Toilet Paper Chicken

“Ahh,” a friend sighs to me. “I just had to buy some rolls of toilet paper!”

“That happens sometimes,” I reply thoughtfully.

“No, they’re for my place and I’m not even living there.”

“How did that happen?”

“My roommates ran the toilet paper down.”

“So why didn’t they get some?”

“Well I have two. One is leaving and using my bedroom; the other is just moving in and using the other bedroom.”

“Oh!… Umm?”

“Well I guess one figured since she’s leaving she doesn’t need to get new toilet paper. And the other figures she’s just moved in and shouldn’t be buying toilet paper either.”

“So they’re just playing a big game of chicken over the toilet paper?!”

“I guess so.”

(Roommates. I’m so glad I don’t have them. Can you imagine this game? The moment you “win” congratulations; you’re MacGyver now.)

A little about DxO Mark

Since there has been a lot of interest in this camera after previous posts, I wanted to mention that DxO published their rating of the Nikon D3100 sensor.

DxOMark - Compare sensors

This chart compares the new Nikon D3100 to the highest-scoring APS-C sensor (Nikon D300s) and full-frame sensors (Nikon D3s).

I’ve used DxOMark a lot in passing discussions, and a friend (and recent Nikon D3100 owner) last month mentioned, “I don’t know how to read this.” Whoops!

I had better explain what these values mean.

Continue reading a quick guide to understanding DxOMark after the jump→

Satanism… or worse

Girlfriend: “Everyone was asking about me—even family members. It’s probably better I wasn’t invited to her wedding. I know what would have happened if I showed up. Her mom would have come up to me and said, ‘So, how is your walk with God doing?’ and then she would have asked me about you.”

Boyfriend: “You should just tell them I’m a Satanist.”

Girlfriend: “Hah! Instead of a Catholic? That would have gone over well.”

Boyfriend: “Or… even worse, that I believe President Obama was born in Hawaii. That would have really freaked them out!”

>:)

dSLR video recommendations

Recently, some friends asked me what dSLR to purchase if they want to make movies with it. They aren’t experts at doing SLR photography.

Currently, if you are a beginner photographer and want a dSLR with video capability, the one I suggest is the Nikon D3100, ($700, Amazon, DPReview) which I have already written about earlier.

Nikon calls movie taking “D-movie.” It is currently the cheapest dSLR that can do video mode. It’s only one of three dSLRs that can do autofocus while taking video mode. This strikes me as the best balance between learning and using an entry level dSLR and being to take film-like movies. I’ll recommend some others below, but first I’d like to talk about the why and what of SLR movie-making (with the caveat that I’m a photographer, not a filmographer). Continue reading about dSLR movie-making after the jump →

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.