are taking a little time during the meetup to compose and give at least one presentation for each other, talking about any subject we are passionate about.

I started writing this talk a couple years back, and I have never found a venue to actually deliver it. Matt claims that, “You will not find a friendlier group of people to present to in the world” and that “Everybody has a story.”

This is mine.

Hope you enjoy it.

I’ll pare it down from 20 minutes down to six eventually. BTW: there are two major errors: Pecha Kucha is pronounced closer to “peh-katch-u-ka.” And I meant “treatable” not “preventable.”

Update

19651222-chay-wedding
December 22, 1965

From Photo to Finished—Automattic

10 Minute Lightning Talk for the Automattic Meetup at Seaside, September 2010

Automattic is the company I work for. The company is distributed worldwide and once a year we gather at a remote location and meet face-to-face. This year, all the employees are taking a little time during the meetup to compose and give at least one presentation for each other, talking about any subject we are passionate about.

For this presentation I chose the subject of photography. Specifically, taking one photo from start to publish describing how I took the shot and the editing steps I chose.

Like many bloggers—Automattic is also known as WordPress—I’m passionate about photography and I felt that many of the other people it the room might be interested in it also—our founder and CEO’s online handle is “photomatt.”

I hope you enjoy this presentation!

This was the second presentation I gave that day. I composed it just after I finished the first.

This presentation will be expanded into a post around Christmas. Look for it!