Monday, July 30, 2007

Ten Lessons To Become a Sudoku Master

Sudoku puzzles are fun and often addictive. My cousin gave me a series of four Sudoku puzzle books, each book containing puzzles of a particular difficulty, ranging from gentle to downright ridiculously near impossible. I commute on a train everyday for work, and over the course of a couple of weeks, I developed a fairly sure-fire algorithm toward solving even the most diabolical puzzles. It works so well that, in fact, I usually tackle my puzzles in pen. Over the next couple of posts, I'd like to share my algorithm with you, so that you too can become a Sudoku Master.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Early access to arpanet

Check out this guy's story of his early online experience. This description was written a while ago.

It bring back memories. I used a teletype (tty) with 110/300 baud acoustically coupled modem from my high school in Fairfax Co., VA to dial in like Keith. I used to type @O 77 on the TIP (Telephone Interface Processor) from my tty to get into MIT's DM machine back in '76 and '77. I played Adventure (ADVENT), but when Zork came out, it had way cooler maps.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I was catching a late train home last night, and ducked into the bathroom at Penn Station before boarding. After I unzipped, some crazy guy emerges from one of the toilets and talking to himself very loudly, and he wont stop.

Crazy guy: They don't even know what their doing. They keep pushing you around and shit. Then the next thing you know, you get twenty-five-to-life for ax-i-dental-ly kill-in somebody. Twenty-five to life. Can you imagine that shit? ....
Guy 2 sheet metal urinals down from me: SHUT-UP
Crazy guy: And then, you be walkin down the street tryin to find yo next meal and shit, and there's this long line outsida one dem clubs, and I'll be thinkin to myself, hey, you know, maybe I can get some o dat shit after gettin out ....
G-man, quickly finishing his business and leaving without washing, but trying to decide which guy he's afraid of most.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Telephone Service, or Telephone Number?

What the telephone companies sell you is a telephone number -- an easy, ubiquitous way for people to get in touch with you. My question is, do you really need to pay for it?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

How To Travel With Your Child on Priceline

----- Original Message -----
Subject: Traveler under 18
Product: AIRLINE
Category: About Airline Tickets
Name: G-Man
E-mail Address:
Request Number:
I wish to book three round-trip tickets between LGA and IAD:

One for my 10 y.o.daughter, who will stay with my parents, but travel with me, departing 8/11 on U.S. Airways flight 7505, returning 8/19 on U.S. Airways flight 7929.

Two for me:

First 8/11 on 7505 with my daughter, returning 8/12 on 7929.
Second on 8/17 on 7925, returning 8/19 on 7929 with my daughter.

You see the problem? System won't let me book her ticket because she's "travelling alone", when in fact she's not.

Please advise how I can get around this problem?

----- Response Message -----
From: 'Customer Service'
Date: Saturday, July 21, 2007 10:19 am
Subject: Customer Service (KMM24061323V27531L0KM)
To: G-Man

Dear Mr. G-Man,

Thank you for taking the time to send us an e-mail. We understand that you were unable to book a ticket for your daughter for a trip to IAD.

Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult (age 18 or > older) when traveling on tickets purchased through us. If you need to purchase a ticket for someone younger than 18 who will be traveling alone, we recommend that you book through the airlines directly so that you can choose appropriate flight times and avoid potential boarding problems.

We apologize for the inconvenience.


Vimesh A.
Customer Service Specialist

----- Reply Message -----
From: G-Man
Date: Sunday, July 22, 2007 9:19 am
Subject: Customer Service (KMM24061323V27531L0KM)
To: 'Customer Service'

Dear Vimesh Clueless,

You should read my complaint before answering. The correct answer is, by booking the end legs of the trip as two round-trip tickets together, and then booking the middle legs in reverse as a third round-trip ticket, the tickets could have been booked.

In other words, as an example, instead of booking:

8/11 LGA-IAD
8/12 IDA-LGA


8/18 LGA-IAD
8/19 IAD-LGA

for the parent and

8/11 LGA-IAD
8/19 IAD-LGA

for the child, instead book:

8/11 LGA-IAD
8/19 IAD-LGA
for both parent and child together, then book

8/12 IAD-LGA
8/18 LGA-IAD

for parent. My wife Jawbitch figured this out by booking for less through her Amex travel service. Next time, you might want to provide this advice to other potential customers.



Friday, July 20, 2007

LIRR Vandals

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How To Convert Video for Sansa Media Players

When I got my Sansa e260 Media Player, I promptly threw away the CD-ROM that came with it. I figured it was compatible with XP, so why do I need the CD? Turns out, if you want to watch videos, you have to use the Sansa Media Converter to convert them.

I've been waiting for a copy to arrive in the mail from Sansa, but it never came. In the meantime, I figured out how to convert videos myself, which I will share with you.

1. Download MPEG Streamclip.
2. Run it, and open the video file you wish to convert.
3. Make sure Sansa USB Mode is MSC. Plug in your Sansa.
4. Choose File, Export to Quicktime.
5. Pick the following options (see below picture):
a. Compression: Apple Motion JPEG B
b. Quality: 0% (or something less than 50% for sure)
c. Frame Size: Other 160 x 208
d. Frame Rate: 15
e. Rotation: 90 CW
f. Zoom: 75%
g. Cropping: checked; Top 0, Left 35, Bottom 0, Right 35
h. Scale: checked

6. Click Make Movie, and save to your Sansa VIDEO directory.
7. Disconnect Sansa and enjoy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

LIRR Graffiti

Poster: There are 16 million eyes in the city. We're counting on all of them.* If you see something, say something.

Vandal [suppling asterix above]: *They can't see the gap, but are expected to spot terrorists!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I Just Want To Hurt Somebody

It's tough playing low dollar tournaments. Especially early in the game, when you're playing against complete novices that make bad mistakes, but then suck out on you, like this guy did in the very first hand of this tournament. After I made a nice pre-flop raise, check raised him on the flop, he calls both bets. Then bet all-in on the turn after catching a set of jacks, and I don't fault him for calling, but watch what happens:

Full Tilt Poker Game #2852263594: $5 + $0.50 Tournament (21691880), Table 47 - 15/30 - No Limit Hold'em - 20:01:00 ET - 2007/07/04
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to G_man234 [Jh Jc]
barmaid13 folds
kobe0824 folds
G_man234 has 15 seconds left to act
G_man234 raises to 150
klaymonstr folds
dussault969 folds
YneGrwr calls 150
stevo3400 folds
bronzerleaf folds
*** FLOP *** [As 3h Td]
G_man234 checks
YneGrwr has 15 seconds left to act
YneGrwr bets 190
G_man234 raises to 380
YneGrwr has 15 seconds left to act
YneGrwr calls 190
*** TURN *** [As 3h Td] [Jd]
G_man234 bets 970, and is all in
YneGrwr calls 970, and is all in
G_man234 shows [Jh Jc]
YneGrwr shows [8d 9d]
*** RIVER *** [As 3h Td Jd] [Qh]
G_man234 shows three of a kind, Jacks
YneGrwr shows a straight, Queen high
YneGrwr wins the pot (3,045) with a straight, Queen high
G_man234 stands up
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 3,045 | Rake 0
Board: [As 3h Td Jd Qh]
Seat 1: stevo3400 (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 2: bronzerleaf (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 3: barmaid13 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: kobe0824 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 5: G_man234 showed [Jh Jc] and lost with three of a kind, Jacks
Seat 6: klaymonstr didn't bet (folded)
Seat 7: dussault969 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 8: ABINRML didn't bet (folded)
Seat 9: YneGrwr (button) showed [8d 9d] and won (3,045) with a straight, Queen high

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Venus and Saturn

Last night at dusk, Jawbitch was in awe of Venus. It was very bright near the horizon. She got the telescope out and started looking at it. I noticed a fainter light just above it, so I went in to the Web to see if I could figure it out. I used to have a cool program called Redshift, but instead of loading it, I found this site: Fourmilab. Turns out that the fainter planet was Saturn. Through the telescope, we could see the rings! First time for that, it was really pretty amazing.