Recent blog entries for saul

Sundance 2011

I went to sundance last weekend here are quick reviews of the movies I saw.

An African Election
Documentary about the 2008 election in Ghana. Compelling subject and interestingly shot. And worth it just to learn more about Jerry Rawlings.

These Amazing Shadows
Documentry about the "National Film Registry" and film restoration. Interesting, especially if you are in to the history of film.

Gun Hill Road
Drama about Latino father that has been in jail for 3 years, who once he leaves finds out his son is transgendered. There was something missing in this movieā€¦ the story should have hit the audience harder then it did. On the plus side, the actor playing the transgendered son is excellent.

In a Better World
Danish drama about pacifism and revenge. Great movie emotionally engaging and interesting. It made a strong point without having to bash you over the head with it.

Shorts Program I
A bunch of shorts, most of which weren't great. Except for Worst Enemy by Lake Bell, which is pretty funny and worth a watch.

Another Earth
A high concept movie about forgiveness and self reflection. Another good one, the only issue with this movie is you really need to suspend disbelief about the "parallel" earth they find, and the pseudo science used to explain it doesn't help. But once you get past that, the story is interesting and really pulls you in. Plus main actors are excellent.

Syndicated 2011-02-01 09:08:33 (Updated 2011-02-01 09:13:21) from Saul

waterloser @ 2009-02-11T00:50:00

pcolijn: You think that's creepy.. I got this a few months ago:

Hi Saul,

My name is Sarah and I'm part of the recruiting team at Facebook. I'm reaching out 1- because I liked your profile pic, and 2 - to see if you'd be interested in considering opportunities at Facebook...

Facebook Recruiting

She liked my pic... First off I can only take that one of two ways:
1) Your so amazingly good looking we need more sexy men around the office.
2) You obviously aren't good looking enough to have a girlfriend and thus will waste your entire life away at the office.

Second... WTF? Who starts a eng recruiting email with "You have the look we want". I guess I can kind of understand, I am amazingly good looking.

For context this was my profile picture at the time, I kid you not.

What Facebook is looking for?

Syndicated 2009-02-11 09:23:26 from Saul

Efficiency of Biking vs Driving

According to random places around the internet:
Cycling is about 31 Calories/Km (for a pretty average person)

To compare this to driving we need to do a little more leg work:

First we need the Caloric value of gas (we'll figure it out for a Liter of gas):
((MJ/Kg of gas) * (convert to Jules) * Kg per Liter of gas) / (J in a Calorie) = Calories/Liters of gas
(44.374 * 1000000 * .703) / 4184 = 7455.76 C/L of gas

Now we take this number and plug it in to the efficiency of a car:
Efficient car (40mpg) in Km/L : 17.01 km/L

(Calories in a Liter of gas) / (Km/L of an efficient car =
7455.76 / 17.01 = 438.31 Calories/Km for an efficient car

Therefore with these rough numbers Biking is around 14x more efficient then driving. And yes I know measuring gas in calories doesn't really make much sense... but it does help when making this sort of comparison.

Interesting side notes:
- You burn about a McDonald's double cheeseburger of calories every Km you drive.
- You burn around half an apple of calories ever Km you bike.

Where I got my numbers:
- Calories in a big mac:
- MJ/Kg of gas:
- Liters in a Kg for gas:
- Calories/Km of for biking:
- Calories in a Cheese burger:
- Calories in an Apple:

These calculations brought to you by the back of a napkin

Syndicated 2009-02-05 08:00:19 from Saul

6 Jun 2008 (updated 23 Oct 2008 at 07:06 UTC) »


So a few months back I got a Vudu box for basically free. It's a movie streaming set top box. The idea being you hook it up to your tv and then you can rent and buy movies from your couch. Now I wouldn't buy movies on it since they are locked on the the device, but renting is only $2ish and the quality is excellent. (Though since my roommate got a netflix account we hardly use the box anymore) The big selling point of the Vudu box is that it does an excellent job of streaming the content, so you can instantly watch anything in their catalog (including HD movies).

One of the biggest problems I've had is that the catalog of movies (which is pretty big about 5500 movies, and over 120 in HD) isn't searchable online. Which is super annoying, since if I want to watch a movie I'd like to know if it's on Vudu.

So I present the full catalog of movies and tv shows on the vudu in one searchable page. I extracted the information from the vudu site (which incidentally is written in non-optimized javascript, which makes for easy dissecting).

When I have some more time I'll detail the format they use, but the short version is:

This URL can be used to get all the movies in one easy to parse javascript chunk.
It's pretty easy to figure out what the different fields do by playing around with the Vudu browser page

Update (10/22/08): Vudu has change it's site. My above script no longer works :( They have updated there movie listing so you can now buy movies online (finally), but they still don't have search.

Syndicated 2008-06-06 07:17:34 (Updated 2008-10-23 06:52:49) from Saul's Blog

Dear Phone Scamming Jerks

Dear Phone Scamming Jerks,

I'm not sure how your scam works but I'm not interested.

Please stop calling me.

- Saul

PS, you're a jerk.

Syndicated 2008-04-18 05:34:14 from Saul's Blog

8 Mar 2008 (updated 9 Mar 2008 at 00:08 UTC) »

Bike almost stolen

So my bike was almost stolen again

I left it at the Palo Alto Caltrain station locked to a tree and when I came back the lock was cut open.

Cut Lock

The weird part is my bike was still there seemingly untouched. I guess the would be thief got interrupted.

Note to the reader, this is a different bike then the one that was almost stolen in waterloo, but it's of the same "quality". I guess the fact that people are "almost stealing" rather then full out stealing my bike is a good thing.

Syndicated 2008-03-08 09:48:26 (Updated 2008-03-08 23:36:42) from Saul's Blog

Free Public WiFi

I always see these "Free Public Wifi" Ad-hoc networks around and just assumed they were infected machines. It would seem they are actually a mix between windows being extra crazy and people being gullible.


Syndicated 2007-11-27 23:29:17 from Saul's Blog

Dr. Robert W. Bussard

Dr Bussard died :(

I had the chance to see his talk when I interned at Google, and then had the great privilege to have dinner and talk to him. He was an amazing man, very spry for a 79 year old. I'll never forget when he told us "If you've never had the experience of seeing a nuclear blast in person, it's transcendent." (I'm paraphrasing) Just hearing him talk about the the early days of nuclear research was just so interesting, I now wish I had recorded the conversation.

He was an amazing man.

Update: It would seem David had the same impressions

Syndicated 2007-10-13 05:55:11 from Saul's Blog

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day Ye Scurvy Dogs


Syndicated 2007-09-19 19:52:24 from Saul's Blog


cuTorrent is just a little tool I use a lot myself, so I thought it would be nice to package it up a little and let it loose in the wilds of the internet.

It's basically a console version of the uTorrent webUI. For the 3 people that don't know, uTorrent is one of the best (but closed source) bit torrent clients out there, and was recently bought by BitTorrent Inc (Bram Cohen's company which produces the "official" bit torrent client). It's Windows only right now, but there is an OSX private beta going on. Also they seem to be doing their best to support wine (which is kind of like linux support... almost).

This program has been tested with python2.4 on both linux and OSX (in theory it should work on any system that has python2.4+ installed). I've packaged up a beta, but (as always) the svn repository is more up to date

cuTorrent is licensed under the APL 2.0.

Special thanks to Rob Crowther for his python library for accessing the uTorrent webUI which is the basis for this program.

Syndicated 2007-08-29 19:13:36 from Saul's Blog

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