Programming Tech

Interesting gadgets, JS Frameworks, Libraries, Tech Links, Tech Articles

Cool past gadgets
Sony Rolly
Sony P series
Golden-i headsets
Ultra Mobile PC
Samsung Q1
HP Touchsmart TX2
Dell XPS M2010
Sony P Tablet
Oakley THUMP 2
Sony Mylo
Nokia N810
HTC Shift
Handheld PCs
HP Jornada
Sony Vaio Duo
Danger Hiptop/T-mobile Sidekick
Palm Treo (the first smartphone)
PDas and Pocket PCs
Sony Vaio Duo
Sony UX Micro PC
OQO Model 02
Archos Gen 6
Dell Adamo
Asus Taichi
Voodoo Envy 133
Pleo RB
Alienware m11x
Dell XPS M2010
Nokia N93
Eon 13S
Soundmatters foXLv2
Dell XPS 12
Myvu Crystal
AR figure Alice
Creative Recon3D THX sound processor
Turtle Beach Dolby processor
Astel & Kern MQS player
Custom Relics
Chromebook Pixel
Ultra sabers
Swart Amps

I read alot. Except I don’t read books, I read Wikipedia articles and nerdy articles. Lots of them.. here are few I came across:

Interesting Links/News
Someone was paid to hack Facebook exploiting Oath2?
Tells you some of the myths about guitar pickup tone
Someone actually made stacksort!! (based on an xkcd comic)
So this is the guy who started phreaking?
Chinese immigrants had it hard…
I wonder who still uses Telnet… if its always more insecure than SSH
Loved this game when I was young… didnt realize it was only released in Japan!
Super Audio CD?? I never knew this existed, I wonder if its actually audibly better than CD.
CGA is the PC’s first color standard – I remember the days of 16 colors.
Building a naive Bayes classifier, which has lots of uses in making complicated problems less complicated as it seems 😛
10,000 year old clock
Did you know MS made a JS replacement language, that adds modules, classes, interfaces and type checking?
Chinese sites look so awful and cluttered and looking at the minified JS, they even have chinese characters in JSON… omg must be a nice time parsing that
This guy ruled South Korea for 16 years until he was assassinated!! O_O
Email loops…
Vestal Virgins!
Let’s save IE6!!! hehe
The woman who had immortal cells
extreme pogo sports…
This is the first FPS game, not Wolf3D, not Doom. This game, and I played it when I was young.. pretty decent 🙂
Did you know? The first Chinese dynasty was started by this guy
The first Firefox phone?? omg
The Japanese have urinal games… wow
Prions are viral infection agents caused by eating brains o_O
This is a cool name for a Apache Ruby module
The game boy printer was really ahead of its time… people barely had dot matrix printers back then
There’s a programming language based on Lolcats
The Apple Newton had a programming language…
There’s a programming language that is multi-lingual keyworded
Woody Allen’s first movie was a 1960s Japanese dubbed spy thriller (it was a good movie, I watched it)
This was the most popular bike in the world thanks to China
Did you know? in WWI, people used pigeons to take aerial photos
Did you know? This is the worst pc game of all time, mainly cause it doesn’t work. At all.
Pig toilets… yes people used to use these
This is the crater that caused the extinction of the dinos
This is the biggest extinction event in Earth’s history
The original AI program Eliza, as a Java applet
Dunning-Kruger effecta cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average.
Apparently this guy lived for 152 years
A PS Emulator that was sold IN STORES
Oh yeah NeXT computers used these…
Someone sued a guy named Mike Rowe for having this domain name…
Charismatic megafauna – I suppose they are “charming” to scientists? hehe
Chinese magic mirror..
Werecats exist?
Black swan theory – this actually makes sense to me. Lots of everyday things have very small probabilities of occurring, but because there’s so many probabilities in general, the chance of any individual small probability happening is actually quite big.
Wow this is a rare add-on for Sega saturn..
I used to own one of these guys before Pocket PCs were there…
This chinese woman worked on the manhatten project… at a time when Chinese people couldn’t immigrate to America.
A game console that downloads games for free? – awesome. The future of gaming is streaming from the cloud – and this is the first step.
4004 was the first available microprocessor

Nice JS articles and tech sites
Java 8 looks pretty neat.. Joda time and Lambdas
Overapi kinda sucks as a Java reference (HashTables? really?) but the jQuery reference is decent. This site also compiles a nice list of Web dev articles. Here’s another checklist for web devs.
Good front end dev interview questions
jQuery 2.0 beta is out!
Comparing front end frameworks

Nice tech:
Interesting startup job repo
This is a really cool graphical tessellation generator…
Combine your Chrome tabs!

(JS Library Reference can be found here)


Bioshock Infinite review, Archos tablet review

Bioshock Infinite
Just finished playing Bioshock Infinite. It’s a good game, but not as good as reviewers say. There’s reason why I will list here:
1) Low quality textures – There’s some textures that are really low quality. Most parts of the game is fine, but on some small details like doors or small objects it is noticeable on my PS3.
2) Inaccurate voice casting – The main guy is supposed to be from New York in 1912. People from NY in 1912 did not talk with a modern day California accent, they spoke with a distinct New York accent (see: Franklin Roosevelt).
3) CPUs other than Elizabeth are not exciting. Irrational Games was good with the Elizabeth CPU – its cool that she doesn’t need to be told what to do, and she’s actively looking around in her environment. But what would take this further is having all the cpus in the game be like that. For example, when I steal a drink or food from the cart, I expect people to react. When I listen in on a conversation about a guy buying hot dogs, I expect him to eventually buy and eat it, not just standing around being scripted. That part needs some work. Fallout for example, does this quite well. I can easily interact with any NPC, and all my actions have consequences. Irrational should learn a bit from Bethesda in the NPC department. (but can you imagine them doing a game together? would be awesome).

Overall the game is pretty good, but once we have all the CPUs function exactly like humans do – randomly then thats the future of gaming I think.
4) The game is short, like 12 hours, with little replay value. Thats a general trend of modern games, and one I don’t like. What happened to games like Ultima or Prince of Persia where you could play for like 100 hours? But nope, these days companies are just shipping incomplete games and gouging customers on DLC or expansions instead (you hear that Blizzard? Starcraft 1 had all the campaigns in ONE game, and people weren’t forced to buy expansions to beat the game). Yeah.. and multiplayer is often half assed. Good old 90s dedicated multiplayer games like Quake III and Unreal tournament are way better than the tack on multiplayer you find on most games these days (COD and Halo are exceptions).

Companies using programming tests and self ratings to gauge candidates
I think I wrote before about this, but let me re-iterate this, companies who use programming tests to gauge candidates are crap. It tells you nothing about the candidate, how much knowledge they actually have, how he/she would function in an actual dev environment, etc. It’s one specific problem usually, its biased based on interviewer, and there’s no hard guideline or heuristics. What is this, SAT’s? Are they evaluated based on some arbitrary score? Another thing I dislike – when people ask ‘rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 on [blah]’. What does that accomplish? An arrogant person may rate himself a 10 but is really a 5 and a modest programmer may rate himself a 5 but is really a 9. Its completely arbitrary and doesn’t tell you anything. Big companies are notorious for this.

As an interviewer, I would rather evaluate them based on white-boarding exercises (seeing the candidate do recursion in front of you is better than giving them a recursion exercise and having them google something), broad knowledge based questions (event bubbling vs event capturing), and having their number of years of experience using the language rather than a ‘rating’ of 1-10.

Archos tablet review
I did a review of the Archos 7 Tablet… I like this tablet mainly because it has alot of storage room, and it can record DVR videos from any A/V input source, something that tablets these days can’t do. Do check out my little PS3 demo.


Analog vs Digital; gradual replacement of daily devices by digital products

As things become more and more digitized these days, we find more and more of our daily devices being replaced by new digitized mediums. Please note that when I use ‘analog’ I mean the original medium.

Vinyl vs CD:
An example is music players. Back in the old days, we used a device called the record player to listen to music. This device used a medium called vinyl which is an exact copy of the soundwaves pressed into it. What you hear from each LP is the exact reproduction of the music; there are no compressed bits of audio, no 16-bit compression, 320kbps streaming, or whatever. This is as close as music gets to a live performance (which is pure analog because you hear it with your ears at the time it plays). It has since been replaced by CDs and MP3s, which basically takes samples of the sound and compresses them. Whether or not it sounds worse depends on different people. Which would you choose? Vinyl (analog) or CD/MP3 (digital)?

Vinyl and MP3
Vinyl and MP3

Film vs Digital photos:
Back in the old days, we used a film camera to take pictures and record movies. film is available in different mm (35mm, 16mm, 8mm) which represents what kind of film format is used. Similarly, movie projectors depends on the size of the reel and the film its using. Film has been superseded by Digital Cameras, DSLRs, Camcorders, and even phones(!) today. But some still say that old film cannot be replaced. It’s the ‘analog’ medium. There is no sense of megapixels or size of movie in gigabytes of whatever. Light is focused and captured onto photographic films which is developed in a dark room. There is no concept of dark rooms or film negatives in the digital age today. Instead, there is only how many megapixels, what is the storage size, aperture size, lens size, HD quality, etc. In addition, digital photos cannot be physically shared unless they are printed, which may not result in the same feeling as film. Which would you choose? Film Camera (analog) or Digital Camera (digital)?

Film vs Digital
Film vs Digital

Other trends
Although Cameras and Music players are the most prominent, digital products have been replacing almost every product that we produced in the 20th century. Radio has been replaced by Spotify, and Pandora. TV is gradually getting replaced by Netflix, Hulu and Youtube. Ebooks using Amazon’s Kindle and Nook readers have been replacing traditional books. iPhones and Android devices have been replacing landline (old school) telephones. How often do you see pay phones nowadays? What about painting a picture using oil or watercolor? Now you can do that on a tablet! What happened to board games? Now we play Angry Birds on the phone. An entire drawer of documents can now be fit onto a small USB key. Shopping no longer needs to be done at brick and mortar stores, just go to Ebay and Amazon. Who needs Encyclopedia Britannica when you have Wikipedia and Google? Asking friends for reviews has been replaced by Yelp. Nobody uses Maps anymore when you have Google Maps. No need to hire expensive stock advisors when you have Google Finance. Who uses typewriters when you have Google Docs? No need to cut out coupons when you have Groupon. Who reads newspapers when you can just go to CNN? What used to be handwritten letters sent across the world to an eager penpal months later has now been replaced by email, typed in an instant and received in an instant. And face to face contact is gradually being replaced by Skype, texting, instant messaging, and Facebook. Heck, I”m even writing a blog post that only two decades ago would have warranted a small diary! (blogging never existed back then, unless you count newspaper articles).

While I do like how there are new, more convenient ways of living, sometimes I long for the more meaningful ways that life used to be lived. Living without a phone for a few weeks has taught me to enjoy the simpler things in life rather than commenting on someone’s Facebook wall (like for example, actually going up to the person to wish them a happy birthday). And I kind of miss that, now that digital products have replaced everything. What do you think about this topic? please leave your comment.

I also took the opportunity to take some pictures with Instagram. I wonder if Ansel Adams would be proud of me. Would he have thought that one day, a miniature sized phone in my pocket would be able to take a picture of this quality? and share it without actually handing it physically to anyone?

Sunset at SF's Ocean Beach
Sunset at SF's Ocean Beach
Sakura at Golden Gate Park
Sakura at Golden Gate Park