On Bikini and Coffee

I think i just have to write this one.

Earlier, I posted two messages on my Facebook page and also on Twitter.

This fiasco over Bellevue bikini barista is insane. Oh, and suggestion to photograph customer for defamation is illegal http://bit.ly/5SOln1

and then

Also, Bellevue’s “Deputy Mayor” Claudia Balducci suggesting breaking a law while she is in office is just plain scary

Though I vaguely heard about this place before, I have not cared much, and never visited this establishment, but after hearing and reading all news about it, perhaps I should go there, just to check it out. They got free advertisements, way to go.
If anyone want take picture of me there, be my guest, but let me have that picture, so I can post it on my Facebook profile. (note, this statement should not be taken that I’m tolerating harassment and character defamation.)
Seriously, it’s just bikinis, it’s not that they are working naked in there. You can find far worse stuff on TV, come on. If you don’t like it, just don’t patronize them. No business can sustain without customers, just basic economy thing.
Like I wrote in the original quotes, it’s just eye opening to see that there is actually an elected official in the office who promotes committing crime. Especially considering customers aren’t doing anything illegal going there, and if she is suggesting “shaming customers” that seems to be clear case of harassment and defamation.
As much as I just don’t get the “idea” of bikini barista I really don’t get people going nuts and screaming about it. We are still few years away from 2012 and the world is not falling apart just yet.

Using Microsoft Excel as Word Processor? You Bet!

Few weeks ago, Japanese Slashdot.org put up an article, titled Americans Surprised in Craze, Japanese Using Excel for Graph Paper. Idea is that a lot of Japanese use Microsoft Excel for doing work seems to be more suitable with word processors, such as Microsoft Word. (I personally like OpenOffice.org, but that’s not the point here…)
Indeed, I have seen a lot of people writing anything from concept proposal, to design documents (or specifications) on Excel. Luckily, I haven’t had to edit or maintain any of them.
Somehow, Japanese developed obsession to lines on paper — there are many electronic document they are creating consisting of boxes, which you’d see on IRS forms, just they are everywhere in Japanese documents. (In fact, earlier versions of Japanese Microsoft Word had its own special function to make it — now it should be there universally. OpenOffice.org is slow to adopt some advanced aspects of those features, because this is quite localized requests.)
This maybe due to the fact that Japanese language consists of character in constant size, with no kerning. A lot of Japanese people seem to use spreadsheet applications, for ease of being able to start paragraphs anywhere on the paper.
I haven’t seen anything personally, but apparently, there are people out there who would paste bitmap image on Excel, and send it off to others. (I’ll go nuts if I see that happening!)
I’m strong opponent of using Excel (or any spreadsheet application) for making document. There are some valid reasons to it.

  1. Spreadsheet application can’t define hierarchical structure of the document. Which means the resulting document will not have structured heading, contents, or sub-headings.
  2. Cross referencing is nearly impossible. Mostly, coming from the fact above. If there are no structure, it cannot be defined. If you think you can define it as a position of a cell, read on.
  3. It is nearly impossible to retain structural information without extensive repair, should the document needs to be updated. Any primitive aspect of the document, including line break needs to be adjusted manually. (you could put the contents on one big cell to solve this problem by having line wrap take care of this, but doing this defeats whole purpose of the spreadsheet supporters trying to achieve using spreadsheet to do word processing.)
  4. Printing is nightmare. If you try to print it, especially across different paper sizes, or even different printing environment (fonts, etc.) this will be nightmare.

So what do I recommend? Do it on word processing applications! Well, it is practiced mostly in Japan, so I guess saying this in English wouldn’t help much. Though, there are now a lot of Japanese website that showing strong opposition of using Excel for this purpose, it seems like this is strong trend, and I feel sorry for opponents living in Japan…

How Git is Saving My Project

Introduction

If you have been following me, I’ve mentioned numerous time about this software called Git.
You’ll find more information about what it is on their web page mentioned above or perhaps, you can checkout its Wikipedia article, if you prefer. Simply put, Git is distributed version control system.
From mid-2008, I have been using Git to manage my work related data. I’m being sole user of the repository I use and manage, but even with that application, I find this very useful.

Why Git is So Cool?

It’s Fast!

I have been using Git to manage anything ranging from 1KB of text data to couple-hundred megabytes of submitted video game build files, and it has been very reliable and fast. Subversion somewhat did this right, but this wasn’t scalable for my use (I will explain about its scalability later), and Mercurial just didn’t work very well when it comes to large file introduced on the repository. (at least on Windows.) Git would allow me to check in any of those files with ease.

It’s Reliable and Scalable!

I started using Git on a single machine, then eventually cloned repository for backup, then I also cloned it for off-site backup. With Git (and many of distributed version control system) one repository is not superior to other repository. If you clone the repository, the entire history of that repository will be copied locally as well. It just involves simple command and securely done over SSH as well. This is real beauty of distributed version control system, crash on any system participating is non-event. If I have to replace, say hard drive on one machine, I’d just replace the hard drive, clone from one of existing machine, and I’m back to to business. Because I work at home as well, I have at least four copies of repositories are available anytime, in which two are acting as “hub” repository, which makes it very reliable. (Not only data on four machines have to be destroyed, all backup of those repository, which is created routinely on each hub repository, need to be destroyed to me to lose data under this system.) Git also provides me high reliability in terms of data integrity. If data contained in repository is corrupted, I will know immediately as any data contained in the repository would be checked against SHA1. This characteristic, just like many version control systems, also helps save bandwidth, as anything that needs to be updated will be transferred.

Branches

Because I deal with different kind of data coming in from a lot of different places, I put each of those into its own branch. With this system, anything submitted externally are placed on its own branch, then merged to my personal branch. This way, I can keep healthy separation of my history and others. Since a lot of files are deal are binaries, merging rarely happens with me. But being able to deal with branch very casually (with many of other systems I’ve tried, including Subversion and CVS, branch is very messy process that I didn’t want to deal with…) makes me to organize great deal of information with ease. Today, I dealt with three different branches for example. Gitk program that comes with Git displays really nice and satisfying tree of my project, too. (it displays the graph resembling subway map; it is in the way, the subway map, leading to the same destination — each commit being the station.

And…

Well, so those are my rhetoric to Git, and for any one I’m looking for some solution to version control, I’d highly recommend Git. Even if you’d be sole user of the repository like me, it will be still useful. I have been losing quite a bit of data every time I have had problem and had to reinstall the OS, but since I have started using Git, I lost none of my work data across reconstruction of my working environment. It’s because Git makes checking into other machines (hence making backup) simple and flexible. (Recovery goes very quick, too; even with 5 months of mass data, it’s about 2.8GB — it is also possible to “shallow-copy” the repository, if quick access is needed.)