Google art project http://www.googleartproject.com/

I enjoy going to art museums. At one point, I thought that museum curators have the most amazing job ever. Google art project relieves web surfers the problem of physically being present at an art museum.
On this website http://www.googleartproject.com/, ou can go through just the collections inside an art gallery or navigate around the museum similar to how you navigate around google street view application.

Here are demonstration videos.

Here is what people are saying about this project.
http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/01/google-art-project-offers-gigapixel-images-of-art-classics-ind/

Comment> The navigation controls are really unintuitive. It brings up the frustration that I experienced when using GoogleTV.

Regardless, I am adding this to my list of cool google websites.
The last website that was added was google demo slam (http://www.demoslam.com/)

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Google search engine – Hyunyoung Song

My personal web page http://www.cs.umd.edu/~hsong inherits the high page rank due to the high page range of http://www.cs.umd.edu/ host site. Hence, when “Hyunyoung” or “Hyunyoung Song” is entered as a keyword, my webpage is the first item on the search result.

Another competing identity with hyunyoung keyword is a Korean singer named “Hyunyoung” who’s known for her song “Nuna’s dream” (Nuna is a generic term for “older sister”) Usually, google is very good at distinguishing whether a keyword phrase is entered to look at one of my publications, or whether the keyword is designed to search for the Korean singer. For example, if it is “Maryland Hyunyoung”, Google directs my webpage. If it is “Hyunyoung singer”, Google directs the user to the singer’s webpage.

Today, as I was looking at my visitor log and some searched keywords, I found a phrase that is very obvious that was intended to find the Korean singer but the google engine thought that my webpage was more relevant.

The phrase was: “Hyunyoung Nuna Song”

Hahahaha


Q&A about US Economy (copy and paste)

Sometime later this year, [the US] Taxpayers may again receive an
Economic Stimulus Payment. The Obama Administration is very excited
about this new program. Let me try to explain to you how it works
using a simple Q and A format:

Q. What is an Economic Stimulus payment?
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

Q. Where will the government get this money?
A. From taxpayers.

Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Only a smidgen.

Q. What is the purpose of this  payment?
A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a
high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

Q. But isn’t that stimulating the economy of China?
A. Shut up.

Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the US economy by spending your stimulus check wisely:

If you spend the stimulus money at Wal-Mart, the money will go to China.
If you spend it on gasoline, your money will go to the Arabs.
If you buy a computer, it will go to India.
If you buy fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras and  Guatemala.
If you buy a car, it will go to Japan.
If you purchase useless stuff, it will go to Taiwan.
If you pay your credit cards off, or buy stock, it will go to management bonuses and they will hide it offshore.

Instead, keep the money in America by:

1 Spending it at yard sales, or
2 Going to ball games, or
3 Spending it on hookers, or
4 Beer or
5 Tattoos.

These are the only American businesses still operating in the U.S., so, the best suggestion is you go to a ball game and drink beer with a tattooed hooker that you met at a yard sale.

http://www.thegolfchannel.com/golf-forum/how-to-spend-your-stimulus-money-167710/?go=1&dz=4F622975-5CBF-4FC9-B12D-FD22A1219072


Efforts to improve my writing

If someone asked me what I acheived in my 5 years of graduate student experience, I can confidently list the following.

– I can read and replicate almost any experiment described in a technical paper within Computer Science domain.
– I can now articulate a research idea well enough both in English and Korean.
– I developed several technical skills to improve the quality of visual, oral and written presentation.

If someone asked “what are you missing in this list?”, I would answer that it is my writing skills.

About two weeks after my summer internship at Autodesk, Tovi sent me a link to a book called Style of Writing. Aside from being thankful that my mentor from summer internship decided to recommend a book to help me become a better researcher, I felt disappointed in myself. I came to realize that I’ve been procrastinating in improving my writing skill for over 5 years. I told myself that it is about time that I put an end to this procrastination.

As a starting point, I plan to write one blog entry everyday for a year (just like Julie from “Julie and Julia”).
However, there is one more condition. As talking about my everyday life will not improve my technical writing skills, I plan to summarize an interesting paper, or an article that has at least 5 new terms or phrases that I do not know. I will highlight those new terms in RED..


Camera Obsession

Before my wedding ceremony, I purchased a Nikon D90 with 18-200 mm zoom Nikkor lens from Amazon. Ever since, I had a lot of fun taking pictures and even videos using this DSLR (D90 is the very first camera to have video capture feature).

Couple of days ago, Adam posted a list of links from Christian’s photography links that I should check out and accessories that I need to purchase to further my photography.

KEH: This website seems to be a marketplace where photography maniacs sell and purchase second hand gears.
B&H: If I get laid off and wanted to design a photo studio inside my garage, I think I will be doing a lot of shopping from this website to purchase camera related equipments starting from camera, computers, and lightings.
Adorama: This website has accessories for high-end camera for different purposes. They have underwater equipment. If I decide ever get excited about underwater photography, I should visit this site.
Really Right Stuff: This webpage has so many tutorials on different part of cameras (ballheads, tripod, etc). Should read them when I have spare time.
Acratech: Another webpage that has a lot of ballheads and its tutorials.

After looking through these web pages, Adam suggested that I purchase a panning plate and a ball head. And I totally agree that they would be good accessories to have.

Before I jump into this expensive hobby of mine, I would first like to have 1.8f 50mm lens, SB 600 Speedlight, and a light tripod.


My immigration status

Both my US immigration status and Canadian immigration status is restricting my trip back and forth between Toronto and Ithaca. And, it gave me a huge headache last Sunday and this Monday.

If both of them were in favor of me traveling, or not traveling, that will be ideal.
However, one forces me to travel while the other restricts me from traveling.

* US forces me to cross the border*
My current F1 (student visa) expired at the end of August. I can apply for a new student visa as my I-20 doesn’t expire until 2011. However, my lawyer in Ithaca advised me not to file for a new F1 visa as it could become a problem when I want to file for a green card in US. (In the form for F1 visa, I have to answer whether I have US citizen fiancee or a husband. If I say yes, I get rejected. If I say ‘no’, I might not qualify for a green card later on for misrepresenting myself)

Now, expired visa doesn’t mean that you cannot reenter US. It means one cannot be issued with an I-94 card (I-94 card is attached to my passport). I-94 card is what grants me entrance to US. Here is the trick. When you cross the border in a car, you do not have to pass US immigration office. You only pass either Canada or Mexico’s immigration office. This means your I-94 card is not detached from your passport and from US immigration office point of view, you never left the country. Therefore, I can reenter with my existing I-94 card even if my visa is expired.

However, my I-94 card expires when I travel longer than 30 days outside US. In order to keep my I-94 card valid, I need to come to US at least once a month.

*Canada restricts me from traveling*
My current working permit in Canada expired on 8/30th. My lawyer at Autodesk filed for a renewal on 6/23 but it takes 81 days to be processed. In other words, I am currently working with my expired Canadian working permit under this “implicit status” because I didn’t receive my new one. Hence my lawyer in Canada advised me not to travel outside Canada starting from 8/31 until I receive my new working permit.

* the incident*
Not knowing when I will receive my new Canadian working permit, I wanted to visit US as late as possible so that my I-94 card will be valid until the end of September. On August 30th (the last day that my Canadian working permit was valid), I decided to drive to US to drop of Adam at Buffalo airport. As I was entering Canada, they questioned my status. I told them that a renewal has been filed but they couldn’t find my information anywhere in their system. So, they wanted to see a copy of whole package that was sent to the Alberta immigration office for working permit renewal. When I told them that I did not have anything, they started questioning other unnecessary stuff.
“What is your status in US with this expired student visa. Why haven’t you returned to your home country”
“How can you be a full time student at Maryland and work full time at Autodesk in September?”
It was really terrifying when someone starts treating you like a criminal. Even though I had very good reason for every question the officer raised, it was nerve breaking.

However, I was not able to prove that I applied for my working permit renewal. I tried to contact my Autodesk lawyer but it was Sunday night. Of course nobody picked up the phone. After being stranded at the Peace bridge for 2 hours, the immigration officer told me to come back the next day with the documents.

The next day, I spent another 5 hours driving plus 1 hour in the Peace bridge immigration office defending about this “implicit status”. I am TOTALLY pissed that these officers that receive salary from the Canadian taxes that I pay, treated me like an illegal immigrant, and made me waste 6 hours of my precious time~!!


BBQ party

To toast for Adam’s not-so-recent return from California and my impending departure to Ithaca, we threw a Korean BBQ party. As I’ve never thrown a party to non-Koreans before, I’ve always wanted to do this. We prepared Kalbi, marinated spicy pork and several Korean side dishes.

It was an interesting experience for several reasons:
1) I finally got to use Sandro’s grill stove. It was pretty awesome that we didn’t have to go out to grill the Kalbi. Catherine seemed to like it the best. She asked Bobby, “Can we have one of these?” pointing the stove. Which was followed by Bobby’s joke, “You mean a graduate student that can cook these (Kalbi)? Sure~”
2) Adam’s friends sang birthday song for me which was very nice. When the song was over, Dave told me, “Now blow off all the oreos on top,” instead of the candles.
3) People finished kimchi and Korean seaweed salad that I didn’t expect them to appreciate.

When I opened up the refrigerator this morning, I discovered more than 30 bottles of like 7~8 different kinda beer. Yeayi~ Another party. 😛