Colbert vs Rain

If you missed it, checkout Colbert making fun of Rain, Korean pop star, and his version of one of Rain's video in which he is singin' in Korean. Very funny. I was getting tired of his political jokes so I am happy to see him spread his 'love' around.
What's even more funny is that Koreans not familiar with Colbert's brand of humor think Colbert is insulting Korea. We need Fair Trade agreement on humor! ;-p 

East Asian-style Fair Trade Investigated

Businesses in East Asia behave like bird flocks. If you want to sell knives, you have to open your shop in the Knife Street because that's where people go when they need a knife. When a shop lowers prices unreasonably, elders try to talk sense into the shop owner. When that fails, everyone is expected to work together to ruin the shop out of the neighborhood. Why? Because the store is ruining their business with unfair trade.
That's the East Asian concept of Fair Trade. So it's not surprising that FTC is investigating six South Korean portals.

Inside JavaFX

It was difficult to learn what JavaFX exactly is from tech journalists beyond strategic dribble and comparisons to Silverlight and Apollo so I went searching.  From news articles, I thought it was just an announcement. Surprise! You can download the full source code and documentations, plugins for Eclipse and NetBeans, demos, and tutorials right now at OpenJFX.org website.
So what is JavaFX? This is what it looks like:

import javafx.ui.*;

Frame {

  title: "Hello World JavaFX"

  width: 20

  height: 50

  content: Label {

    text: "Hello World"

  }

  visible: true

}
      As you can see, JavaFX script (*.fx) is basically JSON-like version of XAML which can be either compiled into Java bytecode or run as is using a java-based JavaFX player. Since JavaFX is just java, it can run as applets in browsers, midlets on mobiles, and applications on WebStart.
    Hmm. Technology itself is not new but it seems to be more polished than I have come to expect from Sun although I think Sun will have trouble attracting developers without tools for non-programmer. I wish them luck nonetheless. 
 <em>Urgh. Looks like I need to fix page styling.</em>

Update: Sam Ruby has more on savory dynamic features of JavaFX scripting language which I neglected to mention.

Technorati Authority Needs Categorization

Yesterday, I noticed that Technorati replaced "X links from N blogs" with Technorati Authority numbers. My TA is 542 which isn't bad for just having a habit and a temper. Their use of the word authority is questionable but then words can be stretched like spandex pants as long as no one is wearing them (read trademark) so I won't complain.
However, I think lumping every subject into one basket degrades even the loosy goosy way Technorati is using the word authority. They need to categorize authority by subject of interest so that authority in technology is different from authority in fashion.
There are many ways to do this but I think the simplest approaches are opt-in, leaving over-all authority as General Authority. Let blogs spell out what their subjects are with natural penalties for blogs covering too many subjects to curb abuse. There are many variations and tricks that can be thrown to spice it up a bit. To get it started, open a wiki to let people fight over the list or hierarchy of categories.

S3 and EC2

I have a small webapp that I am in midst of launching. I think it fulfills a common need effectively yet is dead simple to use (at least my wife and son didn't need any instructions). One problem the webapp has is that it needs to ping the server once a second or so. Storage wise, I am expecting 50K per session so it's not unusually high. Even with smart ping rate logic, server load will be much higher than your average webapp.
During a chat with a friend, S3 came up (I keep forgetting) so I quickly found a way to shove most of the server load to S3. But I overlooked the 1 cent per 10K request cost. Assuming average of 100K active sessions, S3 will get hit with 100K requests per second which will cost me well over $8000 per day just for requests. Since most of the unpaid-for-data won't survive more than 24 hours, storage cost is bearable and so is the transfer cost because most of those requests will return nothing. I know that 100K simultaneous users is rather high but that's the bill I will have to face if I get slashdotted, farked, or digged and I do expect the webapp to be popular enough to get that kind of load.
Thankfully, EC2 doesn't have request-related cost so I am going to look into that. I am concerned about reliability though since they are still in beta phase. At worst case, I am going to launch with a handful of dedicated or co-located servers which should cost me about $1000 per month then add as demand increases. If you have good suggestions, let me know. Come to think of it, my webapp's requirements are similar to applications like Hive7 so I'll be asking them as well.

I Don’t Digg 09ers

I pretty much ignored the clamoring over Digg censorship of DVD key numbers but Ed Felten's attempt to explain why so called 09ers revolted got my goat.
To me, publishing such sensitive key is no different from publishing credit card numbers, social security numbers, or passwords. They are all just numbers or random sequence of ASCII characters. No one owns them and they are of little value if they are not associated with anyone or anything. But if they are associated with a person, I don't think anyone will find it outrageous when they are asked to remove the sensitive information from public view.
Digg's post associated a sequence of numbers to a key that'll allow people to access valuable property and share it with people who didn't pay for it. The hacker who uncovered the key justified his action saying the DVD he bought didn't support his monitor. The right thing to do would have been to return the DVD for a refund. Instead, he chose to hack and then shared what he found with strangers.
Kevin Rose became a fool by [sorry, a gremlin escaped] was unwise to answer foolish demands from Digg users, placing his company at the mercy of its users' whims. There is value in a community of users. There is less value in a community of hooligans.

A Judge’s $65 Million Pair of Pants

Taking away a crazy judge's job and maybe disbarring him, to prevent him from selling his service as a world-class-asshole-for-hire, will be a satisfying response but won't solve the problem of frivolous lawsuits and wide-spread abuse of the legal system by self-representing lawyers.
One possible solution is to bar lawyers and judges from representing themselves in civil lawsuits. They should also be prevented somehow from 'trading' representation but I am not sure how to accomplish that effectively. Perhaps some accounting over a period to find zero-sum exchange of legal services.
Maybe a form of three-strikes law will work. If lawyers are disbarred after three frivolous lawsuit judgement, I think they'll think twice about using their free time to torment anyone who displeases them.

45th

Here it is again, the day my ears fell out somewhere in Seoul, Korea. Since passing 40, I lost interest in my age so, when someone asks my age, I would say "I am either 43 or 44" then do the math to confirm. Well, doing the math again for this post, taking 1962 out of 2007 leaves me with 45. There. And happy b-day to Dave Winer. I keep forgetting that his birthday is just 2 days prior to mine. Sorry, Dave.
I hope my family doesn't give me any gifts since I don't celebrate birthdays but I have a sneaking suspicion that my wife is hiding a pair of pants or jacket somewhere. So what good is a birthday? Well, I get at a blog post out of it every year, don't I? ;-p
Actually, I did sort of celebrate by showing my wife and son the little web application I've been working on lately. They whispered Wooooo so I was happy. It's core functionalities are pretty much done so I'll be busy shopping for a cheap server farm. 45? What's that?

Car Accident at School

My son came home from school today in a mild shock. Apparently a SUV, driven by a 70 year old grandfather of a student, hit the parked schoolbus my son was on then plowed into students waiting in line to get on the bus, injuring 13 of them, two in serious condition. My son's friend was among those pinned under the car. He is still in serious condition.
My son is unhurt but he was sitting upfront and saw everything happen. He was restless and unable to focus so I sat down with him to explain how human nerve system works, shock symtoms, and how to flush shock effects out of his system. Then my wife and I gave him first-aid: bear hugs.

Being a father means guessing and mimicking most of the time. I wish they had Fatherhood 101 when I was going to school.

 <p><em>Update:</em> just heard that one of my son&apos;s best friends, who lives closeby and was supposed to sleepover at our house this weekend, got liver lasceration and broken ankle after being hit by the SUV. Sheesh. I am getting a bit of shock myself.

Update 2: Dang. Looks like THREE close friends of my son got hurt badly, kids my son usually hangs with. It was just freaky luck that my son was already on the bus because the three kids were standing close to each other. Anyway, my wife and son visited them at the Stanford hospital today with World of Warcraft card decks instead of flowers. My best wishes to Keane, Ian, and Nick. I hear Nick even got to ride the helicopter. Nuts.