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December 30, 2004

Science (Creative) Commons will be launched in 2 days!

Science Commons | Creative Commons. This link is a great synopsis of how we got to the current system of copyright and patent law and what we need to do to make it better for innovation and sharing. In this coming new year, keep an eye on the development of the Science Commons---it's a must.

Posted by johnvu at 03:09 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2004

Refurbed Mac Powerbook for under $700

TechRestore :: PowerBooks :: PowerBook G4/400Mhz CD/DVD 15.2-inch. Give that special someone a late Christmas gift with this bad boy. The Powerbook is the grad student's best companion. Have OS X 10.3 installed, with fink and LaTeX and all of alf's OS X must-have goodies and you have a killer machine for writing and what-not. If you get it soon with the coupon code "SOMETHING" you can purchase it for $644.99.

Posted by johnvu at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2004

Gmail is a Social Experiment

USATODAY.com - Google units include social networking, photos, maps. I've always thought that the process of getting gmail invites and spreading them around to friends, acquaintances, etc. is a huge covert social experiment on which google is embarking -- apart from the overt service that Orkut provides.

Google has added several offerings that seemingly have nothing to do with search, including:

- Social networking site Orkut. Named after Google engineer Orkut Buyukkokten, it's a place where potential business associates, friends and singles can linger and discuss topics of interest.

Posted by johnvu at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2004

Treat yourself to a new PC or Mac

Linux Opinion: An Open Letter to a Digital World (LinuxWorld). I got this tidbit from a posting at slashdot. Chris Spencer did a great job writing this up. I'm most impressed with him actually citing other sites -- a skill that some journalist have yet to master.

The IT department at my university is having a hell of a problem dealing with trojans, worms, and whatnot on the network recently due to infected Windows systems (mine included). The network grinded to a snail's pace. One coworker of mine was sending packets out like mad, over a gigabyte an hour. The problem is, everytime the IT guy finished cleaning one PC, he had to come back because people were quickly becoming re-infected since they were running IE. Essentially he was running around like a dog chasing his tail. That said, the Macs on the network were unaffected and chugging along as usual.

Well, for those of you who haven't made the switch, do yourself, and your neighbors on the network a favor and use Linux. How scary is the idea that your hard work (in science, writing, etc.) can be transmitted out in the ether in the blink of an eye? It's a risk not worth taking. Install Linux and you can sleep soundly for now.

Posted by johnvu at 01:02 PM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2004

Demonstration of MS OneNote

Microsoft Office Assistance: Demo: OneNote tips and tricks. You can view video of Chris Bertelson demonstrating the uses of OneNote at Microsoft.com. It's been a year since I've mentioned Microsoft OneNote. At that time I decided not to buy and use it for organizing data (like my lab notebook), since the university was not selling the student-priced version. Having seen the demo, however, it looks very nice for organization (even for notes you jotted on paper). It'll collect all your data files as well. Overall, it looks like a very good tool to organize data, handwritten notes, all in one program. Now that the university is selling it, I may get my hands on it soon. Too bad I really have no more use for it since I'm trying to wrap up these next few months.

Posted by johnvu at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

Grant money for malaria

Gates foundation to promote synthetic biology | CNET News.com. As promised by the Gates Foundation's pledge, grant money was given for some interesting technology to help curb malaria.

Posted by johnvu at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2004

Special day today

Today is a special day. Two years ago today, I was running on fumes -- hadn't slept a wink for almost 24 hours straight. Still euphoric over the arrival of our new addition to the family. He was an early Christmas gift that, next to getting married, was the best gift in my life. Happy birthday con. I love you lots. Dad.

It's just amazing how time has flown by these past two years. Before I know it, he'll be in school and then the sleepovers, the soccer games, and he'll be driving. Then off to college he'll go. Get married, start a new family. But before that, I need to enjoy as much time as I can with him. I inevitably compromise my time with him, to do what I need to do to finish. It's tough to explain how being in my situation can be so hard, and at the end of the day, I often wonder if it's worth it. If only life could slow down just a little more for me and my family. Those of you in grad school who are married with kids understand my situation best. It's often not the intellectual work that makes me struggle being a grad student, it's the activity of those around you, those who can't slow down for you and shouldn't slow down for you. Time is such a precious commodity. If only I knew how to juggle it best.

Posted by johnvu at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2004

Blame Howard Stern

USATODAY.com - Sirius falls 23% in frantic trading. It'll catch up to you -- no due diligence will lead you to heartache. The recent hype up on Sirius (SIRI) was probably due to the thousands of listeners of Howard Stern who read some positive reports on the Motley Fool and Howard's site. You'd be surprised how many investors listen to Stern. With an airing time of 7am until 10am Eastern time, it's a prime time for broadcasting to those itching to buy on a hot tip. The future of satellite radio is definite, but the timeline to get there is not set in stone. Invest for the long haul and not for the quick sell. Thanks Warren Buffett.

Posted by johnvu at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

Pull rsync from remote Linux box to Windows box

cwRsync - General - ITeF!x Consulting. Finally got rsync to work so that I can do a backup of my home directories of my Linux box to my Windows PC. I just made a simple batch file (.cmd for XP or NT) and put the following command in it:

C:\Progra~1\cwrsync\rsync -e C:\Progra~1\cwrsync\ssh -av --progress --exclude "/home/pictures" --exclude "/home/videos" --exclude "tmp" root@[remoteserver]:/home "/cygdrive/c/Documents and Settings/Auth User/My Documents/linuxbackupdir"

If you run a VPS from RimuHosting or any other service that offers you your own Linux box, then you need rsync setup so that you can have a local backup in case of a tragic mishap.

Posted by johnvu at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

Doctor to patient: "Don't worry if you don't remember, I can find out your history quickly."

USATODAY.com - Mass. launches computerized medical files

It's about time. There should be a race to have reports digitized, rather than a competition to see which state can hold out the longest.

Tripathi said hospitals and doctors have had no financial incentive to invest in an electronic record-keeping system that primarily benefits insurance companies by keeping costs down. Now that an insurance company is making an investment, that concern could be allayed, he said.

Posted by johnvu at 12:14 AM | Comments (0)

Stuff of Movies

USATODAY.com - Police can't prove suspicion of high-tech casino scheme. Three people possibly pulled an Oceans 12...wait 13....no wait Black...actually Red. If only I had their alleged device, I'd know. The real question is, if they claimed that they used no device in a police report, can they still sell their movie rights?

Posted by johnvu at 12:11 AM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2004

BitTorrent/p2p for scientific journal articles

Slashdot | Decentralizing Bittorrent. This article got me thinking again. Follow my stream of consciousness below, if you can:

1. A user on a p2p network to share papers can be: 1. a leech (no papers to share) or 2. an author (allowed to share if you want).
2. An author must get a unique user ID -- perhaps from CrossRef or COS -- that's the only way the p2p network knows that the author is "authentic"/"certified." This is important because only authors can share out their papers. Don't know yet the method of validation? Any ideas?
3. p2p software is married to each specific author or user; sharing is only allowed if the author "activates" the software for sharing -- insert method of validation here.
4. A decentralized p2p like Exeem would be nice, because each paper (i.e. each torrent) can be found without a centralized tracker. The only thing required is that the author creates the "torrent" file for the paper and keep his/her p2p software running on his PC on the net at all times. Thus, whenever a leech wants to get his/her paper, it's available.
5. This model of paper sharing makes it easier for authors to place his paper on the net for download without needing to setup a web server, needing to know html, etc. Only thing required is persistent network access.
6. Pertaining to the paper/article itself, it can be stored on the author's computer with a specific filename -- preferably the PubMed ID or something like a DOI number. That way, the paper can be referenced quickly from say Pubmed (or Hubmed).
7. As you can see, this network will only be successful if the author undertakes an extraordinary amount of work filing and indexing his/her past papers and sharing it on the p2p -- could be made easier with drag and drop tools and automatic parsing tools to determine the authenticity of the paper. Perhaps some sort of hashing function could verify the paper, like md5 sum on the published PDF (this means that somewhere there has to be a "master" list of all PDFs and the hash), but this is not likely to succeed since some journals now print PDFs "on the fly" with downloader identifiers embedded in the PDF. The network also needs a threshold level of users and sharers to succeed -- a threshold level that will be tough to exceed and overcome without good marketing. For some reason I doubt a grassroots level of marketing will garner much attention.
8. Just like the BitTorrent client software, this could rapidly be developed using Python and wxPython (GUI) -- any takers?

Posted by johnvu at 06:02 PM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2004

Google buyout of Flickr

Welcome to Flickr - Photo Sharing. I'm taking bets as to when Google will put a bid in to Ludicorp to buy Flickr. My bet is third or fourth quarter next year 2005. If you don't know what Flickr is, browse their site to learn more -- very interesting web service. I don't really have a big need for it right now, but soon will (after the holidays, of course!).


Posted by johnvu at 11:07 PM | Comments (1)

Shrimp prices in US will increase

Florida shrimpers win victory on tariffs against imported shrimp: South Florida Sun-Sentinel. I eat shrimp from Vietnam and am proud of it. I think the Dept. of Commerce got it wrong on this decision. The people it's going to hurt are US consumers and restauranteurs.


"Thousands of family-owned restaurants and businesses will now be forced to pay these duties," said Wally Stevens, chairman of the Shrimp Task Force and president of the seafood distributor Slade Gorton Co. "The U.S. businesses that rely on access to imported shrimp together employ thousands of U.S. workers, 20 times those employed in the domestic shrimp industry."

Posted by johnvu at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)