Recognizing talent (at the metro)

After reading about the violinist playing in the metro (which happened awhile ago), I think we are, at many times, too preoccupied with ourselves and the things that are happening in our lives when we should be taking a moment or a step back to recognize the great things that are happening right in front of us.

Do you think you would be able to recognize extraordinary talent when it is staring you in the face?

Video for viewing pleasure:

Recognizing talent (at the metro)

IBM to buy Sun? Yay for developers!

There’s buzz going around that IBM is in talks to buy Sun. Brian Aker, Director of Technology for MySQL at Sun, gives some insights into what he thinks will happen if this deal goes through. Many have concerns that there’s a huge culture clash and IBM will just gobble up all the great things MySQL and Sun have produced.

All valid concerns. However, if IBM can maintain the developer community relationship that Sun and MySQL have built I think developers may have a lot to look forward to. Especially, government contractors.

First thing that popped into my mind when I read this was

Sweet! No more heavy-weight Oracle development. The government will allow devs to use MySQL now!

After all, it’s backed by Big Blue.

And nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM.


Installing Oracle on a laptop still gives me nightmares. *shudders*

IBM to buy Sun? Yay for developers!

Picasa vs Flickr

Pat got me a new camera for my birthday this past October so I have been trying to take more pictures lately. One of my new years resolutions is to take more pictures! As a result, I’ve been trying out Yahoo’s Flickr and Google’s Picasa over the past couple of weeks. With Picasa recently added support on the Mac and Apple announcing iPhoto out-of-the-box Flickr integration, the feature sets from the desktop are pretty much identical. Both support (or will support) face recognition, tagging, and exporting.

For the web galleries, I really liked Picasa’s layout over Flickr’s. The web site is a lot more simplistic and easy to navigate. Maybe it’s becase I’m so familiar with other Google services. Flickr’s slideshow is so awesome though. Viewing your photostream through Cooliris is such beautiful eye candy.


I started with the free accounts. Google gives you a gig of space for the free account and you can create as many albums as you want. Flickr’s free account gives you 100 mb of upload per month and limits you to three sets.

For me, it really came down to pricing. In order to get more disk space for Picasa, you have to purchase more storage. Starting purchase goes for $20/yr for 10gigs up to $500/yr for 400GB. This storage is actually not specific to Picasa but is shared by all other Google services that need to use extra space. Flickr offers a Pro account, which gives you unlimited storage space for your videos and photos and allows you to create any number of sets and collections, for $24.95.

Given the number of photos I want to upload and my budget, I went with Flickr. Today, storage is so cheap. For $25 bucks, I should be able to get unlimited storage for a service like photo sharing. I’ve started to upload some photos I’ve had for awhile and never really shared them with those who would most enjoy them. It’s been really fun going through old pictures. My photostream can be found here.

Picasa vs Flickr

A Sleepy Thought

I’m so tired. Work has just been crazy. Aren’t things suppose to die down during the holidays? Not so in my case. Deadlines are coming up and there’s still a lot left to do. I feel like I did in college before a big CS project was due. Only now, there are no A’s, B’s, or C’s. There’s only success and failure.

This leads me to some of my grips with the current education system in America. Why are there so many grading systems? And when did it become OK to be mediocre? Students are taught and trained to be evaluated on this teacher-biased scale of letters that mean different things in different places. An ‘A’ in an inner city school is probably not the equivalent as an ‘A’ from say, a Fairfax County school. In addition, there’s this ridiculous notion of people going to college with 4.0+ GPAs because they took AP, Honors, or GT (Gifted/Talented?) courses in high school. These grading policies are different all across the country. The standardized tests like the SATs try to solve this problem, but these tests do not evaluate the knowledge or comprehensive abilities of a student. It simply tests how good you can take the SATs.

As a by-product of this problem and on a more individual level, a student develops, what I believe is, a false impression of what level of aptitude is acceptable in society. I cringe every time I hear some kid say ‘I got a C on my math test!’, like they’re proud of it. Sure, maybe it’s a big improvement from the F they got last week but to initially set the standard this low advocates mediocrity and even worse, sets yourself up for failure.

I don’t think anyone should be aiming to be average or content with just ‘getting by’. Personally, I am continuing trying to better myself in all the ways I know how. This is predicated on the active realization that in order to better myself, I can’t be content with being only adequate. I want to surpass expectations, mine most importantly.

A Sleepy Thought