Calibration

Wow, it’s been quite a long time since my last post. I customized the HTML style for this journal a bit, although most people (who read my entries through their Friends pages) won’t notice it.

During my last couple of days at home, I drove up to Boston. It was a ton of fun seeing everyone. Since then I’ve been back here trying to do some research. I’m way behind in prelim studying still.

I’ve decided not to move back to IHouse — as fun as I’m sure it’ll be, I don’t think a second year at IHouse will be quite as revelatory as the first. Also, I need to do work, and I need to make some long-term friends. So instead I’m moving in with Umesh. It’ll be my first taste of life as a high roller. I’m used to living cheaply and not owning lots of stuff. Umesh is the opposite. We’ll see how much of a material boy I am.

I’ve noticed that (at least on my friends page) people are leaving fewer comments on other people’s entries than they used to. I wonder why that might be.

It occurred to me the other day that this journal is fairly useless: it consists of either stories or boring regurgitations of daily activities. And I’m bad at telling stories. Perhaps I should rethink this thing.

I was talking to Kerry a while back and we realized that it would be a good idea (or at least fun) to compile a “book” of dating sense: things that work and don’t work in the world of relationships, qualities to look for in the other person, etc. Of course this has been done a thousand times before but such books always seem way off target (or too generic: “look for a sense of humor” blah blah). We were thinking of things like
– Tit-for-tat is generally the best way to handle meals and outings. Either you’re treating the other person or getting treated — both nice.
– It’s really important that the other person be interested. Not just in you (although that’s certainly nice, or course!) but in things in general that she (or he) may be unfamiliar with now but that she’s willing to eager to explore just because the concepts are interesting. An engaged, open mind is a huge plus!
Stuff like that. I’m too lazy to type out more. If you feel like it, send me others if you know any…

I’ve been toying around with an idea for a new site for a while now. I’m not very good at writing LJ entries, but I am pretty good at reading huge amounts of news every day and selecting good bits for other people to read. I always end up emailing some friends some of the articles, and neither I nor they have a comprehensive list or even a forum on which to discuss the articles.

So I was thinking of creating such a site. I’ve already been recording my favorite articles from the past couple of weeks. I’d like the site to have the following properties:
For each entry:
Title
Abstract/Byline
URL
Date
Sent by
(should be able to add more such fields at a later date!)
Comments *** very important
(voting? “how interesting is this article?”)

Search by Date/Source/Author/Text

LJ is nearly a good venue but unless I can squeeze some of that stuff into header fields (“mood”, “music”), it’ll be hard to have it look good (e.g. formatted in HTML) and also searchable by different fields, unless I simultaneously keep a separate database elsewhere.

Does anyone know of some easy-to-use software that does all of this?

Gosh, this has been one of the all-time most boring entries ever. Here’s a marginally more interesting observation: despite our country’s obsession with violence and guns, as portrayed by video games, the media, movies, and so on, and its constituents’ fairly fanatical devotion to gun-ownership rights, I’ve personally never seen a real civilian gun in my life. Sure I’ve seen the tops of guns sticking out of police holsters, but I’ve never seen a whole gun, certainly not one owned by a normal person. I find that fairly incredible.

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15 Responses to Calibration

  1. awu says:

    I read recently that psych studies show that people routinely underestimate the force they exert on others (don’t remember the reference).

    The researchers were working with a kind of physical force, I think, but perhaps it is the same with force intangible, that our speech and our writings exert more force on others than we would first imagine…

    • aj says:

      physical

      Yeah, it was physical — people took turns pressing one each other’s fingertips with what they thought was they same force they got pressed with before… of course it escalated dramatically. (This is the kind of article that I read and would have liked to have kept somewhere [on the news site] so that I can reference it exactly…)

      And yeah it’s certainly possible that we similarly underestimate intangible forces. But then again aren’t we never as important as we think we are?

      Dunno.

      • awu says:

        Re: physical

        Yes and no.

        I think it often happens that we have little clue when and for whom or what we are “important”, or at least this is true for me.

        Perhaps we are rarely a critical section, a load bearing column, a single cut edge, but that doesn’t mean our presence means nothing.

        I know others would be surprised at what I remember of them; sometimes it surprises me what others remember of me, or what people do… err not in remembrance of me… inspired is too strong a word… never mind :).

  2. phaedrus1313 says:

    < < Does anyone know of some easy-to-use software that does all of this? >>

    Dude, write your own! What kind of a geek are you?

    Lee

    • aj says:

      yeah…

      I thought about it… and I would do everything but the comments, which would be annoying to write. Everything else would be fun…. but then again I don’t quite have the time to do this now. Maybe I’ll commit one entire day to it and see how it goes.

      (Also it’d be nice to not have to host it myself.)

  3. kejordan says:

    Yeah, I agree. I think you underestimate; I enjoy reading your entries. Although I guess random readers wouldn’t feel a need to keep up with what’s going on in your life :)

    Although I also agree that a news thing might be cool…even if it would significantly decrease the amount of email in my Inbox, hehehe. But seriously, I’d submit/discuss articles! :)

  4. gdogg says:

    Gun…

    I’m not sure if you were with us, but one day when we went to play basketball, and walked around the corner of Dane and Leland, the guy who lives in the house on the corner was cleaning his gun. It was funny, because we walked around the corner, to see a guy holding his gun out towards us.

    Besides that one incident, I don’t believe I’ve seen a gun, either.

    I like the news idea, but it’ll probably result in me wasting even more time.

  5. simplyjeska says:

    i like the new customized format! very sexy!

  6. Anonymous says:

    no!

    just wanted to add my 2 cents that your LJ is far from boring (or why would we all come back) and that the articles idea, as I agreed with you in person, is a great idea. You are always witty, interesting and thought-provoking and that is far and away enough for me :) xx

  7. judytuna says:

    i thought that you could make new “currents,” but i guess not (how would they keep track of it on their databases?). but here is how to change what the text before your “currents” say: http://www.livejournal.com/users/howto/18703.html … although they’ll still treat those fields as “mood” and “music” (which would be bad when it shows up on friends pages). and it won’t be searchable or indexed by different fields (though some clients do text-searching, and you could technically just search for words in your browser). but if you chose your two most important fields… (like, you could use the timestamp provided by livejournal for the date/time–or you could tell the user to modify that manually if needed, which is easy (and that’s searchable); you could merge title and url into one field, and then um, have a byline, and include “sent by” in the body for now, or something) … and you’d have something up and running real quick! but i guess if it wasn’t fully-featured it would miss the point. heh.

    • aj says:

      Hi Judy,
      thanks for the suggestions — I thought about using LJ but there were just too many obstacles — once I had to hard-code something into the body (like sent-by), I’d totally lose control over how it was displayed, etc. Also I wanted anyone who had registered to be able to submit articles, and also I wanted people to be able to post comments under their name without having to be LJ members. More stuff like that.

      So I’m coding the whole damn thing up myself :)

  8. ccho says:

    Hey d00d, I am going on a business trip to India (Bangalore — what a name!) next month for a week. I think I’ve already mentioned to you that I’m working with some Indian programmers who recently came from Korea. Our company has a small branch there and I will be meeting with their project manager. Later, I will become some proxy of communications between English speakers and non-English speakers. Not exactly the position I would like or would excel in (translation), but supposedly I will be doing some programming as well.

    I also don’t like LJ’s “free user” formatting so I prefer that people visit my own css news page. Nobody posts on my LJ anyway, I guess it is not thought provoking or maybe the readership is just very limited.

    Also, I was also thinking of the same thing you were — collecting news stories or interesting pieces and allowing comments to be posted much like Slash which Slashdot.org uses. I wrote some gay perl script that accomplished that, but was too lazy to make it look nice and write some filters to disallow malicious script or post flooding. I even started a phpBB but nobody visited.
    However, recently I thought of a different approach fueled by the not-so-new P2P revolution. I was playing around with the java.net package to write some client/server stuff, and thought it would be neat to have a client that allows you to share links with your friends and allow comments on each. These would be stored on a centralized server which would not only index them but also retrieve client information about which links were the most popular among all users for that particular day. This would encourage meeting new users and community building, and most importantly provide a diversion from work and study. ;)

    Dating sense… good topic and good ideas. Korean culture seems different, but there are still many similarities.

    I don’t think it’s uncommon for you not to have seen a civilian handgun. Personally I’ve only seen hunting rifles and shotguns, or guns that did not yet belong to anyone in a sporting goods store. But at least if you ever encounter a “chain gun”, “shotgun”, “plasma gun”, “rail gun”, or “rocket launcher” you will know how to use it ;)