Thursday, December 29, 2005

Air Conditioner

I finally gave in to the heat and bought an AC. God, I had forgotten how good it felt to sleep in a cool room. Last I slept in it was in Dubai back in 2004.

I even feel more productive. I wrote 2 algorithms in the last 2 hours. More about my latest misadventure later (I am writing my own grid technology framework... one that really works).

I also made some progress on cracking the RSA Factorization Challenge. I just need more processing power (which is what led to the grid technology framework)

Back to the Air Conditioner... I noticed the Australian way of defining AC is horse power(HP). Back in my days, it was Ton in Dubai and BTU in US. I know what Ton means. If you have 1 Ton AC, it means your AC will have the same cooling power of a 1 ton melting ice cude in 24 hours. Back in Dubai, my bedroom had a 2 Ton AC. (You need that kind of cooling power when you live in the desert).

I've no idea what BTU or HP means, so I googled it and here's the scoop. 12000 BTU = 1 Ton. But HP is completely different. HP refers to the input power the AC. Meaning its the horse power of the refrigeretion unit's compressor motor.

So HP refers to the input of the AC and Ton/BTU refers to the output. You can't convert between HP and Ton/BTU. HP in itself is not comparable because your room AC and your fridge may both be rated 1 HP, but they don't have the same cooling effect. Leave it to people down under to be so naive.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tips Before Seeing King Kong

I saw King Kong yesterday and all I've are two words... Exceed Expectation.

What can I say. The first half is quite boring... all talk... basically building up the characters after which the action starts and WOW. Just when you think the situation can't get any worse, it does. Everytime you think its over, something else occurs. Like I said, exceed expectation.

The movie is quite long - a little over 3 hours. So I'm going to give a few tips for watching it:
  1. Drink 4 cokes before you get there. You will need it for the 1st half
  2. Watch Jurassic Park again. You will need it for the 2nd half
  3. Watch Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Will help to understand some irrational human/animal behavior
  4. Get trained to say “WOW” 20 times per minute. Try: it is not so easy.
  5. Medidate deeply on this old vicking thought “Only monkeys are fooled by blond women”
  6. Try to draw a monkey with your computer. You ll see that they made a good job.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Pandora - Finally Something That Works

A while back, I tried the Yahoo! radio. It was new in the sense you listen to the songs rate each one on a scale of 1-5. The more you rate, the more Yahoo! radio will play songs according to your taste which it determines from your rating - just 3 words - "it does not work." Ok, 4 words :p

Today, I came across Pandora. It does the same thing, but this time it works. WOW. The Music Genome Project is such a natural thing that it's brilliant. Kudos to the folks behind it!

You begin by entering an artist or a song name. I said Good Charlotte. And it started pumping out music. I “educated” it a bit, telling it that I also like Metallica, Linkin Park and a few others. As it threw amazing tunes at me, I could give them thumbs up or thumbs down.

In less than an hour, this thing had me dialed. Here is a sampling of some of the music it picked for me that I had never heard of before:
  • I Stay Awayby Alice In Chains
  • Life Goes On by LeAnn Rimes
  • Your Mistake by Sister Hazel
  • When Love Was The Only Thing by Kin Fox
  • No such thing by John Mayer
You can also do really cool things like click on a song and make a whole new station that is inspired by just that one song. At one point I selected the “Why did you play this song?” menu item. It said something like this:
Based on what you've told us so far, we're playing this track because it features a subtle use of vocal harmony, mild rhythmic syncopation, mixed acoustic and electric instrumentional, major key tonality and acoustic rhythm guitars.
Another time, during a nice instrumental rock/metal tune, I asked again and it said:
Based on what you've told us so far, we're playing this track because it features basic rock song structures, a suble use of vocal harmoney, mild rhythmic syncopation, mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation and a vocal-centric aesthetic.
Yup... now I know exactly what my music taste is. Its whatever's in the block quote above. Oh, and you can listen to stations that your friends create, if you know their email address.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Cell By Stephen King

Stephen King's releasing a new book, Cell. Its coming out on January 26, 2006 missing the Christmas rush by 1 month. What was his agent thinking?

I'm not that big a fan of Stephen King. (I like Micheal Crichton). The only books I liked of Stephen King was his Dark Tower Series.

The story-line is classic Stephen King. Your cell phone rings, you answer it and a weird sound from the other end turns you into a raging lunatic making you go on a wild rampage. Of course there are survivors (people who don't own a cell phone) who regroup and save the world.

This is a typical storyline of Stephen King namely The Stand and Salem's Lot. You'd think Stephen King fans would get tired of this by now.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Money Is Nothing But Trust

I've been trying to figure out what factors affect the forex exchange rate. After a lot of thinking, I've come to the conclusion that money is not worth the paper its printed on. What gives money its value is the trust it represents. And it actually makes a lot of sense.

For example, investors will line up at the door of a reputable investment banker when he says he needs $2 million to buyout a bankrupt company which he can turn around in 2 years (after which he can sell it for $2.2 million). On the other hand, everyone will ignore an ordinary man when he claims the same. The difference between the two is the investor believes (or trust) that the "reputable" investment can/will deliver on his promise.

This investment banker of course gets a percentage of the profit. The premium he charges is proportional to the trust he has in the eye of the investor. The higher the trust, the higher premium he can command.

Same thing can be said about IPO/Stock Market. Higher the investor's expectation (or trust the company will do well), higher the stock price and vise versa.

Other examples out of the financial market, higher the buyer's trust in the quality of a car/designer cloth, higher the product's cost. Higher the employer's trust in the quality and/or productivity of an employee, higher the employee's salary/bonus/raise.

This is probably why money are printed with the "Trust".

How long can you fake it?

I was out with a friend today and we were talking about life. Yup... one of those conversation :p I was telling him about some of my work when he said, "My God, you really believe in what you do!"

Of course I believe in what I do. I'd never do anything I don't believe in. Because if you don't, you'll have to fake it and then the only question that remains is how long can you fake it?