Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving Miracle

For Thanksgiving, my most important job was driving to pick up three of our guests, and then bring them home. I was supposed to pick up the first guest at 11:30AM in Highland Park, which is 20 miles from our home. Normal Los Angeles travel time: 60 minutes. Thanksgiving "miracle" time: 20 minutes.

Thank you, Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

He Hate F1

Seen on a mailing list:

Subject: I hate F1
Does anyone know a way to disable the F1 key on a Windows machine? The only time I use it is when I hit it by mistake instead of escape.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


After five minutes of playing with this technology, it feels like there's promise: customized music stations at I've yet to figure out their business model -- are they showcasing the related artists, or looking to be bought? Who knows. So far, though, I'm impressed!

Sunday, November 06, 2005


I've finally started downloading podcasts. I tried using Odeo, but found that I could manage to get any of my subscribed podcasts onto my iPod. Besides some of the obvious stuff, such as the NPR Sunday Puzzle with Will Shortz and this wonderful little podcast called One Minute Vacation there's the Roadhouse, a regular show featuring Blues you've never heard. It's been a long time since I listened to 45 minutes of music and then listened to the same music one more time. I'm in technology heaven.

My Trip to San Diego

I'm in San Diego for two days of talking about Google and interviewing UCSD students. Google is presenting at a Women in Engineering luncheon, so I made sure to bring my diversity t-shirt with the iconic symbol for woman. While the Google store only has that logo in a woman's shirt, I have a man's style t-shirt with that logo, and it's a wonderful shirt to wear, particularly, say, when representing Google at a Women in Engineering luncheon.

I flew out of Santa Monica airport, which is a first for me. One of the other presenters at UCSD is a pilot and gave me a lift from Santa Monica airport to Montgomery airport in San Diego. While it was nasty, overcast and smoggy in Los Angeles at 3,500 feet, he quickly got permission to climb to 5,500 feet, and the view was wonderful. I imagine this response is typical, but I couldn't help feeling bad that I had to hold back asking the pilot to veer off his plan so I could see my house from the air.

The Collectinator Here's the thing: before taking off, I was lounging in the airport terminal (read: room.) While my coworker was out of the "terminal", filling out paperwork, who should walk into the Santa Monica airport with his entorage? Did you guess from the picture? It was the Govenator, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was wearing a blue blazer and crisp white collared shirt, and walked quickly into a room which was clearly prepared for him. Two or three security guys covered the "room". When I peeked through the occasionally-opened door, I could see a lighting umbrella, so he was being photographed or interviewed. I presume it was the latter, because he's in the middle of trying to get several propositions passed, and a photo shoot is absurd and egomaniacal, and all the makeup and lighting umbrellas in the world won't make him look as good as he did on the cover of Fighting Stars magazine.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Sudoku Puzzle Solver II

I've rewritten my Sudoku solver -- it solves many more puzzles than before, including, it seems, the Evil ones at

I thought I had licked the Sudoku habit. But then C├ędric Beust mentioned his addiction, and now here I am back at it. My wife's addicted now, too.

I'm pleased that it solves many more puzzles, but I'm clear that a trigger-based rule system would be much more elegant. Plus a more general solution, one that solves puzzles of arbitrary size, would satisfy my soul. There are also those puzzles with multiple solutions; this might very well merely get stuck. Of course, I may never pick it up again. and may have to be satisfied despite remaining unable to be as organized as the computer in solving these impish knots.

See the revised solution here.