Archive for May, 2008

Save Time with RSS

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Something has changed in the past year for me; I no longer use bookmarks or visit my favorite websites. And it's not because I've stopped using a computer and live in a van down by the river. I use Google Reader so that instead of visiting a website to see if it has been updated, the website lets me know whenever there's new stuff to check out, and then I can go read every website in a single place.

How does it work? Most websites publish something called a Real Simple Syndication (RSS) feed, which is like a newsfeed on Facebook. Then your RSS Reader (like Google Reader) repeatedly checks all of the RSS feeds that you've subscribed to, looking for new content. Here's a video that talks about it...


It's insane how much time you can save by using RSS. Before Google Reader I didn't see what the point of RSS was, because you still had to visit every RSS feed manually in your browser to look for updates, but RSS readers change everything.

Here are the things I like about Google Reader in particular

  • Share websites with your friends at the click of a button
  • Subscribe to websites without even looking for the RSS feed URL, e.g. just type in 'guyslikedolls' and it will find us (search engine built-in)
  • You can use it from any computer or even your iPhone for the next time the Caltrain is late

Here are some of the things I'm subscribed to:

  • Research journals (e.g. JMEMS)
  • Friends (e.g. NoahOscar, new photos from friends on Flickr)
  • Saving time (comments, Twitter)
  • And other random stuff (e.g. PhD)

The main sites I visit manually are NYTimes and SFGate, which are pretty noisy, but pretty much everything else I just put in Reader and skim through. Also for research journals it is WAY better than those weekly emails that most people sign up for and then proceed to delete every week.

Even if you're skeptical, try it out for a couple of days. And if you're reading this, then you could save time right off the bat by subscribing here or our photos. The worst case scenario is that you screw around on the internet a little bit more at work, which doesn't sound too bad to me.

Typically Swiss

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

After our Krakow trip I came into work today and found a letter waiting for me. With some Google translate help I now have physical evidence that the Swiss do in fact live up to their crazy reputation. Life in Switzerland is just a little different than home...

Sehr geehrte Frau Doll  

Unsere Kontrollequipe hat am Donnerstag, 15. Mai 2008 eine separate Nachsammlung zur ordentlichen Kehrichtabfuhr durchgeführt. Dabei wurde in einem zur falschen Zeit bereitgestellten Zuri-Sack Adressmaterial gefunden, welches eindeutig Ihrem Haushalt zugeordnet werden kann.

Einerseits stören herumstehende Sacke das Quartierbild, andererseits locken diese Stadtfüchse, Marder und Katzen an. Für sie sind Abfallsäcke im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes ein gefundenes Fressen. Wenn ein Tier darin nach Nahrung sucht, sieht die Umgebung danach entsprechend verschmutzt aus.

Helfen Sie uns, die Stadt sauber zu halten und stellen Sie die Abfallsäcke erst am Morgen des Abholtages vor 07.00 Uhr bereit. Wir danken Ihnen fur Ihre Unterstutzung

Bitte beachten Sie, dass die Verantwortung der korrekten Kehrichtbereitstellung beim Verursacher des Abfalls liegt. Bei einem weiteren Vorfall werden wir Sie bei der Stadtpolizei zuhanden des Statthalters verzeigen müssen.

Dear Ms. Doll  

Our inspection team on Thursday, 15 May 2008 after a separate collection on ordinary Kehrichtabfuhr. It was in the wrong time provided Zuri-Sack address material found, which clearly your household can be assigned to.

One standing around bags disturb the neighbourhood picture, this city attract other foxes, weasels and cats. For them, waste bags in the truest sense of the word feast. If an animal is looking for food, the environment then be dirty.

Help us to keep city clean and set the waste bags only on the morning of Abholtages before clock 07.00. We thank you for your support

Please note that the responsibility of the correct Kehrichtbereitstellung the cause of waste. In another incident, we at the city police attention of the governor verzeigen.

In summary, garbage is handled in a very careful manner here. You need to purchase special bags from the market (where they are stored with the hard liquor and cigarettes) called Zurisacks which is essentially a per-bag tax on garbage, which is a great idea. If you don't use the proper bag or put it out at the wrong time (like we did), the authorities will dig through it looking for personally identifying information. Once they've figured out who you are, they send you a letter to let you know that they're on to you and if you do it again they will be knocking at your door. Did you catch the part about how we are part of the fox/weasel/cat axis of evil? We had heard stories of the garbage police but had never believed them, until now.

Google Health is Live

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Pretty awesome.


Monday, May 19th, 2008

I've posted some of the pictures from Krakow. Here are a couple of my favorites. I used to only be able to do HDR on my 350D, but since putting CHDK on my compact camera I've been able to do exposure bracketing and have been playing with HDR quite a bit. I've also been doing a better job at adding the GPS coordinates (using Google Earth and Geotagger), so you can see where they were taken on a map.

View Larger Map

Dragon's Roar (HDR)
Holow head (HDR)

The Trip to Chapaize

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

We visited Chapaize, France for a few days in the beginning of May. We stayed with Fred-Ami, a friend of my research advisor, and had a great time touring the countryside and eating really, really well. I posted some photos and videos from the trip in the usual place. We visited a few of the nearby towns: Taze, Cluny, Cormatin, and St. Gengoux too. Apparently a group from Taze sings at Memorial Church at Stanford once a month or so.

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More Pictures and Reading

Friday, May 16th, 2008

I posted photos from a visit to the University of Neuchatel, a hike to Uetliberg, and the Zurich Zoo. We're in Krakow, Poland right now for my wife's work after a very long but scenic drive and the first all-nighter that we've pulled in awhile. Things that I already like here are the fire-sale prices and sweet, sweet Hungarian goulash.

You should read Oscar's hilarious story about the Beijing Airport.

Lonely tree

Photos from Amsterdam

Monday, May 12th, 2008

I posted photos from Amsterdam. We went there after London for C to attend ApacheCon '08. It's a very crowded, flat city and I don't think I'd want to live there, but it was beautiful and lots of fun for the five days that we stayed.

Tiny Towns
Stedellum Museum

London and More

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

I posted photos from London and a few other recent places the other day. Right now we're in the french countryside and should post again sometime next week once we're back in Zurich. Until then, here are a couple of photos that I liked from London.

St Paul's I