Older blog entries for saul (starting at number 33)

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: http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-big-mac-i21111
- MJ/Kg of gas: http://stason.org/TULARC/vehicles/gasoline-faq/4-9-What-energy-is-released-when-gasoline-is-burned.html
- Liters in a Kg for gas: http://www.triplepundit.com/pages/askpablo-tailpipe.php
- Calories/Km of for biking: http://www.stevenscreek.com/goodies/calories.shtml
- Calories in a Cheese burger: http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-mcdonalds-double-cheeseburger-i53968
- Calories in an Apple: http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-apples-i9003

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.

Details: http://blogs.chron.com/techblog/archives/2006/09/free_public_wif.html

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

Comment Spam

So I had someone post the strangest comment spam on my blog the other day. You can see it here. I haven't yet deleted it, since it doesn't have any URLs or any real "economic" point to the message. I can only assume that people are now trying to poison the LJ spam filters (does LJ even have spam filters?).

Since I might soon delete the message here's a copy of it

Title: Hi gays, where my money!!!

Hi all!
I don't know what happend? Where are you many?

I checked the IP of the poster and it's a known compromised box in Korea.

In short WTF?

Syndicated 2007-08-16 19:47:45 (Updated 2007-08-16 19:49:05) from Saul's Blog

waterloser @ 2007-08-15T01:49:00

This new feature in Google Spreadsheets is pretty cool.

Syntax: =GoogleLookup("entity"; "attribute")
where "entity" represents the name of the entity that you want to access, like Kuala Lumpur, Audrey Hepburn, or oxygen, and "attribute" is the type of information that you want to retrieve.

For example you could make a cell that contains the number of internet uses in Paraguay. [=GoogleLookup("Paraguay"; "internet users")] While that might not be very useful, doing something like inserting the atomic weight of helium, the population of Canada, or the real time price of a stock could be.

Syndicated 2007-08-15 06:02:19 (Updated 2007-08-15 08:00:49) from Saul's Blog

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