Saturday, January 29, 2005

Escher's "Relativity" in LEGO

I discovered this very cool rendition of Escher's Relativity in LEGO. At the bottom of the page you will find links to other Escher's drawings translated into LEGO. If I had free time, I would also like to build some of these impossible structures out of blocks.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Jared Diamond at MSR

I went today to a talk at Microsoft Research by Jared Diamond about his latest book. The new book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed gives interesting examples of both failure and success. Easter Island is given as an example of a spectacular failure and Japan is praised for its wisdom wo avoid deforestation in 17th century. There are many reviews of his new book on the Internet but the place I found to read about the new book is the transcript of a ABC Radio National Background Briefing program. You can read there about many of the examples, including the Anasazi and Norse Greenland.
I am looking forward to reading the Collapse. I really liked Guns, Germs and Steel that I read in my Bay Area book club.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

A Very Long Engagement

I ended up going twice to Capitol Hill today. First I had brunch at the El Greco. This is a very cool looking restaurant with blue walls and excellent brunch food. I had the El Greco Benedict. This dish is described in the menu as "Two poached eggs on smoked gouda and Canadian bacon cakes, topped with tomato mushroom sauce and served with toast", so they are not the same as the typical Eggs Benedict but they are delicious.
In the evening we went to the Egyptian to watch A Very Long Engagement. The film was good and I really enjoyed it even though I had a hard time remembering all the names and faces which made it hard for me initially to keep track of the twisted plot. My only complaint was that the idea of this movie was too similar to Amélie and even the way Audrey Tautou played in both movies was not too different.
After the film we decided to stay in the French mood and go for dinner to 611 Supreme which is very close walk away. I've been there before for brunch but this was my first time to have dinner there. I was very happy with the crêpes I had: one for the main course and one for dessert.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


I mentioned earlier (and here) that my DVR lets me watch older movies. This ability to catch up with older films is very cool. I also use it to watch the BBC news and (if I have time) Russian news. I have much more recorded content than time to watch it.
My DVR is really great beacuse it has two HDTV receivers! I have a Motorola Dual-Tuner DVR High-Definition Set-Top DCT6412.

Taxi Driver

Today I finished watching the Taxi Driver. It is one of the classic movies I can watch easily now thanks to my DVR. The Taxi Driver must have been much more impressive when it was first released but even now it is an interesting film to watch.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


I bought recently a very nice camcorder, Sanyo Xacti. Xacti records directly in MPEG4 and I have found it a little cumbersome that little software can deal with that format directly. The camcorder came with Ulead DVD MovieFactory. I have also installed 3ivxcodec that makes it possible to play MP4 files on Windows Media Player but I wanted something nice to edit my MP4 files. I decided to buy QuickTime Pro. It is not exactly what I want but it lets you convert to and from MP4. You can also do some rudimentary editing, for instance, you can trim a videoclip but not join clips.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

blog categories and

I have been trying a few blog technologies and none works too well. Blogger is actually pretty good overall but the lack of categories is a killer. I mostly use my Thingamablog but it has a few problems: I can't use Chinese characters there, there are no per-category RSS feeds and permalinks are not too good. can be used as a substitute for categories, for instance I can create a link and RSS feed for my entries about films. But of course, this is really a hack and it requires an extra step to add the links. I will either have to invest more time in finding a better blog technology for me or I can wait and hope that either blogger or Thingamablog will improve over time.

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