Archive for the Uncategorized Category

And so it begins…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 21, 2009 by stephenhuey

Here’s hoping this site will be helpful to people.  The only reason I finally decided to put a blog up is because I have some GAE code I want to share with interested parties, and I figured this would be a good place to do it.  As much as I love other writing, this may end up being mostly technical stuff here, but we’ll see how it goes.

I always thought I’d run a blog myself with a custom WordPress install or my own hacked-up solution, but this free WordPress.com hosted account already took me long enough to get going without even paying to use my own custom CSS because I had to pick a free theme, edit a couple photos to put on here and add some basic widgets, so I have no regrets at the moment–I have plenty of other things to occupy my time today!  Rather than writing my own blogging app, I’d rather spend my time writing more unusual code and share that with the world instead.

Someday soon I’ll post some Java snippets related to Google App Engine, but right now I need to go for a quick jog.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a well-known poem.  While I don’t agree with all of it, Rudyard Kipling forces me to ponder my life’s direction and reflect on how I’m living my day:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

If, by Rudyard Kipling

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Posted in Uncategorized on December 12, 2007 by stephenhuey

Some Gmail engineers have put up this video.  The first engineer is Julie, and that girl was one of my most appreciated programming partners at Rice.  She definitely was instrumental in helping me make it through several classes (not just computer science–thank God she was around during computational numerical analysis and anything that made me write mathematical proofs).  Julie grew up near Austin and was annoyed at the restrictions when she took her Texas-sized truck over to California.  I haven’t bothered to scroll back through my xanga to look, but I think there’s a photo of her when I drove to California eleven months ago.  She has gotten married since then. 

Posted in Uncategorized on June 9, 2007 by stephenhuey

I’ve already seen Once twice. 

So far, it’s only playing at the Landmark River Oaks.  If you want to see it, I recommend you don’t read any reviews or plot summaries, or watch any of the videos or trailers on the film’s website except perhaps the one linked above (of them performing live at Sundance). 

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2007 by stephenhuey

Just watched Blood Diamond for the first time.  Despite the overwhelming presence of Hollywood throughout the film, that stuff is largely true…De Beers running the diamond world, etc.  But while I may have gotten hot-headed about topics such as that many times in my past life, that’s not where my thoughts were as I lay on the couch afterward. 

I remember discussing with a friend half a decade ago….it seems like much of my imagining of life in Africa is romanticized.  Still, there are so many memories and so many fantasies of what life could be like there, and with whom…people I’ve wanted to be with, people I miss, people I just realized I might never see again even though they’re in the same country as me.  Some people I’ve missed out on having real, transparent and unselfish conversations with through no fault other than my own.  How many times since I was a boy have I imagined taking the woman I marry to places that almost don’t exist anymore? 

It always seemed as if I remember a lot from when I was very young.  Tonight I realized how many remembrances have been forgotten, and I don’t even know when they stopped coming to mind.  So much to draw upon, so much to fuel my everyday living.  I don’t want to forget anymore!  

I don’t want to fear anymore.  I don’t want to be afraid to dream, to expect that the best is possible. 

Careful with the laptops, boys…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 15, 2007 by stephenhuey

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of this!  I admit I’ve been more skeptical than protective, and I hope that doesn’t come back to burn me (them). 

I was wrong…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 15, 2007 by stephenhuey

Wired pointed out that on this day in 1939, a Peruvian girl gave birth to a son at the age of 5.  The urban legend watchdog site Snopes confirms the veracity of this story, and it’s repeated on thousands of other webpages.   Lina Medina experienced precocious puberty, so she had her first period at 8 months and became fully sexually developed within a few years.  In case you’d rather not stumble upon it, be advised that there is a nude photo of her on Wikipedia and other sites. 

Her parents didn’t even realize she was pregnant until they took her to see the doctor about the massive “tumor” growing in her belly!  This 1939 TIME article shows the early skepticism among medical professionals in the United States, but from current accounts, it sounds as if they came to accept the story as true and unsuccessfully tried to get the girl up for a visit.  Apparently, there was a similar pregnancy with a 6-year old Russian girl, and precocious puberty is known to show up from time to time. 

My tennis coach in Nigeria showed me a tabloid newspaper article about some Argentinian girl having a child at the age of 4, and I argued with him about whether or not that was possible.  Now about 15 years later I finally found out I was wrong! 

Real estate rebels

Posted in Uncategorized on May 14, 2007 by stephenhuey

Don’t scroll right on past this in your subscription list!  Just hear me out for a second.  I even put in a link to a Lego symphony just to make this post worthwhile for the most apathetic among you.  🙂 

Because of my roommate, I’ve recently watched Why We Fight, the corporations documentary, and the Enron one.  He also filters the 60 Minutes episodes for me and points out any good ones.  As you might imagine, a lot of this stuff is about some little guys fighting the incumbent big boys and these nasty battles often impact the consumer (you, me, and our cats and dogs).  Anyway, check this out…

Say you sell your house for $300,000.  6% of that is the standard realtor commission, so that means he/she gets

300,000 x 0.06 = 18,000

eRealty wanted to save you some of that money, and they tried, but the head honchos in Austin changed up the local market rules to say that eRealty couldn’t post houses for sale on its website.  Since eRealty didn’t have a contingency plan in place to start selling cumquats or something else besides houses on its website, they were sued for breaking the rule.  Fortunately, they won the lawsuit.  After that, the National Association of Realtors (do you hear Imperial March from Star Wars?) said eRealty wasn’t allowed access to the housing database they lost $33 million dollars on their way to bankruptcy.  At least the Justice Department is protecting us by suing that assocation of fat cat realtors. 

So now there’s Redfin, and they want to be operating in every state by the end of next year.  However, several states have laws in place to keep online realtors out, so that’ll have to change for them to succeed.  Why should we be happy about companies like Red Fin, and why are so many commercial interests against them?  Well, remember that $18,000 you’d have to pay?  Get this:

Red Fin charges a flat $3,000 commission on every deal! 

Home prices have been rising for years, and realtors keep charging the same 6% commission (meaning they make more and more money).  Most real estate agents close no more than 8 deals per year, but Redfin handles almost everything online and their agents complete hundreds of deals.  Not only do they make money, but they also save all of us lots of money!  So who is losing out?  The fat cat traditional realtors who aren’t adapting to technological advances.  Because Red Fin is so efficient, they have even been refunding 2/3 of the commission that the buyer typically pays! 

Last fall, I wondered what all my realtor does to make the money she obviously has.  I’m sure she puts in many hours, and a company like Redfin obviously threatens her livelihood, but plenty of other workers have to adapt when innovation changes the way things can be accomplished in their industry.  No doubt this is up for debate, but one guy claims that real estate is the most screwed-up industry in America.