Older blog entries for louie (starting at number 257)

last day in New York

Managed to make the last day in New York pretty stereotypical:

  • wait 25 minutes for a bus that should come every 12: check
  • switch trains in order to save yourself a two-block walk, end up waiting 20 extra minutes: check
  • take a cab ride which makes you violently nauseous: check
  • go to a spectacularly beautiful Olmsted-ian park: check
  • go to (a branch of) the Met; see plundered but incredibly beautiful and unique works of art: check
  • have a dinner that would be hard to have anywhere else, featuring steak tartar topped with ice cream, freeze dried mustard, and pretzel consomme: check

Also spent a big chunk of the day packing and doing laundry; leave for North Carolina in… well, about 15 minutes if you count the ride to the airport. Will miss Krissa a lot but am really looking forward to the summer job. And I think she is looking forward to an excuse to visit the Triangle again :)

Next week I’ll be basically completely offline and in the mountains around Asheville, so if you’re looking to get in touch with me, leave a message after the beep.

Syndicated 2007-05-13 12:05:02 from Luis Villa's Blog

oh lazyweb- problem copying files with : in them to n800

[Not so much lazyweb as rushed/paniced/damnI’mtryingtopackandstillhaveatleastalittlecelebrationtonightweb…]

I’m trying to copy a large number of oggs from my HD to two vfat-formatted SDHC cards in my N800, mounted over USB. (16G worth of files, to be exact.) As far as I can tell, copying files with : in them (e.g., about 10% of my ogg files) to the target drive causes cp and nautilus to choke. I’m guessing this is vfat’s fault, but the N800 doesn’t seem to like it when I format the cards as ext2.

So… anyone have any suggestions on how to either rename the files (lots of them) temporarily in such a way as to make them copiable, or otherwise work around vfat, or (maybe ideally) how to use a more modern fs altogether on sd cards that will be used only in the n800? Pointers ASAP much appreciated as I leave for NC on Sunday and would like to have my oggs on the n800 by then :)

Syndicated 2007-05-11 20:59:06 from Luis Villa's Blog


Richard is so much more coherent than I can manage, I’m impressed.

Vikings:    Done done done done…
Waitress:    …done done done egg and done; done done done done done done baked beans done done done…
Vikings:    Done! Lovely done! Lovely done!
Waitress:    …or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and done.
Wife:    Have you got anything without done?
Waitress:    Well, there’s done egg sausage and done, that’s not got much done in it.

Syndicated 2007-05-11 19:29:35 from Luis Villa's Blog

private journaling tool?

Is there any decent local desktop journaling tool available for linux? I want to be able to, with a very minimal number of clicks, say ‘I just had this thought’, write it down, tag it, and easily find it later (say, at the end of a summer employment gig) so that I can review, edit, and perhaps turn it into something more concrete. (Idea being that I’ll journal my summer job both for personal growth and to help deliver useful information to the company about the experience after the fact.)

I’d do it in wordpress, but I’d like to ensure that it is private and don’t want to run wp + mysql on my local machine- a bit of overkill for what I really want, I think.

Tomboy plus the Note of the Day plugin (not packaged for Ubuntu?) plus the new tags plugin might do what I want, but I won’t be able to try it out until… well, not clear when, but ‘not now’. And will require playing with source, which I’m not so excited to do right now (though will be more so once I’m done with school.)

I’ll probably go with one of those two solutions (probably tomboy) but if anyone has other suggestions, I’m all ears.

[19 1/2 hours until I am done with my first year of law school. I am soooo psyched. And I actually think that, miraculously, I’m reasonably well prepared for my last exam…]

Syndicated 2007-05-10 22:38:29 from Luis Villa's Blog

good, bad, ugly, part 20070508

good: accepted to the staff of the Columbia STLR. Should be fun.

bad: criminal law exam. Will almost certainly be my worst grade of my first year barring a brutal curve, though property on Friday could give it a run for the money. Am going to need to do some serious post-mortem on this semester after it is done; nutshell is that I think I’ve learned a lot about myself and how to be more productive, but that it came too late to save the semester.

ugly: had dinner with Ross and Vicki at RUB. Delicious, and good company. Ugly only because Ross clearly hasn’t shaved since he left Britain. :)

Syndicated 2007-05-09 11:48:08 from Luis Villa's Blog


In between studying for crim law, I am starting to pack. Sort of sad - leaving Krissa when there is such an interesting city for us to explore is unfortunate - but mostly very exciting. I’m really looking forward to the challenge and to getting a peek inside Red Hat’s brain. And the week in the mountains before I start won’t hurt my state of mind.

(For the three of you who are interested, I think my IP exam on Friday went OK. I went way out on a limb on one answer; the professors will either think it is brilliant or they might just point out that I neglected to answer the question. I’m hoping for the first, obviously. The other answer, I think, was pretty solid if not spectacular. Yay for having it done with, either way.)

Syndicated 2007-05-07 13:20:34 from Luis Villa's Blog

yet more proof that suing someone is usually bad PR

Am currently re-skimming the People for the Eating of Tasty Animals case, which way back in 2001 transferred peta.org from People for the Eating of Tasty Animals to the real PETA.

I was curious to see if I could still find the Eating page. Turns out that if you google for ‘peta‘, the primary mirror for the ‘original’ peta.org is still the third search result.  (One of the) morals to the story: if at all possible, don’t sue your enemies. It gives them all the link juice and all the power they could possibly want.

[Other interesting observation: doing the same search on yahoo and msn does not return the Eating Tasty Animals site on the first page of results. Not sure what this says about the various results, exactly, but clearly it says something.

Syndicated 2007-05-02 13:05:07 from Luis Villa's Blog

quick post on KSR v. Teleflex

Because it is relevant to my Friday exam, I’m currently reading KSR v. Teleflex, one of the Supreme Court patent decisions which came out yesterday. It isn’t the best-written decision I’ve ever read, but the implications are fairly far-reaching for many important software patents.

The nutshell is this: the Supreme Court found that the Federal Circuit (which handles all patent appeals) has generally been too strict when trying to decide whether or not a patent is ‘obvious.’

Specifically, the Supreme Court found that when you have invention A, and invention B, and combine them to make invention C, the court should be very careful to ensure that the combination of A and B isn’t obvious.

Now, as an example of that, take every patent you’ve ever heard of which was of the form ‘do X over the internet’. If X predates the internet, and the patent postdates the commercial viability of the internet, and the mechanism for doing X over the internet is straightforward, this ruling almost certainly invalidates that patent.

This isn’t a cure-all for bad software patents, or bad patents in general. It isn’t going to invalidate patents where the mechanism for the combination is tricky/complex/non-obvious, and it isn’t going to make software unpatentable. But it might kill off some of the worst trolls who added the least value to the overall system, and that isn’t a bad thing.

As a nice little bonus, the court also makes it explicit that over-patenting can retard the ‘Progress of Science’ and hence have Constitutional implications. The Federal Circuit hasn’t always behaved as if this is the case; having the Supreme Court make this broad policy point clear and explicit should hopefully help correct the Federal Circuit’s worst excesses.

Thankfully, lots of smart people who aren’t taking exams this week are blogging about this if you want to read about it in more depth. Have a blast, let me know if you find anything interesting so I can sound smart on Friday ;)

Syndicated 2007-05-02 02:00:05 from Luis Villa's Blog

con law done, three to go

Given how miserably unprepared I was for this exam two weeks ago, I feel like the exam went almost miraculously well. A B+ is unlikely but (shockingly) isn’t inconceivable, so I feel pretty good. (For reference, a B+ doesn’t sound that great, but all B+s with one A- will get you the lowest level of honors, and apparently will at least get your foot in the door at even the most competitive NYC firms.)

Now Playing: Marley; ‘Small Axe’, after Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, which somehow seemed very appropriate. (Last semester’s post-hardest-exam music was Ecstasy of Gold; perhaps tomorrow I’ll ponder the significant of the difference.)

Now Drinking: Paulaner Hefeweizen.

Forecast: 40% chance of spring photography as a mental break this afternoon; followed by 100% chance of desperate preparation for Principles of IP on Friday. (Sad that I am least prepared for my IP exam, of all things. :/

Syndicated 2007-05-01 18:53:00 from Luis Villa's Blog

scotus plunges into the youtube era, or something like that

There are some patent decisions that came out today, and some terrorism cases, which are concievably relevant to the exams I take tomorrow and Friday. So I spent a few moments poking SCOTUSblog just now.

The KSR ruling is a big deal, but I think maybe Scott v. Harris may be bigger ruling in some general, historic sense. In the case, the court links to a video on the court’s website- a full-blown leap out of good-old-fashioned text (’if it was good enough for Roman lawyers, it is good enough for us’), straight past audio, and right out into video.

For a court that still doesn’t like to have their deliberations videotaped, this is a big step. In not to long a time, many of us will be carrying video cameras around, and lots more cases are going to include video testimony. For the court to sanction video as not just a part of evidence (which has been going on for some time), but as something that can and should be referred to as a critical part of a supreme court decision, really feels like a big step towards admitting that the world is getting less and less textual. Now, if only the search engines would catch up…

[HT: SCOTUSblog.]

Syndicated 2007-04-30 19:33:52 from Luis Villa's Blog

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