Archive for January, 2006

Four things meme

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

I don’t think I have ever participated in one of these blog memes before. The inability to sleep at 4:30am is as good a reason as any to get on board.

Four jobs I’ve had:

* Teaching Assistant, Computer Literacy (Computer Science
Department, Smith College)
* Reporter, Magyar Hírlap (Budapest daily)
* Translator (from French to English at small NGO in Geneva)
* Webmaster, NYU Sociology Department (their first Web site way back when)

Four movies I can watch over and over:

* You’ve Got Mail
* The American President
* Hello Dolly!
* Sex and the City (I realize it’s not a movie, but it is something I can watch over and over again:)

Four places I’ve lived:
(Tom Coates seems to have changed this to “liked”, but most others seem to be writing about “lived”)

* Budapest
* Honolulu
* Geneva
* New York City

Four TV shows I love:

* Law & Order SVU
* Law and Order Criminal Intent
* Grey’s Anatomy
* Hungarian cartoons from the ’70s (Kukori és Kotkoda, Frakk, Mézga Család, Dr. Bubó, Vizipók Csodapók)

Four places I’ve vacationed:

* London
* Amsterdam
* Zermatt (Matterhorn)
* Lake Balaton

Four of my favorite dishes:

* Madártej
* Chicken paprikash with cucumber salad
* Fish soup
* Hungarian pancakes (“palacsinta”)

Four sites I visit daily:

* Flickr
* Google
* Answers

Four places I would rather be right now:
(I’m actually quite happy right where I am, but here are some possible alternatives)

* In bed getting some sleep (did I mention it’s 4:30am??)
* the Alps (in Switzerland)
* Paris
* somewhere where it’s warm and sunny outside

Four bloggers I am tagging:

* Jeremy (of JFW)
* Barb
* Gina
* Rubberducke

Some others of you I’m not tagging, because my hope is that you’ll take this on even without being tagged. Basically, if you are reading this and have a blog, consider yourself tagged!

Links for 2006-01-31

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

Pondering 20,000 views

Monday, January 30th, 2006

originally uploaded by eszter.

Less than two months after I celebrated the 10,000th view of my Flickr photostream, I have passed the 20,000 mark. I am not sure how this happened.

It is certainly, in part, thanks to some not-very-exciting images that show up on blogs and then get numerous visitors. For example, this store sign received over 1,500 views after Gina blogged about it on Lifehacker on December 5th, 2005. Or this screenshot of my Firefox settings got over 700 hits. But other recent images I have used to illustrate blog posts haven’t gotten that many hits per see (this Crooked Timber logo has been viewed less than 200 times at the time I write this post).

For reasons I have yet to comprehend, this photo of some friends and me at Millennium Park’s bean sculpture has been getting a lot of views (over 1,800 so far and the numbers keep climbing).

Overall, suffice it to say that I’m not the only one obsessed with Flickr.:-) Thanks for visiting!

If you happened to miss my descriptions of Flickr, I have written up some basics about the service and also have info about how to find great photos on it.

Links for 2006-01-30

Monday, January 30th, 2006

The year in cities, 2005

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

I’m a bit late to this meme, but it’s still January so perhaps it’s not too late to offer a summary account of 2005. Here are the cities and towns I visited in 2005, in order of the travel throughout the year:

I wasn’t sure if I should include Evanston, IL and Chicago, IL since those count as my base cities. I’m just mentioning them here, but not adding them to the list.

Washington, DC
Budapest *
Ann Arbor, MI
Cleveland, OH
East Lansing, MI
Nashville, TN
Hanover, NH
New York, NY *
Princeton, NJ *
Columbus, OH
Swanton, OH
Tyrone, PA
Philadelphia, PA
Northampton, MA
Arlington, VA
Urbana, IL
Boston, MA

One or more nights spent in each place. Those cities marked with an * I visited multiple times on non-consecutive days.

If all goes according to plan, one exciting travel component of 2006 will be that I will get to add not just one, but possibly two additional continents to the list of regions of the world to which I have travelled. We will see.

Links for 2006-01-29

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

Links for 2006-01-28

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

Links for 2006-01-27

Friday, January 27th, 2006

Links for 2006-01-26

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

Quick survey: sites and services

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

It’s been a while since we’ve had a survey around here. This one is on what sites and services you know about and use. It should take no more than 2.5 minutes. I’ll report back with results and why I am interested in this in a few days.

Take the survey. Thanks!

Links for 2006-01-24

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

Links for 2006-01-23

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

Links for 2006-01-22

Sunday, January 22nd, 2006

Links for 2006-01-21

Saturday, January 21st, 2006

A twist on online communities

Friday, January 20th, 2006

Judging from my posts around here – not to mention my daily browsing habits – I’m obsessed with Flickr. I wanted to take a step back and give a bit of basic info about the site to those who are not that familiar with it. It is my way of trying to spread all that Flickr goodness to more people.

Flickr may seem like no more than a photo-sharing Web site, but it’s actually much more than that. It is a large community of people sharing images, yes, but also learning about a myriad of topics, exploring nearby and distant lands, and communicating with people from all
over the world. In some ways it resembles corners of blogworld. One important difference is that a good chunk of the communicating is done through images rather than text.

Flickr can help you get to know people in all sorts of ways through their photos (and I don’t just mean by looking at what they had for dinner, although frankly, if the cook or restaurant is a good one, that can be interesting as well), you can also get to know cities (e.g. the Guess Where Chicago and Guess Where NYC groups are both fun and informative), learn about healthy foods, read thought-provoking (or not) quotes, and much more.

In case you don’t need these basics, perhaps you’ll find some helpful tips in my guide to finding great photos on Flickr published yesterday on Lifehacker. Consider that the second installment to this post.

Here are some of the basic features of the site. Some of the links below will only work if you are logged in to the system. If you have a Yahoo! account then you are all set. If not, sign up for a free account now, you won’t regret it.*

  • At the most basic level, Flickr is for uploading and sharing your photos. There are several tools available for this from uploading in the browser to stand-alone applications (and even widgets). Or you can forward your cameraphone photos directly to your account.
  • Once you have uploaded your pictures, you can make them completely public, only accessible to contacts designated as family, only accessible to contacts designated as friends, accessible to both family and friends, or completely private.
  • You can post photos under Creative Commons license allowing others to use your images depending on the specifics. You can
    set a default license for all your uploads.
  • You can mark other people’s photos as your Favorites if you want to have easy access to them later. You do this by clicking on the Add to Faves button above the photo.
  • You can organize your photos into Sets. You can create new Sets under Organize. Also, once you have a Set, you can add a picture to it by clicking the Add to Set icon above the image.
  • You can join Groups based on various themes and topics. Click on Groups and then do a search on a topic of interest. Choose the group and join it as a member. Once you are member of a group, you can add photos to it. To add one of your photos to a Group, click on the Send to Group icon above the photo you are viewing. (You can only add your own photos to Groups.)
  • You can create Groups (private, invitation-only or completely public) organized around themes. If public then others can contribute their own photos to your group. Groups can also have ongoing discussions.
  • You can comment on others’ photos. You can also easily follow whether people have commented on or favorited any of your photos. The system also lets you see all the comments you have made on others’ photos and whether photos you have commented on have received additional comments.
  • You can add notes to your photos (or others’ photos if they allow it) by clicking on the Add Note tab above the image. Drag the box to the area on the photo that you want to annotate and add your comment.

As you can tell by this list of features, much of Flickr goodness comes from sharing photos with others in various systematic ways. There is also a lot of communicating that gets done in the comments and on the notes to photos.

Now that you know some of the basics of the site, you may be interested in this guide to finding great photos on the system.

* I am not affiliated with either Flickr or Yahoo!, I just think Flickr is a super service and want to help people understand it better so they become members of the community.

GMail Delete button!

Friday, January 20th, 2006

It looks like the makers of GMail have finally succumbed to pressure and have added a Delete button to all messages and folder views. I think it would be interesting to see all the internal discussions that surrounded the evolution of how one gets rid of messages in GMail: “Move to Trash” -> “Trash this Message” -> “Delete”. Finally.

Links for 2006-01-20

Friday, January 20th, 2006

Waiting for the perfect shot

Thursday, January 19th, 2006

I was at the Bulls vs. Knicks game last night. What a great ending: the perfect shot in the last second. Here is the recap of the last minute:

The Bulls were ahead 102-99 after Songaila hit two free throws with 51.1 seconds left in overtime. Crawford went 2-of-3 from the line after being fouled by Andres Nocioni to make it a one-point game. After Nocioni converted two foul shots with 8.3 seconds left, Crawford’s 3 tied it at 104.

There were 4.6 seconds left. Gordon saved the day by scoring in the last second (tenth of a second to be precise). It was awesome.

All this made me wonder: why do we bother – those of us who do:) – watching the first three quarters of basketball games? So much happens in the last few minutes almost regardless of what happened up until then. This is a layperson’s view and I certainly don’t have the stats to back this up, but it seems to me that this is quite often the case. Sure, we watch the game, because of the sheer enjoyment of the sport. Still, it seems that few sports competitions have as much riding on such a tiny last segment of the game as basketball.

So do we watch to figure out the optimal last-minute strategy? The Bulls did a horrible job with free throws last night so it was an especially good bet to foul them in the last few seconds. But would there have been a different strategy to retrieve the ball if they had not been doing so poorly on that front? I’m not saying that we have to be rational about our sports-viewing habits, but sitting through an entire basketball game seems particularly irrational.

UPDATE: I realize something out-of-the-ordinary happened at this game that I didn’t even really mention: the fact that one of the Knicks players ran into the stands. Frankly, from where I was sitting, this was easy to miss. There was some commotion at some point and then we saw a player leave the field, but it was not clear what had happened until I got home and checked the news.

Links for 2006-01-19

Thursday, January 19th, 2006

The 17c grad student meal

Wednesday, January 18th, 2006

JoAnne at Cosmic Variance discusses graduate student culinary experiences inspired by this article in Symmetry Magazine.*

Jonathan Bagger, a Physicist at Johns Hopkins reminisces about his grad student days: “I lived with four housemates in Princeton. We had an ongoing competition to see who could make the cheapest meal. The winner, at 17 cents a serving, was pigs’ feet. Not cooked the way pigs’ feet normally are, but simply broiled.”

At least some people can recall their grad student eating experiences (then again, are these experiences you necessarily want to recall?). For me, several years are a complete blank. What saved me was a fellowship in my fourth and fifth years that came with money to be spent at the student center cafeteria. It was more money than you could possibly want to spend in the dining hall so you ended up inviting friends. That was a nice perk. Unfortunately, it was only after my fellowship with that program had run out that we realized you could spend those points in the faculty dining room eating good meals. Not that I’m complaining. At least I had some regularity in my eating habits for those two years.

[*] If I didn’t happen to own they could have a much cooler URL.