Category Archives: Commentary

On coming by ignorance the easy way

Google? Yeah, our generous overlords. Let me tell you something about Google. When you click RogerHub | The Personal Blog of Roger Chen.’re not actually going to RogerHub. Google redirects you to another page1 that saves some data about your click and then redirects you to RogerHub. This page keeps track of all the websites you click on and all the things you search. It all happens so quickly, that you never notice. But hey, who’s complaining? I’m not. They’re Google. Nobody cares. But consider this: what if Facebook started doing the same thing? This bait-and-switch tactic would spawn a shitstorm, or a pool-pah, as Bokonon2 would say it. That Big Brother Zuckerberg can see all the meet-singles-in-your-area ads you’ve been clicking on just scares the shit out of people. I don’t understand. Of course, the reason I bring this up is Google’s… more →

The Four Directions

So my sister has this broken laptop that nobody uses. Its screen freezes, its battery doesn’t hold a charge, and it has one too many stickers on it. One afternoon, we decided to salvage what we could from it, so I installed Ubuntu linux + SSH, so that I could control it from my own computer. On that first day, I got the wireless working and set a static private IP, and I was pretty damn proud. Today, about 20 minutes ago, I was testing the audio card with some songs that I uploaded. So, I’m listening to Dead and Gone by T.I. and mplayer gets to this one part where he’s rapping about cardinal directions1. For as long as I can remember, I associate certain characteristics with each of the four directions. East is the rich, excessive, and superficial society that prides… more →

Nonsense Cycle

Journals are awesome, but RogerHub is not a journal. In journals, people write about things and people in their life. In contrast, RogerHub is about ideas, not people, with the exception of our generous King Zuckerberg. All the great persons of the past kept diaries and journals. They handwrote when they had paper, typed when they had typewriters, and now, they do this weird video-log and blogging stuff. If a blog is supposed to be a journal1, it’s not very good one. Journals are supposed to be private, so you can bash whomever you’d like and swear all you want. You can’t confess these things on a blog because they are too offensive or controversial. To correct for this, I’ve been keeping another journal on the side. I trust this journal, not to the soft earth in the backyard, nor to… more →

Food laws

I was eating one of those Pirouette french vanilla cream-filled wafers and reading the back side of the can simultaneously. I thought to myself–wouldn’t it be great if they had stuff like this at school? But because the good people of the state of California hate fat people, they can’t sell anything with sugar listed as the first ingredient. And.. sugar is listed as the first ingredient. Some producers get around this by splitting sugar up into its various isomers, so that they can get something else to take the spot of the principal ingredient. Or, maybe you could dilute the can with water, and get the wafers all soggy, or maybe with milk.. ahh that sounds good. The first-ingredient rule really doesn’t make any sense. Let’s say, I use packaging tape to bind a bottle of coke to a SmartWater. Clearly, the… more →

Ice Cream Everyday

I was reading the Hoofprint and I saw that Elliot wrote1 about the appeal of summer freedom. You know, I had high expectations for this one, kind of like the feeling you get, when it’s the first ten minutes of a movie and someone’s busting out ps and grep2. I was expecting the whole paradox where you realize that summer is boring and absolutely sucks because you’ve no school work to occupy your time. Instead, he writes about using your two-thousand hours to prepare for SAT or get a job, almost as if the administration jumped in, halfway through the article, and made some suggestions. Where’s the opinion in this? All year long, I never felt tired, uninspired. But now, I’m figuratively trying to light the last few crumbs of what’s still left. World Lit 2, perhaps a summer project:… more →

Contributary Emotions

That’s what Nick calls them1. This must be my imagination, but watching movies in Jeng is just agonizing. Typically, it’s common courtesy to shut up in a theater, but in class, the scenario is apparently different. For some reason, you feel obligated to let the world know your reactions—your awww’s and guffaws—as if your feelings were a second show playing simultaneously. It’s almost like a competition to see who is most emotionally vested in the wonders of modern cinematography. If mushy emotion isn’t your thing, you can just turn around and explain the plot to one of your friends. Then, you can amaze us with your accurate plot predictions and show off the comprehensive collection of movies you’ve seen2. If post-testing films are more of a opportunistic social exhibition than an idle pastime, your outbursts sound forced and contrived. It always… more →

Finance and nonsense

Today in Sandoval, when we were jumping around among the lecture circles, I noticed an analogy to the US economy. See, at any given moment, a person can be dissatisfied because nobody is discussing essay outlines for a topic that he wants to study. To remedy this, he jumps around from group to group, surveying which group provides the best discussion, considering both the topic and the speakers involved, and makes a choice among them, even if he is not satisfied with any. Meanwhile, he contributes no input of his own1. Maybe we need to stop focusing on finance and advertising, and start thinking productivity. When I mention a person, this must be hypocritical. ↩︎

Migrating times

Whenever you make a permanent change to the database in Rails, you’re supposed to make what they call a migration. It’s like versions for your database, so that whenever you screw up, you can always just backtrack to a version that still works. Until recently, these migrations would be numbered sequentially, like zero, then 1, then 2. But now they’ve decided to use the date and time as your migration number, so they end up looking like 201105071935261. So what happens now? When somebody looks at your code, they’ll notice all you do on Friday nights is work on your programming projects, and considering the common self-conscious, socially-inept programmer stereotype, this could be a problem. What’s the deal here? These timestamps bring a personal touch to Rails projects. Instead of imaging some invisible omniscient entity that writes code from his watchtower in the clouds,… more →

On Barron's AP Books

I don’t care what kind of laboratory you have. Two objects with densities of 18000000 kg/m3 is absolutely unacceptable1. You have pulleys that go the wrong way, electrons that move at the speed of light, photons that don’t, made-up equations. Apparently, you don’t know how to subtract numbers either2. Yeah, I get it. It takes a lot of work to write these. But please, proofread? 3rd edition my ass3. At least it’s not a black hole.. yet. ↩︎This wasn’t a careless mistake either. You simply wrote down -5.7eV - (-8.2eV) = 3.5eV. ↩︎You mixed up apical dominance and phototropism. ↩︎

Social Credentials

I’ve been taking runs around my neighborhood in the morning for a couple of days. It’s absolutely exhilarating. I like the steep hills that ascend 10 or 12 feet so that you can’t see over the top from its base. It’s like you’re climbing up to something great thats waiting for you. And the sunrise on the horizon is something you don’t ever get to see unless you’re up at 6:30. Hey, people should do this more often. But wait, they do. There are joggers that join track and field and do crosscountry and they must see magnificent sunrises all the time. I feel rather out of place talking about running when I really haven’t seen the sun for 6 months. If you think about it, it’s likewise socially unacceptable to discuss basketball unless you follow its teams and play weekly. There are usually… more →

How a watch changed everything

Every guy should have a watch. I don’t know why I didn’t figure it out before. Watches are great! In one of the animated-lectures I’ve seen, someone said that watches are outdated and unnecessary because they are single-function devices. Of course, the watch bit was a side point, but it is grossly shortsighted and needlessly assertive. Watches may only tell the time, but they’re exceedingly good at doing so. Reading your watch is plenty more efficient than checking the phone or the computer. Usually, I’m already looking down at my hands, writing, eating, or programming. The placement is perfect. A simple glance to the south-west is sufficient without even turning my head. It’s both stationary and exceptionally portable and always ready to work when I need it. Now get this: the single-function of watches isn’t a limitation. Whenever I hear… more →

Social games are evil

In Econ, Mr. Bosanko was talking about adults wanting to live high school again because they screwed up the first time. Then, I got it. Go back a couple hours and I was at home (~9:20AM) reading this: it’s long, but definitely worth the time PC Gamer: About that lecture you gave recently. I wanted to ask you about social games. And I know you don’t like that as a title. Jonathan Blow: Did I say that in my speech actually? PC Gamer: Well, you called them evil. Jonathan Blow: No, I mean the name “social games.” PC Gamer: I think you said you don’t like it being attributed to some of those games? Jonathan Blow: Well, they’re not very social. A game like World of Warcraft or Counter-Strike or whatever is way more social. Because you actually meet new people in clans or guilds. You… more →