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User Journal

Journal: New site

Journal by trajano

After I left for Live Journal, I moved around again to Blogger and now I am running on WordPress on http://www.trajano.net/ thanks to
http://www.000webhost.com/676474.html

Businesses

Journal: Television Companies Should Be Responsible For Infomercials

Journal by trajano

Just watching another one of those infomercials late at night again, then the standard disclaimer of the television station appears again. The one that goes "we are not responsible for anything that this program shows".

I think that television stations should take responsibility for showing these informercials. They should have tried the product or get someone accountable that they can transfer the responsibility to. This would reduce all these stupid ads for "super prostate formula" or "tong vu's super pyramid scheme" which target people who might not have the knowledge or the resources to verify the problem, also promote fear in order to consume (as Marilyn Manson says in Bowling for Columbine).

Heck we should include regular commercials too, especially those that target kids.

Java

Journal: Wrote my first J2ME app

Journal by trajano

Just wrote my first J2ME app. Its just a hello world app right now, but I'm looking around to see what else I can do. So far the closest thing I can think of making are either games or mini databases that are stored in the cell phone with no sync capability to the PC.

BTW I also got a Nokia 6600 from my dad. Tres cool.

Businesses

Journal: Going to Workplace safety

Journal by trajano

I was thinking that one of the improvements that can be made by the government is to allow the WSIB (workplace safety and insurance board) compensate workers who get into automotive accidents because of driving to work.

Rush hour traffic is bad enough as it is, compounded with a lot of people who may be driving half awake because work forces them to go there at 9am. Or risk their health to coffee or jolt cola.

WSIB would be compensated by higher premiums from corporations who require workers to drive to and from and around because of the workplace.

Corporations can reduce this premium by shifting more workers to mobility. Government can help by instituting mobility centers that can be rented out to corporations for those that have to meet.

Corporations who are in the downtown core can also reduce their premiums by fully subsidizing metropasses for those who are in the TTC area. These metropasses can be sold to them at a reduced price by the TTC.

Java

Journal: Java + UML

Journal by trajano

In reading Martin Fowler's blog about UML, I think we should combine Java and UML by adding more java doc tags into it to specify the locations of the class file in a diagram.

Or actually I would prefer if the position and formatting data were a separate XML file and the IDE will read that file, then the actual details of the objects are inside the java files.

I personally do not like MDAs because I can type faster than I can use a mouse to drag and drop stuff. It still has its uses though especially when explaining things.

Games

Journal: New game idea: Bishi Bashi Excel

Journal by trajano

After going through an Excel Saga marathon. I was thinking what would be a good game genre to implement with this.

I was thinking of creating a party game similar to bishi bashi special. With a few exceptions, it will use characters and voices from excel saga.

Design the games to be multitap compatible. So maximum of 5 characters (8 characters would probably crowd the screen too much). Perhaps 4 to allow for different consoles.

Have originally 5 characters

Excel
Hyatt
+ the 3 guys

Then have a few hidden characters that can be unlocked

  • Pedro
  • That Guy that pedro goes against
  • Nabeshin
  • Menchi
  • Il Palazzo
  • Ropponmatsu
  • The other girl
  • Rikdo
  • Puchu
  • The guy with the mustache
  • The great will

Each character will have at least two costumes. Plus the girls will have swimsuit option ;P

The intro would be something like Rikdo playing the bishi bashi game and authorizing Excel Saga to be converted to a party video game.

There will be few game modes.

  • Board mode -- i'll elaborate on this in a sec
  • Free mode -- you are free to choose whatever game and what ever number of players
  • Tournament mode -- for several players tournament style for large parties

It will have on-line play and ladder support.

It will have a selection called random game, but there will be an option in the options screen to only allow random select.

There will be a gallery of excel stuff, if you unlock all of it, that means you have unlocked all the game features.

There will be a password feature to unlock some of the options and characters, but they will not add to your gallery. This will prevent FAQing.

If you complete the gallery you will get the full ending and intro.

We'll have the following games.

  • jumping over different colored puchus.
  • spraying puchucide on puchus running around like cockroaches
  • Excel falling down the pit and things flash by, select the right image.
  • Coca Cola can attached to the backs of each character and they shake like crazy then launch. see who gets the highest and hits the moon.
  • Everyone drives a mini car and tries to hit menchi (of course menchi stays alive because he just gets bounced around).
  • Safe cracking
  • Avoid the green yakult (mixing up game)
  • Go across the buildings while hiding behind a sign, avoiding workers in the building
  • Play question and answer but with the style of a dating game
  • Bowling, but deflecting bombs to hit the pins.
  • Fight injustice by attacking people that litter
  • Play with traps to get the other people caught but not yourself
  • Be a traffic safety coordinator and make sure that the traffic stomps your opponents but not you.
  • Puchu Zero (ala Enemy Zero): avoid the puchu queens, but kill all the small puchus while trying to reach the middle. You will hear beeps when the puchu queen is close by and its dark except for flash lights.
  • Domino fall, make your dominos stay up while making your opponents' dominos fall.
  • Love Love Excel Puzzle. Matching puzzle game similar to puzzle fighter, uses the heads of the characters, chains like Excel -> Il Palazzo -> Hyatt, doubles like Il Palazzo -> Hyatt

    The board game basically puts in a plot for each character set and the game shows a story before every game block. We roll a dice, of course its some psycho dice that may yield 10 in one die.

    Next Episodes, Excel Saga RPG, Excel Saga : Domination of City F (Strategy Game), ACROSS vs the City (FPS).

News

Journal: Programming Idea: P2P NNTP

Journal by trajano

Use the JXTA libraries to provide P2P
Use commons-net to provide NNTP protocol
Exposes an NNTP port and can be used with standard NNTP apps.
Caches header data and group lists.
Articles are not cached, but multiple accesses to an article will keep it alive and not release it immediately.
Read only, no post (?)

X

Journal: My idea for yet another X replacement

Journal by trajano
If I were to build a replacement for the X window system I would do the following.
  • Provide the concept of internal clients. These clients run within the local space of the X server and perform pass by reference calls instead of local remote calls, reducing the need for serialization costs
  • Provide the concept of UI managers. These UI managers handle the drawing of buttons, scrollbars, etc.
  • Provide support for pluggable XHTML parsers and renderers. These are used by the UI managers to render rich text into their widgets.
  • It should still use the same method of client server communications as it is now. That means use SSH tunnelling in order to get it working over the firewall.
  • X should provide the full user experience not just Window management, so it should support sound as well as other input methods.
  • X should have support for a thin layer to the audio/video drivers.
  • Remove the concept of low color screens and color maps from clients. It will provide 32-bit color (and render down as needed) as well as alpha blending.
  • JPG and PNG renderers are built in
  • The internal graphic format is PNG.
  • SVG is used as its vector renderer.
  • The all renderers (e.g. JPG, PNG, XHTML, and SVG) are hot-pluggable. However, at least one is present at all times.
  • Fonts use OpenType format only.
  • Should be backward compatible with X.
  • Graphic and Audio Contexts can be exposed to local clients for increased rendering speed.
  • Pluggable to existing windowing systems easily. So if we wanted an app to run on Windows we just need to put in a smallish daemon program that would translate them to Windows calls.
Java

Journal: Wrote my first RAR module

Journal by trajano

Well I finally wrote my first RAR module. Its pretty flimsy, but it seems to work. Its a NNTP client, which just uses the apache commons-net stuff to do the actual work.

My impression with RAR/JCA stuff is that it is basically a way to pool instances of objects such as connections to EIS or News servers. Not really rocket science, and overkill for most apps, but important thing is that it gives you free connection pooling with your J2EE server.

I haven't really gotten it to work in WebSphere, but I have it working on JBoss (which is good enough for me, I think if I really needed to do it in WebSphere I would be able to).

It got me to thinking of how I can make my own BNR program in Java. Of course the way I am going to do it will be ridiculously overkill, no one really needs all the J2EE stuff to build something that just downloads binaries from newsgroups. But what the hey, its a learning experience.

I was thinking of using CMP entities to handle the database stuff (BNR uses its own database mechanisms which keep on getting fubared often) this way I can delegate the database stuff to people who know what they are doing (or so we hope).

The connection to the newsgroups are done via JCA which I have already done, somewhat, it still needs to be more parametric, right now everything is hardcoded into my news server.

The next thing I need is a YEnc + UU decoder which I can download off the net. Then create MDBs that would do the decoding work. That way its asynchronous. There will also be another MDB that reads the data from the NNTP server and creates a file. It will send a message to a Topic to inform components that it has finished downloading and created a new file.

The UI will be either a SWT/Swing based applet or something that gets executed by Java WebStart.

Well when I have something more concrete, I'll probably start off another sf.net project for this.

The Courts

Journal: Remove parallel parking spots

Journal by trajano

Just had this idea while I was driving down to work the other day. I noticed there were many places in Toronto where people parallel park.

One of the things that happen is when people use these spots, it reduces the number of lanes by one. So a 3 lane spot like Bloor and Church will reduce to one lane because one lane is for the parking and the other lane is used up by the parker. In Bayview around Lawrence and Eglington I think. They have two lane roads and when people park it effectively reduces the number of lanes to zero.

Sometimes some people parallel park improperly and take up more room on the road than necessary or they have large vehicles in the first place. Personally I know I do not parallel park too well so I avoid it when I can.

My suggestion is to remove parallel parking from "commercial" streets. Residential streets I would agree is still okay, because you'd want your guests to park close to you. However, residents must own a garage to park their own vehicles.

So what would happen if we remove parallel parking on commercial streets?

Well traffic on those streets will move smoother because there are more lanes.

But what about those stores that will lose customers because clients can't park near them? Well that is just "bad" location and planning in their part. However, read on as I will explain how this is will be offset.

Toronto will lose money from parking fees. However, people will pay more for the better parking spots. Toronto will save money from the maintenance of the parking meters.

This will increase TTC ridership because its will be more expensive to park downtown. This will increase TTC services, therefore will offset the lack of people going to Toronto by car instead will increase the number of people going to Toronto by transit. The existing parallel parking lanes can be converted to bus lanes as well to smooth out traffic.

Another side effect of this will be a bit more distribution of people to non-core areas. Since there is more flow of traffic, people will move more freely. So the Greater Toronto area will benefit more.

Having parallel parking lanes on city roads is just poor municipal planning. (Just like saying 3 lanes is good enough on a highway namely DVP). Parallel parking should be used as a last resort not a norm.

The Almighty Buck

Journal: Ethical investments

Journal by trajano

Although I would agree that ethical investments are a good idea in terms of the long term, I do not think it is realistic. Primarily even if in the long run they would yield a lot, a lot of them would disappear before people would really reap their benefits. There are two observations I have on this:

1) Money rules in the govenerment in general

As your guest noted, you have a the US government subsidizing the purchases of SUVs, it does not surprise me the least bit. Even after Sept 11, though they disallowed most things to be brought inside an airplane, including nail cutters, they still allowed "Bic lighters" (I mean for what? we're not allowed to smoke in the airplanes anyway).

Corporations fund the government. Whether it is during their campaign or during elections. I wonder how much funding would the "Green Party of Canada" receives in comparison to the Liberal, Conservative, or NDP parties. Heck they were not even invited to the debate. And since marketting rules in the end (sad to say), those who have the most money would always win.

Also, I think people would want to vote for someone who has a chance of winning, the usual comment I get when I say I am voting for the "Green party" is "you're wasting your vote" and I would agree to that, but I still do it anyway just because its the principle of things. But I also think it is a waste of time because I know the party won't win.

2) People want the cheapest products and services.

People still want the cheapest they can get for their products, if it wasn't then we wouldn't have these outsourcing to China, India and Mexico. Employees be damned, the customer takes priority over anything else. This is the mantra that goes through my company and Walmart. I suspect almost all companies that are sucessful in the current economy.

This will cause morale problems in companies, but this is something that won't go away because most people need jobs (whether they are happy with it or not). People will usually want the cheapest products. Whether it was done by an ethical company or not is not something that goes into most people's purchase decision.

The only way this would be solved is:

  • Products from ethical corporations need to be cheap
  • The govenrment need makes it more expensive to run unethical companies.
  • That would require people to vote for politicians who are willing to do that.
  • Those politicans have to market themselves better.
  • The politicians need to get money from corporations.
  • The corporations need to be ethical.
  • The corporations need to have an incentive to be ethical.
  • People need to buy products from ethical corporations.
  • Products from ethical corporations need to be cheap (see the catch-22)?

I do hope I am wrong with my observations.

Patents

Journal: Cell computers

Journal by trajano

As you know there are a lot of portable storage devices some the size of cigars with a USB port. What if instead of a USB port, it has a 802.11g wireless stack? Then you can have something called bucket 'o storage where if you need more storage just chuck another one into the bucket.

But let's extend that concept a bit, instead of just storage, what if we used it for compute power and RAM?

For lack of a better term, I would call each compute and storage unit as a "cell"

In theory, we can have a computer in a bucket which can be infinitely scalable just throw more "cells" into it.

We can also have more specialized cells, perhaps a cell that specializes in MP3 decoding, DivX encoding, 3D raytracing, etc. Cells can also have special purpose storage for database like structures and search engines. The system would be able to delegate some tasks to these specialized cells as needed, to free up room for the general purpose cells.

We would still need a way of ensuring that each cell is allowed to be used in the bucket, so we would need some device used to do initialize each cell. I would call this the "initializer".

The "initializer" would have a socket where each cell can be put into and programmed so that it will only respond to the the network that it expects.

We also need a way for each of these cells to communicate with each other, though peer-to-peer communications is good, a centralized hub is more efficient I think, (I mean we usually use Wireless Access Points instead of ad hoc networks). For lack of a better term for this, I would call that a "spine" like the spinal cord of the human body.

Although wireless may be good, sometimes a wired connection is more cost efficient. The "spine" can also be a USB 2.0 hub whereby you can attach "cells" into it directly so it will be powered by AC instead of batteries.

How do we get all of them to work properly? Well you would still need a standard computer to talk with them because it is so much more easier. The computer does not need to be all powerful though, as it just offloads its tasks to the "bucket". To the computer, it sees the general purpose storage "cells" as one or more drives, depending on the "initializer". It sees the compute "cells" as web services where they send data to. It does not see the RAM "cells" though because those are used internally by the "bucket". It will also have a JMX/SNMP type connection to the "spine" so it can track problems such as low battery power on some of the cells so they can replace it.

The way things would work is:

  1. Controller: Ask "spine" get a free delegate cell. A delegate cell can be just another general purpose compute cell that is designated as a delegate by the spine, or it can be a special purpose cell that is programmed to perform delegate operations quickly.
  2. Controller: Gives delegate code and data to process
  3. Delegate: Ask "spine" to find appropriate compute cell
  4. Delegate: Give data and code to the compute cell
  5. Delegate: Tells controller which cell will give the information
  6. Delegate: waits for next request
  7. Compute cell: performs computation, may request other cells to help out if the request is threaded.
  8. Compute cell: sends data to the controller.
  9. Compute cell: waits for the next request.
Science

Journal: David Suzuki's report

Journal by trajano

I was just going through the news today about David Suzuki's report [www.davidsuzuki.org] on urban sprawling of Toronto.

I think one of the better ways of doing this is to make office space more expensive and force companies to embrace telecommuting.

Also to provide better and cheaper broadband to people so we can work from home more effectively.

Perhaps set up common meeting areas for companies so people can meet each other more easily, with facilities to do video conferencing and such. These places can be rented out to companies on-demand. Actually that wouldn't be a bad business to start up.

I like driving myself, though spending up to 3 hours on the highway (I only take one hour max, but they said some people do take up to 3 hours). I would suggest increasing the taxes on gas, but the money raised on it goes partly to transit and part to subsidize costs for hybrid cars. I would pay more for gas if I can afford to get the Prius.

I personally like living in outer suburbia, as long as everything is within a 15-30 minute radius. Which is kinda why I like my place, everything I want is within a 15-30 minute radius and I do not live in the core, I live in Scarborough.

I personally hate taking transit and would avoid it if I can, I hate losing control over where I can and cannot go. Though transit is still a good thing to have. Perhaps we can have those rentable cars on demand here, but I doubt it. I wouldn't trust them or all people to be good to them. Unless of course they make it fool and gang proof, but that is a research topic that I hope someone starts (wish it was me).

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler

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