Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion

I watched a movie called "Funny face" over the weekend, and loved Audrey Hepburn in it. She was so funny, energetic, smart, and so beautiful in the film! And the most exciting thing for me is that, the scenes I had seen about Hepburn in the fashion exhibition in Metropolitan Museum in New York was from this movie!! I love those scenes. And in the movie, those were the scenes when Hepburn took photos outdoor in Pairs.

It' s a pity that I did not take photos in the fashion show, but I found a video on Youtube about it. The exhibition is called "The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion".

If you are interested, check this Youtube video out:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Moving from East Coast to West Coast

I just moved from the East Coast to the West Coast, under a tight schedule. Hope this article will help someone to settle down a little bit.

(1) Rent an apartment/house to live
Renting an apartment/house without having a look at the place might not be an easy decision. So list some things that you care about, and rank them: distance to working place, neighborhood, price, living space, structure, etc... And in Mountain View, lots of apartments have pools/gyms, so if you love exercise, you could choose such a place. And don't worry if your apartment does not have this, as you might live very near a trail or a park as well.
Craigslist is a good place to look for apartments. Choose some keywords such as "Mountain View" to narrow down your choice. Another useful website is HousingMaps, which has been integrated with Google Map, so you could easily find houses in a specific place on the map. Also, you could choose the price range in this website.

What if you really want to see a place before renting? There is always a way. You could either ask friends or families for a short stay, or find some temporory sublet/room sharing on Craigslist.

(2) Buying airplane tickets
Southwest is a good place to buy airplane tickets. It allows two free baggag, and its price is usually cheaper than others. If you don't have a strict flying date, click the "Try our low fare calender" after your result for the selected date comes, and you could see the prices for the whole month. Usually the prices in different days differ a lot. Usually if you book early, Southwest is a good place to book tickets.

(3) Shipping luggages
Ask the local post office if they have "book special", uaually books are cheaper than other things. And also, if you ship your car, ask the carrier whether you are allowed to carry things in the trunk. If they allow, some light things such as clothes would be a good fit there.

(4) Shipping the car
It's my first time shipping a car, so I care more about online review while comparing their prices. I used the AmeriFright, and it's door to door shipment with a reasonble price. The good thing about it is that you could bid for several times for different prices, and you could choose one you pick. But be aware that a cheaper price may not attract carriers fast enough, so you might need a longer waiting time.

(5) Purchasing furnitures
Many people will prefer to buy furnitures after they see it. For me, I need some furnitures as soon as I moved in, such as mattress or bed. So I searched online and bought a mattress from Macy's and ask for a shipping date as my arrival date. It was during the Labor day when I purchase the mattress, so Macy's has a big discount, with around $300 for a mattress set originally pricing around $1200. If purchasing in other times, you could try some places such as Costco.

(6) High Speed Internet
During the summer, ComcastOffer has some deal, with $19.99/month for half a year, and a little more than $40 for another half a year. But this is only for new customer in their website. If you are an old customer, you could call Comcast directly, they might have the same deal for old customers. And in searching for Internet, research and negotiation would make a difference. After calling Comcast, I find out that I could get a better deal, with $25 each month for 12 months, and a higher speed. So my suggestion is, call the local office and use the online chatting tool provided by Comcast, to know more information about the choices. But one suggestion is, go with a high speed if internet is really important to you, but do a reasearch before you know about the prices.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Book shelf (CS)

&&&&Machine learning and information retrieval related&&&&
Pattern recognition and machine learning
Christopher Bishop

Machine learning for multimedia Content Analysis
Yihong Gong et al

Foundations of statistical Natural Language Processing
Christopher D. Manning et al

Mining the Web
Soumen Chakrabarti

Modern Information Retrieval
Ricardo Baeza-Yates et al.

Machine Learning
Tom M. Mitchell

Learning in Graphical Model(to have)
Michael I. Jordan

Modeling the Internet and the Web
Pierre Baldi et al

Probability, random variables, and stochastic processes
Athanasios Papoulis

Structured Probabilistic Models: Principles and Techniques
Daphne Koller et al

Artificial Intelligence : A modern Approach
Stuart J. Russell et al.

Managing Gigabytes: compressing and indexing documents and images
Ian H. Witten et al.

Pattern Classification
Richard O. Duda et al.

&&&&Algorithms, systems, and other fundamental computer science&&&&
Introduction to algorithms
Thomas H. Cormen

Flexible Pattern Matching in Strings
Gonzalo Navarro et al.

Algorithm Design and analysis(in Chinese)
Xiaodong Wang

Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment
W. Richard Stevens

Operating Systems: Internals and Design Principles
William Stallings

C++ Primer Plus
Stephen Prata

Effective C++
Scott Meyers

Java Data structures and algorithms
Robert Lafore

Effective Java
Joshua Bloch

TCP/IP Illustrated
W. Richard Stevens

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tech trends: visualizing the Internet! (from CNN)


The full text:

Tech trends: visualizing the Internet
Posted: 03:40 PM ET

Here are a few fun/interesting tech trends of the day. Making the Internet a more visual experience — and less of a text overload — seems to be on quote a few minds:

SEARCH: Cooliris has a cool tool out that lets you scan through photos and search results on a massive, 3-D wall of images. This spawned a Fortune magazine story about the future of search engines: will they always be text-based? Perhaps not.

BLOGS: There are several stories out about new government data that says there are now more paid bloggers in the country than there are paid lawyers. Not that they make the same kind of cash, although the Wall Street Journal says a blogger with 100,000 unique visitors per month can make $75,000 per year.

MAPS: IRLConnect is trying to make a name for itself with map-based social media. Using the site, you can pull in your Facebook and Twitter accounts to get a visual representation of what your posse is up to.

GOOGLE: Finally, in case you haven’t seen it, Google’s News Timeline is worth a look. You can pull in RSS feeds to make a weekly news timeline of your own.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

from CNN: making search less text-centric

Making search less text-centric

Thanks to Google we navigate the Web with words. A group of upstarts wants to make search more visual.

By Jia Lynn Yang, writer

Browser plug-in Cooliris works lets you see hundreds of pictures at once.

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- The online world has gone totally multimedia: Web video and images have proliferated in recent years. Yet the go-to method for finding stuff on the Internet remains text-based. Looking for a site? Type words into a search bar, and the text results offer a hint of the relevant pages. Even if you're looking for images or video, the results are notated with words.

But a few companies are looking for ways to spruce up search by making it more visually driven. Not only do the results look better than what we're accustomed to, they might just save you time as you're searching.

Consider Cooliris, a browser plug-in that takes groups of images and videos and presents them on a slick interactive wall. Instead of clicking through endless pages of results to find the image you want, Cooliris lets you fly through hundreds of pictures at once and then zoom in and out on the ones that interest you.

It works for image searches on Google (GOOG, Fortune 500), AOL, Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500), and others and it's also helpful for sharing photos on sites like Flickr and Facebook.

The plug-in is still in beta, but Cooliris says it's already attracted more than 10 million users with 50,000 downloads a day. Plus, earlier this month, Cooliris received $15.5 million of funding from Kleiner Perkins, DAG Ventures, the Westly Group and T-Mobile's T-Ventures. The company's first round of funding, $3 million two years ago, also came from Kleiner.

Another site that's putting visuals front and center in Web browsing is Searchme. The big difference between Cooliris and Searchme is that the latter is actually developing its own search algorithm. By contrast, Cooliris is layering its interface onto other search tools.

Searchme has the same business model as a standard search engine - it sells ads against key words - but the search results and ads come up as snapshots of the relevant sites.

So if you look up news stories on Oracle's purchase of Sun Microsystems, you'll actually see the articles lined up next to each other so you can read them immediately without having to click through. The idea is this saves you the trouble of having to toggle back and forth between the search results page and the content behind the links.

Over the last few years, Searchme has received funding from Sequoia, DAG Ventures and Lehman Brothers.

But if Google has about 70% of the search market, how does a company like Searchme fit in?

"I like the fact that Google is a monopoly," says Randy Adams, CEO and founder of Searchme. "It means I'm free to turn on a dime and do things that are disruptive to the marketplace."

Google responded by pointing to a few recent tools the company has added to improve searches. For instance, there's a new feature on image searches called "similar images," where you can click on a link below an image search result to find pictures along the same lines. Late last year Google introduced Search Wiki, which lets users re-rank and comment on search results. The company's also experimenting with alternative views for search results - for instance, putting them on a timeline or a map. Said a spokesperson: "We're constantly innovating new ways for users to experience search and search results."

The only question is whether users are ready to change the way they navigate for information online.

"It kind of requires us to decide that the new way not only has advantages but can be grasped quickly enough that the disadvantage inherent in the learning curve doesn't make it too costly to switch," says Susan Aldrich, senior VP at the Patricia Seybold Group, a technology consulting and research firm. "So if I'm going to be really inefficient for two weeks, then, hmm, it's gotta be really wonderful."

The executives at Cooliris think that so long as the amount of visual content online continues to expand (about 850 million new photos are added on Facebook every month), people will need quicker ways to scan the images.

Still, it could take some time to convince enough people to make a switch.

"Our studies say it takes two months to get someone to use this on a regular basis," says Adams, who says it's hard to re-condition people who have spent years and years thinking text is the best way to search.

"But once you get them over and they're able to do this kind of search, we have these zealots. Once we have them, we don't lose them."

To top of page

Min's view:

We knew this trend would come someday. So exciting. Besides the smart algorithms to deal with text strings, what will the smart multimedia people will come out next? Looking forward!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Some fun science problem related to our life(Chinese version)

This is an article about the stable marriage. It's a fun interpretation, but we need to keep in mind that math is not romance:)

Other interesting stories I found on the same website:




Friday, February 27, 2009

Interact with computers more naturally

I am a big big fan of tablet. I have a tablet Lenovo X60. I could scroll it and fold it like a book, I could write smoothly on "Windows Journal" using the tablet pen, I could directly make notes on PPT, and I could do lots of other things. I took notes with it in class. I could write things very fast, add or delete anything very fast, and even totally rearrange the notes in a second. And my classmates love my notes. One of my favorite professor also likes to use tablet to annotate directly on his PPT, and my tablet is happy to serve him on one class when his notebook was not working right. I could draw or write on articles I read, just as what I did on a piece of paper!


I love the feeling of using a pen instead of using the mouse to draw a line, because that feels more natural!! And that's what computers should be! And I could not stop loving tablet ever since I got my first one. I got a small Nokia N810 tablet last year so that I have a tablet with me everywhere; My passion about tablet persuaded one of my office mate to buy one tablet for his mother as a gift, and invoke other office mates to start thinking about tablets; and even my brother owns a X61 tablet now~~
Yes, easier user interface! I wish one day people could use just fingers and voices to command the computer. Already, many people are beginning to use fingers to scroll on iPhone, and use the voice search on Google G1 phone. But more exciting things are awaiting!!

Are you excited also? No? Then see these videos:




Thursday, February 26, 2009

cell phone novel in US

With better network and cheaper fee, more people in the US are using cell phone to connect online. And at the same time, social network is boosting. People tend to spend more time online with their cell phones, writing short things using cell phone.

Japan is one of the most toughest cell phone market in the world. With fast technology innovation, critical users, and fierce competition. Cell phone novel market has been quite popular in Japan, such as the company named DeNa who owns Mobage-town. On Jan. 2008, DeNa opened an office in California, US. And it's expected that cell phone novel market will have a boost in the US. Waiting to see more popularity and trend in this in the US.

Monday, February 23, 2009

How technology improves our life (fun little stories)

Last Friday evening, several friends gathered together. I shared with them my surprise about finding the most popular applications for iPhone being so "simple, and sometimes naive". Yeah, how could we imagine that the most popular applications may simply be a fake picture of fire, or a fishing tank? All the people there are graduate students or MD, and we all laughed at those applications and thought that we would never need to use them.

It happened that, later that night, we had a surprise birthday party for two of our friends. Surprisingly, when the birthday cake was taken into the room, the candle is not lighted. The candles were wet, so could not be lighted!! "Oh, I wish my iPhone could show lightening candle~~"one of the friend with an iPhone shouted. All the room laughed. And at that moment, we suddenly understand why those applications are popular.

Guess how we solve the birthday candle problem at last? We turned off the light, opened a cell phone so it started blinking besides the cake. After the birthday wishes, we closed the cell phone, to simulate the blowing off of the candle light!! Clever, right? Yeah, that's how technology could improve our life :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Random thoughts about design

1. Why don't the file have a tag indicating about its reading status? We see people who read a lot having trouble manually organizing the files into different folders, such as "to be read", "already read", "read and important",..., and etc. Why can't we add some tags to the files, and then it's easier for us to sort them based on the tags besides the dates/types/names.

2. Why can't Gmail add some more user friendly features such as: what kind of emails I am expecting this week(for example, emails from some companies), what kind of emails I usually don't want to see but only want to see for a certain period(for example, when you book airplane ticket, you need their confirmation. But in other times, you may not want to see tons of ads on airplane tickets).

3. If there is a software that could detect what you're doing on your computer, and personalize several applications automatically for you, then it's great. For example, when I book a ticket, my gmail account knows that I am waiting for ticket confirmation/seat booking/boarding card printing. When I am interested in buying a product, it automatically asks me information about my need, and display most relevant product as well as user review, or even buy it for me and ship it. Um, maybe just a dream now.

4. When we want personalization, how much do we care about privacy?

5. When you find old traditional design is not good, how much risk there is to totally change it? Will it win you more new users, or drive away your old users?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

iPhone vs. G1

Things iPhone lack:
1. Do not have a keyboard
2. Cannot record video, and only 2 megapixel camera
3. Can't send Messages and forward (so no bulk messages during festivals)
4. No voice dialing
5. No cut, copy and past
6. Cannot replace battery on your own
7. Cannot view flash
8. No extensible memory card

lacking a keyboard giving iPhone some privileges -- it could be thinner and easier to carry, but some users find it uncomfortable to use the virtual keyboard.

No extensible memory card may be an issue to some users, when they need more memory. However, iPhone is offering initial 8G or 16G memory while Google only offers 1G initially. So it is your choice. Either to have a smaller memory but you could extend, but have a fixed larger memory.

Things G1 lacks:
1. T-mobile does not cover as much place as AT&T, and it's also slower
2. User interface design
3. Although the keyboard is a good feature, the phone does not have on-screen keyboard even for quick tasks. So you need to drag out the keyboard every time
4. Tightly tie to Google's online service. It doesn’t allow the use of Microsoft’s Exchange service for email, contacts or calendar items, or other companies over-the-air synchronization for contacts and appointments. This might be a strategy for keeping user loyalty for Google.

T-Mobile G1 vs. Apple iPhone 3G

Collection of user's experience:
iPhone fan: I like iPhone, it looks cool, and it's fashionable. It could satisfy my daily use, and make me feel joyful by its applications. Its user interface are easy to use.
(designers, doctors, graduate students)

G1 fan: It's really powerful. I could use ssh to connect to my Linux machine, download a lot of free softwares, and even write my own program.
(Software engineers, CS graduate students)

iPhone opponent: I don't like iPhone. It's fake, it generates fake feelings for us, we feel like we are touching a fish in the tank when we are actually just touching the screen.
(interactive designer)

G1 opponent: It does not look good, it's brick thick and dark color. I don't really the powerful computing function it offers, I just need it in my basic life. G1 does not look good enough to entertain me.
(iPhone user)

I think iPhone and G1 are targeting different users right now. iPhone are fashionable, but more limitations and higher monthly rate. G1 is powerful and gives more freedom, but less entertaining.

At first, I was quite shocked by the "top 10 iPhone apps you must have". They are so simple! Just some beautiful pictures without much real usage. And I found out that many CS students think like that.

Later on, I understand. Most users just want entertainment, and simple but well designed pictures could make them feel good. What's more, they could get it at a low price (around $0.99), a more economic way to entertain themselves than spending money for travelling or eating out in the current economy. And also, I learnt one important theory: people feel that the product is more powerful when it looks better.

top 10 must-have iphone apps (zz from CNN)

1. Crazy Disco
Crazy Disco
Price: $.99
Developer: Ezone
What it does: Revitalize the dullest of office parties with this rotating, sparkling disco ball, advertised by Ezone as a "great conversation starter." But there's more than one way to get down: developer Aaron Berk sells a rival app called "Disco Ball."