Vienna Teng's Waking Hour

I'd like to sing the praises of artist Vienna Teng. Not only is her music outstanding (more on that in a moment), but her story is quite interesting as well, at least to me. Teng studied Computer Science at Stanford University, and then worked as a software engineer at Cisco Systems in San Francisco. As a fellow geek, I have to admire that part alone. But then Teng quit her tech job to prepare for the independent release of her debut album, Waking Hour, which is a really wonderful mix of striking lyrics, piano ballads, and Teng's clear, beautiful voice. Think Tori Amos without the drama and screeching. The track "Soon Love Soon" is my current favorite, but as I keep exploring the album, I'm always finding new kinds of musical beauty. Since the release of WH, she's been on Letterman, CNN, NPR, and toured with Shawn Colvin, and seems to have quite a growing fan base. Whether or not you appreciate the tech-head-turned-singer story that might inspire geeks everywhere, consider checking out Teng's work (available for download through the iTunes Music Store).

Big Corporate Tops Small and Local

I'm usually very much in favor of using local vendors, service providers, etc. instead of big corporate versions whenever possible and reasonable. Current cultural trends make that a challenge. But I've recently had an experience where the branch of a big corporate bank impressed me much more than that of the local bank that I would usually like to celebrate on that basis alone.
Continue reading Big Corporate Tops Small and Local

Gas Pump Buffer Overflow

Random rant: In 1970, Intel produced a memory chip, the first, capable of storing 1 kilobyte of data - a couple of paragraphs of text or so. Today, one can obtain memory chips that store many gigabytes of data - enough to hold entire movies, encyclopedias, and more - for mere hundreds of dollars. So, why is it that when I finish pumping gas at a gas station and hit the "RECEIPT YES" button, the piece of crap machine can't store that one simple keystroke in its input buffer long enough that it doesn't have to ask me 5 seconds later, "RECEIPT? (YES/NO)". It can remember a credit card number, do complex fuel tax calculations, and even tell me about the latest sugar-coated crap I can buy inside, but not that I pressed that button a few seconds ago. It's a scary, scary world we live in, folks. Bah!

Catching Up

It's been a while since I've posted. Lately, meaningless bits of miscellaneous commentary have been occurring to me at random moments, and I haven't had an outlet for them. So, what was once considered criteria for admission into a mental institution, is now the heart of the blogging phenomenon. Let's see what happens. (Look, I'm already back into successful blogging: a self-referential blog post about nothing at all!)