I’m having fun reading her

I don’t remember how I got to this blog, but this girl Violent Acres is pretty interesting. Her posts are  very nice, and I find myself agreeing to her more often than not (most of the times, actually).

Today she posted about how being thin and in shape is expensive. I have to agree. Coincidentally, a couple of months ago I switched my grocery shopping from Albertson’s to Trader Joe’s. TJs are not cheaper, but they sure are healthier. At least I feel like they are healthier. I started buying there because fruit was so much cheaper than albertson’s. A grape fruit, sold by the unit, costs $0.50 at TJ and $1.30 at Albertson’s, and they are much tastier and juicier. Now I get as much of my grocery there as I can. The rest I get from CostCo.

In general, I think TJ is a bit more expensive, especially if you go with organic. Nevertheless, I feel better there. And I have to say, I’m yet to see a very fat person in TJs, as opposed to Albertson’s (damn, Albertson’s even have those electric carts for customers!). I guess it in part confirms her theory.

Published in: on January 2, 2007 at 13:26  Comments (1)  

I bought a bicycle

A pretty nice one, I have to say. I've been thinking about it for a while, but the steep price of road bikes has been stopping me from buying one. This weekend, I finally got a nice road bike. It's a Fuji Road Bike. Very light, and very fast. Riding a road bike is completely different from riding a mountain bike, which is what I was used to. Let's see how the experience go. Now I've been looking at biking clubs around Irvine, so that I can have some partners to ride. Southern California is pretty good for bike riding: practically leveled, not steep hills, and the scenery is awesome. I will have to start slow, but I hope I can go for some nice rides around the area here, and enjoy the scenery and the canyons. I'm excited.

Published in: on May 21, 2006 at 17:47  Comments (1)  

Barcelona are the champions!

YES! Barcelona won the Champions League today. Very good game, very tough match. Arsenal played great, even though they had one player less since the 18th minute in the first half. (the first player ever to get a red card in the final). I have to say, Henry played great. But he complained too much about the referee at the end of the match. On the other hand, Ronaldinho did good, but not great. I think people have come to expect too much from him. I know, but I was a little disappointed this time. Eto'o played a good match, and I was very happy for Belleti, who scored the winning goal. Overall, I think it was a very deserved title.

Oh, man, I can barely wait for the world cup. 3 weeks and counting. 

Published in: on May 17, 2006 at 16:38  Leave a Comment  

Voting machines

There's been a while I am skeptic of electronic voting machines. I bet this failure is as trivial as attaching a USB Flash drive to the back of the machine and booting from there. Apparently, Las Vegas slot machines are better regulated and protected than the voting machines. At least I think Brazilian voting machines are more reliable and better designed, although not yet ideal.

Published in: on May 11, 2006 at 22:58  Comments (4)  

On a backup policy

This has been on my mind for a while. I need to implement an efficient, and easily scalable, backup solution. My data is just too valuable to not be backed up. The only thing is that I haven't found THE perfect tool yet. Here is my dilemma:

i) of course, backup should be automatic. Oh, yeah, versioned and incremental. In fact, I want to have a choice of which parts of it should be versioned, and which ones are simple copies of the original data. For example, I probably want my programming and research data to be versioned, but I don't need versioned backups of my music or pictures.

ii) it should be easily replicated into multiple locations. Ideally, I plan to have a server at home, and put another one on my dad's house. Maybe we could exchange backups, I'll backup to his machine, and let him backup to mine.

iii) easily retrievable, and "platform independent". I run on a Mac right now (two, actually). But my dad runs windows, as does my wife. Nevertheless, I still use Linux pretty much every day via the network, and also Windows, and Solaris. I don't want my data to be constrained in a proprietary format that needs one specific program to restore a backup. Worse, if that program runs in a mac, and my mac is gone, I'm screwed.

iv) it should be able to retrieve and send data via the network. Ideally, over SSH. I hate having to configure a SAMBA server, mount the disk, do the backup, and unmount it after that. If I don't have to mount it, it seems to me it would be a little safer against accidental deletions.

v) the cheaper, the better.

All right, all the paths lead to rsync. This is what I've been using lately. Apparently, it works (yeah, it has some bugs on the Tiger version, but I'll have to live with it). I wrote a bash script to backup my main data folder (no pics/music are included, that part is still manual). The problem is, right now only my main folder is backed up. I've got data floating all over a number of machines, and those are not backed up (at least not by me, as I'd like to think that the sysadmins do it pretty regularly)

My current script is not very flexible. And bash is not exactly the best scripting tool for elaborate scripts, I think (well, maybe I'm not that fluent in bash, hehe). Therefore, I've been looking at other solutions.

Here is a good assessment of the tools available for the Mac. My problem is that I do not want a solution that is Mac-based. It has to run on multiple platform.

So far, I like rsyncbackup. I plan to deploy a solution based on it.

Now, the last problem standing: how do I synchronize my multiple computers? I wanted to have the same data pretty much everywhere. I still want to find the best solution for synchronizing my computer (don't suggest me .Mac). It is specially difficult if I want to propagate deletions.

UPDATE: Hm… I think I found a good synchronization tool!

Published in: on May 11, 2006 at 16:27  Leave a Comment  

Google hiring policy

I don’t know how, but today I found out that Google Research is blogging. I was excited to see Google Research blogging (well, I’m a PhD student at this point, and I hope I get a chance at Google Research one day).

Anyway… one interesting post that I found there is related to Google’s hiring policy. According to the post, the policy Google follows is “hire only if candidate is above the mean quality of current employees”. That is setting the bar pretty high! They compared to another policy that goes like “Hire if the candidate is better than at least one of our current employees”. The poster ran simulations that supposedly support the Google policy as better. Intuitively, it seems to be.

An interesting side note: to improve the quality even more, Google does not use the concept of hiring managers, which is a common thing in the industry, as far as I know (at least Microsoft and IBM use hiring managers…). Their reasoning make sense. Go there and read the whole post, it is interesting.

Published in: on May 2, 2006 at 20:58  Leave a Comment  

Bush mocking Bush

This gotta be a great recognition for the comedian that portraits the president on TV shows. If you have never seen him, he is hilarious. Here, he gets the praise of the president himself, as he is invited to perform by the president on the traditional White House Correspondent's Association Dinner last Saturday. I think he is very good.

Published in: on May 1, 2006 at 0:01  Leave a Comment  

About grad school

Some time ago, I wrote a paper with Mirella (ok, she wrote it and I helped a bit) and two other friends about grad school life. We've heard some good feedback about it. Almost everyone comments that is a very nice and well organized set of hints about grad school.

Apparently, some professors at UC Riverside, where Mirella goes to school, really liked it. They distributed a copy of the paper to every incoming student this year. Pretty nice 🙂

It was published on IEEE Potentials. If you are an IEEE student member, you get the magazine every other month (if you don't, ask for it next time you renew your membership, it's free). It is also available on IEEE Explore, you can download it if you have access.

Published in: on April 20, 2006 at 19:47  Leave a Comment