Bush Brings Back Cold War

Wonderful. Not only has Bush bogged us down in a Middle-East version of the Vietnam War, he is bringing back the Cold War by building oh-so-magical anti-missile bases in Eastern Europe AND starting an Arms Race in East Asia by selling F-22s to Japan which makes pretty much all existing air power in the region obsolete if 144:0 score for F-22 against F-15/16/18 is true. Who needs enemies when we can have a President like Bush?

A Trip Back to Berkeley

Today was Cal Day so I took my wife and son to visit UC Berkeley to tour the campus and visit Lawrence Hall of Science. I didn't want to go but my wife wanted our son to get a good feel for UC Berkeley even though he still has 4 years of highschool ahead of him. That's too much planning for my taste but my wife has taken charge of our son's education planning so I have to do her biddings. Thankfully, our next trip will be to Stanford which is just 10 minutes away. MIT, however, will be a problem.
It was odd revisiting places I frequented when I was a student there more than 20 years ago. Dang. It was same old Berkeley. My apartment off Durant was the same. Steve's BBQ, where I used to eat when I got tired of ramen, moved from a hole in the wall to two holes in the wall next door. Hotel across the street is now House of Curry. Rasputin, a used record store, was not there though and the theather on University that occasionally played porn (Ronda Jo Petty wooo~) on silverscreen was gone as well. Campus was the same old flat foot punishing chilly place and Telegraph area was still grungy as ever.
I never liked school. I didn't like being taught to and being forced to follow preset trail of education. In hindsight, I think Berkeley was not my kind of town either. Too chilly, gloomy, and grungy. Having to route around inevitable circle of idiots who stand around talking in the middle of the sidewalk wasn't good for my temper either.
In comparison, Palo Alto is brighter, politer, and cleaner. After dropping out of Berkeley, I spent much of my free hours at Stanford libraries to read research papers as part of my self-administered computer science graduate program of sort. And I spent most of my career working within 20 mile radius of Palo Alto. And have I been happy? You bet. It'll take a quite a lot to make me work anywhere else, even if it's just across the Bay.

Rethinking Next-Generation Application Platforms

Platforms are everywhere and each new arrival beckons developers to build next generation applications atop their platform. All that the latest crop of platforms offer is a thick coat of XML-based integration and representation layer on top of their same old same bundle of features and smoother pixels.

There are limits to the kind of food one can cook using a given set of ingredients.

Skype-like functionalities in a platform will create a flood of next generation applications. All vector graphics offer is shiner bits. Much of the Ajax applications I see today are impractical economically, even with cometd. But mere combination of UDP-based notification service plus STUN in web browsers will make them practical.
It's not enough for platform vendors to think like a grocery store owner. They need to think more like a chef as well as an accountant, thinking about recipes and affordability. Think more about making known class of applications practical than asking developers to invent new uses for old parts.

Gun Control

After absorbing latest bits of news related to the Virginia Tech gunman, I now believe the current gun control law needs to be changed. Not allowing people with a history of mental problems or complaints filed to own guns, for example, is a no-brainer.
A simple national database of SSN with appropriate privacy protection would work. In addition to medical agencies and law enforcement agencies, I am for allowing institutions and individuals to submit information to such a database. Each registered gun sellers should be given a monthly budget of SSN-based queries (by computer or phone) based on their sales for POS background check. If they had access yet didn't use it, then they would be exposing themselves to liability.
While I am of the opinion that gun control is a leaky at best and gun ban is not possible politically, but I think some changes are necessary, if not for safety then to restore public safety confidence to a point where we can sit in public without being afraid of being gunned down.

Virginia Tech Massacre Gunman

This morning, I am deeply ashamed to learn that it was a Korean that committed the mindless act of violence against 32 helpless students at Virginia Tech yesterday. Deeply ashamed. I feel as if I am somehow partly responsible for all the deaths. According to news coming out of South Korea, many are shocked, ashamed, and angry as well, angry because the gunman ashamed them.