This blog has already moved twice before, but I expect this move will be the last. I will post all new entries at:

I bet you didn’t realize .name existed, eh? That’s right, I have my very own domain, registered with directNIC and hosted by Dreamhost. I’m still using WordPress software for my blog (which I highly recommend), but now I have full control over it.

I’ll eventually redesign my blog so that it fits with the rest of my personal web site. But that means I need to learn how to create WordPress themes, which isn’t a one-hour job. But otherwise, it’s good to go.


Recently I scored great deals on a few books. At Moe’s Books in Berkeley I bought:

And then at Compass Books (owned by Books Inc.) in San Francisco Airport, I bought:

Total amount:  $73.83 $22.98. Saved over $50. Sweeeeet.

Mickey Mouse plush toyLast week I was in Orlando for a customer conference, Lotusphere. For 3½ days straight I manned a demo station in the Innovation Lab on one of my research projects, which was worthwhile but tiring. But there was a payoff: the conference party was at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Jeff and I spent Thursday afternoon at the Magic Kingdom. Here’s a tip: go to Disney World in January — no one’s there. It helps if it rained that morning. In less than 4 hours, Jeff and I were able to circle around the park and go on 6 rides, and then circle around again and go on 5 more. When it came to dollars per ride, we definitely got  our money’s worth.

Before the conference, I went to visit my old Connecticut neighbors, who I hadn’t seen since I moved to California almost 20 years ago, and drove through the town of Celebration, a new urbanist town planned by Disney. It looked very pleasant. Almost too pleasant…

My photos from the trip are in two sets: Lotusphere 2007 and Walt Disney World and Celebration.

Last night, Jon, Jerry and I finished watching a four-part documentary on PBS, China From the Inside. The documentary was very well done, and I was surprised by how outspoken the critics of the government were. The overall conclusion: China from the inside is in bad shape. The four parts were about politics, women, the environment, and the law. You can guess that there isn’t much good news on any of these fronts. And it all boils down to one basic cause: the government isn’t accountable to the people.

Next up in our Friday nights of learning: The History of the Supreme Court.

I thought five editions of Windows Vista was a bit much, but then I saw that there are eight editions of Office 2007. Take a look at the comparison matrix from Microsoft’s web site:

There are holes where you wouldn’t expect*, and there is no single edition that contains every Office program. Office Ultimate lacks one program — how is that “ultimate”? I understand the theory of market segmentation, but there’s also the reality of human confusion.

* In one way, it’s not quite as strange as it first appears — for example, Office Professional doesn’t come with Outlook, but it does come with Outlook with Business Contact Manager. But still…

Just saw two fascinating shows on KQED:

A story in Frontline World covered an ingenious idea called Play Pumps. It takes water pumps and turns them into a piece of playground equipment, so that kids have fun while they pump water. It started out as a cheap way to bring clean water to poor areas in South Africa, and the company making them is now receiving $15 million in funding from the U.S.

Twisted follows four people with dystonia, a bewildering neurological disorder where a person literally cannot control parts of their own body. Probably the most famous sufferer is Dilbert creator Scott Adams. There is treatment called deep brain stimulation (DBS) where electrodes are implanted into the brain, but doctors don’t know why it works. The film follows one person in particular as he agonizes over whether to get DBS, and then struggles while the doctors try to make the treatment work for him.

I’m now using Windows Live Writer to compose my blog posts. I hadn’t seen the point of a standalone blog editor until yesterday, when I was blogging at work and accidentally closed the browser tab that contained the blog editor online, losing 15 minutes of work. Windows Live Writer’s user interface is straightforward and well organized — I’m surprised how much more pleasant it is to use Live Writer rather than editing within a web page. For me it lowers the psychological barrier to blog. Maybe I’ll start posting more often…