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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Saul's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, February 1st, 2011
1:08 am
Sundance 2011
I went to sundance last weekend here are quick reviews of the movies I saw.

An African Election
Documentary about the 2008 election in Ghana. Compelling subject and interestingly shot. And worth it just to learn more about Jerry Rawlings.

These Amazing Shadows
Documentry about the "National Film Registry" and film restoration. Interesting, especially if you are in to the history of film.

Gun Hill Road
Drama about Latino father that has been in jail for 3 years, who once he leaves finds out his son is transgendered. There was something missing in this movie… the story should have hit the audience harder then it did. On the plus side, the actor playing the transgendered son is excellent.

In a Better World
Danish drama about pacifism and revenge. Great movie emotionally engaging and interesting. It made a strong point without having to bash you over the head with it.

Shorts Program I
A bunch of shorts, most of which weren't great. Except for Worst Enemy by Lake Bell, which is pretty funny and worth a watch.

Another Earth
A high concept movie about forgiveness and self reflection. Another good one, the only issue with this movie is you really need to suspend disbelief about the "parallel" earth they find, and the pseudo science used to explain it doesn't help. But once you get past that, the story is interesting and really pulls you in. Plus main actors are excellent.

(correct my spelling)

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009
12:50 am
pcolijn: You think that's creepy.. I got this a few months ago:

Hi Saul,

My name is Sarah and I'm part of the recruiting team at Facebook. I'm reaching out 1- because I liked your profile pic, and 2 - to see if you'd be interested in considering opportunities at Facebook...

Facebook Recruiting

She liked my pic... First off I can only take that one of two ways:
1) Your so amazingly good looking we need more sexy men around the office.
2) You obviously aren't good looking enough to have a girlfriend and thus will waste your entire life away at the office.

Second... WTF? Who starts a eng recruiting email with "You have the look we want". I guess I can kind of understand, I am amazingly good looking.

For context this was my profile picture at the time, I kid you not.

What Facebook is looking for?

(1 correction | correct my spelling)

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009
10:47 pm
Efficiency of Biking vs Driving
According to random places around the internet:
Cycling is about 31 Calories/Km (for a pretty average person)

To compare this to driving we need to do a little more leg work:

First we need the Caloric value of gas (we'll figure it out for a Liter of gas):
((MJ/Kg of gas) * (convert to Jules) * Kg per Liter of gas) / (J in a Calorie) = Calories/Liters of gas
(44.374 * 1000000 * .703) / 4184 = 7455.76 C/L of gas

Now we take this number and plug it in to the efficiency of a car:
Efficient car (40mpg) in Km/L : 17.01 km/L

(Calories in a Liter of gas) / (Km/L of an efficient car =
7455.76 / 17.01 = 438.31 Calories/Km for an efficient car

Therefore with these rough numbers Biking is around 14x more efficient then driving. And yes I know measuring gas in calories doesn't really make much sense... but it does help when making this sort of comparison.

Interesting side notes:
- You burn about a McDonald's double cheeseburger of calories every Km you drive.
- You burn around half an apple of calories ever Km you bike.

Where I got my numbers:
- Calories in a big mac: http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-big-mac-i21111
- MJ/Kg of gas: http://stason.org/TULARC/vehicles/gasoline-faq/4-9-What-energy-is-released-when-gasoline-is-burned.html
- Liters in a Kg for gas: http://www.triplepundit.com/pages/askpablo-tailpipe.php
- Calories/Km of for biking: http://www.stevenscreek.com/goodies/calories.shtml
- Calories in a Cheese burger: http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-mcdonalds-double-cheeseburger-i53968
- Calories in an Apple: http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-apples-i9003

These calculations brought to you by the back of a napkin

(6 corrections | correct my spelling)

Thursday, June 5th, 2008
10:59 pm
So a few months back I got a Vudu box for basically free. It's a movie streaming set top box. The idea being you hook it up to your tv and then you can rent and buy movies from your couch. Now I wouldn't buy movies on it since they are locked on the the device, but renting is only $2ish and the quality is excellent. (Though since my roommate got a netflix account we hardly use the box anymore) The big selling point of the Vudu box is that it does an excellent job of streaming the content, so you can instantly watch anything in their catalog (including HD movies).

One of the biggest problems I've had is that the catalog of movies (which is pretty big about 5500 movies, and over 120 in HD) isn't searchable online. Which is super annoying, since if I want to watch a movie I'd like to know if it's on Vudu.

So I present the full catalog of movies and tv shows on the vudu in one searchable page. I extracted the information from the vudu site (which incidentally is written in non-optimized javascript, which makes for easy dissecting).

When I have some more time I'll detail the format they use, but the short version is:

This URL can be used to get all the movies in one easy to parse javascript chunk.
It's pretty easy to figure out what the different fields do by playing around with the Vudu browser page

Update (10/22/08): Vudu has change it's site. My above script no longer works :( They have updated there movie listing so you can now buy movies online (finally), but they still don't have search.

(correct my spelling)

Thursday, April 17th, 2008
9:43 pm
Dear Phone Scamming Jerks
Dear Phone Scamming Jerks,

I'm not sure how your scam works but I'm not interested.

Please stop calling me.

- Saul

PS, you're a jerk.

Current Mood: annoyed

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Saturday, March 8th, 2008
1:35 am
Bike almost stolen
So my bike was almost stolen again

I left it at the Palo Alto Caltrain station locked to a tree and when I came back the lock was cut open.

Cut Lock

The weird part is my bike was still there seemingly untouched. I guess the would be thief got interrupted.

Note to the reader, this is a different bike then the one that was almost stolen in waterloo, but it's of the same "quality". I guess the fact that people are "almost stealing" rather then full out stealing my bike is a good thing.

Current Mood: confused

(3 corrections | correct my spelling)

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007
3:26 pm
Free Public WiFi
I always see these "Free Public Wifi" Ad-hoc networks around and just assumed they were infected machines. It would seem they are actually a mix between windows being extra crazy and people being gullible.

Details: http://blogs.chron.com/techblog/archives/2006/09/free_public_wif.html

(1 correction | correct my spelling)

Friday, October 12th, 2007
10:02 pm
Dr. Robert W. Bussard
Dr Bussard died :(

I had the chance to see his talk when I interned at Google, and then had the great privilege to have dinner and talk to him. He was an amazing man, very spry for a 79 year old. I'll never forget when he told us "If you've never had the experience of seeing a nuclear blast in person, it's transcendent." (I'm paraphrasing) Just hearing him talk about the the early days of nuclear research was just so interesting, I now wish I had recorded the conversation.

He was an amazing man.

Update: It would seem David had the same impressions

Current Mood: sad

(1 correction | correct my spelling)

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007
3:16 pm
Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day Ye Scurvy Dogs


(1 correction | correct my spelling)

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007
2:45 pm
cuTorrent is just a little tool I use a lot myself, so I thought it would be nice to package it up a little and let it loose in the wilds of the internet.

It's basically a console version of the uTorrent webUI. For the 3 people that don't know, uTorrent is one of the best (but closed source) bit torrent clients out there, and was recently bought by BitTorrent Inc (Bram Cohen's company which produces the "official" bit torrent client). It's Windows only right now, but there is an OSX private beta going on. Also they seem to be doing their best to support wine (which is kind of like linux support... almost).

This program has been tested with python2.4 on both linux and OSX (in theory it should work on any system that has python2.4+ installed). I've packaged up a beta, but (as always) the svn repository is more up to date

cuTorrent is licensed under the APL 2.0.

Special thanks to Rob Crowther for his python library for accessing the uTorrent webUI which is the basis for this program.

(1 correction | correct my spelling)

Thursday, August 16th, 2007
3:40 pm
Comment Spam
So I had someone post the strangest comment spam on my blog the other day. You can see it here. I haven't yet deleted it, since it doesn't have any URLs or any real "economic" point to the message. I can only assume that people are now trying to poison the LJ spam filters (does LJ even have spam filters?).

Since I might soon delete the message here's a copy of it

Title: Hi gays, where my money!!!

Hi all!
I don't know what happend? Where are you many?

I checked the IP of the poster and it's a known compromised box in Korea.

In short WTF?

Current Mood: WTF

(2 corrections | correct my spelling)

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007
1:49 am
This new feature in Google Spreadsheets is pretty cool.

Syntax: =GoogleLookup("entity"; "attribute")
where "entity" represents the name of the entity that you want to access, like Kuala Lumpur, Audrey Hepburn, or oxygen, and "attribute" is the type of information that you want to retrieve.

For example you could make a cell that contains the number of internet uses in Paraguay. [=GoogleLookup("Paraguay"; "internet users")] While that might not be very useful, doing something like inserting the atomic weight of helium, the population of Canada, or the real time price of a stock could be.

(1 correction | correct my spelling)

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007
2:02 am
Web Hosting
Dear Lazy web,

I'm looking a VPS, I don't need anything all that amazing. I just want a (virtual) box which I can install Linux, Apache and PostgreSQL on. Something I can use as a platform for the web apps I want to play with. To give a feel for what I need, I used to use a 500MHz machines with 256M of ram running in my basement for such fun.

Also I'm looking at Linode right now, anyone have any experiences with them?

Yours lazily,
- Saul

(1 correction | correct my spelling)

Thursday, July 19th, 2007
10:47 pm
I've been meaning to update my blog for a while now, so I've decided to put all my updates in to one big post.

Busy Be

First off, I'm not sure what I've been doing over the last month and a half, but I know it's been keeping me busy. It's weird I can't really point to anything that I've been doing... but I just can't seem to make time for things. What I think is happening is I've had a lot of free time, which means I've had time to do all the little things I've been meaning to do over the last while... and a lot of little things can take a lot of time. Also since it's "the last summer" (with everyone starting their real jobs/grad school), people seem to always want to do things on the weekend.


I don't think I've gotten around to telling people I'm moving to California pseudo-permanently (which means I'll be there for at least the next 2-3 years). I accepted a job with VMware in Palo Alto. I haven't gotten my Visa details figured out just yet, but as long as it all goes smoothly I'll be moving there in September. I'm super excited, I'm going to be on the lab manager team, which is a very cool product.


I'm going to OSCON next week. If last year is any indication, it should be a great time. Anyone else going to be there?

Metaphysical pet peeve

I'm annoyed with people that can't take a step outside of their scientific view of the world, and look at it through metaphysical eyes. Do we have souls / intentionality / a metaphysical presents isn't a scientific, it's philosophy, argue it on those grounds.

(6 corrections | correct my spelling)

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007
12:37 am
The Superman: The Animated Series DVDs have some cool features. The only problem I have is that not enough of the episodes have commentary. (Yes, I'm "that guy" that listens to the commentary).

One of the episodes has a "Pop up video" feature. In this mode random little factoids of information pop up on the screen through the episode.

Most of the factoids are like this one:

trivial trivia

But when this one popped up I almost fell over laughing:

I agree

My excuse for watching what is a very mediocre cartoon, I just finished watching JLU (which is AWESOME by the way), and there are some Superman episodes that add to the JLU story line. While I'm on the topic, watch season 4 of JLU. Seriously, if you at all like super heroes or even think you might, just watch it. Very briefly the idea behind the season is: Can the world trust the JL to protect them, and more specifically can the world trust Superman? What happens if Superman/JL ever goes rouge? Or in short the season asked the question "Who Watches the Watchers?". (Also if you can find it you should watch "A Better world" it's a two parter in the second season, that sets up season 4)

In short, I'm a huge nerd.

(1 correction | correct my spelling)

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007
12:23 pm
Brock Samson is thousand times more hardcore then you

Brock Samson being Hardcore

Brock giving a henchmen bad news

If these two scenes don't sell you on Venture Brothers... well you are just missing out. Brock Samson is just one of the many AWESOME (yes it needs to be in all caps) characters in Venture Brothers. I can't say enough good things about this show, even these clips don't capture the perfect humor that is The Venture Brothers.

Venture Brothers is on Teletoon in the Canada, Adult Swim in the US, and both season 1 and 2 are out on DVD. Of course it is also floating around on pseudo legal streaming sites on the internet. So go forth and enjoy.

Current Mood: nerdy

(4 corrections | correct my spelling)

Friday, May 11th, 2007
9:11 pm
P5P L33T H4X0R
I've been wicked busy over the last week. Today was my first day of down time, so I decided to get to something I've been meaning to do for the last while: Make my PSP hackable.

I took some quick pics to keep track of what I'm doing. First I started with my non TA-082 vanilla PSP. My PSP was shipped with version 1.60 if I remember correctly. From there I updated a few times for different games, and ended up with a firmware version of 2.71.

Original PSP

Then I used the "2.71 Downdater" by Dark_AleX/Mathieulh/Yoshi. Which uses a know TIFF overflow exploit to revert the firmware back to 1.50. 1.50 can be easily tricked in to running unsigned code in unprotected mode, making it the perfect jumping off point for installing a new and fancy hacked firmware. This is by far the scariest step, since it involves using an overflow to over write flash memory (which if corrupted would brick the system). It takes a random number of tries to get the TIFF exploit to work, sometimes it just freezes up. The only way you "know" the downdater is working is when the screen of your PSP goes all red and stop responding... and then it crashes which means it worked.

1.50 Firmware PSP (soon to be hacked)

After the downdater finished. I had a fancy new 1.50 firmware PSP, so I went on to upgrading it to "3.40 Open Edition Revision A" also by Dark_AleX. 3.40 OE-A is very cool, Dark_AleX basically made a system that combines the easily hackable-ness of 1.50, access to all current games, and you get all the fancy features of 3.40. So it's the best of both worlds.

Hacked PSP

So now I'm in the fancy world of Homebrew PSP. The first thing I installed was SNES9X, SNES games are mostly playable. The next thing I tried was FileAssistant++, man it's nice to have a function file manager for my PSP. Now I'm just looking for a better media manager.

UPDATE: I just installed Installotron, which installs homebrew right off the web using only the PSP. It's hella cool :)

Current Mood: nerdy

(1 correction | correct my spelling)

Monday, April 23rd, 2007
5:09 pm
In Montreal on the 4th
I'll be in Montreal on the weekend of the 4th. I might be busy Friday night (I'm not totally sure of my schedule just yet), but I'm pretty sure I'll be free Saturday night. Is The Madhatter still the place to be? It's been a sadly long time since I've been in Montreal, I don't know what is "cool" any more.

I should calculate how much time I have wasted

(1 correction | correct my spelling)

Sunday, April 15th, 2007
3:20 am
I'm going to be in Seattle on the Wednesday
I'm going to be in Seattle from Monday to Wednesday. I'm busy Monday and Tuesday, but I'm free Wednesday. My current plan for Wednesday (the 18th) is to wander the streets of Seattle staring at things.

Anyone know any cool things to do/see in Seattle? Or better yet, anyone going to be in Seattle?

Also, in the near future (next few weeks) I'm going to be in Montreal for a weekend. It would be cool to see/party with people that weekend.

Current Mood: anxious

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Thursday, March 29th, 2007
4:20 pm
Site Update
I've done a major graphical update of Saul's Off-Campus Housing Map Search. The page now has 99% less gray.

Old Look

New Look

Current Mood: artistic

(2 corrections | correct my spelling)

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